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"What if Hitler had been awake?" Topic

28 Posts

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1,084 hits since 23 Oct 2018
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Lee49423 Oct 2018 3:30 p.m. PST

Frankly I get so tired of hearing the Germans lost D-Day because Hitler was not awake to release the Panzer Reserves.


I've studied Normandy for over 50 years and here are my thoughts. First some of the units like 21st Panzer needed no new orders to respond. Second, some key units were not available, IIRC the Panzer Lehrs Panther Battalion was enroute to the Eastern Front. Third, even after released it took several DAYS for the full divisions to arrive and launch any sort of coordinated attack.

IMHO had Hitler given the GO order around midnight with the arrival of the first Paras it wouldn't have mattered much. A few days advance notice yes, a few hours no.

Love to hear your opinions! Cheers!

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

If he were awake he would have ordered the lunar base to strike immediately. As it was, they wouldn't be in position for another 28 days. By then it was too late.

Landorl23 Oct 2018 4:12 p.m. PST

Just more people dead. Still same outcome.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2018 4:30 p.m. PST

He could have hindered their defense even more by interfering with his generals.

He was convinced, as were many, that the real landings would happen where the Channel was narrower, so ordered them held back.

SOB Van Owen23 Oct 2018 10:12 p.m. PST

Like the OP, I'm tired of people making excuses for losers.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Oct 2018 11:40 p.m. PST

Yes, I don't think it would have made any significant difference in the long run. The Allies were ashore in strength before the German reserves could arrive and with powerful naval and air forces there to support them, they were not going to be thrown into the sea. Failing that, it was just a matter of time.

langobard Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2018 4:43 a.m. PST

Another vote for it making no material difference. Allied air superiority and naval gunfire support was so overwhelming that it simply would have provided more targets for the allies.

The weather, not panzer divisions, would be the greatest obstacle the allies faced as they found out when the US "Mulberry" harbor was wrecked in a storm.

Uncle Goblin24 Oct 2018 7:33 a.m. PST

I blame Hollywood.

Banana Man24 Oct 2018 8:42 a.m. PST

The Germans did win the war! They had their country rebuilt by the Allies and their economy is the best in Europe. How is that losing?

Bill N24 Oct 2018 9:08 a.m. PST

Moving up the German Panzer reserves in broad daylight against massive Allied air superiority. I don't see how that could possibly have gone bad for the Germans.

Tacitus24 Oct 2018 9:25 a.m. PST

Doesn't matter. By 1944, the war was such that the Soviets would have won (probably still in 1945) no matter what happened on the beaches of Normandy.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

Let's look at it this way. At the height of the Battle for Normandy the Germans had a higher number of the latest Panther tanks available than on the entire Eastern Front on a front about 1/20th the size of Russia and they still couldn't beat the crap out of Allies who "only" had Shermans …

On paper the Panzers should have gone straight through the allied lines, killing an average of five Shermans each they would have gutted the allies.

And yet they couldn't achieve this even with their troops in good positions.

So why are you willing to believe that a haphazardly assembled task force would have done better against an army that was already bracing for the worst ?

The Germans did extremely well against troops that were poorly prepared and without proper equipment or fought delaying actions from 1943 onward. And then they had the luxury of some of their most incompetent hacks dictate the official war narrative (yes, looking at you Halder and Speer !)

Legion 424 Oct 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

I don't think it would have made much of a difference regardless. As some noted, the Allies controlled the skies and pretty much the Channel, etc. As well as the Allies had a lot of supplies/assets available. The German were always limited with having to fight a 2 Front War.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2018 2:52 p.m. PST

I think if Rommel was there and not at home, he would have everything he had go straight to the beeches and attack. Rundstedt kept waiting for permission. If he had to I think Rommel would have gone to the front himself and start moving units. But we will never know.

Winston Smith24 Oct 2018 3:45 p.m. PST

+1 Patrick R

Lion in the Stars24 Oct 2018 3:47 p.m. PST

I think Hitler would have made an even bigger mess of things.

Griefbringer24 Oct 2018 11:29 p.m. PST

Apparently there was not particular hurry in sending in the Panzer reserves even after the dictator himself had woken up.

I looked yesterday at Guderian's memoirs, and he mentions that even ten days after D-day there were at least four panzer divisions in France that were nowhere close to the front.

On the other hand he also criticises that those divisions that were close to the front were being bled dry within the reach of the naval guns, eventually depleting the Germans of any proper mobile reserves that could be used to counter the Allies by late August.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2018 11:56 p.m. PST

I agree on the Rommel comment.

He wouldn't have waited for approval.

Martin Rapier25 Oct 2018 3:49 a.m. PST

The only divison even close enough to influence the outcome on D-Day were 21st Panzer and 12th SS.

21st Panzer was alerted once the initial paradrops happened, as was 12th SS. 21st Panzer then spent the small hours of the morning forming up for a division sized attack on the Orne bridghead and was ready to jump off at 9am. Chaos then descended when a counter order was received to attack the beaches instead and the division had to re-deploy. The counterattack eventually reached the sea at Lion su Mer.

12th SS was released during the day and the leading regiment arrived at the front at 2200 and were in action first thing the the next day.

tbh it is hard to imagine the Germans responding any faster.

"I agree on the Rommel comment. He wouldn't have waited for approval."

Rommel didn't command either Panzer Group West or Army Group G. The only division in the area under his command was 21st Panzer, which went into action straight away.

Fred Cartwright25 Oct 2018 4:54 a.m. PST

I think the Germans did about as well as could be expected on D-day. Their only real chance of stopping any invasion was on the beaches as Rommel predicted. That required adequate numbers of troops protected against air and sea bombardment right there when the Allies were at their most vulnerable. Given the length of the coast that needed protecting it was always going to be possible to concentrate forces at a point where the Germans were weakest. A believable deception plan helped enormously with that. What the Germans really needed to stop an invasion was a counter to the allied air and naval superiority.

Uncle Goblin25 Oct 2018 5:57 a.m. PST

Indeed. Even if the 21st Panzer would have been able to close the Orne bridgehead allowing the redeployment of many troops with their right flank secured; they just would have delayed the inevitable.

Legion 425 Oct 2018 6:46 a.m. PST

And IIRC, some of the German's higher leadership thought Normandy was not the main attack. Even as the landings were going on. They still thought Calais would be the place. Allied Deception Operations helped with that as well.

Skarper25 Oct 2018 8:34 a.m. PST

The Panzers were not close enough to the beaches to intervene, even if ordered to move as soon as troops landed.

Plus, the Germans were convinced the landing would come at Pas de Calais. And – given the struggle to get out of the Bocage country and the extra distance to reach the Rhine it might have been better it they had done the obvious.

But that's hindsight.

Korvessa25 Oct 2018 3:51 p.m. PST

Given his propensity to screw things up,
it might have helped the allies.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2018 6:51 p.m. PST

We controlled the skies and nothing was going to stop D-Day from happening.

The Germans held on for so long mostly due to Monty inability to take Caen when he should have.

Once they broke they only stop running when our supply lines got to be to long and we had to slow down.

wpilon26 Oct 2018 6:00 p.m. PST

If Rommel goes to the front on D-Day then the Jabos just get him a little earlier.

HappyHussar27 Oct 2018 7:04 a.m. PST

Monty's inability to take Caen was in part due to the massive bombardment preceding the attack. Instant rubble = instant additional cover for the defenders and more time needed to clear it to make it passable.

Caen became a concrete/stone junk pile overnight.

Murvihill27 Oct 2018 10:31 a.m. PST

"Doesn't matter. By 1944, the war was such that the Soviets would have won (probably still in 1945) no matter what happened on the beaches of Normandy."
On 10 Jun 1944 there were 1891 tanks in France.
On 31 May 1944 there were 1390 tanks on the entire Eastern Front. Do you really believe Normandy didn't make a difference? Stalin certainly didn't agree with you, he agitated for a Western Front for two years. (Figures from Jentz)

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