The British contribution to the 21st AG was reduced in 1944, however; by (conservatively) two infantry divisions, an armored brigade, and a battalion each from two other armored brigades, for a total of some ~25 maneuver battalions - 10 infantry and one RAC in each of 50th and 59th divisions, three RAC in 1st Tank Brigade, and one RAC each from 33rd and 34th tank brigades; given the shifting back and forth from tank to armoured brigade structures, and moving various headquarters and constituent battalions in and out of the armoured engineer role in 79th Division, a specific "count" depends on the date, but it's a fair estimate that because of the poor use of Britain's manpower in 1943-44, roughly a corps equivalent was removed from 21st AG's "British" order of battle by the end of 1944, to be replaced (more or less) in 1945 by GOLDFLAKE (Cdn. I Corps and the British 5th Infantry Division), as well as organizing seven infantry brigades from British Army AA units and the 116th and 117th RM brigades.Sheldrake wrote: ↑02 May 2021 09:34No one is suggesting that the land contribution to 21 Army Group should have been reduced. Nor is there any evidence that turning the navy into soldiers was going to eliminate the threat of V Weapons. The only opportunity to eliminate the V2 threat was for Op Market Garden to succeed. Logistics prevented more that a single corps deploying.daveshoup2MD wrote: ↑02 May 2021 04:30Fewer British troops in 21st AG = more British civilian casualties in the UK. 30,000 civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands left homeless, according to the IWM: https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-terr ... 0homeless.
What objective did that achieve for the British, do you think?
Not sure how prestigious that result was to anyone, much les the average Briton; they certainly gave Churchill's government the heave ho fast enough in the July, 1945 election, and by quite the landslide...
As far as the RN goes, the period where having RN personnel manning landing craft (and not RMs) would have been the end of 1943 and the first half of 1944; after the Italians surrendered in 1943, Scharnhorst was sunk, and Tirpitz was turned into a floating POW camp.
Once 21st AG was ashore, the RN landing craft sailors could go back to the fleet. the landing craft tied up, and the RMs could have been used as infantry, not "Special Service" troops.
Since Fraser didn't make it to Australia until December, 1944, and the BPF's first operations as such did not occur until 1945, it is quite clear the available RN personnel could have been used more effectively in 1943-44 than they were, historically/
Allied strategy was defeat Germany first; the RN had an important role to play in that - it just wasn't by preparing for Jutland II with the IJN. The USN had already taken care of that problem.
The idea that the big ships of the RN could be laid up while their crews took a six month sabbatical in landing craft ignores training times for both small craft operation and for working up the big ships. It also removes important units from the gun line of ships offering naval gunfire support.
Prestige mattered to Churchill and those in government that hoped to restore the British Empire, and maintain Britain's top table relationship in the post war world. Churchill lost the 1945 election on domestic matters. The Labour party offered a programme of social reform that was very popular, including the National Health Service which remains very popular to this day.
In roughly the same period, the British 1st Armoured Division was broken up in Italy, with the loss of (at least) an infantry brigade equivalent, as well as some RAC elements, either disbanded for replacements or converted to armoured engineers.
As far as the rest, who has suggested "turning the navy into soldiers"? Seriously, where does that come from?
As far as using "some" sailors as landing craft crews for the invasion of Europe, and then transferring them back to the fleet, those sort of transfers are exactly what was done with the RMs being discussed, except they were transferred from infantry duties in the RM Division in 101 and 102 brigades in 1943, to landing craft crews in 1944, and then back to infantry duties in 116th and 117th infantry brigades in 1945...