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Atlantic Wall: D-Day to Falaise» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Clustered 88mm Mot Hvy AA Gun Batteries at Omaha rss

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After a close look at how almost all the Heavy AA gun batteries on map are clustered around the Omaha beach area, don't you come away with the impression the allies did a few too many fly overs in that area?

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Ian Brown
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Joey

Had a good look at Omaha during my Normandy field trip this summer. The German defences at the west end of the beach, especially, must have been fearsome. Triple decked gun emplacements hidden from the sea! I, for one, would not have taken on Omaha the way the Americans did. It is quite obvious that a wide, open, beach like that was an obvious invasion route.

There was considerable tension between the Allies over the detailed invasion planning. For example, the British offered elements of 79th Armoured to take on Omaha, but were told they were not required - a situation that changed as the campaign proceeded. The Americans wanted to do it "their way".

I think the Americans learnt the hard way, just as the Commonwalth did at Dieppe.

Ian
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Joseph Youst
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Corlett and Collins, who both were transferred from the Pacific, wanted the first wave to hit just BEFORE dawn - so that they'd have cover of darkness when they first hit the beach.
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After years of reviewing information on Eisenhower's U.S. SHAEF Command and their interactions with world leaders as well as subordinates, I came away with the impression of a group who despite outward appearances, did not give one plug nickel for anything not U.S.. An attitude amplified by Bradley especially and other high ranking U.S. Commanders. I sometimes do find myself wondering if Ike influenced them or they influenced him as it can be difficult to tell. There were times when Ike was easily swayed and others when he was steadfast in his resolve.

A Conspiracy nuts dream, it is the pitty that of all the places to muck up the preparatory bombardments for D-Day, Omaha had to be it. If any beach needed a pre-assault pounding that was the one and it went virtually unscathed. This did prove one thing however, and that was that even without ANY pre-invasion bombing anywhere, the invasion would have succeeded. I grant that success to not just the souls hitting those beaches but NGS, AP, Allied deceptions and German High Command Paralysis. Perhaps a thank you leaflet dropped on Berlin after the Invasion was in order? I know I'd have volunteered for the mission to deliver it. LOL!!

I just found the cluster around that one beach area of all those 88mm Batteries pointed skyward there and no where else as a real clear tell that the Allies were showing their cards a bit much. With that and the sudden appearance of an anti-para division in the region, perhaps we didn't fool the Germans as much as we thought we did or that they were just beginning to catch on and why Ike, despite the weather, demanded things proceed. One thing that occurred to me was that these details do wipe away a thin film of propaganda.
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Ian Brown
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Joe,

Pesky thing, the tidal reach in the Channel. I know I've had to deal with it. Restricted when and where the Allies could invade. The geological factors behind the invasion are fascinating. There is a great book about it. If anyone is interested, I'll post the title here.

Ian
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Ian Brown
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Joey,

It is refreshing to hear a Yank say that. The Americans really got up the noses of the British and Canadians. The CW had learnt the hard way, but the Americans took the view that the CW planners were timid and risk averse. They were certainly the latter, but Dieppe had been a nightmare.

Bradley hated Montgomery with a vengeance, and, to be fair, with some justification. Montgomery could be a real pain. He was patronising to Eisenhower. Monty had fought on the frontline (and was seriously wounded) in WW1. He had a planning role in the methodology that defeated the Germans in 1917/18 and had developed a plan that worked, based on that, and a clear understanding of German tactics. He did not like any deviation. He could have an argument in an empty room - he did not get on with Crerar and did not bother to hide it.

I think the issue with Omaha was in part due to the changes to the COSSAC plan initiated in January '44. I need to check my reference books, but am travelling so it will have to wait.

 
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Chris K
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As to the defenses at Omaha I read that Rommel immediately suspected Omaha as a potential landing beach because of its similarities to Salerno. Now whether this was him using 20/20 hindsight or not is debatable considering the German activities to beef up the defenses after his arrival in the Sector.
 
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Adam D.
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Imagine the Sunday morning quarterbacking if they hadn't taken Omaha. shake


 
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Joseph Youst
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Montgomery was the perfect leader for the type of battle that the CW had to prosecute in NW Europe 1944-45. The Brits no longer had the manpower to waste in risky maneuvers that the Germans might cut-off and destroy. The war was basically more than halfway to being won, and at this point, Britain had to think about minimization of casualties. The English were worn out after 4 long years of war. Bradley, Ike, and Patton were terribly unfair to Monty, although Monty's ego and lack of political adroitness did not help. Neither Patton nor Monty understood that in coalition warfare, there were other exigencies beside just beating your opponent.

It's too bad that the British method of war was just not suited to the MGarden plan. Monty should have just dropped one airborne division around Eindhoven on day one, and having secured that then dropped two more divisions on the Island between arnhem and Nijmegen and secured those bridges. The allies could have sealed off German reinforcements on the Island and air-supplied the two divisions almost indefinitely.
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There is some doubt as to the intentions of the 82nd at Market Garden with good reason. Seems they initially ignored their primary mission, the city and bridge crossings. Bad move or intentional one?
 
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Ian Brown
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Joe,

Montgomery is such a complex character. He has even been described as boarderline autistic. I prefer to think the WW1 wounds (shot through the lung and hit in the knee) together with the slaughter of WW1 at first hand affected him. He was very much a "do it my way or not at all" guy, but he was open to persuasion. "Goodwood" and Market Garden" were two examples of letting more junior officers have their way. Montgomery was faced with two contradictory instruction from Churchill - play the very active role, but minimise losses.

He deferred to Dempsey and Brereton/Browning, when, perhaps, he should not have, but Montgomery wanted to get across the Rhine as quickly as possible and was upset that Eisehower could not meet his commitments re supplying 21 Army Group.

By the way, when you get to El Alemein, will be happy to help.

 
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Ian Brown
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Joey,

Gavin was quite comtemptuous of Browning and regarded the Brits as timid. I reckon Gavin went rogue regarding the Grosebeek Heights as the primary objective instead of the bridges. Not sure why.
 
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Ian,

It was evident at first he feared what might come at him from Germany and perhaps rightfully so, but once he was made aware they were 3rd rate forces easily beaten back, his attention should have turned to his objectives but it didn't. To totally ignore the whole reason you're there is what really peaked my interest only further peaked by such a low level of concern by his superiors over such a major blunder. It really seems sad so many 1st Para men tried to hold bridgeheads when to their south there was little initial effort made to do the same.
 
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Joseph Youst
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Well he did instruct the 508th bn commander heading for Nijmegen to approach from the eastern end near the river - i.e., don't get hung up in the city. For some reason, that is not what happened. The bn ended up getting into a city fight very early on and was tied up for the rest of the day.
 
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joeyoust wrote:
Well he did instruct the 508th bn commander heading for Nijmegen to approach from the eastern end near the river - i.e., don't get hung up in the city. For some reason, that is not what happened. The bn ended up getting into a city fight very early on and was tied up for the rest of the day.


You're not wrong, an entire battalion was ordered to the bridge on day one but only one Company arrived (A Co.). The remainder of the battalion was reportedly, lost. By the end of the day the German garrison was able to hold off A Company until a German SS battalion relieved them. Meanwhile, the entire division sat on the Groesbeek Heights securing that superior terrain feature from German attack.

The reality was that had General Gavin and General Browning reversed those numbers, and put the division on the objective and the 508th on the Groesbeek Heights, both locations would have been captured in tact because the German garrison would have easily been overrun.

Hindsight? Perhaps, but the fact remains (at least in this military mind) that paying little mind and sending a token of your resources to your main objective is poor judgement. Although the allied command agreed with that point, General Gavin wasn't severely disciplined for the blunder.
 
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Ian Brown
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Joey,

We Brits have a name for what happened - "battlefield obsession", where a commander gets drawn into a fight to a much greater extent than the original plans dictated. Commanders get drawn into a sideshow and lose focus on the main objective. We have played the old SPI "Highway...." numerous times and it is very easy for the Yanks to get diverted. I always think of the Germans at Verdun in WW1, where the original attrition plan just went out of the window.

 
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