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Western front-interesting bits of information

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Kai-Petri, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Overlord and coastal batteries:

    The lack of sufficient coastal batteries for use against naval targets did not allow, as planned, for the destruction of the attackers in the water before they reached the coast. typical was the demise of the Longues Naval coastal battery. Shortly before the start of the invasion it was constructed on the steep coast between sectors Gold and Omaha, approximately 74 to 60 meters above the sea. It was armed with four 152 mm cannon of German manufacture, and emplaced under concrete shelters still preseved today. its fire direction post was located about 300 meters in front of these bunkers, on the edge of the steep coast. It was the only battery on the invasion front to be equipped with the " Parallax Fire Direction system ", which permitted firing at mobile naval targets. The firing data was passed to the guns by telephone. The telephone cable, which was buried 1.8 meters deep, was destroyed by bombs before the start of the landing and, because of the depth, could not be repaired. The battery lacked radio sets. The smoke of battle prevented the battery from direct fire against observed targets. The guns were blind, and they did not have the capability of conducting indirect fire and adjusting it. They couldn´t hit anything.
    With its firing radius of 180 degrees, the battery could have also been able to place beaches Gold and Omaha under fire, but as the battery had a purely naval mission, it had neither contact with the army nor a view of the landing beaches.

    The western front 1944: memoirs of a Panzer Lehr officer by Helmut Ritgen
     
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    So the the much maligned aerial bombardment destroyed the ability of this battery to fulfil its mission..(as it did with the Pointe du hoc battery)

    The Longues sur Mer battery did engage the invasion fleet using gun control, with each gun engaging individually. Even without their control equipment they managed to identify a good target, straddling HMS Bulolo, the Headquarters ship for the XXX Corps landings. The battery was silenced by HMS Ajax which managed to put rounds through the embrasure of one of the guns. The Germans reopened fire later in the day but was silenced by a French cruiser and a US battleship.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
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  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Erich Marcks (6 June 1891 – 12 June 1944) was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II. He authored the first draft of the operational plan, Operation Draft East, for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, advocating what was later known as A-A line as the goal for the Wehrmacht to achieve, within nine to seventeen weeks.

    [​IMG]

    In December 1940 Marcks became commanding general of the 101st Light Infantry Division. In June 1941 he was gravely wounded in the Ukraine, necessitating the amputation of his left leg. After his recovery, he was named commanding general of the 337th Infantry Division from March 1942 until September 1942. Marcks was promoted to General der Artillerie and was named commanding general of the LXXXIV Corps, which he commanded during the Allied Normandy Invasion,[4] and having had his 53rd birthday on D-Day, he was wounded in an Allied air attack on 12 June 1944 and died the same day. Posthumously, he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (24 June 1944).

    In the film The Longest Day, Marcks is played by Richard Münch. In the TV Movie Rommel, he is played by Hans Kremer.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The American forces broke into Bretagne and into the French countryside across the road bridge from Pontobault across the Selune ( south of Avranches ). The attempt of the 100th Kampfgeschwader to destroy this bridge with radio guided bombs from Toulouse, 700 kilometers away, failed. However, thirty-six DO 217 bombers and their crews were lost trying to destroy it.

    The western front 1944 by Helmut Ritgen ( memoirs of a Panzer Lehr officer )
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Panzer Lehr and fuel and ammunition supplies June 1944

    Precautionary supply dumps had not been established sufficiently before the landing. Ammunition had to be fetched from south of the Loire, fuel from east of Paris, because the Allied air forces had systematically destroyed the bridges and railroads. Long distances and the air situation delayed the supply transports. It was not unusual for supply columns to take five nights to travel with fuel from the railroad terminals.

    The western front 1944 Memoirs of a Panzer Lehr officer by Helmut Ritgen
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On Normandy battles:

    As 7th Amoured Division moved off on June 12th, the word spread. The Desert Rats did not enjoy being tied down in the close countryside of the bocage, its tiny strip fields bordered by deep ditches and high thick-banked hedges, their roots as firm in the Norman earth as if set in concrrete. The enemy was literally within speaking distance. As a Yankee soldier who fought at Caumont told: " We reckon it´s rough here. You can reach through the hedge and put the safety-catch on their Spandaus".

    Caen-Anvil of victory by Alexander McKee
     
  7. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Panzer Lehr's journey to the Normandy beachhead had to be made on their own tracks, because a British saboteur had replaced lubricant oil with carborundum paste in the tank transporter trailers
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Good point. People often approach things on an all-or-nothing basis, in this case; if the air bombardment didn't totally smash the German defenses, it must have been useless. The truth usually lies somewhere in between.

    Another good point. A shell of any caliber exploding inside a concrete structure is going to have a devastating effect, whether it got there through the embrasure or by penetrating the concrete. More numerous, faster-firing guns like Ajax's 6-inchers might have a better chance than a battleship.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Due to bad weather Harris had to move the bombing of Hamburg until summer of 1943. Operation Gomorra created a 20 km2 area of firestorm: and over 40,000 people burnt or suffocated with massive pains.
    Watching down to this inferno a British bomber pilot Richard Mayce saw something undescripable: "Just like Dante´s hell, even water burnt."
    Mayce: "It was what we Christians imagined hell to look like.During that night I became a pacifist".

    Translated from a Finnish book originally " Als Feuer Vom Himmel Fiel"by Stephan Burgdorff and Christian Habbe, by Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, München 2003. Published by agreement with Agentur Literatur Gudrun Hebel, Berlin.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The unsolved mystery even today is that why the Allied did not immediately strike Hitler´s oil production factories. Until May 1944 only 1.1% of the bombings targeted these oil producing factories that allowed Hitler´s tanks continue moving on.

    Als Feuer Vom Himmel Fiel i.e. "When it rained fire from the skies"
     
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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The terrible contrast of Normandy, between pity and pitilessness in the same person, is most pithily illustrated by General Bradley´s order: " If it becomes necessary to save time, put 500 or even 1,000 tons of air on the place and take the city apart". And when he saw what he had done: " For more than four years the people had awaited this moment of liberation. Now they stareed accusingly at us from the ruins that covered their dead."

    Caen- anvil of victory
    by Alexander McKee
     
  12. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Surely it was a simple mixture of distance and accuracy.
    Can't reliably hit them by night, can't get there without unacceptable casualties by day.

    Until mid-'44, when you have sensible escorts.

    By that time, the RAF probably could have hit them by night, but by then Harris was too entrenched.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Not forgetting Harris promised to bomb German Cities to ashes..
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Wiki will provide you with the basics.
    Oil campaign of World War II - Wikipedia
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On August 9th 1944, 4th Canadian Armoured was trying to make up for its initial laggard progress by making the opposite mistake. Having failed to take risks at the outset, when it was vital to do so, and before the 12th SS could possible have re-grouped in time to stop them, they made a daring, lightning night march, captured the wrong hill, were counter-attacked by 12th SS, who, assisted by Allied fighter-bombers, drove them off it, and retired with the loss, to the British Columbia Regiment, of forty-seven tanks in one day. The Canadian Army had advanced eight miles towards Falaise, precisely half the distance.

    Caen-Anvil of victory by McKee
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I recall reading that during pre-Overlord discussions, it was acknowledged that the Transportation Plan bombings, centered on rail yards which were often in towns, would inevitably involve significant French civilian casualties. The British, including Churchill, were particularly concerned about this; bombing Germans - the enemy - was more acceptable than bombing innocent people in occupied France. The person most willing to accept it as a cost of winning the war was de Gaulle's representative, Koenig IIRC.
     
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  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Not sure , but bomber commander Harris, wanted to bomb German cities not help the invasion force. Not sure though what the % was between the two?
     

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