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Catastrophe at Calais: 1943

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  • Catastrophe at Calais: 1943

    Especially for Roddoss.

    The POD - American command wins the argument over what Allied strategy should be in 1943 thus no 'Husky' or 'Avalanche'. Instead we get 'Roundup' and it fails. So the question is how bad would it be and what difference might it make to the war's progress?

    Before anyone weighs in, yes I'm aware that 'Roundup' might well have succeeded. But it was a greater risk than 'Overlord' and more likely to fail.
    Signing out.

  • #2
    Should anyone need a refresher -

    What If the Allies Had Invaded France in 1943?
    Signing out.

    Comment


    • #3
      No "Citadel". Germany adopts a strictly defensive strategy. The western allies pull off "operation Anvil" in April '45. France is liberated by the end of June. Germany surrenders in August '45 after Berlin is destroyed by an A-bomb.
      "In the absence of orders...find something and kill it!" Lt. General Erwin Rommel, 1942

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      • #4
        The intriguing question is who leads the various allied armies? Patton and Montgomery are still located in Africa, as are Alexander and Eisenhower. Neither of the two army commanders have really earned any any spectacular victories and they still have an active enemy in front of them. The theatre commanders might be reassigned, and I can see the Americans suggesting it, drag one of Eisenhower or Alexander out to command "Roundup".

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        • #5
          Given the shortage of LSTs and specialized craft, the lack of experience in the smaller RL landings, no veteran US troops, I would say failure is not unlikely. In fact, likely.

          The Italians and minor Axis allies would be heartened. The losses in amphib craft would hinder operations in the Pacific.

          Stalin's paranoia about Allied intentions would be fueled. His suspicions that the Allies were bleeding the USSR on purpose would be heightened. Its quite possible he might have reined in offensive operations, refusing to let the capitalists bleed the USSR.

          The Germans could get a six month 'breathing space' instead of the hectic Kursk/invasion of Italy.
          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
            The intriguing question is who leads the various allied armies? Patton and Montgomery are still located in Africa, as are Alexander and Eisenhower. Neither of the two army commanders have really earned any any spectacular victories and they still have an active enemy in front of them. The theatre commanders might be reassigned, and I can see the Americans suggesting it, drag one of Eisenhower or Alexander out to command "Roundup".
            I think we could assume that the African campaign would end more or less as it did historically allowing 'Roundup' to take place at around the same time as 'Husky' did historically. It's possible that one of the usual suspects would be brought over to command the landings but given the intricacy of the planning it would be a bit late in the day. The man in prime position to command the landing, at least the US side, is Mark Clark. Alexander would probably be acceptable to both sides as overall commander. Not sure who would lead the British and Commonwealth forces.
            Signing out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
              Stalin's paranoia about Allied intentions would be fueled. His suspicions that the Allies were bleeding the USSR on purpose would be heightened. Its quite possible he might have reined in offensive operations, refusing to let the capitalists bleed the USSR.
              Not sure whether this would affect Stalin quite as badly as the actual WAllied strategy did. He doesn't appear to have regarded the Med as anything more than a minor theatre of operations so a major effort to open The Second Front, albeit a failed one, wouldn't have such a negative effect, at least not in the short term. The WAllies wouldn't be in a position to try again until 1944, assuming they'd want to, and that might fuel Stalin's paranoia especially as Churchill's preference for a Med-based strategy would have more clout in this ATL.
              Signing out.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                I think we could assume that the African campaign would end more or less as it did historically allowing 'Roundup' to take place at around the same time as 'Husky' did historically. It's possible that one of the usual suspects would be brought over to command the landings but given the intricacy of the planning it would be a bit late in the day. The man in prime position to command the landing, at least the US side, is Mark Clark. Alexander would probably be acceptable to both sides as overall commander. Not sure who would lead the British and Commonwealth forces.

                I know that Marshall wanted the job of Supreme commander but FDR wouldn’t let him go. Perhaps he would get it in these circumstances. One thing is certain whoever was in charge would be ruined if the invasion failed.
                Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                • #9
                  An interesting discussion of the same idea, only it is likely the Allies get and stay ashore.

                  http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=77178

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    An interesting discussion of the same idea, only it is likely the Allies get and stay ashore.

                    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=77178
                    Interesting debate, I'm guessing most of it took place during one of my 'absences'. A quick read suggests no real conclusions were drawn.
                    Signing out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                      Interesting debate, I'm guessing most of it took place during one of my 'absences'. A quick read suggests no real conclusions were drawn.
                      My conclusion was that the Allies would and could get ashore and stay ashore in a beachhead large enough that eventually they would break out and romp across France much like they did historically. That might take as much as a year to fully realize but it was inevidable.

                      I also made conclusions that this was far more disasterous for the Eastern Front and North Africa for the Germans as critical reinforcements don't go there and they are defeated earlier and more decisively.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        My conclusion was that the Allies would and could get ashore and stay ashore in a beachhead large enough that eventually they would break out and romp across France much like they did historically. That might take as much as a year to fully realize but it was inevidable.

                        I also made conclusions that this was far more disasterous for the Eastern Front and North Africa for the Germans as critical reinforcements don't go there and they are defeated earlier and more decisively.
                        I noted your conclusions, but the thread had other opinions expressed. I wouldn't have agreed with you then. As for this 'Catastrophe .... ' thread I think the Germans can put more men and equipment against the beachhead(s) than the Allies can ship in. They'll attack as soon as enough mobile formations have assembled, which shouldn't be more than two or three days after the landing. They may not succeed, who can say for sure, but they would have a very good chance of destroying the invasion forces within a few days.
                        Signing out.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                          I think we could assume that the African campaign would end more or less as it did historically allowing 'Roundup' to take place at around the same time as 'Husky' did historically. It's possible that one of the usual suspects would be brought over to command the landings but given the intricacy of the planning it would be a bit late in the day.
                          Originally posted by Tsar View Post
                          I know that Marshall wanted the job of Supreme commander but FDR wouldn’t let him go. Perhaps he would get it in these circumstances. One thing is certain whoever was in charge would be ruined if the invasion failed.
                          Devers had been sent to the UK to command all US forces there in May 1943. Formerly chief of US Armored Forces Devers had supervised the expansion from four to eighteen armored divisions along with 50+ independant tank battalions & sundry other units. Marshalls decision to send Devers to command "US Army Forces in Europe" reached back to March 1943 or possiblly earlier. The Bolero operation was spinning back up post Torch and Marshall was looking for the best possible man to manage the build up of the US infrastructure (bases) & then the ground and airforces in the UK. Then prepare those forces for the projected Overlord operation of 1944.

                          If a 1943 invasion is decided on it is possible Devers would have a senior role in the US forces involved. McNair who had been busy supervising the doubling of US ground forces in 1942-43 was also on Marshals short list for command in Europe. There were a few others with the seniority and current track record whos names escape tonight. Marshal liked Ike & Clark, but he was a pragmatic man & had seen several of his favorites fail (Fredendal was one). He was not the sort to place the entire bet on a single horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                            I noted your conclusions, but the thread had other opinions expressed. I wouldn't have agreed with you then. As for this 'Catastrophe .... ' thread I think the Germans can put more men and equipment against the beachhead(s) than the Allies can ship in. They'll attack as soon as enough mobile formations have assembled, which shouldn't be more than two or three days after the landing. They may not succeed, who can say for sure, but they would have a very good chance of destroying the invasion forces within a few days.
                            Other than the opinion expressed that "The Germans were incredibly good and the US / Allies were incompetent..." no one explained how the Allied forces could have been stopped from successfully getting ashore and once there been defeated decisively.

                            The Allies faced one second rate German infantry division in the scenario to get ashore. At Salerno, for example, less Allied forces landed on a beachhead defended by a well prepared and trained panzer division and the Germans lost.
                            The same is true in Sicily.

                            There was no case of a successful Allied amphibious assault that was intended to stay ashore once landed (Dieppe was a "raid" and the forces were to be withdrawn) being decisively defeated and driven into the sea.

                            I pointed out that conflicting strategic requirements would preclude anything but an initial holding action (eg., AGS being crushed in the East, Rommel reeling in defeat in North Africa). The Heer demonstrated a consistent pattern of ad hoc and improvised piecemeal committment of reinforcements to an enemy breakthrough or successful offensive.
                            They did it at Moscow in late 1941 early 1942. They did it at Stalingrad. They did it in North Africa. They did it in Bagration.

                            What possible reason is there to believe they wouldn't do it against an Allied landing in France in 1942?

                            Look at the few times the Germans actually did mass their mobile forces for an offensive: France 1940, Kursk, the Ardennes to name a few examples. They were not particularly successful at driving through determined and reasonably well equipped defensive forces. Even where they made some headway they eventually lost.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              Other than the opinion expressed that "The Germans were incredibly good and the US / Allies were incompetent..." no one explained how the Allied forces could have been stopped from successfully getting ashore and once there been defeated decisively.

                              The Allies faced one second rate German infantry division in the scenario to get ashore. At Salerno, for example, less Allied forces landed on a beachhead defended by a well prepared and trained panzer division and the Germans lost.
                              The same is true in Sicily.

                              There was no case of a successful Allied amphibious assault that was intended to stay ashore once landed (Dieppe was a "raid" and the forces were to be withdrawn) being decisively defeated and driven into the sea.

                              I pointed out that conflicting strategic requirements would preclude anything but an initial holding action (eg., AGS being crushed in the East, Rommel reeling in defeat in North Africa). The Heer demonstrated a consistent pattern of ad hoc and improvised piecemeal committment of reinforcements to an enemy breakthrough or successful offensive.
                              They did it at Moscow in late 1941 early 1942. They did it at Stalingrad. They did it in North Africa. They did it in Bagration.

                              What possible reason is there to believe they wouldn't do it against an Allied landing in France in 1942?

                              Look at the few times the Germans actually did mass their mobile forces for an offensive: France 1940, Kursk, the Ardennes to name a few examples. They were not particularly successful at driving through determined and reasonably well equipped defensive forces. Even where they made some headway they eventually lost.
                              How to phrase this .....

                              The Allied buildup in these ATL's will not be fast enough and it's improbable that the beachhead(s) will be deep enough to allow even a medium level of tactical manoeuvre. The Allies will be able to call upon naval gunfire support and a certain amount of tactical air support. However, the close cooperation demonstrated in Normandy barely existed at the time of our ATLs. Furthermore the air supremacy that so hindered the German forces heading for Nornandy in 1944 is not present in our ATLs. A deception operation might distract some of the France garrison but that's about the only advantage the Allies possess that doesn't pale into insignificance when compared to 'Overlord'.
                              Signing out.

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