Instead of the Ardennes offensive in December '44, what should the Germans have done?

Nov 2014
192
United States
#1
Instead of launching an offensive through the Ardennes and the subsequent Battle of the Bulge that ended in failure, what should Hitler and the German high command have done? What other strategy or action should they have used to stall the Allied advance into Germany at the end of 1944?

What was the best course of action that Hitler should have taken that wouldn't have ended in as big a failure and waste of manpower as the Ardennes offensive was in OTL?
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,656
#2
Depends what the goal was. The war was already lost so even if Ardennes is a success it only delays a few more months. Probably the best plan would have been surrender.
 
Oct 2012
8,545
#3
For Germany and Europe, the best thing would have probably been to send those units, along with the majority of the soldiers fighting the western allies to the east to hold the Soviet Union in Poland long enough for the US and Britain to conquer Germany. Ideally by late '44 so the western allies would have been in a position to limit the USSR's gains.

For the Nazis, the game was up, it really didn't matter what they did at that point.
 
May 2011
515
UK
#5
they should have concentrated on inflicting more defensive victories on the allies and making their advance as painful and slow as possible. From September to December the western allied advance was ground to a halt, so why the Germans through away this situation is a mystery.
 
Sep 2008
1,855
Halicarnassus, 353BC
#7
Instead of launching an offensive through the Ardennes and the subsequent Battle of the Bulge that ended in failure, what should Hitler and the German high command have done?
Surrender. Do it now before the Allies cross onto German soil and inflict pointless suffering on the civilian population. There was absolutely no prospect whatsoever of winning the war, or even holding back the Allies at this point. The only course of action was to end the fighting as soon as possible and try to salvage as much as possible.

I can tell from your post though that you'll be disappointed unless someone suggests a military solution, so I'll give it a go. The military situation saw the Germans outnumbered 11 to one on the Eastern Front, with overwhelming Soviet superiority in tanks, aircraft, manpower and artillery. Effectively, resistance there was useless.

On the Western Front, tattered and ill-equipped Volksturm units with no air support, not enough tanks and very little fuel to run them on, were expected to hold back the entire British and American armies, which had vast superiority in airpower, tanks, equipment and men. The units available in January 1945 were cobbled together after the western front had collapsed the previous autumn, and were largely completely green. Many of the men were teenagers and old men and others recovering from wounds or unfit for service for various reasons but sent to the front anyway.

Realistically, an offensive was out of the question on either front. Likewise, any attempt at static defence was doomed. The Reich simply did not have anywhere near the resources necessary.

So, what was militarily possible? In the circumstances, I think diplomacy was the only option. Stalin wasn't going to settle for peace now he had Berlin in his sights. The Western Allies were in no mood to compromise either. Diplomacy was virtually useless. Unconditional surrender was the only option.

At this point I can't even begin to plot a strategy. There is simply nothing they could have done. Constantine's suggestion is the only one that seems possible - as he said, transfer all troops to the eastern front, and attempt to hold back the Soviets for a little longer to allow the western allies into Berlin. But ultimately, either way Hitler and his entourage were facing a cyanide pill, a pistol shot to the head, or the hangman's noose.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2014
312
Seattle, Washington
#8
Surrender. Do it now before the Allies cross onto German soil and inflict pointless suffering on the civilian population. There was absolutely no prospect whatsoever of winning the war, or even holding back the Allies at this point. The only course of action was to end the fighting as soon as possible and try to salvage as much as possible.

I can tell from your post though that you'll be disappointed unless someone suggests a military solution, so I'll give it a go. The military situation saw the Germans outnumbered 11 to one on the Eastern Front, with overwhelming Soviet superiority in tanks, aircraft, manpower and artillery. Effectively, resistance there was useless.

On the Western Front, tattered and ill-equipped Volksturm units with no air support, not enough tanks and very little fuel to run them on, were expected to hold back the entire British and American armies, which had vast superiority in airpower, tanks, equipment and men. The units available in January 1945 were cobbled together after the western front had collapsed the previous autumn, and were largely completely green. Many of the men were teenagers and old men and others recovering from wounds or unfit for service for various reasons but sent to the front anyway.

Realistically, an offensive was out of the question on either front. Likewise, any attempt at static defence was doomed. The Reich simply did not have anywhere near the resources necessary.

So, what was militarily possible? In the circumstances, I think diplomacy was the only option. Stalin wasn't going to settle for peace now he had Berlin in his sights. The Western Allies were in no mood to compromise either. Diplomacy was virtually useless. Unconditional surrender was the only option.

At this point I can't even begin to plot a strategy. There is simply nothing they could have done. Constantine's suggestion is the only one that seems possible - as he said, transfer all troops to the eastern front, and attempt to hold back the Soviets for a little longer to allow the western allies into Berlin. But ultimately, either way Hitler and his entourage were facing a cyanide pill, a pistol shot to the head, or the hangman's noose.
True, true, true.....by this time it was no longer about Germany itself but all about a small cadre of nazis trying to extend their longevity by the months, weeks and days. The only difference in the final scenario would have been how quickly they would have faced a firing squad on the field or a tribunal and death by hanging from either the Soviets or the Anglo Alliance,...unless of course they knew something about rocket technology or intelligence services in which case a job, a villa on Martha's Vineyard and a pension!
 

SSDD

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
3,900
India
#9
Arm all soldiers with STG 44 and MP 40's, it would give them a considerable advantage in fire power over allied soldiers.
 
Jul 2011
5,938
Belgium
#10
What was the best course of action that Hitler should have taken that wouldn't have ended in as big a failure and waste of manpower as the Ardennes offensive was in OTL?
Best course of action would have been calling it a day and surrendering.
Of course, that's trying to apply logic to illogical people.