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The Real Facts of the Allied Invasion of Western Europe: The Real Battle Was Always in the East

A senior air warrior, graduate from the Staff College and a PG in military studies. He is qualified to write on war and allied matters

the-real-facts-of-the-allied-invasion-of-western-europe-the-real-battle-was-always-in-the-east

Introduction

The D day landing at Normandy is painted as the most significant event of the Second World War by Western historians. The battle and how it took place can be read in many of the books on the subject hence my purpose is not to discuss the course of the Normandy landings but something deeper. I am going to analyze the effect of the Normandy landings on the course of the war vis-à-vis the German effort against the Russian army in East Europe.

Any discussion of military history must be through analysis and the only person who has really given a balanced account of this critical phase of the war is the British commander Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. He has written a monumental work on military history titled ' The history of Warfare.'

The Allied invasion codenamed 'operation overlord' in June 1944 was significant but in no way can be termed as the instrument that won the war. In real terms, the success of the allied invasion of Normandy was significantly dependent on the performance of the Russian army on the eastern front.

If the Russian army had not won the battle of Stalingrad the success of the Western powers in the Normandy landings is open to question. In addition in a fit of megalomaniac design, Hitler attacked Russia, and assuming if he had not attacked the Soviet Union and honored the 1939 Russo-German peace pact there is no doubt that the allies would've been defeated.

In this connection, it is worth reading the chart of the number of divisions that were facing the allies vis-à-vis the Russians and one can get a clear idea of who bore the brunt of the fighting.

https://www.axishistory.com/axis-nations/134-campaigns-a-operations/campaigns-a-operations/2085-number-of-german-divisions-by-front-in-world-war-ii

the-real-facts-of-the-allied-invasion-of-western-europe-the-real-battle-was-always-in-the-east
the-real-facts-of-the-allied-invasion-of-western-europe-the-real-battle-was-always-in-the-east

Comparison

A few half-truths have to be demolished. In June 1944 the Wehrmacht had only 69 divisions with even fewer panzer divisions facing the allies. in contrast, they had 150 divisions on the Eastern front. They also had almost 80% of the entire German panzer force concentrated in the East. It has been accepted that the elite divisions of the German army were facing the Soviets because they felt them as the greater threat.

In contrast, the German high command had positioned second-grade divisions against the allies and they never had the same fanatical commitment to fight as against the Russians. That is the reason that most of the divisions made a beeline to surrender to the Americans and British and also till the last, the Nazi leadership was hoping for a peace treaty with the allies against Russia.

The man who did not accept Nazi overtures was none other than Sir Winston Churchill who had decided that Germany had to be destroyed and was the greater danger in Europe. That is the reason he refused to negotiate with Rudolph Hess the third man in the Nazi hierarchy who had been specifically sent by Hitler to negotiate peace with Great Britain.

Towards the end of the war in May 1945, the Germans had only four divisions facing the Americans and British while 78 divisions were still fighting the Russians. Nothing could be starker than this. As a military historian, I am compelled to conclude that the real fighting took place only on the Eastern front, and on the Western front it was mostly a cakewalk.

The ferocity of the fighting can also be gauged from the casualties. The Americans lost 139,000 dead in the European theater of the war while the Russian army lost 10 million killed.

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the-real-facts-of-the-allied-invasion-of-western-europe-the-real-battle-was-always-in-the-east

Epilogue

The allied invasion of Normandy was definitely a great event. Stalin had been pressing for the second front to be opened since the end of 1942 but it took the allies two years to mount the invasion. When the allies launched their invasion on Normandy the Germans had already started retreating in the east. They felt that the greater danger was from the Red Army. They concentrated their best and elite divisions in the east and only the second class divisions and much fewer in numbers were positioned by the German high command to fight the Americans and British.

Many earlier writers from the west gave exaggerated importance to Normandy but now the new breed of writers are coming up and bringing out the fact that the Germans had decided to fight the Russians to death but that same fanaticism was absent when facing the enemy on the western front.

The Americans however had the greater say in the battle against Japan which was basically a one-to-one clash between the Imperial army and navy versus the Americans. In the western theater, however, the war was won by the Russian army.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Thank you Peggy great to learn about your father and husband's father served in WWII. They are a blessed lot.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2021:

My father was a paratrooper, and my husband's father was a pharmacist. Both served during WWII in Europe. It is always interesting learning some facts about that war. It is a good thing that Russia was on the Allies' side of that world war.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Pamela, your comments are most welcome and it's great to know that your husband's father and uncles fought in the war. Sadly many died.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 30, 2021:

This an interesting historical account of WWII. It sounds like you have done an intensive study of this war. I always learn something from your articles, MG.

My husband's father and uncles fought the Japanese and one lost his life. My husband has studied that side of the war. My perspective is that too many good men lost their lives.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Thanks, Tom, just imagine if Hitler had not broken the pact with Russia the Western allies stood no chance. Hence the victory in Europe is the Russian victory. It was churlish of the western powers not to have invited Putin for the 75th anniversary of D Day. India's contribution of 2.5 million men is belittled but surely it will come out. Much is made of D Day , the fact is the British and Americans faced lesser troops as well as troops of inferior quality.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Thank you Bill, nice of you to comment

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 30, 2021:

Always a great read! Thanks for your perspective and for a few facts I did not know.

tom on April 30, 2021:

true ,stalingrad biggest german defeat, 1944 ussr regained all lost territories,360 german divs destroyed by russia,brtish and americans destoyed 30 divs,three lakh geman troops in norway,30 divs vs tito,battle of bulge,germans recalled troops from bulge to east,indian army 2.5 milion,china tied down dozens of japenese divisons,one million kwantung army vs russia,1939 khalkin gol japan deafeated by zhukov,1941 germany and japan should have attacked russia,1998 top secret report claims churchill wanted to attack ussr using surrendered german troops,if soviet pows were rearmed by germans then one hundred percent victory,western front many german divisons had foreign volunteers,russia lost 27 miilion killed

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Thank you, Lt COL, Nice of you to have commented.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on April 30, 2021:

Thank you, Sankhajit.

Lt Col PARDUMAN SINGH on April 30, 2021:

I have analyzed the campaign on the Western front in a very lucid manner. The German army had no real commitment against the Americans and towards the end of the war they were surrendering to them in thousands and till the end fighting ferociously with Russians. God forbid if Russia was not on the side of the allies the face of the world would've been entirely different.

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on April 30, 2021:

a new horizon...l am glad to know

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