Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

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Kingfish
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 17 Jan 2017 16:06

Gooner1 wrote:
Kingfish wrote: What is in dispute it whether the followup can be achieved before the weather shuts everything down for the winter.
Why does that matter though? The Allied armies in NWE/ETO were stuck on the fringes of the Reich until Spring '45 themselves.
See my previous post.

To justify an 'Alps before Dragoon' strategy one would have to show the benefits outweigh the OTL. Just rolling up to the Alps would not suffice, even when you factor in the loss to arms / food supply to the Reich.
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Gooner1 » 17 Jan 2017 17:07

Kingfish wrote: See my previous post.

To justify an 'Alps before Dragoon' strategy one would have to show the benefits outweigh the OTL. Just rolling up to the Alps would not suffice, even when you factor in the loss to arms / food supply to the Reich.
Surely that works in reverse too?

I don't think its a case of no Dragoon though, its a question of whether the divisions for Dragoon should have been pulled from an active theatre - and a strategically important one at that - where things were currently going very well just to open up another front when there are a whole stack of US divisions en route to Europe.

I make it fourteen US divisions leaving the States for Europe just in August and September 1944 of which just one went to Italy.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 17 Jan 2017 18:35

Gooner1 wrote:I don't think its a case of no Dragoon though, its a question of whether the divisions for Dragoon should have been pulled from an active theatre - and a strategically important one at that - where things were currently going very well just to open up another front when there are a whole stack of US divisions en route to Europe.

I make it fourteen US divisions leaving the States for Europe just in August and September 1944 of which just one went to Italy.
I don't think one could simply pencil one of these new arrivals in place of the original Dragoon force.

Dragoon was the fourth amphib Op for 3rd ID, and the other two divisions had one each under their belt. Even the green divisions of Overlord had some amphib training. I don't think the same could be said for the new arrivals.
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Jan 2017 01:57

Kingfish wrote:
Gooner1 wrote:...

Dragoon was the fourth amphib Op for 3rd ID, and the other two divisions had one each under their belt. Even the green divisions of Overlord had some amphib training. I don't think the same could be said for the new arrivals.
Most received a week long orientation course during the divisions initial work up. It was decided to drop that from the program sometime in later 1943 as it was thought the last series of infantry divisions would not need it. Cant recall exactly where the cut off was.

In the case of the 1st, 3rd, 9th & one or two others they were part of 'Fleet Amphibious Forces' along with the 1st Marine Division during 1941 and early 1942. As part of that group they underwent numerous amhib. exercises. So the experience of the 3rd ID had depth beyond the four previous combat landings.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Jan 2017 02:54

Aber wrote:...

And what did the 6th Army Group contribute to the Ruhr, THE major target?

...
Aside from securing the industrial cities along the upper Rhine & beyond in 1945 the role was supporting the 12th AG & securing several enabling objectives useful or essential in getting at the Ruhr.

1. Opened the Marsailles port group

2. Opened transportation corridor to east central France, the upper Rhine.

Both those were essential for bringing the full weight of Allied force against Germany. The Allies found their expectations for opening the French Atlantic ports unrealized and the restoration of the Franco Belgian transport system lagging far behind events.

3. As of 1 Oct 44 the 9 divisions of the 6th AG represented 30% of the division slice of all three Allied AG on the German frontier.

Consider if the 12th & 21st AG had to cover the entire front from the Scheldt to Switzerland. Without the Marsailles port group its a lot tougher to support 30+ divisions on the battle front at the end of the summer.

4. The southern port group were more efficient for moving ground combat and support forces from the Mediterranean. & moving those in the Med was more efficient than moving them from the US. Far less time per ton of ship capacity moved.

Consider not having the south ports of France operational in October 1944 & the German Army Group G still intact? Either Allies can screen their right & operate through the winter with a quarter less port capacity, & the ability to support that much less ground and air forces in France. Or, they can halt closing up to the German frontier and send a army off marching away from the Ruhr to secure more ports on the Atlantic and Med coasts. How long does it take to accomplish that, and how much longer to bring the Allied ground forces west Europe to the 50+ divisions needed to invade Germany?

From 1 March 1945 the 6th AG covered the flank of 12 AG on tis envelopment of the Ruhr, overran the industry of the upper Rhine, and beat down the German army facing it. Its difficult to see the 12th AG advancing as fast or sure as it did into Germany with only a light screening force deployed between it and Switzerland.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Sheldrake » 18 Jan 2017 09:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Kingfish wrote:
Gooner1 wrote:...

Dragoon was the fourth amphib Op for 3rd ID, and the other two divisions had one each under their belt. Even the green divisions of Overlord had some amphib training. I don't think the same could be said for the new arrivals.
Most received a week long orientation course during the divisions initial work up. It was decided to drop that from the program sometime in later 1943 as it was thought the last series of infantry divisions would not need it. Cant recall exactly where the cut off was.

In the case of the 1st, 3rd, 9th & one or two others they were part of 'Fleet Amphibious Forces' along with the 1st Marine Division during 1941 and early 1942. As part of that group they underwent numerous amhib. exercises. So the experience of the 3rd ID had depth beyond the four previous combat landings.
There are two issues in preparing for an assault landing. You have mentioned training, but this is only part of the problem, and not the one that exercised the staff.

The divisions shipped from the USA to Europe in September 1944 were part of the build up of the forces already established ashore. They were neither assault formations, not follow up formations, as defined by allied combined arms (amphibious) planners. If you want to move a formation by ship from the USA to Europe the most efficient way is to load men and vehicles in the way that makes best use of shipping space. Maybe load the soldiers onto a passenger liner and their equipment on a freighter. If they need to fight a battle when they reach their destination, the ships needed to be loaded in the way that allows the troops to disembark in the right order with their equipment. IRRC it takes 2-3 times as much shipping to move a force "combat loaded." If they need to land on a beach, then all the vehicles need top be waterproofed and the troops transferred to landing craft or landing ships. If they need to fight to establish a beachhead, then the formation needs to be re-organised to strip out everyone and anything not needed on the initial assault.

Amphibious training involves more than drivers learning not to stall vehicles if when water reaches their crotch on a wet landing! If troops need to fight their way ashore and inland they need to have practised for the assault with the teams in which they will make the assault. They will need to learn how to use the naval artillery and air force support in lieu of their own artillery. Formations staffs will need to know how to plan, organise and manage an assault landing. Tghe intention is to avoid the situation where a unit lands on assault beach carrying their kit/ musette bags of spare and no clue about their role as happened to some soldiers from the 45th Division in Sicily.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 18 Jan 2017 16:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Gooner1 » 18 Jan 2017 10:50

Kingfish wrote: Dragoon was the fourth amphib Op for 3rd ID, and the other two divisions had one each under their belt. Even the green divisions of Overlord had some amphib training. I don't think the same could be said for the new arrivals.
Indeed. Pencil in a mid-October date for 'Light Dragoon' and the new divisions could have a month - 6 weeks amphib training on Corsica. By all means take one experienced division from Italy but importantly, after the breakthroughs on other fronts, German resistance in the South of France is likely to be weak to non-existent, the spearhead landing forces will be the parachute and special service troops and the crews of the landing craft & ships are all now veterans at their trade. A certain lack of experience and training among the bulk of the invasion forces would not be something to get unduly alarmed about.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Aber » 18 Jan 2017 16:38

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Aber wrote:...

And what did the 6th Army Group contribute to the Ruhr, THE major target?

...
Consider if the 12th & 21st AG had to cover the entire front from the Scheldt to Switzerland. Without the Marsailles port group its a lot tougher to support 30+ divisions on the battle front at the end of the summer.
See below from Crusade in Europe:
Eisenhower%20campaign%20plan.jpg
This is of course not a realistic view of OTL, but Eisenhower's justification for Dragoon post-war. :D

I have a problem with a number of the arguments used for justifying Dragoon at the strategic level eg

Concentrating forces against Germany - may be true at the strategic level (but who were they fighting in Italy?), but they then became part of the broad front, rather than helping concentration against the Ruhr, the key target for the 1944 campaign.

Opening ports - again partly true, but then those ports were used to support the invading Army, and so made little difference to 21st and 12th Army Groups. IIRC the supply line of 1 Corps of 3rd Army was switched over, but it would not have been so far away from the ports in Northern France unless it was pushed East to join up with 6th Army Group.
From 1 March 1945 the 6th AG covered the flank of 12 AG on tis envelopment of the Ruhr, overran the industry of the upper Rhine, and beat down the German army facing it. Its difficult to see the 12th AG advancing as fast or sure as it did into Germany with only a light screening force deployed between it and Switzerland.
I'm not arguing against moving forces to France, just against moving them in the middle of the Italian summer. Army Group G was not a significant threat post D-day as many of its divisions were static fortress ones, with just 1 weak panzer division IIRC.
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 18 Jan 2017 20:05

Aber wrote:Concentrating forces against Germany - may be true at the strategic level (but who were they fighting in Italy?), but they then became part of the broad front, rather than helping concentration against the Ruhr, the key target for the 1944 campaign.
The broad front deployment was unavoidable given that 6th AGs logistics stretched down to the French Riviera.
Opening ports - again partly true, but then those ports were used to support the invading Army, and so made little difference to 21st and 12th Army Groups.
It made a difference in that it supplied the forces that allowed the 12th and 21st to concentrate its efforts where it counted.
Absent those ports 6th AG would have drawn from the same source as 12th and 21st, which as history showed was inadequate.
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Aber » 18 Jan 2017 21:40

The point of the posted map was to show that the 6th Army Group, and a continuous front to Switzerland, were not critical to the actions of 12th and 21st Army Group. And the ports in Southern France were important for 6th Army Group and not to the others.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Sheldrake » 18 Jan 2017 21:50

Aber wrote:The point of the posted map was to show that the 6th Army Group, and a continuous front to Switzerland, were not critical to the actions of 12th and 21st Army Group. And the ports in Southern France were important for 6th Army Group and not to the others.
The planning assumptions made by the Joint Chief of staffs when they ordered Eisenhower to undertake the liberation of north West Europe were based on building a 100 division force through a beachhead established by the 30 Division advance guard under Montgomery's land command. They thought it would take around 100 divisions to defeat the German army in the West.

In the event infantry losses were so high that the forces they hoped to deploy through the Overlord beachead and ports were heavily depleted, e.g. the 106th Division robbed of its trained soldiers. The 6th Army Group brought about 20 divisions to the theatre and opened Marseilles as a deep water port and better rail communications thanks to the limited damage to the railway network in the Rhone valley.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 19 Jan 2017 03:19

Aber wrote:The point of the posted map was to show that the 6th Army Group, and a continuous front to Switzerland, were not critical to the actions of 12th and 21st Army Group. And the ports in Southern France were important for 6th Army Group and not to the others.
Not critical?
Did you read the main caption on the map?
This composite of eight planning maps, prepared in the spring of 1944 at SHAEF, shows the constricted and tedious campaign that would have been required for the liberation of France without the support of Anvil-Dragoon, driving up from the southern coast. Compelled to maintain a long defensive line south of the Loire, the allies would have been restricted to local offensives against the Germans
According to the map by D+120 the allies would have required 9 divisions on purely defensive assignment on the Loire.
That's the strength of US third army for the Lorraine campaign.

How does that support the notion that a delayed Dragoon actually facilitates the release of more divisions into the NWE Theater?
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Jan 2017 08:53

I've been hesitating about commenting on this one, but...
Kingfish wrote:Not critical?
Very critical. One out of every four tons of supplies landed in Europe by U.S. forces came in by SOLOC ports as did one in four men.

15,272,412 long tons of cargo (exclusive of POL and vehicles) and 3,702,180 personnel landed in Europe. SOLOC ports handled 4,123,794 and 905,512 personnel. Antwerp landed 2,658,000 tons, but only 333 personnel. It was also important for POL delivery; Port-En-Bouc (a satellite of Marseilles) landed 162,245 tons of bulk POL in March 1945 alone. Given the final average daily POL consumption for a "divisional slice" was 182.1 tons that's enough to support 28.7 divisions for the month.

The 22 September transfer of XV Corps with 2d French AD and 79th ID to 6th AG followed Devers announcement he could support three extra divisions. That allowed Patton and Third Army to continue the advance with XII and XX Corps, while keeping XV Corps operational. Otherwise, the corps and divisions would have been grounded like many other allied divisions were at the time.

Meanwhile, the idea ignores the simple fact that the shipping wasn't available to execute NEPTUNE and DRAGOON simultaneously. Not only LST, but AP, LCT, and LCI (L) used in NEPTUNE also were used in DRAGOON. Furthermore, there simply wasn't sufficient space to house the forces required in the Med...quite a bit of the buildup in England was constructing covered storage and semi-permanent housing for the 19-odd American divisions in England. The only possibility would have been to ship them through the Straits from England, which would have meant a ship-to-shore assault; I'm not even sure the LCT and LCI (L) could have done it.
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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Aber » 19 Jan 2017 22:40

Kingfish wrote:
Aber wrote:The point of the posted map was to show that the 6th Army Group, and a continuous front to Switzerland, were not critical to the actions of 12th and 21st Army Group. And the ports in Southern France were important for 6th Army Group and not to the others.
Not critical?
Did you read the main caption on the map?
This composite of eight planning maps, prepared in the spring of 1944 at SHAEF, shows the constricted and tedious campaign that would have been required for the liberation of France without the support of Anvil-Dragoon, driving up from the southern coast. Compelled to maintain a long defensive line south of the Loire, the allies would have been restricted to local offensives against the Germans
Yes I did read it, but this is Eisenhower's post-war riposte to those like Mark Clark claiming that a continuation of the Italian campaign (and no Dragoon) would have lead to the capture of Vienna, a shorter war and a better position vs Soviet Union.

The map doesn't make complete sense on its own terms - how and where is the threat from south of the Loire to come from, and be supplied?

What it does show is that a thrust towards the Ruhr with a subsidiary thrust towards the Saar does not have to reach the Swiss border.

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Re: Overlord and Dragoon land on the same day

Post by Kingfish » 20 Jan 2017 13:05

Aber wrote:The map doesn't make complete sense on its own terms - how and where is the threat from south of the Loire to come from, and be supplied?
No matter, you still have an open flank several hundred miles long that continues to grow as the Allies push east.

Even if the flank guard follows the main advance you still have to ensure it stretches far enough back that your LOCs aren't threatened.
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