Defeating Invasion Fleets

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wm
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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 23 Feb 2023 19:05

Peter89 wrote:
23 Feb 2023 16:26
Yes, the jet bombers were nice to have, although Germany was nowhere near to mass produce and employ them in their time.

The Fritz-X was indeed good against large warships like battleships. But against landing crafts? Not really. Of course if we are talking about a blue water invasion fleet, one that comes from open ocean, then Fritz-X might be relevant. In the Channel, not so much.

Certainly, but after days of attacks on transport ships and the Mulberry harbors, a logistics collapse should occur.
Against landing crafts, we could deploy nerve gas if needed. But maybe the logistics collapse is enough to stop the invasion.
And nerve gas doesn't require magic dust at all - the Germans had lots of it.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 Feb 2023 19:44

wm wrote:
23 Feb 2023 19:05
Peter89 wrote:
23 Feb 2023 16:26
Yes, the jet bombers were nice to have, although Germany was nowhere near to mass produce and employ them in their time.

The Fritz-X was indeed good against large warships like battleships. But against landing crafts? Not really. Of course if we are talking about a blue water invasion fleet, one that comes from open ocean, then Fritz-X might be relevant. In the Channel, not so much.

Certainly, but after days of attacks on transport ships and the Mulberry harbors, a logistics collapse should occur.
Against landing crafts, we could deploy nerve gas if needed. But maybe the logistics collapse is enough to stop the invasion.
And nerve gas doesn't require magic dust at all - the Germans had lots of it.
And the Allied response would have been to dump 10 gallons of mustard, or whatever, gas for every gallon the Germans used, on the Germans in return. The other problem would be once the invasion was well established on shore--within days--the Germans would lack the means to deliver a serious gas attack on the Allied rear areas.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 23 Feb 2023 22:00

Although the Germans had their (effective) gas masks, but nerve gas required hazmat suits.

Of course, the Allies could respond with gas, but it will take days, and the gas can't stop the bombers anyway.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Peter89 » 23 Feb 2023 22:39

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Feb 2023 18:24
Running back down the rough list I have two observations emerge. First: is that small landing forces seem particularly prone to be aborted or defeated, either from the covering force being damaged, or less often the transport group damaged. Examples of the defeat of the covering force would be Wake island, Midway, or Milne Bay (the Coral Sea battle). In these cases its more often the key commanders deciding the covering force cant do its mission, than any actual defeat. Broken morale as it were? Or misplaced judgement?

Second: Largish invasion forces are much more difficult to abort or defeat via attacking the transport of covering fleet. Crete is one of the very few examples of a landing force larger than a commando group tactically defeated at sea. Other examples like Balikipan, Java, Trondheim, Narvik, the timing is off. With the landing force ensconced ashore & not immediately affected by the loss of part of all the fleet. In the case of the Kerch Peninsula operation the second hand sources attribute at least part of the defeat of the ground forces ashore to destruction of a portion of the transport and combat fleet. However I'd want to find details on numbers of ships sunk and proportion of supplies lost.

If examined in the context of littoral warfare rather than specific beach assault or landing forces the picture becomes a little broader. The PoV is more operational than tactical, with a longer time span. In that context the Narvik operation becomes a near defeat with the German force ready to pack it in and flee to neutral Sweden. Examples like the Guadalcanal battle for both sides become relevant, with the US naval force able to sustain the ground force, and the Japanese defeated in this respect. Ditto for New Guinea. At the extreme end might be the Axis lodgment in Tunisia, which collapsed when the cargo fleet could no longer sustain the losses on the run to Bizerte/Tunis. Again I don't have details on ships and cargo lost.
IIRC the Cretan naval operation wasn't a key part of the original plan. Thus when we say it was defeated, it is like saying that the airborne component of a major seaborne invasion got defeated.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Peter89 » 23 Feb 2023 22:42

wm wrote:
23 Feb 2023 19:05
Peter89 wrote:
23 Feb 2023 16:26
Yes, the jet bombers were nice to have, although Germany was nowhere near to mass produce and employ them in their time.

The Fritz-X was indeed good against large warships like battleships. But against landing crafts? Not really. Of course if we are talking about a blue water invasion fleet, one that comes from open ocean, then Fritz-X might be relevant. In the Channel, not so much.

Certainly, but after days of attacks on transport ships and the Mulberry harbors, a logistics collapse should occur.
Yes, but for that the defenders needed more than just a handful of jets
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Feb 2023 01:54

wm wrote:
23 Feb 2023 22:00
Although the Germans had their (effective) gas masks, but nerve gas required hazmat suits.

Of course, the Allies could respond with gas, but it will take days, and the gas can't stop the bombers anyway.
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 24 Feb 2023 22:54

It can't be denied mustard gas is an excellent area denial weapon. The beaches could be soaked in it in advance without relying on artillery.
Nerve gas evaporates too quickly.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by glenn239 » 25 Feb 2023 14:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2023 01:54
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.
Right, but that might not help the Normandy beachhead. Also, wouldn't the fact that nerve gas disperses pretty quickly makes it easier to coordinate between a saturation attack and the followup offensive by the (now) concentrated German reserves?

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Feb 2023 14:53

The British did have a couple of squadrons of bombers ready to use mustard gas on the Germans. These were Bomber Command aircraft and the likely targets would have been German cities. IRRC Peter Cadd9ick Adams tells the story in his work on D Day. Churchill envisaged reserv ing the use of Mustard Gas for 1) Any German landing on Brtain. 2) German use of chemical weapons in Normandy.

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In practice Mustard Gas was not as terrible in 1917-1918 as we sometimes think. Persistent blister agent used to be one of the more unpleasant settings for any Cold War era exercise, leading to masking up for a long time, protection against vapour, decontamination and for contaminated and clean medical facilities and not forgetting eating drinking, urinating and defecating drills.....

However, during WW1 chemical weapons were an embuggerance rather than a decisive weapon. Wartime casualties were never decisive and could be minimised with good equipment and discipline.Mustard gas, known as "Yperite" didn't stop either the preliminary bombardment or the launch of the 3rd Battle of Ypres in July 1917. Nor was it decisive in the 1918 German offensives.

While attending a unit NBC Officers' course in 1986 I happened to be reading some memoirs from 1918. This was by a Gunner officer who had been in the Kaiserslacht. He wrote about his unit being drenched with mustard gas and withdrawing through contaminated land, They did not have the fancy detection kit we had in the 1980s, but managed gas drills and gas clear with what we knew as "sniff tests." Later in October 1918 his battery were badly affected by mustard gas with many men blinded. You may have seen the painting "gassed". However, blindness was usually temporary. At that stage of the war they were so exhausted that they were happy to be out of the battle recovering for 48 hours.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 25 Feb 2023 15:07

Yes, but I suppose it's different if you have to crawl under fire on sand drenched in mustard gas.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 25 Feb 2023 15:10

glenn239 wrote:
25 Feb 2023 14:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2023 01:54
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.
Right, but that might not help the Normandy beachhead. Also, wouldn't the fact that nerve gas disperses pretty quickly makes it easier to coordinate between a saturation attack and the followup offensive by the (now) concentrated German reserves?

Although in this case, it's possible that not enough German artillery will survive the bombardment and counter-battery fire to be able to deliver gas in required quantities later.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 Feb 2023 15:22

glenn239 wrote:
25 Feb 2023 14:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2023 01:54
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.
Right, but that might not help the Normandy beachhead. Also, wouldn't the fact that nerve gas disperses pretty quickly makes it easier to coordinate between a saturation attack and the followup offensive by the (now) concentrated German reserves?
Given the wind at Normandy, gas would have been nearly useless. The wind would have dissipated it far too quickly to make it effective.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Feb 2023 20:46

wm wrote:
25 Feb 2023 15:10
glenn239 wrote:
25 Feb 2023 14:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2023 01:54
Mustard gas is far more nasty. Yes, Sarin and Soman are probably more deadly, but mustard gas is by far the hardest to defend against. It sticks around. Get it on you, your clothing, anything and you will regret it. You can easily track it into buildings a stuff. And, the British had stockpiles while the US had it by the shipload sitting in England and elsewhere just in case.
Right, but that might not help the Normandy beachhead. Also, wouldn't the fact that nerve gas disperses pretty quickly makes it easier to coordinate between a saturation attack and the followup offensive by the (now) concentrated German reserves?

Although in this case, it's possible that not enough German artillery will survive the bombardment and counter-battery fire to be able to deliver gas in required quantities later.

OTL the German field artillery was effectively intact at H hour. Some had been damaged in the preliminary attacks the previous month but not a lot. The important effect of that preliminary attack/s was moving the bulk of the artillery ammunition off to hidden & protected stage away from the cannon batteries. When the attack started around 06:30 there was only a hour or two of ammunition on hand. The batteries overlooking OMAHA & UTAH Beaches were down to around 10 - 15 % of their starting ammo supply by 08:30. Understandably there were difficulties in getting the reserves forward to the cannon during the day. I don't have the data at hand needed to calculate what X number of cannon projectiles would cover with Mustard or blister agent. I can say there were a half dozen different callers/models of field artillery supporting the German defenders. That complicates both the the logistics and the fire planning for disturbing the chemical ammunition. Yet another tricky item for the staff officers to wrestle with.

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by wm » 26 Feb 2023 00:39

I wonder, did the landing troops have their gas masks with them?

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Re: Defeating Invasion Fleets

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Feb 2023 05:09

The short answer is yes. When they put their kit on aboard the boats they had them. As the battle progressed the less disciplined soldiers discarded them. Paratrooper Donald Burgettt remarked on the gas mask as part of the heavy load he carried aboard the aircraft. Later a day or two after landing he remarks again on thinking a gas attack had been made against his area. He noted that by this point many of his comrades had discarded their masks. Uniforms were also soaked in a protective solution that when dried was supposed to prevent chemical agents from soaking through to the skin. I keep running across remarks about these heavy and smelly clothing items worn into combat.

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