The big losses of Omaha (6th june 1944)

Jul 2016
9,327
USA
#3
Yes. The difficulties and bloodshed suffered during the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach were largely the result of a few aspects, all of which could have been fixed with more planning and better coordination:

- Better fire support plan. The USAAF heavy bombers, tasked with providing the bulk of the annihilation/neutralization of the D-Day defenses for that beach dropped far long inland. Meanwhile, invasion forces were expecting a much longer naval bombardment of the beach defenses, but were not aware that those were primarily tasked with inland fires on larger coastal batteries, known inland artillery positions, and suspected assembly areas. This meant that when the initial waves of infantry and engineer assault troops hit the beaches, the defenses were largely untouched and the shell holes they were promised on the beaches, allowing them to run from hole to hole, were not present.

- Debarkation of the DD Tanks was too far out to sea, due to panicking landing craft officers not wanting to get too close to the beaches. Had they worked to get closer, far less would have floundered (most of them did), and so many more would have reached the beach and been able to provide crucial fire support.

- Better communication between assault forces and the naval forces, and assault force commanders, would have allowed better fires. In reality, there was almost none, so when the initial assault wave landed and was nearly annihilated, nobody really knew that. They sent the next wave in, who by planning were not supposed to still be fighting for the beach itself, but were planned to be used to be fighting further inland.

- Landing craft drifted badly. It seems that the skippers of the landing craft were either ignorant of navigational terrain features for their objectives, or apathetic. This meant that assault forces who had prepared to assault very specific portions of the beach (the beach exits) often landed far from them.

- Having a contingency plan to deal with the bluffs would have been nice. The plan was to primarily hit the draws in between bluffs, but those turned out to be too heavily defended and blocked by obstacles, necessitating assault troops to assault up the bluffs and then take the draws from behind before engineers could finally clear them (which largely did not happen until days after D-Day). A basic contingency plan could have been created that would have ensured that leaders would not have to create a fragmentary order on the spot, while being shot at, and try to get soldiers to follow it, which is not the best time to try to rewrite a major plan.

- In hindsight, having two cruisers purposely beach themselves at positions dividing the beach in thirds would have allowed the landings to succeed with far far less bloodshed, and the ships themselves would likely not have suffered that badly either (only a few 8.8 cm guns were present on the beaches, they'd have been taken out quickly with the cruisers heavy guns.
 
May 2017
918
France
#4
Thank you very very much.But as the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine were not very strong,wasn it possible to bomb with the navy and its big guns embarked all the sector during,three,four,five or six days until the total destruction of the défenses ?
 
Jul 2016
9,327
USA
#5
Thank you very very much.But as the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine were not very strong,wasn it possible to bomb with the navy and its big guns embarked all the sector during,three,four,five or six days until the total destruction of the défenses ?
If they spent numerous days bombarding the beaches before landing it would allow Germany to move forces, specifically the panzer divisions, toward the beachheads. Surprise was necessary, the faster they could get troops on the ground, establish a foothold, the less likely that the plan to drive them into the sea with panzer divisions could succeed. Once established, there was no getting them out again, so the first few days would really be the most tenuous.
 
Jul 2016
9,327
USA
#6
I'd also like to add that USAAF bomber command refusal throughout the overall Normandy campaign to fly parallel to the to enemy main line of resistance instead of perpendicular was a major cause of poor bombing success.

Surprisingly, the same force that would sacrifice a substantial part of their bombers to hit a ball bearing factory 10 times in a row, often without fighter support, balked at flying parallel for fear of being over spending too much time over German positions full of AAA (with barely any 8.8 cm guns in the entire theater). While slightly more dangerous, the technique would have allowed for the best accuracy, and the safest for Allied forces, as long as they were over the targets if they dropped long or short they'd still hit the beaches. Instead, and they did the same thing later on during Operation Cobra, they flew perpendicular to the beaches, directly toward them, so missing even by one second meant either dropping short (and potentially onto friendlies) or far inland and nowhere near anything that needed to be bombed (killing dirt, civilians, and cows).
 
Likes: Ichon and Zip
May 2017
918
France
#7
Thank you very much.But in the german vision,it was imposible counter attack on the beaches with the tanks of the Panzerdivisions;the allied navy would have destroyed everything.The best defense of Hitler was in the interior of the grounds,in the purpose to neutralize completely the naval superiority of the allied,exposed to the impossibility to shoot.As the boming raids were of a little efficacity,it was not a big mistake to wait the allied in the "Pas de Calais",because if the debarkment in the east Cotentin would have been a diversion, anallied debarkment in the north would have provoked a disaster for the Wehrmacht and certainly reduced the war of several months.
 
Jul 2016
9,327
USA
#8
Thank you very much.But in the german vision,it was imposible counter attack on the beaches with the tanks of the Panzerdivisions;the allied navy would have destroyed everything.
Allied naval power was successful at repelling panzer attacks against allied landing beaches in Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio because the shape of the terrain, the beaches were essentially the bottom of a bowl. That meant that the Germans held the high ground and could see the landing beach with ease (allowing them to deliver accurate artillery fire too), but when they advanced downwards to the beach the entire time they were visible to all naval guns in the vicinity. Normandy was different, it was flat. The beaches of Omaha had cliffs, but beyond them it was elevated terrain that the navy couldn't see. At best they could deliver calls for fire by ground observer or spotter aircraft, but that wouldn't have been enough.

Furthermore, the movement I'm talking about is not within a few miles of the beaches, in order to shift panzer divisions to Normandy beaches, some had to travel up to 70 miles. That takes ample time, especially since Allied air power largely prevented daytime movement, forcing them to hide during the day and conduct road marches at night. As it was, when the 7th and 15th Armies at Normandy were at full strength, with more panzer divisions holding smaller frontages than anywhere in Europe and Russia, it was still too late, they didn't arrive soon enough in strength to dislodge the Allies. On D-Day to about D+10, that was a different story.

The best defense of Hitler was in the interior of the grounds,in the purpose to neutralize completely the naval superiority of the allied,exposed to the impossibility to shoot.As the boming raids were of a little efficacity,it was not a big mistake to wait the allied in the "Pas de Calais",because if the debarkment in the east Cotentin would have been a diversion, anallied debarkment in the north would have provoked a disaster for the Wehrmacht and certainly reduced the war of several months.
Nobody wanted to defend France, they wanted to destroy the Allied landing by attack. Rundstedt wanted to keep the vast majority of his forces inland, allow the Allies to land, and then defeat them in large scale maneuver warfare, similar to Poland, France, and his performance in 1941 with Army Group South in Barbarossa. However, all those campaigns the Germans had air dominance, in 1944 the Allies would have it, making any maneuver basically impossible. Rommel wanted to defend the beaches and counter attack with panzer divisions, because he knew maneuver was largely impossible (having suffered under allied air superiority in North Africa). But the flaw in his system was the Heer and Waffen SS simply did not have enough panzer divisions to do it, to cover all suspected invasion beaches (Calais, Normandy, Brittany, etc) with sufficient forces on hand, so they had to guess.

Hitler, having to decide between Rundstedt, his the commander of the western theater (OB West), and Rommel, an army group commander and technically a subordinate of Rundstedt but a favorite of Hitler who never followed the chain of command. So Hitler compromised. He created a reserve formation that would be inland of some panzer divisions, while beefing up the Atlantic Wall (per Rommel's suggestion), placing some panzer divisions near the beaches (21st Panzer Division was near Caen on D-Day and 12th SS Panzer Div was near enough too).

The plan was to crush the Allies on the beach with the panzer counterattacks, take all those high quality divisions and rail them to the Eastern Front, use them for a major offensive to retake Ukraine.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,934
Dispargum
#10
One complicating factor for the Allies that day was the marginal weather. Had the weather been any worse, Eisenhower would have canceled the operation. In calmer seas, more DD tanks would have made it to shore. The bombers missed their targets on Omaha because they dropped their bombs from above the cloud cover. In clear skies they would have been able to see their aim points. The weather may have been a factor in landing craft drifting from their intended beaches, also.
 
Likes: Kotromanic

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