British/Canadian performance performance in Normandy

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Texas Jäger
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British/Canadian performance performance in Normandy

Post by Texas Jäger » 04 Jun 2022 05:10

From a thread on Navweaps. Just curious what people here make of it. ... 46278.html

Just a first thought that jumped out at me: the opposition to Operation Cobra was nothing like the opposition to Operation Goodwood, unlike this guy seems to think.

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Re: British/Canadian performance performance in Normandy

Post by Martin_Schenkel » 05 Jun 2022 20:32

I don't understand the nit-picking and finger-pointing arguments about the Normandy campaign, particularly the US vs British performance and commanders. I read the whole thread you linked to. There's arguments over farmland and trees. They almost literally can't see the forest for the trees... :)

Strategically and geographically, it always seems like a pre-determined outcome, in terms of general course of events. The British/Canadians will always have a slower more slogging go at the stronger German formations coming in from the North and West. The Germans are always going to send the bulk of their heavy forces to the eastern (British/Canadian) sector (shorter and more direct lines of communication and supply) otherwise their flank gets turned and their heavy forces are pinned/surrounded in the west or south.

And what are the British/Canadians going to do? Break-out into the oncoming bulk of German forces from northern France? Follow-up their break-through with what forces? Are the Americans going pass through the British/Canadian break-through to Paris in a long narrow Market-Garden like punch with German reserves converging on them?

Not that wargaming is the be-all-end-all of historical exploration, but that's how it almost always (strategically) transpires: the same as it did historically. The only way to have it go any differently would have been to land the Americans on the east flank and the British/Canadian on the west flank of Normandy and see how that turns out. Even then, I'd imagine a similar outcome, with a couple US Armies pinning down the bulk of the German strength on the eastern flank, and a combined British/Canadian and US breakout into the South/South-West. A combined British/Canadian and US breakout to the South would have added logistical difficulties and overall would have had a slower advance, IMO.

It's almost like the events even suited the nationalities involved: a more methodical slogging approach by the British against the German heavy formations, with the Americans punching through to the south letting the hard-driving cowboys run wild into the German rear. Would Patton have been better than Monty at a slow methodical atritional battle against the bulk of the German armour (how would Patton have been able to break-out had he been in Monty's position?), or would Monty have been better than Patton in a hard-driving wild breakout to the south?

Not to say that there weren't mistakes made or that there's nothing that could've been done differently or that nothing can be learned from the campaign. With hindsight it's easy to say they should've done this or that. Generally though, you or I would've done very similar things if we were in the same position(s) and had the same knowledge/experience/information. There is room for the British/Canadians to have performed better in Normandy, which would have saved some lives and equipment, advanced some timelines, etc, but is there enough room for improvement there to create a scenario for a significantly different outcome? And we could say the same for the Americans. Had they done a little better, would it have significantly changed the courses of events?

The Canadians at least though, did seem to suffer from lack of experience and general competence at more senior levels of command, particular at Divisional command.

Michael Kenny
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Re: British/Canadian performance performance in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 06 Jun 2022 03:27

Martin_Schenkel wrote:
05 Jun 2022 20:32
I don't understand the nit-picking and finger-pointing arguments about the Normandy campaign, particularly the US vs British performance and commanders. ..............
Where have you been the last 70 years? This is not really an 'argument' in the sense that the two sides are engaged in a search for a consensus but rather a way for one side to criticise its ally, claim all the credit for every success and shift the blame for every setback in 1944-45 on the shoulders of one man. Now this is not always the case but a good 80% of those who post the mindless anti-Montgomery claptrap fall into that category. If you think you can solve it by sticking to facts and reasoned argument then you are fooling yourself. It is driven by a deep, unreasonable and uncompromising hatred of Montgomery that is visceral. You will get nowhere by being reasonable with such people. I find ridicule works best.

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