History IA IB HL History
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Kaylin Berner Candidate 0010170002 History IA Mr. Moyer January 14, 2016 To what degree was Operation Overlord or the DDay invasion on the beaches of Caen France successful in injuring the Nazi regime and halting the Nazi expansion across the line? Word Count: 1928 Table of Contents Candidate 0010170002 Berner 2 Plan of Investigations Page 3 Summary of Evidence Page 3 Evaluation of Evidence Page 5 Analysis Page 6 Conclusion Page 8 Works Cited Page 9 Candidate 0010170002 Berner 3 A. Plan of Investigation This investigation evaluates, “to what degree was Operation Overlord, or the DDay invasion on the beaches of Caen France, successful in injuring the Nazi regime and halting the Nazi expansion across the line?” To assess the extent to which this invasion impacted the Nazi regime, the situation prior to the invasion, during the invasion and after the invasion are evaluated. The details and motives of the Allies are considered within this investigation however this investigation is limited to the only the actions taken during Operation Overlord in attempts to stop the Nazi Regime. The two sources selected for this evaluation, World War II: Battle of Caen by Kennedy Hickman and D Day by Gale student search are evaluated for their origins, purposes, limitations and values. B. Summary of Evidence DDay or, Operation Overlord, took place on the coastline of northern France known as Normandy. It was a large scale battle front with 176,000 troops coming ashore on five separate beaches from Varreville to Caen (Battle of Normandy). The five beaches, codenamed Utah, Omaha, Sword, Juno and Gold were assigned to the British and American troops to invade. Due to the fact that the Allies ambushed the entire stretch of Normandy, many beaches where some of the troops landed were poorly defended by the Germans (DDay). Nevertheless, machine gun and artillery fire from German defenses were a constant threat and as a result, many soldiers in the first wave never made it to shore. The seas were rough and mines were in various locations causing many of the smaller vessels to sink (DDay). Sword is the beach where the battle of Caen took place. Caen, a small town off the coast of Normandy was chosen by the Allies as an invasion point because of, “the city's key position along the Orne River and Caen Canal as well as its role as a major road hub within the region.” (Hickman). The general in charge of the British beaches of Sword, Juno and God was General Bernard Montgomery. Prior to the invasion, Admiral Bertram Ramsay, another prominent figure, helped command the United States and Candidate 0010170002 Berner 4 Britain’s massive fleet of almost seven thousand vessels, which “included everything from battle cruisers to fishing boats, and more than four thousand landing craft” (DDay). On DDay, General Montgomery directed the British 2nd Army and the U.S. 1st Army, which crossed the English Channel (Montgomery). He planned to capture Caen in a day, however due to resistance, it took 42 days. Over the course of the Battle of Caen, five different operations were launched. On June 6, 1944, “airborne forces captured key bridges and artillery positions east of Caen. These efforts effectively blocked the enemy's ability to mount a counterattack against the beaches from the east” (Hickman). Operation Perch was the first of 4 operations that the British, under general General Dempsey would direct in an effort to take over the French city of Caen. At this time, General Montgomery was elected to meet with the US first army and British 2nd army The Corps' 51st Infantry Division and the 4th Armoured Brigade, lead by General Dempsey, crossed the Orne River in the east and attack towards Cagny on June 12th, 1944. (Hickman) German forces began falling back and Dempsey, seizing this opportunity, directed the 7th Armoured division to help “exploit” the gap. Due to heavy fighting and a wide division in the British forces, the British retreated in hopes of coming back with supplemental forces to stop the German movement. Operation Epsom was launched in late June in effort to mobilize over the Odon river and capture high ground near BrettevillesurLaize. (Hickman) Dempsey was joined by Montgomery with reinforcements and the 15th Scottish Infantry Division which, “repulsed several major German counterattacks.” (Hickman) Due to the German’s attempts at halting the British, Dempsey pulled his troops back across the Odon only a few days later. Operation Charnwood was launched at the end of the first week in July in frustration by Montgomery and Dempsey. This operation was known for its majorly offensive stance to frontally assault the city (Hickman). The British, being backed by bombers and naval gunfire, reached the edges of the city in the evening as the Germans began preparing to defend the river. As the next day came upon the battle of Caen, soldiers pushed the Germans Candidate 0010170002 Berner 5 from the northern edges of the city. The allied troops stopped after occupying the riverbank as they didn’t have adequate troops to take the Orne river (Hickman). Operation Goodwood was the final operation in the battle of Caen. The main goal of this operation was for the British troops to take the east sector of Caen. (Hickman) In addition, the south sector of Caen was to be taken by the Canadian operation, Operation Atlantic. The Allies were successful in capturing the City with several air attacks, however, they were slightly slowed by German mines and rugged terrain (Hickman). The Allies’s goal was achieved as Operation Goodwood held the Germans in place, ready to encompass them in the grand finale, Operation Cobra. While all of this was going on, Hitler himself believed the invasions of Normandy were merely a diversion due to the excellent work of British and American intelligence units. (DDay) In the days leading up to the invasion, air attacks on roads, bridges, and railroads hampered communication and cut off vital supply routes for the Germans. (DDay) As operation Overlord came to a close, Montgomery crossed the Rhine River late in March 1945. (Montgomery) German resistance began to taper off after Hitler’s regime was unsuccessful at the Battle of the Bulge which was a last ditch effort to slow the Allies advanced (German surrender). Hitler soon committed suicide towards the end of the Battle of Berlin and the Germans had no choice but to surrender shortly after on May 8, 1945. C. Evaluation World War II: Battle of Caen, written by Kennedy Hickman provides a detailed account of the Battle of Caen, as a whole, in a comprehensible manner. The origin of this source is a website which provides in depth details about the Normandy invasions and other military history. The purpose of this source is to inform the reader about the Battle of Caen and its role in the Normandy Invasions in 1944. One value of this source to researchers is that is goes in depth about each operation involved in the Battle of Caen. Another value is that Candidate 0010170002 Berner 6 addresses the Allies weaknesses in the last section of the article concerning the aftermath of Battle of Caen. This shows that although the Allies were mostly victorious, there were some Germans who escaped the Allies encompassment of the city. One limitation of this source is it is a secondary source therefore cannot be as accurate as a primary account. Another limitation is that the source covers all of the operations, however in very little detail. This can make the reader confused. DDay, written by the Gale Student Resources in Context, outlines the overall course of action taken before during and after Operation Overlord was conducted. The origin of the document is the Gale Power Search academic search engine for online resources. The purpose is to inform the audience about the background information, the preparations made and the course of the DDay invasion. One value of this source is that it gives an easy to follow outline of the invasion. Another value is that it gives a detailed overview of the background and the motives of the invasion. One limitation of this source is that it gives very little detail into what happened on each of the five beaches the Allies landed on. Another limitation of this source is that it only outlines the Allies point of view of the DDay invasion. D. Analysis The analysis of events that were successful compared to the analysis of the events that were not successful will determine how much impact the Battle of Caen had on the overall outcome of DDay and the overall outcome of the war. The invasion on the beaches of Sword where the Battle of Caen took place initially, was successful to an extent. On June 6th 1944, when troops were deployed along the coastline of Normandy, the water was rough and as a result many lives were lost in the ocean (DDay). In addition, mines were exploded in the water, sinking many vessels that were deploying troops. This aspect of the invasion was not successful because of the amount of troops that were lost. If more troops had made it to shore, there many have been less time between the initial deployment and the overall surrender of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Candidate 0010170002 Berner 7 The time it took to capture the city of Caen can also be considered unsuccessful due to the fact that it took well over a month to get the victory when the General Montgomery predicted it would take about a day to capture Caen (Hickman). The importance of this statistic is that the Allied forces underestimated the strength and determination of the Nazi regime and thus their estimates were off. The individual operations Perch, Epsom, Charnwood and Goodwood are each analysed to determine the strength of the victory or loss. Operation Perch retreated due to the fact that they were waiting on more supplies to defeat the Germans in a stronger victory. Although this was a smart move on the Allies part, it cannot be determined whether or not Operation Perch was overall a success or failure. Operation Epsom can be considered a victory and a loss as General Dempsey and General Montgomery's troops, along with the 15th Scottish Infantry division, successfully pushed German troops back however allied forces retreated across the Odon river, in which they were trying to capture, to meet up with reinforcements and resupply(Hickman). Operation Charnwood can be considered a success as Allied forces gained more land along the riverbank in preparation of taking the Orne river later. Finally, Operation Goodwood can be considered a complete success as the Allies achieved their goal of taking the east sector of Caen. The source World War II: Battle of Caen and DDay are very much significant to this investigation as they provide a second hand explanation to the occurrences of the Battle of Caen. They give a holistic understanding of the battle plans and go in detail of how and why the Allies attacked where they did. The sources accurately describe the course of the battle of Caen and and the invasion of the beaches of Normandy. The flaw in these sources is that they are both secondary accounts which, to an extent, are not as accurate as a primary source and as a result, knowledge is limited as to what actually happened. Nevertheless, secondary sources have the strength of outlining the whole situation rather than bits and pieces which can be biased based on the author. E. Conclusion Candidate 0010170002 Berner 8 The goal of the DDay invasions were to stop Hitler and Nazi Germany from taking over the entire continent of Europe and extend fascism and Nazism to other parts of the world. As a whole, Operation Overlord was successful because Hitler surrendered soon after the invasion due to such heavy casualties. The Battle of Caen alone can be considered a partial success when the time it took to capture the city of Caen is weighed against the end product which was the Allies gained control of that area. Operation Overlord or the DDay invasion on the beaches of Caen France was successful, to a large degree, in injuring the Nazi regime and halting the Nazi expansion across the line through the individual missions to take over the city and gain more Allied footing in northern France. Works Cited "Battle of Normandy." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Student Resources in Context. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. Candidate 0010170002 Berner 9 URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE %7CEJ3048500179&v=2.1&u=coco47639&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=aaa964f8978accec4c8b3b14ff28bc36 "Montgomery, Bernard Law (18871976)." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. General OneFile. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE %7CA148478407&v=2.1&u=coco47639&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=92a9344e256e1dfe0ae3a725d5886464 "DDay." Gale Student Resources in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Student Resources in Context. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE %7CEJ2181500078&v=2.1&u=coco47639&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=5f32e306ade25999934adbe86251e652 Hickman, Kennedy. "Grinding Out a Victory: Battle of Caen." About.com Education. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/WWIIEurope/p/WorldWarIiBattleOfCaen.htm "DDay and the German Surrender." Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 2008. Web. 22 Oct. 2015. http://www.ushistory.org/us/51c.asp
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