Erwin Rommel vs Gerd Von Rundsted : Defense Of Normandy




 
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May 19th, 2010  
fuser
 
 

Topic: Erwin Rommel vs Gerd Von Rundsted : Defense Of Normandy


Hitler apoointed Rommel and Rundsted for defense of Europe against a possible allied invasion.. But both of them argued for different tactics..

Rommel concluded that during the Allied offensive any German tank movement would be nearly impossible due to overwhelming Allied air superiority. He argued that the tank forces should be dispersed in small units and kept in heavily fortified positions as close to the front as possible, so they would not have to move far and en masse when the invasion started.
Basically he wanted to stop the invasion at beeches.

But Rundestd concluded that there was no way to stop the invasion near the beaches due to the equally overwhelming firepower of the Allied navies. He felt the tanks should be formed into large units well inland near Paris where they could allow the allies to extend into France and then cut off the Allied troops.
Another famous general Heinz Guderian sided with Rundestdt....

Finally tank forces were ordered to be placed in middle but became virtually impossible for rommel to use them...

What do you think which approach would have been more appropriate??
Was there any chance of repelling the invasion at beeches by following the rommel's plan..
May 19th, 2010  
hardlec
 

Topic: Failed Landing?


The US recipe for opposed landings was pretty effective, as evidenced by numerous landings in Europe and the Pacific:

Plaster the landing site with Bombs, not just the beaches, but the surrounding areas to disrupt communication and transportation. Maybe do this to several locations to keep the enemy guessing.
On the D-Day, suppress the enemy beach defences with air and navel bombardment.

Land with overwhelming numbers and push inland as fast as possible.

The Japanese tried letting the allies land with a planned counterattack when the beaches were crowded with supplies but before the allies had really set up their artillery.
They were unsuccessful.

The Japanese and the Nazis both tried to stop landings on the beaches with strong defences right on the water. I don't recall this working either.

Since neither stratagem was shown to work, neither seems to be better.

Rommel and Von Rundstedt also disagreed as to where the invasion would take place. Von Rundstedt believed, as the Austrian Corporal, that the invasion would come at Calais.

Since the Invasion of Europe was successful and neither plan seems to have worked in any other invasion, I'd have to say both men were wrong. Had Rommel had mobile forces to send to the Beaches right away, it is possible the Allies would have lost Omaha beach, but Gold, Juno, Sword and Utah would not have fallen, and the Invasion would have been successful.

Don't forget the British and Canadian beaches.
May 19th, 2010  
LeEnfield
 
 
Well the Americans landing at Omaha was nearly stopped in it's tracks and strong consideration was given to with drawing the the troops from the beach.
If the Germans had waited to the allies to near Paris before starting the counter attack it would have been far to late as the the strength of the Allies would have prevailed.
For either of these options to have worked the Germans would have needed more air control that they ever could get plus they did not have the man power or equipment to challenge the Allies and the Russians at the same time.
The American landings in the Pacific now again they overwhelmed the Japanese with just about every thing, and no I am not knocking the American fighting spirit. The Japanese on most of the Islands had been cut off and did not get resupplied with men or ammunition or food and with out these basics then there can only be one outcome to the battles
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May 19th, 2010  
Naddoğur
 
 
Unlike other senior army leaders, Rommel had had experience with the air power the Anglo-American powers would bring to the battlefield, as well as with their immense logistical capabilities. For other German leaders, especially Hitler, American and British military capabilities simply did not appear nearly as threatening as they did to Rommel. To a considerable extent, the memories of British defeats in the desert in 1941 and 1942 and the American defeat at Kasserine Pass clouded German judgment. Nor had the Allied campaign in Sicily and southern Italy looked particularly impressive. Yet Rommel understood that both the British and especially the American armies possessed steadily improving military capabilities.

Rommel's experiences in North Africa as well as his recognition of Germany's overall strategic situation had led him to very different conclusions as to how the Wehrmacht should defend northwestern Europe. From early 1944, Rommel argued that the Germans must defend against the coming invasion on the beaches. If the Wehrmacht failed to defeat the Allies at the water's edge, the superiority of Anglo-American air power and logistics would inevitably enable them to build up their forces on the Continent more quickly than the Germans could. The result would be an inevitable defeat that would end whatever chance the Reich had to achieve a compromise peace.

But Rommel's was an overwhelmingly minority viewpoint. His immediate superior, the venerable Gerd von Rundstedt, supported a completely different approach to the defense of northwestern France. The Wehrmacht's senior active-duty field marshal found his position strongly supported by the commander of German armored forces in the West, General Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg. The Rundstedt–Geyr von Schweppenburg operational solution basically posited that there was nothing they could do to prevent a successful Allied landing. Instead, they championed tactics much in consonance with German operational and tactical doctrine, as expressed in Die Truppenführung (Troop Leadership), the Wehrmacht's basic doctrinal manual. The two generals argued that German forces in the West should concentrate available armored forces for a massive counterattack against the Allies once they were ashore. From their perspective, the panzer forces should be held back from the coast; then once the Allies had landed, the panzers would concentrate and move forward to counterattack. German armor would also then be available to execute a mobile defense that would utilize superior Wehrmacht training, tactics and equipment.

In retrospect, Rommel had a far better understanding of the military situation than either Rundstedt or Schweppenburg, who failed to give sufficient weight to the power that the Allies' air forces could bring to their attack. With the Luftwaffe deeply engaged in opposing the strategic bomber offensive over occupied Europe and in the East, it could do little to prevent swarms of Allied aircraft from destroying any large concentration of panzers the Germans were able to assemble. It would also prevent any sort of mobile defense. The inevitable result would be a huge Allied army advancing across Europe and the Reich's final defeat. Moreover, Rommel believed imposing heavier losses on the Allies would only serve to make them eager to impose a harsher peace on a defeated Germany.

In the end, the Germans instituted neither defensive concept. They did not deploy their armored reserves close to the beaches -- as Rommel had wished -- or in a concentrated reserve as Rundstedt and Schweppenburg had advised. Instead, Hitler placed the panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions under the OKW; thus, only he could authorize their movement forward to meet the Allied invasion forces. And if the Führer was not available to make that decision, nothing was going to happen. Because neither Rommel nor Rundstedt was in command of the reserve divisions, the chance of rapid intervention against Allied landings by the available reserves had evaporated even before the first Allied troops waded ashore.
May 19th, 2010  
Naddoğur
 
 

Topic: The bloodshed on Omaha


One of the great myths of World War II has been that the 352nd Division's presence in the area of Omaha Beach was a surprise to Allied intelligence. It was not. In fact, while the 352nd was responsible for defending the area to the north and northwest of Bayeux, the division commander, Maj. Gen. Dietrich Kraiss, held most of his infantry battalions back from the beaches as a counterattack force -- an approach again in accordance with basic German doctrine.


When Rommel arrived in the area in early May, he was upset at the division's dispositions and immediately ordered Kraiss to move more of his force up to defend the beaches. Supported by his corps commander, Lt. Gen. Erich Marcks, who had been one of the early planners for Operation Barbarossa, Kraiss ignored Rommel's order. Of the 10 infantry and five artillery battalions that Kraiss had available, he placed only one artillery battalion and two infantry battalions along the Omaha Beach sector. This decision makes even less sense when one realizes that he deployed two-thirds of his force in reserve or in position to defend the western sector of his area of responsibility -- where no amphibious landing could possibly take place.


Although the bloodshed on Omaha was appalling, the Americans there were indeed lucky that they only had to face two battalions of enemy infantry on June 6. Had Kraiss obeyed Rommel's instructions, it is likely that the Omaha Beach landing would have failed -- with considerable consequences for the Allies' ability to link together the British and American beaches.
May 19th, 2010  
Naddoğur
 
 

Topic: Could the Germans have won at D-Day?


Perhaps, but I don’t think so. Also a German victory in Normandy could have affected the general outcome of the war in a very bad way.

The Soviets were winning on the Eastern Front anyway and could have conquered most of Germany or even France if the Allies had not managed to establish a beachhead in Normandy

There's no way Germany could have won in Normandy unless they could contest Allied control of the air. Rommel knew from his experiences in Africa that any German army forced to fight under Allied control of the air was doomed.

I've often wondered if positioning their armour nearer the beaches would have made a difference. Probably, but I still think Allied fighter bombers would have chewed them up.
May 19th, 2010  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuser
Hitler apoointed Rommel and Rundsted for defense of Europe against a possible allied invasion.. But both of them argued for different tactics..

Rommel concluded that during the Allied offensive any German tank movement would be nearly impossible due to overwhelming Allied air superiority. He argued that the tank forces should be dispersed in small units and kept in heavily fortified positions as close to the front as possible, so they would not have to move far and en masse when the invasion started.
Basically he wanted to stop the invasion at beeches.

But Rundestd concluded that there was no way to stop the invasion near the beaches due to the equally overwhelming firepower of the Allied navies. He felt the tanks should be formed into large units well inland near Paris where they could allow the allies to extend into France and then cut off the Allied troops.
Another famous general Heinz Guderian sided with Rundestdt....

Finally tank forces were ordered to be placed in middle but became virtually impossible for rommel to use them...

What do you think which approach would have been more appropriate??
Was there any chance of repelling the invasion at beeches by following the rommel's plan..
Rommel was absolutely correct (which is hard to admit given that I think Rommel was over rated) the only way to stop the Allies was on the beach because once the Allied juggernaut got established ashore defeat was a foregone conclusion.

The problem for the Germans was not manpower or armour they easily had material on the ground at the D-Day beaches to repel a large scale landing, what they didn't have though was the air power to stop a landing.

The problem for Rundstedt and Guderian's plan was that not only would they be facing a strong army on the ground they would also be facing a massive and well equipped air force based just behind the Allied front lines so any massive counter offensive by the Germans would have met with destruction before it even got underway especially given the Allied ULTRA program would have informed them of the plan weeks in advance.

The only hope Germany had was that by the 6th of June 1944 Germany had rebuilt the Luftwaffe in the West because even with limited Luftwaffe air superiority or even parity operation Overlord would not have gone ahead.
May 20th, 2010  
hardlec
 
I am not sure of the German unit involved, however:
The USS Texas was in the Channel giving support to allied troops with her 14 inch guns. A German Armored regiment measured her range and began to form up for a counter-attack just outside the Dreadnought's range. The Captain of the Texas ordered flooding of the torpedo bulges on the seaward side of the ship, creating a list, which gave the ship's guns some extra elevation. Enough Elevation to put the Germans in range, with enough firepower to shred a regiment. (Don't mess with Texas.)

The Allies had Battleships with 14, 15 and 16 inch guns in the channel, and they could co-ordinate their fire with soldiers on the beach. This is a pretty grim situation for the Germans.
At Omaha, a Destroyer came close ashore and assisted the troops with precise direct fire. A 5-inch naval rifle is a very powerful weapon to use on most ground targets. So were the 6 inch and 8 inch guns. Both the USN and the RN gunners knew their business.
Naval fire was a nightmare to the Germans.
BUT :
The Naval firepower was available because the Allies had Air Superiority and could risk their ships in the Channel. At Dunkirk, the shoe was on the other foot, the Royal Navy did what it could but faced a rain of lethal steel from the air.

If Rommel had reserves close to the beach, would they have survived to make a counter attack or would the RN, USN, RAF and USAAF pounded them to scrap metal?
If Von Rundstedt's counter attack have gone off, would it have met a similar fate, only delayed a few days?

I don't think either Rommel or Von Rundstedt was wrong. I don't think it would have mattered.
Not only did the Allies have an excellent plan, excellent execution and excellent leadership, the Austrian Corporal was convinced Normandy was a Ruse until Patton came ashore.
May 20th, 2010  
lljadw
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardlec
I am not sure of the German unit involved, however:
The USS Texas was in the Channel giving support to allied troops with her 14 inch guns. A German Armored regiment measured her range and began to form up for a counter-attack just outside the Dreadnought's range. The Captain of the Texas ordered flooding of the torpedo bulges on the seaward side of the ship, creating a list, which gave the ship's guns some extra elevation. Enough Elevation to put the Germans in range, with enough firepower to shred a regiment. (Don't mess with Texas.)

The Allies had Battleships with 14, 15 and 16 inch guns in the channel, and they could co-ordinate their fire with soldiers on the beach. This is a pretty grim situation for the Germans.
At Omaha, a Destroyer came close ashore and assisted the troops with precise direct fire. A 5-inch naval rifle is a very powerful weapon to use on most ground targets. So were the 6 inch and 8 inch guns. Both the USN and the RN gunners knew their business.
Naval fire was a nightmare to the Germans.
BUT :
The Naval firepower was available because the Allies had Air Superiority and could risk their ships in the Channel. At Dunkirk, the shoe was on the other foot, the Royal Navy did what it could but faced a rain of lethal steel from the air.

If Rommel had reserves close to the beach, would they have survived to make a counter attack or would the RN, USN, RAF and USAAF pounded them to scrap metal?
If Von Rundstedt's counter attack have gone off, would it have met a similar fate, only delayed a few days?

I don't think either Rommel or Von Rundstedt was wrong. I don't think it would have mattered.
Not only did the Allies have an excellent plan, excellent execution and excellent leadership, the Austrian Corporal was convinced Normandy was a Ruse until Patton came ashore.
What the Austrian Corporal was thinking was irrelevant:given the allied air superiority,there was little chance for the Germans to send reinforcements to Normandy,and given the"bad quality" of the 15th army units,they would not be very utile
May 20th, 2010  
Apansson
 

Topic: Finally a pro-Rundstedt post!


Interesting thread.

Personally I think that on a theoretical level, von Rundstedts approach makes much more sense.

Opposing a major, well prepared naval landing without knowing for certain its location beforehand puts the defender in a very awkward position. The attacker has some very serious advantages in choosing the place and conditions to fight, and in Normandy the allies played them well. As an attacker you quickly gain the upper hands in troop numbers, logistics and naval fire support.

To maintain a defensive perimeter strong enough to withstand a serious landing along all of the possible invasion locations seems pretty impossible to me, and massively wasteful - "He who defends everything, defends nothing". The only option is knowing where and when to expect the invasion, depending on an intelligence network the Reich didnt possess. This would had been Rommels best chance for a "Longest day" ending in an allied retreat from the beaches, but I hold it unlikely. The allied forces would simply not land on a location well-defended enough to actually stand, learning their lessons from Dieppe.

While the casualties on Omaha beach might seem frightful they were actually lower than expected by allied planners, and much lower than would be occurred in the very bloody fighting in the break-out phase
following the actual invasion. The difficulties in the break-out on both British and American sectors sheds some light on the troubles fighting experienced german units with green and/or overly battle-worn troops. Had german troops enjoyed greater strategic flexibility and less fixation with holding occupied ground I believe their skills in mobile defense would had increased the difficulty even more.

However, on a practical level, I also agree that von Rundsteds plan wasnt very likely to succeed in the long run, given the strength of allied air power and the difficult logistical position in occupied France. If it would had fared better than Rommels is impossible to say today, and perhaps thats good luck for all of us.

Best regards.
 


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