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What if the Germans had Broken through the Ardennes?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Cj3022, Apr 23, 2009.

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  1. Cj3022

    Cj3022 Member

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    What do you think would have happened if the German Army would have managed to get through the Ardennes? Would it have affected the war? Could the germans have had a better chance at winning?

    The ardenne offensive was the last major push by the german army , it spanned from Dec 16-Jan 25..As I understand , Hitler wanted to cut off the US and Britain from each other and capture Antwerp..Do u think he could have done this? He did the same thing in 1940 and it worked. The germans also had good equipment. Would they have had enough Fuel to even get to antwerp?

    I personnaly think that the germans would have had the cover to reach antwerp (the weather was not favorable for Bombinb/strafing)..I dont think it would have changed the course of the war though , the US and Britain would have stopped it eventualy...What do you think?


    Some Background Information from Wiki:

    The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium (and more specifically of Wallonia: hence its French name, Bataille des Ardennes), France and Luxembourg on the Western Front. The offensive was called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (translated as Operation The Guard on the Rhine or Operation "Watch on the Rhine") by the German armed forces (Wehrmacht). This German offensive was officially named the Battle of the Ardennes[6] or the Ardennes-Alsace campaign[7] by the U.S. Army[8], but it is known to the general public simply as the Battle of the Bulge, a description promoted by Winston Churchill to deliberately belittle in the public's mind at the time the serious nature of the struggle.[citation needed] The “bulge” was the initial incursion the Germans put into the Allies’ line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers.



    Also , this is my 1st real thread , so please dont be too harsh if I made some mistakes :p ...I wrote a Detailed Question , Background , and Opinion like Rules said :)
     
  2. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Then Patton would really chew them up and spit them out.

    The solution to the German salient that he truly wanted was the plan his S-3 or chief of staff suggested to him--continue his offensive into the east and give the Germans a deep encirclement. Short of that, he was content to let the Germans in enough to cut them off. His comment to Eisenhower, "Hell, if we have the balls, we'd let the sonofbitches go all the way to Paris..." was only in half jest.

    With Marseilles firmly in American hands, there would be no big obstacle to an Third Army southern counter stroke regardless of events in the North. Antwerp was out of the question as the only realistic objective was the Meuse... with clear weather going on and off and an extended tail, air power was going to come down them hard.

    The German panzers wouldn't get the fuel or mechanical endurance to drive on without greatly enfeebling their spearheads. And then the have Monty to worry about, as well as the rest of the First Army.
     
  3. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    The Germans had no chance. The German Generals knew this. That is why they proposed the "small solution" to Hitler.

    To put things into perspective:

    The typical Allied infantry division was fully motorized and supported by two battalions of armor. Meaning that they were individually equivalent to a late 1944 Panzer division in terms of material strength. The German units were simply a wretched shadow of the force that invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

    One of the key weaknesses, (nonwithstanding the terrible logistics) is the fact the 5th, 6th, 7th German Armies only had some 250,000 assault troops. Many of the units were foot and horse-drawn Volksgrenadier divisions with limited offensive value.

    They were simply outnumbered, outgunned, and outsupplied everywhere. During the Ardennes offensive, the US expended 5 times more Artillery in the Defense..
     
  4. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Wolfy,

    Not to nitpick, but usually an US ID gets one battalion of attached armor and often one battalion of tank destroyers in addition to the tanks. The TD Battalion was a smaller organization, often composed of towed 3-in. AT guns, and the SP units have four vehicles in a platoon instead of Tank Battalion's five. Significantly smaller organization all around.

    But I agree the Germans had no chance. Their only realistic objective would be the Meuse, and they only made it half way. If they had raced to the Meuse, what then? Did they have the manpower, the logistics to eradicate or even contain the enemy that they have encircled? I don't think they were even close. More to the point, how were they going to stop the Third Army? The Sixth Army Group was holding a firm shoulder for the Third. Not to mention the First Army that was far from exhausted, had plenty of reserves and was historically responsible for halting the Germans.
     
  5. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    True. But the Panzer divisions in the Ardennes were armed with only two small battalions: one with 40-something Panzer IVs, and one with 40-something Panzer V Panthers. There were little to no reinforcements.

    The Germans were also the attackers (and had the usual disadvantages there) and they abandoned more tanks than they lost in action.

    American armor units often got reinforced with new material, provided the battle took long enough.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  7. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    If the attack was launched by the strong Armored and mobile infantry units that were present during Normandy 1944, then the attack would of had a much better chance and may have even seen reasonable success.
     
  8. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

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    it wase too late in the war,too make any difference att all,but on the other hand ,if it was early in the war the germans would have a chain reaction causing the germans too win battle after battle and the allies falling and falling.
    germans would have defeated all allies includeing the mian allies "patton and montty.
     
  9. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    Gentelmen:

    It was not common knowledge but General Patton proposed that the Germans should be allowed to progess further than they did. General Eisenhower told Patton dont be silly he would not let them cross the Muese River. The British XXX corp was out of the line and would be at the crossing point. Pattons Idea was to let them have a long narrow penetratio then cut them off they could rescue their ment but not their equipment and the war was over.

    As Ever,

    Walter L. Marlowe

    ( Airborne all the Way)
     
  10. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    our monty would have stopped jerry dead.he sorted out Hodges 1st army in quick fashion ,and reinforced the meuse with xxx corps iirc.Patton had a slightly easier time attacking along the main road networks that ran in a n/n/e,n/e direction if my geographic memory serves me right,this network was used by jerry in 1940,when they attacked france from the ardennes,in a roughly s/s/w,s/w direction,cheers.:)
     
  11. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Harsh?!

    Dont be silly mate, it seems that your actually one of few newbies who read the "what-if" rules before posting!!! ;)


    Job well done.

    And welcome
     
  12. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Excellent way to post a what if.

    Even if they were successful in reaching Antwerp, they would have overextended their lines. They would not be able to hold because of the shortage of men. They would not have had a chance in winning the war nor have a significant impact. I think they would have lost the whole army as the allies would have closed the the ranks behind the Germans. It was a bad operation overall. Best the Germans could have done was protect the Rhine.
     
  13. Bomber Harris

    Bomber Harris Member

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    If the Germans had managed to break through the Ardennes, I think the war would have been over even quicker. Allied Air supremacy would have been even more devastating when the weather lifted, as the Wehrmacht would have been out of the cover of the forest. And the Allied forces facing them were units who were only sent to the sector to rest, and paratroopers who were desperately short of supplies. This means that the better equipped troops were available to close a pincer movement behind any further outbreak of the bulge, like Patton wanted to do.

    The Germans wouldn't have gotten very far either; certainly not to Antwerp. Their fuel wouldn't have lasted, and they didn't have the neccessary resources to maintain the supply lines they would have needed. So they would have been cut off, in the open, and with a Fuhrer who would have issued a directive of "fight to the last man". Considering that the Battle of the Bulge as it actually happened severely weakened Germany's ability to defend her homeland, if this alternate history was the case then Germany would have been left with nothing.

    Perhaps, however, the Allies might have reached Berlin first? That would be interesting.

    All in all, even if the Germans had broken out of the Ardennes, they were so badly outnumbered and outgunned that they would have been annihalated, I believe.
     
  14. Wolfy

    Wolfy Ace

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    The fact that this type of attack was even considered once again symbolizes the bankruptcy of the fascist system.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Wasn´t it Patton who had already planned this possibility and when Ike asked Patton how fast he could attack northwards Patton answered something like "48 hours" which astounded Ike.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yes. He had alerted his staff to begin planning for a 3 divisions attack to the North and by the time of the 12th AG meeting on the 17th.
     
  17. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Patton's S-2 Oscar Koch had been warning for a big German attack at First Army's sector for months. Patton took it seriously. When he got wind that the Germans went into radio silence at around D-3, Patton ordered his staff to work on a plan for turning the Third Army ninety degrees by pivotting on Luxemburg and make a counteroffensive into the Ardennes. By the time of the Verdun meeting Patton's staff had already finalized three alternative plans and was waiting for Patton to give the arranged code word to put anyone of them into action. After the conference, Patton picked up a field telephone, called his S-2, and gave him the word. Third Army went rolling at that very moment.

    And, as Marlowe said, Patton's favorite proposal was to let the Germans run to Paris for all he cares while he punch into German borders to trap them all in a deep envolopement. He rejected it because it never would have been approved by the more cautious Eisenhower.
     
  18. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    I wouldn't totally shun Germany from Ardennes possibilities. Sure the benefits wouldnt be great (If much at all) and Antwerp was still awhile away from becoming maximum efficient anyway.

    The Most that could have happened was the Allied units that were bumbling around the forests had been captured by they likely wouldn't have moved very far as a fresh round of gas was coming up to the Shermans anyway.
     
  19. blacksnake

    blacksnake Member

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    The only advantage the German forces had in the Ardennes Offensive was the initial surprise. The Allies didn't expect an attack in that region due to the unfavorable conditions of moving any large formations of armor through the forest. Plus, the Germans had been on the back foot for so long that a concentrated and organized offensive was deemed unlikely.
    Had they reached Antwerp it would have been on such a narrow front that any lines of supply would have been impossible to maintain.
    Any armored offensive that relies on capturing enemy fuel supplies to continue, is destined to fail.
     
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