D-Day - 6th June, 1944.

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by plan_D, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Operation Neptune; The amphibious assault of Hitler's "Fortress Europe".

    Operation Overlord; The conquest of Normandy, and liberation of France.

    These two Operations, while many not know by name, are probably the most famous Operations in history known simply by the name "D-Day". I'm going to provide some interesting facts, and little pieces of history you may or may not have known about "D-Day".

    Operation Neptune;

    The beaches, from left to right, Utah and Omaha (U.S), Gold (British), Juno (Canadian), Sword (British). Beach sections from left to right Peter, Queen, Roger, Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William (Utah); Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George (Omaha); How, Item, Jig, King (Gold); Love, Mike, Nan (Juno); Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger (Sword).

    U.S "Western Task Force" was commanded by Rear Admiral Kirk, USN. Commonwealth "Eastern Task Force" was commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian.

    Naval Combatant Vessels: 1,213.
    Landing Ships And Craft: 4,126.
    Ancillary Ships And Craft: 736.
    Merchant Ships: 864.

    Total Vessels: 6,939.

    Percentages of vessels by nation: British/Canadian: 79%
    U.S: 16.5 %
    Other Allies: 4.5%

    133,000 Men Landed From the Sea

    "I am very uneasy about the whole operation. At the best it will fall so very very far short of the expectations of the bulk of the people, namely those who know nothing of its difficulties. At the worst it may well be the most ghastly disaster of the whole war. I wish to God it were safely over." - Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 5 June 1944.

    [​IMG]

    Canadian Invasion Fleet


    This is just the start. But I would like to ask, how can anyone argue that the Germans would have succeeded in 1940 when we needed all that naval power to succeed in 1944?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Interesting point.
     
  3. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    I don't quite understand, cause that can be interpreted in two ways. What exactly do you mean ?

    In 1940 Germany was fast approaching its mightiest state of power during the war, while in 44 it was considerably weakened.
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I think he means that how could the Germans of managed a cross channel invasion with the naval forces they had which were considerably less than what the Allies used on D-day in 1944. If the allies needed that much naval power to succeed then so would the Germans is the point.
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Logistics, logistics, logistics.

    Anyone can land the troops, but its keeping them supplied and in fighting form thats the toughest to plan for.
     
  6. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    If thats the case than I think thats abit of an over-generalization, as the armed forces of the British in 1940 and the Germans in 1944 can't be compared at all. Both in terms of individual unit effectiveness and tactics, things had changed dramaticly from 1940 to 1944.
     
  7. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Agreed but the point still stands that Germans would of needed more logistical support than they had to mount a successful invasion in 1940 in my opinion.
     
  8. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Do you honestly believe that Germany could have successfully invaded Great Britain when the Allies had complete superiority in numbers, air power and naval power but it still all hung on a thread? 6,939 vessels ... did Germany ever even have that much?
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Didnt we just have a big discussion about Operation Sealion? It was pointed out the germans didnt even have the sea transport to even invade in the first place let alone support it.
     
  10. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Yes we did. I didn't mean to start another discussion with the question, it was just a swooping question to raise awareness of the efforts involved in a seaborne invasion on that scale.
     
  11. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Also it was pointed out the Germans never really intended to invade, then occupy England.
     
  12. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    No, that was you trying to defend Germany and trying to downplay Britain's stunning defence, and the soldiers who fought for it's defence.
     
  13. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Anyway, I won't allow stupid comments ruin this thread. So, unless you have something reasonable to say ... start a new thread and I'll gladly give you a slanging match.

    The Plan?

    In April of 1941 it was discussed that Britain's only chance of victory was to launch an offensive of the European continent. It was also recognised that to build up an effective war machine to conduct such a campaign would take time. The Battle of the Atlantic was a deciding factor in the defeat of Germany, winning that allowed the Allied forces a constant communication by sea. It was also recognised that the Allies needed complete air superiority over all communication routes, and the strategic areas of Europe.

    The Casablanca conference led to the formation of a planning organisation dedicated to the invasion of Europe, now called Operation Overlord. Liuetenant General F.E Morgan was appointed Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC), but no "Supreme Allied Commander" had yet been named. The Washington conference led to a desicion in forces that would be available, and the plan was ordered for August 1st 1943.

    Work did not start from scratch, as previous ideas and plans had already been looked up and mulled over. The COSSAC team also had the benefit of the terrible failure at Dieppe in 1942, when a Canadian division was mauled on the beaches. In the words of Lord Mountbatten "...everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong,".

    Brittany, Normandy, and Pas De Calais were the landing areas under consideration. Brittany was found to be too far from the European objectives and Britain. Pas De Calais was too obvious. Normandy wasn't perfect, but it was the best of the three.

    In December 1943, Dwight D. Eisenhower was named the Supreme Allied Commander, with Air Cheif Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder as his deputy. All three component commanders were British: General Sir Bernard Montgomery (Overall Ground Commander), Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory (Overall Air Commander) and Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay (Overall Naval Commander). The plan was written up, it had three divisions assaulting the beaches of Normandy while one airborne division landed on each flank.

    General Montgomery found the blow of five divisions insufficient, and on January 1st 1944 wrote his impressions of the COSSAC plan;

    First Impression of Operation 'OVERLORD' made at the request of the Prime Minister by General MONTGOMERY.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The following must be clearly understood:

    (a) Today, 1 January, 1944, is the first time I have seen the Appreciation and proposed plan or considered the problem in any way.

    (b) I am not as yet in touch with Admiral RAMSAY and have been able to consult any Naval expert.

    (c) I have not been able to consult the Air C-in-C, or any experienced air officer.

    (d) Therefore these initial comments can have little value. There are merely my first impressions after a brief study of COS(43)416(0).

    2. The initial landing is on too narrow a front and is confined to too small an area.

    By D + 12 a total of 16 Divisions have been landed on the same beaches as were used for the initial landings. This would lead to the most appalling confusion on the beaches, and the smooth development of the land battle would be made extremely difficult - if not impossible.

    Further Divisions come pouring in, all over the same beaches. By D + 24 a total of 24 Divisions have been landed, all over the same beaches; control of the beaches and so on would be very difficult; the confusion, instead of getting better, would get worse.

    My first impression is that the present plan is impracticable.

    3. From a purely Army point of view the following points are essential:

    (a) The initial landings must be made on the widest possible front.

    (b) Corps must be able to develop their operations from their own beaches, and other Corps must NOT land through those beaches.

    (c) British and American areas of landing must be kept seperate. The provisions of (a) above must apply in each case.

    (d) After the initial landings, the operation must be developed in such a way that a good port is secured quickly for the British and for American forces. Each should have it's own port or group of ports.

    4. The type of plan required is on the following lines:

    (a) One British Army to land on a front of two, or possibly three, Corps. One American Army similarly.

    (b) Follow-up Divisions to come in to the Corps already on shore.

    (c) The available assault craft to be used for the leading troops. Successive flights to follow rapidly in any type of unarmoured craft, and to be poured in.

    (d) The air battle must be won before the operation is launched. We must then aim at success in the land battle by the speed and violence of our operations.

    5. It is hardly possible to discuss the broad plan without Naval and Air discussion. But if such a thing were possible there would be many advantages in putting armies on shore in such a way that:

    (a) The British effort was directed to securing the CAEN - CHERBOURG area, with CHERBOURG as the main British port initially.

    (b) The American effort was directed to securing the area ST.MALO -- ST NAZAIRE -- BREST, with the main American ports in the BREST peninsula.

    6. I am disturbed at the limitations of transport aircraft referred to in para 17 of the Digest.

    There are four Airborne Divisions, and four U.S Parachute Regts available. All of these will be needed for the initial effort. We must surely take steps to ensure that we can lift at one time at least the equivalent of four Airborne Divisions.

    MARRAKECH, (Sgd) B.L, MONTGOMERY
    1st January, 1944. General.


    As you can see, the area thought up by Montgomery was truly a wide front. Stretching from Caen to Brest, this would encompass almost the entire north coast of France and some of the west coast. He envisioned an assault too large for the Germans to concentrate on.

    A compromise was reached, the initial plan was too small but Montgomerys plan was too big. So, in exchange for four airborne divisions being landed only three would land (this being more than the initial four) and the landing area of Montgomery was halved but the original landing area was widened. It was now to be from Caen to the Cherbourg area.

    The Americans and British were kept seperate, and all Corps would have their own beaches. Montgomery was to command 21st Army Group, thus he was to be in charge of it all on the ground. U.S 1st Army would land on the left on two beaches, Utah and Omaha. These were to be assaulted by VII Corps and V Corps respectively. The British would land on the right with 2nd Army, under it would land XXX Corps on Gold beach and I Corps on Juno and Sword.

    The problem of a port for each army still remained. This was solved by the Allies building a two ports in Britain and pulling them over to Normandy, these were called Mulberry and I shall mention them at a later date.

    I think I did pretty well there. But these maps suck ... I apologise.
     

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  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Good post.
     
  15. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    I believe this question was directed at me, and to answer the question:

    No, not with Hitler in complete command, as he pretty much sabotaged the German army's war-efforts throughout the entire war. But in 41 it would have been very possible had Hitler just prioritized it, but he didn't, he wanted Russia instead.
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The RN and RAF were in a far better position to repel a German invasion of Briain that they were in 1940.

    As we discussed in the other thread, there was no way the Germans could have pulled it off.
     
  17. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    And the Germans would have been in a far better position to attack had Hitler just prioritized it, instead of his precious eastern campaign, as Operation Barbarossa could infact afford to wait for just a while.

    With no Operation Barbarossa, you can be sure they could've pulled it off. The eastern front did after-all take up about 80% of the entire German army, a force to be reckoned with.

    Had Hitler not made the mistake of believing that he alone could take on the whole world at once, he could've achieved his goal in the end. (That is if he didn't die of his illness before that)
     
  18. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Unless they had dedicated landing craft like the allies it wasn't going to succeed, by 1941 the British had recovered from the Battle of France and the resultant Battle of Britain and were ready to face a German invasion. They were more prepared than they were in 1940, so the invasion would of been harder.

    Good post pD.
     
  19. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    To sucessfully complete an invasion in 1941, Germany would of had to:


    1. Defeat Fighter Command as a defensive force

    2. Defeat Bomber Command as an offensive force

    3. Eliminate or minimise the Royal Navy Home Fleet as an effective force in the Channel for a period of at least 1 month

    4. Create a dedicated naval landing and naval logistics arm

    5. Sufficiently decoy British defenses away from the main landing area

    6. Deny the British army the ability to acces the landing areas (eliminate rail and road ransport)

    7. Breach, capture or destroy the fixed defensive fortifications

    8. Sucessfully land at least 30,000 troops and their equipment in the first 24 hours of the invasion

    9. Maintain control of the English channel for at least a 1 month period to land sufficient troops and supplies for the campaign


    If you look at recent history, the USA and the UK have been the two dominant naval and aviation powers for the last 100 or so years. It took their combined strength and weight of experiance, with complete naval and aerial superiority, to breach a gap in the German defences on D-Day.

    As German had neither in 1941, a sucessful invasion of England is unlikey in my opinion. Germany would of needed to treble her naval strength and double her aerial strength just as pre-requisites to ATTEMPT an invasion.
     
  20. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    This has already been discussed, and it was found by reasonable people that an invasion was actually on the brink of impossible. Now, leave my thread alone ...
     
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