QOTD #6 - Would Operation Comet have succeeded where Market Garden failed if it was actually launched when originally planned?

Bootie

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Great question, prior to Market Garden there were a lot of plans that had been devised then cancelled due to the fluid situation on the front and the intelligence surrounding the capabilities of the Germans to resist an airborne invasion and armoured advance.

With Comet I believe the same obstacles would still have been encountered which turned Market Garden into an Allied defeat.

  1. Hells Highway, narrow, elevated roads, marshy conditions and flat landscape makes the armoured advance to link up with the airborne bridgeheads a nightmare. Even without a solidified front line the Germans could slow down the whole advance with very little armour or manpower.
  2. 9th and 10th SS Divisions, both at Arnhem refitting and completely missed by Allied intelligence. I think they were in or thereabouts Arnhem around late August / early September. I also remember hearing that one of these divisions were actually trained in defending against airborne attacks.
So thats a couple of points I have thrown into the mix. Looking forward to hearing others replies!
 

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I will have a crack at this. I may have an advantage, having recently read Autumn Gale (covers Kampfgruppe Chill and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559).

a) Brigade strength Airborne drops happen on the 7th September at Nijmegen (2 brigades), Grave (1 brigade) and Arnhem (1 brigade). Subsequent poor weather limits supplies and reinforcements to the drop zones. (from this website)
b) Kampfgruppe Chill (the remnants of the 84th Infantry Division and other) fleeing the Falaise Pocket set up blocking positions along the Albert Canal. Subsequent reinforcements included Fallschirmjäger units, Luftwaffe units and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559. These units held up and damaged the Guards Armoured Division for 3 days along the Albert Canal and the intervening area up to the Maas Scheldt Canal (heavy fighting at Geel, Ten Aard, Beringen and Hechtel). The Guards make it to Joe’s bridge on the 10th. Many of the German units were able to withdraw across the Maas Scheldt Canal.​
c) The 9th and 10th SS Division (also fleeing from Falaise) were heading north to Nijmegen on the 6th/7th of September from the eastern end of the Albert Canal. (Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107)​

If the Airborne drops happened on the 7th, this would have placed the 9th and 10th SS Divisions in between the first drop zone and the XXX Corps at that time. The XXX Corps could not launch from Joe’s bridge at the earliest until the 11th. This would allow these German Divisions and perhaps other forces to secure the intervening bridges and eliminate/contain the brigade strength air drops. The Airborne drops would lack supplies and reinforcements given the poor weather at this time.

Overall this sounds like a much longer delay for the weaker Airborne drops compared to Market Garden, at least three days to start with. Also, it sounds like a tougher road for the XXX Corps compared to Market Garden. They would have to punch through at least two SS Division’s in between Joe’s bridge and Grave. Also don’t forget Kamphrgruppe Walther which launched an attack against the Joe’s bridge, bridgehead on the 14th of September.
 

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I will have a crack at this. I may have an advantage, having recently read Autumn Gale (covers Kampfgruppe Chill and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559).

a) Brigade strength Airborne drops happen on the 7th September at Nijmegen (2 brigades), Grave (1 brigade) and Arnhem (1 brigade). Subsequent poor weather limits supplies and reinforcements to the drop zones. (from this website)
b) Kampfgruppe Chill (the remnants of the 84th Infantry Division and other) fleeing the Falaise Pocket set up blocking positions along the Albert Canal. Subsequent reinforcements included Fallschirmjäger units, Luftwaffe units and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559. These units held up and damaged the Guards Armoured Division for 3 days along the Albert Canal and the intervening area up to the Maas Scheldt Canal (heavy fighting at Geel, Ten Aard, Beringen and Hechtel). The Guards make it to Joe’s bridge on the 10th. Many of the German units were able to withdraw across the Maas Scheldt Canal.​
c) The 9th and 10th SS Division (also fleeing from Falaise) were heading north to Nijmegen on the 6th/7th of September from the eastern end of the Albert Canal. (Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107)​

If the Airborne drops happened on the 7th, this would have placed the 9th and 10th SS Divisions in between the first drop zone and the XXX Corps at that time. The XXX Corps could not launch from Joe’s bridge at the earliest until the 11th. This would allow these German Divisions and perhaps other forces to secure the intervening bridges and eliminate/contain the brigade strength air drops. The Airborne drops would lack supplies and reinforcements given the poor weather at this time.

Overall this sounds like a much longer delay for the weaker Airborne drops compared to Market Garden, at least three days to start with. Also, it sounds like a tougher road for the XXX Corps compared to Market Garden. They would have to punch through at least two SS Division’s in between Joe’s bridge and Grave. Also don’t forget Kamphrgruppe Walther which launched an attack against the Joe’s bridge, bridgehead on the 14th of September.

Pretty much my thoughts. It's a proposal that could have ended in disaster for the Airborne forces if implemented. Even more so than Market Garden turned out to be. There simply wouldn't of been the Allied manpower strength to keep 'Hell's Highway' open with only one division of airborne. The Germans could of rushed an array of infantry forces across the border to deal with/contain the landings. I think there was also a degree of obliviousness above the division level (except maybe for Horrocks), about how quickly the German forces were rallying in mid-September. Comet and Market Garden were planned with the thinking that the dash across France in late August - early Septemeber could be maintained. Failed to appreciate the enemy could still and was in the process of reacting with new defensive lines.


I will have a crack at this. I may have an advantage, having recently read Autumn Gale (covers Kampfgruppe Chill and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559).
b) Kampfgruppe Chill (the remnants of the 84th Infantry Division and other) fleeing the Falaise Pocket set up blocking positions along the Albert Canal. Subsequent reinforcements included Fallschirmjäger units, Luftwaffe units and Panzerjäger Abteilung 559. These units held up and damaged the Guards Armoured Division for 3 days along the Albert Canal and the intervening area up to the Maas Scheldt Canal (heavy fighting at Geel, Ten Aard, Beringen and Hechtel). The Guards make it to Joe’s bridge on the 10th. Many of the German units were able to withdraw across the Maas Scheldt Canal.
Reading about these actions that have caught my attention more recently (and when i recorded the video) that I've added them onto my 'lets make a scenario about this list.'

When I did background research for the my Joe's Bridge scenario I realised that KG Chill was actually quite powerful. Was never going to be offensively capable but having Jadgpanthers and a hodge podge of other aroured vehicles in such numbers was a boon for a makeshift defence/blocking action. It held up the Guards division for days through concentrations around townsites. It couldn't cover the whole front which is why the 2nd Royal Household Cavalary / Irish Guards group could find their way through the engagements to contest Joe's Bridge.
 

Hardradi

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Pretty much my thoughts. It's a proposal that could have ended in disaster for the Airborne forces if implemented. Even more so than Market Garden turned out to be. There simply wouldn't of been the Allied manpower strength to keep 'Hell's Highway' open with only one division of airborne. The Germans could of rushed an array of infantry forces across the border to deal with/contain the landings. I think there was also a degree of obliviousness above the division level (except maybe for Horrocks), about how quickly the German forces were rallying in mid-September. Comet and Market Garden were planned with the thinking that the dash across France in late August - early Septemeber could be maintained. Failed to appreciate the enemy could still and was in the process of reacting with new defensive lines.
Some other areas not covered are:
* where were the Allied flank Corps at this time (VIII and XII Corps which flanked XXX Corps during Market Garden)?
* where were the 101st and 82nd and were they ready to go?
* Would this have effected the escape of German 15 Army from the coast (most likely not)

Reading about these actions that have caught my attention more recently (and when i recorded the video) that I've added them onto my 'lets make a scenario about this list.'

When I did background research for the my Joe's Bridge scenario I realised that KG Chill was actually quite powerful. Was never going to be offensively capable but having Jadgpanthers and a hodge podge of other aroured vehicles in such numbers was a boon for a makeshift defence/blocking action. It held up the Guards division for days through concentrations around townsites. It couldn't cover the whole front which is why the 2nd Royal Household Cavalary / Irish Guards group could find their way through the engagements to contest Joe's Bridge.
Yeah, no serious offensive capability, just fire fighting along the front. Any reinforcements were quickly burned up and incorporated into the core units which included FJR 6 (who seem to have been everywhere). If you do more scenarios you may want to get your hands on a copy of Autumn Gale (if you haven't already). Its expensive but one of the best books I have read on World War II.
 
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