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Hindsight is wonderful. I think it was a good plan.

It was foolish to expect it to be easy, but if the US paras had done a better job, it would probably have worked. It was certainly a much better strategy than banging senselessly at the West Wall.

Considering what was asked of them, they did a pretty good job. The problem with MG is it ALL had to go right to work, there was no margin of error. That in itself should have made them reconsider.

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You could as easily say 'if only XXX Corps had done better, or faster, it would have succeeded'. I think all things considered the actual grunts on the ground did pretty damn well...

Yea, I have to agree. There were many contributing factors that led to the failure of the operation but one of the main points that not too many people talk about is the fact that the entire operation started in the afternoon of the 17th.

Why this time of day was chosen I have no clue but I've been thinking what could have been possible the first day IF the airborne and ground units started earlier, say around 8 am:

1. Historically, XXX Corps stopped at Valkensward because of nightfall. If the operation started at 8 am they could have easily reached Eindhoven and possibly Son by dark. Even with the Son bridge still blown they could have at least had some of the Bailey bridge under construction by the am on the 18th.

2. Allies Controlled the day sky and were able to hamper German movement during the day, especially the first day. However, the late start allowed Germans to freely move at night only a few hours after the operation started. If the operation starts at 8 am then the reinforcing Germans are seriously hampered by air units for at least 11 or 12 hours.

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The whole operation was based on the presumption that the German army in the West was so shattered that it would not be able to mount a coherent defense in the face of a sudden advance. This was a fundamental error of judgement. It was neither the first nor the last time that the Allies would make such a faulty judgement. Organizationally, the German army was tougher and more resilient than most Allied commanders were willing to give it credit for.

But an interesting "what if" is how well it would have been at pulling a defense together in the time allowed if the commanders and staffs of divisions and corps had not been able to escape the Falaise encirclement. Granted there were other command cadres that could have been pulled in from other fronts, but it would have taken them extra time to acclimatize themselves to the situation.

Michael

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My prediction is that one of the features that will become most enjoyable in OMG is the risk to AFVs in urban combat from infantry, courtesy of the PIAT. Which might just be enough to prompt another look at the rules relating to launcher use from buildings prior to further releases, at least for Panzerfausts. 70% of Russian tanks losses in urban combat in Eastern Germany were to handheld launchers.

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Look at it from the big picture. There were two basic choices:

1. Launch offensives through the Sigfried Line AND then an amphibious assault across the Rhine, both of which would sustain horrible losses.

OR

2. Circumvent both with the Market Garden plan.

I can certainly see the temptation for #2.

Especially since the supply situation did not allow for #1.

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Hindsight is wonderful. I think it was a good plan.

It was foolish to expect it to be easy, but if the US paras had done a better job, it would probably have worked. It was certainly a much better strategy than banging senselessly at the West Wall.

The 82nd AB was asked to do the impossible: take Nijmegen (ideally in one day) and secure multiple area bridges while still holding the Grossbeek heights for follow-on drops.

Doing so was as every bit as difficult as it would have been for the British 1st AB to completely secure Arnhem in one day while holding the original zones for follow-on drops.

Both divisions made superhuman efforts and still failed to meet their objectives. This being the case, it seems to me that it's hard to call MG a "good plan."

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When the first American troops reached the Westwall they found it virtually unoccupied and stripped of armament. At that time, it would have been easy to penetrate. For various reasons, mostly having to do with logistics, this was not done. In fact, the initial penetrations were recalled. This is mentioned in a number of accounts including Atkinson's most recent book. I can get you page numbers if you require them.

Michael

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When the first American troops reached the Westwall they found it virtually unoccupied and stripped of armament. At that time, it would have been easy to penetrate. For various reasons, mostly having to do with logistics, this was not done. In fact, the initial penetrations were recalled. This is mentioned in a number of accounts including Atkinson's most recent book. I can get you page numbers if you require them.

Michael

I wasn't aware of this, please do list sources.

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Eisenhower's "Broad Front Strategy" always had as its goal the destruction of German forces in the West. He wanted his generals to realize this and often gave them leeway to conduct operations that would accomplish this goal. Thus against the advice of Bradley, Ike supported Montgomery's Market Garden plan, because he felt it would draw more German forces in to be annihilated.

To destroy German armed forces in the West and then penetrate the German homeland was a strategy of attrition that Eisenhower developed. Geographic objectives were secondary to that plan, unless the ground was esstential to the success of it. Monty did not favor this attrition strategy because of British manpower shortages, but as far as the Americans were concerned nearly 2/3 of all American casualties in Europe were incurred after September of 1944.

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...as far as the Americans were concerned nearly 2/3 of all American casualties in Europe were incurred after September of 1944.

Not quite sure what your point is here. From D-Day until the end of September is just shy of four months, while from the end of September to VE Day is just over seven months. In other words, the time following the end of September is close to be two-thirds of the length of the whole campaign.

Michael

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Not quite sure what your point is here. From D-Day until the end of September is just shy of four months, while from the end of September to VE Day is just over seven months. In other words, the time following the end of September is close to be two-thirds of the length of the whole campaign.

Michael

The point is, some of the hardest fighting for the American Forces in the ETO took place, after the German Army had been supposedly decimated in Normandy and during the breakout.

Its not just a matter of time, casualties are not calculated based on how long a time period of conflict is. Why Am I trying to explain, you are just being dicky.

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Why Am I trying to explain, you are just being dicky.

No, he has a fair point. Based on the figures you gave - 2/3rds of the casualties occurred in 2/3rds of the time - the average intensity of fighting stayed roughly the same across the 11 month campaign. If we add the knowledge that the size of the US forces in Europe increased significantly after Normandy, the average intensity could be said to havedecreased.

The campaign in NWE after Normandy wasn't 9 months of swanning about, but no one is disputing that, are they?

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No, he has a fair point. edit

Perhaps you and Michael (I hate to admit :-)) are right. My post was a bit vague, and the point I was trying to make included the time frame of end of September 1944 to the end of February 1945, during the Roer River campaign, which included the major engagements around Aachen and the Huertgen Forest Campaign, in addition to the casualties sustained during the Ardennes fighting. This was all at a time when most allied commanders had written off the Germans in Europe, but fit in with Eisenhower's directive to destroy German forces in Europe before attempting to penetrate Germany proper.

This is when, according to the book "The Longest Battle" by Harry Yeide the 2/3 casualty figure was calculated. Not based on the total length of the ETO combat campaign.

Hope that clears it up in better fashion.

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Perhaps you and Michael (I hate to admit :-)) are right. My post was a bit vague, and the point I was trying to make included the time frame of end of September 1944 to the end of February 1945, during the Roer River campaign, which included the major engagements around Aachen and the Huertgen Forest Campaign, in addition to the casualties sustained during the Ardennes fighting. This was all at a time when most allied commanders had written off the Germans in Europe, but fit in with Eisenhower's directive to destroy German forces in Europe before attempting to penetrate Germany proper.

Sure. I've got no problem with any of that. The autumn and winter were horrendous times for Allied soldiers (and Dutch civilians). But the attrition campaign paid off in the end, as once the Rhine was crossed and the Ruhr was reduced, progress was rapid and German soldiers began mass surrenders.

Another argument that Eisenhower made for his strategy of clearing the west bank of the Rhine before crossing was that by eliminating German bridgeheads, it would preclude any further spoiling attacks by the Germans. The Rhine would provide a defensive barrier behind which Allied forces could safely mass prior to crossing, a strategy that worked.

(Although it might be noted that opportunistically establishing a US bridgehead at Remagen slightly jumped the gun on that strategy.)

This is when, according to the book "The Longest Battle" by Harry Yeide the 2/3 casualty figure was calculated. Not based on the total length of the ETO combat campaign.

Hope that clears it up in better fashion.

Yep. You should have said that in the first place. (You know you asked for that! :D)

Michael

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