Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

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Juan G. C.
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Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Juan G. C. » 12 Apr 2021 19:54

Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 12 Apr 2021 20:09

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Apr 2021 19:54
Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?
There was a lot of Naval firepower dreaming of such a target

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by maltesefalcon » 12 Apr 2021 20:30

Four panzer divisions would present an challenge to be sure. Perhaps higher Allied casualties in the first few days. But in the long run, the decisive factor would be the weakness of German air support. Large formations of AFV and support vehicles would simply move the Falaise situation ahead a few weeks.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by historygeek2021 » 12 Apr 2021 20:31

I don't understand why anyone thought putting panzers in range of Allied battleships was a good idea. It seems like a large quantity of concealed howitzers in range of the beaches would have been a much better idea.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Terry Duncan » 12 Apr 2021 21:19

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Apr 2021 19:54
Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?
It would have given all the bored ground attack aircraft something to shoot at for a day or two.

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stg 44
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by stg 44 » 12 Apr 2021 23:32

Does everyone here not realize that the 21st Panzer division did push to the sea between Juno and Sword beaches, but they retreated for fear of being flanked and came out intact; they were not smashed by naval gunfire or air attack.
Image

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Apr 2021 23:38

stg 44 wrote:
12 Apr 2021 23:32
Does everyone here not realize that the 21st Panzer division did push to the sea between Juno and Sword beaches, but they retreated for fear of being flanked and came out intact; they were not smashed by naval gunfire or air attack.
Image
That was only one battlegroup. The other column based on the panzer regiment headed north from Caen into Sword beach was stopped by tanks and anti tank guns without the aid of naval guns or aircraft.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Michael Kenny » 12 Apr 2021 23:49

stg 44 wrote:
12 Apr 2021 23:32
Does everyone here not realize that the 21st Panzer division did push to the sea between Juno and Sword beaches, but they retreated for fear of being flanked and came out intact; they were not smashed by naval gunfire or air attack.
Because they hit dead ground. The had the good fortune to be advancing into empty space between two beaches. They were not noticed, had no impact and left when they saw what was going on inland. if they had been noticed they would have been dealt with immediately.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by stg 44 » 13 Apr 2021 00:03

Hey look the redcoats showed up.
Sheldrake wrote:
12 Apr 2021 23:38
That was only one battlegroup. The other column based on the panzer regiment headed north from Caen into Sword beach was stopped by tanks and anti tank guns without the aid of naval guns or aircraft.
That's a funny way to say they flowed around the resistance. They weren't stopped. And you're claim in no way addresses my point that in no way did air or naval gunfire stop any panzers.
Michael Kenny wrote:
12 Apr 2021 23:49
Because they hit dead ground. The had the good fortune to be advancing into empty space between two beaches. They were not noticed, had no impact and left when they saw what was going on inland. if they had been noticed they would have been dealt with immediately.
They were in contact with British armored units. They were noticed. See Sheldrake's not exactly accurate comment above.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by maltesefalcon » 13 Apr 2021 00:19

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Apr 2021 19:54
Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?
Having four Panzer divisions in Normandy in the afternoon, meant they would need to be concentrated fairly close to the scene in the 24 hours or so previous. After all, sabotage and air raids had damaged much of the nearby rail and bridge network, so progress would have been painfully slow if they were too far away.

Hundreds of recce and TAC air flights were sortied over the coast of Normandy and Pas de Calais in the days leading up to the invasion. Surely four divisions could not have escaped their view, nor that of the French Underground, who certainly would have reported this development.

Four divisions lined up and concentrated in this fashion would also be a pretty good target for a heavy bomber raid.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Kingfish » 13 Apr 2021 01:18

stg 44 wrote:
13 Apr 2021 00:03
They were in contact with British armored units. They were noticed. See Sheldrake's not exactly accurate comment above.
Some elements were, some elements weren't.

As the map you posted shows, some got stopped at Bieville and Periers ridge, while others veered west and found the gap between Juno and Sword.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Kingfish » 13 Apr 2021 01:25

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Apr 2021 19:54
Had the Germans been able to have in Normandy four Panzer divisions by the afternoon of D-Day, could they have defeated the landings with them?
The only way that could happen would be the Germans somehow finding out the true location and date of the invasion. Only then would Hitler relinquish control of the OKW reserves to 7th army.
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 Michael Kenny » 13 Apr 2021 02:51

stg 44 wrote:
13 Apr 2021 00:03

They were in contact with British armored units.
The Pz Grenadiers that reached the coast were not. The Panzers were south-east of this group attacking from the area of Mathieu towards Plumetot-Periers sur le Dan.

This is where the Pz Grenadiers reached the sea. This is a June 6th photo and they managed to reach about the only bit of the coast that had nothing in it. You can see there is no landing activity at all
US7-1742 3057 June 6 Luc sur Mer.jpg
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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by maltesefalcon » 13 Apr 2021 04:14

From the German standpoint, success in the long term was to drive the invaders off the continent and prevent them from returning. If they inflicted a decisive enough defeat, perhaps the West would seek terms and allow the Wehrmacht to focus on the Ostfront.

From the Allied point the short term goals were to get a significant toehold on the continent that would allow relatively safe embarkation of reinforcements and supplies for a buildup to occur.

German troops could attack and threaten the outer fringes of this lodgement, but they lacked the naval and air strength to prevent more troops from coming to replace casualties. So the invasion may become a short-term battle of attrition locally. But the Germans were short on men, equipment and supplies, so in the end their strength would wane as the Allies increased.

Further buildup from troops somewhat further away (or newly raised units) would be contested by air attack on transport and on the units themselves as they moved to the coast. Germany had no solution for this, so the Allied forces would continue to build up until they were of sufficient strength to break out. It was only a question of when, not if.

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Re: Four Panzer divisions in Normandy

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Apr 2021 07:13

The 7th Army in the first week of July proposed that the Panzer divisions receive a pipeline system (enjoyed by their enemy) of 3 replacement battalions each. This was a no-brainer- the structure of the Pz divisions was basically wrong for the job. Extremely heavy infantry casualties should have been anticipated by the German planners.

On the British Canadian side the 50th Division (British), attacking the Panzer Lehr division, had in the region of 38,000 men and the 3rd Division (Canadian) was a big division that was more heavily armed than any German division in WW2.

21.Pz, Pz Lehr, and 12.SS all counterattacked in the first week with available elements under the curtain of superior allied field/naval artillery as well as operating with the breakdown of their combined arms teams. So there is actual historical evidence of what happened.

Recently I read the book "Loss and Redemption at St. Vith" which is about the defense action of the US 7th Armored Division. Critical to its sustainability and ability to suppress the enemy was the firing of 54,000 rounds of field artillery before its retreat.

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