General Blaskowitz, the Army Group G Commander’s assigned objective was to maintain possession of the Southern coast of France at all costs. The ability to counter the threat of an Allied invasion of Southern France would require reinforcement and fortification of Army Group G units, which, together, constituted the German Center of Gravity in the Southern France Theater of Operations. Army Group G’s leadership attempted to accomplish this task in a number of ways:
The factor of Force bore heavily on the German defensive capabilities. The demands of Operation OVERLORD created significant shortfalls in terms of unit strength, force structure, combat power and overall readiness among Army Group G units. Prior to OVERLORD, Army Group G maintained a relatively well-balanced force. However, shortages in manpower and sustainment degraded functional areas and compounded challenges in command and control, logistical support and intelligence management. Inadequate management of essential operational functions challenged Army Group G’s ability to achieve its assigned objective.
Army Group G attempted to supplement shortfalls in the Factor of Force with alternate, even foreign sources of Force. For example, in order to beef up unit strength, the Germans maintained Ost Forces. However, Ost Forces comprised non-German conscripts and volunteers of questionable overall quality. Furthermore, they were fielded as separate units when they may have been more effective had they been integrated with the regular German units. This also raises the question of Unity of Command, as a number of Ost Forces were also not under the direct command of Army Group G and appear to have been seen as “outsiders,” thereby undermining Unity of Effort. As a result, Ost Forces were particularly weak and offered faint resistance when challenged by Allied invaders.
The effort to counter Force shortfalls with alternate sources of Force also emerges with regard to combat power deficiencies. Lack of sustainment due to FFI activities and Strategic focus away from the Southern France Theater resulted in the German troops adopting a mixed fleet of Foreign weapons and vehicles. This course of action, however, came with significant logistical challenges of spare parts and maintenance support.
The plan to reinforce units in the area surrounding Toulon and Marseille effectively traded Space for Force, leaving the coastal defense west of Marseille relatively weak. Operation OVERLORD drained manpower and resources from Army Group G, reducing forces in the Southeast to an outpost. However, leadership had concluded that the threat of an Allied invasion of France was greatest in the area of Toulon and Marseille. Based on this intelligence, the Germans planned to reorganize the battle space and reinforce Nineteenth Army along the west of France’s Mediterranean coast.
It was Army Group G’s hope that a mass of Force concentrated in the Toulon-Marseille region would...