Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

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Sheldrake
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Apr 2021 00:18

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:12
This truth is diligently submerged under a pile of repetitive hyperbole on Naval gunfire being omnipotent. And do mark that only some Pz Grenadier elements (ex 21 Panzer) went through the gap that day..not the Panzer companies.
Ask any naval gunner around here, how he would have managed to decimate enemy armour, at will, in a mobile battle, with rival forces in confused proximity.

Cheers
Sandeep
That is a good point. From what I have seen so far, naval gunfire worked well on D Day against pre planned targets such as the coastal artillery installations. It was much less effective against mobile and fleeting targets on D Day. Indeed on the Britsh sector its main contribution seems to have been friendly fire that stopped 4/7 Dragoon Guards short of Bayeux.

The problem was communications between soldiers on the ground who could see what was happening, commanders who could make sense of conflicting reports and all the firepower off shore. There was a particular problem on D Day because the Corps and Divisional HQs had not set up yet and there was no one ashore to reconcile conflicting reports. HQ ships were not the same. By D+1 or D+2 the HQs were ashore AOPs had started to arrive and the Army was in a position to apply naval gunfire.

Possible the most dangerous time for a full blooded German armoured counter attack might have been the night 6-7 June

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by maltesefalcon » 16 Apr 2021 00:30

Juan G. C. wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:45
maltesefalcon wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:04
Moving a formation (or formations) of that magnitude from Paris to the coast in half a day's time is simply not realistic. Plus they would be a magnet for air attack moving in broad daylight.
If I am not mistaken the morning of June 6 was was heavily overcast, which might have allowed them to move without serious interference from the allied air forces. IOTL Rundstedt gave the order to move to the Panzer Lehr and the 12th SS Panzer two hours before the seaborne landings. Rundstedt's biographer believes that probably they would have been able to counter-attack during the afternoon.
Air attack would be only one factor. Do you have any idea how long it takes to move a Panzer formation this size en masse? As I pointed out earlier, Das Reich took two days to move a similar distance.

As for overcast conditions curtailing Allied air support....
Please see this link:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/AAF-H-DDay/

A relevant quote from same:

Air Support on the Beaches

During the June 6 D-Day assault itself, a total of 171 squadrons of British and AAF fighters undertook a variety of tasks in support of the invasion. Fifteen squadrons provided shipping cover, fifty-four provided beach cover, thirty-three undertook bomber escort and offensive fighter sweeps, thirty-three struck at targets inland from the landing area, and thirty-six provided direct air support to invading forces. The Luftwaffe's appearance was so minuscule that Allied counterair measures against the few German aircraft that did appear are not worth mentioning.
Last edited by maltesefalcon on 16 Apr 2021 00:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Apr 2021 00:32

Sheldrake wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:18
Indeed on the Britsh sector its main contribution seems to have been friendly fire that stopped 4/7 Dragoon Guards short of Bayeux.
Wouldn't that mean it would also stop a Panzer Unit short of the beaches?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 16 Apr 2021 00:33

maltesefalcon wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:30


Air attack would be only one factor. Do you have any idea how long it takes to move a Panzer formation this size en masse? As I pointed out earlier, Das Reich took two days to move a similar distance.
They had a Transporter room reverse-engineered from one salvaged from a crashed Starship.....................

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Kingfish » 16 Apr 2021 09:27

Michael Kenny wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:32
Sheldrake wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:18
Indeed on the Britsh sector its main contribution seems to have been friendly fire that stopped 4/7 Dragoon Guards short of Bayeux.
Wouldn't that mean it would also stop a Panzer Unit short of the beaches?
Yes, provided it was actually delivered on target in a timely manner, but therein lies the rub.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 16 Apr 2021 09:37

Michael Kenny wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:32
Sheldrake wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:18
Indeed on the Britsh sector its main contribution seems to have been friendly fire that stopped 4/7 Dragoon Guards short of Bayeux.
Wouldn't that mean it would also stop a Panzer Unit short of the beaches?
Only if they could be trusted to engage German rather than Allied tanks.;)

The friendly fire incident occurred in the aftermath of the defeat of the counter attack by the LXXXXIV Korps reserve led by the StuG of 352 Infantry Division. The Cruiser HMS Orion reacting belatedly to an out of date report of German AFVs engaged British armour which was now in that location. The naval or RAF pilot of the single seat fighter used as a spotter aircraft was unable to distinguish between Allied and German tanks. This incident would have been less likely to have occurred after D Day when naval gun fire on the 50th Div Sector would not have been allowed to take place without clearance from the artillery cell at HQ 50 Div.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 17 Apr 2021 00:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 16 Apr 2021 15:28

Sheldrake wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:18
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:12
This truth is diligently submerged under a pile of repetitive hyperbole on Naval gunfire being omnipotent. And do mark that only some Pz Grenadier elements (ex 21 Panzer) went through the gap that day..not the Panzer companies.
Ask any naval gunner around here, how he would have managed to decimate enemy armour, at will, in a mobile battle, with rival forces in confused proximity.

Cheers
Sandeep
That is a good point. From what I have seen so far, naval gunfire worked well on D Day against pre planned targets such as the coastal artillery installations. It was much less effective against mobile and fleeting targets on D Day. Indeed on the Britsh sector its main contribution seems to have been friendly fire that stopped 4/7 Dragoon Guards short of Bayeux.

The problem was communications between soldiers on the ground who could see what was happening, commanders who could make sense of conflicting reports and all the firepower off shore. There was a particular problem on D Day because the Corps and Divisional HQs had not set up yet and there was no one ashore to reconcile conflicting reports. HQ ships were not the same. By D+1 or D+2 the HQs were ashore AOPs had started to arrive and the Army was in a position to apply naval gunfire.

Possible the most dangerous time for a full blooded German armoured counter attack might have been the night 6-7 June
Hi Sheldrake...

The OP is about 4 Pz Divs counterattacking in the afternoon of D Day.. Rommel's Golden Hours. Night of 6-7 June? Am not sure that it wasn't too late by then.

Now if it had to be within 10 hrs of H Hour i.e., by late afternoon of 6th..One has to see whether in the actual event, 4 Panzer Divisions could realistically have been there, within the realms of possibility.

I have gamed this in my mind, many times. The only way 3 Pz Divs (not 4) could have been available by afternoon, is IF :

* Rommel had stayed back in Normandy or even Paris, for his birthday, instead of going home (perhaps have Lucy over).

* Rommel had prevailed upon Hitler to issue an order to the effect : Deployment of 12 SS HJ and Panzer Lehr Divs would be the call of HG-B once the code Alarm Küste (signalling the invasion) is given out.

* With Rommel present in France, Feuchtinger would likely have kept it in his trousers (sorry) and stayed back in the Caen area on 5-6 June night.

* It's to be noted that 15 Armee logs mention 2115, 5th June as the time when the Intel confirmation was received about the invasion.

* 21 Panzers was alerted at 0100 hrs.

* Naval HQ West announced the invasion at 0150 hrs., following Radar confirmation. Followed by Alarm Küste code issued by LXXXIV Korps HQ .. following which the Pz Companies of 21 Panzers started deploying on the roads and lanes next to their billets.

* In the meanwhile, at 0115, 716 Div had reported Para drops in their area, to LXXXIV Korps. Followed by 709 Div at 0145.

* Rommel, in the What If circumstances, mentioned above, would have got HJ and Pz Lehr moving by 0150. In that case the Pz Divs may have showed up near the British - Canadian beaches by afternoon on the 6th.

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Aida1 » 16 Apr 2021 19:31

Cult Icon wrote:
15 Apr 2021 21:03
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:12

This truth is diligently submerged under a pile of repetitive hyperbole on Naval gunfire being omnipotent.
Naval gunfire, squadron attacks, and the artillery superiority heavily disrupted the partial attacks of the three Pz divisions but did not terminate them to the degree some imagine. Too much imagination/bias/hollywood visions of hellfire and not enough research/reading on what happened in the small unit level with Pz Lehr, 21.Pz, 12 SSHJ up to mid-June is the culprit..
The allied fire superiority which included the effect of naval gunfire made Normandy a real hell in attack and defense for the Germans. Explained in detail in Rommels situation report of june 11(Entscheidung im Westen 1944 D Ose DVA 1982 pp322-323) and one of the reasons for the proposal by Rundstedt and Rommel on 30.06 to pull back ouside the range of allied naval gunfire(Entscheidung im Westen pp327-329).

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2021 02:02

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
16 Apr 2021 15:28
* It's to be noted that 15 Armee logs mention 2115, 5th June as the time when the Intel confirmation was received about the invasion.
Krancke, who was at the Bordeaux naval HQ at the time, saw the reports from the naval stations in the 15th Army area early on. He ordered a alert of his entire command. & ensured the reports were forwarded to Rundsteadts HQ What the radar stations, or specifically those not being jammed in the 15th Army area, reported was return signals indicating a enemy fleet off the coast there, north of Le Havre. What those radar stations were observing was a Allied deception, spoofing them with return signals that looked like a large fleet. I cant recall the name of that operation, but it started about the correct hour a fleet headed for the Calais/Dieppe region would have come into surface search radar range. Ive seen references to a German patrol boat also reporting enemy ships. Since there were some Allied warships operating that far north its possible there was such a report.

Other radar stations in the 15th Army sector, and all those from Le Havre to Cap Bon & Cherbourg reported heavy jamming and unreliable return signals. This was much like multiple jamming attacks of the air and sea search radars that had been occurring since April on increasing scale.

These reports of both widespread radar interference, both paratroop landings, and fake para landings, across the entire sector of 7th & 15th Army coastal sectors Caused Rundteadt to at first judge the enemy action some sort of raid, then consider the 15th Armies sector a invasion target.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Apr 2021 02:18

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2021 02:02
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
16 Apr 2021 15:28
* It's to be noted that 15 Armee logs mention 2115, 5th June as the time when the Intel confirmation was received about the invasion.
Krancke, who was at the Bordeaux naval HQ at the time, saw the reports from the naval stations in the 15th Army area early on. He ordered a alert of his entire command. & ensured the reports were forwarded to Rundsteadts HQ What the radar stations, or specifically those not being jammed in the 15th Army area, reported was return signals indicating a enemy fleet off the coast there, north of Le Havre. What those radar stations were observing was a Allied deception, spoofing them with return signals that looked like a large fleet. I cant recall the name of that operation, but it started about the correct hour a fleet headed for the Calais/Dieppe region would have come into surface search radar range. Ive seen references to a German patrol boat also reporting enemy ships. Since there were some Allied warships operating that far north its possible there was such a report.

Other radar stations in the 15th Army sector, and all those from Le Havre to Cap Bon & Cherbourg reported heavy jamming and unreliable return signals. This was much like multiple jamming attacks of the air and sea search radars that had been occurring since April on increasing scale.

These reports of both widespread radar interference, both paratroop landings, and fake para landings, across the entire sector of 7th & 15th Army coastal sectors Caused Rundteadt to at first judge the enemy action some sort of raid, then consider the 15th Armies sector a invasion target.
Look up operations Taxable and Glimmer. The Allies put on a massive and very carefully orchestrated deception to fool the German early warning system into believing a massive invasion fleet was approaching Calais.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2021 03:02

I am at my 'country house' & Holts 'The Decivers' is out of reach. I hate citing the internet for such things.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Apr 2021 03:22

Aida1 wrote:
16 Apr 2021 19:31
Cult Icon wrote:
15 Apr 2021 21:03
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:12

This truth is diligently submerged under a pile of repetitive hyperbole on Naval gunfire being omnipotent.
Naval gunfire, squadron attacks, and the artillery superiority heavily disrupted the partial attacks of the three Pz divisions but did not terminate them to the degree some imagine. Too much imagination/bias/hollywood visions of hellfire and not enough research/reading on what happened in the small unit level with Pz Lehr, 21.Pz, 12 SSHJ up to mid-June is the culprit..
The allied fire superiority which included the effect of naval gunfire made Normandy a real hell in attack and defense for the Germans. Explained in detail in Rommels situation report of june 11(Entscheidung im Westen 1944 D Ose DVA 1982 pp322-323) and one of the reasons for the proposal by Rundstedt and Rommel on 30.06 to pull back ouside the range of allied naval gunfire(Entscheidung im Westen pp327-329).
Going back to the OP, we are limiting the analysis to the proposition of additional Panzer Divs deployed around the afternoon of the 6th.

The fact that it progressively got worse for the Germans, after the 6th, is a no brainer. Once the allies were consolidated ashore, with command and control established, ammo & matériel stockpiled, operational depth built up in the Cotentin peninsula, it was all over.

Any "What If" to favour the Germans, after the 6th, would require delving into wishful fantasies and impossibilities.. The overall WWII configuration, real formations avaliable to Germany, men and material balance et al wouldn't allow that.

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Apr 2021 03:49

Cult Icon wrote:
15 Apr 2021 21:03
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:12

This truth is diligently submerged under a pile of repetitive hyperbole on Naval gunfire being omnipotent.
Naval gunfire, squadron attacks, and the artillery superiority heavily disrupted the partial attacks of the three Pz divisions but did not terminate them to the degree some imagine. Too much imagination/bias/hollywood visions of hellfire and not enough research/reading on what happened in the small unit level with Pz Lehr, 21.Pz, 12 SSHJ up to mid-June is the culprit..
My contention is that on the afternoon of 6th, the allies on the ground were disorganized, disoriented and command & control was fragile. If a concerted, massed Panzer attack went in against the British and Canadian beaches, the chances were good for a positive outcome.

The much delayed attack of a single formation, 21 Pz, the weakest amongst them all, caused enough consternation. The 21st was harried and harassed through confused, conflicting orders since last night and had units spilt off to fight paras inland. But still the effect they had, can safely lead us to believe that if the HJ and Lehr too were thrown in that time, the Germans would have reached the sands in strength.

With the rear areas compromised, the commonwealth troops inland maynot have been able to fight.

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2021 14:23

Two more observations.

I've found the several beaches were tactically isolated. Events on one don't have significant direct effects on the others, inside 24 hour cycles. This gives the assorted Allied commanders time to adjust tactically and operational to events on their flanks. The difficulties of the US 1stID in opening the beach exits & reaching its first day objectives meant little to the adjacent corps on the 6th & 7th. On the 7th and 8th they put a bit more attention to securing and expanding their flanks. Adjusting and moving on as it were. Crushing GOLD Beach during the evening and night of the 6th means the adjacent SWORD & JUNO beaches are still consolidated on the morning of the 7th. The commanders know there is trouble on the east flank and have the night and portions of the 7th to prepare. Perhaps longer...

Theres a lot of good reasons why Geyr needed two days to assemble his projected pz grp attack. In this case the problem of moving to the assembly areas & then the jump off positions is already taken care of, the four div are already on or adjacent to the defeated GOLD Beach. This is traded off for the problem of disengaging and moving to new assembly areas to refuel and replenish ammunition. Never mind rest or vehicle maintenance. If speed is sought exhausted battalions and operating losses have to be accepted. Unless every single Brit brigade is crushed and eradicated from the beach by dawn on the 7th the PzD will be conducting a relief by any infantry divisions that can reach the battle. Someone needs to close the deal and mop up. Otherwise Brit follow on forces can land in a residual enclave & threaten to restore it. Assuming the relief occurs swiftly and smoothly the PzD have to redeploy, under air attack, and enemy artillery fires, both field and naval. Then attack a consolidated enemy position. That without time for more than the most hasty reorganization,& negligible replacement of casualties of men and equipment. This turns towards the situation Geyer faced on the 7th June trying to get a attack organized for the 8th, then, 9th, then 10th. Between enemy artillery and air support, internal friction, and large scale congestion getting a second killer counter attack off on the afternoon or evening of the 7th, or even 8th is problematic. Some sort of attack could be made, but it needs to be more than one of the pointless attritional battles that run the Germans another step closer to collapse.

The one Beach that could make for a major operational difference would be either of the Mulberry sites. Neutralizing either of those has severe repercussions to Allied logistics down the line. Even if the site is secured days or weeks later its a significant loss. Building the prefabricated harbor included a complex and difficult scheduling of movement. Better than 10% of the components were afloat and enroute days before H hour & could not easily be reversed. Diverting those parts to the other harbor site and halting the floating of the other components creates a large problem for thousands of staff members from the beaches, up through 21 Army Group, to SHAEF, and back down through the fleets command staff ect.. ect.. The one good thing out of this for the Allies would be the German habit of Hilters orders to hold the ground at all cost. This would set up the corps on the ground for a double envelopment, and yet another positional/attritional battle that runs down the German army.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Apr 2021 15:28

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
15 Apr 2021 19:15
And allied Intel knew nothing about the presence of 352nd Bang on the beach!
There is so much misinformation afloat on this issue that it now approaches the realm of mythos.

1. There were a number of possible Intel sources for these movements, but signals intelligence was not one of them. Insofar as I have been able to tell from the ULTRA decrypts, there was zero indication of such a movement transmitted by radio. There was also no agent reports that firmly indicated such a move. Prior to the invasion, the intelligence network in Normandy was rolled up by the SD and Gestapo in France and was barely functional. While remnants of the network were well aware of the movement, there is no indication they were able to transmit that information to London. Air reconnaissance was the last method, but was not well suited to detect movements of diffuse infantry elements marching forward or changes of units in positions.

2. That leaves the most artful form of intelligence, correct inference of enemy actions from scant intelligence. From fragments, Brig. Gen. Williams, G-2, 21st Army Group did correctly identify the probable consequence of the position of the 352. Inf.-Div., based upon probable actions of the Germans similar to the evolution of the defenses as interpreted on the 15. Armee front. On 3 June, Williams warned that it was likely that the Germans were in the process of moving troops of the 352. Division into the beach defenses, exchanging them with troops of 716. Division. He believed it likely the Germans had as many as two regiments of 352. Division "in play" between the Orne and the Vire, with one in reserve. That interpretation reached First U.S. Army and V Corps sometime on 4-5 June, but the decision was made not to disseminate it down to the 1st Infantry Division.

3. After the fact, the U.S. V Corps and 1st Infantry Division interpreted the experience from PW reports and assessed that the units of 352. Division were there on "exercises" or "maneuvers". Significantly, the 1st Division assessed that while it had an effect on the immediate landing that once the beachhead was established it left the Germans at a grave disadvantage, since they had committed virtually all their counterattack reserve, so it made the exploitation of the landing actually easier for the 1st and 29th division.

4. The geography of the coast west of Bayeaux prevented a German mechanized counterattack in any significant size from south to north against the American beachhead. An attack from west to east was also problematic, having to bottleneck through the bridge at Isigny. An attack east to west had to pass through the British beaches first...or, more problematically for the Germans, through Mosles and Formigny, a maneuver that would leave the advance exposed to NGF.

Short of deploying three Panzer divisions in such a confined space based on apparent prescience, there is little the Germans could have done.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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