OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

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Peter89
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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Peter89 » 07 May 2021 08:19

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 03:25
Peter89 wrote:
06 May 2021 09:49
daveshoup2MD wrote:
06 May 2021 03:07
Peter89 wrote:
05 May 2021 16:52
Some historians like Douglas Porch even argues that the MTO was a pivotal theatre of war, and the fact that the Allies pushed out the Axis from Africa (and Asia) had a tremendous effect on the Axis diplomacy and strategy.

Without the Axis losses and Allied experiences in the MTO, he argues, the Allied high command might made the mistakes on a larger scale in an event of a premature invasion of France.
Some historians even argue the MTO (both before and after May, 1943), was a pointless effusion of blood and a waste of time; the truth, as always, may lie in between. ;)

Having said that, a 1943 invasion of France is not what is being discussed here; its - basically - trying a Normandy invasion and a Provence invasion closer in time in 1944 than the operations were mounted, historically.
While I do not agree with Porch's Wallies-focused view, I think he has a point. The whole German participation in the MTO, as well as the Italian adventures on the wrong side of the sea qualified it as a major strategic mistake. Churchill would have been an idiot not to exploit it.

Well, after June, 1940, Churchill and the British didn't have any other option for attacking the Axis on the ground, did they?

The British had the right idea in 1940 of destroying the Axis position(s) in Africa, but got diverted from finishing the Italians because of the Balkans; they came close again in 1941, but other fronts kept becoming active, and slowed things down, and then the Japanese weighed in ... in 1942, TORCH - or something resembling it - made sense, to open up a threat from the west to the Axis forces in Africa, open up the southern Med shipping lanes, and bring the French back into the war in a significant way.

Beyond that, once the fulcrum point was reached and the Allies were on the offensive in 1943 and afterwards, it's a debatable question as to what the best strategy for the Allies would have been; the historical strategy was not the worst alternative, of course, but there are a fair number of deltas during the course of 1943-45, and whether the strategy that was adopted - in terms of valid alternatives - was the best is open to question.
Let's not forget that most of the Axis positions in Africa was held by the Vichy forces, and Britain systematically cleared them up, but didn't quite finish before Torch. If the Italians were beaten in 1941, they'd attack French West Africa, Madagascar, etc. nontheless.

What kind of deltas do you have in mind after 1943?
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by ljadw » 07 May 2021 10:05

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 03:45
ljadw wrote:
06 May 2021 11:31
but losses have nothing to do with the question if an operation was successful or a failure .
"losses have nothing to do with the question if an operation was successful or a failure..."

Well done, Gen. Nivelle...
Success or failure depend essentially on the achievement of the aim, losses are incidental.
And, this is even restricted by the question if the aim was reasonable, realistic, good .If the aim was wrong, the operation could never be a success .
See : Drumbeat and maybe The Big Week .

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Gooner1 » 07 May 2021 14:02

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 03:49
Sheldrake wrote:
06 May 2021 13:47
So you are now arguing that the historic timing Op Dragoon as a subsidiary operation some time after Op Overlord worked rather well?

You still haven't answered my question which is how would launching Op Dragoon soon before or after Op Overlord have made the end result even better for the allies.
It worked; two attacks, closer in time, may have worked better, by splitting the German's focus even more so than they were, historically.
The German armies in Normandy were completely broken before Operation Anvil commenced.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Gooner1 » 07 May 2021 14:06

Sheldrake wrote:
06 May 2021 13:47
You still haven't answered my question which is how would launching Op Dragoon soon before or after Op Overlord have made the end result even better for the allies.
I doubt this result would have been altered in any way had Anvil been delayed by a month or so. That may well have allowed northern Italy to be cleared of Germans though.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 May 2021 15:23

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 03:52
Well, absent TORCH in 1942-43, so there's no realistic way to mount ANVIL, DRAGON, or anything resembling such an operation in 1944. With TORCH, there are multiple paths to southern France.
So the realistic way was TORCH, then DRAGOON, do not pass GO, do not collect $200?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by rcocean » 07 May 2021 15:27

with Hindsight you're right. Probably would've been better to have kept the troops in Italy or made an amphibious landing and take Trieste. We knew Hitler had issued "Fight in place" orders to Kesselring.

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Sheldrake
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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Sheldrake » 08 May 2021 09:58

rcocean wrote:
07 May 2021 15:27
with Hindsight you're right. Probably would've been better to have kept the troops in Italy or made an amphibious landing and take Trieste. We knew Hitler had issued "Fight in place" orders to Kesselring.
I disagree. Op Dragoon at the historic time was better than either alternative.

1. It ended any possibility of the Germans containing the Normandy invasion on the line of the Loire - Seine.

2. It brought an additional army of two corps into France, the main theatre of operations.

3. The liberation of Marseilles and Toulon was a valuable addition to allied logistics. No Op Dragoon and they would need to be captured. As an added benefit the railway north had not been subjected to air interdiction and could be repaired more quickly than the line from Cherbourg.

4. It brought a French Expeditionary Corps to France that could be expanded to an army.

The Ljubliana gap was an illusion. Italy was always a side show, even more so after D Day in France.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 08 May 2021 20:42

Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58
rcocean wrote:
07 May 2021 15:27
with Hindsight you're right. Probably would've been better to have kept the troops in Italy or made an amphibious landing and take Trieste. We knew Hitler had issued "Fight in place" orders to Kesselring.
I disagree. Op Dragoon at the historic time was better than either alternative.

1. It ended any possibility of the Germans containing the Normandy invasion on the line of the Loire - Seine.
Or about any other combination west of Belfort/Nancy.
2. It brought an additional army of two corps into France, the main theatre of operations.
Before the end of October a fair size army group.
3. The liberation of Marseilles and Toulon was a valuable addition to allied logistics. No Op Dragoon and they would need to be captured. As an added benefit the railway north had not been subjected to air interdiction and could be repaired more quickly than the line from Cherbourg.
Roughly 33% of Allied port capacity October-November 1944.
4. It brought a French Expeditionary Corps to France that could be expanded to an army.
Six fully equipped and trained French divisions, three corps groups, and a army support group by early October. Re: #2 above.

The Ljubliana gap was an illusion. Italy was always a side show, even more so after D Day in France.
As illusional as the benefits of the northern Italy industry. Italian industrial output was declining for lack of raw materials long before their surrender. nazi Germany derived no oil, Aluminum, Tungsten, Chromium, Iron, Coal, Nickel ect... from northern Italy, yet Italian factories requires all that to realize their potential. Italy represented approx 7% of the global industrial warmaking POTENTIAL. In mid 1944 France was more useful to the nazi regime in industrial or food output than Italy.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Aber » 09 May 2021 11:03

Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58
The Ljubliana gap was an illusion. Italy was always a side show, even more so after D Day in France.
The Ljubljana gap may not have been an easy invasion route, but taking the Po valley provides a range of threats beyond moving fighter bases forward to the foot of the Alps - just suggestions that the Swiss could co-operate with the Allies... :wink:

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Sheldrake » 09 May 2021 11:40

Aber wrote:
09 May 2021 11:03
Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58
The Ljubliana gap was an illusion. Italy was always a side show, even more so after D Day in France.
The Ljubljana gap may not have been an easy invasion route, but taking the Po valley provides a range of threats beyond moving fighter bases forward to the foot of the Alps - just suggestions that the Swiss could co-operate with the Allies... :wink:
I am not sure that the Germans ever thought the Swiss would join the allies. However, threats are perceived by the target. The Germans thought Italy worth defending on the Gothic line rather than the alps. The Ljubliana gap could be held by the Germans - but would still require effort.

The Germans also seem to have invested effort in preparing a bunker line along the alpine frontier. The British Library has a collection of maps showing the defences.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Aber » 09 May 2021 11:56

Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58
Op Dragoon at the historic time was better than either alternative.

1. It ended any possibility of the Germans containing the Normandy invasion on the line of the Loire - Seine.

2. It brought an additional army of two corps into France, the main theatre of operations.

3. The liberation of Marseilles and Toulon was a valuable addition to allied logistics. No Op Dragoon and they would need to be captured. As an added benefit the railway north had not been subjected to air interdiction and could be repaired more quickly than the line from Cherbourg.
There is a difference between the actual benefits and the planned benefits.

1 - Driven by the outcome in Normandy; the expectation for the outcome of the campaign is that Dragoon would provide a threat to the Germans in September when the British would be attacking over the lower Seine to liberate Le Havre, and the US would be reorganising their logistics on Brest and Operation Chastity.

2 - True, and in my view one of the reasons Eisenhower was so keen on it. :wink:

3 - Planning would assume that the Germans would wreck the ports and the rail lines north.

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Sheldrake
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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Sheldrake » 09 May 2021 12:14

Aber wrote:
09 May 2021 11:56
Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58
Op Dragoon at the historic time was better than either alternative.

1. It ended any possibility of the Germans containing the Normandy invasion on the line of the Loire - Seine.

2. It brought an additional army of two corps into France, the main theatre of operations.

3. The liberation of Marseilles and Toulon was a valuable addition to allied logistics. No Op Dragoon and they would need to be captured. As an added benefit the railway north had not been subjected to air interdiction and could be repaired more quickly than the line from Cherbourg.
There is a difference between the actual benefits and the planned benefits.

1 - Driven by the outcome in Normandy; the expectation for the outcome of the campaign is that Dragoon would provide a threat to the Germans in September when the British would be attacking over the lower Seine to liberate Le Havre, and the US would be reorganising their logistics on Brest and Operation Chastity.

2 - True, and in my view one of the reasons Eisenhower was so keen on it. :wink:

3 - Planning would assume that the Germans would wreck the ports and the rail lines north.
The difference between planning and delivery illustrates one of the inherent fundamentals of warfare. As von Moltke puit it "No plan survives contact with the enemy" - though some allied commanders might have added "or allies."

One concept that might enlighten debate on wartime strategy is the concept of emergent rather than planned strategy.
https://www.tutor2u.net/business/refere ... t-strategy

Some critical analysis of Allied command stems from attempts to evaluate the allied commanders by reference to to the extent that their plans worked out they way they said they would. Carlo d'Este's decision in Normandy is a case in point. But as the dead Prussian wrote. War is a chaotic activity. German tactical doctrine was based on the assumption that no one in the rear could impose order and the bestb thta could be done wa s to empower those close to the front - auftragstactik. The Western Allies liked to pretend that a strong commander could impose his will on the battle, leading to a lot of dick dancing by e.g. Montgomery, even though as D'Este acknowledged Montgomery was very good as responding to the changing battlefield circumstances.

The strategy that emerged from the Allied leadership delivered all of the results in time and within an acceptable cost. Few other international or even national operations manage that. (Mission accomplished anyone?)

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 May 2021 13:46

The strategy that emerged from the Allied leadership delivered all of the results in time and within an acceptable cost. Few other international or even national operations manage that. (Mission accomplished anyone?)
A point frequently missed by the critics.

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Gooner1 » 10 May 2021 12:13

Sheldrake wrote:
08 May 2021 09:58

I disagree. Op Dragoon at the historic time was better than either alternative.
Possibly so.
1. It ended any possibility of the Germans containing the Normandy invasion on the line of the Loire - Seine.

2. It brought an additional army of two corps into France, the main theatre of operations.

3. The liberation of Marseilles and Toulon was a valuable addition to allied logistics. No Op Dragoon and they would need to be captured. As an added benefit the railway north had not been subjected to air interdiction and could be repaired more quickly than the line from Cherbourg.

4. It brought a French Expeditionary Corps to France that could be expanded to an army.

The Ljubliana gap was an illusion. Italy was always a side show, even more so after D Day in France.
But,
1. Not a realistic possibility

2. & 3. Yes, but a later Operation Dragoon could also put two additional corps into France and liberate the important ports of Toulon and Marseilles.
How would the situation of the Allied armies in France been any different on 9th February 1945 if Op. Dragoon began a month or so later than historically?

4. General Juin was in favour of the F.E.C. moving into France via the land route ..

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Re: OVERLORD and ANVIL with the February 1944 compromise on landing craft allocation

Post by Gooner1 » 10 May 2021 12:43

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
08 May 2021 20:42
As illusional as the benefits of the northern Italy industry. Italian industrial output was declining for lack of raw materials long before their surrender. nazi Germany derived no oil, Aluminum, Tungsten, Chromium, Iron, Coal, Nickel ect... from northern Italy, yet Italian factories requires all that to realize their potential. Italy represented approx 7% of the global industrial warmaking POTENTIAL. In mid 1944 France was more useful to the nazi regime in industrial or food output than Italy.
Speer didn't think that France was more important:
"Speer estimated that Italy contributed as much as one-half of all production from the occupied nations of western Europe if Italian production stood somewhere between 13-15% of all German war production as late as July 1944."

Also
"SS General Karl Wolff described the tenor of the September 1944 German rout during a March 1945 discussion with Allen Dulles, noting that despite the dangers of defending Italy, economic requirements outweighed abandoning it for a secure line in the Alps.

'The food supplies available in North Italy were considerable, Italian industry
had some value, a great deal was then being taken out of North Italy, and
advanced air bases in the Italian plain would be a serious danger to Germany.
These in effect were the arguments they used at the time, and Hitler swung
over and subsequently had been opposed to evacuation for the same reasons
that impelled him to hold on in Norway and other such areas.'

Hitler, Wolff submitted, could not surrender Italy because its value outweighed the
cost of its defense."

From 'The German Side of the Hill: Nazi Conquest and Exploitation of Italy, 1943-45, Timothy D. Saxon'

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