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Yes, its time once again to play 'What if"

On July 31st Patton's forces crossed the Selune river bridges at Pontaubault, and entered Brittany. As we all know, his 6th armored was then ordered to Brest, while the 4th armored headed for Rennes. Some forces did head east, and it would be these elements that would come up to form the southern perimeter of the Falaise pocket, but the pressure exerted northward (and southward by the CW) was not strong enough to close the bag.

Now, lets imagine that instead of heading into Brittany, Patton is given free reign to strike eastward using his entire 3rd Army, including those two armored divisions.

What affect would this have had on the campaign in Normandy? Would the Falaise pocket have actually been closed? Would the retreating Germans suddenly discover American forces waiting for them on the east side of the Seine? Would such a rapid advance by Patton give him priority to supplies, effectively nixing Monty's Market Garden?

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Heh, like the shambolic escape by some shattered German formations from Falaise was a big deal.

A perspective: Around 24 tanks and 20,000 Germans escaped out of the Falaise pocket, with pretty much just the clothes on their backs.

Estimated German casualties in Normandy: 1,500 tanks, 3,500 guns, 20,000 vehicles, and 450,000 men killed/wounded/captured.

Normandy was a shattering Allied victory. Compare those German casualties against Allied casualties of 210,000 men and 28,000 aircrew.

The German armies which faced the Allies after the liberation of France were almost entirely fresh armies, not Normandy veterans.

It's amazing what you learn if you read Max Hastings...

[Edit] For extra Devils (Allies?) Advocate'iness. Discuss ;)

[ January 22, 2005, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: Pheasant Plucker ]

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The only potential upside of not closing the pocket completely is that it is a lot less messy to clean it up, without all the die-hards fighting to the last man. Letting some escape lets you move on faster.

Since a lot of the escapees (and most of their material) were presumably caught on the way back to Germany, during the Allied dash across northern France, it may not have been as bad an effect as it could have been.

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Didn't the remnants of the 10th SS division escape the Falaise Pocket and move to a little town in Holland called Arnheim for rest and refit.

If Market-Garden still went off after the Allies took the time to close the pocket perhaps there would never have been a movie called “A Bridge to Far”.

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