Did D-Day actually have a realistic chance of failure?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
#1
Did D-Day actually have a realistic chance of failure? If so, what would have been necessary in order to bring this about?
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,293
#2
I don't think it could have outright failed, even if the Germans hadn''t been fooled by the deceptions. There could have been really heavy casualties with the landings or they could have had trouble breaking out or something but it couldn't actually fail. Too much air and naval superiority and Germans didn't have their main force there.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
#3
I don't think it could have outright failed, even if the Germans hadn''t been fooled by the deceptions. There could have been really heavy casualties with the landings or they could have had trouble breaking out or something but it couldn't actually fail. Too much air and naval superiority and Germans didn't have their main force there.
What if the Germans would have had their main force there, though?
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,312
Dispargum
#4
The weather could have caused more problems than it did.
Omaha Beach was a close run thing, mostly because the Germans had brought in a different (and much better) unit than the Allies were expecting.
The Allied paratroopers had serious problems, mostly caused by scattered drops in bad weather.
If the Panzer divisions had been stationed closer to the beaches they may have counter-attacked sooner, while the Allies were still vulnerable.
If Hitler had not slept late and if Rommel had been at his headquarters instead of home on leave the Germans may have reacted faster.
One of the artificial mulberry harbors was destroyed in a storm a few days after D-day. If the second harbor had been lost that would have really screwed up Allied logistics.

All in all, things could have been worse or with a few lucky breaks they could have been better. I guess quite a few breaks did go against the Allies and they still won.
 
Mar 2015
1,436
Yorkshire
#5
D Day itself ie a Landing would have succeeded. The difficult part was sustaining the Landing.

If you read Montgomery (he commanded and planned the ground offensive) the big problem was (and always is) that the land army ie German, can always reinforce faster than the seaborne.

Hence the importance of establishing a critical mass on shore and the means to defend it in the first few days.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,815
Sydney
#6
Yep , I agree with Chlodio , the weather was a huge problem
on the face of it , the operation should have been cancelled ,
this was way to dicey
Eisenhower was under massive pressure , not explicitly ,
but if the landing didn't take place then ,the tides and moon would make it reported by a month at least
rommel thought so and took a leave , the idiot

Eisenhower had this humongous force poised to go , pushing at him and he was the fall man if it didn't work out
this he could take
but to see the Normandy beaches covered with ten of thousands of dead meant the landing might have to be reported to next year
which was politically unacceptable , the Soviets would be on the Rhine by then

as it was it panned out fine , the losses on the beaches were moderate
Omaha was as much the fault of the US for not using Hogart "funnies" as anything
plus a fair amount of bad luck
still they landed , took a beachhead and then the weather broke

on the German slow trot reinforcing , Rommel was right
better a couple of panzer regiments in the first hours that a full armored division two days later
a landing of such scale is an exercise in chaos control
panzers a couple of miles inland would have been a disaster
allied command had not much of a clue as to what was happening out of sight of the beaches
Caen was supposed to be taken the first day , fat chance of that
the British para at the Pegasus bridge would have died bravely if an armored battalion had turned up
the 101th and 82th sowed confusion but would have been creamed if they had to contend with some serious armor
para are basically light infantry , they have between zero and very little heavy weapons
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,630
#7
Agree about the weather. Get it wrong enough, for long enough, and there could be a world of trouble.

Otherwise if Rommel had gotten hos wishes to have a requisite number of Panzer divisions close inland the beachhead might have been possible to at least contain. (Iirc that's how it worked out at Anzio in Italy.) It sort also assumes Hitler drops his notion that Normandy was the "deception" and the real landing would be at Calais.

Long term planning to actually defeat the landing as the armada hove into view would have required the Germans to seriously invest in coastal artillery along the coastline outside of the ports. It is kind of hard to fault the decisions to harden the ports on the Atlantic coast against attack and landings. The Allies went for open beaches like Normandy because they were more or less unprotected by coastal artillery. The German assumption was that even if landing somewhere, without a major port to supply the effort all the Allies would be able to do would be limited in scale. Which was where the two "Mulberry" harbours came in.
 
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AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,874
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#8
Actually British weather forecasts risked to endanger the landing forces ... weather just improved a bit, while they announced a pause between two days of bad weather. It was just because of correct weather forecasts that the Germans didn't expect the invasion so early [this is quite curious].

Anyway, to make D-Day fail, the first thing which had to go wrong was Operation Fortitude. Clearly the Germans had to know with accuracy what the allies were going to do [how, where and when].

Among other things ... Germans had to debunk the trick of the fake army [the FUSAG]. They would havn't kept 18 divisions near Calais ...

An other point was to complete the defensive Atlantic Wall [Rommel, becoming Commander of the region, found it incomplete].

But overall ... Germans had to preserve better the Luftwaffe during the conflict. And sure they had to deploy it in France, immediately. [German Air Forces on D-Day - Normandy - 1944]

Anyway, this is simply speculation. Germany wasn't in condition to make the D-Day fail.
 
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