Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by oldbaldy, Nov 26, 2009.
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Interesting take on it
How Ike nearly lost the war
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.
I recently read this book:
It's mainly about the Bulge more than his life story. Go's a lot into the tactical side of it and about the Malmedy massacre.
I've got a few of the authors books and it takes a while to get into his style of writing plus you have to refer to maps quite a lot!
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.
I'm currently reading that book. It's very good.
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)
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.
Phrases like " How The Allies Nearly Lost The War " are very misleading . In the Summer of 1945 the Americans had the atomic bomb . Even if Nazi Germany by some miracle had kicked the allies out of Europe their cities would have been reduced to radioactive rubble by Christmas 1945
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.
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).
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.
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.
PS. The title could also have been something like: "Defeating the Axis Powers".
This is an interesting idea, but more for selling yet another book than as a serious option.
The Allies werenât strong enough to break the Germans in 1944 â 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. Thatâs 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!
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.
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