dragon-wings
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World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:27 pm

At the beginning of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" during the beach landing I noticed how difficult it was for the landing troops because they were being pinned down by German gunfire from high on the dunes. Does anyone know why the allies didn't have any close air support for the troops on the ground that day? It probably would of saved more lives if they had air support.

(maybe they did have air support that day and they didn't show it in the movie?)
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AR1300
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:32 pm

I think that they were trying to secure the beach without the Germans to realize that they were doing so.Tht's why they had to beach heads, one to be a decoy and the second one that was the real one.So CAS would alert the germans, thus spoiling the whole op.
anyways, I think that tried with Airborne troops, but something went wrong so thay landed anywhere else and a lot got injured.
My two cents.I'm no historian.

mike
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dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:40 pm

Well, this probably is a MilAv thread, but thats beside the point.

The air was called for in Operation Overlord, but most of it either hit up to a mile inland or was ineffective against the bunkers that were very strong. Naval gunfire also prepped the beaches, but there comes a point when the beach must be siezed.

In the movie what you saw was the Omaha Beach landing, which occured between Vierville sur Mer (and her cliffs which led to the Point du Hoc) and the area just beyond Colleville. This beach was actually the best prepared beach for the defenders and was pre-sited in by a Machine Gun Division of the German Army. The defenders had literally thousands of machine guns as well as mortars pre-positioned and staked so that every square centimeter of that beach was covered. By ill-fated coincidence this beach was also seemingly missed by the pre landing bombardments by aircraft and naval vessels. There was no week long prep of the site as surprise was deemed to be crucial....and it was. The 1st ID (the Big Red One) and the 29thID (the Blue and the Grey Division, a NG division that was blooded at these landings) overcame incredible odds and obstacles, including the loss of almost all the armor to rough seas and poor placement by the offloading craft (mostly they sank, and their surviving crews joined the Infantry).

The other beaches fell much more easily than Omaha, and though not without cost to the Canadians, British and other Allied troops that landed that day.

Utah Beach was taken by a single US division, the 4th, led ashore by BG Teddy Roosevelt, the son of President Roosevelt, and who died there shortly thereafter of a heart attack.

Sword and Gold Beaches were taken by British Infantry divisions, under Montgomery...the Ground Commander under Eisenhower back in England (who flew over the battlefield in a modified Mustang that afternoon).

Juno Beach was hit by the Canadian division which had the most experience of any of the other units besides the 1st US Division, as many of their members had landed at Dieppe a couple years previous in a test landing that went very badly upon exfil.

I have the feeling I should leave some for Jan, so I'll end here.
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dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:46 pm

Except for my mentioning of the US 101st, 82d, and British 6th (Pegasus) Airborne Divisions which landed earlier that evening by parachute and glider (the first troops ashore were the Brits under Major J. Howard who landed near and seized the swing bridge over the Orne River Canal which led to Caen) and they were scattered all over the assigned DZs by high winds, poor visibility, primitive navigation, oh, and large volumes of AAA.

These soldiers held the bridges and passes until the mechanized infantry could establish a foothold and kept the Germans from concentrating all their forces at the beaches, in addition to creating serious confusion within the German command who thought it might be a raid with parachuting commandos.

The beaches were not attacked at all by Allied air, who were kept a mile back from them after the 1st landings.
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dragon-wings
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:57 pm

Thanks for the history lesson! Some fascinating stuff! So if Omaha Beach was hit with pre landing bombardments by aircraft and naval vessels it would of made things a little better for the troops. Why did they miss that beach?

I am so glad I found that movie was on TV tonight un-cut and un-censored. That movie would of been terrible if they cut and censored it.
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OzLAME
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:18 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 2):
Utah Beach was taken by a single US division, the 4th, led ashore by BG Teddy Roosevelt, the son of President Roosevelt, and who died there shortly thereafter of a heart attack.

IIRC from my reading The Longest Day many years ago "Utah' beach was actually the wrong beach and because of this there were fewer than 300 casualties on that beach on the Sixth of June. As for the Naval artillery failing to suppress the defences on Omaha Beach, I think it was a case of the targets being mis-identified and the Naval artillery shelling observation posts overlooking the beach while the German artillery which was inland was left largely intact.
Much effort was expended by the Allies in making the German High-Command think that the invasion would come many miles further north at the Pas de Calais where the English Channel is at it's narrowest. This included major bombing-raids on that area in the weeks prior to the invasion, thus drawing German troops to that part of the coast; the bombing- and Resistance- raids in the Normandy area were inland and designed to stop the German ability to reinforce the defenders, while the airborne (paratroop and glider-borne) part of the invasion was to secure certain bridges that were left intact to facilitate the Allies' efforts to break out from the beachheads.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:25 pm

There were several problems at Omaha beach. First, there was an intelligence failure. The Allies thought they would only have to face the 726 Grenadier Regiment of the 716 Static Division (a second grade unit, which consisted of both very young and inexperienced and elderly German soldiers, plus units made up of so called "Beutedeutsche", eastern Europeans pressed into German service (Ostbattaillone), the Allies even captured a bunch of Koreans in German uniforms (this is another story I will tell somewhere else). But when they landed the discovered that their opposition also included 914 Regiment and the 916 Regiment of 352 division, who were experienced veteran soldiers. Then, by chance the soldiers had just finished a field exercise, so instead of being sleepy in their garrisons, they were wide awake in their fighting positions.
The next problem was that the armoured component of this assault consisted of waterproofed Sherman tanks, fitted with a canvas float collar and ship's screws. These tanks were launched 6 miles of the shore by the landing craft (The naval commanders were afraid of German underwater obstacles and mines). Since the waves on this day were much higher than expected, together with a strong current, most of them drifted away from the landing zone and most sank. AFAIK there were only three surviving tanks on Omaha beach (they came from a landing craft, who's captain saw what happened to the other tanks and deliberately beached his ship to get the tanks to the shore). If they would have launched them onlyone mile off the shore, it would have worked. Most of the combat engineering component of the assault got also lost, so that the American soldiers were pinned down on the beach and could not destroy the blockhouses. Once the soldiers were on the beach, the Air Force was afraid to hit their own men and deliberately dropped the bombs far. In old areal pictures you can see lots of craters in the fields behind the dunes, but very few on the bunkers.
What I wonder about is that the British and Canadian had very efficient close air support by RAF Typhoons (Tiffy's) armed with rockets. I wonder why nothing similar existed on the western beaches.

Jan
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:45 pm

Quoting OzLAME (Reply 5):
the Naval artillery shelling observation posts overlooking the beach while the German artillery which was inland was left largely intact.

The problem was that the two American airborne divisions should have taken care of German artillery positions further back, but due to the fact that very few soldiers got actually dropped onto their drop zones (due to heavy German AAA fire), but instead were widely scattered all over the Cotendin peninsula and immideately had to face the Fallschirmjägerregiment 6 (German paratroopers, who were based arond Carentan). It took the airborne up to three days to get their units sorted out and assembled.
What they succeeded in though was to cut off the western access to the beaches from German reinforcements. They also took care of German artillery (See Lt. Winters's attack on the German battery at Brecourt Manor).

Jan

[Edited 2005-07-04 08:45:52]
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GDB
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 1:08 am

Quite recently, a programme on CH4 in the UK, had divers go and see what happened to the Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) tanks, most of whom, as pointed out, sank, whereas on other beaches most made it ashore.

In the end, it was determined by their position on the sea bed, that they had made a turn in the water, I cannot remember why, (to get in a better position when reaching the beach probably), but this was lethal, these vehicles were not intended to make such turns in the water, in conjunction with the rough conditions, they sank.
 
quebecair727
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:06 am

Last year I had the pleasure of going to the beaches again. Here are some of the pictures I took.


The 26th Panzer Division was there




Look at the size of the bullet hole.



One of the bunker



The beach seen from the bunker.



Private Ryan? Private Jones? Private Smith? Private someone. Makes no difference who he is. But I guess some of the names on the memorial are not unknown to him.

 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:20 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 8):
Quite recently, a programme on CH4 in the UK, had divers go and see what happened to the Sherman DD (Duplex Drive) tanks, most of whom, as pointed out, sank, whereas on other beaches most made it ashore.

In the end, it was determined by their position on the sea bed, that they had made a turn in the water, I cannot remember why, (to get in a better position when reaching the beach probably), but this was lethal, these vehicles were not intended to make such turns in the water, in conjunction with the rough conditions, they sank.

the problem was that the current parallel to the coast was running in a different direction as the waves thrown up by the wind. The current was pushing the tanks further down the coast, away from the landing beaches. When the tankers corrected, they met the waves abeam and not anymore head on, leading to water splashing over the canvas floating belt. This could have been avoided by launching them closer to the shore, as it was done on the other beaches. The Americans were also very reluctant to accept Hobart's funnies, the special tanks developed by the British for mine clearing, road laying, bridging etc..
The British and Canadians had RAF resp. RCAF officers (pilots themselves) with wireless sets on the ground with the forward army units (also naval artillery observers to coordinate the shelling from the battleships, the RN observers never made it back to their ships, but ended eventually up in Germany, fighting as infantrymen) to coordinate airstrikes.

Jan

P.S. Quebecair,
Were the pictures taken at Juno beach? A Dutch friend of mine, who is engaged to a former guide of the Juno Beach Center museum and now living in Caen managed to secure a brick with a grafitti by a rifleman of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada from a farm wall that was being torn down. He contacted the regiment and the Royal Canadian Legion and traced the history of this young man, Riflemann Richard Dyson, apprentice mechanic, who later got killed in a very bloody battle in northern Germany, age of 20. In this battle almost a whole platoon of the QOR got wiped out and the platoon sergeant won the Victoria Cross for literally taking the objective (a fortified farm building with about 20-30 Fallschirmjäger) singlehanded. Unfortunately he himself was killed less than an hour later by a sniper bullet.

Jan



Jan
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 7:37 am

Here is a picture of a DD Sherman with it's floatation screen collaped (use on land):


and here with the floatation screen erected for swimming:


Pictures are from the following sites:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/hobart.htm
http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/trlout/TRA22135.html

The floation screen only permitted operation in waves up to 0.3 meters. On D-day at Omaha beach the waves were 2 meters high.

Jan
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EZEIZA
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:49 pm

Wasn't the weather also pretty bad and that influenced the air support?
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slider
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RE: World War 2 Question

Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:28 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 7):
They also took care of German artillery (See Lt. Winters's attack on the German battery at Brecourt Manor).

Classic. As Ambrose has noted and was illustrated in Band of Brothers, Brecourt Manor became a textbook example of assault on a fixed position.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 10):
The Americans were also very reluctant to accept Hobart's funnies, the special tanks developed by the British for mine clearing, road laying, bridging etc..

Glad you made that point Jan...the Funnies were very innovative, they had several different variants and I too wish the Americans would have employed them. The DD Shermans were a big failure....the reasons cited herein, but the History Channel did a great show on this and investigated it in depth.
 
iakobos
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:10 am

Good point Ezeiza, the weather was indeed bad, with a very low cover and rather poor visibility.

It is only later in the day that it started clearing and by that time the beaches had been secured.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:34 am

This is the reason why the air forces bombed to far inland, kiling a lot of cows in the fields, because the pilots were afraid to hit their own men.

Jan
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quebecair727
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:03 am

Reply to MD11 engineer:

I took the picture on June 12th, 2005 at Omaha Beach. It was about 7PM when I took the picture of the old man sitting in front of the monument.

Of course, being from Canada, I went to Juno Beach as well. I also took few shots there including the following twos:




And the cemetery





It was the third time I was going to the beaches. Being to young for having seen the war myself, I can tell you though that being there is a very moving experience. The first time I went there was on June 6th, 1984, on the 40th anniversary of D-Day.
 
B744F
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:21 am

If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.
 
dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:17 am

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.

Go and visit Omaha beach. Look down from the prepared positions, scope out where the registered fields of fire were, and see where the shingle was compared to where the obstacles were and see what a small kill box all those men had to run through. The Omaha landing at Normandy was incredibly difficult and a damned close thing. Go and see all that and tell me that was "overglamorized".

What you seem to know about D-Day at Normandy is less than can be....I'll leave off the observations of your ignorance.....

The 716th was a static unit of category B and C reservists and impressed troops but the 352d was an experienced Division concentrated on that section of the beach that had Russian experience.

Over 59,000 men landed that day, with nearly 41% casualty ratio, losing 3,000 men KIA on the day of the landings on that one beach. Over 9,500 KIA for the Allies on all beaches....with nearly 1/3 coming from those two divisions on that one beach.

To call this "glamorized" is the height of arrogant ignorance.

[Edited 2005-07-06 04:23:39]
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ANCFlyer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:48 pm

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.

Ahh, the ignorance perpetuates itself . . . .
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AR1300
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:55 pm

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.

What is this, a joke??Do you even know what are you talking about??Small number???They were a lot and armed like hell, with heavy machine gun fire all over the damn place.
I don't like to be rude, but sometimes it is just deserved.
please, kindly, before posting crap do some research, ask to an elder or so, or just plainly shut up.

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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:59 pm

The Normandy landings were a gamble and during the first days very shaky. If Hitler e.g. would have let his generals use the armoured reserve freely instead of locking it at Calais, where he still expected the main invasion to come, it might have turned out as a major disaster for the Allies. Most units didn't capture their objectives on D-day. They were lucky that Rommel chose these days to travel home to Germany for his wife's birthday and wasn't around to lead the German response. Generaloberst Dollmann, commander of the 7th Army was away from his headquarters as well, attending a war game in Rennes and Sepp Dietrich, commander of the 1SS Panzer Corps was in Brussels.
When the first Allied troops landed early in the morning, Generalfieldmarshall von Rundstedt tried to get the permission from Hitler to bring Dietrich's divisions forward, but Hitler's aides didn't want to wake up the dictator , who liked to sleep in. The permission was only granted in the late afternoon. By then many bridges and railway lines required to move these divisions were destroyed by either Allied bombers or the French resistance.

Montgomery's master plan was to use the British and Canadian forces in the east to tie up as many German troops as possible, while the Americans would swing around in the west. In the end it worked, though it was a gamble.

Unfortunately the Normandy landing captured all the attention, detracting from other operations, like the Saleron and Anzio landings in Italy. The British parlamentarian Lady Astor made some nasty comments about the "lazy D-day dodgers enjoying Italy", leading to the famous song "We asre the D-day dodgers, way down in Italy...".

BTW, the Russians started a major offensive at the same time as the western Allieds landed in the Normandy.

Jan
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dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:20 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 21):
In the end it worked, though it was a gamble.

Ironically the plan only worked because they brought Montys worst Allied enemy into the theatre.....Patton.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:51 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 22):
Montys worst Allied enemy into the theatre.....Patton

The difference between Patton and Montgomery is that there was no difference . . . both arrogant SOBs that were tactical geniuses, IMO.

As for Patton, the 1970 movie was okay, but a bit biased since the Senior Military Advisor was Omar Bradley . . . he and Patton never really got along either. Of course, Patton could run circles around Bradley and other field commander past and present (except perhaps Schwarzkopf maybe).

He turned the tables on the German Army after his landing on the continent after D-Day using German Blitzkreig tactics . . . until this present war in Iraq, no US military unit of that size (3rd US Army) had ever moved farther and faster and inflicted more damage . . . until of course, they ran themselves out of fuel.

I don't think the German High Command feared any other General and his abilities as much as they feared Patton . . .

His lack of tact and refusal to be a politician kept his ass in the Eisenhower meat grinder. Although, in hindsight and upon reflection, I think he was more often correct than not.

An excellent book to read on Patton: Patton, Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago

If anyone's every met George Patton III, you'll know that leadership is NOT genetic. He was the Commander, 2nd Armor Division at Ft. Hood in the early 1980s. Believe my, Like Father, Like Son, does NOT apply in this case.

[Edited 2005-07-06 14:54:32]
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Greyhound
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:51 pm

Quoting Quebecair727 (Reply 16):
The first time I went there was on June 6th, 1984, on the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

Which Beach? My Grandad, I believe, went on a tour with other veterans of the 29th Inf. Division over there for the anniversary... down to Omaha Beach... I at least know he went there in '88... he died after he came back to the states.

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.

Ever heard of bloody Omaha? Read about the struggles to land on that beach... the Rangers who had to scale the cliffs near (someone correct me if I'm wrong) St. Lo.... I don't care if they faced 1 Panzer Division or 30.... One is bad enough. Pillboxes firing down on them, heavy artillery and machine gun fire everywhere, explosives and other obstacles on the beach (i.e. Belgian Gates).... sounds like a real picnic to me.
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dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:51 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
Senior Military Advisor was Omar Bradley .

WHo as you mentioned did not like Patton as a General other than his ability to fight, which, in the end, was all that mattered. Bradley admitted as much. Bradely told the truth when he advised on that movie. Monty got himself stuck and refused to adjust the plan in advancing on Caen, because his arrogance overrode his common sense. He, I think, believed he could do no wrong. Patton knew he could, and made the necessary adjustments.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
except perhaps Schwarzkopf maybe).

I'd have to give the edge to Patton on a head to head....he took more risks (measured though they were) and was more liberal with his men. That said I'm glad Schwarzkopf was in charge in 90/91.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
If anyone's every met George Patton III, you'll know that leadership is NOT genetic.

Oh how true. He was an asshole to his men....same held true with them in Vietnam. My old platoon sgt said they wanted to frag him.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
. both arrogant SOBs that were tactical geniuses, IMO

see the above....Monty could not be talked out of stupidity or overrreach (see Market Garden) whereas Patton simply learned the first time (in Sicily) what happens to parachute troops when the armor can't get to them fast enough.
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:18 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
I don't think the German High Command feared any other General and his abilities as much as they feared Patton . . .

Which is precisely why his position as the "quaker cannon" in the run-up to D-Day worked out so well. The German High Command was certain that any invasion force would be commanded by Patton. Neat bit of duplicity to give Patton command of a non-existant army.
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GDB
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:31 am

While Monty, like most famous generals, was a prima donna, you might want to look up how many German divisions were facing Monty's forces, them compare to those facing the US forces, and the US forces had it very far from easy.
If Monty, as in lazy Hollywood stereotype, was overrated, then so was Patton.
(Actually the best British general in WW2 was Slim in Burma, the worst Allied one in Europe might have been Mark Clark, a real glory seeker, as was shown in Italy).
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:38 am

Rommel was back in the Normandy on June 7th to face his old adversary and took control of the troops around and south of Caen (Caen was supposed to be captured on the first day, but the British and Canadians ran into resistance from the 21st Panzer Division and the 12 SS Panzer Division, which delayed them). Rommel also managed to bring the 2 Panzer Lehr division and von Rundstedt could get the 1 SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" and the 2 SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" both veteran units from the the Russian front) into the British/Canadian sector. The Americans in the Western sector were more or less only facing static and infantry divisions (including Fallschirmjaeger). In this aspect Montgomery's plan succeeded. Practically all German elite armoured units were directed against Caen (except for the 17th SS Panzer division, which was directed to Carrentan).
In the whole bocage landscape of the Normandy, the Germany had an advantage in the defense. The area outside Caen on the other hand, is good tank country, in open ridges. There is one ridge about five miles southeast of Caen (Bourgebus Ridge), where Rommel concentrated his armour. The British XXX Corps tried to attack Caen from the west, but at Villiers Bocage ran into German Tigers and lost 20 Cromwells to five Tigers ( the Tiger could outgun any Allied tank from a large distance, while e.g. a 76 mm Sherman only had a chance if it hit it from a close distance into the weaker armored back). They later tried a frontal assault on German positions around the town and got beaten back. Bad tactics on the ground.
Caen was captured in Operarition Goodwood (18th to 20th of July), after Rommel got badly wounded by an airstrike on the 17th.

The distributions of power on the 18th:
British sector (Caen front): British: 3 armoured divisions, 10 infantry divisions, one airborne division
Germans: 7 armoured divisions, 6 infantry divisions

American sector:
Americans: 4 armoured divisions, 13 infantry divisions
Germans: 2 armoured, one mechanised division, three infantry, one airlanding and two parachute divisions.

While I agree that the Americans in the Normandy had to fight and that it was no stroll in the park, I think that Montgomery's plan to tie up the majority of the German forces in the British sector was succeeding, allowing the Americans to swing around and outflank the Germans in the south, leading to the Falaise pocket.

Jan
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Gman94
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:50 am

I agree with GDB, it always amazes the attitude of some people when talking about the Normandy campaign in WWII. Omaha beach gets a lot of attention and rightly so but a lot of the rest of the campaign is ignored or looked down particularly from so called American 'arm chair' Generals and their assessment of Monty.

After the beaches the German threw the panzer divisions at the British and Canadian flank while the American flank could go merrily on their way grabbing the headline victories like Paris while the Brits or Canadians soaked up all the shit around Caen. Despite Monty and his plan as Allied ground commander delivering victory in Normandy ahead of schedule, Eisenhower gave him a slap in the face by relieving him of Allied ground forces commander and taking over himself despite him not being a battlefield commander. Why let winning a war get in the way of a future political career and looking good for the American voters.
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iakobos
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:32 am

The French site www.debarquement-normandie.com mentions that the locations of the 12PzSS and Pz Lehr as well as the AA Corps on the eve of D-Day were not in accordance with Rommel's plans.
The dotted areas are actual locations, the striped areas the locations according to the plan.


If so, Overlord would have run into a Panzer Corps instead of the sole (and poorly equipped) 21Pz Div, a whole different story...

Can anyone confirm this ?
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:47 am

Iakobos,

You map shows the 3rd anti aircraft corps. This corps with their powerfull 88mm AA guns, which were also very effective as AT guns, played a key role in delaying the outbreak of the British and Canadian armour at Caen. Their guns were placed along the ridge I mentioned earlier, covering open ground, and killed the British tanks southeast of Caen.

Jan
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David L
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:56 am

Didn't Rommel want to use maximum force to prevent the Allies from getting ashore while von Rundstedt wanted to wait till they'd moved inland and attack them there? Or have I got things mixed up?
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:20 am

Yes, in Rommel's opinion the invasion would be decided on the beaches. This stems from his experience with the british and Americans in the Western Desert, where he saw the might of Allied supplies (his own line of supplies being cut by the Royal Navy and the RAF). He knew that once the Allies got on dry land and organised, he wouldn't stand a chance. He also has seen Montgomery in action before.

I'm not sure about von Rundstedt, but I can imagine that he thought that he could fight a successfull battle of maneuvers, using his more experienced elite armoured divisions.

Jan
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B744F
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:50 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 18):
Go and visit Omaha beach. Look down from the prepared positions, scope out where the registered fields of fire were, and see where the shingle was compared to where the obstacles were and see what a small kill box all those men had to run through. The Omaha landing at Normandy was incredibly difficult and a damned close thing. Go and see all that and tell me that was "overglamorized".

It was nowhere near as bloody and difficult than the numerous landings in the Pacific. Iwo compared to Normandy? no comparison.

And the small number is completely true.

Total number of German divisions fighting the Allies in the West: 9

Total number of divisions fighting the Russians: almost 100

End of story
 
dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:27 pm

"It was nowhere near as bloody and difficult than the numerous landings in the Pacific. Iwo compared to Normandy? no comparison.

And the small number is completely true.

Total number of German divisions fighting the Allies in the West: 9

Total number of divisions fighting the Russians: almost 100

End of story"

Defending your ignorant and disrespectful comment is asking for more flaming. You claim that the landings at D-Day in Normandy were "overglamorized by the Allies" and not as bad as others elsewhere.

Why don't you go ask some of the veterans from both sets of event...Iwo and Omaha....see whether their experiences are similar in terms of loss, sacrifice, and terror.

Since you obviously don't understand the dimensions of what we are discussing I will explain it to you. The beaches below Colleville and had a shingle halfway from the tide line to the cliffs going up to the German positions. Every square inch was pre-registered....in other words the Germans had their tripods for the machine guns set up with delimiting knobs that allowed them to simply swing their guns from side to side and cover their own individual territory, with enough weapons fighting the actual landings to keep the entire beach covered.

To say that you can judge the difficulty and danger of taking that beach with your level of evident study (a quick googling to add to what you skimmed over in high school) is the height of ignorance....to come back and try to argue about it is putting your pride above respect and honor. It crosses into asininity.
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B744F
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RE: World War 2 Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:22 pm

I never said it was a cake walk or enjoyable, I just said it wasn't as tough as the Allies waging the Pacific war, they get none of the credit, while on the European side, the Americans and British get ALL the credit for the job completed by the Russians. I'm glad you've responded with the typical 'blah blah ignorant, blah blah google." how nice. I'm far above what level you've put me on and this discussion needs no other additions
 
quebecair727
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:51 am

Quoting Greyhound (Reply 24):
Which Beach? My Grandad, I believe, went on a tour with other veterans of the 29th Inf. Division over there for the anniversary... down to Omaha Beach... I at least know he went there in '88... he died after he came back to the states.

I went to Sword. Didn't have the time to go to others as there was so many peoples. I also stop in Arromanche where the museum is (not the Mémorial de Caen that opened ten years later).

I saw the Queen passing in front of me about few feet.

I remember having a shorth talk with a British soldier that obviously was on the Beaches on D-Day. He said he was impressed by the fact that a lot of young persons seemed interested in WWII.

The second and third time I went it wasn't on a specific anniversary so I had time to visit a little.

I have the pleasure of having friends living in Hirel on the shores of the Mont Saint-Michel bay, half way between the Mont and St-Malo. I remember the first time I went, his mother was still alive and she was telling me about the German occupation. Her own house, the one I was in on that day, was occupied briefly by the Germans back in those days.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:19 am

The landings were in so far important as they finally opened up the long demanded second front on the continent and this way releived pressure from the Russian front. Dieppe in 1942 was a test, and never intened to be anything else. It showed how not to perform an amphibious landing.

The PTO and the ETO were in so far different that. while the Japanese definitely had the greater fanatism, the Germans were much more technologically advanced (e.g. the Japanese had few tanks and all of them were very weak, the Japanese machine guns were a nightmare for the shooters etc.) and better equipped.
Also most of the American troops were green and even the British troops, which had fought the Germans in the western desert could not use their experience, which was based on tank battles on open ground in the narrow countryside of the bocage country in the Normandy.

I agree that the stress the press and politicians put on the Normandy landings takes attention away from other fronts, e.g. very few people in Europe (and probably in the US as well) know about the Burma campaign, about the battle of Meiktila, the Burma road, the Chindits, General Slim and Wingate and Merril's Marauders.

Jan
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dtwclipper
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:52 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 38):
agree that the stress the press and politicians put on the Normandy landings takes attention away from other fronts, e.g. very few people in Europe (and probably in the US as well) know about the Burma campaign, about the battle of Meiktila, the Burma road, the Chindits, General Slim and Wingate and Merril's Marauders.

I know about Burma! My father was there during the war (he's 84). Doesn't talk much about it, but I did get the story out of him. A part of the war that doesn't get mentioned very much.
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slider
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:10 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 23):
Although, in hindsight and upon reflection, I think he was more often correct than not.

Yup- and Patton predicted the Cold War before WWII was over. He foresaw the conflict with the Russians...didn't like them, didn't trust them and wanted to keep going to Moscow. Not a bad idea in hindsight.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 25):
He, I think, believed he could do no wrong. Patton knew he could, and made the necessary adjustments.

This is a good point, and not to impugn Monty, but Patton was very studious and analytical. Far more than the image of him would convey. ANC mentioned the Farago book, another good quick read is Patton on Leadership, edited by Alan Axelrod. Brilliant synopsis of Patton from several dimensions.

Quoting B744F (Reply 36):
I'm far above what level you've put me on and this discussion needs no other additions

I think it was your unfortunate choice of the word "overglamorized."

Not to dogpile you, but the singular day of June 6, 1944 changed the world. It will always remain as one of the greatest struggles of all time.
 
dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:35 pm

"I never said it was a cake walk or enjoyable, I just said it wasn't as tough as the Allies waging the Pacific war, they get none of the credit, while on the European side, the Americans and British get ALL the credit for the job completed by the Russians. "

What you did was diminish the efforts of the men at Normandy in order to make an incorrect point, and you are trying to bulldog your way into deflecting the criticism over your lack of understanding of history which I believe comes from your lack of in depth study as well as a dislike of things Western. You completely gloss over history and are incorrect on several points in your last post.
The landings at Normandy are what forced the Germans to open up a second front that took away troops from their efforts in the East. Without the landings the Germans would have been able to concentrate their efforts in the east and resisted the push back from the Russians.
The men of the Pacific campaign are well remembered for their heroism, including some of the most famous statuary and memorials in the DC area. The battles fought by those men, and not just the ground battles......sea battles and aerial battles fought in both theaters were incredible. The 8th AF in the ETO lost incredible numbers of men on missions. You don't even take into account the efforts and losses of the men serving in the CBI theater.
The Russians had one front to fight, as they ignored the Japanese theater until the very last moment, especially after they were reliably informed by their spy (who was hanged by the Japanese) that the Japanese army in Manchuria was not going to invade Russian territory, and they were able to bring their Siberian forces to the West and turn the tide at Moscow and Stalingrad. If anything the Russians had their job made easier for them by the ability of the US and UK (including the Indian Army along with the Aussies and NZs who had not been sent to Africa), and other Allies to fight on both fronts relieving the Russians of the necessity of doing so....which would have broken them. The Russians were only able to maintain their war efforts due to the bravery and sacrifice of the naval and merchant marine forces on the Murmansk runs supplying the Russian war machine. Had those supplies stopped the Russians would have been fighting with broomsticks and molotov cocktails.

Tell you what....go study the war, speak to veterans about their experiences, and find a way to express an opinion that does not diminish the actions of the men who freed Europe, and then feel free to participate in a historical discussion where serious students of history seek to learn and broaden.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 2:56 pm

Ian,

While Western material support (lend-lease) was critical up to 1943, due to most of Russia's industrial capacity having been badly affected by the German attack, appr. from this year on industrial production of the factories moved behind the Ural mountains kicked in and they became more and more selfsufficient.
The reason why the Japanese were very reluctant to attack Siberia in 1941 (even though Hitler pushed them to do it) was because the Manchurian Army had tried it several times in the 1930s and got it's nose bloodied badly by a young general named Chuikov (name rings a bell?).
The spy you are talking about was a German communist sleeper named Richard Sorge, who on order of the communist party, outwardly became a Nazi in the 1930s and made carreer in the German diplomatic service, were he was posted in the German embassy in Tokyo.
In Teheran it was agreed that the Russians (provided there was no Japanese attack on their territory in Asia) would concentrate all their power on defeating Germany, leaving the PTO to the Americans and British, but after a defeat of Germany would move their troops to Asia within three months (imagine the logistical problems of moving their whole army 10,000 km eastwards) and join in from Siberia. This is exactly what they did and without the nuclear bombs, of which nobody knew in 1941-1942, they would have done their share in defeating Japan.
Stalin pushed the western powers for a long time to open a second front in Europe to remove pressure from his western front (as a joke Russian soldiers called the led-lease cans of Spam the "second front". This "Roosevelt Sausage" was very popular with the Russian soldiers).

Jan
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B744F
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:16 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 41):
What you did was diminish the efforts of the men at Normandy in order to make an incorrect point, and you are trying to bulldog your way into deflecting the criticism over your lack of understanding of history which I believe comes from your lack of in depth study as well as a dislike of things Western. You completely gloss over history and are incorrect on several points in your last post.

Thats completley ridiculous, you are glossing over history yourself. Pointing out that the battle at Normady was not as tough as the Battle at say, Iwo, is just stating history.

You obviously have the typical problem of attacking what somebody says when you really have no idea what they're talking about

Quoting DL021 (Reply 41):
Tell you what....go study the war, speak to veterans about their experiences, and find a way to express an opinion that does not diminish the actions of the men who freed Europe, and then feel free to participate in a historical discussion where serious students of history seek to learn and broaden.

I can feel free to do whatever I want whenever I want, who the hell are you?

You are overglamorizing a small step in the big war and I find it ridiculous. The Russians were the ones who made the fighting easier for the rest of the Allies, talk about glossing over history... And the Africa capaign? German supplies stretched thin with not a big enough force, fighting in unfamiliar land that was basically worth less. A pointless attempt to take over the world by Hitler, another one of his mistakes.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:36 am

Actually the Arica campaign was ordered by Hitler to save Mussolini's neck. Northern Africa was the Italian sphere of influnece as agreed between Germany, Japan and Italy. Mussolini dreamt about recreating the Roman empire around the Mediterranean, but when he attacked Egypt, which was at this time under British influence (due to the enormous strategic importance of the Suez Canal for the British Empire), he bit more than he could swallow. His troops got badly beaten and Mussolini asked hitler for assistance. Hitler couldn't drop one of the few allies he had, so he had the Afrikakorps set up and sent to Northern Africa. There, the combined German and Italian troops managed first to drive the British and Commonwealth troops back, until they got stopped at El Alamein by Montgomery, this was followed by several seesaw movements, with Tobruk changing hands several times. Finaly the Royal Navy and the RAF managed to cut Rommel's supply lines, upon which Rommel's troops were forced to retreat to Tunisia. Even there they bloodied the fresh American troops at the Casserinpass.

Jan
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Greyhound
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:48 am

Quoting B744F (Reply 43):
Pointing out that the battle at Normady was not as tough as the Battle at say, Iwo, is just stating history.

You appear to be going off strictly numbers alone.

Quoting B744F (Reply 43):
You obviously have the typical problem of attacking what somebody says when you really have no idea what they're talking about

Sounds like a deflection of criticism to me too....

Quoting B744F (Reply 43):
You are overglamorizing a small step in the big war and I find it ridiculous.

Do you think taking Iwo Jima was as critical to allied success as landing troops at Normandy? What did Iwo Jima provide in the end? A spot for airbases? You can't invade Japan with just airplanes.... I don't have the facts of what the allies did after they secured Iwo in front of me.... but how big of a strategic asset was it? I don't dispute at all that Iwo Jima was more bloody than D-Day. In terms of lives lost, Iwo won there hands down. No contest. Still, that just means it was bloodier. You invade Normandy, you have 3 fronts by which to attack Germany if you're the allies... Italy (the landings at Anzio), France (Normandy) and of course the Russian front. If you're invading Japan, what do you get out of Iwo? maybe at most besides the airfields a base for troops... what else? You'll still have to load those troops and armor onto troop ships and ship them off to the coast of Japan...

What happens if you don't take Normandy? There's still two fronts in between Italy and Russia... but how much quicker and with how much less loss would it be if the allies didn't carry out Overlord?

I agree with you again that Iwo and other battles like it (namely Okinawa) were more bloody than D-Day, no question, but as to your above statement... D-Day was by no means a "small step".
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B744F
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:43 am

I just used Iwo as an exampe of one of the many bloody battles that gets no credit. The landing at Normandy pulled 9 whole German divisions away from the almost 100 that were fighting on the Eastern front is that a big of a deal? ... while the Russians could have taken Berlin themselves given the time (and later did).

So now here is my original quote, please tell me what is incorrect about this? (hint: nothing)

You, like everyone else in this thread who attacked me, really didn't read it correctly and took offense to something that wasn't ment to insult anybody, it was just ment to inform people that there were other battles out there that nobody really knows about, and how those "red" bastards get absolutely no credit for the job they did.

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.
 
dl021
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 1:29 pm

The Normandy landings were the largest operation of the European war to that point, and they were the most important of the Western front, period.

The Iwo invasion was necessary, but not as important in the grand scheme. Tinian was the airfield we had to have, Iwo was the alternate we wanted in order to bomb Japan and Okinawa so that damaged or malfunctioning bombers could divert.

There were also Japanese radar pickets on the island we wanted to destroy. We could have done without it, but it was worth the price in terms of airmen saved by its availability.
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allstarflyer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:37 pm

Quoting DL021 (Reply 18):



Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 19):



Quoting AR1300 (Reply 20):

I have to agree with these 3, B744F. Your following comment is, at the least, reaching:

Quoting B744F (Reply 17):
If you thought that beach landing was bad, just read about the fight in the Pacific... D-Day was over-glamorized as the Allies in that region faced a small number of German divisions, most taken away to fight the Russians long ago.



Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 21):
If Hitler e.g. would have let his generals use the armoured reserve freely instead of locking it at Calais, where he still expected the main invasion to come, it might have turned out as a major disaster for the Allies.

This is a huge reason the Allies were able to continue the advance. Along the lines of what DL021 stated in the following quote, Germany basically had the entire shoreline covered where they thought a beachlanding could occur. With the fast-as-lightning advances of the Germans and with how much land they occupied in Western Europe, add to the fact that their advances had left Britain as the lone defense against German aggression in Western Europe, and then add to the fact that Hitler was the single most recognizable and feared enemy of the Allies (because he started the whole thing and made the most pressing advances - though the Japanese expansion into the Pacific was considerable by any means, it doesn't measure to Hitler's ability to bring basically an entire continent - and Europe for that matter - to its knees) - to make any successful landing against what would have been virtually impregnable defenses of the German forces (if the Germans had been able to turn their armor towards "freely" as Jan states in post 21) is widely considered the turning point of World War II - more so than MacArthur's success in island-hopping towards Japan, more so than the Russians resurgence against the Germans at Stalingrad - more than anything. It was a blunt presentation that showed that the Axis forces could be met on their home turf and turned back. Overglamorization isn't the correct word for that event when comparing the significance with any other battle in the war - D-Day gets proper acknowledgement as the single-most recognized event of WWII.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 35):
The beaches below Colleville and had a shingle halfway from the tide line to the cliffs going up to the German positions. Every square inch was pre-registered....in other words the Germans had their tripods for the machine guns set up with delimiting knobs that allowed them to simply swing their guns from side to side and cover their own individual territory, with enough weapons fighting the actual landings to keep the entire beach covered.

These guys further elaborate:

Quoting Slider (Reply 40):
Not to dogpile you, but the singular day of June 6, 1944 changed the world. It will always remain as one of the greatest struggles of all time.



Quoting DL021 (Reply 47):
The Normandy landings were the largest operation of the European war to that point, and they were the most important of the Western front, period.

The Iwo invasion was necessary, but not as important in the grand scheme.

Perhaps this isn't the most accurate analogy, but, to me, 6/6/44 was an important doorway in time - if the Allies had been able to walk through that door (as they did), the German army would eventually have fallen (as it did). If the Allies could not have done that, we're left to speculate what would have happened - but morale would have been shot completely - the Allies would have either have had to bring thousands of more troops and support(along with several weeks/months more of planning) for another attack or they would have had to try to attack from an entirely different point on the European continent. This would have given Germany ample time to reinforce their defenses, and who knows what would have happened with all of that. The only other single event of the war that comes close to comparing to D-Day (to me) is Stalingrad. Pearl Harbor was a wakeup, the Pacific theatre was a drawn-out grind - D-Day was the event of the war.

-R
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War 2 Question

Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:07 pm

Quoting Allstarflyer (Reply 48):
Overglamorization isn't the correct word for that event when comparing the significance with any other battle in the war - D-Day gets proper acknowledgement as the single-most recognized event of WWII.

I think in Europe and the Mediterranean there were several battles of the same magnitude:
The Battle of Britain
El Alamein, it marked the point from which on Germans were not advancing anymore and it proved that they could be beaten back.
Leningrad: No matter what they tried, the Germans could not break the defense of this town.
Stalingrad: The loss of a complete army turned the fortunes on the eastern front and gave the Russians an enormous moral boost.
Kursk


In the Pacific it would have been the battle of the Coral Sea, marking the end of Japan's expansion,
Midway, which relieved the Japanse navy of their best pilots and aircraft carriers, the battle of Sinzweya in Burma, which, for the first time took territory back from the Japanese Army etc.


Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi

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