Operation Bodenplatt

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Njaco, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I've been going through some stories on Operation Bodenplatt (Baseplate) on 1 Jan 1945 and was wondering if it would have worked at another time or if as orginally planned.

    My understanding was that Galland originally proposed having 2000 fighters attack the US bombers and inflict a one day serious blow - enough to stop the raids for a short time so that the new German fighters could get online. Similar to what the Allies did in Oct 43 after Black Thursday. As the idea went along it then became a part of the Ardennes planning and so on. But it wasn't used for the Battle of the Bulge until it didn't matter anymore but.....

    With the Battle of the Bulge commencing on 16 Dec 44, flights were socked in for the next week or two. But were they? I've read where the Luftwaffe flew around 690 sorties on 17 Dec and the Allies flew around 680. The Germans also had the Ar 234 fly missions in the Ardennes during that time.

    So the question is - could the Luftwaffe have conducted Bodenplatt on 17 Dec and assisted the drive to Antwerp? Could Bastogne been taken with heavy assistance by the Luftwaffe? How far could the German army have gotten if Allied airfields were destroyed to the extent that operations couldn't have been flown even if for a week?
     
  2. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Helo Njaco,

    I think it would have had no effect on the Ardennes objective:

    Those Luftwaffe units were all JG’s (Fighter squadrons) not KG or SKG units. IIRC most a/c used didn’t even carry bombs but simply using their cannons and Mg’s – which limited there effect already to an extend that even the expected result for Bodenplatte was very questionable.

    The main problem for the Ardennes objective was fuel for the tanks and vehicles and the plan even relied on the capture of allied fuel depots – I do not know what made the German planers so sure about the allies not just to simply blow them up in case of being overrun by the Germans.

    Gallands original idea would not have changed the time or outcome of the war, but it would have given him and others a certain “satisfaction” instead of just watching the Luftwaffe getting decimated or weaker by the day.

    IMO the last change to get the western allies to some sort of peace terms, or change the outcome of the war was totally lost after the delayed decision in regards to the outcome at Kursk.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    It might've helped in a small way. Much as the attack on the ground did. But the superiority would've been local and temporary. Even if the Germans attack with the number quoted, you're still looking at the Allies hitting back with about 5x that number.

    Plus, air wars are a numbers game. More so that ground wars. How long would Germany be able to keep 2000 aircraft over the battle while the Allies are throwing the same number in? Think in terms of fuel supplies, aircraft turnaround time, fixing damaged aircraft, ect. Germany didn't have the resilence that the Allies did in 1945. They were brilliant at keeping the war going, but the depth was a lot less than earlier in the war.

    Keeping air superiority on a local scale for the length of the battle (or even for more than a couple of days) was probably beyond their ability.

    However, there would've been some HUGE air battles going on over the heads of the troops on the ground. We're talking historic stuff with an average of 200 airplanes fighting each other all day long. One long, brutal, air battle. Might even last for days (with the fighting going on into the night).
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I guess what I'm asking is would it have been more effective if Bodenplatte was executed on 17 Dec 44 instead of 1 Jan 45. I have always thought that the weather socked in operations for at least a week but as I read more and more, there were operations.

    Unternehmen Stosser went off on 17 Dec. with 1300 Fallschirmajor taking off in 112 Ju 52 for a paradrop near Malmedy.

    Kommado Panther flew several ops with Me 262s on the 17 and 18 Dec.

    Sonderkommando Sperling flew ops on the 21 Dec in a Ar 234.

    On 24 Dec a large force of Luftwaffe fighters attacked formations of bombers, most of the fighters coming from the reserve that Gallnd had been hoarding.

    As for the attack itself on 1 Jan 45 465 Allied aircraft were destroyed or damaged and several airfields were out of action, some up to 2 months.

    My point is that if Bodenplatte occurred on the 17 Dec the Allied reaction might have been slowed and several keys points may have become a non-issue such as Bastogne. I just don't understand the timing of it all.
     
  5. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Njaco,

    IIRC the operation Bodenplatte was actually meant to take place during the Ardennes offensive. By the time the LW had gotten everything ready – fuel – the Ardennes offensive was already over.

    The bad weather issue was certainly a reason to postpone this attack, since most LW pilots were inexperienced.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  6. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I think that perhaps the tank drive might've gotten a bit farther, as even the fighters could've strafed positions that were holding up the Tigers (Elsenborne Ridge, for example). Also, destruction of nearby airfields, while the bombers were on the ground, would've affected troop morale more, to the point where more troops would panic (including upper eschelons), causing the panicked retreat to go farther back towards Paris. Eventually, though, as stated before, the full industrial might of the Allies would've stopped the German thrust, as I still don't think Pieper would've had enough fuel to make, much less take, Antwerp. Had he made it that far, his supply lines were going to have to rely on one or two roads surrounded by Allied forces....sorta a German version of "Market Garden". IMO, having the Luftwaffe up in those numbers would have helped the drive push a little bit further, but would not have made a difference in the long-term outcome.
     
  7. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Luftwaffe attack would have probably been more effective; and the German advance may have been extended. However, it would have all been for nought because the advance columns were all they had. Germany had no reserves to continue the advance and fill in the bulge left behind.
     
  8. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Plan_D,

    IIRC the German Ardennes Plan was to take only Antwerp in order to disrupt/occupy the main allied supply base to continental Europe being close to Germany. If they had succeeded I do not think that they would have bothered to close any gaps behind them, but awaiting the retreat of the allies to supply bases 200-350 km to the west.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    IMHO if it had taken place in conjuction with the Bulge then at least it would have done something - I can't see any achievement from the 1 Jan raid. There seemed to be no concrete purpose for when it happened. As part of the advance would have somewhat justified it.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    it was a mistake to begin with, and given the present form many of the CO's could not find the appropriate routes to take even following the lead Pathfinder Ju 88G NF's, some of them also got lost, if not shot down. the LW leadership foiled their own system by not warning their own ground based Flak that they were going to fly over those zones. It was a waste of LW youth and experienced commanders..........one JG even attacked the wrong airfield.

    read up on the best book on the subject. Hikoki pubs- Ron Pütz/John Manhro authors : "Bodenplatte"
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks, Erich. I just happen to come across an article in a WWII mag and it just got me thinking. I agree it was a waste.
     
  12. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Seems to me to be just another one of Hitler's knee-jerk "hey this sounds cool" late-war insanities. On paper, I guess it should've worked. Materialistically/realistically....nope.

    BTW....that book is now in my Amazon.com inbox. :occasion5:
     
  13. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    "IIRC the German Ardennes Plan was to take only Antwerp in order to disrupt/occupy the main allied supply base to continental Europe being close to Germany. If they had succeeded I do not think that they would have bothered to close any gaps behind them, but awaiting the retreat of the allies to supply bases 200-350 km to the west."

    The plan was to capture Antwerp to disrupt supply, but more importantly to cut the British off from the American forces. This would not have worked solely due to the fact that the Allied forces would not retreat; the huge gaps in the German lines behind their point of attack would leave them wide open for encirclement - and that is exactly what the Allies would do.

    The further the Germans pushed the closer to disaster they drove.
     
  14. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Again you "asume" just as in Operation Market Garden, backing your knowledge with propably the movie "Battle of the Buldge", and waiting for me to fill in the Battle setup, so that you can start to pick around on details.

    If the Germans had succeeded in taking Antwerp, they would have automatically seperated the British and US forces. An encirclment of the German troops would have been impossible - have a look on a map - 5th Pz Army to the northern/middle flank, 7th Army securing southern flank, 15th Army and 6th Pz. towards center and west, mainbody of 6thSS and 5th Pz. to Antwerp and once the Germans had reached the outskirts of Antwerpen or even before upon reaching Huy , the allied would have ordered a hasty retreat rather then an impossible encirclemovment (since the British 21st Army group and US 1st army would have been encircled by then) with no supplies to back it up.

    The only force to launch a counterattack was Patton, but Patton was in the north/west and in no position to flank in, unless breaking through the 5th Pz. army, which would have exposed himself to a flanking manouver by the 6th Pz. army and 15th army since the 7th army held the south.

    Besides the poor planing in regards to troop movements and deployments, the only question to me is were the Germans took the confidence to keep up their drive towards Antwerp solely based on the capture of allied supply dumps.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
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