The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

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Gooner1
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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by Gooner1 » 30 Dec 2020 12:57

Sheldrake wrote:
29 Dec 2020 17:33
One reason the British had troops in Italy was because their senior commanders and political leaders thought there was merit in maintaining pressure in Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean even after D Day.

The 46th and 56th Divisions replaced the 1st and 5th Divisions fought out in Anzio

Hornsey or Crouch End? 144 or W3?

I live in Kentish Town and have a Covid job in Wood Green.

We could settle this discussion in the Kings Head Crouch End....
Oh there was great merit not just in maintaining pressure but in liberating northern Italy - a valuable part of the Nazi economy - of bringing the Allied air forces several hundred kilometres closer to the Reich, of threatening the Reich directly and of the chance to destroy German Army Group 'C' in the Po valley. Unfortunately the US Chiefs of Staff did not see it that way. At that point wouldn't it have been better for Britain to have stepped into line?
Admittedly unusual foresight would have been required in early July, when the final decision to go ahead with Dragoon was taken, that by the Autumn 21st Army Group could be in a position to threaten the Ruhr with a couple of extra Corps under command.

W3, gravitate more towards Crouch End, the Kings Head is a fine boozer :thumbsup:

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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by Gooner1 » 30 Dec 2020 13:10

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
30 Dec 2020 07:18
That certainly clarifies Brookes attitude, and helps explain why opposition from Wilson and Alexander was 'weak'. There is a narrative in this that concerns Churchill. On his way to the Terhan conference Churchill stopped at assorted HQ in the Mediterranean region. Visiting Alexanders HQ he asked what the plans were for winter offensives. He was shown a folder of outlines for several possible offensives. Churchill was enchanted by one that proposed a amphibious landing on the coast to capture Rome. He left a order or instructions to develop that plan for execution. Returning from Terhan Churchill stopped back again & directed the SHINGLE operation be executed posthaste. I'd have to check back to see if there is any mention of Brooke influencing Churchill in these two meetings/directives.

Most of this is from Atkinsons 'Day of Battle'. Im picking back through Jacksons narrative to see if anything pops up.
It seems the Anzio landings may have been more popular the further up the command chain you went.
The British OH:
"Whatever words might have been used to describe the situation in Italy, all the Allied leaders were agreed that a powerful descent from the sea behind the German western flank was the best, in fact almost the only means of restoring momentum to the offensive and of reaching Rome during January 1944 or early February."
Later
"Concerning Italian operations in general since September 1943 it is surprising that the Allied leaders expected them to progress so quickly - Rome and beyond in January. Most of the leaders had seen fighting in World War I, and the circumstances of the Italian campaign were coming to resemble those of static warfare on the Western Front a quarter of a century ago. Yet the leaders were now assuming that a rate of progress was possible in Italy that was unrealistic in the light of the experience of the earlier war."

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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Dec 2020 16:24

Jackson 'The Battle for Italy' is a bit weak on dates, but heres his description.

Shortly previous to the Terhan conference (EUREKA Conf) two Allied staff teams calculated what could be done with the amphib lift available as the planned withdraws for OVERLORD were executed on schedule. Two of the three following could be executed.
(a) The attack south of Rome to accelerate Fifth Army's advance ---Operatin 'Shingle'.

(b) The capture of Rhodes---Operation 'Hercules'.

(c) The capture of the Andamans Islands in the Indian Ocean. as a stepping stoneth the invasion of Sumatra and Malaya---Operation 'Buccaneer'.
Both teams agreed Op SHINGLE as highly desirable, they split with the Brits favoring Rhodes and the US favoring the Andaman Islands.

Jackson then quotes part of a undated memo from Churchill on this. The text implies it was written very shortly after this staff study was released.
The center point of my thought is the capture of Romemat the beginning of January and the capture of Rhodes at the end. The capture of the Andamans is trivial compared with Rhodes and also it can be undertaken later in the year. In addition to the capture of Rhodes and all that follows from it, the surrender of destruction of 8,000--9,000 Germans will give us here times the the Germn prisoners have taken during all our operations in Italy.
Jackson has another useful item. When Churchill met with Eisenhower & Alexander after the SEXTANT conference Alexander told hi Op SHINGLE could not be effective executed under the present schedule of with drawl of amphibious lift. Other likeAtkinson claim this is when Churchill became adanmat SHINGLE would be executed whatever the obstacles. Its not clear in Jacksons narrative if this occurred before or after Clark judged Op SHINGLE as unworkable and recommended cancellation. That seems to have been on or shortly after 18 December.

Jackson seldom mentions Brooke in this book. The name only appears five times in the index, and never in connection to the SHINGLE operations. He does again refer to Churchill's pressure late December or early January on Alexander to proceed with it.

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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by Sheldrake » 30 Dec 2020 18:52

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
30 Dec 2020 16:24
Jackson seldom mentions Brooke in this book. The name only appears five times in the index, and never in connection to the SHINGLE operations. He does again refer to Churchill's pressure late December or early January on Alexander to proceed with it.
Brooke makes several mentions in his diary.

15 Dec 1943 Alexanders forward HQ Vasto. "My impression is that we are stuck in our offensive here until the ground dries, unless we make greater use of our amphibious power.....The offensive is stagnating badly and I shall have to do something about it as soon as I get back."

21st December London COS Meeting. "Made a statement about my visit to Italy and the necessity for amphibious operations on this front."

30 December "My recommendations for strong amphibious operations on the Rome area are being acted on, which is good."

4 January "..had a talk with jumbo Wilson and discussed attack on Rome."

At this time Churchill is very ill in North Africa so this is Brooke as CIGS acting down the chain of command. The idea that Anzio was cooked up by a delirious Churchill are wrong.

Between 5 and 10 Jan are a series of entries concerning the problems caused by Churchill trying to run the war from Marrakesh and a post war comment that Eisenhower was Supreme Commander in the Med and came directly under the Combined chiefs of Staff and his orders required agreement from both the PM and President . Churchill dealing with Bedell Smith and Alexander could only annoy the Americans.

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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Dec 2020 02:22

Churchill had a severe cold for a couple weeks in December. Or maybe a bout of depression from not getting his way at Terhan & the at Cairo. But I am seeing multiple historians trace his interest In Op SHINGLE from October through December & beyond. Obviously Brooke had something to do with it. I don't think the op would have gone forward had he been against it, or ambivalent in his support. Brooke certainly thought he sent it forward & I'll not accuse him of delusion in this.
Between 5 and 10 Jan are a series of entries concerning the problems caused by Churchill trying to run the war from Marrakesh and a post war comment that Eisenhower was Supreme Commander in the Med and came directly under the Combined chiefs of Staff and his orders required agreement from both the PM and President . Churchill dealing with Bedell Smith and Alexander could only annoy the Americans.
The rules never much bothered Churchill. He made a minor three year career of bombarding Eisenhower with suggestions, pleas, blandishments, dire predictions, and grand proposals. & yes all that annoyed Ike and the other Americans to no end. Post SEXTANT Ike knew he was leaving SACMED or whatever the title was then. Im sensing a reluctance to get involved in second guessing Wilson and Alexander as it would in a few days be their full responsibility anyway. Im trying to imagine the circumstances that would have caused Ike to call the whole thing.

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Re: The Allies drew as many German divisions into Italy as Stalin had requested for a second front

Post by valentine III » 12 Apr 2021 17:39

Well, I agree. But once you have decided to employ a mainly defensive position in Italy full with fortifications, panther turms and other devices you (yes with a wargamer mind, and not so good) will try to use your assets to its best.
Maybe use some 6 or 7 Sturmgeschutz brigades and panzerjager abts and train some infantry to cooperate with them as counterattack and fire brigade units. But I would sent, logistics permitting, 26th Panzer div, Hermann Göring, 3rd PGD, 15 PZG, 90 PZG, 504 PZ abt and 508 pz abt to the eastern front.

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