Strategic situation on the Western front in the second half of 1944:The pace of recovery units after losing the Battle of Normandy
June 6, 1944 y, after several years of preparation, the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy to form long-awaited second front in Europe. 1 September continued in the fields of northern France a great battle, abounding in a series of dramatic events which resulted in the German armies were beaten losing a lot of equipment and about 300 thousand people.
During the Battle of Normandy on August 15 took place on the landing of Allied troops, this time in southern France in the region of Marseille and Toulon. As a result of losing the battle of Normandy and the Allied landings at Toulon German armies began their retreat, and the Allied troops went to the chase. By mid-September was liberated almost all of France, Belgium and part of the Netherlands. Such a fast pace march of the allied themselves surprised (about 300 km during 10-14 days) were not ready for it, began to fail supplies. Germans retreating up the Siegfried Line (West Wall) knew that the longer the same Allied supply lines, depots which were still on the beaches of Normandy. There was a certain paradox here: a high degree of mechanization (which increases the consumption of fuel and supplies - approximately 700 tons per day per division) Division led the Allied attack slowed down. All ports that could be useful were destroyed or occupied by the Germans until the end of the war. The only port, suitable for use in Antwerp was captured on September 4 (port running until November 28).
In connection with such a drastic deterioration in the supply of the Allies could not afford to offensive operations along the front, but only in selected sections.
In the second half of September has been carried out "Operation Market-Garden" campaign aimed at capturing a bridgehead on the right bank of the Rhine, which was to be the basis to acquire the Ruhr area. Unfortunately the operation was unsuccessful, though she was prepared extensively, with a flourish and with the massive use of airborne troops. Using the instantaneous failure of the Allies Germany under the cover of the Siegfried Line began to play and the reorganization of divisions exploded in France.
The Allies, who after the failure of the operas "Market-Garden" lost hope for a quick end to the war (it was thought it may occur in December 1944) began to prepare for the systematic displacement of the Germans in the line of the Rhine.
The plan of attack German:
The concept of an offensive recovery began drawing in German bars in the second half of September, when the situation on the fronts became quite critical. Only success in the great impact he was able to improve the desperate plight of the Third Reich.
The attack in the east did not rokowalo little hope (very thoroughly demonstrated that the test carried out at Kursk), the Italian front was considered secondary, it remains only a western front. The situation seemed to be beneficial, since the operational pause which occurred from July on the Eastern Front allowed the targeting of large forces on the western front. There was still specify the location, direction and operational objective of the attack.
Through detailed analysis of the position of the Allied armies, Hitler came to the conclusion that there is a unique opportunity to break the twenty - thirty divisions that are allies in the great arc of the Maas. Through the attack derived from the region of the Ardennes by the river Meuse in the direction of Brussels and Antwerp, the German army and then odcielyby destroyed three armies: U.S. 9, UK 2, kanadyjska1. In addition, re-gaining finally Antwerp przekresliloby any possibility to use this port by the Allies. As a place to break the front set the Bulge, because the mountainous and forested area has been regarded by the Allies as a secondary (no reasonable person would try to organize a major attack in such difficult terrain), and thus was manned by a very small number of force-four divisions of a U.S. military defended front with a length of 130 km.
Date of commencement of operations was conditional on three factors:
Creation of new infantry divisions (Volksgrenadierów)
The third factor had to be a prerequisite for the success of the attack. For a long time waiting for worsening weather, low cloud cover prevented the use of powerful (about 12 000 aircraft) Allied aviation. The attack was carried out three German armies: 6 SS Panzer Army, 5 and 7 of the army armored army. All divisions included in the army, supplemented by the right to full state (SS divisions had priority, which up to 100% of the people and equipment).
According to the plan on the first day offensive by the German troops were to overcome a wide front from Monschau to Echternach. The second day of the armored divisions should exceed the Meuse between Namur and Liege. On the seventh day of attack was to be gained from the mouth of the Scheldt in Antwerp, and then would ask the majority of forces against the Allies in okrazonemu grouping arc Meuse. The whole operation depended on the pace of the attack - the less time will be the opponent, the weaker will organize a defense.
The attack, which began at dawn in the Ardennes on December 16 was a complete surprise for the Allies. Wonderment being that the diagnosis did not detect such a large concentration of German troops, nearly 1,000 tanks, 1,200 guns, 250,000 soldiers. It was not until the second day of the offensive, when the front was broken on 40 km stretch and the mass of German troops towards the Meuse Parly Supreme Headquarters Allied realized the size of the offensive, no one imagined that the German divisions so quickly regain fitness battle after the defeat in Normandy.
The first reactions of the Allies were quite chaotic, coming from different directions divisions were sent hurriedly to the "patching holes in pekajacym front. U.S. Defense stuck rigidly to the south only in the region of Echternach and in the north of Elsenborn and Malmedy were shortest blocked roads leading to the Meuse. German divisions were forced to move further south, where it was indeed referred to Mozy but it was easier terrain. The biggest success of the center received five armored army. Its divisions soon Parly forward region Celles, Leignon 2DPz reached on Dec. 24, but there was an end to the German attack. With persistent defense by U.S. troops to such towns as St.Vith, Bastogne, Malmedy German divisions had to spend time learning canny or circumvent the heavily defended position, which gave time to organize a stronger defense and the accumulation of reserves coming from further regions. The area in which they fought was almost fatal - to 23 December it was raining, the ground did a sodden, descending from the tanks got stuck in the mud roads to the towers. From December 23 the temperature dropped to - 15 ° C, the roads and fields were covered with a thick layer of snow and ice. On the same day the weather improved enough to operate air mass began.
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