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Southern France D-Day Before Northern France D-Day

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  • Southern France D-Day Before Northern France D-Day

    Assume Western Allies, after the Anzio landings, despite their exploitation/effects decide upon a "hold and light pressure" campaign of the peninsula of Italy while forming up two plus corps of infantry and armor to assault France from the southern Med. in and about Marseille ...

    COMBINED with ...

    A similar 2+ corps landing effort a couple of days later on the Western-South-Western coast of France by the Allies (with troops/forces out of the UK) using their superior Naval assets to assist, after months long aviation offensive efforts in Bay of Biscay/West France by Strategic and Tactical Air Commands.

    Places Germany on "Horns of Delima" to either moves forces in Northern France south (abandon some of "Atlantic Wall") to block Allied advance Northward, or let them do so while retaining Coastal Defenses of Northern France. ...

    Meanwhile Allies have about 10-12+ Divisions in the south of France ready to move roughly Northward into France to offset German forces guarding northern beaches of France and/or Eastward into Northern Italy. Maybe both!

    Come late July to early August the Allies have landings in Normandy focused upon four beaches, with air-landings of two+ divisions to the rear of them, yet Allied Forces advancing from southern France have already reduced and slightly distracted German/Axis forces on the Northern Beaches of France. The German forces, squeezed both to front and rear, have little option than to retreat Eastward to re-group and prep for next round of battles with the Western Allies!

    Assorted landings are now lodgements that place the Allies in firm control of France within short order ...
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

  • #2
    There was also the lack of enough landing craft to carry out all that you wish.

    Landing in the SW of France puts the beachhead out of range for aircover. Supporting two landings in NE/SW France at the same time would strain the WALLIES log train to the breaking point.

    I always liked the idea of Dragoon going in first. Just for debate, Mid April of 44. The Med, is not the North Sea and Channel with winter storm. That gives time for ports to be opened in the South and releases landing craft for Overloard. Still even at the late date of Aug forces attacking up the Rhone didn't have a cake walk.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by G David Bock View Post

      Places Germany on "Horns of Delima" to either moves forces in Northern France south (abandon some of "Atlantic Wall") to block Allied advance Northward, or let them do so while retaining Coastal Defenses of Northern France. ...

      Meanwhile Allies have about 10-12+ Divisions in the south of France ready to move roughly Northward into France to offset German forces guarding northern beaches of France and/or Eastward into Northern Italy. Maybe both!
      German order of Battle for 19th Army in Southern France included 8 infantry divisions, backed up with 9th and 11th panzer divisions, 2nd SS Panzer and 17th SS Panzer Grenadier divisions based south of the Loire.

      In addition if the Allies are not attacking in Italy, then the Germans are equally free to transfer divisions from Italy to Southern France.

      The battle for Southern France will be a long hard struggle especially to capture the ports. You cannot compare it to the OTL, as Dragoon took place after many German units had been transferred north.

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      • #4
        Sounded better after that one drink too many last nite. In light of dawn, clearer head ...
        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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        • #5
          How many of those divisions in 19th Army were at full strength? My bet is a number were being rebuilt or training to go back to the Russian Front. Several were also Stationary Divisions with no motor transport.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • #6
            The scenario would work better combined with the allies invading
            Sardinia (and Corsica) rather than Sicily. That would have opened up virtually all of southern France
            and Italy to air dominance by UK/US air forces, and provided more
            staging grounds for land invasions. Axis would have to be concerned and cover Sicily, southern Italy, Italy north of Rome, and southern France.

            P. S., also take Balearics? Mostly to tick off and intimidate Franco.

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            • #7
              Sounds like another Anzio in the making.
              Remember, Rome didn't fall until the day before D-Day.
              "Why is the Rum gone?"

              -Captain Jack

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              • #8
                Germany vanquishes the allied invasion and routes the Soviets in the East and Hitler says "I'm king of the world".

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
                  ... while forming up two plus corps of infantry and armor to assault France from the southern Med. in and about Marseille ...
                  Ok, what Mr Bock describes here in the first stage of the original operation Anvil. The ultimate objective of op Anvil was to establish a Franco/US Army Group in south France & clear that area in approx 90 days, including making the Marsailles Toulon port group fully operational (15,000 to 20,000 tons per day intake). Op Anvil had a nominal target date of early April 1944. The 'Hyperwar' web site has the most acessable descriptions of Op Anvil.

                  There was a plan for landing on the Biscay coast, however that had been rejected as a desirable operation and turned over to the Deception Committee and used as a annex to the Fortitude deception operation. The Double Cross system fed bits about a Biscay Front to the Abwehr & 11th Pz Div was kept west of the Rhone River to repel the invaders.

                  Op Anvil was made impractical through the expansion from the 1943 version of Op Overlord of three corps/beaches to eventually five corps/beaches. Eisenhower felt that the Overlord Op had to be made as strong as possible and was ultimately unwilling to reduce it for secondary operations. While there were enough ground and air forces to execute both Anvil and Overlord as planned in January 1944 there were insufficient amphibious ships and small craft to execute a April Anvil & May Overlord operations in rapid sucession. Ike hated to cancel Op Anvil and had his staff and Alexanders staff reworking the Anvil plans for over a week before canceling it. Or rather postphoning it to August as Op Dragoon. The decision to cancel Op Anvil is discussed in Estes biography of Eisenhower, in Pogues biography of Marshal, in Atkinsons recent history 'The Guns at Last Light'.

                  Both in his memos at the time and post war Eisenhower made it clear that had there been even close to the necessary number of amphibious ships he would have directed Op Anvil executed as planned, in April.

                  Bottom line here is Mr Bocks proposal matches the Anvil operation Ike had to give up.

                  Churchill was delighted with the cancelation of Op Anvil. He assumed this allowed all sorts of other invasions in the mediterranean to be made. Never mind that no amphibious fleet for Op Anvil meant no amphibious fleet for anything else. Churchill happily drew blue arrows all over his map of the Balkans, aiming armies at Athens, Tirane, Salonika, Trieste, Belgrade, Lubjiana, Budapest, Vienna... Never mind the crappy ports, inadaquate railroads, unpaved highways, and multiple mountain ranges, and of course no amphibious fleet.

                  When Churchill discovered Op Anvil reincarnated as Op Dragoon he was disappointed and sent a flurry of memos to Ike advising him how practical it would be to divert a corps or two to the Balkans, arguing the strategic advantages of advancing from Salonika, the opportunities of the Lubjania Gap. the desirability of capturing Belgrade. When Ike politely stood firm Churchill complained "we have been Dragooned into a useless operation". and warned that it would fail badly.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                    How many of those divisions in 19th Army were at full strength? My bet is a number were being rebuilt or training to go back to the Russian Front. Several were also Stationary Divisions with no motor transport.

                    Pruitt
                    The German armored divisions & motorized 'grenadier' divisions were near full strength. All four of them IIRC. the assorted infantry and static divisions varied from 50% to 80% strength in men, had shortages in artillery & artillery ammunition, severely lacked motor transport, and were harassed daily by the French underground. Their daily movements were reported by the French spies, and their orders sent via radio, encrypted with the Engima machines. in the air the German air force had slightly under 300 useable aircraft in France & a few hundred more in northern Italy That was al in March-April 1944.

                    In March 1944 the US and France had over 2000 operational aircraft based in Sardinia & Corsica & the ability to surge another 1000 forward for a invasion. In August over 4000 Allied aircraft supported Op Dragoon, mostly from Sardinia & Corsica. A dozen US/French divisions were available in for a April invasion with potientially six more following in May/June.
                    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 12 Mar 14, 00:00.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tuor View Post
                      The scenario would work better combined with the allies invading
                      Sardinia (and Corsica) rather than Sicily. That would have opened up virtually all of southern France
                      and Italy to air dominance by UK/US air forces, and provided more
                      staging grounds for land invasions. Axis would have to be concerned and cover Sicily, southern Italy, Italy north of Rome, and southern France.

                      P. S., also take Balearics? Mostly to tick off and intimidate Franco.
                      I've argued the same more than once. Take Sardinia & Sicilly is out flanked, along with southern Italy. Central & northern Italy are then exposed as well as the Rivera coast of France.

                      Tho I'd pass on the Baleric Islands

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                      • #12
                        Sardinia is closer to German air and further way for Allied air to support in the same way that Sicily was supported. Sicily would remain a base for a base for German air to play hell with the supply line. Take Sicily first then Sardinia might work better and leave Italy to the Italians.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

                          When Churchill discovered Op Anvil reincarnated as Op Dragoon he was disappointed and sent a flurry of memos to Ike advising him how practical it would be to divert a corps or two to the Balkans, arguing the strategic advantages of advancing from Salonika, the opportunities of the Lubjania Gap. the desirability of capturing Belgrade. When Ike politely stood firm Churchill complained "we have been Dragooned into a useless operation". and warned that it would fail badly.
                          Stalin might have said a word or two about any western allied landings in the Balkans. I remember reading about the proposal and the general consensus was that Stalin would be PO'd.
                          You'll live, only the best get killed.

                          -General Charles de Gaulle

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                            Sardinia is closer to German air and further way for Allied air to support in the same way that Sicily was supported. Sicily would remain a base for a base for German air to play hell with the supply line. Take Sicily first then Sardinia might work better and leave Italy to the Italians.
                            After the Tunisian airfields were tidied up in may 43 the Allied air forces went after the Axis air forces over Sicilly & southern Italy. By the time Op Huskey was executed the Axis air strength in Italy had been halved to under combat worthy aircraft and withdrawn from Sicilly & southern italy. At the same time the Allied air strength in the Med had slipped upwards to over 4,000 operational aircraft, of which over 3,000 were based in range of southern Italy. The Axis air forces were unable to play hell with the Allied supply lines to Algeria, despite sucessfull raids on the ports, ditto for the invasion of Sicily and Sardinia. the Axis won some spectacular tactical victories in the Med in 1943, but operationally and stratigically they were shot out of the air.

                            Executing a earlier Op Brimstone against Sardinia changes little of substance in this. The location of the airbases and sky the air battles are fought in are altered, but the Axis were losing badly the air war & moving the battle locations about a few hundred kilometers alters nothing over the year.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by asterix View Post
                              Stalin might have said a word or two about any western allied landings in the Balkans. I remember reading about the proposal and the general consensus was that Stalin would be PO'd.
                              He took seriously that line Churchill drew on the map in their early war meeting.

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