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The Falaise pocket is closed

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Aug 26, 2004.

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  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    What would the effect on events in NW Europe have been if the Falaise pocket had been closed. Monty could possibly have done it had he moved faster. Patton very likely could have if he hadn't been ordered to halt at various phase lines. After all, early in the pocket Patton had reconnissance troops in Falaise and then withdrew them because of orders from higher up.
    But, let's say the pocket is closed. The Germans attempt a breakout but fail. The trapped units end up surrendering enmasse after putting up a stiff resistance.
    1st SS, 2nd SS, 9th SS, 10th SS, 12th SS Panzer all gone. No surviving core to rebuild these divisions. 2nd, 9th, 11th, Lehr Panzer all gone. Several PanzerGrenadier divisions gone. A number of infantry divisions gone.
    In all cases the loss of a surviving core of veterans and staff on which to rebuild is lost. Market-Garden doesn't have the SS units there to slow things. The Fallschirmjäger divisions under Student are half the original number as 3rd and 5th are lost at Falaise.
    Patton isn't substancially slowed by counter attacks at Nancy and later Metz. The Ardennes Offensive isn't possible. The troops and units simply don't exist to pull it off.
    Possible alternatives to this?
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    asnd you would not have the last gasp of the Waffen Ss in the east either.......would the Soviets been able to push their counterattacks quicker and much more enmasse; would they have stopped at the Elbe ?
     
  3. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    The war in Northwest Europe would have radically changed, indeed.

    It was from the remains of the surviving armoured divisions of Falaise that marshal Von Rundstedt miracously managed to rebuild all these units and have them ready for 'Wacht am Rhein'.

    'Market-Garden' wouldn't have seen SS armoured divisions, indeed.

    However, I still doubt if the Allies had the capacity to exploit a complete victory at Falaise, without losing the momentum, keeping chasing the Germans all the way down to the Rhine…
     
  4. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    I don't think that it would have changed history a great deal; there wouldn't have been a Battle of the Bulge, but still the Allies don't manage to complete victory in 1944.
     
  5. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Not too sure about that...

    The opposition at Market-Garden would have not included 9th and 10th SS...
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    On the other hand, assuming the SS units in the Falaise Gap wouldn't have just thrown in the towel, 'mopping up' operations may have slowed the Allied advance. No fast pursuit across the Seine, maybe a more circumspect entry into Paris.

    It's just possible that this could have given other German forces more time to regroup with no 'Dolle Dinsdag'; possibly Arnhem mightn't have happened at all ?

    But, as always, then again, if my Aunt were a man she'd be my Uncle..... ;)
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    On the third hand, there is also the possiblitiy that this could have been the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak and OB West might have surrendered outright (remember, many of the generals in charge in the West were in on the assination plot, Rommel and von Kluge included). A "Stalingrad" on the Seine might have done just that too.
     
  8. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Allies might have taken Berlin 1st & east Germany might've been kept out of Stalins control. Parts of it anyway. And 80% of German aircraft factories fell to the Russians. This percentage could have been very different in this scenario.
     
  9. Maverik

    Maverik Member

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    I think the Allies were not keen on pushing on to Berlin because the division of Germany between the Allies was decided previously at Yalta. My understanding is that the Allies believed that the Soviets would take most of Germany anyway and as it was zones of occupation were agreed previously it was not advantage to them to take Berlin.
     
  10. FramerT

    FramerT Ace

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    T.A. brings up a good point about the asassination attempt.Even if they had nothing to do with it,no general dared to question Hitler at this time.But....remember the Allies wanted unconditional surrender.As mentioned maybe the Bulge would'nt have happened yet Germany was still producing good numbers of tanks.Hitler on the defence for a change??
     
  11. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Well, I guess tht's true on zones of occupation. I have a book called; I saw Poland betrayed, about Roosevelts giving it to Stalin without asking the poles how they felt about it.

    Different thread I suppose. Just a side comment about how Europe was divvied up.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In Falaise and later on crossing the Seine the Germans lost almost all their heavy weaponry and vehicles ( that is twice!). So probably the losses were quite close to the maximum that could be achieved with the forces available. Trying to stop the Germans from escaping would have meant stopping the momentum ahead to the Seine and the Germans would have gotten more time to put up some defences, maybe on the Seine?

    Some up to 50,000 men more might have been caught at Falaise (?) but as the Germans were attacking like crazy to get through it is hard to say how many more could not get through and how much more own men would be lost if the choice of stopping them all would have been chosen. And how much more time would have been lost? I don´t think either the German SS units would surrender straight away...

    I think the time factor here is the important one??
     
  13. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Even if 'Market Garden' could have been a success, the Allies just couldn't go on and on all the way to Berlin. At least not until they captured all the Channel ports and put their logistic system in order.

    Capitulation of OB 'West' is plausible, still. But I doubt Von Kluge or Rommel would have just signed any paper without conditions… :rolleyes:

    And there was Teheran: no separate peace treaties, unconditional surrender, etc.

    This sounds to me like if FDR was a bastard who just kissed Stalin's ass… did he have an option? Did the Poles have any option?
     
  14. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Meaning, Stalin would have taken Poland anyway? whether Roosevelt liked it or not? Maybe. There are copies of this book around. It was written by the US ambassador to Poland. If you are curious, & have questions about it, the answers could be in the book.

    It has been said by some historians that he was very naive towards Stalin. At the end of the day, if we look at it, Stalin recieved much from us, aircraft, food, fuel,(& arguably Poland & half of Europe for that matter ) & didn't give a whole lot back. This situation has been argued by some to have been brought about to a degree by Roosevelts poor diplomacy & soft stand towards Stalin. But this is a different thread.
     
  15. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Destroying 4/5 of the German war machine and inflicting almost 13 million casualties on the Axis countries isn't enough?!

    By 1945 the Soviet armed forces had defeated the bulk of the German field armies and were advancing rapidly into the very heart of Germany, liberating thousands of towns and major cities, taking away Germany's oil supply, in the last and definitive attempt to crush nazism and the German threat.

    By the time of the Yalta conference, the Red Army was at the gates of Vienna, Berlin and Prague as the Western Allies were at the Rhine.

    Were Roosevelt and Churchill in the position to tell Stalin: 'Get out of eastern Europe. You're a bloody dictator and we don't like you. And you're not going to "liberate" the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians or Romanians"? Of course not, Stalin was the most important of the 'Big Tree', had the most powerful armed forces in the world at the time, the defeat of Germany was in large part due to him, and there was still Japan in the picture.

    Roosevelt, being the man of great vision he was, saw that post-war policy was going to be dictated by the US and the USSR. The British Empire's collapse was imminent and it was very convenient for both the two remaining superpowers: one could expand its business and economical power into the newborn nations and the other could supply them with weaponry for communist oriented revolutions.

    The economical growing and conquest of markets of the post-war era, i. e. neocolonialism and therefore, the prosperity of the United States were ignaugurated at Yalta, thanks to FDR. I don't think that's naïvity. He was one of the very few American presidents who can be truly considered a statesman. Only Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln can be said to have transformed the US as deeply as did FDR.
     
  16. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Stalin did not defeat 4/5 of German forces for the allies. He did it for himself.
     
  17. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    P.S. do you really consider Stalins putting the Poles under his boot Liberation !!?? Lets not forget that Stalin took half of Poland in 39. Liberation my A--
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    If Falaise is closed, the Germans lose about 300,000 men (about 50,000 were killed or captured). Originally, about 250,000 managed to escape the encirclement. But, more importantly, among those that escaped were most of the higher ranked officers and their staffs. This made it easy for the Germans to rebuild the divisions shattered there. The command structure was largely intact. Just adding new manpower and equipment was necessary.
    Without the staffs it would have taken a year or more to build a new division that was worth anything. And, of course, the experiance of the officers captured is gone. The new replacements wouldn't have likely been their equal.
    On top of this the morale and propaganda value of such a defeat would have been invaluable. With an entire armies captured and surrendering, much like at Stalingrad this would have been a major blow to the German public and one Göbbels couldn't have spun into a victory of sorts as he originally did. Add the loss of Paris a few days later and the Allied armies advancing almost unchecked the German public would have suffered a major blow to morale, perhaps one that might have lead to demands for surrender.
    The loss of 5th Panzer Army and 7th Army alone would have meant more than half of the units fighting in the Ardennes would cease to exist. Falaise was a grand opportunity missed.
     
  19. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Roosevelt the statesman. Who instituted the unconstitutional payroll tax, ( shortterm to pay for the war, a lie ). Who also violated treaties with Japan & provoked the Japanese into war with us. A man of vision? Who had the vision to send the fleet to pearl against the loud protests of his military subordinates, (one of whom was sacked for disobeying a direct order to send the fleet to pearl). Then convieniently blamed Admiral Kimmel. Unfortunately the 2500 men who died there are not with us to share their opinion of the "great" Roosevelt.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Just asking: Do you think the British forces alone could finish the Falaise pocket and the US forces would advance as I cannot see the capture of Paris myself in near future in Aug 1944 if the both forces were used for the Falaise pocket instead. Or some other solution?

    :confused:
     
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