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1943 Invasion Of France? (Locked)


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I was not in my lair, I was out working very hard to make ends meet, the guvmint decided to put all its end of year money into Katrina. Iraq and Afghanistan. leaving me without work for six months. :rolleyes: Plus I was nursing a broken heart, something I take very seriously. :(

Sorry to hear it. :(

 

Not by much, at the best we might have had 7th ID available for Europe as it was meant to be. But most of the divisions that Mac coopted for New Guinea were originally sent as defensive forces for Australia and other areas in mid-late 1942, it is unlikely they could have been rotated back to CONUS of ETO in time for a mid 1943 landing. Quite simply, there weren't that many US forces available worldwide in 1943. And of course there was no way the Marines weren't going to be in the Pacific, notthat they are sinificant in mid 1943 anyway.

We have said that the commitment would have to made before summer of 1942 if anything was going to happen by Summer 1943. So if that commitment (which WAS made) was kept there wouldn't have been any rotation back to the ETO, they would have gone the Blighty - or stayed in the US with larger training areas and to avoid having to feed them in the UK.

 

Sorry, but you are simply not going to get the US Navy or American public to accept a 100% allocation of forces to the ETO.

King was prepared to go along with it. He knew there wasn't much to be done in the Pacific until the new Fast Carrier Forces came on line.

 

And there wouldn't be 100% allocated in any case; the units already there (24th and 25th IDs in HI, the Marines, 32nd and 41st in OZ, and the regiments scattered around that were pulled into Americal) would remain. Not much point in pulling the Fleet back to the Atlantic, just keep all the CVEs east for ASW work instead of sending them to the Pacific. As the first Essex and Independence types came on line in early 1943, they could be used in the Atlantic for what FCVTFs do best - hit and run raiding to keep the enemy spread out. They wouldn't go into the channel, but raids in the Bay of Biscay and in Norway could at least annoy the Germans.

 

Uh, you can order the entire ETO series from the GPO on CD-ROM for $29.95, Sarge. :D

Address, URL, whatever?

 

Sorry, no, the Casablanca conference was in January 1943. If the buildup had been given priority then instead of some six months later, the savings in time would have been about six months, i.e. making a NEPTUNE-size landing possible maybe in January 1944.

Tell me something I don't know. :P The commitment had already been made by Spring 1942. It would have kept rolling through Casablanca if the Brits hadn't cluck-clucked out.

 

I have said that TORCH probably would have gone anyway, if only to keep FDR happy. But there was no real good strategic reason to do Guadalcanal, New Guinea, etc in the Pacific and plenty of reasons not to - all the units needed more training F1T. And why have an "Operation Shoestring" if it unlaces the boots already marching?

 

Of course if the invasion of Italy had been cancelled, then we could have landed Fifth and Eighth Army in Normandy in September 1943. With the armies landing seriatim with perhaps three divisions in the initial lift and two divisions in the follow-on for each.

HUSKY wouldn't have gone either, that was a British "Peripheral Plan" formed at Casablanca. So we can move our transfer dates up. TORCH might even have taken Tunis before the mud - it was close - and assuming there are more assets not sent to the PTO, TORCH could have included the landing at Bone that would have sped the Tunisian assault.

 

Assume the amphibious assets used inSoPac in 1942 were kept back. You would have many more opportunities for training divisions and sailors in amphibious ops. The biggest problem with TORCH was the loss of most of the landing craft, and most of the LCs were lost because the coxwains were untrained, and the coxwains were untrained because there was nothing to train on since it was being used in SoPac by the coxwains who were trained......

 

Even if the dismal historical record of the Tunisian campaign is replicated, there were surplus troops that could have been pulled back to Blighty as the German lodgement shrank. 8th Army was practically squeezed out of the final assault and only two corps ever went west of Tripoli anyway, so where did all the Alamein boys go?

 

But of course there is also the not so minor problem that the majority of the German divisions that responded to the Italian threat came from French cantonments and suffered greatly from the poor state of the Italian railroads. The French rail net was in fine fettle. :D

IIRC most of the German troops that fought in Sicily/Italy were already there, as garrisons or moved in preparing to reinforce Arnim.

 

Of course if TORCH goes better the Germans won't have reinforced Tunisia and all we put in the North African bag is PanzerArmee Afrika instead of 5th PzA as well, which makes more troops available to the Germans. Where would they have gone? Probably to Russia, not France.

 

Also I think you are confusing yourself. TORCH was November 1942, the Casablanca Conference was January 1943, one preceeded the other, rather neccessarily. :D Unless you are refering to AVALANCHE or HUSKY?

Read back. It would have been a tad difficult to have a conference in Casablanca unless Casablanca had been taken, so it's pretty obvious that TORCH preceded the conference. And remember, the planning for France '43 would not have started after Casablanca, it was already going on (at least the US was following orders and working on it). It was Alanbrooke's derailing of Allied strategy at Casablanca that led to hasty make-shift ops all over the world.

 

You need to set your clock back a bit. The commitment to Europe First had been made before Midway, and should have been kept. If it had been kept there would have been assets not sent to the Pacific and available for France.

 

Midway bucked the Navy up and they felt they had people doing nothing and assets might be pulled for Europe (or worse for Big Mac), so they came up with Guadalcanal to do something and get more goodies. MacArthur of course was trying to escalate his backwater into a major theater, and HE was trying to get those "extra" Navy assets. In June he wanted two CVs and a Marine division and promised he would take Rabaul in two weeks by direct assault. In July he said the Navy couldn't take Guadalcanal with the same Marine division and three CVs.

 

So assume a Pacific defensive stance (with lots of raids to keep the Japanese nervous), no Guadalcanal, and no assets not already in the Pacific go there. That gives you amphibious lift for a division+ (the lift used at Guadalcanal), one CV (Wasp) and some CVEs, several cruisers (CruDiv7), and 4-5 new BBs (probably half could have gone to the Pacific to placate the Navy and work with the CVs there). Looks to me like that's enough for a landing at Bone right there, which should eliminate the drawn-out Tunisian campaign.

 

So I am NOT talking about a hasty French assault put together after Casablanca and when lots of assets had already gone to the Pacific. I am talking about an op that should have been a year in planning and with more assets than were historically available in 1942 and 1943.

 

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We have said that the commitment would have to made before summer of 1942 if anything was going to happen by Summer 1943. So if that commitment (which WAS made) was kept there wouldn't have been any rotation back to the ETO, they would have gone the Blighty - or stayed in the US with larger training areas and to avoid having to feed them in the UK.

 

I'm not so sure. In essence you have to count the divisions in theater or those close enough to POM that you can get them from CONUS to theater in time for an invasion. And I think we have to agree that the window for invasion would have been May-June 43, not much different than in 44. So what do you have available say March 1943?

 

Tunisia - 1st, 3rd, 9th, 34th ID, 1st, 2nd AD, 82nd AbnD

England - 29th

Iceland - 5th

CONUS - 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th ID

 

In addition, the 33rd, 36th and 45th were about ready, but might have problems getting overseas and operational within the invasion window. But they would make good follow-on forces. Essentially, all other divisions were either not ready of commited to the PTO. However, given that the 40th and 43rd were commited there in fall of 1942, I grant that it is possible to commit them to the ETO as well.

 

Now to make this work, you must redeploy 7 divisions commited to Tunisia to England, possibly move one from Iceland to England, and four to six from CONUS to England, most of them essentially during March and April. So 11 divisions being lifted in the space of two months and dumped in England? Uh, no, fraid not.

 

And there wouldn't be 100% allocated in any case; the units already there (24th and 25th IDs in HI, the Marines, 32nd and 41st in OZ, and the regiments scattered around that were pulled into Americal) would remain. Not much point in pulling the Fleet back to the Atlantic, just keep all the CVEs east for ASW work instead of sending them to the Pacific. As the first Essex and Independence types came on line in early 1943, they could be used in the Atlantic for what FCVTFs do best - hit and run raiding to keep the enemy spread out. They wouldn't go into the channel, but raids in the Bay of Biscay and in Norway could at least annoy the Germans.

 

All what CVE's Sarge? The HK task groups didn't become active until late summer and early fall and intially had some problems developing appropriate tactics. I'll have to doublecheck, but there just wasn't much there. And what exactly would the FCTF be raiding? U-Boot pens? German airbases? How are they going to be that much more effective than the existing land based air? And of course there is the not so minor problem that they weren't really operational until late summer and early fall, in early and mid 43 the USN just didn't have many carriers operational.

 

Address, URL, whatever?

 

Go to http://bookstore.gpo.gov/actions/PublicationSearch and be ye amazed. :D

 

Tell me something I don't know. :P The commitment had already been made by Spring 1942. It would have kept rolling through Casablanca if the Brits hadn't cluck-clucked out.

 

I have said that TORCH probably would have gone anyway, if only to keep FDR happy. But there was no real good strategic reason to do Guadalcanal, New Guinea, etc in the Pacific and plenty of reasons not to - all the units needed more training F1T. And why have an "Operation Shoestring" if it unlaces the boots already marching?

 

Okay, sorry I see what you mean now. But you are still more than a bit harsh on the Pacific strategy that was taken. In summer 1942 when the decision for WATCHTOWER was made there was every reason to believe that the Japanese stil poised athreat to OZ. And they did still have a powerful carrier striking force, nominally just as strong as that of the US. So as a preemptive strike alone WATCHTOWER had its merits. But the continued slog through New Guinea and the islands was misguided, but that didn't really become obvious immediately. And of course the alternate, direct attacks on Japanese islands, wasn't much smarter. But nothing else much was working well either: subs? - ineffective, land based air? - okay, what you wanna bomb?, naval aviation - weaker than a kitten.

 

HUSKY wouldn't have gone either, that was a British "Peripheral Plan" formed at Casablanca. So we can move our transfer dates up. TORCH might even have taken Tunis before the mud - it was close - and assuming there are more assets not sent to the PTO, TORCH could have included the landing at Bone that would have sped the Tunisian assault.

 

Assume the amphibious assets used inSoPac in 1942 were kept back. You would have many more opportunities for training divisions and sailors in amphibious ops. The biggest problem with TORCH was the loss of most of the landing craft, and most of the LCs were lost because the coxwains were untrained, and the coxwains were untrained because there was nothing to train on since it was being used in SoPac by the coxwains who were trained......

 

Even if the dismal historical record of the Tunisian campaign is replicated, there were surplus troops that could have been pulled back to Blighty as the German lodgement shrank. 8th Army was practically squeezed out of the final assault and only two corps ever went west of Tripoli anyway, so where did all the Alamein boys go?

 

Uh, what amphibious assets in SoPac? If you're talking about the force assembled for WATCHTOWER, it wasn't really any better trained than those for TORCH and certainly was smaller. Essentially it was a force of AP and AK, there were no LCT, LCI or anything else available for either TORCH or WATCHTOWER, although TORCH did have the first group of LST available (the Maricaibos). Same problems with poorly-trained coxswains, but the beaches were somewhat more forgiving. And the same mistakes in loading, none of the cargo was combat loaded, a lot of the cargo was inappropriate, plus the fiascoes at New Caledonia showed that the Navy had a lot to learn about logistics in an active theater.

 

IIRC most of the German troops that fought in Sicily/Italy were already there, as garrisons or moved in preparing to reinforce Arnim.

 

No, only the rump of troops that formed Division Sizilian (15. PzGD) and Hermann Goering were in southern Italy until after HUSKY, the rest were either in Northern Italy or Southern France.

 

Of course if TORCH goes better the Germans won't have reinforced Tunisia and all we put in the North African bag is PanzerArmee Afrika instead of 5th PzA as well, which makes more troops available to the Germans. Where would they have gone? Probably to Russia, not France.

 

No, the only forces committed were 10.Pz.Div. and odds of ends of other units, along with a lot of Marsch Batallionen. And most were in pretty early, it wasn't just mud that stopped the Allied advance on Tunis, the Germans were able to take advantage of interior lines and reasonably - at that time - secure communications, to reinforce Tunis rapidly. So the bag would have been about the same.

 

Read back. It would have been a tad difficult to have a conference in Casablanca unless Casablanca had been taken, so it's pretty obvious that TORCH preceded the conference. And remember, the planning for France '43 would not have started after Casablanca, it was already going on (at least the US was following orders and working on it). It was Alanbrooke's derailing of Allied strategy at Casablanca that led to hasty make-shift ops all over the world.

 

Okay, yeah you had me confused the way you had written it. And certainly the agreement had been reached for Europe first, but nobody was able to figure out how to implement it during the wild scramble of 1942, that was part of what Casablance was supposed to decide, how that commitment was to be implemented. And yep, Brooke and Churchill pretty much derailed the conference for their own ends.

 

You need to set your clock back a bit. The commitment to Europe First had been made before Midway, and should have been kept. If it had been kept there would have been assets not sent to the Pacific and available for France.

 

It was, only the 40th and 43rd Divisions were sent in fall of 42 in addition to the commitments that had been made over the winter of 41/42. But the 6th 7th and 8th weren't commited to the PTO until spring 43 in the aftermath of Casablanca, when it was obvious they weren't going to be used in Europe. That was short-sighted.

 

So assume a Pacific defensive stance (with lots of raids to keep the Japanese nervous), no Guadalcanal, and no assets not already in the Pacific go there. That gives you amphibious lift for a division+ (the lift used at Guadalcanal), one CV (Wasp) and some CVEs, several cruisers (CruDiv7), and 4-5 new BBs (probably half could have gone to the Pacific to placate the Navy and work with the CVs there). Looks to me like that's enough for a landing at Bone right there, which should eliminate the drawn-out Tunisian campaign.

 

How are a single CV and some CVE's (I thought those were in the ETO for ASW) supposed to conduct "lots of raids" when the Japanese have two CV's and a bunch of CVL and CVE (not very good ones mind you, but there). And a strong land-based naval aviation?

 

So I am NOT talking about a hasty French assault put together after Casablanca and when lots of assets had already gone to the Pacific. I am talking about an op that should have been a year in planning and with more assets than were historically available in 1942 and 1943.

 

Sorry, not much had already gone to the Pacific, ther simply wasn't that much available. Yes, the planning should have begun in 1942 and may have been capable of producing an infrastructure capable of supporting an invasion of Northern France in September 1943, but there is nothing that says that would have been a good thing. OTOH, it would have enabled a much more powerful NEPTUNE assault in early May 1944, with potentially an eight-division assault force, that likely could have "bounced" the Germans behind the Seine. Which may hav been to the German advantage in the long run. <_<

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We have said that the commitment would have to made before summer of 1942 if anything was going to happen by Summer 1943. So if that commitment (which WAS made) was kept there wouldn't have been any rotation back to the ETO, they would have gone the Blighty - or stayed in the US with larger training areas and to avoid having to feed them in the UK.

 

I'm not so sure. In essence you have to count the divisions in theater or those close enough to POM that you can get them from CONUS to theater in time for an invasion. And I think we have to agree that the window for invasion would have been May-June 43, not much different than in 44. So what do you have available say March 1943?

 

Tunisia - 1st, 3rd, 9th, 34th ID, 1st, 2nd AD, 82nd AbnD Only about half of these were in II Corps final drive on Bizerte. IIRC 3ID and 2AD were in garrison and/or preparing for HUSKY, so why not let them prepare for France43?

England - 29th There you go, part-way there already! :D

Iceland - 5th

CONUS - 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th ID

 

In addition, the 33rd, 36th and 45th were about ready, but might have problems getting overseas and operational within the invasion window. But they would make good follow-on forces. Essentially, all other divisions were either not ready of commited to the PTO. However, given that the 40th and 43rd were commited there in fall of 1942, I grant that it is possible to commit them to the ETO as well.

 

Now to make this work, you must redeploy 7 divisions commited to Tunisia to England, possibly move one from Iceland to England, and four to six from CONUS to England, most of them essentially during March and April. So 11 divisions being lifted in the space of two months and dumped in England? Uh, no, fraid not.

Once again, your timing is off. Assuming the commitment to France43 was kept, a lot of the movement would already have been done. It doesn't have to be done in two months in the Spring of 1942.

 

Also again, sending the "Pacific" divisions to Europe takes 1/3 of the shipping resources that deploying them in the Pacific took. BTW, this was a function of distance and port facilities (or lack thereof), not because the people in the Pacific were inept.

 

And I realize the details of what the CW forces were doing is not your bag, but the US wasn't going to go to France all on their lonesome (although Churchill and especially Alanbrooke would have liked it that way). So I reiterate my (possibly rhetorical) question, what were the troops that were at Alamein but NOT past Tripoli doing?

 

And there wouldn't be 100% allocated in any case; the units already there (24th and 25th IDs in HI, the Marines, 32nd and 41st in OZ, and the regiments scattered around that were pulled into Americal) would remain. Not much point in pulling the Fleet back to the Atlantic, just keep all the CVEs east for ASW work instead of sending them to the Pacific. As the first Essex and Independence types came on line in early 1943, they could be used in the Atlantic for what FCVTFs do best - hit and run raiding to keep the enemy spread out. They wouldn't go into the channel, but raids in the Bay of Biscay and in Norway could at least annoy the Germans.

 

All what CVE's Sarge? The HK task groups didn't become active until late summer and early fall and intially had some problems developing appropriate tactics. I'll have to doublecheck, but there just wasn't much there. And what exactly would the FCTF be raiding? U-Boot pens? German airbases? How are they going to be that much more effective than the existing land based air? And of course there is the not so minor problem that they weren't really operational until late summer and early fall, in early and mid 43 the USN just didn't have many carriers operational.

So true, because two more had been lost and two damaged during Guadalcanal.... <_<

Re CVEs, I am not talking about HK groups, I am talking about convoy escort - at least in the sense of providing air cover Mid-Atlantic, the CVE doesn't necessarily have to be right with the convoy. The U-boat had to operate on the surface to assemble a wolf-pack, shadow the convoy, and maneuver into attack position (unless it was lucky enough that the convoy just ran right over it). Very few subs will operate on the surface with hostile a/c overhead. From the point of view of the convoy, it doesn't much matter if the sub is sunk (although that is best of course) or just kept under until there is no chance for it to attack.

 

Address, URL, whatever?

 

Go to http://bookstore.gpo.gov/actions/PublicationSearch and be ye amazed. :D Thank ye.

 

Tell me something I don't know. :P The commitment had already been made by Spring 1942. It would have kept rolling through Casablanca if the Brits hadn't cluck-clucked out.

 

I have said that TORCH probably would have gone anyway, if only to keep FDR happy. But there was no real good strategic reason to do Guadalcanal, New Guinea, etc in the Pacific and plenty of reasons not to - all the units needed more training F1T. And why have an "Operation Shoestring" if it unlaces the boots already marching?

 

Okay, sorry I see what you mean now. But you are still more than a bit harsh on the Pacific strategy that was taken. In summer 1942 when the decision for WATCHTOWER was made there was every reason to believe that the Japanese stil poised athreat to OZ. And they did still have a powerful carrier striking force, nominally just as strong as that of the US. So as a preemptive strike alone WATCHTOWER had its merits. But the continued slog through New Guinea and the islands was misguided, but that didn't really become obvious immediately. And of course the alternate, direct attacks on Japanese islands, wasn't much smarter. But nothing else much was working well either: subs? - ineffective, land based air? - okay, what you wanna bomb?, naval aviation - weaker than a kitten.

I still maintain that Guadalcanal - or even Japanese in Port Moresby - did not pose any danger to OZ, and that would have been obvious at the time had anyone really looked. But I agree that the panic of early 1942 made at least a blocking action seem necessary, even if it wasn't. But I still think WATCHTOWER was primarily the Navy's solution to Big Mac trying to grab their ships. :P

 

As for frontal assaults on Japanese islands, we could have gotten through the Central Pacific by taking undefended islands like Majuro and Ulithi and building our own bases rather that attempting to take over Japanese bases which were wrecked in the process of taking them anyway. ADM Wilkinson suggested that in 1938, IIRC.

 

The only Japanese bases we HAD to take were the Marianas, and we only HAD to take them because the B-29 strategy required them. I'm sure you know my views on that strategy.

 

<snip>

Uh, what amphibious assets in SoPac? If you're talking about the force assembled for WATCHTOWER, it wasn't really any better trained than those for TORCH and certainly was smaller. Essentially it was a force of AP and AK, there were no LCT, LCI or anything else available for either TORCH or WATCHTOWER, although TORCH did have the first group of LST available (the Maricaibos). Same problems with poorly-trained coxswains, but the beaches were somewhat more forgiving. And the same mistakes in loading, none of the cargo was combat loaded, a lot of the cargo was inappropriate, plus the fiascoes at New Caledonia showed that the Navy had a lot to learn about logistics in an active theater.

No, it showed that the stuff was not combat-loaded because nobody was anticipating an amphibious op to be undertaken on six weeks notice when they were loaded. Another lesson in the disadvatages of spur-of-the-moment planning.

 

As for being AK and AP, the WATCHTOWER ships moved men and equipment and got them onto the beach. They also could have moved three times the assets across the Atlantic as they did in the Pacific. As for them not being LSTs and LCTS, there is nothing in the rules that says an invasion of France HAS to be done by amphibious craft shuttling from Blighty to Normandy.

IIRC most of the German troops that fought in Sicily/Italy were already there, as garrisons or moved in preparing to reinforce Arnim.

 

No, only the rump of troops that formed Division Sizilian (15. PzGD) and Hermann Goering were in southern Italy until after HUSKY, the rest were either in Northern Italy or Southern France.

That is what I meant, they were somewhere in the MTO area, not NWE or Russia.

 

Of course if TORCH goes better the Germans won't have reinforced Tunisia and all we put in the North African bag is PanzerArmee Afrika instead of 5th PzA as well, which makes more troops available to the Germans. Where would they have gone? Probably to Russia, not France.

 

No, the only forces committed were 10.Pz.Div. and odds of ends of other units, along with a lot of Marsch Batallionen. And most were in pretty early, it wasn't just mud that stopped the Allied advance on Tunis, the Germans were able to take advantage of interior lines and reasonably - at that time - secure communications, to reinforce Tunis rapidly. So the bag would have been about the same.

A landing at Bone covered by two USN CVs with 54 fighters each (this assumes Wasp has not wandered to the Pacific; the 54 VF were what Ranger carried for TORCH) and CVEs could have reached Tunis before 10 Pz got there. This was suggested but was thought to be too risky in the absense of air cover. The air cover could have been there without the drain of SoPac ops on CVs and CAGs.

 

Read back. It would have been a tad difficult to have a conference in Casablanca unless Casablanca had been taken, so it's pretty obvious that TORCH preceded the conference. And remember, the planning for France '43 would not have started after Casablanca, it was already going on (at least the US was following orders and working on it). It was Alanbrooke's derailing of Allied strategy at Casablanca that led to hasty make-shift ops all over the world.

 

Okay, yeah you had me confused the way you had written it. And certainly the agreement had been reached for Europe first, but nobody was able to figure out how to implement it during the wild scramble of 1942, that was part of what Casablance was supposed to decide, how that commitment was to be implemented. And yep, Brooke and Churchill pretty much derailed the conference for their own ends.

<snip>

 

How are a single CV and some CVE's (I thought those were in the ETO for ASW) supposed to conduct "lots of raids" when the Japanese have two CV's and a bunch of CVL and CVE (not very good ones mind you, but there). And a strong land-based naval aviation?

What SINGLE CV? There were three in the Pacific before Wasp went. This is how many there were after PH, and the USN carried out scattered raids in early 1942 in the face of considerably stronger IJN CV forces than existed after Midway.

 

As for raids, there is no way a target - except possibly Germany in 1943-4 - can respond to a carrier raid. The CVs come in under darkness, strike at dawn with more power than the target can assemble (in the PTO, the acreage of CV decks often exceeded the acreage of the targets), and boogie before the enemy can respond/reinforce. It is only when the CVGs hang around (as in covering invasions) that they become vulnerable to retaliation.

 

So I am NOT talking about a hasty French assault put together after Casablanca and when lots of assets had already gone to the Pacific. I am talking about an op that should have been a year in planning and with more assets than were historically available in 1942 and 1943.

 

Sorry, not much had already gone to the Pacific, ther simply wasn't that much available. If it hadn't gotten there, it was on the way or dedicated. Yes, the planning should have begun in 1942 and may have been capable of producing an infrastructure capable of supporting an invasion of Northern France in September 1943, but there is nothing that says that would have been a good thing. Tell that to Stalin :P . OTOH, it would have enabled a much more powerful NEPTUNE assault in early May 1944 Which May landing was scrubbed by weather anyway., with potentially an eight-division assault force, that likely could have "bounced" the Germans behind the Seine. Which may hav been to the German advantage in the long run. <_<

 

I don't see how it could be to Germany's "advantage in the long run" to close up to the German border ASAP - even if you mean they wouldn't have suffered the Normandy losses and would have more defensive power, they would have lost their radar net and Allied fields in NWE could blanket the German skies all the time instead of the half the time the SBC offered (and I am perfectly aware that "all" and "half" are hyperbole for effect, so no one needs to count up the hours Allied air spent over Germany :P ).

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Tunisia - 1st, 3rd, 9th, 34th ID, 1st, 2nd AD, 82nd AbnD Only about half of these were in II Corps final drive on Bizerte. IIRC 3ID and 2AD were in garrison and/or preparing for HUSKY, so why not let them prepare for France43?

England - 29th There you go, part-way there already! :D

Iceland - 5th

CONUS - 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th ID

 

Okay, let's assume that gives you 10 ID, 2 AD and 1 AbnD, adding in the three later arrivals from the US and you have virtually nothing available as reinforcement until winter. In other words you've now cleaned out the larder and the cupboard is bare. Not a good idea when it comes to global warfare, especially in the confusion of late 1942. In hindsight it may be doable, so long as the infrastructure support in England was begun not later than about June 1942.

 

In addition, the 33rd, 36th and 45th were about ready, but might have problems getting overseas and operational within the invasion window. But they would make good follow-on forces. Essentially, all other divisions were either not ready of commited to the PTO. However, given that the 40th and 43rd were commited there in fall of 1942, I grant that it is possible to commit them to the ETO as well.

 

Once again, your timing is off. Assuming the commitment to France43 was kept, a lot of the movement would already have been done. It doesn't have to be done in two months in the Spring of 1942.

 

Also again, sending the "Pacific" divisions to Europe takes 1/3 of the shipping resources that deploying them in the Pacific took. BTW, this was a function of distance and port facilities (or lack thereof), not because the people in the Pacific were inept.

 

And I realize the details of what the CW forces were doing is not your bag, but the US wasn't going to go to France all on their lonesome (although Churchill and especially Alanbrooke would have liked it that way). So I reiterate my (possibly rhetorical) question, what were the troops that were at Alamein but NOT past Tripoli doing?

 

I think you mean spring of 1943, but whatever. The commitment to France 1943 would have required that the support infrastructure that required essentially nine months+ to construct be built one year earlier. So instead of the effort beginning in mid 1943, it needed to be begun in mid 1942. And that is invariable whatever shipping resources are, it in essence is a fixed historical factor. Also neccessary was the learning curve involved, a lot of the lessons gained in the buildup for England were also later applied in the Pacific.

 

As to Commonwealth forces, those that went "past Tripoli" were those that could be supported from Egypt. But some of those left behind, like 2nd Armoured were shells anyway. Of course there was also Ninth Army, holding the Levant, Iraq and Persia, but they weren't going anywhere. In essence, the field forces available to the British in the ETO/MTO were the same as they were in 1944 - well, except for all the armoured divisions that were disbanded.

 

So true, because two more had been lost and two damaged during Guadalcanal.... <_<

Re CVEs, I am not talking about HK groups, I am talking about convoy escort - at least in the sense of providing air cover Mid-Atlantic, the CVE doesn't necessarily have to be right with the convoy. The U-boat had to operate on the surface to assemble a wolf-pack, shadow the convoy, and maneuver into attack position (unless it was lucky enough that the convoy just ran right over it). Very few subs will operate on the surface with hostile a/c overhead. From the point of view of the convoy, it doesn't much matter if the sub is sunk (although that is best of course) or just kept under until there is no chance for it to attack.

That's what confused me Sarge, you said one in your last post. You better lay off them conre durgs.

 

And there were no CVEs prepared for either HK or convoy escort operations until the fall of 1943. The tactics and techniques simply hadn't been worked out yet. Worse, most of the CVE completed had been turned over to the Brits, who promptly sat on them because they didn't know what to do with them - except for getting them blowed up in harbor or sunk by U-Boot. :mellow:

 

So your analysis my be correct, but the forces simply weren't there yet.

 

Thank ye.

 

You're welcome. Of course I'm still trying to find 6 of 7 and 7 of 7 in the set, that site is almost unsearchable, typical guvmint crap. :D

 

I still maintain that Guadalcanal - or even Japanese in Port Moresby - did not pose any danger to OZ, and that would have been obvious at the time had anyone really looked. But I agree that the panic of early 1942 made at least a blocking action seem necessary, even if it wasn't. But I still think WATCHTOWER was primarily the Navy's solution to Big Mac trying to grab their ships. :P

That may all be, but operations were already in train by August 1942 and once begun, such things are difficult to pull back from. Again, I don't neccesarily disagree with you, but I still think you're operating off of a hindsight high. :P

 

 

No, it showed that the stuff was not combat-loaded because nobody was anticipating an amphibious op to be undertaken on six weeks notice when they were loaded. Another lesson in the disadvatages of spur-of-the-moment planning.

 

As for being AK and AP, the WATCHTOWER ships moved men and equipment and got them onto the beach. They also could have moved three times the assets across the Atlantic as they did in the Pacific. As for them not being LSTs and LCTS, there is nothing in the rules that says an invasion of France HAS to be done by amphibious craft shuttling from Blighty to Normandy.

 

No, the stuff wasn't combat loaded for the same reason it wasn't for TORCH, load planning wasn't centralized or systematized, there was little thinking about what critical requirements would be on landing, load pre-packaging and labeling was non-existant, and the longshoreman crews were almost totally inexpereinced in loading military cargos, so loading was inefficient and even dangerous.

 

And if you want to land more than a half dozen light tanks over the course of two days, then you damn well better have LST and LCT for an amphibious assault! :P

 

That is what I meant, they were somewhere in the MTO area, not NWE or Russia.

Sorry, but effectively Southern France, Northern Italy, Northern France and Germany are pretty much same-same when it comes to movement capability, especially in 1943 when the rail system hasn't been degraded at all and the Allied air has virtually no capability - in terms of aircraft and experience - to effect that system within the timeframe required.

 

A landing at Bone covered by two USN CVs with 54 fighters each (this assumes Wasp has not wandered to the Pacific; the 54 VF were what Ranger carried for TORCH) and CVEs could have reached Tunis before 10 Pz got there. This was suggested but was thought to be too risky in the absense of air cover. The air cover could have been there without the drain of SoPac ops on CVs and CAGs.

 

Possibly. OTOH it may also have resulted in the damage or loss of two CV, don't underestimate the anti-ship capability and strength of the Luftwaffe in 1942/1943, or the Regia Aeronautica for that matter. And the buildup of Axis air power into Tunisia was actually faster than the ground buildup, the Luftwaffe was pretty well experienced at that. And Bone would have been well within their envelope. Tunis was most definitely out of the running though, sending CVs or CVEs there would have been slightly suicidal, especially given the existing Allied expectations of Axis capability (see, you're doing that hindsight thing again.

 

But it is a possibility, I'll have to see what info I might have on the Luftwaffe buildup to see what the might have been matchups were.

 

What SINGLE CV? There were three in the Pacific before Wasp went. This is how many there were after PH, and the USN carried out scattered raids in early 1942 in the face of considerably stronger IJN CV forces than existed after Midway.

 

As for raids, there is no way a target - except possibly Germany in 1943-4 - can respond to a carrier raid. The CVs come in under darkness, strike at dawn with more power than the target can assemble (in the PTO, the acreage of CV decks often exceeded the acreage of the targets), and boogie before the enemy can respond/reinforce. It is only when the CVGs hang around (as in covering invasions) that they become vulnerable to retaliation.

Sarge, it's what you wrote, don't get on my case about it.

 

But what do your CVG's strike at Sarge? I mean what do they do that is so different than a strike by land based air? And so much more effective? Raids on island bases were effective because the islands were isolated and the more ships that were sunk the more isolated they became. I just don't see where the magic wand is that will cause the same effect against continental bases?

 

Which May landing was scrubbed by weather anyway.

 

Sorry, but no, the May landing dates were only partly missed due to weather, the major factor was availability and operational capability of the assault vessels. It is unlikely that Assault Force U and S would have been capable of executing a date in early May, their flotillas were still being assembled then. And the problem of non-operational craft was endemic through winter and spring (performance and efficiency in the British dockyards was poor at best) and only improved after a massive crash effort was undertaken when it was realized the problem was jeopardizing the entire operation. Of course, there also would have been zero Fireflies and close to zero AVRE, but that's another matter.

 

I don't see how it could be to Germany's "advantage in the long run" to close up to the German border ASAP - even if you mean they wouldn't have suffered the Normandy losses and would have more defensive power, they would have lost their radar net and Allied fields in NWE could blanket the German skies all the time instead of the half the time the SBC offered (and I am perfectly aware that "all" and "half" are hyperbole for effect, so no one needs to count up the hours Allied air spent over Germany :P ).

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Not to close to the German border, but to fall back behind the Seine. Behind the Seine equals the interdiction line is negated equals better supply. But yes, in the long run it wouldn't have made one bit of difference.

 

BTW, sorry to see that the quote function here is still tits up, it makes floowing some arguments almost impossible.

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Hi Rich,

I love reading these!

The US carrier forces were pretty good. I bet they could have gone anywhere they wanted in the Med if they were committed there. The sub threat being the biggest problem.

After all, if the German air couldn't put any RN carriers under (silly little biplanes!0 then what could they hope to do against a carrier with real aircraft?

 

 

On another note, how much of the follow up force could a 1943 landing really have? If everything goes right away then that doesn't leave anything if something goes wrong...

In '42-'43 the US was still in build-up mode and the combat experience hadn't really flowed back as far as it had by '44.

Heck, what if Fredenhall was a Corps Commander in a France '43 invasion! We'd be back in the water in a week...

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Hi Rich,

I love reading these!

The US carrier forces were pretty good.  I bet they could have gone anywhere they wanted in the Med if they were committed there.  The sub threat being the biggest problem.

After all, if the German air couldn't put any RN carriers under (silly little biplanes!0 then what could they hope to do against a carrier with real aircraft?

On another note, how much of the follow up force could a 1943 landing really have?  If everything goes right away then that doesn't leave anything if something goes wrong...

In '42-'43 the US was still in build-up mode and the combat experience hadn't really flowed back as far as it had by '44.

Heck, what if Fredenhall was a Corps Commander in a France '43 invasion!  We'd be back in the water in a week...

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Tim, the US carrier forces faced IJN aircraft, which their aircraft were on about a par with. In 1943, against experienced Luftwaffe pilots, flying far superior aircraft, I'm thinking the USN may have decided that the RN's armoured decks were a damn fine idea.

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The Luftwaffe anti shipping record is pretty bad. I don't think they ever faced a serious naval foe. If you give the ME's and FW's los of time to get ready for the carriers then it could be tough but if the Axis air couldn't stop Pedestal then they sure as heck aren't going to stop the Fast Carriers.

I am figuring that the 1943 invasion is taking place and the bigger part of the Pacific Fleet is in the Atlantic.

The SBD was a million times better dive bomber than the Stuka.

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re Rich and "single CV":

 

"Sarge, it's what you wrote, don't get on my case about it.

 

But what do your CVG's strike at Sarge? I mean what do they do that is so different than a strike by land based air? And so much more effective? Raids on island bases were effective because the islands were isolated and the more ships that were sunk the more isolated they became. I just don't see where the magic wand is that will cause the same effect "

 

I don't recall writing about ONE CV in any context. I did say one more for the Atlantic assuming Wasp is held back, but that still leaves three in the Pacific. Of course we were down to one damaged one thanks to the Guadalcanal campaign, but I'm trying to avoid that wastage.

 

And no, I don't think there's too much hindsight involved, most of the objections and alternatives I raise now were raised at the time by somebody. In fact it's sorta disheartening, every time I think up something ingenious I find out it was thought of then and disregarded...<sigh>

 

As for the CVGs striking, well Hitler was always nervous about Norway and a 100+ plane raid by real divebombers might have put Tirpitz out of action. Hitting Boreaux, Lorient, and St. Naziere and/or rail lines leading to them could give the Germans fits locally. Probably spread any reinforcements out in defensive packets, but they didn't have that much anti-shipping capability and it would take literally everything they had to have a chance against a two-CV USN TF with four times the VF capability of RN CVs.

 

BTW, the CVEs I refer to are the Sangamons which covered TORCH but then went straight to the Pacific.

 

Tim, I appreciate the support, but I have to say that I don't think the US CVs would do so well in the central Med in late 1942, because the fighter-direction techniques were not really worked out yet. I do think Wasp and Ranger could have covered a landing at Bone*, and possibly use Patton's Western TF to do it. This was suggested once, but it was felt safer (in the absense of sufficient air cover) to land in Morocco.

 

* Especially since Bone was out of range of Axis fighters from Sicily. The Germans were able to bomb Oran - and thus Bone - but not with fighter escort and a large bunch of CV VFs could have given their unescorted bombers fits. Remember, we are talking numbers of CV fighters on a whole new scale for the Med.

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>The Pacific experts were accustomed to handling major logistics efforts in far-away places without ports, railroads, and pipelines.

 

I forgot about that. And how many mechanized and motorized formations consuming large quantities of artillery ammunition did they sustain ashore?

 

>The effective parts of the Transportation Plan could have been done in 1943.

 

I think we need to revisit the SBC buildup to realize, once again, what actually was available in 1943 compared to 1944.

 

>3. What effect do you think an Allied presence in Normandy is going to have on the sub bases in Brittany?

 

None, if it's the toehold you've always written about hanging on through 1943 and 1944 against a year's worth of German attention - with no diversions in Italy or southern France to occupy them - until the offensive can be started.

 

>A very small part. Most infantry divisions considered themselves lucky to have nine 50mm guns for the whole division. The 37mm was still in wide use

 

The Allies ran afoul of Luftwaffe assets in the direct fire role, not just divisional anti-tank battalions, and what the Germans did have for the AAA role in 1943 would not be as preoccupied with pointing up as it was in 1944.

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The staff guy was ancient when I spoke to him. I think he was an orderly or something at the time. I am not that old, though sometimes I feel it.

 

EDIT to clarify:

The gentleman was on Bradley's staff after the war (like a driver or something). I spoke to him in -95 or so and I bet he was 80+ then....

My original sentence made it seem like I spoke to him after the war (which is sorta true, just 50 years after).

Edited by Tim the Tank Nut
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On the carriers in the Med the USN success would be coming from the shocking increase in fighters. Ranger, Wasp, and Enterprise (for good Luck) plus a few British CV's could have kicked the Luftwaffe clean out of the Med. I wouldn't want to try it for a month but for three or four days where they just sail in and start kicking ass it could work.

Now, I wouldn't abandon the PTO for all of this. I just think it COULD be done. I feel like it was better handled the way it was. A 1944 invasion was a sure thing. In 43 it could have gone either way.

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The capability to conduct a Transportation Plan in 1943 matters.

The effective parts of the Transportation Plan could have been done in 1943. The 1944 Plan devastated all of France so as not to give a clue as to where the landing would be. In 1943 it would have been possible to isolate Normandy - again given the assets from the PTO, SWPA, and MTO.

 

No it could not have been done in 1943, the air assets did not exist. Nor did it devastate "all of France", in effect twice the assets that were available in 1943, with more experience, required essentially four months (late April to early August) to acheive it's results, with the greatest results acheived in the last month, in any area essentially incorporating the zone north of the Loire and west of the Seine, with the Seine-Loire gap never quite being completely shut down. So you have the choice with fewer resources of either narrowing the zone of interdiction even further, probably making the zone ineffective, or taking twice the time to do it, which might also not work, given that such damage spread over a longer period of time is easier to repair.

 

2. There were several CVEs and escorts in the Pacific that could have been used as ASW in mid-Atlantic if necessary.
Sarge, when the escort system actually got going the USN maintained an average of six HK groups in the Atlantic, with about half actually operational at any one time, and the RN another three or more. Of course they didn't win the battle of the Atlantic, they just mopped up. :D

 

3. What effect do you think an Allied presence in Normandy is going to have on the sub bases in Brittany?

 

Uh, none? It didn't historically, why should it ahistorically? :D

 

It was true that in 1944 the Germans had an improved tank fleet, but their anti-tank guns of choice (50, 75, 88) were already part of the inventory in 1943.A very small part. Most infantry divisions considered themselves lucky to have nine 50mm guns for the whole division. The 37mm was still in wide use, and the Germans had lost tremendous assets at Stalingrad and Tunisgrad.

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Sorry Sarge, now you're wandering outside your area of expertise. In 1943 the average German infantry division had 18-20 5cm Pak and 4-8 7.5cm Pak 40, 7.5cm Pak 97/38 or 7.62cm Pak ®. Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions generally had fewer 5cm pieces, but as many as 40 towed and self propelled 7.5cm pieces. Of course, many of the units in France substituted very large numbers of the excllent French 4.7cm AT gun as well as large numbers of the 97/38 (essentially the French 75 with a multi-baffle muzzle brake), either of which could also easily perforate most of the Allied tanks at the time. :D

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re Rich and "single CV":

 

<snip> I don't recall writing about ONE CV in any context. I did say one more for the Atlantic assuming Wasp is held back, but that still leaves three in the Pacific. Of course we were down to one damaged one thanks to the Guadalcanal campaign, but I'm trying to avoid that wastage.

 

Sorry Sarge, my fault, now I see what you meant and it makes more sense than the way I read it. But I still think it was confusing the way you wrote it, after all it took two additional posts for your meaning to become clear. Or maybe the brain cells are finally giving way. <_<

 

And no, I don't think there's too much hindsight involved, most of the objections and alternatives I raise now were raised at the time by somebody. In fact it's sorta disheartening, every time I think up something ingenious I find out it was thought of then and disregarded...<sigh>
True in a sense, but hindsight is that - unlike them and the people that made the final decisions - you now have more knowledge that allows you to better assess the possible outcome. That's hindsight. OTOH, it's a heck of a lot better and better thought out than most typical "counter-factuals" - they tend to bore me to tears.

 

As for the CVGs striking, well Hitler was always nervous about Norway and a 100+ plane raid by real divebombers might have put Tirpitz out of action. Hitting Boreaux, Lorient, and St. Naziere and/or rail lines leading to them could give the Germans fits locally. Probably spread any reinforcements out in defensive packets, but they didn't have that much anti-shipping capability and it would take literally everything they had to have a chance against a two-CV USN TF with four times the VF capability of RN CVs.

 

Again, granted, but how exactly does carrier airpower striking at rail lines running to French ports discomfort the Germans? It certainly isn't going to affect the flow of imports is it? :D And the British did make a carrier air strike on Tirpitz, how is a USN strike going to be any different or cause the Germans any more problems? As to anti-shipping capability, what happens when a CVG appears off Bordeaux and KG 40 uses it's Fritz X on them? What happens when the target hit isn't Warspite or a cruiser? Granted, it isn't that likely, but it is very possible, especially given the limited jamming capability we had available in 1943 (and even in 1944 at least one ship was probably lost to an anti-ship missile).

 

BTW, when the Germans struck the ships at Salerno they were under CV aircover, from the CVE's assigned to the invasion, CV aircover is not a panacea.

 

BTW, the CVEs I refer to are the Sangamons which covered TORCH but then went straight to the Pacific.

 

Yes, I know, and yes, a fair number of CVEs were assigned duties in the Med during 1943 and 1944, coveringthe invasions, but as noted above, they certainly weren't perfect.

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>The Pacific experts were accustomed to handling major logistics efforts in far-away places without ports, railroads, and pipelines.

 

I forgot about that. And how many mechanized and motorized formations consuming large quantities of artillery ammunition did they sustain ashore?

Motorised, several. US had lots of motors, even in jungles. Most Pacific campaigns were pretty short, but I've never seen a reference to a shortage of artillery ammo (getting it to the guns was sometimes not easy, but it was available) after the first couple of weeks on Guadalcanal, and there wasn't much to shoot at then anyway.

 

>The effective parts of the Transportation Plan could have been done in 1943.

 

I think we need to revisit the SBC buildup to realize, once again, what actually was available in 1943 compared to 1944.

Actually since the SBC is still going to be a separate issue, the short and medium-range assets are what we should check, especially if we are going to do our 1943 Transportation Plan closer to the Front.

 

>3. What effect do you think an Allied presence in Normandy is going to have on the sub bases in Brittany?

No German fighter bases in Normandy to intercept bombers or ASW a/c, no radar to warn of them, short range fighter-bombers based in Normandy shooting up anything that moves.... A presence in Normandy makes operating major ports in Brittany a real drag.

 

None, if it's the toehold you've always written about hanging on through 1943 and 1944 against a year's worth of German attention - with no diversions in Italy or southern France to occupy them - until the offensive can be started.

Now where do I say "toehold" or "hold for a year"? And the Germans needed garrison troops in Italy and South France anyway.

 

>A very small part. Most infantry divisions considered themselves lucky to have nine 50mm guns for the whole division. The 37mm was still in wide use

 

The Allies ran afoul of Luftwaffe assets in the direct fire role, not just divisional anti-tank battalions, and what the Germans did have for the AAA role in 1943 would not be as preoccupied with pointing up as it was in 1944.

What makes you think that? There was a lot of air available in the UK in 1943 (and would be more without Italy), it just lacked the range to get to Germany and the Germans more-or-less ceded France - the RAF trailed their coats constantly with nary a nibble.

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Again, granted, but how exactly does carrier airpower striking at rail lines running to French ports discomfort the Germans? It certainly isn't going to affect the flow of imports is it? :D Well, it would make moving supplies TO the ports for the U-baots pretty problematic. You think they had diesel wells and Torpedo Trees in Brittany-Biscay? Without free use of French bases, getting U-boats to the mid-Atlantic is a lot more difficult..

 

And the British did make a carrier air strike on Tirpitz, how is a USN strike going to be any different or cause the Germans any more problems?

Errr.... the USN wouldn't be using Barracudas ("the tail only came off in a dive in the Mark I") and knew how to dive-bomb?

 

As to anti-shipping capability, what happens when a CVG appears off Bordeaux and KG 40 uses it's Fritz X on them? What happens when the target hit isn't Warspite or a cruiser? Granted, it isn't that likely, but it is very possible, especially given the limited jamming capability we had available in 1943 (and even in 1944 at least one ship was probably lost to an anti-ship missile).

Ummm..... KG40 is slaughtered by USN carrier fighters? Why do we need jamming when the missile carriers can be slaughtered before launch, or at least before they can guide the missile to the target?

Ships off Sicily and Italy got hit because they had no air cover, the AFs refused to provide "defensive" protection. The RN and later USN had to assign CVs and CVEs to provide naval air cover. DRAGOON got coverage from USN CVEs with F6Fs and RN CVEs with Seafires.

 

BTW, when the Germans struck the ships at Salerno they were under CV aircover, from the CVE's assigned to the invasion, CV aircover is not a panacea.

Yes, I know, and yes, a fair number of CVEs were assigned duties in the Med during 1943 and 1944, coveringthe invasions, but as noted above, they certainly weren't perfect.

Inadequate numbers of CVEs, improper air groups, inefficient fighter direction (one reason I want to move the operations to NWE where the well-trained FC organization can work).

 

BTW, ships getting hit hanging around a beachead do not mean that a CV (or surface*) raid is going to be intercepted or the enemy is going to respond quickly enough to catch/hit the raiders. Ships get vulnerable to land-based air when they hang around, not when it's 'in and out.'

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Actually since the SBC is still going to be a separate issue, the short and medium-range assets are what we should check, especially if we are going to do our 1943 Transportation Plan closer to the Front.

 

Sarge, again, "closer to the front" doesn't work. The actual Transportation Plan was multi-layered and ran through a number of iterations gained from experience, that eventually shut down rail operations withing a very limited part of the overall French rail network. In effect, the Seine-Loire line was chosen because it both acted as a bottleneck and also kept the German supplies that did arrive far enough away that it required greater road transport assets to move it forward. Setting the interdiction line "closer to the front" to compensate for a lack of air assets simply won't work.

 

Worse the Transportation Plan was a combination of techniques acheived over the course of the four-month campaign. It of course initially began with Solly Zuckermans "marshalling yard plan" then to the "bridge plan" and then to the "rail cut plan", each being added as the previous appeared to be ineffective. But in fact none of them were ineffective, but it was the three of them that developed the combined synergy to have an effect. The problem is that it required a lot of airpower or a lot of time to acheive, neither of which you have in 1943 (and as I said it's unlikely that half the forces and twice the time would have worked).

 

No German fighter bases in Normandy to intercept bombers or ASW a/c, no radar to warn of them, short range fighter-bombers based in Normandy shooting up anything that moves.... A presence in Normandy makes operating major ports in Brittany a real drag.
Sarge, the Germans didn't require fighter bases in Normandy to intercept bombers, the bomber streams were flying over northwest France to Germany. Most of the forward fields in Normandy were just that, satellite and dispersal fields, they didn't require them.

 

And the German radar system in France and the low Countries was multi-layered, losing stations in Normandy would hurt, but would not - and did not - cripple the system. It required the loss of France, pushing the system back to the german frontiers to acheive that.

 

What makes you think that? There was a lot of air available in the UK in 1943 (and would be more without Italy), it just lacked the range to get to Germany and the Germans more-or-less ceded France - the RAF trailed their coats constantly with nary a nibble.

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I could as easily say the Allies "required" airpower in the Med as much as the Germans required garrisons there. And just as the Allies required garrisons in the Med as well. Yes assets could be shifted to England, just as assets were shifted from England to the Med in 42 and 43, but the total ETO assets simply aren't sufficient.

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Well, it would make moving supplies TO the ports for the U-baots pretty problematic. You think they had diesel wells and Torpedo Trees in Brittany-Biscay? Without free use of French bases, getting U-boats to the mid-Atlantic is a lot more difficult..

 

But why do transitory carrier air strikes have any more effect than land-based heavy and medium bombing strikes on the rail lines going to the sub bases? And despite those the U-Boots seemed to get enough supplies of fuel and torpedoes? Mostly because the Germans were pretty good at stockpiling that stuff forward to the bases early on. It wasn't until the land communications were cut completely that the bases ceased functioning - well of course the subs were ineffective well before that anyway.... :D

 

Errr.... the USN wouldn't be using Barracudas ("the tail only came off in a dive in the Mark I") and knew how to dive-bomb?

And yet despite that they did hit and badly damage Tirpitz. So your point again is? :D

 

Ummm..... KG40 is slaughtered by USN carrier fighters? Why do we need jamming when the missile carriers can be slaughtered before launch, or at least before they can guide the missile to the target?

Ships off Sicily and Italy got hit because they had no air cover, the AFs refused to provide "defensive" protection. The RN and later USN had to assign CVs and CVEs to provide naval air cover. DRAGOON got coverage from USN CVEs with F6Fs and RN CVEs with Seafires.

 

Sorry, but I think not. For one, you seem to have an exaggerated idea of the CAGs capability in early 1943. I'm not sure that they will have any Hellcats, IIRC at this time is when the USN VF are transitioning from the Wildcat? (Have to check.) But more important, this was when the new CAGs were going operational, along with the ships for them, there seems to be some evidence that the "Old Breed" was a little burnt out. BTW, DRAGOON of course was August 1944, we're talking May-June 1943 now. :P Sorry, couldn't resist.

 

Inadequate numbers of CVEs, improper air groups, inefficient fighter direction (one reason I want to move the operations to NWE where the well-trained FC organization can work).

Now I'm confused again. How is the "well-trained FC organization" in NWE supposed to compensate for the lack of CVEs (now you agree there wasn't enough decks?), improper air groups (how does moving them to NWE make them "proper"?), and inefficient fighter direction (the last was pretty endemic within the Navy throughout 1942 and much of 1943, many of the issues weren't resolved until 1944)? And that "well-trained" FC operation in NWE was a defensive organization, which - along with piss-poor tactical and operational thinking, combined to make fighter operations in NWE useless as tits on a bull in 1942 and 1943. It was the operations of the CBO, overstretch and sheer attrition that crippled the Jagdwaffe, peripheral strikes by carrier aircraft would have had little effect.

 

BTW, ships getting hit hanging around a beachead do not mean that a CV (or surface*) raid is going to be intercepted or the enemy is going to respond quickly enough to catch/hit the raiders. Ships get vulnerable to land-based air when they hang around, not when it's 'in and out.'

 

Of course and I agree, but the planning had to account for the possibility. Allied naval and air commanders were well aware of the possible threat of the German stand-off weapons and spent a lot of time working up countermeasures. But of course that also required operational experience, which was gained in 1943. But all that is truly moot if the Germans don't have much of a reason to oppose a carrier air strike, which they don't. So why would the Allied planners want to put any ship, let alone a carrier, into jeopardy from a "magic bb" hit from a Fritz X for so little gain? "In and out" is as transitory and ephemeral as it sounds, so why bother?

Edited by Rich
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Sarge, again, "closer to the front" doesn't work. The actual Transportation Plan was multi-layered and ran through a number of iterations gained from experience, that eventually shut down rail operations withing a very limited part of the overall French rail network. In effect, the Seine-Loire line was chosen because it both acted as a bottleneck and also kept the German supplies that did arrive far enough away that it required greater road transport assets to move it forward. Setting the interdiction line "closer to the front" to compensate for a lack of air assets simply won't work.

It's not to compensate for lack of air assets, it is to get the medium-range stuff in Blighty into useful action.

 

And I wasn't thinking so much of bombing bridges as shooting up trains. The Germans aren't going to move enough to sustain a campaign by rail sticking to only dark hours. And locomotives are kinda hard to replace. B)

 

Sarge, the Germans didn't require fighter bases in Normandy to intercept bombers, the bomber streams were flying over northwest France to Germany. Most of the forward fields in Normandy were just that, satellite and dispersal fields, they didn't require them.

Brad asked about what effects Allies in Normandy would have on German ports in Brittany. I wasn't thinking about SBC, I was thinking about closing sub bases. Normandy bases and radar were required by the Germans if Brittany was to have any worthwhile defense against attack from UK.

 

And the German radar system in France and the low Countries was multi-layered, losing stations in Normandy would hurt, but would not - and did not - cripple the system. It required the loss of France, pushing the system back to the german frontiers to acheive that.

See above. Please don't read into my posts. I never said anything about Normandy contributing to the SBC (aside from attracting fighters out of Germany), at least until France is taken up to the German border. I said the 1943 Normandy op would not detract from it.

 

I could as easily say the Allies "required" airpower in the Med as much as the Germans required garrisons there.

Whatever for?

 

And just as the Allies required garrisons in the Med as well.

Why? WE weren't sitting on hostile territory full of partisans. Does anyone think the Axis is going to launch an amphibious assault across the Med to re-take North Africa? The North African "castle" has much a wider moat than the English "castle."

 

Yes assets could be shifted to England, just as assets were shifted from England to the Med in 42 and 43, but the total ETO assets simply aren't sufficient.

They weren't historically, but they could have been greater.

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It's not to compensate for lack of air assets, it is to get the medium-range stuff in Blighty into useful action.

 

And I wasn't thinking so much of bombing bridges as shooting up trains. The Germans aren't going to move enough to sustain a campaign by rail sticking to only dark hours. And locomotives are kinda hard to replace. B) 

 

By "medium-range stuff" do you mean all aircraft? And what do you mean by "medium-range"? In any event, it required a combination of factors to effect rail movements, shooting up trains - despite the spectacular gun-camera footage - was actually about the least efficient. Locomotives with holes punched through their boilers - most of the "explosions" seen in the footage is venting steam - were actually fairly easy to repair. But, and this is how syenrgy gets into it, the repair facilities were concentrated at marshalling yards, attacking those resulted in more effect from the loss or repair facilities than anything, and the loss of damaged wagons and locos collected at them. But there was a large number of marshalling yerds - and they were big targets, requiring massive raids to be effective against them. Now add in the bridge plinking, which caused traffic to be concentrated into the smaller number of open lines, creating congestion. Then the final blow, which was actually the last method tried, sealed things by overloading the system, and that was the "rail cut" tactic developed by fighter bombers, essentially just executing attacks to break rail connections everywhere and anywhere, again, overloading the repair system. But all that took time to develope the methods, experiment with tactics, learn from experience, and try new methods, and it required a lot of aircraft.

 

And quite simply, looking at combat aircraft alone, in the ETO and MTO in total for the USAAF there were only 2,918 available at the beginning of April 1943, but 11,341 at the beginning of April 1944. So how do one-quarter of the aircraft do it in the same timeframe? I don't think that you could use "medium-range" aircraft is the solution.

 

Brad asked about what effects Allies in Normandy would have onGerman ports in Brittany. I wasn't thinking about SBC, I was thinking about closing sub bases. Normandy bases and radar were required by the Germans if Brittany was to have any worthwhile defense against  attack from UK.

 

Sarge, the Allied invasion of Normandy did not incapacitate the sub bases in Brittany, the lack of submarines did. :D

 

See above. Please don't read into my posts. I never said anything about Normandy contributing to the SBC (aside from attracting fighters out of Germany), at least until France is taken up to the German border. I said the 1943 Normandy op would not detract from it.

 

I wasn't reading anything in, I was trying to figure out what effect you thought it might have? Have you watched the final scene in Das Boot too many times.

 

I could as easily say the Allies "required" airpower in the Med as much as the Germans required garrisons there. Whatever for?

 

Uh, exactly my point? Why do the Germans "require" garrisons or aircraft in any one area any more than the Allies did?

 

And just as the Allies required garrisons in the Med as well. Why? WE weren't sitting on hostile territory full of partisans. Does anyone think the Axis is going to launch an amphibious assault across the Med to re-take North Africa? The North African "castle" has much a wider moat than the English "castle."

 

Um,you need to answer why, because those garrisons did exist and often for good reasons. Much of the Levant, Egypt, Iraq and Persia were hostile to various dgrees, Turkey was very much still an open question. The garrisons - and airpower -did exist, largely because of the perception that existed then that they were required.

 

They weren't historically, but they could have been greater.

310060[/snapback]

 

How? Magic wand? At the beginning of April 1943 there were just 194.5 combat groups organized in the USAAF. Of those 78 were overseas, 44.25 facing Germany and 25.75 facing Japan. The remaining 8 were in Latin America engaged in anti-U-Boot ops, so effectively facing Germany as well. But the remainder were either in operational training or just in the manning phase of organization. In comparison, at the beginning of April 1944 130.5 groups were operational facing Germany, over three times that available in 1943.

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>Brad asked about what effects Allies in Normandy would have on German ports in Brittany.

 

Huh? _You_ asked that question. See #43.

 

If you're going to equate the logistical difficulty of supporting the forces in the Pacific with the logistical difficulties of supporting the forces (given their size and consumption of combat supplies) in Normandy, and if you're going to pretend you never took the position in this debate the past few times it was raised that the Allies would just have to get in and stay in for 1943, under the assumption that since they were never kicked off after Dieppe they never could be, I don't see much point continuing.

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>Brad asked about what effects Allies in Normandy would have on German ports in Brittany.

 

Huh? _You_ asked that question. See #43. My question was rhetorical at that time.

 

If you're going to equate the logistical difficulty of supporting the forces in the Pacific with the logistical difficulties of supporting the forces (given their size and consumption of combat supplies) in Normandy, and if you're going to pretend you never took the position in this debate the past few times it was raised that the Allies would just have to get in and stay in for 1943, under the assumption that since they were never kicked off after Dieppe they never could be, I don't see much point continuing.

Well, yes, I do assume that the Germans wouldn't kick them off, because I don't think they could. Basically, when you are talking about fighting in Normandy the Allies are closer to their supply than the Germans are, and can put more air over the critical section, assuming Germany doesn't abandon everything else. Now, getting that supply to Britain was another story, one reason that I want to go to Normandy to interfere with German U-boat operations out of France.

 

I very much realize that a lot more logistics went to the ETO and MTO than The PTO and SWPA. That's my point. Getting all the stuff to the Pacific took three times the lift per ton delivered, so if the logistical chains in the Pacific never failed I think it stands to reason that if the ships moved to the Atlantic theater they would be able to keep the flow of supply open.

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By "medium-range stuff" do you mean all aircraft? And what do you mean by "medium-range"?

By "medium range" I mean the assets that couldn't have an effect on the SBC over Germany, but which had the range to dominate the air over NW France from UK.

<snip>

 

And quite simply, looking at combat aircraft alone, in the ETO and MTO in total for the USAAF there were only 2,918 available at the beginning of April 1943, but 11,341 at the beginning of April 1944. So how do one-quarter of the aircraft do it in the same timeframe? I don't think that you could use "medium-range" aircraft is the solution.

F1T, the build-up in the MTO is going to the ETO, so the ETO will strengthen faster - and the Allied Med air commitments did not tie down LW assets in any relation to the assets expended (iow, it cost us more than them). Just what percentage of Allied air spent Winter of 1943 basking in the Med mud, when they could have been doing something more useful over NWE?

The Germans also had fewer assets available in the West in 1943. And I don't think Hitler is going to abandon all the other areas to send everything to Normandy in 1943 any more than he did in 1944.

 

Sarge, the Allied invasion of Normandy did not incapacitate the sub bases in Brittany, the lack of submarines did. :D

True in 1944, although the U-boats were available, Doenitz wouldn't commit them to the Atlantic. Also true to an extent in 1943, since the Battle of the Atlantic was "won in May 1943." But Allied planners didn't know that we would "defeat the U-boat" in May 1943, so anything that hinders U-boats ops is a plus. Futzing around in Sicily/Italy does not hinder U-boats in the Atlantic at all, it facilitates them by diverting ASW and escort resources.

 

I wasn't reading anything in, I was trying to figure out what effect you thought it might have? Have you watched the final scene in Das Boot too many times.

Um, no, I didn't really think that T-6s could knock out U-boat pens. :P :D

Have I explained enough now?

 

Uh, exactly my point? Why do the Germans "require" garrisons or aircraft in any one area any more than the Allies did?

Um,you need to answer why, because those garrisons did exist and often for good reasons. Much of the Levant, Egypt, Iraq and Persia were hostile to various dgrees, Turkey was very much still an open question. The garrisons - and airpower -did exist, largely because of the perception that existed then that they were required.

I am not talking about Imperial Policing garrisons, I am talking about combat garrisons in supposedly friendly territory (eg French North Africa). We did not need to heavily garrison the south side of the Med because the Axis had no way to threaten it. The Allies demonstratively did have a way to threaten the north side of the Med, and there was an actively hostile (to Germany) populace on much of the north side.

The Levant is another issue entirely. I know why those garrisons were there and I never suggested moving them, I suggested moving the field forces of 8th Army.

 

How? Magic wand? At the beginning of April 1943 there were just 194.5 combat groups organized in the USAAF. Of those 78 were overseas, 44.25 facing Germany and 25.75 facing Japan. The remaining 8 were in Latin America engaged in anti-U-Boot ops, so effectively facing Germany as well. But the remainder were either in operational training or just in the manning phase of organization. In comparison, at the beginning of April 1944 130.5 groups were operational facing Germany, over three times that available in 1943.

Once again, the USAAC is not the whole picture. There were lots of CW groups, especially if assets move from the Med. Once again, the LW in the West was fairly weak in 1943. They could put up a better show in 1943 than they could after the big write-down of Winter/Spring 1944 over Germany, but we had to wait for that. If we can sucker them into range, we can do the writing-down in 1943 with assets unable to operate over Germany from England.

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As for postponing operations in the Pacific, there wasn't a single operation in 1943 that was worth it in terms of casualties per contribution to the war effort. MacArthur's SWPA antics might have been of use had he gone for the one strategic target in his area (the NEI oilfields), but he didn't. SoPac operations were equally pointless - in what way did struggling up the Solomons chain contribute to strategic victory?
The Solomons campaign was fighting an attrition-type of war that the Japanese could not possibly hope to win. The US could replace its losses and a whole lot more.....the Japanese could not even come close to replacing not just the ships lost, but the remaining cadre of experienced carrier pilots sent to Rabaul & Munda.

 

If Midway could be described as a surprise left hook that stunned the Japanese, then the Solomons campaign was a series of body punches that took its toll on the fighting capabilities of the IJN. They would only sortie for battle twice more for the remainder of the Pacific war.

 

Lessons learned during the naval battles in the Solomons would prove very valuable in making the eventual push across the Pacific easier. Nightfighting training was quickly brought up to par, better training in the use of surface radar, more co-ordination in the planning of carrier air-strikes, the necessity of maintaining better TG co-operation against air attack, experience at conducting amphib ops, etc.

 

The Japanese never had a single victory in the PTO, either on the ground, at sea, or in the air after the conclusion of the Solomons campaign.

 

As for getting to the NEI, how do you propose to do that without first securing advanced bases?

 

I still maintain that Guadalcanal - or even Japanese in Port Moresby - did not pose any danger to OZ, and that would have been obvious at the time had anyone really looked. But I agree that the panic of early 1942 made at least a blocking action seem necessary, even if it wasn't.

 

And how do you propose to keep Australia in the war with shipping lanes being interdicted by Japanese land-based air?

 

As for frontal assaults on Japanese islands, we could have gotten through the Central Pacific by taking undefended islands like Majuro and Ulithi and building our own bases rather that attempting to take over Japanese bases which were wrecked in the process of taking them anyway. ADM Wilkinson suggested that in 1938, IIRC.

The only Japanese bases we HAD to take were the Marianas, and we only HAD to take them because the B-29 strategy required them. I'm sure you know my views on that strategy.

 

Ulithi is unusable without the naval & air presence at Truk having been neutralized. Same with Majuro and the Japanese air-bases in the Gilberts & Marshalls.

 

I don't see how placing the PTO on hold to try and speed up the defeat of Germany is beneficial in the long run to the US. Even if the proposed '43 landing does shorten the war in Europe, I would think it lengthens the war in the Pacific by giving the Japanese time to consolidate, which was their plan all along.....strike quickly and "go turtle." Keeping constant pressure on the Japanese forced them to fight a type of war they were not prepared for.

 

My 2cents :blink:

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The Solomons campaign was fighting an attrition-type of war that the Japanese could not possibly hope to win. The US could replace its losses and a whole lot more.....the Japanese could not even come close to replacing not just the ships lost, but the remaining cadre of experienced carrier pilots sent to Rabaul & Munda.

We have done this before. Previously I have pointed out that the Pacific War was fought by infantry and using infantry tactics. The USN suffered about 30% of US casualties in the Pacific. The rest were suffered in land combat.

 

If Midway could be described as a surprise left hook that stunned the Japanese, then the Solomons campaign was a series of body punches that took its toll on the fighting capabilities of the IJN. They would only sortie for battle twice more for the remainder of the Pacific war.

Not quite, but there were only two major battles.

 

Lessons learned during the naval battles in the Solomons would prove very valuable in making the eventual push across the Pacific easier. Nightfighting training was quickly brought up to par, better training in the use of surface radar, more co-ordination in the planning of carrier air-strikes, the necessity of maintaining better TG co-operation against air attack, experience at conducting amphib ops, etc.

My point is that if we had not been fighting long campaigns for worthless ground, we would not have had to learn and do the Savo Island Style combat. The training helped the war as fought, but it was the wrong kind of war.

 

As for getting to the NEI, how do you propose to do that without first securing advanced bases?

You don't, but slogging or even leapfrogging up New Guinea is not going towards the NEI or anything else of strategic value. What is the point?

 

And how do you propose to keep Australia in the war with shipping lanes being interdicted by Japanese land-based air?

Who says shipping lanes to OZ would be interdicted? Bases in the Solomons weren't going to do it.

 

Ulithi is unusable without the naval & air presence at Truk having been neutralized. Same with Majuro and the Japanese air-bases in the Gilberts & Marshalls.

And the Gilberts were neutralized by taking Majuro at no cost, building airfields, and interdicting the surrounding Japanese-occupied islands. Truk was no threat to Ulithi after being worked over by TF58, and USN forces based on Ulithi could prevent Truk from being active again.

 

The PTO planners (the ones who won the arguments anyway) were petrified of having Japanese in their rear. They didn't consider that we would be in the Japanese rear with assets to prevent the Japanese from using the isolated bases. Most of the islands couldn't even feed the military forces on them. They had to ship in gasoline if they wanted to use a/c. About the only thing the bypassed Japanese could do would be to have their infantry walk on water to attack our supply lines. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

I don't see how placing the PTO on hold to try and speed up the defeat of Germany is beneficial in the long run to the US. Even if the proposed '43 landing does shorten the war in Europe, I would think it lengthens the war in the Pacific by giving the Japanese time to consolidate, which was their plan all along.....strike quickly and "go turtle." Keeping constant pressure on the Japanese forced them to fight a type of war they were not prepared for.

And it resulted in many US casualties that could have been avoided. The USN was not powerful enough to do offensives before 1944, except for fighting with infantry in disease-ridden hellholes. That played into the Japanese hands, their only asset was manpower.

 

The Japanese plan was to "go turtle" and hope the US gave up in disgust. If we kept resolve to clean out the Pacific, they were doomed whenever we had our forces ready to go.

 

The Japanese can consolidate all they want, and we just sail past their consolidated islands, wrecking everything with carrier-based air and not allowing them to rebuild and reprovision their bases. They can sit on their consolidated islands and starve.

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