Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Desperate Measures....

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Desperate Measures....

    Dear All,

    The Western Allies, concerned that the Soviet Union is in danger of falling to the Germans (remember that this is a 'what if'), decide they must try and take some of the pressure off them and launch Operation Sledgehammer.

    Now, bearing in mind what happened at Dieppe, would Sledgehammer (or Roundup) have made a difference to the Russians or would it have ended up as a bloody nose for the allies?

    For what it is worth, my money would be on a more costly version of Jubilee and would lead to a significant delay to Overlord. Anybody else have any thoughts as to where it would lead?
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    Check the archive, this one was discussed at length several years ago, and one of the participants gamed out the first few weeks with a commercial wargame to test the ability of the British to make a lodgement. Maybe a link can be provided to that old thread by a expert in ACG operations.

    Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
    Now, bearing in mind what happened at Dieppe, would Sledgehammer (or Roundup) have made a difference to the Russians or would it have ended up as a bloody nose for the allies?
    During the winter of 1942-43 a corps of two SS divisions, at least one regular armored div, and up to a half dozen infantry divisions were sent from the training grounds in France to deal with the emergency on the Don river. Even a simple holding holding action sticks a large part of that in France. Garrison and training activities used up a nominal 150 to 300 tones of supply per division per day for the Germans, add in the corps and army support troops and each division 'slice' used about double that. For simple defensive operations a army of ten mostly divisions would be consuming a minimum of a extra 3000 tons per day holding the Allied lodgement in place. So thats a minimum of a army's worth of combat power not on the eastern front as the Red Army enters operation Uranus, and the Volga/Don River battles develop through to Febuary 1943.

    In the air some 30% of the German Air Force strength was already in the Med, France, Germany and Norway in the summer of 1942. Between the campaigns in the Med, Operation Torch and the increasing bomber raids on Western Europe the GAF was approaching 40% of its strength outside the USSR at the end of 1942. In 1943 half the aircraft losses of Germany were in the Med and Western Europe. The air battle associated with a Sledgehammer operation would likely accelerate the historical course and GAF losses would be ramped up significantly.

    A British invasion in the late summer or autum (the most likely time) places the Germans or Hitler in a difficult stratigic quandry. Do they continue with completetion of Operation Blue and secure the Volga River line, that is the Stalingrad battle. Or, do they gamble on that one winding down sucessfully with the resources at hand and shift the stratigic reserve to destroying the enemy army on the French coast? The Germans were really short resources in latter 1942 and they would have real difficulty dealing with two major battles/campaigns at once, as they did when Op. Torch and Op. Uranus kicked off in November. Hitler tried to cover both and failed at both.

    Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
    For what it is worth, my money would be on a more costly version of Jubilee and would lead to a significant delay to Overlord. Anybody else have any thoughts as to where it would lead?
    The operational plan for Dieppe was bizzare. Even in the context of British experience in mid 1942. The plans I've seen for the several Sledgehammer proposals/options dont look much like Op Jubiliee. They were aimed at empty & ill defended sectors like the Madiline area of the Cotentin penensula where one company defended some five kilometers. Attacking directly a fortified port has been regarded as stupid since Roman or Sumerian times. What the folks planning that one were thinking I still dont understand. Aside from the Sledgehammer plans the Gymnast and Torch plans were much better and reflected the state of the art in British amphibious warfare thinking for 1942.

    The failure of Op. Jubiliee did not cause Op Torch to be significantly delayed. Gymnast I & II were set back due to shortages cargo ships being rescheduled for the emergency in the Pacific. So I dont see a failure of Sledgehammer affecting operations two year later. Neither is it clear lessons were learned from Dieppe. Operation Reservist repeated exactly the same mistake of directly assualting a defended port from the sea.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is one of the threads covering the subject. Not the specific thread refered to but it covers much of the material concerning Allied strengths and weaknesses at amphibious landings in 1942.

      http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...highlight=1942

      Comment


      • #4
        Nov 42? bad time to cross the channel with no ports available,.. but...

        A landing in Normandy would face serious logistics problems as Cherbourg, if it is captured at all, will likely be wrecked. The U-Boat threat is still there and shipping is not quite yet available to start the mass transfer of US forces that was to begin in late 43. At any rate the US hasn't fought the Germans yet so the "Kasserine" syndrome has yet to be shken off.

        If the 1st British, the Cdn and US 7th Army manage to land and reinforce over the beaches they could certainly establish a lodgement but little else. 8th Army had only just been brought up to strength in the various kit that permitted doctrine to employed as per Brooke, Alexander and Montgomery edicts. The troops in Britain will not have the same establishment as the desert army so tactical communication and transport will be an issue. The British and Canadians also lack the newer armoured vehicles and have to rely on older Valnetine and Crusader tanks to fight the latest model Pz III and IV, plus the new Mk VI (also sent west). Artillery, AT and AA establishments are still below requirements

        As for the Germans. The invasion would likly spur a retreat from the Causcasus at least, if not Stalingrad. However, the Red Army offensive could prompt a withdrawal to the Rostov-Voronezh sector. Since the Germans cannot allow the Allied landing to go unchallenged the Tunisian forces (10th Pz, etc.) go west while 11th Army (for example) is entrained and heads for France. At the same time either 1st or 5th Pz Armies give up troops to transfer to France (1st Pz seems most likely),... perhaps an additional 3-4 Pz , 2 pz gr and a 1/2 dozen infantry divisions entrain within a few weeks of the landing. German home units in training are culled to provide a few battle groups to support the pz divisions already in France. Finally, the LW in the east also transfers its main strength west (along with most of the Med forces.

        Short term the Allies land, strand themselves over the winter, suffer from lack of resources to exploit initial German weaknesses. The German cordon tightens by the week and by the new year the Allies are realising their training and equipment is not yet ready for prime time. Winter weather prevents either air force from dominating the skies so the air battles focus on the beach supplies and the shipping laying exposed off shore.

        Realising the Allies are more vulnerable than the Red Army the Germans throw their best units west to pound the Allied forces and begin dismantling the bridgehead sector by sector. By March-April, the Allies are Dunkirked but with less loss of kit and perhaps abit more ordered. Stalin throws his hands up in despair, Rommel holds Montgomery at El Agheila since the desert army cannot be reinforced with the growing disaster in France. Churchill loses a no-confidence vote and the US general staff goes "oops". The Canadians rebuild their army as a 'corps' but restrict its use to coastal defence while the concentrate future efforts on the Atlantic only.

        The true Overlord is delayed until 1945 as last ditch attempt to get back on the continent as Germany collapses and the Red Army rolls on to the Rhine.





        The Purist

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Going off track (slightly!)

          Thank you for those interesting replies.

          This isn't the same subject but does concern beachheads.

          If the American landing on Omaha in Normandy had been called off following heavy casualties on 6th June '44, what do you think the overall effect would have been on Overlord? Where would the follow up waves have been diverted to, would they be taken back across the channel to reembark on new troopships to act as reserves? What effect would it have on the Allied troops already ashore on the other beaches and how would it have effected future German actions?

          I don't think the invasion would have been effected long term, doubtless German spirits would be lifted by such a turn of events but the Allies would show their mettle and win through in the end. What does anybody else think?
          HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

          "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
            A landing in Normandy would face serious logistics problems as Cherbourg, if it is captured at all, will likely be wrecked. The U-Boat threat is still there and shipping is not quite yet available to start the mass transfer of US forces that was to begin in late 43. At any rate the US hasn't fought the Germans yet so the "Kasserine" syndrome has yet to be shken off.

            If the 1st British, the Cdn and US 7th Army manage to land and reinforce over the beaches they could certainly establish a lodgement but little else. 8th Army had only just been brought up to strength in the various kit that permitted doctrine to employed as per Brooke, Alexander and Montgomery edicts. The troops in Britain will not have the same establishment as the desert army so tactical communication and transport will be an issue. The British and Canadians also lack the newer armoured vehicles and have to rely on older Valnetine and Crusader tanks to fight the latest model Pz III and IV, plus the new Mk VI (also sent west). Artillery, AT and AA establishments are still below requirements

            As for the Germans. The invasion would likly spur a retreat from the Causcasus at least, if not Stalingrad. However, the Red Army offensive could prompt a withdrawal to the Rostov-Voronezh sector. Since the Germans cannot allow the Allied landing to go unchallenged the Tunisian forces (10th Pz, etc.) go west while 11th Army (for example) is entrained and heads for France. At the same time either 1st or 5th Pz Armies give up troops to transfer to France (1st Pz seems most likely),... perhaps an additional 3-4 Pz , 2 pz gr and a 1/2 dozen infantry divisions entrain within a few weeks of the landing. German home units in training are culled to provide a few battle groups to support the pz divisions already in France. Finally, the LW in the east also transfers its main strength west (along with most of the Med forces.

            Short term the Allies land, strand themselves over the winter, suffer from lack of resources to exploit initial German weaknesses. The German cordon tightens by the week and by the new year the Allies are realising their training and equipment is not yet ready for prime time. Winter weather prevents either air force from dominating the skies so the air battles focus on the beach supplies and the shipping laying exposed off shore.

            Realising the Allies are more vulnerable than the Red Army the Germans throw their best units west to pound the Allied forces and begin dismantling the bridgehead sector by sector. By March-April, the Allies are Dunkirked but with less loss of kit and perhaps abit more ordered. Stalin throws his hands up in despair, Rommel holds Montgomery at El Agheila since the desert army cannot be reinforced with the growing disaster in France. Churchill loses a no-confidence vote and the US general staff goes "oops". The Canadians rebuild their army as a 'corps' but restrict its use to coastal defence while the concentrate future efforts on the Atlantic only.

            The true Overlord is delayed until 1945 as last ditch attempt to get back on the continent as Germany collapses and the Red Army rolls on to the Rhine.





            I'd wager that Stalin throws in the towel. That or many in the West start demanding peace with Germany.
            A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

            Comment


            • #7
              OP SLEGEHAMMER never stood a chance . If it had happened it would have be OP JUBILEE Dieppe on a larger scale . The Allies needed the period of say a year before June 1944 to get the pieces in place. Besides which there were the landings in North Afica , Sicily & Italy
              to be done. IF Allied High Command had opted to stage a landing in France say June 1943 failure was a good probability the Germans still had a decent air force in France at the time where as in 1944 their air power was reduced for a large part of OP OVERLORD.
              If the landings in an OP SLEDGEHAMMER fail the USSR well might seek an armistice with Germany , or not predicting Stalin was an dodgy thing at best. Also I think the USN & Gen.MacArthur would have pushed for a Pacific First way ahead . Since many Americans weren't sure that Europe was their war. Thankfully all the above never happened and OP OVERLORD went throughand was a success . BRAVO ZULU to all who made THAT OP

              "To all who serve , have or will serve , Thank You"

              Comment


              • #8
                Operation Sledgehammer


                Sledgehammer was a plan to capture the French seaports of either Brest or Cherbourg during the early autumn of 1942 (August/September). Sledgehammer was to be virtually entirely carried out by British troops as the Americans could only supply two or three divisions in the required time frame. Churchill responded that it was "more difficult, less attractive, less immediately helpful or ultimately fruitful than Roundup". After capturing Cherbourg and areas on the Cotentin peninsula, the beachhead was to be defended and held through the winter of 1942 and into 1943, while troops were massed for a breakout operation to take place in spring 1943. This plan became popular and received the codename Sledgehammer. Hopkins added additional political weight to the proposed plan by opining that if U.S. public opinion had anything to do with it, the U.S. war effort would be directed instead against Japan if an invasion of mainland Europe was not mounted soon.

                However, the elements required for such an operation were lacking, i.e. air superiority, amphibious capability, sufficient forces, and adequate logistical backup. Despite all this, the JCS considered Sledgehammer feasible.

                If Sledgehammer had indeed been carried out, the British could have landed only six divisions at most, whereas the Germans had 25-30 divisions available to them in Western Europe. And even assuming it could be established in the first place, a beachhead on the Cotentin peninsula would be blocked off and attacked by land, sea, and air. Cherbourg, the only suitable port, would no doubt be mined, while aircraft and artillery would be expected to attack the town in strength, while German armoured forces were brought to bear.

                The pressure to mount Sledgehammer increased further when Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrived in the UK to press the continued need for a Second Front. After trying and failing to persuade Churchill, Molotov travelled on to Washington where he enjoyed a better reception and received more support for his requests. He then returned to London convinced that a Second Front in 1942 was an actual part of Anglo-American policy.

                Operation Sledgehammer had a snowballs chance in hell of getting up and the political rammifications towards Churchill would be catastrophic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ran across a brief essay by someone who had actually read the original Sledgehammer plans. I'll see if the essay is still posted online. This author described the name Sledgehammer as a umberella name for multiple plans prepared by the British. He described the most developed as the "Madeline" plan which was written out during the late summer of 1942 & aimed at October for execution. The other less prepared plans seem to have been discarded in late summer by the planning agency as unsuitable.

                  This plan was aimed at the "Madeline Sector" of the Contentin & used the same beaches that were designated "Utah Beach" for the final version of the Neptune Operation. The initial assualt was of two inf div with five to follow for a total of seven. One para brigade was to drop to seize the bridges near Carentan, and a 'airlanding' brigade was to sieze a unused airfield deeper in the Contentin.

                  German defenses in the Contentin in October 1942 consisited of a understrength infantry division with obsolete Cezch or austrian artillery, and a naval garrison manning the exisitng French forts at Cherbourg. The bulk of the inf div was concentrated in or near Cherbourg, with one regiment manning observation posts across all the beaches of the Contentin. A second inf div was posted to defend Caen and screen the Calvados coast with out posts. The primary counter attack force in France consisted of two armored corps, one of divisions withdrawn from the east & rebuilding/training, the other two new SS divisions at full strength & partially equipped/trained. These two corps were equipped with a mixed of old French and new German equipment from the 'training' allocation and were suposed to draw their combat equipment from German depots when returning to the east.

                  The balance of the German forces in western Europe were a mix of embryonic static divisions for port defense, and recuperating units from the east, some just arrived and largely cadres, others ready for combat and many in between.

                  The balance in the air was not quite as lopsided as two years later. The German air strength in France was still barely 300 aircraft. Between Norway, Germany, and the Med another 1500 to 1800 were available to draw on for reinforcements. RAF airstrength in the UK was roughly only 4,000 operational aircraft. When Op Torch was launched in late October 1942 the US had well over 3000 aircraft poised in the US & UK to follow Torch to Africa. Those could have been drawn on to reinforce Allied air ops over France in support of Sledgehammer. A lot less than the 14,000 aircraft of June 1944.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here is a link to Michael Giumarra's essay on Seldgehammer. It is contained in a PDF doc near the bottom of his post of 8 Dec 2009

                    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...60633&start=15

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting read (well I skimmed)

                      On airpower he seems to miss that part of the Dieppe plan was to force the German airforce to battle - unfortunately on the day the RAF came off second best, undermining some of his conclusions on the Allies air superiority

                      His sources also seem light on Brooke, who is critical to the argument, as both the last British Army commander in Cherbourg and CIGS, and IIRC vehemently opposed to Sledgehammer.

                      He also seems to underestimate the potential impact in Britain of losing say 5 to 7 divsions in Sledgehammer if the Germans went all out to destroy the brideghead. This would probably lead to the fall of Churchill, and a much more conservative approach to invasions - meeting the Russians in Calais in 1945?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Found the most complete list of and analysis of the various Brit/US invasion plans of western Europe. No time to read it throughly this morning, but thought to post the link in several locations. While skimming it a couple of oddities (errors?) caught my eye but will wait until I've read more before commenting.

                        http://www.history.navy.mil/library/...comnaveu-2.htm

                        Comment

                        Latest Topics

                        Collapse

                        Working...
                        X