Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 25 Feb 2010 20:27

The Enigma,
The Enigma wrote: A Churchill fantasy ... possible. Although D'Este fails to note, it would seem, Clark was up for it and the British staff in Italy were actually planning it; the staff had a tendancy to ignore Churchill, or in Brooke's case argue the socks off Churchill, when they didnt agree with him. On this one they appear to have agreed with him.
If you review what I posted above (all of it) Clark's fantasy is also addressed and IIRC no appreciation was ever done, just talk in the mess, no hard work ever done. Brooke was for it before he was against it. That is posted above from the book "Masters and Commanders". Fantasy it was and fantasy it remains!

Mike

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 25 Feb 2010 22:08

See Appreciation number 4, issued by John Harding part of 8th Army staff ;)

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 25 Feb 2010 22:25

Enigma,

Where? Link please.

Mike

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Feb 2010 02:37

I would assume the actual document is at Kew; however there is mention of it in the OH with the relevent snippets on the first page of this topic.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 26 Feb 2010 14:03

The Enigma,
The Enigma wrote: See Appreciation number 4, issued by John Harding part of 8th Army staff
Then The Enigma wrote: I would assume the actual document is at Kew; however there is mention of it in the OH with the relevent snippets on the first page of this topic.
So you tell me it is in Appreciation number 4, and then you tell me you have never seen it, but you assume it is in Kew (whatever Kew means or where it is located), then you state that it is in the OH (Official History) with the relevant
snippets on the first page of this topic. Could you post those relevant snippets? On this first page of this thread? is that where the snippets are located?

From Masters and Commanders cited above:. . page 517
If the British wished to get entangled in Balkan intrigues and struggles, Marshall seemed to be saying, he might provide some landing craft but would otherwise leave it entirely up to them.
“It was a dazzling idea, this grand project of reaching Vienna before our Russian allies,” wrote General Alexander in his memoirs, “and we discussed it informally at my headquarters.”
Page 540:
. . .Furthermore, the Ljubljana Gap concept was effectively killed off – with the help of Brooke, who had by then had time to examine the operation more closely – and the British were also persuaded to go on the defensive in Italy and move five divisions from there to fight under Eisenhower.
No mention of an appreciation from the British from what I have found.

From the book entitled: “Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1943-1944” by Maurice Matloff.
Page 471-472:
The President would not yield. He immediately replied to Churchill unequivocally: "The exploitation of 'OVERLORD,' our victorious advances in Italy, an early assault on Southern France, combined with the Soviet drives to the west-all as envisaged at Teheran-will most surely serve to realize our object-the unconditional surrender of Germany." Roosevelt reminded Churchill that Stalin had favored ANVIL and that they would have to inform the Soviet leader of any change in plans. The President clearly set forth his position on political objectives: "I agree that the political considerations you mention are important factors, but military operations based thereon must be definitely secondary to the primary operations of striking at the heart of Germany." To conduct an operation against Istria, he went on, would be to disregard two important considerations-the agreed grand strategy for an early defeat of Germany, and the time factor involved in a campaign to
[471]
________________________________________
debouch from the Ljubljana Gap into Slovenia and Hungary. It was doubtful whether, on purely logistical grounds, more than six divisions could, "within a decisive period," be put into the fighting beyond the Ljubljana Gap. "I cannot agree," he declared, "to the employment of United States troops against Istria and into the Balkans, nor can I see the French agreeing to such use of French troops." If ANVIL were not launched, the whole question of French troops would have to be reopened. The President concluded:
Obviously someone in a planning staff in the US had done a preliminary estimate of this idea and found it wanting. Read the description of the terrain and then look at the google earth map and you will see that this plan was a nonsense.

gotta go!

Mike

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by RichTO90 » 26 Feb 2010 14:16

Delta Tank wrote:Page 540:
. . .Furthermore, the Ljubljana Gap concept was effectively killed off – with the help of Brooke, who had by then had time to examine the operation more closely – and the British were also persuaded to go on the defensive in Italy and move five divisions from there to fight under Eisenhower.
I would be careful of that title Mike.

What "five divisions" did the British move from Italy to Canada? 7th Armoured, 50th Northumberland, and 51st Highland were moved, in fall 1943, while 1st Canadian and 5th Canadian Armoured were moved in spring 1945. The author seems to be tieing these two different events together. Worse, the statement that the "British were persuaded to go on the defensive in Italy" is possibly one of the oddest I have ever read.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 26 Feb 2010 14:59

Rich,

What title are you referring to? The title of the thread? I firmly believe it was a myth and after you look at the map, a terrain map that is, you will see that it would of been impossible or nearly so, I guess we could still be there slugging through the mountain passes. As far as what is written in books, I can only go with what the author has stated and until I see a conflicting view in another book which causes me to question the accuracy of what both authors have written what can I do. However, the purpose of the thread is to get all the information on it and then people can make up their own minds, and I have pretty much made up mine.

Snow down there?!

Mike

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by RichTO90 » 26 Feb 2010 15:55

Delta Tank wrote: What title are you referring to? The title of the thread?
Er, no, why would you think that? Masters and Commanders page 540, which you referenced and which I quoted back at you.
Snow down there?!

Mike
On and off, but it is DC that really got hit.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Feb 2010 21:05

Delta Tank wrote:The Enigma,
The Enigma wrote: See Appreciation number 4, issued by John Harding part of 8th Army staff
Then The Enigma wrote: I would assume the actual document is at Kew; however there is mention of it in the OH with the relevent snippets on the first page of this topic.
So you tell me it is in Appreciation number 4, and then you tell me you have never seen it, but you assume it is in Kew (whatever Kew means or where it is located), then you state that it is in the OH (Official History) with the relevant
snippets on the first page of this topic. Could you post those relevant snippets? On this first page of this thread? is that where the snippets are located?Mike
Kew, being Kew Gardens the home of the British National Archive. :wink:
The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU (its actually London imo, just jump on the Tube's District (Green) Line but make sure its the train for Wimbledon (there is several different District line ending points) adn your there in about half an hour. :P

I havent seen the original document, i would assume that it would be there considering that where practically everything else is located to do with the war (among many many other things).

Now on the first page of this topic i mentioned the Official History (OH) in particular Volume VI pt II of the Middle East and Med series, this particuar book being by General Jacson. Pages 53-56 are the relevent ones that deal with the appreication and what happened next.

To reitterate:
Around 1st July General Harding completed “Appreciation number 4”. He estimated 12-14 German divisions in Italy, with an additional 6-7 in Germany and the Balkans; i.e. up to 21 divisions. AAI (Allied forces in Italy i take it?) mustered 18 divisions (14 inf and 4 armoured) with 7 indy brigades. In a three phase plan he believed that the Gothic Line could be taken and exploited to seize the Po region and finally cross the Piave to exploit and secure Ljubljana. However Harding believed that 18 divisions would be needed for this attack and that six divisions should be resting at any one time meaning a further six would be needed to complete this offensive. He suggested that the Battleaxe division should be kept in Italy (at the end of the month it was shipped to Egypt and would not return until 15 September (lt.Col Joslen, p. 102), the 52nd Lowland would be needed to dispatched from the Uk, and 6th Indian Div moved in from Persian and Iraq command (PAIC). The remaining forces coming from the US, that couldn’t be used right away in France, and those Indian divisions currently unemployed due to the monsoon.

Harding’s assessment was that each phase would have to be rapid advances to halt the German scored earth treatment of Italy other wise a slogging advance to Ljubljana would be “administratively impractical”.

Harding’s report concluded “The strategical advantages of continuing it [the offensive] to the logical conclusion of securing the Ljubljana Gap, preparatory to an invasion of southern Germany, are so great that supreme efforts should be made to find the means to enable that to be done”
I can type up everything that is in the OH specfically on what Harding reported if you want; but it does not include a word for word copy of the appreication - just a summary of his finding ... basically what i have done above.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Feb 2010 21:10

In fact to confirm it is at Kew; document WO 214/34. Jackson presents the additional information: Op.Cit S.2 CGS Apprec. No. 4

However the archives only state "War Office: Earl Alexander of Tunis, Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean Theatre: Papers" and provide no further detail online. link

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Feb 2010 21:22

RichTO90 wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:Page 540:
. . .Furthermore, the Ljubljana Gap concept was effectively killed off – with the help of Brooke, who had by then had time to examine the operation more closely – and the British were also persuaded to go on the defensive in Italy and move five divisions from there to fight under Eisenhower.
I would be careful of that title Mike.

What "five divisions" did the British move from Italy to Canada? 7th Armoured, 50th Northumberland, and 51st Highland were moved, in fall 1943, while 1st Canadian and 5th Canadian Armoured were moved in spring 1945. The author seems to be tieing these two different events together. Worse, the statement that the "British were persuaded to go on the defensive in Italy" is possibly one of the oddest I have ever read.
Rich,

I can only think of those 3 British divisions being moved at that point however there was various other moves made:

In late 1944 4th Infantry and 4th Indian Division, 23rd Armoured Brigade, and 2nd Para Brigade were sent to Greece in late 1944 although the paras returned in early 1945. Additionally in early 1945 46th Div was sent over for three months before returning to Italy.

Additionaly the Battleaxe division was shipped off to Egypt for rest and refitting for a few months but did return in Sept 44. 1st London was shipped in mid 45 from Egypt to Italy.

5th Infantry was shipped outter Italy Feb 45 and sent to Belgium, arriving in March. 1st Infantry was shipped off to Palestine in early 45, and 1st Arm was disbanded. Prob a bunch more but i dont recall any other large British formations being moved.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 26 Feb 2010 21:31

The Enigma,

I was trying to figure out what Kew meant or was and I came to the conclusion it had to be a town and not an acronym, mystery, solved. That would be a very interesting appreciation to read, and I will start getting the books of the Official British History, this summer, so there is no need to put it in for me, but since the purpose of this thread is to gather information, please put it in when you get the time. I am planning a trip to a seminar to Fort Ticonderoga in May for three days on the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War, and I have to read some books on that subject area.

Mike

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Aber » 28 Feb 2010 11:17

Delta Tank wrote:Enigma,

From what you have posted I will probably never read Wilmot.

Mike
Wilmot is worth reading as it was the first published history of the Eurpoean Theatre, written by a journalist who was there (landed on D-Day by glider) with a great level of detail, including material from German archives. Its faults are that it was written in the middle of the Cold War and so on issues regarding the Soviets (including Lublijana) it is unbalanced, and it is also aimed as a counterblast against American criticism of Montgomery - so 3rd Division gets blamed for being slow in captruring Caen.

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by The_Enigma » 05 Aug 2010 10:23

Some further info on the proposed plan; it was codenamed 'Operation Armpit' :lol:

Harold Macmillan, Alexander's political adviser, wrote in his memoirs on the proposed operation that it
"migh have altered the whoel political destines of the Balkans and eastern Europe ... But apart from Roosevelt's desire, at that time to please Stalin at almost any cost, nothing could overcome the almost pathological suspicions of British policy, especially in the Balkans."
Quoted in Alistair Horne, Macmillan, vol. 1 1988, p. 220


Bill Purdue goes further stating that "Macmillan was convinced that the war could have ended 250 miles east of where the Iron Curtain eventually divided Europe, with Vienna and Prauge firmly in western hands." He then complains that Roosevelt did nothing to push Ike to press east on the various capitals of central Europe before summing up with a quote from Monty: "The Americans could not understand that it was of little avail to win the war strategically if we lost it politically."

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Re: Ljubljana Gap! Myth!

Post by Delta Tank » 05 Aug 2010 13:15

The_Enigma wrote:Some further info on the proposed plan; it was codenamed 'Operation Armpit' :lol:

Harold Macmillan, Alexander's political adviser, wrote in his memoirs on the proposed operation that it
"migh have altered the whoel political destines of the Balkans and eastern Europe ... But apart from Roosevelt's desire, at that time to please Stalin at almost any cost, nothing could overcome the almost pathological suspicions of British policy, especially in the Balkans."
Quoted in Alistair Horne, Macmillan, vol. 1 1988, p. 220


Bill Purdue goes further stating that "Macmillan was convinced that the war could have ended 250 miles east of where the Iron Curtain eventually divided Europe, with Vienna and Prauge firmly in western hands." He then complains that Roosevelt did nothing to push Ike to press east on the various capitals of central Europe before summing up with a quote from Monty: "The Americans could not understand that it was of little avail to win the war strategically if we lost it politically."
Well then I guess the British Empire should of done what they thought was necessary. Monty could of moved faster, and the British could of executed the Balkans Campaign on their own.

Mike

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