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Caen was captured


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#1 Mahross

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Posted 01 December 2004 - 09:51 PM

If Caen had been captured on D-Day do you think this would have significantly changed the nature of campaign?

#2 Martin Bull

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 12:23 PM

here's a quick, off-the-cuff ( ie I haven't sat down and thought about it much ! :( ) answer.

It may well have changed the shape of the campaign - that is to say, maybe the Normandy Campaign could have ended earlier with possibly no 'Falaise'.

But this may instead have led to a 'slogging match' across France which I believe the Allies had been expecting anyway.

So, end result - the same.
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#3 Friedrich

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 03:17 PM

I'm actually not sure, but I suppose that without a Falaise there would have been a relatively untouched German Army to fight all the way to Paris and the border. Once the Allies broke from the difficult Normand terrain, there could be a highly mobile war all the way to the high ground north of Paris, when lack of supplies and stiffening German resistance most surely stopped the advance, forming a similar frontline to that of WWI. I don't think the war could have ended in 1944.
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

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#4 Friedrich

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 03:18 PM

By the way, Ross: great avatar! Sir Arthur Tedder with his pipe! :cool:
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun

#5 Kai-Petri

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 04:43 PM

Not really but that is my opinion. The German generals thought it would be wisest to retreat behind Seine if the invasion succeeds but Hitler would not give an inch. As well the allied got Caen by early July..

http://www.onwar.com...ndy/1caen44.htm

but not until a month later did they start to get going with their attack.

http://www.onwar.com...1seineaug44.htm

And Falaise Aug 16-19

http://www.onwar.com...nt/1falaise.htm
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#6 Mahross

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 08:18 PM

Freddy - It 'Peter' Portal but thanks.

I suppose it would possible have left the German Army intact. Would this create bigger problems for the allies?

I suppose then if it did become a greater attritional slogging match then the way normandy di pan out was mcuh more conducive for the allies as after falaise, at least until they reached the german border, the german army was on its heels the whole time.

#7 Friedrich

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:15 PM

Sorry, Ross… think I need new glasses… :rolleyes:
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun

#8 Major Destruction

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 01:47 AM

I think it would have made very little difference to the overall outcome of events.

Two events would not have changed:
1. The Great Storm.

This would have left the British in Caen with a larger rear area to hold and with less reserves to hold out with. A longer 'front' would require more defensive measures as any offensive action would not be possible without those supplies held up after the Great Storm.

2. The American breakout.

This would not have happened any sooner. Until the Americans could break out of the bocage, no broad front offensive action could happen.

Add to this there would have been none of the 'racecourse' attacks and with that no gain in battle experience. The British would have been unable to advance without creating a problematic salient which could result in a German attack between the British and American sectors and this would lead to a defence strategy and mentality. Dangerous in the circumstances.

Then we need to examine the real reason for the German defeat- the Mortain adventure in which most of the German offensive and therefore defensive strength was wasted. It was here that German hopes of remaining in France faded and it was only after this oint that German forces retreated out of France.

But consider a British Drive to Falaise in June or July while the Americans are held back. Now you have one force moving east and the other stationary with not much in the area defending the port.

Cherbourg was no prize, nor was Brest but the Winston docks at Arromanches were vital for success. Any German drive there would have resulted in terrible consequences if successful.

or.......

Without British pressure on their front, the Germans could reinforce their positions facing the Americans without a need for any serious expenditure of armour while concurrently preventing any hope of an Allied breakout.

Caen was a convenient point on a map to draw a line through and name as a primary objective but as we know from other adventures, capturing cities is not the best or most useful event to drive towards, see Leningrad, Stalingrad or...... Paris for that matter.

Ultimately, the plan worked, the Seine was reached within the 90 day plan and supplies advanced on schedule.

Caen was of little importance in the end.
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#9 Kai-Petri

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 05:16 PM

This is one of the great what-if´s again but without the bocage I´m sure the US forces would have advanced a lot faster and from the allied point it must have been frustrating to see how the bocage suddenly stopped all movement in that sector. Nobody could see that it would be a major obstacle.
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#10 Kai-Petri

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 05:29 PM

BTW,

in Belton Cooper´s Death traps it is mentioned that in the Bocage fighting the Germans used to put alot of telephone wiring in and around the bocage so that once the US troops somewhere got a breakthrough the Germans just tapped the wiring and got instant artillery backup where it was needed.
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