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

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Jun 2019 15:58

Delta Tank wrote:
28 Jun 2019 12:35
Thanks for the history lesson, I knew all of that many, many years ago. Your last line doesn’t make any sense to me. So, you are saying without the Italian Campaign these units would not be formed? Would not be preposition in, let’s say Sicily for the planned invasion of southern France? I never said DO NOT INVADE ITALY, I understand the benefits that we gained, my point is at a certain point it was senseless to get guys killed for virtually zero return!!
My last line? Okay, very simply. 2d, 3d AD, 1st, 9th ID, and 82d AbnD all were drawn from the Med for NEPTUNE...if not from there then they would have had to come from somewhere else. The divisions for DRAGOON came from Italy...if not from there then from somewhere else. The divisions for MANNA came from Italy...

To an extent those units went to Italy because it was an opportunity the Allies exploited successfully. If they didn't go there, then where might they have gone? Greece? Winnie would have loved it. The SWPA? Mac would have loved it. England? Well, about as many as there was cantonment areas for did go there...sending more was unlikely to have done more than overcrowd already overcrowded facilities...it wasn't going to accelerate NEPTUNE much, because that planning cycle didn't even begin until February 1944.
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Re: Anzio : A Beached Whale or An abcess in Axis rear ?

Post by DrG » 28 Jun 2019 17:02

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Jun 2019 11:35
DrG wrote:
27 Jun 2019 14:15
Even an attack from the Ljubljana Gap was close to an absurdity for the Allies, given that before reaching it they would have to conquer whole Italy anyway... And the Julian Alps, while much lower than the Rhetic and Carnic Alps, are not an easy battlefield for an attacker, more so if the defender has prepared a fortified line.
The Allies did conquer almost the whole of Italy, well except for the Südtirol, before the surrender.
Though Tito's partisans managed to get to Trieste before Eighth Army.
I fail to understand how this should prove your point... The Allied Armies in Italy required 20 months in order to barely reach the foothills of the Alps (where, at the beginning of May 1945, they hadn't to fight just because the Reich had already collapsed and the conspirations by generals Wolff and von Vietinghoff allowed the signature of the surrender of Caserta on 29 April 1945, in force since 2 May, even though well before these dates the Germans were retreating practically from everywhere in Northern Italy in order to return in Germany in the hope of avoiding capture), while in 11 months their Allied comrades, landed in Normandy, reached the Elbe defeating the core of the German forces, fighting in on a terrain much more suitable for modern mechanized warfare.

This is the situation of the European fronts on 15 April 1945: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/File:194 ... tAtlas.jpg and this on 1 May 1945: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/File:194 ... tAtlas.jpg.

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

Post by gracie4241 » 30 Jun 2019 16:25

On june 6, 1944 there were 26 german divisions in Italy, including 9 mobile(counting the 2 parachute divisions),and 2 (3?) Tiger tank Battalions. The 7 panzer/panzer grenadier divisions contrast to 10 in Western Europe on June 6.That represents a VERY sizeable reserve for use elsewhere.You could consider that a large"holding attack"freezing those reserves in place. Other than Italy where would the large Allied forces in the med have gone-or done-in late 43?The Allies certainly did NOT want to go to Tehran in December with no allied divisions in active combat with the Germans.Politically that was impossible.So where? The Italian campaign, and all its constituent parts (inc Anzio) considerably beat nothing

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jul 2019 01:09

gracie4241 wrote:
30 Jun 2019 16:25
On june 6, 1944 there were 26 german divisions in Italy, including 9 mobile(counting the 2 parachute divisions),and 2 (3?) Tiger tank Battalions. The 7 panzer/panzer grenadier divisions contrast to 10 in Western Europe on June 6.That represents a VERY sizeable reserve for use elsewhere.You could consider that a large"holding attack"freezing those reserves in place. Other than Italy where would the large Allied forces in the med have gone-or done-in late 43?The Allies certainly did NOT want to go to Tehran in December with no allied divisions in active combat with the Germans.Politically that was impossible.So where? The Italian campaign, and all its constituent parts (inc Anzio) considerably beat nothing
I've never quite been sure where the "26 german divisions in Italy" (27 is also quoted) as of 6 June 1944 come from? I can only find 22, viz.:

HG-C
Armeeabteilung Zangen
LXXV AK
42 JgD
188 GebD
29 PzGD
16 SS-PzGD
19 FD (LW) (was in route from Ob.West on 6 June)

10 Armee
LI GebK
305. ID
334 ID
114 JgD
XIV PzK
1 FJD
44 ID
15 PzGD
71 ID
94 ID
20 FD (LW)

14. Armee
LXXVI PzK
26 PzD
90 PzGD
I FJK
4 FJD
3 PzGD
65 ID
362 ID
715 ID
92 ID

I suspect the other "divisions" were actually brigades, such as Festungs-Brigade 135 on Corsica and Elba, or some of the rear-area commands?

Six were Panzer or Panzergrenadier divisions; the Fallschirmjäger divisions were emphatically NOT mobile divisions in the sense they were motorized, they were no more mobile than the infantry divisions. Of those six mechanized divisions, 3 and 29 PzGD were wrecks, still rebuilding from the pasting they took at Anzio...3 PzGD had 15 StuG operational and 29 PzGD had 3 of 30 Panzers operational. 90 PzGD was a little better, it had 15 of 29 StuG operational, 15 PzGD had 12 of 25, and the mighty RFSS probably had none. 26 PzD had 63 tanks...of which 24 were operational.

There was also just one Tiger Abteilung in Italy, 508, although 504 was ordered to shift from France to Italy on 3 June.

Certainly it did help the Allied cause to beat up those divisions in Italy, but they were not "frozen" in Italy...at the end of July and early August 1944 both 3. and 15 PzGD were transferred from HG-C to Ob.West.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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

Post by Cult Icon » 01 Jul 2019 06:31

Tiger 508 was decimated (equipment-wise) by its retreat after the Anzio breakout. Other armored units were likely similarly effected.

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

Post by Sheldrake » 01 Jul 2019 09:38

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Jul 2019 01:09

Of those six mechanized divisions, 3 and 29 PzGD were wrecks, still rebuilding from the pasting they took at Anzio...3 PzGD had 15 StuG operational and 29 PzGD had 3 of 30 Panzers operational. 90 PzGD was a little better, it had 15 of 29 StuG operational, 15 PzGD had 12 of 25, and the mighty RFSS probably had none. 26 PzD had 63 tanks...of which 24 were operational.

There was also just one Tiger Abteilung in Italy, 508, although 504 was ordered to shift from France to Italy on 3 June.

Certainly it did help the Allied cause to beat up those divisions in Italy, but they were not "frozen" in Italy...at the end of July and early August 1944 both 3. and 15 PzGD were transferred from HG-C to Ob.West.
Isn't that the essence of a good side show in a war that will essentially be decided by attrition?

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Jul 2019 17:16

Sheldrake wrote:
01 Jul 2019 09:38
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Jul 2019 01:09

Of those six mechanized divisions, 3 and 29 PzGD were wrecks, still rebuilding from the pasting they took at Anzio...3 PzGD had 15 StuG operational and 29 PzGD had 3 of 30 Panzers operational. 90 PzGD was a little better, it had 15 of 29 StuG operational, 15 PzGD had 12 of 25, and the mighty RFSS probably had none. 26 PzD had 63 tanks...of which 24 were operational.

There was also just one Tiger Abteilung in Italy, 508, although 504 was ordered to shift from France to Italy on 3 June.

Certainly it did help the Allied cause to beat up those divisions in Italy, but they were not "frozen" in Italy...at the end of July and early August 1944 both 3. and 15 PzGD were transferred from HG-C to Ob.West.
Isn't that the essence of a good side show in a war that will essentially be decided by attrition?
Well, yes, of course. Did you think I was arguing otherwise?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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

Post by Gooner1 » 08 Jul 2019 10:56

DrG wrote:
28 Jun 2019 17:02

I fail to understand how this should prove your point... The Allied Armies in Italy required 20 months in order to barely reach the foothills of the Alps (where, at the beginning of May 1945, they hadn't to fight just because the Reich had already collapsed and the conspirations by generals Wolff and von Vietinghoff allowed the signature of the surrender of Caserta on 29 April 1945, in force since 2 May, even though well before these dates the Germans were retreating practically from everywhere in Northern Italy in order to return in Germany in the hope of avoiding capture), while in 11 months their Allied comrades, landed in Normandy, reached the Elbe defeating the core of the German forces, fighting in on a terrain much more suitable for modern mechanized warfare.
The Po Plain and Venetian Plain was good terrain for modern mechanized warfare.

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

Post by DrG » 08 Jul 2019 13:37

The Po plain can be a good battlefield, but the Allies hadn't invented the teleportation yet: before reaching it they had to pass through the Italian peninsula and the Apennines, as really happened during WW2. Not to talk about the fact that the Po itself, plus the Po-Mincio-Garda and the Adige river lines, could have provided good defensive positions if the Germans had wished to delay the Allies, as they would have done if the Po hadn't been reached when their war was already practically lost on every front. And, once the Allies had crossed these lines, they would have to fight trough the Alps, which make the Apennines look like dwarves, not only in height but, which is even more important, in depth.

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

Post by rcocean » 09 Jul 2019 01:51

DrG wrote:
08 Jul 2019 13:37
The Po plain can be a good battlefield, but the Allies hadn't invented the teleportation yet: before reaching it they had to pass through the Italian peninsula and the Apennines, as really happened during WW2. Not to talk about the fact that the Po itself, plus the Po-Mincio-Garda and the Adige river lines, could have provided good defensive positions if the Germans had wished to delay the Allies, as they would have done if the Po hadn't been reached when their war was already practically lost on every front. And, once the Allies had crossed these lines, they would have to fight trough the Alps, which make the Apennines look like dwarves, not only in height but, which is even more important, in depth.
Excellent point. Although that didn't stop Alexander and Clark from arguing after the war that we could have "bounced" over the Alps and gotten in Vienna before Christmas!

The real reason we continued to battle our way up the Italian peninsula was POLITICS. We had a lot of armchair warriors - back in USA - who wanted us to DO SOMETHING! and not just sit around while the RUSSIANS ARE BLEEDING TO DEATH!! - Plus the divisions were already there, and we didn't have enough shipping to transfer most of them to England before D-Day. So, we first were going to take Naples-Foggia and stop. Then it was take Rome and stop. Then it was go to the Apennines and stop. And finally, it was take the Po Valley.

The main reason was political and the military justifications came later. I suppose if you weren't killed or maimed in the useless fighting it made some sense. And no doubt it saved the lives of some Soviet Soldiers - at the expense of American/UK ones.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 09 Jul 2019 10:03

DrG wrote:
08 Jul 2019 13:37
The Po plain can be a good battlefield, but the Allies hadn't invented the teleportation yet: before reaching it they had to pass through the Italian peninsula and the Apennines, as really happened during WW2.
15th Army Group could well have been cracking about the Po Plain in Autumn 1944 if a couple of their corps hadn't been 'dragooned' elsewhere.
Not to talk about the fact that the Po itself, plus the Po-Mincio-Garda and the Adige river lines, could have provided good defensive positions if the Germans had wished to delay the Allies, as they would have done if the Po hadn't been reached when their war was already practically lost on every front.
Those are long, long, rivers without natural choke points or anything much in the way of prepared defences. The Germans did not have the forces in Italy to be able to stop the Allies crossing where they chose.

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

Post by gracie4241 » 09 Jul 2019 15:51

Its easy to be critical ,but the allies, although doing an enormous amount by September 1943 on the Air/Sea front,Lend Lease, and keeping german troops on guard from Norway to the Balkans, could NOT avoid active ground combat in the Mediterranean. And keeping nearly 50! german divisions, including 11 mobile ones,pinned in Italy and the Balkans by june 1944 was a BIG deal.And yes, nothing prevented the germans from transferring a large percentage of those troops to the east, which was desperately short of reserves.A good argument could be made the Allies overall got their money's worth from the Italian campaign-and the threat perceived to the Balkans from it

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Jul 2019 16:10

gracie4241 wrote:
09 Jul 2019 15:51
And keeping nearly 50! german divisions, including 11 mobile ones,pinned in Italy and the Balkans by june 1944 was a BIG deal.
Interesting, instead of demonstrating how the old numbers ("On june 6, 1944 there were 26 german divisions in Italy, including 9 mobile(counting the 2 parachute divisions),and 2 (3?) Tiger tank Battalions. The 7 panzer/panzer grenadier divisions contrast to 10 in Western Europe on June 6.") were correct you decide to substitute new inflated figures? What's the BIG deal? :? :roll:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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

Post by DrG » 10 Jul 2019 00:53

Gooner1, this "what if" scenario is going too long and it's completely off topic. I think we can close this here: you think that rugged and even mountainous terrain is good for attackers, even if heavily depending on motor vehicles, while the whole human history has shown the opposite (the actual WW2 Italian campaign included). There is no reason to go on with this useless debate.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 10 Jul 2019 10:58

Yeah DrG, you should have left it earlier than with that crass misrepresentation :D

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