Command is shuffled again in the West. After the American’s overran northern German Model took a Luger from his desk and ended his career before Hitler could do it for him. Kesselring is brought up from Italy to take charge. He throws together the paper thin North German Emergency line from garrison troops from Denmark and whatever odds and ends can be shifted into the area. Even on the map it’s not very reassuring, more a series of disconnected strong points at major road junctions. With some division covering almost fifty miles of front he knows it will not survive any serious attack. A single panzer division was freed from the Italian Front and hurried by rail to Stuttgart, but soon it will turn out it’s services will be badly needed elsewhere.
The blows begin in the north. Patton takes one look at the map and directs the tanks of the 6th Corps southeast. They smash a blocking.force made up of a lone infantry division and a panzer brigade before thundering into the heart of Germany. A few days later OKW is getting a panicked phone call from the police chief in the town of Stendal, a major rail junction only about 50 miles from Berlin.
“There here,” says the chief
“Who there,” asks the duty officer in the OKW communications center.
“The Americans, and they have panzers, lots of panzers.”
Along the Dutch German Border another American corps .breaks through another hastily formed line wiping out a hodgepodge of resrvists and supporting units. The Americans head south soon their tanks are driving past trams full of stunned workers in the suburbs of Dortmund, they encounter little resistance as they spread out to take control of barracks, communications and transit centers. Other American mechanized units set up a blocking position in Dortmund. The British break through the German center by finishing off two depleted infantry divisions before spreading out to seize Koln, Koblenz Frankfurt and Bonn. Just north of the British breakthrough in the hills of Ardennes, two American corps with heavy air support fight it out with the 2nd SS Panzer corps, now really a single Panzer Grenadier Division with several assault gun and armored reconnaissance units in support. After days of bloody fighting the survivors of the Panzer Grenadier division stagger off to the East. American tanks push forward isolating one stretch of the Westwall between them and the British.
At the southern end of the Westwall another German corps is pulverized by American firepower and in the Blackforest the remnants of three German infantry divisions are hit hard by the advancing Americans. Two of the divisions evaporate while a third falls back to temporarily block the Americans from bursting out onto open country and heading towards Munich.
In Italy the Germans take two heavy blows. The CEF continues its advance through mountains towards the Adriatic pushing the German and RSI defenders back until the French can see the Adriatic only 16 miles away. Three German corps are now in danger of being cut off. On the west side of the peninsula the American drove back another German corps clearing the wooded rough country southwest of Firenze.
Kesselring is left to view the wreckage. Many of his surviving troops have had their supply lines cut. Even deep in Germany there are few reserves left ot be called up and the replacement system is rapidly falling apart.
The field marshall looks at the wall maps in his office in a former Innsbruck hotel, now OKW. The pins marking the progress of the British, Americans and French forces multiple across the map of Germany. The pins marking the German forces form a series of disconnected blobs across the map. The field marshall calls to his aid “Hans, you been saying I need to take some leave.”
“You are very stressed, Herr Field Marshal. The doctor says your blood pressure is very high.”
The Field Marshal nods in response. “I hear Argentina is beautiful at this time of year.”
“I will start packing our suitcases at once and call the airfield.”
“Be very discreet Hans>”
“Yes Herr Field Marshal.”
The German government has evacuated to Innsbruck with the increasingly incoherent Fuhrer being dragged off by his aides . Hitler is in some sort of nervous breakdown that even Dr. “feelgood ” Morrel can’t cure. The German army has broken up into a series of pockets. The northernmost around Hamburg is already in a state of collapse with American airborne troops seizing the northern half of the city from the remnants of a panzer training division that has retreated there earlier in the month.. A line of third division still stands south of the city, but the Allies came in from the north.
A hodgepodge of out of supply and isolated German units is halfway through being mopped up in the northeastern Netherlands. Another pocket has formed around Hanover and includes some decent, intact divisions, but the Americans just keep going around them to seize real estate further south and east.
The Soviet assault on Berlin and the evacuation of the German Government has lead the hard charging US 6th Corps to shift south to roll into undefended Leipzig, Chemnitz and various smaller cities. There is simply no one around to stop them as the last garrison troops were sent off to the front weeks ago. The British have continued to push into west central German isolating the Ruhr from the south while continuing the smash up the hapless german infantry.
The Americans have.sealed the Ruhr pocket and cleared the northern half of it. In the far south the Americans have broken out and thundered into undefended Nurnberg with a motorized infantry corps and two brigades of tanks.
In Italy the stalwart defence collapses in a welter of bloody disasters that lead to three German corps being wiped from the order of battle. The only bright spot is Torinas defenders manage to fend off an attack by an Franco-American force coming down from the Alps. Bologna is overrun by the British and Canadians who round up the rump of an infantry division and several squadrons of fighters with the bad fortune to be caught on the ground. There are no more lines of fortifications.left to fallback on.