Last year of war

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by woody, Oct 20, 2004.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Anyone read the daily mail serilising a revisenoist history of the final
    year of the ww11 claiming it took so long after d day as the allied troops
    didnt want to fight and commanders could exploit advantages like the germans could. Annoyed me what do others think?
  2. the german regime collapsed fairly quickly after D-Day june in just under a year, we were under siege for nearly 5 years from the germans.
    if anything i think the blame for the situation lies squarely on the previous Govt cutback which meant the British army was under equipped, under manned ( sounds familiar) and suffered from cutbacks which meant the we couldn't stop the germans and consequently lengthened the war unnecessarly.
  3. The German regime was collapsing fairly quickly prior to D-Day, it simply helped accelerate the process. The wehrmacht was bled dry on the Eastern front not the western. If we're comparing, look at the numbers of men, units and casualties involved during June-Aug 44 in Normandy and then compare with the same period in the East.

    Under siege from the Germans? Not really, the RN controlled the seas, period, the u-boat threat was under control by mid '43 and the RAF controlled the skies after the invasion of Russia got underway and the bulk of the LW was sent east.
  4. 80% of German men and equipment were committed to the Eastern Front. The Normandy campaign lasted far longer than Allied commanders had expected (Caen was meant to have been taken very soon after the initial landings; instead it took six weeks). Soviet commanders had no qualms about throwing away the lives of their troops for tactical and strategic gain, something that Allied commanders were simply not prepared to do. After Arnhem, Eisenhower effectively slowed-down the Allied assault, as they had been running on a timetable of the war being over by Christmas. Also, the inescapable fact is that the German soldier was generally speaking better than his opponent - this is hardly pro-German or Allied-bashing, but a simple recognition of fact. The war took as long as it did to finish after D-Day for a number of reasons:

    - The slow Allied breakout and advance out of Normandy

    - The terrain favoured defence

    - German armour was superior to that of the Western allies

    - Many of the Germans (Whermacht & SS) that the Allies were facing were battle-hardened veterans.

    - Allied commanders were not as willing to take the huge casualties that their Soviet and German counterparts were

    - The Allied demand for unconditional surrender stiffened the resolve of the German forces and people and enabled the Nazis to play the 'victory or death' card
  5. This is a bit of a myth actually.
    Firstly the allies hugely outnumbered their german counterparts in armour. Secondly the mainstay of the German panzer division in 44\45 was the Pz.IV of one variant or another which was not superior in any way. The panther was a better tank all round but there were never that many. As for the tiger and kingtiger, these were pretty few and far between really, iirc there were ca.90 total during the Normandy campaign. Add to that complete allied air superiority.
    But on the other hand, the Germans were for the most part on the defensive which, if you add anti-tank guns and handheld anti-tank devices such as the panzerfaust and panzerschreck into the mix helped negate somewhat the huge numerical advantage the allies enjoyed.

    Some were, many were not. Those veteran divisions which were present at Normandy for example had been smashed and rebuilt several times, they had a cadre of veterans but were often filled out with recruits and men taken from the KM, LW and other units. The 12 SS-pz.Div. for example which bore the brunt of much of the early fighting in the British\canadian sector had it's baptism of fire at Normandy. Again, it had a cadre of experienced officers and NCOs but the 'men' were a years intake of 17\18 year olds.
    If we look further on in time to Arnhem we often hear of 2 SS pz divisions being in the area, what was there were the remains of 2 divisions refitting. A look at the orbat of the German forces deployed against the paras shows what adhoc units really were lashed up and thrown into the fight.
  6. It wasn't just a case of being unwilling to take casualties, the Allied Commanders, particularly the British were unable to sustain high casualty rates at this stage of the war. Manpower had been written down to such an extent that replacements simply were not avaialable. Formations that took high casualties often had to be disbanded or amalgamated because there wasn't the manpower to reconstitute them.

    At the Divisional level there was a perception that some Divisions, particularly immediately after D Day, were overly cautious. Often these Divisions were seen as the elite; those already battle tested. In particular Montgomery commented on the performance of 7 Armd Division not being what he expected although he did perceive the reasons for this, in the light of 7 Division's experience to date.
  7. Maybe the PzIV was as good as late mark Shermans such as 'easy eights' and 'Fireflys.' I'd say a Pz IV G, or H was better than the standard Sherman Mark2, M4A3 or Cromwell. However, that is as the say, a personal opinion and we all know what they say about opinions 8O
  8. I don't suppose you also read a book called "desert rats" which covered the history of 7th armd div from the desert to germany?? :D

    A lot of german units in the normandy area during DDay were as previously mentioned "hodgepodges" of ethnic germans and nationalities ranging from Poles to Russians, raw recruits and old men. True there were elite units such as SS that fought with distinction but as commented by Rommel most were of "second class" standard hence apparently for the accelerated building program on the french coast (bet they wish they'd done that on the north west coast of singapore circa 1942!!)

    With regards to the offensive spirit of the allied troops, talking to my grandad who was in 7 div (11 Husars) he simply said a lot of the veterans just wanted to survive the war and were in no mood for heroics (we buried those in the desert he said!!) and I suspect as someone else mentioned replacements were thin on the ground (I belive the recruiting standards were slipped considerably by 1945)
  9. I posted this in the "films & books" forum this week. Only half way through it but a really excellent account.
    Bought this in the library on Saturday. By Maj Gen H Essame - anyone heard of him? Only quarter into it but very well written without too much formation minor detail. Published in 1969. Don't know if it's still in print
  10. Often forgotten or at least passed over is the Sicily/Italy campaign, which did serve to soften the Germans fight.
    History makes much of the NAfrica campaign and D-Day, but comparatively little of the Sicily/Italy campaign.
    The German Army did have a number of hardened/experienced soldiers in that theatre.
  11. Also of the "forgotten army" in Burmah who fought with such distinction at places such as imphal and the recapture of Burmah which was I belive supposed to culminate in the recapture of Malaysia/Singapore in operation zipper which was cancelled due to the japs surrendering
  12. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Bit like the 'Forgotten' 14th Army in Burma, who fought on until August 1945.
  13. actually thats why i started the subject seralised in the daily mail and it wasent very complentary of the soldiers or the leaders on the allied side
  14. Ah, well it's on my 'to read' list now.