Battle of the Bulge

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
Interesting take on it

................The Sixth Army Group had assembled bridging equipment, amphibious trucks and assault boats. Seven crossing sites along the upper Rhine were evaluated and intelligence gathered. The Seventh Army could cross north of Strasbourg at Rastatt, Germany, advance north along the Rhine Valley to Karlsruhe, and swing west to come in behind the German First Army, which was blocking Patton’s Third Army in Lorraine. The enemy would face annihilation, and the Third and Seventh Armies could break loose and drive into Germany. The war might end quickly.

Devers never crossed. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander, visited Devers’s headquarters that day and ordered him instead to stay on the Rhine’s west bank and attack enemy positions in northern Alsace. Devers was stunned. “We had a clean breakthrough,” he wrote in his diary. “By driving hard, I feel that we could have accomplished our mission.” Instead the war of attrition continued, giving the Germans a chance to counterattack three weeks later in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, which cost 80,000 American dead and wounded...........

Full article:

How Ike nearly lost the war
 
#2
The Americans and British were scared stiff of leaving their flanks exposed, even when the German Army was a spent force and not really capable of main counter attacks on our flanks. The bulge basically finished them off. We also wouldn't move forward without massive artillery support first. No wonder the Germans thought us and the yanks were pretty sh1te.
 
#4
Max Hastings covers this and other aspects of the war against Germany very well in his book "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 19944-45". He is particularly critical of Ike, Monty, Browning, Op Market Garden, the Allied response to the Battle of the Bulge and pretty well everyone apart from Patton, the Red Army leadership and the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The Germans did indeed think the Allies were shite as their reports on our tactical deficiencies made clear.
 
#6
The Germans did indeed think the Allies were shite as their reports on our tactical deficiencies made clear.

Two raw fresh Divisions took the brunt of the German thrust.
Throughout the liberation of France, FFI were used to safeguard flanks allowing 21st Army Group and Bradley's 12th Army group to concentrate on killing the enemy.

Col Walter Koch did predict accurately that a attack was forthcoming.

Standing at Bastogne, you see the importance of the place. The museum there is really informative. Without the freezing cold fog/mist snowstorms the Tactical air force would have blunted the attack.

A Soldier's Story (1951)

The Bitter Woods (1969)

Patton: A Genius for War(1995)
 
#7
I have also read the Devils Adj very good. Another good book that just covers that offensive is Kampfgruppe Peiper by David Cooke, very indepth about the assault.
 
#10
oldbaldy said:
Would they have used it in Europe though?
I think they would have used it if it was a last resort to win the war. What we have to remember is that the Russians were getting close to Berlin at this stage and wouldn't have pulled back. Stalin was adamant to bring East Germany and Berlin under his rule. Dropping the 'bomb' may even have started a war against the Russians.
 
#11
I'd wonder if Ike was once bitten, twice shy after Market Garden and wary about another plan of the "I'll cross the Rhine and have the war finished in three weeks" variety. The premise behind it does sound a lot like the Garden part of Montys plan.

Don't forget, if Ike had blocked Market Garden, we'd have spent the last 65 years reading about how Monty had an innovative daring plan to end the war by Christmas '44 that Ike refused to use as Monty was British.

Regarding whether the Atomic Bomb would have been used on Berlin - yes, yes, thrice yes! The problems from radioactive fallout were not recognised until the 50's, (don't forget that troops were within the fallout zone in the early tests), and if the political will was there to offload the contents of up to 2000 heavy bombers onto cities, in attempts to replicate the firestorms of Hamburg, then the Atomic Bomb would have been simply viewed as an easier way to accomplish it (IMHO).
 
#12
flamingo said:
I'd wonder if Ike was once bitten, twice shy after Market Garden and wary about another plan of the "I'll cross the Rhine and have the war finished in three weeks" variety. The premise behind it does sound a lot like the Garden part of Montys plan.
Didn't Monty try it again with Operation Varsity (crossing of the Rhine). Wasn't worth it really considering the Americans had already crossed twice beforehand.
 
#13
flamingo said:
Regarding whether the Atomic Bomb would have been used on Berlin - yes, yes, thrice yes! The problems from radioactive fallout were not recognised until the 50's, (don't forget that troops were within the fallout zone in the early tests), and if the political will was there to offload the contents of up to 2000 heavy bombers onto cities, in attempts to replicate the firestorms of Hamburg, then the Atomic Bomb would have been simply viewed as an easier way to accomplish it (IMHO).
I remember reading a book yonks ago, I think the title was something like: "Defeating Germany and Japan" or something, and there was apparently a contingency plan to ready a couple of bombs to dump on Berlin and/or Moscow, just in case things started to go Bristols up.

I've had a bit of a butcher's on t'internet for a reference to this, but found nothing so far. Maybe somebody else can come up with more details.

MsG

PS. The title could also have been something like: "Defeating the Axis Powers".
 
#14
oldbaldy said:
Interesting take on it

................The Sixth Army Group had assembled bridging equipment, amphibious trucks and assault boats. Seven crossing sites along the upper Rhine were evaluated and intelligence gathered. The Seventh Army could cross north of Strasbourg at Rastatt, Germany, advance north along the Rhine Valley to Karlsruhe, and swing west to come in behind the German First Army, which was blocking Patton’s Third Army in Lorraine. The enemy would face annihilation, and the Third and Seventh Armies could break loose and drive into Germany. The war might end quickly.

Devers never crossed. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander, visited Devers’s headquarters that day and ordered him instead to stay on the Rhine’s west bank and attack enemy positions in northern Alsace. Devers was stunned. “We had a clean breakthrough,” he wrote in his diary. “By driving hard, I feel that we could have accomplished our mission.” Instead the war of attrition continued, giving the Germans a chance to counterattack three weeks later in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, which cost 80,000 American dead and wounded...........

Full article:

How Ike nearly lost the war
This is an interesting idea, but more for selling yet another book than as a serious option.

The Allies weren’t strong enough to break the Germans in 1944 – as was demonstrated in September and October. The Allies did not have the logistic strength to support an offensive over the upper Rhine (Antwerp was only open to shipping at the end of November, and until then all supplies were from Normandy. ) The weather in November and December 1944 was not good and it would have been hard for the allies to brought their air superiority to bear. Furthermore Southern Germany does not contain anything vital. That’s why von Schlieffen was willing to give ground there in 1914.

Worse still the Allies had no idea that the Germans had amassed an armoured reserve of C 200k men with 1000+ tanks ready for offensive operations. Historically they frittered these away in the gamble we call the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans did the attacking and took disproportionate casualties and wore down their last major formed armoured reserves.

Just suppose Devers and Patton launch an operation to cross the upper Rhine and are able to exploit towards Munich by around the first week in December. Lets assume that the Germans will block the Northern end around Stuttgart. The Americans are likely to pull in reserves from behind the 1st and 9th Armies. The Germans would have two choices.

1. Instead of hitting the over exposed 1st US Army in the Ardennes the unexpectedly strong German 6th SS Panzer Army and 5th Panzer Army launch a counterstroke in bad weather in Southern Germany against the exposed and thinly spread troops in Southern Germany, and pin them against Switzerland. . Unlike the Mortain counter attack this would be conducted under two weeks of poor flying weather.
2. The Germans have a real chance to make Wach am Rein work, with Patton and the US reserves out of the way.

Either way Ike did not lose much by ignoring the 6th Army Option!
 
#15
flamingo said:
I'd wonder if Ike was once bitten, twice shy after Market Garden and wary about another plan of the "I'll cross the Rhine and have the war finished in three weeks" variety. The premise behind it does sound a lot like the Garden part of Montys plan.

Don't forget, if Ike had blocked Market Garden, we'd have spent the last 65 years reading about how Monty had an innovative daring plan to end the war by Christmas '44 that Ike refused to use as Monty was British.
I still find it staggering that Monty proposed and Ike sanctioned Market Garden when the port of Antwerp was at that time unusable as were all the major channel ports (we'd bypassed them leaving them still occupied by the Germans) meaning virtually all supplies had to be brought by road from the one remaining Mulberry harbour in Normandy.
 
#16
What the Ardennes offensive does show is that the allegation that man for man the Germans were better soldiers takes a mighty blow, consider; no allied airsupport for much of it, the Germans were using a lot of their elite troops and had numbers in their favour, but failed to capture Bastogne, or make any strategic gains.
 
#17
Chef said:
What the Ardennes offensive does show is that the allegation that man for man the Germans were better soldiers takes a mighty blow, consider; no allied airsupport for much of it, the Germans were using a lot of their elite troops and had numbers in their favour, but failed to capture Bastogne, or make any strategic gains.
Because of lack fuel that is the main reason, though as more allied troops were being drafted in the Germans would have come a cropper in the end. Most of the Americans ran away from the Germans, except the Airborne who fought bravely. Man for man, on the whole the Germans were much superior soldiers.

So put the crack pipe away.
 
#18
[/quote]I remember reading a book yonks ago, I think the title was something like: "Defeating Germany and Japan" or something, and there was apparently a contingency plan to ready a couple of bombs to dump on Berlin and/or Moscow, just in case things started to go Bristols up.

I've had a bit of a butcher's on t'internet for a reference to this, but found nothing so far. Maybe somebody else can come up with more details.

MsG

PS. The title could also have been something like: "Defeating the Axis Powers".
Could this be "The Axis in Defeat: A Collection of Documents on American Policy towards Germany and Japan"?

This is availsble for £9.83 at Abebooks.co.uk.
 
#19
Fallschirmjager said:
Chef said:
What the Ardennes offensive does show is that the allegation that man for man the Germans were better soldiers takes a mighty blow, consider; no allied airsupport for much of it, the Germans were using a lot of their elite troops and had numbers in their favour, but failed to capture Bastogne, or make any strategic gains.
Because of lack fuel that is the main reason, though as more allied troops were being drafted in the Germans would have come a cropper in the end. Most of the Americans ran away from the Germans, except the Airborne who fought bravely. Man for man, on the whole the Germans were much superior soldiers.

So put the crack pipe away.
I saw what you did there :D

There is an article in the Dec/Jan issue of Military History entitled 'Germany's Fatal Blinders' which is worth a read.
 
#20
I've read US unit reports where captured German generals complained bitterly about the over-use of British and US artillery. Screw em tho - keep them at arms length, they started it.

Truly it is said,

"Victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan"
 

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