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  • Torch targets Sicily instead of Africa

    This was suggested by something I said in another thread.

    The force that was used for the Torch landings, ALL of it, hits Sicily in November of 1942, instead of the Vichy French in North Africa.

    IMHO, this would have yielded several benifits;
    1- Axis forces in Africa would be cut off and be forced to surrender as the 8th Army rolled them up.
    2- Admiral Darlan would have been caught flat-footed and not have had any reason to interfear. In fact, a little coupe could have put his forces at allied disposal given the new situation.
    3- Sicily was not as well defended in 1942 as it was in 1943, so much less force would have been needed.

    Would Mussolini have fallen with Messina in this scenario? Doubtful, but it would have shaken Italy badly.

    This is the same sort of strategy MacArthur was about to use to work his way up the Solomons and along New Guinea on the way to the Phillipeans, so its not unheard of. Putting Patton at the forefront would have ensured that at least one Corps would have moved swiftly to take best advantage of enemy weakness.

    As for "what then?", I don't know, I'm just proposing that Sicily be the target, instead of several different points in a part of Africa that wasn't even in the war yet.

  • #2
    Why Sicily and not Sardinia, which sits across the supply routes to Sicily?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Aber View Post
      Why Sicily and not Sardinia, which sits across the supply routes to Sicily?
      It's 160 mile off the coast. IMO that isn't sitting across the supply routes.

      RT the allies didn't what to go past Anzio with landing while the airfields on Sicily would be out of range of air cover for the landings.

      Ex idea is interesting. Lot of pro's there and load with maybes but is it large enough for the major supply base for the invasion of the mainland.

      How long would it still take the 8th to defeat the Axis in NA. What resources would it be getting with much going to Sicily.

      Where would US heavy bombers be stationed?

      Where would be the location for "Catch 22"?

      Would the Axis TRY to evac there forces from NA sooner?

      Where would they go with the seas controlled by the allied navys?

      All very interesting Ex. good thread idea.

      After Sicily is taken then the war follows it historical path.

      One big plus imo, with the earlier landings in Sicily the much needed landing boats would have been free for Dragoon sooner.
      Last edited by Half Pint John; 30 Sep 12, 08:15.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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      • #4
        A look at the 'Pedestal Convoy' in August 1942 might provide some clues about the ability of the Axis to strike at a Allied invasion force approaching Sicilly.

        http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

        "It's 160 mile off the coast. IMO that isn't sitting across the supply routes."

        Thats hardly forty minutes flight time for a Ju88 bomber with a full load, & in range of about every Axis fighter. During and post Op. Torch Axis bombers based on Sardinia made regular air raids on the Algerian ports the Allies were using. Port operations were disrupted, some cargo ships and a Brit cruiser were sunk & sent off for long term repair. On raid in late November caused the cancellation of a amphibious landing further east on the German flank on the Tunisian coast. The Allied air forces had to divert a siginifcant effort November-January to suppress the Italian airfields on Sardinia so as to protect the sea route to eastern Algeria

        Where this idea has previosly been discussed I favored Sardinia/Corsica. Tho it is not as favorable for attacking the sea routes to Africa it is much better positioned for attacking with aircraft the industrial cities of northern Italy, all the Italian naval ports, and southern France. The range allows medium bombers and fighters as well.

        In November 1942 the defense of Sardinia was a understrength infantry corps reinforced with some Italian militia, 130 to 150 aircraft, and some torpedo boats.

        "Where would US heavy bombers be stationed?

        In January 1944 The Allies had six USAAF size bomber wings based in Corsica. Less than three months after the Germans evacuated it. Over 1200 operational aircraft were flying missions from Corsica/Sardinia within 90 days. Eight months after capture those airfields were supporting over 2000 bombers, fighters, reconissance, ASW, and transport aircraft from Sardinia/Corsica. Both the French and Italians had established many airfields across the two islands, which the Allied construction units greatly expanded.
        Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 30 Sep 12, 07:33.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          Where this idea has previosly been discussed I favored Sardinia/Corsica. Tho it is not as favorable for attacking the sea routes to Africa it is much better positioned for attacking with aircraft the industrial cities of northern Italy, all the Italian naval ports, and southern France. The range allows medium bombers and fighters as well.
          Sardinia threatens a next step to Sicily/Naples/Rome/Corsica/Toulon ie the whole length of the Italian peninsula, so where do the Germans defend?

          Corsica is metropolitan Fance and cause the Germans a headache - do they send their forces to Corsica (breaking the armistice) or assume the French will fight?

          The downside of Sardinia is that it doesn't clear the shipping route through the Mediterranean but its central position creates a lot of threats.

          If the Allies do not land in French North Africe then the Germans have to reinforce Africa through Tripoli at the end of a very tenuous supply chain especially after the 8th Army takes Benghazi and establishes airforce bases in the area.

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          • #6
            With Sadinia it would be all but it with in range of mainland France, Italy, Corisca, and Sicily based aircraft.

            Sounds like a bridge to far in Aug 42.
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ditto. But on the other hand, it seems to me the allies taking Sardinia and Corsica would be a nightmare, especially for the luftwaffe. They'd have to try to defend from the Pyrenees to Sicily, with the British and Americans in a central location picking where and when to attack. And I don't think they'd be as hesitant attacking Mussolini's headquarters as the Japanese Emperor's.

              Comment


              • #8
                In this scenario we must remember the reasons that landings were carried in Morocco in the OTL.
                Allied planners had concerns about the Germans sealing off the eastern Med with Spanish assistance and cutting off the Allies supply lines through the straights of Gibraltar

                We know now that there was very little chance of that happening, but in 1942, it was a very real concern for the Allied planners of Torch.
                Something not to be discounted.
                Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                  Sounds like a bridge to far in Aug 42.
                  August? Torch occured in November 1942.

                  Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                  With Sadinia it would be all but it with in range of mainland France, Italy, Corisca, and Sicily based aircraft.
                  Actually it is at or beyond the limits of most German & Italian fighters. Axis bombers will be operating with reduced fighter cover against a large portion of the probable targets on Sardinia.

                  Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                  Ditto. But on the other hand, it seems to me the allies taking Sardinia and Corsica would be a nightmare, especially for the luftwaffe. They'd have to try to defend from the Pyrenees to Sicily, with the British and Americans in a central location picking where and when to attack.
                  Three times from mid 1942 to mid 1943 the Axis air forces tried to make a stand in the Med theatre. Over the Western Desert, over Tunisia, and over Scilly. Each time they had some notable tactical sucesses, and were shot out of the sky in the overall campaign. In each case the Allies were able to establish the airbases they needed and defeat/drive away the Axis air fleet confronting them.

                  Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                  ... And I don't think they'd be as hesitant attacking Mussolini's headquarters as the Japanese Emperor's.
                  Allied bombing of the Italian railroads and ports from December 1942 was a major morale destroyer among the Italians, and the other Axis nations as well. Let the pissed off Italians deal with their leader.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                    Allied planners had concerns about the Germans sealing off the eastern Med with Spanish assistance and cutting off the Allies supply lines through the straights of Gibraltar
                    Technically US planners. The British were lobbying for landing as far east as possible to enable the early capture of Bone and Tunis.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      Technically US planners. The British were lobbying for landing as far east as possible to enable the early capture of Bone and Tunis.

                      True, I stand corrected.
                      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                        In this scenario we must remember the reasons that landings were carried in Morocco in the OTL.
                        Allied planners had concerns about the Germans sealing off the eastern Med with Spanish assistance and cutting off the Allies supply lines through the straights of Gibraltar

                        We know now that there was very little chance of that happening, but in 1942, it was a very real concern for the Allied planners of Torch.
                        Something not to be discounted.
                        As it was Torch included the Eastern Task Force naval group operating as far east as Algeirs. Which was at the limit of Axis bomber range from Sardinia. Note the attached map. It is from Wiki, but is very close to the West Point military Atlas.
                        Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 30 Sep 12, 14:58.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          As it was Torch included the Eastern Task Force naval group operating as far east as Algeirs. Which was at the limit of Axis bomber range from Sardinia.
                          Yes it did.


                          Note the attached map. It is from Wiki, but is very close to the West Point military Atlas.
                          You mean the itty-bitty map on the Wiki page you linked ?


                          Despite misgivings about Axis air power the algiers landing was included, and operations to east were undertake imeadiatly and long before Axis air power was suppresed.


                          Ok, so this has what to do with my post ?
                          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                            With Sadinia it would be all but it with in range of mainland France, Italy, Corisca, and Sicily based aircraft.

                            Sounds like a bridge to far in Aug 42.
                            This would be my big objection. The Allies would be out of range of air cover over the beaches. Carriers would be difficult to use in the restricted waters of the Med as a substitute, not to mention not being completely available.
                            Now, if the Allies could capture several airfields in the first day or two of the operation in usable condition they might be able to fly in air cover like they did at Torch.

                            The other thing that is likely a problem is gaining surprise of some sort in the move. You have several very large convoys entering the Med all at once. These in total consist of 100+ warships and transports between them.
                            I doubt in the several days that it would take to traverse the Med from Gibralter to Sicily that such a huge convoy or convoys would go unnoticed. That brings in the very distinct possibility of massive German and Italian efforts to attack these convoys with aircraft.
                            The best the Allies could do is one or two carriers and a half dozen CVL and CVE (Torch had Ranger and the 4 Sagamon class CVL tanker conversions covering it). These with F4F-4 aboard are hardly going to be able to stop determined Luftwaffe attacks on the convoy in part due to its sheer size.

                            So, such an invasion might be possible it is also likely to be very costly in terms of shipping, ships, and material losses ashore.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                              You mean the itty-bitty map on the Wiki page you linked ?
                              It is way bigger when I pull it up on my 'puter




                              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                              Ok, so this has what to do with my post ?
                              Nothing, it is deleted now

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