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WW2 alt history. slipping Italy


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#1 cdnsigop

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 1019 AM

Hey I was think, what do think the out come would of been if the Allies had slipped Italy all together and just waited for a build up of forces in 19143 and went straight for France? Would the war end closer? I think the Allies would taken a lot more Casualties and war would not of ended any sooner, as the Geramn had a had a firepower open then in 43 that was not there in 44. And they had limited tacitical airforce at the point as well. Oh the plus side it would pushed the US and British toget better tanks in production faster.
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#2 cdnsigop

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 0856 AM

no takers?
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#3 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 1028 AM

Hey I was think, what do think the out come would of been if the Allies had slipped Italy all together and just waited for a build up of forces in 19143 and went straight for France?  Would the war end closer?  I think the Allies would taken a lot more Casualties and war would not of ended any sooner, as the Geramn had a had a firepower open then in 43 that was not there in 44.  And they had limited tacitical airforce at the point as well. Oh the plus side it would pushed the US and British toget better tanks in production faster.

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UK/CW would have made up a much higher percentage of the invasion forces in 1943 and thus suffered a higher percentage of the casualties. Churchill wanted to tie down a high a percentage of his forces in the med as he could and wait till 1944 to crack western Europe when the US would assume a higher pe rcentage of the invasion and subsequent fighting effort. Call it the Somme/Paschendaele factor.
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#4 aegandolfi

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 1119 AM

I've actually read an analysis that states that the Germans were so sure that there would be no cross-channel invasion in '43 that they stripped France bare to shore up the Eastern Front , and that an invasion would have had an easier time getting ashore than in 1944. Of course they would have had more forces to re-direct to France afterward.

My guess would be that the success would depend on the ability of the Allied airforces to isolate the battlefield. If the strategic bomber forces were totally diverted to a transportation plan, a la 1944, the invasion would have had a very good chance in 1943.

I think another interesting question would be, what if the Allies brought enough carriers into the Med to invade Italy at the hip, not the boot. The campaign might
have been concluded very quickly and opened Germany to an attack through Croatia/Austria.

This would have been really nice for keeping the Soviets out of Eastern Europe.

AG

Edited by aegandolfi, 26 July 2005 - 1119 AM.

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#5 Ken Estes

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 1226 PM

There is already plenty of evidence why Overlord does not work in 1943: U-boats not yet [for sure] routed, air power not yet there, supplies, troops, training, etc.

Italy is compelling, a strategic no-brainer: the No African forces, lift, are available; air and sea supremacy [Sicily and Messina], propaganda value of knocking off one of top 3 Axis powers; results in opening the Med for future ops [viz Pacific]. All this is true w/o embracing the bizarre Churchillian notion of the Soft Underbelly. Best strategy would have been to take Rome and go no farther, but 5th Army, etc., personalities, combine to keep the sloggers slogging...not the worst error of the Allies.
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#6 Victor

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 2148 PM

I think another interesting question would be, what if the Allies brought enough carriers into the Med to invade Italy at the hip, not the boot.

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Perhaps not sensible as it would allow the Geramns & Italians to (i) see you coming (ii) attack from all angles (iii) cut off your long supply route.

Edited by Victor, 26 July 2005 - 2150 PM.

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#7 aegandolfi

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 2200 PM

Perhaps not sensible as it would allow the Geramns & Italians to (i) see you coming (ii) attack from all angles (iii) cut off your long supply route.

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Well, remember, after Sicily the Italians wanted to chabge sides, so they wouldn't be doing any attacking, and might have with the Allies if their slow progress hadn't let the Germans disarm the Italians.

Secondly, how would they see you coming? They didn't see Torch, Husky, Salerno, Overlord etc. And, there were very few German troops in Italy after Sicily, they poured in when the Italians tried to switch sides.

They might have heard about the aircraft carriers coming to the Med. But that wouldn't have given them a good idea of where the strike would be. S Italy, S France, Greece etc.
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#8 JWB

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 0144 AM

A better strategy would have been to take Italy across the "shin" then invade Albania. The biggest problem for the allies was the severe shortage of amphibious shipping. Mid-to-late 1943 there was only enough to push fewer than 3 divisions across a beach. This would have worked for Italy>Albania because southern Italy has several ports for logistical support freeing up the 'phibs for invasion.

But if aegandolfi wants to bring CVs then an invasion at Bordeaux would be best of all.
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#9 seahawk

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 0208 AM

Well do not forget how many German divisions were forced to fight in Italy to counter the invasion and the collaps of the itlaian fascists.

Those troops came to a large extent from France (!). So if you do not invade in Italy the allies would face them in France, where they had been preparing for that invasion for 3 years by then. Or worse, the Germans could have sent them east (to Kursk for example), which could have altered the outcome in the east. The invasion of Italy was a sensible and effective move.

The after Normandy invasion of Southern France however.....
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#10 KingSargent

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 0352 AM

A better strategy would have been to take Italy across the "shin" then invade Albania. The biggest problem for the allies was the severe shortage of amphibious shipping. Mid-to-late 1943 there was only enough to push fewer than 3 divisions across a beach. This would have worked for Italy>Albania because southern Italy has several ports for logistical support freeing up the 'phibs for invasion.

But if  aegandolfi wants to bring CVs then an invasion at Bordeaux would be best of all.

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If there was only enough amphib for three divisions, how did they manage to land six or seven in Sicily?

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

Don't laugh at the possibility of US CVs covering an invasion in France. They did cover Dragoon in South France in 1944, and Patton wanted Ranger to cover the Sicilian landings. One reason the Navy sent the majority of its ships to the Pacific was that Churchill and Alanbrooke chickened out of going to France in 1943. Assets that were earmarked for the ETO went to the Pacific after the Brits changed the strategic plan at Casablanca and Marshall and King got pissed off and went to play in the other sandbox. Alanbrooke flat-out lied, coming up with figures out of the air that had no source and were never realised.

One thing that makes France in 1943 look better is that the Germans didn't even start building the Atlantic Wall until October or November 1943. Brooke played fast and loose with intel on the number of Axis divisions in France, too. The numbers claimed fluctuated from day to day (always inflating upwards), and no mention was made of the fact that most of them were mere cadres being rebuilt in France after the losses at Stalingrad and 'Tunisgrad.'

The Germans would have had to keep divisions in Italy and the Balkans as garrisons even if the US/UK never set foot on the "boot."

As for air, the Allies had superiority over France to the extent that they could have raids and the Germans wouldn't even try to meet them. What we lacked in 1943 was planes with range enough to dominate Germany, but the UK was chock-full of planes that could have covered an invasion - AND sunk any U-boat stupid enough to go into the Channel to interfere with an invasion. A landing in France would have drawn the Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine into areas where we could kill them - consider the invasion as bait to make the Germans come out and play. We were having trouble in the mid-Atlantic with U-boats, because we didn't have VLR a/c to cover all the routes, but there were lots of planes and smaller ASW craft to cover the Channel.

Please note, the war would not have gone in exact detail as happened after Overlord; I doubt there would have been a German capitulation 50 weeks after the ramps splashed into the water.
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#11 JohnB

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 0412 AM

If there was only enough amphib for three divisions, how did they manage to land six or seven in Sicily?


From captured ports.
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#12 Geoff Winnington-Ball

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 0732 AM

From captured ports.

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Not altogether... the Canuckistanis who landed in Italy sailed directly from the UK, and perhaps others as well (I'm not as well-read on the subject as some of our more august members).

Moot point anyway... we didn't have the resources in '43 for a sustained campaign in northern France, although I admit it would have been interesting. Italy was a nasty piece of business, but it did serve to draw many German resources away from NW Europe and we did beat the bastards (albeit at some cost). In addition, it cleared the Med, put Italy right out of the war (they didn't have the heart for it anyway) and served notice to the Germans that they were fighting a losing war. Plus, it appeased Stalin and kept the Russkies on the go, and perhaps even persuaded Spain to stay out of it altogether.

1944 and Normandy worked, and if things had been handled better, the war might well have been won by that Christmas (another topic we've covered before and will no doubt thrash to death again).
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#13 Ken Estes

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 1158 AM

Geoff, Your post reminds me of the beginning of Fairly Mowat's And the Birds Sang one of the best first person accounts of WWII.

It is more than interesting that in the case of Italy, both sides have pundits and historians claiming that the campaign tied down the other side's forces. Are they both right? Has anybody done the counting? Perhaps after the Fall of Rome, it becomes more secondary for the Germans, hence economical.
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#14 KingSargent

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 1439 PM

From captured ports.

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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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#15 KingSargent

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 1459 PM

It is more than interesting that in the case of Italy, both sides have pundits and historians claiming that the campaign tied down the other side's forces. Are they both right? Has anybody done the counting? Perhaps after the Fall of Rome, it becomes more secondary for the Germans, hence economical.

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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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#16 Ken Estes

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 1510 PM

Well, King, nothing like a Sicily/Italy topic to draw you out. Where have you been? Didn't Michael let you have access to the www? Or, were you just mesmerized by the quality of life in the Lower48, albeit in the best of circumstances, the PacNW? Ken
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#17 KingSargent

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 1724 PM

Well, King, nothing like a Sicily/Italy topic to draw you out. Where have you been? Didn't Michael let you have access to the www? Or, were you just mesmerized by the quality of life in the Lower48, albeit in the best of circumstances, the PacNW?  Ken

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I was burying my father and just got back home. Then the computer didn't work until we put in a new power supply, so I just got back on line.

I posted a couple of times from Mike's place but went into Net Withdrawal while in Idaho.
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#18 cdnsigop

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 2212 PM

"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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#19 R011

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 2354 PM

"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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It's a Tank-Net in-joke, like "Those of Sam". No offense is intended by the Americans here nor taken by us here of the True North Strong and Free ilk - like Geoff who is very much a Canadian.

Edited by R011, 27 July 2005 - 2356 PM.

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#20 Ken Estes

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 0047 AM

I was burying my father and just got back home. Then the computer didn't work until we put in a new power supply, so I just got back on line.

I posted a couple of times from Mike's place but went into Net Withdrawal while in Idaho.

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Sorry to learn that; a life transition that leaves one missing too much. Good to see you on-line. Ken
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