"Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Anglo-American decision-making?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 24 Jan 2022 22:21

rcocean wrote:
24 Jan 2022 19:39
Disagree with your second and third, certainly with regards to Adm. King (USN CNO from March 1942; before that, it was Adm. Stark) and Gen. Arnold (USAAF CG). Germany First had been US strategy in the event of war since Rainbow 5/Plan Dog in 1940 (of which Stark was the author),


No one in American JCS disagreed with Germany First. The only time it came into question was in August 1942, when simply as a bluff Marshall/King recommended we tell the Brits that if they didn't agree with Sledgehammer, we'd turn to the Pacific. FDR characterized that as "Taking your dishes and going home" aka Childish. British authors constantly use these vague generalities and mind-reading excercises to prove King was NOT "Germany First". "His heart was in the Pacific War" was Alanbrooke's comment.

They seem to confuse "Germany First" with "Only Fight Germany". No hard evidence is ever provided.
Yes, wondered if Sheldrake was going to respond, since it was his post. Brooke's opinions, of course, are always problematic.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 24 Jan 2022 22:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Jan 2022 22:03
[ Lose fewer ships in the Second Happy Time by applying the lessons of both world wars and actually running convoys. Stay Germany First after March or April. (As Eisenhower said - the best thing to win the war is for someone to shoot Admiral King).
May wish to ask "why" there was a "First Happy Time" in the eastern Atlantic... and which of the powers provided 25% of its ocean-going escorts to alleviate same ... and when. Much less, more than 300 multi-engine patrol aircraft in roughly the same time period.

Then, look up when a) the USN began escort-of-convoy operations in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters; b) when the bucket brigade/ICS was stood up in the Western Hemisphere; and c) when the Canadians and British instituted the same in the NW Atlantic areas (Canadian coastal equivalent).

Then, compare to d) when the British managed the same in UK waters in 1939-40, e) in the eastern Atlantic/West African area, and then f) the South African area. For g) another comparison, check into when the RAN instituted an equivalent of the ICS in Australian waters.

Amazingly enough, men, ships, aircraft, and organization do not spring full-formed from the brow of Zeus in global, coalition warfare ... such forces need to be built.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Anglo-American decision-making?

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Jan 2022 11:23

daveshoup2MD wrote:
24 Jan 2022 22:21
rcocean wrote:
24 Jan 2022 19:39
Disagree with your second and third, certainly with regards to Adm. King (USN CNO from March 1942; before that, it was Adm. Stark) and Gen. Arnold (USAAF CG). Germany First had been US strategy in the event of war since Rainbow 5/Plan Dog in 1940 (of which Stark was the author),


No one in American JCS disagreed with Germany First. The only time it came into question was in August 1942, when simply as a bluff Marshall/King recommended we tell the Brits that if they didn't agree with Sledgehammer, we'd turn to the Pacific. FDR characterized that as "Taking your dishes and going home" aka Childish. British authors constantly use these vague generalities and mind-reading excercises to prove King was NOT "Germany First". "His heart was in the Pacific War" was Alanbrooke's comment.

They seem to confuse "Germany First" with "Only Fight Germany". No hard evidence is ever provided.
Yes, wondered if Sheldrake was going to respond, since it was his post. Brooke's opinions, of course, are always problematic.
It isn't just Brooke or contemporary prejudice. This is from the 2020 Templer Award Winning Britain's War:
It was a characteristic act by King, who played a greater role than any other single Allied military commander in shaping the wars against Germany and Japan.(91) King’s well-deserved reputation for meanness and aggression had encouraged Roosevelt, after the humiliation of Pearl Harbor, to make him both chief of naval operations and commander-in-chief of the US Navy. The dual post gave King a very powerful position among the combined chiefs, not only responsible for formulating strategy but also in direct command of every US ship on the planet. Early 1942 saw him engaged in a particularly fierce round of a career-long fight to secure more resources for the US Navy, determined that his own service should restore its pride and status in the one campaign that was indubitably its own – across the Pacific against Japan. Never fully accepting the ‘Germany First’ approach agreed at Washington, King concentrated the overwhelming bulk of the US Navy in the Pacific, pressed Roosevelt to send troops and aircraft to defend Australia, and pushed for a more aggressive strategy than just holding the Japanese advance. Though famously Anglophobic, King favoured even foreign admirals over American generals. He would establish a fairly good relationship with Dudley Pound. Having previously commanded the US Atlantic Fleet, he understood both anti-submarine tactics and why convoys worked. He decided, however, that if the US Navy was to manage the problem of the U-boats, it should do so through an expansion of its escort fleet rather than by any diminution of resources in the Pacific. To that end, he sought to avoid responsibility for the crisis off the east coast, getting Roosevelt to tell Churchill that RAF Bomber Command ought to be making more effort to bomb the submarines in French bases.(92)
Todman, Daniel. Britain's War (p. 109). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
References
91. T. Buell, Master of Seapower: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (Annapolis, MD, 1980).
92. O’Brien, How the War was Won, pp. 232–8.
Todman, Daniel. Britain's War (p. 847). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
It may be a separate thread topic, but illustrates a common thread in, at least British, historiography. Even if King had been punctilious in observing every aspects of the JCS decisions his views were partisan and he lobbied for his view of the war, as is documented. I mentioned him in my original post as one of several influential figures that undermine the idea of treating Anglo American strategy as if the were the views of a single person - aka Wally or Wallie.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Jan 2022 15:40

Sheldrake wrote:I mentioned him in my original post as one of several influential figures that undermine the idea of treating Anglo American strategy as if the were the views of a single person - aka Wally or Wallie.
"W.Allied strategy" is just an umbrella term for "American and British/Empire strategy, including strategic approaches taken by subordinates implementing/subverting higher decisions within their delegated authority (and sometimes outside it), and including contradictory strategic visions among the alliance partners." Please don't make a mountain of a brevity/convenience molehill.

Similarly, there are the umbrella terms "German strategy" or "Japanese strategy." Using these convenient descriptors is entirely consistent with recognizing, simultaneously, that each was in many ways incoherent and centrifugal (especially Japan's) - with different power centers having their own ends and means aside from that of the head of state. In law we call this the principal-agent problem.

The US definitely had principal-agent problem (every corporate structure does). FDR wanted Germany First; he even said he'd rather lose Australia and New Zealand than see Russia collapse. Yet no apex executive is all-seeing nor all-powerful, especially not in a democracy with leaky subordinates and a free press.

----------------------------

Re King, what a fascinating character. I agree with Eisenhower that somebody shooting him in early '42 would have helped the Allied war effort. OTOH he was the first to recognize - albeit in self interest - that the Central Pacific was the key to beating Japan and that everything else was comparatively a waste of effort.
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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Anglo-American decision-making?

Post by rcocean » 25 Jan 2022 18:41

Early 1942 saw him engaged in a particularly fierce round of a career-long fight to secure more resources for the US Navy, determined that his own service should restore its pride and status in the one campaign that was indubitably its own – across the Pacific against Japan.
Yep. Here we go again. Maybe King wanted "more resources" because he thought we needed to stop the Japanese in 1942, and Royal Navy was more than a match for the Italians/Germans? At least what he said. What source there is for his motivation being to "restore its pride and status"? I've never found one.
Never fully accepting the ‘Germany First’ approach agreed at Washington, King concentrated the overwhelming bulk of the US Navy in the Pacific, pressed Roosevelt to send troops and aircraft to defend Australia, and pushed for a more aggressive strategy than just holding the Japanese advance.


Source for his "never fully accepting"? None. Just mindreading. I don't think "Germany First" meant letting the Japanese attack Austrailia, run riot in the pacific without oppostion, or just sitting supinely & letting the Japanese do what they want". Marshall didn't either. People like Alanbrook never understood that by (rightly or wrongly) turning the war into the Med in 1942/1943, they weren't following a "Germany strategy" but an "Italy first" Strategy. King went along with it, but he saw no reason for us to let the Japanese alone in the pacific so we pile us troops, aircraft and ships to knock out Mussolini. That's why he asked for an allocation between pacific and europe of 70/30 at Casablanca.
Though famously Anglophobic, King favoured even foreign admirals over American generals. He would establish a fairly good relationship with Dudley Pound. Having previously commanded the US Atlantic Fleet, he understood both anti-submarine tactics and why convoys worked. He decided, however, that if the US Navy was to manage the problem of the U-boats, it should do so through an expansion of its escort fleet rather than by any diminution of resources in the Pacific. To that end, he sought to avoid responsibility for the crisis off the east coast, getting Roosevelt to tell Churchill that RAF Bomber Command ought to be making more effort to bomb the submarines in French bases.
If King was Anglophobic, then Alanbrooke was anti-American. No one has ever shown by action or word that King hated the Brits, anymore than he hated anyone else. And it was impossible to send Destroyers from the Pacific to the east coast in 1942. Shipping in the pacific had to be protected too. Further, stripping the Pacific fleet of destroyers - immobilizing it -and sending Fleet Destroyers to help East Coast shipping would've been an idea that the IJN would've loved. Or is the author implying King should have reduced the destroyers screens. Given the IJN subs disabled the USS Saratoga, and sunk the USS Yorktown and USS Wasp. That doesn't sound like a winner.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 25 Jan 2022 20:37

rcocean wrote:
25 Jan 2022 18:41
People like Alanbrook never understood that by (rightly or wrongly) turning the war into the Med in 1942/1943, they weren't following a "Germany strategy" but an "Italy first" Strategy.
I'd have to disagree with you their, I'm afraid. The policy was "Europe First" anyway, at least from the ground war perspective, and for the British that had meant 'Italy and then Germany' consistently - well, consistently after the Fall of France and the Italian entry into the war. Not based on anything more than reality, obviously. :)

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by Leprechaun » 25 Jan 2022 20:53

Would an early successful liberation of Europe and defeat of Germany mean the iron curtain been drawn further to the east ?
Would the former eastern block countries have fared better under their own rule ? Would they have been more prosperous and no need for there populations to travel to other countries in search of work and better prospects ?

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Jan 2022 22:36

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
25 Jan 2022 20:37
rcocean wrote:
25 Jan 2022 18:41
People like Alanbrook never understood that by (rightly or wrongly) turning the war into the Med in 1942/1943, they weren't following a "Germany strategy" but an "Italy first" Strategy.
I'd have to disagree with you their, I'm afraid. The policy was "Europe First" anyway,
Sorry Tom, but in turn I have to disagree with you. The British perspective was "Europe First", but the American perspective was "Germany First"...not that those terms were used commonly until postwar when the ink got spilled.
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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Jan 2022 07:04

Leprechaun wrote:
25 Jan 2022 20:53
Would an early successful liberation of Europe and defeat of Germany mean the iron curtain been drawn further to the east ?
Would the former eastern block countries have fared better under their own rule ? Would they have been more prosperous and no need for there populations to travel to other countries in search of work and better prospects ?
Not necessarily and only on the margins.

An earlier landing in France would have caused the 1943 Eastern Front to look more like the 1944 Eastern Front. I.e. the Ostheer gets crushed decisively in battles like Bagration rather than pushed back as in the liberation of Left Bank Ukraine. The SU loses millions fewer men in this process, meaning Stalin is stronger and probably more confident than OTL.

OTOH... Let's say the US/UK do Sledgehammer successfully in 1942 - it's feasible with different priorities and strategy IMJ. In that scenario I could see primarily British forces landing in the Balkans during 1943, ahead of the RKKA in places like Yugoslavia.

This would also de-emphasize the (correct) sense that the SU had sacrificed the most and done most of the fighting, and truncated the time in which some Allied leaders did mental gymnastics to recast Stalin as someone who could be trusted in a postwar settlement.

On balance, though, I don't think a democratic Poland or Baltics is in the cards. A stronger Stalin may prosecute war against Finland more resolutely as well.

----------------------------

ATL implications for Asia are very interesting. If Hitler eats a bullet in Spring 1944, RKKA probably invades Manchuria that Fall. While it's possible that Japan surrenders quickly in such event it doesn't seem likely. That could imply a unified Stalinist Korean Peninsula and greater Soviet influence in China.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 26 Jan 2022 07:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Anglo-American decision-making?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 26 Jan 2022 07:09

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Jan 2022 11:23
daveshoup2MD wrote:
24 Jan 2022 22:21
rcocean wrote:
24 Jan 2022 19:39
Disagree with your second and third, certainly with regards to Adm. King (USN CNO from March 1942; before that, it was Adm. Stark) and Gen. Arnold (USAAF CG). Germany First had been US strategy in the event of war since Rainbow 5/Plan Dog in 1940 (of which Stark was the author),


No one in American JCS disagreed with Germany First. The only time it came into question was in August 1942, when simply as a bluff Marshall/King recommended we tell the Brits that if they didn't agree with Sledgehammer, we'd turn to the Pacific. FDR characterized that as "Taking your dishes and going home" aka Childish. British authors constantly use these vague generalities and mind-reading excercises to prove King was NOT "Germany First". "His heart was in the Pacific War" was Alanbrooke's comment.

They seem to confuse "Germany First" with "Only Fight Germany". No hard evidence is ever provided.
Yes, wondered if Sheldrake was going to respond, since it was his post. Brooke's opinions, of course, are always problematic.
It isn't just Brooke or contemporary prejudice. This is from the 2020 Templer Award Winning Britain's War:
It was a characteristic act by King, who played a greater role than any other single Allied military commander in shaping the wars against Germany and Japan.(91) King’s well-deserved reputation for meanness and aggression had encouraged Roosevelt, after the humiliation of Pearl Harbor, to make him both chief of naval operations and commander-in-chief of the US Navy. The dual post gave King a very powerful position among the combined chiefs, not only responsible for formulating strategy but also in direct command of every US ship on the planet. Early 1942 saw him engaged in a particularly fierce round of a career-long fight to secure more resources for the US Navy, determined that his own service should restore its pride and status in the one campaign that was indubitably its own – across the Pacific against Japan. Never fully accepting the ‘Germany First’ approach agreed at Washington, King concentrated the overwhelming bulk of the US Navy in the Pacific, pressed Roosevelt to send troops and aircraft to defend Australia, and pushed for a more aggressive strategy than just holding the Japanese advance. Though famously Anglophobic, King favoured even foreign admirals over American generals. He would establish a fairly good relationship with Dudley Pound. Having previously commanded the US Atlantic Fleet, he understood both anti-submarine tactics and why convoys worked. He decided, however, that if the US Navy was to manage the problem of the U-boats, it should do so through an expansion of its escort fleet rather than by any diminution of resources in the Pacific. To that end, he sought to avoid responsibility for the crisis off the east coast, getting Roosevelt to tell Churchill that RAF Bomber Command ought to be making more effort to bomb the submarines in French bases.(92)
Todman, Daniel. Britain's War (p. 109). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
References
91. T. Buell, Master of Seapower: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (Annapolis, MD, 1980).
92. O’Brien, How the War was Won, pp. 232–8.
Todman, Daniel. Britain's War (p. 847). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
It may be a separate thread topic, but illustrates a common thread in, at least British, historiography. Even if King had been punctilious in observing every aspects of the JCS decisions his views were partisan and he lobbied for his view of the war, as is documented. I mentioned him in my original post as one of several influential figures that undermine the idea of treating Anglo American strategy as if the were the views of a single person - aka Wally or Wallie.
Still no idea what the criticism is supposed to be here regarding EJK.

As far as Footnote 91 goes, the US CNO was the operational commander of the USN, which was the only Allied navy with significant responsibilities in the Atlantic and Pacific from 1942 onwards, so ... yes?

Footnote 92 - if not the RAF, what force was in a position to provide ASW at the source against the u-boat bases in France? The RN?

As far as the "crisis off the east coast" King was named CNO on 18 March 1942; the bucket brigade convoy system was approved April 3 and the actual ICS was in place (from Norfolk and Key West) by the middle of May and was in complete operation to Trinidad early in July.

It took the Canadians and British essentially just as long to get their escorted convoy system set up in the northwest Atlantic; the British experience with convoys in UK home waters, the eastern Atlantic-West Africa area, and South Africa waters, and the RAN's experience in their own waters against IJN submarines, all show similar experiences.

In short, instituting escort of convoy operations for merchantile shipping (as opposed to troop or special military convoys) is neither simple or quick, and requires men, ships, aircraft, and organization that takes time and energy. Considering that in 1940-41, the USN passed 60 escorts - 25% of those otherwise available on Dec. 7, 1941 - to the RN and RCN, the need for the USN to "expand its escort fleet" seems self-evident.

The reality of where Coastal Command got its Catalinas and Hudsons in 1939-42 would seem rather self-evident, as well.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 26 Jan 2022 07:13

Leprechaun wrote:
25 Jan 2022 20:53
Would an early successful liberation of Europe and defeat of Germany mean the iron curtain been drawn further to the east ?
Would the former eastern block countries have fared better under their own rule ? Would they have been more prosperous and no need for there populations to travel to other countries in search of work and better prospects ?
Yes, if the British and French had invaded Germany in 1930, or even 1940, it seems quite clear that the Iron Curtain would have come down across Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and eastern Poland, but presumably not any farther west. Excellent point.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 Jan 2022 20:24

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Jan 2022 22:36
Sorry Tom, but in turn I have to disagree with you.
Not for the first time... :)

Maybe I'm wrong, I'll do a bit of digging but I thought I'd seen "Europe First" in some of the primary sources.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by rcocean » 26 Jan 2022 20:40

If you read internal American documents 1941-1943 from FDR and the JCS you'd think we were never at war at Italy. They're rarely mentioned until we start planning the invasion of SIcily and we get discussions on how to get Italy out of the war.

US Histories of WW 2 often take the same tack. Just as a check i pulled "Eisenhower's Diary" by Commander Butcher and found that in the first 300 pages up till May 1943, Italy is mentioned exactly 7 times. The Italy army is mentioned once, the Navy once.

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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Jan 2022 20:43

rcocean wrote:
26 Jan 2022 20:40
If you read internal American documents 1941-1943 from FDR and the JCS you'd think we were never at war at Italy.
Different emphases. "Russia defeated Germany, the US defeated Japan, UK defeated Italy." ;)
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Re: "Let's liberate Europe earlier" as a factor in Wallied decision-making?

Post by Huszar666 » 26 Jan 2022 21:35

Morning,

Sorry to say it our present morally superior and politically correct audience, but the fate of the European Jews was not something anyone in the world considered as a major point.
In fact, with the widespread antisemitsm back that (khmmm... till the 60s in some places, like the UK and US) it may not be far to say the Western Powers let Hitler do the dirty work. Remember: the UK had to deal with Jewish Terrorists in Palestine before the war, they were probably not really keen of having reinforcement for them. They even shot up an immigration ship (what we would define as "traumtised refugees trying to flee Libya" nowdays :wink: ) after the war. There was a German ship bringing jewish deportees to the US around 1938 that the US refused to let dock for an extended time.
There was no air attack on the known and verified concentration camps, nothing.
To expect the Allies to subordinate everything to save a few hunderd thousand or millions of Jews/Slavs/others is just naive. Even if it was even considered. See above.

In fact, the Allies did everything in their power to drag the war on. To bleed Germany and the Reds dry as much as it was possible.

Consider this:
Even Husky was only possible because the UK pressed hard, everything after that in the Mediterranean was just a joke of an effort. In September 1943 there was a real possibility to take Rome and advance up the peninsula, but no, the US got a fit, withdraw units, and the effect? Around five month of stand-still at Cassino, that a painfull advance upwards.

If the Second Front and to reach a conclusion as early as possible would have been seriously considered, the Mediterranean should have been the effort.
Don't withdraw units and shipping after Husky, but boldly take Rome, and advance upwards in the winter of 1943 (with the German strenght there to Livorno-Rimini Line would be possible till December. Maybe even further north)
Don't withdraw units and press on. The Allies could have reached the German border about a year earlier.
Land on Istria, send troops to Jugoslavia, whatever.

With the Allies on the Balkans, there would be no botched attempt by the Hungarians in October 1944, the Army would be willing to side with the Allies (they were not ready to side with the reds), the Rumanians would have followed, the Slowakians and Austrians too, you would have direct contact with the Poles (khmmm... Auschwitz within striking distance).

But no. Some US amateurs didn't want the serve UK-interests on the Balkans.

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