D-Day - Had Rommel had the Panzers at the beaches would it of made a difference?



  • Most of the threads on this forum seem like foregone conclusions these days, for example the Japanese invasion of the United States. So I thought I would make one that may have some differing opinions.

    Had Rommel of had the Panzer divisions at the beaches on D-Day would it of actually made any meaningful difference to the outcome of the battle?

    I’m in two minds about this myself, however after much thought I reckon with suffecient resources the Nazi’s could of pushed the invasion force back to the sea.

    During Market Garden infantry without any allied tanks the paratroopers were cut to pieces by I believe a single Panzer division (correct me if i’m wrong) due to the lack of any heavy or anti tank weapons. Naturally the allies had air superiority during Market garden but it seemed to make little difference. I’m unsure that it was due to a possible lack of air assets devoted to the operation or simply the fact that airpower wasnt enough on its own.

    It makes me wonder had the Nazi’s comitted 4 Panzer divisions for arguments sake and they could of been there just behind the beaches ready for the counterattack they could of very well won the day. With the amount of allied air and naval assets devoted to the invasion there would of been heavy casualties for the German armoured divisions but they may of won the battle.

    I think we can say with relative certainty the Nazi’s still would of lost the war, significant resources would of been tied up on the Western front in case of another invasion, the allied strategic bombing campaign would of likely been stepped up even further in the wake of a failed invasion and the Red army juggernaut would of still been pushing its way to Berlin.



  • Thank you for posting this thread Octospire, people can go on about this here rather then in the Japanese invasion of America thread.

    I am inclined to think that had the Germans been situated as you suggest then they would have been able to make a very aggressive counter attack and would have inflicted numerious casualties on the allies, I dont think it would have won them the battle in the end. Meaning, D-day battles would have lasted for months, with the Allies funneling ever more men and resources into the fray. Over a period of several months, the allied superiority in material would become too much and would have ground the Germans down. Basically you would have gotten a hybrid situation of Anzio where the Allies were stuck on the beaches and villers-bocage where the fighting would resemble what took place in the hedgerows immidetly after D-day. While the air power the allies had wouldnt have necessarily stop the Germans from pushing the allies back into the sea, I think the naval artillery present would have. 1 battle ship with 9 16in naval guns could devastate a division caught in its sight, and while still in land to boot. The Canadians at Juno had 3 battleships assigned to them alone, not to mention a number of crusiers that were supressing German artillery battries on the beaches.  The allied invasion forces actaully did have direct artillery support as well, in the form of special landing craft the were designed to transport self-propelled and conventional artillery that could fire while enroute to the beaches, so they wouldnt have been as hard up as they initially seem.



  • I think so. Rommel had plans for the 12th SS Panzer in the Carentan region. That would have place a major German unit between the two American landing beaches.

    I don’t think any of the beach landings are pushed back, Salerno proved the cost counter attacking a well supported invasion. But I think it may have added weeks to the Normady battles and the loss of mnay more paratroopers.


  • '12

    Would this imply D-Day could have been pulled off in 1942 or 1943?



  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    Would this imply D-Day could have been pulled off in 1942 or 1943?

    Do you not read the previous posts in ANY of the threads you post in?

    as Octospire said:
    @Octospire:

    Had Rommel of had the Panzer divisions at the beaches on D-Day would it of actually made any meaningful difference to the outcome of the battle?

    So we’re talking the same time it took place historicaly but changing one aspect of the battle. In this case Rommel having the Panzer divisions at the beaches and extrapolating from that point.


  • '12

    Clyde, my question was related to a different thread and I feel its a valid question.  Your insults are getting a bit old.  It should occur to you that this relates to the Jap invasion of the US mainland thread that we both have contributed a fair bit to.

    If nothing the Germans could do would have made a bit of difference, then perhaps D-Day could have occurred much earlier.  I was under the impression Hitler was so convinced the invasion was going to be in Calais and that Normandy was a diversion that he held back critical forces for days.  Had Germany been able to fly planes over the channel they would have had the intell they required.  As it is, a brilliant deceptive plans by the Brits saw them dump a body of Italy with a briefcase handcuffed to it.  They put in false invasion plans for D-Day and hoped the germans would believe the ‘story’ it was a high ranking officer lost in bad weather.  They did find the body and did believe the deception.  The Brits were and are masters of espionage.

    My feelings are that if the Germans were better prepared and better intelligence and didn’t have Hitler micro-managing the tactical situation that D-Day could have failed or been incredibly bloody for the allies.  Therefore, it was not merely Churchill being a coward and putting off an easy 1943 D-Day as was suggested in the related thread.

    In any event, if you keep up the petty insults I’ll just ignore any threads you post in.  Have a great day!



  • Im sorry, but you have routinely asked questions that have either;
    a) nothing to do with the scenario (“how would battleships fair against a-bombs” pretty poorly as it turns out but I dont see what that has to do with Japan hitting Pearl harbor in 1941?)
    or b) have already been answered (like when this d-day scenario is taking place, or about Japanese sub tatics) that gives the impression, perhapse mistakenly, that you havent read or are being disagreable. Sorry but thats the impression I’ve gotten so far.

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    In any event, if you keep up the petty insults I’ll just ignore any threads you post in.  Have a great day!

    This is astounding as you have been openly hostile to Everything I have posted with the only logic being “it didnt happen in real life and is therefore impossible!”. Speculative scenarios are supposed to be fun and it gets really frustrating when you’re trying to present an entertaining narrative and story when someone keeps poping up saying “thats not how it really happened!” everytime you present a new idea.

    I think the difference in perspective is whats causing the problem here


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Octospire:

    Had Rommel of had the Panzer divisions at the beaches on D-Day would it of actually made any meaningful difference to the outcome of the battle?

    The critical factor in this question is what is meant by “at the beaches”.  There are two possible answers: spread out all along the line, or bunched together at key points.

    Spreading tanks around is usually a bad idea, as the French found out in 1940 when they used their tanks in penny packets as local support weapons, in contrast with the Germans who used their tanks in massed formations at their chosen points of attack.  So scattering tanks all along the Atlantic Wall would have been ineffectual.  Pre-positioning large Panzer units on specific beaches would have been (in principle) a better alternative, but the question then becomes: on which beaches? The big danger here is making the wrong guess.  The Germans didn’t know where the Allies were going to invade, but they considered the Pas de Calais to be the likely location.  Panzers positioned on the beaches at the Pas de Calais would have been of no help at all in defending against a landing in Normandy (which turned out to be the Allied choice) or elsewhere.

    This question ties in nicely with the strategic argument which Rommel and von Rundstedt had over how best to defend against the expected Allied invasion.  In von Rundstedt’s opinion, the Atlantic Wall was a wasteful dispersal of resources.  His preference was to keep much of his fighting strength (notably the Panzers) in reserve behind the lines at various points, let the Allies commit themselves to a landing, then take the nearest reserve forces and concentrate them with maximum speed at the point of attack.  Rommel rejected this view, arguing that Allied air supremacy would make it impossible for German mobile reserves to reach the coast once the Allies landed.  In his view, the only way to defeat the invasion was to meet it head-on along the beaches using the German forces already on the ground there.

    The trouble is that both von Rundstedt and Rommel were right in their own ways.  Rommel was right that Allied air supremacy (aided to some extent by French Resistance railway sabotage) made it hard for the German forces to move during and right after D-Day.  And von Rundstedt was right about the fact that a primarily linear defense would allow the Allies to attack at the location of their choice and would dilute the German forces to the point where their strength at most locations along the Atlantic front would be insufficient to repel the invasion.


  • '12

    Clyde, I did say in the other thread:

    “Cylde85, your refined scenario is interesting, but KurtGodel7 is correct, my loyalties are to Canada as I am a Canuckian.  The Mexican angle might help, but then again the mexican mainland is that much further away from Japan.”

    I would say hostile is an overstatement of my opinion of the scenario as described.  While I am critical of the scenario, I am not hostile to you, merely critical of an idea.  Do not equate your idea to yourself.  Don’t hate me because I am an effective devil’s advocate…if I am at all.  Merely overcome my objections like a good salesman or merely ignore me.

    On the D-Day concept…let me repeat what I said:

    I can’t imagine Japan being ready for their version of D-Day within 5 years of the allied D-Day….

    So like, how do ya think the imperial fleet would fare against nuclear bombs?

    My premise was that since in my opinion Jap would not be ready until years after D-Day.  I picked D-Day to highlight the difficulties in amphibious landings and as a useful comparison.  My premise was that: if it took the allies until June 1944, surely it would take Japan at least a 2 years longer.  Enough time if all US naval operations to slow down the onslaught of Japan failed, then the atom bomb would be ready for use against the invasion force.

    Now, back to this thread.

    CWO Marc, excellent points.  I was under the impression there were critical hours, even a day or so where high level command decisions had to be made, and nobody dared wake up Hitler, the only person who could release the panzers and that this fact was decisive.  Not as decisive then as I thought?

    How do you think the Germans would have fared with all things being equal except for the complete air dominance.  Let’s say that the Germans at least had ME-262s available for air surveillance and that the air dominance was a bit more in Germany’s favour in so far that they would be able to operate the the 262s as surveillance.  The Germans were still able to surprise the allies in the Battle of the Bulge, had they advance knowledge of where the landing was to be would they have been able to move enough to be effective in June 1944 or where they that paralyzed by air supremacy of the allies?  I was under the impression the allies didn’t begin the anti-armour air interdiction missions until a few months after D-Day where they gained access to French air bases?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    CWO Marc, excellent points.  I was under the impression there were critical hours, even a day or so where high level command decisions had to be made, and nobody dared wake up Hitler, the only person who could release the panzers and that this fact was decisive.  Not as decisive then as I thought?

    How do you think the Germans would have fared with all things being equal except for the complete air dominance.  Let’s say that the Germans at least had ME-262s available for air surveillance and that the air dominance was a bit more in Germany’s favour in so far that they would be able to operate the the 262s as surveillance.  The Germans were still able to surprise the allies in the Battle of the Bulge, had they advance knowledge of where the landing was to be would they have been able to move enough to be effective in June 1944 or where they that paralyzed by air supremacy of the allies?  I was under the impression the allies didn’t begin the anti-armour air interdiction missions until a few months after D-Day where they gained access to French air bases?

    As I recall, the overall German plan was a combination of the options open to them: forces all along the Atlantic Wall, some mobile reserves back from the coast, and huge concentrations of forces in the Pas de Calais area.  Cornelius Ryan’s book The Longest Day devotes a fair bit of attention to the fact that the Panzer reserves could not be released without the authorization of Hitler (whom nobody dared to wake) and to the failed efforts of some Panzer units to get to the coast at the tail end of the day. My recollection of the attempted Panzer movement described by Ryan is hazy (I kind of skimmed over that part of the book), but I would estimate that, in order to have been able to throw the Allies back into the English Channel, the Germans would have needed to concentrate against the Normandy beachhead far more tanks than would have been possible for them to deploy there in a short enough amount of time to make a difference.

    Remember that the strategic and operational mobility of tanks across long distances is very different from their tactical mobility on the battlefield.  The proper way to move tanks quickly and over long distances, and to ensure that they are all ready to fight once they arrive at their destination, is by ship when cross-ocean travel is required and by railroad when you’re on land.  (Very light tanks can travel by truck or by transport plane, but they’re of little use in an armoured slugging match.)  Rail transportation of tanks takes a lot of time and effort to plan and implement (and is impaired when you have Free French forces blowing up tracks and bridges, or Allied ground-attack aircraft firing cannons and rockets at you).  The alternative is for tanks to “march” on their own to the area where they’re needed.  This is slower than rail travel (especially if you have to go cross-country rather than along roads).  It also causes multiple problems which only get worse as the distance increases and as you push the driving speed of your tanks: fuel consumption, crew exhaustion, track breakage and general wear-and-tear requiring maintanance stops.  The further you go and the faster you go, the more machines you’ll lose along the way, and the worse shape the remaining tanks will be when they finally reach the battlefield.

    As for the question of “How do you think the Germans would have fared with all things being equal except for the complete air dominance?”, the thing to remember is that air dominance was one of the biggest advantages the Allies had in Normandy and they deliberately put a lot of effort into getting it in the months leading up to the invasion.  If I remember correctly, there were some very heated arguments at the very highest levels of the Allied air command structure during that preliminary period between the generals who wanted Allied fighters to concentrate on escorting Allied bombers over Germany and the generals who felt that their priority should be to destroy the Luftwaffe in France in order to achieve air superiority – indeed, air supremacy – for D-Day. It was the air supremacy argument which eventually prevailed.  The movie version of The Longest Day captures this nicely in the story of two Luftwaffe fighter pilots, Priller and his wingman, who spend the first half of the film calling their bosses idiots for scattering the Luftwaffe’s France-based planes all over the countryside and moving them back from the expected invasion area.  The bosses are doing this because Allied planes have been waging a campaign to find and destroy as many Luftwaffe planes as possible (preferably on the ground).  In the second half of the film, with the invasion under way, Priller and his wingman are the only two German fighter pilots who manage to attack the invasion beaches; apart from this single German two-plane sortie, the Allies owned the sky on that day.  Priller himself recognizes this: as he and his wingman head for home after having strafed the beaches, Priller laughs and says sarcastically, “This was the great moment of the German Luftwaffe!”



  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    Clyde, I did say in the other thread:
    Don’t hate me because I am an effective devil’s advocate…if I am at all.

    Good god sir, dont think that, I dont hate, its just bad policy


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I think one or more German Panzerdivisions arriving the Beachheads would have made a diffrence on D-Day… For example, the Panzer Lehr a well trained Division with Bayerlein in command could easily seperate the American units from the British ones and put a stop on a coordinate move towards the german Defenders…the casualties for people and material would probably be high but serving the purpose and would shift the Allied timeline immense…
    would have had Rommel the Panzers and would be physically there, I think it would changed a lot!


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Rommel would have kicked some ass if he had been allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.

    And the quality of the troops would also matter ALOT…

    I think the germans would have had an excellent chance at winning, instead of getting trounced… that’s for sure.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    ZDF broadcasted an interesting documentary on Rommel, which can be seen here in its entirety. While Rommel publicly displayed the optimism that was required to upkeep the morale of his troops, he expressed himself very differently in private. His adjutant Winrich Behr (at about 24:45 in the documentary) relays Rommel’s sentiment as follows:
    "Er war ja kein komplizierter Philosoph oder Denker sondern er sagte ganz einfach: ‘Das schaffen wir doch nicht mehr, und stellen Sie sich doch mal vor, und die Leute sagen das und das, nun sehen Sie mal hier, da is eine Infanteriedivision eingesetzt und die haben kaum Geschütze, und wir haben auf zwei kilometer, haben wir eine Batterie stehen.’ "

    which roughly translates as:
    "He wasn’t a complicated philosopher or thinker, but he quite simply said: ‘We’re just not going to make it, and just imagine, people are saying all kind of things, but look, an infantry division has just been deployed and they hardly have artillery support, and for every two kilometers, we have a single battery.’ "

    That was before D-Day, when he was still preparing for the upcoming invasion.

    (edit to update the translation)



  • It would have made little difference.  Germany was defeated when 6th army surrendered at Stalingrad IMO.  Germany’s only hope (after America entered the war) was to knock Russia out in a timely fashion.  One super-power cannot easily defeat 3 super-powers.



  • "He wasn’t a complicated philosopher or thinker, but he quite simply said: ‘We’re just not going to make it, and just imagine, people are saying all kind of things, but look, an infantry division has just been deployed and they hardly have artillery support, and for every two kilometers, we have a single battery.’ "

    Had Rommel of had the Panzer divisions at the beaches on D-Day would it of actually made any meaningful difference to the outcome of the battle?

    This statement said it all so the ansewr is…. no.
    Rommel was not a foul…


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