Why did Operation Market Garden in 1944 fail?

 

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82nd Airborne dropped during Operation Market

Operation Market Garden, launched in September 1944, was an unsuccessful Allied offensive mainly, fought in the Netherlands. It was the largest airborne operation in history up to that time. The operation was a daring one and it was the brainchild of the British General Bernard Montgomery. His intended the airborne offensive to allow the allies to break into the German heartland and to end the war, quickly. However, this was not the case, the allied offensive was to prove to be a costly failure and may have even delayed their victory in Europe. This article will discuss the reasons for the failure of the operation and they will be Montgomery’s over-optimistic planning, poor strategy, poor leadership, German resistance and the terrain.

The Allies had landed in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944. After establishing several beach heads in Normandy, the Allies managed to push forward into the Normandy countryside.[1] The Germans initially managed to slow the Allies advance, however, a brilliant piece of Allied strategy, resulted in the encirclement of a large part of the Nazi army, in the Falaise Pocket. The combined Anglo-American divisions inflicted huge losses on the Germans. The German army was forced into a headlong retreat. Paris was soon retaken by the Allies.[2] The Nazi army was practically forced out of France and retreated towards Alsace-Lorraine and Belgium. It seemed to many that the Allies were on the verge of invading German and some even spoke optimistically of ending the war by Christmas.

However, in truth, the Allied successes had brought its own problems. The Allies supply lines were overstretched and this was slowing down the Americans and British in particular, the shortage of oil meant that Patton’s armored divisions had to halt their advance. This was to prove crucial and it allowed the Germans to regroup in the west, when it appeared that they would disintegrate, leading to the end of the war.[3]

Read the rest of the article at DailyHistory.org.

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What Mistakes did the Allies make during Operation Overlord on D-Day?

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Storming the beach on D-Day from a Higgins Boat

June 6, 1944 was arguably the most pivotal day of World War II. Operation Overlord was set to be launched and if successful, was to open a second front in Europe so as to attack Germany from all sides. Stalin’s Soviet Army had been battling the German Army since late 1942 in Stalingrad, Leningrad, and Moscow. Germany was unable to force the Soviets into surrender and Stalin’s troops slowly pushed the Germans back from Russia. The Soviet soldiers defended their motherland honorably; however, they needed a reprieve from the German armor and killing squads sent east to execute and imprison Russian Jews and political prisoners. The Western front Stalin had been insisting upon was finally coming into the realm of reality.

The invasion named Operation Overlord was planned to unfold in three parts; the break-in, the buildup, and the breakout. The first stage was the most dangerous and challenging as the Allied troops were tasked with attacking and holding the beaches of Normandy in the face of an open German assault. The elements of nature seemed to conspire against the Allies and the German defenses, although not optimal, were solid and treacherous. The ultimate detriments to the Allied strategy of the break-in phase; however, were the mistakes made by the Allies themselves.

Read the rest of the article at DailyHistory.org.

What Was the Importance of Bill Mauldin to WWII Infantrymen?

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Comic by Bill Mauldin from World War Two

Bill Mauldin once said that the infantryman “gives more and gets less than anybody else.”[1]He knew this from his experience on the front lines with K Company, 180th Infantry Regiment, of the 45th Division. Mauldin went through basic training as an infantryman and stayed with his regiment throughout the invasion of Sicily and the Allied campaign up the boot of Italy. The talented cartoonist succeeded in ruffling the feathers of the “brass” all the way up to General George Patton. In a time when American news outlets were sanitizing World War II for the folks on the home front, Bill Mauldin depicted the grim reality of war. Through the use of meticulous detail, keen observations, and sardonic wit, this baby-faced young man spoke for the masses of ordinary soldiers who had no voice of their own within the massive military machine of the United States.

William Henry Mauldin was born October 29, 1921 in the New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains in a town named, Mountain Park. He survived a nomadic and impoverished childhood as a sickly child with a young mother and frequently unemployed father. He and his older brother Sid were frequently left alone for days at a time while their mother, Katrina, went on harsh drinking binges. When their parents permanently separated in July 1936, Bill and Sid left the family home for Phoenix, Arizona. While in the Valley of the Sun, Bill attended Phoenix Union High School where he promptly joined the ROTC.[2]

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Why did Germany lose the Battle of Stalingrad?

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Soviet soldiers attack in the heart of Stalingrad in February 1943, by RIA Novosti Archive – Public Domain

The Battle of Stalingrad, between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, is considered not only the most important in World War II, but one of the most important in military history. The battle proved to be decisive for the Soviet Union and fundamentally changed altered the course of the war. Germany’s defeat at Stalingrad not only lead to catastrophic German losses, but put the Nazi war machine was on the defensive for he rest of the war. Why were the Germans defeated at the Battle of Stalingrad and what lead to the Soviet victory? The German was hobbled by Hitler’s micromanaging and tactics, his personal intransigence, and poor German battlefield leadership. The Soviet’s benefitted from superior Soviet leadership, numbers, and tactics.

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Why was Rommel defeated at El Alamein?

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Erwin Rommel at El Alamein

The Battle of El Alamein was the most important battle of the North African conflict between German and Italy and the British Empire. The battle, which was in reality, a series of battles, has entered military legend and it is one of the best-known battles of WWII. The battle was involved some of the most famous generals of the war, including Bernard Montgomery and Erwin Rommel.

The battle was a turning point in the war. It was the first time that the western allies had decisively defeated the Germans on the battlefield and allowed them to clear the German and Italians out of North Africa and ultimately to invade Italy. This article will discuss the reasons for the failure of the Germans at El Alamein and demonstrate that it was because of inferior German and Italian numbers, inadequate supplies, and above all because of unrealistic objectives.

Read the rest of the article at DailyHistory.org. 

Why was France defeated in 1940?

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French Prisoners taken by Germany in 1940.

In September 1939, the Nazi war machine invaded Poland and World War II began. France and its Britain declared against Nazi Germany in 1939. The French army was in theory as strong as the German army. It had a vast Empire and a sophisticated arms industry. It had also established a series of fortifications along the eastern border of the country along Germany, known as the Maginot Line. The Line was designed to keep German forces out of France. Initially, France and Great Britain appeared to be a match for Germany.

However, in a period of weeks in the late Spring and Early Summer of 1940, it became clear that that France was woefully unprepared for the German onslaught. France suffered a humiliating defeat and was quickly occupied by Nazi Germany. Its failure was a result of a hopelessly divided French political elite, a paucity of quality military leadership, rudimentary French military tactics.  On the battlefield France faced a vastly more prepared German army that utilized both more advanced weapons and sophisticated tactics. It was a mismatch. Read more at DailyHistory.org. 

Angels of the Underground: Interview with Theresa Kaminski

Angels of the Underground

The Oxford University Press recently published Theresa Kaminski’s Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II. Kaminski’s book follows the lives of four American women who were stranded in the Philippines after Japan invaded during World War II. Publishers Weeklydescribed her book as a “fast-paced true story” that documents how these women resisted Japanese occupation. Kaminski’s other books have also examined the lives of women in the South Pacific during World War II. Her previous books include Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific and Citizen of Empire: Ethel Thomas Herold, an American in the Philippines. She also edited Dorothy Dore Dowle’s autobiography Enduring What Cannot be Endured: Memoir of a Medical Aide in the Philippines in the World War II.

Kaminski is currently a Professor of American Women’s History at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook. I would also recommend checking out her fantastic blog at www.theresakaminski.com.

Read the Interview at DailyHistory.org.