The Devers Plan!
Until recently this entirely unknown to me.
Eisenhower that most senior allied military commander in the European theater in the aftermath of allied [English and American] victory in Normandy [Cobra, Avranches, Falaise], pursuing the German with what has been perceived as a less than vigorous approach.
Further allied offensive action toward Germany proper often termed as the "broad front" but rather more correctly understood as a dual axis advance. [that late summer of 1944]
For this Ike described as "timid" [by MacArthur]. That meaning not cowardly but non-assertive and non-aggressive.
Those allied army groups seen as advancing with less than adequate rapidity. Senior allied commanders subordinate to Ike however advocating an alternative to the "dual axis" plan. These commanders: 1. Montgomery. 2. Bradley. 3. Patton as according to Dupuy:
"Ike was urged to concentrate allocations of scarce fuel and ammunition to a relatively small section of the front - - probably one field army - - to enable that army to strike as rapidly and as deeply as possible through France into German. The Germans were close to collapse, these generals told Eisenhower, don't given them a chance to recover. Exploit if possible, they said, to the heart of German and the incipient collapse would become an actual collapse, and the war could be won before the end of 1944.
" Montgomery, of course that the supplies should go to one of his British armies, Bradley thought they should go to one of his American armies, Patton thought they should go his Third Army."
That preponderance of MANPOWER, supplies, logistical and fire support devoted to one army, that force delivering the knock-out blow, the "one swift kick and the whole rotten mess will come tumbling down!"
History records Eisenhower having given consideration to the advice but continuing with the dual axis approach and advance, more or less unaltered!
Without question Eisenhower conservative BUT THE REASONING FOR HIS DECISIONS SOUND!
Also surmounting the Siegfried Line [to the German the West Wall], all German units located in the Saar and Ruhr regions defeated in detail FIRST before any attempts to cross the Rhine river additionally the commanders [Ike] intent.
As late as the middle of November yet one more alternative to the dual-axis advance of the allied armies proposed and advocated.
A crossing of the Rhine by 6th Army Group [as commanded by Jacob Devers], with accompanying wheeling maneuver forcing German units west of the Rhine to retire in conformity with American advance, those areas of the Saar and Ruhr having to be abandoned without further fight!
This almost sounds too good to be true!
Eisenhower when briefed by Devers the operational plan dismissed seemingly out of hand. Without any consideration NO ACTION TAKEN!
Yet one more opportunity for an early end to the war in the European theater MISSED?
That Third Army of Patton allocated to 6th Army Group, the crossing of the Rhine by 7th Army and the wheeling maneuver northward those German units defending the Saar and Ruhr finding their position untenable. This was the Devers Plan.
The Battle of the Bulge as termed by the Americans presumably not even occurring? Such would be the precarious position necessitating a retirement of all German military units including those of course massed WEST of the Rhine river in preparation for the Ardennes Offensive .
Furthermore, from Atkinson and "The Guns at Last Light":
"Even the Army official history, published half a century after the event and disinclined to second-guess the high command, found Eisenhower's decision 'difficult to understand.' The supreme commander 'had opted for an operation 'strategy' of firepower and attrition - - the direct approach - - as opposed to a war of opportunistic maneuver.'"
Bludgeon your enemy [the German] to death rather than use a more nuanced and "opportunistic" approach. Ike indeed conservative. NOT however, with good reason it may be suggested.
Devers always thought that Americans provided the most to the war effort in terms of resources,including men, equipment and know how. He would probably have been Supreme Allied Commander if he did not make these opinions clear to Churchill from his first days in London as commander of the European Theatre.
It was the politician in Ike that got him the job over Devers.Ike would use this political instinct to wage positive "coalition warfare" and to badly politicize the entire American high command. While in London and elsewhere, Devers continually won arguments with and got his way over Eisenhower with the explicit backing of Marshall, Roosevelt and the War Department. Eisenhower never got used to not having things his way.Eisenhower got even in his petty way by constantly denigrating Devers duting and after the war, despite his outstanding efforts in Southern France. Not letting Devers cross the Rhine in November was dumbfounding to Patton, Patch and numerous military historians.
Could not agree more! Eisenhower was petty and short sighted with the entire high command. Devers was a better commander than Eisenhower and had the support of Roosevelt, Marshall and the War Department in numerous pre-D Day incidents. Eisenhower let petty, school girl grudges cloud his judgement with Sixth Army Group.
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