What if Montgomery was wrong about Market Garden?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by McPherson, Sep 24, 2019.

?

Was Gavin to blame for the failure of Market Garden?

This poll will close on Apr 11, 2020 at 10:13 AM.
  1. No. he cleared his decisions to delay the assault on the bridge with GEN Browning

    6.5%
  2. Yes. he should have known the bridge was the immediate objective to be seized at all costs.

    16.5%
  3. Failure to take Nijmegen Bridge was just 1 mistake of many and blame goes to several people and fac

    60.0%
  4. How about blaming the Germans, since they put up one heck of a fight?

    34.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Or build one.

    [​IMG]

    VII Corps pontoon Bridge over the Rhine. (^^^)

    Could the paratroopers hang on long enough for British engineers to lay pontoon bridges behind them?

    One of the problems 30 Corps had at Nijmegen was that not only were the assault boats jammed up behind the lead brigade in column in a massive traffic jam, but the bridging equipment was stuck back there with them; so taking the bridges intact for Market Garden was rather important.
     
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  2. Dave Shoup Banned

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    One river crossing - and the highway that fed into it - would barely work for a motorized corps, as witness Remagen.

    To get an army, much less an army group, across the Rhine, and sustain it east of the river, required - as was demonstrated, historically, in 1945 - multiple crossings, using existing and new-built bridges, supported by multiple road and rail nets feeding into the crossings, and further sustained by riverine traffic (boats, pontoons, landing craft), air resupply, etc.

    For an army group commander with the experience that Montgomery had by 1944 to expect anything different from Market-Garden was delusional.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  3. Aber Well-Known Member

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    To build one, you first have to make an assault crossing, then advance far enough to eliminate direct observation of the bridging site, then pontoon across enough anti-tank guns to hold the position against a serious counterattack and then start creating the bridge. You would probably plan for c24 hours for a Class 40 bridge over a serious river.

    Nice to see you're learning to use British understatement. :)
     
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  4. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    According to the battalion commander directing it, Lt Col Perigen 'First Across the Rhine' it took approx 36 hours to emplace a full size pontoon bridge adjacent to the Remagen bridge. Two were in place in under 60 hours from capture of the Remagen Bridge. As elsewhere it took the better part of a day to get the engineer battalions and bridge material to the river bank.
     
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  5. Dave Shoup Banned

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    David E. Pergrin's memoir, with Eric Hammel as co-author, is a great read. Something to say for an eye-witness account from someone with both the professional experience and education and the responsibility for getting the task accomplished, historically.
     
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  6. TonyA Curmudgeon like, but nastier

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    Couldn't this thread have been just as easily named, "What if Montgomery was right about Market Garden?"...after all these years, we can't even decide if it was worthwhile, much less the proper way to go about it. Still like my idea about having a fully decked out 79th Armored greasing the rails for 30 Corps.

    Edit: should that be "XXX Corps" ? Forgetting things...old age is a bitch...
     
  7. Dave Shoup Banned

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    Armored divisions without infantry integrated with armor and artillery into combined arms formations are war losers. The 79th was a solution looking for a problem. The 1st Assault Brigade RE was all that as needed as an administrative headquarters; the manpower that went into the 79th Armoured Division otherwise would have been more useful as replacements for the armored brigades the British broke up or downgraded, historically, in 1944-45.
     
  8. Colin Haggett Well-Known Member

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    In the British Army engineers are a combat arm.
     
  9. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Ditto US army.
     
  10. Dave Shoup Banned

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    Even more of a reason not to waste RAC tankers in armored CEVs then, right?

    Today, perhaps.

    During WW II, the Corps of Engineers was categorized as one of the technical services, along with the Chemical Warfare Service, Medical Department, Ordnance Department, Quartermaster Department, Signal Corps, and Transportation Department. See:

    https://history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/collect/ww2-ts.html

    Army Ground Forces included the infantry, cavalry, field artillery, coast artillery, armored force, tank destroyers, etc.

    Pre-WW II, the Corps of Engineers was seen as a combat arm, but so was the Signal Corps.

    In any event, putting tankers into armored engineering vehicles was a poor use of tankers.
     
  11. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    It was kind of schizoid, since engineer battalions were a standard part of the ground combat division, and all the battalions received more infantry or combat training than their engineering missions called for.
     
  12. Dave Shoup Banned

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    True; the engineers straddled combat arms and technical services more so than any of the other arms and branches. In any event, the point is simply that using tankers - of which the British Army was in need of, given they disbanded or downgraded at least five armored and tank brigades (23rd, 25th, 27th, 33rd, 34th) in 1944-45 to provide replacements - as crewmen for armored engineering vehicles seems a poor policy when the RE were available in great numbers.
     
  13. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    I would argue that the British needed more infantry to clear and harden the shoulders of the salient in that kind of country. There is no better tank bodyguard than infantry. There is no better river assault force, or batter all terrain tactical unit. The British are not short of tanks, and they can figure out how to get engineers forward. What they lack is infantry to sweep out aside the roads and keep the Germans off 30 Corp's flanks.
     
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  14. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Three divisions of paras went a fair distance providing that. IIRC fuel supply prevented a third Brit infantry division at the starting line. Had the Appledorn airfield been captured a fourth airborne div would have been flown in. Still it comes back to fuel & too much Allied combat power deadlined along the roads back to Normandy.

    Counting divisions does not make the whole story clear. 12th AG had most of its corps and army support units parked in September, their transport formed into ad hoc truck companies to supplement those of the transport battalions struggling to bring fuel ammo forward. The lack of the complete corps support echelon was as important as the divisions short fuel in bringing combat power to bear on the German delaying units.
     
  15. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Antwerp... Antwerp... Antwerp. I think I covered the time/distance factors?
     
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  16. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    No argument there. Its necessary, safe, logical, and will give trolls the opportunity to argue 21st AG could have bounced the Rhine in September, If Only...
     
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  17. Dave Shoup Banned

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    The British certainly needed more infantry, as the dissolution of the 50th and 59th divisions makes clear. They also needed more tankers as the break-up of the 1st Armoured Division, and the disbandment or downgrades of the 23rd, 25th, 27th, 31st, 33rd, and 34th armored/tank brigades makes equally clear.

    Locking seven battalions of tankers into the 79th Armoured Division's 1st Tank Brigade (11th, 42nd, and 49th RTR) and 30th Armoured Brigade (22nd Dragoons, 1st Lothians and Border Horse, 2nd County of London Yeomanry, 141st RAC) to drive CEVs was not exactly the best use of the manpower for 21st Army Group. They could have refilled the 27th and 31st brigades, at least, and kept either the 33rd or 34th up to strength...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
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  18. Aber Well-Known Member

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    You'll still need the manpower for the flail tanks, Buffaloes, Kangaroos, Crocodiles etc (CDLs may be an exception :)). Using units which are trained for tracked vehicles, but without combat experience, seems a reasonable compromise.
     
  19. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    I would think that operating specialist vehicles with combat experienced or at least crews trained under combat conditions would be

    [​IMG]

    kind of necessary.



    Nicolaus Strauser certainly arranged a swim meet. I believe the expressions "adequate for D-day", and "successful" is British hyperbole.

    BTW, the idea (^^^) has always struck me as insane.

    As an aside, the Buffalo (LVT4) was not British.
     
  20. Dave Shoup Banned

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    Plenty of Royal Engineers and similar types. The British had too few combat troops as it was for the 15th and 21st army groups.
     
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