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Patton - The German View.

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Patton - The German View.

Mensagem por White Witch em 19/2/2015, 10:08

The Axis powers had known before the landings on Sicily that Patton was in command of American ground forces in the western Mediterranean, and knew he led Seventh Army on Sicily. But his race to Palermo through country they had already abandoned left the commanders unimpressed. Major General Eberhard Rodt, who led the 15th Panzergrenadier Division against Patton's troops during the Allied push toward Messina, thought the American Seventh Army fought hesitantly and predictably. He wrote in an immediate postwar report on Sicily, "The enemy very often conducted his movements systematically, and only attacked after a heavy artillery preparation when he believed he had broken our resistance. This kept him regularly from exploiting the weakness of our situation and gave me the opportunity to consolidate dangerous situations." Once again, Patton finished a campaign without impressing his opponents. -
As a result, Patton made a series of highly visible appearances, beginning with Corsica on October 28 and followed by Malta and Cairo. There is no evidence in German intelligence records that the enemy paid any attention to Patton's movements. Instead they were focused on Allied shipping and ground force capabilities. In February 1944, as planning for D-Day was in full swing, the Allies began an elaborate deception operation, codenamed Fortitude. To give the Normandy landings the best possible chance at success, the Allies wanted the Germans to believe that the main invasion in France would take place at Pas de Calais in July, and that Normandy was a feint to draw German forces south. The fictitious First U.S. Army Group (FUSAG) would conduct the equally fictitious landings; Eisenhower appointed Patton, who had arrived in London on January 26, as the faux commander.

This attention was not misplaced: Montgomery led the Allied ground forces in the invasion, while Patton was relegated to the sidelines until he was placed in command of Third Army nearly a month after D-Day. Montgomery would show himself to be methodical and cautious in his advance, which the Germans had observed of him in North Africa. But in the weeks to come, Patton's agility and boldness would finally demand attention from some of Germany's finest commanders.

Twenty-eight days after D-Day, Patton arrived on the shores of France. The Allies were stalled at Caen, just 11 miles south of the easternmost landing beach, but the battle was siphoning Germany's strength. Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. First Army, was about to launch a breakout—Operation Cobra—that would punch through the weakened western half of the German line. Patton and Third Army would be ready to storm through the gap at Avranches and help take the entire Brittany Peninsula, firmly establishing the Allied armies on the Continent.

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