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D-Day November 1942

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  • #31
    Gooner hit it on the head.

    It was not merchantmen, troopships or even the smaller landing craft that were the bottleneck,... it was the much larger and more complex LSTs. There were simply not enough available to lift the required equipment and supplies. The chances of capturing a port intact were minimal so the capacity to offload over the beaches was a must. The LST was the one critical type required for all amphibious landings.

    Over all, this scenarios is ripe for disaster.

    -There is not enough amphibious shipping.
    -Southern Brittany is beyond the fighter range of the majority of allied a/c in 1942.
    -The allied air force is not large enough
    -Capture a port intact? Very dodgy. The Germans were not fools.
    -Convoys would have to give the west and south coast of Brittany a wide berth in their run into Quiberon Bay. While the bay area was shallow the convoys could have been heavily engaged by U-Boats in the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay.
    - The U-Boat menace is still alive and well in the Atlantic. Escorting supply convoys to France would have strained the escort forces. The allies would have to have covered both, the Germans could choose where and when to send in the U-baots.
    -The weather. Invade France in November? From the Bay of Biscay? Oi.....vey.

    No doubt the allies could have landed a number of divisions and maybe could have hung to a lodgement but why? Why create a "self-sustaining" PoW cage in Brittany with 12 or 15 divisions when you could use the same resources to clear the Mediterranean of axis interference, secure a shorter route to the Pacific, remove a major belligerant from the war and open a third front against the Germans.

    The Italian theatre pinned down some 26 German divisions at its height. At the same time the Germans were forced to increase their garrison in France and the Low Countries. By embarking on a high risk gamble in the winter of 1942 the allies would have only made the Germans job easier. The allied landing in Brittany could have (would have?) been defeated with far fewer resources than the Germans were forced to commit to a no win situation in the Mediterranean in the same time frame.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by The Purist; 04 May 09, 13:44.
    The Purist

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

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    • #32
      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      Gooner hit it on the head.

      It was not merchantmen, troopships or even the smaller landing craft that were the bottleneck,... it was the much larger and more complex LSTs. There were simply not enough available to lift the required equipment and supplies. The chances of capturing a port intact were minimal so the capacity to offload over the beaches was a must. The LST was the one critical type required for all amphibious landings.

      Over all, this scenarios is ripe for disaster.

      -There is not enough amphibious shipping.
      This scenario uses the same amount of shipping that Torch did. It lands the same number of units in roughly the same period of time. How is there "...not enough amphibious shipping?"


      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      -Southern Brittany is beyond the fighter range of the majority of allied a/c in 1942.
      -The allied air force is not large enough
      The Germans have exactly one JadgGruppe (JG 26) in France with about 100 total fighter aircraft. The unit is about 50 - 50 Fw 190 and Me 109G. This is hardly sufficent to overwhelm even the naval aircraft the Allies could use let alone fend off the RAF and USAAF in Britain. The nearest uncommitted bomber unit is KG 26 in Norway. Fleigerfuhrer Atlantik has just a handful of aircraft that are unsuited for use in a high risk enviroment.

      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      -Capture a port intact? Very dodgy. The Germans were not fools.
      Neither were the Allies. Intact or not the Allies could open even one the Germans tried to block or destroy with the means on hand in weeks, if not quicker....Even in late 1942. The US Navy's savlage capacity was such that the Germans in this respect aren't even playing in the same league.
      If you look at even their clearing of North African ports the US did these amazingly quick. And, usually gained capacity over what they had before they were sabotaged.
      Aside from this, the Germans don't have the troops in the area immediately to deal with trying to sabotage the smaller ports. And, the Allies can land supplies over the beach to some extent.

      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      -Convoys would have to give the west and south coast of Brittany a wide berth in their run into Quiberon Bay. While the bay area was shallow the convoys could have been heavily engaged by U-Boats in the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay.
      - The U-Boat menace is still alive and well in the Atlantic. Escorting supply convoys to France would have strained the escort forces. The allies would have to have covered both, the Germans could choose where and when to send in the U-baots.
      I'd say its the German U-boats that have the problem. With Lorient and St. Nazerie threatened with capture and the Allies on both port's doorsteps the Kriegsmarine is almost certain to withdraw the boats from both immediately. This would interrupt the sailing schedules reducing sorties into the Atlantic. With the loss of the use of the Bay of Biscay ports U-boats would have a longer sailing distance into the Atlantic and would be on station less time. All of this works against the Germans an in the Allies favor.
      U-boats are a spoiler in naval warfare. They are best used in a guerre de course against merchant ships. Having to attack more heavily escorted coastal convoys in shallow water with more escorts and air cover (these could be smaller types with less range but just as dangerous to U-boats) on a more predictable route is only asking for heavy losses.

      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      -The weather. Invade France in November? From the Bay of Biscay? Oi.....vey.
      This could be a problem but, we can't be sure as we don't know what the weather was like exactly during that period.

      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      No doubt the allies could have landed a number of divisions and maybe could have hung to a lodgement but why? Why create a "self-sustaining" PoW cage in Brittany with 12 or 15 divisions when you could use the same resources to clear the Mediterranean of axis interference, secure a shorter route to the Pacific, remove a major belligerant from the war and open a third front against the Germans.
      Why? Because this cripples Germany in the East at a critical time. Instead of just 6th Army AGS would have been largely oblitherated in the Soviet offensive. The reinforcements AGS got that saved them are now tied up in France!
      The British in North Africa would have finished the reminants of the Afrika Korps without undue effort as the Germans wouldn't have anything to reinforce them. The reinforcements are needed in France!
      To top this off if the Luftwaffe has to commit aircraft to France the East front airlift to try and save 6th Army is cut massively in size and 6th Army goes down even faster.
      All the Allies need do is hold an area, larger of course, than Anzio but like Anzio. Eventually they will build up their forces sufficently to break out or, they could just make another landing say, in Southern France or, somewhere else along the French Atlantic coast. The initiative lies with the Allies to make the next move. All they have to do is hold their ground.
      The Germans are in a bad position. No Panther tanks. A handful of Tigers. Most of the divisions in France are pathetically equipped static divisions or the worn out reminants of ones that are rebuilding following their destruction in the East.
      Just holding a large beachhead will cause massive problems for the Germans in the East too. No more casual shifting divisions to and from France. Those returning from the East will have to deal with the Allies so this makes transfers of fresh units far more difficult.


      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
      The Italian theatre pinned down some 26 German divisions at its height. At the same time the Germans were forced to increase their garrison in France and the Low Countries. By embarking on a high risk gamble in the winter of 1942 the allies would have only made the Germans job easier. The allied landing in Brittany could have (would have?) been defeated with far fewer resources than the Germans were forced to commit to a no win situation in the Mediterranean in the same time frame.
      This scenario doesn't change the number of divisions the Germans could potentially raise and deploy. But, it does change where and how they could deploy them.
      A sudden Italian collapse and surrender following the fall of North Africa for instance might catch the Germans off guard. Historically, Italy's surrender did exactly that to a minor extent forcing the Germans to push several divisions into Italy on the spur of the moment including several mechanized ones.
      The Vichy are another issue. If Vichy France falls in with the Allies the Germans don't have the troops for an immediate occupation. If the Allies follow that surrender with assistance and troops the Germans are in even a worse spot.

      Personally, I think the Germans were alot weaker than most people credit them in late 1942 and that the Allies underestimated badly what they were capable of. It seems to me the Allies were just unwilling to take any risks in strategy.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        The Germans have exactly one JadgGruppe (JG 26) in France with about 100 total fighter aircraft. The unit is about 50 - 50 Fw 190 and Me 109G. This is hardly sufficent to overwhelm even the naval aircraft the Allies could use let alone fend off the RAF and USAAF in Britain. The nearest uncommitted bomber unit is KG 26 in Norway. Fleigerfuhrer Atlantik has just a handful of aircraft that are unsuited for use in a high risk enviroment.
        Of course these are already *committed* but there were two Kampf-Geschwader ( KG54 & KG77) and two Jagd-Geschwader (JG77 & JG53) on Sicily. A further couple of bomber wings were on Crete.

        How long do you think it would take them to fly to western France? 'bout the same length of time it would take O.B. West to rustle up a formidable Panzer force I reckon.

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        • #34
          TA,

          France is not Morocco or Algeria. The strategic implications of an allied landing in France would be too stark for even Hitler to ignore. The allied drive into Tunisia was stopped by a few tanks and some parachute infantry backed by a handful of bombers. The weather, lack of shipping and logistics issues prevented the allies from pushing along the African littoral and capturing Tunis. The defeated German-Italo army need do nothing more than it actually did,... retreat through Nov, Dec and Jan to Tripoli where its personnel, if not its equipment, could be evacuated to Sicily. However, with all allied efforts now in Europe and the likelihood of the US and British facing defeat, it is unlikely much could be done to interfere with an ordered withdrawal. It is also highly unlikely that Italy would have surrendered without and allied landing in Italy itself (based on the historical negotiations). With allied attention now in France the Italians would have breathed a sigh of relief that they were no longer the focus of allied efforts. Italian troops can now be used, in part at least, to replace German garrisons, freeing the latter for use at the front.

          A landing on Nov 8th comes a full 11 days before the Red Army Uranus offensive and it is a fairly safe bet that the first reserves from Germany and the east would already be en route (if not already de-training) to Brittany.
          The Germans had the entire 10th Pz and the three SS Motor divs in France and even though the SS were not at full strength nor had they completed their refit they were still formidable combat formation. Other panzer units were also available or within a relatively short road and rail move to the new front. Twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh panzer divisions (raised in Sep and Oct respectively) although new formations, could still have formed battle groups and been sent forward (27th, for example, was sent to the Stalingrad front in detachments but never reformed).

          Furthermore, on Nov 8th, the eastern front is quiet except fighting continuing at the low boil in Stalingrad. OKW and OKH reserves would have been on call and what other implications this may have had in the German hierarchy are impossible to guess at. However, even the transfer of a single panzer corps and a 1/2 dozen infantry divisions from the east to France would be enough to augment the forces already there. As Gooner has noted, the LW could easily fly in the required bomber and fighter forces to give them a local superiority. Combine winter weather at sea, u-boat attacks on the approaches, aerial mining of Quiberon Bay and its approaches and bombing of the port itself and the allies have one hell of a battle on their hands. When one adds in the land battle and the weakness of allied doctrine, inexperience at fighting the Germans (or anyone else), and even equipment, the allies would be facing defeat.

          The idea that the allies would simply romp across Brittany and capture ports intact from the army and naval garrisons is somewhat fanciful given what we know of the German ability to form ad hoc units and offer resistance out of all proportion to their numbers. Naval troops, for example, while not trained as infantry still could make use of rifle and machine guns and backed up regular German formation. As was discovered in 1944, the naval and air force troops were of a higher calibre than normal and made good infantry when used to flesh out experienced formation or provided with a cadre of army veterans. The German army is structurally much stronger 1942 than in 1944.

          When the Red Army does attack on the 19th of Nov the Germans would be weaker in the east, stronger in the west. What the results of the winter battles would have been is unknowable but it is probably fairly certain that the Red Army would have approach the spring of 1943 in better positions than it otherwise would have. Beyond that it is anyone guess as to what would have happened next. If the allies maintain a beachhead "cage" in the west the Red Army will likely advance further and faster than they did. If the allies are defeated the Germans have just eliminated the allied ability to much before 1944 and the Red Army will have a tougher time of things in 1943. However,... it is safe to say anything is possible on a front involving the scope of the eastern front.

          Then there is the question, "why"? Why gamble on such a high risk operation in Nov 1942 when allied planners knew they had the long term strategic advantage. The allies knew they would grow stronger with each passing week and month while Germany's position would only grow weaker. Why risk the strategic assets of men and materiel (especially the amphibious shipping) that would be needed for future operations in the Pacific and elsewhere when both were in such short supply. Why risk a crippling military defeat in 1942 that carried with it political ramifications both in Europe and elsewhere (allied defeat would strengthen Mussolini, for example).

          Finally, there is no need to "gamble" at all with the lives of allied troops. The western allied armies were definite products of their democratic societies and this social component cannot be ignored. Britain was already looking at manpower difficulties in 1943 and even the US was not immune to long casualty lists (look at the home front reaction to the casualties suffered in the Pacific in 1944-45). A major defeat in 1942 or early 1943 would be a political disaster on the home fronts as well as in Europe as a whole.

          It is easy for us to push our cardboard playing pieces across maps (or click on colourful sprites on a computer monitor) and devise a myriad of 'what if' scenarios but the allied governments and their military commands had to deal with the real-time, real-life decisions and their ramifications. I, for one, defer to their decisions and avoid second guessing them. Rather it is more enlightening to understand why they made the decisions they did because not one of us is qualified to offer a realistic alternative without resorting to the quite useless tool of perfect hindsight.

          Cheers.

          <<Since neither side can prove the viability of their position, there is little point to continuing such a discussion. Like others I have 'wargamed' this scenario a few times and have never come up with an allied victory. This means nothing, of course, since a wargames can neither prove nor disprove an argument over events that never happened. >>
          Last edited by The Purist; 05 May 09, 08:23.
          The Purist

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

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            This could be a problem but, we can't be sure as we don't know what the weather was like exactly during that period.
            .
            http://www.windfinder.com/windstats/..._du_talut.htm#

            November 68%, December 70% chance of Beaufort scale 4+; landing supplies over the beaches or even anchoring ships offshore would have been a problem.

            See also accounts of the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.

            The weather would have been the main reason why naval commanders would have violently opposed this - they could not have guaranteed being able to supply over the beaches or through small ports the quantities required.

            Perhaps if Phoenix was on the coast?

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            • #36
              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              Mr Gardiner I apologise . I did not read the post closely enough .
              I've found it usefull to read a post twice before responding on these discussion boards. Embarassed my self more than once with inane replies due to too much haste.

              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              What you propose was thought of in 1942 .But canceled when problems on several levels happened. What then happened was Canadian 1st Division was sent to Dieppe .
              How easy would have it been to get troops off the beachs at Quibron Bay ? You would have needed a general of Patton's stature, his
              ability to get things moving to manage this landing.
              As commander of the US Ist Corps Patton would have entered the fray fairly early. If the performance of the British in the Torch landings is any indication crossing the beach wont be any more of a problem than in Sicilly or Normandy.

              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              Would you have the Channel Islands lanned on at the same time ?
              I would not. they are on the opposite side of the Breton penensula.

              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              Would the Free French forces been brought into action ?
              Sure, but they were still very small in November 1942. There is also the question of reconciling them with the other French. After the Allies entered the French colonys of Morroco & Algeria in November 1942 the French there spent months working out who was actually in charge. DeGualle's group was not automatically accepted as the new leadership.

              In this case it would be important to convince the small Vichy French army to resist the Germans and buy a little time for the allies. Since Degualle was not accepted by the general French population then it would be better in the short run to deal with other French leaders in France.

              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              Sounds like it well could have worked . Though I still wonder what about air cover ? Could the RN/USN committeed CVs/CVE's to the operation, at least until land bases are taken.
              The weather at sea will make the aircraft carriers of marginal value. any air superiority depends on what the weather allows. The Allies would have to conduct a aggresive bombing campaign against the German airfields, and secure the several airfields along the coast near Quiberon Bay. While some carrier ops vs targets in the landing area might be usefull the better long run use would be for interdicting these submarines everyone thinks so much of.

              Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
              I am assuming you plan on taking Brest ,ST Nazaireand L'Orient . That would cripple Uboat operations . Would this utilize a 1942 version of OP COBRA , the breakout from Normandy ? But instead of breaking as COBRA did break to clear an axis Brest-L'Orient-St Nazaire . Then push inland . Then I assume you have an attack made on German e boat bases in the channel . I would doubt that any German capital ship could have interfered , too far to steam.
              Its no good thinking of 'Breakouts" and Cobra type operations. First off this is in early winter & General Mud is in charge. In any case the strong suit of the British and US Armys in 1942 was their artillery. They wont go far wrong to place priority on artillery battalions and ammo for the first few months. Tanks and armored operations can come the following summer.
              Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 05 May 09, 19:44.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Aber View Post
                http://www.windfinder.com/windstats/..._du_talut.htm#

                November 68%, December 70% chance of Beaufort scale 4+; landing supplies over the beaches or even anchoring ships offshore would have been a problem.

                See also accounts of the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759.

                The weather would have been the main reason why naval commanders would have violently opposed this - they could not have guaranteed being able to supply over the beaches or through small ports the quantities required.

                Perhaps if Phoenix was on the coast?
                I've read two descriptions of th naval battle there of 1759. They convinced me of the practicality of the the idea

                What would convince me one way or the other would be knowledge of the surf and wave conditions in the bay during November & December 1942.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                  Like others I have 'wargamed' this scenario a few times and have never come up with an allied victory. This means nothing, of course, since a wargames can neither prove nor disprove an argument over events that never happened. >>
                  Gerry you silly. Dont you know that when the desired experimental results are not forthcoming you must alter the experimental protocols and methods.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                    Gerry you silly. Dont you know that when the desired experimental results are not forthcoming you must alter the experimental protocols and methods.
                    Exactly Carl...just like they do it on "Mythbusters" (when faced with the fact that the myth's "specified conditions" fail to produce a big enough explosion...)



                    Cheers, Ron

                    BTW T.A; (with tongue firmly in cheek) wasn't JG2 still on the Kanalfront at the time?

                    ...I know that II./JG2 was historically dispatched (from N. France) to Tunisia, as a response to the Torch landings (under command of Major Erich Rudorffer; this period of "TDY" was the setting for two of Rudorffer's more "controversial" multi-kill sorties...).

                    It's worth noting that these two Geschwadern (JG2 and JG26) were making life very difficult for the RAF in this time period...the "optomised" Spitfire variants (LF.V, (Merlin 45M powered) and early MkIX's) were still dramatically outperformed by the A-5 variant of the FW 190 below 20,000ft...

                    I don't like the Allies chances in this respect (in your scenario)...not one bit.

                    Ron
                    48 trips 'round the sun on this sh*tball we call home...and still learning...
                    __________________________________________________ __________________

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                    • #40
                      The Allies would have been swept into the sea by a German army, yet not bleed to death in Russia.
                      War is less costly than servitude

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                      • #41
                        One must remember that German attempts at counteroffensive after june 1944 were severely hampered by allied air attacks. In 1942 this would not have been the case. The allies even if they somehow managed to get a good foot hold would not be able to hold out against panzer counterattacks with a protective air umbrella. Even if the allied airforces managed to defend their landing forces from the luftwaffe, they would not be able to hamper panzer operations as successfully as they did in 1944. The allies would be beaten back within a few weeks after landing.

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                        • #42
                          The longterm outcome would be somewhat like this:

                          The allies are beaten back but they take a severe toll on the Luftwaffe,
                          The luftwaffe is decimated much quicker, and the allied bombers are far more successful in their future raids over germany.
                          The Soviets end up getting Germany and most of Western Europe. The Western allies have to be content with Italy and North Africa and maybe a few areas along Western France.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            S-Boats (E) are useless against a "real" fleet. PT Boats, MTBs, etc., including S-Boats proved virtually worthless against larger naval units duing WW 2. So, they are essentially irrelevant.

                            U-boats are going to have great difficulty operating in Quiberon Bay. If you look at a nautical chart the bulk of the bay is less than 200 feet in depth. Much of it is less than 100 feet. This means any U-boat operating there is almost surfaced even when submerged. Observation of a submerged boat from the air will almost always be possible.
                            That shallow depth means that the U-boats that try this will be very, very vulnerable to ASW systems even if they achieve an initial surprise attack.

                            The other problem for both is that their bases at St. Nazerie and Lorient are now threatened with being over run. I would think that the OKM would be far more concerned about these vessels getting to sea and out of those ports to safety, particularly those that were not fully operational, rather than focusing on trying to take on a large naval armada with a huge number of ASW vessels of all sizes surrounding it.

                            Basically, the German navy is irrelevant to this scenario. At best they are a nusiance. At worst they are completely ineffective.
                            Neither the US or UK have any measningful number of real landing ships and too few landing craft. The US landing on Guadalcanal was an over the side affair and because of the threat of enemy air attack, the heavy artillery, armor and prime movers were not unloaded at all. This included the najor warships as well as assault units. I have no reason to believe that the Luftwaffe would be less of threat to invasion in 1942 nor do the small craft need to engage fleet units but rather the transports. That seems make the small craft relevant indeed.
                            "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                            George Mason
                            Co-author of the Second Amendment
                            during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Cyberknight View Post
                              Neither the US or UK have any measningful number of real landing ships and too few landing craft. The US landing on Guadalcanal was an over the side affair and because of the threat of enemy air attack, the heavy artillery, armor and prime movers were not unloaded at all.
                              Every history I have on the shelf, or have read describes the tank battalion, the field artillery regiment, and the base defense battalion as sent ashore. That was across a unsheltered beach without docks or heavy cranes. The base defense battalion included 5" naval rifles, which I think qualified as heavy artillery. All that was during the intial attack. Later three other divisions were sent ashore there, including their field artillery regiments, prime movers. Ground support equipment for the two airfields, aircraft engines, fuel, five hundred pound bombs.

                              In the case of Guadalcannal there was far more than a threat of enemy air attack. Air raids on the beachhead were frequent and often disrupted offloading operations.

                              I dont make any claim for this reflecting on Gardners quiberon Bay enclave. Just that the USN was able to land and sustain a corps size unit with tanks trucks and artillery, plus a airbase, across a open beach & in the face of enemy air opposition.

                              I'd recomend Franks 'Guadalcannal' for a overview of the ground combat operations and the Japanese air interdiction of the beachhead.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Well I am gonna let the rest of you argue if you can even get ashore and look more at the fun stuff.

                                What the OOB for both sides at D plus 5 and Plus 10 and 20

                                It seems to me that up till D plus 30 the allies have an opportunity to break out and gain a bit of depth to there defenses to allow a mobile defense while building up there main defense nearer to the beachhead.

                                Also if this landing holds on through the winter then the Brits and American can do a secondary landing.

                                Remember we are armchair general and so we can take risk that the real general may of found unacceptable. I fairly sure that the invasion of Europe was not taken earlier is that those in charge wanted to take the low hanging fruit first and limit there risk.

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