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

    6.6%
  2. Yes. he should have known the bridge was the immediate objective to be seized at all costs.

    16.3%
  3. Failure to take Nijmegen Bridge was just 1 mistake of many and blame goes to several people and fac

    60.2%
  4. How about blaming the Germans, since they put up one heck of a fight?

    34.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. Colin Haggett Well-Known Member

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    One of the manning issues involves the various directorates in this case Armour and Engineers, some of which continue till this day. In the British system Armour has precedence over Engineers. The argument goes "It is a tank - regardless of its fittings or use therefore it is manned by the Armoured Corps". The countervailing argument is "Regardless of its origins it is an engineering vehicle it is employed using the principles of employing engineers in battle therefore it is to be manned and operated by Engineers". It was hard enough getting Armoured Corps to agree to sappers manning the Petard equipped Churchills let alone additional vehicles such as Crocodiles or allowing infantry men to crew the Kangaroo APCs.
     
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  2. Dave Shoup Well-Known Member

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    Understood; my point is simply that given the realities of the British Army's manpower pool in 1943-45, using trained RAC personnel in these roles was a waste of scarce manpower - akin to using trained RM infantry to provide landing craft crews.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 2:49 AM
  3. Aber Well-Known Member

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    I'd agree with you if the 79th Armoured Division included those with combat experience in tanks, but they were simply trained personnel - in some cases re-roled from infantry in 1941. It's also arguable that by late 1944 the British Army had too many tanks.

    By 1944 Britain certainly had an infantry manpower crisis, and the Army did a lot by transferring from units that were no longer critical - RAF regiment, Light Anti-Aircraft etc - and IIRC even sent women abroad in HAA units. To find more manpower you're going to have look far wider than shuffling Army personnel around. This means looking at reducing the size of the navies and airforces, and increased conscription and recruitment in other countries, and reducing "home service only" restrictions.
     
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  4. yulzari Well-Known Member

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    They were already reroling excess aircrew in training and the Royal Navy was a bit busy in the Atlantic and Pacific but the biggest available fit for training pool was the 'Bevan Boys' sent into the mines as conscripts which is the subject of another recent thread.
     
  5. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Hyperbole? Meaning: exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally (was that what you meant to say?).

    The DD Tank working on all the other beaches but Omaha does not make claims of it being 'adequate' and 'Successful' in any way hyperbole

    Not sure which of the 'Funnies' you found insane? All were developed from obvious requirements from previous battles and other than the CDL tanks (which as a concept had been proven but not as I understand it fully understood by the rest of the army so never really used) were all found to be useful.

    And lastly the Sherman wasn't British either! ??
     
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  6. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    The definition means "exaggeration." The claims "that the tanks were successful", as the museum curator plainly intended in his expression and use of hyperbole, was somewhat hyperbolic in its hyperbolism. He did not think much of the concept either.

    The DD Shermans were the insane concept. Note the lack of a bilge pump for the D-day tanks and the fact that the British actually tested a Valentine with such a canvas skirt. They fired a machine gun at the DD Valentine (1942) under simulated landing conditions and it sank.

    The DD (Sherman) concept was entirely British in notion based on their 1942 work with the Valentine.

    [​IMG]

    The Americans came up with this;

    [​IMG]

    Very lightly armored but it got ashore and it worked; as the Scheldt operations demonstrated against the Germans and as numerous 1944 Pacific assaults showed.

    Two different solutions. The Americans rejected the DD tank (postwar) after the debacle at Omaha.

    Source cite.

    "Ideal conditions". McP.

    The Crabs were landed directly from LCTs onto the beach, flailed for mines and shot up the German defenses before the Sherman DD's of the Sherwood Rangers, which took significant losses, even though launched from less than 600 meters offshore managed to swim ashore. Op result is 100% mission intent failure. The other sectors of the beach, the other DD Shermans were thoroughly shot up. Results I would consider "mixed".

    Based on the results, with 40% of the DD Shermans not launched due to rough seas and 62% of those launched reaching shore, the mission intent was not achieved. Mission success marginal.

    An accident produced another ideal outcome.

    Training. Bloody awful training. Even rotten concepts and poorly thought through engineering solutions can be overcome by proper training, but we have no idea how the DD Shermans would have done at Omaha since the 95% loss of mission rate during the approach makes it impossible to see examples of DD tanks in action in any quantity in that setting.

    Cumulative.

    Note that despite the shambles of Omaha Beach, and including the successes of Gold and Utah, that the op-research shows guaranteed loss of 1/3 of the swimmers. That is a mission fail rate that is "successful" and mostly worked?

    How about ANVIL/Dragoon?

    Not too bad. At least the tanks got ashore to fight and many were lost to the usual anti-tank methods. Those that swam in suffered 12% losses. Again not too bad.

    How about the Scheldt and the Rhine?

    Scheldt, the Alligators (Buffaloes) worked and the DD tanks mission failed. We will hear about the Alligators again.

    Hmm. The Alligators (Buffaloes) got up the banks and the engineers were able to lay causeways for the DD tanks to climb. That is ridiculous.

    No numbers on the Po River and Adige River crossings, so we cannot quantify the mission. The lorry function as a claimed mission success for type in theater is of note as it is both sublime and ridiculous to use an expensive and highly specialized vehicle as a "truck". Could other choices have been made? Most certainly. At that stage of the war, Alligators would have been available.

    What I see here is a lot of "mixed results" and mission fails. YMMV, but I think the case for the DD tank as a "success" is not proven. It was rejected postwar, while the Alligator's successors have been used.





    Even at that, note the placid wave conditions. In rough seas, I would expect ACVs to move the equipment ship to shore.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 10:00 AM
  7. TonyA Curmudgeon like, but nastier

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    The DD tank may not be insane, but it sure as hell is goofy looking.
    79th Armored is less like infantry manning the landing craft, and more like glider pilots getting some infantry training for after the crate makes a successful landing...there are going to be bullets whizzing around, no need to be shy about things...
    Really can't say that I know the Brit army that well, but the in US, an "engineering combat (unit)" has both an engineering and a combat function. There are, indeed, construction oriented formations, but the destruction oriented ones are expected to do so while being directly confronted by an understandably agitated, and armed, enemy.
     
  8. Aber Well-Known Member

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    Obviously this one:

    upload_2019-10-10_15-57-24.jpeg
     
  9. Dave Shoup Well-Known Member

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    The British Army had plenty of tanks, but given that an armoured division (the 1st) and the separate 27th Brigade, were deployed into Europe but then broken up for replacements in 1944, while four others - 23rd, 25th, 33rd, and 34th - were downgraded, converted, or reduced in strength by one-third - for the same reason, they obviously did not have enough tankers.

    For OVERLORD, the 79th's subordinate brigade headquarters included the the 1st (Army) Tank Brigade, the 30th Armoured Brigade, and the 1st Assault Brigade RE. The 1st Tank Brigade was a regular headquarters that predated 1939, and the brigade commander was TR Price; the 30th had been formed in 1940, and the brigade commander was NW Duncan. The 1st Assault Brigade was created as such in 1943 and was actually designated the 1st Armoured Engineer Brigade in 1945; commander was GL Watkinson. The divisional commander was PCS Hobart.

    The armoured battalions involved were the 11th, 42nd, and 49th RTR, the 22nd Dragoons, Westminster Dragoons (CLY), 1st Lothians, and 141 RAC, which are pretty much a cross-section of the RAC as it stood by 1943-44.

    The 79th, as it existed in 1943-44, was a waste of trained manpower.
     
  10. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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  11. Glyndwr01 Well-Known Member

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    Americans came up with diddly squat for dealing with the beach landings!
     
  12. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    [​IMG]

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    Might want to rethink that. What worked at Tarawa would work at Normandy. Remember; the Americans were thinking about this problem (Orange) long before the British ever did.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 12:07 PM
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  13. Zincwarrior Well-Known Member

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    As noted, use "amtanks" which were available prior to June 1944 and were used in the Marianas campaign and thereafter.
     
  14. Glyndwr01 Well-Known Member

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    They were not at Normandy though were they?
    Britain was thinking about the problem whilst America was twiddling it's thumbs, it took a kick up the arse in 1941 to get them moving!
    British landing craft were armoured with some overhead cover, better thought out!
     
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  15. Zincwarrior Well-Known Member

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    This appears to be trolling. The Higgins boat (bottom of those three) were the landing craft used on Normandy.
    The US also developed these:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a few on a certain beach in France:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Not going to debate what is an obvious no-win emotion-laden topic, except to note that the British did not do the actual groundwork. The Americans did. Just the history. YMMV. Mine won't because it is in black and white.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019 at 3:27 PM
  17. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    The US LST was actually developed from a prior British design prototype or conception. I believe it was the HMS Boxer launched in December 1942? Prior to that, there were some small Venezuelan shallow draft oil tankers modified as vehicle ship to shore ferries (Maracaibos). It is true that C and R/ Bu-ships (John C. Niedermair ) designed the Allied LSTs. He modified the British suggested design to be able to beach on a sand shelf. But the idea was British as a result of their Dunkirk experience when they could not move heavy equipment off the beach or recover same. Fair is fair after all.
     
  18. Aber Well-Known Member

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    Really?

    One was reroled as infantry for Greece in 1944; one was converted to LVTs for the Rhine crossings; it doesn't look like simply a shortage of tankers.
     
  19. DougM Well-Known Member

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    How about blaming Monty? The plan had unrealistic timetables based on the roads available.
    The recon was limited and poor and the whole plan was overly optimistic and had basically NO margin for error nor any fallback for when things went wrong. And let’s face it pretty much no military plan went as intended so why would this one be different.
    So in actuality Montgomery DID get it wrong thus I realy don’t get the title
     
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  20. Coulsdon Eagle Well-Known Member

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    Both the British & the Russians used armoured landing craft (for want of a better description) in WW1 - and the British actually used some in the amphibious landing at Suvla Bay in August 1915.
    https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205316076
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_craft

    Does that count as groundwork? Even if they did forget about it for another 25 years (as per bloody usual :perservingface:)

    Higgins Boats & DUKW were what the US brought to the party in Normandy; the Brits supplied DD tanks & the Funnies. Both played important roles. Neither nation had a monopoly on innovation or execution.
     
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