View Full Version : The artillery of Pointe du Hoc

09-27-2014, 07:16 AM
Please forgive my ignorance, but my question is this: Since we all know the U.S. Second Rangers scaled the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc in order to neutralize the 155 mm artillery that they thought were in position there. Instead they found nothing since the Germans had relocated them inland a short distance away. Would the Germans have been better off leaving them in their fortifications to fire upon the invading fleet of ships? Just wondering.

09-29-2014, 10:47 AM
It would have been better off if the Germans left the guns in the fortifications instead of pulling them back. Since in the end the guns were hardly used before the rangers destroyed them a little further inland from the beach. Now that wouldn't have been bad of allied ships but certainly benefit the Germans.

10-07-2014, 07:00 PM
I recently asked this question to a friend of mine who is a big history buff. His answer was the Germans moved the guns because of all the bombing they had received prior to the invasion. He went on to say there were so many bomb craters up there that it looked like the surface of the moon. The Rangers used many of them as foxholes, even though they were usually filled with rainwater. Does his answer sound logical?

10-08-2014, 07:33 AM
garm1and - sounds quite plausible to me. Just one small part of the problem faced by the Germans resulting from effective Allied air supremacy over north-west France in the run-up to the invasion - should one hang one's forces somewhat in the rear to shield them from bombing (but facing them with a daunting transport across an area devastated by bombing once the invasion came) or should one maintain a strong front at coastal areas likely to be invaded (but at the risk of them being bombed to smithereens). This was the basis of the Runstedt-Rommel argument regarding the deployment of key German forces in France. In the end, the argument went more Runstedt's way; things did not turn out well. However, in retrospect, Rommel's argument for forward deployment seems little better. In the end, the Germans were facing an insoluble problem. They were damned, whatever they did. Best regards, JR.

10-08-2014, 07:06 PM
Thanks for your input. :)

10-08-2014, 07:32 PM
Hi JR.

I think one problem with Rommel's forward deployment argument was naval gunfire. The sort that had savaged the German forces containing -and ultimately trying to drive the Allies back into the sea- at the Anzio Beachhead. The Japanese had also passed along hard earned advice recommending that the majority forces stay back out of range of ships' cannon. I don't know how the overextended fleets supporting the invasion would have done in area bombardment against tanks if they gotten too close to Allied formations. But certainly there is some evidence from Omaha Beach that U.S. and Royal Naval 5-inch guns could be quite formidable when accurately directed by the troops they were supporting. As you say, it was an insoluble problem for the OBW...

10-09-2014, 06:56 AM
Good point, Nick. Reminds me of an "unhistorical" speculation that has often crossed my mind - what if the Americans had been thrown back into the sea at Omaha ? While it would be incorrect to say that the landings at Utah and on the British/Canadian beaches were "easy", they certainly "easier" than Omaha, and were completely successful (even if subsequent exploitation did not come up to expectations). Could the forces have compensated for a serious failure at Omaha, as compared with the enormously difficult success that actually occurred ? Oops, I've done it again ... JR.

10-09-2014, 11:32 AM
With the landings being a success on the other beaches; I believe that the allies still would have been able to hold a beachhead, I believe this would be possible because of the airborne units that landed behind Utah and sword beach; they created confusion in the German ranks. Also adding that the Germans held poor instructions, planning, and organization held a important factor. With it being quite difficult the allies would eventually trap the defends at Omaha and cut them off from any addition help. Staving or another attack on the beach eventually the "Germans" would give up. Though it would be a set back the allies would eventually push through and the war would end later then it actually did. Though a lot of things could of happened if landings at Omaha failed. ( I know this question was ask to me but I really want to state my opinion)