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Home Forums Discuss From Your Inner [{New}] War In Pocket Hack Gold 2023 JANUARY Telecharger

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      About the Game:
      Death in the West: The Battle of the Ruhr Pocket. The Ruhr Pocket campaign of April 1945 ended Germany’s hopes—and established the US Army. Think of World War II as a tale of two armies.


      The German Wehrmacht dominated the fighting early, but had gone downhill ever since. By 1945, losses were soaring, replacements weren’t keeping up, and much of the German army consisted of Volkssturm (People’s Assault) units, old men and boys from the Reich with sketchy training and equipment. German weapons—Tiger tanks and ME-262 jet aircraft—might be quite advanced, but the men at the front rarely saw enough of them to make a difference. Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, German supreme commander in the west, once complained that leading German armies this late in the war was like playing a Beethoven sonata on an old, rickety, out of tune piano.” The US Army joined the war late and stumbled in its debuts in North Africa and Italy. By 1945, however, the Americans were as seasoned and professional as anyone in the field. Their material support—weapons, fuel, ammunition, food—was lavish. US officials liked to brag that the G.I. was “the best-paid and best-fed soldier” of all time. Bristling with modern equipment and vehicles—tanks, halftracks, self-propelled artillery—the US Army was both mobile and lethal. If an American unit found a seam in enemy defenses, it could slash through like lightning, and once in contact, could hurl more brute firepower than any force in history. The amount of artillery the Americans rained down on their enemies never ceased to shock the Germans, whose own artillery had to be more selective about what they obliterated. Finally, US commanders had waves of fighters and fighter-bombers like the P-47 Thunderbolt or P-51 Mustang that made it nearly impossible for the Germans to move in daylight. By 1945, the US Army may have been the most effective ground force in history. In 1945, all these advantages came together in the greatest American victory of World War II. The battle of the Ruhr Pocket has never won the attention it deserves, but it was something rare in military history. World War II was messy and unpredictable, and plans rarely worked out the way the generals conceived them. In the Ruhr, however, the US Army lived the dream: establishing full-spectrum dominance to win decisive victory at minimal cost. The western allies were a bit slow off the mark in 1945. The supreme commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, had a huge force under his command, five million men in three army groups: 21st in the north, consisting of British, Canadian, and US forces under Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, the all-American 12th in the center under General Omar Bradley, and the 6th in the south, consisting of US and French forces under General Jacob L. Devers. January saw the Allies still trying to shake off the aftereffects of the great German offensive in the Ardennes Forest, the battle of the Bulge. Even after they righted themselves and resumed the advance, the going was slow, with a month of gritty fighting needed to clear the densely populated Rhineland and close up to the great river itself. Allied armies were still 300 miles from Berlin, however, and final victory seemed a long way off. The Rhine was a serious obstacle. River-crossing operations are highly complex by nature, requiring careful planning, tight cooperation between infantry, engineers, and artillery, and time to prepare. But in one of the war’s most dramatic moments, the looming barrier suddenly vanished. As General John W. Leonard’s 9th Armored Division (part of General Courtney Hodges’s 1st Army) approached the Rhine at Remagen on March 7, the Americans were astonished to see that the Ludendorff Bridge over the river was still standing. American tanks rushed it just as the Germans set off explosives. The bridge lifted off its foundations, then settled back down again—intact. Suddenly and incredibly, the Allies were over the Rhine. “Hot dog, Courtney!” Bradley responded when Hodges told him the news “This will bust him wide open.” Within the hour, Hodges was pushing every man and vehicle he could across the bridge, forming a powerful bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Rhine. General Courtney Hodges commanded the US First Army during World War II. Courtesy of the US Army Center for Military History. Despite the lucky break at Remagen, getting over the Rhine was only a means to an end. With Germany on the ropes and many Allied soldiers counting the days till they went home, the key now was to smash the Wehrmacht and bring this dread conflict to a close as soon as possible. It was easier said than done. Blocking the American path was a pair of German armies comprising Army Group B, 400,000 men, with 5th Panzer Army on the right and 15th Army on the left. The 5th Panzer was defending the Ruhr, one of the Reich’s last remaining heavy industrial centers, home to the massive Krupp Steel Works at Essen, while 15th Army stood watch against the US bridgehead at Remagen. Army Group B’s commander, Field Marshal Walter Model, was one of the most determined fighters left in Adolf Hitler’s stable, a bitter-ender and a defensive specialist of great skill. The “Führer’s fireman,” his men called him, always thrown in where the fighting was hottest and the situation most dire. If the Americans wanted to go home, they had no choice but to go through Army Group B. For all the troubles the Germans had by this point in the war, those two armies were still strong enough to cause trouble—and mass casualties—to any attacker foolish enough to launch a frontal assault. Seizing the Ruhr and striking a blow at German heavy industry had been part of the Allied operational plan even before D-Day. But fighting through the Ruhr, with all its cities, factories, and millions of civilians, had real bloodbath potential, and could easily turn into a super-Stalingrad, an urban battle on an unimaginable scale. For that very reason, Eisenhower’s plan had always been to encircle German forces in the Ruhr, not blast through them frontally. Often maligned as a dull “broad front” strategist—keeping all his armies moving forward in lockstep—Ike could spot a battlefield opening as well as any general in the war. And with the lucky break at Remagen, he saw a big one. His operational plan called for a classic pincer maneuver by two armies. Hodges’s 1st Army would break out of the Remagen bridgehead and drive east. Meanwhile, 90 miles to the north, US 9th Army under General Walter H. Simpson would cross the Rhine at Wesel as part of Montgomery’s multi-army crossing operation named Operation Plunder. Once over the river, the 9th, too, would motor east. Boiled down to essentials, the Americans would have one army on the Ruhr’s northern flank, and another on its southern. At this point, both armies would wheel inward, turn towards one another, and link up behind Army Group B, encircling and destroying it. The plan was risky, since the two US armies would be out of contact with one another as they came forward. It relied on surprise, speed, and the immobility of German forces due to fuel shortages and Allied air attack. Speed was essential. If Model recognized the threat and could deploy reserves to meet it—the very technique he had mastered in Russia in 1943-44—he could make a great deal of trouble for Hodges and Simpson. The plan was a risk, but a calculated one. Allied intelligence had drawn a detailed and accurate portrait of the German defenders. In the south, Hodges would target German LXVII Corps, holding the left (southern) flank of the 15th Army. Having been through hard fighting in the Rhineland, the corps was understrength, undersupplied, and had largely ceased reconnaissance patrolling, a sure sign that German élan was ebbing. In the north, however, 9th Army was certain to move more slowly. Simpson’s forces were not yet over the Rhine, crossing the river required care, and Montgomery was a cautious commander who liked to line things up and take his time. Moreover, the terrain east of Wesel was marshy and wooded, and reconnaissance flights had just identified a German Panzer division, the 116th, in reserve in this sector. Indeed, Montgomery had already decided to expand his crossing operation to include a two-division airborne drop, Operation Varsity, to disrupt the defenses and keep German reserves from getting to the front. Montgomery launched Operation Plunder (now Plunder-Varsity) on March 23, kicking things off with a massive four-hour, 4,000-gun artillery barrage and followed by airborne drops by British 6th and US 17th Airborne Divisions. Although the parachute troops took heavy casualties, the crossing forces got over the Rhine against weak resistance and formed a bridgehead on the far bank. Simpson’s US 9th Army now prepared for a breakout offensive to the east, with 8th Armored and 2nd Armored Divisions probing for weak spots in the German line. As predicted, the going was slow, and 9th Army took a full week to chew through the Germans and the terrain, aided every step of the way by heavy US artillery fire and non-stop attacks by tactical air power. Not until March 29th did Simpson break through into the clear, heading east. While 9th Army slogged forward, 1st Army at Remagen put on one of the greatest American shows of the war. Hodges had three heavy corps arrayed abreast, from north to south the VII under General J. Lawton (“Lightning Joe”) Collins, the III (General James Van Fleet), and V (General Clarence R. Huebner), all crowded into a 35-mile strip on the east bank of the Rhine. All three corps bulged with manpower and equipment and, as always, firepower support was extravagant.

      War in pocket hack

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