Romanian Military History Forum - Part of Romanian Army in the Second World War Website



  Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

> The D-day and the Operation Bodyguard, new documentary movie
Agarici
Posted: February 14, 2011 01:19 am
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



The day before yesterday I saw a documentary movie on History channel (Romania), dealing with the role of the Operation Bodyguard in the success of the D-day landings. That operation was mainly destined to make the Germans think that the landing in Europe will take place at Calais. The movie presented some (allegedly) newly revealed/declassified documents and extensive contemporary footage which, at least for me, shed a new light on that episode of the WW2 . The most interesting facts were that, apart from the PR/intelligence/deception part of the operation (like creating a fictional 1st USA Army with Patton in command, across Pas de Calais - and "encouraging" the general to maintain the equivoque with some of his "blunder" declarations - establishing “no civilian access” zones and generating a busy fake radio traffic in/from the area, or sacrificing some secret agents intoxicated with fake plans about a landing al Calais) some other actions which I already knew of were taken on a more extensive scale than I knew of.

For example, the movie mentioned the movements of a (mainly) commercial ships armada, towing captive balloons, towards Calais, the same time when the real task force was heading towards Normandy, in order to divert the German aviation and E-boats; there were images with the fake (rubber inflatable) trucks, tanks, APCs - in great numbers - (and even dummy, scarecrow-like soldiers manning fake AA battle stations - with helmets and battledresses filled with straw) around Dover.

Apart form that I learned about some new facts I never heard of before - that small SAS squads were parachuted around Calais, along with tens on small dummies provided with explosive devices capable of replicating the small arms firing sounds for many hours, together with pre-recorded tracks of human battle cries/noises which were broadcasted by some sort of gramophones. It, paradoxically, made me remember the stories from the Romanian 1989 revolution. According to the movies, some regiment-size German units from the area were kept busy that way, fighting for many hours with an inexistent enemy.

Now, the movie implied, in a quite transparent manner, that in spite of their shortcomings and of the mustering of the allied forces, the Germans had both the forces and the capacity to destroy the landing on the beaches - an approach quite new to me. Basically, what they said relatively clear was that, hadn’t been for the Operation Bodyguard and its success, the D-day in Normandy would had ended in failure. Since the movie was American, I have no ground to suspect its makers of an ethnocentrically bias, as it might have crossed my mind if it would have been a German production. In support of their message they used, among other, the argument of the high losses of the allies on the beaches (the figure given for Omaha beach, over 3000 dead in the landing day, is way higher than I thought it was).

What is your opinion on that? Do you think could had been likely/possible - given all the things we already (more or less) know about the given context and the balance of forces - for the Germans to repel/destroy the invasion, if they were to be provided with a correct understanding of what was happening?

And a second question, venturing even more in the land of “what-if history”: what would had been the consequences of an allied failure on the D-day? As for myself, I have two things in mind, perhaps not the most relevant: the V 1 bomb/rocket (and the V 2?) ready to strike England before a second invasion, and the impact of an allied failure on Germany's (remaining) allies.

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 14, 2011 02:47 pm
PMEmail Poster
Top
Dénes
Posted: February 14, 2011 08:43 am
Quote Post


Admin
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 4358
Member No.: 4
Joined: June 17, 2003



QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:19 am)
...high losses of the allies on the beaches (the figure given for Omaha beach, over 3000 dead in the landing day, is way higher than I thought it was).

Reportedly, over one thousand (!) US soldiers fell to the only MG 42 machine gun existing in the 'Omaha Beach' sector. What that particular German soldier who manned that MG dreamed about in the upcoming years only him (and God) knows...

Gen. Dénes

This post has been edited by Dénes on February 14, 2011 08:43 am
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
MMM
  Posted: February 14, 2011 09:11 am
Quote Post


General de divizie
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1463
Member No.: 2323
Joined: December 02, 2008



QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 04:19 am)
the impact of an allied failure on Germany's (remaining) allies.

Well, to adress this only issue: the impact would have been negligible, as the Soviet (victorious) army was their main concern!

This post has been edited by MMM on March 17, 2011 05:44 pm
PMEmail PosterUsers WebsiteYahoo
Top
Alexei2102
Posted: February 14, 2011 09:53 am
Quote Post


General de divizie
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1352
Member No.: 888
Joined: April 24, 2006



QUOTE (Dénes @ February 14, 2011 08:43 am)
QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:19 am)
...high losses of the allies on the beaches (the figure given for Omaha beach, over 3000 dead in the landing day, is way higher than I thought it was).

Reportedly, over one thousand (!) US soldiers fell to the only MG 42 machine gun existing in the 'Omaha Beach' sector. What that particular German soldier who manned that MG dreamed about in the upcoming years only him (and God) knows...

Gen. Dénes

I heard the same story myself... I also heard that this German soldier met in the 90ies with some of his opponents, right on the beach...

Need to search the web for the article.

PMEmail Poster
Top
Agarici
Posted: February 14, 2011 10:29 am
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



QUOTE (Alexei2102 @ February 14, 2011 09:53 am)
QUOTE (Dénes @ February 14, 2011 08:43 am)
QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:19 am)
...high losses of the allies on the beaches (the figure given for Omaha beach, over 3000 dead in the landing day, is way higher than I thought it was).

Reportedly, over one thousand (!) US soldiers fell to the only MG 42 machine gun existing in the 'Omaha Beach' sector. What that particular German soldier who manned that MG dreamed about in the upcoming years only him (and God) knows...

Gen. Dénes

I heard the same story myself... I also heard that this German soldier met in the 90ies with some of his opponents, right on the beach...

Need to search the web for the article.


This guy - "the beast of Omaha Beach" - perhaps (wikipedia source)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Severloh
PMEmail Poster
Top
Alexei2102
Posted: February 14, 2011 10:38 am
Quote Post


General de divizie
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1352
Member No.: 888
Joined: April 24, 2006



Yes, that is the one. Thank you, D.
PMEmail Poster
Top
Agarici
Posted: February 14, 2011 01:09 pm
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 10:29 am)
QUOTE (Alexei2102 @ February 14, 2011 09:53 am)
QUOTE (Dénes @ February 14, 2011 08:43 am)
QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:19 am)
...high losses of the allies on the beaches (the figure given for Omaha beach, over 3000 dead in the landing day, is way higher than I thought it was).

Reportedly, over one thousand (!) US soldiers fell to the only MG 42 machine gun existing in the 'Omaha Beach' sector. What that particular German soldier who manned that MG dreamed about in the upcoming years only him (and God) knows...

Gen. Dénes

I heard the same story myself... I also heard that this German soldier met in the 90ies with some of his opponents, right on the beach...

Need to search the web for the article.


This guy - "the beast of Omaha Beach" - perhaps (wikipedia source)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Severloh


OFF-TOPIC:

The story in itself, and the guy's name, seem eerie to me. By the way, is Severloh a common German family name? It reminds me of the name of an Irish giant warrior from the legend of Tristan and Iseult.

Another thing, why did he fired a Kar 98 - or actually two of them (!) - on the Americans, apart from his MG 42, if he had been constantlly supplied with ammo? Eerie...
PMEmail Poster
Top
Dénes
Posted: February 14, 2011 01:34 pm
Quote Post


Admin
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 4358
Member No.: 4
Joined: June 17, 2003



QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:09 pm)
...why did he fired a Kar 98 - or actually two of them (!) - on the Americans, apart from his MG 42, if he had been constantlly supplied with ammo? Eerie...

Could it be that the MG 42's barrel overheated?

Gen. Dénes
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
Agarici
Posted: February 14, 2011 02:23 pm
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



QUOTE (Dénes @ February 14, 2011 01:34 pm)
QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:09 pm)
...why did he fired a Kar 98 - or actually two of them (!) - on the Americans, apart from his MG 42, if he had been constantlly supplied with ammo? Eerie...

Could it be that the MG 42's barrel overheated?

Gen. Dénes


I think that might be the reason. At least I hope it was that, rather than the scarry motive that he wanted to shoot them one by one too.

According to wikipedia, the guy authored an autobiography. I wonder how he described those moments from the landing, with him shooting down hundreds (or thousands). Although I think than in the heat of the action he had no time to reflect on that, and had acted rather instinctively. The time for reflection came only later on, as Denes said...

War is a terrible thing indeed.

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 14, 2011 02:44 pm
PMEmail Poster
Top
dragos
Posted: February 14, 2011 02:46 pm
Quote Post


Admin
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 2397
Member No.: 2
Joined: February 11, 2003



QUOTE (Dénes @ February 14, 2011 03:34 pm)
QUOTE (Agarici @ February 14, 2011 07:09 pm)
...why did he fired a Kar 98 - or actually two of them (!) - on the Americans, apart from his MG 42, if he had been constantlly supplied with ammo? Eerie...

Could it be that the MG 42's barrel overheated?

Gen. Dénes

There are several chapters in the book "Le Grand Jour 6 juin 1944" by Gilles Perault which deals with the subject, Hein Severloh recollection being included. He said he was firing the machine gun when the Americans were bunched together such as when they were exiting the landing craft, and the rifle was used for those who managed to escape and were hiding behind obstacles.

As a side note, the landing crafts were modified later as seen in the "Pacific" mini-series, so as the troops were jumping side-ways instead of exiting all through the front ramp, which was called "murder hole".
PMUsers WebsiteYahoo
Top
21 inf
Posted: February 14, 2011 04:46 pm
Quote Post


General de corp de armata
*

Group: Retired
Posts: 1512
Member No.: 1232
Joined: January 05, 2007



Agarici, the "new" info the documentary says that are new, are not new at all. I readed them in books printed in 1960's or 1970's and translated into romanian before or after 1989. The traulers hauling baloons were mentioned as creating on german radars the image of big battleships heading Pas-de-Calais. Also, from bombers were droped at very exact time intervals packages of aluminium sheets, which also made a image on german radars, looking as war ships heading the same direction. The technique of droping those packages is also described. Commandos were sent to a lot of beaches, from Norway to the southern France, even in areas were the Allies never intented to land, but they wanted to intoxicate germans. Fake rubber tanks, airplanes, gun emplacements were also made. Allied also printed on the soil the marks the tracks of tanks are doing when moving, in order to intoxicate the air reconnaisance made by germans, who were especially allowed to see the rubber tanks. The Allied AA was forbiden to shot down german air recce when it come above some certain parts of England, prepared for fooling germans with fake troops. When invasion started, fake paratroopers, 1 meter tall, were dropped in some areas to induce germans in error. Those fake paras exploded at touch down like cracking of automatic gun fire, increasing german confusion. For each bomb Allied dropped in Normady, 2 were dropped in Pas-de-Calais area, with the same intention of deceiving germans. French maquis was ordered thru BBC to atack and/or sabotage some german targets and railroads in areas were Allies didnt entented to land in June 1944. All this helped Allies to induce to Hitler the idea that they'll land in Pas-de-Calais area. Hitler was saying to his generals that Pas-de-Calais fit better for a Allied major landing, due to the fact that it was the shortest water way between England and France, althought his generals were not 100% agree with that. It seems that Rommel was between the few who predicted that Allies will land on Normandy and that they'll come when the weather will not be sunny, but with wind and rain. He also wanted to destroy Allied naval desant on the beaches, while von Runstend agreed Hitler's idea to destroy them deeper inland.

About Severloh, he said in one book I readed that he fired K98 when his MG was reloaded. He said that he shoot enemy „from a distance I could recognise a friend".
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
21 inf
Posted: February 14, 2011 05:02 pm
Quote Post


General de corp de armata
*

Group: Retired
Posts: 1512
Member No.: 1232
Joined: January 05, 2007



This second post of mine is to speak about other issues opened on this subject. If germans managed to throw Allies in the sea in June 1944, it was evaluated that they needed 2 to 4 years to mount another big scale invasion, in the case the public opinion in the Free World would agree such after a massacre occured in the case the invasion from June 1944 failed. Eisenhower himself was not very convinced the landing will be a succes. Atfer giving the final order for landings he wrote a comunicate in which he tried to explain why the landings failed. The landings were succesfull, so this comunicate was never aired.

If 1944 landings failed, it was a big chance that Hitler could turn the odds into his favour. In 1944 the german weapon production reached it's peak, having produced more airplanes, tanks and other stuff than in 1941 or 1942. This seems to be imposible at the first sight, but it is explained by specialists as being true and reachable. In weapon producing, it takes almost 4 years for reach the peak of production and it was the case for Germany, who started mass production of armament in late 1930's. If Allied were destroyed on the beaches, germans could turn with full force against soviets. Soviet lines of comunications were streched to maximum, while those of germans were very shortened, and with a safe back in the West, they could turn in force in East and if not quite obtain a decisive victory in the East, it could gain at least buy enough time to keep german war machine working and recover, in order to fight another day. Let's not forget that the german Ardennes ofensive in december 1944 was calculated to destroy Allied and it had some chance to be succesfull and this happened 6 months AFTER the June 1944 invasion of France and the failure of Market-Garden operation. Of course the margins were very small and the risks were very high for the germans, but it was a very bold move and had, despite huge risks, the enormous advantage that it could put the Allies out of the war with only one strategic move.
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
Agarici
Posted: March 13, 2011 12:28 pm
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



QUOTE (21 inf @ February 14, 2011 04:46 pm)
Agarici, the "new" info the documentary says that are new, are not new at all. I readed them in books printed in 1960's or 1970's and translated into romanian before or after 1989. The traulers hauling baloons were mentioned as creating on german radars the image of big battleships heading Pas-de-Calais. Also, from bombers were droped at very exact time intervals packages of aluminium sheets, which also made a image on german radars, looking as war ships heading the same direction. The technique of droping those packages is also described. Commandos were sent to a lot of beaches, from Norway to the southern France, even in areas were the Allies never intented to land, but they wanted to intoxicate germans. Fake rubber tanks, airplanes, gun emplacements were also made. Allied also printed on the soil the marks the tracks of tanks are doing when moving, in order to intoxicate the air reconnaisance made by germans, who were especially allowed to see the rubber tanks. The Allied AA was forbiden to shot down german air recce when it come above some certain parts of England, prepared for fooling germans with fake troops. When invasion started, fake paratroopers, 1 meter tall, were dropped in some areas to induce germans in error. Those fake paras exploded at touch down like cracking of automatic gun fire, increasing german confusion. For each bomb Allied dropped in Normady, 2 were dropped in Pas-de-Calais area, with the same intention of deceiving germans. French maquis was ordered thru BBC to atack and/or sabotage some german targets and railroads in areas were Allies didnt entented to land in June 1944. All this helped Allies to induce to Hitler the idea that they'll land in Pas-de-Calais area. Hitler was saying to his generals that Pas-de-Calais fit better for a Allied major landing, due to the fact that it was the shortest water way between England and France, althought his generals were not 100% agree with that. It seems that Rommel was between the few who predicted that Allies will land on Normandy and that they'll come when the weather will not be sunny, but with wind and rain. He also wanted to destroy Allied naval desant on the beaches, while von Runstend agreed Hitler's idea to destroy them deeper inland.

About Severloh, he said in one book I readed that he fired K98 when his MG was reloaded. He said that he shoot enemy „from a distance I could recognise a friend".


21 inf, I know about all these. What was really new in the movie (and you can trust me on that) was the emphasis placed on the impact and effectiveness of those "subversive" actions. The books mentioned by you, and among them especially Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe - probably the most authoritative account of the events from the Allied side, which I red (and then re-red) a long time ago – as detailed as it was, dealt with those events by placing them on a place of (at the best) secondary importance.

This post has been edited by Agarici on March 13, 2011 07:41 pm
PMEmail Poster
Top
Agarici
Posted: March 13, 2011 12:42 pm
Quote Post


Maior
*

Group: Members
Posts: 742
Member No.: 522
Joined: February 24, 2005



QUOTE (21 inf @ February 14, 2011 05:02 pm)
   Let's not forget that the german Ardennes ofensive in december 1944 was calculated to destroy Allied and it had some chance to be succesfull and this happened 6 months AFTER the June 1944 invasion of France and the failure of Market-Garden operation. Of course the margins were very small and the risks were very high for the germans, but it was a very bold move and had, despite huge risks, the enormous advantage that it could put the Allies out of the war with only one strategic move.


While I tend to agree with the rest of your post, I disagree with this final assertion. First, I thing the Germans' objective for December 1944 was a more limited one - the city of Anwers. Second, I cannot consider the idea of an offensive in which one that needed to capture the enemy petrol depots in order to be able to refuel one’s vehicles s being something different than a gamble (even though a bold and threatening one).

I’m pretty sure that there was no way in which the Ardennes offensive, by itself (even the in case of a success), could had accomplished something close to putting the Western allies out of the war.

This post has been edited by Agarici on March 13, 2011 07:43 pm
PMEmail Poster
Top
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

Topic Options Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

 






[ Script Execution time: 0.0223 ]   [ 14 queries used ]   [ GZIP Enabled ]