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12/30/21 9:44 AM

#480 RE: mick #479

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12/27/23 8:04 PM

#4037 RE: mick #479


02/11/24 6:27 PM

#4254 RE: mick #479

U.S. Army tanks in Western Germany, 1945. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons)

The strategic architect of his proposed land offensive was Brigadier Geoffrey Thompson, an ex-commander of the Royal Artillery with professional expertise in the terrain of Eastern Europe. His battle-plan envisaged a massive drive east from western Germany towards Berlin and beyond. In all, 47 British and American divisions would push the Red Army back to the Oder and Neisse rivers, some 55 miles to the east of Berlin. This was to be followed by a climactic battle in the countryside around Schneidemühl (now Pila, in northwest Poland).

An armoured clash on a massive scale was expected, far larger than the battle of Kursk where 6,000 tanks had fought in the summer of 1943. Operation Unthinkable was to involve more than 8,000 tanks and would use American, British, Canadian and Polish forces. In the words of the brigadier: “We should be staking everything upon one great battle in which we should be facing very heavy odds.”

The odds were indeed heavy. The Soviets had 170 divisions available that spring, whereas the Western Allies had just 47 divisions. Thompson reckoned that the defeat of the Red Army would require the use of additional forces and he knew exactly where to find them. He proposed rearming the Wehrmacht and SS and using them to fight alongside the Allies. This would add another 10 divisions to the western army, with all of them hardened by six years of warfare.