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#21 seahawk

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0101 AM

Ken, you are right in that Axis pundits claim they tied down Allied forces and Allied pundits claim they tied down Axis forces. The problem is, do we just count the divisions on the firing line, or do we add in the divisions garrisoning rear areas that the Germans would have had to have there anyway? If those rear-area forces are taken out of the OB, the Germans held up the Allies with about 1/2 their strength. Then, at least some of the Germans fighting in Southern Italy would have had to be there anyway, as garrisons.

After the Fall of Rome the Allies withdrew French and US units forDragoon, so it did become a bit easier for the Germans to delay what was left. Also, the Brits were pulling troops out for Winston's schemes in Greece and the Aegean.

So it's pretty complex. We can't even be certain that Italy would have capitulated in 1943 without Sicily and Salerno, although I think there was a pretty good chance. Italy was definitely a drain on both sides, although I think the Allies got drained more. Normandy was done with troops who were bright green (and not just from seasickness), because the combat-experienced troops were in Italy.

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You are right in the fact that both sides devoted units to the war in Italy that could have been used at better places. But I still believe that Germany was suffering more from it, then the Allies, as the Allies had enough troops ready, while Germany was getting short on heavy forces. Just imagine what 5 divsisions of gemran infantry and armor could have done at Kursk. Or how 5 additional and good trained and equipped divisions could have made Overlord much more bloody for the allies. Furthermore the war in Italy forced the Axis to garrsion Austria and Northern Italy much earlier in the war.
And the there is the question if Mussolini would have fallen without Sicily and if the Germans would not have been able to get the Italians back under full control with out an allied invasion and install another facsit leader. Which would have possibly meant that they would have been able to even free up more divisons, as italian fascists could have controlled Italy and put down any uprising.

I wonder why the war in Italy is so often discussed, while Dragoon is not so often focussed on.
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#22 JWB

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0216 AM

[/B]Albania would be a bigger disaster to fight in than crawling up Italy. Mountainous, no transport infrastructure, small ports.[B]

Terrain is not really that much of an issue. The real issue is enemy force. Italy was a bitch because the Germans had a large force there. In Albania they didn't.
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#23 Tony Williams

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0349 AM

While it is true that Germany was less well-prepared to defend France in 1943, it wouldn't have been possible to hide the build-up of forces in southern England needed for the invasion, so the Germans would have had plenty of notice of the Allied plans in which to improve their defences.

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#24 KingSargent

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0455 AM

[/B]Albania would be a bigger disaster to fight in than crawling up Italy. Mountainous, no transport infrastructure, small ports.[B]

Terrain is not really that much of an issue. The real issue is enemy force. Italy was a bitch because the Germans had a large force there. In Albania they didn't.

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Okay explain just how these hypothetical invaders of Albania would land and supply a mostly motorized army in a rugged country with zip infrastructure. While you're at it, enlighten us on where the victorious Allied invaders of Albania would go next...
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#25 KingSargent

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0517 AM

While it is true that Germany was less well-prepared to defend France in 1943, it wouldn't have been possible to hide the build-up of forces in southern England needed for the invasion, so the Germans would have had plenty of notice of the Allied plans in which to improve their defences.

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Uh Tony, just how much notice did the Germans have of the real goals of Overlord a year later? Hitler thought it was a feint and kept 15th Armee north of the Seine.

Besides forces building up in England can have many objectives. Hitler was always thinking that the Allies would go to Norway.... B)

Finally, you can't improve your defenses without something to improve them with. With the exception of the Tiger and a few self-igniting Panthers, German armor wasn't superior in mid-1943, nor could they build as much of it. I don't have figures on divisions raised and when (and it's not that reliable when I have it), but IIRC the Germans activated 40+ divisions mid 1943 to mid 1944. Most were junk, but some were pretty formidable. Most of the divisions Alanbrooke was terrified of were training units and/or cadres being rebuilt. There may have been 25 (or 27, he said both) German divisional designations in France, but I don't think any of them were manned and equipped to combat TOE levels.

And to reiterate, I'm not thinking of fighting the war in 1943-44 exactly as it played out in 1944-45. T%he idea is to get troops onshore and let the Germans come to them. Let the Allies have the advantage of defending in bocage. Let the Luftwaffe come within range of the short-ranged a/c in the UK. And BTW, there would be no need to ca;; off the SBC, it would get easier if the Germans had to support the Army.

No, get on the beach with the experienced troops we did have (instead of sending them to a sideshow); fortify; shovel supplies in and let other divisions rotate through the combat zone; defend until Spring of 1944, then hit - we could even pull another invasion in a different area.
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#26 RETAC21

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0534 AM

The worst case would be an Anzio like beachead, though much larger, with German forces being pounded by sea, air and land power. It may had the added benefit of pulling the Strategic bomber forces away from the fight over Germany, where they were having little success at great cost, and have them do something actually useful for the war effort.
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#27 Ken Estes

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0620 AM

The worst case would be an Anzio like beachead, though much larger, with German forces being pounded by sea, air and land power. It may had the added benefit of pulling the Strategic bomber forces away from the fight over Germany, where they were having little success at great cost, and have them do something actually useful for the war effort.

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There is the problem of fighting power, though and a Salarno-like landing would not auger well for France43: the Germans almost broke the Allied landing there. How many seasoned divisions could one count on for a 1943 landing in the West...and I am not sure how easily one could shift divisions from Tunisia and make the weather/tide/daylight criteria that might have made a 1`943 landing moot after, say, August? Just guessing here.

The Luftwaffe is not defeated in 1943. Ike's six criteria for a successful Overlord only has one accomplished in 1943 and that is the defeat of the U-boat. Landing craft is also an issue, but King Sargent's consistent point about Husky begs the Q of how many were in Europe and where they were in 43-44.
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#28 RETAC21

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0656 AM

There is the problem of fighting power, though and a Salarno-like landing would not auger well for France43: the Germans almost broke the Allied landing there. How many seasoned divisions could one count on for a 1943 landing in the West...and I am not sure how easily one could shift divisions from Tunisia and make the weather/tide/daylight criteria that might have made a 1`943 landing moot after, say, August? Just guessing here.

The Luftwaffe is not defeated in 1943. Ike's six criteria for a successful Overlord only has one accomplished in 1943 and that is the defeat of the U-boat. Landing craft is also an issue, but King Sargent's consistent point about Husky begs the Q of how many were in Europe and where they were in 43-44.

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We had a couple of topics back when. IIRC there were enough assets and divisions, provided no Italy invasion, up to and including Sicily. Problem was the assets were in the Med, rather than Britain, so it may take time to move the stuff there. Air superiority over Normandy shouldn't be a problem, even if it wasn't as overwhelming as it would be in 1944, as even keeping the Strategic bombing campaign up is going to keep on sucking fighters away from the front. For all their prowess, the Germans were unable to stop any amphibious invasion made by the allies in which they intended to stay.
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#29 Tony Williams

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0707 AM

Uh Tony, just how much notice did the Germans have of the real goals of Overlord a year later? Hitler thought it was a feint and kept 15th Armee north of the Seine.

Besides forces building up in England can have many objectives. Hitler was always thinking that the Allies would go to Norway.... B)


Sure, but Hitler would know that he had to keep strong forces in the West even if he didn't know exactly where the blow would fall. I don't think that Norway would fool him - the obvious kick-off place for invading that would be much further north than southern England.

A lot can be done to stiffen up coast defences in a short time, as Rommel proved in 1944.

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#30 Geoff Winnington-Ball

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0720 AM

"Canuckistanis"

Are some kind of a Pat Buchanan /fox news  what'a  be....... Its Canadians.  And even if you think Canada is too socialist now it was not the case in 43.  Use the correct term.

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Whoa... keep your shorts on, laddie! Thanks to R011 for catching this before I did, but just to clarify: my family were United Empire Loyalists who arrived here in 1786, and we had people in the War of 1812, WW1 and WW2 (probably in between too). I have served as has my son, and one look at my websites listed in my signature bloc should tell you where my allegiances lie.

I have also been a member of the Tanknet community since about 1995, and am one of the founding members and Administrators of this current iteration. R011 is correct, the term 'Canukistanis' is a Tanknet joke which I accept as recognition of our contribution to not only this forum but Western Military History as well. 'Those of Sam' here freely acknowledge that... :)

Now pardon me, but I have to go joust with Mr. Estes and Mr. Sargent on the subject matter at hand. Unfortunately methinks "work" demands my presence (pain in the arse, that), which implies a short delay in transmission times. :D

Go have a Molson Dry on me - that on top of fried eggs, bacon and French Toast slathered in maple syrup is a fine tradition (eggs, bacon & beans also washed down by beer is an acceptable substitute)!

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#31 Ken Estes

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0723 AM

We had a couple of topics back when. IIRC there were enough assets and divisions, provided no Italy invasion, up to and including Sicily. Problem was the assets were in the Med, rather than Britain, so it may take time to move the stuff there. Air superiority over Normandy shouldn't be a problem, even if it wasn't as overwhelming as it would be in 1944, as even keeping the Strategic bombing campaign up is going to keep on sucking fighters away from the front. For all their prowess, the Germans were unable to stop any amphibious invasion made by the allies in which they intended to stay.

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European amphib ops differed markedly from most of the Pacific ones, where delivering the assault force ashore was the major feat. Operational surprise was possible, given the vast distances the Axis had to guard, but reinforcement was the key. In the Pacific, one gave up operational surprise to bombard the defenses for several days, because the other side could not reinforce his land defenses and air/sea intervention remained more difficult.

The assault force generally could not count on reinforcing faster than the land defender in Europe. Even after the considerable effort expended on dropping the Seine bridges, etc., it was the daylight fighterbomber sweeps in 1944 that kept 2nd and 10th SS, Pz Lehr, etc. out of contention before the landings were secure. Salerno proved too close-run in my estimation [against weak mobile counterattack forces], and accounts at least in part for the slowness of VI Corps later at Anzio.

The fixed defenses of the Atlantic Wall would not be much in 1943, but mobile reserves and air power would have appeared. I cannot imagine Hitler insisting on Zitadell in the east had the Allies been assembling an invasion force vs. France. So we ought to look at total German forces, subtract the minimum for a defense in the east [albeit highly problematic], garrisons in So. Europe & Norway and then take a look at what the Allies would have to land and build-up in Western France. I suspect it will not be a pretty picture: 4th Pz Army and half of Model's mobile formations stationed as PzGrp West?
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#32 Rich

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0831 AM

I am talking of the initial landings, before there were ports captured.

On 10/7/43 the US landed 1,3,& 45 Inf Divs, reinforced by tanks of 2nd AD, and dropped 505 Parachute regiment. The CW landed 1 Canadian, 5 Br, 50 Br, 51 Br InfDivs,  plus 231 Inf Bde and 1 Airborne Bde, plus two Commando units. That is seven divisions that hit the beaches, plus 231 Bde and the Commandos (the airborne units obviously did not require amphibious shipping). That is more than were in the initial waves in Normandy, although the Husky Allies did not have the constant flow of reinforcements coming in that Overlord provided.

Nevertheless, there was amphibious shipping for a seven+ division landing available in 1943 in the ETO/MTO. I can't quantify this part, but it is probable that King and Marshall had moved some assets to the PTO that were originaly scheduled for the ETO before Casablanca.

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Here we go again. :D

Amphibious lift available for HUSKY was extremely limited and included just 8 RN LSI, while 43 were assigned to NEPTUNE forces. HUSKY also had just 509 "major" landing craft (LST, LCT and LCI) and 1,225 "minor" landing craft (LCA, LCVP and LCM), there were a total of approximately (totals vary) 2,092 "major" and 1,991 "minor" landing craft assigned to NEPTUNE.

To illustrate, the HUSKY lift was sufficient to enable US Seventh Army to assault 16 beach sectors in strengths that were between company and battalion-size. Thereafter, ship-to-shore shuttle operations enabled the landing of the rest of the force, but in fact the lift available for the actual assault waves was less than that assigned to OMAHA alone.

By 17 July, all of Seventh Army ashore in Sicily totaled just 92,815 officers, NCO and enlisted. In comparison, at the end of the first week in Normandy First Army had 132,333 men in combat divisions alone ashore and 219,290 had entered France "across the beach" while another 17,282 had arrived by air.

In terms of armor moved the difference is staggering. For HUSKY the lift included 327 Commonwealth and 125 US tanks landed by 16 July while in Normandy about 1,164 Commonwealth and 680 US tanks had been landed.
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#33 RETAC21

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 1056 AM

Here we go again.  :D

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We were due. :P

Good moment as any other to find those numbers of Panzers in the West in this time frame, but I can't find it, King?
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#34 JWB

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 1258 PM

Okay explain just how these hypothetical invaders of Albania would land and supply a mostly motorized army in a rugged country with zip infrastructure. While you're at it, enlighten us on where the victorious Allied invaders of Albania would go next...

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The Germans had about 70,000 men in Albania and they had their hands full just dealing with the resistance. In southern Albania the resistance had effectively taken control. The landings would be no more difficult than at UTAH beach. Airborne would be used also. Supply would come from the air for a few weeks until a port is built at Vlore. Next.....go North and meet up with Tito.
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#35 KingSargent

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 1357 PM

Here we go again.  :D

Amphibious lift available for HUSKY was extremely limited and included just 8 RN LSI, while 43 were assigned to NEPTUNE forces. HUSKY also had just 509 "major" landing craft (LST, LCT and LCI) and 1,225 "minor" landing craft (LCA, LCVP and LCM), there were a total of approximately (totals vary) 2,092 "major" and 1,991 "minor" landing craft assigned to NEPTUNE.

The figures I have handy indicate that HUSKY was a tad stronger than 8 RN LSIs:
HQ ships: 2 US 3 RN; Attack transports 20 US 37 RN; Attack cargo ships 7 US 0 RN; LSTs 76 US 72 RN; LSI(L) 90 US, 145 RN; LCT 100 US 138 RN; LCM 154 US 241 RN; LCVP/LCA 324 US 272 RN (these figures show that the Allies had not recovered from the almost total losses in Beaching craft in TORCH. It is also highly probable that the US shipping used in the PTO in '43 would have gone to the ETO had the British not weaseled out at Casablanca.

To illustrate, the HUSKY lift was sufficient to enable US Seventh Army to assault 16 beach sectors in strengths that were between company and battalion-size. Thereafter, ship-to-shore shuttle operations enabled the landing of the rest of the force, but in fact the lift available for the actual assault waves was less than that assigned to OMAHA alone.

It appears that you are leaving the British 8th Army out of the picture, and it was bigger than 7th US in the initial lift.

By 17 July, all of Seventh Army ashore in Sicily totaled just 92,815 officers, NCO and enlisted. In comparison, at the end of the first week in Normandy First Army had 132,333 men in combat divisions alone ashore and 219,290 had entered France "across the beach" while another 17,282 had arrived by air.

Speed of reinforcement was largely a factor of availability of transport for the reserve formations. It took longer to get units from Africa to Sicily than to get them across the English Channel. There were also more formations in Blighty than in Africa - reserves for HUSKY were about 1 1/2 divisions each for the US and CW.

In terms of armor moved the difference is staggering. For HUSKY the lift included 327 Commonwealth and 125 US tanks landed by 16 July while in Normandy about  1,164 Commonwealth and 680 US tanks had been landed.

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Your figures are ambivalent. The HUSKY lift was accomplished in six days after the landing on 10/7/43. Now are you saying the Allies landed 1844 tanks in Normandy in six days (i.e, by 12/6/44), or was that the total on 16/7/44, five weeks after the initial landing?

All of which begs the question that the Germans did not have the armor (or infantry) reserves in 1943 that they had in 1944. Also there is a better possibility of snaffling a port in 1943, their defenses were boosted as part of the Atlantic Wall, which hadn't even begun by summer '43.

The war in Tunisia had reached a point where victory was certain and some divisions could have begun the trip back to England before the final capitulation (units were being 'squeezed out' as the containment of the Axis contracted). This would have given a head start in shifting troops, and the amphibious assets (beaching craft) could have started back sooner too. New US production could have gone to the UK instead of the MTO - that would be quicker especially given the port capabilities in the UK as opposed to Africa.

If the Allies juggled everything just right and with determination I think they could have staged the landing in France in July '43. Since they weren't doing everything right at the time, I would estimate the date of landing in August.
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#36 KingSargent

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 1408 PM

The Germans had about 70,000 men in Albania and they had their hands full just dealing with the resistance. In southern Albania the resistance had effectively taken control. The landings would be no more difficult than at UTAH beach. Airborne would be used also. Supply would come from the air for a few weeks until a port is built at Vlore. Next.....go North and meet up with Tito.

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What is the purpose of all this? To delay going to France? The British hid a few troops in Greece and the Aegean anyway, to keep them out of France (this was in 1944. They tried in 1943 and got their heads handed to them.)

"Building a port at Vlore" in 1943 would have been much more difficult than the MULBERRIES at Normandy. For one thing all the components and facilities would have had to come from the US or UK as opposed to just towing the MULBERRY components across the Channel.

And supplying an army in Albania by air was not on in 1943, there simply weren't enough transport assets.

"Meet up with Tito?"Why? To collide with the Soviet advance on the East Front? :unsure: ;)
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#37 JWB

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 0214 AM

What is the purpose of all this? "Meet up with Tito?"Why? To collide with the Soviet advance on the East Front?

Strategy and grand strategy. The goal of strategy was to push into Austria. With an allied force in the Balkans Hitler would have to decide whether to send divisions to Italy or to Yugoslavia. Or even if he could deploy as many divisions to the eastern front. He could not do all of those deployments. Whichever he chooses would result in fewer somewhere else. That someplace else is where the allied force pushes through.

Grand strategy was about being able to dictate to Stalin and avoid the debacle of Yalta. The goal here was to liberate Poland. That was probably out of reach. Ivan would have gotten there first. But certainly Hungary and probably Czechoslovakia was reachable.

"Building a port at Vlore" in 1943 would have been much more difficult than the MULBERRIES at Normandy.

Not quite that difficult. CBs built ports all over the Pacific in the same fashion.

And supplying an army in Albania by air was not on in 1943, there simply weren't enough transport assets.

Not an entire field army that would be 500,000 men. Initially a toe hold would be made with only two divisions of mountain and elite infantry. That could be supplied with air transport. The locals would friendly and helpfull.


To delay going to France?

No delay. If as you claim the allies can push 6 division up beaches then 2 would go to Albania 3 to Bordeaux and 1 held in reserve in the Med for use in Italy or Albania as the situation presents itself.

The AXIS forces in Albania were largely poor quality and overextended even for anti-partisan operations.They would have been unable to drive 2 US divisions into the Adriatic. After several weeks the ports would have been built and divisions would start deploying.

Edited by JWB, 29 July 2005 - 0222 AM.

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#38 RETAC21

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 0402 AM

What is the purpose of all this?  "Meet up with Tito?"Why? To collide with the Soviet advance on the East Front?

Strategy and grand strategy. The goal of strategy was to push into Austria. With an allied force in the Balkans Hitler would have to decide whether to send divisions to Italy or to Yugoslavia. Or even if he could deploy as many divisions to the eastern front. He could not do all of those deployments. Whichever he chooses would result in fewer somewhere else. That someplace else is where the allied force pushes through.

Grand strategy was about being able to dictate to Stalin and avoid the debacle of Yalta. The goal here was to liberate Poland. That was probably out of reach. Ivan would have gotten there first. But certainly Hungary and probably Czechoslovakia was reachable.

"Building a port at Vlore" in 1943 would have been much more difficult than the MULBERRIES at Normandy.

Not quite that difficult. CBs built ports all over the Pacific in the same fashion.

And supplying an army in Albania by air was not on in 1943, there simply weren't enough transport assets.

Not an entire field army that would be 500,000 men. Initially a toe hold would be made with only two divisions of mountain and elite infantry. That could be supplied with air transport. The locals would friendly and helpfull.
To delay going to France?

No delay. If as you claim the allies can push 6 division up beaches then 2 would go to Albania 3 to Bordeaux and 1 held in reserve in the Med for use in Italy or Albania as the situation presents itself.

The AXIS forces in Albania were largely poor quality and overextended even for anti-partisan operations.They would have been unable to drive 2 US divisions into the Adriatic. After several weeks the ports would have been built and divisions would start deploying.

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The problem with this is that you are likely to end up exchanging having Albania for loosing Germany. It would have been a bigger sideshow than Italy was, it would have actually freed more valuable mobile formations for use by the Axis in the East and it may even have ended in disaster (since Albania was too far for land based fighter cover and you had to build the airfields from scratch)
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#39 Jim Martin

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 0434 AM

Road networks in Western Europe were poor enough by today's standards (witness problems on the road to Arnhem, 1944), road networks in Albania today are nearly non-existant, in 1943 I'm sure they *were* non-existant. Any sea route to Albania would have been an invitation for Axis air interdiction. Port facilities, nearly non-existant as well. A limited incursion to seize a beachhead? Doable, for no reason I could see. A major invasion to secure port facilities with which to support a major land offensive on the Continent? I need some of what you're smoking.... :blink:

The whole idea is a logistical non-starter.

You had me when you said "Albania"....
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#40 Rich

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 0747 AM

The figures I have handy indicate that HUSKY was a tad stronger than 8 RN LSIs:
HQ ships: 2 US 3 RN; Attack transports 20 US 37 RN; Attack cargo ships 7 US 0 RN; LSTs 76 US 72 RN; LSI(L) 90 US, 145 RN; LCT 100 US 138 RN; LCM 154 US 241 RN; LCVP/LCA 324 US 272 RN (these figures show that the Allies had not recovered from the almost total losses in Beaching craft in TORCH. It is also highly probable that the US shipping used in the PTO in '43 would have gone to the ETO had the British not weaseled out at Casablanca.
It appears that you are leaving the British 8th Army out of the picture, and it was bigger than 7th US in the initial lift.

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Sorry, I was going by a hasty count taken from d'Este, who is not always reliable. But in this case the problem appears to be differing definitions. Your total of LST, LCI (not LSI) and LCT, i.e., "large craft", is 621, not much different from 509, but vastly different from NEPTUNE's 2,092. Ditto the "minor" craft, yours is 991, d'Este 1,225 and NEPTUNE 1,991. :D

And that 57 APA and LSI were used for HUSKY versus the 43 for NEPTUNE merely illustrates the difference in the operations.

BTW, the vessel numbers include both Seventh US and Eighth British Armies, so I'm not sure how one of them is "left out"?

Speed of reinforcement was largely a factor of availability of transport for the reserve formations. It took longer to get units from Africa to Sicily than to get them across the English Channel. There were also more formations in Blighty than in Africa - reserves for HUSKY were about 1 1/2 divisions each for the US and CW.

Yes, but that doesn't mean more formations were available in 1943 than in 1944, rather the opposite in fact.

Your figures are ambivalent. The HUSKY lift was accomplished in six days after the landing on 10/7/43. Now are you saying the Allies landed 1844 tanks in Normandy in six days (i.e, by 12/6/44), or was that the total on 16/7/44, five weeks after the initial landing?

All of which begs the question that the Germans did not have the armor (or infantry) reserves in 1943 that they had in 1944. Also there is a better possibility of snaffling a port in 1943, their defenses were boosted as part of the Atlantic Wall, which hadn't even begun by summer '43.


I don't think there is any ambivalence, I think you simply are thinking too hard. :D

HUSKY = 452 landed in one week 10-16 July 1943
NEPTUNE = 1,844 landed in one week 6-12 June 1944 (actually more were landed since the British also brought in and issued virtually all "First Reinforcements" while many of the few US reserves were also landed, an exact count appears impossible at this late date)

Is that clearer? <_<

Actually the seaward defenses were reasonably complete in the ports, while the coastal batteries had not yet been casemated, which eventually proved to be more effective in any case (yep, the best postwar evidence is that the uncasemated batteries in France remained operational and effective longer than the casemated ones :P ).

And we can go round and round on numbers of tanks, aircraft, divisions and etcetera again, but the simple problem for the Allies is that the Germans can reinforce much more rapidly than the Allies can land in 1943.

Edited by Rich, 29 July 2005 - 0749 AM.

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