Strategy and Obstacles in the Battle of Arracourt Essay
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“Arracourt was the greatest tank battle of the war on the Allied Front.” This is how US Major General John S. Wood described the Battle of Arracourt, which took place in the last weeks of September 1944 in Northern France. The Allied Forces had landed in Normandy in June 1944, and by the summer had broken out of their beachhead. This started the great pursuit of the German forces across northern France towards the German border. By early fall of 1944, General George S. Patton’s Third Army had raced across France faster than anyone had envisioned and was in place to cross the Moselle River in the Lorraine area. Here his forces would face supply issues due to their speed of advance, increasing resistance from prepared German forces, and…show more content… Meanwhile, the US First Army would cross the Rhine and help capture the Ruhr from the south. The secondary Allied focus was General George S Paton’s Third Army in the south, who was to cross the Moselle, capture Metz and Nancy, cross the Rhine River and capture the Saar area.
One of Field Marshall Montgomery’s main objectives was the capture of the port city of Antwerp. The Allies wanted to use the port as a supply base for the final push into Germany. Field Marshall Montgomery preferred a single Allied front along his path into Germany, while US General Omar Bradley preferred a broad front advance. Unfortunately, the Low Countries had a political objective as well; protecting London. The Germans were launching their V-1 and V-2 rockets at London from Belgium. Bradley preferred a broad front advance because if the Third Army was able to advance quickly enough past Metz and Nancy to the West Wall, which was unmanned at the time, Patton could capture the Saar industrial area. Plus using a broad front would force the Germans to spread their forces out along their entire front, reducing resistance.
At first, on August 23, 1944, Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower approved of Montgomery’s plans for a single thrust into Germany. For a time this gave Montgomery priority on supplies, especially gasoline. However on September 2, Eisenhower was convinced by Patton that his army could