Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Was the Atlantic Wall worth it?

  1. #1
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,781

    Was the Atlantic Wall worth it?

    I was watching a program on the Atlantic Wall. Was it the correct defensive strategy for Germany? Would it have been better to use the resources in building that defensive line to build more artillery tubes and support vehicles for the army? Use a mobile and flexible defense instead of a bunch of guys sitting in immobile bunkers.

    One could argue that Maginot Line did what it was supposed to do. Germans never attacked it head on. But the allies breached the Atlantic Wall head on, in less than a day.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  2. #2
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    And the Allies march to Berlin within the year. The Heer fell for Patton's ruse and would have placed the reserves in anticipation for a landing at Calais. They would have been out of position both physically and more importanly psychologically. What's more, German field divisions had more horses than trucks. The Allies landed more trucks than Germany had in their defences.

    As such, the opposed landings gave Germany the time they needed to fortify the Schelt and to maneuver their reserves, at the very least to save them. The Schelt delayed allied efforts to have a fully functional port.

    I can see the Normandy landings being unopposed to have the same effect as Inchon.
    Chimo

  3. #3
    Administrator
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
    Join Date
    23 Aug 05
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    12,978
    in addition to the above, if you think about the resources needed for a mobile fight, they would have likely outweighed the atlantic wall. how much airpower would Germany need to generate just to keep air neutrality? what are the costs for keeping a mobile force just sitting in france?
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  4. #4
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,781
    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    in addition to the above, if you think about the resources needed for a mobile fight, they would have likely outweighed the atlantic wall. how much airpower would Germany need to generate just to keep air neutrality? what are the costs for keeping a mobile force just sitting in france?
    Right, but a mobile force can be used elsewhere. You can't pick up the wall and move it somewhere else. Once the wall was breached, all the other parts of the wall were useless. All the concrete, steel, large caliber gun emplacements, and all the support were essentially paper weights.

    More fighter planes, trucks, assault guns, and howitzers, even more fuel for training, in my opinion, might have been more effective for the Germans.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  5. #5
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Right, but a mobile force can be used elsewhere. You can't pick up the wall and move it somewhere else. Once the wall was breached, all the other parts of the wall were useless.
    The allied forces that were spent breaching the wall could not be used elsewhere. In essence, you've just added 30,000 troops landing unopposed. More over, they could take the Shelt without a fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    More fighter planes, trucks, assault guns, and howitzers, even more fuel for training, in my opinion, might have been more effective for the Germans.
    You can build a bunker faster than you can tool a factory for tanks. What's more, German industries were already maxed out fighting the Russians. The Germans were busy figuring out Kursk and you're asking them to take on Patton at the same time? What's more Patton was stopped not by maneuver but by a wall, the Gustav Line.
    Chimo

  6. #6
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
    Join Date
    08 Aug 13
    Location
    Kansas City, United States
    Posts
    1,252
    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    You can build a bunker faster than you can tool a factory for tanks. What's more, German industries were already maxed out fighting the Russians.
    To build on this point, construction of the atlantic wall utilized resources the Axis could spare rather than the ones they couldn't. While more mechanized units, armor, and aircraft may have been desirable, fuel and oil were in very short supply already. No sense in building them just to be unable to drive them around.

    Making bunkers and obstacles from concrete could utilize surplus unskilled labor while drawing from a different resource pool than what would be required for a mobile defense.

  7. #7
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,781
    Good points. Thanks everyone.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  8. #8
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    13 Nov 07
    Posts
    3,547
    Nice discussion. I was educated.

  9. #9
    Global Moderator
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional
    Albany Rifles's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Apr 07
    Location
    Prince George, VA
    Posts
    8,325
    Keep in mind what happened when the Germans did try mobile warfare on the Normandy front...every armored thrust was shredded by field artillery and air support. You have to have an anchor on which to pivot your mobile forces....and your mobile forces have to be survivable.

    A secondary and key effect of the Atlantic Wall...by holding onto the port cities of Brittany for as long as they did, the Germans denied the Allies a port to sustain the fight. This forced the Allies to continue to operate logistics over the shore...at a time when LSTs were critically short world wide. This prevented sufficient rolling stock, to include rail equipment, to land to manage getting supplies forward, most critically gasoline. This caused Patton's forces to grind to a holt and allowed the Germans to pull out in order.

    Finally, the Germans made masterful use of the hedgerows to augment their defenses.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

  10. #10
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    23,781
    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Nice discussion. I was educated.
    Indeed.

    Things are done for a reason. Usually I cannot out-think the experts in the field. If I have thought of it, others probably have already. And if I can think of something truly outside the box, I wouldn't be working for a living right now.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  11. #11
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Contrary by Nature.
    zraver's Avatar
    Join Date
    22 Oct 06
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    14,515
    3 static divisions and a single panzer division stopped 10 allied divisions, along with the biggest fleets of warships and planes the world has ever seen.

  12. #12
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
    Join Date
    01 Mar 10
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,471
    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    3 static divisions and a single panzer division stopped 10 allied divisions, along with the biggest fleets of warships and planes the world has ever seen.
    The correct term would be delayed not stopped.

  13. #13
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
    Join Date
    01 Mar 10
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,471
    Both the Atlantic Wall and the Maginot Line suffered from what is possibly the most serious flaw fixed defenses can have - they were both incomplete at the time they were attacked.

    As I recall French Plans for the Line called for defensive emplacement along their entire frontier with Germany while the German defenses (away from the Calais Sector) on the French Coast were works in progress at the time of the Invasion. In a way it's almost unfair to criticize either given they both incomplete when overrun. It would be interesting to speculate how WW11 would have progressed if either had been fully developed.

    As far as the strategic situation in June 44 was concerned Germany lacked one key element in any effective plan to defend against a maritime invasion i.e strong surface forces of it's own with which to project force away from 'it's' coast. Lacking that it needed enough air power at it's disposal to attack and if possible disrupt Allied embarkation and landing points. Again this wasn't possible, due mostly to the intensive effort made by the Allies in the months leading up to the D Day landings to neutralize German air power. (By and large the Allies managed to do to the Germans in France in 1944 what the Germans couldn't do to the British in England in 1940).

    That left their outnumbered but very well equipped and experienced ground forces to do the job and IMO given strong fixed defenses in Normandy (say on a par with those further north) they might have been able to do it. The defenses would still be breached but they may have been able to delay the Allies long enough for Germans mobile reserves to reach the Normandy region in sufficient numbers to put up a strong defensive fight. (Interesting scenario to game out.)

    I still think the Allies would win the end and push the Germans back - primarily due to their superior air power. but the cost would have been horrendous.

  14. #14
    Staff Emeritus
    Military Professional
    Contrary by Nature.
    zraver's Avatar
    Join Date
    22 Oct 06
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    14,515
    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    The correct term would be delayed not stopped.
    Nope they stopped them. Not cold, but they were stopped and held long enough for German reserves to reach the area and set up a bloody hedgerow fight.

  15. #15
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    06 Aug 03
    Posts
    29,353
    Jason,

    SWORD and JUNO were connected on the first day. GOLD followed on the 2nd. The OPOBJ was to connect any of the two beaches. SWORD and JUNO met the OPOBJ on the first day. GOLD cemented it. It was a 14 day op to connect the beaches. It was done in 4 days.

    The Allies were not stopped. They were on schedule ... and on three beaches, they were ahead of schedule.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 28 May 16, at 05:20.
    Chimo

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Battle of the Atlantic
    By Chogy in forum The World Wars
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: 23 May 12,, 06:47
  2. Do We Have Ahmadinejad All Wrong? - The Atlantic
    By 1980s in forum The Iranian Question
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 25 Feb 11,, 21:08
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10 Sep 09,, 14:15
  4. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 15 Mar 09,, 15:40
  5. Plane crashes into Atlantic
    By Leader in forum World Affairs Board Pub
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 25 Dec 03,, 16:43

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •