Battle of the Bulge

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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Dave Saxton
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat May 06, 2017 9:58 pm

OpanaPointer wrote:I was just wondering how the US air power would have been nullified long enough for the Germans to reach Antwerp.


I believe only the weather could. The Luftwaffe could not do it by that time period.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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tommy303
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby tommy303 » Mon May 08, 2017 7:57 pm

All in all, I would say that the German offensive was something of a forlorn hope in the Victorian sense in that it could do little more than demonstrate the Wehrmacht was still an entity to be regarded with caution. It made a certain amount of sense in tactical terms, but strategically it was a misstep. All the men and materiel devoted to the Ardennes offensive would have been much better used in the east to stem the Russian advance. Hitler, who was a firm believer in taking the offensive simply chose the wrong target. Strengthening the defensives in the west and limiting offensive operations there to counter attacks and probes while mustering forces for a major strike at the Russian Army might have been a better option. Certainly the men, tanks and other materiel lost in the west could not be replaced. All in all, inspite of some initial and spectacular success on the tactical level, the Ardennes offensive effectively left the back door open in the east and created a salient in the west which threatened to entrap the German forces which created it.

One sees, in fact, a certain similarity between the Ardennes offensive and Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863. Taking the offenisve and abandoning a strong defense along interior lines was I think a mistake in both cases.

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RF
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby RF » Wed May 10, 2017 6:13 pm

As I understand it Hitler was sufficiently astute in October 1944 to realise that while a substantial counter stroke in the West would have an impact because the Allied Expeditionary Force was at the limit of its supplies, a similar assault in the East would have no impact at all on the Soviet Army because the eastern front was so much bigger in scale: also the Soviets did not have the supply problems Eisenhower had.
In this Hitler was right.

In terms of keeping forces in a defensive mode instead of attacking, while it strengthens defence it leaves the initiative with the Allies in a war which cannot be won by conventional means.
To my mind the Ardennes offensive by Hitler was absolutely right - the outcome finally was no different BUT by attacking there is a greater chance of something happening which might have changed Germany's fortunes. In reality it didn't - but if you don't try then you are lost anyway.
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby Byron Angel » Thu May 11, 2017 2:29 am

Another argument in favor of a German counterstroke in the West is that IF it had succeeded in all its operational aims - splitting the front, isolating 21st Army Group, and seizing Antwerp, Allied offensive operations against Germany proper would almost certainly have been brought to a standstill for a considerable period of time. Eisenhower would have been forced to first stabilize the front, then re-establish communications and supply with Montgomery and finally recover Antwerp (whose port facilities the Germans would quite likely comprehensively destroy before departing a second time). Without Antwerp, the Allies could not maintain active offensive operations with much more than half their strength.

In such an event, I could easily visualize the end result being Germany entirely overrun by the Red Army with the western Allies staring across the Rhine at Soviet tanks instead of across the Elbe.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

Byron

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RF
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby RF » Fri May 12, 2017 5:35 pm

Not only Germany but also the whole of Austria and quite likely Denmark as well.

In that scenario the Cold War in Europe would be much more in favour of Stalin and his successors - Finland would be communist and Sweden and Norway also sucked into the Soviet ambit.
With Soviet forces on the borders of Italy and France the communist parties in those countries would be much stronger.
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Re: Battle of the Bulge

Postby Byron Angel » Sat May 13, 2017 7:41 pm

Fair comment, RF. I did not think so far ahead, but your scenario is quite plausible to me and IMO puts quite an interesting spin on the geo-political implications being weighed in the balance of the Battle of the Bulge.

Byron


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