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realized, as he later testified, that "all, absolutely all conditions for the possible success of such an offensive were lacking. [5]


The weaknesses of the plan were diagnosed by Rundstedt and Westphal as follows: sufficient force was not available to attain the distant goal of Antwerp; the German situation on the Western Front was so precarious that it was questionable whether the divisions slated for the offensive could be kept out of the moil of battle prior to D-day; the Allies might launch an offensive of their own, "spoiling" the German attack; the northern and southern flanks of the offensive would be dangerously open, the exposure increasing with every mile gained in the advance; finally, there was a better than average chance that all the attack could produce would be a salient or bulge of the Great War variety, consuming too many German divisions in what would be ultimately only a holding operation. The solution, as seen by Rundstedt and Westphal, was to produce an operations order which would be less ambitious as to the terrain to be conquered and which would aim at maximum destruction of Allied forces with minimum risk.


The OB WEST appraisal of Allied strength, as set forth in Martin, accorded the Allies a two to one superiority. Although the front was relatively quiet, the main Allied effort was recognized as being directed against the flanks of the German line (the Fifteenth Army in the north and the Nineteenth Army in the south). But the German longrange estimate of Allied intentions predicted that the Allies first would attempt to clear the Schelde estuary, as a preliminary to opening the port of Antwerp, and follow with a shift to the Venlo-Aachen sector as a base for operations against the Ruhr. Recognizing, therefore, that the Allied north wing with its four armies was heavily weighted, Plan Martin emphasized protection of the north flank of the attack, adding extra divisions for this purpose and feeding in a vital secondary attack by six divisions debouching from the salient south of Roermond.


The axis of the advance, as proposed in Martin, would be ButgenbachTrois Ponts-Werbomont-Ourthe River-a Meuse crossing north of the line Huy-Antwerp. The Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies, right and left, would attack on a narrow front, the main strength of the two armies driving between Simmerath and Bleialf on a front of only twenty-five miles. This was the salient feature of the Rundstedt plan: a heavy concentration for breakthrough on a narrow front. The area selected for the thrust of this sharp, narrow wedge offered the best tank going to be found; no rivers need be crossed by the main attack until the Ourthe was reached. Flank cover would be given by the advance of the Fifteenth Army in the north and the Seventh Army in the south. The secondary attack from the Roermond sector, heavy with armor, would effect a juncture with the main advance near Liege.


Plan Martin, then, exemplified Rundstedt's desire to design and cut a coat matching the amount of cloth he expected to have. He wanted immediate results, to be won by a quick breakthrough on a narrow front. with the


[5] Rundstedt Testimony, Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (Nuremberg, 12 August 1946) vol. XXXI,