Night Drop- The American Airborne Invasion of Normandy




 
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January 30th, 2005  
Young Winston
 
 

Topic: Night Drop- The American Airborne Invasion of Normandy


Just finished reading S.L.A.Marshall's book, Night Drop.

Has anyone else read it recently.

What an amazing book. Talk about Heroism and Sacrifice. I didn't realize so many of the 82nd and 101st Airborne guys were dropped all over the place behind Utah Beach, a long way from their designated dropzones.

How many of them formed up on D-Day to create effective fighting units against established German defences is truly mind blowing. My heart was in my mouth reading it.

What Harrison Summers did at the German barracks, Reuville Road will be talked about for generations. Does anyone know more about him?

How come what seem like ordinary guys can do such incredible things under such horrific and terrifying conditions?
January 30th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Yes indeed. A clear illustration of America's "secret weapon" - our junior leaders. The majority of countries do not allow sergeants and lieutenants and captains to make the kinds of decisions our's can when the battle plan hits the trash heap. Junior leaders were decisive at Normandy.
January 31st, 2005  
MadeInChina
 
actually germany had one of the youngest officers average in their army, whereas a young officer of the british army or the french army would be in control of platoons to companies while in the germany fast promotions allowed 35-40 years of age young people controlling entire regiments and even divisions.

true, young officers is the key to morale and they learn fast
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January 31st, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
My point was only partly to do with the youth and juniority of these leaders in terms of rank - it was even more to do with the fact that our military allows such leaders latitudes of control and direction that The Third Reich (and other countries still today) did not. Our captains could make decisions that no _colonel_ in the German Army could make.
January 31st, 2005  
serbianpower
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge_7
Yes indeed. A clear illustration of America's "secret weapon" - our junior leaders. The majority of countries do not allow sergeants and lieutenants and captains to make the kinds of decisions our's can when the battle plan hits the trash heap. Junior leaders were decisive at Normandy.

agree 100%. that one of main rasons why the whole invasion did not fail. younger officers had control in the field, and were able to make right decisions in right moment. on the other hand, germans had good officers, but hitler did not believe even his generals. germans knew about night drops but they could not do anything without direct order from berlin. orders were recieved in the morning but then it was 2 late. americans were always practical. there is great book `Panzer comander` by Hans fon Luck, one of the best german officers.
February 1st, 2005  
MadeInChina
 
a famous saying goes:

there are 2 kinds of commanders, a tactician and a strategist

a tactician is usually young, capable of orders on demand and fast reaction, most capable in field battles and front line service

a strategist is older, mor emature officer whos moves, timing and arrangmeents of armies decide the future of any battle. these are officers whos got the real power and are prone to mistakes

in history a tactician was better off in the germany army during world war II than a strategist, for hitler mostly blames his mistakes on his strategists
February 1st, 2005  
03USMC
 
 
The sucess was made possible by hard charging NCO's and Officers who took a bad situation and adapted. The US practice of teaching Junior leaders to lead proved it's worth.
February 1st, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge_7
My point was only partly to do with the youth and juniority of these leaders in terms of rank - it was even more to do with the fact that our military allows such leaders latitudes of control and direction that The Third Reich (and other countries still today) did not. Our captains could make decisions that no _colonel_ in the German Army could make.
This isn't true at all. Don't confuse the political nature of the Third Reich with the way in which the German Army was run. After the Versailles Treaty had basically restricted the German Army to 100,000 strong, Germany had to maximise what resources they were allowed and think outside the box. This included introducing revolutionary new tactics for war and also by fostering empowerment and encouraging soldiers to 'step up' when required and think for themselves.

One of the reasons why the Wehrmacht was such a good army in WW2 was it's ability to adapt very quickly to changing tactical situations. Junior NCOs and Officers were very much encouraged to make decisions so long as they matched the operational/strategic plans for the units they were attached to. This became even more important after 1942 when Germany began to feel the strain of replacing their combat losses and also true in prolonged fighting where junior NCOs and Officers had to and indeed did 'step up' and take command.
February 2nd, 2005  
Young Winston
 
 
The quality of the German fighting forces in the area was mixed to say the least.
February 2nd, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiejohn
The quality of the German fighting forces in the area was mixed to say the least.
If you're referring to the battle in question then yes it was. Even the elite Panzer and SS Panzer formations there were not of the quality normally expected of such units. These units had been sent to the West to be rebuilt, from scratch in some cases, and found themselves earmarked for Western operations, which had never been intended initially. Due to Germany's chronic manpower shortage their once highly trained manpower was supplemented by Luftwaffe personnel who no longer had planes to fly and with foreign and underage/overage recruits. The US, Canadian and British forces by contrast were consistently of high quality.