1. Critique the German Army Group G Commander’s efforts to balance the operational factors in achieving assigned objective(s) and protecting the German operational COG against the dual threat of the FFI and the anticipated Allied amphibious assault.
General Blaskowitz, Commander of German Army Group G had an extremely challenging task of balancing operational factors to achieve his organization’s assigned objectives. The German leader, Adolf Hitler, and his German armed forces high command OKW had a desired end state of German dominance of Europe. In order to achieve this desired end state the theater strategic objective for OB West, the German theater command was the defense of France, both from the ongoing Allied invasion in Normandy and an anticipated Allied amphibious assault in Southern France. General Blaskowitz’s operational objective, as directed from Hitler and the German high command, was to defend Southern France, with the mission of “holding the coast at all costs.” (pg. 16)
The operational Center of Gravity (COG) for the Germans in Southern France was Army Group G, almost by default. The German high command had few naval or air resources to dedicate to the defense of Southern France due to the competing requirements of the Eastern, Italian, and Northern France fronts. Therefore the responsibility of repulsing an Allied invasion would fall squarely on the ground troops. Under General Blaskowitz’s command, the majority of his combat strength resided in the troops of the Nineteenth Army. The Nineteenth Army, commanded by General Wiese, consisted of experienced troops commanded by veteran leaders.
In June of 1944, the Army Group G’s operational factor of force was a “reasonably strong and well balanced force” (pg. 18), with two army headquarters, seven corps headquarters, three armored divisions, thirteen infantry divisions, and other assorted units under Gen Blaskowitz’s command. Despite the large number of units assigned to Group G, all of the units were experiencing shortages of both manpower and equipment. In addition to these problems, Blaskowitz also had problems with the Ost units, infantry forces comprised of volunteer, drafted or impressed soldiers from Eastern Europe. The Ost units were not as strong of a force as German Army regulars and their combat capability likely suffered from a lack of training and morale. The largest challenge facing Army Group G’s force was the manpower drain of its units due to Operation Overlord in Northern France. Because the German high command placed a greater priority on defending Northern France, General Blaskowitz’s relatively strong organization in June of 1944 gradually deteriorated until the Germans realized that an amphibious assault on Southern France was imminent. The actions of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) also contributed to a reduction in combat strength for Army Group G dedicated to its primary objective. The FFI was so successful in its operations to...