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The Last Offensive


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IPaul72 #1 Posted 12 March 2014 - 03:51 PM

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Hello all 

I just thought I would share with you the community something I have been working on.

Please be aware it is a work in progress that I have been attending to in my spare time and will continue to add little parts when I remember :veryhappy:

 

See below:

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Operation: Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (Herbstnebel)

In December 1944 in the early hours of December the 16th operation Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (Operation: On the watch at the Rhine) came into action.

Later change name to Herbstnebel ( Autumn Fog)

Or as the Allies later came to know it “The Battle of the Bulge” Simply named because of the Bulge or pocket created by the Axis when advancing into the Allied lines.

This was a daring operation to capture the port of Antwerp and thus create havoc amongst the allies during their and push towards Germany.  

 

Preparation by the Axis: 

Intelligence reports had appeared to the high command of the Third Reich that the lines which was held by the Allies was weak, thus attacking the line at its weakest point would break up the alliance between the Americans the English and the French. It was decided that, because the Axis had lost air superiority in the region it would be best launched in December when the weather was at its worst. This would in theory take away the advantage of the allies. It was also thought, this was achievable through the thick forested area of the Ardennes, where earlier in the war the Axis had entered through the same area and drive onto to occupy France and her surrounding countries.

 

Operational Aim.

The main aim of the operation was to disrupt supplies which was landing at Antwerp by capturing the port. Therefore bring the Allies to their knees in this sector of the Allied invasion eastward. This in turn would supply Germany with fuels which it was in desperate need of at this time in the conflict. Earlier bombing raids by the Allies had destroyed synthetic fuels plants to the east and the Eastern front of the Russians was fast closing. So in theory at least, it could be seen that slowing to a halt the western front, or possibly eliminating the western front. Would be of a great advantage the Axis victory.

 

Reality.

The operation was launched too little and too late to make any difference to the outcome of the Axis. Even if the Axis had become victorious within this operation, the eastern front was steam rolling at such a pace it would have been a very hard machine to stop.

The war production in the east by the Russians was so vast and expansive, it would have taken German many years to be able to match this production rate.

By this time in the conflict the German war production machine had been brought to its knees and the allies were almost making vehicles faster than the German could take them out on the battlefields. So in Hindsight, although it was a good strategic plan. It was launched too late to make a difference which senselessly caused the waste of many of thousands of lives on both sides.

 

Operational Plan:

  •  The Fifth and Sixth Panzer Army led by Sepp Dietrich and Manteuffel was to spearhead the attack and to capture Antwerp this was the main objective. Also outlined within this objective they would provide a right flank for the Fifth Panzer Army.

 

  • The Fifth Panzer Army led by Manteuffel was to attack the midst of the lines and the Allied American forces. Thus capturing bridges and the rail centre of St Vith and then drive on to Brussels this would then if successful provide a buffer zone for the sixth panzer division while driving onto Antwerp.
  • The Seventh Army, led by Brandenberger, was to attack in the southern flank, as designated by Hitler. He was then to create a buffer zone to prevent American reinforcements from attacking the rear of Fifth Panzer Army whilst they drove onto Brussels.
  • The Fifteenth Army was to be held in reserve to counter any Allied attack if and when they took place.

 

 

 

Planned Deception and the story of the Panther M10

Within the operation Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein was the sub operation called Operation Greif (Or Operation Griffon). This was an operation under a false flag led by Waffen-SS Otto Skorzeny. This was an operation of which the initial drive forward would be led by the use of deception and Allied equipment and uniforms with fluent English speaking soldiers.

The main objective of the operation was to capture bridges over the Meuse. This would then provide a secure point crossing of the Axis troops to come. However, the attack on the bridges had to be taken under German uniform which finding the soldiers proved to be quite difficult.

Collecting Allied uniforms was very difficult within the German territories, it was realising this the research in to making fake counterfeit ones was put into action.

The Axis even went as far as to teach some of the soldiers how to open cigarettes in an American fashion and how to light up the cigarettes in the same style. The Axis soldiers were taught American slang words, expressions and insults.

The equipment requested by Otto Skorzeny accumulated to:

15 tanks, 20 armoured cars, 20 self-propelled guns, 100 Jeeps, 40 motorcycles, 120 trucks and Allied uniforms all to be delivered to Grafenwöhr in eastern Bavaria where the training camp was set up. Needless to say everything but what they needed turned up there including Soviet and Polish captured equipment. The dossier of equipment fell short, with the Axis having to use substitutes.

The end result was 5 Panther tanks (it is rumoured and thought even ten may have been in existence) and 6 armoured cars. 30 Jeeps, 2 Sherman tanks (Poor condition) and fifteen trucks. 

This was insufficient to transport and equip the entire brigade he wished to take. The Axis then resolved to disguise German tanks as US tanks, which by his own admission wouldn’t fool anyone.

 

The leaks of security and the mistakes

A document which gave details about operation Greif and outlined the mission was in circulation within Allied hands and was passed promptly to the intelligence of the 106th U.S infantry. Within this document it outlined how American soldiers could recognise the Axis soldiers who were adopting their uniforms. 

 

The Jeeps  

The mistake was made by installing 4 Axis personnel per Jeep due to the Axis supply of vehicles. The US rarely carried more than 2 per Jeep. The Axis also made the mistake of using blackout headlights on the Jeeps. The US troops at the time didn’t, they used all or nothing often driving around with full lights or turned off. When the Axis Jeeps were spotted they quickly aroused suspicions of the US troops which tightened security immediately.

 

The Panthers

The panthers were disguised as Wolverine M10’s this came about by using sheet steel for the turret sides and rear. Also a false gun mantlet was installed and the turret cuppola’s removed.

Possibly 2 to 4 pieces sheet steel was used to imitate the hull section each side, the lower bow section was constructed to give the impression of the front sprocket housing of the M10. The tail plate was imitated and made of sheet steel and 2 holes were left for the exhaust housings.

However, even after all this work there were very prominent tell tale signs it wasn’t a Wolverine M10.

The allies quickly picked up on these, they were:

  • Engine sound
  • Muzzle break from the 7.5cm Kw.K 42.
  • Wide tracks of the Panther tank
  • The distinctive Panther bogie suspension.

 

All this was to lead to instant recognition that it wasn't an initiation M10.

Above the Panther M10

 

Below the Wolverine M10 Wolverine:

 

 

However comparing the 2 vehicles the axis came quite close to completing a copycat tank.

 

The operation Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein, failed with many mistakes being made and cost thousands of lives.

 

In the duration of the operation the Axis advanced so fast in such a short time they extended their supply route to breaking point. This caused very big problems like ammunition and fuel supply.   

Due to clearing weather and restoration of air attacks, Included within this also, was various operations launched by the Allies. The Axis push was driven back aiding to the eventual downfall of the Third Reich.  

 

   




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


IntentRook0193 #2 Posted 12 March 2014 - 03:59 PM

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fake m10 panther the germans were so despreate

EqKafsT.jpg

  thanks to xroni7x            

MJRMIKE #3 Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:06 PM

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I like reading this, thanks for putting it together. 

MaxChaos24 #4 Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:20 PM

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Enjoyed and +1. Great read. Thanks!

IPaul72 #5 Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:23 PM

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Thanks all :great: 

 

When I get a little more time I will knock up another one.

 

Kind regards

IPaul72




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


dinkybobs #6 Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:46 AM

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Just read this on a break at work and really enjoyed it. Many thanks for posting it.

Cantb wait for the next one 



TEARSinRAIN5454 #7 Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:57 AM

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Yes, nice one !

     13133084585_dd68107a6d_o.jpg 

 

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oopsiezz #8 Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:09 AM

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I vote for a panther M10 to be added as a custom camo/design option for the panther in game :trollface:

 

On topic, very nice read. Look forward to another.


 

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BURNER247 #9 Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:24 AM

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I enjoyed reading this. Thank you for taken the time to share this with us. +1



Ignitable Duk #10 Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:33 AM

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View PostTelevisedFool, on 13 March 2014 - 12:09 PM, said:

I vote for a panther M10 to be added as a custom camo/design option for the panther in game :trollface:

 

On topic, very nice read. Look forward to another.

panther m10 is allready in the game on pc



FatAngrySmurf #11 Posted 14 March 2014 - 02:05 AM

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Thanks for this, enjoyed reading it.

IPaul72 #12 Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:41 AM

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Thanks all for the comments :honoring:

 

However, if any of you feel like writing an article about a battle during the conflicts create a topic and feel free .... sharing is caring as we say :blinky:

 

Kind Regards

IPaul72




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


Black Ops 1 #13 Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:07 AM

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Interesting stuff! Thanks for taking time out to put this together. It made for a great read! I also really love the idea of having a "Historical Discussions" forum. The historical component of this game is a large part of why I play it. Thanks again!  :great:

IPaul72 #14 Posted 17 March 2014 - 02:27 PM

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Hello Black Ops1 

Thanks for the comment :eyesup: 

If and when I get time I will knock a few more together.

However, I would like it if the community could include things as well article wise as there is always things to learn. :smile:

 

Like you and many others I love this period in history especially the machines.

 

Kind Regards

IPaul72




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


IPaul72 #15 Posted 17 March 2014 - 02:53 PM

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Hello all 

I'm trying to figure out whether this image below is the captured vehicles graveyard in Belguim after the conflict ... what do you think?

 

 

Kind regards

IPaul72




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


Victorious Nox #16 Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:50 PM

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The image is no longer available for me.

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IPaul72 #17 Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:32 PM

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View PostVictorious Nox, on 17 March 2014 - 06:50 PM, said:

The image is no longer available for me.

Sorry about that it should work now :smile:




The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill


ARRothe #18 Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:49 PM

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Nice read IPaul72 :) . For anyone who wondered what these Panther M10's looked like compared to your basic panther, here's a nifty little pic I found of two models side by side. Hull down, from a distance ... I'd buy it. But the running gear is just too different , and gives the game away. Still, it'd make you pause for thought if you saw it, as you'd be a bit unsure exactly what it was and who's side it belonged to. So in terms of confusing the enemy, it probably still worked to a certain extent.


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Victorious Nox #19 Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:12 PM

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View PostIPaul72, on 17 March 2014 - 02:53 PM, said:

Hello all 

I'm trying to figure out whether this image below is the captured vehicles graveyard in Belguim after the conflict ... what do you think?

 

 

Kind regards

IPaul72

Well listing off what i can see

 

Stug III 

Panther

Panzer IV (2 from what i can see)
Lots of disused halftracks.

 

Seems like a captured tank graveyard to me.


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ZoutDrop #20 Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:35 PM

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http://www.armchairg...ad.php?t=114222

 

This ^^^ appears to be a different picture/ angle of the same scrapyard, claiming "Normandy scrapyard". Fast forward to today, how much work the tank collectors put in to finding/ restoring Axis armor, tsk tsk...

 

Great read OP. I hope they bring the M10 Premium here, eventually :playing:






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