The Most Important Action on D-Day

It’s June 6, 1944 and the Allies are invading the Normandy Coast. What was the single most important action that helped the Allies to victory that day? Was it the airborne drop the night before? Was it the lack of available armor for the Germans? Was it the Rangers taking Pointe du Hoc? Or was it something else. I’d like to know your thoughts.

The lack of German fighter planes due to our fighters taking out so many of theirs in the Spring of 1944. Also, a slow reaction to the landings due to the confusion of the Germans, still thinking that the landings were coming at the Pas de Calais. And yes, if they had sufficient armor, the lack of a counter offensive could have been avoided.

I am not sure that there was one overall deciding factor. The Germans were slow to respond and the Americans exploited their slow response and seized the initiative. With the exception of the Bulge, the Germans in Northern Europe were pretty much on their heels once we gained our footing and moved inland. The allied dominance of the air was a big factor too.

It took six weeks to fully “seize the initiative”. Both the Americans and British (and Free forces) secured their beachhead, but found moving in slow going for a variety of reasons. The “Americans” were not halfway to Berlin after landing, and the Germans were slow for a number of reasons, not least of which was Allied air supremacy along with OKW’s floundering as they waited for the landings at Pas-de-Calais…

With the exception of the Bulge, the Germans in Northern Europe were pretty much on their heels once we gained our footing and moved inland. The allied dominance of the air was a big factor too.

They were on their heals, then consolidated as the Allies began to suffer the classic logistical problem of your own success by overrunning their supply lines. This allowed the Germans to regroup and bounce back from disaster, as the Heer seems to have had a unique ability to do…

It is true it took over a month to break out of hedgerow country. That is why I said “footing.” And once the Americans broke out their advance was so rapid that, just, prior to the bulge, there was talk of being home for Christmas. The simple truth is that the war in Europe was over in less than a year after the DDay landings. The Germans were fighting a delay action retreat after June 6th. It is true for a brief time Americans out ran their supplies. And the red ball express eventually closed the gap. After January1945 captured Germans were astonished as they were driven past the vast stockpiles of supplies. America and latter Britain could manufacture the supplies of war without interruption. Thus the Allies were able to overwhelm the Germans on land, sea and air. If the Americans lost a fighter, it was quickly replaced. While German production was outstanding under the pounding they took, their shortage of materials and sever ristrictions moving goods and supplies hampered their efforts. Once the Americans got into the fight and established a beachhead on June 6th, the Germans never really had a chance.

It is interesting that there was some Dissension among the German high command. Some said destroy the enemy at the water’s edge. Don’t let them land. Others said let them land and we will destroy them in a massive land battle, much like the British were driven back to the sea at Dunkirk. As it turns out the correct approach was the former. Rommel understood this and put his efforts into stopping the Allies at the sea. I think, he knew that the best the Germans could hope for was a stalemate. So the turning point of DDay was the mission itself: establishing the Allied beachhead.

The war in Europe was much more predictable than the Pacific. The Americans had confidence and overwhelming strength. My father told me that once the weather cleared and the average gi looked up to see the sky filled with planes, “we knew we had won the war”

That is once the weather cleared during the bulge

I think it was the Airborne landings. Due to the fact that they were landed in places apart from their intended targets, they sowed dissention within the German ranks as they were coming down everywhere. They did indeed engage German troops who were headed to the beaches and in certain cases destroyed artillery that was being targeted at the landing forces.

I’m not sure there’s a general decision making factor. The Germans responded promptly, and the Americans took advantage of their slow response and took the initiative. Except Boul, the Germans in northern Europe were almost in their heels, when we got our foundations and moved inside the country. The dominance of the allies was also an important factor.
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