If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Feb 2022 21:38

gebhk wrote:
15 Feb 2022 10:44
Logistically it probably makes little difference. The decision may well, therefore, hinge on political considerations: ie whether certain deployments might make Spain twitchy and whether Portugal's brand of government might make it a less than enthusiastic combatant against certain opponents. From a purely military point of view, I suspect deployment in Italy would be the most obvious option.
It's interesting, the Portuguese were in the initial group of signatories of the NATO treaty in 1949, so obviously there was recognition of the need for collective security in Europe; that's not a contiguous pattern for the Allies in WW 2, of course, but it does indicate a strategic viewpoint.

During the Cold war, the major Portuguese commitment was to mobilize a full, reinforced US Army-standard TO&E infantry division (1950s standard); after the colonial wars of the 1960s and 1970s, the army was reorganized and the commitment was a strong reinforced brigade (more or less on a US Army separate brigade TO&E). In both cases, expectation was the formation would move to Italy for service alongside the Italian army in the defense of the peninsula.

One wonders if the Portuguese might offer a brigade to serve with the US 5th Army in 1944-45?

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Feb 2022 21:44

Results? Churchill adds more blue arrows to his maps reflecting notions about additional corps of Portuguese added to the Allied OB.

Might make sense to deploy the Brazilian Div when it arrives in a combined Portuguese/Brazillian corps.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 18 Feb 2022 03:17

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Feb 2022 21:44
Results? Churchill adds more blue arrows to his maps reflecting notions about additional corps of Portuguese added to the Allied OB.

Might make sense to deploy the Brazilian Div when it arrives in a combined Portuguese/Brazillian corps.
"Thus freeing the 8th Army for a colossal crack against the Boche by way of Mount Triglav! Baaa! And that is what is so brilliant about it! It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard! Doing precisely what we've done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they'll expect us to do this time!" ;)

It's just a guess, but given the saga of the Portuguese Corps in WW I, expect a brigade group - maybe a division - is about the most one could expect. Even that would be a lift.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by gebhk » 18 Feb 2022 11:30

Hi Carl

[
i]Might make sense to deploy the Brazilian Div when it arrives in a combined Portuguese/Brazillian corps.[/i]
Agreed, that was my thinking behind saying the Italian theatre was the obvious choice, operationally.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by nuyt » 19 Feb 2022 11:02

Great discussion!

Manpower: I think the PT would have been able to field up to a division in manpower, like they did 20 years earlier. Also they could boost that number by adding colonial troops (light infantry or caçadores from Africa).

Equipment: gut feeling would be the US would equip and train them. There were already excellent contacts with the USAAF, that used PT airbases for bringing planes to Europe, also in mainland Portugal. And Salazar had a knack of knowing who would be boss after the war.

Theatre: I do not see the link up with the Brazilians in Italy as logical, two different countries although the language is almost the same. Portugal is an Atlantic country with Mediterranean aspects, not Mediterranean as such. Also the Italian regime had been good friends with Salazar. I'd say the PT train and equip a division until they go to France in a US Corps, south or Normandy, in 1944.
Additionally, the PT Fuzileiros could expand and reorganize/equip along USMC lines and prepare a return to Timor and Macau in the PTO. Doing some island hopping under US command along the way.

Politics: both Brazil and PT were authoritarian regimes at that time. Allies would have not much problem with that.

Spain: Franco would not have dared to attack PT in 1943 and as part of the Allies. It might have even helped turn Franco to join as well!

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Feb 2022 19:22

nuyt wrote:
19 Feb 2022 11:02
Great discussion!

Manpower: I think the PT would have been able to field up to a division in manpower, like they did 20 years earlier. Also they could boost that number by adding colonial troops (light infantry or caçadores from Africa).

Equipment: gut feeling would be the US would equip and train them. There were already excellent contacts with the USAAF, that used PT airbases for bringing planes to Europe, also in mainland Portugal. And Salazar had a knack of knowing who would be boss after the war.

Theatre: I do not see the link up with the Brazilians in Italy as logical, two different countries although the language is almost the same. Portugal is an Atlantic country with Mediterranean aspects, not Mediterranean as such. Also the Italian regime had been good friends with Salazar. I'd say the PT train and equip a division until they go to France in a US Corps, south or Normandy, in 1944.
Additionally, the PT Fuzileiros could expand and reorganize/equip along USMC lines and prepare a return to Timor and Macau in the PTO. Doing some island hopping under US command along the way.

Politics: both Brazil and PT were authoritarian regimes at that time. Allies would have not much problem with that.

Spain: Franco would not have dared to attack PT in 1943 and as part of the Allies. It might have even helped turn Franco to join as well!
Thanks for the input; if the US sustains the Portuguese, moving a division drawn from the garrisons in mainland Portugal and the Azores to FNA in the winter of 1943-44 for training alongside the French divisions equipped under the ANFA agreement would make sense in terms of logistics, training space, and taking advantage of a similar administrative/supply line structure ... which suggests the Portuguese 1st Infantry Division (for lack of a better term) being available to reinforce 6th Army Group in the autumn/winter of 1944, presumably.

Which raises another issue: what is the liklihood such a Portuguese force would go into action as an element of the French 1st Army (or, potentially, the French army "detachments" (corps equivalents) in the Alps and/or Atlantic coast? In WW I, the Portuguese deployed a corps/army level field artillery group to France that served under French command; that experience does not seem to have had the aftermath of the Portuguese 2nd Division's service with the BEF did... perhaps a positive note. Same for (presumably) a small Portuguese aviation element, as well - a squadron or two, attached to the French 1st Air Corps supporting French 1st Army?

Did Salazar et al have a net positive or negative relationship with De Gaulle and the FNCL government historically?

Presume the Portuguese naval forces would be attached to the British, for the SL/KM convoy escort pool.

Interesting point on the Portuguese marines training for the Pacific with the USMC; that's essentially what the RNMC did in 1944-45, although they did not deploy as such until the end of the war.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by nuyt » 19 Feb 2022 19:56

Ah, Salazar and la France!

The Portuguese leader was a smart and ambiguous diplomat. He had excellent relations with Vichy and Petain even idolized him, so naturally Salazar was on the side of the legalistes and not the Free French. But he needed phosphates from Morocco (that soon ended up being Free French NA) and from 1942 started courting De Gaulle, thus playing both French cards at the same time. But meanwhile he despised De Gaulle for integrating the Communists in his Free French movement, a cardinal sin to Salazar. More here: https://www.dn.pt/edicao-do-dia/23-nov- ... 43633.html

I'd say Salazar would be happy to take a long time for the PT 1st Division to be ready and invade France, for sure in a second or third echelon, moving through the UK and under US control.

As for the Fuzileiros, yes, I got my inspiration from the RNLMC story. No doubt the PT would be late as well. UPDATE: the Fuzileiros or Naval Guard as they were called in the 1920s, ceased to exist as a unit in 1934 and were only resurrected n 1961. My bad.

So overall, PT contribution to the liberation drives in both Pacific and Europe would remain limited, although the troops numbers will help overall.

Agreed that PT Navy would sail with the RN. Maybe those and a one or two Airforce squadrons would do the brunt of the fighting.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Feb 2022 20:50

nuyt wrote:
19 Feb 2022 19:56
Ah, Salazar and la France!

The Portuguese leader was a smart and ambiguous diplomat. He had excellent relations with Vichy and Petain even idolized him, so naturally Salazar was on the side of the legalistes and not the Free French. But he needed phosphates from Morocco (that soon ended up being Free French NA) and from 1942 started courting De Gaulle, thus playing both French cards at the same time. But meanwhile he despised De Gaulle for integrating the Communists in his Free French movement, a cardinal sin to Salazar. More here: https://www.dn.pt/edicao-do-dia/23-nov- ... 43633.html

I'd say Salazar would be happy to take a long time for the PT 1st Division to be ready and invade France, for sure in a second or third echelon, moving through the UK and under US control.

As for the Fuzileiros, yes, I got my inspiration from the RNLMC story. No doubt the PT would be late as well. UPDATE: the Fuzileiros or Naval Guard as they were called in the 1920s, ceased to exist as a unit in 1934 and were only resurrected n 1961. My bad.

So overall, PT contribution to the liberation drives in both Pacific and Europe would remain limited, although the troops numbers will help overall.

Agreed that PT Navy would sail with the RN. Maybe those and a one or two Airforce squadrons would do the brunt of the fighting.
Thanks for the link. Okay, set aside the "PMC" at Camp Lejeune, although presumably an Army unit (battalion-equivalent) might find it's way to the US to train alongside the USMC-USN for expected operations in the Pacific (theater TBD), although if such a resource is available, might make as much sense to set them up to train alongside the Australians and USN in the SWPA for operations after Borneo...

To field an infantry division on the US TO&E in 1943-44, absent a corps element, seems like the ~25,000 officers and men (division+ sustainment) of the FEB in Italy in 1944-45 seems as good a real world comparison as any; this is less than what the Portuguese sent to France in WW I, so, seems "doable" from the 10,000 foot level, but whether that could be sustained absent conscription is presumably an open question.

Having said that, figure the operational element is a reinforced US-type infantry division, with an infantry RCT to start, and a fighter squadron.

Historically, the British supplied Hurricanes and Spitfires to the Portuguese in this period, and they also got Curtiss Hawks and some P-39s, so presumably - to stay with the Brazilian example - P-40s or P-47s from the US, for a Portuguese squadron training in FNA in 1943 under USAAF/FAF aegis, for fighter-bomber duties in 1944-45, seems reasonable. Presume an infantry division would get standard observation equipment, L-4s or what have you, as well.

One interesting question is what elements such a Portuguese 1st ID would draw from; even in this situation, the Portuguese still have to garrison the Azores and the mainland, so rather than designating one of the existing formations for this assignment, presumably they would draw the divisional headquarters, divisional troops, three RCT equivalents, divisional artillery, and service and support elements from across the entire establishment, and then train them together in FNA.

Having no real knowledge of the Portuguese Army at this point, just looking at Niehorster's 1939 OOB, looks like an "expeditionary" infantry division could be built up by drawing on the four existing divisions and the Lisbon fortress division. Simply working down the list (and pulling the lowest-numbered units from each as a proxy for seniority), say division headquarters and division troops from the Lisbon garrison, one infantry RCT-equivalent each from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd divisions (presume the 1st division is redesignated the 5th?), and divisional artillery and fillers from the 4th division. That could yield the following:

1st Division HQ & Divisional troops
2nd CE Battalion (2nd Eng.)
1st AAA Battalion (1st AA)
3rd TD Battalion (3rd Light Artillery)
6th Infantry Rgt+5nd FAB (6th/5 LA)
9th Infantry Rgt+2nd FAB (9th/2 LA)
5th Infantry Rgt+4th FAB (5th/4th LA)
Divisional Artillery/1st FAB (4thD/1st LA)

Doesn't seem impossible...
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 20 Feb 2022 20:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by nuyt » 19 Feb 2022 23:46

to make it even more possible you can add 2-3 battalions of African light infantry and I think Salazar would have tried to get tanks, so a battalion of Shermans should be included.

I do not think the French nor the Portuguese themselves would like to see 25000 troops in FNA, so may I suggest a rolling build up of this division in the UK, in three rounds, each of an infantry regiment plus additional units apprx 8000 strong, each first forming in mainland PT from the other units, then moving to the UK to get US-equipped and then trained. Division complete in 12-18 months and only fully deployed in NW Europe by autumn/winter 44/45, by then moving into southern Germany?

Pity for Salazar the division can't bring to the UK the brand new lFH 18s and sFH 18s just bought from Nazi-Germany, in retrospect a waste of money for Mr Frugal. These are quickly dispatched to Africa when the troops come home for Germany in 45.

You could do this exercise as well with Turkey joining the Allies in 43, with them on the offensive in the Balkans from 1944, liberating Northern Greece (ouch!), Albania, Macedonia, etc., trying hard with other Allies' support to cut off the Soviets coming south.

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 20 Feb 2022 01:25

nuyt wrote:
19 Feb 2022 23:46
to make it even more possible you can add 2-3 battalions of African light infantry and I think Salazar would have tried to get tanks, so a battalion of Shermans should be included.

I do not think the French nor the Portuguese themselves would like to see 25000 troops in FNA, so may I suggest a rolling build up of this division in the UK, in three rounds, each of an infantry regiment plus additional units apprx 8000 strong, each first forming in mainland PT from the other units, then moving to the UK to get US-equipped and then trained. Division complete in 12-18 months and only fully deployed in NW Europe by autumn/winter 44/45, by then moving into southern Germany?

Pity for Salazar the division can't bring to the UK the brand new lFH 18s and sFH 18s just bought from Nazi-Germany, in retrospect a waste of money for Mr Frugal. These are quickly dispatched to Africa when the troops come home for Germany in 45.

You could do this exercise as well with Turkey joining the Allies in 43, with them on the offensive in the Balkans from 1944, liberating Northern Greece (ouch!), Albania, Macedonia, etc., trying hard with other Allies' support to cut off the Soviets coming south.
If this nominal Portuguese division is serving with the British, that would make sense, but if it is serving with the Americans (or the French), FNA makes a lot more sense.

First, the thought regarding the FNA as an assembly/training area is largely that in 1943-44, the Allies were moving significant troop elements from the MTO to the UK (US 2 Armored, 1st Infantry, 9th Infantry, 82nd Airborne; British 7th Armoured, 50th Infantry, 51st Infantry, and 1st Airborne), so - presumably - there would be some "empty" troopships outbound, UK to FNA, via the SL/KM convoys. The US forces (and the FEB, for that matter) being moved to the MTO in the same period were, generally, coming from the US in the USG convoys, so while there was undoubtedly some overlap, presumably there would be some "available" troopship capacity in the UK to Portugal to FNA route.

Second, the other point is the US had built up a structure in FNA for equipping/training the French divisions being organized under ANFA, so if this Portuguese formation is going to be be similarly committed, makes more sense to put them through the program in FNA, rather than in the UK. Same for the French aviation units being re-equipped, and the French colonies were used as training/sustainment sites for US and British formations through 1942-44, historically. Be interesting if anyone on the board had some information on Portuguese general officers with (ideally) any recent (post WW I) experience with the US, British, and/or French armies (war college attendance, attache duties, etc.)

The Brazilian Division did not have an attached Brazilian tank battalion, so to do this as straight analogue, none for the Portuguese. The colonial troops might be a pool for a Portuguese element for the Pacific/Timor/NEI; if the program is to base them in Australia and train/equip there, seems like drawing from the Portuguese garrisons in West Africa, East Africa, and India would make sense, but that's probably not likely until very late in the war.

The Turks were not actively supporting the Allies in 1943 in the same sense the Portuguese were, so it's a heavier lift; and when they did declare war, it was in February, 1945... not quite as "simple" an alternative as this one.
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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by nuyt » 20 Feb 2022 10:44

Thanks, very informative!
But there is a catch. Apparently 50% of the PT Army had been sent to the African colonies and Atlantic islands: 26 500 in the Açores, 3940 to Madeira, 6690 in Cabo Verde and 19 170 of a total of 116.000 by 1942 ( viewtopic.php?t=122199), obviously to deny Allied take over of vital territories.

Now, with the threat gone, Salazar can bring back at least half of the metropolitan troops sent overseas and it can only be from these troops that the 1st Division is formed (or these troops will be needed to immediately take the place of metropolitan troops sent to FNA from their PT defences). That means assembling convoys and armadas to pick them up. Can the Allies transport 25.000 PT troops from places like the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique to one point in FNA? The Portuguese can assemble all their vessels and do part of the job of course, but it won't be enough if time is of essence and - if those (now Allied) troopships need protection from U Boats all the way!
That's why I'd say the Division will be assembled in stages...

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Re: If Portugal had fully joined the Allies in August, 1943,

Post by daveshoup2MD » 20 Feb 2022 20:34

nuyt wrote:
20 Feb 2022 10:44
Thanks, very informative!
But there is a catch. Apparently 50% of the PT Army had been sent to the African colonies and Atlantic islands: 26 500 in the Açores, 3940 to Madeira, 6690 in Cabo Verde and 19 170 of a total of 116.000 by 1942 ( viewtopic.php?t=122199), obviously to deny Allied take over of vital territories.

Now, with the threat gone, Salazar can bring back at least half of the metropolitan troops sent overseas and it can only be from these troops that the 1st Division is formed (or these troops will be needed to immediately take the place of metropolitan troops sent to FNA from their PT defences). That means assembling convoys and armadas to pick them up. Can the Allies transport 25.000 PT troops from places like the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique to one point in FNA? The Portuguese can assemble all their vessels and do part of the job of course, but it won't be enough if time is of essence and - if those (now Allied) troopships need protection from U Boats all the way!
That's why I'd say the Division will be assembled in stages...
Sure - kind of fun to kick these ideas around. Agree it would be in stages; that's basically how the Brazilian 1st Division was shipped from Brazil to Italy.

The Portuguese merchant marine would and navy be an asset; as you point out, the Portuguese (historically) reinforced their island garrisons in 1940-43, so there is presumably some capacity already. The other point is that while the Atlantic islands and the Portuguese mainland were not "exactly" on the SL/KM routes, they are (more or less) adjacent, so presumably it could be done. Not as heavy a lift as moving troops from Portuguese West or East Africa, obviously. Given (at the time) the Portuguese colonial empire and the maritime reality of the country, even today, a reasonably-sized merchant marine is pretty much a necessity. Couldn't find a 1940 figure, but in 1920 (i.e., after WW I) the merchant marine numbered more than 140 steamers of some 235,000 tons in total, according to a USG English language survey found on-line.

And troop convoys, whether assault or administrative (point-to-point) movements, were always escorted; heavily by the USN, less so by the RN. This is actually an interesting difference in SOP, which was very marked in 1941-43, when the British appear to have considered troop convoys on par with merchantile convoys, generally, in terms of escort allotment. The USN considered troop convoys as naval operations in their own right, and escorted them heavily.

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