Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Oct 2018 14:02

Hi Stugbit,

It seems unlikely that a single air raid knocked out much more than a few percent of any division, let alone almost wiped out an entire division. It was the cumulative affect of multiple air raids, both in human and material losses and in cramping operational possibilities, that helped limit their effectiveness and ground German divisions down over time.

It would be interesting to see some hard statistics of German divisional losses to individual Alled air raids during the Normandy Campaign. Anyone?

As a rough measure - 150-200 casualties would represent about 1% human losses.

Cheers,

Sid.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Oct 2018 14:31

Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Oct 2018 14:02


It would be interesting to see some hard statistics of German divisional losses to individual Alled air raids during the Normandy Campaign. Anyone?
There are several incidents of 'short bombing' and the results on forming up troops was devastating. The GOODWOOD bombing more or less destroyed one Infantry Division and devastated the Pz IV Rgt in 21st Pz Division. Copp's 'Montgomery's Scientist' has a couple of OR Reports on the effects of heavy bombers and they concluded that dug in and prepared positions were very hard to eliminate.



In spite of reports by POW and our own troops, the actual amount of damage caused to enemy
personnel and equipment by heavy bombing in the four operations in question has been small. Numerous
reports of very heavy damage have been received, but a close examination of the ground very soon afterwards
has always shown the damage and casualties due directly to bombing to be very slight. This is a
disappointing conclusion, but it should not be taken as an indication of the ineffectiveness of bombs, but
rather of the fact that there was little in the area to be bombed. The enemy always practices a very high
degree of dispersion, so that there is not likely to be much in a 1000 yd circle, and there is no doubt that
in several of the areas bombed there were no enemy at all. It is clear therefore that damage to the enemy
can only be considered in relation to his dispositions, and this point is discussed later.................

Taking all AA, A/T and field guns, the Defence Overprints showed an average figure of 4.3 (N. of
CAEN) and 4.5 (S. of CAEN) guns per 1000 yards square. The highest number in both cases was 12 per
1000 yd square. From this it becomes clear why bombing of gun areas has been found so unproductive of
physical damage, since a 200 (British) bomber raid on one 1000 yd square (using 500 and 1000 lb bombs
with delay fuzes), containing 4 guns (and perhaps 20 vehicles and 80 men) would only be expected to
damage 1 gun and 8 vehicles. Instantaneous bombs, on the other hand, might damage only one gun and
probably almost all of the vehicles. Even if the area contained 12 guns, which would be exceptional, the destruction of them and their MT would hardly be expected to influence the course of the battle very greatly, and the results are very
clearly not commensurate with the effort expended.....................................

Once again therefore the absence of destruction in areas actually bombed by us is explained, and
the return in casualties and losses for the effort expended is small. There is, however, not the least doubt
that this weight of attack would have morale effects out of all proportion to the physical effects, and it is
the morale effect which must be utilised if heavy bombing is to prove really useful.............



On MT:

There remain, however, a few targets which could possibly be profitably bombed for destruction.
Of these, ammunition dumps and chance dense concentrations oftroops and equipment need no comment,
since they are bombed at present if the opportunity occurs. In any case they cannot form part of the plan
of a battle. There is, however, a third target, which has already been mentioned as being particularly
vulnerable to attack by instantaneously fuzed bombs - soft vehicles, not dug-in. A small and rough
calculation will show the possibilities of this sort of attack. It has already been mentioned that five 90 lb
bombs falling in a 100 yard square field, containing ten soft vehicles, will knock out about three. This is
confirmed by a mistaken attack on our own troops. Roughly speaking, therefore, 3-4 90 lb bombs in a 100
yard square knock out about 20% ofthe soft transport in that field, and 300-400 bombs uniformly spread
over a 1000 yd square will similarly knock out about 20% of all transport in that area, ifnot dug in. This
represents at the most only about 20 tons of 90 lb bombs. 200 to 500 bombers could therefore knock out
20% of all the enemy transport in an area about 3 miles square. Destruction on this scale is clearly
capable of being decisive at various stages of a battle

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Oct 2018 14:56

Hi Michael,

Thanks.

There was also an incident on 25 July 1944 in which short carpet bombing by the US 8th Army Air Force killed over 100 US soldiers (including the most senior US battle fatility in WWII) and wounded nearly 500. This would amount to about 3% of a division's strength.

However, these were troops concentrating for an attack and, not expecting to be struck by their own side, unusually exposed, unlike the Germans who would presumably mostly have been and dug in, taking cover, less concentrated and less exposed.

Cheers,

Sid.

Richard Anderson
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Oct 2018 16:23

German Report on Allied Air Attacks in Belgium and Northern France, June – July 1944

From NARA RG 242, T971, R18, F155-156

Feld-Lg.Kdr. Belg./Nord Frankreich

(June/July)

Total bombing attacks
Day: 605/285
Night: 105/67
Total strafing attacks
Day: 136/157
Night: 12/6
Total KIA
Day: 206/67
Night: 25/74
Total WIA
Day: 402/186
Night: 54/49

Targets Attacked
Military
Day: 357/166
Night: 96/50
Industry
Day 11/4
Night: 1/2
Transportation
Day: 340/250
Night: 17/15
Housing
Day: 25/16
Night: 1/5
Unidentified
Day: 8/6
Night: 0/1

Targets Attacked include:
Airfields
Day: 98/40
Night: 55/25
Docks
Day: 1/3
Night: 2/0
Flak Positions
Day: 15/12
Night: 6/5
Luftwaffe Signal Installations
Day: 12/4
Night: 1/1
Luftwaffe Air Observation Posts
Day: 1/0
Night: 1/0
T.V.Z. (depth-resistance zones?)
Day: 101/87
Night: 17/16
Sondernlager (V-Waffen sites?)
Day: 4/10
Night: 0/3
Depots
Day: 77/2
Night: 12/0
Artillery Positions (probably refers to fixed positions)
Day: 10/0
Night: 1/0
Naval Fire Control Positions
Day: 2/0
Night: 0/0
Barracks
Day: 7/0
Night: 0/0
Transport Columns
Day: 7/0
Night: 0/0
Ports
Day: 8/0
Night: 3/0
OT Construction Sites
Day: 13/0
Night: 0/0
Fuel Depots
Day: 1/ 2
Night: 0/0
Marching Columns
Day: 0/1
Night: 0/0
Motor Pools
Day: 0/1
Night: 0/0
"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

histan
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by histan » 14 Oct 2018 16:26

Guys

Please don't go off topic onto airpower.

Two main effects - psychological and on movement
Physical effects - limited

Also, it could not stop the Germans retreating across the Seine in relatively good order and with significant amounts of equipment.

I can quote in detail the US analysis of airpower in the various phases of the Normandy Campaign in another topic should anyone really be interested.

Regards

John

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Stugbit
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Stugbit » 14 Oct 2018 17:18

histan wrote:
14 Oct 2018 16:26
Guys

Please don't go off topic onto airpower.

Two main effects - psychological and on movement
Physical effects - limited

Also, it could not stop the Germans retreating across the Seine in relatively good order and with significant amounts of equipment.

I can quote in detail the US analysis of airpower in the various phases of the Normandy Campaign in another topic should anyone really be interested.

Regards

John
Hello, Histan

But don`t you think the air war would have such an impact in the Ersatzheer at least in their moral and disposition to fight in 45?

In my opinion, if we leave air power aside I think we should forget about any kind of line being formed to hold the Soviet and focus the discussion only on the pocked cities fighting. So, the question is how long a city could stand a siege in 45 Germany.

Best Regards.

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Stugbit
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Stugbit » 14 Oct 2018 17:20

It seems unlikely that a single air raid knocked out much more than a few percent of any division, let alone almost wiped out an entire division. It was the cumulative affect of multiple air raids, both in human and material losses and in cramping operational possibilities, that helped limit their effectiveness and ground German divisions down over time.
Hello, Sid

I guess I got a little carried on that statement`s rhetoric as well. :lol:

I remember reading something about the Panzer Lehr Division where it was defending some woods in the late war and the Allied started a massive carpet-bombing attack in the small area. It said the Germans suffered many casualties and the soldiers running in retreat were then shelled to death by Allied artillery surrounding the woods.


Best Regards.

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Stugbit
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Stugbit » 14 Oct 2018 17:21

Hi, Gilles de Rais

From what I read in the news at the time, Gaddafi in Libya were in a successful offensive with his tanks capturing city after city from the opposition, the Western intervention changed this. And from what I know from the Vietnam`s topography, I think the north part of the country is more mountainous. The plains you’re talking about are mostly in the middle. There`s also a good part of mountains in the Laos frontier.

Anyway, I never said the mountains were the only or even the main reason for the defeat in the Vietnam. In the modern geopolitical wars we have today, there` always many factors contributing. A political aspect which contributed against the US air power as well was the Soviet Union placing part of it`s navy in North Vietnam`s biggest city port, Haiphong, so the US had to create an exclusive zone within the city and could not bomb it. But all these talking, as you said, are another digression from the topic, so let`s stay to it.

One thing that would enlighten us better it would be if we had a trustful order of battle and casualties of the Soviet forces attacking in 45 so we could see better how the real conditions the Red Army faced in the late war.

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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 Oct 2018 18:32

Stugbit wrote:
14 Oct 2018 17:20

I remember reading something about the Panzer Lehr Division...........
The source for all the claims Lehr were hard-hit by air power is Bayerlein. Zetterling uses (as in demolishes) this claim (in his Normandy book) as an example he can use to demonstrate his opposing theory that air-power had a far less decisive effect that had been previously believed. The reality was somewhere between the two.

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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Gilles de Rais » 14 Oct 2018 19:06

Stugbit wrote:
14 Oct 2018 17:21
Hi, Gilles de Rais

From what I read in the news at the time, Gaddafi in Libya were in a successful offensive with his tanks capturing city after city from the opposition, the Western intervention changed this. And from what I know from the Vietnam`s topography, I think the north part of the country is more mountainous. The plains you’re talking about are mostly in the middle. There`s also a good part of mountains in the Laos frontier.

Anyway, I never said the mountains were the only or even the main reason for the defeat in the Vietnam. In the modern geopolitical wars we have today, there` always many factors contributing. A political aspect which contributed against the US air power as well was the Soviet Union placing part of it`s navy in North Vietnam`s biggest city port, Haiphong, so the US had to create an exclusive zone within the city and could not bomb it. But all these talking, as you said, are another digression from the topic, so let`s stay to it.

One thing that would enlighten us better it would be if we had a trustful order of battle and casualties of the Soviet forces attacking in 45 so we could see better how the real conditions the Red Army faced in the late war.
i don't have the real figures at the moment, but this might work for now. This describes the situation of the Soviet troops at the beginning of February of 1945, following the Vistula-Oder operation.
Another major problem was that the speed of advance had caused the vanguard to outstrip their lines of supply. In many cases vehicles had to be temporarily abandoned for lack of fuel. The supply columns were having to cover enormous distances to reach them from the Vistula, where the railway bridges were being hastily rebuilt, and on return journeys every second truck having to be towed back in order to save fuel. Even captured alcohol stocks were being used to supplement vehicle fuel. Ammunition of all kinds was running dangerously low, and Chikov’s 8th Guards Army was obliged to use captured German guns and ammunition to make up for these deficiencies. Battle casualties were not being replaced and many formations were well under strength and exhausted by the time they reached the Oder. With the thaw the Red Air Force’s grass airfields were becoming unusable, so that they could provide little support against the Luftwaffe, which was mainly operating from properly constructed airfields. The sudden thaw also brought floodwaters and made the movement of heavy equipment extremely difficult. There had also been a serious breakdown of discipline as the Soviet troops crossed the German frontier and started exacting their revenge, looting, raping, killing and pillaging as they went.
Tony Le Tissier, Zhukov at the Oder: The Decisive Battle for Berlin

Clearly, the Soviets had achieved a great victory, but even at this stage they were vulnerable had the proper counter-attacks been organised.
Last edited by Gilles de Rais on 15 Oct 2018 16:33, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Oct 2018 10:08

Hi GdR,

With what? The same assets cannot be in use on several fronts simultaneously.

The war certainly could have been fought so that Berlin was the very last place to fall, but fall it would.

To use a well-worn analogy, you are effectively discussing "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic to best advantage", when the real point was that the ship was sinking beyond recovery.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by jesk » 18 Oct 2018 20:44

Sid Guttridge wrote:
15 Oct 2018 10:08
Hi GdR,

With what? The same assets cannot be in use on several fronts simultaneously.

The war certainly could have been fought so that Berlin was the very last place to fall, but fall it would.

To use a well-worn analogy, you are effectively discussing "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic to best advantage", when the real point was that the ship was sinking beyond recovery.

Cheers,

Sid
The ship went to a bottom only on May 2, 1945 when Albert Kesselring authorized capitulation of group in Italy. Next day it became clear that ways of retreat of troops from Yugoslavia are barred. In addition, Kesselring demanded capitulation of all Western front. In such conditions, Dönitz counted continuation of resistance senseless. Before capitulation in Italy, Germans did not plan to give up. After Hitler's death, there was no more need for deduction of territories outside Germany. Germans could return up in arms from a holiday. The accident interfered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Wolff

In 1945, Wolff under Operation Sunrise took over command and management of intermediaries including Swiss-national Max Waibel (de), in order to make contact in Switzerland with the headquarters of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, under Allen W. Dulles as to surrendering the German forces in and around Italy.[26] After initially meeting with Dulles in Lucerne on 8 March 1945, Wolff negotiated the surrender of all German forces in Italy, ending the war there on 29 April, before the war ended in Germany on 2 May 1945.[26] Wolff's capitulation of Italy to the Allies upset Admiral Karl Dönitz who had otherwise planned a staged series of surrenders designed to give the troops and refugees more time to make their way west.[27]


Therefore I consider a contribution of allies to defeat of Germany decisive. Not storm of Berlin, disorder of "the Alpine fortress" suggested Germans an idea of capitulation.

Image

Germans in Genoa, Germans in Milan, in Zagreb, in Oslo. All this amusing and weakened defense of Germany. If not Kesselring which disorganized on May 2 the Western front, Germans without Hitler easily would win war.

The Wehrmacht without Hitler is start of a rocket in space, absolutely uncontrollable.

Image

jesk
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by jesk » 18 Oct 2018 20:51

This guy ruined Germany

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ersatzheer and German peacemeal strategy

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Oct 2018 08:56

Hi Jesk,

Doesn't look much like Hitler!

Sid.

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