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D-Day November 1942

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    Except that in this what-if:

    They are much further from their home ports - turnaround time for refueling and ammunition resupply for the naval forces will be much higher
    Quiberon Bay is about 200 miles from England. The Allies bases are close by. In fact, they are closer than when the US and British navies were operating off Salerno and Anzio and, far closer than in the Pacific.

    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    The Allies will not have control of the air over the landing beaches - there will be losses
    The US would be showing up with one carrier and four large escort carriers with several hundred aircraft alone. The landing site is within fighter cover range of Britain and certainly within bomber range.
    Within days of landing the Allies could establish airfields on existing French ones and be building more that would be operational within a week or so.
    The Germans have a delimma on their hands. They have just a small number of fighters in France (about 200 max) and no bomber units. They can transfer KG 26 from Norway or some from the East Front where everything is gathering to supply 6th Army.

    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    They are within a very short distance of major U-boat bases - there will be significant losses as U-boats will be able to stand-off, fire a full salvo at night into a crowded anchorage and retire safely
    This has been discussed. There are four U-boat squadrons stationed at Lorient and St. Naziere (2 each). These would be in artillery range and the heavy duty U-boat pens don't yet exist to protect them (they are under construction). Quiberon Bay itself is relatively shallow and quite large. This means U-boats have to operate on the surface (suicide) or near the surface (virtually suicide). A submerged U-boat in shallow waters like Quiberon Bay can be seen from the air. If detected by ASW craft it is finished. A depth charging or three will finish it since it doesn't have the option of depth making attacks much simpler.
    If anything, the Germans are far more likely to withdraw their submarines quickly to safer locations rather than risk losing them in harbor or in suicidal attacks on Allied shipping in shallow water.
    Oh, I'm sure the German U-boat skippers will be thrilled to know that the US has dumped the several thousand sea mines their large minelayers like USS Terror have put up as barriers to entering the bay as well.


    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    When there are storms (which I know about living on the Atlantic coast) naval support will be lost
    This could initially have an effect on operations but, once the Allies have even a few small ports its effect on naval operations is minimal. On land, the weather effects both sides equally. If anything, the Germans have a bigger problem on land than the Allies lacking mechanized engineering equipment and motorization.
    Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 10 May 09, 14:52.

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    • #62
      And I wonder why with all the technical expertise available, this area was rejected ?

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      • #63
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        Or, by D+7 or so, the US and British now have several times that many tanks and tank destroyers ashore.
        The turn-around time for the LSTs is about 7 days ... for thickos like me you should explain the logistics of how the Allies transport all their tanks from their ships onto the shore.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Gooner View Post
          The turn-around time for the LSTs is about 7 days ... for thickos like me you should explain the logistics of how the Allies transport all their tanks from their ships onto the shore.

          The way they did it elsewhere early in the war.

          Once the beaches are taken ports like Quiberon itself, although small, will also have fallen. The tanks are either directly off loaded to a pier or they are off loaded on lighters and then moved to the pier. The Allies don't have to just move them over the beach.
          Thus, LSTs are really only absolutely needed for the first couple of days at most after which there are alternatives. Unlike Normandy where the Allies had no port available right after the landings the Quiberon scenario in 1942 gives them several small ports virtually immediately. The reason for the difference is that the German defenses are almost non-existant on the first few days of the operation.

          For the first 10 to 14 days the Germans are going to be far more busy just trying to mount a continious defensive line than doing anything about the landings themselves. And, unlike North Africa where the US landed at multiple locations over hundreds of miles of coast here they are landing over less than 20 and moving inland to take up a continious defensive line rather than the scattered pockets of resistance they had in North Africa later on.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            The way they did it elsewhere early in the war.

            Once the beaches are taken ports like Quiberon itself, although small, will also have fallen. The tanks are either directly off loaded to a pier or they are off loaded on lighters and then moved to the pier. The Allies don't have to just move them over the beach.
            Thus, LSTs are really only absolutely needed for the first couple of days at most after which there are alternatives. Unlike Normandy where the Allies had no port available right after the landings the Quiberon scenario in 1942 gives them several small ports virtually immediately. The reason for the difference is that the German defenses are almost non-existant on the first few days of the operation.
            And heaven forbid that the almost non-existant German defences might be concentrated in the vulnerable points ... like the ports and important beaches. I'm sure we can take it for granted that with traditional Wehrmacht sloppiness that they would have done nothing to prepare the facilities of these ports for demolition, would have no plan for the sinking of blockships and the like.

            For the first 10 to 14 days the Germans are going to be far more busy just trying to mount a continious defensive line than doing anything about the landings themselves.
            Just about the time it took for the Germans to start counterattacking on Sicily at Salerno and at Normandy? No, wait. That can't be right. German mobile forces were counter-attacking within hours of those landings even with complete Allied surprise.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by peteratwar View Post
              And I wonder why with all the technical expertise available, this area was rejected ?
              Strictly speaking it was not. In the Overlord plan Quiberon Bay was a important component in the logistics support for the first 4-5 months, until the super ports of Antwerp & Masallies were available. The US Army Green Book which discusses the US side of the logisitcs execution for Overlord outlines the plans for Quiberon Bay. Rear Adm Ellseberg also mentions Quiberons Bays role in his book 'The Far Shore'.

              In short the equivalent of a third artificial harbor was prepared and standing by for installation. This included floating docks, construction materials for ramps/roads/parking areas, tents and prefab shelters for dry storage, harbor craft such as tub boats, construction battalions and a port operations unit.

              It was expected the Quiberon Bay area would be secured in the last week of June & not later than early July. (Re: 'Cross Channel Attack The port was scheduled to be fully operational by mid July. When by late July the Allied armies were still confined to the Cherborg-Calvados beachhead the decision was made to redistribute the Quiberon Bay port material to Cherborg & the Mulberry harbors.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Once the beaches are taken ports like Quiberon itself, although small, will also have fallen. The tanks are either directly off loaded to a pier or they are off loaded on lighters and then moved to the pier. The Allies don't have to just move them over the beach.
                Thus, LSTs are really only absolutely needed for the first couple of days at most after which there are alternatives. Unlike Normandy where the Allies had no port available right after the landings the Quiberon scenario in 1942 gives them several small ports virtually immediately.
                How do you offload a 30t tank from a cargo ship to a pier?
                Does Quiberon have cranes with that capacity?
                How quickly can the Allies establish a bridgehead deep enough that the ports are not under fire? (c50 mile perimeter?)
                What is the capacity of Quiberon - can it cope with the maintenance level of c7000t+ /day through winter storms?

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                  The US would be showing up with one carrier and four large escort carriers with several hundred aircraft alone. The landing site is within fighter cover range of Britain and certainly within bomber range.
                  Within days of landing the Allies could establish airfields on existing French ones and be building more that would be operational within a week or so.
                  The Germans have a delimma on their hands. They have just a small number of fighters in France (about 200 max) and no bomber units. They can transfer KG 26 from Norway or some from the East Front where everything is gathering to supply 6th Army.



                  This has been discussed. There are four U-boat squadrons stationed at Lorient and St. Naziere (2 each). These would be in artillery range and the heavy duty U-boat pens don't yet exist to protect them (they are under construction). Quiberon Bay itself is relatively shallow and quite large. This means U-boats have to operate on the surface (suicide) or near the surface (virtually suicide). A submerged U-boat in shallow waters like Quiberon Bay can be seen from the air. If detected by ASW craft it is finished. A depth charging or three will finish it since it doesn't have the option of depth making attacks much simpler.
                  If anything, the Germans are far more likely to withdraw their submarines quickly to safer locations rather than risk losing them in harbor or in suicidal attacks on Allied shipping in shallow water.
                  Oh, I'm sure the German U-boat skippers will be thrilled to know that the US has dumped the several thousand sea mines their large minelayers like USS Terror have put up as barriers to entering the bay as well.




                  This could initially have an effect on operations but, once the Allies have even a few small ports its effect on naval operations is minimal. On land, the weather effects both sides equally. If anything, the Germans have a bigger problem on land than the Allies lacking mechanized engineering equipment and motorization.
                  To reiterate:

                  Aircover
                  Brittany was rejected for Overlord in part because it would be outside fighter range from the UK - how many fighters are available with sensible loiter times over the bridgehead?
                  Don't forget that Torch air support came from Gibraltar as well as aircraft carriers
                  How big a bridgehead do you need to get airfields out of artillery range?
                  How quickly can the Germans re-deploy airforces esp Sciliy based ones?

                  Submarines
                  On the surface at NIGHT or in bad weather submarines are difficult to find and they retire to home ports during the day
                  The logistic needs of the bridgehead gives the submarines a target rich environment and they can easily co-ordinate simultaneous attacks
                  Mines will be more of a problem for the Allies - they will not stay where you laid them in Atlantic storms

                  Weather
                  You will have limited daylight landing in November which will restrict unloading hours for logistic operations - unless you want to floodlight the docks?
                  You WILL have storms which will shut down the beaches AND the small ports.



                  The issue for this What-if is not whether the Allies can land - Dieppe showed that it was possible, but whether they can make it stick through the winter. This means a build-up of forces faster than the Germans can re-deploy by land and the ability to guarantee supply to the bridgehead.

                  If the target of the landing was a major port then it becomes initially more challenging but more sustainable longer term.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    And heaven forbid that the almost non-existant German defences might be concentrated in the vulnerable points ... like the ports and important beaches. I'm sure we can take it for granted that with traditional Wehrmacht sloppiness that they would have done nothing to prepare the facilities of these ports for demolition, would have no plan for the sinking of blockships and the like.
                    Details of the German plans would be usefull to this discussion. You seem to know something about this. Share the wealth & provide more information, & sources we might study.

                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    Just about the time it took for the Germans to start counterattacking on Sicily at Salerno and at Normandy? No, wait. That can't be right. German mobile forces were counter-attacking within hours of those landings even with complete Allied surprise.
                    And, why did those attacks fail? Not just the intial attacks but the others made in subsequent days? The usual remarks about allied air power or naval gunfire are not entirely invalid, tho cliche. However there were other important reasons. Understanding those is required for a balanced and usefull evaluation of the tactical considerations for this hypothetical battle.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      To reiterate:

                      Aircover
                      Brittany was rejected for Overlord in part because it would be outside fighter range from the UK -
                      This is absurd. Allied fighter planes were roving all across France & Belgium & the P51 flew escourt over Germany. Surely you dont mean what you wrote here?

                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      Don't forget that Torch air support came from Gibraltar as well as aircraft carriers
                      Exactly one Allied landing area, Mehdia, was within fighter range of Gibraltar. 125 miles. None of the other primary landing areas were remotly within 'fighter range' or Gibraltar.

                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      How big a bridgehead do you need to get airfields out of artillery range?
                      From Ian Hoggs 'German Artillery of WWII'...

                      Technically the field artillery of the German divsion (10.5 cm FH18) had a maximum range of 10.6 km. The temperatures of November would reduce that a few hundred meters. The other common cannon would be the 15cm FH18 with a max range of 13 km. Hoever the two highest charges damaged the rifling & their use was restricted to emergencies and authorized by the divsion artillery commander. How avaialbe the high charges 7 & 8 were I cant say. With the 6th charge a range of 10 km was practical. The 15cm FH18 was not part of the tank or motorized rifle divsions of the German army. many of the infantry divsions lacked it as well. ,many of the German divsions in France were outfited with French cannon. These were mostly the old French 75mm gun with a 9 km range.

                      There were a variety of 15 & 20 cm guns and howitzers in the German corps artillery park. Most of the German cannon were in the East or the Meditterainian with French cannon subsituting in many battalions stationed in France. Ranges varied from 10 to 30km. Typically the German corps artillery averaged between one and two battalions per division in the corps, which was one half to one third that of the US or British corps artillery group in 1942. Mobility was restricted with most of this corps artilliery in France horse drawn.

                      Effective fires on a airfield would depend on clear observation. Beyond 3 km that requires a fairly high hill & clear weather (I'm speaking from personal experince here). Much beyond 6-7 km & effective observation of fires will cease. In that case the Germans will need a specialized observation unit or spotting aircraft, and good weather.

                      Note that at Salerno, Anzio, and Normandy the British operated airfields within range of the German corps artillery.


                      Originally posted by Aber View Post
                      How quickly can the Germans re-deploy airforces esp Sciliy based ones?
                      Depends on if the Vichy government is hostile to Germany cooperates. In the latter case the French airfields can be used for refueling. Otherwise the German aircraft have to refuel in Northern Italy and fly over Vichy France. At least until combat units can be spared to secure the necessary airfields.

                      The ground support would have to be moved by railroad. That would take several weeks to move enough to matter. But if the Vichy government is hostile then the ground echelon must move via Austria & thence west to France. Of course the training units in Germany can be stripped to provide aircraft squadrons and ground support. This was done with increasing frequency during the war, & is exactly what the Allies could hope for.

                      Of course evacuating the German air groups from the Med leaves the Italians a bit abandoned. If the Vichy government is hostile to Germany then the Italians will be alone opposing French & Allied aircraft deploying into Tunisia & thence contesting the sea routes adjacent to Sicilly and to Tripoli. Both were stratigic and operational objectives of the British and withdrawing the German air groups from Italy leaves them ready to be taken.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Aber View Post
                        How do you offload a 30t tank from a cargo ship to a pier?
                        You load the tanks on ships with booms (cranes) of the required capacity. Liberty ships came with a minimum boom capacity of five tons. Ten, fifteen, thirty and fifty ton booms were installed as required. Liberty ships were not the only option for tank transport. Other larger capacity cargo ships were used.

                        Originally posted by Aber View Post
                        Does Quiberon have cranes with that capacity?
                        Quiberon Bay is a sheltered anchorage not a active port. Four small ports with docks lie either in or adjacent to Quiberon Bay. It was routinely used by the French navy and cargo fleet as a place to shelter from storms. It had not been used as a place of refit since the advent of iron hulled ships. The attraction of this Bay is its enourmous capacity. Nearly 200 cargo ships were expected to be anchored simultaneously there in 1944. The logistics planners identified 3000 feet of hard sand beach with favorable gradients. Half the bay has a railroad track adjacent to it and paved roads were adjacent to all the likely discharge points. Source: US Army in WWII. European Theatre of Operations. Logistical Support of the Armys)

                        Originally posted by Aber View Post
                        How quickly can the Allies establish a bridgehead deep enough that the ports are not under fire? (c50 mile perimeter?)
                        Does it matter? The beachheads on Sicilly, Salerno, Anzio, & Normandy were within range of German heavy artillery. Less than 20km for many days & often weeks. Even at Anzio the German artillery was unable to interdict the Allied supply flow to a critical level over four monhts.

                        Originally posted by Aber View Post
                        What is the capacity of Quiberon - can it cope with the maintenance level of c7000t+ /day through winter storms?
                        Not being a port with peacetime figures that can not be answered directly. The 1944 plans for using Quiberon Bay as a port (Operation Chasity) projected a initial capacity of 10,000 tons per day. Later after a portion of the material and manpower designated for Op Chasity had been redirected to the Normandy discharge points a estimate of 6000 tons per day for Quiberion Bay was made were it opened in August. Comparison with other cargo discharge points produces fuzzy numbers. For example Cherbourg was expected to handle 5000 tons per day after restoration. In actuallity some 15,000 tons per day cleared its docks and beach ramps in August & the staff of the port operations unit suggested they could reach 20,000 tons per day. Similar differences between planned and actual cargo discharge in the other Normandy ports occured. (Source: US Army in WWII. European Theatre of Operations. Logistical Support of the Armys)

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          Details of the German plans would be usefull to this discussion. You seem to know something about this. Share the wealth & provide more information, & sources we might study.
                          I know about Britains own preparations to resist invasion and how rapidly measures were implemented. I don't believe the Germans were dummies so I think you're better off assuming that the good beaches with road exits will be defended, that all useful ports and harbours will be strongly held with the view of being held to the last and that all port facilities will be prepared for demolition.

                          And, why did those attacks fail? Not just the intial attacks but the others made in subsequent days? The usual remarks about allied air power or naval gunfire are not entirely invalid, tho cliche. However there were other important reasons. Understanding those is required for a balanced and usefull evaluation of the tactical considerations for this hypothetical battle.
                          Not mentioning air power or NGFS; counter-attacks in Sicily failed because the Allies got a lot more troops and firepower ashore early than they managed for Torch, and, of course, the difficulties the Germans had of rushing reinforcements there.
                          At Salerno counter-attacks failed owing to the presence of another Allied army coming up from the south.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Aber View Post
                            How quickly can the Germans re-deploy airforces esp Sciliy based ones?
                            In days, as a response to the convoys carrying Torch the Luftwaffe transferred several bomber wings from northern Norway to Sicily and Italy a process which took them between five and seven days.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                              This is absurd. Allied fighter planes were roving all across France & Belgium & the P51 flew escourt over Germany.
                              The main fighter in Nov 42 for both the RAF and USAAF in the European theater was the Spitfire.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

                                Quiberon Bay is a sheltered anchorage not a active port. Four small ports with docks lie either in or adjacent to Quiberon Bay. It was routinely used by the French navy and cargo fleet as a place to shelter from storms. It had not been used as a place of refit since the advent of iron hulled ships. The attraction of this Bay is its enourmous capacity. Nearly 200 cargo ships were expected to be anchored simultaneously there in 1944. The logistics planners identified 3000 feet of hard sand beach with favorable gradients. Half the bay has a railroad track adjacent to it and paved roads were adjacent to all the likely discharge points. Source: US Army in WWII. European Theatre of Operations. Logistical Support of the Armys)

                                Not being a port with peacetime figures that can not be answered directly. The 1944 plans for using Quiberon Bay as a port (Operation Chasity) projected a initial capacity of 10,000 tons per day. Later after a portion of the material and manpower designated for Op Chasity had been redirected to the Normandy discharge points a estimate of 6000 tons per day for Quiberion Bay was made were it opened in August. Comparison with other cargo discharge points produces fuzzy numbers. For example Cherbourg was expected to handle 5000 tons per day after restoration. In actuallity some 15,000 tons per day cleared its docks and beach ramps in August & the staff of the port operations unit suggested they could reach 20,000 tons per day. Similar differences between planned and actual cargo discharge in the other Normandy ports occured. (Source: US Army in WWII. European Theatre of Operations. Logistical Support of the Armys)

                                I have no problem with the concept of using Quiberon Bay as a beach landing area in the summer BUT landing in November and using it as the main supply route for a bridegehead through a North Atlantic winter I find incredible.

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