December 31st, 2013

If D-Day Had Failed

Note: This is adapted from comments I made on

First, let's be clear:  Failure of Overlord was extremely unlikely. It was an operation the Western Allies had to succeed in, and they built up a massive over-engineered structure for the landings that reduced the chances of failure as much as humanly possible. They had near-total control of the air, enormous firepower from battleships in the channel and a huge advantage in mobility and firepower once they got established on the continent.

I would rate Allied defeat, defined as getting tossed of the continent as under 5% possibility, with that faint possibility more due to the wild weather in the English Channel than to German actions. but not impossible. Overlord might conceivably have failed if the "storm of the century' that historically happened two weeks later had happened at exactly the wrong time--during the initial landing process, or very shortly after, within twenty-four to thirty-six hours of the initial landing, before Allied forces had secured their beach-heads. That's an extremely unlikely outcome, but not outside the realm of possibility. It could happen due to Ike delaying the invasion because of the unstable weather around the historical landing time, or because the historic storm came early, maybe on June 8 rather than June 18..

If  Overlord failed, the Germans wouldn't win, and the Nazi regime would not survive, but there could be interesting consequences. The Western Allies could have and would have continued bombing Germany, getting more and more  effective.  The Soviets would have continued to advance, at least through fall 1944. Once you get past fall of 1944 the outcome gets complex, and you have to look at the situation from each major player's perspective before you can really do more than guess about how it ends up. I don't have time to do that, but I'll toss out some factors in the European end-game.
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