The big losses of Omaha (6th june 1944)

May 2018
133
Houston, TX
And somehow it seems to me that a lot comes back to the reluctance of Hitler's staff to wake him up so he could give the order to move Panzers to the defense.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
And somehow it seems to me that a lot comes back to the reluctance of Hitler's staff to wake him up so he could give the order to move Panzers to the defense.
Though repeated often, especiallyi by surviving German generals who love blaming Hitler for everything, it really had nothing to do with their defeat. There were not enough panzer divisions near to Normandy to have reached it early enough, especially considering "jabo" air attacks, to have been a factor. While their were enough panzer divisions in OB West, because Rundstedt (who helped promoted the "Hitler slept in" myth) wanted the panzer divisions massed in a reserve near Paris, and had that been authorized, Overlord would have been a total cakewalk. As it was, Hitler agreed to Rommel's plan to defend the beaches, but compromised too with Rundestedt, so held a bunch of Panzer Divisions far back in Panzer Group West command.

But not all were under their full operational control. 21st Panzer Division was already near Caen and the Orne river and were moving before Hitler woke up, 12th SS Panzer Division was already moving, and I think another, maybe Panzer Lehr, got a warning order to prep to move too.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,610
Dispargum
Of course,but if the weather would have been perfect,the germans would have seen everything.
I've never read that the weather restricted or reduced German visibility. If the weather forecasts were for better weather, the Germans may have been on higher alert, since they were as familiar with the moon and tides as the Allies. The Germans had predicted the window of June 5-7 as a high risk period and only stood down their defenses when their meteorologists predicted the weather would be too bad for an Allied attack. Rommel was home on leave in Germany because the weather reports said it was safe for him to do so. In this regard the weather may have reduced casualties on Utah and the British beaches, although at Omaha, as discussed above, the Germans were already on high alert due to a local exercise that had nothing to do with the weather.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,480
South of the barcodes
- 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.

- 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.
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Thats part of the same problem. I dont know if it was the weather or a local current they hadnt anticipated but there were problems with strong side currents that day.

The DD tank crews report being pushed sideways as they were swimming in, opinion from experienced sailors is that the tanks didnt have the ability to fight the current they should have drifted with it, made landfall and started the fight from wherever they landed.
Being inexperienced landsmen the DD crews instead tried to maintain orders and head for the landmarks they were familiar with, getting the full beating of the waves against the side panels of the flotation gear which eventually collapsed under the battering and sank the tanks.

Just a guess here but the landing craft are overloaded, have flat sides and arent exactly overpowered, they may have had the same problem and being a little more experienced decided they couldnt fight the sea as well as the Germans and made a landing where they could.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Thats part of the same problem. I dont know if it was the weather or a local current they hadnt anticipated but there were problems with strong side currents that day.

The DD tank crews report being pushed sideways as they were swimming in, opinion from experienced sailors is that the tanks didnt have the ability to fight the current they should have drifted with it, made landfall and started the fight from wherever they landed.
Being inexperienced landsmen the DD crews instead tried to maintain orders and head for the landmarks they were familiar with, getting the full beating of the waves against the side panels of the flotation gear which eventually collapsed under the battering and sank the tanks.

Just a guess here but the landing craft are overloaded, have flat sides and arent exactly overpowered, they may have had the same problem and being a little more experienced decided they couldnt fight the sea as well as the Germans and made a landing where they could.
I read quite a few testimonials from passengers were that many crew were just trying to perform bare minimum job. Get kind of close before ordering the DD to go over. Just hit any part of the beach with infantry, nevermind attempting to go where they're supposed to. Panic can be bad, identical problem with the C47 that carried the paratroopers earlier, flying too fast and dropping nowhere drop zones.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,864
Stockport Cheshire UK
Got this info on DD tanks at Omaha off poster Richard Anderson(aka richTO90) who is an author and well respected poster on the Axis History and MilitaryHistoryonline forums.
At OMAHA the 29 DD tanks of the 741st Tank Battalion were launched at 6,000 yards. Of those two swam in and another three were landed directly. The remaining 27 sank. The 32 DD tanks of the 741st Tank Battalion were all landed directly on the beach, except for four lost when their LCT struck a mine. In addition, 16 Sherman tankdozers were landed; with 13 being eventually knocked out, and another 40 conventional Sherman tanks were landed, for a total of 120 at about H-Hour. Including the DD tanks sunk, about 79 tanks were lost on OMAHA, meaning that 48 were knocked out on the beach, most to gunfire (although it appears that at least 4 were lost to mines).
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,780
UK
Well the say the pre-bombing of the beach was weak, and US Navy personnel gave the troops a large breakfast.
So it could have been avoided, but Omaha Beach was successful. Just not AS successful as SHEAF had planned, and compared to the British, Canadian, and other US beaches.
 
Mar 2019
1,983
Kansas
Well the say the pre-bombing of the beach was weak, and US Navy personnel gave the troops a large breakfast.
So it could have been avoided, but Omaha Beach was successful. Just not AS successful as SHEAF had planned, and compared to the British, Canadian, and other US beaches.
The other thing that hurt at Omaha was the fact a number of German units were conducting anti invasion exercises just as the Americans started their attack.
 
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Oct 2015
932
Virginia
The German 352d infantry division which defended OMAHA and part of GOLD beaches was a higher quality unit than those defending the other beaches, with fewer "Osttruppen" and better equipment.

Also, to keep the transports out of range of the Pt du Hoc battery, the troops were loaded into assault craft 8-10 km further out to sea than at the other beaches. The longer run-in caused them to be scattered and swept east of the intended landing points by the heavy weather.

OMAHA beach was also a more difficult landing spot due to geography. The beach was concave, making for more effective flanking fire, it was more exposed to the weather, and the bluffs behind the beach were higher than elsewhere.
 
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