Erwin Rommel vs Gerd Von Rundsted : Defense Of Normandy - Page 2




 
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May 21st, 2010  
Partisan
 
 
Grat stuff, great conversation.

From my perspective the best form of defence is attack. Strike early, strike hard and strike as far out as possible.

This approach requires a couple of things -
1. A knowledge of your enemy's direction of attack. So whilst the Germans knew the allies were coming, they didn't know where or when, they could not spread their forces across the coast, thus Von Runstedts approach makes more sense.
2. An understanding of the basic operational objectives of your enemy - to establish a beachhead, but what were the immediate objectives? Unknown, again Rommel's belief that Normandy was the target area was only a belief, so Von Runstedt seems to win out.
3. An intimate knowledge / appreciation of the terrain. Here Rommel had the right of it, but the Germans lacked the resources to completely man Festung Europa on the French coast.

For me Von Runstedt was nearer to the possibility of blunting an allied advance, through concentraion of firepower and effort. Rommel had the greater chance of defeating some of the landings, but not all, the sheer amount of firepower that was lined up by the allies was inconceivable and has not (I believe) ever been repeated.

So far I've talked about the 2 dimensions of sea and land and not mentioned air power, where the allies were able to achieve local air superiority as a minimum and thus pose a significan threat to large enemy formations, which would make Von Runstedts strategy a risky proposition at best. I'm not even goign to cover the points made earlier on about control of reserves, operational quality, lines of communication, operational cohesion and capability.

In conclusion the Germans had a massive coastal area to protect, against a focussed and deliberate attack using all aspects of land, sea and air weaponry - their only choice was that of the humble infantryman, dig down, suck it up and come out fighting.

Operation Overlord was a hugely risky operation, but it was like a juggernaut once it started, of course for the troops on the ground it must have been so much more than a theoretical exercise in whose strategy was superior, because at the end of the day it is the soldier that makes these grand strategies happen, not the general.
May 21st, 2010  
fuser
 
 
Basically what I think that german lost out because of the logistic problems..
The success of "overlord" was very much dependent on deception operations like "operation fortitude and operation bodyguard"..
Even rommel started to believe that invasion will occur on Pas de Calais at latter stage.....And no one expecting it on 6th june........It was a complete surprise both location and timing....

But I have a feeling that if german could have been successful in pin pointing the location and time, there was a good chance of success of rommel's plan... With heavily fortified defense position supported by armoured units.. I do think that allied invasion could have been repelled at beaches only resulting in prolonging of war and less sharre of world for western allies...

As far as air superiority goes, I think yes it was an important factor but given the scenario I present its effect could have been highly minimized..

Take the example of gustav line or battle of monte casino, Allies had full air superiority but it was never really a great help to allies ground forces With proper use of terrain and defensive positions (without any armoured units), Germans repelled I think 3 or 4 offensives of allies.........
May 21st, 2010  
-- Dusty
 
 
Logistics is a problem for any military serving away from home.
I feel that Rommel's plan was the better of the two, far better to keep the Allied forces from gaining a foothold. This is best from the physical and mental standpoints. The psychological wear and tear of not succeeding would have been enormous to the Allied troops.

I feel that Rommel had a great plan, but if used with air and naval support, I think it's fair to say that the Allied troops would not have won not only that battle, but possibly a huge set back if not a defeat for the entire European theatre.

Air support certainly would have been difficult, but it could have been done. Naval would have been a tremendous aide in the defense, not in surface ships, but submarine forces.
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May 21st, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuser
Basically what I think that german lost out because of the logistic problems..
The success of "overlord" was very much dependent on deception operations like "operation fortitude and operation bodyguard"..
Even rommel started to believe that invasion will occur on Pas de Calais at latter stage.....And no one expecting it on 6th june........It was a complete surprise both location and timing....

But I have a feeling that if german could have been successful in pin pointing the location and time, there was a good chance of success of rommel's plan... With heavily fortified defense position supported by armoured units.. I do think that allied invasion could have been repelled at beaches only resulting in prolonging of war and less sharre of world for western allies...

As far as air superiority goes, I think yes it was an important factor but given the scenario I present its effect could have been highly minimized..

Take the example of gustav line or battle of monte casino, Allies had full air superiority but it was never really a great help to allies ground forces With proper use of terrain and defensive positions (without any armoured units), Germans repelled I think 3 or 4 offensives of allies.........
Yes but the Gustav line and Monte Casino were very defensible mountainous positions that were made stronger through Allied bombing by breaking up the terrain for the allied armour and providing ready made strong points for the Germans, this is vastly different to defending a fairly flat beach while the opposition pounds you from both air and sea with high caliber weaponry and ordinance.

With the Italian campaign the Germans were withdrawing into prepared strong points with no consideration given to large scale counter offensives so there was little chance that the Allied air force was going to catch German forces Marshalling prior to an attack, France is a somewhat different terrain and using examples such as the time it took reinforcements to get from the rear to the Normandy front and the fact that most movement had to be carried out at night to avoid air attack surely indicates the effect that air power had on that region of the war.

Further examples would be the counter offensive of the 21st Panzer Division on D-Day which was smashed by allied naval power and Operation Luttich which was known in advance by ULTRA and almost the attack almost destroyed on the first morning by allied fighter bombers catching the armour in the open during daylight, not to mention the effect of heavy bombing on Panzer Lehr during July 1944 which left the division with 14 operational tanks by the end of July.
May 21st, 2010  
fuser
 
 
Well the terrain at Normany was very much favourable for defenders, yes ofcourse not as much as was the mountainous region of Monte Casino..
But Defense plan at normandy (Acc. to Rommel) were never completed....
They never really utilized the terrain to full effect that is what I think

But then its all speculation basically loosely speaking it was the naval and air forces who won the war in west where as in east it was the ground forces...
May 21st, 2010  
Naddoğur
 
 

Topic: VON RUNDSTEDT EXPLAINS


http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/rundstedt/index.html
May 21st, 2010  
hardlec
 
Perhaps one thing that would have made a difference: Neither Rommel nor Von Rundstedt ever conducted amphibious operations.

Rommel's beach obstacles: Did they work? The Japanese did not litter the beaches with hedgehogs, I can see two sides to this argument.

Rommel's Asparagus is mainly the poles set up in parachute landing zones. This did cause Air Drops to be shifted. Was it worth the cost?

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the hedgehogs and Belgian gates were cut up and made into hedgerow cutters....
May 27th, 2010  
Doppleganger
 
 
I'd side with Rundstedt myself, an officer with far greater experience of large scale formations than Rommel. Consider too that Rommel's plans were partly influenced by political considerations, whereas Rundstedt's were not. Rundstedt's plans involved the proper use of superior German armour, whereas Rommel's aim was to use them more piecemeal. I know Rommel seemed overly concerned with Allied air power, but being in range of Allied naval guns was not really helping matters. Guderian supporting Rundstedt is also another plus point. Guderian had his faults, but correct use of armour was not one of them.

Rommel in 1944 was just too politically motivated for his judgement to be taken purely for military grounds. Rundstedt, however, was a professional soldier right to the end.
May 28th, 2010  
Korean Seaboy
 
 
Rundstedt's strategy with the tanks was right I think. The main reason why it took the Allies so long to trample around Europe was because of supply problems. Looking back, if Rundstedt's strategy was put into place, the tanks could easily disrupt the supply lines, which would have seriously weakened the Allies's advancement and postponed the push long enough for Germany to send in reinforcements. Tanks were easily proven to cause supply problems for the enemy when used for that purpose, and put together with already serious supply problems, the Allies would not have crossed France, or even Paris.
May 28th, 2010  
Korean Seaboy
 
 
However, Rommel's overall strategy of defense in the West was congratulatable. If only he had concentrated on defending the inland but not the beaches (the breakthrough of the beach landings would be inevitable in any place because of the sheer mass which the Allies used and the unpredictability of the landing point). If he had concentrated on using his forces inland to fight the Allies there, he might have at least postponed them by making their supply problems even worse.
 


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