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"Patton vs Market-Garden" Topic


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Lee49428 May 2018 6:18 p.m. PST

Some interesting "what-ifs" have been posted here. Here is another one. What if Patton had been given the Allied Airborne Army and other resources diverted to Market-Garden? Would anything have changed? Would the Allies have beaten the Russians to Berlin? Cheers!

mkenny28 May 2018 7:21 p.m. PST

Patton was brought to a crashing halt at Metz. How could extra troops have helped overcome his inability to deal with an enemy not in flight?

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2018 8:07 p.m. PST

Yes but if Patton hadn't stop due to fuel, there would have been nothing at Metz. Drop all 3 airborne divisions near the Rhine and bounce the river.

marcus arilius28 May 2018 8:32 p.m. PST

what if they had done 2 lifts the first day

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2018 9:30 p.m. PST

Patton had everything he needed by then. Even fuel. Operation Varsity was the largest airborne drop of the war.
Ike had halted the offensive short of Berlin. He did not want to pay the high casualties that Stalin did not care about.

He was more than happy to allow the Soviets Berlin. The fate of Berlin was already decided. The city would be divided among the Allies. No reason to attack the city.

advocate28 May 2018 10:44 p.m. PST

Patton thought the Airborne Army too clumsy. He would have used individual divisions in tactical drops. Maybe not so dramatic, but an interesting alternative.

Last Hussar28 May 2018 11:58 p.m. PST

Patton's supply line was too long: it was talking a horrendous amount of logistics to get the logistics to him, as the German collapse had been so quick there hadn't been time to get the various supply dumps set up properly. The line to Metz was very long and thin.

Not only did the Northern approach offer a quick way into Germany, but it opened up a number of channel/north sea ports that were vital not just as multiple short supply lines, but to supply the civilian populations, which was a incredibly important consideration, and one that middle age blokes with toy soldiers don't have to worry about.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP29 May 2018 4:28 a.m. PST

Yes, the notion that Patton was forced to halt his advance to give Monty all the gas is a myth. The fact was that at the start of September the entire Allied force ran out of gas. Everybody had to halt for a few days to let supplies catch up. And that was all the Germans needed to shore up their lines. When Patton resumed his advance a few days later, the Germans stopped him cold.

Actually, if you want to propose a 'what-if' scenario using the Airborne Army, the one which offers the greatest chance of success would have been to use British 1st Airborne to help clear the Scheldt Estuary and open up Antwerp. Meanwhile the 82nd and 101st get dropped just east of Aachen to let Bradly complete his breakthrough of the West Wall there.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 5:54 a.m. PST

The proof of the pudding, etc. Market-Garden FAILED
of its objective, due to ignored intelligence, more
than likely.

Not to say Patton would have done any better due to
supply constraints outlined upthread, and more than
just fuel.

Infantry casualties among all the Allied forces were
another consideration, of course.

Legion 429 May 2018 6:24 a.m. PST

As noted … there were too many constraints, etc., to think Patton may have done any better with the 3 ABN Divs under his control.

And as mentioned Ike knew that Berlin would have been quite bloody. He knew Stalin was more than happy to throw his forces into another meat grinder. Engaging in urban warfare against the Germans who would generally fight like in the classic trapped rat paradigm.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 7:01 a.m. PST

I think Patton could beat XXX Corps and 3 airborne divisions. He had an whole army.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

Here's another "what if".
What if the Germans managed to counter attack during the days the Allies were out of gas?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP29 May 2018 8:39 a.m. PST

It took them a day or two to realize that they weren't being chased anymore :) Seriously though, Hitler was already making plans. He saw that Patton's right flank was in the air and he was assembling forces to try and turn it and roll him up. Fortunately, the Anvil-Dragoon forces linked up with Patton before that could happen.

brucka29 May 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

But what if he had Chuck Norris and the Airborne?
Clearing the Scheldt was the most important neglected thing. Crossing the Rhine didn't require the airborne. Don't know how much the V sites played into the decision for Market Garden.

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2018 7:29 p.m. PST

I think Patton could beat XXX Corps and 3 airborne divisions. He had an whole army.

Yes, and Monty had a whole army group, so he could beat 3rd Army.

But then what if Chuck Norris…

The fact was that at the start of September the entire Allied force ran out of gas. Everybody had to halt for a few days to let supplies catch up.

Quite agree with Scott.

But I would add … it was not just a matter of the time it took to get supplies forward. There was a REAL problem getting the supplies ashore to begin with.

The original orders for Overlord included this in the appreciation of the situation:


Beach Maintenance
Maintenance over beaches is a paramount in this amphibious operation. It is calculated that making full use of every captured port, large and small, 18 divisions must be maintained over beaches during the first month of operations, 12 divisions during the second month, and a number rapidly diminishing to NIL during the third month.

Overlord plans called for two Mulberry harbors to support 18 divisions over the beach for the first month, and 12 divisions in the second month. But one was crippled by a storm just days after the invasion.

Phase 1 of Overlord, the securing of the initial bridgehead, included the capture of Cherbourg. Phase 2, to be undertaken AFTER Cherbourg was secured, would expand the bridgehead to most of Brittany, opening up ports southward to the Loire.

While Cherbourg was in allied hands by the end of June, it was so thoroughly demolished that the port itself was only brought into limited use in mid-August. So in a timeframe in which support over the beaches was supposed to decline to NIL, the majority of ETO was relying on supplies that flowed through one single Mulberry port.

There was never a time to build great depots of supplies. Everything being distributed and consumed just about as fast as it could be brought ashore.

The French rail network had been bombed into collapse prior to D-Day. So the primary method of sending supplies forward was by truck. That's about the least efficient way to move supplies … once the distances by road are more than 1 truck fueling, you quickly get into the difficulty of needing more fuel to keep your trucks running than you can carry in the trucks.

Brucka is right -- clearing the Scheldt was the most important neglected thing.

Although BTW, as Scott mentioned Patton managed to link up with the Anvil-Dragoon forces. This not only secured his right flank, but it also opened up a very productive supply line. A significant quantity of supplies flowed up from the Med coast as the ETO campaign progressed.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Lee49429 May 2018 10:20 p.m. PST

Interesting discussion. Thanks for the thoughtful replies. IMHO the AAA could have been better employed. And I suppose I can create another firestorm by suggesting ONE (of several) reasons MG failed was due to US Airbornes failure to capture the Son bridge and clear Neijmegan and capture its bridge soon enough. Don't think whole failure can be blamed on the "slow" advance of XXX Corps as many do. Cheers!

Legion 430 May 2018 6:28 a.m. PST

Well not only could the 101 & 82d didn't capture those bridges quickly enough, but most of the 1st Para didn't make it to the Arnhem bridge. Of course being dropped about 8 miles away didn't help for fear of too much German AAA.

Plus the Polish Paras, seemed may not have been used as well as they could have(?). Plus IIRC the UK 52 Lowland Div. an Air Landing unit was never deployed as it was awaiting the order. Which may have made a difference or "reinforced failure" ?

However, in all those situations, IMO those units on the ground did as well as they did/could have.

As we know it does seem the whole operation was a Bridge Too Far" so to speak. At least in 202/20 hindsight. But again those types of "high risk" operations like dropping 3 + ABN Divs that far behind enemy lines was a very "dicey" plan/endeavor. High risk begets a high reward. Or just the opposite. Bold moves result in great gains, etc. … but not always. Risk assessment in itself it can be "risky" …

If it was 100% successful it would have been quite a victory. But the bridges that were capture did prove useful in later ops, e.g. like crossing the Rhein, etc. it appears …

As far as 30 XXX moving faster, being more aggressive … that could be debated forever(?). However Horrocks saw what Xerses found out centuries before … Attacking on a narrow front is not generally "desirable". And it could certainly cost large losses of assets … But again I'm sure Horrocks, Browning, etc. were aware that there could be a high risk and possible high losses in this type of mission.

As a side bar, at Ft. Campbell, KY the home of the 101 there is a DZ called Sonn. And Ft. Bragg, NC the home of the 82d and 18th ABN XXX, there is Neijmegan DZ … IIRC … old fart

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 May 2018 7:40 a.m. PST

There's no doubt that Market-Garden could have been planned a lot better. But unlike the Normandy drops, they only had one week to plan MG, not months and months like for D-Day.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

How many planned airborne operations were canceled because in the Breakout the proposed Landing Zones were overrun?
There is more than a hint of "Hey, we're Elite and just sitting here!"
There is also a touch of "Why are those Elite divisions just sitting there? Let's find a use for them before they go stale and the weather gets too bad to use them."

Like Scott said, D-Day had months to plan, and Varsity was a lot more "tidy".

If winter came with no Market Garden, I have no doubt that the airborne and parachute divisions would have been used as plain infantry. Like in the Bulge but more so.
Just like Fallschirmjaegers.

Last Hussar30 May 2018 9:32 a.m. PST

John Howard was quite annoyed the Oxon & Bucks wasn't used in its Pegasus Bridge role as a coup we main force to take the British bridges.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 9:36 a.m. PST

Yes, and Monty had a whole army group, so he could beat 3rd Army.

The question wasn't Patton vs Monty. But Patton vs Market Garden.
And that's XXX Corps and 3.5 airborne divisions.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 May 2018 9:51 a.m. PST

Coup de main assaults on the bridges might have made a huge difference in Market-Garden, but they also could have failed just as easily. Not to take anything away from John Howard, but he and his men trained on the Pegasus Bridge operation for months and the glider pilots made no less than 54 practice landings near bridges similar to the target bridges. Nothing like that was possible for the Market Garden bridges.

Fred Cartwright30 May 2018 10:49 a.m. PST

Like Scott said, D-Day had months to plan, and Varsity was a lot more "tidy".

Varsity always strikes me as a regimental drop conducted in multi divisional strength. It was a risk free airborne op as could ever be put together. All the drop was in range of artillery support and was conducted in overwhelming force.
Market Garden did to the allied airborne what Crete did to the Germans. It put an end to ambitious major airborne ops.
As for Patton vs Market Garden the likely outcome is that all the Brits would be complaining now about what a waste Patton made of the airborne attack and that the resources should have been given to Monty! :-)

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2018 11:27 a.m. PST


The question wasn't Patton vs Monty. But Patton vs Market Garden.
And that's XXX Corps and 3.5 airborne divisions.

Hmmm. My mistake … I had thought your comment about Patton was intended to be humorous.

If you are seriously suggesting that the resources that allowed one corps to advance 100km could have generated better results if spread across an entire army, well then please do make your case. Because I can't make any sense of it.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 May 2018 12:39 p.m. PST

Varsity was a bit of a foul-up. The smoke screens that were generated to cover the river crossing, also obscured the drop and landing zones from the pilots and as a result the drops were scattered all over the place.

It's actually ironic that the one airborne operation where the drops and glider landings were nearly perfect was Market-Garden, which failed. In all the other major drops the landings were a terrible mess, but the overall operations succeeded! :)

Legion 430 May 2018 2:30 p.m. PST

If winter came with no Market Garden, I have no doubt that the airborne and parachute divisions would have been used as plain infantry. Like in the Bulge but more so.
Just like Fallschirmjaegers.
That did happen quite often. And in many cases they stayed in the line longer than they were supposed/expected to. They were generally very "light"/small organizations.

But once on the ground no matter how they are "introduced" into the battlefield, e.g. parachute, truck, the back of an MBT, etc. They are just "Grunts" trained to do "Grunt" missions …

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 May 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

It's interesting that the Germans were much more worried about the Allied airborne forces when they were in reserve, because they could suddenly show up anywhere. Once they were on the ground, the Germans were much more comfortable. :)

mkenny30 May 2018 2:46 p.m. PST

How the US sees Monty and the British:

https://youtu.be/-I803ncnvMY?t=1h7m16s

Lee49430 May 2018 4:32 p.m. PST

Some of the points raised are not so cut and dry. Pattons army was larger than XXX Corps and AAA plus attached brigades and supporting units but not by that much. The Airborne units were feared not because of their size but rather their quality. Often used as infantry because the Allied armies were short of infantry. So what? So what if they had been attached to Pattons Army as elite infantry and the troop carriers had been used to fly gasoline in for Pattons tanks?

The generals would never have let that happen but as gamers it's fun to speculate what Patton could have accomplished with those additional resources. Some may say nothing but I think he may well have made more progress than without them. Which then begs the question would Hitler still have launched the Ardennes Offensive or tried to blunt Pattons advance …

I would have loved to see Patton fighting the two Panzer Armies used in the Bulge.

Legion 431 May 2018 7:22 a.m. PST

It's actually ironic that the one airborne operation where the drops and glider landings were nearly perfect was Market-Garden, which failed.
Yes, the airborne ops planning, etc., came together rather quickly verses what happened before Normandy. And then the experience gained with/by the 3 ABN Divs dropped there on 6 June'44 … But yes the rest of the ABN Ops were a mess at times …
The Airborne units were feared not because of their size but rather their quality
Yes, that was then and generally still is the "Standard" in most militaries today. [I'm biased of course being with an Air Assault Bn the 101, '80-'83. And we were deployed mostly by helicopters. But the principle of "Vertical Envelopment" was the same.]

because they could suddenly show up anywhere
As we know Surprise is one of the Principles of War. And we know what Sun Tzu said about "deception".

Often used as infantry because the Allied armies were short of infantry

Yes that was generally the norm for many armies. E.g. Italian Folgore, and Ramcke's FJG Brigade both NA, etc., etc.

And again, once on the ground no matter how they are "introduced" into the battlefield, e.g. parachute, truck, the back of an MBT, etc. They are just "Grunts" trained to do "Grunt" missions … And sometimes with a few more "skills" added. But the basic Infantry Dismounted Ops, TTP, remain the same. E.g. Fire & Maneuver, Patrolling[Recon, Raid, Ambush, etc.] Hasty & Deliberate Defenses, etc., etc., …

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