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

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Aug 2011 22:33

JamesL wrote: Between the two sources, the numbers don't quite add up. ~48,000 total Allied casualties of which 37,000 were noncombat? Doesn't ring true.
They wont add up, some double counting there, with others left off. Also more than a few soldiers may have been evacuated twice for wounds or illness or killed. I would not be suprised by a 3-1 o a 4-1 ratio of disease to combat casualties, tho I would more expect that from a tropical battlefield, vs a European. On Guadalcanal the US 1st Marine Div had close to 100% stricken with some sort of tropical ailment or other. Embarkation of the 1st Mar Div when it was relieved was in reality a medical evacuation of a walking hospital ward. The other US units there did little better. In the case of Anzio evacuation of all casualties was the norm, even if they were expected to recover soon. The aid stations were frequently hit by fire, and the hospital bombed once with severe casualties. The policy was to remove all invalided soldiers whaterver the cause of prognosis as quickly as possible. If you extracted those sickened & returned to duty from permanent losses you might come up with a ratio more in line with expectations.

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

Post by JamesL » 24 Aug 2011 00:47

Carl - you mentioned the bombing of the hospital. On Feb. 7, 1944 eleven wounded men from my f-i-l's company were being attended at the 94th Evacuation Hospital. Three men from the company were visiting. The Germans bombed the hospital killing two of the visitors and wounding the third. Other soldiers in the hospital were also killed or wounded.

There were no safe places in Anzio.

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

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Aug 2011 12:56

To all,

Has anyone answered the question? I think Anzio was an abscess in the Axis rear. I am sure they wished it was not there, it sucked in a tremendous amount of their resources. The idea was good, the size of the force was too small to accomplish the assigned mission and survive.

Mike

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

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Aug 2011 12:58

JonS,

JonS wrote:
This isn't strictly relevant to this thread, however, attached is something written a few years ago about SHINGLE and logistics.
That was a good post, who wrote it? Just curious.

Mike

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

Post by JonS » 24 Aug 2011 22:33

moi :)

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

Post by Delta Tank » 25 Aug 2011 21:31

JonS wrote:moi :)
Good job!! I sent it out as an e-mail to a bunch of my history buddies!!

Mike

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

Post by tigre » 26 Aug 2016 03:51

Hello to all :D; a little complement.................................

Around Aprilia 1944.

Sources: http://www.ebay.de/itm/PB72-Nettuno-Fro ... rmvSB=true
https://www.amazon.com/armored-infantry ... B00KPYIPVC

Cheers. Raul M 8-).
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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by OldBill » 28 Aug 2016 04:31

Thanks for posting this Tigre. I blew the picture up and while it doesn't have a 38 t in it, it DOES have a pair of the Sd Kfz 138/1's and an Sdkfz 251, with a pair of knocked out M4 Sherman's in the left background. The Sd Kfz 138's appear to be about to perform a fire mission, as the crews are all present in them.

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

Post by gracie4241 » 22 Jun 2019 14:48

Porch in" argues essentially that there was no realistic option in 'The path to victory": "the Mediterranean Theatre in WW2"to an Italian campaign. The large forces in the med after the North African campaign couldn't be employed in NW Europe in 1943, and the US vetoed any Balkan oriented campaign( a mistake I believe).They just couldn't be allowed to sit there twiddling their thumbs, so what was left, especially after Sicily.??? I believe the Italian campaign and continuing threat from the South(which also spurred the Balkan insurrections going on)placed a disproportionate drain on german resources that was unsustainable.(sort of a version of Napolean's problems in Spain(a real abscess)

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Jun 2019 16:14

gracie4241 wrote:
22 Jun 2019 14:48
Porch in" argues essentially that there was no realistic option in 'The path to victory": "the Mediterranean Theatre in WW2"to an Italian campaign. The large forces in the med after the North African campaign couldn't be employed in NW Europe in 1943, and the US vetoed any Balkan oriented campaign( a mistake I believe).They just couldn't be allowed to sit there twiddling their thumbs, so what was left, especially after Sicily.??? ...
Theres a wide variety of histories drawing from the primary sources on this subject.

This seems to have been Churchills logic in insisting on the execution of Op SHINGLE. When Churchill stopped off in October 1943 to visit the Allied commanders in the Med, on his way to the Terhan conference with Stalin he asked to see the plans for future operations. He was shown a variety of proposals, among them the idea of a amphib flanking attack along the coast & one of the proposed locations was the Nettuno/Anzio sector. Churchill directed this plan be developed and executed at the earliest opportunity. Planning was started at this point.

On return from the Terhan conference Churchill reiterated to Wilson and Alexander the SHINGLE operation be executed ASAP. Churchill may have been focussed here since he seems to have been upset over the rejection of his 'Balkan Strategy. Eisenhower had at this point been selected to command Op OVERLORD & his opinion as departing commander of SACMED was rapidly becoming irrelevant. Wilson & Alexander took Churchills desire seriously and preparations were accelerated for the SHIGLE Op to be executed in January.

On receiving the directive for the 5th Army to execute the operation Mark Clark examined the possibilities and recommended the operation be canceled. The transfer of the amphib fleet to the UK for Op NEPTUNE was long under way & the fleet available in January would not be sufficient for a decisive operation in Clarks view. He felt a initial assault of two divisions and build up to five divisions would be insufficient to deal with the German reserves in Italy. Alexander responded that the operation would proceed & the 5th Army would do the best it could, even if surrounding the German Army Group in central Italy, or just the 10th Army was not practical.

Atkinson in 'Day of Battle' repeats a anecdote concerning a meeting between Patton and Lucas. Patton had received his orders to leave 7th Army and report to SHAEF in the UK. He stopped off to vist Lucas & was shown the final plan for Op SHINGLE. He told Lucas it was a "Suicide mission" and to save the last bullet for himself. Elsewhere I've seen descriptions of several staff officers in the corps HQ warning Lucas of the high danger from German counter attacks. These officers had been involved at the Salerno battle & judged from that experience the enemy counter attacks would be swift and 'energetic'.

There is of course a great deal more in the literature, tho so much of the opinion of the time seems to come from people not closely involved, or making comments that have been taken out of context. Churchills influence in setting the operation in motion and keeping it going seems fairly reliable. He did take credit in his post war writing, tho he was careful to blame others for its failure in execution of his vision. Wilson and Alexander were willing to risk Allied resources on the operation, tho they left the details to 5th Army, & did review and approve those plans. Clarks objections seem to have been based on the concept of a all encompassing envelopment of the German AG in central Italy. It was clear as early as November the amphib transport for such a maneuver would not exist without divine intervention reversing the movement to the UK. The idea of executing SHINGLE as a more limited operation probably derived at the 5th Army planning, tho Alexander & his boss Wilson were aware of the problem & the solution chosen.

Affecting everyones view in this is the belief the Offensives aimed at the Liri valley in November-January were expected to break the enemy defense in the Souther Appinne Mountains. When Op SHINGLE occurred it was expected A Allied armored corps would be charging up Route Six in the Liri Valley and be just days away from linking up with the beach head. Rome could be in Allied hands in February. In that context Op SHINGLE as executed makes sense. The failure of multiple Allied corps to break the German defense of the Liri valley during the winter left the Allied corps ashore at Nettuno/Anzio isolated & outnumbered.

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

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Jun 2019 20:16

Neither,.

From an operational point of View the allied the allied campaign in Italy admirably fulfilled its purpose of fixing German troops in Italy where they could not influence operations on the decisive east and western fronts. It did not really matter how far up the leg the allies were, as long as they attracted Germans to oppose them. The western allies could only land troops in Europe as fast as shipping would allow. (i.e. two and half divisions by air and five divisions by sea on D Day. The Italian campaign took twenty plus divisions away from he German orbat

Op Shingle - the Anzio landings, regardless of the failure to unlock the Winter line and capture Rome, attracted even more German reinforcements to Italy. Further more the Germans saw their best efforts to eliminate the Anzio beachhead fail. Not an encouraging signal for those defending the Atlantic Wall.

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

Post by Kingfish » 23 Jun 2019 21:21

Sheldrake wrote:
22 Jun 2019 20:16
Neither,.

From an operational point of View the allied the allied campaign in Italy admirably fulfilled its purpose of fixing German troops in Italy where they could not influence operations on the decisive east and western fronts. It did not really matter how far up the leg the allies were, as long as they attracted Germans to oppose them.
They could have achieved far better results, and at far less cost, simply by hopping from Sicily to Sardinia to Corsica. This would have forced the Germans to garrison the entire Med coast from the Spanish border to the Italian boot heel. Even at a ridiculously wide 50km/division that would require 50 divisions not counting reserves.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Jun 2019 21:44

Kingfish wrote:
23 Jun 2019 21:21
Sheldrake wrote:
22 Jun 2019 20:16
Neither,.

From an operational point of View the allied the allied campaign in Italy admirably fulfilled its purpose of fixing German troops in Italy where they could not influence operations on the decisive east and western fronts. It did not really matter how far up the leg the allies were, as long as they attracted Germans to oppose them.
They could have achieved far better results, and at far less cost, simply by hopping from Sicily to Sardinia to Corsica. This would have forced the Germans to garrison the entire Med coast from the Spanish border to the Italian boot heel. Even at a ridiculously wide 50km/division that would require 50 divisions not counting reserves.
Without an allied landing in Italy there would have been no Italian Armistice. The fifty divisions of coastal defenders would have probably been Italian. There would have been no need for the Germans to capture and garrisons various Greek island.

Without an Italian campaign the Germans would have had the use of the C 100,000 Germans who became casualties.

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

Post by rcocean » 23 Jun 2019 22:39

Sheldrake wrote:
22 Jun 2019 20:16
Neither,.

From an operational point of View the allied the allied campaign in Italy admirably fulfilled its purpose of fixing German troops in Italy where they could not influence operations on the decisive east and western fronts. It did not really matter how far up the leg the allies were, as long as they attracted Germans to oppose them. The western allies could only land troops in Europe as fast as shipping would allow. (i.e. two and half divisions by air and five divisions by sea on D Day. The Italian campaign took twenty plus divisions away from he German orbat
Absurd. Anzio killed over 5,000 allied soldiers and accomplished nothing. Further, it was to quote Wellington, "damn close run thing". I doubt those involved beating off German counter attacks or being shelled by "Anzio Annie" cared that they were "attracting forces from the Eastern Front".

Anzio was a disaster because war is not made by Halves. It was a 4-5 division job, not a 2 division job. If the forces weren't there, it should have been cancelled. That was Churchill's real problem. He was always closing his eyes to the reality of modern warfare. He always thought 'daring" and "clever moves" could substitute for men and logistics -Alanbrook was ALWAYS having to bring him back to reality - and failed at Anzio. The whole Italian campaign should've been shut down after we reached the Cassino in October 1943. OR we should have sent enough men and landing craft to land 5 divisions at Anzio and destroy the Germans if they didn't retreat.

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

Post by Kingfish » 23 Jun 2019 22:57

Sheldrake wrote:
23 Jun 2019 21:44
Without an allied landing in Italy there would have been no Italian Armistice.
Which could have been achieved with a minor landing at any point along the Italian coast, perhaps one prearranged during the secret negotiations.
The fifty divisions of coastal defenders would have probably been Italian.
Until the Italian volte-face at which point the Germans would have to step in.
Without an Italian campaign the Germans would have had the use of the C 100,000 Germans who became casualties.
Not if they're stuck defending long stretches of coastline.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

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