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Allied Strategy.

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by 4th wilts, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    Hey guys,What do you you think the western allies,could of done to finish the war in europe faster.?I know it's a very general question,and I'm not sure if there are any definitive answers myself,but there it is.Any ideas.? Cheers,Lee.
     
  2. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    Hindsight is 20/20. If France and England plowed into the rear of Germany while she was invading Poland that would have nipped it in the bud right there.
    You have to be more specific with your question.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A better commander at Anzio might have had some considerable impact.
     
  4. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Change the French mindset towards armed conflict. A more offensive strategy would have been beneficial to, at least, delay the German forces.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It does seem to break down into two areas, 1939-40 to avoid the fall of France, or 1943-44 to bring the war to a quicker conclusion. The latter also seems mainly to come back to France and an earlier 'second front', either a cross-Channel landing in summer 1943 or an invasion of southern France in lieu of Anzio in early 1944, followed by Overlord in May-June.

    1939 nip it in the bud - when they gave the guarantee to Poland, they could have started mobilizing, including sending a BEF and air component to France. That would show everyone, themselves, the US, Germany, Poland, Russia, that they were serious and might have made Hitler - or his generals - have second thoughts. It's also the only way they could be ready to do anything in September before Hitler wrapped up the Polish campaign.

    Beating the Germans to Norway would have helped. Even better if the Norwegians cooperated, but they would probably not appreciate being turned into a battlefield.

    1940, if the French command had been capable of responding in real time, had retained a masse de maneuvre instead of being so quick to jump into the German trap. They actually had most of their armor near the Germans' flanks in the Ardennes, had then been prepared to use it effectively.

    43-44 I think we've pounded on a lot.....
     
  6. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    Would it have? Seems to me the Allies simply didn't land a strong enough force to exploit the beachhead, regardless of who was commanding, as such forces weren't available (having been sent to England to prepare for Overlord). If anyone was to blame I would say it was Churchill for demanding the Anzio landing happen in spite of this. Figures that Churchill then pushed to get Lucas relieved. (Generally I'm a Churchill "fan" btw)

    I tend to think driving hard inland immediately after the landing would have just exacerbated this problem, overextending the Allied force and making it less capable of holding the beachhead when superior German ground forces counterattacked, as they soon did.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    They could have at least taken the heights in front of the beaches early on. Then the Germans would have had to fight to get into position to shell them. Remember that a patrol from Anzio actually made it to Rome on either the first or second day. The lack of aggression allowed the Germans to concentrate in a tactically strong position unchallenged.
     
  8. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    I don't feel that the Italian front was a good idea in the first place. Italy is a long way off from major concentrations of German field armies and industries, and can be defended with relatively few expenditures in men and equipment.
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    At least we can be thankful the Western Allies didn't get too involved countering the Soviet threat in '39 and '40 ...
     
  10. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    At least 15 German divisions were diverted to Italy which would otherwise have been on the Eastern Front. If the Western Allies had fought somewhere else besides Italy, it likely would have drawn those same troops to wherever that was, but where?

    I believe the Western Allies probably could have made a go of it in France in '43 and perhaps ended the war sooner, but with that off the table, I'm not sure where would have been any better than Italy..... Greece and the Balkans perhaps, which had many of the same drawbacks as Italy (but would have had more partisan support).... Norway? Not sure what purpose that would have served.

    Really, anywhere else besides France and the Low Countries was fated to be just a diversion to tie up some Germans. And the reason Italy (or wherever) was fated to be a diversion was that with the massing and training of troops for Overlord underway, there just weren't enough resources to commit to this other front, wherever it was chosen to be (Italy in actual fact) to make it decisive.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    France in '43 is the big question. I also think it could have been possible, but they would have to have committed to it early, in the first planning session after Pearl Harbor. The single biggest difference with America in the war was that a cross-Channel operation, which was impossible without us, became possible and I would even say inevitable.

    If they were not prepared to do France in '43, Italy was the best option. The Balkans were always a pet project of Churchill's, but the terrain is just as defensible as Italy, the infrastructure worse, and it's even further from the heart of Germany. Moreover it would be apparent to Stalin that his allies were more interested in beating him to Eastern Europe than in beating the common enemy. Many of the Greek and Yugoslav partisans were Communist and might have resisted a western incursion into their countries. Tito was happy to accept aid, but when the British set up a small base on the Dalmatian coast, he demanded its withdrawal, and there was a standoff and actual shooting incidents around Trieste when the western Allies finally got there at war's end.
     
  12. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The easiest way for the allies to finish the war early would have been to lose it.

    The Anglo French lack of aggression in 1939 is connected to their defeat in 1940. They misread the rules. They thought they were playing to a 1914-1918 set of rules where any precipitate advance just let to a lot of casualties. They thought the rules said that even if the attacker created a breakthrough, the defenders would have the time to close it quickly. .

    Had Britain sued for an armistice in 1940, as was possible and debated in Cabinet, the war would have been over.

    Any attempt to accelerate victory by a premature cross channel invasion increased the risk that the invasion would result in a bloody defeat, and possibly even ultimate German victory. It is possible to speculate on a series of events that might have resulted in an early allied victory from a 1943, But these scenarios ignore some pretty big problems not solved until 1944.

    1) U Boats Until the U Boats had been defeated it was not possible to guarantee a safe passage to the UK to build up the forces established before D Day. Until the defeat of the U Boats , the ship building resources were too busy replacing lost shipping and building escorts. This was the capacity that built the extra shipping to allow for five assault divisions.

    2) Shipping released by clearing the Mediterranean. Until Sicily had been captured, lots of allied ships were engaged in supporting allied forces in the middle and far east around the Cape route.

    3) The luftwaffe The Luftaffe was much stronger in 1943 and the allied air forces much weaker. I canlt rememebr the numbers, but the allies did not have long ranged fighter escorts.

    4) The Italian Campaign The Italian campaign diverted 20 German divisions - two armies, into a subsidiary theatre. These might otherwise have been available to defeat any 1943 invasion. The allied troops were not disadvantaged by this because they could only deploy as many troops as they could ship. It did not matter for this purpose whether the extra allied troops were in Italy or in the continental USA. The Germans could move their reserves to a threatened point by road and rail while the allied build up would always be limited by shipping. (Err did I mention shipping once or twice)
     
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    "The allied troops were not disadvantaged by this because they could only deploy as many troops as they could ship."

    On the other hand, the shipping that was diverted to Italy preempted Operation Sledgehammer, the plan to commence Overlord and Dragoon simultaneously to create a more complete encirclement. Moreover, I do not follow why the shipping that sustained Allied units in Italy could not be deployed to sustain an equal effort elsewhere, unless overland communications was inadequate.
     
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I think you have become a little confused.

    Operation sledgehammer was a plan to launch a cross channel invasion in 1942. The Americans and Soviets pressed for this to happen. to relieve pressure on the Eastern Front. This was would have been suicide - as was shown by the Dieppe raid.

    Op Roundup was the code name for a 1943 cross channel invasion. There was only one US division in the UK in June 1943. a 1943 Op Round up would have meant brining all the troops in the Med to the Uk rather than building up in the Uk from the USA.

    Operation Torch, the North Africa landings was the alternative chosen and the invasion of Sicily which followed in July cleared the sea route through the Med freeing up shipping for Op Overlord.

    Let me see if I can explain the Italy strategy. Troops deployed in Italy were performing exactly the same function as troops deployed in France. The ETO and MTO were part of a common theatre of operations. The allied plan was to deploy an army in Europe with C 100 divisions (75 US and C 25 British commonwealth and others) to defeat the Germans who were not fighting the Russians. The Germans had, say, 70 divisions not fighting the Russians or partisans.

    At some point the Allies would need to engage all of the Germans and exhaust them to the point that they had no reserves to oppose a concentrated thrust on a weakened point. An invasion of Europe would start with three (in 1943) or Five (in 1944) divisions landing by sea and building up by a further one every three days. Until the allies had captured deep sea ports landing capacity depended on shipping capable of landing on beaches. Even with Mulberry Harbour the allies would not have the ports to support a 100 division army. The Germans would start with 70 divisions which could be moved by road or rail.

    The Italian campaign allowed Op Overlord to start with 20 German divisions already engaged and 20 allied divisions already ashore on the continent of Europe. If there had been no Italian Campaign, there could have been no break out on 25 July, because the Germans would have had 20 divisions spare to fill the gap. However, the 20 divisions historically deployed in Italy would have been deployed any earlier in Normandy than the C30 divisions in the continental US at this time.

    It is very similar to the US Civil War. The fighting on the Eastern theatre was inconclusive, while that on the Western Theatre resulted in the destruction of the Confederacy. This does not mean that war would have been over faster had the union put more troops into the West. The army of the Potomac prevented confederacy from reinforcing the West.

    I hope this helps.
    .
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hard to say. Eisenhower was sure that the broad front strategy like the Soviets was good but if they had done a breakthrough mission somewhere after Normandy who knows. The Germans were keeping hold of the harbour cities so supplying the troops was hard once the troops were getting close to German borders. Not easy must say.
     
  16. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    I do not believe the Germans had the air and naval capacity to prevent us from establishing a beachhead in France in '43. Certainly we'd have taken some naval losses, as we did at Torch, Sicily, Anzio and Salerno, but I can't see how those losses would have been enough to stop us from accomplishing the mission.

    The real problem with an invasion of France in '43 (which the UK never would have agreed to anyway) was that we wouldn't have had all the "practice" amphibious assaults prior to it that we had in the Mediterranean theatre.... as a decision to invade France that early would have meant that Torch, Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio likely never would have happened (as the reader may know, the decision to invade France in '44 was made months before Operation Torch, actually as part of the deal between US and UK that agreed to Torch). So an amphibious assault into France in '43 would have been the first major Allied amphibious invasion in the European theatre and perhaps the war...... with all the attendant problems of inexperience in such operations, as demonstrated by the Torch landing, which was a cluster&^%$ that quite possibly would have ended in disaster if faced by strong, determined opposition.

    However, if that hurdle could have been cleared, the Western Allies would have had themselves a beachhead in France in '43 which I doubt the Germans could have eliminated.

    Mind you I am not saying that I believe this is what the Allies should have done..... I believe the decision to go to Africa first was the right one (not that what I believe matters about it now).... I am just saying what I said before, that I tend to believe an Allied invasion of France in '43 probably could have worked.
     
  17. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Sheldrake,
    My mistake. I did confuse the name of the op--I meant to write Avil. Russel Weigley wrote that Eisenhower contemplated launching the re-named Overlord (Sledgehammer) and Dragoon (Avil) simultaneously as the original 1943 plan, but (if memory serves) the shipping went to sustain ongoing efforts in MTO, which necessitated executing Overlord and Dragoon in sequence. I am not suggesting that the 20 allied divisions in Italy should have been deployed in Normandy which was, as you point out, impossible. Rather, I am arguing that they could have been deployed in the Dragoon attack that would be simultaneous with Overlord, since it was better to tie down the 20 German divisions in southern France rather than Italy.
    Or do you think the logistics will still not work out?
     
  18. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Squidly,
    Why, though, do you think this is the case? Efforts at eliminating the Luftwaffe was not having the desired effect until late 1943, and it was the early months of 1944 that the Allies achieved superiority. Though, in fact, German air strength was deployed primarily in the Eastern Front, do you really think that the Germans would miss Allied preparation for the invasion of France? Even their greatly diminished intelligence capabilities, the Germans did detect an allied threat to Western Europe in 1944. I am not convinced that they won't redeploy and scale down their own offensives in the East.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Sigh
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What about taking Crete and using it as a base for air raids in the east and perhaps as Churchil desired an invasion of the Balkans? Or would this just have been a waste of resources?
     

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