British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

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daveshoup2MD
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by daveshoup2MD » 07 May 2021 05:36

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
07 May 2021 04:33
daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:03
Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 May 2021 06:37
Hi dave4shoup,

You may need to do a little more reading on the Aegean to learn what was in play and the roles of the US, Italians, Greeks and Turks before offering such definitive opinions.

In any event, operational losses, wise of otherwise, are an entirely different animal to organizational reshuffling.

Cheers,

Sid.
Nothing was in play other than throwing away troops in a sideshow or a sideshow without any effective air power or sea power.
Hi..

Everyone agrees that the main effort was required in western Europe to defeat Germany decisively.
Churchill's obsession with Europe's "underbelly" has been criticized. Ultimately the allies got stuck in Italy for a year and a half while they wrapped up the war in less than a year, once they landed in France.

However isn't it worth analyzing what might have been different if Italy stayed in the war and those half a million Germans were available to fight in France ?

Cheers
Sandeep
Interesting quesion. Given the historical example of the German deployments to Sicily and Sardinia when the Italians were still in the Axis, but after the surrender in Tunisia, basically the Germans appear to have thought they needed to jacket the remaining Italians field forces by about 1-2... so it would have been a lot less than 500,000 Germans.

There's also the not minor issue that once the Italians signed at Cassibile, the Allies had to sustain them ... which took shipping, and specialist troops, and time, and resources ...

As much as the Italians who made the right decision for their country in 1943 deserve credit for doing so, from the perspective of the overall Allied war effort, it's an open question whether the Italians switching sides at that point were a cost or benefit to the Allies for the remainder of the war.

Richard Anderson
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 May 2021 07:28

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
The rest of the story.

http://www.lightbobs.com/1939-1940-1buc ... wbury.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1bucks-fr ... lgium.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1bucks-hazebrouck.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1940-1942-1bucks.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1943-1944-1buc ... d-day.html
http://www.lightbobs.com/1944-1st-bucks ... d-day.html

The battalion was nearly destroyed in France, coming home from Dunkirk with just over 200 officers and men. By May 1941 the battalion was completely rebuilt and retrained...and then was used to provide replacement drafts until November-December 1942. By that time the battalion consisted of an officer and NCO cadre, but few actual riflemen. At that point it was transferred from the 48th to the 54th Division 12 December 1942 in the anticipation the 54th would be used in combat. However, by March 1943 the battalion, still badly understrength, was chosen to form one of the beach groups for the invasion and the 54th Division was broken up 15 May and disbanded 15 December 1943, its constituent parts used to flesh out the beach and LOC organizations, 8 AGRA, and RE HQ 6 Airborne Division.
"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

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 May 2021 07:32

Hi daveshoup,

You post, "Nothing was in play other than throwing away troops in a sideshow or a sideshow without any effective air power or sea power."

I wish to correct my earlier post that, "You may need to do a little more reading on the Aegean to learn what was in play and the roles of the US, Italians, Greeks and Turks before offering such definitive opinions."

You clearly need to do A LOT more reading on the Aegean.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 May 2021 08:00

Hi sanjeep,

You post, "Everyone agrees that the main effort was required in western Europe to defeat Germany decisively."

Not everyone. I would suggest that the Soviets might well have argued that Germany had already been decisively defeated before the Allied landings in western Europe.

One also has to wonder how the Western Allies could have justified keeping all their armies in Europe entirely inactive over May 1943-June 1944 if they had not invaded Italy. While hardly a rip-roaring success, the Italian Campaign did have the merit of (1) knocking Italy out of the war, thereby forcing the Germans to devote more troops to occupation duties in the Balkans and southern France, (2) tied down 20 of their divisions in an attritional battle in Italy itself that favoured the Allies long term and (3) provided the air bases from which Romanian oil production and southern German industry was devastated.

You ask, "However isn't it worth analyzing what might have been different if Italy stayed in the war and those half a million Germans were available to fight in France ?" It is certainly true that no divisions were transferred to Normandy from Italy after the invasion, which would presumably have been an option had there been no Italian Front.

In geopolitical terms, Churchill's interest in the Balkans had some merit. The fact that the Western Allies made no major effort there conceded the entire region to the USSR by default for decades to come. His problem was that the US had to be on board, but it wasn't.

Cheers,

Sid

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 May 2021 12:27

daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
Agreed, and what I wrote - "...after the assault..."! :)

And, when they were assigned to beach group duty in1943, I don't think there was a crisis due to the shortage of infantry replacements. What there was, however, was a real need to form units that would increase the likelihood of successful amphibious operations on the mainland of Europe.

Regards

Tom

Richard Anderson
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 May 2021 15:34

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
07 May 2021 12:27
daveshoup2MD wrote:
07 May 2021 04:25
You're link is to the 1st Bucks as they were reformed for LOC duties in August, 1944, not as they were when they were assigned to beach group duty in 1943.
Agreed, and what I wrote - "...after the assault..."! :)

And, when they were assigned to beach group duty in1943, I don't think there was a crisis due to the shortage of infantry replacements. What there was, however, was a real need to form units that would increase the likelihood of successful amphibious operations on the mainland of Europe.

Regards

Tom
It also gave Home Forces something else to do other than training and sending off drafts to active fronts, and defending the UK against the unlikely possibility of a SEELÖWE...something they did not really stop worrying about until well into 1942.
"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

sandeepmukherjee196
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 07 May 2021 16:40

Hi Sid and Daveshoup..

I need to clarify what I precisely meant :

1) To beat Germany, invasion of Western Europe was a must. As it turned out, the Italian outing didn't achieve any decisive outcome but gobbled up enormous resources. The Americans in particular were peeved at this, I am told. Imagine if those Anglo US Formations went to France and the Indian Divs went to the Japanese front in Mid 43.

2) However there is an alternative viewpoint. If the Italian mainland wasn't invaded, Italy would have stayed in the Axis side. The half million German troops, LW assets and Heer heavy equipment would have gone to France... von Kesselring would be available for the OB West job (enormous improvement on Rundstedt)

3) The Central Italian Airfields wouldn't have been available to the allies.

So maybe Churchill's POV wasn't that FUBAR?

Cheers
Sandeep

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 May 2021 20:07

Hi Sandeep,

Almost the same number of men and amount of materiel would have been doing absolutely nothing over May 1943 to June 1944 if Italy had not been invaded. They still had to be fed and maintained.

We know from real events that the use of forces in Italy did not prevent a successful Allied landing in Normandy, or the south of France, or Greece, so at worst its results were neutral. And that is before one starts rehearsing any arguments in its favour.

Cheers,

Sid.

sandeepmukherjee196
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 09 May 2021 09:35

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 May 2021 20:07
Hi Sandeep,

Almost the same number of men and amount of materiel would have been doing absolutely nothing over May 1943 to June 1944 if Italy had not been invaded. They still had to be fed and maintained.

We know from real events that the use of forces in Italy did not prevent a successful Allied landing in Normandy, or the south of France, or Greece, so at worst its results were neutral. And that is before one starts rehearsing any arguments in its favour.

Cheers,

Sid.
Hi Sid...

Actually I was thinking in the context of the serious man power shortages, Britain suffered in 1944.. in France..

Cheers
Sandeep

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 May 2021 10:12

Hi sandeep,

I am not sure there were serious manpower shortages, just manpower distribution problems.

The existence of three more British divisions was unlikely to change the outcome of the war in North-West Europe significantly, or bolster British influence much. After D-Day itself, the build up was massively dominated by an influx of American divisions direct from the USA that the UK could not match under any circumstances. It was an embarrassment to dissolve divisions, but I would suggest that it was neither significant in terms of outcomes, nor in terms of Britain's diminishing role in the Alliance.

Cheers,

Sid.

sandeepmukherjee196
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 09 May 2021 20:56

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 May 2021 10:12
Hi sandeep,

I am not sure there were serious manpower shortages, just manpower distribution problems.

The existence of three more British divisions was unlikely to change the outcome of the war in North-West Europe significantly, or bolster British influence much. After D-Day itself, the build up was massively dominated by an influx of American divisions direct from the USA that the UK could not match under any circumstances. It was an embarrassment to dissolve divisions, but I would suggest that it was neither significant in terms of outcomes, nor in terms of Britain's diminishing role in the Alliance.

Cheers,

Sid.
Well Sid..there is a wide convergence of views in different quarters, on this subject. The manpower shortage in fact dictated Monty's tactics in Normandy.

Once he saw the nature of German resistance, the terrain and casualties, he couldn't go all against Caen because London had told him there weren't enough replacements that could be sent across.

There is substantial evidence on this. William Weidner did an excellent article on this. Will locate it and post the link here soon.

Cheers
Sandeep

Michael Kenny
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Michael Kenny » 09 May 2021 21:10

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
09 May 2021 20:56


Well Sid..there is a wide convergence of views in different quarters, on this subject. The manpower shortage in fact dictated Monty's tactics in Normandy.
Incorrect.
sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
09 May 2021 20:56
Once he saw the nature of German resistance, the terrain and casualties, he couldn't go all against Caen because London had told him there weren't enough replacements that could be sent across.
Incorrect yet again. Monty's pre-invasion orders for the assault divisions specifically allowed for being stopped short of Caen. Right from the start he decided that there was not going to be any 'at all costs' objectives.

sandeepmukherjee196 wrote:
09 May 2021 20:56
There is substantial evidence on this. William Weidner did an excellent article on this. Will locate it and post the link here soon.
Weidner was (he died) a crazed conspiracy-theory Monty/UK hater. He was such a loon he had to self-publish his book from which the 'article' comes.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eisenhower-Mon ... 1441597972


Basically Weidner asserts that Churchill deliberately let the Germans escape from Normandy and Monty was the one who made sure they escaped. Ike found out and knowing this information would destroy the Alliance he persuaded Bradly to invent his stop order to Patton and back-date it. As I said insane crazy and completely detached from reality.

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Sheldrake
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sheldrake » 10 May 2021 09:35

One factor that should be considered is the extent of British and Commonwealth casualties sustained by 1944. The CWGC records 387,420 military war dead until 1st June 1944. A similar number of men would have been too badly wounded to return to service. There were also around 500,000 British and Commonwealth troops in captivity. That is about a million men, two armies worth, of removed from any order of battle.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 May 2021 12:50

Hi sandeep,

You miss my point.

There was certainly a shortage of trained infantry replacements within weeks of the Allied landing in Normandy. However, this was not a shortage of manpower, just a shortage of a particular type of manpower. This could have been resolved with more foresight by redistributing manpower within the armed forces earlier. It meant finding another 50,000 or so infantry in an army a hundred times that size.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: British Manpower shortages by the end of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 10 May 2021 12:54

Hi Sheldrake,

I think the metropolitan British slice of Commonwealth POWs was about 170,000 in Europe and some 30,000 in the Far East.

Cheers,

Sid.

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