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World War Two Poland to Normandy

World War Two Poland to Normandy

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World War Two Poland to Normandy

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  1. World War TwoPoland to Normandy Major Rascon

  2. Learning Objectives • Know and explain the failure of the Western Allies to respond militarily to the invasion of Poland and the subsequent “Phony War” • Know and explain the rapid victory by Germany in Western Europe • Know and discuss early U.S participation in World War Two with emphasis on the Battle of the Atlantic

  3. Learning Objectives • Understand and compare American and British motives in the decision making for the North African and Italian campaigns • Know and discuss the importance of the battle of Normandy

  4. References • Dupuy, The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, pp. 245 – 252 • Fuller, A Military History of the Western World, Vol. 111, pp. 382 – 412 • Jones, The Art of War in the Western World, pp 508 – 595 • Preston and Wise, Men in Arms, pp. 295 - 330

  5. Overview • Essentially four wars; - Germany vs. Europe - Germany vs. Russia - Japan vs. China - Japan vs. US/UK • Germany invades Poland on 1 September 1939, Britain and France declare war on 3 September 1939

  6. Overview • After the fall of Poland Anglo-French forces content to remain on the defensive • French troops build up around the Maginot Line opposite the German Siegfried Line (a defensive strategy) • Germans go around Maginot Line; invades Denmark, Norway, Holland Belgium and France

  7. Sitzkrieg (Allied Defensive Posture) • “Phony War” • French Maginot Line opposite the German Siegfried Line • British Expeditionary Force along Belgian Frontier • Allied air power limited to leaflet dropping • British Navy rounds up German merchant raiders • Allies fear German retaliation • Video 8min Maginot Line

  8. Denmark and Norway (9April 1940) • German troops hidden on a merchant ship in Copenhagen - Denmark fell almost without bloodshed • Britain proposes to mine neutral Norwegian ports to stop ore supplies to Germany • Germans attacked Denmark and Norway to break blockade

  9. German invasion of Norway • Merchant ships carried hidden German soldiers • Air attacks and airborne landings • Allies (France and Britain) fought tenaciously alongside the Norwegians but later withdrew - Norway quickly fell

  10. Germans take Belgium and Holland • Germans attack weak allied left wing - Maginot Line did not extend to sea • Air and airborne attacks against airfields and bridges • Allies beaten by skill and surprise • Badly damaged French morale and opened up an avenue for the invasion of France • Allies were disjointed and lacked centralized control

  11. Invasion of France • German’s 135 divisions, Allies 136 divisions; Germans were better trained and experienced • Germans were superior in armor tactics and motorized division organization • Germans were far superior in air power, this was the key to their invasion

  12. German Plan • Attack France through the Ardennes • Open up a crossing of the Meuse south of Liege • Three column advance: - Eastern column, swing to rear of the Maginot Line; it did not extend to the sea - Central column, drive south toward Aisne - Western column, swing toward channel to strike at bulk of allied forces

  13. The Invasion • May 10th 1940 - Germans began to bomb headquarters, supply dumps and airfields • By May 13th, the Meuse had been crossed; Germans used combat troops, tanks, dive bombers and motorized artillery • By May 21st, German armored units reached the channel cutting off the main allied armies in Belgium

  14. The Invasion • On 25 June 1940, France capitulated and signed an armistice surrendering three fifths of France • The conquest of France left Germany in control of the continental Western Europe and at the doorstep of England • Germans were faced with attacking east (Russia) or northwest (England)

  15. The Battle of Britain • After fall of France, Britain stands alone. • Germany must control air in order to successfully invade England. • Despite 3,000 to 1,200 advantage in aircraft, Luftwaffe is unable to defeat the RAF. • Hitler calls off plans for invasion in Sept 1940 and shifts to bombing campaign (“The Blitz”).

  16. Battle of Britain (Operation Sea lion) • Germany planned to defeat Britain through air power and later invade • Germany was not prepared for seaborne operations • Had no amphibious doctrine and the local sea power belonged to Britain • Germany waged an air war of attrition against the RAF

  17. Battle of Britain Cont’d • The Germans lacked heavy bombers and were hampered by the limited range of their fighters • The British advantage concerning fighter direction because of radar and radio area coverage. • This allowed British controllers to vector superior formations against German bombers.

  18. Four Phases of the War • Germans tried to control sea by attacking convoys • Shifted attack to main land RAF bases; this was very effective • Bomb London to break British morale; high civilian casualties • British countered by destroying 200 barges gathered by Germans for attack on England • This caused Germans to suspend Operation Sea Lion

  19. End Result • British won the Battle - Britain's will to win - British radar - Britain's well organized ground control • German abandon the attacks on Britain in order to prepare for invasion of Russia

  20. Operation Barbarossa: The German Invasion of Russia • Hitler believed the Russian Army could be destroyed in 3 months • 22 June 1941 - Hitler attacked (wanted to win before U.S. involvement) • Initial German aims were to capture Russian oil fields and industrial areas in order to; • Support Germany’s war in the west • Break Russian economic power so she could not attack at some later date

  21. Three German Armies • Northern attack columns attacked north and pinned Russian Army against the Baltic Sea to seize Leningrad • Central attack columns attacked along the traditional invasion route and seized Moscow • Southern attack columns attacked south to seize Kiev

  22. Russian strategy • Barter space for time; intended retreats • Scorched earth policy; withdrew and forced the Germans to overextend their lines of communications and supply. Forced Hitler’s exposed army to spend the winter in -40 degree weather • Partisan organizations were to prey on Germany’s lines of communications

  23. “Blitzkrieg” Initially Very Successful • Armored panzers of the Central Army closed on Minsk; a great tactical victory was achieved • Tactical surprises gave the Germans victories at Smolensk and Kiev

  24. German- Offensive Halted • Supply lines were so long that they slowed the advance • Vast area which had been taken was hard to control because of Partisan activity • The massive size of Russia exhausted German troops • The Russian winter set in and the Germans did not have adequate equipment to fight a winter battle

  25. German Failure • Hitler’s decision to delay the attack on Russia from 15 May to 22 June 1941 in lieu of the Balkan Campaign and his taking control of the armies from his generals were major mistakes which contributed to German failure in Russia

  26. Early US Involvement in Europe • Lend-Lease Act provides UK (and others) with ships, planes, and other war material. • Germany declares war on US on 11 Dec 1941. • Germans attempt to stop supplies getting to England, results in the Battle of the Pacific • U.S enters the War, initially; • Disagreement over location and timing for “reclamation” of Europe. • Churchill favors a peripheral attack of the Med , while Roosevelt favors Western Europe/France. • Agree to begin with attack in North Africa

  27. Battle of The Atlantic • Attempt to stop supplies reaching the Allies • Essentially conducted in five phases • Phase one (Sept. 1939 – June 1940) - German U-boat operations led to the sinking of numerous Allied ships • Phase two (June 1940 – March 1941) - Germans build special bombproof submarine pens - “Wolfpack” operations began against convoys

  28. Battle of Atlantic Cont’d • Phase three (April – December 1941) - Growth of US participation - 50 destroyers given to Britain, this allowed Russia to hold out against Germany - Germans initiate unrestricted submarine warfare • Phase four (January 1942 – April 1943) -Germans attack shipping routes near US Coast - Air and surface-escorted interlocking Allied convoy system -Increased loss of German submarines, turning point of the battle

  29. Battle of Atlantic Cont’d • Phase five (May 1943- May 1945) - Germans shift attacks to Mediterranean • Eventually U-boats are defeated because of close air cover escorts and advances in technology • Allied victory shifted the balance of the war • Video 5min Battle of Atlantic

  30. North Africa (Operation Torch) • After initial success against the British, Rommel overextends and is defeated by Montgomery at el-Alamein. • Montgomery chases Rommel across Africa until the Germans are caught between British and Torch forces. • Operation Torch, November 1942 • Allies land in North Africa at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. • Objective was more political than military: occupy North Africa to protect access to the Mediterranean.

  31. Overall Success • Great loss to the German cause • U.S., England, France, & Spain drawn together • The stage was set for a cross-channel landing at Normandy • The Allied had established a foot hold in the Mediterranean to provide follow on attacks to Germany • First large scale, joint operation under a unified commander - Eisenhower

  32. Operation Husky (Sicily Campaign) • During North Africa campaign Allied commanders met at Casablanca Conference • U.S wants to conduct a direct attack on Germany, British want to continue peripheral attack through the Mediterranean • Agree to continue with peripheral attack with operation Husky

  33. Operation Husky, July 1943 • Plan involved invading the southeastern tip of Sicily • General Patton’s 7th Army on the left and General Montgomery’s British 8th Army on the right • During this time Germans were defeated earlier in the year at Stalingrad • Germans were on the defensive; strategic bombing of Germany and Allied success in the Battle of the Atlantic

  34. Results • The victory in Sicily helped secure the Allied lines of communications • It diverted some of the German forces from the Russian front • It applied increased pressure on Italy • Led to collapse of Mussolini’s Fascist government and Italian surrender September 3rd 1943 • 7th Army gained experience in joint amphibious operations which used in Normandy

  35. Results Cont’d • Again the British wanted to continue advance through Mediterranean (believed Germans were still to strong for a direct attack) • U.S. agreed and the Allies conducted operations Avalanche at Selerno and Shingle at Anzio • Success of these operations cumulated in operation Overlord, Normandy

  36. Normandy, Operation Overlord • Most massive and complex military endeavor in history. • Its objective was to destroy Germany and end the war • Numerous beaches were studied • Two main beaches were Normandy or Pas de Calais

  37. Advantages/Disadvantages of Pas de Calais Advantages • Best air cover • Shorter sea voyage • Best beaches and conditions • Close to Dutch and Belgium forts Disadvantages • Germans considered it the most likely avenue of approach (heavily defended) • Beaches were too narrow to support follow on operations

  38. Advantages/Disadvantages of Normandy Beaches Advantages • Good beach conditions • Some what sheltered • Within air cover distance • German defense not strong • Cherbourg easily captured Disadvantages • Exits from beach were difficult • Few numbers of ports were readily available

  39. Allied Plan • Eisenhower appointed Supreme Commander • Land on Normandy coast, build up and break out of beachhead • Attack on a broad axis with two armies; - one to attack east and north towards Germany - the other to link up with the southern France invasion to the south

  40. Allied Plan Cont’d • Maintain an unrelenting offense for complete destruction of enemy west of the Rhine • Launch a final attack – a double envelopment of the Ruhr • Emphasis on the northern, left flank toward Ruhr and industrial Germany

  41. Artificial Harbors • Gooseberry - 70 old ships were sunk offshore to provide a breakwater at 5 different beaches. It took 5 days to emplace them • Mulberry - Huge cement harbors sunk in the beach areas and established as a port. Two mulberries were constructed for each army. They took 14 days to erect and ranged in size from 1,672 tons to 6,033 tons

  42. Artificial Harbors