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Purpose of Italy Campaign

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Motorstreet, Jun 11, 2021.

  1. Motorstreet

    Motorstreet New Member

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    Just thinking about this. What was the purpose in going into Sicily and then up the boot in Italy? We stopped after we captured Rome and then launched Overlord. While it may have given us a morale boost to take Italy out of the war, many lives were sacrificed.

    Alternatively, once the Allies occupied Italy, why not use that as a springboard to liberate France instead of crossing the channel on D-Day? We were already on the continent and wouldn't have had to launch another amphibious landing.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    It was to knock out a member of the Axis. It worked. Germany had to bear the full burden of stopping the Allies from romping up the boot and linking up with a potential Soviet southern flank.
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    1. I don't think the Allies stopped at Rome....?
    2. for airfields/take their airfields/etc away
    3. to use the forces we had
    4. many German forces were tied up/killed/destroyed/etc
    5. OpanaPointer's point [ hahahhahahahahah ]
    6. make a lot of crappy 1960s war films about the Italian Theater
    7. give people on WW2F something to do
     
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  4. firstf1abn

    firstf1abn Member

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    Yeah, the Alps are overrated as an obstacle for ground forces. Mere bumps in the road.

    Oh wait. German resistance continued in northern Italy until V-E Day.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The more fronts, the worse the German situation.
     
  6. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The German divisions it Italy were some of the best equipped and better-trained soldiers in their Armed Forces. They had over 20 divisions with high-end materiel defending a tough terrain, and they also had to make up for the Italian defection by replacing occupying Italian forces throughout the Mediterranean with German forces, tying up more troops. Air fields and naval operations out of the Mediterranean were also a factor. I believe the Italian/MTO was just as important as any other campaign against Germany during the war. Italy and Sicily were not vast land masses, so it wouldn't make sense to overwhelm those areas with high troop numbers, but to put the troops to good use that matched the terrain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I still think the Italian campaign was just as important as any other theater of conflict against Nazi Germany.

    In 1942 and 1943, before the US was fully mobilized, trained, and re-building the Navy after Pearl Harbor, did Stalin just expect the US to somehow send millions of men across the Atlantic with massive amounts of quality materiel that wasn't existing at that moment?
     
  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Movie discussions are not relevant to the OP's question. There is a section in the Forum for films & movies.

    Admin edit.

    Thanks for this comment. Posts regarding movies moved to a separate thread.
     
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  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    At least I think he started demanding a second front in the west after Barbarossa had begun and never stopped until D-Day.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Saying there was some value in the Italian campaign doesn't mean that it needed to be carried through to the end as it was historically.

    Most of the value had been achieved by early October 1943, with the Allies holding southern Italy including Naples and other ports and the airfield complex around Foggia.
    Italy was out of the war, indeed, on the Allied side. German or German-allied troops had to replace Italians throughout the occupied territories.
    Some twenty German divisions were tied down - by about twenty Allied divisions with all their supporting elements and supplies.
    Allied aircraft could range across southern Europe and open a "second front" against German industry.
    Support could be provided to the Yugoslav partisans.
    The Mediterranean sea route was open.
    Sardinia and Corsica fell into Allied hands, providing bases, particularly air bases, for a landing in southern France (also a potential threat to northern Italy).

    The rest of Italy was superb defensive terrain which the Germans made the most of. When the Allies did slog their way up, they still had the Alps to get through. The Lublyana Gap wasn't much better, and it wouldn't be so much as question of linking up with the Soviets as competing with them for control of the Balkans, confirming Stalin's worst suspicions about his allies. There was certainly no scope for deployment of armies like the Allies did in France.

    The best move at that point would have been a landing in southern France in lieu of Anzio. As noted, the Allies had secured Corsica and Sardinia basically by default rather than by assaulting them in obvious preparation for a landing on the Riviera. Ports in southern France, especially Marseilles, were considered vital to the support of the western European campaign.

    This would not remove the necessity for a cross-Channel invasion in spring 1944, but it would reduce the Germans' ability to prepare for and react to it. Bottom line, the Allies would have more combat power in the decisive theater sooner.
     
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  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    As you mentioned, Carronade, 20 German divisions were tied up in Italy and could not be moved to Russia or the French coast.
     
  13. Motorstreet

    Motorstreet New Member

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    Thanks Carronade. It just seems a bit peculiar to me that we launched two amphibious assaults (Sicily and Normandy) to dislodge the Germans. I wonder why we didn't concentrate all of those resources in one place...either Italy or Normandy, instead of doing both?
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    And Churchill would have wanted an invasion instead in the Balkans....
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....they couldn't let all those forces sit around until 1944....
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The key question is whether the Allies could launch the cross-Channel invasion in 1943 (stand by for a torrent of posts insisting that that was utterly impossible).

    Ultimately France was the only place they could bring their full combat power - mostly American, no offense to our allies - to bear, but if it couldn't be done in 1943 - summer 1943, due to weather in the Channel - the alternatives were to remain idle for a year or to carry on the campaign in the Mediterranean. And as noted, the Sicilian/Italian campaign did have some value in setting the stage for the decisive operations in 1944.
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    After Sicily invasion Hitler Removed Leibstandarte from Zitadelle and sent it to Italy. And if I recall correctly elite unit panzer division Hermann Göring fought in Sicily among others.
     
  18. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    I could be making this up, but didn’t some historians (maybe Stephan Ambrose) comment that the smaller landings like Sicily, Italy, and even Tunisia were basically “good practice” for the big one that would come in 1944? Not sure if that was an opinion or what the allied commanders- Eisenhower/ Churchill/ General Marshall actually believed.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I always thought the US High Command were demanding invasion of Normandy already in 1943?? I guess the discussions ended in taking North Africa and Italy first,though.
     
  20. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    Italy definitely tied down battle-hardened German units that were well-equipped. It helped ease the pressure on the Russian front even though some say it was a sideshow. Between the Mediterranean theatre and Air offensive, and the Battle of the Atlantic as lend-lease was very important to Russia. The German divisions it Italy were veterans, full-strength, and well-equipped. The Russians didn't have to worry about any naval conflict and the air war was more tactical in the East.
     

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