Performance on the Western Front

German military performance against the Western Allies in France and on the German frontier in 1944.

back to Part III: Military performance in Italy 1943-44

Infantry of the US XX Corps move forward

Infantry of the US XX Corps move forward after a skirmish on the outskirts of Fontainebleu (river Seine south of Paris), supported by an M10 tank destroyer on August 23, 1944.

As Rommel had forecast, the ensuing three months after the Allied invasion in Normandy on June 6, 1944 were a time of unmitigated disaster for the German armies in France.
After the ‘brutal slugging battles’ for Caen and Falaise, as Eisenhower described them, and the Allied invasion of Southern France in mid-August, the Germans were driven helter-skelter out of every corner of France, except Dunkirk and the beleaguered former U-boat bases on the Atlantic coast.

Rommel himself was almost killed by a low-flying Spitfire Mk IX on July 17 and three days later a group of high­ranking German officers belatedly attempted to save the Army, and Germany itself from utter destruction by planting a time-bomb in Hitler’s Headquarter Wolfsschanze.
Hitler survived to wreak a terrible vengeance on at least 2,000 army officers (including Rommel) and launch a desperate counter-attack on the Western Front in December 1944, now known as the ‘Battle of the Bulge’.

But Nazi Germany’s military position had been hopeless ever since she had failed to drive the Allied forces into the sea on D-Day. The only question remaining in December 1944 was who would win the race to Berlin – the British, Americans and Canadians from the West, or the Red Army from the East.

The following battles took place in the phase after the outbreak of the Allied forces from their bridgehead from Normandy, beginning with the American advance south of the pocket of Falaise towards the Seine and then the Marne south around Paris.
This is followed by battles with heavy fighting on the German frontier in the Saar region, which took place from November until shortly before the German offensive.
In all these engagements, the German troops were mostly in the minority, with less material and practically no support from the air.

The figures correspond to those of the military performance of the battles against the Western Allies in Italy 1943-44 and also the exact explanation can be found on this page.

FRANCE - Le Masto-Metz (August 14-September 14, 1944)
Engagement Units Ratio soldiers Result Casualties per day Score Effect
Seine River (August 23-25) US XX Corps 271% attack successfully 0.19% 1.20
1 Army fortified defense failed 2.01% 1.48
Moselle-Metz (September 6-11) US XX Corps 144% attack successfully 0.46% 1.09
1 Army delaying defense failed 0.68% 1.44
Metz (Sep 13) US XX Corps 154% attack failed 0.59% 1.11
1 Army fortified defense successfully 0.53% 1.76
Chartres (August 16) US 7 AD 188% attack successfully 0.72% 1.97
various units of 1 Army defense failed 6.95% 2.24
Melun (August 23-25) US 7 AD 287% attack successfully 0.19% 1.03
48 ID reinforced prepared defense failed 2.02% 2.13

more about:

SAAR CAMPAIGN (November 8-December 7, 1944)
Engagement Units Ratio soldiers Result Casualties per day Score Effect
Chateau Salins (Nov 10-11) US 35 + 26 ID + 4 AD 390% attack and defense draw 0.82% 1.14
11 Pz.Div + parts of XIII SS-Pz Corps fortified defense and attack draw 1.99% 3.21
Morhange-Conthil (Nov 13-15) US 4 AD + parts 35 ID 343% attack successfully 1.54% 0.87
11 Pz.Div + 361 ID delaying defense failed 0.87% 3.54
Bourgaltroff (Nov 14-15) US 4 AD + parts 26 ID 159% attack failed 0.89% 1.27
parts 11 Pz.Div + 361 ID delaying defense successfully 1.08% 1.98
Baerendorf I (Nov 24-25) US 4 AD 148% attack and defense successfully 0.37% 1.41
Pz-Lehr + 361 ID defense and attack failed 2.09% 1.26
Baerendorf II (Nov 26) US 4 AD 227% attack successfully 0.35% 1.54
Pz-Lehr defense failed 3.33% 1.17
Burbach-Dustel (Nov 27-30) US 4 AD 242% attack failed 0.16% 1.01
Pz-Lehr delaying defense successfully 1.07% 0.76
Sarre Union (Dec 1-2) US 4 AD 327% attack successfully 0.70% 0.73
11 Pz.Div + Pz-Lehr + 25 Pz.Gren. prepared defense failed 1.08% 1.93
Singlin-Binning (Dec 6-7) US 4 AD 302% attack failed 0.51% 0.92
25 Pz.Gren. + 11 Pz.Div fortified defense successfully 1.21% 1.52
Seille River (Nov 8-12) US XII Corps 422% attack successfully 0.86% 1.69
XIII SS + LXXXIX Corps fortified defense failed 4.14% 2.79
Morhange-Faulquemont (Nov 13-16) US XII Corps 326% attack first failed, later successfully 0.87% 1.74
XIII SS + LXXXIX Corps delaying defense first successfully, later failed 3.23% 2.54
Francaltroff-St.Avold (Nov 20-27) US XII Corps 275% attack successfully 0.46% 1.45
XIII SS + LXXXIX Corps delaying defense failed 1.91% 2.75
Durstil-Farebersviller (Nov 28-29) US XII Corps 293% attack failed 0.27% 1.13
XIII SS + LXXXIX Corps delaying defense successfully 1.32% 1.29
Sarre River (Dec 5-7) US XII Corps 286% attack successfully 0.42% 1.39
XIII SS + XC Corps delaying defense failed 1.88% 1.47

Statistical comparison

Now the statistical comparison of the combat value of the investigated units in a total of 78 engagements.

All Engagements Total
Side Total numbers engaged Total Casualties Average Casualties per day Average Score Effectiveness
Western Allies 1,783,237 47,743 1.25% 1.45
Germans 940,198 48,585 1.83% 2.25
Effectiveness by Posture vs Western Allies
Posture Allies Germans German Preponderance
Attack Succesful 1.47 3.02 205%
Attack Failure 1.20 2.28 190%
Defense succesful 1.60 2.24 140%
Defense Failure 1.37 2.29 167%
Average based on total battles 1.45 2.31 159%

Most effective units

Subsequently, the combat effectiveness of those units which took part in at least three of the examined engagements. The average combat value of the German troops is about 23 percent higher than that of the allied troops.

Average Unit Combat Effectiveness
Division/Corps No of battles Average Intensity Average Differential from Normal Assessed Score-Effectiveness (Kills) Assessed Combat Effectiveness
US
1st Armored 3 6.77 -0.08 2.63 86.60
3rd Infantry 4 4.80 -0.87 1.31 66.17
4th Armored 8 3.95 -1.47 1.11 61.59
34th Infantry 5 4.14 -1.52 1.40 65.28
45th Infantry 9 4.29 -1.30 1.40 64.50
85th Infantry 5 5.28 -1.73 1.95 71.95
88th Infantry 4 5.02 0.28 2.40 84.64
XII Corps 5 4.78 -0.48 1.48 69.69
XX Corps 3 3,93 -1.93 1.13 60.09
Average Effectiveness US 70.06
BRITISH
1st Infantry 8 5.71 - 1.66 70.37
5th Infantry 3 4.47 - 2.13 74.92
7th Armored 3 2.97 - 1.11 64.50
46th Infantry 6 5.27 - 1.11 65.76
56th Infantry 9 5.56 - 1.08 54.15
Average Effectiveness British 65.94
ALLIES AVERAGE EFFECTIVENESS 68.59
GERMAN
Hermann Goering Pz.Div 5 3.52 +0.57 2.54 87.43
Panzer-Lehr 4 4.70 +0.57 1.28 70.63
3rd Pz.Gren 16 4.24 +0.65 2.10 81.83
4th Para Div 4 6.03 +1.25 2.63 90.90
11th Panzer 5 3.88 +1.18 2.44 88.13
15th Pz.Gren 9 1.52 +0.11 2.09 79.90
16th Panzer 7 3.50 -0.38 2.84 88.62
65th Infantry 5 5.82 +0.54 2.28 83.87
94th Infantry 8 6.46 -0.09 3.05 92.03
362nd Infantry 3 9.10 -1.16 2.74 84.33
XIII SS-Panzer Corps 5 7.08 +0.76 1.98 80.60
Average Effectiveness Germans 84.36 (exceeds Allied average by 23%)

See also Part V: Military Performance on the Russian Front

see also: Battle results of World War One

Supremacy 1914
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