Mortain Offenive: German Force

German Mortain counter offensive
Figure 1.-

The Germany Army after 3 years in The East and now 2 months of being hammered by the Allies in Normandy was no longer an overpowering force. They did have very effective tanks, but not very many. And now the infantry had anti-tank weapons. These were chaotic conditions in which to launching an offensive gainst a largercand well-equipped emeny which had air superiority. Heeresgruppe B (Army Group B) in France were in no condition to launch an attack, The 7th Army had begun the Normandy campaign with powerful units there, but they had been badly wirn down by the fighting after D-Day and had received few replaements and new equipment. Von Kluge pulled together what was left of his armor in Normandy, the remnanets of eight Panzer divisions. At least four of these divisions had taken such severe a battering from the Americans as part of Cobra that they were no longer at divisional strength. They were not capable of launching a serious campaign against the Americans. Only Hitler in these circustances could have conveived of an offensive. Generaloberst Paul "Papa" Hausser following the death of Friedrich Dollmann was promoted to the command of Seventh Army. Hausser is best known as the founder of the Waffen-SS which is how he got his knickname. Hausser had length battle experience ob the Eastern Front. While several divisions were involved, none were any where close to complete Divisions. The 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte and 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich were powerful formations at the beginning of the Normandy fighting. At Mortain, however, they were no longer complete divisions. The 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich had been surrounded as part of Operation Cobra and had just managed to break out of a pocket. They were then regrouped and thrown into the offensive. It is a credit to the fighting spirit of these nmen that they were able to move forward at all. The 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte had been fighting along the Bourguebus-Verrieres Ridge since Operation Goodwood on July 18. And when the orders came to strike west, the division was widely dispersed. Their various units had to be deployed picemeal as they reached the Mortain area. The German tanks were superior, but unlike 1940, the infantry now had had anti-tank weapons. The Germans in particular did not have the critical air support needed for an effective offensive.


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Created: 3:22 AM 12/28/2015
Last updated: 3:22 AM 12/28/2015