Why no D day in 1943?

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by OpanaPointer » 10 Dec 2015 14:18

Where do we stage up for that invasion?
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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by dgfred » 10 Dec 2015 18:55

Sheldrake wrote:
steverodgers801 wrote:An attack on France in 1943 was not a good idea, but Churchill kept demanding an invasion of Yugoslavia and the Dodecanese islands. I have never understood why Churchill thought taking Rhodes would help end the war. His fear of casualties was understandable, but he overlooked that the longer the war took the more casualties there would be. Italy proved to be far short of the promised results and yet Churchill wanted to attack in even worse mountainous terrain.
Churchill wanted to bring Turkey into the war. He also had a habit of letting his imagination rip in peripheral areas such as Norway and the Northern tip of Sumatra. Alanbrooke attributed this to Churchill's tendency to focus on some part of the canvas without seeing the whole picture at the same time.

I think your assessment of the Italian Campaign is unfair.

I am not sure exactly what you feel was "promised," and on what basis anyone could seriously expect more than was achieved. Churchill's "soft underbelly of Europe" was a politicians phrase, a good sound bite; long on emotion and short on the specifics.

The campaign was an effective subsidiary operation which engaged 20 divisions of Germans, inflicting one third to a half a million casualties and turning an enemy into a co-belligerent ally. Aircraft from Italy ranged over southern Europe and Germany, outflanking German air defences. It was a second front, the first foothold in mainland Europe, in a theatre where the Germans could not bring their full might to bear. It would be the springboard for the invasion of Southern France and the opening of the Mediterranean Ports.
I agree. It did tie up many German troops. I think Churchill's most pressing thought was keeping everything away from the Soviets.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by steverodgers801 » 12 Dec 2015 00:31

The promise was the allies would quickly march up the peninsula and somehow march into southern Germany

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 12 Dec 2015 02:31

steverodgers801 wrote:The promise was the allies would quickly march up the peninsula and somehow march into southern Germany
:lol: , Find that in writing with a descrioption of how, considering no foreign army ever marched up or down Italy lengthways, and the Alps were considered impassable, short of having a Hannibal with you*.

* there is some claim elements of Patton's army repeated the feat, but I never looked into it.

Italy was invaded to remove the Italian navy, as some were worried about that rubber ducky on their pond.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Sheldrake » 12 Dec 2015 10:15

HMan wrote:One thing that always somewhat mystified me was the US insistence on a cross-channel
offensive vs. invading S. France first. Firstly because I have the impression that weather
in the channel is far nastier than in the Med...................

Is my assumption that there was far more months when a S. France landing
is feasible than a cross-channel correct?
The weather was a factor in the choice of landing site, but logistics and air cover came first by a long way.

The Second Front as fundamentally a race between the allies using ships and aircraft and the Germans using road and rail. The side with the most resources would prevail. The allies could do several things to help to win this race:-

1`. Choosing a short sea crossing, minimising turn around times. Channel crossing are C 25 miles Dover Calais and C 120 miles Portsmouth - Caen, a fraction of the distance from North Africa to the South of France.

2. Build up the forces they would need as close as possible to the base for the landing so there would not be an embarrassing pause while troops and supplies were shipped across the Atlantic. The UK was a far superior base for ;launching the assault. It was the home nation of a major ally and provided a mass of logistic support for the invasion, from accommodation, security, repair and medical to local manufacture of e.g. zillions of waterproofing kits for vehicles.

3. Use air power to a) slow down the German reinforcement rate and b) add to the balance of forces. Far easier from the UK over Northern France than over any other crossings site from anywhere else. Airpower diminishes dramatically with distance.

It is easy to overlook the maths of logistics when looking at the map for cleverer places to re-fight Op Overlord. Op Bolaro built up US and Canadian troops in the UK to ensure that in summer 1944 the allies would win the race - and faster than anyone expected.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2015 00:27

HMan wrote:One thing that always somewhat mystified me was the US insistence on a cross-channel
offensive vs. invading S. France first. Firstly because I have the impression that weather
in the channel is far nastier than in the Med. ….
This is not correct. Operation Anvil, with a target date of April had been originally proposed in 1943, endorsed by the COSSAC staff, and had been in planning by the Allied forces in the Med from late 1943. Eisenhower felt strongly about the Anvil operation & kept it on the table until late February 1944 when he finally canceled it. Why canceled? Short answer is the priority was for concentrating the amphibious fleet. Eisenhower favored strong concentrations at the point of attack. i.e.: Keeping Op Torch at maximum effort of three corps was a priority for Eisenhower after he was made Allied commander of the operation. There were numerous individuals or groups who kept wanting to chip off parts of the Torch operation for their pet projects. i.e.: MacAurthurs frequent requests for material for a large scale offensive operation in the S Pacific. Ike worked energetically to keep Op Torch at a robust level. The same can be seen in his policy for Op Husky. There were demands and ernest arguments from all side for sending 'just a small force' to some other locality. Ike kept the Allied forces concentrated on invading Sicilly & disgruntled a few people in his endorsement of Montys arguments for concentration of force.

The Invasion of Italy in September 1943 was marked by dissipation of forces, with two Allied armies invading too far apart to properly support each other. Ike succumbed to pressure to act quickly, yet hedge his bets. The result was less than decisive. Again when Op Shingle was executed there was a lack of concentration of effort. This was outside Ikes responsibility as he had departed command in the Med, but the example of insufficient force & dissipation of effort stood clearly.

So, in January 1944 when reworking Op Overlords plans were well underway it became clear the concentration of force Ike wanted in NW France could not be had, if Op anvil was executed as intended. That is a initial landing of two armies in south France to complement the two armies in NW France. The amphib fleet needed to build up two armies through the Riviera & Marsailles could not be created without forgoing a larger & heavier blow in the north. The norther attack was Ikes priority, so he reluctantly canceled the April Anvil operation.

This 'Anvil Decision' is discussed at length by a number of historians/books. I think everyone of Ikes biographers dwells on it, as does Pogues bio of Marshal.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2015 00:56

There is a point repeatedly raised about the need to secure the Mediterranean sea route for the Allies by defeating Italy, or at least capturing Sicilly. Frequently the number of one million is cited as the savings in Allied shipping by reopening the Med sea route. I strongly suspect the people making this argument are unaware the Allies were sending cargo ships from Gibraltar to Egypt before Sicily was invaded. Cargo convoys were run through with insignificant losses during June. Allied warships had bee operating in the Sicillian/Tunisian straits in May with acceptable losses.

With the collapse of the Axis air power over Tunisia & Sicilly in April they lost control of the central Med, including the Sicillian Strait. It did not matter how many Axis soldiers stood on Sicilly. Their air fleet took severe losses contesting control, and could not inflict more than annoying losses on the Allied battle & transport fleets. Allied air & naval strength as it stood in the spring of 1943 & the securing of the airfields around Tunis & Bizerte proved enough to open the sea route.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Dec 2015 12:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:There is a point repeatedly raised about the need to secure the Mediterranean sea route for the Allies by defeating Italy, or at least capturing Sicilly. Frequently the number of one million is cited as the savings in Allied shipping by reopening the Med sea route. I strongly suspect the people making this argument are unaware the Allies were sending cargo ships from Gibraltar to Egypt before Sicily was invaded. Cargo convoys were run through with insignificant losses during June. Allied warships had bee operating in the Sicillian/Tunisian straits in May with acceptable losses.

With the collapse of the Axis air power over Tunisia & Sicilly in April they lost control of the central Med, including the Sicillian Strait. It did not matter how many Axis soldiers stood on Sicilly. Their air fleet took severe losses contesting control, and could not inflict more than annoying losses on the Allied battle & transport fleets. Allied air & naval strength as it stood in the spring of 1943 & the securing of the airfields around Tunis & Bizerte proved enough to open the sea route.
Two problems with this argument:-

1. Hind sight old boy. The decision for a 1944 Op Overlord was taken before April (which is a little early to declare air supremacy - there was a tough fight until the end of June.)

2. Air power is transient. The Germans thought they had neutralised Malta from the air on a couple of occasions. Sicilian airfields needed to be secured by land forces and act as bases for allied aircraft.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Dec 2015 15:23

Sheldrake wrote:
Two problems with this argument:-

1. Hind sight old boy. ....
This is one of the reasons it is so difficult to the any of your remarks seriously. You are highly dependant on using hindsight in your arguments, as much as anyone one. & you appear to apply it rigidly, that is its difficult to follow any analytical train. This renders most of your remarks meaningless to me. As Professor Flanigan demonstrated in his lectures all historical research & analysis is at its core 'hindsight'. Simply labeling something wrong due to hindsight implies rejection of any evidence or research based analysis is irrelevant, including by implication ones own research or evidence based opinion. Your remarks are to brief & cryptic to understand what your conclusion is based on, other than you think mine is wrong. Actually they are so brief I have trouble understanding what your argument is.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Dec 2015 00:48

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
Sheldrake wrote:
Two problems with this argument:-

1. Hind sight old boy. ....
This is one of the reasons it is so difficult to the any of your remarks seriously. You are highly dependant on using hindsight in your arguments, as much as anyone one. & you appear to apply it rigidly, that is its difficult to follow any analytical train. This renders most of your remarks meaningless to me. As Professor Flanigan demonstrated in his lectures all historical research & analysis is at its core 'hindsight'. Simply labeling something wrong due to hindsight implies rejection of any evidence or research based analysis is irrelevant, including by implication ones own research or evidence based opinion. Your remarks are to brief & cryptic to understand what your conclusion is based on, other than you think mine is wrong. Actually they are so brief I have trouble understanding what your argument is.
I call "hindsight", because the decision to delay the invasion of Europe to 1944 was taken at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. No one at that conference could have guaranteed air supremacy over the central Mediterranean in May 1943 - even if that was possible without a serious intent to invade Sicily. This just reinforces the the point that a successful 1943 D Day would be risky. It would rely on winning an accumulator of a series of bets that 1) the Atlantic sea battle could be won in a few months. 2) the Med could be kept clear without occupying Sicily and Italy 3) The allies could win air superiority over France in 1943. 4) the balance of land forces in 1943 would be as favourable as in 1944.

Let me draw attention to an observation about the Italian campaign. In July 1943 the Germans had some 187 divisions on the East front, 44 in the West, 7 divisions in Italy and 15 in the Balkans Eleven months later, in June 1944 there were 157 divisions on the East Front and 54 on the West - but 27 in Italy and 25 in the Balkans. For every German soldier reinforcing the West Front; three were sent to the Mediterranean. The strategy adopted at Casablanca worked.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Zinegata » 05 Jan 2016 04:56

dgfred wrote:I agree. It did tie up many German troops. I think Churchill's most pressing thought was keeping everything away from the Soviets.
The problem with that argument is that seizing the Normandy peninsula would have tied Axis troops just as well.

Moreover the troops would be easier to reinforce as they were close to England, and they would not have a dead end known as the "Alps" waiting for them at the end of the campaign.

Normandy 1943 is chancy but feasible; however it bears remembering that they will not be able to liberate all of France in 1943 given the forces available. What would be feasible would be is to seize Normandy and hold it, and use Normandy as the build-up point for an eventual massed breakthrough by late 1943 or early 1944. Churchill's Med obsession got in the way of that.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Sheldrake » 05 Jan 2016 11:24

Zinegata wrote:
dgfred wrote:I agree. It did tie up many German troops. I think Churchill's most pressing thought was keeping everything away from the Soviets.
The problem with that argument is that seizing the Normandy peninsula would have tied Axis troops just as well.

Moreover the troops would be easier to reinforce as they were close to England, and they would not have a dead end known as the "Alps" waiting for them at the end of the campaign.

Normandy 1943 is chancy but feasible; however it bears remembering that they will not be able to liberate all of France in 1943 given the forces available. What would be feasible would be is to seize Normandy and hold it, and use Normandy as the build-up point for an eventual massed breakthrough by late 1943 or early 1944. Churchill's Med obsession got in the way of that.
Nonsense.

One of the principles of war is "surprise" and a second is "concentration of force".

Opening a second front on the Cherbourg penninsular would be a premature deployment on a limited sector of the very coast chosen for the main effort. This would both chuck away any surprise and committing the allies piecemeal.

The controversy over the decision not to launch overlord in 1943 was not the result of an obsession by Churchill, but the rosy tinted spectacles of US soldiers under political pressure to be seen to do something.

Yes, there were national differences, mainly in attitude to losses and acceptable risk. The US had a big army and the heritage of the US Civil war. A failed D Day was littrle different from Fredericksburg or Mannassas Junction, after which they would "rally round the flag boys." The British were at the limits of their manpower. The Home forces were their last field army. Churchill, Brooke and other British war leaders knew a lot about the cost of premature offensives based on risky calcuations. They did not want to repeat Gallipoli or the Somme.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Gooner1 » 05 Jan 2016 12:20

Zinegata wrote:
dgfred wrote:I agree. It did tie up many German troops. I think Churchill's most pressing thought was keeping everything away from the Soviets.
The problem with that argument is that seizing the Normandy peninsula would have tied Axis troops just as well.

Moreover the troops would be easier to reinforce as they were close to England, and they would not have a dead end known as the "Alps" waiting for them at the end of the campaign.

Normandy 1943 is chancy but feasible; however it bears remembering that they will not be able to liberate all of France in 1943 given the forces available. What would be feasible would be is to seize Normandy and hold it, and use Normandy as the build-up point for an eventual massed breakthrough by late 1943 or early 1944. Churchill's Med obsession got in the way of that.
How do the Allies supply an army group in Normandy over the winter without ports?

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Jan 2016 14:31

Because the British were reluctant and the US Army wasn't ready for full scale continental warfare.

As the landing itself was to be more British than American, the British had an effective veto,

A successful invasion required a lot of divisions, most of which would have to be American, as the British had relatively few.

As at January 1943, only a handful of US divisions had any combat experience and this amounted to about two months in French North Africa, not all of it happy. Practical experience was still at a premium.

After Overlord in mid 1944, most of the follow-up divisions needed to form a long battlefront were American and brought in directly from the US. These were simply not battle ready in 1943.

I would suggest that the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian Campaign of 1943 provided valuable practical experience for the British, US and Canadians that would otherwise have been lacking had an invasion of France been attempted in mid 1943.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why no D day in 1943?

Post by Zinegata » 06 Jan 2016 02:55

Gooner1 wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
dgfred wrote:I agree. It did tie up many German troops. I think Churchill's most pressing thought was keeping everything away from the Soviets.
The problem with that argument is that seizing the Normandy peninsula would have tied Axis troops just as well.

Moreover the troops would be easier to reinforce as they were close to England, and they would not have a dead end known as the "Alps" waiting for them at the end of the campaign.

Normandy 1943 is chancy but feasible; however it bears remembering that they will not be able to liberate all of France in 1943 given the forces available. What would be feasible would be is to seize Normandy and hold it, and use Normandy as the build-up point for an eventual massed breakthrough by late 1943 or early 1944. Churchill's Med obsession got in the way of that.
How do the Allies supply an army group in Normandy over the winter without ports?
The Normandy peninsula includes Cherbourg and other small ports.

And quite frankly it turned out they didn't really need the ports or the Mullberries as much as Churchill kept claiming - the USN way back in 1943 was in fact correct that the vast majority of supplies could simply be landed on the beaches and the focus should have been on opening more beaches rather than capturing more ports; as the majority of supplies were beach-landed in the historical '44 invasion.

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