Falaise Gap?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by barney, May 12, 2010.

  1. barney

    barney Member

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    The Falaise Gap


    I have been reading various volumes on WWII. What has started to bug me is the fact that the Western allies in Europe never were able to conduct an envelopment. They had a great chance in Sicily. Didn't happen. After Operation Cobra, the Falaise Pocket was never closed. After The Battle of the Bulge, the German Armies in that pocket were simply left to return to their former lines.

    In particular, looking at the Falaise Gap and why it was never closed, I find lots of reasons.

    1.Monty wanted the glory for his Canadians but they were unable to make the breakout necessary to close the gap.
    2.Bradley's G-2 gave Bradley bad intelligence in reporting the Germans were roaring out of the gap and he didn't want American troops in harms way.
    3.Bradley was with Eisenhower and Eisenhower gave the order stopping XV corps at Argentan.
    4.Patton was apparently able to move at will on the German Southern flank and even if ordered to stop on the Argentan-Sees line, where else do you read of Patton obeying orders when an opportunity presented itself?
    5.Bradley didn't want the Third Army overrunning the Canadian Army.

    When too many reason are floated I start thinking cover up. And what I suggest is being covered up here is the fact that the Western Allies were afraid to get behind a retreating Germany Army. Hence, no successful envelopments.

    So, tell me where my thinking is faulty.
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I don't know much about ground tactics but have always wondered which army faced the heaviest opposition in Normandy. Most of the books and articles I've read indicate the the Canadians/Poles and the Brits did, but is this just the books I've read or is this just the slant of the books which are mostly about Canadian ops ?
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's a complex operation which requires efficient staff work, combined arms coordination and a system of command flexible enough to rapidly respond to battlefield events.

    Most of the WWII era American and British generals simply weren't skillful enough to make an envelopment work. They just kept bashing away in frontal attacks, relying on ever increasing firepower to make up for the lack of tactical finess.
     
  4. barney

    barney Member

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    At this battle I think the Canadians did have the tough going. But then Monty liked stop and go set piece battles. So, it ends up being like the question why are barns painted red? Because red is the cheapest paint. Why is red the cheapest paint? Because red is the color they sell the most. You are always going to have the toughest going if you give the defense time to form.

    Not necessarily a bad thing, they were there to kill the enemy.
     
  5. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Normandy wasn't terrain that was exactly suited to "envelopment" - and once the beach head had been achieved "surprise" wasn't a real possibility.

    MM
     
  6. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    #6 Crimea_River, May 12, 2010
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
    Also, the Germans were masters at defensive withdrawals, having had lots of practice by then. They would set up strong rearguard and flank positions that were tough to crack.
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    They won. Didn't need to envelope. Biltzkrieg enveloped and look how that worked out.
     
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    They won. Didn't need to envelope. Biltzkrieg enveloped and look how that worked out.

    Oversimplification. :)

    MM
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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