It was launched on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), with the simultaneous landing of U.S., British, and Canadian forces on five separate beachheads in Normandy, France. Thus, on 15 April when Eisenhower ordered Patton's entire 3rd Army to drive southeast down the Danube River valley to Linz, and south to Salzburg and central Austria, he also instructed the 6th U.S. Army Group to make a similar turn into southern Germany and western Austria. The Western Allied Invasion of Germany: The Final Offensive in Europe Although lives were continuing to be lost, German resistance in northern Europe crumbled in the spring of 1945. With his escape route to the south severed by the 12th U.S. Army Group's eastward drive and Berlin surrounded by the Soviets, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on 30 April, leaving to his successor, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, the task of capitulation. Eisenhower began to change his plans toward the end of March. South of the Ruhr River, the 1st Army's northward attack was to be executed by the XVIII Airborne Corps, which had been transferred to Hodges after Operation VARSITY, and the III Corps, with the 1st Army's V and VII Corps continuing the offensive east. Veritable - Grenade - Plunder - Varsity - Ruhr Pocket - Amherst. [6], Facing the Allies was Oberbefehlshaber West ("Army Command West") commanded by Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, who had taken over from Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt on 10 March. On 29 March, the 1st Army turned toward Paderborn, about 80 mi (130 km) north of Giessen, its right flank covered by the 3rd Army, which had broken out of its own bridgeheads and was headed northeast toward Kassel. Rolling northward 45 mi (72 km) without casualties, the mobile force stopped for the night 15 mi (24 km) from its objective. In the center of the front, defending the Ruhr, Kesselring had Field Marshal Walther Model commanding Army Group B (15th Army and 5th Panzer Army) and in the south Paul Hausser's Army Group G (7th Army, 1st Army and 19th Army). Instance of. Taking up the advance again the next day, it immediately ran into stiff opposition from students of an SS panzer replacement training center located near Paderborn. [13], The terrain in the vicinity of Nierstein and Oppenheim was conducive to artillery support, with high ground on the west bank overlooking relatively flat land to the east. To accomplish this, he had to move quickly. All the armies assigned to cross the Rhine had elements east of the river, including the Canadian 1st Army in the north, which sent a division through the British bridgehead at Rees, and the French 1st Army in the south, which on 31 March established its own bridgehead by assault crossings at Germersheim and Speyer, about 50 mi (80 km) south of Mainz. [16], Field Marshal Montgomery was exhibiting his now legendary meticulous and circumspect approach to such enterprises, a lesson he had learned early in the North African campaign against Rommel and one he could not easily forget. The Allies still had to fight violent battles to capture Germany. From 18–22 March, Patton's forces captured over 68,000 Germans. The Second Army's 12th Corps and the 9th Army's XVI Corps began the main effort about 02:00 on 24 March, following a massive artillery and air bombardment. [34], Meanwhile, on the 7th Army's right the VI Corps had moved southeast alongside the French 1st Army. All had been unceremoniously repulsed by the vastly superior Allied forces. Finally the Germans surrendered, and by midnight units moved out laterally to consolidate the crossing sites and to attack the first villages beyond the river. The final operations of the Western Allied armies between 19 April and 7 May 1945 and the change in the Soviet front line over this period. were nearing Berlin. [18], In the southernmost sector of the 21st Army Group's attack, the 9th Army's assault divisions were to cross the Rhine along an 11 mi (18 km) section of the front, south of Wesel and the Lippe River. Thus all three armies of the 12th U.S. Army Group were in a fairly even north-south line, enabling them to advance abreast of each other to the Elbe. The Allied invasion of Germany started with the Western Allies crossing the River Rhine in March 1945 before overrunning all of western Germany from the Baltic in the north to Austria in the south before the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945. When limited objective attacks provoked little response on the morning of the 25th, the division commander—Maj. He had one of the largest forces in any war. Since the Allied armies on the Rhine were more than 300 mi (480 km) from Berlin, with the Elbe River, 200 mi (320 km) ahead, still to be crossed it seemed clear that the Soviets would capture Berlin long before the western Allies could reach it. The inconsistency comes from the Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine and Western Allied invasion of Germany which are actually somewhat like Strategic Directions rather then named campaigns like the Normandy Campaign, Lorraine Campaign, etc. The Allied invasion of Germany started with the Western Allies crossing the Rhine on 22 March 1945 before fanning out and overrunning all of western Germany from the Baltic in the north to the Alpine passes in the south, where they linked up with troops of the U.S. The Soviets also moved into Hungary and eastern Czechoslovakia. If they held out for a year or more, dissension between the Soviet Union and the western Allies might give them political leverage for some kind of favorable peace settlement. The Allied invasion of Germany started with the Western Allies crossing the Rhine on 22 March 1945 before fanning out and overrunning all of western Germany from the Baltic in the north to the Alpine passes in the south, where they linked up with troops of the U.S. As the rest of the XIX Corps flowed into the wake of this spectacular drive, the 1st Army was completing its equally remarkable thrust around the southern and eastern edges of the Ruhr. Tactical commanders hastily enclosed huge open fields with barbed wire creating makeshift prisoner of war camps, where the inmates awaited the end of the war and their chance to return home. The Germans could not do much to stop the final Allied attacks in Europe. Overmans states that there is not sufficient data to break down the 1,230,045 deaths in the 1945 "final battles" in Germany between the Western Allied invasion of Germany and Eastern Front in 1945, although he estimates that 2/3 of these casualties can be attributed to the Eastern Front. The Allies still had to fight, often bitterly, for victory. Thus, as the western Allies completed their preparations for the final drive into the heart of Germany, victory seemed within sight. The failure of this last major German attack took the last of Germany's strength. defend themselves in the mountains of southern Germany and western Austria. [20], Although the armored division bolstered his offensive capacity within the bridgehead, Simpson was more interested in sending the XIX Corps across the Wesel bridges, as Montgomery had agreed, and using the better roads north of the Lippe to outflank the enemy in front of the 30th Division. The Allied front along the Rhine stretched 450 mi (720 km) from the river's mouth at the North Sea in the Netherlands to the Swiss border in the south. After passing north of the Lippe on 29 March, the 2nd Armored Division broke out late that night from the forward position that the XVIII Airborne Corps had established around Haltern, 12 mi (19 km) northeast of Dorsten. Army Group B commander Walther Model committed suicide on 21 April. The initial assault waves crossed the river quickly, meeting only light opposition. On the Western Front the Allies had by January turned back the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge. [32], Initially, the opposition in the 6th U.S. Army Group's sector was stiffer than that facing the 12th U.S. Army Group. After a nearly flawless thrust through the middle of Germany, the 12th U.S. Army Group had succeeded in splitting Hitler's forces in two. Under the new concept, Bradley's 12th U.S. Army Group would make the main effort, with Hodges′ 1st Army in the center heading east for about 130 mi (210 km) toward the city of Leipzig and the Elbe River. Its left fought for a week to capture Bremen, which fell on 26 April. Key to the effort was the logistical support that kept these forces fueled, and the determination to maintain the forward momentum at all costs. German Field Marshal Walter Model—whose Army Group B was charged with the defense of the Ruhr—had deployed his troops heavily along the east-west Sieg River south of Cologne, thinking that the Americans would attack directly north from the Remagen bridgehead. Within 21st Army Group the Canadian First Army under Harry Crerar held the left flank of the Allied line, with the British Second Army (Miles Dempsey) in the center and the U.S. 9th Army (William Hood Simpson) to the south. Western Front. [16], On the night of 23/24 March, after the XII Corps′ assault of the Rhine, Bradley had announced his success. Several other patrols from the 69th had similar encounters later that day, and on 26 April the division commander—Maj. Additionally, to avoid being caught in the artillery preparation, the paratroopers would jump only after the amphibious troops had reached the Rhine's east bank. The Western Allied invasion of Germany was coordinated by the Western Allies during the final months of hostilities in the European theatre of World War II. [14], By midafternoon on 23 March, all three regiments of the 5th Infantry Division were in the bridgehead, and an attached regiment from the 90th Infantry Division was crossing. The Western Allied invasion of Germany was coordinated by the Western Allies during the final months of hostilities in the European theatre of World War II. Captured German soldiers were impressed by the US artillery. German casualties during the Allied campaign to reach the Rhine in February–March 1945 are estimated to 400,000 men, including 280,000 men captured as prisoners of war.[2]. On 4 May, the 3rd Army's V Corps and XII Corps advanced into Czechoslovakia, and units of the VI Corps met elements of the U.S. 5th Army on the Italian frontier, linking the European and Mediterranean theaters. Every unit along the Elbe-Mulde line was anxious to be the first to meet the Red Army. By the end of March, the Supreme Commander thus leaned toward a decision to place more responsibility on his southern forces. At the same time, General Devers′ 6th U.S. Army Group would move south through Bavaria and the Black Forest to Austria and the Alps, ending the threat of any Nazi last-ditch stand there. In addition, the river flowed quickly and with unpredictable currents along this part of its course. Then they spread out and moved through western Germany. Busch—whose main unit was the German 1st Parachute Army —was to form the right wing of the German defenses. The same day, in response to the 3rd Army's robust showing in the Saar-Palatinate region, and to have another strong force on the Rhine's east bank guarding the 1st Army's flank, Bradley gave Patton the go-ahead for an assault crossing of the Rhine as soon as possible. Some people said Hitler's most loyal troops were preparing to This is known as the "Central Europe Campaign" in United States military histories. [19], After an hour of extremely intense artillery preparation, which General Eisenhower himself viewed from the front, the 30th Infantry Division began its assault. The U.S. VII Corps, on the left, had the hardest going due to the German concentration north of the bridgehead, yet its armored columns managed to advance 12 mi (19 km) beyond their line of departure. Normandy Invasion, the Allied invasion of western Europe during World War II. [21], The 1st Army's drive from the Remagen bridgehead began with a breakout before dawn on 25 March. The Western Allied invasion of Germany was an attack on Nazi Germany that was done by the Western Allies in the final months of the European War in World War II. They frequently remarked on its accuracy and the swiftness of its target acquisition—and especially the prodigious amount of artillery ammunition expended. Thousands of prisoners were being taken every day; from 16–18 April, when all opposition ended and the remnants of German Army Group B formally surrendered, German troops had been surrendering in droves throughout the region. By sending armored spearheads around hotly contested areas, isolating them for reduction by subsequent waves of infantry, Eisenhower's forces maintained their eastward momentum. As soon as Patton had received the orders on the 19th to make a crossing, he had begun sending assault boats, bridging equipment, and other supplies forward from depots in Lorraine where they had been stockpiled since autumn in the expectation of just such an opportunity. Thus, as his forces had approached the east bank of the river, Montgomery proceeded with one of the most intensive buildups of material and manpower of the war. In reality, by the time of the Allied Rhine crossings the Wehrmacht had suffered such severe defeats on both the Eastern and Western Fronts that it could barely manage to mount effective delaying actions, much less muster enough troops to establish a well organized alpine resistance force. Through a combination of flanking movements and night attacks, First Army troops were able to destroy or bypass the guns, moving finally into Leipzig, which formally surrendered on the morning of 20 April. Late on 26 March, the 8th Armored Division began moving into the bridgehead. The allied invasion of Western Europe that opened up a two front war against Germany, also known as Operation Overlord Totalitarianism Form of government which dictatorship controls and regulates every aspect of the lives of its citizens Despite the Russian proximity to Berlin, they argued that the city was still a critical political, if not military, objective. The Germans surrendered on 8 May 1945. In the south, the 1st Army's III Corps launched its strike on the 5th, and the XVIII Airborne Corps joined in on the 6th, both pushing generally northward. Elements of the 1st Army's V Corps made first contact. Part of. Following this primary assault, which the XII Corps would undertake, the U.S. VIII Corps would execute supporting crossings at Boppard and St. Goar, 25–30 mi (40–48 km) northwest of Mainz. Despite a wide armored thrust to envelop the enemy defenses, it took nine days of intense fighting to bring Heilbronn fully under American control. After a day or two, specialized Office of Military Government, United States (OMGUS) units took over. Soldiers posted copies of Eisenhower's Proclamation No. This included 25 armored divisions. [13], The location of the river-crossing assault was critical. This is known as the "Central Europe Campaign" in United States military histories. In the end, just as the Red Army's destruction of the Wehrmacht in the east established the Soviet Union's position as a postwar superpower, so the U.S. Army's leading role in the final conquest of Germany, not only in providing manpower and materiel, but also in terms of strategy and tactics, presaged the important new position the United States would occupy in the postwar world. By mid-March, the Allies had captured an intact bridge at Remagen. On the Eastern Front, the Soviet Red Army (including the Polish Army under Soviet command) had overrun most of Poland and were nearing Berlin. The Allied invasion of Germany started with the Western Allies crossing the River Rhine in March 1945 before fanning out and overrunning all of western Germany from the Baltic in the north to Austria in the south before the Germans surrendered on 8 May … [21], Simpson began by moving elements of the XIX Corps′ 2nd Armored Division into the XVI Corps bridgehead on 28 March with orders to cross the Lippe east of Wesel, thereby avoiding that city's traffic jams. At the very beginning of 1945, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, General Dwight D. Eisenhower had 73 divisions under his command in North-western Europe, of which 49 were infantry divisions, 20 armored divisions and four airborne divisions. The Allied line along the Rhine stretched 450 mi (720 km) from the North Sea to the Swiss border. Tanks and tank destroyers had been ferried across all morning, and by evening a treadway bridge was open to traffic. Even before the encirclement had been completed, the Germans in the Ruhr had begun making attempts at a breakout to the east. Still, despite the terrain and German machine-gun and 20 mm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft cannon fire, VIII Corps troops managed to gain control of the east bank's heights, and by dark on 26 March, with German resistance crumbling all along the Rhine, they were preparing to continue the drive the next morning. When the task force failed to advance on 31 March, Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins—commander of the VII Corps—asked General Simpson if his 9th Army—driving eastward north of the Ruhr—could provide assistance. The U.S. V Corps on the right advanced 5–8 mi (8.0–12.9 km), incurring minimal casualties. The Germans surrendered on 8 May 1945. [20], To the south, the discovery of a defensive gap in front of the 30th Infantry Division fostered the hope that a full-scale breakout would be possible on 25 March. Meanwhile, the 9th and 1st Armies began preparing converging attacks using the east-west Ruhr River as a boundary line. The French colonies in the area were dominated by the French, formally aligned with Germany but of mixed loyalties.Reports indicated that they might support the Allies.  Canada. By the end of April, the Third Reich was in tatters. On 29 April, the British made an assault crossing of the Elbe, supported on the following day by the recently reattached XVIII Airborne Corps. The Allied officer then took over the town. With Montgomery allowing use of the Wesel bridges to the 9th Army for only five out of every 24 hours, and with the road network north of the Lippe under 2nd Army control, General Simpson was unable to commit or maneuver sufficient forces to make a rapid flanking drive. The events of the first few days of the final campaign would be enough to convince him that this was the proper course of action. By the end of 28 March, General Hodges′ 1st Army had crossed the Lahn, having driven at least 50 mi (80 km) beyond the original line of departure and capturing thousands of German soldiers in the process. As subsequent waves of troops crossed, units fanned out to take the first villages beyond the river to only the weakest of opposition. [41], U.S. 12th Army Group crosses the Rhine (22 March), U.S. 6th Army Group crosses the Rhine (26 March), German Army Group B surrounded in the Ruhr pocket (1 April), Eisenhower switches his main thrust to U.S. 12th Army Group front (28 March), U.S. 12th Army Group prepares its final thrust, U.S. 12th Army Group advances to the Elbe (9 April), U.S. First Army makes first contact with the advancing Russians (25 April), Link-up of U.S. forces in Germany and Italy (4 May), British 21st Army Group crosses the Elbe (29 April), Articles with unsourced statements from November 2014, Articles incorporating text from public domain works of the United States Government, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, World War II operations and battles of the Western European Theatre, Office of Military Government, United States, http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=30, "Video: Allies Overrun Germany Etc. On that day, Eisenhower instructed Patton to halt the 3rd Army at the Mulde River, about 10 mi (16 km) short of its original objective, Chemnitz. In the north, from the North Sea to a point about 10 miles (16 km) north of Cologne, was the 21st Army Group commanded by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery. Saved from en.wikipedia.org While this was certainly short notice, it did not catch the XII Corps completely unaware. Once the bridgehead was secured the British 6th Airborne Division would be transferred to Second Army control, while the U.S. 17th Airborne Division would revert to 9th Army control. Equipped with about 60 tanks, the students put up a fanatical resistance, stalling the American armor all day. In five days of battle, from 18–22 March, Patton's forces captured over 68,000 Germans. The Ruhr had many Axis troops and a lot of industries. Also on 28 March, elements of the U.S. 17th Airborne Division—operating north of the Lippe River in conjunction with British armored forces—dashed to a point some 30 mi (48 km) east of Wesel, opening a corridor for the XIX Corps and handily outflanking Dorsten and the enemy to the south. [18], Montgomery had originally planned to attach one corps of the U.S. 9th Army to the British Second Army, which would use only two of the corps′ divisions for the initial assault. In the early morning hours of 25 March, elements of the 87th Infantry Division crossed the Rhine to the north at Boppard, and then some 24 hours later elements of the 89th Infantry Division crossed 8 mi (13 km) south of Boppard at St. Goar. At Nierstein assault troops did not met any resistance. Following the reduction of the Ruhr, the 15th Army was to take over occupation duties in the region as the 9th,[24] 1st, and 3rd Armies pushed farther into Germany. On 4 April, the day it shifted to Bradley's control, the 9th Army began its attack south toward the Ruhr River. These bold actions eliminated the last German positions west of the Rhine. His overriding objective was the swiftest military victory possible.  United States [34], Following the capture of Nuremberg, the 7th Army discovered little resistance as the XXI Corps′ 12th Armored Division dashed 50 mi (80 km) to the Danube, crossing it on 22 April, followed several days later by the rest of the corps and the XV Corps as well. This included 49 infantry divisions, 20 armored divisions and four airborne divisions. After overcoming stiff initial resistance, the XV Corps also advanced beyond the Rhine, opposed primarily by small German strongpoints sited in roadside villages. He was worried the Soviets would capture Berlin before the western Allies. [26], By 1 April, when the trap closed around the Germans in the Ruhr, their fate was sealed. 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