Caumont Gap and US response

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Kingfish
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Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Kingfish » 06 Mar 2022 22:23

What US forces, if any, exploited the Caumont Gap?
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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 Mar 2022 03:29

I don't recall any description of US forces exploiting it. Usually theres references to the 7th Armored operating between Caumont & Villiars-Bocage on the 11 & 12 June. What other elements of XXX Corps there may have been I cant say.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Aber » 08 Mar 2022 15:56

Kingfish wrote:
06 Mar 2022 22:23
What US forces, if any, exploited the Caumont Gap?
See

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g5701s.ict ... 27,0.431,0

and

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g5701s.ict ... 66,0.299,0

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Sheldrake
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Sheldrake » 08 Mar 2022 19:19

Kingfish wrote:
06 Mar 2022 22:23
What US forces, if any, exploited the Caumont Gap?
V Corps were responsible for the Caumont sec tor, but in what sense were their troops ever supposed to "exploit the Caumont gap"? Once the beachheads had been linked, I understood the US First Army's priority was to cut off and isolate Cherbourg. The idea that the army should be operating in two opposite directions isn't a sensible act of war. Around this time the Allies only had a parity of troops so were in no position to start a pursuit.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Mar 2022 23:23

Sheldrake wrote:
08 Mar 2022 19:19
Kingfish wrote:
06 Mar 2022 22:23
What US forces, if any, exploited the Caumont Gap?
V Corps were responsible for the Caumont sec tor, but in what sense were their troops ever supposed to "exploit the Caumont gap"? Once the beachheads had been linked, I understood the US First Army's priority was to cut off and isolate Cherbourg. The idea that the army should be operating in two opposite directions isn't a sensible act of war. Around this time the Allies only had a parity of troops so were in no position to start a pursuit.
Indeed and if you read some of the intelligence assessments there was no real sense of a "gap" in front of the 1sy Infantry Division advance. They perceived a weak enemy, holding onto the flanks against weaker Allied pressure and delaying as best as possible the 1st Infantry Division advance. By 12 June, the 1st Infantry Division assessment was that the lack of pressure on the flanks threatened in turn both flanks of the 1st Infantry Division. Then, on 13 June they identified elements of the 2. Panzer division moving up on the division left, which effectively ended the advance. Add in the condition of the division, especially the 16th Infantry, and there is little practical way the "gap", if seen, could have been exploited.
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Kingfish » 09 Mar 2022 00:00

Sheldrake wrote:
08 Mar 2022 19:19
Around this time the Allies only had a parity of troops so were in no position to start a pursuit.
I was thinking less a drive on Paris and more an unhinging of the line.
After all, the Brits saw the potential of turning Lehr's flank and they jumped at the chance.
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Mar 2022 01:05

Kingfish wrote:
09 Mar 2022 00:00
I was thinking less a drive on Paris and more an unhinging of the line.
After all, the Brits saw the potential of turning Lehr's flank and they jumped at the chance.
Technically the 2d Armored Div could do that, but it looks embroiled in defending Carentan. There there is the question of if the terrain-Bocage would interfere significantly. The rest of the corps looks fairly thin on the ground.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Mar 2022 06:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
09 Mar 2022 01:05
Kingfish wrote:
09 Mar 2022 00:00
I was thinking less a drive on Paris and more an unhinging of the line.
After all, the Brits saw the potential of turning Lehr's flank and they jumped at the chance.
Technically the 2d Armored Div could do that, but it looks embroiled in defending Carentan. There there is the question of if the terrain-Bocage would interfere significantly. The rest of the corps looks fairly thin on the ground.
The 2d Armored Division was present only as CCA, which began landing on 9 June. It consisted of the 66th AR, 3d Bn, 41st AIR, and the a4th and 78th Armd FA. The last units went ashore on 12 June. Elements entered combat on 13 June. The entire division first entered combat 2 July.
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Sheldrake » 09 Mar 2022 19:55

Kingfish wrote:
09 Mar 2022 00:00
Sheldrake wrote:
08 Mar 2022 19:19
Around this time the Allies only had a parity of troops so were in no position to start a pursuit.
I was thinking less a drive on Paris and more an unhinging of the line.
After all, the Brits saw the potential of turning Lehr's flank and they jumped at the chance.
But Op Perch was in the context of at attempt to gain important ground -Caen and not a general advance. Launching an operation to destablise the line without a definite objective was the sort of fiddling about that Commander 21st Army Group did not view with favour.... Whether that cut any ic e with Bradley or Gerow is a moot ppint, but any offensive operations by V corps would call on ammunition etc that might be better employed with VII cops in the Cotentin.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Mar 2022 18:02

Whether that cut any ic e with Bradley or Gerow is a moot ppint, but any offensive operations by V corps would call on ammunition etc that might be better employed with VII cops in the Contention.
At this Point Bradley was already demanding more ammunition, use then exceeding planned consumption by a wide margin. The overall OVERLORD plan centered on early capture of Cherbourg. Bradley was focused on maximum effort to secure that port.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Sheldrake » 10 Mar 2022 18:52

The idea of V Corps striking out to destabilise the Germans south of Caumont breaches at least three of what we recognise as principles of war [url]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... ne.pdf/url]

Selection and maintenance of the aim is regarded as the master principle of war. A single, unambiguous aim is key to successful military operations.

Concentration of force involves decisively synchronising applying superior fighting power (physical, intellectual and moral) to realise intended effects, when and where required. Concentration of force demands that combat power should be concentrated at a pre-selected time and place designed to achieve decisive results.

Economy of effort is judiciously exploiting manpower, materiel and time in relation to the achieving objectives.

Bradley's army did have an aim at the time of capturing Cherbourg. Anything else beyond defending the beachhead was a distraction.

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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Kingfish » 12 Mar 2022 13:28

Sheldrake wrote:
09 Mar 2022 19:55
But Op Perch was in the context of at attempt to gain important ground -Caen and not a general advance. Launching an operation to destablise the line without a definite objective was the sort of fiddling about that Commander 21st Army Group did not view with favour.... Whether that cut any ic e with Bradley or Gerow is a moot ppint, but any offensive operations by V corps would call on ammunition etc that might be better employed with VII cops in the Cotentin.
So if I understand you correctly, in a hypothetical that does not feature Perch et al., had the British discovered a gap in the German lines they would do nothing but enjoy the peace and quiet in that section of the front?
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Re: Caumont Gap and US response

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Mar 2022 10:11

Kingfish wrote:
12 Mar 2022 13:28
Sheldrake wrote:
09 Mar 2022 19:55
But Op Perch was in the context of at attempt to gain important ground -Caen and not a general advance. Launching an operation to destablise the line without a definite objective was the sort of fiddling about that Commander 21st Army Group did not view with favour.... Whether that cut any ic e with Bradley or Gerow is a moot ppint, but any offensive operations by V corps would call on ammunition etc that might be better employed with VII cops in the Cotentin.
So if I understand you correctly, in a hypothetical that does not feature Perch et al., had the British discovered a gap in the German lines they would do nothing but enjoy the peace and quiet in that section of the front?
As you have pointed out above, when the British became aware of the Germasn weakness south of Coumont, they mounted Op Perch - within the context of the operational onjectives to capture Caen, putting prerssure on the Germans along the Caen Falaise axis.

There was a sector on the British beachhead which was allowed to stagnate for two months. In a Normandy wargame, an Allied commander might be tempted to exploit the Naval firepower by nibbling east along the coast, flattening German strongpoints one at a time. Historically, after the defeat of the German attacks on the Orne bridgehead, the Airborne division and commando brigades conducted an "agressive defence", but made no assaults until 15th August.

The British and US Armies had a different tactical philosophy. The Americans tended to conduct broad front attacks in which every unit was encouraged to make forward progress. The British under Montgomery focused on a series of what he callled Colossal Cracks, choosing to close these down when they reached their culmination point. Montgomery was very keen to avoid his troops being sucked into lengthy fights that resulted in casualties but no clear gain.

One reason was the lack of infantry reserves; a key factor in British operations in 1944-45. Another reason was the First World War experience. The major blood letting was in months long campaigns such as the Somme, costing Britain 400,000 casualties. Less than half of these were lost during the "Major battle days" (Grosskampftag) 1st and 14th July, 13th and 27 September etc. The rest were lost in minor operations that spiralled out of control.

Montgomery had spent 1916-1918 as an operations staff officer at brigade, division and corps level and had seen this at first hand. One feature of Montgomery's generalship was to avoid unnecessary operations by what he called tidying up the battlefield. He sanctioned withdrawals from ther kind of salients that would become a running sore. So after Op Perch the British withdrew from the Box posiiton and after Op Epsom they withdrew from Hill 112. Later, when in command of the northern side of the Bulge he sanctioned the withdrawal from the St Vith salient. Tidying up the battlefield is how he created reserves durign the middle of battle.

So if ht thought a gap that could be exploited as part of his bigger picture then he would use it. If not, it could be left alone.

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