Re: Different Allied Tactics in 1940
- From: andytoole@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 16:18:22 -0400
On Jun 27, 10:55 pm, thorn...@xxxxxxxx (David Thornley) wrote:
In article <1182961075.157789.303...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <andyto...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Jun 26, 10:55 pm, thorn...@xxxxxxxx (David Thornley) wrote:
In article <1182859035.444890.146...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <andyto...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Which makes it an entirely different battle.
I disagree. The same battle, just different circumstances.
Circumstances which explain why the French lost in 1940 and the
Americans won in 1944.
Now, unless you are going to argue that nobody knew the circumstances
were different in 1940 and 1944, that makes the battles different.
Specifically, Eisenhower could get away with things that Gamelin
couldn't, and Eisenhower knew it.
I think we're talking at cross-purposes here. In this issue I don't
disagree with you. But I can't shake the feeling that somebody else is
helping me make my own point ;-)
Gamelin couldn't afford to give the Germans a big break, and the
reason the German attack succeeded was that he was not prepared
Are you suggesting the Americans were prepared for the Ardennes
offensive of 1944?
Prepared is perhaps an overly strong word here, but Eisenhower had
considered the possibility of an attack there, and accepted the
Ergo, he was surprised.
Eisenhower knew he could defeat any such attack,
although he didn't expect one of the strength he got.
And given the Allied control of the air, that is negligence. I.e., if
he didn't notice such a massive buildup, what does that say about him
and the other commanders?
There was resistance in 1940 as well. And in the first few days, it
was about as effective as US resistance in 1944.
Without the followup. Eisenhower had lots of highly mobile forces
he could move against the Germans, and the communication network
to do it, and he was aware of this. Gamelin couldn't.
I generally shy away from counterfactuals, but it seems to me that if
the German panzers had had as much fuel as they needed (as the Allies
did), the Battle of the Bulge would have turned out very differently.
Fuel shortages, carpet-bombing, the Red Army and a crippled air force
kind of act as a bit of a handicap ;-)
That's not what you said; you said "fuel".
Now, if the Allies had not had their air forces, and the Luftwaffe
had been much stronger, and the German Army much stronger and
better supplied...the situation would have been different
anyway, so I don't see that this line of reasoning goes anywhere
None of this is useful, as far as I can see :-) But I began all this
with the assertion that the Battle of France has been misunderstood,
probably deliberately so. I think French conduct 1939-45 has been
analyzed in the worst possible light (at least in terms of the
scholarship of the English-speaking world), the better to scapegoat
them for the political, military, and moral failures of the US and
Britain. Like I said, where was the USA in 1940?
Indeed they did, but that does not somehow prove that they were
foredoomed to fail.
It was little things like the forces available that doomed the
Germans to fail. The German Army was simply not strong enough
to get to Antwerp.
And besides, the Battle of France was not the cake-
walk it is sometimes made out to be.
No, but the Germans were in far better shape than in 1944.
The German high command panicked
Nobody had experience with a blitzkrieg. Nobody.
What about Poland? A bit smaller, and different, but I think it
qualifies as more than an exercise, don't you?
and an allied counterthrust could have thrown the Germans
into the same disarray that befell the Allies a while later.
If the Allied communications had been a whole lot better,
and the organizational structure more flexible, yes.
And if Gort hadn't lost his nerve and made the Dunkirk Skedaddle.
There were several points where the Battle of France could have gone
Sure. And the potential cost to the Germans went up over time.
In the initial attacks, it's possible that the French could have
beaten off the German motorized infantry, which would have caused
serious losses in the German motorized infantry.
It's possible that the French could have pinned more motorized
infantry to the Meuse and defeated them before the tanks came
It was even possible that the Allies could manage to cut off the
None of that happened, of course.
How? How far do you think the Germans could have gone, in the
face of Allied air power and large numbers of fast-moving Allied
forces? The Allies were masters of mobile warfare at that time.
Masters of mobile warfare? I'm not sure I know of any allied
blitzkrieg of the entire war, at least in the Western European
What would you call the breakout from Normandy? The overrunning
Fast, yes. But blitzkriegs they were not. If Poland wasn't a
blitzkrieg, the Breakout most certainly was not. And as for overunning
the Reich, that was fast because the Germans had all their remaining
forces thrown against the Russians. The war was over, and all the
Germans cared about was seeing GI's and Tommies in Berlin, as opposed
In mobile situations, the Germans were simply outclassed, due to
the high degree of Western Allied motorization and the Western
Allied air supremacy.
Are you suggesting that the Allies had somehow allowed for the
possibility of the Battle of the Bulge in their grand plan?
Yes, in the sense that Eisenhower recognized the possibility of
an attack and accepted the risk.
are, I'm sorry, but I don't agree. The Americans were taken totally by
surprise, and the entire American rear was in a state of panicked
"The Americans" is overly general. Hodges and Bradley were taken
totally by surprise, but, as I've said, Eisenhower considered such
an attack to be a possibility, and Patton was half expecting one.
There was a lot of hysteria, but that didn't really affect the battle.
Patton lost it more than Ike did at the Bulge.
Further to my assertions of anti-French bias in Late 20thC historical
writing, what would our view have been had the French "lost it" in
exactly the same way as the US Army did in 1944? I believe it would
have been the same as Skorzeny's was to the real thing: mirth. When he
found out that the Americans had dubbed him "The Most Dangerous Man in
Europe", he had a good chuckle. He laughed even harder when he heard
that the number of incarcerations in the US Army as a result of the
scare, more arrests than Skorzeny had men. "They must be arresting
their own men", he chuckled. They were, including Generals. That is
hysteria, and imagine what we would now be saying if the French had
Just because someone writes good history doesn't mean they are free of
biases of the most bigotted kind.
That hardly seems to indicate that they had a backup plan.>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Bulge#Operation_Greif
You might want to read more than Wikipedia.
I do. But Wikipedia is an easy source, and comes up first when
Googling something. Do you dispute the content of the article? And to
be fair, I have been asked for cites several times.
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
d...@xxxxxxxxxxxx | If you don't, flee.http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/| O-
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