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D-Day November 1942

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  • D-Day November 1942

    In this "What-if" I propose that the US decides to invade France in November 1942 instead of North Africa. The same fleet coming from the US is used to transport an initial landing force of 3 infantry and 1 armored divisions to France. In addition, the Commonwealth provides two infantry (one Canadian) divisions and a tank brigade out of England.
    The landing is made against the French coast at Quiberon / Quiberon bay in Brittany. The first wave ashore is the Canadian division and two of the US divisions supported by appropriate units. A simultaneous landing by a two battalion force of commandos / rangers is made to take Belle Ile off shore. The equivalent of a parachute regiment is dropped initially as well.

    The Germans have at most one or possibly two Bodenstande 2nd class divisions in the immediate area for defense. These are poor quality units that have had minimal training, have over age and marginally fit personnel in them, and are ill equipped materially. This virtually ensures the Allies get ashore with low casualties.

    Quiberon Bay gives a large sheltered anchorage in relatively shallow water making U-boat operations difficult or impossible. The town of Quiberon gives the Allies a useful, if small, initial port that is very defensible being on a nearly insular pennsula.

    The Germans are also faced with the following problems:

    The Afrika Korps is reeling in defeat from Alamein and retreating into Tunisia. At the same time, the 6th Army is surrounded (or nearly so) at Stalingrad and in desperate straights. There are just 5 panzer divisions in France all of which are undergoing reorganization (6, 7 and, 10) after heavy losses or are newly organized and in training (26 and 27).
    The Stalingrad airlift is diverting the Luftwaffe to the East.

    So, the German military in France is now faced with an invasion into the edge of Vichy France which is unoccupied. They have few useful mobile units immediately available to counter the landing and none close to it. The few units in the immediate area are virtually immobile and poorly equipped even to mount a defense. The situation in the East and North Africa call for reinforcements there too. The only ones available were in France for the most part and now facing an Allied invasion.
    The Luftwaffe is ill equipped to be of much support immediately.

    Against this the Allies land by D+21 between 9 and 11 divisions two of which are armored. They initially do not go on the offensive but instead make limited advances to secure a good beachhead. Belle Ile and other sites are selected and airfields built to accomidate fighters and later attack aircraft. Belle Ile is also used as a port facility with small craft ferrying troops and supplies across to the mainland as a secure base; the Germans have no way to take this island back at their disposal.

    The ports of St. Nazaire and Lorient are within easy striking distance of the Allies. In addition, Quiberon bay is an excellent anchorage and makes a useful amphibious base to bring supplies over the beach in calm waters.

    All the Allies have to do is maintain a credible defense for a couple of months while they build up their forces for a breakout. The Germans are really no better off than in 1944 and, the Allies face no Tigers or Panthers but rather Pz IIIs and IVs tactically.

    If Vichy France caputulates to the Allies (likely, very likely) the Germans are also going to be forced to invade and put down their assisting the Allies. This also creates a problem for the Axis in North Africa.

    I think the Allies missed a real opportunity in doing something like this historically.

  • #2
    I think they avoided sending very green troops up against the Germans who would mobilise pretty dam rapidly whilst not having any kind of air superiority or air supremacy to speak of at this moment in time.

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    • #3
      The US contemplated an invasion of France in 1942. I believe the lack of sufficiently assets to carry out the invasion prevented it from going forward. I have always maintained that the invasion of mainland Italy was a mistake. I understand that a second front was needed to relieve pressure on the Russians. I believe Southern France (after taking Sardinia) or perhaps T.A.'s plan would have been a better option. The Italian campaign was a bitterly fought contest that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Allied troops for very little gain. Would T A 's plan have been any worse?
      God Save The Republic.

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      • #4
        I dont knw if I should run for cover or charge

        Comment


        • #5
          An interesting idea.

          One thing you'll need to be concerned about is fuel. By December of 1942 for Operation Torch, "The Allied fuel supplies had reached crisis level as there were only seven thousand tons of fuel along the whole of the north west African coast between Gibraltar and Malta, this being on board the tanker Cardium based at Oran." http://www.aandc.org/research/convoy_tm1.html

          Of course the situation will not be as dire near the British islands. However, you won't have PLUTO to provide fuel to the beach head so your convoys are susceptible to interdiction by air and surface patrol boats. And of course the Battle of the Atlantic is far from won by this point, so the saga of TM-1 will be repeated.

          Your operation might turn into the European version of Guadalcanal, "Operation Shoestring +1"
          Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
            I think they avoided sending very green troops up against the Germans who would mobilise pretty dam rapidly whilst not having any kind of air superiority or air supremacy to speak of at this moment in time.
            Not only that, but the Allied air forces went to great lengths to disrupt the road and rail networks that led to Normandy with the aim of hindering German reinforcements. In this scenario there's nothing to slow the build up of German forces against the beach-heads. Not only that but there isn't much that the Allied tactical air forces could do against the forces building up. I'd see the German advantage being established on D+2 and it only increases from there.
            Signing out.

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            • #7
              "Only" 5 Panzer Divisions?!?

              I would like to know the state of readyness there, I think they could have put the equivalent of 2 actual divisions in the field, or tried to.
              The thing that worries me about this situation is what would have happened if a Kaserine Pass had happened in Orleans, instead of some African wasteland.
              I bet Churchhill was worried about that too.

              On the plus side, the timing could not have been better. Rommel and the bulk of his troops would have had to have been pulled out of Tunisia, and the SS Panzers that made Manstiens counter-stroke in early 1943 would not have been in Russia. Hmmm.... where WERE they, eh?

              Questions-
              What German units occupied Vichy that month?

              Could the French squadron at Toulon have withstood a full-force attack from the Italian Navy?

              Could all the RN carriers, if massed in the right place, have given the Allies tactical air superiority in France? (ie- enough to overwhelm the two fighter groups the Luftwaffe had in France at the time).

              Given the number of German infantry Divisions in France, how far do you think you could go by deep winter, and what then?

              What consequences are involved in NOT knocking Italy out of the war in 1943?

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, to come clean (Carl Schwamberg was already aware of the implicatons of me putting this up as a thread hence his response) I've already discussed this elsewhere in alot of detail.

                Any way you slice it, in this scenario even if the Germans manage somehow (which is highly unlikely it turns out) to push the US and British off their beachhead they lose. They lose massively...far more massively...at Stalingrad and, much sooner. They lose massively in North Africa. Even if they win in France the strategic outcome is a disaster for the Germans.
                Why? The units (ground and air) they use to fight in France were the ones that went to these other fronts to allow them to hold out longer. Without them their fronts in Russia and North Africa collapse.

                Anyway, here's one of the longer and more detailed threads on this:

                http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...?f=11&t=143090

                From pg 18 a brief discussion of gaming this out:

                Here's a short synopsis of my gaming out this scenario several times now. I assume the Allies are initially able to land without undue naval interference from the Germans. The system I used was a modified version of GDW's Avalanche game on the Salerno landings. I chose it because it contains all of the elements for doing an amphibious assault. I have only been trying out the first couple of weeks or so of the landing.
                My intent was to demonstrate that the Allies could get ashore and stay there.

                The scenario I'm using right now is an initial landing of 3 US Infantry Divisions, one Canadian and one British along with one British tank brigade.
                The Canadians land just south of Etel with the British landing just south of them.
                The US lands one regiment on the pennsula to Quiberon and the rest of that division near Carnac. A second US division lands between there and the entry to the Morbihan Gulf. The third lands on the Presqu Ile de Rhuys east of Arzon.
                Prior to the main landing the 82nd AB parachutes in one regiment just south and east between Pluvigner and Auray.
                Belle Isle is assaulted by a ranger and commando battalion along with a battalion of the 509th dropped in daylight.
                The defending Germans initally are a bit more than one regiment of the 333rd Infantry that is spread here an there in battalion and company strength.

                The same thing happens initially each time.

                The Canadians swing north and are stopped just outside Lorient by the 17th Infantry Division. The British swing inland on their flank and link up with the 82nd. They hold a line from roughly Landevant to east of Pluvigner. By late day on D+1 they are facing the 257th Infantry Division and are set for a defense.
                The US moves inland with the only real heavy fighting being pushing the Germans out of Vannes. The 333rd just does not have sufficent strength to take on a full division and stop a second one from potentially cutting their troops off in Vannes.
                The result is that by D+1 the US is holding a line from Pluvigner to just north of Vannes on a ridgeline that runs along that line and then to roughly east of Theix and south to Ambon. The remains of the 333rd is holding the line from Ambon to just east of Vannes.

                By D+3 the Allies have additionally landed 2 US infantry divisions, 2 armored divisions, one British infantry division and two British tank brigades.

                The Germans reinforce their front but the first two panzer divisions arriving starting on am D+3 immediately go into the line to hold between Pluvigner and Vannes where there is little or nothing defending. Their panzergrenadiers and Aufklarungs battalion arrive first having driven to the front. The panzers arrive about a day later (due to having to go by train).

                Some variants:

                The US tries to push out of the beachhead. I've done this with the new arrivals on D+2 and 3. The armored divisions push into France on the N767 or try to flank the 257th at Pluvigner. Either way they end up getting hit piecemeal by the German panzer divisions and torn up. Of course, this doesn't do the panzer divisions much good as they too suffer from the fighting. But, the US takes a bloody nose and has to withdraw leaving the field to the Germans.
                Another try was made to push an armored division to take St. Nazaire. This ends up badly as the 333rd falls back on the city and has the advantage of heavy woods and swampy ground in the Briere Nature Reserve. Basically its too far and too many natural obstacles to be successful.

                If the Allies stay in place their naval fire support and initial material superiority pretty much makes it one sided attrition for the Germans. The Germans simply cannot go on the attack (they are too weak) and cannot leave. So, Allied artillery and naval gunfire pound the snot out of unit after unit.

                In the air the Allies have some problems. Their naval air power is sufficent for air support and fending off bombers but it cannot take on German fighters. While this part of the system is somewhat abstract what it does show is that the Germans cannot put enough airpower into the area to really effect ground combat. They can score a few hits on ships forcing their withdrawal due to damage.
                They also cannot afford a drawn out attrition battle in the air. They may give better than they take but they cannot take alot before they don't have anything left.

                I really haven't looked at the Vichy French situation. But, if they throw in with the Allies this is only to the detriment of the Germans big time. The Germans literally don't have anything to throw into taking Vichy France. They are too busy trying to just pin the Allies in their beachhead. As Bordeaux-Merignac is a major Luftwaffe base this would have to be almost certainly abandoned to the French if they did throw in. That throws a major monkey wrench in bomber operations.

                That's a quick synopsis. I'm working on a more detailed one but it is taking some time to do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Where are the E and U Boat's?
                  "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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                  • #10
                    well even the invasion of Africa took an initial spanking, and in 42 though the Germans had had there own spanking in the skies over britain, the luft still had teeth.

                    Establishing an initial beach head would have been possible imho, but keeping those guys in bullets etc, and ferrying replacements for the dead and wounded would be very difficult,

                    I reckon this would have been a very valiant operation but ultimatly we would wind up with a mini dunkirk at best.
                    Winstons heel dug in stance against launching a second front early on in Europe was so right imho, I believe the term he used to describe what the outcome would be was "a bloody repulse", and I think this applies here.

                    I think the allies strategy of doing business on the fringes in Africa, in the air and at sea was 100 percent correct.

                    Both the Germans and Japanese in 42 had soldiers better trained and more importantly so much more battle hardened,
                    The allied troops in this adventure would be outnumbered against a superior type of soldier and running out of bullets, not a good situation.

                    by 44 the allies had reversed this situation, and thanks to the russians a great deal of Germanys best fighting men were pushing up daisies, and crucial the luft was virtually or comparitivly dead, the subs were a spent force, and Enigma was cracked, and the east was breaking.

                    To go in 42 without the above would be suicide for many if not all the men involved, im just glad it was never tried.
                    Sealion would have failed..............runs,

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This one is just to interesting to leave alone. Unfortunatly my Mac is awaiting a new power supply, so my notes are inacessable this week. But, off the top of my head..

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      "Only" 5 Panzer Divisions?!?

                      I would like to know the state of readyness there, I think they could have put the equivalent of 2 actual divisions in the field, or tried to.
                      The thing that worries me about this situation is what would have happened if a Kaserine Pass had happened in Orleans, instead of some African wasteland.
                      I bet Churchhill was worried about that too.
                      One was more or less reequipped and trained up, scheculded soon for the Eastern Front. The others, including the SS were in various states of reequipment/remanning. The Wehrmacht units had the advantage of a relatively high portion of combat veterans. The SS had few combat veterans and perhaps some leader with more political qualifications than militiary.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      On the plus side, the timing could not have been better. Rommel and the bulk of his troops would have had to have been pulled out of Tunisia, and the SS Panzers that made Manstiens counter-stroke in early 1943 would not have been in Russia. Hmmm.... where WERE they, eh?
                      In France?

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      Questions-
                      What German units occupied Vichy that month?
                      Primarily a armored and a motor infantry divsions, followed by several infantry divsions. The 19th Army? If the Germans do not occpy the Marsailles/Toulon port group there is a danger the Allies will later in the winter.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      Could the French squadron at Toulon have withstood a full-force attack from the Italian Navy?
                      The Italian navy was starting to run short of fuel, several of its capitol ships were still under repair or construction. Its small craft were effective. The torpedo boats, destroyers, submarines, and torpedo planes had hammered the British fleets that succored Malta. so initially the French will take some losses. This will ammount to propaganda film of a battleship on fire or something. Once the French fleet is concentrated in North Africa and provoided with proper air support based in Tunisia the Italians/German cant do much more than fight a rear guard action on their sea routes to Tripoli.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      Could all the RN carriers, if massed in the right place, have given the Allies tactical air superiority in France? (ie- enough to overwhelm the two fighter groups the Luftwaffe had in France at the time).
                      The winter weather would prevent sustained carrier operations. There are several airfields the Allies need to capture imeadiately one is on th shore of Quiberon Bay near Vannes. Another a bit further west. The German had maintained at least five there, plus some auxillarys.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      Given the number of German infantry Divisions in France, how far do you think you could go by deep winter, and what then?
                      All the way to Brittiany. What matters is who can supply artillery ammo, replacement infantry, and other items fastest to the battle. if the Allies imeadiatly establish Quiberon Bay as a port and/or capture Brest then they have a chance.

                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      What consequences are involved in NOT knocking Italy out of the war in 1943?
                      Italy runs food, fuel, fodder, Facist ethusiasm, flying machines, fiscal resources... By mid 1943 the economy will be near collapse. The Allies can make them a offer they cant refuse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
                        Where are the E and U Boat's?
                        HIstorically the submarines were in the Mid Atlantic where they were relatively safe from Allied air. This was the begaining of the last period of sucess, due largely to the Germans breaking the British convoy code, and to the Brits being shut out of the submarine code. If the German submarines try to close in to the coast to interdict the Allies supply ships on their final approach to Brittiany they will: A. be in range of the British based aASW aircraft. B. be in range of the numerous small ASW craft the Brits used to patrol the home waters. C. be operating in relatively shallow seas, under 100 fathom, with many shoals or banks and restricted channels. Earlier the Germans had to restrict passage of the submarines across the Bay of Biscay to either submerged or at night due to British air activity.

                        The E boats would have some notable tactical sucesses, but their stratigic effect will be in proportion to their numbers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Italy runs food, fuel, fodder, Facist ethusiasm, flying machines, fiscal resources... By mid 1943 the economy will be near collapse. The Allies can make them a offer they cant refuse.
                          Then it's fair to say that if the allies had left mainland Italy alone it would have "died on the vine". My view is there had to be a better alternative than the invasion of mainland Italy.


                          The Germans might have left a substantial force in Italy just to keep them from bolting the Axis.
                          God Save The Republic.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 2nd Rangers View Post
                            Then it's fair to say that if the allies had left mainland Italy alone it would have "died on the vine". My view is there had to be a better alternative than the invasion of mainland Italy.


                            The Germans might have left a substantial force in Italy just to keep them from bolting the Axis.
                            Invading Italy would provide some airbases for attacking Germany with heavy bombers, forces the Italian government to face reality and can remove its military, helps a pro allied faction get started. All secondary objectives that should be performed economically.

                            Whatever the Germans send to bolster the Italian Facists weakens them elsewhere.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Who is the German Commander in France at this time. Seems a lot of this battle would be serious battle of movement until both sides can get enuff troops in the area for things to settle down. I think who the German commander plays a large role just because opportunities will appear and close fairly quickly. It appears the Allies can not be dislodged with brute force without the German taking heavy casualties.


                              A prudent German Leader probably would of pulled back in Russia to free up some troops for France but then again we are talking about Hitler.

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