Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

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Von Schadewald
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Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Von Schadewald » 09 Jan 2017 03:58

Overlord and Dragoon were originally timed to be on the same day.

What would have been the German reaction to simultaneous landings in the north and south of France?

I suspect within days they would have commenced a full organized retreat on both fronts.

The question is, assuming Rommel is still in charge, at what point would they halt this retreat?

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Graniterail » 09 Jan 2017 04:19

Von Schadewald wrote:Overlord and Dragoon were originally timed to be on the same day. ...
Shipping shortages delayed Dragoon IIRC. Is this timelines Dragoon closer to June or August?
Von Schadewald wrote:I suspect within days they would have commenced a full organized retreat on both fronts. ...
Hitler.

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by T. A. Gardner » 09 Jan 2017 16:44

There was a general shortage of LST and shipping to do both simultaneously. That's why one followed the other. Some of the LST used at Normandy had to be transferred to the Med for Dragoon to allow it to happen.

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Kingfish
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 09 Jan 2017 18:11

Another impediment to launching Dragoon earlier was lack of available forces.

All of the allied divisions assigned to Dragoon were heavily engaged in Operations Diadem and Buffalo during May and into June.
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nota
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by nota » 12 Jan 2017 01:32

I still think doing the south of france first would have been better

then ether real world north first or both at once

basically hit the weaker defended area with far better weather in the springtime
that has to draw reserves and supplys from the Atlantic wall

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Sheldrake
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Jan 2017 10:03

nota wrote:I still think doing the south of france first would have been better

then ether real world north first or both at once

basically hit the weaker defended area with far better weather in the springtime
that has to draw reserves and supplys from the Atlantic wall
I see where you are coming from. An operation in advance of Op Overlord would draw German reserves from the Channel Coast.

But the operation could not simply be a raid with two or three divisions. That would simply repeat Dieppe. The force would have to get ashore and stay ashore. It would mean setting up an operation that would engage in intense combat, expending troops and ammunition. That is a good thing, because a battle of attrition sucks in German troops which is the aim, but it would take a lot shipping and naval support - a bad thing is the main effort is in the Channel.

A better idea might be to start the preliminary operation in a theatre where there are significant forces already on land where ammunition and reinforcements have been stockpiled. It might also be a good idea to draw the Germans as far away from Northern France as possible. The Russian Front is a good place, but the Red Army's offensives tend to be "winter" or "Summer" and the ground is inconveniently muddy in spring.

If not Russia, how about half way down Italy? The operations in Italy from January to June 1944 did just that. Operation Shingle, the Anzio landing gave the Germans the opportunity, a false hope, of destroying a landing at the start of the year when the secdond front would take place. They send three divisions to Italy from other fronts and released three formations from OKW reserves in Italy - about 100,000 troops troops and hundreds of tanks to Italy in January 1944. The Op Diadem offensive by 15th Army group led to the collapse of the German front, the fall of Rome on 4th June requiring a and the transfer of German resources to Italy during the week before D day. The battles south of Rome field cost the Germans around 60,000 casualties. Is that the sort of thing you had in mind?

The next blow could be on the Eastern Front perhaps half way through the build up to keep the Wehrmacht busy there.

Then transfer the troops from Italy to France via the Mediteranean ports to reinforce the main effort in the only theatre in the west where the allies could deploy their main force.

Allied strategy worked out pretty well. The ETO, MTO and Eastern Front were connected as far as German resources were concerned!

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Aber » 12 Jan 2017 12:25

Sheldrake wrote: Then transfer the troops from Italy to France via the Mediteranean ports to reinforce the main effort in the only theatre in the west where the allies could deploy their main force.
This bit is arguable - a pursuit to the Alps might have been better.

Then we could have better What Ifs... Swiss join the Allies? :D

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Sheldrake
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Jan 2017 12:27

Aber wrote:
Sheldrake wrote: Then transfer the troops from Italy to France via the Mediteranean ports to reinforce the main effort in the only theatre in the west where the allies could deploy their main force.
This bit is arguable - a pursuit to the Alps might have been better.

Then we could have better What Ifs... Swiss join the Allies? :D
You mean attacking towards the only defensible part Germany's borders?

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Aber » 12 Jan 2017 12:37

Sheldrake wrote:
You mean attacking towards the only defensible part Germany's borders?
Clearing Italy to the Alps allows redeployment of more divisions from Italy than getting stuck on the Apennines. Landing on the southern coast of France is less weather dependent and could be delayed. Not having Patton's Army stretching out to join up with the Dragoon forces might result in a more concentrated attack by Bradley. Of course you don't get a nice tidy continuous line across France as soon. :D

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Kingfish
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 12 Jan 2017 14:06

Aber wrote:Clearing Italy to the Alps allows redeployment of more divisions from Italy than getting stuck on the Apennines.
It took the allies until the spring of '45 to reach the Po river valley, and this within the context of a German collapse on all fronts. Getting to the Alps any quicker than the OTL would require an immense effort on the part of the Allies, and virtually ensuring there would be no landing in Southern France until the new year.

With no 7th AG to count on as flank security Patton would be forced to extend anyway to cover the now exposed flank of 12th AG.
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Sheldrake
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Jan 2017 14:54

Aber wrote:
Sheldrake wrote:
You mean attacking towards the only defensible part Germany's borders?
Clearing Italy to the Alps allows redeployment of more divisions from Italy than getting stuck on the Apennines. Landing on the southern coast of France is less weather dependent and could be delayed. Not having Patton's Army stretching out to join up with the Dragoon forces might result in a more concentrated attack by Bradley. Of course you don't get a nice tidy continuous line across France as soon. :D
Clearing Italy to the Alps is easier stated than achieved. and would have meant maintaining the FEC and VI US Corps in Italy through the Summer of 1944. That would have been at the expense of the main effort in NW Europe.

The Op Overlord assault and battle for Normandy only involved the advance guard of the Allied armies. In August 1944 when the German resistance in France collapsed, there were only around 35 divisions ashore. The seven divisions of the FEC and VI Corps were a 20% increment of fresh troops. Without Op Dragoon the Allies might have got stuck much further west in late 1944.

There would still have been a need to maintain a front on the alps and Yugoslav border. That occupied the whole Italian army in WW2. I don't think the allies could have got away with fewer troops than they had across the Gothic line.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 12 Jan 2017 20:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Gooner1 » 12 Jan 2017 16:54

Kingfish wrote: It took the allies until the spring of '45 to reach the Po river valley, and this within the context of a German collapse on all fronts. Getting to the Alps any quicker than the OTL would require an immense effort on the part of the Allies, and virtually ensuring there would be no landing in Southern France until the new year.
Why until the new year? Without Dragoon 15th Army Group assaults on the Gothic line would not only have more force but would have begun earlier.

Once over the Appenines could the Allies have been stopped anywhere short of the Alps?

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Kingfish
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 12 Jan 2017 17:49

Gooner1 wrote:
Kingfish wrote: Why until the new year? Without Dragoon 15th Army Group assaults on the Gothic line would not only have more force but would have begun earlier.
When the Dragoon force was withdrawn the front line was roughly south of Florence. Even assuming a stronger and speedier advance you still are looking at a major offensive in the Apennines by the fall / winter, and with the forces earmarked for Dragoon.

Beyond that you still have to factor in withdrawal and reorganization of Dragoon, the weather, and assembling the necessary shipping (advancing across the French Alps into the Rhone valley is entirely out of the question)
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Gooner1 » 13 Jan 2017 17:45

Kingfish wrote: When the Dragoon force was withdrawn the front line was roughly south of Florence. Even assuming a stronger and speedier advance you still are looking at a major offensive in the Apennines by the fall / winter, and with the forces earmarked for Dragoon.
In the OTL Operation Olive kicked off at the end of August. This after a fortnights delay to shift much of 8th over to the eastern dorsal of the Apennines. Hardings/Alexanders preferred plan was straight over the mountains in the middle. This probably could have been mounted earlier than Operation Olive.
Since 15th Army Group had more or less broken through the Gothic line before exhaustion and the rain stopped them, an earlier stronger assault ...
Beyond that you still have to factor in withdrawal and reorganization of Dragoon, the weather, and assembling the necessary shipping (advancing across the French Alps into the Rhone valley is entirely out of the question)
Why withdraw divisions for a later Dragoon? There are enough new, freshly-packed divisions arriving from the States that the logistically stretched armies in the NWE Campaign would struggle to use.

Edit. Though of course the French corps would go.

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Kingfish
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 13 Jan 2017 20:52

Gooner1 wrote:Since 15th Army Group had more or less broken through the Gothic line before exhaustion and the rain stopped them, an earlier stronger assault ...
...would more than likely carry the allies across the Apennines before the rains kick in, but then what?
You now have an exhausted force standing before the Alps with the Italian winter fast approaching. The prudent thing to do is wind down operations and regroup for a Spring offensive.
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