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Thread: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

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    Default How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    As the title says. I want to know how many German troops were transfered from the eastern front to combat the expect attack on the French coast. Also, I'd like to know what were the subsequent unit transfers that followed after American, British, Canadian and other allied forces were able to establish a foothold and successfully open a third front in Europe. I'm aware that the Russians did the majority of the heavy lifting to defeat the Germans, but I am curious as to what impact the Normandy invasion had on the war in regards to defeating the Germans.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Jin View Post
    As the title says. I want to know how many German troops were transfered from the eastern front to combat the expect attack on the French coast. Also, I'd like to know what were the subsequent unit transfers that followed after American, British, Canadian and other allied forces were able to establish a foothold and successfully open a third front in Europe. I'm aware that the Russians did the majority of the heavy lifting to defeat the Germans, but I am curious as to what impact the Normandy invasion had on the war in regards to defeating the Germans.

    Just a comparison:
    in 'Operation Goodwood' there were 3 german armor divisions and 4 infantry divisions defending.
    in the 'Battle of Debrecen', the germans used 6 armored divisions, 8 infantry divisions. (some are hungarian)

    So those division would have had their place on the eastern front, since there were already shortage of manpower. But my opinion is that the war was already won by the soviets before overlord.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Well by D-Day, the Germans had 157 (Mostly depleted) Divisions on the Eastern Front. Comparatively 59 Divisions were stationed in France, Belgium and the Netherlands with another 70 across the rest of occupied Europe (Including 26 in Italy)

    On D-Day itself, 4 German Divisions (Two being well equipped, well trained veterans with the other two poorly trained occupation units) were in the immediate area of operations, with another 2 Divisions and a Brigade nearby.

    3 Panzer Divisions were nearby, but only 1 (Based in Caen) was deployed with the other 2 kept in Calais due to the deception operations. Those latter two didn't move until two weeks after D-day. So that's about 7 German divisions who saw action on or near D-Day.

    Within a week of the invasion, 4 more divisions were deployed, with a further 3 divisions committed within 21 days of the landing. Another panzer division saw action in the American breakout. So that's about 15 Divisions deployed and saw action in Normandy during the course of the invasion (They ranged from poor quality and/or depleted divisions to well trained, well equipped full strength elite divisions)




    I don't know how many divisions were redirected from the East to the West however. You have to bear in mind that not all the divisions sent Westwards would have been directly involved in D-Day and operation Overlord, but rather a general switching of manpower to oppose an Allied advance. Also bear in mind that the Allies invaded Southern France (Operation Dragoon) soaking up more German divisions, as well as Allied operations in Italy. Several highly successful deception operations were also launched causing the German's to send large amounts of forces to useless areas to oppose non-existent invasions.
    Last edited by Azog 150; December 13, 2010 at 10:08 AM.
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    One thing to keep in mind is that the germans used France as a R&R area for shattered formations from the eastern front, which could absorb new equipment and personell from reserve units, spend time to achieve unit cohesion and act as occupation troops at the same time.
    From my knowledge, the following units were stationed in france (part of Panzergruppe West) and rated combat ready:
    21. Pz Div
    Panzer Lehr (at that time, the best equipped armored division of the wehrmach)
    116. Pz Div
    12. SS Pz Div
    17. SS Pz Gren Div (large deficit in vehicles)
    s.SS Pz Abt 101

    The following units were stationed in france to recover and were subsequently used in normandy, with the exception of the 11th.:
    2. Pz Div
    9. Pz Division Central France, reestablishement
    11. Pz Div (stayed in Reserve, operated against Allies in souther france)
    1. SS Pz Div, stationed east of the seine, before that Belgium
    2. SS , from southern france.
    s. Pz Abt 503

    Directly from the eastern front came:
    9. SS Pz Division
    10. SS Pz Division
    s.SS Pz Abt 102

    While the number of armored divisions transferred directly from the eastern front is surprisingly small, the invasion certrainly robbed the eastern front from divisions slated for redeployment for the east.
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    I think that the Soviets won the war almost singlehandedly..
    Under the patronage of Emperor Maximinus Thrax
    "Steps to be taken in case Russia should be forced out of war considered. Various movements [of ] troops to and from different fronts necessary to meeting possible contingencies discussed. Conference also weighed political, economic, and moral effect both upon Central and Allied powers under most unfavorable aspect from Allied point of view. General conclusions reached were necessity for adoption of purely defensive attitude on all secondary fronts and withdrawing surplus troops for duty on western front. By thus strengthening western front [those attending] believed Allies could hold until American forces arrive in numbers sufficient to gain ascendancy."
    ~General Pershing, report to Washington, 26 July 1917

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel I Komnenos View Post
    I think that the Soviets won the war almost singlehandedly..
    Seeing as the Normandy landings tied down ten crack SS and Panzer divisions, no it wasn't.

    This is in conjunction with three parachute divisions, 27 infantry divisions, two Luftwaffe 'field' divisions and a plethora of Ost battalions, heavy panzer/SS battalions, brigades, a parachute regiment and anti-tank battalions.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysimachus View Post
    Seeing as the Normandy landings tied down ten crack SS and Panzer divisions, no it wasn't.

    This is in conjunction with three parachute divisions, 27 infantry divisions, two Luftwaffe 'field' divisions and a plethora of Ost battalions, heavy panzer/SS battalions, brigades, a parachute regiment and anti-tank battalions.

    Not to mention Lend-Lease and the aid given to the Soviets by the Yanks without which they'd have probably been beaten.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    I've actually written posts on this subject in the past. I'll post them here.

    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=403108

    So by stating that no penal battalions were used by the Germans on the Western Front you make this wild claim that therefore it was small, petty and insignificant? Without German troops being tied down on the Western (and Italian) fronts, they would have actually had some extremely powerful formations that they could have used against the Soviets. Just to make it clear, the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, 12th and 17th SS Panzer/Panzer-Grenadier divisions were used against the Allies in Normandy (the first two and the 12th being notoriously lethal formations may I add) along with the 2nd Panzer Division, Panzer Lehr and 116th Panzer Division, the former two having a very experienced core of troops which would be mauled in the two-and-a-half month battle.

    As well as this, the Grossdeutschland, 16th Panzer Grenadier, 3rd Panzer Grenadier, Herman Goring (PzD) and 1st Fallschirmjager (among others) were used during January 1944 around the Gustav Line and Anzio. Take these fronts away and you suddenly get the Germans the power to throw these powerful formations around at their whim to plug gaps in the line and deal with Soviet offensives.

    As well as this, i'm sure if we draw from the testimonies of soldiers fighting against the Allied forces we will be able to conclude that the war was anything but "clean" and "pleasant" with the Germans being able to consistently put up fierce resistance all the way until March 1945 after which the Allied advanced across Remagen in to Germany and the whole Western Front for them collapsed.

    I think it's safe to say your attempt at belittling the contribution of the Western Allies will end up in disaster and i'll happily back this up should you continue the debate.
    Actually i'm referring to crack German formations. Allow me to elaborate.

    In my previous post, I specified fourteen divisions for you. Eleven of these were tank divisions. Now a German tank division in 1944 should have consisted of between anything around 120 and 140 tanks (excl. armoured cars). Now German overall tank strength by June 1944 was 9,148 [Achtung Panzer]. If we take the highest end of the spectrum, this means that altogether those eleven divisions would consist of 1,540 tanks altogether - lowest end of the spectrum and you get 1,320. Now Fourth Panzer Army at the start of Operation Citadel had 884 tanks altogether [The Battle of Kursk, Robin Cross]; the German forces involved in this attack was the entire southern pincer of the operation and would consist of the troops who fought at Prokhorovka. Now admittedly, I could stop it here by pointing out that trying to undermine the amount of power an entire German tank army had is ridiculous but I feel I should expand upon my point further. Now this army isn't even the entire strength of the troops I referred to in my previous post (the 1,320 - 1,540 tanks, and this is without even counting the Panzer Grenadier divisions).

    We must also bear in mind that (prior to the breakout phase, Operation Cobra) the Allied forces were squashed in a small bridgehead of about 70 miles long and 30 miles deep whereas Operation Citadel took place in a battlefield about 225 miles long and was the largest tank offensive in history - naturally larger numbers of forces are going to be involved. To make use of another example, if you read my Stalingrad article, the Germans lost approximately 1,000 tanks in the battle. That's still less than the eleven divisions I referred to, and the span of Operation Blue was over a very large area.

    Your problem here Kirov, is that despite being informed of the amount of strong divisions taking part in other theatres of war, you choose to simply disregard the facts. Yes, admittedly, fourteen divisions on a strategic scale isn't a big deal, but when you look closer you'll see most of these formations were crack German divisions of which would be the main ones used in their offensives (e.g the SS at Kharkov or the 1st Parachute Division used as a 'fire-brigade' during Operation Barbarossa). Now i'm not trying to say the Western Front was vastly more important than the Eastern Front (since if I recall, about 90% of German troops were tied in the east), just that for whatever reason you're trying to go out of your way to belittle the contribution of the Allied forces to the war.

    ...

    It would be highly incorrect for you to base military contribution based on the amount of land fought over. Although less soldiers died in the west, the soldiers Germany did lose were impossible to replace and would be seriously mauled during the fighting in Normandy (e.g Panzer Lehr being reduced to a brigade sized unit with about sixty tanks [D-Day, Steven Badsey].

    [in reference to Stalin pushing for a cross-channel invasion]1943 and 1944 too, let's not try to bend history. The Italian front wasn't tying down enough Axis troops. I also fail to see why Stalin would ask for something to save Europe from ... himself? Also, Operation Bagration (June 20, 1944) was launched to co-incide with Operation Overlord, not before it. You're getting your dates wrong; it took until August for the Soviets to reach Poland (upon which they happily stood mostly idle while the Home Army was brutally suppressed by the Germans).
    Well it's not surprising considering it's the largest tank battle in history that there were more German tanks involved.

    [in reference to tank numbers, read up on the Achtung Panzer website for information regarding German tank strength]You're also ignoring the fact that ~1,000 tanks is worth about eight tank regiments (1944). Include the divisions alongside this and that's eight full strength tank divisions. Now to put this in to perspective, that's one or two divisions less than the entire tank force of Army Group Centre in June 1941 [Barbarossa, Alan Clark]; it needs to be said that AGC was the strongest army group of the three. I find it absolutely astonishing that you try to belittle a number like 1,000 tanks.
    Incorrect again. Five SS panzer divisions, three parachute divisions, five regular panzer divisions and thirty infantry divisions (this is without including non-divisional artillery, AA, independent tank units and such) took part in the battle for Normandy. In doing this, the Germans utilised all of 7. Armee and Panzer Army West (of which both formations were shattered in the two-month battle). I also don't understand why the West wouldn't get 'veteran reinforcements' if containing the Allies in the beachhead keeps things away from the home front back in Germany.

    By the way, at the Battle of the Bulge the Germans units involved were reconstituted from the destroyed formations after the defeat at Normandy and brought up to strength with conscripts (hence the Volksgrenadier divisions). Even at this point however, the SS divisions were still reasonably strong, though at the expense of the Panzer Lehr never really being up to the standard it was pre-Normandy.
    This post in the same thread references to the armoured and SS divisions used by the Germans in Normandy:

    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...93#post8428993

    In reference to lend-lease, a thread I posted in:

    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?p=8520564

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lend-Lease

    From June 22, 1941 to September 30, 1941 Wikipedia states gold payments were made to the Soviets. Then from October 1, 1941 up to June 30, 1942 (which is following Operation Blue, the Germans had yet to reach Stalingrad) the first protocol period was signed which is i'm guessing the actual beginning of material being sent. If you take a look at this link too, it states:

    "American aid to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945 amounted to 18 million tons of materiel at an overall cost of $10 billion ($120 billion modern) and 49 percent of it went through Vladivostok, the major Pacific port of Far Eastern Russia, Tuyll reported."

    The other 51% i'm guessing was through the Persian Corridor which had been temporarily occupied by the Allies and Soviets as a supply line in 1941 and Murmansk via the Arctic convoys. A reply on the same link also states:

    "During 1941, 487 Matilda, Valentine and Tetrarch tanks were received from Great Britain, and 182 M3A1 "Stuart", and M3 Lee medium tanks were received from the USA. In 1942, a further 2.487 tanks were received from the UK, and 3.023 tanks from the USA. The first units equipped with Valentines and Matilda IIs fought in the Staraya Russia and Valdai areas in the winter of 1941/42."

    This information is also repeated HERE on Axishistory.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    I still believe that the War was decided in the years of 41', 42' and 43'..
    From 1944 onwards it was a lost cause for the Germans and all that was achieved with Operation Overlord was to speed up a bit the outcome..
    Under the patronage of Emperor Maximinus Thrax
    "Steps to be taken in case Russia should be forced out of war considered. Various movements [of ] troops to and from different fronts necessary to meeting possible contingencies discussed. Conference also weighed political, economic, and moral effect both upon Central and Allied powers under most unfavorable aspect from Allied point of view. General conclusions reached were necessity for adoption of purely defensive attitude on all secondary fronts and withdrawing surplus troops for duty on western front. By thus strengthening western front [those attending] believed Allies could hold until American forces arrive in numbers sufficient to gain ascendancy."
    ~General Pershing, report to Washington, 26 July 1917

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    I still believe that the War was decided in the years of 41', 42' and 43'..
    Stop believing, start reading. ;-)
    btw, the date is not necessarily linked to the location of the decisions.

    To expand on my first post, we have 13 armored (Pz Div) and mechanized (Pz Gren Div) in france, 23 on the eastern front and 7 in italy, i.e. around 1/3 of the german armored units are concentrated in France, roughly half in the east and 1/6 in the south.
    Given the comperatively (to the east) small size of the normandy battlefield, the germans achieved an astonishing density of armored units in normandy, something not matched since the Battle of Kursk.

    On the army group level, the armored division took the role of fire brigades, i.e. they were used to respond to local breakthroughs and conduct a mobile defense after the infantry divisions and the frontlines had been overran.
    On a strategic level, the OKW shifted some units from one theater to the next whereever the need was most urgent, often, these were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions forming the Ist and IInd SS Panzer Corps.

    Another problem to gauge the strength of the german response to normandy are the varying actual strengths in the different divisions. While the Kriegsstaerkenachweis (KstN, the basic Table of Organization) mandated a structure compromising 2 Tank battalions, 2 armored/motorised infantry regiments and an artillery regiment, that did not necessarily corespond with reallity. On one hand, the deficient german armament industry never reached the levels to replace the losses and make good the early equipment deficiencies and general attritiion reduced personel as well down to the point when a division was deemed combat ineffective and was withdrawn for rebuilding (preferably to france, the benelux or danemark). On the other hand, some divisions actually had larger strengths due to their history. The GD and the 1st and 2nd SS had 3 infantry regiments instead of 2, thanks to being upgraded from infantry divisions. The SS Divisions often had an assault gun battalion due to being organised without accompanying corps units which the Heer units could rely on.
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nik View Post
    Stop believing, start reading. ;-)
    btw, the date is not necessarily linked to the location of the decisions.
    I've read a lot and I've understood that what happened in these 3 years was impossible to reverse in the favor of the Germans.. There is the invasion of the Soviet Union itself which is the most deciding factor for the downfall of the 3rd Reich, then we have the consequences of this invasion, with Wehrmacht unable to secure its goals, with losses in Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk..
    Under the patronage of Emperor Maximinus Thrax
    "Steps to be taken in case Russia should be forced out of war considered. Various movements [of ] troops to and from different fronts necessary to meeting possible contingencies discussed. Conference also weighed political, economic, and moral effect both upon Central and Allied powers under most unfavorable aspect from Allied point of view. General conclusions reached were necessity for adoption of purely defensive attitude on all secondary fronts and withdrawing surplus troops for duty on western front. By thus strengthening western front [those attending] believed Allies could hold until American forces arrive in numbers sufficient to gain ascendancy."
    ~General Pershing, report to Washington, 26 July 1917

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Not to mention going to war with America, getting kicked out of Africa, and the invasion of Italy.

    Now, invading the USSR was probably a huge factor (almost certainly the single largest factor), and the Soviets did a *lot*, but it wasn't even close to "almost singlehandedly."
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    I think the war was decided by either Barbarossa or Bagration.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ciabhan View Post
    Not to mention Lend-Lease and the aid given to the Soviets by the Yanks without which they'd have probably been beaten.
    Why do you think that? I ask because I have seen this argument a few times but I don't understand why people think this.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by shikaka View Post
    Why do you think that? I ask because I have seen this argument a few times but I don't understand why people think this.
    ~ It motorised the Soviet army.
    ~ It gave the Soviets vast quantities of aircraft, guns, tanks and mechanical parts.
    ~ It gave the Soviets money to buy military equipment.
    ~ It gave the Soviets large amounts of food and ammunition.

    Take lend-lease out and you suddenly get a fairly immobile Soviet army lacking in food and ammunition which is incapable of performing large offensive maneouvres.

    I've read a lot and I've understood that what happened in these 3 years was impossible to reverse in the favor of the Germans.. There is the invasion of the Soviet Union itself which is the most deciding factor for the downfall of the 3rd Reich, then we have the consequences of this invasion, with Wehrmacht unable to secure its goals, with losses in Moscow, Stalingrad and Kursk..
    One could argue the Germans had lost the war right from the start seeing as there was no way for them to successfully invade Britain.

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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    But then you can argue that they didn't really need to invade Britain, and Britain couldn't conduct a proper invasion of the Reich, so I dare say that after a while the two sides would have just reached a peace agreement.
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by shikaka View Post
    Why do you think that? I ask because I have seen this argument a few times but I don't understand why people think this.
    Because he has been misinformed, ALL LL amounted to 4% of SU wartime production asa % of the whole, there was none worth mentioning delivered when the SU broke the Heer in the East in 42, only a dribble in 43 when the SU wrested startegic initaitve to themselves and never lost it, no LL saw service at Kursk, 90% of all German wartime losses were in the East. LL food to SU was less than sent to UK, who had a fraction of the population. SU captured half as many trucks as LL provided, and the SU was RR bound delivery system so trucks helped it only in late 44, and no SU operation was ever dependednt on any LL, avgas was sent in massive volume, but no SU planes used the same av gas, and was only usable by LL aircraft.

    LL issue isa throw back to the cold war, USA War Colleges have been teaching that LL had no impact on who would win, only that the SU would take longer to win without it, for a decade.

    Ps You can always tell a wit, they will argue that LL provided food Grain in particular, ( less than SU sent to Germany in 40/41)/Trucks ( Stalingrad won without any LL trucks) etc, without understanding the scale of what they are refering to.
    Last edited by Hanny; December 13, 2010 at 03:46 PM.
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    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpreston5 View Post
    But then you can argue that they didn't really need to invade Britain, and Britain couldn't conduct a proper invasion of the Reich, so I dare say that after a while the two sides would have just reached a peace agreement.
    Eventually, blockade would starve the Germans out. Germany wasn't economically self-sufficient so a mixture of naval blockade and a bombing campaign would damage their economy; the Germans lacked tungsten which they received from China and oil was scarce so by cutting the links to the tungsten supply and bombing oilfields (such as at Ploiesti) the German war machine would be unable to sustain itself.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by shikaka View Post
    Why do you think that? I ask because I have seen this argument a few times but I don't understand why people think this.

    Motorisation at a key time.

    American aid gave the Soviets the mobility they needed at a point where they didn't have many options for it. Without it they'd have had a good chance of losing their fight with Germany because they wouldn't have been able to keep up with/ahead of/or maneuver adequately around advancing German forces.

    Food and all that other stuff was just extra. Aircraft helped some. Studebaker's were a massive help.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How many German Divisions were transfered from the Eastern Front in preparation for Overlord?

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy Judge View Post
    Not to mention going to war with America, getting kicked out of Africa, and the invasion of Italy.

    Now, invading the USSR was probably a huge factor (almost certainly the single largest factor), and the Soviets did a *lot*, but it wasn't even close to "almost singlehandedly."
    North Africa wasn't of huge consequence for anyone but the British; the Americans thought it a distraction, and it was a point of disagreement between them and the British. Obviously from the Soviet perspective it wasn't nearly as helpful as a western front.

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