Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by 4th wilts, Jul 24, 2011.
Which was the worst allied disaster,market garden or the Ardennes.?
"Worst" in what fashion?
I don't think I would classify either of them as "disasters, at least not compared to the fall of Malaya or the fall of the Philippines.
I agree the Allies had worst moments, Norway 1940, France 1940, Greece, Dieppe etc. But of the two listed in the OP I would go with Market-Garden as it was a planned Allied operation that in hindsight should never been done.
The Ardennes offensive caused a few months delay in the end of the war according to some folks. I'm not so sure about that. Less than five months later Germany surrendered. And those troops would have been available for delaying actions if they weren't used up in that pointless drive, so the attack may have actually shortened the war.
I thought we we won the Battle of the Bulge
The initial lost of ground was deemed a disaster by the press. We had to get a grip on the strength and depth of the attack to determine if Antwerp was really in danger.
Some folks also claimed in was a disaster because Monty was given control of the US forces on the northern flank. Me, not so much.
Market-Garden was an Allied defeat ,the Ardennes a German defeat .
They have similarities, I think. Both started off with big advances and petered out before achieving their objectives. Obviously the fine details are different, but if you were wargaming them, Red Force would behave similarly in both, I believe.
I don't know. In the Ardennes, while we took an initial beating, when things were over we had regained the lost ground. The casualties for both sides, in the end, were comparable. Germany, however, had destroyed it's own offensive capability. As I said, the casualties in raw numbers were comparable but the allies quickly rebuilt their combat power, the Germans were unable to replace their losses.
It was basically a banzai charge. In the Pacific the grunts prefered that the Japanese come to their muzzles rather than having to dig them out. In the Ardennes the Heer stuck its neck out and presented it to the axeman.
I have to agree with the general opinion that neither were disasters, Lee. While OMG did not meet with the intended expectations and the BotB resulted in lost territory, neither were disasters such as Stalingrad, the encirclement of Kiev, the opening days of the Pacific War or the collapse in the West in 1940.
To me, to make OMG a disaster would have required the destruction of more than the brave men at Arnhem Bridge. For the BotB to have been a disaters, Antwerp would have had to have been captured. As it was, the Germans destroyed a small, lightly armed force, cut off from support and reinforcement at Arnhem and prevented the critical aspect of plan from coming to fruition. In the Ardennes, the German Army overwhelmed thinly positioned forces, but failed where they met denser, better prepared defenders.
This one is easy, as I don't think the Ardennes was a disaster at all. As others have pointed out the Bulge probably shortened the war. Market-Garden eliminated the chance to finish off the 15th Armee and, more importantly, meant that the Scheldt would only be cleared at the end of November, instead of mid September. The diversion of scare resources (in September 1944) to support Market-Garden meant that momentum was also lost on the Saar (US 3rd Army) axis, although Patton did a good job of doing that himself at Metz.I would change your question:What operation did more to blunt the Allied advance?Market-Garden?Aachen?The Hurtgen?Metz?Brest?Or the Channel Ports?
I was thinking more on the lines of prisoners.I'm not sure exactly how many prisoners were taken by the Germans in market garden or the Ardennes,but in market garden the 1st airbourne division was virtually written off the allied order of battle.Now,i think OMG was a worthwhile gamble,but the loss of a division,well,in my eyes was a disaster. During the opening German offensive in the Ardennes ,I believe the U.S.106th div?,was virtually wiped off the order of battle as well.I know the bulge was eventually turned from a very precarious position,into an allied victory,but do you not think that this was a disaster too.?,cheers.
A"little" disaster was the British attempt after the Italian capitulation,to (re)capture some Greek islands what resulted in a failure.
And if you widen the scope, for allied disasters, you have the Battle of Savo Island during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The worst U.S. Navy defeat in history. Where it resembles the Ardennes is that this battle, while being a humiliating defeat, was one of the first battles in a campaign that was a strategic defeat for Japan. America recovered from the losses but the campaign as a whole attitted Japanese naval and air power, ended with debilitating losses to their ground forces and laid the groundwork for their defeat.
I don't think either were total 'disasters' but Market Garden came closest to that description in the disappointment of its objectives. The Ardennes was equally a failure for the Germans and actually had less chance of success than did OMG.
To say that Market Garden should never have happened is to apply the same 20-20 hindsight and foreknowledge of the enemy's dispositions and capabilities which would equally not allowed the 'disaster' of the Schnee Eifel ( somewhere between 4,- and 6,000 POW's ) to have happened.
When I think of a disaster, I think of Slapton Sands..
Operation TIGER - Pre D-Day training disaster, 28 April 1944, Quartermaster History This Week
I wouldn't call Norway a "disaster", despite it's reputation as such.
In many respects the Germans came out worse than the British after Norway
OMG was a gamble, great if it worked, but it had a bunch of problems in it's execution.