D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Zinegata » 2015-09-08 01:17am

Sgt_Artyom wrote:There's just so many what if's in this plan that it's nearly inconceivable and you're entirely assuming that ENTIRELY UNTESTED American troops and commanders are going to EXPERTLY conduct and amphibious landing in occupied France, create and maintain a bridgehead from which supplies and men are going to be unloaded whilst nearly under constant attack from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine and whilst holding off German counter attacks (Don't worry, our fleet will have shot down the entire German air force by then so we'll have plenty of off shore support!).


Actually, considering what they did at Torch, landing troops wasn't the problem. The USN proved very good at getting troops to where they were needed and landing them even on the first try.

The problem was much more the fears of the ground forces, particularly after Kasserine.

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Zinegata » 2015-09-08 01:35am

Honorius wrote:...


Again: Why Quiberon and court aerial inferiority and U-boat attack when there are other shorter routes?

And this is before we get to the troop and logistical requirements plus the political problems.

I have seen nothing that shows how Quiberon is in any way a sensible option.

I'm someone who thinks Normandy '43 is feasible, but this Quiberon plan is so far out you may as well talk of a Moon Base in 1951.

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Sgt_Artyom » 2015-09-08 04:02am

Zinegata wrote:
Sgt_Artyom wrote:There's just so many what if's in this plan that it's nearly inconceivable and you're entirely assuming that ENTIRELY UNTESTED American troops and commanders are going to EXPERTLY conduct and amphibious landing in occupied France, create and maintain a bridgehead from which supplies and men are going to be unloaded whilst nearly under constant attack from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine and whilst holding off German counter attacks (Don't worry, our fleet will have shot down the entire German air force by then so we'll have plenty of off shore support!).


Actually, considering what they did at Torch, landing troops wasn't the problem. The USN proved very good at getting troops to where they were needed and landing them even on the first try.

The problem was much more the fears of the ground forces, particularly after Kasserine.


They landed on torch with little to no resistance from the Vichy French and even then the landings were a little behind schedule. I just expect that throwing green troops into an amphibious landing on mainland France is not going to be a cake walk. This is the trial by fire no commander would want to endure.

I also think you guys are putting a little too much faith in Allied air power at this point. They've got to fly across occupied territory which at even the southern most tip of England is just over half the operational range of an aircraft like a spitfire, not to mention that it'd be a reverse of the Battle of Britain in that any allied pilots downed in France are most likely captured whereas German pilots could be back up in the air in short order.

The Anglo-American forces just don't have the air superiority yet and the lack of a dedicated bombing campaign just means it'll be so much easier for the Germans so shift in reserves from anywhere in Europe (Considering that they still have decent reserves at this point, Hitler having not wasted a HUGE portion of the Wehrmacht's men and material in the disaster at Kursk).

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Zinegata » 2015-09-08 05:29am

Sgt_Artyom wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
Sgt_Artyom wrote:There's just so many what if's in this plan that it's nearly inconceivable and you're entirely assuming that ENTIRELY UNTESTED American troops and commanders are going to EXPERTLY conduct and amphibious landing in occupied France, create and maintain a bridgehead from which supplies and men are going to be unloaded whilst nearly under constant attack from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine and whilst holding off German counter attacks (Don't worry, our fleet will have shot down the entire German air force by then so we'll have plenty of off shore support!).


Actually, considering what they did at Torch, landing troops wasn't the problem. The USN proved very good at getting troops to where they were needed and landing them even on the first try.

The problem was much more the fears of the ground forces, particularly after Kasserine.


They landed on torch with little to no resistance from the Vichy French and even then the landings were a little behind schedule. I just expect that throwing green troops into an amphibious landing on mainland France is not going to be a cake walk. This is the trial by fire no commander would want to endure.

I also think you guys are putting a little too much faith in Allied air power at this point. They've got to fly across occupied territory which at even the southern most tip of England is just over half the operational range of an aircraft like a spitfire, not to mention that it'd be a reverse of the Battle of Britain in that any allied pilots downed in France are most likely captured whereas German pilots could be back up in the air in short order.

The Anglo-American forces just don't have the air superiority yet and the lack of a dedicated bombing campaign just means it'll be so much easier for the Germans so shift in reserves from anywhere in Europe (Considering that they still have decent reserves at this point, Hitler having not wasted a HUGE portion of the Wehrmacht's men and material in the disaster at Kursk).


There may have been little resistance but Torch also had troops shipped all the way from America. It was a very logistically challenging operation - involving distances greater than those in Overlord.

As for the green troops, you do realize that the vast majority of the 1st Infantry and 29th Infantry - the first wave at Omaha - were also green troops yes? In fact in the case of the 29th it hadn't even seen a single day of combat in the entire war! Same with the 4th Division at Utah, which had also never seen action. Only the Big Red One had seen action previously, but most of its manpower had been diluted by replacements - to the point that some observers noted that the 29th in fact performed better than the 1st in maneuvers which is why the 29th got selected for the landing in the first place.

So it's not as though the Allies entered 1944 with a veteran army. In fact in many ways it was less experienced than the 1943 army because it had been so massively diluted by replacements and new units. Now, this isn't to say that all the fighting in 1942 and 1943 were totally worthless - there were certainly doctrinal improvements which is why the US Armored Divisions and artillery worked so much better in 1944 than in 1943 (though it also resulted in bad ideas like towed Tank Destroyer battalions). But the idea that you should be scared to deploy "green" troops doesn't have merit. The actual first wave of the historical Normandy invasion was made up of green troops; and they were so green that many were clueless as how to approach the Bocage.

As for the air war it's hopeless in 1942 but very much not the case in 1943. In July 1943 the British and Americans were in fact mostly able to destroy Hamburg in their first (and for a long while only) joint bombing operation - which the Luftwaffe proved unable to prevent. Problem is that the British and Americans started diffusing their efforts - bombing different targets by day and night - which resulted in the heavy bomber losses that marked the failure of the 1943 CBO campaign. Over France though, there was much less issue - because the bombers would actually be for the most part escorted by fighters as were most bombing missions over France at the time. Besides Normandy is like what, 50km from the British coast? Hardly overstretching the range of the Spitfire.

Finally, the Atlantic Wall at the time was still mostly fiction. It wasn't until around November 1943 that serious defensive works were begun - including laying minefields and building concrete bunkers.

This is why Normandy in July '43 isn't such a long shot; especially with Kursk happening at the same time soaking up most of the German armor reserve.

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-09-08 06:37am

Honorius wrote:We have 6th Panzer which is enroute to Stalingrad at the time of this proposed D-Day. Hitler desperately needs it there. But if he cancels that order and brings them back to France, Stalin will be pleased mightily, OTL 6th Panzer mauled the fuck out of the Soviet 5th Tank Army before being stopped short of Stalingrad. If it is instead deployed to the Quiberon area, it will learn real quickly that Panzers don't win arguments with Battleships...
...if and only if the panzers stay within ten miles of the coast, and if and only if the battleships steam up and down the coast, close to shore, slowly, where the Luftwaffe can get at them and where they are at risk of smacking into mines.

The main reason the Allies could use battleship fire support at Normandy and in the Pacific was because they had completely suppressed the enemy's naval and air defenses before launching the assault. Therefore they had large, mine-free areas to put battleships near the coast. Here, that will not be the case.

Unless the Germans are stupid enough to physically drive panzers out onto the beach (after pushing the Americans back into the sea), battleship fire is not going to be a major problem for them.

...and the early model Shermans are more than a match for its Panzer IVs and IIIs.
But totally inexperienced American tank crews are not more than a match for its highly experienced veterans. The Kasserine Pass demonstrated this. And at Kasserine the Americans could panic and retreat dozens of miles and that was at most an inconvenience. Here, it would have them breathing salt water.

American troops are also packing the Bazooka while the Germans have yet to deploy Panzerfaust and Panzerchreck and won't till August next year.
And American infantry are likewise very inexperienced and using a weapon that has never been deployed in combat before. While it'll be a nasty surprise for a few German tank crews it won't be decisive.

Luftwaffe isn't much better, with the bulk on the Ost Front and only a few hundred aircraft in France spread out and facing aircraft from Britain, the Vichy if they decide to rejoin the war, and the Aircraft defending the beach heads. While in theory, Hitler can pull aircraft from the Ost Front, Stalingrad is surrounded with the 6th Army in it and the Transports need escorts. If Hitler pulls Luftflotte 2 out of the Mediterranean, Rommel is done, the Italian Air Force is short of fuel to be much help. Pull the Aircraft from Germany, well the CBO gets easier.
Thing is, the Combined Bomber Offensive wasn't particularly effective in November 1942, and quite frankly the Germans will have squashed this silly premature offensive long before it becomes effective. If nothing else, by taking troops that were historically used to reinforce Tunisia, to defend Italy, and to launch the Kursk offensive in 1943, and instead sending them to France.

There is a good chance that, now that it is clear the Americans have committed to landings in France, that Rommel will receive no reinforcements, and may even be pulled out of Tunisia altogether (leaving some of his men behind to man the Mareth Line). After all, it doesn't do the Germans much good to hold Tunisia if they can't hold Brittany... and the British are clearly going to be operating alone for a good long while.

From Norway, well the RAF will enjoy dropping presents there.
Nothing the RAF can possibly do to cause harm in Norway is as important as the loss of aircraft and battleships and troops in the Quiberon landings would be.

...Finally the Luftwaffe has very little AShW capability and the glide bombs of 43 don't exist yet, tactics that worked against British Convoys in the early stage of the war are suicidal against the sheer Flak the USN can throw out and that's before we consider the carriers.
Did you not hear the part where in late 1942 many of the US ships had AA batteries weaker than their British counterparts...?

Plus, and I will give the British rare credit, their carrier pilots are trained for night operations and did in fact launch numerous successful night ops during WW2 a capability no other side was able to excel at.
They're also rather unlikely to even seriously consider supporting this fool's errand. The British of this point in history are far more likely to say "this is suicide, don't even attempt it, we'd be sticking our heads into a meat-grinder" than to say "how can we tag along and be supportive of your suicide mission."

This also means the Allies can make it even harder for the Germans to respond by air-land-sea. Since the P-40s can fly from Britain once grass strips are ready, CVE 28 can take on F4Fs instead to boost the Carrier Air Power.
Exactly where are these naval fighters coming from? I mean, historically I don't think the US shipped them to the European theater at all because it had no plans to use them.

Kriegsmarine can have 30 submarines top in the area, which is not conductive to U-Boat operations, facing a double screen of destroyers and minefields, plus Allied Air Patrols. The Schnellbootes are a nuisance at best. Given the massed fleet they face in this scenario, the best they can do is fire torpedoes at max range like they did on D-Day, and run for it...
Torpedoes fired from extreme range are highly likely to hit something, especially if the US ships can't disperse to avoid mines and the random bits of shallow water on this part of the French coast. Ships that are bunched up and performing amphibious operations (or engaged in gunfire support of same) are extremely vulnerable to naval counterattack; there's a reason that the US wasn't able to provide consistent naval support to the Marines on Guadalcanal.

Any submarines trying to force the screen will die, as they have to surface in order to attack...
I was under the impression that U-boats could fire while submerged?

Nor would mines be an impediment. The magnetic mines had already been defeated by the degaussing process in 1940, and no Allied Landing failed because of minefields.
That is because the Allies took precautions to avoid minefields, and did not launch suicidally stupid attacks into areas the Germans could mine easily and quickly to massive effect.

I mean, the Gallipoli landings failed because of mines in World War I, and frankly are in most ways a good example of the kind of situation you're talking about- sure, the Turks Germans have only weak forces actually guarding the beaches, and a lack of coast defense artillery that can seriously inconvenience modern dreadnoughts. But they also have powerful forces in position to be rushed into place to reinforce and confine the invading troops into their beachhead. And the risk of mines and torpedo attack is enough to seriously constrain the operations of the heavy warships you're counting on to support the landings.

So yeah, this really does look like a great way to re-enact Gallipoli, with the Americans cast as the ANZACs and the US high command cast in Churchill's role of looking like a complete ass after it fails.

And the Vichy French could be in a position to switch sides and open the Southern Ports and hold them long enough for Allied Reinforcements to arrive and breakout from them at the very least.
Where would these mysteriously capitalized Reinforcements come from? The US has few or no troops in the European theater except the ones it's committing to the Quiberon landings. The British are fully committed to sane endeavours and will not spare several divisions on insane endeavours. And Vichy never showed any inclination to suddenly switch sides and start supporting the Allies at the drop of a hat anyway.

The bare fact that the Americans have landed in the German zone of occupation will not cause Vichy to switch sides, any more than the Torch landings caused Vichy troops to start actively fighting the Germans, or any more than the Italians surrendered just because the Allies had landed in Sicily. You don't cause someone to switch sides just by landing on their shore; you have to convince them you can actually win... and in the long run the US can't win a Quiberon landing.

End result is the same as all other German attacks on Allied Invasion Beachheads led by Allied Commanders not afraid to bring the big guns. Naval Gunfire support breaks up Rause's attack, M10s from prepared positions pick off his tanks, then M4s maneuver around them, exploiting their gyro-stabilizers...
Gee, that must be why the US tanks comically overmatched the Germans at Kasserine! Oh, right.

You're making the same mistake that Tiger fanboys do. It's not about comparing tank versus tank, it's about doctrine versus doctrine, crew experience versus crew experience, and tactical situation versus tactical situation.

Contrary to popular belief, the US Army is already considering a 76mm gunned Sherman and getting ready to test the concept and a few were even deployed for D-Day 44. This was before they even knew of Panthers.
In any event they won't appear at Quiberon because the Quiberon lodgment will last at most a few months- any weapon not historically deployed by spring of 1943 will not be relevant.

Landing wise, it should be even easier than Torch which was done over an open sea with very rough surf as opposed to a sheltered anchorage that Quiberon Bay is.
A sheltered anchorage you access by steaming through a narrow channel with so many rocks and shoals that 18th century ships of the line got bashed to bits. One string of mines in the wrong place sinking a couple of supply ships and the channel is closed and your troops on shore start starving.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-09-08 08:34am

Zinegata wrote:Actually, considering what they did at Torch, landing troops wasn't the problem. The USN proved very good at getting troops to where they were needed and landing them even on the first try.


Actually ship to shore movement was pathetically bad and the landing beaches ended up clogged with wrecked and broached landing craft. Had any real opposition been met it would have been a disaster.

Anyway this moron is stringing out a plan that requires the Germans to do exactly what he wants even when its not just stupid but 100% unfactual. Such as absurd claims the Germans will worry about 6th army more then an invasion of France, even though in real life the Germans precisely pulled fighters and bombers precisely out of that sector throughout November to counter defeats in Egypt and the allied landing in Algeria.

His claim that U-boats must surface to attack is another fine example of someone without a clue as to reality, whom you cannot accept a single sentence from at face value. In fact its like looking at someone who never read anything but propaganda, and that's being generous.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2015-09-08 02:53pm

Simon_Jester wrote:A sheltered anchorage you access by steaming through a narrow channel with so many rocks and shoals that 18th century ships of the line got bashed to bits. One string of mines in the wrong place sinking a couple of supply ships and the channel is closed and your troops on shore start starving.


This is an aspect of the whole mess that probably needs further investigation. 1) Hawke's decision to follow Conflans into the bay in 1759 was aggressive and risky even with 2-3000 ton ships of the line (albeit in appalling weather). Trying to to the same with ships well over an order of magnitude bigger is going to be tricky under ideal conditions, let alone in combat (assuming it's even possible). So much for battleship fire support. 2) As mentioned, several British and French ships were lost on the rocks. This raises the fact that the coast and beaches of Brittany are rather less inviting than those of Normandy - is there anywhere in the vicinity of the bay that troops can physically get ashore? A cursory glance a Google Maps suggests that the answer is yes, but that they're very limited and widely separated.

A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?"
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Sgt_Artyom » 2015-09-08 03:22pm

Captain Seafort wrote:A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?"


Send Honorius back in time and put him in charge of US forces. :3

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby LaCroix » 2015-09-08 03:26pm

Captain Seafort wrote:A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?"

You just won the thread, Sir. :D
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Thanas » 2015-09-08 03:41pm

A worthy successor. :)
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-09-08 05:45pm

Zinegata wrote:There may have been little resistance but Torch also had troops shipped all the way from America. It was a very logistically challenging operation - involving distances greater than those in Overlord.


Steaming distance is a tad irrelevant, as long as the ships do not need to refuel. Thank about it. Once all the ships steam out of port, form into a convoy, what does it matter if the distance is 1 day steaming, or 1 week steaming? The complex part is loading before you sail, and then everything once you get to the beachhead.

Torch had NO COMBAT LOADING! At least not in the US task forces, I actually can't say for the British. The issue was more or less entirely ignored, and made it extremely difficult to unload and support the assault troops. The French ceasing resistance after a few days suppressed that problem, but it was an important lesson for later and greatly changed amphibious shipping requirements for certain operations (combat loaded ships hold less tonnage). The landing at Guadalcanal had similar problems, and they were felt rather badly later after the transports had to flee before being fully unloaded. For example only one of six bulldozers was unloaded because they had been buried in the holds, even though they were absolutely vital to making the airfield operational (luckily Japanese equipment was seized). Torch was an excellent place to learn this stuff, the shores of France much less so.

Overlord was a vastly more complex and difficult operation at every level of planning, organization and training, and incorporated most lesson learned in prior operations as well as planners whom had simply learned how to guess at problems better. Overlord was so huge that just the process by which the invasion fleets left the ports required intensive detailed planning, all the more so since it had to be carried out with radio silence.

Torch was a fiasco against a very weak enemy, and yet some assault elements were still completely destroyed.

As for the green troops, you do realize that the vast majority of the 1st Infantry and 29th Infantry - the first wave at Omaha - were also green troops yes?


Green troops with about two years of sustained training in England, two years in the US, and modified equipment and landing methods improved by earlier combat experience. Big difference to the state of the men and officers assembled for Torch some of whom had been in uniform for less then one year.


In fact in the case of the 29th it hadn't even seen a single day of combat in the entire war! Same with the 4th Division at Utah, which had also never seen action. Only the Big Red One had seen action previously, but most of its manpower had been diluted by replacements - to the point that some observers noted that the 29th in fact performed better than the 1st in maneuvers which is why the 29th got selected for the landing in the first place.


The 29th infantry division at that point had also existed since early 1941, and been able to spend the entire time becoming a coherent fighting unit. Do you not see what a difference that makes compared to divisions which have existed for only one or two years at a time when most of the officers involved below the rank of major are as green as the men, and in many cases have not even attended proper officer training courses, but only abbreviated ones? The US Army was making men with civilian degrees infantry officers with just a few months of OCS training. That was OKAY if they then had two or more years to learn on the job, without combat. It was not so good when they got thrown into battle earlier.

As well more then a few of the prewar army officers were just not fit for line duty. The interwar US Army was not a good thing. The utter lack of money and troops prevented figuring out whom was competent in the field.


Now, this isn't to say that all the fighting in 1942 and 1943 were totally worthless - there were certainly doctrinal improvements which is why the US Armored Divisions and artillery worked so much better in 1944 than in 1943 (though it also resulted in bad ideas like towed Tank Destroyer battalions).


The towed tank destroyer battalion was part of the 1940 Army. At least by 1944 they all had 3in anti tank guns, while in 1942 the standard tank destroyer command weapons were a 75mm pack howitzer on a half track and the 37mm towed gun. No M10 saw action before 1943. Torch directed to land in France would have none of them.


But the idea that you should be scared to deploy "green" troops doesn't have merit. The actual first wave of the historical Normandy invasion was made up of green troops; and they were so green that many were clueless as how to approach the Bocage.


A difference exists between a unit which is merely green, and a unit which is raw to the point of not having become a coherent unit. And a really big difference exists when that raw problem extends to your corps level commanders. General Lloyd Fredendall was not fit for command. After Kasserine he was relieved in favor of Patton, but thankfully his defeat and complete inability to recover from it did not have strategic implications. For an invasion of France in say 1942, or 1943 with no prior combat, we would find this out on a narrow beachhead vs. a German counter attack. This WOULD have such implications, mainly the destruction of the beachhead, if one was even established to any worthwhile degree which is questionable.

The troops at Sidi Bou Zid disintegrated under the German attack. They didn't run away without firing a shot in most cases, but the situation was so bad two complete field artillery battalions were overrun by a German ground attack! That's just a damn fact. The Germans were inferior in numbers, and suffered far fewer losses overall. A third of the allied force committed became casualties , including thousands of men missing and presumed killed, lost in the retreat. That's just bad.

Besides Normandy is like what, 50km from the British coast? Hardly overstretching the range of the Spitfire.


Umm no, that's closer to the distance at Dover, actually about 33km or something like that.

Normandy is more like four or five times that distance from realistic RAF bases, and the Spitfire only had an effective combat radius of about 175 miles, and only then with just a few minutes of fuel for combat at the edge of it. Which means it couldn't really defend an invasion force at that kind of distance (Salerno was attempted like this, was not a good experience, but also remote from most operational German bases at coming after heavy attrition of German bombers over Sicily) . A 1943 landing would have to be north of the Somme to have decent continuous fighter cover and the real life planning was on that basis. An attack on Cherbourg as a gamble was not out of the question but allied planners were rather afraid of a Gallipoli repeat in that timeframe. Giving the Germans a narrow front to defend was seen as very bad, and until the near disaster at Salerno it was still allied doctrine to use numerous widely separated beaches each with about 1 division landing. This was supposed to disperse an enemy counter stroke, but in reality it simply left each landing zone incapable of mutually supporting the others.


Finally, the Atlantic Wall at the time was still mostly fiction. It wasn't until around November 1943 that serious defensive works were begun - including laying minefields and building concrete bunkers.


Germans built something like 15,000 concrete shelters prior to the formal plan for making all the beaches like the West Wall, not exactly fiction since they were focused on the ports, and the allies MUST have a port in 1943, the shipping just doesn't exist to supply over the beach as was possible in 1944. But they were primarily just shelters, with only open field works and Tobruk pits for fighting positions. On the other hand that kind of position was pretty damn effective and the allies would have far less to bombard them with. Indeed one could contend most of the enclosed positions were not really tactically effective, and at the least not worth the effort to build them (vs more beach obstructions) because they could only be successful if they were very densely deployed, otherwise each bunker has colossal blind spots and got defeated in detail.

The biggest advantage in 1943 would just be that Rommel had simply not yet convinced anyone to let him move more ground troops onto the beach at all. Fortifications don't matter if nobody mans them!

This is why Normandy in July '43 isn't such a long shot; especially with Kursk happening at the same time soaking up most of the German armor reserve.


I'd agree, it is not an impossible long a shot. The problem is to mount it in enough strength to not be a long shot the allies cannot conduct major amphibious operations in 1942 or earlier in 1943. The plan to send the US 1st armored division to Egypt could still go ahead, and various commitments of air assets to that threater, but everything else would just have to pile up in France. Torch and Sicily actually heavily drew down the American build up in England as it had taken place in most of 1942, and drew down British forces to a more limited degree as well. The mere ground troops and aircraft were one problem, but the really big one was just shear mass of supporting and enabling war material needed for the allies to be able to sustain a major ground battle with the Germans.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-09-08 06:13pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Zinegata wrote:There may have been little resistance but Torch also had troops shipped all the way from America. It was a very logistically challenging operation - involving distances greater than those in Overlord.
Steaming distance is a tad irrelevant, as long as the ships do not need to refuel. Thank about it. Once all the ships steam out of port, form into a convoy, what does it matter if the distance is 1 day steaming, or 1 week steaming? The complex part is loading before you sail, and then everything once you get to the beachhead.

Torch had NO COMBAT LOADING!
You know, that makes the whole proposed Quiberon idea even more like Gallipoli! :D

For extra hilarity, when I talked about a bit about Gallipoli with my wife who not a military geek, she immediately deduced the importance of combat loading. She may not know anything about war, but by God she knows about loading a moving van in the correct order! And on some level, it's not that different...

You put the stuff you will need first, in last.

The plan to send the US 1st armored division to Egypt could still go ahead, and various commitments of air assets to that threater, but everything else would just have to pile up in France. Torch and Sicily actually heavily drew down the American build up in England as it had taken place in most of 1942, and drew down British forces to a more limited degree as well. The mere ground troops and aircraft were one problem, but the really big one was just shear mass of supporting and enabling war material needed for the allies to be able to sustain a major ground battle with the Germans.
Yeah. The last time the argument over 1943 Normandy landings happened here, I found myself talking this up a lot- the point being that to get summer '43 landings in France you have to plan for this far ahead of time.

Because I was arguing against someone who suggested that this should have been planned as a followup after the success of the Torch landings, as an alternative to Husky.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Zinegata » 2015-09-08 10:40pm

Steaming distance is a tad irrelevant, as long as the ships do not need to refuel. Thank about it. Once all the ships steam out of port, form into a convoy, what does it matter if the distance is 1 day steaming, or 1 week steaming? The complex part is loading before you sail, and then everything once you get to the beachhead.


Well it gets more complex when you're taking troops and ships from multiple different anchorages - and by 1944 the USN was so experienced at this they were throwing together the invasion for Leyte in just three months with an invasion force from three different anchorages. I was not aware of the combat loading issues at Torch though.

The 29th infantry division at that point had also existed since early 1941, and been able to spend the entire time becoming a coherent fighting unit. Do you not see what a difference that makes compared to divisions which have existed for only one or two years at a time when most of the officers involved below the rank of major are as green as the men, and in many cases have not even attended proper officer training courses, but only abbreviated ones? The US Army was making men with civilian degrees infantry officers with just a few months of OCS training. That was OKAY if they then had two or more years to learn on the job, without combat. It was not so good when they got thrown into battle earlier.


The point is not that the 29th was just as ready to invade in 1942 as in 1944. The point is that one should not look at whether the troops are "green" or not; as whether or not the troops were bloodied by combat is not the best measure of its ability (and indeed why the 29th was sometimes judged better than the bloodied Big Red One). Moreover, as I said, there were definite doctrinal improvements in between which is why some of the forces were much more effective.

Besides which the bigger issue in 1942 is that there simply were not enough troops - whether or not they were green or veterans - which is why my statements should be taken with a July '43 landing in context.

And a really big difference exists when that raw problem extends to your corps level commanders. General Lloyd Fredendall was not fit for command. After Kasserine he was relieved in favor of Patton, but thankfully his defeat and complete inability to recover from it did not have strategic implications.


This is what I was alluding to when I spoke of the "fears of the ground forces". US Army and Corps command was always uneven, even in 1944 with some of them pretty much breaking down during the Bulge. My criticism of against the green troops argument isn't that it's fine to throw unprepared troops into the enemy. The point is that you eventually have to get into combat at one point or another.

The towed tank destroyer battalion was part of the 1940 Army. At least by 1944 they all had 3in anti tank guns, while in 1942 the standard tank destroyer command weapons were a 75mm pack howitzer on a half track and the 37mm towed gun. No M10 saw action before 1943. Torch directed to land in France would have none of them.


Yes the towed units had upgraded to 3 inch guns by 1944 but in retrospect the towed elements should have been deleted rather than expanded in favor of the self-propelled units; as the towed units performed much worse than the self-propelled units and it should have been somewhat obvious after the 1943 revisions to the Tank Destroyer doctrine that there wasn't going to be much opportunity for the towed TDs to take on the theoretical massed Panzer attack especially with an offensive-oriented US Army (indeed, most Tank Destroyer Brigade HQs had been converted to Combat Commands by 1944 - and it was very often the Combat Commands which shot up German armored attacks like in the Lorraine Campaign and the Bulge).

Even if more self-propelled units were not available and the US Army was stuck with lots of towed 76mms they were probably better off as organic elements to the Infantry Division, who ended up having nothing heavier than a 57mm gun.

This is post-war hindsight of course, but it's a stickler issue for me as it's one of the real failings of the TD doctrine as opposed to all of the Ambrose misinformation.

I'd agree, it is not an impossible long a shot. The problem is to mount it in enough strength to not be a long shot the allies cannot conduct major amphibious operations in 1942 or earlier in 1943. The plan to send the US 1st armored division to Egypt could still go ahead, and various commitments of air assets to that threater, but everything else would just have to pile up in France. Torch and Sicily actually heavily drew down the American build up in England as it had taken place in most of 1942, and drew down British forces to a more limited degree as well. The mere ground troops and aircraft were one problem, but the really big one was just shear mass of supporting and enabling war material needed for the allies to be able to sustain a major ground battle with the Germans.


Yes but the sane counter-factuals for Normandy '43 do not propose a breakout and liberation of France in August/September 1943 after a July invasion, as there are the support and supply shortages you mentioned. Rather the idea is that the Allies will spend most of 1943 holding the Normandy peninsula, and that the breakout will only happen in late 1943 or early 1944.

This is better than Italy because the US and British armies were both mechanized and had always planned for an eventual battle in the relatively open French terrain; whereas America had a grand total of one titular Mountain Division to send in the mountainous terrain of Italy and whose route to Germany was blocked by the Alps rather than the soft underbelly of Churchill mythos. Italy in this context was always a dead-end. Worse case scenario is that we will get some hairy moments like Salerno and be bogged down several months in Normandy barring even more spectacular screw ups than what happened historically.

===

Because I was arguing against someone who suggested that this should have been planned as a followup after the success of the Torch landings, as an alternative to Husky.


And again, Husky wasn't exactly thrown together years in advance - it wasn't fully finalized until Casablanca in February 1943. That's the latest possible start date for planning for a July 1943 invasion of France. Heck, Salerno happened in early September, and I'm fairly sure the bulk of the planning for that one didn't even start until after Husky in July; since a big chunk of the plan had to be modified after Mussolini was deposed at the end of the month!

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-09-09 12:41am

Zinegata wrote:Well it gets more complex when you're taking troops and ships from multiple different anchorages - and by 1944 the USN was so experienced at this they were throwing together the invasion for Leyte in just three months with an invasion force from three different anchorages. I was not aware of the combat loading issues at Torch though.
For the US Army, this was basically the first amphibious landing in their modern history; even the Marines who'd sort of thought about amphibious warfare in the interwar era weren't very good at it in 1942.

The point is not that the 29th was just as ready to invade in 1942 as in 1944. The point is that one should not look at whether the troops are "green" or not; as whether or not the troops were bloodied by combat is not the best measure of its ability (and indeed why the 29th was sometimes judged better than the bloodied Big Red One).
The catch is that there's a multiplier effect here. Having green troops is a potential problem. Not having time to train them is a potential problem. Not having officers who are experienced in leading their men (outside combat) is a problem. Not having time to incorporate doctrinal lessons of a previous campaign into your tactics for the new one is a problem. Et cetera, et cetera.

Any one of these problems can be overcome if you have good logistics, good equipment, planning time, and so on. But several of them, put together, mean that you end up with an army that is just utterly unable to survive actual combat.

Yes but the sane counter-factuals for Normandy '43 do not propose a breakout and liberation of France in August/September 1943 after a July invasion, as there are the support and supply shortages you mentioned. Rather the idea is that the Allies will spend most of 1943 holding the Normandy peninsula, and that the breakout will only happen in late 1943 or early 1944.
That's more plausible than a rapid breakout, but it gives the Germans more time to entrench and prepare defensive lines to bloody the breakout forces, and it means they can use a relatively limited number of divisions to contain the Allied beachhead, reducing the actual effect of the second front on the situation in the east.

Moreover, from the point of view of Allied planners at the time, it raises the specter that a German counterattack in late summer or autumn of 1943 might simply defeat the beachhead and drive it back into the sea. In which case the whole invasion was worse than useless. Sure, in hindsight we can say that the Germans wouldn't do that because they were firmly committed around Kursk in mid-1943 and had nothing to spare for a major counterattack in the west...

...except we know they'd have at least all the forces that were tied down historically in Italy, which is probably enough to do a good job of containing a force penned up in the Normandy peninsula all by itself.

And again, this was not something the Allied high command could predict accurately in early 1943 or late 1942. So that a 1943 Normandy landing would be a gamble at less grossly unfavorable odds than the stupid Quiberon landing idea, but it would still be a gamble.

This is better than Italy because the US and British armies were both mechanized and had always planned for an eventual battle in the relatively open French terrain; whereas America had a grand total of one titular Mountain Division to send in the mountainous terrain of Italy and whose route to Germany was blocked by the Alps rather than the soft underbelly of Churchill mythos. Italy in this context was always a dead-end. Worse case scenario is that we will get some hairy moments like Salerno and be bogged down several months in Normandy barring even more spectacular screw ups than what happened historically.
On the flip side, taking Sicily and the credible threat of follow-ups knocked Italy out of the war, resulting in the collapse of Mussolini's government. Had Sicily been left alone, it is fairly likely that the Italians would have remained free to make trouble for quite some time.

Sure, it's popular to just ignore the Italian contribution to the war, but the people actually fighting the war couldn't afford to do that- among other things because they might have to worry about, oh, Mussolini shipping umpty divisions into France to hold the rear areas and garrison isolated coastal stretches while every German in France makes a beeline for Normandy to squash the Anglo-American beachhead in October 1943.

Because I was arguing against someone who suggested that this should have been planned as a followup after the success of the Torch landings, as an alternative to Husky.
And again, Husky wasn't exactly thrown together years in advance - it wasn't fully finalized until Casablanca in February 1943. That's the latest possible start date for planning for a July 1943 invasion of France. Heck, Salerno happened in early September, and I'm fairly sure the bulk of the planning for that one didn't even start until after Husky in July; since a big chunk of the plan had to be modified after Mussolini was deposed at the end of the month!
One, Casablanca was in January, not February.

Two, in February 1943 there was no way to be sure that the Tunisia campaign would be wrapped up by the beginning of May. Bear in mind that the Battle of the Kasserine Pass was fought in mid-February. At this point Rommel had been pulling miracles out of his hat and making Allied armies look like fools about every six months for the past three years. I don't think any prudent Allied commander would assume that this campaign would decisively crush his army so finally that there would be no need to do anything other than plan where to invade next. At least, not within a mere thirty to sixty days.

And if Rommel had somehow managed to hang on another few months... that wouldn't have seriously interfered with Husky, but it would have disastrously interfered with a 1943 Normandy landing. Because the plans for that involved great amounts of shipping and equipment based in England that needed to be assembled and prepared in advance, not just the actual physical troops that would be going ashore on D-Day.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Zinegata » 2015-09-09 01:23am

Simon_Jester wrote:That's more plausible than a rapid breakout, but it gives the Germans more time to entrench and prepare defensive lines to bloody the breakout forces, and it means they can use a relatively limited number of divisions to contain the Allied beachhead, reducing the actual effect of the second front on the situation in the east.


Like how the Germans entrenched on the Italian peninsula which ensured a lot of pointless head-banging because the Allies had to go up bloody mountains in addition to dealing with the entrenchments? Again, that's not really a sensible objection. There weren't enough forces for a wholesale liberation in 1943 anywhere in the West. The Germans were going to be able to contain an invasion to some extent or another - which is exactly why Italy became a slog.

The point is that landing in France is a much bigger existential threat to the Germans and they can't rely on the Italians to defend France for them. The Allies can eventually have a breakthrough in France; and a breakthrough in France leads to the Germans fighting an actual two-front war.

No such thing was really realistically possible in Italy at any point and even if the Germans lost all of it the Allies still had no way into Germany except the fucking Alps.

Moreover as it stood the Germans didn't lose very many of their forces in Italy - of the hundred of thousand or so troops lost at Sicily only around 10,000 were German and that's because the Italians weren't really into fighting anymore even in defense of their home country.

Moreover, from the point of view of Allied planners at the time, it raises the specter that a German counterattack in late summer or autumn of 1943 might simply defeat the beachhead and drive it back into the sea. In which case the whole invasion was worse than useless. Sure, in hindsight we can say that the Germans wouldn't do that because they were firmly committed around Kursk in mid-1943 and had nothing to spare for a major counterattack in the west...

...except we know they'd have at least all the forces that were tied down historically in Italy, which is probably enough to do a good job of containing a force penned up in the Normandy peninsula all by itself.


Salerno got counter-attacked by a a handful of Panzer Divisions that weren't at full strength, which is the point of timing it with Kursk - so that the massed German counter-attack feared by the Allies wouldn't happen.

And again, this was not something the Allied high command could predict accurately in early 1943 or late 1942. So that a 1943 Normandy landing would be a gamble at less grossly unfavorable odds than the stupid Quiberon landing idea, but it would still be a gamble.


Of course it's a gamble and of course there were training and capabilities available in June 1944 that were not yet available in 1943. But that's an utterly meaningless statement in that any military operation is ultimately a gamble.

The issue really is that people keep thinking that Overlord was a huge gamble when in reality it was closer to a sure thing; hence they keep thinking that any counter-factual must automatically be a suicidal gamble. In reality the Germans in 1944 had a whole year to prepare and could only manage one Panzer Division to throw at the beaches on June 6th, with only bits and pieces of a second arriving in June 7th. The chances of it failing totally were basically slim to none and all but one beach was essentially a cakewalk.

Normandy '43 is certainly risky, but not suicidal. By your standards then they shouldn't have invaded Sicily or Italy either because of the risk involved!

On the flip side, taking Sicily and the credible threat of follow-ups knocked Italy out of the war, resulting in the collapse of Mussolini's government. Had Sicily been left alone, it is fairly likely that the Italians would have remained free to make trouble for quite some time.


Maybe but it's doubtful. The Italians had already suffered massive losses in the East and the war-weariness really began to tell in Sicily, where many Italian units did not put up much of a fight for the homeland. The real benefit for the Allies is that it forced the Germans to commit forces to take over the country, but in terms of casualties German losses were relatively light and they never needed more than a few Divisions to defend the front anyway because the terrain was mountainous and no real breakthrough was possible.

One, Casablanca was in January, not February.

Two, in February 1943 there was no way to be sure that the Tunisia campaign would be wrapped up by the beginning of May.


And yet this is the exact same question that plagued Husky planners and yet they landed more troops on Day One of Husky by searborne means than in Normandy in 1944.

Again, there were supply issues certainly. But the idea that the planning process needed years is a fallacy that you just keep repeating in the face of contrary facts. Husky had five months of planning and didn't know that Tunisia would surrender by May either. Salerno took two months of planning from the point they had to change everything on account of Mussolini's surrender. Leyte took three months of planning despite coordinating the two largest battlefleets in the world at the time.

Planning was not the problem. Supplies, troops, equipment shortages are the problem. The Allies got really good at it very quickly. The 1-2 years needed to "plan" for Normandy '44 should not be seen as the benchmark.

And if Rommel had somehow managed to hang on another few months... that wouldn't have seriously interfered with Husky, but it would have disastrously interfered with a 1943 Normandy landing. Because the plans for that involved great amounts of shipping and equipment based in England that needed to be assembled and prepared in advance, not just the actual physical troops that would be going ashore on D-Day.


That's because Husky was barely opposed - which the Allies didn't expect in the first place since they didn't necessarily expect an immediate collapse in Italian morale. And unlike Normandy where most of the reinforcements are a short hop away in England you need to ship reinforcements for Husky all the way from England, down Spain, through the Med - if Husky really encountered a lot more German forces than expected.

Moreover, if Husky had been launched even if Rommel and the DAK still hadn't surrendered by May then then Husky would certainly be in trouble too in the scenario you outlined. The thing is, Tunisia was almost certainly not going to be able to launch offensives anymore because the Allies had already cut it off from sea supply.

So unless the Germans suddenly take Malta and the Italian battlefleet conjures fuel out of thin air those troops in Tunisia were pretty much doomed, and could be ignored in the Husky planning. Indeed, most of the troops for the Husky plan were based from Alexandria and Malta - as Tunisia's fall had seemingly little to no bearing on their plan at all.

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-09-09 06:06am

Zinegata wrote:Like how the Germans entrenched on the Italian peninsula which ensured a lot of pointless head-banging because the Allies had to go up bloody mountains in addition to dealing with the entrenchments? Again, that's not really a sensible objection. There weren't enough forces for a wholesale liberation in 1943 anywhere in the West. The Germans were going to be able to contain an invasion to some extent or another - which is exactly why Italy became a slog.
Yes- but at least slogging in Italy in 1943 meant knocking Italy out of the war as an active combatant and ally of the Germans. Slogging in France would not have achieved such a desirable (second-order) result.

So it's a choice between hopefully accelerating the timetable for the second front by about six months (as opposed to twelve) if nothing goes very wrong... or a series of operations that would knock Italy out of the war.

This is not sounding like such an obviously one-way decision to me.

Plus, you can't have it both ways- if the Allies were to expect that the Italians would be too demoralized to contribute to the German war effort and thus didn't need to be knocked out, then correspondingly they could expect operations against Italy to be low-risk. If the Allies did expect serious Italian resistance (and they did), then they'd have to expect such resistance whether they attacked Italy directly or not.

Salerno got counter-attacked by a a handful of Panzer Divisions that weren't at full strength, which is the point of timing it with Kursk - so that the massed German counter-attack feared by the Allies wouldn't happen.
Did the British and Americans know about Kursk? Could they predict that a huge battle on the Eastern Front would just happen to be eating up all German reserves in the correct month? Could they predict this five or six months in advance? Remember that Kursk was a German operation, not a Russian one. That makes it hard for the Allies to coordinate with.

Again, there were supply issues certainly. But the idea that the planning process needed years is a fallacy that you just keep repeating in the face of contrary facts. Husky had five months of planning and didn't know that Tunisia would surrender by May either.
The big difference was that Husky relied only on forces already in, or headed for, the Mediterranean,

Planning was not the problem. Supplies, troops, equipment shortages are the problem. The Allies got really good at it very quickly. The 1-2 years needed to "plan" for Normandy '44 should not be seen as the benchmark.
Planning isn't the problem in and of itself. The issue is that the decision to launch an operation is made based on the evidence and reasoning available at the time the decision is made.

For instance, at Casablanca the Allies would be out of their minds to decide Rommel was 'already beaten,' when he was going to be scoring major tactical victories against US troops a month later and would still be holding the Mareth Line for two months after that.

And if Rommel had somehow managed to hang on another few months... that wouldn't have seriously interfered with Husky, but it would have disastrously interfered with a 1943 Normandy landing. Because the plans for that involved great amounts of shipping and equipment based in England that needed to be assembled and prepared in advance, not just the actual physical troops that would be going ashore on D-Day.
That's because Husky was barely opposed - which the Allies didn't expect in the first place since they didn't necessarily expect an immediate collapse in Italian morale. And unlike Normandy where most of the reinforcements are a short hop away in England you need to ship reinforcements for Husky all the way from England, down Spain, through the Med - if Husky really encountered a lot more German forces than expected.
Thing is, Husky was never going to require more than about, oh, fifteen divisions, and the Allies could reasonably expect to conquer the entire island within a month or two because it just wasn't that big. With the enemy having strong incentives not to reinforce too heavily because there was at least some possibility of troops in Sicily being cut off and destroyed by encirclement the same way the troops in Tunisia had been.*

By contrast, landing in Normandy, fifteen divisions is enough to hold a small pocket, but the Germans could plausibly mobilize a lot more than fifteen divisions to contain the beachhead. And on day D+30 or D+60 the war in the target theater of operations isn't over like it would be on Sicily- it's barely beginning.

*Not as much possibility, but some.

Moreover, if Husky had been launched even if Rommel and the DAK still hadn't surrendered by May then then Husky would certainly be in trouble too in the scenario you outlined. The thing is, Tunisia was almost certainly not going to be able to launch offensives anymore because the Allies had already cut it off from sea supply.
Husky could be delayed for a month or two without the plan failing due to shitty weather. Normandy landings become highly questionable if you delay long enough for the Atlantic storm season to begin.

So you can build "wait until we have finished in Tunisia" in as a precondition for attacking Sicily. It's harder to build "wait until we've finished in Tunisia" into an invasion of Normandy, unless you're prepared to accept the costs of putting an army of dozens of divisions with large supporting fleet and air assets on hold and maybe just not doing anything with them in the event that Tunisia is taking too long.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Purple » 2015-09-09 07:07am

Simon_Jester wrote:You put the stuff you will need first, in last.

Ok, Ill bite. Can anyone explain to me why this took 29 years (1915 - 1944) to figure out?
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2015-09-09 09:58am

Purple wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:You put the stuff you will need first, in last.

Ok, Ill bite. Can anyone explain to me why this took 29 years (1915 - 1944) to figure out?


It's not so much that it took a long time to figure out, as it was they were creating a new method of warfare from scratch. Amphibious landings before WWII were mostly a matter of a bunch of guys getting into boats and then splashing ashore if they weren't able to find a dock. WWII is the first war where you really had serious amphibious work-- purpose built landing craft and such. WWI-- no amphibious stuff as far as I know aside from Gallipoli. So combat loading wasn't a thing, until it suddenly became one, at least with the ground Army-- it occurs to me that the Navy may have had a system similar to combat loading for using their supplies or something like that, but certainly not in relation to amphibious landing.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Thanas » 2015-09-09 02:29pm

The problem is that contested landings are a relatively new historical invention and that a lot of stuff that was actually figured out was lost as postwar forces slimmed down.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2015-09-09 02:39pm

Thanas wrote:The problem is that contested landings are a relatively new historical invention and that a lot of stuff that was actually figured out was lost as postwar forces slimmed down.


I'd call Caesar's first landing in Britain an opposed landing, and possibly the Heights of Abraham. I think the bigger issue is that before Gallipoli, everything needed to beat the initial opposition response could be carried by the individual soldier, and heavier kit, ammunition, etc, could be landed and sorted out in slow time once that battle was won, rather than having to do so in the middle of it.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2015-09-09 02:53pm

Yeah; from what I understand, most amphibious landings were slow affairs before WWII, being mostly soldiers de-shipping from transport ships, getting into small boats, rowing ashore and then standing around while the boats row back for another load. For obvious reasons, this was not suitable to fighting a battle at the same time. Gallipoli was the beginning of modern amphibious assault, and it was a massive clusterfuck. Turned a lot of people off to the notion. Took a while for them to come around to the idea again, and they basically had to start over.

I was pretty sure Caesar's first landing in Britain wasn't particularly opposed but if you're talking about the first expedition he made, I guess there was a bit of a fracas there; the main problem was the Britons knew they were coming and were able to meet them, and the Romans were in deep water. Fire from the ships helped drive them off and they established a beach-head but went home shortly afterwards. The second landing was unopposed.

'Heights of Abraham'? You mean Plains of Abraham? Yeah, that's in Wiki's entry on 'Amphibious Warfare'. It's not quite modern, though.

But in general your point is largely correct, absent artillery, which became more important for warfare (whether support from ships or by shipping guns ashore). Opsec has always been vital, and quiet landing zones are always useful. One of the big reasons Gallipoli was a failure was that the Turks knew pretty well the Allies were coming, IIRC.
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2015-09-09 03:05pm

On the issue of combat loading, didn't the US Marines at Guadalcanal also run into this problem? Leading to the US Navy leaving with a large portion of their heavy equipment.

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Thanas » 2015-09-09 03:13pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Thanas wrote:The problem is that contested landings are a relatively new historical invention and that a lot of stuff that was actually figured out was lost as postwar forces slimmed down.


I'd call Caesar's first landing in Britain an opposed landing, and possibly the Heights of Abraham. I think the bigger issue is that before Gallipoli, everything needed to beat the initial opposition response could be carried by the individual soldier, and heavier kit, ammunition, etc, could be landed and sorted out in slow time once that battle was won, rather than having to do so in the middle of it.


Not that true really, the average soldier at Gallipoli did not carry a lot of gear more than the guys at Crimea (in fact even less weight).
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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Captain Seafort » 2015-09-09 03:22pm

Thanas wrote:Not that true really, the average soldier at Gallipoli did not carry a lot of gear more than the guys at Crimea (in fact even less weight).


I was thinking primarily in terms of ammunition resupply rather than personal kit, given that bolt-action rifles will go through the few hundred rounds an individual can carry in his webbing a lot quicker than any muzzle-loader, and machine guns will make the problem even worse.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe - Albert Einstein

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Re: D-Day at Quiberon Bay, November, 1942?

Postby Honorius » 2015-09-09 06:19pm

Sgt_Artyom wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
Sgt_Artyom wrote:There's just so many what if's in this plan that it's nearly inconceivable and you're entirely assuming that ENTIRELY UNTESTED American troops and commanders are going to EXPERTLY conduct and amphibious landing in occupied France, create and maintain a bridgehead from which supplies and men are going to be unloaded whilst nearly under constant attack from the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine and whilst holding off German counter attacks (Don't worry, our fleet will have shot down the entire German air force by then so we'll have plenty of off shore support!).


Actually, considering what they did at Torch, landing troops wasn't the problem. The USN proved very good at getting troops to where they were needed and landing them even on the first try.

The problem was much more the fears of the ground forces, particularly after Kasserine.


They landed on torch with little to no resistance from the Vichy French and even then the landings were a little behind schedule. I just expect that throwing green troops into an amphibious landing on mainland France is not going to be a cake walk. This is the trial by fire no commander would want to endure.

I also think you guys are putting a little too much faith in Allied air power at this point. They've got to fly across occupied territory which at even the southern most tip of England is just over half the operational range of an aircraft like a spitfire, not to mention that it'd be a reverse of the Battle of Britain in that any allied pilots downed in France are most likely captured whereas German pilots could be back up in the air in short order.

The Anglo-American forces just don't have the air superiority yet and the lack of a dedicated bombing campaign just means it'll be so much easier for the Germans so shift in reserves from anywhere in Europe (Considering that they still have decent reserves at this point, Hitler having not wasted a HUGE portion of the Wehrmacht's men and material in the disaster at Kursk).


The three operations to seize Casablanca didn't face light resistance.

Lets see:

The Allies landed in Sea State 6 conditions with converted destroyers as landing ships, and just under a thousand LCPs, LCMs,and LCVs, the LSTs weren't available yet. There was no preparatory bombardment, because it was thought the French would give up. Indeed the Allies were counting on a coup-de-etat in French Command that was actually attempted and failed, the coup leaders confessed everything and the French manned fighting positions to repel the assault.

The French then open fired on TF 34 with Shore Batteries. The Vichy Army added its own 105mm and 150mm guns to the fray and threw several Tank Battalions of H39s and D1s, not counting the independent FT Tanks given to the Infantry Untis at the Beachhead. The Vichy French Air Force launched sorties in support of the defenders, the French Naval Air Force also launched sorties, and the Morocco Naval Division of the Vichy French Fleet sortied out.

They lost anyway, TF 34's organic ship firepower crushed the French Defenders and turned back the French Fleet and the three German Subs that showed up later were sent packing with one sunk. The Vichy Air Force was more a nuisance than a serious threat. Overall the US lost less than 400 killed, little over 600 wounded, and most of those were from the rough surf causing accidents in the landing because Patton disregarded the Navy's instructions on how to properly load the landing craft. Only two US Destroyers were damaged and the Vichy French lost their entire fleet.

The Oran Landings led by Fredendall largely went off without a hitch, except for Operation Reservist which a British Shenanigan to seize the Oran Harbor by Coup-de-main and got shot to pieces as Fredendall said it would be. The Vichy also sortied its fleet out and was defeated. Everything in this operation planned and executed by Fredendall proceeded as he intended, the man's Operational Genius only being undone by his tactical inabilities exacerbated by weeks of his units being moved around between commanders and split up by Eisenhower just before Kasserine Pass. Like Burnside, this General is largely known for a disaster due to factors outside of his control which hides the stuff he did do right and his contributions to final victory. But I digress.

The Lorient to Saint Nazaire Sector is even more weakly defended, by the standards of Casablanca it isn't defended at all. Hell going by Casablanca, the Allies can hit Lorient and Saint Nazaire at the same time as well. The U-Boats are out in the Mid Atlantic due to chasing an SL convoy as posted before and won't show up for at least a week and losing those ports would greatly cripple U-boat operations, aiding the battle of the Atlantic and most likely preventing the losses of winter 43 in shipping running the Atlantic.

Also the Leigh Lights have been in service for some time now by Allied Air Patrols in the Bay of Biscay which further renders U-boat operations suicide against the concentrated Invasion Fleet. Since this area is well within range of bombers fro Britain, the Allies can saturate the area with bomber patrols during the invasion period, further providing protection against the over-rated U-Boats whose success is largely the result of picking off lone ships, stragglers, and a few skillful and aggressive officers who were outliers propagandized as representing every German submarine commander when in reality half of all submarines commanders never sunk a ship and were hopelessly lost.

Back to the Air Power factor:

The Spitfires might not have the range, but the P-40Es do and once the grass strips are ready on Belle Island and in the lodgement itself, the P-40Es backed by Piper Cubs, and the French resistance can operate at will with downed pilots first being swept up by the French resistance to a safe spot and picked up by a Piper Cub that also drops off some weapons and ammo for the Resistance while taking the pilot and whatever intel the Resistance has.

As for the Luftwaffe, too few fighters, heavily outnumbered, and the US Pilots have the unsporting habit of shooting bailed out German Pilots as they descend in parachutes. They also have yet to switch to a fighter focus in their production schedules, and are in the middle of the production fiasco of the Me-210/410, on top of the Stalingrad fiasco. So every downed German plane trying to attack the Allied lodgement would be a loss they can't easily replace while the British and US have between them ~5,000 Aircraft in Britain at this point and given the needs of the lodgement, the Regensburg and Schweinfurt raids are likely canceled to focus on Northern France where they are more easily escorted to decoy Hitler into expecting an assault there.

The best the Luftwaffe can do is achieve parity, and only by stripping the Ost Front and Med of everything. Stalin won't be sad to see the Ost Front planes depart, he has 3,200 aircraft that can find other things to do in their absence, say killing Nazi jack-booted thugs :twisted:

German reserves:

Quite simply put they don't exist yet and won't be ready till mid 43. They are also the result of a 43 buildup that occurred as a result of capital investments such as in the gigantic Nibelungenwerk in Austria, and expansion of existing facilities using captured resources finally bearing fruit and enabling German Production to expand in 43-44. Also contrary to post war myths, half of German Women between 15 and 60 were employed in the workforce or military adjuncts vs 25% of British Women, and a third of Americas', with only the Soviet Union throwing more women into the workforce and combat units, which helped production. If there was one thing the Germans did to keep in the fight, it was scarcity management. Even then all these new units could only maintain the size of the Wehrmacht at roughly 5 million men, they weren't able to grow it in OTL, in this ATL proposal the Wehrmacht would actually begin shrinking and as France is liberated, it would face a reformed French Army of 1.2 million angry Frenchmen with a score to settle, two years earlier.

Also the Ost Divisions started 1942 short of 250,000 men, with replacement prioritized to AGS which despite that never got up to close to anything like full strength. The splitting of AGS into A and B Groups, declaring war on the US, and sending the Afrika Corps to Africa with a truck fleet the size of an Army's Truck Fleet didn't help matters, depriving the Germans of hundreds of Tanks and thousands of trucks that could have made a world of difference in summer of 42.

If in early 43, the Allies are overrunning France and the Ukraine, the Germans will be really hurting for steel and food. If the Soviets can get back in range of Ploesti, and forward airfields in France are available to escort bombers into the Ruhr, the German economy is going to get a suckerpunch. Hell if the Soviets can gain Slomensk in late 42, early 43, that is a lot of manpower they are getting back combined with the Ukraine, they would also be picking up partisans and bypassed Soviets troops from 41 a lot earlier to add to their numbers.

As stated earlier, the best Hitler can do is an Anzio containment by deploying units that went to the Ost Front and the Mediterranean to France, but doing so fucks over the Ost Front troops who are dealing with four powerful Soviet Offensives around Leningrad, Rzhev, Stalingrad, and in the Caucasus and are fighting with worn out troops and equipment. Hitler also has to worry about the Vichy in Southern France. If they throw in with the Allies, he has to seize their ports quickly and swiftly secure his major air fields within Vichy Strike Range or the Luftwaffe has to pull back. If the Vichy fight back instead of rolling over and playing dead, they can buy time for the Vichy North Africa Army to come up and reinforce a southern lodgement under cover of the Vichy Navy and British Navy. So that is another German Army engaged in heavy combat at a critical time.

So Hitler is now fighting:

1. A Soviet Force around Leningrad, tying up an entire Army Group and a good section of his cruisers.

2. A Soviet Force around Rzhev tying down an Army Group.

3. Two Southern Army Groups tied up in heavy combat.

4. Rommel is in full retreat in Africa.

5. The British are bombing him at night.

6. He is fighting a heavy partisan war across Europe and shipping people to Death Camps.

7. Now in this scenario, an Allied lodgement that just took out the Subpens the Kriegsmarine was using to hit the Mid-Atlantic and now they have to be abandoned, and now the Vichy are making excuses as to why they can't pay the occupation costs and insisting they aren't mobilizing though they clearly are.

Hitler is pretty tapped for manpower at this point. Italy isn't a factor either:

1. Its fleet lacks fuel to move and Hitler doesn't have it to give now as he has to fuel up Army Group D and scratch up odds and ends to keep it from collapsing.

2. Its best troops are either destroyed or about to be destroyed on the Ost Front or in Africa. Large numbers are tied down in the Balkans, and the remainder are leg mobile units suitable for garrison work and needed in Italy for the Harvest at this time.

3. Its Air Force lacks fuel and has few competitive aircraft to fight with.

4. Once Monty is done finishing up Libya which should go even faster as Hitler can't send anything to North Africa, Monty is Free to operate against Sicily.

No matter how you look at it, D-Day in 42 is the best time to hit and occurs in period when the Allies will enjoy a substantial technological advantage that got frittered away in 43 by the pointless Italian campaign. Instead this edge would be running across France in 43 before the German can really crank out the AT arsenal of 44 that stung the Western Allies, and it would make it that Germany can't even get the weapons of 44 into production to begin with and enables the CBO to hit harder with fewer losses in 43 as there is fighter based escorts in France. More than that, German warning times of air raids will be substantially reduced, and their air defenses far less effective as Allied Planes can stage in France with heavier bombloads and not have to fly over as much Flak, which in turn are now getting hit by Allied Fighter Planes in SEAD missions staged from France and the Low Countries as they are liberated.

On the political front, the Allies can point to France and ask the Italian Political Establishment if they really want to back the Duce? Why not depose him and turn on Hitler and thus avoid us coming for you next? If the Duce switches sides or the Italian Political Establishment can be convinced to get rid of him and join the Allies, that would mean the Balkans can be kept out Stalin's hands. Even if not, Italy is still small fry that can be contained till later.


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