Differing views of Overlord

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Delta Tank
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Differing views of Overlord

Post by Delta Tank » 15 Aug 2011 23:31

Split off from http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=180961
JonS,

JonS wrote:
With regards to Italy, I have a lot of sympathy for the strategy that Brooke managed to force through there. By actively engaging the Germans in Italy the Allies tied down and destroyed forces that the over-stretched Germans weren't able to then use elsewhere. The campaign probably wasn't as well run as it could have been (Clark, I'm looking at you), but the objective of engagement and wearing out did succeed. Unfortunately, the US never quite seemed to 'get' the link between what they were doing in Italy, and how much it improved the chances for success of OVERLORD.
The United States understood the link, we just did not agree! Brooke or Churchill, I have not figured it out yet, did not want to do Operation Overlord, and the Mediterranean was going to be "The Second Front".

Mike

JonS
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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by JonS » 16 Aug 2011 00:03

Delta Tank wrote:The United States understood the link, we just did not agree!
I've never seen anything that indicates they did. I've seen precious little to indicate that's changed much over the last 60 years ;)
Brooke or Churchill, I have not figured it out yet, did not want to do Operation Overlord, and the Mediterranean was going to be "The Second Front".
You'll probably have a great deal of trouble figuring it out, because it isn't true. Emotionally they both hated the idea of invading France, but politically and militarily they both knew OVERLORD was absolutely necessary. The UK was planning and preparing for a return to France before the US was even in the war ...

Delta Tank
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Posts: 2233
Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by Delta Tank » 16 Aug 2011 00:44

JonS,

Here it is, enjoy! Mike Will come in at least two parts, file too big!

It is my contention that the British did not want to do Operation Overlord. I believe that we dragged them kicking and screaming to do this operation. I have assembled below some extracts from several books that helped me form this opinion. I have listed the books and all information needed for anyone to acquire the books. I did not type in footnotes, but if you want a footnote, please state so and I will type it in as soon as possible. I did not try to “Cherry pick”, but I have not gone through my entire library yet to look for more evidence to support or disprove my opinion. My opinion was formed by reading lots and lots of history books; I was not born with this opinion. As I find more evidence one way or the other I will post it for all to read.
Things to remember:
1. If I made a comment at the bottom of a passage I clearly state that it is my opinion.
2. To General Marshall OVERLORD and ANVIL were linked, to him they were part of the same operation, not two separate operations.
3. All spelling errors are mine and any British spellings have been changed to the American version.
4. If you read something and it does not make sense, it may be because I missed a line while typing it in, contact me and I will correct it.
5. If you disagree with my opinion, please list the books and passages that show that I should change my mind
6. Arguing that “well the British did participate in Operation Overlord!’ Does not disprove my contention.

“Partners in Command”, by Mark Perry (ISBN 978-0-14-311385-0 (pbk))
Page 214
. . Then too, Franklin Roosevelt was now firmly on his side in arguing for the invasion of France. Overlord, the president had decided, should take precedence over any other campaign. 2 As Marshall knew, Great Britain’s opposition to Overlord now rested on shaky foundations-that Germany could somehow be defeated from the air, that its forces could be fatally degraded by attacks in the Mediterranean or the Balkans, that pinpricks at its periphery would spell and end to Hitler’s Reich.
. . Franklin Roosevelt’s commitment to confronting the British prime minister (if such a confrontation was necessary) with an American insistence that the time had come, finally, to fight the Germans in northwestern Europe. Marshall knew, of course, that the U.S. had made the arguments at Arcadia and Casablanca and again with Churchill in Algiers. And each time, he also knew the British had deftly sidestepped the issue, postponing the invasion to some uncertain future date. Now, with Roosevelt firmly on his side, Marshall believed the British would have to face the inevitable. Roosevelt’s willingness to finally confront Churchill was essential if Marshall was to win his battle against Brooke.
Page 215
. . . The stage was set for yet another confrontation between George Marshall and Sir Alan Brooke, a face-off that was now a traditional part of every Anglo-American meeting. Indeed, the battle lines of Quebec were drawn early in the conference when the two commanders engaged in a heated and painfully blunt discussion on the invasion of Europe. As always, Brooke’s soaring opinion of his own strategic (page 216) sense served to deepen Marshall’s suspicions, while the American chief’s continued intransigence on Overlord seemed (at least to Brooke) yet another sign of American strategic simplicity. When Marshall insisted that the Combined Chiefs specify a date for France’s invasion, Brooke fired a salvo at the American commander. This was the same old argument, he said, that was being put forward solely because of Marshall’ amateurish understanding of warfare. The chief of staff simply did not “begin to understand a strategic problem,”7 Marshall responded heatedly. The problem was not America’s, but Brooke’s and his inability to understand that diverting resources from a cross-Channel attack to conquer Italy would not defeat Germany, but only postpone the ending of the war. . .
Page 217
. . . So, for one last time, the British prime minister attempted to convince Roosevelt to postpone Overlord.12 But it was too late, and Churchill retreated for the first time since the beginning of the war. He was heartbroken: “Italy was now to pass through the most tragic time in her history and to become the battle-ground of some of the fiercest fighting of the war, “ he later wrote. 13
Page 236 (Tehran)
. . . In his first meeting with Roosevelt and Churchill, Stalin peremptorily dismissed Churchill’s talk of hitting Hitler’s “soft underbelly.” Overlord, he announced, was his priority. 79 The next day Stalin’s view were reinforced by Soviet Marshal Kliment Voroshilov, who met privately with the American and British chiefs. An imposing man and veteran of the Soviet-German war on the eastern front, Voroshilov questioned Marshall and Brooke on the invasion of France. Brooke, as was his wont, was irritated by the questioning, thought that Voroshilov was being simplistic, and immediately dismissed him as a superficial thinker. 80 Voroshilov was not intimidated. Did Brooke support the cross-Channel invasion as much as Marshall or not? Brooke was silent, jaw set, clearly irritated by anyone who dared question his views-let alone a Russian. But he could no longer hedge. Yes, he said, he supported Overlord, but added, as if the question were of little moment, that the British had “always” considered Overlord essential. . .
. . . Marshall knew about Stalin and was blunt in speaking about his reputation (he was a “tough SOB who made his way by murder” and “not a Foreign Service officer”), but Marshall was tickled by Stalin’s continued needling of Churchill about Hitler’s soft underbelly. “He was turning the hose on Churchill all the time,” Marshall remembered, “and Mr. Roosevelt, in a sense, was helping him.”82 Inevitably, as the conference drew to a close, Stalin reiterated the importance of the cross-Channel operation. Overlord should be carried forward and not postponed, not for any reason, he emphasized. It should also be reinforced by landings in southern France, he said, and a supreme commander to head the operation should be named at once.83 (my comments: why would the soft underbelly be brought up at this time when the invasion of France had been decided on? Was Churchill fishing for support in order to out vote the Americans 2 to 1?)

Page 248
. . . The diversion of resources first to North Africa, then to Sicily, and finally to Italy sidetracked this initiative, frustrated Marshall, and threatened to institutionalize British thinking-to peel away German strength by attacks on its periphery. In the more than two years since, British insistence on invading Europe’s soft underbelly, had provided endless teeth-gnashing moments for the chief of staff, but Marshall had come to understand the constant British hesitations. While the Americans were still capable of getting there “the firstest with the mostest,” a methodical village-by-village war of attrition in France was a British nightmare. The British were scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel, and the effects of this were being felt on the field of battle. . .
. . . So who postpone the inevitable reckoning with Hitler’s legions? That question was finally answered to Marshall’s satisfaction when Churchill’s physician sidled up to him during a particularly contentious debate with the British Chiefs: “You are fighting the Battle of the Somme,” he said.27
Page 256
Eisenhower told Marshall that he had grave doubts about the Allied landing at Anzio, despite Churchill’s Italy obsession. At the same time, he supported plans to carry out landings in southern France, code-named Anvil, that would coincide with D-day. Marshall agreed strongly on both points and noted his concern that in the immediate aftermath of Overlord the Allied right flank would be “in the air,” unprotected and vulnerable to a German counterattack.54 Anvil, he said, must go forward. Marshall was also worried that Eisenhower would be forced to concede resources to other combat theaters, resources that would be needed on Normandy’s beaches. The Anzio landing presented a major obstacle. A continued stalemate in Italy would rob Overlord of badly needed landing craft. The landing-craft issue was particularly knotty, as continuing offensive operation in the Pacific demanded the constant deployment of newly produced LSTs . . .
Page 267
. . . Marshall had worked and fought with the British Chiefs of Staff for three years, and over those three years, he had learned a salient lesson. The British might retreat in the face of American political power, but they would never surrender. They had killed Sledgehammer and Roundup and had gotten their way in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. They might now claim that they supported Overlord, but Marshall was cautioning Eisenhower not to be fooled. They played the international political game well, because they had in large part invented it. Churchill and Brooke would do anything to impose their vision of the war on Americans, even if that meant hobbling or even killing Overlord. That Eisenhower was supreme Allied commander, that he was to head the largest military force in the world, meant nothing. Marshall girded himself for one final battle and signaled to his chief lieutenant that he expected and would demand his support. It is eminently clear from Marshall and Eisenhower’s exchanges in the wake of Montgomery’s Overlord briefing that while Eisenhower was the supreme Allied commander, George Marshall was still his commanding officer. And in the wake of that exchange, Eisenhower reasserted his control of the Overlord planning process and then quietly but firmly put Anvil, which the British were busy strangling, back on the table.
Page 269
. . . Marshall was not fooled and implied that British planner had purposely underestimated the number of soldiers who could be carried to the beaches in Overlord: “Combined planners in Washington figured a total personnel lift of 34,000” he said and went on to note: “There was a further difference in bases of calculation regarding U.S. combat loaders. London planners calculated on a total of 960m men per vessel in order to permit unloading in two trips. U.S. calculations are based on 1400 and Navy advises that landing boats are sufficient for unloading in two trips.”2 Put simply, the British figures were wrong.
Marshall’s message to the Combined Chiefs of Staff might seem best consigned to a footnote in Overlord’s planning, but Marshall had correctly discovered a hidden political agenda in the landing craft figures put forward by the British. In scaling back the numbers of men and landing craft available for Overlord, the British hoped to pressure Marshall and Eisenhower to see the logic of canceling Anvil. But their second purpose was even more important. They wanted to make more landing craft available for Mediterranean operations, where, not incidentally, they were in command. In the Combined Chiefs’ figures Marshall sniffed the nearly expunged odor of Arcadia, Casablanca, Quadrant, Trident, and Cairo, where the British prime minister and his chief lieutenant, Sir Alan Brooke, had continually opposed a landing in France in favor of lopping off the Germans in Italy. Marshall suspected that after three years of debate, the British- and Winston Churchill in particular-were still attempting to make more resources available to Wilson and Alexander. The memory of the Somme and the Marne was ever present in these British calculations. But Marshall was having none of it. When Churchill insisted that the landing craft issue be discussed in person, Marshall snapped back. Having warned Eisenhower that the Sledgehammer and Roundup game was still on, and having been reassured by his chief lieutenant that he would not cave in to “localities,” Marshall was determined to leave the issue of Anvil in his hands. Marshall’s message to the British chiefs had its desired effect. By March 10 this last-gasp attempt to divert resources from Overlord was defeated and Anvil was reconfirmed. Churchill was disappointed, but Brooke, having already calculated that Marshall had won this round, was laconic. They would fight another day. Brooke went to Churchill to convince him to drop his Anvil objections.
Page 272
Having thus raised saying no to an art form and for once following his instincts, Eisenhower must have wished that he had done so back in November, when common sense told him that Shingle, the landing of the Allies at Anzio, would not work. By mid-February, just four months later, it was clear not only that his judgment had been correct; but that the British claim that the Germans could be bled down by snipping at their periphery was having precisely the opposite effect. Not only were thousands of American troops now penned in by the resourceful Albert Kesselring, but 263 landing craft that were suppose to come to Eisenhower in Shingle’s wake might now have to used to lift Allied troops off the Italian beaches. Anzio was a disaster.


Page 283
. . . But even with Anvil approved, Churchill turned maudlin, even tearful. “When I think of the beaches of Normandy choked with the flowers of American and British youth and when in my mind’s eye I see the tides running red with their blood I have my doubts-I have my doubts Ike, I have my doubts.”34
Organizer of Victory 1943-1942, George C. Marshall, by Forrest C. Pogue (SBN 670-33694-7)
Page 31
Marshall got much less than he had wanted. However he had been fairly certain before he came to Casablanca that he must accept a campaign against Sardinia or Sicily. To a disappointed Stimson, positive that the cross-Channel operation was still in jeopardy, Marshall later explained that he had accepted the operation against Sicily because (1) there were sufficient troops in the Mediterranean for the attack, (2) British Intelligence believed that the Luftwaffe had been severely depleted and that this was the best way to prevent its recovery, and (3) the British refused to go along with the cross-Channel operation for the present. . .
Page 194
At the same time the Americans demanded a firm agreement on long-range strategy. They needed to set goals for the military production and allot men and supplies for the various theaters. Even now Marshall did not know how many divisions and air groups would be needed to finish the job. More to the point, he feared that lack of a firm commitment on a 1944 invasion of the Continent would mean its postponement until 1945. And long postponement might bring new diversions of operations.
In March 1943 the U.S. Chief of Staff for the first time spoke of the political importance of going across the Channel. He suggested that serious problems might arise if the Allied drive from the west into Germany fell behind Russian advances from the east. If the Allies “were involved at the last in Western France and the Russian Army was approaching German soil,” he warned, “there would be a most unfortunate diplomatic situation immediately involved with the possibility of a chaotic condition quickly following.”
Despite his fears over delays in the cross-Channel invasion, Marshall kept an open mind about the next phase of operations. He was willing to consider limited moves on the Italian mainland after attacks on Sicily or Sardinia. During the Casablanca meeting he had even suggested to Eisenhower that if they could advance into Sicily from Tunisia on the heels of withdrawing Axis forces, the might cash in on the resulting confusion to gain a great success very cheaply. He was equally receptive to exploiting a Sicilian victory. In his willingness to grasp a sudden advantage, the Chief of Staff showed that he was not wedded exclusively to an early cross-Channel attack.
Page 195
So far as future strategic planning was concerned, Marshal was firmly set on the cross-Channel attack. He told Roosevelt on May 2 that the Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed following the invasion of Sicily with an attack on the Italian mainland. Marshall did not go into all the reasoning that lay behind this conclusion at his meeting with the President. But it was the consensus of Marshall and his colleagues that in all future operations in the Mediterranean they wanted to emphasize aid to Russian and, except for air attacks, exclude operations east of Sicily.
In talking with Stimson the day following his discussion with Marshall, the President said that the Allies should go to Sicily but not be drawn into Italy. To Stimson’s amusement the President added that he hoped that the Chief of Staff would go along with his views. . . .
Page 196
On May 9, while the British party was still at sea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff outlined their strategic views in greater detail for the President and won his agreement that their principal objective would be “to pin down the British to a cross-Channel invasion of Europe at the earliest practicable date and to make full preparations for such an operation by the spring of 1944.” Although pleased that the President accepted the proposals “in principle,” Marshall admitted to Stimson that he was not certain exactly what this entailed. The Secretary of War agreed that they might have a repetition of 1942, when the Prime Minister had managed to sell the President on Torch.9. . .
Page 216-217
Realizing that it was essential to win Marshall to his side, the Prime Minister made every effort to conciliate him and graciously included him in any honors intended for himself. He addressed his arguments principally to the American Chief at the meeting in Eisenhower’s villa the following afternoon, stressing the importance he attached to the build-up for the cross-Channel attack and emphasizing the desire of the British people and the British Army to fight across the Channel. General Marshall was guarded in his comment, neither rejecting nor accepting an operation on the mainland of Italy after the Sicilian invasion. He stuck to his suggestion of setting up two planning groups, one to study an operation against Corsica and Sardinia and the other to consider moves against the mainland of Italy. When it was clear which should be attempted, all resources would be shifted to that attack. The Prime Minister would have preferred a more specific commitment from the Americans but was satisfied when Eisenhower indicated that if Sicily were polished off easily, he would be willing to go straight into Italy proper.6
The Prime Minister next trained his heavy on Eisenhower. On the evening of the thirtieth, while General Marshall and Colonel McCarthy were visiting Eisenhower’s forward headquarters between Tunis and Bizerte, Churchill sought to allay American fears that the British were attempting to delay a cross-Channel attack. Sensing that Churchill’s real purpose was to press for further action against Italy, Eisenhower explained that his opportunity for exploitation was somewhat limited by the string the Chief of Staff had placed on seven divisions, which were to be shifted to Britain by November.7


Page 225-226
In an earlier conversation with Churchill, the Secretary of War stressed his and Marshall’s conviction that it was essential to launch a cross-Channel attack in 1944. Seizing on the Prime Minister’s interest in the 1944 presidential election and the change of administration that might result, Stimson said there was a danger that by getting United States involved in the eastern Mediterranean in which Americans were not interested Britain might raise an issue that “would be used against the Administration in the campaign.” Only by an intellectual effort had the Americans been convinced that Germany and not Japan was the most dangerous enemy that must be eliminated first: “. . . the enemy whom the American people really hated, if they hated anyone, was Japan which had dealt them a foul blow to the prestige of the President’s war policy.”32
The Prime Minister knew a telling political argument when he heard one, and he tried to offset it with an emotional reference to a Channel filled with corpses, an illusion he mad to Stimson several times. The Secretary went at him “hammer and tongs,” charging that he continued to oppose the cross-Channel venture and was “hitting us in the eye.” Churchill admitted that if he were Commander-in-Chief he “would not figure the [cross-Channel] operation,” yet having made his pledge he would go through with it loyally. He said he was not insisting on going farther than Rome “unless we should by good luck obtain a complete Italian capitulation throwing open the whole of Italy as far as the northern boundary.” Although he had no desire to send troops into the Balkans, he indicated that munitions and supplies would be sent to the foes of the Germans in that area. Stimson feared that Eden wanted to carry the war into Greece and the Balkans generally and that Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa and Empire elder statesman whose advice was often sought by the British leader and the War Cabinet, was encouraging Churchill against the cross-Channel operation. Stimson reminded Roosevelt and Marshall that the Prime Minister “was looking so constantly and vigorously for an easy way of ending the war without a trans-Channel assault, we must be constantly on the lookout against Mediterranean diversions.”
Page 227
Persuaded from his talks with Churchill and Eisenhower that the British were wavering in their commitment to OVERLORD, Secretary Stimson returned to the United States convinced that the operation would be carried out only if an American was named Supreme Commander and if that American was George Marshall. . .
Page 241-242
Since June, General Marshall had seen in every proposal from London the counsel of further delay. Even a plan for the peaceful occupation of the Azores, intended to protect the Portuguese islands from possible German attack, contained a whiff of diversionary tactics. The Chief of Staff strongly urged Roosevelt not to give the British an opportunity “to get out of doing OVERLORD.” OVERLORD was the latest designation for a cross-Channel attack, replacing earlier code names such as ROUNDUP, SLEDGEHAMMER, and ROUNDHAMMER. The build-up for cross-Channel activities continued under the name BOLERO.1
For at least six weeks before Roosevelt and Churchill and their staffs met at Quebec (the QUADRANT conference) in August 1943, General Marshall’s advisers searched for a formula that would-in General Wedemeyer’s words-“stir the imagination and win the support of the Prime Minister if not that of his recalcitrant planners and chiefs of staff.”2
In a memo to General Handy, Wedemeyer reviewed the three possible approaches: cross-Channel or Mediterranean operations or the use of air bombardment and blockade, “and of course there could be various combinations and permutations of these.” Marshall himself still strongly favored the cross-Channel approach as the one most likely to result in victory over Germany in 1944.
London had no monopoly on shifting views. As the Allies became deeply immersed in Mediterranean operations, even some of Marshall’s close advisers despaired of mounting a cross-Channel attack the following spring-among them Brigadier General John E. Hull, Chief of the Operations Division’s Theater Group. One of the original authors of the cross-Channel approach, Hull developed doubts as he saw the resources intended for the build-up in the United Kingdom drained away southward. He reluctantly concluded that the Allies must seek a final decision in the Mediterranean.3
Hull won some support for shelving OVERLORD from the Navy representative on the Joint Planners Staff, Admiral Cooke. Seeing an opportunity to push Pacific operations, Cooke, who never slept when there was a chance to aid that area, suggested that OVERLORD might be reduced to an emergency effort. The bulk of the remaining resources could then go to the Mediterranean and Pacific. His Army and Air Forces opposite numbers, Wedemeyer and Kuter, disagreed with Cooke; they insisted that conditions had not changed sufficiently to justify reversing the earlier concept.4
Consequently the move to downgrade OVERLORD gained little headway in Washington. Moreover, even faith in the operation seemed to flicker in certain American quarters, it flared up in London. Under General Morgan, the COSSAC staff at Norfolk House was now hard at work on plans for a cross-Channel invasion to be undertaken in the spring. After TRIDENT the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander had received a supplementary directive to prepare an operation with a target date of May 1, 1944, in order to secure a lodgment on the Continent from which the Allies could launch further operations against Germany. In addition Morgan was to plan on the assumption that he would have in the United Kingdom twenty-nine divisions, nine of them to be used in the assault. He was directed to start expansion of logistical facilities in the United Kingdom and have an outline plan ready for submission by August1.5
The presence in London of this active planning staff, strongly British in make-up, gave an OVERLORD operation for 1944 an immediacy that it had hitherto lacked. Although at times a frustrated General Morgan felt that his headquarters was being used by his own people as window dressing for an operation that they did not intend to carry out, he worked at his mission faithfully. He convinced Secretary Stimson of his sincerity during the latter’s visit to the United Kingdom in July and earned the warm approval of General Marshall, who considered making Morgan his Chief of Staff if he commanded the invasion forces.6
. . . At last it was possible for discussion to proceed on the basis of a specific plan for a specific invasion. Although lacking almost everything except the paper on which it was written, the plan had been made. General Marshall was encouraged to learn from Major General Ray W. Barker, Morgan’s American second in command, who came to brief the Chief of Staff before the Quebec meeting, that OVERLORD was strongly backed by the British planners, as well as by General Sir Bernard Paget, commander of 21 Army Group, whose force would furnish British troops for the operation. But Barker conveyed a word of caution: the Prime Minister was still keenly interested in further expansion in the Mediterranean and the Aegean, and when the British Chiefs of Staff came under his “sun lamp,” they were likely to warm to his designs.8
To counter the Prime Minister’s seductive fluency, Marshall since early July had been impressing his views on the President. On July 25 he explained to him that Churchill’s strategy was based on the belief that continued Allied pressure would be sufficient to force political and economic collapse of German rule in the occupied countries. If the Prim Minister’s analysis was wrong, his strategy led to a war of blockade and attrition that the American people would not support. Confronted with such a protracted struggle, they would prefer to seek a decision in the Pacific. . .
Page 245
But the New World could be stubborn about the redressing. Sir John Dill had warned the British Chiefs of Staff that Marshal and his colleagues were in a very positive mood about future strategy. At Hyde Park the Prime Minister discovers that the President, formerly receptive to alternative suggestions, was firmly set on OVERLORD.
Page 245-247
Actually the Americans wee less adamant than they appeared. Indeed Brooke indicated on August 15 that there appeared to be no fundamental divergence in their positions. He supported OVERLORD as the chief operation for 1944, suggesting that the Italian offensive be planned with this in mind. Thus far there was no wide disagreement. But in restating COSSAC’s requirements for a viable OVERLORD plan-(1) reducing enemy fighter strength, (2) holding down German Strength in France and the Low Countries to manageable proportions, and (3) solving the problem of maintenance over the beaches-Brooke seemed to list them in a way that led straight to the Mediterranean.17
Brooke habitually blamed Churchill for frightening the Americans by talking of greater commitments elsewhere, but in this instance, even before the Prime Minister appeared on the scene, it was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff who roused their fears. Brooke suggested that the offensive lines across the neck of Italy, currently considered the northern limit of Allied advance, be regarded merely as the first stage of future operation and that they should try to seize areas to the north as well. From this vantage point it might be possible to drive into southern France. (This route had been proposed earlier by Admiral Leahy in a meeting of the American Chiefs of Staff, but Marshall had ruled it out since the advance would be through extremely rough terrain.)18
The Americans had anticipated that the visitors might force a postponement of OVERLORD by continued expansion in Italy. To King it seemed that Brooke had confirmed that suspicion. Rejecting the assumption that only Italian operations could pave the way to cross-Channel success, the Admiral declared that the required preconditions could be met by gains on the Russian front or by the air offensive then in progress from the United Kingdom. A little less rigid, Marshall was willing to take as much of Italy as weak opposition permitted. He agreed with Portal that it would be better for the Allies if they, rather than the Germans, held the airfields in the north, but shared Arnold’s belief that the same aerial results could probably be gained from fields in the area of Florence. He was willing to capitalize on enemy weakness but not to build a major front on the Italian mainland.
Having conceded something to Brooke, Marshall insisted that if OVERLORD was not given overriding priority, the slippage already evident in planning would continue and the operation would not take place. His bite was in the conclusion: if OVERLORD was out for 1944, then the whole strategy might have to be recast and the United States effort in Great Britain reduced to providing a reinforced corps for a return to the Continent in case of German weakness or collapse.19
Predictably Marshall’s attitude irked Brooke. The morning had been a bitter one for the British Chief. Almost abruptly the Prime Minister had informed him that the Supreme Command, promised to him earlier, was not to be his; now a painful day became intolerable. Finding Marshall unyielding on OVERLORD, Brooke hastily assumed that the General had not even read Morgan’s plan and was unaware of the relation between cross-Channel and the Italian campaign. He apparently was unaware that Morgan’s American Deputy, General Barker, had earlier briefed Marshall and his colleagues on the plan and that they had carefully considered the part Italian operations might play in aiding landings in the north. He had heard from Dill that on this point the American Chief of Staff was adamant and had even threatened to resign if the British pressed for major operations in Italy.20 . . .
Amid this prevailing tension it was not surprising that the British and the Americans continued to strike sparks from each other. On the sixteenth, after chasing all planners and secretaries from their conference, the Combined Chiefs explored their differences with brutal frankness. Brooke pleaded with the Americans for a greater show of mutual confidence. The Americans thought the British were not wholehearted about the cross-Channel attack, he noted, while he and his colleagues feared that the Americans would demand that OVERLORD be carried out even if the strategic situation in Europe changed. He conceded that he and his colleagues had continued to withhold final acceptance for the cross Channel effort while the Americans, despite their strong arguments, had adjusted to every strategic change in the Mediterranean.21
Brooke laid the blame for the misunderstanding squarely on Churchill. With the Prime Minister constantly dredging up alternatives, Brooke complained, the Americans believed that he would continue to wonder far afield in the hope that the German question could somehow be settled without a direct confrontation on the Continent. This was indeed what they believed. It was not failure to understand the possible value to OVERLORD of victories in Italy that caused Marshall to question British aims, but the obvious ill effects on the build-up in the United Kingdom that would result from a long-drawn-out fight in the Mediterranean.
Page 248
. . . Consequently it was arguable that continuation of the advance up the boot hardly constituted the logical preparation for OVERLORD. Instead it appeared to be an attempt to avoid coming to grips with the main enemy in the spring of 1944.
Page 249-250
In the final dissection of OVERLORD the Prime Minister reiterated that the British would accept the operation only if certain conditions as to the limits of German strength had been met. If it appeared that the enemy’s ground or air strength was greater than the acceptable maximum, the launching of OVERLORD must be reviewed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Despite the opposition of his advisers he suggested that JUPITER, his perennial favorite, be developed as a second string to their bow. Brooke wince at the effect this alternative might have on the Americans. Churchill and his advisers stipulated that, as agreed at TRIDENT, seven divisions would be returned from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom unless the strategic situation required a review of that provision. In addition he insisted that the invasion force for OVERLORD be increased by 25 per cent. In this requirement, at least, Marshall and his colleagues were in accord with the British.
Page 250
On September 9, as Clark’s force landed at Salerno, the Prime Minister resumed his effort to win the Chief of Staff’s support. Churchill showed Marshall and the other Chiefs a paper he proposed to submit to the President at a White House conference later in the day in which he outlined action to follow the expected surrender of Italy. . . This limited objective was most acceptable to the Americans as was his assurance that “There can be no question of whittling down OVERLORD.”26
Page 311-312
Roosevelt and Churchill, the Admiral related, had each taken familiar stands in their play for Stalin’s approval-the President extolling cross-channel and the Pacific campaigns and the Prime Minister pointing out that the Mediterranean activities, though secondary, were vital to Russia. To the delighted surprise of the Americans, Stalin had made quick work of the Prime Minister’s arguments. He declared that the Western Allies must concentrate on OVERLORD and, as a diversionary action, make a landing in southern France, preferably well in advance of the landings in the north. He had disappointed Churchill by dismissing the likelihood of Turkey’s entrance into the war and ruling out proposed operations in the eastern Mediterranean. Nor had he been interested in further campaigns in Italy, citing Marshal Suvorov, who had fought French revolutionary armies there in 1799 and 1800, on the difficulties of fighting in the Alps. The British were appalled to find the Russians backing United States strategy for the future. . .
Brooke drew the Russian’s fire by arguments against landings in southern France prior to OVERLORD. Voroshilov observed that General Marshall’s remarks indicated that the United States considered OVERLORD of the first importance. “He wished to know if General Brooke also considered the operation of first importance. He wished to ask both Allies whether they think that OVERLORD must be carried out or whether they consider that it may be possible to replace it by some other suitable operation when Turkey has entered the war.”31 . . .
Brooke brusquely replied that the British had always considered OVERLORD an essential part of the fight against Germany but were determined that it should be launched when it had the best chance of success. He thought that these conditions existed for 1944. Forces were currently being brought back to mount the operation, but efforts to keep a May 1 date would bring operation to a halt in the Mediterranean.
Concluding that Brooke was stalling, Voroshilov cannily apologized for his failure to understand but persisted that “he was interested to know whether General Brooke. . . considered OVERLORD as important an operation as General Marshall had indicated that he did.” The British commander bristled at his pressure, replying that he deemed it of vital importance but that he was familiar with the defenses of northern France, and he did not wish to see the operation fail.
Voroshilov pursued his advantage. Agreeing that diversionary operations in the Mediterranean would be valuable, he insisted that the Allies should decide that OVERLORD was the key operation and that all the other operations “must be planned to secure OVERLORD . . . and not to hurt it.”
Page 314
Marshal, already on record against the proposed Rhodes operation, predicted that it would probably delay the landings in southern France until mid-July. The British countered with several suggestions. Brooke referred to Eisenhower’s message saying that an assault on northern Italy might be more valuable to OVERLORD than an attack in southern France and that the landings in the south of France should be considered as only one of several means of aiding OVERLORD. Air Marshal Portal proposed that lift for one division be left in Italy until Rome fell and lift for one division be left in the Middle East until mid-February, when it would be known if Turkey would come into the conflict. If she did not, the craft could be sent to OVERLORD. General Marshall disagreed. This arrangement, he feared would divide the reserve of landing craft so that there would be no real strength anywhere. In the end a new operation-outlined by Churchill-would delay the shift of landing craft beyond the point Cunningham had considered wise.
From landing craft the Chiefs turned to the question of a date for OVERLORD. General Brooke conceded that unless a firm answer was given to the Russians, there was no point in continuing with the conference. But some embarrassment arose because the Western Allies had just promised the Russians that the operation would take place in May-the tentative date having been set at TRIDENT by splitting the difference between April 1, suggested by the Americans, and June 1, proposed by the British. . .
Page 317
Churchill cleverly argued that the Tehran discussions had changed the conditions under which Roosevelt had promised Chiang Kai-shek to launch BUCCANEER. The Russians had now indicated their willingness to go to war against Japan as soon as Germany collapsed; the allies had told Stalin they would launch OVERLORD in May; and there was now a firm agreement to land in southern France. The President, chagrined at the prospect of hiving to disappoint the Generalissimo, urged that Mountbatten be instructed to stage the best operation he could with the resources he had at hand. Brooke tried to make the decision more palatable by arguing that it might be wise to diver the landing craft from BUCCANEER to provide a three-division lift for the operation in southern France. Before many months he and his colleagues would argue that a one division diversionary attack would be sufficient. This was an instance of the opportunism that made the Americans suspicious of Brooke.
Page 317-318
Although BUCCANEER was dropped, General Marshall could feel gratified that he had pinned down the British to a May date for the invasion of northern France and to an assault on southern France. He was not opposed to further advances in Italy or even in the eastern Mediterranean if they did not use resources earmarked for OVERLORD and ANVIL. But he wanted no further diversions from other theaters to Mediterranean “sideshows.”
Page 329-330
Montgomery had sensed his advantage on examining the COSSAC plan. If the Americans wanted to succeed in the operation for which they had argued so eloquently, they would have to give way on the landings in southern France or force King to disgorge part of his landing craft in the Pacific. Montgomery opened the game with a bid that ANVIL be dropped at once, and the southern operation reduced to a threat only. In transmitting this word to Eisenhower, still in Washington, General Smith strongly agreed.7
To General Marshall this argument was another British device aimed against cross-Channel itself. The attack in southern France was closely lined, he believed, to the success of OVERLORD. He was prepared to see the northern front broadened, but he wanted to be certain that everything had been done to find the landing craft elsewhere before abandoning the ANVIL assault.
The Chief of Staff’s view was reflected in Eisenhower’s reply from Washington on January 5, 1944. Although strongly favoring a broader based OVERLORD-a view he had expressed before leaving the Mediterranean- he agreed with Marshall that ANVIL could not be merely a threat. He left the door open to the acceptance of Montgomery’s proposal, however, by saying that only if OVERLORD could not be broadened without abandoning the landings in southern France would he consider it.8
The British Chiefs of Staff quickly sided with Montgomery; they notified the Prime Minister on January 14 that the proposed reduction of ANVIL to a one-division threat would not run counter to the Allied commitment at Tehran: “OVERLORD will be launched in May, in conjunction with a supporting operation against the south of France on the largest scale that is permitted by the landing craft available at that time.”9
It was this seemingly constant search by the British for a loophole that upset the Americans, who saw carefully wrought compromises dissolving into meaninglessness. Eisenhower was clear about Marshall’s viewpoint before he left for London on the evening of January 13. Four days later he assured the Chief of Staff that while most people there, including Montgomery and Smith, wanted a major reduction in ANVIL, he would not favor that except as a last resort. His resolve seemed fairly firm, but this last statement appeared to open the door to acceptance of London’s views. He conceded that the Allies must keep in mind the promise to the Russians and the Allied investment in the French army that was to be used in southern France. But he added, “It is with such reasons as these in mind that I am determined to uncover every single expedient for increasing the initial weight of the OVERLORD attack before I am willing to recommend any great weakening of the ANVIL project.” It was a dilemma that he could not resolve.10
The situation had been made worse by recent developments in Italy. While Eisenhower and Marshall talked of cross-Channel preparations, plans had been readied for an attack at Anzio that was to affect profoundly their ideas for landing in southern France simultaneously with OVERLORD. Churchill had set the Mediterranean pot to boiling again.
Page 333
Anzio’s delays added daily to the problem of OVERLORD and increased the likelihood of ANVIL’s postponement. Rather than speeding the larger operation, Churchill’s gamble, in which Marshall and Eisenhower had acquiesced, became a serious drain. The effect of the Italian battle was studied anxiously in London and Washington.
Pressure had continued to build up in the United Kingdom through January for a reduction in the size of ANVIL. Still struggling to preserve the operation as more than a threat, Eisenhower acknowledged that Montgomery was justified in demanding a broader invasion front and a five division assault loaded for the cross-Channel attack. Casting about means of salvaging the assault in southern France, he was prepared to delay the launch of OVERLORD and ANVIL until the end of May, thus benefiting from an extra month of British production of LSTs at the cost of a month of good campaigning weather.21 To this proposal the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed within the week.
On the broader issues Eisenhower outlined his views formally to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on January 23. “OVERLORD and ANVIL,” he insisted, “must be viewed as one whole,” and he described the ideal as being a five-division OVERLORD and a three-or, at worst, two-division ANVIL. It was becoming clear that if there were not enough resources or both, he was prepared to accept a one-division ANVIL-but not without a nervous glance in Marshall’s direction.
Page 334-335
Marshall did not know how completely Eisenhower was swinging to the London view, but he sensed that pressure was building up on the Supreme Commander and that Eisenhower was responding – as could be expected-to the situation closest at hand. In the past when Marshall had found commanders’ sore beset, he sought to bolster them by a firm statement of the American position. Now he did so by commenting dryly that the British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff seemed to have reversed themselves recently, with the Americans becoming Mediterraneanites and the British pro-cross Channel.
The U.S. Chiefs also believed that the British were exaggeration the alleged shortage of LST’s in Europe. They suspected that estimates on the serviceability of craft and the number of men that could be transported were far too low-a point on which the British agreed in later years. Acting for the Joint Chiefs, Marshall asked Eisenhower on what basis London planners were making their predictions.
Failing to get the information he desired, Marshall wrote Eisenhower unequivocally: “OVERLORD of course is paramount and it must be launched on a reasonably secure basis of which you are the best judge. Our difficulties in reaching a decision have been complicated by a battle of numbers, that is, a failure to reach a common ground as to what would be the actual facilities. As to this the British and American planners here yesterday afternoon agreed that there is sufficient lift to stage at least a 7 division OVERLORD and at the same time a 2-division ANVIL on the basis of May 31st.” But they found no such view in London where there “is an apparent disagreement with British planners . . . or Montgomery, I don’t know which.”
He added that if the Supreme Commander considered it “absolutely imperative” to send everything but one division lift to OVERLORD, “then it should be done that way.” He warned, however, that before the decision was finally made, eight to nine divisions in the Mediterranean that could have been brought in through southern France would not be on hand to assist Eisenhower’s main assault. Having dropped that shoe, he then asked, “Can you afford to lose this pressure, considering that we are almost certain to get an uprising in southern France to a far greater degree than in the north.”25
U. S. Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years. By Louis Morton. Center of Military History, United States Army
Page 382
It was at the Casablanca Conference that the Americans first used the Pacific as a counterbalance to the Mediterranean. Both bore somewhat the same relationship to global strategy. The British considered the Pacific; the Americans the Mediterranean, as the theater that threatened to drain away from the area of primary interest the resources of both allies. General Marshall was weel aware of this and deliberately lined the two when he warned the British that the threat of “another Bataan” in the Pacific “would necessitate the United States regretfully withdrawing from the commitments in the European theater.” 16 In doing so he served notice on the British that proposals for further offensives in the Mediterranean would be met with similar proposals for the Pacific. Thus used, Pacific strategy became a lever by which the Americans could exert pressure on the British to bring them back to the cross-Channel assault.



Page 456
By taking this position at the start, the strategists pointed out, the U.S. Chiefs would be able to counter the anticipated insistence of the British on Mediterranean operations, and their reluctance to undertake the cross-Channel invasion, with the requirements of the Pacific theater.
Churchill As War Leader, by Richard Lamb. ISBN 0-88184-937-5
Page 177
Stalin and his advisers argued fiercely with the British delegation that Torch in 1942, instead of a cross-Channel invasion, breached the commitment given to Molotov by the President and the Prime Minister for a second front that year. Churchill replied that he had been careful not to make any promise to Molotov. This was correct, but of course Roosevelt had made a firm commitment without Churchill’s consent. Finally Stalin, on hearing from Churchill an inspired defense of Anglo-American strategy, accepted the decision after Churchill had rashly promised a full-scale cross-Channel invasion in 1943. Then the meeting ended with a banquet in an atmosphere of cordiality. 30
This marked the high point in Churchill-Stalin relations during the war, but the Russian leader never forgave Churchill for not honoring his pledge for 1943. Despite the arguments of the Chiefs of Staff to the contrary, in Moscow in August 1942 Churchill had persuaded himself that Sledgehammer in 1943 was still possible despite carrying out Torch in the latter part of 1942. Later he admitted that he was too optimistic, but that his conscience was clear because “he did not deceive or mislead Stalin”. But the consequences were that Stalin never again trusted Churchill fully. Probably the Soviet policy of acquiring Poland and eastern Europe sprang from Stalin’s disillusionment over the breach of promise over a second front in 1943.
Page 207
Churchill was overawed neither by his precarious political position at home nor by the daunting task ahead. He threw all his energies into organizing a confrontation with German armies as soon as possible so as to draw German strength off Russia. The alternative lay between waiting for roundup across the English Channel in 1943, or an attack in the autumn of 1942 on the French North African colonies. Churchill’s temperament was such that he could not bear the prospect of US and British armies staying idle until the spring of 1943, but he failed to realize that diverting resources to the Mediterranean must inevitably mean postponing Roundup until 1944 except for small-scale operations. He was deeply conscious of the promise he had made to Stalin, first for an attack in Europe in 1942, and then for a major cross-Channel assault in 1943. As the Russian military position became more and more precarious Churchill became more and more enthusiastic for the immediate combined British-American North African operation, Torch. As has been seen, both he and Roosevelt deluded themselves that Torch did not make a 1943 Roundup impossible.


Page 217
On the day when Churchill proposed the Casablanca meeting to Stalin and Roosevelt he harangued the Cabinet at length about “swinging back toward s a Western Front” in 1943, and said repeatedly that North Africa must act as a “springboard” and not a “sofa” for future action. Previously he had urged attacks on Sardinia and Sicily. Brooke was concerned, knowing it was impossible to attack in the Mediterranean and the Channel at the same time. 17 He argued that the best plan was to eliminate Italy, bring in Turkey and finally to liberate France. He emphasized that all this depended on Russian “holding out”, but by the end of 1943 this seemed a “safe bet” because she had beaten off the attacks on Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad.
Page 242
According to General Ismay, “the very word Balkan” was anathema to the Americans, and they were determined not to allow Churchill’s enthusiasm for the Aegean to “lead to our getting seriously involved in that part of the world and to a further postponement of Overlord.” During the Conference Eisenhower brushed aside the British commander’s arguments, but the British were lukewarm in their support of the Prime Minister.10
Page 245-246
In Cairo the Prime Minister pleaded with Roosevelt that 68 landing craft, intended to depart on 15 December for Overlord, should remain in the Mediterranean, and that Wilson should be given the modest help he heeded to capture Rhodes. The Americans were up in arms at once. Ismay recorded that they were “haunted by the ghost of Gallipoli” and feared that Churchill, instead of backing Overlord to the hilt, wanted to get a footing in what they regarded as “his favorite hunting grounds, the Balkans. The Americans firmly ruled operations in the Aegean must be fitted in without any detriment to other operations.” Ismay commented: “that ruled them out altogether”. The Americans had valid reasons for their suspicions. Brooke wrote in his diary en route from Cairo to Teheran: “He [Churchill] is inclined to say to the Americans, “Alright, if you won’t play with us in the Mediterranean we won’t play with you in the English Channel.”17
When the Big Three met at Teheran . . Churchill told the Conference that the very large Anglo-American forces in the Mediterranean must not stay idle during the six months before Overlord began. He wanted them to advance to the Pisa-Rimini line in Italy, and to hold it with minimum forces while using their surplus troops to land either in the south of France or Istria in the northern Adriatic and advance t Vienna through the Ljubljana Gap. Churchill insisted that the immediate subsidiary objective should be to persuade Turkey to enter the war, to seize the Aegean islands and to open the Dardanelles for convoys to Russia.
Stalin did not agree. He was sure Turkey would not come into the war and did not much mind if they did not; he attached minor importance to opening the Dardanelles, pointing out that the last Arctic convoys had got through unscathed while the capture of Rome and northern Italy was desirable but not of great importance. Instead Stalin wanted Overlord to go ahead at the earliest possible moment, supported by as large an operation as possible in the south of France, compared to which taking Rome was “a mere diversion”. The Russian leader was keen to keep the Allies out of the Balkans and would not give any post-war promise to Turkey about the future of the Dardanelles.

Command Decisions, Office of the Chief of Military History United States Army
http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_10.htm
Chapter 10
OVERLORD Versus the Mediterranean at the Cairo-Tehran Conferences
by Richard M. Leighton
(See Chapter 8 for information on the author.)
The long debate between U.S. and British leaders over the strategy of the European war reached a climax and a turning point at the great mid-war conferences at Cairo and Tehran late in 1943. Since the decision to invade North Africa, a year and a half earlier, the debate had focused on the war in the Mediterranean, the British generally advocating a bold, opportunistic strategy, the Americans a more cautious one. On the surface, they had disagreed on specifics rather than fundamentals. Few on the American side advocated complete withdrawal from the Mediterranean, and U.S. leaders were as quick as the British to respond to the opportunity offered by the disintegration of Italian resistance in early summer of 1943. They opposed the British primarily on the choice of objectives, especially east of Italy. For their part, the British never questioned the principle that the main attack against Germany in the West, and the decisive one, must eventually be made from the northwest (OVERLORD) not the south. In the meantime, they argued, aggressive operations in the Mediterranean were not merely profitable but even essential in order to waste the enemy's strength and to contain and divert enemy forces that might otherwise concentrate on other fronts. But the debate was embittered by American suspicions that the British intended somehow to sidetrack, weaken, or indefinitely postpone the invasion from the northwest, subordinating it to peripheral and indecisive ventures in the Mediterranean that would serve their own long-range political ends. Since the British consistently disclaimed such intentions, the issue of OVERLORD versus the Mediterranean could not be debated as such-and, indeed, cannot now be proved even to have existed outside the minds of the Americans. For them, nevertheless, it was the real issue, and the question actually debated at Cairo and Tehran,
(Emphasis added) (My comments: Perception is reality in the absence of FACTs!)

Delta Tank
Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by Delta Tank » 16 Aug 2011 00:48

JonS,

More! Mike

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2604
Nevertheless, the Italian campaign remains the most contentious issue in the grand strategy of the war, and American critics are not alone in condemning it. One of the most trenchant attacks on the Mediterranean strategy—and arguments for an earlier cross-Channel attack in 1943—was launched by the British writer John Grigg.[5] The troops necessary for success were available in Europe, he writes, but they were not being sent to the right place; the Atlantic wall had not then been built by Rundstedt; the dithering about Overlord enabled Admiral King to switch landing craft to the Pacific theater; the artificial harbors and other gadgets used in Overlord could have been devised a year earlier if the will had been there from the start. If the attack through Normandy had been launched earlier, at least a million Jews, the Polish underground army, and the victims of the guided missiles that attacked Britain could have been saved. So perhaps could most of Eastern Europe have been spared forty-five years of Communist rule.
Grigg argues that, though the Americans too were at fault, the real culprits were the British. Those like myself who believe that the Mediterranean strategy was inevitable can with hindsight argue that the experience gained by the amphibious landings in Algeria, Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio were crucial to the success of Overlord. But Ben-Moshe goes even further than Grigg. His study of the documents, he says, "permit[s] one clear and major conclusion." Had Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff had their way there would have been no invasion of France in 1944 any more than in 1943. Did they not keep on insisting that Overlord could not be launched until German strength had been drastically weakened?
Yet at no time was planning for Overlord interrupted. Of course there was tension. The Americans were right to fear that if too many forces were committed elsewhere Overlord might be indefinitely postponed. The British were right to plead for flexibility so that if the Allies broke through in Italy they could exploit their victory. Of course there were disputes over the date of departure of the seven divisions and landing craft earmarked for Overlord; but they went. In fact Brooke exacted sacrifices not from Overlord but from the Burmese front. The British Chiefs of Staff abandoned three amphibious operations in that theater to provide landing craft for Overlord and the Anzio operation.
The main objection of the British Chiefs of Staff was not to Overlord but to the decision taken at the Quebec conference to invade the South of France as a supporting operation. Marshall found himself arguing so strongly against the cancellation of that plan that he wrote to Eisenhower that the positions had now been reversed. "We have become the Mediterraneanites and they heavily pro-Overlord." On the merits of that operation, which drew off not one single German unit from the battle in Normandy or from the Russian front and entailed the withdrawal of troops from the Italian front at the very time that Rome fell, Ben-Moshe is silent.
________________________________________
No one, neither Brooke nor Dill, could ever convince Churchill that his endless demands to the President that Overlord be canceled and that the Allies should attack from Italy over the Balkans exasperated Roosevelt.[6] When Churchill ordered, over Brooke's head, General Wilson to capture without air cover the Dodecanese Islands after the Italian surrender, this minor fiasco convinced the Americans that the British really wanted to chicken out of Overlord. On October 19, 1943, Churchill ordered plans to be made on the assumption that Overlord would be canceled. His Chiefs of Staff clucked in sympathy. But whatever the doubts about casualties they committed to their diaries, the Chiefs of Staff and the planners had no intention of canceling it; and on November 11 they reaffirmed Overlord. Meanwhile both American and British staff officers tried month after month to increase the number of landing craft and hence the strength of the assault forces for the Normandy beaches.
There was one disturbing factor in assessing British intentions, to which Ben-Moshe has every right to refer. After the surrender of Singapore and Tobruk Churchill feared that the morale of the army had crumbled. "Get you the sons your fathers got, And God will save the Queen" ended the first poem in Housman's A Shropshire Lad. But were we the sons of our fathers who had fought in the trenches during the First World War? It was not a matter I found I could raise with my air force colleagues, when the morale and the casualties of the pilots in the Battle of Britain and of the air crews bombing Germany were so high. But Stimson was right to see that the losses of the Somme and Passchendaele had eaten into the British memory. Ben-Moshe is right to say that the British failed to realize that no such losses or doubts inhibited, the American army. The prodigal American production of every item of warfare and the self-confidence of American commanders who had no more experience of war than their British counterparts were both impressive.
[5] 1943: The Victory that Never Was (Hill and Wang, 1980).
[6] Roosevelt was right to suspect that Churchill's strategy was in part dictated by his resolve to save the British Empire—and lost few chances to rib Churchill about this anachronism. That was why in 1940 Churchill appointed his school chum from Harrow days and fellow imperialist, Leo Amery, to the India Office. On India's future Churchill was a notorious diehard. A new book on Amery shows that Amery had come to see that self-government for India was inevitable. If Amery had had his way, there might have been no partition of India. See William Roger Louis, In the Name of God, Go! (Norton, 1992).
STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR
COALITION WARFARE 1943-1944
by Maurice Matloff
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/ ... /index.htm
QUADRANT - Shaping the Patterns: August 1943

As the QUADRANT Conference drew near, General Marshall and his staff were convinced of the need for a showdown with the British. Once before-in July 1942-Marshall had led a move for a showdown. Then he had had to yield on a cross-Channel operation and accept TORCH instead. A series of opportunistic moves had followed in the Mediterranean-moves the U.S. staff sought to parallel with limited offensive actions in the Pacific. Marshall had fought to keep the Mediterranean commitments limited while he struggled to keep the BOLERO idea alive and the war against Japan progressing. But there was always the danger that the two limited wars-one in the Pacific, the other in the Mediterranean-would become all-out wars or absorb so much that little would be left for a major offensive in northwest Europe. The Army planners now feared that the Mediterranean trend had already gone so far as to be well-nigh irreversible. There were also signs, as Marshall was aware, of increasing restlessness among Navy planners, anxious to get on with the Pacific war, over his European strategy. At hand was an acceptable plan for concentration in the United Kingdom for a cross-Channel operation-Plan OVERLORD. The time for a final decision on European strategy therefore appeared to Marshall to have arrived.
Page 213-214
In the course of the conversation he produced his letter of conclusions. In it Stimson reasoned:

________________________________________
We cannot now rationally hope to be able to cross the Channel and come to grips with our German enemy under a British commander. His Prime Minister and his Chief of Imperial Staff are frankly at variance with such a proposal. The shadows of Passchendaele and Dunkerque still hang too heavily over the imagination of these leaders of his government. Though they have rendered lip service to the operation, their hearts are not in it and it will require more independence, more faith, and more vigor than it is reasonable to expect we can find in any British commander to overcome the natural difficulties of such an operation carried on in such an atmosphere of his government.

Stimson went on to point out that the difference between the Americans and the British was "a vital difference of faith." The U.S. staff believed that only by massing the great vigor and might of the two countries under overwhelming mastery of the air could Germany be defeated. The British theory was that Germany would be beaten by a "series of attritions" in the Mediterranean and the Balkans. The USSR, to which both the United States and Great Britain were pledged to open a second front, would not be fooled by "pinprick warfare"-a special danger in the light of postwar problems. Stimson concluded his letter:

I believe therefore that the time has come for you to decide that your government must assume the responsibility of leadership in this great final movement of the European war which is now confront- 'in us. We cannot afford to confer again g and close with a lip tribute to BOLERO which we have tried twice and failed to carry out . .
Page 214
Turning to the basic question in grand strategy, Admiral King suggested to the President that, if the British insisted upon abandoning OVERLORD or postponing OVERLORD indefinitely, the United States should abandon the project. The President replied with the optimistic view that the United States itself could, if necessary, carry out the cross-Channel operation. He felt certain that the British would make the necessary bases available to the United States for the operation. General Marshall objected to the President's suggestion on the ground that fifteen British divisions were already available in the United Kingdom. In no other place in the world, he maintained, could fifteen divisions be put into an operation without entailing great transportation and supply problems.

Page 216
The U.S. leaders left the meeting of 10 August agreed to insist on the continuation of the current build-up for the cross-Channel operation from the United Kingdom and on carrying Out OVERLORD as the main U.S.-U.K. effort. The JCS now had the President behind them in their plans for Europe.10
Page 220-221
As it had previously decided, the American delegation immediately presented its proposal that OVERLORD be given overriding priority over other operations in the European theater.21

Sir Alan Brooke replied for the British Chiefs of Staff that the British were in complete agreement with the U.S. Chiefs of Staff that OVERLORD should be the major U.S.-U.K. offensive for 1944. Nevertheless, he went on to stress forcefully the necessity of achieving the three main conditions on which the success of the OVERLORD plan was based: (1) the
________________________________________
reduction in German fighter strength; (2) the restriction of German strength in France and the Low Countries and of German ability to bring in reinforcements during the first two months; and (3) the solution of the problem of beach maintenance. To create a situation favorable to a successful OVERLORD was the main British aim of Allied operations in Italy. The desired Allied, vis-à-vis enemy, strength, Brooke emphasized, could be attained by operations in Italy to contain the maximum German forces and by air action from the most suitable Italian bases to reduce German fighter forces. In this connection Sir Charles Portal argued the advantages of gaining the northern Italian airfields.22 Not too surprisingly, the British soon turned the discussion to the much-debated question of the seven divisions. If the seven divisions were withdrawn from the Mediterranean, the British Chiefs argued, the Americans and British would run risks in the Mediterranean that might preclude or jeopardize success in OVERLORD. On the basis of this reasoning, Sir Alan Brooke concluded, therefore, that the decision sought by the U.S. Joint Chiefs between OVERLORD and operations in the Mediterranean would be "too binding." 23
Page 221
In his opinion, a successful OVERLORD could be insured only by giving it an overriding priority. Unless OVERLORD were given that priority, the operation might never be launched. Unless the seven divisions from the Mediterranean were dispatched and the necessary means were concentrated for OVERLORD, OVERLORD would at best become a "subsidiary operation." A delay in such decisions not only would hinder the OVERLORD build-up but also would have repercussions on Pacific operations. Marshall again emphasized, this time to the combined staffs, that any exchange of troops contrary to TRIDENT agreements "would absorb shipping" and upset supply arrangements "as far back as the Mississippi River." Unless OVERLORD were given an overriding priority, General Marshall went on, the entire U.S.-U.K. strategic concept would have to be revised. In that event, the United States and the United Kingdom would have to rely on air bombardment alone to defeat Germany, and only a reinforced U.S. Army corps for an "opportunistic" cross-Channel operation might well be left in the United Kingdom. Although the Combined Bomber Offensive had accomplished great results, the final outcome of that operation-and the very possibility of an opportunistic cross-Channel undertaking - remained "speculative." Such a recasting of strategy, he pointed out to the British, might lead to a possible reorientation of American offensive efforts toward the Pacific.24
Page 221-223
The British position, as could be expected, was not inflexible. On 16 August, General Marshall informed his American colleagues that Churchill had told him the previous evening "that he had changed his mind over OVERLORD and that we should use every opportunity to further that operation." Marshall had taken the opportunity to tell the Prime Minister that he could not agree to the logic of supporting the main effort by withdrawing strength from it to reinforce the effort in Italy. In Marshall's view, the British approach to OVERLORD was by "indirection." 25

To counter the British reservations and qualifications, the JCS on 16 August accepted for presentation to the CCS proposals submitted by General Handy. Handy called for the acceptance by the CCS of the TRIDENT decision for OVERLORD-including the definite allotment of forces for it-and of the American proposal of overriding priority for OVERLORD, without reservations or conditions. The JCS decided to withhold
the second part of General Handy's proposals-alternative recommendations for a radical reversal in U.S. strategic policy -calling for the abandonment Of OVERLORD and placing the main effort in the Mediterranean, in the event the British Chiefs of Staff refused to back OVERLORD wholeheartedly. On this "Mediterranean alternative" scheme, foreshadowed in General Hull's analysis a month earlier, the JCS were noncommittal.26
. . . At the same time, the JCS decided immediately to inform the President, who had not yet arrived at the conference, of the emerging divergences in British and American staff views and especially of their concern over apparent reservations of the British on OVERLORD.
. . . By that time-after three days of staff debate-it was already clear that a compromise was in the making and that the U.S. staff would have to accept something less than "overriding priority" for the operation.28

In arguing his case before the President and CCS in plenary session, Churchill declared that he had not favored SLEDGEHAMMER in 1942 Or ROUNDUP in 1943, but he "strongly favored" OVERLORD for 1944. 29 His objections to the earlier operations, he stated, had been removed. He wished all to understand, nevertheless, that the implementation of the OVERLORD plan depended on the fulfillment of certain conditions. One of these conditions was that no more than twelve mobile German divisions were to be in northern France at the time the operation was mounted. Another was that the United States and the United Kingdom had attained definite superiority over the German fighter forces at the time of the assault. He urged that the OVERLORD plan be subject to revision by the CCS in the event that the German strength exceeded the twelve mobile divisions. He also suggested that the Allies keep a "second string to their bow" in the guise of a prepared plan to undertake Operation JUPITER-the invasion of Norway, long a favorite project of his.30
Page 225
. . .A persistent note pervaded the discussion of the American delegates-the fear of draining strength and means away from the cross-Channel operation and the consequent desire to restrict Mediterranean operations. How to keep the war in the Mediterranean a limited one contributing to OVERLORD and early victory over Germany was the problem. In any event, whatever measures were undertaken to eliminate Italy, establish bases on the mainland, seize Sardinia and Corsica, and launch an operation in southern France in conjunction with OVERLORD, should be carried out with the forces allotted at TRIDENT. To such limits the British raised objections. They argued strongly the need for more leeway in allocating resources in order to insure the success of the Mediterranean operations-all the more important now to pave the way for OVERLORD. Hence, they saw great danger in accepting rigid commitments for the Mediterranean-a straight jacket likely to jeopardize the Allied cause in the whole European-Mediterranean area.
Staff differences on the question of Mediterranean commitments were themselves symptomatic of more basic and lingering divergences in European strategy-on the role of preparatory operations and the timing of the main blow. Back of these divergences lay the even more fundamental differences in approach to strategy-the claims of waging attritional warfare versus those of concentration in a selected area. Though a definitive reconciliation of strategic methods and theories might be beyond the scope of the staffs assembled in conference, the practical issue on which the larger divergences came to settle-the question of Mediterranean commitments for the following year posed a problem for immediate compromise.
Page 359
. . .Considerable means, General Marshall went on to say, would be "sucked in" for Rhodes and other Aegean operations and undoubtedly would result in an unacceptable delay to OVERLORD. Furthermore, he reported, General Somervell believed that, even if Turkey entered the war, it might be six or eight months thereafter before the Dardanelles could be opened, since it would take considerable time to shift bases in order to undertake operations in the Aegean. As for other Mediterranean activities, Marshall thought more could be done for Eisenhower in Italy and for Tito's forces in Yugoslavia, within limits. Still there must be no undue delay in OVERLORD.
Page 360
. . . There was a definite bottleneck in the matter of landing craft. Certain operations contemplated in the Mediterranean would result in a delay of one to three months in OVERLORD; if any large expedition were launched in the Mediterranean, OVERLORD would have to be given up.. .
Page 361
. . . Following the Soviet pledge, the remainder of the military discussions focused on the European conflict. Stalin bluntly proceeded to set forth his stand on operations in Europe. He put the weight of Soviet opinion behind OVERLORD, supported by a southern France operation. A large offensive from one direction was not wise. Soviet experience over the past two years had shown the value of converging pincer operations of the type represented by simultaneous operations in southern and northern France. These operations would best help the Soviet Union.
The Prime Minister drew on all his eloquence and marshaled all his arguments for Mediterranean - especially eastern Mediterranean-operations that would help the USSR "without delaying OVERLORD more than a month ox two." Twenty divisions that could not be moved out of the Mediterranean because of a shortage of shipping could be used to stretch Germany to the utmost. At one point the President helped Churchill's argument by expressing the belief that "possibly an entry through the Northeastern Adriatic for offensive operations against Germany in the direction of the Danube would be of value."
Marshal Stalin was adamant. He did not favor scattering the Allied forces in the Mediterranean. The Allies should be prepared to remain on the defensive in Italy. He now had no hope of Turkey's entering the war. All Mediterranean operations other than southern France should be considered diversionary. The meeting of the 28th ended with Churchill still not completely convinced, but the clear hard fact remained that the Soviet Union had seconded the American case for OVERLORD. Henceforth, the Prime Minister would be fighting a losing battle for secondary operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

“The Business of War, The War Narrative of Major-General Sir John Kennedy” by Sir John Kennedy. William Morrow and Company, New York, 1958. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 58-10565

Page 96-97

Mr. Churchill was, of course, responsible as Prime Minister for deciding the allocation of manpower and of industrial production to the three Services. We in the General Staff were quite sure that the decisions he gave at this time were dangerously wrong. On 6 March (this is 1941, according to the text) he had issued one of his periodical directives, in which he instructed us to proceed upon the assumption that the Army would never play a primary part in the defeat of the enemy. I reproduce here a paragraph extracted from this directive.

“The above considerations and the situation as a whole make it impossible for the Army, except in resisting invasion, to play a primary role in the defeat of the enemy. That task can only be done by the staying power of the Navy, and above all by the effect of air predominance. Very valuable and important services may be rendered overseas by the Army in operations of a secondary order, and it is for these special operations that its organization and character should be adapted.”

We attempted to reason with him on this issue, and sent him a memorandum in which we gave it as our view that he was adrift in his belief that the Army’s part in achieving victory would be secondary. We pointed out that great results had already been achieved in the war, both by the Germans and by ourselves, by operations in which armies had played the predominant part. But, for a long time, he continued to believe that the war would be won by aircraft. So sure was he of this that the bombing policy of the Air Staff was settled almost entirely by the Prime Minister himself in consultation with Portal, and was not controlled by the Chiefs of Staff. Try as we would, we never succeeded in bringing this important but far from self-sufficient ingredient of victory under their direction.
(My comment: obviously he changed his mind according to the text, but what does this passage tell you about his underlying belief? That the war could be won without coming to grips with the German Army?)

Page 305

The rest of 1943 was marked by growing differences of opinion between the Americans and ourselves as to future policy in the Mediterranean. Had we had our way, I think there can be little doubt that the invasion of France would not have been done in 1944. There has been some dispute since the war as to the conflict of opinion between us and the Americans on this major point of strategy. I have not kept copies of the official correspondence which passed on the subject; but perhaps the whole atmosphere of those lat two or three months of 1943 is best recalled by reproducing notes made at the time.

“13th October, 1943. Returned from leave 8 October. All the week I was away Winston was agitating for an attack on Rhodes. C.I.G.S. argued in vain that we had resources sufficient only for Italy, and that we must not divert forces to the Aegean. The Germans have 19 divisions in Italy, and show signs of fighting harder than we expected in central Italy. They could maintain bigger forces in Italy if they could spare them, and we cannot be sure they will not scrape up further divisions, in which case we might well be forced to send more troops out from home, or stop the movement home of the 7 divisions (3 British, 4 American) during the coming winter.

Page 306
Alexander cabled to the C.I.G.S. last Sunday asking that I should go out and discuss his difficulties with him. He wants more landing craft so as to be able to land a force behind the Germans. We cabled back that his situation did not take us by surprise, that we had never been under any illusions as to the problem before him, and that our difficulty all along had been to persuade the Americans that our commitment in Italy would be a heavy one. C.I.G.S. said he would gladly send me or, indeed, go himself if he thought it would help, but he feared that any opinion from our side would be suspected by the Americans who seemed to have an ineradicable impression that our hearts were not in Overlord and that we took any opportunity of diverting to the Mediterranean, resources which they considered should be concentrated in Great Britain. C.I.G.S. added, as the most effective line of action, the suggestion that Alexander should send a plain and outspoken appreciation to Eisenhower and ask him to send it on to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Page 307

There is still a very distinct cleavage of opinion between us and the Americans as to the correct strategy in Europe. C.I.G.S. feels very strongly that we should exploit the openings in the Mediterranean and extend the range of our offensive operations to the Aegean and the Balkans. The Germans are sitting on a volcano in the Balkans, and we could start an eruption if we had the forces to spare.
The P.M. has come round to this point of view too, and has just said he would like to tackle the Americans again upon it, but I must say I see no chance of converting them-especially in view of Marshall’s impending appointment for Overlord. [Note: We thought at this time that he was to be Supreme Commander.] I think, however, it does not matter very much because the chances of the Boche being still on his legs next spring are becoming more and more remote.

(my comments, in two pages we went from we don’t know why the Americans question our commitment to Overlord to trying to get us to commit to more Mediterranean operations which would of delayed or postponed Overlord indefinitely, and to think that the British believed the Germans were going to collapse by the Spring of 1944. This idea that the Germans were going to collapse is a common theme in more than one book I have read)

Page 308

The P.M. has taken a strong line with the Americans on the Mediterranean versus Overlord strategy. As he says, it is no use planning for defeat in the field (i.e. in Italy) in order to give temporary political satisfaction. All this will mean a meeting in the near future with the American Chiefs of Staff and, if we carry our point, a postponement of Overlord.
(My comment, the date is approximately 28 October 1943)

Page 309

(Discussing requirements needed in Italy by Alexander, date 31 October 1943)

This we foresaw months ago, but the Americans would not see it. The trouble is that, if we give Alexander what he wants, and if we allot further resources for operations in the Aegean and the Balkans, as we should do to take full advantage of the situation, Overlord must perforce be postponed. The Americans take the view that this is a breach of contract and almost dishonorable

Page 310

In the meantime, we have to reckon with the situation that might arise if the Germans shortened their line in Russia and withdrew troops from Western Europe during the winter (when invasion by us is unlikely), and then made a heavy counterattack upon us in Italy. We have been working on an appreciation of this, and it seems clear that we should a least have more landing craft in the Mediterranean. We cannot have these without postponing the always problematical Overlord. This we want to do and the Americans don’t. All this must be thrashed out at another conference quite soon.




Page 312

We have now crystallized our idea as to the strategy to be advocated in the coming conference (this is the Teheran Conference). The main points are-to continue the offensive in Italy, to increase the flow of supplies to partisans in the Balkans, to bring about an upheaval by inducing the Balkan powers to break away from Germany, to induce Turkey to enter the war, and to accept a postponement of Overlord. All these proposal have been worked out in a fair amount of detail here, and the stage is now set for the discussions.
(My comment, so they did in fact plan to propose delaying Overlord?!! Their hearts were not into the operation and the only reason they finally agreed to it was because the Russians and the Americans ganged up on them.)

Page 313

. . . He (De Lattre de Tassigny) did not believe that the war could be finished by next spring . . I still believe that the Germans will crack before they are finally hemmed in, within Germany because I do not believe that Hitler will be able to control them, in their vast numbers, to the extent that D.L. de T. thinks.
(My comment, Major General Kennedy still believes they will crack)

Page 314

The minutes of the Teheran Conference reached us yesterday. . . The Russians and Americans have had their way. Time will show whether this is justified. . . The conclusions can hardly be accepted without reservations, and rightly so, for it is impossible to predict, months ahead, whether the circumstances will justify an operation which depends for its success on the strength and disposition of the enemy when the time comes. Even so, the conclusions have hardened our strategical policy and have committed us, more deeply than before, to courses of action which, it is true to say, we should not have adopted had the conduct of the war been entirely in our hands. It is not at all impossible that these courses will prove to be right. . . We will certainly put our whole effort into making a success of them. For this, present plans will require much strengthening.
(My comment the only conclusion that you can draw from this is the British wanted to postpone, delay or cancel Overlord. They did not want to do it!)

Of course, we soon heard a good deal of gossip about the Teheran Conference, which I will not attempt to set down, except only for this story told to me later on by Martel, who attended in his capacity as head of our Moscow Military Mission. In the course of this speech at an official banquet, Stalin referred to his “good friend, Mr. Churchill”, and added, “I hope I may call him my good friend.” At this, Churchill was heard to mutter, “Yes you may call me “Winston” if you like-I always call you “Joe” when you aren’t there.” Then, when Churchill made his speech, he re referred to the great decisions that had been taken, how these decisions would now be translated into action, and that, in the meantime, the Germans would have to be misled and mystified as to our intentions. Thereupon, according to Martel, Stalin remarked audibly, “That’s all right, so long as one of your mysteries is not the Second Front.”


"World War II, A Short History" 4th Edition by Michael J. Lyons. ISBN 0-13-097769-1

page 195

Memories of the awful carnage on the Western Front had made the British fearful of another bloodbath and less than enthusiastic about a cross-channel invasion.


page 196, World War II A short history,

Critics have contended since the war that Churchill was fundamentally opposed to any invasion of Western Europe, but this is probably an exaggeration. To be sure, the prime minister remembered the bloodbath on the western front in World War I and wanted to avoid another. Such fears certainly played an important part in his opposition to Sledgehammer. But his primary concern appears to have been to avoid a cross channel invasion until the Allies had become strong enough to ensure success. Considering the improvised nature of the German plan for an invasion of Britain in 1940, Churchill's opposition to Sledgehammer was not unfounded. But whether it was wise to shift strength to the Mediterranean instead of focusing all efforts on a buildup for an invasion of France in 1943 is another matter. Once Churchill and Roosevelt made the decision to intervene in French North Africa, prospects fro a cross-channel operation in 1943 plummeted, and the likelihood of the Allies' becoming bogged down in a Mediterranean strategy increased sharply.

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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by JonS » 16 Aug 2011 02:16

Yeah, ok. Wall-o-words is always convincing.

Wait, no it isn't. I haven't read all of your post, and to be honest with you I'm not likely to either. It's not analysis you're offering here, it's an appeal to authority. Also, the [ quote ] tags are your friend ;)

And even with that, I think you're reading what you want to see, and ignoring what you don't like. There are plenty of snips that indicate that the British knew that they had to invade France. Brooke citing entirely valid pre-reqs is not a way of weasling out, it's a way of ensuring that when they do go the chance of success is maximised. Citing objections to going in 42 or 43 is ludicrous, the kind of onanistry that [url=http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=99879]Chris Perrin[/quote] likes to indulge in. It's no more convincing now than it was then. The British were quite right to take taht stupid idea round the back of the woodshed and give it the thrashing it deserved.

As I said before, Churchill and Brooke both hated the idea of invading France. Emotionally. It was that that led to quixotic adventures like the Dodecanese Island. But they both understood that OVERLORD was politically and militarily necessary. Working to assure success is not the same seeking to avoid.

Oh, somewhere in your wall-of-words is a bit along the lines of Marshall seeing ANVIL and OVERRLORD as being linked. Well, he was wrong, wasn't he? Eisenhower was ... not exactly happy, but he was prepared to commence OVERLORD without ANVIL. In addition, seeing a link between ANVIL and OVERLORD is not the same the link between OVERLORD and Italy. In the end, ANVIL came to be used as a way of closing down Italy and the Med, rather than because it had particular merit in its own right.

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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by JonS » 16 Aug 2011 02:19

Incidentally, this:
Critics have contended since the war that Churchill was fundamentally opposed to any invasion of Western Europe, but this is probably an exaggeration. To be sure, the prime minister remembered the bloodbath on the western front in World War I and wanted to avoid another. Such fears certainly played an important part in his opposition to Sledgehammer. But his primary concern appears to have been to avoid a cross channel invasion until the Allies had become strong enough to ensure success.
is not exactly an ringing endorsement of the idea that the British - or Churchill - had to be dragged by the US 'kicking and screaming' to do OVERLORD :roll:

As I said earlier; the UK was planning and preparing for a return to France before the US was even in the war.

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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by Delta Tank » 16 Aug 2011 14:10

JonS,

JonS wrote:
And even with that, I think you're reading what you want to see, and ignoring what you don't like. There are plenty of snips that indicate that the British knew that they had to invade France. Brooke citing entirely valid pre-reqs is not a way of weasling out, it's a way of ensuring that when they do go the chance of success is maximised. Citing objections to going in 42 or 43 is ludicrous, the kind of onanistry that [url=http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=99879]Chris Perrin, likes to indulge in. It's no more convincing now than it was then. The British were quite right to take taht stupid idea round the back of the woodshed and give it the thrashing it deserved.
The emergency invasion proposed for 1942, "Sledgehammer" would only take place if it appeared that the Soviet Union was going to collapse. The 1943 invasion plan, "Roundup" was delayed and everyone knew it would be delayed when we did the North African invasion in November 1942. However, the British did not want to do Operation Overlord in 1944, maybe in 1945, but if they had their way not in 1944. Major General Kennedy spells it out clearly in his book.

For some reason I could not get the link that you provided above to work, will try again.

Mike

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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by Delta Tank » 16 Aug 2011 14:38

JonS wrote:Incidentally, this:
Critics have contended since the war that Churchill was fundamentally opposed to any invasion of Western Europe, but this is probably an exaggeration. To be sure, the prime minister remembered the bloodbath on the western front in World War I and wanted to avoid another. Such fears certainly played an important part in his opposition to Sledgehammer. But his primary concern appears to have been to avoid a cross channel invasion until the Allies had become strong enough to ensure success.
is not exactly an ringing endorsement of the idea that the British - or Churchill - had to be dragged by the US 'kicking and screaming' to do OVERLORD :roll:

As I said earlier; the UK was planning and preparing for a return to France before the US was even in the war.
Winston Churchill, in my opinion, purposely confused Operation Sledgehammer, the emergency operation to draw German forces away from the Soviet Union, if it looked like they were going to collapse, while arguing with someone in order to win an argument. Winston Churchill was a politician and he would say anything to win an argument so he could get his way. But, it begs the question when? If not 1944, 1945? 1946? When would the Germans be weak enough to ensure success? And who would make that determination?

This from Major General Kennedy's book cited above:
Page 312
We have now crystallized our idea as to the strategy to be advocated in the coming conference (this is the Teheran Conference). The main points are-to continue the offensive in Italy, to increase the flow of supplies to partisans in the Balkans, to bring about an upheaval by inducing the Balkan powers to break away from Germany, to induce Turkey to enter the war, and to accept a postponement of Overlord. All these proposal have been worked out in a fair amount of detail here, and the stage is now set for the discussions.
Mike

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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by Aber » 17 Aug 2011 22:29

Delta Tank wrote:

Here it is, enjoy! Mike Will come in at least two parts, file too big!

It is my contention that the British did not want to do Operation Overlord. I believe that we dragged them kicking and screaming to do this operation. I have assembled below some extracts from several books that helped me form this opinion.
I don't agree and will need to respond in several parts:
For their part, the British never questioned the principle that the main attack against Germany in the West, and the decisive one, must eventually be made from the northwest (OVERLORD) not the south.....But the debate was embittered by American suspicions that the British intended somehow to sidetrack, weaken, or indefinitely postpone the invasion from the northwest
This extract from Command Decisions that you quoted probably best summarises my understanding.

There are a significant number of players who could be accused of opposing the Normandy landings:
- the bomber barons of both the RAF and USAAF who thought that they could collapse the German economy by area bombing or precision bombing
- the US Navy who perpetually lobbied for resources to be transferred to the Pacific
- Marshall, who early in July 1942 proposed a Japan-first approach and who later in 1942 unilaterally slowed down Bolero and delayed Overlord to 1944
Therefore it is dangerous to use isolated quotes to argue that the British were permanently opposed to landings in France, although as your quotes show, some US authors agree with you.

I see the turning point of Grand Strategy in World War II as CCS94, the memo that Marshall wrote in London in July 1942 when Torch was agreed in principle. This is generally portrayed as a defeat of Marshall and he recounted in post-war interviews that after the British successfully prevented Sledgehammer, he sat done started writing CCS94 as the only way forward, agreeing Torch. I believe that the truth is more complex and that it was something of a victory for Marshall (and King).

CCS94 authorised Torch, but also allowed the US to transfer more resources to the Pacific and was later quoted by various US Navy staff as revising the Germany-first policy. Also buried in the small print was a proviso that Torch probably made Round-up impossible in 1943, which was used to justify unilaterally slowing down the transfer of US forces to the UK under Bolero. It was this slow-down in Bolero that made Round-up impossible, rather than Torch per se.

It is also questionable whether the plan Marshall had previously presented to the President of a c50 division Round-up in early 1943, including 27 US divisions, was ever logistically possible and so the delay to 1944 may have been necessary in any case.

I therefore see CCS94 as a strategic victory for Marshall, allowing him to transfer resources to the Pacific, meet the President's demand for action in 1942 and blame the British for not delivering the impossible Round-up that he had proposed to Roosevelt. I also wonder at the timing of Torch, a week after mid-term elections, and whether this was payback for Roosevelt putting him in an impossible negotiating position in London in July 1942.

Once Torch had been launched, then the landings in Sicily and Italy almost argue themselves by default, on the grounds that the Armies had to continue fighting somewhere until the US actually transferred enough resources to the UK to make Overlord feasible.

Do you have Master and Commanders by Andrew Roberts, which probably has the most thorough and well-written analysis of the strategic issues. IMHO Marshall however escapes more lightly in this book due to the lack of post-war writing, or diaries that would highlight any inconsistencies in his positions.

I will need to address your sources in another post.

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Re: Differing views of Overlord

Post by Delta Tank » 20 Aug 2011 00:38

To all,

I stated that I would not "Cherry Pick", don't know how to translate that, but I will post everything that supports or defeats my argument. I really don't care either way, just want to know what the truth is! I will tell you it will take a lot of documents to disprove what I have posted to change my mind, and when you consider that Major General Sir John Kennedy who was the "Director of Military Operations from 1940 until 1943 and thereafter as Assistant Chief of the Imperial General Staff until December 1944." stated that:

This from Major General Kennedy's book cited above:
Page 312
We have now crystallized our idea as to the strategy to be advocated in the coming conference (this is the Teheran Conference). The main points are-to continue the offensive in Italy, to increase the flow of supplies to partisans in the Balkans, to bring about an upheaval by inducing the Balkan powers to break away from Germany, to induce Turkey to enter the war, and to accept a postponement of Overlord. All these proposal have been worked out in a fair amount of detail here, and the stage is now set for the discussions.

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Re: Differing views of Overlordhttp://forum.axishistory.com/

Post by Delta Tank » 20 Aug 2011 00:44

Aber,

Aber wrote:
Do you have Master and Commanders by Andrew Roberts, which probably has the most thorough and well-written analysis of the strategic issues. IMHO Marshall however escapes more lightly in this book due to the lack of post-war writing, or diaries that would highlight any inconsistencies in his positions.

I will need to address your sources in another post.
Please read what I posted. . . very slowly, I believe that this book lead off the post parade, so this indicates that you did not read the posts, there are two. Please read the posts, take your time, I am only 55 years old, hope to live another 30 years.

Mike

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Re: Differing views of Overlord

Post by Tim Smith » 20 Aug 2011 16:48

Has no-one considered that maybe Churchill and Brooke were correct to argue for delay, and Roosevelt and Marshall were wrong?

Would not an Allied invasion of France have been much easier and less bloody if conducted in May 1945, against a Wehrmacht fatally weakened from another year of terrible attrition on the Eastern Front? In summer 1944 the Wehrmacht was still a formidable fighting force, but a year later nearly everything battleworthy would have been used up to stop the Soviet juggernaut from rolling into Germany, and the Wehrmacht would also be crippled from lack of fuel from strategic bombing of the oil industry.

The first day of the invasion, D-Day itself, might have been just as difficult, but the breakout and exploitation might be easier against a worn-down, weaker Wehrmacht. Instead of a hard slogging match through the Bocage in 1944, the Allies might have enjoyed a comparative walkover in 1945. The ground that it took the Allies six months to take in 1944 might have been taken in only two months in 1945, at far lesser cost, if the emaciated German forces in the West had been as weak and starved of fuel and manpower as the Italian armed forces had been in summer 1943, just before Italy surrendered. Market Garden (if needed at all) would have been successful, and it's very unlikely Germany would be in any condition to launch the Battle of the Bulge, with the Soviets nearing Berlin.

Basically, Stalin was right in his suspicions - Churchill wanted the Soviets to suffer nearly all the casualties involved in fighting Germany on her front porch, while the British casually strolled in the unlocked back door at the last moment and took the pick of the European loot for very little effort. From the British point of view, that's not a bad strategy. Especially since the Soviets were unlikely to remain friends after the war, so it's good to let them be worn down too.

Yes, the war in Europe would have been prolonged maybe an extra four months, maybe six months, but so what? As long as it's the Soviets and Germans that suffer the worst consequences of the extension, and not the British and Americans.

Stalin would be really pissed off at the British, but the presence of our loyal American allies and their huge, well-equipped army would deter him from getting feisty and trying to take all of Germany for himself. (The fact that the Soviets would have earned such a reward by defeating the German Army nearly single-handed is, of course, entirely beside the point.)
Last edited by Tim Smith on 20 Aug 2011 17:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Differing views of Overlord

Post by Aber » 20 Aug 2011 17:25

Delta Tank wrote:Aber,

Aber wrote:
Do you have Master and Commanders by Andrew Roberts, which probably has the most thorough and well-written analysis of the strategic issues. IMHO Marshall however escapes more lightly in this book due to the lack of post-war writing, or diaries that would highlight any inconsistencies in his positions.

I will need to address your sources in another post.
Please read what I posted. . . very slowly, I believe that this book lead off the post parade, so this indicates that you did not read the posts, there are two. Please read the posts, take your time, I am only 55 years old, hope to live another 30 years.

Mike
Lead off book in the parade was actually
Partners in Command”, by Mark Perry (ISBN 978-0-14-311385-0 (pbk))
I thought this would be interesting but was disappointed by the lack of analysis.

The most interesting of your quotes were from Sir John Kennedy's book published in 1957 which I saw recently second-hand but failed to buy. Andrew Roberts sources include not only the book but his unpublished diaries as well.

Care to respond to what was posted?

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Re: Differing views of Overlord

Post by Delta Tank » 22 Aug 2011 23:59

Aber,

Aber wrote:
I thought this would be interesting but was disappointed by the lack of analysis.

The most interesting of your quotes were from Sir John Kennedy's book published in 1957 which I saw recently second-hand but failed to buy. Andrew Roberts sources include not only the book but his unpublished diaries as well.

Care to respond to what was posted?
Sorry, you are correct, I have read the book by Andrew Roberts, and I thought I posted passages from his book! Damn! Now I will have to find it and see what I underlined and margin comments.

Mike

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Re: Differing views of Overlord

Post by Delta Tank » 23 Aug 2011 00:14

Tim Smith wrote:Has no-one considered that maybe Churchill and Brooke were correct to argue for delay, and Roosevelt and Marshall were wrong?

Would not an Allied invasion of France have been much easier and less bloody if conducted in May 1945, against a Wehrmacht fatally weakened from another year of terrible attrition on the Eastern Front? In summer 1944 the Wehrmacht was still a formidable fighting force, but a year later nearly everything battleworthy would have been used up to stop the Soviet juggernaut from rolling into Germany, and the Wehrmacht would also be crippled from lack of fuel from strategic bombing of the oil industry.

The first day of the invasion, D-Day itself, might have been just as difficult, but the breakout and exploitation might be easier against a worn-down, weaker Wehrmacht. Instead of a hard slogging match through the Bocage in 1944, the Allies might have enjoyed a comparative walkover in 1945. The ground that it took the Allies six months to take in 1944 might have been taken in only two months in 1945, at far lesser cost, if the emaciated German forces in the West had been as weak and starved of fuel and manpower as the Italian armed forces had been in summer 1943, just before Italy surrendered. Market Garden (if needed at all) would have been successful, and it's very unlikely Germany would be in any condition to launch the Battle of the Bulge, with the Soviets nearing Berlin.

Basically, Stalin was right in his suspicions - Churchill wanted the Soviets to suffer nearly all the casualties involved in fighting Germany on her front porch, while the British casually strolled in the unlocked back door at the last moment and took the pick of the European loot for very little effort. From the British point of view, that's not a bad strategy. Especially since the Soviets were unlikely to remain friends after the war, so it's good to let them be worn down too.

Yes, the war in Europe would have been prolonged maybe an extra four months, maybe six months, but so what? As long as it's the Soviets and Germans that suffer the worst consequences of the extension, and not the British and Americans.

Stalin would be really pissed off at the British, but the presence of our loyal American allies and their huge, well-equipped army would deter him from getting feisty and trying to take all of Germany for himself. (The fact that the Soviets would have earned such a reward by defeating the German Army nearly single-handed is, of course, entirely beside the point.)
Tim,

All good points, but you assume that the Americans would not of taken our toys and gone and fight the Japanese, or at least stop sending equipment, units and supplies to the UK. General Marshall used that line of argument along with Admiral King, but that argument would of been a reality if the decision was to wait for a possible invasion in 1945, depending if the German Army was still effective, therefore warranty more delay. I am not an expert on the pulse of US public opinion in World War II, but destroying Japan was very high on the list, it may of been higher than destroying Germany.

Now, what happens if Stalin is not willing to play this game and negotiates a peace with the Germans? As the Germans shift 40 divisions from the west to the east, and all new equipment flows east and none goes west.

Mike

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