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Operation Moniker - The Frisian Option

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  • The Purist
    replied
    Let's put a bullet in this Zombie's brain and be done with it.

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  • Adran Goch
    replied
    No Spitfires as well - beyond effective combat range. And without a Maximum Effort from the RAF, there isn't a hope in hell that Monty will go for it - he was a big proponent of the maximum possible usage of air power.

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  • broderickwells
    replied
    Just to remind everybody why it would've been a bad idea - no Mulberries, no PLUTO and no offshore floating artillery.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    I've heard that. The author lost me in the first paragraphs of the first post. One remark about Gen Morgan of COSSAC being the chief proponent of Normandy as the primary landing area was particulary ignorant. I'm not finding much value in the entire thread, even as a foil for educational purposes.

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  • Adran Goch
    replied
    I thought that this looked familiar. Wasn't the entire concept ripped to pieces on the althist.com forums?

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  • David Greenwich
    replied
    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    Long range fighters were a priority for the US to escort daylight bombing raids and so I don't think more would be available for your scenario than existed historically. If you want more background then the histories are available on-line eg http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/III/AAF-III-5.html

    In early 1944 US fighter squadrons in Britain were split roughly:
    50 P-47 (which would have struggled with the range to the Frisian islands)
    20 P-38
    30 P-51

    which gives you c500 P-51 in total, of which you will probably not have much more than 10% over the Frisian islands at any one time. So your 300,000 aircraft reduces to an effective front-line force of c50-60. This is simply not enough to dominate the Luftwaffe operating from its home bases.
    I don't think the P47 would have struggled at all with the range of the Frisian Islands.

    From Wikipedia:

    "With the increased fuel capacity, the P-47 was now able to perform escort missions deep into enemy territory."

    The range was up to 2,900 kms with use of drop tanks.

    You can't disregard the ATL effects of a decision to back the Frisian option. Clearly resources would have been switched to drop tank fittings, and increased production of long range fighters. A decision may have been taken to bring in long range fighters from other theatres. Perhaps some production would be switched from bombers to long range fighters.

    A lot of people assume that Spitfires for instance couldn't be adapted to long range use, but that's simply not true. This contributor (Hop) at http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/avi...ii-614-47.html
    puts it well:


    "The first Spitfire sortie over Berlin was 14th March 1941. They flew over most of Germany on a frequent basis after that, in the recce role.

    The reason they didn't fly fighter sorties over Germany is the same reason USAAF fighters didn't until late 1943. Long range escort required extra tankage, which wasn't fitted until late in the war because a: the RAF was bombing by night, and b: the USAAF thought bombers didn't need escorts.

    Jeffery Quill flew a Spitfire IX fitted with a 75 gallon rear tank and 45 gallon drop tank from Salisbury Plain to the Morray Firth and back, a distance of 1,100 miles. That's the same as East Anglia to Berlin and back. And he did it at 1,000ft, which gives much worse consumption (the weather was bad, so he stayed below the cloud base).

    The longest range Spitfire would be the VIII, with 123 gallons internal, a 90 gallon drop tank, and in late production aircraft a 75 gallon rear tank. Fuel consumption was on the order of 10 mpg at minimum speed, 6 mpg at about 310 mph cruise, with easily enough range for Berlin and back.

    The thing is, though, the USAAF didn't build a long range escort until they needed one, and the RAF didn't need one at all, so put less effort into it. But giving a fighter much longer range isn't hard, you just need to pack more fuel in, as long as there's room for that (and there was in the Spitfire), extending the range is just a matter of producing the drop tanks and auxilary tanks. "


    It's pretty clear there were no major technical difficulties in adapting many aircraft for operations over Frisia, but in the absence of need, this was not done in the OTL.

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  • Aber
    replied
    Originally posted by David Greenwich View Post

    2. I think you need to give some more detail on why you think air cover will be insufficient. The allies produced some 300,000 aircraft during the war. By mid 1944 they had to scale down production because they were producing more than they could use. My own (v. limited research) suggests that the allies had more than enough long range fighters in mid 1944 to mount this operation. What more do you need? Why do you think air cover would be lacking? I would except the air war would be tougher - but that is like comparing almost nothing with something. We aren't in a Battle of Britain situation - even being 250 miles from the English coast the allies will dominate the skies completely. How could you conclude otherwise - please explain.

    Logisitics I would agree are more complex - but that has to be set against the MUCH SHORTER supply lines on land. And that is an incredible gain. Why won't you recognise that? I am puzzled.
    Long range fighters were a priority for the US to escort daylight bombing raids and so I don't think more would be available for your scenario than existed historically. If you want more background then the histories are available on-line eg http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/III/AAF-III-5.html

    In early 1944 US fighter squadrons in Britain were split roughly:
    50 P-47 (which would have struggled with the range to the Frisian islands)
    20 P-38
    30 P-51

    which gives you c500 P-51 in total, of which you will probably not have much more than 10% over the Frisian islands at any one time. So your 300,000 aircraft reduces to an effective front-line force of c50-60. This is simply not enough to dominate the Luftwaffe operating from its home bases.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Greenwich
    replied
    Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
    Just some things to consider:

    How many more ships and landing craft will be necessary for your build-up to proceed in similar fashion to the Normandy buildup or even a buildup that could support a narrow thrust (remembering the Montgomery's proposed narrow thrust was 40 divisions)? By doubling the distances, you're doubling the shipping required and the escorts required simply by virtue of the time at sea.

    By the same token, how many more escorts will be needed to guard those convoys? I just can't see the Admiralty and USN sending out convoys without the same level of protection as in the OTL - if anything, I see the level of protection increasing due to the location. Whether Germany could actually increase its attacks on convoys in light of the basing of ships wouldn't alleviate the dangers that the Allied navies would perceive.

    Those ships have to come from somewhere. If from existing fleets, that means the ships can't be used for what they were otherwise doing in the OTL (take them from the Pacific and both MacArthur and the USN would howl that they were being deprived of any ability to press the attack and maintain hard-earned momentum - something that would be dangerous for FDR politically). If the ships are to be new construction, what will be scaled back? Resources are finite.

    One thing that you might be tempted to cut is trucks. I think you mentioned that there wouldn't be as great a demand because of the distances. I wouldn't be tempted to cut there. The trucks are organic to the divisions and other units, so those have to stay unless you are going to change the tables of organization. Doing that might have an impact on doctrine itself.

    Also, I think you might be downplaying the German response to this. What was Gene Hackman's line in A Bridge Too Far: "Don't you think that if we know Arnhem is so critical to their safety that they might know it too?"
    Given the location, I'd imagine the Germans would accept increased losses in building defenses and attempting to blunt any beachhead.

    Anyway, just food for thought.
    1. The Frisian Option calls for a much smaller initial deployment - 55000 compared with 150000 - and a much slower build up thereafter. It can do this because the islands are almost immune to German counter-attack. With Normandy, you need far more ships and landing craft.

    2. Let's assume you're right onthe timing of sea supplies (I don't accept that because I know the allies had to have fast and slow convoys for an operation that was three time bigger than the Frisian option - I would maintain all the Frisian supplies can go fast rather than slow, because there will be only about one third).

    3. Cancelling the ill-conceived Mulberry operation will save huge quantities of steel and concrete - plus manpower.

    4. Look at the scale of the Atlantic convoy operation - that was so huge, it puts this little local difficultyt in the Med concert.

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  • The Ibis
    replied
    Originally posted by David Greenwich View Post
    4. I don;t accept 4 is crucial teh way you describe it. An extra 100-150 miles is an extra 7-10 hours at sea for the faster vessels. It's not a deal-breaker. Just look at the losses on the Atlantic convoys.
    Logisitics I would agree are more complex - but that has to be set against the MUCH SHORTER supply lines on land. And that is an incredible gain. Why won't you recognise that? I am puzzled.
    Just some things to consider:

    How many more ships and landing craft will be necessary for your build-up to proceed in similar fashion to the Normandy buildup or even a buildup that could support a narrow thrust (remembering the Montgomery's proposed narrow thrust was 40 divisions)? By doubling the distances, you're doubling the shipping required and the escorts required simply by virtue of the time at sea.

    By the same token, how many more escorts will be needed to guard those convoys? I just can't see the Admiralty and USN sending out convoys without the same level of protection as in the OTL - if anything, I see the level of protection increasing due to the location. Whether Germany could actually increase its attacks on convoys in light of the basing of ships wouldn't alleviate the dangers that the Allied navies would perceive.

    Those ships have to come from somewhere. If from existing fleets, that means the ships can't be used for what they were otherwise doing in the OTL (take them from the Pacific and both MacArthur and the USN would howl that they were being deprived of any ability to press the attack and maintain hard-earned momentum - something that would be dangerous for FDR politically). If the ships are to be new construction, what will be scaled back? Resources are finite.

    One thing that you might be tempted to cut is trucks. I think you mentioned that there wouldn't be as great a demand because of the distances. I wouldn't be tempted to cut there. The trucks are organic to the divisions and other units, so those have to stay unless you are going to change the tables of organization. Doing that might have an impact on doctrine itself.

    Also, I think you might be downplaying the German response to this. What was Gene Hackman's line in A Bridge Too Far: "Don't you think that if we know Arnhem is so critical to their safety that they might know it too?" Given the location, I'd imagine the Germans would accept increased losses in building defenses and attempting to blunt any beachhead.

    As for the shorter supply lines, thats a benefit, but not entirely a panacea. Who is going to guard them? You might face partisan threats that weren't present in the OTL. You'll remember that the Western Allies turned over responsibility for guarding the supply lines to the FFI as soon as possible. Here, thats not a possibility. That increases the drain on supply.

    Also, Purist raised the port issue before. IMHO, you've got to deal with that. You'll be in a narrow bridgehead for a while and might be able to build up supplies for a break out. But if you have to fan out to capture ports and go for Berlin or the Ruhr or wherever, you are still bringing your supplies over the beach for a while. And the further inland you go, the longer your supply lines. Which takes you back to where you started - except now the costs involved in terms of shipping and escorts and fighter air, etc. are greater.

    Anyway, just food for thought.
    Last edited by The Ibis; 05 Oct 11, 20:36.

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  • David Greenwich
    replied
    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    A very sensible approach (BTW it's good to see you doing further research - not everyone with an unusual idea does the same on this board).

    1 Yes - the allies could certainly land almost anywhere

    2 No - key issues are aircover and logistics

    3 The 70 day delay in landing on the coast seems a major mistake to me - you can pour a lot of concrete for bunkers in 70 days. An immediate assault on the coast so the islands are effectively used as 'Mulberry type breakwaters' would seem to be a better option.

    4 Probably not - resources are limited and so you have to plan for the worst case or risk losing your whole invading force. The resource bottleneck was logistical and you are landing much further away from your bases than Normandy.
    Thanks for those comments Purist.

    1. Your honesty is refreshing. So many contributors (not so much here but elsewhere) seem to be relucant to concede that. The allies enjoyed such superiority on sea and in sky that they could indeed land almost anywhere.

    2. I think you need to give some more detail on why you think air cover will be insufficient. The allies produced some 300,000 aircraft during the war. By mid 1944 they had to scale down production because they were producing more than they could use. My own (v. limited research) suggests that the allies had more than enough long range fighters in mid 1944 to mount this operation. What more do you need? Why do you think air cover would be lacking? I would except the air war would be tougher - but that is like comparing almost nothing with something. We aren't in a Battle of Britain situation - even being 250 miles from the English coast the allies will dominate the skies completely. How could you conclude otherwise - please explain.

    Logisitics I would agree are more complex - but that has to be set against the MUCH SHORTER supply lines on land. And that is an incredible gain. Why won't you recognise that? I am puzzled.

    3. You could pour a lot of concrete if you weren't being bombed every day and subject to artillery attack and also attack by fighters - plus special forces attacks. But given you aren't free of those things, not a lot of concrete will get laid.

    I am not dogmatic about the plan. You may well be right and a more direct attack on the coast (before the Germans can bring up reinforcements) might be best.

    4. I don;t accept 4 is crucial teh way you describe it. An extra 100-150 miles is an extra 7-10 hours at sea for the faster vessels. It's not a deal-breaker. Just look at the losses on the Atlantic convoys.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aber
    replied
    Originally posted by David Greenwich View Post

    Leads me on to some thoughts about how you assess an option. I am interested in:

    1. Establishing, firstly, whether it is feasible in a weak sense. By a "weak sense" I mean whether it is possible to take the islands and then establish a beach head on the Frisian Coast whatever the allies throw at the invaders.

    2. Establishing, secondly, whether the landings are feasible in a strong sense, with the chance of delivering at least as good an outcome as the Normandy landings did in reality.

    3. Seeing whether the option as I have put it is the best way of proceeding or whether the plan could be modified to deliver a better outcome.

    4. Assessing whether the option could work with other options. (In a sense I have already built that in by continuing with Operaton Dragoon).
    A very sensible approach (BTW it's good to see you doing further research - not everyone with an unusual idea does the same on this board).

    1 Yes - the allies could certainly land almost anywhere

    2 No - key issues are aircover and logistics

    3 The 70 day delay in landing on the coast seems a major mistake to me - you can pour a lot of concrete for bunkers in 70 days. An immediate assault on the coast so the islands are effectively used as 'Mulberry type breakwaters' would seem to be a better option.

    4 Probably not - resources are limited and so you have to plan for the worst case or risk losing your whole invading force. The resource bottleneck was logistical and you are landing much further away from your bases than Normandy.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Greenwich
    replied
    Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
    Agreed Ibis. The Bulge was an unmitigated disaster....for the Germans. At best they sacrificed the last of their striking power, in order to maul a couple of divisions and barely slow the W. Allied offensive.

    At worst, the Germans forced the W. Allies hand. IIRC the offensives of the fall had petered out a bit and the front was marginally static at the time the Bulge Started. Post-Bulge the front was once again rolling Eastward, and Patton had gotten a huge ego boost to boot, which only made him press harder.
    See my comments above. I think when considering options, you have to look at the parameters. I don't think you can assume the OTL was the only possible outcome. For instance, if Hitler and the OKW had followed the advice of commanders further down the line (and shepherded his forces in an orderly retreat), the counter-attack would have been even more powerful or if the Germans had had more luck with the V1s falling on Antwerp port the allies would have been weaker.

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  • David Greenwich
    replied
    Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
    The Western Allies did not come close to disaster with the Battle of the Bulge. The German offensive was a shock, but stood little to no chance of obtaining its ground objectives and zero chance of obtaining its political objectives. Eisenhower was right when he said to his senior commanders at Verdun on December 19, 1944: "The present situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us and not disaster." That the Western Allies didn't take full advantage of the opportunity is neither here nor there when analyzing the issue.
    Point taken. What we are considering here are the options. Perhaps I was a little loose in my phrasing - what I was getting at was that the extended lines of supply and the broad front created a very dangerous situation. In the OTL we find:

    "The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest of the battles that U.S. forces experienced in World War II; the 19,000 American dead were unsurpassed by those of any other engagement.[1" (Wikipedia). Total American casualties were near 90,000.

    But did the Germans face the worst the allies could have performed (i.e. could the allies have put in a poorer performance?) - some other negative factors along the way, and perhaps the German counter-attack could have been more effective.

    I don't think a similar situation could arise from a narrow front 150km advance from the Frisian coast along a path that has few natural obstacles. It was deficiency of the Normandy landings plus, one might say, the broad front approach (but then a narrow front approach from the West would have its own dangers).
    Last edited by David Greenwich; 05 Oct 11, 13:07.

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  • TacCovert4
    replied
    Agreed Ibis. The Bulge was an unmitigated disaster....for the Germans. At best they sacrificed the last of their striking power, in order to maul a couple of divisions and barely slow the W. Allied offensive.

    At worst, the Germans forced the W. Allies hand. IIRC the offensives of the fall had petered out a bit and the front was marginally static at the time the Bulge Started. Post-Bulge the front was once again rolling Eastward, and Patton had gotten a huge ego boost to boot, which only made him press harder.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Ibis
    replied
    Originally posted by David Greenwich View Post
    a crucial issue, given how close the allies came to disaster with the Battle of the Bulge.
    The Western Allies did not come close to disaster with the Battle of the Bulge. The German offensive was a shock, but stood little to no chance of obtaining its ground objectives and zero chance of obtaining its political objectives. Eisenhower was right when he said to his senior commanders at Verdun on December 19, 1944: "The present situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us and not disaster." That the Western Allies didn't take full advantage of the opportunity is neither here nor there when analyzing the issue.
    Last edited by The Ibis; 05 Oct 11, 09:05.

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