British Eight Army in Italy

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
Duncan_M
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 11 Oct 2018 15:07
Location: USA

British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Duncan_M » 26 Mar 2020 16:47

Clark's Fifth Army lost a corps after Rome was liberated in summer 1944, who got pulled from the MTO to invade France. Did the Eighth Army also lose forces to the ETO?

Aber
Member
Posts: 814
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Aber » 26 Mar 2020 17:52

Yes but it's complicated:

50th and 51st Divisions fought in Sicily, but not on the Italian mainland; 7th Armoured missed Sicily but fought in Italy. 50th Division was part of the D-day landings with the other 2 in the immediate follow up, landing on 6-7th.

5th Division (along with Canadian 1st Infantry and 5th Armoured Divisions) were transferred from Italy to NW Europe in early 1945 to keep up the strength of 21st Army Group.

1st Airborne Division units fought in Sicily and Italy, skipped Normandy, but fought later at Arnhem.

There are also probably a few commando units who will have been involved in several landings.

Also in late 1944 8th Army lost units which went to Greece.

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 15095
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Andy H » 26 Mar 2020 19:53

Duncan_M wrote:
26 Mar 2020 16:47
Clark's Fifth Army lost a corps after Rome was liberated in summer 1944, who got pulled from the MTO to invade France. Did the Eighth Army also lose forces to the ETO?
Hi Duncan

It's also worth noting that the 8th Army also received reinforcements in 1944:-

April, 6th Armoured Division from North Africa and 4th Infantry Division from the Middle East, both going to XIII Corps.

May, 6th South African Armoured Division from the Middle East going into Army reserve.
May, 9th Armoured and 25th Tank Brigades from the Middle East going to XIII Corps
May, 7th Armoured Brigade from the Middle East going to V Corps.

Also it 'lost' the 46th & 56th Infantry Divisions from March and May'44 respectively for R&R in the Middle East, with neither returning till August.
Source: The Mediterranean and Middle East Vol VI Part1 by Molony and Orders of Battle 1939-45 Vol I b Joslen.

Regards

Andy H

Duncan_M
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 11 Oct 2018 15:07
Location: USA

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Duncan_M » 26 Mar 2020 20:41

Andy H wrote:
26 Mar 2020 19:53
Duncan_M wrote:
26 Mar 2020 16:47
Clark's Fifth Army lost a corps after Rome was liberated in summer 1944, who got pulled from the MTO to invade France. Did the Eighth Army also lose forces to the ETO?
Hi Duncan

It's also worth noting that the 8th Army also received reinforcements in 1944:-

April, 6th Armoured Division from North Africa and 4th Infantry Division from the Middle East, both going to XIII Corps.

May, 6th South African Armoured Division from the Middle East going into Army reserve.
May, 9th Armoured and 25th Tank Brigades from the Middle East going to XIII Corps
May, 7th Armoured Brigade from the Middle East going to V Corps.

Also it 'lost' the 46th & 56th Infantry Divisions from March and May'44 respectively for R&R in the Middle East, with neither returning till August.
Source: The Mediterranean and Middle East Vol VI Part1 by Molony and Orders of Battle 1939-45 Vol I b Joslen.

Regards

Andy H
Around mid July '44, after taking Rome, Fifth Army lost VI Corps to the ETO, and ended up giving II Corps nearly two months off the line to rest/reconstitute before the big push to the Gothic Line started. I'm trying to figure if something similar happened to the British.

aghart
Member
Posts: 154
Joined: 02 Jun 2011 19:39
Location: Poole, Dorset, UK

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by aghart » 26 Mar 2020 22:46

7th Armoured Division 'The Desert "Rats were transferred from Italy to the UK specifically to take part in Operation Overlord. It was felt that the Invasion forces were too "green" so some veteran units were transferred in so their combat experience could be utilised.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Kingfish » 27 Mar 2020 09:32

Duncan_M wrote:
26 Mar 2020 16:47
Clark's Fifth Army lost a corps after Rome was liberated in summer 1944, who got pulled from the MTO to invade France. Did the Eighth Army also lose forces to the ETO?
It also lost the French Expeditionary Corp for the same reason.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7311
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Mar 2020 01:45

Kingfish wrote:
27 Mar 2020 09:32
...

It also lost the French Expeditionary Corp for the same reason.
They wee 'experienced' Whlie the African ethinics in the French army may have been indifferent, those who considered them selves French had a strong preference for liberating France & not Italy. One of those annoying political things that makes wars so messy for the marshals & historians,

Roger P
New member
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 May 2020 06:18
Location: Australia

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Roger P » 03 May 2020 07:32

I notice that someone commented that the Ist Airborne Division first saw combat in Sicily then Italy. According to a close friend of mine (98 years old) who joined the 1st Airborne when it changed from being a Commando unit to being an Airborne unit their first Operational deployment was operation Biting when a Company parachuted into France to capture German Radar equipment. It was a completre success. There was a second one to blow up bridges in Italy, it was only reasonably successful.But it achieved its aim of showing the Italians and Germans that Britain could now strike anywhere. At the time the Division was only 2 battalions in strength. Their first major operationas a Brigade was the move to Tunisia when they were they were used to capture German positions that were considered to be impreganble. They and the German Falchemjagers had some momentous battles, usially for the top of mpuntains, and apparently grew to respect each other enormously.

As for the battle of Arnhem it was a battle that the 1st Airborne could NEVER win. There was enough information that told Montgomenry who was there and that they had tanks and light infantry were no match for tanks and other armpured vehicles. The first mistake they made was landing too far from the bridge. The second mistake they made was 'fart arsing' around deciding what they were going to do once they landed. Frost got his men together and vitrually ran to the bridge as the bridge. When they finally decided to go for it they ran inot a prepared ambush from the other side of the river and dozens of them were killed crossing an open area. The next huge mistake they made was not listening to the Dutch underground who told them that the Dutch military had done training in that area and found that radio comms was irratic to say the least. So their radio sets were basically useless The next mistake they made was splitting the divisional landing over two days. Those that landed on the second day got butchered. Another mistake they made was having General Browning as their Commanding general - he was a show pony, nothing else. He TOOK 26 gliders off the division for his HQ. WHY did he need 26 gliders. He also had them land away from the division in a safe area. He also had at his disposal another Airlanding Division in England and could have called them to assist the 1st Airborne. He said they weren't needed. But the most telling thing came out during the conference before the operation began when General Stanislaw Sosabowski the Polish General made the comment that Montgomery hadn't factored in what the Germans might do..........he was signing his own career finish. After the battle was over they blamed him and his Poles for the failure even though they jumped onto the DZ under heavy fire. Evidently the majority of Germans who took part in the battle, especially after the 3rd day, were railway workers and airforce ground crew, none of whom had any combat expereince at all. In each platoon was a sprinkling of SS men.

The real truth was that none of the British Generals would ever make any adverse comments on the operation becuase they knew that if they did Montgomery would ensure their future careers would end immediately, and they certainly would not have a career in the Army after the war was over. So they helped Montgomery ruin Sosabowski's reputation instead. His only objective was to save men, for that he was made a scapgoat for the failure of the operation and was sent home in disgrace. That in itself was an absolute disgrace. Eisenhower tried to have Montgomery fired after his Generals complained that American lives had been thrown away on an operation that could not succeed under any circumstances. Churchill would not accept Eisenhowers demands. But it gets worse. Having caused 14000 casualties in this operation, not counting the 1st Airborne. Montgomery was furious that the American had crossed the Rhine first so he put on another 'big show' using hundreds of guns and bombers to cross the Rhine. This time he used the 6th Airborne and the American 17 Airborne. Wouls you believe it, the Germans appeared from deep underground and shot the hell out of both Divisions while the were in the sky. This time enough men landed and did what they were trained to do and annihilate the Germans becuase they foolishly killed wounded and medics on the DZ.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2019
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 03 May 2020 09:32

Roger,

Thanks for joining the forum. You will find a large and increasingly repetitive number of threads and posts on Operation Market Garden with a multitude of different opinions and biases expressed and without much research.

Just a few questions:
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
There was enough information that told Montgomenry who was there and that they had tanks and light infantry were no match for tanks and other armpured vehicles.
Who was there then? Doesn't this statement contradict your following sentence:
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
Evidently the majority of Germans who took part in the battle, especially after the 3rd day, were railway workers and airforce ground crew, none of whom had any combat expereince at all.
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
The next huge mistake they made was not listening to the Dutch underground who told them that the Dutch military had done training in that area and found that radio comms was irratic to say the least.
Have you a source for that?
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
The next mistake they made was splitting the divisional landing over two days. Those that landed on the second day got butchered.
Well, it was three days actually. There weren't enough aircraft to land them all on Day 1, unless the air forces agreed to undertake two sorties on the first day.
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
Eisenhower tried to have Montgomery fired after his Generals complained that American lives had been thrown away on an operation that could not succeed under any circumstances.
Have you a source for that?
Roger P wrote:
03 May 2020 07:32
Montgomery was furious that the American had crossed the Rhine first so he put on another 'big show' using hundreds of guns and bombers to cross the Rhine.
Strange, I thought that the 21 Army Group plan to cross the Rhine was made long before the Americans crossed the Rhine. Do you have a source for Montgomery's "fury"?

Regards

Tom

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2426
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Sheldrake » 03 May 2020 11:28

This is bit of a thread hijack so I may as well add my own 2p The real story of Op Market Garden has never been told before, because to understand the truth only profane phrases transmit the underlying truth. read post 4 on this thread. https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threa ... bs.166064/ Really, do not click this link if you are offended by err "barrack room language"

The extreme profanity matters because these crude phrases all reflect what might be described as "anti-doctrine". They are counter productive thoughts motives and outcomes that either exist or are attributed. But even to mention them publicly will bring a world of poo on the originator. They rarely appear in official documents or histories.

Bringing the thread back on topic. This scatological analysis has yet to be undertaken for the Italian campaign. It is the only language to explain some of Mark Clark's decisions or the late war British ideas to capture Vienna via Yugoslavia .

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 15095
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Re: British Eight Army in Italy

Post by Andy H » 03 May 2020 16:28

Hi All

Can we please keep to the thread topic and leave Market Garden alone or add to a thread that already exists on this.
I'll remove any further MG responses, so don't waste your time posting them

Regards

Andy H

Return to “WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean”