USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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Tom from Cornwall
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 14 Oct 2020 19:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 03:44
(edited to reflect mis-dating of Churchill's message to Australia)
What mis-dating of Churchill's message - it was dated 2 Dec 42. As I posted. :D

You might also want to see Churchill's earlier messages about returning the 6th and 7th Australian Divisions to Australia and the impact that had on Allied shipping problems in the first half of 1942.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 14 Oct 2020 21:08

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
14 Oct 2020 19:45
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 03:44
(edited to reflect mis-dating of Churchill's message to Australia)
What mis-dating of Churchill's message - it was dated 2 Dec 42. As I posted. :D

You might also want to see Churchill's earlier messages about returning the 6th and 7th Australian Divisions to Australia and the impact that had on Allied shipping problems in the first half of 1942.

Regards

Tom
The mis-dating was on Mr. Marcks part, not yours. He tried to dismiss Mr. Kenny's response as irrelevant(altough, it was completely relevant & correct), but had transposed the dates( his immediate post-Midway was late-42 & Churchill's message was mid-42).

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 14 Oct 2020 21:20

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 15:18

These facts still reflect an underlying strategy that was not committed to fighting in Europe as an urgent priority - especially on the British side: Torch tied up three British carriers, Torch was a diversion from a focus on landing in France ASAP.
That is the flaw in your argument Mr. Marcks.

The premise is "Germany first", not "Europe first". Further, it is not "France ASAP", but "fighting Germany where the Wallies have a reasonable chance of success." it does no good to land in France, if you are going to be bloodily defeated and kicked back off the continent. Hence the debate of an earlier "D-Day" is hotly contested these many decades after the fact.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Oct 2020 21:58

Tom from Cornwall wrote:What mis-dating of Churchill's message - it was dated 2 Dec 42. As I posted
Yep and I mistakenly transposed the date, thinking that message came around the time of the others you excerpted.

Image
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Do you mean British Far East strategy as articulated in early 1941
Once again, a strategy is judged by whether it achieves national/coalition goals. Whichever version of strategy one considers in effect - and there is always room to debate which was actually in effect - that strategy failed spectacularly, leading to what Churchill called the greatest defeat in the Empire's history.
Takao wrote:it does no good to land in France, if you are going to be bloodily defeated and kicked back off the continent.
It's debatable whether a landing in France OTL was doomed.

But once again this is an ATL involving greater US focus on the army and on Europe. That available AGF was so weak in '42/'43 traces back to strategic decisions made no later than 1941, when the US committed enormous resources to bombers and less to ground forces.

Whether a landing stronger than OTL Sledgehammer/Roundup plans would succeed is also debatable. The point of the ATL is to prompt that debate but folks don't seem willing even to consider the possibility.

As I said upthread in a post supported primary quotations about army vs. airpower orientation: "The unnecessarily long time it took to crush Nazism, the lives unnecessarily lost as a result, trace not to 1942 decisions about Torch/Sledgehammer but to these earlier political-strategic constraints." viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&start=195#p2296682
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by David Thompson » 14 Oct 2020 23:21

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 14 Oct 2020 23:38

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 21:58

It's debatable whether a landing in France OTL was doomed.

But once again this is an ATL involving greater US focus on the army and on Europe. That available AGF was so weak in '42/'43 traces back to strategic decisions made no later than 1941, when the US committed enormous resources to bombers and less to ground forces.

Whether a landing stronger than OTL Sledgehammer/Roundup plans would succeed is also debatable. The point of the ATL is to prompt that debate but folks don't seem willing even to consider the possibility.

As I said upthread in a post supported primary quotations about army vs. airpower orientation: "The unnecessarily long time it took to crush Nazism, the lives unnecessarily lost as a result, trace not to 1942 decisions about Torch/Sledgehammer but to these earlier political-strategic constraints." viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&start=195#p2296682
What the Allies ultimately bring to Roundup or Sledgehammer is meaningless with out first looking at German defenses to see what might be a minimum requirement for a successful assault and going on from there. Then, there is the experience of the troops - not just combat, but amphibious assault(as the Allies had very little in the way of making opposed amphibious assaults.) Operation Torch had many faults and failures, it's saving grace was that it was against poorly prepared French troops. The Amphibious failures could have easily doomed Roundup or Sledgehammer if the Germans are reasonably prepared.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Oct 2020 00:45

Takao wrote:
14 Oct 2020 23:38
The Amphibious failures could have easily doomed Roundup or Sledgehammer if the Germans are reasonably prepared.
The Dieppe raid demonstrated that the Germans were more than reasonably prepared in 1942 to defeat an assault mounted using the allied techniques of 1942.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 15 Oct 2020 01:08

Sheldrake wrote:
15 Oct 2020 00:45
Takao wrote:
14 Oct 2020 23:38
The Amphibious failures could have easily doomed Roundup or Sledgehammer if the Germans are reasonably prepared.
The Dieppe raid demonstrated that the Germans were more than reasonably prepared in 1942 to defeat an assault mounted using the allied techniques of 1942.
To a point, but only to a point, considering Dieppe was a small scale assault.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 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.

A second point is German strategy up to the appointment of Rommel o Army Group command (January 1943) was to not defend the beaches or coast. Rundsteadts plan, following that of his predecessors, was to have garrisons hole up on the ports and deny those to the enemy along as possible. Reserves held well inland would move to the invaders coastal enclave and counter attack. This meant the beaches of Flanders, Pas de Calais, Normandy, and Brittany, or the Rivera, were defended by what amounted to a outpost line from 1941 through 1943. ie: The Madeline sector, what was later known as UTAH Beach, was in 1942 covered by a companies worth of platoon positions of logs and sandbags. The Italians had concocted a more substantial defense along the Sicilian coast in 1943. In October 1942 the entire Cotientin peninsula was defended by a single understrength infantry division. Its mission was to screen and defend Cherbourg, not to defend beaches. The sprinkling of infantry platoons were primarily to telephone in the fact of invasion and fire a few MG or mortar rounds, then withdrawn to their battalion somewhere inland.

This was the strategy used by Kesselring for covering his flanks on the Italian peninsula. A very light screen of outposts guarded the likely landing sites, and a large reserve was maintained inland.

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.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Aber » 15 Oct 2020 08:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Oct 2020 21:58
Whether a landing stronger than OTL Sledgehammer/Roundup plans would succeed is also debatable.
Which plans and when?

IIRC Marshall's plan in April 1942 was to have 30 US divisions in the UK by 1 April 1943. Reality was somewhat different. As was posted earlier at length, getting US divisions to the UK has a huge list of prerequisites that were not fully understood when the US entered the war.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Oct 2020 08:54

Takao wrote:
15 Oct 2020 01:08
Sheldrake wrote:
15 Oct 2020 00:45
Takao wrote:
14 Oct 2020 23:38
The Amphibious failures could have easily doomed Roundup or Sledgehammer if the Germans are reasonably prepared.
The Dieppe raid demonstrated that the Germans were more than reasonably prepared in 1942 to defeat an assault mounted using the allied techniques of 1942.
To a point, but only to a point, considering Dieppe was a small scale assault.
It was the smallest scale (division plus) that would serve as an example of what might happen to a large scale assault. More numbers either follow up waves or at a different location would have been likely to have suffered the same fate.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Oct 2020 09:09

Carl Schwamberger wrote: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 expression "Bottom line" derives from profit/loss financial statements. Just as those statements tell us the cash payout rather than how profit was achieved, so I'd ask what is the "cash payout" of different tactical/operational doctrines, rather than a description of those doctrines.

I.e. which doctrine was more or less favorable to the W.Allies in this ATL - in your opinion? If there's no clear cash payout measured by ATL Sledgehammer/Roundup's chances of success, then I'd suggest the doctrinal distinctions don't relate to the issues being analyzed (W.Allied chances in an ATL '42/'43 landing).

My intuition is that Rommel's doctrine is more appropriate when the odds are long, Rundstedt's when the odds are shorter. Rommel seems to have rightly intuited that a massacre on the beaches was the only way to delay/forestall German defeat. In my ATL the same strategic picture holds as the W.Allies aren't gun-shy and therefore aren't reliant on blood-cheap military strategies: they come with a big, strong army instead of a blood-cheap and expensive strategic bombing force (note that blood-cheap isn't an aspersion against individual American heroism. One of my favorite family members somehow survived >20 B-17 missions over Germany and was exceptionally courageous. At a political level, however, the US was gun-shy.). To assert that Rommel's strategy would have been adopted earlier, however, requires that Rundstedt and/or Hitler/OKH/OKW recognize their peril earlier. Otherwise there's no reason to suppose that the Rommel doctrine comes earlier.

But as you haven't made an argument yet regarding which doctrine is more/less favorable to the W.Allies, I'll withhold final judgment for your fuller articulation.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 15 Oct 2020 09:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Oct 2020 09:27

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.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 15 Oct 2020 11:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Oct 2020 09:34

Sheldrake wrote: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, based 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.
Thanks and I agree with basically all of these statements. German defeat was far overdetermined by OTL June '44; Germany's most luminous Conqueror-of-Useless-Sand couldn't change that.

As formulated far upthread, my ATL assumes '43 defenses as strong as OTL '44 (I am aware that is a generous assumption) and argues that the W.Allies could have been stronger than in OTL D-Day. The success of a W.Allied landing in '43 - especially after incorporating my ATL conditions - seems overdetermined.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Gooner1 » 15 Oct 2020 10:51

Aber wrote:
15 Oct 2020 08:04
Which plans and when?
Operation Skyscraper was the codename of the invasion plan prepared by Bernard Paget, CinC Home Forces, and staff and sent to the Chiefs of Staff late March 1943.
In it: "The study 'Selection of Assault Areas for a Major Operation in North West Europe' has left a choice of one area only; the Caen beaches, plus the East beaches of the Cotentin Peninsula."
From 'The Crusading General'

"His assessment of the troops required was equally definite, and his plan envisaged:
a. Ten divisions afloat, of which three are required to seize and open Cherbourg.
b. Three divisions for the assault on D-Day plus two more on D plus 1.
c. Four follow-up divisions, two landing on D-Day and two on D plus 1.
d. Four to five airborne divisions."

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