Allied disaster at Arnhem
German troops placed on the Western Front, defeated in Falaise, initiated a move to withdraw beyond the Seine. Allied commanders did not hesitate to pursue the fleeing German forces but by a series of mistakes that would prove fatal, have been unable to cross the Rhine and into the first time in Germany.
The Siegfried Line, one of the German defenses, act as a dam in the progression of the Allies and, by order of Hitler, was from there that the German forces would launch a counter-offensive aimed at regaining the upper hand on the ground.
In the diary of SHAEF, dated August 26, 1944, could read: The bulk of the German armies in the West sector, was destroyed. France regained Paris and the Allied forces advanced rapidly toward the German border.
This document is mirrored and exaggerated optimism, the feeling of war already won, that dominated the minds of commanders and soldiers of the Anglo-American forces.
By the Rhine, non-stop
The invasion plan drawn by SHAEF initially stated that they possessed the troops along a line bounded on the north by the south by the Loire and Seine, delaying the assault on Germany until the Brittany ports were operating again.
The heavy defeat of the Germans in Normandy would completely change the plans, since no one considered the possibility that the walk victorious Allies could be weakened by German troops fought. The goal was not the Seine but the Rhine, 400 miles distant from the point they were in the Anglo-American forces.
Despite the euphoria, the truth is that the allied logistics excel at improvisation and fragility. The August 19, for example, the single port available was Cherbourg, with supplies to effect was also through the beaches and Dragon Overlord. The fragility of logistics was not, however, sufficient for the Allied command ordered a pause in operations. The only controversial point was, after all, know what strategy to follow to reach the new targets.
Montgomery proposed Eisenhower, at a meeting held on 23 August, a plan based on a progression to be made towards a single point of the Rhine, counting on the power and effectiveness of a mass military formed by four dozen divisions. These were to advance north of the Ardennes by forming a tenacious isolate the Ruhr basin.
The idea was not accepted by Eisenhower, whereas this maneuver, to concentrate all their forces into one single point, would leave exposed flanks in case of a possible enemy counterattack. The solution advocated by Eisenhower passed, as he explained to Montgomery, the traditional advance in parallel columns.
At the same time, the U.S. General Patton Bradley argued with the project of an attack directed to the east, going towards the Saar to the Rhine, taking Frankfurt This was the South, according to Bradley, the most efficient plan for moving the bulk of the troops.
The commander in chief was seen, then, forced to serve as a moderator between their military leaders, and ultimately adopt a solution which is a compromise, did not please anyone.
It would then be given priority to the advancement of Montgomery until it occupied Antwerp, moving forces of the U.S. First Army, commanded by General Hodges, to the north, covering the flank of the British troops.