|Operation Overlord. France|
Overlay of the Allied and Axis formations 5th June 1945.
Main US, British and Canadian landing beaches and airborne objectives.
Note; - The German 7th Army sitting 10km to the south of the main landings. These forces sat on their hands for a crucial 24 hours whilst they tried to work out the Allied plans. This confusion was partly due to skillful Allied misinformation and the ‘fog of war’. The German High Command had concluded, through there own intelligence and weather reports, that 'no invasion could take place for the next 10 days’.
As a result many of the local top brass had left for Paris for some 'bed rest’- leaving the commanders on the ground unable to act or even contact them for instructions.
The other decisive factor was the manner in which the US airborne forces deployed. The British and US airborne forces job was secure the flanks of the invasion zone. The British drop went pretty much according to plan.
However, the American drop ran into trouble .
As the US 101st & 82nd Airborne made their final approach over the French coast,( top right of overlay)- the transport planes and gliders hit thick low cloud. This cloudbank scattered the planes from their close formation into a chaotic mess.
Some planes were too high or low, others too fast or miles off course. The resulting drop was a mess. Troops and equipment were spread over a large area. Many were split up from their companies and lost, miles south & west from their objectives.
This caused obvious problems for the US troops, For the Germans, it was a nightmare. They had no idea what the hell was going on. What were the US objectives?
No clear pattern or plan could be deciphered by the incoming reports. Crucially, they decided to wait for more reports.
Their decision to wait and see if a clearer picture emerged played directly into Allied hands.
By morning the US 101st & 82nd had recovered enough to be an effective force and seek their objectives.
The delay in the German response was crucial in allowing the troops to get ashore and establish a beachhead