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Soviet/Russian Myths of the Great Patriotic War 1-The Second Front

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  • #16
    Andrey,

    Just a gentle reminder that the UK and her Commonwealth was fighting the nazis (Your good mates - remember) for almost TWO YEARS before you were invaded.

    Remember also that in those 2 years you were sending train loads of war goods that your good mates used against the ONLY ones still fighting. So getting all self righteous about who did what in WW2 cuts no ice with me.

    You lot had a great time carving up Poland in those 2 years, and your partners in crime had no worries about the eastern front then, lots of good stuff came over the border to assist the barbarians.

    You just backed the wrong horse.




    John.
    Last edited by ozjohn39; 02 Apr 10, 01:55.
    The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
      Andrey,

      Just a gentle reminder that the UK and her Commonwealth was fighting the nazis (Your good mates - remember) for almost TWO YEARS before you were invaded.

      Remember also that in those 2 years you were sending train loads of war goods that your good mates used against the ONLY ones still fighting. So getting all self righteous about who did what in WW2 cuts no ice with me.

      You lot had a great time carving up Poland in those 2 years, and your partners in crime had no worries about the eastern front then, lots of good stuff came over the border to assist the barbarians.

      You just backed the wrong horse.




      John.
      We are shifting to Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact history...

      Specially for - I think you were not informed about it in Western books.

      The USSR signed Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact because its attempts to make an anti-hitler coalition failed due the leaders of France and Britain. Stalin didn't want to fight against Hilter alone (such thing was very possible in the case of German-Polish War). Morever, right in that time Soviet-Japanese Military Conflict in Khalkhin-Gol (Nomongan) was. It wasn't known in August 1939 what would be the result of it. So the USSR had reasons to worry about the war on 2 fronts - against Germany and Japan. And it was real threat. So France and Britain should thank Daladie and Chamberlein for the fact that the USSR signed Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler.

      For the USSR the 2 years delay was very useful - T-34, IL-2, KV, MIG-3, LaGG-3 - these new weapon types began to be produced in 1939-41.

      Th events of "strange war" 1939-40 also showed that France and Britain should thank Daladie and Chamberlein for the following collapse of France and hard time for Britain. Their own policy let for Hiltel to prepare for actions in the West and to get a large victory in France.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Andrey View Post
        Trueman's words (Vice-President of the USA!!!!) of 1941 are well-known also: "We should see who [Germans or the USSR] will be winning and we should support the country who will be losing. Their struggle is favorable to us." Something like this.

        Thurman wasn’t vice president until November 1944 (really January 1945) before that he was just another congressman.
        Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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        • #19
          There have been several studies done of a possible 'early second front' by western historians. First one I remember reading years ago was Walter Dunn's "Second Front Now!" which argued that a landing in France was possible in 1943. He came to that conclusion by analysis of the German and British/US forces available to make and oppose such an invasion, and his conclusion was that the German forces in France were weak enough, and the Western Allies strong enough, that they could have gotten ashore and held a major beach head.
          What makes the argument less and less convincing is the detailed accounts since then of the US and British Armies' fighting ability in 1942-43, which was, frankly, not great. The US Army was basically learning on the job, and if its performance in Italy in 1943 or North Africa in 1942 was any indication, translating that performance to France in 1943 would have resulted in a major military disaster for the Allies.
          And that, no matter how many German troops it temporarily withdrew from the Eastern Front, would have been a major disaster for the Soviet Union. Remember, that while Germany was the major and practically the only opponent for the USSR, Germany was basically an opponent of convenience for the USA. We didn't declare war on Germany, Germany declared war on us, and the major emotional opponent of the USA was Japan, that had (like in Barbarossa for the USSR) attacked us without warning and without mercy. Given a major setback in Europe, any American government would have faced huge political pressure at home to ignore Europe, turn all the immense resources of the United States against the 'real' hated enemy, and then turn back to Europe after Japan is finished (read: annihilated).
          A botched second front could mean Lend Lease slows to a trickle - because all the cargo capacity is in the Pacific, supporting more amphibious assaults there. It means an air offensive curtailed, and that means more German antitank guns and artillery of all kinds on the Eastern Front (because after 1942 50% of German artillery production went to antiaircraft pieces to defend the Fatherland against the Allied air offensive).
          On the other hand, the price the Soviets paid in blood blinds them to the real contributions they got from the west long before June 1944. At Stalingrad the Germans lost 3 panzer divisions (14th, 16th, and 24th, I believe) . In Tunisia the Germans lost 3 panzer divisions (10th, 15th, and 21st). By the end of 1942, fully 1/3 of the German Luftwaffe was in the west or Mediterranean theaters - not in Russia. The Germans kept over 1,000,000 men and a large force of organized infantry formations (infantry divisions, fortress units, 'static' divisions, etc) in the west from early 1942 on - not great assault units, by any means, but a lot of manpower that was not in Russia.
          When you argue that the westerners could have done more and sooner, remember that they could also have done a lot less, and in the short run, at least, doing less would not have made any difference to them at all. Germany still did not have the means to invade Britain, and except for U-Boats, couldn't even threaten the USA. From the standpoint of pure self-interest, Britain is equally well-served by letting the USSR bleed itself and Germany to death while the British maintain their hold on North Africa, the Middle East, India, and the British Isles. In the USA, remember that a great percentage of the population didn't think we had any business fighting in Europe at all - not our war, not our problem. I don't agree with them, but that was a real feeling at the time, and following it would have left the USSR further out on a limb than Stalin's diplomacy had already put them in June, 1941.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by joea View Post
            The first subject is the Second Front, something Stalin had been begging for since the June 1941. Something that finally happened in June 1944 three years later. Now we know, or should, that the greatest proportion of German casualties occurred on this front. Certainly the back of the Heer was broken here, and a significant proportion of the Luftwaffe was degraded as well.
            Originally posted by Andrey
            I see a few very disputable statements..



            the greatest proportion???? Do you speak about Westerb Front in France-Germany in 1944-45?



            Is it about Western Front in France-Germany in 1944-45????
            NOOOO!!!!! It was my stupidity in not reading back what I wrote, I meant Soviet-German (eastern front in popular western terms) , I think you are aware I know that.

            I'll edit the original post to remove the ambiguity.

            Edit: Can't edit the original post darn it.
            Last edited by joea; 02 Apr 10, 04:23.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by tsar View Post
              Thurman wasn’t vice president until November 1944 (really January 1945) before that he was just another congressman.
              The congressman who would be a vice-president a few years later and a president one more year later cann't be called "just another congressman"
              Last edited by Andrey; 02 Apr 10, 03:52.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Sharposhnikov View Post
                There have been several studies done of a possible 'early second front' by western historians. First one I remember reading years ago was Walter Dunn's "Second Front Now!" which argued that a landing in France was possible in 1943. He came to that conclusion by analysis of the German and British/US forces available to make and oppose such an invasion, and his conclusion was that the German forces in France were weak enough, and the Western Allies strong enough, that they could have gotten ashore and held a major beach head.
                What makes the argument less and less convincing is the detailed accounts since then of the US and British Armies' fighting ability in 1942-43, which was, frankly, not great. The US Army was basically learning on the job, and if its performance in Italy in 1943 or North Africa in 1942 was any indication, translating that performance to France in 1943 would have resulted in a major military disaster for the Allies.
                I have read about battle in Tunisia. The Germans fought much better but no military disaster for Allies happened.

                And that, no matter how many German troops it temporarily withdrew from the Eastern Front, would have been a major disaster for the Soviet Union.
                ????

                There were major turning points which were decisive to the question who will win WWII. Battle for Moscow, Battle for Stalingrad, Batte for the Caucasus, Battle for Kursk.

                Any temporaly withdrew of Germanbest units in such battles could be decisive for the fate of war.

                War against Yugoslavia and Greece (a month delay in Barbarossa) probably was one of the decisive turning points which didn't let for germsny to win the war.

                Remember, that while Germany was the major and practically the only opponent for the USSR, Germany was basically an opponent of convenience for the USA. We didn't declare war on Germany, Germany declared war on us, and the major emotional opponent of the USA was Japan, that had (like in Barbarossa for the USSR) attacked us without warning and without mercy. Given a major setback in Europe, any American government would have faced huge political pressure at home to ignore Europe, turn all the immense resources of the United States against the 'real' hated enemy, and then turn back to Europe after Japan is finished (read: annihilated).

                A botched second front could mean Lend Lease slows to a trickle - because all the cargo capacity is in the Pacific, supporting more amphibious assaults there. It means an air offensive curtailed, and that means more German antitank guns and artillery of all kinds on the Eastern Front (because after 1942 50% of German artillery production went to antiaircraft pieces to defend the Fatherland against the Allied air offensive).
                On the other hand, the price the Soviets paid in blood blinds them to the real contributions they got from the west long before June 1944. At Stalingrad the Germans lost 3 panzer divisions (14th, 16th, and 24th, I believe) . In Tunisia the Germans lost 3 panzer divisions (10th, 15th, and 21st). By the end of 1942, fully 1/3 of the German Luftwaffe was in the west or Mediterranean theaters - not in Russia. The Germans kept over 1,000,000 men and a large force of organized infantry formations (infantry divisions, fortress units, 'static' divisions, etc) in the west from early 1942 on - not great assault units, by any means, but a lot of manpower that was not in Russia.
                When you argue that the westerners could have done more and sooner, remember that they could also have done a lot less, and in the short run, at least, doing less would not have made any difference to them at all. Germany still did not have the means to invade Britain, and except for U-Boats, couldn't even threaten the USA.
                1. So what? The public opinion is the result of propaganda efforts. If US government wanted the public opinion supported the idea "Germany first".

                Any competent person understood that Japanese industriasl capacity couldn't let it to fight a long war against the USA. In the same time, German industrial might united with the industrial might of the enslaved Europe was really very serious thing.

                The military disaster of the USSR could be a military disaster for the USA because American-British combined forces wpuld never been able to liberate Europe in condition of collapse of the USSR. They were able to fight only against secondary German forces while the main German forces fought in the Eastern Front. Imagine that the war in Russia had finished successfully for Germany, it had got the resources of former USSR and its forces operating in Russia would become released for operations against Britain and the US. Imagine?

                2. Germans had to had many troops in Europe as oocupation forces in any case. Tunisia, Sicily, Italy... It was not a Second Front, it was a Third Front.

                3. In the conditions of the collapse of the USSR to achieve the US territory was only question of time. Jet planes, missiles - the Germans would build it earlier or later. New submarines...

                From the standpoint of pure self-interest, Britain is equally well-served by letting the USSR bleed itself and Germany to death while the British maintain their hold on North Africa, the Middle East, India, and the British Isles. In the USA, remember that a great percentage of the population didn't think we had any business fighting in Europe at all - not our war, not our problem. I don't agree with them, but that was a real feeling at the time, and following it would have left the USSR further out on a limb than Stalin's diplomacy had already put them in June, 1941.
                ?????

                It looks like you speak about a few countries who had only a common enemy but had not any allied obligation to each other.

                There is the term of "Allied Duty". Stalin called it "Soyuznicheskii Dolg".

                When the USSR attacked Japan right 3 months after the end of the war in Europe he said "The USSR, faithful to its Allied Duty, attacked Japan according previous agreements with our Allies...."

                If a few countries declare thay are Allies now they should operate as Allies. To be an Ally doesn't mean only to declare it, it means to help your Ally.

                All talkings which you wrote are not in Russian style. What you said is a talking of a businessman.
                Last edited by Andrey; 02 Apr 10, 04:41.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Well we have several questions to answer:

                  Could the Allies have created a second ground front in Europe earlier than they did?
                  If yes:
                  Was France the best option?
                  What was the chance of success and the consequences of failure?

                  I recall ShAA posting a Soviet cartoon that alluded to the discussion between the US and the UK about a Secont Front with the American pushing for a cross channel attack in 1942 and the British against it.

                  If no:
                  What military and geopolitical reasons were against it? For example Sharposhnikov brought up domestic American politics as important considerations and anti-Soviet attitudes were not included.

                  What more could have been done than was done historically to help the Soviets in place of a major ground invasion?

                  How can one prove or not that anti-Soviet attitudes were behind the strategy of the Western Allies? In larger terms how much did considerations for the post-war situation affect military operations? (I suspect it depends on which year.)

                  I thank Andrey for providing his input and would like other Russian posters to join the discussion.

                  I still have not found out how Russian and previously Soviet historians treat the question. Do they appreciate the difficulties that the WA faced in creating a successful second front, especially for the US creating armed forces from scratch and fighting two enemies at a time (even with priority given to Germany) and that what they did do helped to an extent? What proof (not just statements by Truman who became president very late and as vice-president had little role in making decisions) do they provide for "letting the Reds bleed" as a reason for delaying the second front?

                  For the western side, we know the Soviet contribution has been undervalued, but what consideration has been given to doing more than what was done. Many have argued for a 1943 landing for example.
                  Certainly for the Cold War it is clear than decisions taken in 1945 by both sides based on ideology and mistrust helped create the conflict but that is beyond the scope of this thread.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                    The congressman who would be a vice-president a few years later and a president one more year later cann't be called "just another congressman"
                    Actually he can be. FDR picked 3 different men to be his vice president during his 4 terms. While it could be argued that FDR knew that he wouldn’t live much longer we he won his 4th term he certainly didn’t bring Thurman into the information loop. Harry had to spend weeks read over the correspondence between FDR and Churchill and Stalin to find out what had already been agreed to. He also had no idea of the existence of the Manhattan project even though he served on a committee that tracked expenditures during the war.

                    Hardly a man in a position to set policy before taking over the riens.
                    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                      Any competent person understood that Japanese industrial capacity couldn't let it to fight a long war against the USA. In the same time, German industrial might united with the industrial might of the enslaved Europe was really very serious thing.
                      Really? Because at the end of the war the U.S. had an industrial capacity that equaled the rest of the world combined (give or take a little). So Germany even with anything that they would have gotten from you would not have been that much of a threat to us.

                      Case in point, the A-bomb. Of all the countries involved in the war only the U.S. had the extra capacity to devote to development and production of not 1 but 3 devices. As well as the only country to develop a plane capable of carrying it. Now consider that we did that while building the largest navy in the world as well as the largest air force and supplying a war on 2 fronts across 2 oceans and still turning out enough consumer goods that the population of the U.S. exited the war richer then when it entered it.

                      Germany never had a chance no matter now much production they looted from their conquered countries.
                      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                        If you read '1943: The Victory That Never Was' by John Grigg you might think differently. I didn't find his arguments particularly compelling, or even well structured at times, but he makes an interesting case nonetheless.
                        Originally posted by OzJohn View Post
                        "I didn't find his arguments particularly compelling, or even well structured at times,"

                        Then why should I think differently?
                        Grigg's book is priamrily a discussion or analysis of the decision at the 'Symbol' (Casablanca) confrence of January 1943. He delves into what the various leaders and key staff were thinking or wrote and tries to tease out their motivations. Only his last chapter discusses the pros and cons for an attack itself

                        Dunns goes a bit further into the mechanics of a attack. Unfotunatly I have barely skimmed the book. Critics claim Dunns research & numbers for ships, landing craft, and other items is poor and error ridden. I cant judge that. Discussion of a 1942 invasion is thinner, a few magazine artical size essays are all I have seen.

                        Originally posted by OzJohn View Post
                        It would take a compelling argument to convince me that in mid 1943 the Allies could have done a 'Normandy'.

                        It took a year or more of preparation to get it done in 1944 as it was, and most of 1942 was simply getting up to speed for the trials ahead.

                        The UK/USA did what was possible, and the air war and Lend Lease was just about it.
                        The British General Morgan who was Chief of Staff of to the Supreme Allied Commander (Designate) (COSSAC) from the Spring of 1943 agreed with your analysis. His Roundup plan for invading Europe proposed using the forces actually available in the UK to seize a few ports and establish a enclave . Nothing on the scale of Overlord was contained in those plans. The object was to establish a starting point for a campaign that would escalate as additional Allied forces became available through 1943. This was similar in objective to the Sledgehammer plans the British (1st Army?) prepared in 1942. The object was simply to seize a port, & then expand latter as reinforcements became avaialble.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          Well we have several questions to answer:

                          Could the Allies have created a second ground front in Europe earlier than they did?
                          My take is a qualified yes. I suspect a enclave could have been established and held along the French coast, most likely in Normandy. But, nothing on the scale of Overlord in 1942 or 1943.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          If yes:
                          Was France the best option?
                          Over the long haul yes. That is the most direct and easiest (geographicaly) route to Germanys industrial heart.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          What was the chance of success and the consequences of failure?
                          Sucess or failure depends on who is commanding, both the army and the corps. Judging on their track record Generals like Anderson or Fredenhall would be poor choices. Monty would be better. Ditto for Patton.

                          Failure consequences would depend on the circumstances. The Allied effort to seize Tunisia overland was defeated in 1942, and there were setbacks in the winter of 1943. But, the principle leaders survived the series of failures and the effort was not abandoned. The Allied forces were rebuilt and reinforced and a new effort was made in the Spring of 1943.

                          Similarly the British did not flee Egypt when repeatedly defeated in the Western Desert in 1941-42. They recovered and attacked again. In the case of attacking cross Channel there are additional diffculties, but assuming the will is still there another round should be sucessfull.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          I recall ShAA posting a Soviet cartoon that alluded to the discussion between the US and the UK about a Secont Front with the American pushing for a cross channel attack in 1942 and the British against it.
                          The British did have some army HQ or other write up several plans for Sledgehammer in 1942. The loss of ethusiasm for this seems to coinside with the accendency of Brooke to Chief or Staff & the departure of Mountbatten to India.

                          US assumption from as early as 1941 was a effort would be made to seize some French ports in 1942. Marshall argued adamantly for a 1942 attack, and a 1943 attack. In both cases he had to drop the issue when Roosevelt decided for the British proposals. ie Torch & the attacks on Italy in 1943

                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          If no:
                          What military and geopolitical reasons were against it? For example Sharposhnikov brought up domestic American politics as important considerations and anti-Soviet attitudes were not included.
                          I'm not yet clear on why Roosevelt went with the British arguments, or if he had other reasons.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post

                          What more could have been done than was done historically to help the Soviets in place of a major ground invasion?
                          Send a army to the USSR? I am not joking. In 1941 the US Army laid out plans for establishing a logistics infrastructure in the Persian Gulf that could support a estimated Army Group. Part of this 'plan' was completed for supporting the Lend Lease to the USSR via Persia. Sending a couple US Army corps totaling 80,000 to 100,000 men to the Caucasus in late 1942 was theoretically possible. Not very effcient, but...

                          Then there was Churchills idea of attacking in the Balkans. Lots of problems there, but if the Allies captured sucessively Crete, Athens, and Thesseloniki there Germans would begain to worry about the Rumanian oil.

                          A Norwegian adventure was another option never followed up on.

                          Another could be a 1943 attack to capture Marsallies/Toulon rather than attacking Italy. That area was poorly defended by the Germans in 1943, and capturing the superport of Marsallies resolves all sorts of logisitcs questions for the Allies into 1944. This looks like the most efficient of those I have mentioned here.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post
                          How can one prove or not that anti-Soviet attitudes were behind the strategy of the Western Allies? In larger terms how much did considerations for the post-war situation affect military operations? (I suspect it depends on which year.)
                          Clams can be made for this in the case of the British. Proving it is more dificult. More so with the US. When picking over the thinking by the Allied leaders in 1942-43 one gets a feeling they sincerly thought the Germans much stronger than they really were.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post

                          I thank Andrey for providing his input and would like other Russian posters to join the discussion.

                          I still have not found out how Russian and previously Soviet historians treat the question. Do they appreciate the difficulties that the WA faced in creating a successful second front, especially for the US creating armed forces from scratch and fighting two enemies at a time (even with priority given to Germany) and that what they did do helped to an extent? What proof (not just statements by Truman who became president very late and as vice-president had little role in making decisions) do they provide for "letting the Reds bleed" as a reason for delaying the second front?
                          All I can recall are some summaries of Soviet military teaching from the 1960s or 1970s. That is schoolroom items of the sort taught to candidates for senior ranks. Staff and Command College material. The small bits I recall described the US stratigic effort in the South Pacific as 'fumbling' and wasted or indecisive. Obviously whoever wrote that was no fan of MacAurthur.

                          Originally posted by joea View Post

                          For the western side, we know the Soviet contribution has been undervalued, but what consideration has been given to doing more than what was done. Many have argued for a 1943 landing for example.
                          Certainly for the Cold War it is clear than decisions taken in 1945 by both sides based on ideology and mistrust helped create the conflict but that is beyond the scope of this thread.
                          Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 02 Apr 10, 19:15.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Pilsudski View Post
                            Well in 1943, the Allies still hadn't fully defeated the U-Boat threat yet, so exactly how could the Allies build up for an invasion of France?
                            Probably the same way they built up for the invasion of Africa?

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                              The congressman who would be a vice-president a few years later and a president one more year later cann't be called "just another congressman"
                              My friend, you have a great deal to learn about US politics.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Barbarossa View Post
                                Probably the same way they built up for the invasion of Africa?
                                Or the US Air Forces in the UK that proceeded the arrival of the ground forces by a year, or the material for supporting the projected ground forces in the UK. But thank you for that lead.

                                In 1942 the Germans with all methods, submarine, surface ships, and aircraft sank 10% of the cargo embarked for Britain. In 1943 that fell off to something less than 7% (from Ellis 'Brute Force') There was a lot of concern amoung the Allied leaders that the high losses of 1942 might continue, particularly in numbers of ship sunk but that situation was resolved before it would have become a war looser in late 1943 or 1944.

                                Getting back to Torch and the Mediterrainian campaign. There are arguments that the changes in shipping allocations and schedules required to expand the Mediterrainian front caused more reduction of cargo delivered to the UK in 1943 than ships sunk.

                                A final point is Allied armies establishing a enclave in France places the submarine bases much closer to Allied air interdiction. Donetiz had to order the submarines to waste significant transit time across the Bay of Biscay submerged, because of air interdiction from the UK. That problem will be greatly aggravated with airfields now half the distance from the most important submarine and air reconissance bases.

                                If the Allies manage to cut off or capture Brittiany then the German submarine fleet loses its most important ports and air recon bases. If that does not happen for six or eight months Brest, St Malo, St Naziarre,
                                L Orient, are still under the Allied fighter coverage of Normandy bases and a hour or less from a bomber strike.

                                One other point here. By October 1942 there were a minimum of ten trained & equipped British divisions in the UK and three US divisions. Another US div. was enroute and a fifth occupying Iceland. Four more US divisions awaited embarkation in the US for Torch. So without any additional 'buildup' across the Atlantic the Allied have fourteen divisions at hand and four more that were able to cross anyway. Plus the aircraft and supplies that were delivered to sustain the Torch follow up and later Huskey, Baytown, Brimstone, Avalanche... The Allies were able to deliver enough material across the Atlanitc to keep a army group fighting in the Mediterrainian for a year, despite the German submarines. Why not the same if that Allied army group is located on the French coast?

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