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Operation Moniker - The Frisian Option

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  • Operation Moniker - The Frisian Option

    What if there was a better way to invade mainland Europe from the UK in 1944 - one that split the German forces and put your forces close to the heart of German power? Intrigued? Find out more about the Frisian Option below...


    Up until June 1943 the assumption had always been among allied planners that the Second Front would be opened up in Northern France. Now, in that torrid month, a number of events were to cause a major re-think.
    Firstly the progenitor of allied plans, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Morgan was tragically killed in one of the many road accidents that plagued blacked-out Britain during the war years. It was said that he had perhaps imbibed too much of the fine malt at his Club in St James – his companion suggested he stepped out into the road without looking to his right. The young RAF officer who ran into him in his high-powered Bentley (which he was driving at too fast a speed for central London after dark) was – without knowing it - to affect the course of history.
    Morgan’s death certainly appeared as something of an ill-omen, given he was just about to present his plans to the American allies. The Normandy Option was thus deprived of its chief champion at a key moment. Whilst a permanent replacement was awaited, there were further important developments. The UK’s General Montgomery declared against the plan as produced by Morgan, arguing that if the landings were to have any chance of securing a lodgement in that part of France, they must be on a much broader front and with more Divisions.
    Even more alarmingly, in the same month, Ultra intercepts revealed that the Germans already expected an invasion to come through Normandy. The intercepts suggested the allied plans had been confirmed by German agents in the UK. Furthermore, it was clear from the decryptions that Hitler had accepted Rommel’s advice that Panzer divisions be placed close to the beaches so that within minutes they could descend on the sands and cause mayhem, driving the invaders back into the sea. Whether the elaborate preparations for a huge deception exercise (to be called Operation Fortitude) would work was now thrown into very grave doubt and the allies had to consider seriously whether an invasion could survive Rommel’s assault on the beaches .
    Although the British tried to keep these intercepts to themselves initially, their persistence in the encrypted traffic could not be kept from the Americans indefinitely. Once they became known, their existence threw the strategy into confusion. Had Morgan’s plans been discovered by German intelligence? - or was this disinformation of a high order (as UK intelligence argued) - designed to divert the allies away from the best chance they had of defeating the Nazi Empire? Disputes between the American and British intelligence services escalated until the political leaders had to involve themselves. President Roosevelt, initially greatly committed to the notion of winning the prize of a liberated France through a Normandy landing, now began to have his own serious doubts and commenced urgent consultations with his chief advisers once he became aware that the allies’ plans for Normandy seemed to have been anticipated.
    As if matters could not get worse for the Normandy backers, late in June an exercise designed to test the allies’ landing capability off Slapton sands in the UK was cut to ribbons by patrolling German E boats. Some 300 men were killed but, worse, the deadly ambush left Allied commanders rattled. Two U.S. officers who had detailed knowledge of the early planning for a landing in Normandy were missing and the possibility that either had been taken prisoner on the German E-boats was a major concern. Unusually, given the tides and currents in that part of the channel, their bodies were never found - which only served to heighten concern.
    There was a growing conviction at all levels that the proposed Normandy landing could prove a Dieppe-style disaster but on a much grander, much more lethal, scale, especially as intelligence was now being received that Rommel (who had been appointed to head up the German counter measures in France in July 1944 having successfully rebuffed being assigned to the backwater of Greece) was proceeding apace with intense fortification of the beaches.

    President Roosevelt asked for an expert in opposed amphibious landings in the Pacific theatre to conduct an urgent review of the Normandy Option. Admiral John Leslie Hall Jr., a senior US Navy Commander, was commissioned to conduct the analysis. His findings were scathing in their appraisal of the plans as they stood. Among his more trenchant criticisms was the claim that Rommel and his tanks would cause havoc on the beaches and massacre huge numbers of the invaders, causing panic and a rout; also that the Mulberries (artificial harbours) would never stand up to the rigours of the English Channel and, in any event, were superfluous (since, from his experience in the Pacific, he knew it was possible to unload 1000 craft at a time on open beaches). Hall’s concerns ran deeper, though. Having consulted experts in armoured warfare, he feared that even if the allies established a lodgement, the bocage countryside that lay beyond the beaches would greatly favour the defenders. Admiral Hall recommended that the allies needed to identify alternative strategic objectives from which the big push could be launched (as had been done in Italy, where first Sardinia and then Sicily had been selected as a launch platform).
    It was at this point that Churchill – his fertile mind forever bringing forth suggestions - entered the debate to revive a proposal that had first emerged during the First World War (and which he had supported at the time): an invasion of the Frisian Island of Borkum to provide a platform for offensive operations against German forces.
    Roosevelt took advice on this proposal and felt it was unambitious; he suspected that Churchill was in reality simply trying to divert from the NW Europe front in the hope that the Western Allies would eventually settle on his preferred option of an attack from Italy through the Balkans.
    By way of compromise he asked Admiral Hall to investigate the possibility of launching more ambitious raids on the Frisian coast. It was as a result of this instruction that impetus was to gather behind what came to be called “the Frisian Option”. Admiral Hall produced an outline proposal centred on the idea of taking several East Frisian islands (part of the German Reich) which would then be used as air and artillery bases, before being deployed as platforms for a mainland invasion.
    At the Reykjavik conference in late August 1944 Admiral Hall’s proposals were discussed and the Prime Ministers of the UK and Canada together with President Roosevelt agreed to instruct COSSAC to produce a detailed proposal for an invasion of mainland Germany via the East Frisian islands.
    De Gaulle’s support for the Normandy landings had always been somewhat ambivalent. He was concerned that the proposed landings would result in huge civilian casualties among the French citizenry (estimates for deaths of French citizens resulting from the Normandy landings were in the region of 10,000 to 20,000). He was suspicious about Roosevelt’s plans for the civil administration of France, which appeared designed to exclude him. But under the new Frisian Option, it was clear that the allies depended on De Gaulle to lead a specifically French rebellion against the German occupiers. The Option included plans for the creation of pockets of Free French administration, parachute assaults in several areas and an allied invasion through Southern France, together with a co-ordinated uprising in Paris.
    De Gaulle approved the plan. “La libération de la France devrait être une affaire française. Cela est juste. Si des civils doivent mourir, qu’ils soient allemands, plutôt que française. C’est trop juste.” (“The liberation of France should be a French affair. That is just. If civilians must die, let them be German rather than French. That too is just.” )
    Churchill’s summarised his approval thus: “Better that we grab the snake by the tail than the fangs.” The implication being that the snake’s fangs could be disarmed once you had him by the tail.
    As for Roosevelt, he told Stalin to be patient, but confident that this second front really would deliver: “This will be a dagger pointed directly at the industrial beating heart of Germany. Whilst we cut out Germany’s heart, you will lop off its head, in Berlin.” Stalin remained suspicious of his Western allies’ motives but saw opportunities for a Communist ascendancy in France in the absence of a strong concentration of American and British troops.
    The new COSSAC proposals, to be known from now on as Operation Moniker, were approved at the second Reykjavik Conference in October 1943.
    General Dwight Eisenhower was appointed as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. It was agreed that Admiral Hall would be appointed to head up the invasion landings. General (later Field Marshal) Montgomery would take over command of the island forces on D Day + 5 and would also lead the assault on the Frisian coast. Command of the advance to the south would then pass to General Omar Bradley.

    Last edited by David Greenwich; 27 Sep 11, 17:48.

  • #2
    PART 2


    An amphibious and airborne operation will land three divisions on the East Frisian Islands of Langeoog, Spiekeroog and Wangerooge. The islands will be used as forward air bases, fortified artillery positions to bombard the Frisian coastal area, supplies storage locations and platforms for a second phase amphibious landing on the main Frisian coast.

    During the first phase the aim will be to degrade the German forces substantially through air and artillery attacks.

    In the second phase the allies will land initially three divisions on the Frisian coast and commence a slow and steady advance to the south between the Rivers Ems and Wasser making best use of the allies’ advantages in terms of air power, armour and materiel. The allied forces will be quickly increased, growing by at least one division every two days.

    The primary objectives of the advance will be (a) to take a position up before the River Ruhr, north east of the Ruhr industrial area and (b) to seek the opportunity for a break out to the east, towards Berlin.

    After a pause to cut off the Ruhr from the rest of Germany, the advance will proceed further south to completely cut the German forces down the middle.


    Operation Fortitude is adapted with the aim of deceiving the Germans into believing that the main blow will come in Normandy while the allies will be staging diversions all along the Atlantic Wall preceding the main blow by up to 5 days.
    Ground forces preparation is similar to that made for the Normandy Option (but on a lesser scale - 3 divisions against 5), with the forces being marshalled around the UK. General Patton will be part of the deception operation, with the American “Third Army” located in the South West of England ,supposedly readying itself to strike the main blow at Normandy.
    The plans for Mulberry Harbours will be cancelled. This will represent a huge saving in manpower and materials.
    The Plan will call for the use of three aircraft carriers: one to be built in the UK, two to be diverted from the US Pacific forces. In addition two escort carriers will help defend the sea supply lanes to Frisia.
    Additional orders for medium and heavy guns will be placed.
    Resources will be devoted to producing more long range jet fighters and also adapting existing aircraft for longer range duties. However, it should be noted that the Frisian front will be much narrower than in Normandy, so in effect releasing more aircraft for an attack role per sq. km. of the German force concentration.
    The allies can also plan for using far fewer trucks as their land supply lines will be much shorter (150kms compared with 600 kms).
    An even greater amphibious capability will be required in comparison with Normandy. The Plan is clear in calling for a dual invasion - of Frisia and Southern France (the latter coming some weeks after the initial landings on the East Frisian islands). So the allies will have time to plan for the manufacture of additional landing craft as necessary.
    The specific technical challenges of a Frisian landing will be addressed. In particular ability to cross the so-called mudflats (the flats actually comprise both sand and mud, and combinations of the two).
    The French resistance will be given general instructions that they are to mount a national uprising “about one month after the invasion force has landed”. Their involvement will be activated by coded messages.
    In the run up to D Day, exercises are held at a series of locations including the Hebridean Isles, Morecambe Bay and Formby Sands.

    D Day -1 to +5

    The landings on the three islands of Langeoog, Spiekeroog and Wangerooge will be preceded by intense bombardment from air and sea on the islands and the coastal defences, beginning at H-1. Key gun emplacements will be attacked and neutralised by airborne troops using gliders and parachute drops. H Hour will be one hour before dawn.

    The equivalent of three divisions – some 55,000 personnel – will land on the three islands. These will comprise approximately:
    11,000 attached to artillery units – Main functions: to bombard the Frisian coastal area, so as to destroy German forces and suppress artillery fire from German forces; to provide AA fire against air attack; and to provide defence against German attack across the Wadden Sea or from the air.
    5,000 attached to air units – Main functions: To take over and operate existing air bases; to construct and operate new air bases; to provide basic maintenance for and to pilot allied aircraft on the islands.
    10,000 Engineers – Main functions: To fill sandbags in situ; to construct sandbag fortifications; to use bulldozers to build sand fortifications; to tunnel into the islands to create safe storage capacity; to put in place accommodation for all armed forces personnel (using pre-fabricated units); to extend existing air bases; to construct new air bases; to repair air bases damaged in artillery and aerial attacks by the enemy.
    15,000 infantry - Main functions: To defend the islands against German attacks, in particular through use of machine guns, mortar, grenade launchers, anti-tank weaponry and flame throwers; to support the engineers where necessary; to manage radio communications; and to manage receipt and storage of supplies.
    5,000 Armoured and amphibious(comprising 300 tanks, mostly Sherman DD tanks, and 100 other armoured vehicles) - Main functions: to defend the islands against German counter attack. Also used to support special forces operations on the coast.
    2,000 Naval patrol units: Main functions: To engage the enemy on the Wadden Sea and on the coast (using motor patrol boats and mini-submarines); to clear mines in the Wadden Sea; to reconnoitre routes across the Wadden Sea to land; to clear mines and other defences on the Frisian coast; to support special forces raids on the coast.
    5,000 special forces – Main functions: to close down any large gun emplacement on the islands or Frisian coast; to harass the enemy on the Frisian mainland; to create diversions; to launch major assaults to test the enemy’s responses; and to defend the islands against German attack. Will use a force of 50 adapted Piper aircraft capable of transporting 4 personnel per aircraft at a time for landings on the coast. Can also call on the assistance of naval forces and other units on the islands.
    1,000 medical and miscellaneous
    1,000 HQ, liaison, reconnaissance and planning
    Secure islands. Eliminate German resistance on the islands and secure a defence perimeter.
    Artillery and armour to be brought ashore.
    Construct three airbases with seven runways. To be accomplished within 14 days, with the first completed in 5 days.
    From D Day plus 5 to + 30
    Then main objectives for this period will be:
    The creation of killing zone in the coastal area.
    Lightning special forces attacks on all major gun emplacements.
    Continuous naval and air bombardment of the coastal killing zone. Air sorties now mainly from the islands, but still including UK based air assaults, particularly by heavier bombers.
    Build up of supplies (but not personnel on the islands).
    Full reconnaissance of invasion routes to the mainland.
    Accommodation completed (300 reinforced Nissen huts required).

    Day 30
    Amphibious landings in Southern France (Operation Dragoon).
    Day 35
    Scheduled day for national uprising in France. Three French paratroop brigades to be landed, in the Burgundy, Normandy and Vercors areas. Barricades go up in Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles.
    D Day Plus 45-70
    Build up of lead elements of the coastal invasion force on the islands.
    D Day Plus 70-75
    On D Day + 70 very accurate glider and aeroplane special forces go in to take key locations in the coastal zone. Emphasis is on anti-tank weaponry.
    30,000 men to go in on D Day + 70 with core of special forces. Mostly in amphibious tanks and armoured cars.
    Flail tanks to be used to find way through mine fields.
    There is then a continuous build up of forces in the coastal area as more troops are brought ashore on the islands and then transited to the coastal area.
    With excellent air-ground co-ordination thanks to the slow build up of comms and reconnaissance, the allies advance easily to create the secure coastal zone with a defensive perimeter – about 20 Kms in .
    More troops and supplies are then fed through over 71-75 until the forces in the area amount to the Normandy equivalent. But this will proceed in a very orderly fashion.

    D Day Plus 75-110

    A slow and methodical advance to the south making best use of the allies huge advantage in air cover, armour and artillery. Flanks of course are secured as the advance goes forward. Wilhelmshaven is besieged to the east.

    The objective is to split the German forces down the middle and move to occupy a strong point to the north east of the Ruhr (close by Dortmund) which will disrupt supplies to the East and from which the industrial area can be bombarded.

    Around D Day 100 or earlier a break out will be made to the East aiming to drive to Berlin. Allies to join in assault on Berlin, but allow Soviets to take or kill Hitler and his fellow criminals (reflecting a private agreement between Roosevelt and Stalin).

    It is anticipated that at that point the German forces will sue for peace and surrender. If not, the allies will advance into France to finish off the German forces there.

    1. Initial landings Aerial cover will be provided by long range fighters and aircraft from the 3 main carriers.

    2. Placement of artillery. 1000 artillery pieces will be strung out along the Wadden Sea side of the islands.

    3. Use of naval guns. Naval guns will be vital to the initial assault and to continued suppression of German artillery.

    4. Defence against artillery Whilst the allies’ primary defence against German artillery would be suppression through massive counter-attack, the allies also came prepared to dig in and fortify. They will bring with them over 1 million filled sand bags, together with ten million unfilled bags, which engineers and infantry would spend much of the first few days filling with sand from the islands and putting in position. In addition, a fleet of 30 armoured bull dozers will be ready to shift sand to create protective barriers and buttresses . The allies would bring with them material to build 300 reinforced nissen huts for accommodation and aircraft storage; and tunnelling equipment (with props) which allow for the creation of 200,000 cubic metres of storage and accommodation space. 500 concrete air raid shelters will be placed strategically along the islands.

    There will be extensive camouflage material put in position.

    Most fuel will be stored in sealed drums in steel cages, submerged in water most of the time just off the shore line.

    Smoke screens will be used throughout daylight hours, to prevent effective enemy observation of the islands. At night pyrotechnics were also used for similar effect.

    5. Invasion of the Frisian Coast. The Wadden Sea constitutes a difficult barrier for armed forces – especially mechanised armed forces and heavily laden soldiers to cross. The depth of the sea varies with the tides from nothing to about 3 metres plus.
    The routes to the mainland will all to be surveyed in detail before the invasion commences with the benefit of a wealth of information. The main assault will take place at high tide.
    The initial wave of invaders will constitute special forces, who arrive by special boats, parachute, glider and Piper aircraft (landing in fields). These troops secure key fortifications, which had in fact mostly been abandoned by the Germans. They deal with the small pockets of German infantry, snipers and observers that have been able to hide in the coastal area. In addition, attached to the first wave, will be 5 battalions of engineers whose role will be to build pontoon piers, clear minefields and generally ensure troops can land with relative ease.
    The second wave, coming in very soon afterwards will consist of the main armour, artillery and infantry. Amphibious craft and vehicles will include DD Sherman tanks, DKUWs,and LCTs, and shallow draft troop ships.

    The engineers will install a pontoon pier 600 metres long reaching to one the main Wadden sea channels Ammunition supplies will be brought over on shallow assault boats.

    There will also be scope for construction of a 3 km long pontoon bridge from Nordeney Island to the coast.

    Troops – with light equipment – will also walk from the islands to the coast at low tide following fully trained guides.

    Last edited by David Greenwich; 27 Sep 11, 17:28.


    • #3
      PARt 3


      The Invasion Begins

      The invasion gets under way on 6th May 1944 as the great flotilla assembles off the coast of Norfolk and begins the perilous journey across the North Sea to the German coast.

      The minesweepers that had been operation a few days before the invasion (along with minesweepers in the channel, so as to aid deception) had proved effective.

      90 minutes before dawn a huge naval bombardment opens up on the islands’ defences and on the coastal defences of East Frisia.
      One hour before dawn, in a dramatic coup de main the air bases on Langeroog and Wangerooge.
      are attacked by commando units arriving by parachute and by small transport planes.

      Some 30 minutes before dawn, the first landing craft start coming ashore. In a series of coup de main strikes, commandos launched in Piper aircraft, canoes and from mini-submarines capture coastal gun emplacements. The alarm is raised but the
      The lightly fortified islands are taken with relative ease, special forces having eliminated the larger guns. Casualties are in the 100s.
      Churchill announces in Parliament: “The next phase of the great crusade of freedom and justice against Hitlerian oppression has begun in Europe. The first debilitating blow has been struck. It is not the knock out blow. But it has winded the enemy, made him double up, curse and stagger. He was once used in the past to so many easy victories and now it seems that all that comes his way are hard defeats: El Alamein , Sicily; Stalingrad. To which we must now add the name of Frisia. Our brave men in arms already have their boots firmly planted, occupying a key region of the German Reich – islands that are the very jewels in Hitler’s crown. Over the next days, weeks and months, more blows will rain down on him. Where and when the knock out blow will fall, we cannot yet say, but – with the help of Almighty God – it will be a most deadly,most final and surely fatal blow. I ask the British people, the people of the Empire, all the people of the world of good will to be patient. Our opponent is strong, he is cunning; his methods are cruel and underhand. But we will have the better of him yet. We will teach him a lesson or two in the ring of war. “
      It is a masterpiece of subtle deception, leaving the Germans anxiously wondering what the next move would be.
      The German Reaction

      The Germans had not been expecting an assault on the islands. In advance of the landings, reports had come in from E boats and Luftwaffe of a large naval force approaching. It is assumed by the German commanders that the force must be advancing on Wilhelmshaven, possibly to mount a Dieppe-style raid. The Wilhelmshaven defences are put on alert.
      Once reports of the assault on the island come in, the Germans conclude mistakenly, that it is most likely a diversionary attack, to distract the Germans from the main assault in Normandy or possibly the Calais region. Diversions are in fact taking place in Normandy and elsewhere, including naval bombardment and dummy parachute drops which of course reinforce this perception.
      The German commanders put the coastal defences in East Frisia on alert and begin to send in reinforcements to the area.
      Hitler opines that it is a diversion but that the occupation of German territory cannot stand. “Not one dirty American or British boot must be left on the territory of the German Reich. The complete and utter destruction of the invaders must be effected without further delay. ”
      He orders a full assault on the islands using all available forces to dislodge the invaders and reinforcement of the coastal defences. Waffen SS units with experience of landings over water are moved up to the Frisian coast.

      Goebbels writes in his diary: “This invasion is a calamitous development. Not in terms of strategy, of course - the Fuhrer and his commanders are convinced that no harm can come to us from this Frisian Folly. But for the masses, the Volk, who cannot be expected to look at such matters coolly and strategically as does the Fuhrer, well that is another matter – they thought they were inured to bad news after Stalingrad but this can only further shake their confidence. I am to hold an emergency meeting with editors tomorrow to explain how this so-called invasion, a typically infantile effusion of Churchill’s brain, will not stand and how we intend to crush the violators of Germany’s sacred soil. Goering has offered to smash the invader. May providence send us victory, but I fear we have heard far too many empty promises from the Air Marshal before today. “

      The Eagle Attacks

      On 8th May the Luftwaffe launches 600 planes to attack the islands, a mixed force of fighters and bombers. Some 180 are shot down by the combined might of the naval batteries, allied fighters from England, the islands and the aircraft carriers, and AA guns already ashore and deployed on the islands. About 150 manage to unload their bombs or attempt to attack targets but the raid is ineffective. The allies make good use of smoke, camouflage and barrage balloons as part of their defences against air attack.

      The thousands of engineers present on the islands make good the damage sustained by the island’s air bases.

      The Kreigsmarine Attacks

      The next day U boats, E boats and battleships set out to take on the allied naval forces. By then though – already by D Hour plus 12 - the troops and supplies have been landed on the islands. Aircraft from the three aircraft carriers tear apart the hastily assembled German naval flotilla, although E boats do manage to score some strikes. Two destroyers are lost. But the E boats are badly cut up by allied aircraft as they speed back to their bases.

      Battle of the Wadden Sea

      On 11th May five Special German units flown to the area by the Luftwaffe attempt a night landing on Langeoog, crossing the Wadden Sea in light boats , canoes and dinghies, with some amphibious craft ready to follow. However this is soon discovered thanks to the regular use of flares and the invasion force is subject to withering fire forcing it to withdraw. Subsequent attempts are made to land German airborne troops and there is a major battle on Spiekeroog on D Day plus 13 when the Germans attempt to land 5000 paratroopers. Many of the gliders and planes are shot out of the sky before they get close. Huge numbers of paratroopers are killed as they float down. Those that land are dealt with very speedily by allied special forces and snipers. There are 1200 dead and wounded. 600 are taken prisoner (to be swiftly expatriated to the UK).

      The Steel Wave

      In response to pressure from OKW, beginning on 12th May, the Heer send in wave after wave of armour, artillery and infantry towards the Frisian coast. However, they prove easy targets for the established allied artillery, the huge naval guns on the North Sea side of the islands and the hundreds of patrolling attack planes. The slaughter is so great that the roads become blocked with burnt out vehicles. There is even a threat that the famed discipline of the German armed forces could be beginning to break down, with subordinate commanders making increasingly vociferous protests up the line that the ferocity of the allied assaults cannot be endured.

      Battle of Nordeney

      Frustrated by the failure to dislodge the allies, the OKW order a new attack. Field Marshal Kietel demands that “There can be no question of failure. The attack must be pressed home until all the islands are cleared of the enemy.”

      This time the German plan is to attack the islands from the west, which involves assembling an army of 20,000 on Borkum. On 25th May the battle group transfers to the west of Nordeney by boat. However the allies have read the German’s intentions and have themselves landed a substantial and mobile force on the East of the island, having quickly killed off the island’s small force of defenders.

      The allies have moved their powerful naval guns into position off the north of Nordeney and are able to launch a murderous assault on the formation as they land on the west of the island. British Motor Torpedo Boats, which the Germans had not expected to be operating in the area, are able to sink 20 sea transports.

      The Germans are able to land only some 12,000 troops on the island. But these forces are harassed day and night by allied air power and artillery. The forces that eventually make contact with the allies in the East are unco-ordinated and far less effective than might have been expected. The allied forces in the East of the island inflict severe losses before they retire to the island of Baltrum, leaving the German advance to be slowed and slaughtered by air attacks. The Germans eventually, on 4th June, under pressure from OKW land on Baltrum with a small force of 3000. A pitched battle takes place. With the help of naval guns, the German advance is brought to a halt. Three days later the remaining German forces, numbering less than 1800 withdraw to Nordeney.

      The Germans hold on to Norderney for the remainder of Phase 1 but are unable to make much use of their strategic position.

      A new reality dawns

      By the beginning of June, German commanders have concluded that without a major increase in amphibious attack capability (not achievable at this stage of the war) it is impossible to retake the islands. The only hope is to await an allied attempt at a major coastal landing. The defenders may then be able to beat off the coastal landing and retake the islands in the ensuing battle, making use of captured amphibious equipment.

      Hitler cannot accept this analysis and repeatedly orders forces forward to the coast - but losses have been so severe that this order is quietly ignored by the commanders on the ground. They prefer to infiltrate snipers and special forces, to prepare defensive positions, rather than attempt a major advance.

      Following the failures of the attempts to retake the islands, Hitler puts Rommel in charge of operations. He is clear that, whereas in Normandy the secret of success would be to get tanks on the beaches, here the secret of success will be to hold back the Panzers until the allies make a move on the mainland. Rommel understands that the allies do intend to invade via Frisia, and to that end he wants to bring up as many Panzer divisions from France and the low countries as can be spared. Hitler and the OKW are not of that view though. They still fear this is a diversionary operation and that to move those divisions would be to fall into an allied trap. They offer only a few divisions diverted from the Low Countries and Southern France .

      An “Iron Collar” strategy develops, of placing their armour about 20-30Kms around the suspected landing areas. Snipers and small teams of Panzergrenadiers are however, infiltrated in to the area at night and take up camouflaged positions.

      Rommel argues for the whole of East Frisia to be flooded. However, OKW considers this a defeatist strategy and he is countermanded.

      The Bandit War
      From the end of May onwards conditions in East Frisia become increasingly anarchic. The civilian administration has broken down. Civilians cower in cellars of the coastal towns but are beginning to starve, whilst others desperately try to flee. Most of the coastal towns lie in complete ruins. To a depth of 30 kms, the area is strewn with burnt out armour and dead bodies. The allies feel increasingly confident about mounting special forces raids. These take various forms including night raids on the coast, air transport attacks (using adapted Piper planes flying in five squads of up to 10, bringing 200 heavily armed soldiers into play). The four man aircraft can land and take off in less than 60 metres. From the middle of June regular parachute drops also take place.

      Grace under pressure

      For the allied command, Operation Moniker had had mixed results. In terms of the basic objective, it had been very successful. It had secured a launch platform for a mainland invasion, it had sown confusion among enemy commanders, and it had resulted in huge attrition of the opposing forces. By the end of June German losses were averaging over 2000 a day. But the allies had underestimated the difficulties of operating in such proximity to the enemy. Although the allies had beaten off the enemy, they had not expected to face such sustained assaults. This had disrupted the build up of stores on the island ,considered crucial to securing a swift advance once the mainland assault began. Although the amount of German artillery fire reaching the islands was minimal, it was nonetheless devastating.

      The deception option of Operation Fortitude has worked well.

      There were doubts among allied commanders about whether Phase 2, “Operation Caliban”, should proceed. Responding to some defeatist talk in the War Cabinet Churchill declared with mordant humour, “Faint heart never won fair lady - and there is no fairer lady than the Ruhr. That maiden is within our grasp now.”

      It was Eisenhower who had to make the fatal decision of whether to proceed to Phase 2.
      He had not yet issued any statement to the press.

      Operation Dragoon

      On 5th June the allies launch Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France.
      The attack takes the German command by complete surprise. The withdrawal of Panzer Divisions is suspended as the invading allies make rapid progress up the Rhone Valley.

      The Revolt of France

      On 11th June, General De Gaulle broadcasts to the French nation. He declares “The moment of liberation is now at hand. The Revolt of France commences this night.” The Maquis and FFI launch revolts in Normandy, Brittany and Vercors. A substantial parachute and glider force lands in Brittany and although the Free French had not intended an uprising to be launched in Paris at this stage, a spontaneous revolt develops and is backed by the Communist Party. Half of Paris is in revolt behind barricades. The German garrison appear reluctant to launch a full scale suppression.

      Operation Caliban

      The invasion takes place at dawn on 16th July. .The leading edge of the invasion force, the amphibious armoured troops follow on the special forces and engineers who make good the landing points. Now, the Germans attempt to flood the countryside. This is less successful than feared owing to special forces being able to occupy key positions before action is taken and also a lack of co-ordination owing to opaque orders from OKW (reflecting Hitler’s distaste for such passive defence measures).
      There are already 3,000 allied special forces on the German mainland when the invasion is launched and they are crucial in helping secure landing points, destroying bridges, and providing details of German troop movements to allied commanders.
      There are casualties from the hidden German infantry units and special forces but relatively light, numbered in the hundreds again. The Operation is remarkably successful, facing only limited opposition from unco-ordinated German forces in the coastal area. Even the pathetic, half starved German civilians welcome the arrival of the troops almost as liberators.
      The landing points selected are (from West to East):-
      West of Bensersiel
      East of Bensersiel
      West of Neuharlingersiel
      East of Neuharlingersiel
      West of Schillig
      A separate invasion force moves into take both Nordeney and Baltrum.
      Pontoon piers are quickly constructed to increase the throughput of supplies.
      The Germans begin to marshal their forces for a counter attack, firstly in a direct frontal assault. However, the assault is undermanned because Hitler has stubbornly still been describing the Frisian operation as a diversion, certain that the real invasion will come across the Channel. Losses are so severe that the Germans are discouraged from further frontal assaults until reserves can be brought up. Instead they attempt a flanking move. This initially appears successful and the allies are held up as they move back to reinforce their rear. But intense bombardment brings the counter-offensive to a halt. Aircraft from the supporting aircraft carriers and the island air bases are able to launch devastating attacks from the air while long range fighters cause havoc in the German supply lines. The Germans fall back and try to establish a defensive line between Leer and Wilhelmshaven.
      After several days’ intense fighting the allies break through the line. German forces fall back to the west behind the Ems and to Wilhelmshaven where they are besieged. The port of Emden is captured and is brought into partial operation three weeks later.
      Hitler orders renewed attacks on the flanks of the allied advance but in the east his attempt to assemble forces is smashed unceremoniously by Patton’s marauding formations who now break out towards Berlin across Luneburg Heath.
      In the west the Germans bring in more Panzer divisions from France. But their advance is hampered by the French resistance, the need to defend against the allied advance from Southern France and railway strikes in the low countries.
      An assault from the French border appears to be making good progress for a while and there are fears it might break through but after tough defence, the attack runs out of steam. The German soldiery are demoralised to be fighting an enemy already occupying their home territory and doing so in a way that is not as oppressive as the Soviet invaders. Many German soldiers begin to wonder whether it would not be better to let the Western allies advance and take over Germany, rather than have the raping and pillaging Soviets dominate. Even several German commanders feel this way too, knowing the war is now lost.
      The Ruhr is now virtually isolated. Operations move slowly in the West now. The Germans try to regroup but are in no mind for a suicidal fight, despite Hitler’s orders. There is more coherence in the armies defending Berlin but they are gradually beaten back until the Americans arrive on the outskirts of the capital. On 8th November Hitler and Goebbels commit suicide as the Americans roll in from the West. The Russians are still some 70 miles to the East of the German capital. Patton is relieved of his command for disobeying his orders and occupying East Berlin, which Roosevelt had meant to leave to Russian forces as a consolation prize. Himmler, who had vainly sought a rapprochement with the Western allies is caught trying to pass through the lines with refugees. A suicide pill is found in one of his teeth. He is subsequently put on trial at Nuremberg.
      The Germans formally surrender to Soviet and Western Allies on 11th November, an ironically resonant date.
      On the same day De Gaulle heads a Free French column into Paris and accepts the surrender of the German commander there.



      • #4
        PART 4


        Planning is never an entirely rational exercise. Irrational or emotional factors come into play to a lesser or greater degree. There was I believe a kind of unspoken bias towards an invasion of France from Dunkirk onwards. It was closer and much more accessible to the British imagination. The ingrained cultural memory of the Norman conquest created a kind of symmetry in the mind of the British military and civilian leaders.

        By contrast, the idea of making a daring assault on the territory of the German Reich would have appeared as an act of hubris. What idiot walks in to the lion’s den and gives its tail a good tug? The British were still very much in awe of German power when they began making plans for the Second Front. The wound of Dieppe was raw – a policy of safety first (or at least the illusion of safety) was tempting to follow.

        However, it is not the main purpose of this exercise to understand the reasons why the Normandy Option were initially chosen by allied planners, but rather to subject it to a rigorous and objective analysis and comparison with the Frisian Option.
        The reality was that any location along the Atlantic posed particular problems for the allies. Pas de Calais was heavily defended. Brittany was further away and closer to the U Boat based. The low countries could be turned into a complex patchwork of flooded land by the Germans.

        The D Day landings in Normandy were an all or nothing throw of the dice. Admittedly the dice was loaded in the allies’ favour. But the risk of disaster was strong. Perhaps Eisenhower – having drafted his “failed mission” press release - knew this as much as anyone. Had Hitler approved Rommel’s plan to have heavy armour ready by the beaches, to go in and disrupt the landings, then the outcome might have been far less certain. Equally, had the weather been even less benign than forecast, further disasters could have followed.
        In this alternative timeline we see that had Ultra revealed the Germans were strongly of the view that the blow would fall in Normandy, this might have given serious pause for thought. The allied planners were placing a great deal of faith in their ability to deceive the Germans. They were reasonably successful as it happened in reality but, in a sense, the Germans connived in their own deception by anticipating the possibility of a dual landing with the main force coming in Pas de Calais.
        Had the allies being faced with the certainty that the Germans expected them in Normandy and were ready to pounce on the beaches and tear the allies to shreds, then alternative options would have had to be sought and considered. But where? Pas de Calais? The allies had already persuaded themselves that an attack there would be doomed. Norway found few backers and as already mentioned, Brittany was far away and more dangerous for the allies.

        In these circumstances, planners might have looked at the Wadden Sea area again – or perhaps for the first time. Had they done so with an open mind, then they might well have reached the conclusion that this was an option that made at least as much strategic sense as the Normandy landings and possibly a good deal more.

        Here was an opportunity to exploit to the full the allies’ advantages in the air and at sea, plus in terms of materiel.
        Operation Moniker would allow for a slow and methodical build up, instead of the often chaotic assault seen at Normandy.
        The Germans had only very limited amphibious capabilities, most of it located in the East. Their Kreigsmarine was weak. The allies showed at Normandy that they had effective counter measures against U Boat attack – it would have been no different in the North Sea.
        It is probable the Luftwaffe would, initially, have inflicted more damage but the Luftwaffe could not simply ignore the ongoing heavy bomber campaign over German cities. Its resources were stretched. The more it sought to take on the allied fighters, the more it would be degraded as a fighting force. It would therefore not be surprising that the Luftwaffe should pursue a policy of discretion in attacking the islands, just as they showed discretion in Normandy.
        The Germans would have been left with a choice between constantly reinforcing the coastal area, and seeing their armies slowly degraded over time or they could pull back and await the main invasion. Initially their reaction would be to reinforce the coastal defences –under pressure from Hitler - and attempt to recapture the islands. However, the islands were well placed defensively and the allies were able to beat off attacks with relative ease. When planning the Atlantic Wall the Germans may have concluded that they would have sufficient forces to wipe out from air and sea any invaders taking up residence on the islands.
        The German forces then had to face the reality of relentless bombardment from air, from sea and from the safety of the islands. It was completely futile for the Germans to remain in the open, being massacred. Eventually a policy of withdrawal was followed, leaving the coastal area only lightly defended.
        The allied amphibious assault when it came was highly effective and wiped out what little resistance there was from the German snipers and infantry posted forward. The build up was swift as the allies came ashore on the mainland.
        However, this was now the opportunity for the German forces to attempt to throw back the invaders. The clash when it came was of course as violent as anything seen in Normandy, but once again the allies’ command of the air and ability to constantly replace lost men and materiel was crucial. The allies won this first clash through a combination of sheer brute strength in depth and command of the air.
        The allies then had the simple if onerous objective of splitting German forces down the middle.
        Historians would later conclude that whilst the Normandy landings might well have succeeded if the Germans had been less certain of the location of the landings, and on the face of it the Frisian Option seemed highly perilous, the latter did make better strategic sense. Thanks to good planning by the allies and use of all the technical ability at their disposal, they were able to overcome the many technical difficulties associated with taking the islands and then mounting an attack over shallow waters in an intertidal zone.
        1. The Germans will be unable to repel the initial invasion through land reinforcements.

        2. The plan plays to the strengths of the allies – in the air, at sea and in amphibious operations.

        3. The plan provides the opportunity for the allies to degrade the German forces before engaging them directly.

        4. The allies are able to proceed on a fairly narrow front which will allow them to give full vent to their powerful air and artillery advantage.

        5. From the Frisian coast to the heart of German power, the Ruhr is about 150 kms.

        6. The allied advance will divide German forces down the middle.

        7. The allied advance does not require many crossings of natural barriers.

        8. The opportunity exists for a breakout to Berlin – at 300 kms’ distance from the left flank.


        1. ”The islands are not suitable for air bases.” This is clearly incorrect as during the war the Germans maintained at least two air bases on the islands (at Wangerooge and Langeoog). They were relatively small but the plan does not call for heavy bomber bases at the islands - they need only to operate as a base for fighters and attack aircraft. Moreover, there are in any case open grassed areas on the island which can be used as airfields. Many fighters can land on grassed areas.

        2. “The islands are too small for the air bases that would be required.”
        The total area of the three islands is some 40 sq kms. The plan calls for 150-200 planes to be based on each island, a maximum of about 12 per sq km. This will be manageable.

        3. “The allied fighters are out of range of the islands. You won’t have enough planes.”
        This is clearly erroneous. Various models of Spitfire (such as the Spitfire Mk VB),
        P47 Thunderbolt and Mustang were all within range. Many others could be adapted to
        be within range.

        Even in the OTL,. some 15,000 Mustang fighters were produced. A decision to pursue
        the Frisian Option could only have added to the impetus to produce long range fighters. There were more than a sufficient number to wipe out the…

        4. “The Luftwaffe will wipe out the allied flotilla and its forces on the islands.“
        This claim has some superficial credibility, given that there was a strong concentration of
        Luftwaffe fighter forces in NW Germany. However, this is to underestimate the
        concentration of allied air power and anti-aircraft fire over what would be a relatively
        small area. Moreover, the allies enjoyed an air superiority ratio of 8.6 to 1 against
        Germany in Europe. In fact the ratio was to improve in Germany’s favour in the last
        months of the war. Attacking in the late Spring of 1944 gave the allies a huge advantage
        in the air. There were limits to what the Germans could do to throw their planes at Frisia. They still had to maintain defences against bombing raids, to fight the Russians on the Eastern
        Front, and in Italy. Under this option they would still need to reserve planes to the defence of France.

        The Luftwaffe (unlike the allies) could not afford a v. high attrition rate in pilots. It had to
        husband its resources.

        Add to that the reality that the Luftwaffe planes would be operating in a concentrated
        hail of anti-aircraft fire and other counter-measures which would shorten their working life dramatically.

        The allies would have 300 planes based on the aircraft carriers and 500 planes based on the islands. In addition the islands would be in full range of thousands of planes based in the UK.

        Put all these factors together and the claims that

        5. “It is impossible to launch an invasion across the mudflats.” This misunderstanding arises from two directions. Firstly it is assumed the whole of the mudflats are composed entirely of glutinous mud. This entirely incorrect. The flats are actually composed of sand, mud and mud/sand combinations. Secondly, it is assumed by some that allies would attempt to roll armour over the flats at low tide – this is clearly fallacious. The allies would rather stage an amphibious assault. The landings in the Korean War at Inchon are an example of a successful assault across mudflats using amphibious vehicles. Although the allies would clearly avoid sending armour over mud, it is a fact that thousands of tourists walk across the flats every year, as there are safe and stable routes. There is no reason why allied soldiers with light packs should not be able to similarly walk across the flats following marked routes cleared of mines and other dangers. The crossing should take not much more than an hour.

        6. “An allied invasion needs Mulberry Harbours and ports.” The allies did not have (limited) use of a port (Cherbourg) until August, some two months after the Normandy landings. The Mulberry Harbours were a near disaster. One of the two harbours was completely destroyed. The other had to be repaired with parts salvaged from the first. It was only thanks to beach landings of supplies that the allies were able to advance out of the lodgement.

        7. “It will be impossible to supply the invasion force through the Wadden Sea.” It is clear from the allies’ experience at Normandy and in the Pacific at locations such as Okinawa that tens of thousands of tonnes of supplies per day can be landed on beaches, especially with the aid of pontoon piers and sand piers. As the allies advance, opportunities to acquire usable ports will increase. Emden and Bremerhaven are potential locations in that regard.

        8. “The U Boat and E Boat threat is far worse in the North Sea than in the Channel.”
        This is untrue.Far more U Boats and E boats were based in France than in NW Germany.
        The North Sea, quite a shallow sea, is not ideal operating territory for submarines.

        9. “The forces on the islands will be wiped out by German artillery.” Well it is certainly reasonable to suppose that German artillery will pose the greatest threat to the allied forces on the island. However, it is not legitimate to suppose that German artillery can destroy the allied forces or the air bases for the following reasons:

        (a) The German artillery will be subjected to incredible levels of suppression from naval guns, island artillery, air attack and special forces action. This will severely limit their ability to strike the islands.

        (b) The allies are not creating some ad hoc defences on a fluid front. They will arrive determined to dig in and preserve themselves from the lethal artillery fire. The plan calls for the allies to arrive with 10 million filled sand bags and deliver a further 50 million empty sand bags within a few days. Bulldozers will help in the creation of protective and defensive barriers. The allies will give their forces and supplies the maximum amount of protection, through use of reinforced nissen huts, concrete shelters, tunnelled space, and sandbag fortifications.

        (c) This is to underestimate the allies’ huge ability to make good losses of men and materiel.

        (d) The allies showed in the Pacific theatre that they were able to repair runways and other features of air bases very quickly under artillery fire.

        10. It offends against the principles of military strategy to attempt to advance on a narrow front. The reality is that with the Normandy option there was a strong disagreement over whether to advance on a broad or narrow front. Montgomery favoured a narrow front, whereas Bradley favoured a broad front and was eventually backed by Eisenhower. A narrow front strategy makes sense where the advancing forces have huge advantages in terms of men and materiel and where the opportunities for flanking movements by the enemy are quite limited, given the topography as in Frisia.



        • #5
          PART 5

          It is certainly possible that variations to the plan might prove even more successful. Variations to be considered include:-

          1. Dispense with the effort to build forward air bases, and rely entirely on long range fighters. This would free up more room for artillery and stores. However I think there are significant advantages to having forward air bases. In particular it means you can invest in plenty of spotter planes that can provide vital information on the movement and disposition of German forces. It also means you can respond v. quickly to threats as they develop.

          2. Attack the mainland through the islands immediately. This option could well prove successful if the German forces were as weak in the area as appears to be the case.

          3. Attack the mainland at a much earlier date, possible within 10 days, before the Germans have the chance to fully concentrate their forces.

          4. Occupy more of the Frisian islands, specifically Baltrum and Nordeney.


          Reviewing the Frisian Option and the imagined alternative timeline brings into relief our understanding of the Normandy Option – in particular where it presented high risks for the allies, to what extent it was a good strategic choice and where it created barriers to advance:-

          1. The landings strained the allies’ abilities to the limit, seeking to land a total of 5 divisions in a few hours. The crossing was perilous and the allies were lucky not to be attacked more effectively by the many E boats in the area.

          2. The troops did not land in good fighting order, having experienced the ordeal of arriving in heavy swells under intense fire in many cases.

          3. Many German commanders expected an attack in the Normandy area. The element of surprise was confined to the arrival day, and that benefit was magnified by a freak conjunction of weather events which caused the Germans to lower their guard somewhat.

          4. The Mulberry harbours were vulnerable to inclement weather – as demonstrated – and could have been rendered ineffective by enemy action also.

          “I think it’s the biggest waste of manpower and equipment that I have ever seen. I can unload a thousand LSTs at a time over the open beaches. Why give me something that anybody who’s ever seen the sea act upon 150-ton concrete blocks at Casablanca knows the first storm will destroy? What’s the use of building them just to have them destroyed and litter up the beaches.”
          (Admiral John Leslie Hall, US Navy)

          We can see from Admiral Hall’s comments that artificial or permanent harbour s were not
          an essential prerequisite for a successful landing.

          5. The outcome of the landings would have been in doubt had Panzers been sited close to the beaches as Rommel expected.

          6. Having landed on the mainland, the allies found it hard to make progress across the bocage countryside, which strongly favoured the defenders.

          7. The allies were still some 600 Kms away from the centre of German power and had also to close off the Brittany area as well.

          The ultimate success of the Normandy landings has perhaps blinded us to a number of failings: the Mulberry Harbour system failed, with only 50% of the planned facilities being operational after the storm in early June; the airborne landings were very far from being a success, owing chiefly the difficulty of landing people accurately in the required zones; the inability to capture intact Channel ports put the advance in jeopardy; and the landings and the advance were extremely costly in terms of casualties, with the frontline infantry suffering World War 1 style losses. In the end, had Hitler not made some bad decisions – rejecting Rommel’s advice, thinking Normandy was a diversion from Calais, and then expending resources needlessly in costly last stands -

          Of course it seems churlish to make these complaints as though to do so somehow dishonours those who were sacrificed on the altar of fire and piercing shrapnel that faced them on the beaches . That clearly is not what I have set out to do, but I think the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that the Normandy Option was not without significant drawbacks that could in certain, not so unlikely, circumstances have resulted in defeat.



          • #6


            • #7
              Huge! I'll take a while and re-read it.



              • #8
                Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                Huge! I'll take a while and re-read it.

                Thanks. I'll be interested in your thoughts. There are number of key points to absorb regarding this ATL:

                1. That the invasion of Frisia is two stage.

                2. That the Germans will have most of their elite armour in France not Frisia (assuming deception works well).

                3. That this will be co-ordinated with an invasion of Southern France and French rebellions.


                • #9
                  Key to Overlord planning were:

                  Relative rates of build up

                  The Germans could move divisions around Europe faster than the Allies could land them. Thus the importance of the transportation plan and the deception plan in making sure than the invasion force would not be overwhlemed early. Landing on offshore islands and then waiting makes this much worse than Normandy, as the second landing on the mainland will be faced by strengthend fortifications, deeper minefields and a lot more troops.

                  Logistical supply

                  The Allies planned to land 30+ divisions in the first month or so, and then build up a supply base for twice as many. This requires ports and safe sea lanes. Clearing German ports seems far more difficult than landing in France, even considering simple things like availability of civilian labour.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aber View Post
                    Key to Overlord planning were:

                    Relative rates of build up

                    The Germans could move divisions around Europe faster than the Allies could land them. Thus the importance of the transportation plan and the deception plan in making sure than the invasion force would not be overwhlemed early. Landing on offshore islands and then waiting makes this much worse than Normandy, as the second landing on the mainland will be faced by strengthend fortifications, deeper minefields and a lot more troops.

                    Logistical supply

                    The Allies planned to land 30+ divisions in the first month or so, and then build up a supply base for twice as many. This requires ports and safe sea lanes. Clearing German ports seems far more difficult than landing in France, even considering simple things like availability of civilian labour.

                    It is a mistake to think the allies had great access to ports with the Normandy operation. Cherbourg was not brought into operation until mid-August, more than two months after the original landings. The Mulberry harbours were a disaster suffering more than a 50% failure rate due to storm damage. The allies were not able to occupy channel ports as they advanced. Even the capture of Antwerp was nearly cancelled by the German counter-offensive. There was "supplies starvation" on the front by late summer, due to the very extended lines necessitated by a Normandy landing. It was only beach landings that kept the advance alive.

                    Admiral Hall made clear that beach supplies were a perfectly acceptable way of proceeding.

                    The sea lanes were safe despite there being many more E boats and U boats in the Channel compared with the North Sea. There is no reason to suppose that the allied air forces and navy could not make safe sea lanes in the North Sea as with the Channel.


                    • #11
                      The sea lanes are safer when you land near the home of the German Navy and further away from Allied airfields and ports?

                      You are committing the an allied Army Group to battle in Germany with NO port capacity?

                      You seem to be overplaying the tactical problems of an opposed landing eg Salerno showed the power of naval bombardment; Medenine showed the power of anti-tank defences against multi-division Panzer attacks.

                      You seem to be underplaying the longer-term logistical issues of landing an Army Group without adequate port capacity.

                      I suspect there are also major naval issues, especially water depth between the islands and the mainland.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aber View Post
                        The sea lanes are safer when you land near the home of the German Navy and further away from Allied airfields and ports?

                        You are committing the an allied Army Group to battle in Germany with NO port capacity?

                        You seem to be overplaying the tactical problems of an opposed landing eg Salerno showed the power of naval bombardment; Medenine showed the power of anti-tank defences against multi-division Panzer attacks.

                        You seem to be underplaying the longer-term logistical issues of landing an Army Group without adequate port capacity.

                        I suspect there are also major naval issues, especially water depth between the islands and the mainland.
                        My responses are as follows:

                        1. Do you actually know what the KM had available at Wilhelmshaven compared with in the Channel/W. Atlantic where their main U Boat and E boat bases were?

                        2. The Normandy landings had no port facility. Cherbourg was not brought into operation until two months after the invasion. Admiral Hall was clear (from his experience in the Pacific) that beach landings could cope. Of course people get the idea that beach landings mean only beaching craft but you can use sand piers and pontoon piers as well. At Okinawa they were landing nearly 40,000 tonnes a day on beaches.

                        3. I may be wrong, but I don't think the allies ever faced the sort of elite armour available in N. France at Salerno or Medenine.

                        4. Why are ports important if you can land 40,000 tonnes a day by beach? Why didn't the Normandy advance grind to a halt in the two months when they had only one Mublberry which could land only 12,000 tonnes a day?


                        The rest was coming in by beach, so your point doesn't stand I'm afraid.

                        5. The Wadden Sea isn't suitable for capital ships, but it can handle with varying degrees of ease: LCTs, DUKWs, DD Sherman Tanks, ferry-type vessels, assault boats, rafts etc. In other words it can get the troops, tanks and artillery on to the Frisian Coast.


                        • #13
                          US Marine units do not eat the same level of supply as does 16 US and 7 Brit/CW/Polish armoured divisions, a half dozen more Br/CW/Pol tank brigades and nearly 65 independent US TD and tank battalions, etc. then there is the motorised infantry, artillery, and all the rest of the mechanised allied arsenal. The Allied armies in Europe were *not* light amphib forces of the Pacific.

                          The Mulberry harbour that survived the storm was not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. I am amzed you could even post that without a smilie. It was the Mulberry and Cherbourg plus the over the beach supplies that fed the Normandy campaign but they could not feed the advance across France. The Allies stalled even with Cherbourg, Marseilles, the Mulberry and the slowly repaired Le Havre and other Channel ports. The landings in Germany simply hand 1000s upon 1000s of allied troops into German hands. By moving to Germany you leave behind almost constant air support for "intermittent coverage" at best.

                          Do you really think you have discovered something no Allied planner took a look at? The very sound reasons for landing on the other side of the Channel included short, safe shipping, air support on the "doorstep"and around the clock, relative calm waters year round compared to the North Sea, control of the air, nearby ports along the line of advance, etc. No ports equals disaster. Eight Allied armies will not be supplied through Marseilles and over North Sea sand bars.

                          This is strategic defeat writ large and the fall of both the Roosevelt and Churchill governments. Red Army tanks on the Rhine if not Paris, since the US Joint Chiefs will not permit a second chance with the demands coming from the Pacific. All those lost LST and amphibious transports will be sorely missed in the Pacific and the war lasts longer there as well.

                          I'm flabbergasted.
                          The Purist

                          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            US Marine units do not eat the same level of supply as does 16 US and 7 Brit/CW/Polish armoured divisions, a half dozen more Br/CW/Pol tank brigades and nearly 65 independent US TD and tank battalions, etc. then there is the motorised infantry, artillery, and all the rest of the mechanised allied arsenal. The Allied armies in Europe were *not* light amphib forces of the Pacific.

                            The Mulberry harbour that survived the storm was not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. I am amzed you could even post that without a smilie. It was the Mulberry and Cherbourg plus the over the beach supplies that fed the Normandy campaign but they could not feed the advance across France. The Allies stalled even with Cherbourg, Marseilles, the Mulberry and the slowly repaired Le Havre and other Channel ports. The landings in Germany simply hand 1000s upon 1000s of allied troops into German hands. By moving to Germany you leave behind almost constant air support for "intermittent coverage" at best.

                            Do you really think you have discovered something no Allied planner took a look at? The very sound reasons for landing on the other side of the Channel included short, safe shipping, air support on the "doorstep"and around the clock, relative calm waters year round compared to the North Sea, control of the air, nearby ports along the line of advance, etc. No ports equals disaster. Eight Allied armies will not be supplied through Marseilles and over North Sea sand bars.

                            This is strategic defeat writ large and the fall of both the Roosevelt and Churchill governments. Red Army tanks on the Rhine if not Paris, since the US Joint Chiefs will not permit a second chance with the demands coming from the Pacific. All those lost LST and amphibious transports will be sorely missed in the Pacific and the war lasts longer there as well.

                            I'm flabbergasted.
                            How do you think the supplies from the Normandy breakout were landed before Cherbourg became operational in mid August - more than TWO MONTHS after the initial landing? The allies needed 50,000 tonnes a day. The one Mulberry could only land 12,000 tonnes per day. I am flabbergasted you don't know the basic story of how supplies were landed.

                            I am flabbergasted you ignore the judgemnet of an experienced officer like Admiral Hall who had actually undertaken coastal assaults.

                            I am flabbergasted you don't understand the reason the allied advance stalled was because of overland supply routes being stretched, not the supplies coming via sea. And that was a direct consequence of Normandy being some 600 kms away from the heart of German power.

                            Why on earth do you think you have "Intermittent" air cover when you can have air bases on the islands, aircraft carriers and long range fighters in operation? Please - don't make unwarranted assertions.

                            I am not claiming I know better than allied planners but I am claiming that no one has yet brought forward any evidence to show the allied planners ever considered the Frisian option. In the absence of any written views from allied planners, you need to show how exactly the Germans would have defeated the Frisian option. You say this would deliver allied soldiers into German hands. The islands were defended by naval batallions of about 400 per island. The allies would have captured them with ease. But how would the Germans have recaptured them? They had little amphibious capability. What would the German reaction be exactly?


                            • #15


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