D-Day November 1942

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Von Schadewald
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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by Von Schadewald » 31 Aug 2008 16:48

It still being early days for the Lancaster and Typhoon, what are the main Allied bombers and ground attack aircraft available with the range to reach Britanny in Nov 42?

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stg 44
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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by stg 44 » 31 Aug 2008 18:37

This might even benefit the Germans in a way that no one has yet considered. If the Allies are able to get a foothold, the Germans might give up the Caucasus campaign and avoid the Stalingrad encirclement. If the manpower demands to occupy France come up, these soldiers can be saved from the worst moment OTL. So, how does that effect things? Allies save the Germans from Russian encirclement 8O .

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Aug 2008 21:36

Von Schadewald wrote:It still being early days for the Lancaster and Typhoon, what are the main Allied bombers and ground attack aircraft available with the range to reach Britanny in Nov 42?
The Blenheim was the most common twin engine think, and the Hurricane the principle single engine. Bostons, RAF Mustangs, RAF P40s, and a some USAAF aircraft were available. There are not detailed refrences at hand on my shelves. Memory (that fickle b...h) reminds me the RAF operating in Egypt/Lybia had worked out several critical items during 1941 & the first half of 1942. Particilarly liasion with the ground commanders had been established properly, and the Tentacles or forward air control teams for close air support were being used. The RAF had also worked out a system for vastly improving readiness of deployed air groups. The ability to 'turn around' aircraft in the repair and ordinary maintinace tasks had advanced from the pathetic levels of 1940 to better than 90% for maximum effort periods. The Luftwaffe was actually headed in the opposite direction in 1942 in Africa and on the Eastern Front. tho the proximity to Germany may (or may not) have helped with this in late 1942.

With a commitment to Sledgehammer the US would provide a bit better than what it sent to Britian in 1942. Aside from the aircraft and ground support diverted for use in Torch some of the USAAF material sent to the Pacific may be available. At this point I've estimated approx 900 USAAF aircraft sent to NW Africa by the end of December that would otherwise have been sent to Britian. Principally P38, P40, and B26 models. But that is just a rough and needs some real study.

A check of the map with divders and scale shows that from British airfields located between Portsmouth & Plymouth a operating range of 400 kilometers (250 miles) is needed to cover the Quiberon bay area. The adjacent city of Lorient seems to have had a all weather airfield in 1942, ditto for Brest. I dont have any information on what the Luftwaffe had used or developed in Brittiany.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 31 Aug 2008 22:06

Carl, from what little I have I can also see the fields at L'Orient and Brest - there to provide fighter cover for both ports' U-boat pens. But in 1940 KG100 had a base at Vannes, and IV Fliegerkorps had its HQ at Dinard so I would presume a field there too?

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Sep 2008 01:27

Weird here. Not only did my previous post disappear in the last four hours, but the post I was quoting vanished as well. :?


phylo_roadking wrote:Carl - regarding Mountbatten - he'll only "be departed" IF Dieppe goes ahead :wink:
I dont know enough about the politics of the Dieppe thing and the Combined Operations HQ. The more I think about this the more ways I can see the command billets and command structure could have gone several directions.
phylo_roadking wrote:
The Allies will also have to look to their rear either way the Vichy government goes. The Axis will probablly try to secure the usefull airfields and ports in Tunisia, both to protect Lybia and to further threaten Allied sea routes in the Western Med. This would require Allied ground, air, and naval forces be sent to Africa to counter any Axis move to Tunisia and beyond.

Not unless the Axis can put together SOME sort of airborne action VERY quickly - there's certainly no spare Axis ground forces in North Africa in NOVEMBER to mount any sort of large thrust into Vichy territory...it hasn't got back from the east yet LOL

Here's the BUT - don't underestimate the stiff resistance Vichy forces DID put up for some time against the US. AND they regarded their airfields as VERY vital strategic commodities to be defended. The Germans/Italians would have to count the cost of the losses they would take attempting this against stiff resistance....against the cost of such an action IMMEDIATELY loosing them ALL of Vichy as you mention! NOW they'd be in a 1942 OTL position for options....BUT IN THIS CASE the forces that went into Metropolitan Vichy historically - would be heading for Brittany!!!
Depends on where the German place their priorities. Like so many other things in this WI the actual thoughts of the leaders and their resources are outside the well trodden paths of the popular historys. there is a lot of detail of he various armys and the attitudes of the governments that are unknown to me. ie: In 1942 the US government still had some sort of channel of communication with the Vichy government. Did some representative of Roosevelt present the 'hypothetical' question of the Vichy attitude if Britian/US did execute Sledgehammer? If so what sort of answer was given? The same for Gymnast & torch for that matter. Petain did give clear guidance to Darlan as to his independance in setting policy for the French NW African territorys were either the Germans or Allies to invade Metropolitan France or NW Africa. Did that occur because of a dialoge between the US & Vichy France?

The equation becomes even more complex for the Germans if the Vichy government does nothing in the opening week/s of Sledgehammer. The German leaders cannot be sure if Vichy is remaining true to the Armistice conditions or is carefully waiting for the better moment to enter the fray.
phylo_roadking wrote:I can't see a LIMITED operation being mounted to take possession of Vichy airfields - against the 99% risk of loosing ALL of Vichy to the Allies...AND at a point, admittedly a narrow window - of the Allies being able to rush assistance to Metropolian Vichy! Not in return for a questionable operation against a few airfields....they risk TWO fronts being opened in Western Europe! And of course the instant cutting-off of North Africa.

And they certainly in November1942 can't mount a LARGESCALE invasion of French North African possessions!!! :lol:

As per OTL - ANY movement against Vichy possessions ANYWHERE by the Axis needs to be simultaneous with the wholesale occupation of Metroploitan France. In November 1942
I think the best Germany can hope for is to put down a hostile Vichy and write off NW Africa. If the French genuinely dither and try to sit on the fence then perhaps a occupation force for Tunisia can be scraped together. Perhaps a German corps formed around the airbourne corps aimed at Malta and a couple Italian corps could be spared for the task. Best case for Germany is if the French fly into chaos as pro Axis and pro Allied factions declare themselves and scramble for whatever advantage they can find.

One negative for the Allies is that the French underground, the FFI organization, the British Special Operations Exec, the OSS agents in France, the Jedburghs, and all the rest of the organizations that aided the liberation in 1944 barely exist in 1942. Any effort of the French population to help out in the winter of 1942-43 is going to be 'weak'

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2008 01:58

Carl, I'm not so sure. I's more likely the GERMANS would be the ones to dither - fatally.
Perhaps a German corps formed around the airbourne corps aimed at Malta and a couple Italian corps could be spared for the task
...isn't going to do it, not against the Vichy Colonial forces. Who are after all going to be on FULL alert since the Brittany landing in Metropolitan FRANCE...after all! :wink: The Axis need to be able to carry out a FULL and SWIFT occupation of ALL France's North African possessions AND Metropolitan Vichy; if they pick one, they loose the other....whatever way round they choose. And if they weaken the defence in Libya/Tunisia enough to scrape together the force necesary to defeat the Vichy colonial forces fast...the British will be driving hard up their proverbial jacksie. The Germans are certainly NOT going to be effectively mount a maritime invasion, nor move sufficient forces by sea.
Any effort of the French population to help out in the winter of 1942-43 is going to be 'weak'
True....bu with every chance of VICHY NOW providing some sort of support for the ragged Maquis groups "in the bush" then. Also, IIRC there was an effective resistance early in Brittany...

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2008 02:02

Regarding the Vichy colonial troops vs. any Axis scratch force - look at the Syrain campaign of 1941; they put up a relatively long and effective defence there...CERTAINLY long enough for Metropolitan Vichy to decide what their reaction to a German invasion of its colonies will be! Don't forget - as of November 1942, Rommel doesn't have enough armour after El Alamein. The Vichy forces in Syria actually held up a MUCH better-equiped force than the DAK was in November 1942 immediately after Alamein!

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Robert Rojas
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RE: Here's A Political Angle - MAYBE!

Post by Robert Rojas » 01 Sep 2008 06:04

Greetings to both citizen Tim Smith and the community as a whole. Howdy Tim! Well sir, in reference to your installment of Wednesday - August 27, 2008 - 1:01am, old Uncle Bob would like to interject the following alternative political angle into the discourse of this thread. Now, for purposes of discussion, let us assume that the Wehrmacht is unsuccessful in driving the OPERATION SLEDGEHAMMER invasion force back into the English Channel. With the Anglo-American allies firmly ensconced on the Brittany peninsula of France, the Red Army's recent encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and the subsequent advances of the British Commonwealth forces in North Africa, I believe it would be safe to say that the infallibility of the all knowing Bohemian Corporal's military leadership would be called into not so whispered question by dissaffected elements within the Wehrmacht's officer corps. It would not be unreasonable to assume that a wholly unexpected landing on the Brittany peninsula in France would breath new life into a reconstituted Oster Conspiracy. In otherwords, it is theoretically possible that OPERATION SLEDGEHAMMER could very well become the driving catalyst behind the formulation of an accelerated version of OPERATION VALKYRIE. Yes, a successful OPERATION SLEDGEHAMMER just might produce some very unanticipated and unintended consequences in year 1943. It's just some speculative food for thought. Well, that's my latest two cents, pence of pfennigs worth on this quite diverse hypothetical topic of interest - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in merry old England. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN - not to mention everybody else.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :) :wink: 8-)

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by The_Enigma » 01 Sep 2008 12:40

Glad to see that the upstart colonists still know whom the boss is!

That’s an interesting suggestion, Sledgehammer succeeds and within the winter months a build up takes place and during this period the German counterattacks are defeated (an interesting side note, one notices that historians downplay the effectiveness of the allied soldiers and basically give you the impression of it’s a wonder we won the war – during the fighting for Normandy, some top class divisions were essentially destroyed or wrote off – Panzer Lehr, 1st and 12 SS etc so facing so not facing these sorts maybe they would have been able to drive allot further inland than hold a simple enclave), all of which result in a rapid acceleration in a serious plot against Hitler (i.e. some attempts iirc just wanted to get rid of him and didn’t have the follow up plans inplace like the July 44 one).

If all that was successful, not only would the possibility of the war being over in ’43 but the possibility of no “eastern bloc”.

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Sep 2008 14:29

phylo_roadking wrote:Carl, I'm not so sure. I's more likely the GERMANS would be the ones to dither - fatally.
The French record for 'dithering' in November 1942 is clearer than the German, but there are differences in this Sledgehammer situation and I am not going to try to predict what any party might actually do. It is tough enough to sort out the various possibilites with weak knowledge of the leaders and politics of the groups involved. ie: Anyone know off the top of their head who the German commanders in France were and what their record was?
Carl wrote:Perhaps a German corps formed around the airbourne corps aimed at Malta and a couple Italian corps could be spared for the task
phylo_roadking wrote:...isn't going to do it, not against the Vichy Colonial forces. Who are after all going to be on FULL alert since the Brittany landing in Metropolitan FRANCE...after all! :wink: The Axis need to be able to carry out a FULL and SWIFT occupation of ALL France's North African possessions AND Metropolitan Vichy; if they pick one, they loose the other....whatever way round they choose. And if they weaken the defence in Libya/Tunisia enough to scrape together the force necesary to defeat the Vichy colonial forces fast...the British will be driving hard up their proverbial jacksie. The Germans are certainly NOT going to be effectively mount a maritime invasion, nor move sufficient forces by sea.


True in a stratigic sense, still the Germans werre able to pull off suprisingly sucessfull ops at the tacical and operationsl level through the war. The Allied leaders were often nervous or concerned about this and I dont think they would be any different. Plus the British saw the reopening of the Mediterraian sea route as a stratigic priority, so they will be concerned both with any Axis move to consolidate its position blocking the straits around Sicilly and with securing the Tunisian region against Axis incursion.

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Sep 2008 15:20

The_Enigma wrote:Glad to see that the upstart colonists still know whom the boss is!

That’s an interesting suggestion, Sledgehammer succeeds and within the winter months a build up takes place and during this period the German counterattacks are defeated (an interesting side note, one notices that historians downplay the effectiveness of the allied soldiers and basically give you the impression of it’s a wonder we won the war – during the fighting for Normandy, some top class divisions were essentially destroyed or wrote off – Panzer Lehr, 1st and 12 SS etc so facing so not facing these sorts maybe they would have been able to drive allot further inland than hold a simple enclave), all of which result in a rapid acceleration in a serious plot against Hitler (i.e. some attempts iirc just wanted to get rid of him and didn’t have the follow up plans inplace like the July 44 one).

If all that was successful, not only would the possibility of the war being over in ’43 but the possibility of no “eastern bloc”.
Well, the British and US armys still had some 'weaknesses' in 1942. Overconfidence for one on the part of the US. The US Army and USAAF were furtherest apart on the issues of combined arms techiniques at this point. Unlike the RAF which had made critical progress in 1941-42. And, there were oddball ideas on infantry tactics floating about the US Army in 1942. Neither the US Army, or the British showed a strong talent for using tanks correctly in 1942. Conversely both armys were already very good at using artillery. The US did have to imporove its methods for organizing and centroling corps/army artillery, but that came quickly in 1943. In the winter mud and overcasr skys of Western France good artillery going to be just as important as mobile warfare tactics or air support techniques. The US & Brit armys already had the methods inplace that made them superior in 1943 & 1944. In contrast the Wehrmacht armys in France had a large number of divsions that were not yet fully trained, and which were short equipment. They were also armed with a mix of old and worn German cannon and captured items or French and Soviet origin. This mix of a half dozen calibers and types of ammunition for divsion artillery complicated supply and training. The US used just three calibers/chamber sizes of field artillery in the divsion, and the British one. Next a significant part of the German divsion artillery belonged to th static divsions that had been forming and had little value outside the fortified positions. The Wehrmachts corps/army artillery was less in numbers than the Allied, and in 1942 oriented towards heavier specialized types rather than the large groups of corps cannon the US/Brit Armys used to reinforce the divsions.

Several significant weaknesses of the Wehrmacht armys in the west were: a high portion of under trained and badly equipped formations; understrength units just arrived from the east; a high portion of horsedrawn artillery and tactical transport. The equipment weakness extended to communications and transport. The units retraining for the Eastern Front were often partially equipped with a training allowance of less than they would have when actually returning to the east. Much of the new equipment was taken on when passing back thru Germany and the inferior training weapons or transport was left behind for another arriving unit. Some divsion and corps units were equipped with the best available, but these were a small minority.

The effect of the anti nazi plotters, operation Valkyrie, and hitlers assasination is a wild card. it ammounts to a 'Sudden Death' rule in a wargame. With slight changes & different luck any of several other assasination attempts from 1939 might have suceeded thus changing the course of the war.

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2008 16:16

Re the airfields in Vichy North Africa - Carl, I can certainly see operations to make them unserviceable...but not to use them. That means a THIRD set of airlifts for the LW - Stalingrad, Tunisia....AND locally to keep those fields supplied. The RN, and the RAF from Malta is going to prevent ANY resupply by sea - and the French colonial army is going to be coming down HARD on any force holding them. Better if they were to simply try to take them out of the equation for the duration of the airlift to Rommel...but, after all, this IS north Africa - clear some flat stony ground and you have a replacement airfield for the Desert Air Force...

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by The_Enigma » 01 Sep 2008 17:09

phylo_roadking wrote: after all, this IS north Africa - clear some flat stony ground and you have a replacement airfield for the Desert Air Force...
I believe they did do this during parts of the campaigns, other than the established airfields there was allot of landing grounds etc scattered all over the show.

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2008 18:55

Yes. The Desert Air Force became past masters at operating LITERALLY out of holes in the ground for months at a time :o Courtesy of North Africa, the RAF became better at this than the LW, establishing airfields from NOTHING right behind the front line. The LW began the war with their airfield construction parties and drills for flying support teams into position right behind the front line...the Desert Air Force learned to do it with about three and a half (torn, repaired) tents and an entrenching tool! :lol:

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Re: D-Day November 1942

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2008 18:58

Amendment - having JUST picked up an old copy of CMV with a couple of pics in it....that ACTAULLY should read -
"..(torn, OCCASIONALLY repaired) tents..."

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