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Post D-Day Operations


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http://victorhanson.com/wordpress/?p=8473

Nothing that new other than the article itself.

Breakthrough? How about Sherman’s “march to the sea” ?

Why didn’t Eisenhower pivot on the British with Patton’s third army being the center gravity in August?

Politics and personalities often bring down military logic?

Kevin

 

Gosh, it depends who you ask.  That's one of the biggest "what if's" of WW2 alternate history!

Consensus seems that the German plan was to stymy Montgomery's Normandy advances by placing their strongest army opposite him.  Pivoting the Allies on the British 21st Army would have stabilized that front enough so that the German's Panzer reserves could themselves more readily turn west and face Patton in greater strength.  In effect, the Mortain battles would've been bigger and grimmer.

I think Hanson's point is more to the mistake the Allied leaders made in giving Montgomery all the goods to proceed with Market Garden.  Telling Monty to put that plan on hold and instead let Patton and Bradly continue their southern advances westward is more to Hanson's point.  The problem there is that those long tenous supply lines get longer and more tenous still when the unexpected occurs.  Monty could rightfully claim his northern stab was the shorter logistics chain and the quicker path to Berlin.  Eisenhower was truly between a rock and a hard place when he made that decision.

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The whole issue about ending the war before Christmas 44 depended upon getting across the Rhine. Whether you go with Monty or Patton they would have had to deal with this major physical obstacle. It seems that Monty was the one that came up best plan the fastest. I'm not aware of any formal plan that Patton had to get across the Rhine other than "Give me the gas and ammo and I'll drive all the way to Berlin!". That line sounds good until you run into the Rhine.

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I think that the article has to be taken with a massive pinch of salt. It strikes me as a string of cliches rather than a serious attempt at historical analysis.

 

If we are talking about the decisions made in August 44. We have to keep in mind the fact that the logistic planners wanted to open up the ports in Brittany. Therefore, the idea of 3rd Army cutting around behind the Germans and trapping them against the Seine or the Somme was never an option. 

 

Another concern voiced at the time (however rightly or wrongly), was that having 3rd Army advance North to trap the Germans, would have lead to 3rd Army becoming over stretched and therefore quite easily punched through by the retreating Panzers. 

 

Trying to depict it as a choice between a ponderous "Monty" and a gung-ho "Patton" is an insult to our intelligence. And an even bigger insult to Generals Bradley, Dempsey, Horrrocks, Collins etc 

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