Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Mar 2021 20:13

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Mar 2021 18:33
Hi Guys,

I was just looking at the US forces used in the initial landings in the Mediterranean from July 1943. By a quick calculation:

In Sicily, the US landed three divisions with previous combat experience and one without.

In the invasion of Italy, at Anzio and in the south of France all the US divisions initially landed by sea had previous combat experience.

Cheers,

Sid.
For HUSKY, are you counting 2nd Armored, 1st, 3rd, and the 82nd, or just the first three? Some of the 82nd went in by air, some by sea, of course.

For AVALANCHE, I'd say yes for the 45th, but no for the 36th. Also have to consider the elements of the 82nd that were committed.

The US element of the SHINGLE assault force was the 3rd, so yes; for DRAGOON, 3rd, 36th, and 45th were all experienced, as well as some elements of the 1st ATF (depending on how one categorizes the 1st SSF, which went in by sea).

For NEPTUNE/OVERLORD, all four US "veteran" divisions (1st, 9th, 2nd Armored, and 82nd Airborne) had combat experience as divisions.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Mar 2021 23:42

daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 17:30
Well, given the state of the Allied experience of coalition warfare in Q4 1942, some of the decisions that were made (US assault troops in British assault shipping with a British covering force, landing as part of a joint Anglo-American composite division deep inside the Med, etc) I think the Americans were right to insist on Morocco. They'd seen the allies shown off "continental" beachheads in the greater ETO three times already in 1940-41, after all.

Only f you believe the Spanish will intervene, & in retrospect we know they would not. I've seen claims the Brits understood this. If so then they did a poor job of dissuading the Yanks. Perhaps they did not think the US I Corps was of any value anyway :lol:
If the conops had been a US corps (ideally, Patton's amphibious corps headquarters, reinforced) in Morocco, and a British corps (Crocker? Allfrey?, also reinforced) in eastern Algeria, with a floating reserve and heavy escort for Tunisia ready and at sea, seems like the end result could well have been better than the reality.
That sort of escort was not available. Four months earlier the Brits had carriers put out of action and a flotilla of cruisers, as well as a half dozen cargo ships sunk in Op PEDESTAL. They weren't in the mood to lose another carrier & a dozen other ships while hovering over a landing operation at Bone. On 11 & 12 November while hovering over the landing at Bougie, 220 km west of Bone, the Allies lost three transports, a cruiser, and had the Monitor Roberts damaged. When the Brit advanced guards reached Bone a flotilla of transports followed & saw themselves and the port repeatedly bombed. The Brit concerns about Axis air attacks on a amphib fleet reading Bone 9 November seem more justified than the US fears of the Spaniards. Would seizing Bone been worth the loss of a dozen cargo and warships? Only if it means Bizerte or Tunis is in Allied hands a week or two later & not the Axis. Fail at that & it looks like a bad job.

Note that the Brits expected to cover the operations east of Algiers with a couple groups of Spitfires, but a failure to deliver fuel to the Djidjelli airfield grounded them. There was also the expectation the two battalions Allied paratroops would have seized the Tunis airfield by 12 November. It seems the First Army staff and commander had something to learn about combat operations as well. A pity such a air borne operation was beyond them. The French garrison commander of Tunis was willing to fight and was still close enough to the city to worry the Axis.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Mar 2021 00:23

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Mar 2021 23:42
daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 17:30
Well, given the state of the Allied experience of coalition warfare in Q4 1942, some of the decisions that were made (US assault troops in British assault shipping with a British covering force, landing as part of a joint Anglo-American composite division deep inside the Med, etc) I think the Americans were right to insist on Morocco. They'd seen the allies shown off "continental" beachheads in the greater ETO three times already in 1940-41, after all.

Only f you believe the Spanish will intervene, & in retrospect we know they would not. I've seen claims the Brits understood this. If so then they did a poor job of dissuading the Yanks. Perhaps they did not think the US I Corps was of any value anyway :lol:
If the conops had been a US corps (ideally, Patton's amphibious corps headquarters, reinforced) in Morocco, and a British corps (Crocker? Allfrey?, also reinforced) in eastern Algeria, with a floating reserve and heavy escort for Tunisia ready and at sea, seems like the end result could well have been better than the reality.
That sort of escort was not available. Four months earlier the Brits had carriers put out of action and a flotilla of cruisers, as well as a half dozen cargo ships sunk in Op PEDESTAL. They weren't in the mood to lose another carrier & a dozen other ships while hovering over a landing operation at Bone. On 11 & 12 November while hovering over the landing at Bougie, 220 km west of Bone, the Allies lost three transports, a cruiser, and had the Monitor Roberts damaged. When the Brit advanced guards reached Bone a flotilla of transports followed & saw themselves and the port repeatedly bombed. The Brit concerns about Axis air attacks on a amphib fleet reading Bone 9 November seem more justified than the US fears of the Spaniards. Would seizing Bone been worth the loss of a dozen cargo and warships? Only if it means Bizerte or Tunis is in Allied hands a week or two later & not the Axis. Fail at that & it looks like a bad job.

Note that the Brits expected to cover the operations east of Algiers with a couple groups of Spitfires, but a failure to deliver fuel to the Djidjelli airfield grounded them. There was also the expectation the two battalions Allied paratroops would have seized the Tunis airfield by 12 November. It seems the First Army staff and commander had something to learn about combat operations as well. A pity such a air borne operation was beyond them. The French garrison commander of Tunis was willing to fight and was still close enough to the city to worry the Axis.
Fair; all in all. given the unliklihood of getting to Tunis in strength and absent Esteva fighting it out to prevent an Axis entry into Tunis and Bizerte with his own resources, seems unlikely there was much chance of getting into the northern Tunisian ports before the Axis did...

Which raises the question of whether Esteva, with 12,000 French and colonial troops, could have held the airfields and ports against what was, at best, an airlift of (initially) a few thousand light infantry from Sicily. If not, then expecting the Allies to manage to do so with an understrength mixed motorized brigade and (perhaps) a battalion or so of airborne infantry seems questionable.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Mar 2021 00:59

daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 17:43

Alexander and Montgomery had other responsibilities at the time, however; I've always wondered about James Gammel, who appears to have been well-regarded by all of his superiors (from Auchinleck to Montgomery to Wilson to Alexander), served as chief of staff to SACMED under Wilson and Alexander, and yet never got an operational command outside of the UK.

Kind of like Archibald Nye; as significant as both men's careers were, one wonders if they would have been better in operational commands than some of those who did receive them. Nye, as a mustang (or whatever the British equivalent is) might very well have been just the individual to work with the Americans, for example.
I had to look up Gammel. He and Nye were both very bright chaps with Nye's law degree a professional qualification beyond those normal for soldiers. This may have marked them down as "staff" rather than "command". The British Army has never created a Great General Staff in the Prussian style, but it needs really really good staff officers in key roles. Nye was Brooke's right hand man. Brook was fighting the war - and keeping a cjeck on WSC while Nye ran the Army.

Gammel spend much of WW1 as a staff officer, but was in command and staff roles in WW2. He seemed to be on track until Ex Spartan. Poor performance cost McNaughton his job. I wonder if Gammel failed to rise to the occasion too? His next move was in a senior staff role.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2021 01:45

daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 20:13
For NEPTUNE/OVERLORD, all four US "veteran" divisions (1st, 9th, 2nd Armored, and 82nd Airborne) had combat experience as divisions.
The 9th ID Did three days of fighting in Morocco. Then had its artillery only fighting at Thasala, supporting other divisions units for three days n March, at the tail end of the Axis offensive. Then 11 more days around Maknassy & el Guettar In April it fought another week in the final battle to break the German defense before Bizerte. About a months combat experience accumulated in six months.

The 2d Armored had some detached battalions fight the French for three days in Morroco, then landed in the follow up to Op HUSKY it fought Italian militia for another two weeks. Then it was packed off to the UK.

The 82 AB had a couple battalions engaged for a few days in Tunis, then its combat jump into Sicilly where it fought a few more days until withdrawn into reserve. Two combat teams jumped into the Salerno bridgehead & fought for the remainder of that battle under the 45th Div HQ.

The 1st ID Accumulated a respectable three months worth of fighting experience in Algeria and Tunisia. Then fought the entire Sicilian campaign. Call it four months.

Two other US divisions the 85th & 88th had few weeks combat in Italy as part of Op DIADEM. Adding it up it looks like in two and a half years a bit over 10% of the US ground combat divisions had experience vs the Germans or Italians, half averaging six weeks or less. Also managed to accumulate Four corps commanders, six if the two relieved generals are counted. Two more were drawn from the PTO veterans. Three army commanders were also given experience. Like I observed early it doesn't look like all the AARs & other report returned to the US were very effective in transferring combat experiences. Neither was there more than a token exchange of veteran cadre between the experienced formations & rookies in the US. McNair did visit the ETO in early 1943, and got himself wounded by a rifle or MG round. Eighteen months later he violated orders a second time & got himself killed, so no lesson learned there.

Lt Gen Patch won the veteran lottery. His three divisions in the assault on S France had by then near a years worth combat experience.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by LineDoggie » 14 Mar 2021 02:01

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Mar 2021 01:45
daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 20:13
For NEPTUNE/OVERLORD, all four US "veteran" divisions (1st, 9th, 2nd Armored, and 82nd Airborne) had combat experience as divisions.
The 9th ID Did three days of fighting in Morocco. Then had its artillery only fighting at Thasala, supporting other divisions units for three days n March, at the tail end of the Axis offensive. Then 11 more days around Maknassy & el Guettar In April it fought another week in the final battle to break the German defense before Bizerte. About a months combat experience accumulated in six months.

The 2d Armored had some detached battalions fight the French for three days in Morroco, then landed in the follow up to Op HUSKY it fought Italian militia for another two weeks. Then it was packed off to the UK.
Does Italian Militia have Semovente da 90/53? because 2AD ran into some on Sicily and lost at least 1 M4A1 to a direct hit on the 75mm Barrel which broke the commanders arm (Captain Norris Perkins)

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Norris H. Perkins, II, Captain (Armor), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, in action against enemy forces on 12 July 1943, just North of Canicatti, province of Agrigento in Sicily, Italy.

Captain Perkins, mounted in a tank, was engaging ... and ... anti-tank guns, the enemy at the time having fire superiority. Captain Perkins was engaged in extracting a jammed round from his 75-mm. tank gun when the gun received a direct hit, resulting in breaking and crushing Captain Perkins' left forearm. He and his tank crew left the disabled tank, but he remained on the battlefield directing the operations of his other tanks, on foot and under heavy enemy fire. He did not leave the battlefield until forcibly taken away by a medical officer. This outstanding act of heroism was an inspiration to everyone who saw him, and his actions contributed greatly to the success of his unit in that battle. Captain Perkins' intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 2d Armored Division, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, Seventh U.S. Army, General Orders No. 24 (1943).


Kind of odd that Militia would have the heaviest Anti Tank vehicle in the entire Italian Army
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2021 02:05

daveshoup2MD wrote:
14 Mar 2021 00:23
... Which raises the question of whether Esteva, with 12,000 French and colonial troops, could have held the airfields and ports against what was, at best, an airlift of (initially) a few thousand light infantry from Sicily. If not, then expecting the Allies to manage to do so with an understrength mixed motorized brigade and (perhaps) a battalion or so of airborne infantry seems questionable.
Esteva at Bizerte sent his soldiers off to the barracks& surrendered his armories. Barre at Tunis with half of that 12,000 played chicken with the Axis for over a week. Falling back on some clandestine supply dumps in the eastern Dorsal. His delaying & eventual fight at Medjeb al Bab probably saved the Allies considerable additional grief in the Tunisian campaign. Be interesting to game out a German air assault on one or the other port. Could six or seven thousand French infantry some light artillery and a tanks squadron defeat a air assault?

The Brits advanced two infantry brigades, the 36th & 11th of the 78th Div, wide on either flank of BLADE Force, & they dropped the Brit and US parachute battalions in mid November. Both far from either Bizerte or Tunis.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Mar 2021 02:20

LineDoggie wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:01
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Mar 2021 01:45
daveshoup2MD wrote:
13 Mar 2021 20:13
For NEPTUNE/OVERLORD, all four US "veteran" divisions (1st, 9th, 2nd Armored, and 82nd Airborne) had combat experience as divisions.
The 9th ID Did three days of fighting in Morocco. Then had its artillery only fighting at Thasala, supporting other divisions units for three days n March, at the tail end of the Axis offensive. Then 11 more days around Maknassy & el Guettar In April it fought another week in the final battle to break the German defense before Bizerte. About a months combat experience accumulated in six months.

The 2d Armored had some detached battalions fight the French for three days in Morroco, then landed in the follow up to Op HUSKY it fought Italian militia for another two weeks. Then it was packed off to the UK.
Does Italian Militia have Semovente da 90/53? because 2AD ran into some on Sicily and lost at least 1 M4A1 to a direct hit on the 75mm Barrel which broke the commanders arm (Captain Norris Perkins)

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Norris H. Perkins, II, Captain (Armor), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, in action against enemy forces on 12 July 1943, just North of Canicatti, province of Agrigento in Sicily, Italy.

Captain Perkins, mounted in a tank, was engaging ... and ... anti-tank guns, the enemy at the time having fire superiority. Captain Perkins was engaged in extracting a jammed round from his 75-mm. tank gun when the gun received a direct hit, resulting in breaking and crushing Captain Perkins' left forearm. He and his tank crew left the disabled tank, but he remained on the battlefield directing the operations of his other tanks, on foot and under heavy enemy fire. He did not leave the battlefield until forcibly taken away by a medical officer. This outstanding act of heroism was an inspiration to everyone who saw him, and his actions contributed greatly to the success of his unit in that battle. Captain Perkins' intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 2d Armored Division, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, Seventh U.S. Army, General Orders No. 24 (1943).


Kind of odd that Militia would have the heaviest Anti Tank vehicle in the entire Italian Army
Fair point. The four Italian infantry divisions - 4th, 26th, 28th, and 54th divisions - in 6th Army were regular army - and the 4th had seen action against the French in 1940 and had been trained and reinforced to serve as an element of the amphibious force for the Malta assault in 1942; the 26th served against the French in 1940 and the Yugoslavs in 1941; the 28th and 54th had been in Sicily since the beginning of the war. So, not the Italians' best, but certainly more than "militia." The coast defense divisions were (at best) second line, but they were not the only formations assigned to the 6th Army.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Mar 2021 02:23

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:05
daveshoup2MD wrote:
14 Mar 2021 00:23
... Which raises the question of whether Esteva, with 12,000 French and colonial troops, could have held the airfields and ports against what was, at best, an airlift of (initially) a few thousand light infantry from Sicily. If not, then expecting the Allies to manage to do so with an understrength mixed motorized brigade and (perhaps) a battalion or so of airborne infantry seems questionable.
Esteva at Bizerte sent his soldiers off to the barracks& surrendered his armories. Barre at Tunis with half of that 12,000 played chicken with the Axis for over a week. Falling back on some clandestine supply dumps in the eastern Dorsal. His delaying & eventual fight at Medjeb al Bab probably saved the Allies considerable additional grief in the Tunisian campaign. Be interesting to game out a German air assault on one or the other port. Could six or seven thousand French infantry some light artillery and a tanks squadron defeat a air assault?

The Brits advanced two infantry brigades, the 36th & 11th of the 78th Div, wide on either flank of BLADE Force, & they dropped the Brit and US parachute battalions in mid November. Both far from either Bizerte or Tunis.
Understood re Esteva and Barre; question is could they have done more? And given the general lack of German airlift in the Med at this point, I don't know if an airborne assault or even an airlift movement would have been feasible, absent the French withdrawal. Doesn't take much to close an airfield, after all.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2021 02:45

LineDoggie wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:01
Does Italian Militia have Semovente da 90/53? because 2AD ran into some on Sicily and lost at least 1 M4A1 to a direct hit on the 75mm Barrel which broke the commanders arm (Captain Norris Perkins)... ...Kind of odd that Militia would have the heaviest Anti Tank vehicle in the entire Italian Army
Given the location they were possibly supporting the Livorno Division. The location & date place this near the start of the advance out of the original lodgment. The western half of Sicilly overrun by the 2d Armored Div, the bulk of Keyes provisional corps,taking 50,000+ prisoners, about half the 116,000 Italians counted as PoW. Those included men from the Aosta & Asset Divisions, as well as naval gun crews on the coastal artillery & base personnel of the small naval stations in several ports. Another 36,000 Italian soldiers on the muster of the Axis 6th Army have been unaccounted for in post campaign & post war audits. Since there not much evidence of mass graves from 1943 the usual assumption is they deserted.

Italian Army audits post war place the loss as 4,678 killed, 36,072 missing, 32,500 wounded and 116,681 captured.

'Germany and the Second World War' Messerschmidt places 4,325 men killed, 13,500 wounded, 4,583 missing, and, 5,532 captured, totaling 27,940 losses.

Allied losses are placed as U.S. Seventh Army lost 2,237 killed or missing, 5,946 wounded, and 598 captured, totaling 8,781.

British Eighth Army suffered killed or missing, 7,137 wounded and 2,644 captured, totaling 11,843.

Canadian forces had suffered 562 killed, 1,664 wounded, and 84 captured, totaling 2,310 lost[

The U.S. Navy lost 546 killed or missing and 484 wounded.

Royal Navy lost 314 killed or missing, 411 wounded and four captured.

USAAF reported 28 killed, 88 missing and 41 wounded.

So Allied losses = 24,846 vs Axis losses of 217,871. (The latter may not include air force losses)

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2021 02:52

daveshoup2MD wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:23
... Understood re Esteva and Barre; question is could they have done more? And given the general lack of German airlift in the Med at this point, I don't know if an airborne assault or even an airlift movement would have been feasible, absent the French withdrawal. Doesn't take much to close an airfield, after all.
I've understood the Airborne forces were those preparing for yet another plan to capture Malta. If thats correct the airlift would have been present. This is before the massive transport losses in the next three months @ Stalingrans and then in the airbridge to Tunis. Maybe someday I'll have time to research the question and work up a game on the subject.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Mar 2021 03:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:52
daveshoup2MD wrote:
14 Mar 2021 02:23
... Understood re Esteva and Barre; question is could they have done more? And given the general lack of German airlift in the Med at this point, I don't know if an airborne assault or even an airlift movement would have been feasible, absent the French withdrawal. Doesn't take much to close an airfield, after all.
I've understood the Airborne forces were those preparing for yet another plan to capture Malta. If thats correct the airlift would have been present. This is before the massive transport losses in the next three months @ Stalingrans and then in the airbridge to Tunis. Maybe someday I'll have time to research the question and work up a game on the subject.
Nehring's force (XC Corps) amounted to, IIRC, 10th Panzer Division, the Italian 1st Infantry Division, and a couple of brigade-to-light division sized task forces; I'm not aware there were any paratroopers, but I could be wrong. I thought what was left of the German airborne forces in late 1942 amounted to the 1st and 2nd divisions training in France and the RCT-sized force the Germans had committed to the Alamein operation earlier.

From what little I could find quickly on the internet, the Axis (Germans and Italians) flew in and landed a fair number of aircraft, air and ground crew, and light infantry in the Tunis and Bizerte areas in mid-November, but did not really get anything significant ashore until Nehring's provisional corps started landing tanks and artillery late in the month.

So, could the French garrison have simply defended the airfields and ports and prevented any Axis reinforcement? Sure seems like it could have been possible.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Mar 2021 03:51

A quick web search indicates the last iteration of a Malta invasion was Op Herkules, & set for mid July 1942. It was canceled or postponed a few weeks previous due to the commitment and loss of combat aircraft in Lybia. Leaving these in Italy below requirement. This July operation was to deliver by parachute, glider, and transports landing on capture airfields two Italian and one German division totaling 29,000 men. Some 70,000 were to be landed over the small beaches. 700 Axis air transports were allocated & 500 gliders. It looks like one of the two Para Divisions in France in November was that allocated for the Herkules operation.

We might guess if the ar transport was still at hand the Italian AB Div would have participated in the air assault.

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Re: Lloyd Fredendall Behind the Failure

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Mar 2021 07:15

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Mar 2021 03:51
A quick web search indicates the last iteration of a Malta invasion was Op Herkules, & set for mid July 1942. It was canceled or postponed a few weeks previous due to the commitment and loss of combat aircraft in Lybia. Leaving these in Italy below requirement. This July operation was to deliver by parachute, glider, and transports landing on capture airfields two Italian and one German division totaling 29,000 men. Some 70,000 were to be landed over the small beaches. 700 Axis air transports were allocated & 500 gliders. It looks like one of the two Para Divisions in France in November was that allocated for the Herkules operation.

We might guess if the ar transport was still at hand the Italian AB Div would have participated in the air assault.
Maybe, but the 185th "Folgore" Division was in Egypt in time for the Alamein campaign, where it was basically destroyed; the 184th "Nembo" Division was raised as such in the winter of 1942, from a mix of units detached from the 185th before it was sent to Egypt, school troops, and newly-raised units; about half the force ended up in Africa and the other half in Sardinia in 1943 before the surrender, which suggests that perhaps the Axis airborne had pretty much ceased to exist as such in the MTO by the time of TORCH.

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