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Operation Gotterdammerung (Operation European Freedom)

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Operation Götterdämmerung
DateApril 20, 1946 - 1947
LocationNorth America
ResultPyrric Allied Victory
Flag of German Reich (1935–1945) Nazi Germany Flag of the United States United States of America
1,180,000 men,
67 tanks,
120 aircraft

950,000 men,
30 tanks,
111 aircraft
Military casualties:
212,021 killed,
77,262 wounded
2,112 missing

Military casualties:203,126 killed,
51,383 wounded,
1,421 missing

Operation Götterdämmerung (German: Unternehmen Götterdämmerung), also known as Case Gold, was the German invasion of the United States of America shortly after the close of the European war.

Opposing Forces

Nazi Germany

The German invasion force was the best prepared and most veteran force in the world at the time, equipped with the most advanced weapons and possessed of an unshakable resolve in the final victory. The maintenance of the Non-Aggression pact with the Soviet Union ensured its, giving Germany more leeway for this operation. However, Hitler's paranoia over the USSR attacking has led to a significant troop installation across the Soviet-German border and the construction of the "Warsaw Curtain", a string of fortifications across that border. The successful operations in the Middle East ensured a continuous supply of Oil. Germany's chief advantages were that most of the veteran American troops were still struggling in the Japanese Home Islands in the bloody Operation Downfall, and the rest were still in the West Coast, being demobilized.

Additionally the Germans had a massive technological lead, with superior jet propelled aircraft including the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 and the Horten IX and XIII, and advanced tanks like the King Tiger and Panther II, along with several battalions of Maus super heavies.

The German Landsers (Infantry) were all highly trained and motivated, the vast majority being veterans of the fighting in Europe or the Middle East. The main infantry weapon was the new and revolutionary StG 44 and 45 assault rifles, though only the Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions were fully equipped, the majority of the Infantry divisions still using the old Kar 98k bolt action rifle. The main machine gun was the superlative MG 42, a weapon far superior to the American Browning .30 Calibre machine gun. For anti-tank use, the Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck (a copy of the American Bazooka) were the primary weapons, though numbers of the wire guided X-7 were entering service.

The Kriegsmarine had committed all its best ships, including the Battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz, the aircraft carriers Graf Zeppelin, Peter Strasser and Gorch Fock, and the new H-Class Super battleships Hindenburg, Götz von Berlichingen and Ulrich von Hutten. They were only slightly less powerful than the Japanese Yamato class, but superior to the Soviet Soyuz class or any American equivalent. The carriers would carry Me 262T carrier fighters, which were modifications of the Me 262 A5A into a carrier based fighter. The Me 264 'Amerika' bomber and Horten XVIII flying wing would be invaluable, as both could carry heavy bomb loads across the Atlantic from bases in Germany to attack the US proper. There were also Case Silver and Case Bronze, plans for Canada and Mexico respectively.

Secretly, Hitler knew that this operation was going to be a big gamble. He had read about how Ulysses S Grant had undone Robert E Lee via logistics. Germany had to send all reinforcements across the Atlantic, and getting such a large force across such an ocean was no mean feat, especially as a small but significant number of US battleships, such as Missouri and Minnesota were patrolling the East coast of the USA. Furthermore, the German forces would have to fight from the East Coast all the way to the Rocky Mountains, where most of the US heavy industry is located. Hitler is also well aware that he is going to go up against one of the most powerful nations on earth as well as many of the best generals (Patton, MacArthur, Bradley, Marshall and Eisenhower). However he had confidence in the fighting skill and superiority of his forces.

United States

The United States was an awakened giant, in the last bloody stages of subduing the Empire of Japan (by that point seen as a lost cause in German propaganda) and the rest were in the midst of demobilisation on the west coast.

Technologically, the US was still behind Germany, through espionage and the recovery of German made and supplied weapons being used by the Japanese, such as the 7.5cm PaK40, The Toryu and Kikka jet fighters and other weapons.

Though the majority of US aircraft were propeller driven, such as the P51 and P38, the USA had some jets, based on stolen German designs, including the F-80 and F-86 Sabre (based on the plans for the TA 183) Jet fighters, which would prove to be a formidable challenge to the Me 262, thought woefully inferior to the Ta 183 or the Ho IX. In addition there were some primitive AA and Air to Air missiles, mainly copied and reverse-engineered from German models 'recovered' in the Middle East. The tank situation however was less successful. The standard M4 Sherman was woefully inferior to the German King Tigers and Panther II tanks. The improved M4-76 Sherman with its long 3" gun which had been developed after experience with Japanese heavy tanks was only in service in small numbers, and so to was the M26 Pershing heavy tank.

The vast majority of American naval strength was still in the pacific, and very few ships had been redeployed to the Atlantic. Several ships, including the battleships Missouri and Minnesota were on station, and they would have to face the brunt of any invasion force.

Invasion was far from the minds of President Truman or his cabinet. The sheer impossibility of any force crossing the Atlantic and landing on US soil was a given. Even the news of a massive airfield being built in the Canary Islands did not sway Truman. However soon he would find out what the Nazis had planned…

The initial plans


The Focke-Wulf Fw 249 heavy transport aircraft

German strategists planned a three-way attack. Maryland and long island would be key points to seize shortly after S-Day. the major problem would be logistics. everything would need to be shipped over the Atlantic, a long process compounded by US Submarines. even the new FW 249 heavy transport, which could carry a Tiger Tank 1000 miles due to its eight engines, could not save the German logistics problem. German Ju 390 long ranged Maritime Patrol aircraft would prove invaluable for hunting the American Subs. there was a planned fourth beachhead on Texas, but that plan was abandoned. following the landings, Washington was to be seized, and then a turning move to Chicago to cut the US in two. most in Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OBW, Army high command) blanched at the idea, citing it as too impractical and risky.

The Americans had no real plans for a German invasion, as it was thought to be unfeasible, even impossible, due to the logistics difficulties.

Order of battle

Order of battle of the invading forces:

The Conflict

TP fall o libert

This famous photo of an opening bombing attack on Manhattan became the most famous picture of the War in the USA

The Opening Moves

Early in the morning, two elite Fallschirmjäger Battalions dropped from Fw 249 Transports onto American soil. their mission was to seize important objectives prior to the landings. the landings were very successful and secured most of the Objectives. American troops were few and far between and there were barely 2000 troops guarding the entire east coast. the Landings were very successful, with only the E Beach diversion landing in Massachusetts proving difficult. German Naval gun fire support (NGFS) quickly smashed any pockets of resistance to the landings.

The E Beach Saga

A Company of Marines were in Boston, Massachusetts prior to being moved south for their Discharge from the military. The German Landings by the 78th Sturm Division there surprised the troops, but they quickly counterattacked. German NGFS halted the Marine counterattack, but not before heavy casualties had been incurred by the German troops.

The Battle of Bermuda

The German 3rd fleet, consisting of the H-Class Super battleship Ulrich von Hutten, the O-Class Battle criusers Sachsen and Markgraf, the carrier Gorch Fock and the cruiser Admiral Hipper was sent on what was in equivalent a 'Hammerhead run' towards Panama. the plan was to smash the Panama canal, in order to delay the arrival of the US Pacific Fleet. However the Americans were expecting this, and had laid a well planned trap for the German fleet. as the Fleet entered the Strait of Bermuda, American carrier planes screamed down on the German ships. The Gorch Fock had been delayed, and so the ships were without air cover. The Pocket Battleship Lützow was hit by four torpedoes and forced to disengage with heavy damage, more air attacks soon followed, and American submarines attacked the fleet. by then the Gorch Fock had rejoined the fleet, and Me 262T naval fighters savaged the American Carrier Planes. however another American carrier plane attack managed to penetrate the air defense screen anp put a bomb on the flight deck of the Gorch Fock, preventing more planes from taking off until it was repaired. Bermuda was a disaster for the Kriegsmarine. one O class battle cruiser was sunk, and the H Class Super battleship Ulrich von Hutten was so badly damaged that when it returned to Kiel it was scrapped. one American battleship, one carrier, three cruisers and four destroyers were sunk, but it was a victory. the Panama Canal was still open, and fleet assets and troops were being sent now to the east coast.

The Battle of Long Island Sound

H Class Battleship

a German H-Class Super battleship at anchor beside the Tirpitz, clearly showing its immense size.

The Germans were racing up to Croton-on-Hudson, which scared George Marshall as he hurriedly tried to build up fortifications in the city. One defence was a new kind of artillery, one that used a multiple rocket launcher system designed for carpet bombardment, which many in the invasion force called Trumanorgel (Truman's organs) the Artillery's official name was the Sherman T-34 Calliope rocket launcher. By this stage, unlike Poland and France, most Germans knew that the USA would not go down without a fight. out at sea, the German 2nd fleet was moving towards Long Island Sound, in order to pound new york city directly. to protect the city, the Battleship Missouri was stationed there, along with two cruisers and four destroyers. The battle was a victory for the Germans, and gave them some measure of revenge for the disaster defeat at Bermuda. the Missouri and 3 destroyers and 1 cruiser were sunk, the 2nd fleet had taken a beating though. the Hindenburg was only slightly damaged, as its massive armoured decks easily withstood the American Fire. at 3:34 Pm that afternoon, the 2nd fleet opened up on new york city proper. the fire was devastating, causing several small skyscrapers to collapse. later that night Me 264 'Amerika' Bombers pounded the city farther, and early that morning the German ships opened up again. at 10:16 The Mayor of New York flew out to the ships in a flying boat to discuss surrender terms, and at 1:17pm, New York surrendered. this enabled the German troops landed on long island access to the mainland, and gave the Germans a valuable forward supply port. Shortly after the surrender, General MacArthur (fresh from defeating Japan) issued an arrest warrant against the NY mayor for treason and imposed martial law across the East coast.

The Battle of the bridgehead

T-34 Calliope rocket launcher

An American Sherman T-34 Calliope Multiple Rocket Launcher, nicknamed Truman's Organ.

the German soldiers now dug in, in expectation of the American counterattacks that would try to throw the Invasion back into the sea. the American 2nd Armoured Division (hell on wheels) and the 3rd Armoured Division (spearhead) would be used to attack the two German beachheads. on May 1st, 1946, they attacked. hell on Wheels, by a stroke of good fortune, found the hinge between the 91st Luftlande (Air mobile) Division and the 352nd Infantry Division. driving deep into the gap between them, the 2nd armoured drove for the sea. however the newly landed 101st Schwere SS Panzer Abteilung had been moving to the front, and it now found itself directly in the path of the 2nd armoured's advance.

Wittman's wild ride

—Last words of Sergeant Bryce, 1st Platoon, A Company, 2nd Armoured Division.[1]

Obersturmfuhrer Michael Wittman and his second company had just started moving up when scouts reported the lead elements of Hell on Wheels advancing on their position. Wittman sent the rest of his company to a nearby hill where elements of the 2nd were resting and waiting for orders. he himself concealed himself in a country lane and waited. at 10: 12, the leading element of Combat Command A drove past his position. he then drove onto the road and engaged the two rearmost tanks, destroying them. then he drove along the road for half a mile, systematically destroying the column. 17 Shermans, 2 Pershings, 7 M3 Half-tracks and 3 M7 Priests were destroyed by his actions. meanwhile the other tigers of his company attacked the American troops on the nearby hill. most of them were still eating their breakfast when the king tigers set upon them. the result was another massacre. when he heard about this, Marshall ordered Hell on Wheels to halt while re-enforcements arrived. this fatal flaw allowed more troops to arrive and seal off the breakthrough. Patton, when he heard about this, called Marshall a "Lilly livered son of a B****" after three more days of savage fighting, the 2nd armoured was forced to retreat.

the 3rd Armoured division had nowhere near the amount of success of the 2nd. attacking the new york bridgehead, it suffered heavily at the hands of German 88mm PaK 43 and 128mm PaK 44 Anti-Tank guns, and was forced to break off after four days. the Spearheads attack was almost as disastrous as Hell on Wheels attack was.

Operation Nurnberg

with the 1st and 2nd SS Panzer Divisions Landed, it was now time to strike out and capture the ultimate goal, Washington D.C. So Operation Nurnberg was planned to be launched on the 1st of June. To complement the attack, Super Schwere Panzer Abteilung 401 and its Maus tanks would take part. But Marshall had already been given ample time to prepare for the inevitable attack on Washington, and ordered that his soldiers fight closely against the German forces, in a tactic he called "hugging" the German forces. the preliminary bombardment did little, as the 'hugging' tactic reduced casualties. the divisions made rapid progress, tearing deep into American Lines. the only thing between the German 1st SS Panzer and Washington was the US 2nd Armoured, which was refitting. The 2nd Armoured's suicide attack destroyed 37% of the Division, but it did its job and halted the German advance. this gave the American high command time to prepare the counterstrike. Nurnberg ensured that German troops would fail to capture or even reach Washington.

The War At Sea

The American submarines, copying the German wolfpack tactics, savaged the German supply fleets. Attempts to use aircraft to supply were only partially successful, for although the planes could and did bring in large amounts of supplies, they could not bring in enough supplies to feed the massive German army. This led to the return of Quartering, which led to "new minutemen" militias behind German occupied lines wreaking havoc on German supplies and stealing weapons etc. The SS responded brutally, executing any suspected 'Francs-tireurs' or partisans and led to a massacre in Providence, Maine. Einsatzgruppen extermination commandos killed any Jews in the occupied parts of the country, or turned them over to the Southerners to be used for slave labour.

In early 1947, German ships bombarded Miami and Charleston in a raid designed to convince the Americans of farther landings in the south

one by product was that American POWs were shipped over the Atlantic to POW Camps in France. One incident, when a US submarine, USS Dace torpedoed and sank a ship carrying American POWs, over 900 American POWs were drowned.

Operation Lumberjack

the time had finally come for the Americans to strike back. the main pacific fleet under the command of Admirals Nimitz and Leahy passed through the panama canal with veteran soldiers. The main US fleets were supplemented by a new Minnesota Class battle cruiser, fresh from the California shipyards. the Maryland salient was targeted for the next major offensive, code-named lumberjack. The Germans suffered a major defeat in Lumberjack where 20% of the German attack force are dead or taken prisoner. however the Americans lost just as many troops, and they didn't break the German Army.

US retaliation

The Gang of 25 stars (or the 5 leading Generals in the USA) planned a Joint strike command and decided that in future that there will be a Central command of military leaders to co-ordinate attacks and defense. with the near success of lumberjack, new plans were prepared.

In the interim, the Gang of 25 authorize the use of Nerve Gas, which is used to devastating effect on German forces in Philadelphia, with Germany suffering their first serious defeat in the war.

The German troops retaliated with Soman nerve gas, which was 10 times more powerful than the American gas at Croton-on-Hudson when the USA tried to liberate the city. in response they took 30 Jewish hostages, including several physicists (unbeknownst to the Nazis) and threatened to behead them if they tried again.

Rise of Freedom

with American forces advancing everywhere, OBW high command asked Hitlers Permission to allow troops to be evacuated from America. Hitler refused. Field Marshal Manstein secretly gave orders, and evacuations by Fw 249 and ship began on February 10th.

New York City was retaken after a long and bloody battle on March 6 1947, destroying one bridgehead. After that, the Americans knew Germany's defeat was certain.

By May 1947, most of the German attack force was dead, captured, or in retreat, with only pockets of Wehrmacht and Waffen SS units fighting on, mainly in Virginia and North Carolina, where they enjoyed some support from the KKK and other Southerners. German propaganda trumpeted a new free Confederacy, and for a short time the second Confederacy ruled in Richmond (in reality a Nazi puppet state). After the last Nazis were driven off, these "Benedict Arnolds" were given "Texas necktie parties", even though they took place in Virginia.

By then, the JCS were already working on Operation Boadicea, the liberation of the British Isles, and the first stage in Operation European Freedom.

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