Caen??




 
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January 29th, 2016  
JOC
 
 

Topic: Caen??


The battle for Caen was a bloody victory for the Common Wealth. Churchill worried about the WW1 type stalemate as the Germans held off the British and the Canadians for nearly 2 months.

The allies lost > 50 thousand men, not including the airmen lost and thousands of AFV’s destroyed. Montgomery sent in the tanks row by row one after the other, which often made them sitting ducks for the Germans who had the high ground.

Using Tiger and Panther tanks and 88 guns the Germans could destroy the allied tanks at a greater distance than the allied could destroy a German tank or 88. In fact just about any German tank could outrange the allies except for the Sherman Firefly which was in short supply at the time.

Could this 2 month long allied stalemate have been avoided?
January 30th, 2016  
BritinAfrica
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOC
The battle for Caen was a bloody victory for the Common Wealth. Churchill worried about the WW1 type stalemate as the Germans held off the British and the Canadians for nearly 2 months.

The allies lost > 50 thousand men, not including the airmen lost and thousands of AFV’s destroyed. Montgomery sent in the tanks row by row one after the other, which often made them sitting ducks for the Germans who had the high ground.

Using Tiger and Panther tanks and 88 guns the Germans could destroy the allied tanks at a greater distance than the allied could destroy a German tank or 88. In fact just about any German tank could outrange the allies except for the Sherman Firefly which was in short supply at the time.

Could this 2 month long allied stalemate have been avoided?
It was such a terrible loss of human life and equipment, and as you say only the Sherman Firefly could get within range.

In 1962, British Official historian L. F. Ellis wrote that "Twenty-First Army Group's persistent pressure had compelled Rommel to make good a shortage of infantry by using his armour defensively. The strongest armoured divisions were clustered around that eastern flank until the American army had reached a position from which it was ready to break through the less heavily guarded western front." Overy wrote that von Kluge warned Hitler that the German left flank had collapsed following Operation Cobra and "The choice was between holding at Caen and abandoning western France, or dividing German forces between two battles, and risking collapse in both." Hitler compromised by ordering the German army to hold in front of Caen, while armoured forces were diverted to tackle the American attack. "The result was predictable. Strong British and Canadian thrusts both sides of Caen immobilised the German forces and intercepted those driving towards the American front." Ford called the battle for Caen a pyrrhic victory; the War Office had forecast that the 21st Army Group would have suffered 65,751 casualties by 7 August and actual casualties were 50,539 men.
January 30th, 2016  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOC
The battle for Caen was a bloody victory for the Common Wealth. Churchill worried about the WW1 type stalemate as the Germans held off the British and the Canadians for nearly 2 months.

The allies lost > 50 thousand men, not including the airmen lost and thousands of AFV’s destroyed. Montgomery sent in the tanks row by row one after the other, which often made them sitting ducks for the Germans who had the high ground.

Using Tiger and Panther tanks and 88 guns the Germans could destroy the allied tanks at a greater distance than the allied could destroy a German tank or 88. In fact just about any German tank could outrange the allies except for the Sherman Firefly which was in short supply at the time.

Could this 2 month long allied stalemate have been avoided?
The offensives by the Commonwealth forces might have been redundant, if they had fixed the Germans around Caen instead of launching the attacks, the losses might have been lesser for the Allies. The terrain in Normandy was suited for defense and the Germans were able to fix the Allies for an extended period of time. During the planning phase of Overlord, the planners underestimated the terrain beyond the beaches.
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January 30th, 2016  
JOC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by I3BrigPvSk
The offensives by the Commonwealth forces might have been redundant, if they had fixed the Germans around Caen instead of launching the attacks, the losses might have been lesser for the Allies. The terrain in Normandy was suited for defense and the Germans were able to fix the Allies for an extended period of time. During the planning phase of Overlord, the planners underestimated the terrain beyond the beaches.
The allies underestimated both the terrain and the Germans ability to fight a defensive war (gained from the bitter war in the USSR for many of the divisions). During the entire Normandy campaign both sides lost well over 200 thousand men killed and wounded. The relatively small area around Caen was a cauldron of destruction.
January 30th, 2016  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOC
The allies underestimated both the terrain and the Germans ability to fight a defensive war (gained from the bitter war in the USSR for many of the divisions). During the entire Normandy campaign both sides lost well over 200 thousand men killed and wounded. The relatively small area around Caen was a cauldron of destruction.
Yes, and the Germans were pretty good with a defensive war in 1944. They got a lot of practice.
January 31st, 2016  
JOC
 
 
The hedgerow fighting was compared to jungle warfare.
January 31st, 2016  
I3BrigPvSk
 
 
I can understand the British attitude and willingness to breakout from the bridgehead in Normandy. They were pretty worried about a repeat of the previous war. The British and their Commonwealth allies had a shortage of well trained infantry and staying in the bridgehead had increased the causalities among the infantry.

The German counteroffensive at Mortain after the American breakthrough wasn't the best move by the Germans, they were loading more troops into the trap set by the allies.
February 1st, 2016  
lljadw
 
An other Montgomery bashing .
February 1st, 2016  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lljadw
An other Montgomery bashing .
Why shouldn't Montgomery take some of the heat?

I am somewhat conflicted in my opinion of the guy as my father and uncles served under him in North Africa and some of Italy and they thought highly of him so who am I to argue with them however he also claimed a lot of credit for El Alamein which really wasn't his plan and he completely ballsed up Caen, Market Garden then tried to pretend that it was all part of his "plan".

There is no doubt he was liked by his troops and that must count for a lot but at the same time he was a vain, egotistical, show boater who's inability to think of anyone but himself got a lot of men killed needlessly.
February 2nd, 2016  
JOC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Why shouldn't Montgomery take some of the heat?

I am somewhat conflicted in my opinion of the guy as my father and uncles served under him in North Africa and some of Italy and they thought highly of him so who am I to argue with them however he also claimed a lot of credit for El Alamein which really wasn't his plan and he completely ballsed up Caen, Market Garden then tried to pretend that it was all part of his "plan".

There is no doubt he was liked by his troops and that must count for a lot but at the same time he was a vain, egotistical, show boater who's inability to think of anyone but himself got a lot of men killed needlessly.
Monty I couldn't have summed it better, well said.
 


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