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About KingSargent

  • Birthday 04/20/1946

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  1. Exactly true. That's what Anderson did - sit in his HQ (I don't know what it was) moving units around on maps without noticing the scale on the mapsheet -- which made it look on the map like there was a continuous line when all there was individual bns scattered all over the place. In Fredendahl's case he was ordered to sit tight and command authority was taken over by 1st Army. Yet legend has made him the fall guy for faulty dispositions made by somebody else who never visited the front either. What I find really scary is that Anderson was considered for the OVERLORD command position that Monty got.
  2. Another thing to remember is that when the German Paras were sent to Crete, there was really no active war in North Africa so importance of Malta to Axis supply chains was not evident. OK, O'Connor was kicling ass with COMPASS, but that wasn't due to Italian supply weaknesses, they had so much that the Italian supplies supported the British Army in the Western Desert. Hitler didn't care about controlling the Med, his imagination stopped in Europe. His whole Balkan operation was not to "bail out Mussolini," it was to prevent the British from getting a toe-hold in SE Europe, especially a toehold that threatened his main source of oil. Taking Crete was not a prelude to offensives in the Eastern Med, it was a defensive measure to deprive the British of bomber bases within easy range of the Romanian oil fields. Even when Rommel was sent to Africa, his 5th Light division was intended as a roadblock, not a spearhead. Consider 5th Light's TOE: 2 tank bns, 2 AT bns, 2 MG bns, 1 artillery bn, and a recce bn. That translates to me as two KGs with a lot of defensive power with enough artillery to bolster a defense but not enough to attack. AND Rommel's orders were not to attack at all until 15th Pz Div arrived. Wavell knew this (ULTRA) and thought he was safe leaving totally inadequate forces in Cyrenaica while he extracted the BEF from Greece and finished taking Italian East Africa (plus all of his other tasks).
  3. The bunker thing was vastly overblown. Fredendahl was ordered to stay in his HQ, all II Corps units were micromanaged by British 1st Army HQ, his units were broken up (1st Armored div's CO had NO troops under his command) and sent hither and yon by Anderson, the British 1st Army commander. Unable to do anything else, Fredendahl took the only troops he had - some Engineers - and dug holes. He couldn't even complain to Eisenhower, because there were layers of British 'deputy whatevers' filtering Eisenhower's information. When Eisenhower finally visited the front, he was shocked by what 1st Army had done to II Corps' chain-of-command. He probably would have had some nasty things to say to Anderson, except the German attack hit while he was driving back to his HQ.
  4. The Somalis(?) used to catch L3s in narrow ravines (the roads went through) either by rolling a big rock in front of it or jamming the track with something. Then a bunch of them would pick up one side of the L3 and turn it over. The fuel tank would leak, ignite the gas and listen to the nice screams. All this could be done without anyone getting into the narrow field of fire of the L3's MGs. The main PURPOSE of the L3 was to inflate the numbers of "Tanks" that could be reported to Mussolini and the press. It LOOKED like Italy could field a big mechanized force. All nations in the 1930s played this game of counting "tanks" in the L3 class to swell numbers. The difference was the other countries had some REAL tanks too, the Italians had nothing but the L3s and some Renault FT-17 clones.
  5. About the only way the Italians could have captured Malta would be to have an invasion force organized, trained, and waiting offshore when Mussolini declared war. There was never any hope of that, because the Italians didn't do much anywhere to prepare for war. Mussolini had no plans to enter the war until he thought he could get some goodies at the peace table by stabbing France in the back when the Germans had already beaten them. Even the backstab was unplanned, uncoordinated, and accomplished very little. The south side of the Mediterranean east of Tunisia is remarkably devoid of anyplace that could be turned into a major port. The problem with Tripoli wasn't so much infrastructure as SIZE. The infrastructure could only handle five ships because that was all that could fit into the tiny harbor.* The Germans sent engineers who improved the harbor installations, but they couldn't make the harbor bigger, just reduce unloading time. And engineer units and supplies need shipping to get there too. Who is going to be unsupplied because the convoys are moving engineers? * More ships could FIT into Tripoli if they all stayed still, but maneuvering room was needed. Not to mention a harbor packed wall-to-wall with ships is a very enticing target.
  6. Can't really argue with that except to point out the US units at UTAH were were green and disorganized and didn't want to move until they got all their ducks in a row -- typical CONUS training. Guards Armored OTOH was a veteran unit under experienced commanders, starting from dry land with everybody organized. Both parties demonstrated incompetence, but incompetence is expected of FNGs, not veterans hyped as Britain's Best (they weren't, but Guards BS said they were). -------------------------------------------------------------------- The British problems in getting moving were exacerbated - if not caused - by extraordinarily high casualties among the bn COs on the beaches. C&C was totally screwed, as bad as OMAHA except for different reasons. I would argue that one problem at OMAHA was too much training. The assault forces were rehearsed and knew exactly where to go and what to do - until they got dumped on unfamiliar objectives with no unit cohesion and blinded by smoke. The troops sorted themselves out, formed ad hoc units, made new plans, and went up the bluffs PDQ basically on their own initiative. Of course the advance inland was slowed by the C&C problems, but I don't think anybody trained for what to do when you were reduced to an armed mob (the Germans came close).
  7. The reason Kyoto wasn't bombed is because It was being saved as a demonstrator fr the A-bomb. Kyoto was the primary target for one, if not both, nuclear bombs. Bad weather over Kyoto caused the alternative targets to be bombed instead.
  8. People who think taking Malta would have solved Axis supply problems in NA ignore the biggest problem was tiny ports in NA. Tripoli could handle FIVE ships at a time, and had no cranes capable of handling more than about 30 tons (so much for sending Tigers to Rommel). I'm not sure how many Benghazi could handle, but it was less than Tripoli. That is the reason for the small Italian convoys (and small Japanese ones in the PTO), there were no big ports to accept bigger convoys. Even the large ports of Britain got clogged up when a big convoy arrived, as did Alexandria. Crete BTW was important in Hitler's eyes because bombers based there could hit the Romanian oilfields.
  9. Bill, do you mean they "hung around" AFTER they got across the causeways, or before? Getting off of UTAH was a major problem, especially in moving organized units. Trying to trickle a regiment across a single-lane causeway and reassemble it on the other side was not something that could be done quickly. -------------------------------------------------------------------- As far as using Funnies at OMAHA, I can not envision any Funny or LVT that could have crossed the shingle and climbed the bluffs. The only way off that beach for a vehicle was up the narrow and heavily-defended draws. The British/Canadian beaches had multiple ways off the beaches, especially once the Funnies breached or bridged the low sea walls. That was where the Funnies did good work, but there were entirely different conditions on the Yank beaches. IMHO the only 'specials' that might have helped would have been LVTs on UTAH to ferry troops across the flooded areas and widen the front.
  10. See, here is why I don't trust Wiki. Williams developed the M1 Carbine in cooperation with Winchester AFTER he was released from prison. IIRC he had patented the short-stroke piston which is why he was consulting with Winchester. Apparently he was none too cooperative with the Winchester design team. Williams DID work in the prison armory and modified the guards' Remington Model 8 semi-auto rifles - including sawing at least one off pretty short - but the Remingtons were recoil-operated and had no operating similarity to the 1941 M1 Carbine. Hollywood got the story screwed up like they usually do and their version became legend. The Warden (and other people) did recommend the Governor pardon Williams and that is how he got out early (there was also some doubt about what actually happened during the shooting incident). Williams also patented the floating chamber, originally developed to let a Remington .22 semi-auto rifle fire Short, Long, and Long Rifle .22 ammunition. The Long and Long Rifle rounds generated enough recoil energy to operate the action, the .22 Short didn't. So the floating chamber was the length of the .22 Short case so gas pressure could add to the recoil impulse. The longer cases simply blocked off the floating part.
  11. The ONLY lube I will use on my guns in winter is graphite. Oils and grease freeze -- had it happen too many times to risk a malfunction. One problem in extreme cold is 'sweating.' Bringing a cold gun into a heated area will cause condensation to form. Take it back outside and the water freezes. I had a duty revolver turn into a solid block of ice from freeze-thaw when I was on foot patrol and going from cold outside to warm insides repeatedly (bar checks and whatnot). After that I carried the gun under my coat and worked out a way to get to it fast. The old-timers used to leave their rifles outside the cabin to prevent condensation. The guns were never lubed in winter.
  12. If by some miracle the Allies could have operated like this the German wouldn't have gotten that far, which makes it moot. But even if your miracle came off and 7th Pz was overrun, the Germans could get troops in position to block the Arras thrust before the Allies could get very far. Or they could let the Arras thrust go deep and then hit the penetration from both flanks and encircle it. Anyone who envisions the German Panzer spearhead being cut off is assuming they will just sit quietly and not react.
  13. Well, the military men who told Benny what he wanted to hear instead of the actual state-of-affairs deserve some blame too. OTOH, Benny fired anyone who tried to burst his bubble and kept firing until he found somebody who would tell him what he wanted to hear.... The Italian services did not cooperate at all, again Mussolini did not provide any direction. You can't blame it ALL on Mussolini, but he was the main cause of Italy's ruin.
  14. "Johnny Turk" was highly regarded by the British soldiers in the ME 1914-18. AFAICT, the only instances of soldiers' morale breaking were in 1918, and the Germans were having problems by then too. The Ottoman Army was always good. The Army must be differentiated from the masses of fanatical Muslim 'Holy Warriors' who were often used by the Turks as cannon fodder to wear an enemy down before the soldiers went in with disciplined action. Actually, using the fanatics as cannon fodder strikes me as a good idea -- if by chance they achieve something, you have a cheap victory; if they do not succeed you have gotten whole bundles of militant religious fanatics killed off, to the benefit of the internal peace of the Empire (who had as much trouble from fundamentalist wackos as we have today).
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