Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Aber
Member
Posts: 928
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Aber » 17 Apr 2021 15:40

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 03:22
Going back to the OP, we are limiting the analysis to the proposition of additional Panzer Divs deployed around the afternoon of the 6th.
Although I've not read it, I understand that Allied preparations against an armoured counterattack are covered in some detail in Marc Milner's Stopping the Panzers

https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-2524-6.html

From a review:
The terrain around Juno Beach, along the Mue River, was determined by the Allied planners to be the only place where a panzer counterattack could repel the landings (p. 8). The terrain inland from the American and British beaches was not conducive to armoured warfare. This was due either to the thick, infamous bocage
or rivers and canals that created effective tank barriers to prevent the panzer divisions from attacking from the east. Milner notes that the planners of Overlord knew that Juno Beach would be critical, so they trained and equipped the 3rd Canadian Division accordingly.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 8706
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2021 15:49

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Apr 2021 15:28
... 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.
We were trained to look for heavy weapons. In this specific case trying to interpret artillery positions. Thats a art that can tell a lot, or nothing depending on who is interpreting the photographs.
Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Apr 2021 15:28
... 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.
I'd noticed that on the game maps. Nimble speedy manuvers are not practical for either sides 'Panzer' divisions. Infantry, well supported with artillery and engineer battalions with lots of Bailey bridges and pontoons have the advantage. The 2d Armored is more useful as a heavy assault force with limited short ranged objectives on this ground.

I don't have anything else with details on the projected counter attack of the Panzer Group 8-10 June. Picking that apart might lend some further clarity to the original question here.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Apr 2021 15:51

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 03:49
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.
That may be your contention, but there is little to no evidence to support it. The assault brigades were disorganized to one degree or another in the morning, but by afternoon there was little disorganization, other than in one follow-up brigade on SWORD, whose command group was decapitated, causing a delay in its movement.
The much delayed attack of a single formation, 21 Pz, the weakest amongst them all, caused enough consternation.
Why do you think that the German action anticipated by the invasion planners would cause consternation? That is precisely why in the I and XXX Corps sectors, the divisional and corps AT regiments were beefed up with additional 3" and 17-pdr SP mounts and why a full armoured brigade was planned to land on D-Day over each of the British beaches.

The 21. Panzer counterattack developed as foreseen, mainly along the west bank of the Orne, and was countered by British tank and antitank forces in overwhelming strength. The Panzergrenadier probe was not countered, but it is unlikely that it would have been, given the Germans were unlikely to ever have enough divisions to deploy one per ten or fifteen miles of coastline.
"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

Juan G. C.
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 18 Aug 2017 16:57
Location: Madrid, España

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Juan G. C. » 17 Apr 2021 15:56

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Apr 2021 22:10
Those were not Rundsteadts to order. They could only move by direct order of Hitler. At 02:45 Rundsteadt ordered the PzDiv alerted & at 04:45 he ordered Pz Group West to make a reconnaissance in force of the 711 Div sector. Hitler was informed of a large scale airborne operation & invasion fleet on the Calvados coast after 10:00. After some four hours of conferences he released Pz Group West to Rundsteadt. The 12th SS PzD got moving shortly after. 'Midafternoon' from the survivors. The Pz Lehr logged its orders to move at 15:00, & was on the road at 17:00. Both attracted attention & were under air attack in the hour. ('Germans in Normandy' Hargreaves)
Rundstedt hadn't authority to order them to move, but nevertheless he did it, to save time. He then informed OKW of his action and requested approval, which was denied, so Rundstedt had to cancel the order (United States Army in World War II: Cross Channel Attack, page 333). Accordin to this source, Rundstedt gave this order "between 0330 and 0400, two hours before the seaborne landings".

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Apr 2021 15:58

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2021 15:49
We were trained to look for heavy weapons. In this specific case trying to interpret artillery positions. Thats a art that can tell a lot, or nothing depending on who is interpreting the photographs.
Well, sure, but the heavy weapons were identified and were essentially unchanged.
I'd noticed that on the game maps. Nimble speedy manuvers are not practical for either sides 'Panzer' divisions. Infantry, well supported with artillery and engineer battalions with lots of Bailey bridges and pontoons have the advantage. The 2d Armored is more useful as a heavy assault force with limited short ranged objectives on this ground.
Sure, which is one of the reasons more infantry were programmed in the follow-up. It was also a two-edged sword, the Germans were limited by terrain in how they could attack north with armor, but the terrain also made for a good defense by unsupported German infantry against Allied attack south...as the 29th Division found.
I don't have anything else with details on the projected counter attack of the Panzer Group 8-10 June. Picking that apart might lend some further clarity to the original question here.
Michael Kenny has posted the sketch maps before.
"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

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6887
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 16:54

Aida1 wrote:
16 Apr 2021 19:31

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).
Map showing ground to be given up to escape naval gunfire . Green line actual front and red line proposed front line
ddf 6-20237 c.jpg
Original from Meyer's 12th SS book for those who like to download and keep:
ddf 6-20237 sml.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by Michael Kenny on 17 Apr 2021 17:03, edited 1 time in total.

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5313
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by glenn239 » 17 Apr 2021 16:57

Michael Kenny wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:33
They had a Transporter room reverse-engineered from one salvaged from a crashed Starship.....................
The points on gunfire support are strong. Panzers might not be a match for this level of firepower.

The point on transporters is a bit argumentative. What puts the panzers in Normandy is the thinking that the Allies will not invade the Netherlands because it's outside optimal air support range and the areas behind the beaches are prone to flooding.

On the 15th Army Zone, this was the most heavily fortified sector of the entire Atlantic Wall. The Germans could gamble that 15th Army could take care of itself for long enough that if the panzers were on the coast, they could drop back and move over before 15th was too heavily pressed.

The 7th is the next down the line. The panzers can go right behind the beach because if the invasion is to the west, the panzers forward deployed with 7th army can fall back and move west.

So, there is a logic that says the German's best deployment was practically all mobile reserves in the 7th Army sector, right up near the beaches.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6887
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 16:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Apr 2021 15:58

Michael Kenny has posted the sketch maps before.
First sketch for June 19th

19-6-44 a . (2)b.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6887
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 17:00

A sign of the time that this is posted in the 'What If' section.

sandeepmukherjee196
Financial supporter
Posts: 1462
Joined: 07 Aug 2014 05:34

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Apr 2021 19:11

glenn239 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 16:57
Michael Kenny wrote:
16 Apr 2021 00:33
They had a Transporter room reverse-engineered from one salvaged from a crashed Starship.....................
The points on gunfire support are strong. Panzers might not be a match for this level of firepower.

The point on transporters is a bit argumentative. What puts the panzers in Normandy is the thinking that the Allies will not invade the Netherlands because it's outside optimal air support range and the areas behind the beaches are prone to flooding.

On the 15th Army Zone, this was the most heavily fortified sector of the entire Atlantic Wall. The Germans could gamble that 15th Army could take care of itself for long enough that if the panzers were on the coast, they could drop back and move over before 15th was too heavily pressed.

The 7th is the next down the line. The panzers can go right behind the beach because if the invasion is to the west, the panzers forward deployed with 7th army can fall back and move west.

So, there is a logic that says the German's best deployment was practically all mobile reserves in the 7th Army sector, right up near the beaches.
+ After the Slapton Sands exposure, there was a strong basis to believe that the invasion was coming at the sandy beaches of Normandy..

Cheers
Sandeep

sandeepmukherjee196
Financial supporter
Posts: 1462
Joined: 07 Aug 2014 05:34

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Apr 2021 19:24

Richard Anderson wrote:
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.
1. Somehow missing the point of this post. It is very informative no doubt.. but the context?
When the chips were down.. did the US 1st Army know that they will meet the 352nd on the beaches? Did they factor that in? Whether they were better off later with the best reserves decimated upfront, was not the context here.

2. All the west to east and east to west talk too has confusing context here..since my posts have been about three Pz Divs concentrated against the British-Canadian beaches on the 6th afternoon. And no, it wasnt a "confined space" for those Three Pz Divs. And there is no point trying to write it all off with talk on how well the allies were prepared to meet the panzers. The makeshift, grossly understrength 21st Pz's performance is NOT representative of what the allies would have faced, had the HJ and Lehr ganged up with 21st and gone hell for leather, on the afternoon of the 6th, in unison. The Canadians in particular, would have had a hell of a fright. 2nd Army with much more experience in handling German armour, would have fared better. But still..

Cheers
Sandeep

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6887
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 20:02

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 19:24
The makeshift, grossly understrength 21st Pz's performance is NOT representative of what the allies would have faced, had the HJ and Lehr ganged up with 21st and gone hell for leather, on the afternoon of the 6th, in unison. The Canadians in particular, would have had a hell of a fright.

They got the 'fright' on June 7th. The Canadians were ambushed and suffered losses but the front held firm at Les Buissons. 12th SS were aiming for the beaches on the 7th but got nowhere near. 21st Pz were operating to the east of 12th SS on the 7th June

sandeepmukherjee196
Financial supporter
Posts: 1462
Joined: 07 Aug 2014 05:34

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 17 Apr 2021 20:23

Michael Kenny wrote:
17 Apr 2021 20:02
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 19:24
The makeshift, grossly understrength 21st Pz's performance is NOT representative of what the allies would have faced, had the HJ and Lehr ganged up with 21st and gone hell for leather, on the afternoon of the 6th, in unison. The Canadians in particular, would have had a hell of a fright.

They got the 'fright' on June 7th. The Canadians were ambushed and suffered losses but the front held firm at Les Buissons. 12th SS were aiming for the beaches on the 7th but got nowhere near. 21st Pz were operating to the east of 12th SS on the 7th June
I don't know what's the point of saying all this since I have repeatedly posted on this thread that anything after sundown on the 6th was / would be .. too late.

I will repeat one more time. The show on 7th was a sorry affair, with the 21st already battered on the 6th in its solo, piecemeal efforts agnst prohibitive odds.. and the HJ arriving in bits and pieces.

My bet is limited to a concerted, three div, full blooded attack on the afternoon of the 6th, against disbalanced allies.

Cheers
Sandeep

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6887
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Apr 2021 20:33

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
17 Apr 2021 20:23


I don't know what's the point of saying all this since I have repeatedly posted on this thread that anything after sundown on the 6th was / would be .. too late.

I will repeat one more time. The show on 7th was a sorry affair, with the 21st already battered on the 6th in its solo, piecemeal efforts agnst prohibitive odds.. and the HJ arriving in bits and pieces.

My bet is limited to a concerted, three div, full blooded attack on the afternoon of the 6th, against disbalanced allies.

And I will continue to reference actual events that show what did happen when these panzer Divisions met the enemy. Your belief on what 'might happen' is always going to founder on my showing what 'actually happened'. I believe the bookies call that form-though I am projecting back in time.

Orwell1984
Member
Posts: 529
Joined: 18 Jun 2011 18:42

Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Orwell1984 » 17 Apr 2021 22:09

Milner's book , Stopping the Panzers mentioned early in this thread is expanded from this article:
No Ambush, No Defeat
https://www.canadianmilitaryhistory.ca/ ... t-2012.pdf

which gives a good view of what really happened.
Interesting point made is that the Canadians had beefed up artillery and anti-tank capacity precisely because they were expected to be attacked by the bulk of German armour available for this purpose.

Return to “What if”