Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑
15 Oct 2020 05:43
Op JUBILEE was also in part directed at the fortified beaches directly defending the port, and in part it was directed at lightly defended beaches nearby. Take a look at where the losses and failures in the attack were. Its been understood since at least Roman times, possibly since Sumerian times, that you don't attack a defended port from the sea. Landing at nearby and lightly defended points on the coast and attacking the port from the landward side is the textbook solution. Precisely why Operation JUBILIEE was aimed at the port directly is beyond me. It appears the Brits had forgotten 500+ years of their experience at littoral warfare.
This is more Monday morning quarterbacking applying 20/20 hindsight.
It is dangerous to make sweeping generalisations about the rules of war. While the nature of war may endure, the characteristics of a particular war mean that the rules change. Ask the French about 1940. The rules they learned in 1918 did not apply in 1940. Throughout history successful armies have tested the extent to which the rules flex. At various times it had been possible to seize a port from the sea. The Dutch raid on the naval base in the Medway in 1667 worked pretty well. (The stern of the Royal Charles is in the Rijkmusuem) So did the British attack on Copenhagen in 1807. The Germans seized Norwegian ports from the sea in 1940 and Macarthur's landings at Inchon in 1950 worked.
The apparent success of Commando operations in 1941-42 at Vaasgo, the Lofoten Islands and most recently St Nazaire raised the possibility that it was possible to launch large scale coup de main attacks and achieve tactical surprise. This was the only way that the allies could launch a large scale landing in 1942. They did not have the armada of floating gun boats to shoot their way in.
The nature of C20th warfare meant that a port was needed PDQ after making a landing. Armies of older times did not need to be attached to the umbilical cord of the logistic services with its conveyor belt of men and munitions. The cross channel assault into France would meet the might of the German army pretty soon after landing. This wasn't an excursion into a side show at the extremity of the European rail system in Italy or the reduction of an isolated Japanese island garrison.
The attack on Dieppe included attacks on supposedly more lightly defended beaches on either side of the port itself as well as the assault on the beaches on the sea front.
Bottom line is the tactical and operational problem of landing in 1942 or or 1943 was significantly different from what developed on the French coast after Hitler endorsed Rommels beach defense strategy in January 1944.
The allied Op Overlord plans were based on the defences before Rommel's six months dash to win the war on D Day. Rommel strengthened the beach defences a bit. Adding additional troops and more concrete. But not enough to alter the outcome.
Re sweeping statements: Von Rundstedt's staff carried out an appreciation in autumn 1943 that it was impossible to prevent a crossing, baaed on their study of hundreds of years of history. Rommel's failure and the allied success on D Day did nothing to challenge that interpretation of history.