AHC: The most successful Overlord possible.

So, I've seen plenty of threads over the years about making Operation Overlord a failure, and the consequences from that.

Your challenge is to do the opposite and figure out how to make Overlord as successful as it can possibly be, with a POD no further back than 6 June 1943.
 
If Anzio had not been launch could you widen the front by another division, perhaps a diversionary attack on the breton coast?
 
So, I've seen plenty of threads over the years about making Operation Overlord a failure, and the consequences from that.

Your challenge is to do the opposite and figure out how to make Overlord as successful as it can possibly be, with a POD no further back than 6 June 1943.

Omaha/Utah DD Tanks launched closer to shore. armored Amtracs. Some two dozen M6 Heavy tanks are in play for breakout, along with T20 series mediums with the original longer barrel 76mm gun.

Now for more effort. Have US Marines be part of it, and land at Gold: lets call that 'Vermont'

Now those UK, Canadian and UK/F.French forces will be shifted east, so Canadians will be at Sword, and UK/F.F east of Caen other side of the Orne at a planned landing zone called Band that OTL was dropped during planning due to flooding done by the Nazis, and lack of landing craft
This allow Caen to be taken on schedule
 
Omaha/Utah DD Tanks launched closer to shore. armored Amtracs. Some two dozen M6 Heavy tanks are in play for breakout, along with T20 series mediums with the original longer barrel 76mm gun.

Now for more effort. Have US Marines be part of it, and land at Gold: lets call that 'Vermont'

Now those UK, Canadian and UK/F.French forces will be shifted east, so Canadians will be at Sword, and UK/F.F east of Caen other side of the Orne at a planned landing zone called Band that OTL was dropped during planning due to flooding done by the Nazis, and lack of landing craft
This allow Caen to be taken on schedule

The DD tanks is an easy fix, have them better understood by the officers planning things, taking into account the sea state of the time on the day as well. Also have someone make Ike force Bradley to have a lot more Funnies. He was given full access to the entire range of vehicles, including Crocodiles, AVREs and Crabs. Unfortunately because they were based on the Churchill tank, Bradley turned it down because it would have complicated the supply issue. Bradley was, in retrospect, wrong to refuse more specialised armour, Omaha would have been very, very different if he had.
Unfortunately the only way to have US Marines at Normandy is to have a truck run over General Marshall. He was very clear that no Marines would ever be in Europe in large numbers, at least whilst he was the US chief of staff.
And I think that Band was just a place that was due to have a small landing by the Royal Marines in the event that the attack on the Merville Battery failed. It succeeded so they didn't land, but were diverted to Sword.
The best way to take Caen would have been to have a slightly better bombardment of the beaches and above all have Bomber Command go to town on the German positions inland, like at Hillman, which was larger than expected. Perhaps have the French Resistance discover just how extensive it was?
 

hipper

Banned
The DD tanks is an easy fix, have them better understood by the officers planning things, taking into account the sea state of the time on the day as well. Also have someone make Ike force Bradley to have a lot more Funnies. He was given full access to the entire range of vehicles, including Crocodiles, AVREs and Crabs. Unfortunately because they were based on the Churchill tank, Bradley turned it down because it would have complicated the supply issue. Bradley was, in retrospect, wrong to refuse more specialised armour, Omaha would have been very, very different if he had.
Unfortunately the only way to have US Marines at Normandy is to have a truck run over General Marshall. He was very clear that no Marines would ever be in Europe in large numbers, at least whilst he was the US chief of staff.
And I think that Band was just a place that was due to have a small landing by the Royal Marines in the event that the attack on the Merville Battery failed. It succeeded so they didn't land, but were diverted to Sword.
The best way to take Caen would have been to have a slightly better bombardment of the beaches and above all have Bomber Command go to town on the German positions inland, like at Hillman, which was larger than expected. Perhaps have the French Resistance discover just how extensive it was?

To take Caen on Day one have the 21st panzer Division be somewhere else.
 
Omaha/Utah DD Tanks launched closer to shore. armored Amtracs. Some two dozen M6 Heavy tanks are in play for breakout, along with T20 series mediums with the original longer barrel 76mm gun.

Now for more effort. Have US Marines be part of it, and land at Gold: lets call that 'Vermont'

Now those UK, Canadian and UK/F.French forces will be shifted east, so Canadians will be at Sword, and UK/F.F east of Caen other side of the Orne at a planned landing zone called Band that OTL was dropped during planning due to flooding done by the Nazis, and lack of landing craft
This allow Caen to be taken on schedule
In order for the US Marines to be available, the US submarine fleet would have to have better torpedoes early on and get very lucky at the barrel of Coral Sea n Midway by having their respective airstrikes severely damage the IJN carriers and thus prevent counter strikes from sinking the Lexington and Yorktown while sinking all seven carriers, six CV n one CVL, from surviving and launching their imperial planes ...

Then in early 43, after many succesful US. Naval invasions finally reaching Saipain n a lucky air raid from B29s from us army bases from KMT China allow them to destroy a military bunker that held the Warhawks of imperial Japan and killed them, the peace Hawks among the imperial high command n the civilian branch finally convince the Emperor that they don't have the industrial n military strength to prevent the USA from launching devastating bombardment upon their cities and naval blockade of their homelands from US submarines sinking their merchant fleet that they sue for peace terms and the five to six marine divisions among with the seventh fleet and their logistical fleet ships are shifted over to the ETO and general Marshall reluctantly agrees to use them after pressure from president Roosevelt and general Eisenhower that they are needed most urgently regardless of his dislike of the Marines...

The PTO CVs n CVLs carrying marine aviation support also comes along to the ETO.
 
Have the US Army actually learn from the enemy (i.e. the mrines/Navy), about how to do amphibious landings. Again, that might require removing Marshall....
 
Rommel remains in Italy or is transferred to the Eastern Front in Nov 1943, leaving von Rundstedt in full command of the Atlantic Wall. While both commanders considered Calais the most likely landing position and focused preparations there, I get the impression that Rommel was more inclined to also prepare other potential invasion sites (Normandy, but also the Somme estuary and elsewhere). Rundstedt also believed that stopping the landing on the beach was impossible and wanted to focus defensive resources on a centralized mobile reserve at Paris.

Give Rundstedt full command of the preparations, and the allies will meet a much weaker defense in the Normandy landings. And if the deceptions operations are as successful as IOTL, the mobile reserve won't be in a position to act until the invasion is well underway. In particular, without the 21st Panzer Division already being deployed near Caen, there wouldn't be anything to stop Juno and Sword beaches linking up the first day, and they'd have a chance of taking Caen the first day of the landings (as Montgomery had intended) as well.

On the other hand, Rundstedt's strategy would have preserved more forces from being overrun or damaged by shore bombardment in the initial invasion and would have kept them concentrated for effective deployment later, which might make life more difficult for the Allies during the breakout phase.
 
-No Anzio Operation.
-The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment stays with the 82nd Airborne Division for Normandy.
That gives you two veteran regiments for The D-Day airborne assault.
-Have RAF Bomber Command Parhfinders assist the airborne assault.
-Bring Darby’s Rangers to England for D-Day as well. Form a Ranger Regiment with Darby as commander and Rudder as XO. The entire 2nd Rangers with 4th Rangers land at Pointe Du Hoc. 1st and 3rd Rangers land at Vierville with 5th Rangers as floating reserves.
-Amtracs for the First wave at Omaha and Utah.
 
... -Have RAF Bomber Command Parhfinders assist the airborne assault. ...

The US Pathfinders were ok, it was the transport pilots breaking formation when they flew into the clouds over the Cotientin in the last minutes of approach. Between losing sight of the other aircraft and evading the very active FLAK the existing Pathfinders had to few aircraft follow their signals.

Also, if the airborne are not scattered then the local German corps commander would not be ambushed and killed by a stray group of paras and the German reserves on the Cotietin Peninsula not paralyzed & misdirected for some eight hours.
 
...

On the other hand, Rundstedt's strategy would have preserved more forces from being overrun or damaged by shore bombardment in the initial invasion and would have kept them concentrated for effective deployment later, which might make life more difficult for the Allies during the breakout phase.

I've often wondered how badly it goes for those reserves when they try to fight a day time mobile battle in the open vs the Commonwealth around D+2 or +4. As it was Allied tactical air was rough on the large columns of German trucks trying to approach Normandy in daylight 6th - 8 June.

Also the Allied expectation for moving inland threatens the German 7th Army supply depots the Falaise area. Would the Germans have the transport to move those rapidly out of danger, or have to abandon a large part of they artillery ammunition, fuel, and food?
 
-No Anzio Operation.
-The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment stays with the 82nd Airborne Division for Normandy.
That gives you two veteran regiments for The D-Day airborne assault.
-Have RAF Bomber Command Parhfinders assist the airborne assault.
-Bring Darby’s Rangers to England for D-Day as well. Form a Ranger Regiment with Darby as commander and Rudder as XO. The entire 2nd Rangers with 4th Rangers land at Pointe Du Hoc. 1st and 3rd Rangers land at Vierville with 5th Rangers as floating reserves.
-Amtracs for the First wave at Omaha and Utah.

I don't think more airborne is going to help that much. Light infantry can do only so much.
 
Have the US Army actually learn from the enemy (i.e. the mrines/Navy), about how to do amphibious landings. Again, that might require removing Marshall....

Who did major amphibious landings outside of maybe Japan? The Japanese were pretty lousy at it too. Learning from the marines would be better or as someone said actually using the marines would be better than that.
 
Have the US Army actually learn from the enemy (i.e. the mrines/Navy), about how to do amphibious landings

What supposed errors did the US Army commit in the Overload operations?
The US Army coordinated with the USMC in writing amphibious doctrine for both services, the USMC had the lead.
The USMC helped train US Army units in amphibious operations.
So I am not sure what the US Army failed to learn from the "enemy".

As a whole, US Army amphibious landings in the ETO were much larger in scale than USMC ops and were successful.

The problem with launching the DD tanks early at Omaha was definitely not a doctrine problem.
The sea state was much higher than the units were designed to handle, they should have been launched either much closer to shore or landed directly on the beaches which the British did on many of their beaches.
Never heard of any problems with DD tanks at Utah beach, almost all reached the beach safely.
 
I don't think more airborne is going to help that much. Light infantry can do only so much.
I wasn’t going to add more airborne troops. For the 82nd Airborne Division swap the inexperienced 508th or 507th Regiments for the veteran 504th. It is not a big change but it helps make OVERLORD a little bit more successful. The veteran 504th might have a good drop and be able to form up faster. They could grab a bridgehead over the Merderet on D-Day.
 
I wasn’t going to add more airborne troops. For the 82nd Airborne Division swap the inexperienced 508th or 507th Regiments for the veteran 504th. It is not a big change but it helps make OVERLORD a little bit more successful. The veteran 504th might have a good drop and be able to form up faster. They could grab a bridgehead over the Merderet on D-Day.

Doubt this would make much of a difference. It wasn't the airborne troops faults that the transport pilots scattered like wild geese once they hit the German flak. Airborne guys jump when they get the green light and that is in the pilot's control.

The two biggest changes I can see are to:
Find a way to more effectively destroy the 352nd Division's fortifications overlooking Utah Beach, this allows 1st and 29th Divisions to advance much further inland.
Find a way to secure Caen on the first day as planned.
 
I'd like to see Marathag's armor scheme and the athletic snake's 1st wave usage of amtracks combined with some experienced hands, USN and USMC from the Pacific, looking over the problem and providing up-to-date ideas on the problem at hand, including suggestions if the landings appear stalled anywhere.
Almost forgot...one of the good ideas with poor execution was the rocket barrage to provide pre-placed foxholes for the troops. Supposed to be plenty of cover for the landing party, but, alas...fix that, too.
 
What supposed errors did the US Army commit in the Overload operations?
The US Army coordinated with the USMC in writing amphibious doctrine for both services, the USMC had the lead.
The USMC helped train US Army units in amphibious operations.
So I am not sure what the US Army failed to learn from the "enemy"..

the Devil is in the details.

One of the brutal lessons learned earlier in the Pacific was the critical importance of fire support communications through the beach assault phase and general landing operation. Preparatory fires have limited value & brief preparatory attacks like the Allies thought they had to use are only good for momentary suppression. The leading assault companies absolutely must be able to direct supporting fires on the active defense points from the instant the first landing craft grounds. Actually in the 1980s we were training to do that as the first assault wave approached, but I digress. Usually the assault force was able to get away with ordinary or doctrinal fire support communications, but it would have been better in general if it had been at the same level as in the Pacific in 1943-44. & Occasionally the leading battalions of the assault forces got bit in the ass. On Omaha Beach communications with the fire support broke down for nearly two hours. Between 06:35 when the first boats grounded & approximate 08:20-30 there was no effective direction of naval gunfire or tactical airstrikes on the beach defenses. There were six NGF spotting teams assigned to the two regiments assaulting Omaha Beach & none were in action for a critical two hours. My training in the 1980s derived directly from the experience in the 1940s vs the Japanese & that was when attacking you absolutely had multiple & redundant communications for fire support. Any radio, any network, and frequency could be hijacked during the assault for directing fire support and all radio operators/supervisors at all levels had to know how to deal with such. Once the assault regiments on O Beach salvaged their NGF radio equipment and reconstituted the spotting teams the fire support worked. Bu, thing could have gone far better had they been as prepared for the problem of their communications teams being shot down in the opening minutes.

Assaulting bunkers. The strength and density of the defense on the Normandy beaches was something not previously encountered on African or European coasts. By comparison the beaches in the Mediterranean landings were lightly defended, and a some like at Anzio completely undefended. The enemy seldom had fortifications overlooking the beaches & did not make the same sort of waters edge stand as on the Normandy beaches. Numerous bunkers with interlocking fields of fire, mines, and wire were actually a bit new, even to veteran formations like the US 1st ID. The Commonwealth and US assault forces could have benefitted from a tutoring in tactics for this from the US Army and Marine veterans in the Pacific. On 6th June some did better than others, but everyone needed a through understanding of Corkscrew attacks and related matters.

The LVT. A lot of reasons are propped up why these things won't make a difference. In the Pacific the value of a assault vehicle/inf carrier for crossing the beach was seen by mid 1943. Their value was proven by any measure on Betio Island high months before the Normandy landing. The US Army used them eagerly in the Pacific. They should have been used in the ETO, and earlier than Operation Neptune.

I could go on, but there were a lot of other detains the US First Army got wrong 6th June. Fortunately the Germans got a lot more things wrong & lost the beach battle within couple hours. I suspect that had Mark Clark & 5th Army staff been brought to command the 1st Army some of the higher level problems would have not appeared. It would not have been a panacea, but Bradley & his staff lacked depth of experience in this sort of operation.

As a whole, US Army amphibious landings in the ETO were much larger in scale than USMC ops and were successful.

Yes they were successful, and by the standards of early 1943 they were pretty good at it. They could have done a lot better. Never mind the Marines, the US Army in the Pacific in 1944 was way better at amphibious ops than their counterparts in the MTO/ETO.

The problem with launching the DD tanks early at Omaha was definitely not a doctrine problem.
The sea state was much higher than the units were designed to handle, they should have been launched either much closer to shore or landed directly on the beaches which the British did on many of their beaches.
Never heard of any problems with DD tanks at Utah beach, almost all reached the beach safely.

IIRC thirty-six tanks did make it ashore on O Beach that morning. By noon eight or less were still operating. Between drowning when leaving the landing craft, mines, hanging up & detracting on the seawall, and the dozen AT guns covering the beach the tanks did not fare well. All of both battalions getting ashore that morning would have been helpful, but not a panacea.

The US Army coordinated with the USMC in writing amphibious doctrine for both services, the USMC had the lead.
The USMC helped train US Army units in amphibious operations.

The Joint Board of the 1920s was more concerned with strategic and operational matters. Walther Kruger, who also attended the Naval War College, was a member of the board in that era. This was a Army/Navy entity & Marines were a subset & concerned mostly with their lesser slice of the study. In terms of actual training the Army contributed observers & a few battalions in the 1920s. From 1932 through most of 1939 the Army does not seem to have participated in any amphibious training. this is a bit odd since the Army was supposed to contribute the bulk of forces for Pacific operations under WAR PLAN ORANGE. The Marines as they existed in that era were only capable of forming 3-4 brigades. When restarted in 1939 Joint training was conducted by the Navy. The Marines did not command the Amphibious Fleet/s did not operate the ships, did not run the support services of the amphibious forces. Their writ was in a important but narrow part of the whole of amphibious operations.

As a final random note; I'd point out the most successful amphib op in the MTO/ETO was Op DRAGOON & the landing force was commanded by a PTO veteran corps commander.
 

Wallet

Banned
The DD tanks is an easy fix, have them better understood by the officers planning things, taking into account the sea state of the time on the day as well. Also have someone make Ike force Bradley to have a lot more Funnies. He was given full access to the entire range of vehicles, including Crocodiles, AVREs and Crabs. Unfortunately because they were based on the Churchill tank, Bradley turned it down because it would have complicated the supply issue. Bradley was, in retrospect, wrong to refuse more specialised armour, Omaha would have been very, very different if he had.
Unfortunately the only way to have US Marines at Normandy is to have a truck run over General Marshall. He was very clear that no Marines would ever be in Europe in large numbers, at least whilst he was the US chief of staff.
And I think that Band was just a place that was due to have a small landing by the Royal Marines in the event that the attack on the Merville Battery failed. It succeeded so they didn't land, but were diverted to Sword.
The best way to take Caen would have been to have a slightly better bombardment of the beaches and above all have Bomber Command go to town on the German positions inland, like at Hillman, which was larger than expected. Perhaps have the French Resistance discover just how extensive it was?
Why was Marshall opposed to marines serving in Europe?
 
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