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Dumb question: Why a landing in France when we were already in Italy?

Discussion in 'Italy, Sicily & Greece' started by MikeGBW, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Gunslinger, you're positing something that was never going to happen. While Italy quickly surrendered when the Allies landed, Hitler was never going to allow them to easily march northward. The appointment of Kesselring to the German defense illustrated this thinking. Once the Allies succeeded in getting through Italy, the Alps were a formidable natural obstacle. Any invasion of France had to be by sea, since the Alps prevented any land-based invasion. The Allies still had a long way to go to get to Germany. The invasion at Normandy made eminently more sense.
     
  2. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I know that. I'm saying IF the Allies decided to try to put the numbers of troops that were similar to Northern France in Italy to march up, it never would have happened and France was the best way to do it. I was laying out a hypothetical situation as to why the best route was France and why Italy wouldn't have worked.
     
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The best solution for the allies was the one adopted. The invasion of Italy in 1943 WAS a second front. Once Op Husky took place Hitler cancelled Op Citadelle, the last major German offensive on the Eastern front. It tied down two German armies with 20 divisions which were tied up in a side show, too constricted for the Germans to evict to allied armies.

    That is what Alanbrook anticipated.
     
  4. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Now you're in the "What if" area. The reality is that the Allies purposely chose northern France for the invasion.
     
  6. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    What I meant was even if the Allies theoretically drove all the way through Italy, they would still have troops to clear out in both France and Germany. By having a smaller front in Italy first, they were able to take on the resistance and drive up for a year before invading France. The Allies reached Rome June 5, 1944, and took up valuable German troops in the European theater at the same time.
     
  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Churchill wanted to make the main drive through the Mediterranean... I think he wanted to stay closer to the East, to keep Western influence and democratic concepts in Central and Eastern Europe by beating the Russians to those areas or being there at the same time.
     
  8. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The guy asked a question which is almost like a hypothetical/what if, so I was laying out a hypothetical "what if" answer, and I agree with you.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The British eventually sent forces to Greece to support the local government against the communist insurrection, as Greece was not in the agreed soviet zone of influence, a second landing there in early 1944 (don't think it cam be done in 1943 unless you cancel Salerno and that creates a very different scenario in Italy), would have possibly made the Ploetsi oilfields inaccessible earlier, but there is a big risk in giving the Germans an "interior lines" situation where your own troops are at the end of a complex supply line. Having to move from France to Italy through Switzerland doesn't make much sense, there is a coastal railway, not 100% sure it was already there in 1939 but given the employment of two Italian navy gun trains to support the 1940 offensive I believe it was (no sense for a railway to be there unless it goes all the way to Nice). It's not a great line even today, took it a couple of times, but more than enough to support troop movements.

    Central Italy is a really bad environment for a mechanized army, the Alps are an attackers nightmare, the environment can easily kill you without any need for enemy action, we are sometimes still discovering bodies of WW1 soldiers killed by avalanches today, and it's not isolated cases, in at least one instance a whole regiment was wiped out.
     
  10. Clean32

    Clean32 New Member

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    [SIZE=10.5pt]lots of interesting posts, but no nail on the head.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]1 Potsdam declaration[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]2 England’s support and agreements with Tito[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]3 the allies promised 2nd front, IE Europe[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]4 lines of communication, ie shipping supplies, its a long way.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]5 Germanys crack troops were facing the allies in northern Italy, less quality troops were in France or were on rest in France.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]6 WW1 experience[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]The forces in Italy were depleted by the need to get ready for Normandy. Leaving Italy under the command of Freiberg the New Zealand commander and ww1 VC winner.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]instructed to keep in contact with the Germans to keep them away from both Normandy and the soviets, infarct the kiwis/ poles and Jewish brigade ( amongst others) advance, even into Yugoslavia and made contact with titos forces.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10.5pt]There are many reasons why a front may be started stopped or the indefinable defended. There are arguments like. why did the allies take on the hopeless case of Greece. well its did delay the invasion of Russia. Operation torch during the battle of Stalingrad? etc, there was allot of coordination between the allies. or should i say into days thinking between the west and soviet forces[/SIZE]
     
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    This was a Churchill bright idea, unconstrained my logistic or strategic considerations.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Gallipolistic thinking.
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The Potsdam conference was after the German surrender; it would have been rather difficult for the Allied supreme commanders to meet there before ;) Perhaps you meant Tehran, where the commitment to a cross-Channel landing in 1944 was formalized.

    Freyberg commanded the 2d New Zealand Division, and for a time an ad hoc "New Zealand Corps" with a couple of other divisions under his command. He/it were under command of 5th or 8th Army at different times; those in turn comprised 15th Army Group under Alexander and then Mark Clark.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Germans wanted the Allies to commit heavily to Italy, the terrain heavily favored the attackers. When I showed the prof that does the WWII course at Purdue the various defensive lines and their proximity he sorta said "poop!"
     
  15. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Italy is a European county but isn't considered ETO?
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Italy was part of the Mediterranean Theater. It was not considered to be part of the ETO. The MTO was a separate entity.
     
  17. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    They could have blanketed it all as ETO and it probably would have been easier logistically, paperwork, etc., seeing as Italy is Europe, just farther south and east from France
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Mediterranean was considered it's own front.
     
  19. Owen

    Owen O

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  20. Clean32

    Clean32 New Member

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