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Rommel's Surrender, 1944

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by LouisXIV, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

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    I have been studying military history with an emphasis on WWII for decades now. Something I just came across that I never knew: Rommel was convinced that the war was lost, and that the worst thing that could happen was the occupation of Germany by Soviet forces. He was prepared to either surrender his forces to the western Allies or agree to an armistice and move his troops out of the way (presumably to the eastern front,) with the hopes that Germany could concentrate on the eastern front and hold the Soviet forces.

    How deeply Rommel was involved in the plot to get rid of Hitler may remain a mystery, but I believe he was at least in favour of it.

    Around July 10-12 he sounded out many of his subordinate generals as to whether they would follow his commands if those commands were somewhat unorthodox, and apparently they all would.

    He had sent an "ultimatum" to Hitler and was just waiting for the response when he was shot up by an air attack.

    If he had not been wounded, the war might have taken a different turn. If he had surrendered his forces, I can imagine the western Allies making a dash for the German border, and perhaps being delayed only by scratch forces raised by Hitler and the OKW.

    Would the leaders of the western nations have allowed Rommel to move his forces unhindered to Poland? If they did, it is pretty well guaranteed that such a move would have required some sort of political move against Hitler, who never would have permitted the armistice or the troop movements.

    If the western Allies had occupied Germany by the end of 1944, what would Stalin and the Stavka have done? Would they have recognized the fait accomplie and given up, or were they bent on revenge and as much territory as they could get?
     
  2. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    1. Rommel only controled the German ground forces in Normandy & some adjacent areas. What the commanders of the ground forces in Holland, Belgium, the interior of France, or in the Army Group G area of southern France might have done is difficult to predict.

    2. Within Rommels command the SS & certain other units would not have complied.

    3. Transfering massive numbers of German combat units east would have been difficult. The French railroads were operating at only 25% efficiency or less, depots for automotive fuel were situated in the wrong places, and most of the German combat units in Normandy were foot infantry with horse draught.

    4. In early July the Allied 21st Army Group was not prepared for a breakout & long pursuit. Just mopping up the remaining confused and disgruntled German soldiers in Normandy would have been a serious challenge. At best the Allied armies in July could have advanced to the Seine River, threatened Paris, and make a grab for the Brittiany ports. Had they arraigned the rapid surrender of the Breton port garrisons & those of the Channel ports north of the Seine in July, without extensive demolition it would have done more for the Allied situation than a rapid lunge to German border. Advancing deeper into France & to Belgium would occur a week or two ahead of the historical schedule at best.

    5. The western Allies were not in a mood to aid any transfer of German soldiers to the east. The unconditional surrender policy was well in place, Eisenhower certainly had no interest in deviating from that. While there were exceptions most British & US general officers would have supported him on that. Neither would Roosevelt have reversed his commitment to unconditional surrender. The Allied leaders saw the best outcome for WWII as the complete disarmament of the German military and dissolution of the existing leadership. Propping up some sort of anti communist regime made of existing nazi or other German leaders was a nonstarter in 1944.

    If Rommel did take the actions described above here my guess is this. Several corps of mechinzed uits & some infantry are able to get away to Germany & the eastern front. The remainder in Normandy either continue to stand & fight, or attempt to retreat into central France. The Allies spend the remainder of July mopping up resistance west of the Seine River & securing the Atlantic ports.

    Operation Dragoon might be advanced a few weeks. In either case Marsailles is captured & opened to Allied cargo perhaps by the end of August. The Allied armies advance out of Normandy across France. Since the Germans started retreating earlier there actually may be more scattered corps and fragments to form a new defense on the Rhine with. But, Rommels betrayal & the overall situation may destroy the morale of the German soldier in the west. Surrender of individuals and large groups would be more common.

    The Allies will still have problems with transporting supplies across France & Belgium, but the Germans facing them may be easier to beat in September-November. Best case the Allies push through the supply problems, the bad weather, remaining fanatics and approach the Rhine River before the end of November.

    The Soviet leaders would have been happy enough to see the end of the war & whatever occupation zones they would have. There would be complaints, a push for at least a token Red Army presence in Germany, and demands for loot and reparations from the Reich.
     
  3. Nicnac

    Nicnac Member

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    Besides, imagine a situation where you allow and enemy general and thousands of troops to return home in front of you. That doesn't sound like good tactics at all.
     
  4. Crazybastid83

    Crazybastid83 Member

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    From what I understand Rommel was in favor of arresting Hitler and trying him. It also seemed that conspirators against Hitler, who had commands in France deliberately over rided Rommel, who wanted to place reserve tanks closer to shore to fend off the allies. It seems some Officer's were throwing a wrench into the defense of France against the allies.
     
  5. TacticalTank

    TacticalTank Member

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    wow! Very interesting.. I heard Rommel disobeyed direct orders from Hitler himself!
     
  6. judge death

    judge death Member

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    I´m sure that if Rommel gave the order to the Whermacht soldiers he had command over in France they would had surrendered as well to the allies. I don´t think the allies will let them go to the eastern front but let them surrender to them instead. Then it is just a few SS divisions defending Normandy and the allied could as mentioned advanced and secured their logistics and ports. But I don´t think it would had taken to August but to early July before they start advancing towards the German border. Rundstedt who was against Hitler himself would had given his troops orders to give up as well and the moral of the troops would had dropped and mass surrenders would had occured. Hitler and OKW would take a month or two to gather enough troops while the Russian operation bagration took place and it would not have been much they could send by that point. By September I´m sure the allieds would had been at the border of Germany. Well placed to take Berlin before the russians. But I can be wrong of course but this could maybe have happened and been better for us today if it would.
     
  7. patver

    patver recruit

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    I suggest you read the very, very interesting book "Verrat in die Normandie" Verrat in der Normandie: Eisenhowers deutsche Helfer: Amazon.de: Friedrich Georg: Bücher

    It is well documented and basically proofs that the battle was only won because of a major betrayal of Wehrmacht officers - General Hans Speidel in particular. He was Rommels main assistant. Speidel was arrestted by Hitler in september '44 but somehow survived execution and was later promoted by the Allies as head of NATO.

    Speidel made sure that the reserves stood down during the landing, even organised confusing reports creating illusion that a 2nd landing in Calais was eminent. The book illustrates that the betrayers did everything they could to prevent that the panzer reserves in Calais went to Normandie because they needed this army to occupy Paris when Hitler would be killed. Contrary to popular beliefs, Hitler did not block the reserves in Calais to go to Normandie as soon as the situation was clear but Speidel.

    The betrayers created the trap in Falaisse and when the temporary port of the allies was destroyed, they surrendered the heavily defended Cherbourg without a fight and docks intact.

    The betraying wehrmacht officers made contact with the allies through the head of the German secret service Canaris (who was later arrested and shot for his betrayal)

    The role of Rommel is also documented and it is suggested that he worked at a piece or even surrender against Hitlers will but believed that he had no part in the betrayal. It is even suggested that the betrayers gave him up in order to save Speidel.

    The history of WW2 was written by the victors but the real history still needs to be written.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Oooh Kayyy, I'm glad that settles that!:)
     

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