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D-Day November 1942

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Then do what I did. Get a couple of navigation charts for the area and look at those. Next, you can get tide and weather information from sailing instructions and notes by the NOAA (yes, I took a year's worth of courses on naval navigation). The historical convoy route from the US was reminisent of Columbus' voyage in reverse. They used a great circle route to south of the Azores (under Allied control) and then instead of going to North Africa in this scenario they would turn North and head to France. There is alot less U-boat activity on that route as but one advantage of it.
    This area is little effected by the more massive storms of the North Atlantic due to it being in the doldrums.

    The same as it historically was with them landing in North Africa, on D-Day, or anywhere else. They came ashore and took care of business.

    The one division guarding this part of the coast is the 333rd Infantry. It's responsibility runs from about Lorient to St. Nazarie. This was the division that fought the commando raid on the later when the HMS Campbelton blew up the locks to prevent docking the Bismarck there.

    The unit TO&E is:

    Grenadier regs 679, 680, 681
    Artillery reg 333
    Auxiliary units numbered 333

    It has no orgainc antiaircraft battalion. Its only air defense is the 2cm AA company in the antitank battalion.

    Its home station is Wkr III. It was formed 14th wave in January 1941. All personnel are essentially draftees. The unit suffered periodic drafts of men sent to other divisions as replacements. These were replaced by new conscripts and often men of lower quality ratings.
    This is not uncommon with the Germans. They saw this division as being in a quiet sector of France and unlikely to be engaged.


    Yes. They would be able to defeat the one thinly spread German division. Taking Belle Ile and Quiberon gives them three small ports and a huge safe anchorage to deliver supplies to the troops ashore. Like at Normandy or, in the Pacific, the Allies can simply use landing craft to run much of their supplies ashore. They can also dock ships and use DUKW trucks to supplement this.
    Bringing in pontoons to build additional docks or to use as lighters would also be an option.

    There aren't that many German aircraft in the area. The only two units that are really a threat to naval traffic are KG 100 and Fleiger Fuhrer Atlantik with about 30 to 40 aircraft between them.

    Overwhelmed at Salerno?!! They threw in the 16th Pz, 26th Pz, 29th PzGr, 15th PzGr, Hermann Göring Panzer among other units against three Allied infantry divisions supported by one brigade of British 7th Armored division. They lost and lost badly. 16th Panzer was on the landing beaches when the Allies came ashore. There was no preinvasion bombardment so the unit was intact. Yet, it was thrown out of its positions.
    They had air parity as Salerno was at the edge of Allied land based fighter cover and the Allies had no carrier aircraft available.
    The Italians were still in the war and their fleet was largely intact. But, it lacked fuel to move for the most part.

    At Anzio they again managed to get better than a one to one ratio of troops surrounding that beachhead. The Allies had initially just two divisions ashore. They tried two major offensives to destroy that beachhead and both failed miserably.

    Hardly. The Germans entered their 1942 summer offensive (the one AGS makes against Stalingrad and the Caucausus) in poor shape. Panzer divisions in the East have only one battalion of tanks on average except for those in AGS half of which have two and one has three. They were short nearly 250,000 men on establishment and only AGS had infantry divisions close to full strength. Most divisions had been cut down to two battalions per regiment from their establishment three (the Type 44 division didn't exist yet).
    They had a severe shortage of both trucks and horses. To support AGS all divisions elsewhere were largely stripped of their transport to provide enough trucks to get three Grosstransportraum units for motor transport of supply in AGS.
    Whether you think they were winning or losing is irrelevant. The Germans at the end of 1942 were in bad shape.

    Sunk or damaged by what? U-boats will take time to get there. Even when they do there are just three or four battleships present with the same number of carriers out of well over 100 ships present. They are not anchored, and they are escorted.
    As for the German surface fleet: Tirpitz is in Norway. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are in Germany and undergoing repairs. Even if all three could go to sea they have to either traverse the North Sea then the Channel and then the Bay of Biscay to get to the fight, or they have to go into the Atlantic through the Iceland gap and then south to the Bay of Biscay. This means bringing several unrep ships along. It also means no escorts.
    In either case this suggestion is simply ludicrious. There is no way the Germans could put three capital ships into the area whatsoever. They would be sunk enroute.

    No, the Allies get ashore. They dig in and a temporary stalemate ensues for the next six or so months. There is heavy fighting periodically during this period. In the East the loss of units now fighting in France makes a 1943 come back for the Germans impossible. They are forced onto the defensive and lose more ground than historically.
    In North Africa Rommel's forces are partially withdrawn and the reminant defeated. The Allied prisoner bag is much smaller than historical.
    The French throw in with the Allies forcing the Germans to invade and take Vichy France pulling more troops West. The Vichy French fight so this invasion and conquest takes weeks and alot of troops to complete.
    Italy is still threatened in the Med now that Axis forces are defeated in North Africa.
     
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  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Don't confuse Vonnie with the facts T.A. LOL.
     
  3. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Even if there was a FLAK battalion how much could the usual eight 8.8 cm guns accomplish?


    Bring them on. From 1941 the Luftwaffe ahd been playing hide and seek with the RAF in the west. Any attempt to tangle in sustained air combat is in the Germans worst interest. The Luftwaffe airstrikes at the Sicillian ampibious fleet and the same at Salerno suggest what the forward deployed air units might accomplish against a amphibious fleet. The air battle over Tunisia, Sicilly, and Salerno illustrate what happned when the Luftwaffes reinforcements tangled with the larger Allied reinforcements.


    In Africa & Italy through 1943 understrength German ground units consistenly failed operationally in the attack against Allied ground and air units. Despite some tactical problems the Allied army, even when 'green' units predominated, shattered every German counter stroke at the operational level. German tactical sucesses did not translate into winning the battle. As with the Luftwaffe the Wehrmacht is chronically understrengh evreywhere. Unlike in 1944 there are not yet any of the fifth & sixth rate formations existant for cannon fodder, to hold fortifications. there aare not yet any Ost battalions to speak of, no non Aryan SS Divsions, no medical battalions of men on light duty to fill emergency posts. Huge numbers of teenagers have not yet replaced adults in Luftwaffe FLAK units in Germany. Neither are the Luftwaffe ground units yet formed. At the start of 1943 the Wehrmacht had a lot fewer actual combat units to work with than in 1944, and they were deep into both a manpower and equipment crisis. As weak as the Soviet forces were they had created this situation. The last thing the Wehrmacht needed was increased pressure from another quarter.




    As noted here earlier the Allies managed to deal with the larger French fleet, which had been warned and which was fighting on its home court. I'm wondering if any of those three German ships would have the fuel remaining for a naval battle after circling the British isles and dodging intercepting squadrons.



    Here is the meat of it. A commitment to invading France earlier is a commiitment to coming to grips with the strength of the Wehrmacht. Neither offensive of defensive operations in France in 1943 will be easy. The Wehrmacht is a wounded but dangerous beast. Losses will be high, which is a significant reason why Brooke opposed returning to the continent so soon. It was hoped the bloodshed could be avoided thru delay and the application of other means. The bloodshed was not avoided. The people of the Soviet states endured it. Fortunately for the Allied cause they were willing to endure it and endure enough of it that they could destroy the bulk of the Germans combat strength during 1943 and half of 1944. Getting a Allied Army ashore in late 1942 and establishing several more ashore in early 1943. Not only brings more forces to bear on the on the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe, but forces with far greater potiential in firepower than the Soviets of 1943. The bottom line is German military strength fails faster with the Allied armys at their throat than if they stand off at arms length.
     
  4. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    I have just looked at the Google website and have seen satellite photos of Quiberon Bay as well as the harbour and i have to admit that if you were going to target any location that surely would be one location i would choose, there are about at least a dozen good beaches to land and the bay itself is shallow and can be easily protected with a good mine belt, also that belle Ile, Ile d'Houat and Groix Ile can be great sites for supply dumps and troop transit stations and if you are correct and that the area is defendend by one single division (333rd) the division would be overwhelmed and that a forward airfield on Belle Ile can be established and operate Naval aircraft of the USN and FAA. And that Naval gunfire especially from the heavy units could be devestating to any defenders, the area is mainly exposed flat terrain.

    I just want to say that i was completely wrong over this and should have done more research.

    v.R
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Here's 7th Army's November 42 line up:

    Order of battle (15 Nov 1942)
    At the disposal of the 7. Armee
    257. Infanterie-Division (army reserve)
    LXXXIV. Armeekorps
    320. Infanterie-Division (Cotenin)
    716. Infanterie-Division (Caen area)
    165. Reserve-Division (Forming near Epinal)
    319. Infanterie-Division (Channel Islands)
    XXV. Armeekorps
    709. Infanterie-Division (HQ Cherbourg)
    17. Infanterie-Division (HQ Quimperle)
    182. Infanterie-Division (forming from 182nd Division Number) (HQ Cassel)
    333. Infanterie-Division (SW France on Coast below Brittany pennsula to Vichy France border)
    343. Infanterie-Division (HQ St. Malo)
    346. Infanterie-Division (still forming near Bretange)

    This army is at about its lowest point strength-wise in late 1942. 6th Panzer, 161st Inf Div, 379th Inf Div were all pulled out and shipped to the East front near the beginning of the month to shore up AGC in particular. The remaining units are not the best.
    709 and 716 are two regiment Bodenstande divisions of dubious quality. 165 Reserve and 182 Division Number are just stood up units built on staff HQs manned by overage and physically unfit officers. They are at partial strength.
    Only the 17th Infantry is really a good unit at this time. It gets pulled in December and shipped East too.
    The 319th is on the Channel Islands and worthless for a fight in France. It would take forever to get it back to the mainland and Hitler would not readily give the islands up as we know.
    The best 7th AOK could do initially is send the 257th taking about 48 to 72 hours to arrive along with pulling portions of some of the other divisions out of the line and sending them peicemeal to oppose the landing.

    You can see the German defenses really are weak in France at this time. Stalingrad and the Soviet winter offensives are started and the OKW is focused on the East front. Alamein has occured a month earlier and Rommel is reeling. The remaining 4 panzer divisions in France 7, 10, 26, 27 are only marginally ready for combat. The 10th went to N. Africa historically where it was destroyed. The 7th and 27th went to Russia. The 27th was destroyed in about 6 months operations there and not reformed. The 26th went to Italy where it fought for the rest of the war. All four have a mix of late model Pz III and Pz IVG tanks. There are no Panthers (not in production yet) or Tigers (all in the East except 1 battalion in N. Africa) available at all.
     
  6. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Thank you T. A for the update, i'll have a look at these division on their strength at the time of November 1942. You have piqued my interest in this part of the world pertaining to WW2.

    v.R
     
  7. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    None of the above mentioned units that were sent from France to the other fronts will depart once this invasion occurs. Fighting the Allied, or mostly British at first, army in France will take prioirty over reinforcing the Afrika army. Manstein in the east will have to suck it up as those reinforcements wont be dismounting the trains in December/January. Instead they will be enjoying the French winter mud and rain in the Vendre and Breton countryside.

    The benefit to the Soviet soldiers or those of the 8th Army is a matter of debate. But, the fate of those divsions will be decided in France.
     
  8. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    I have looked at one particular division mentioned, the 333rd Infantrie Divisionen. Just to add to T.A's information on this as of the 4th November 1942 a Schwereartillerieabteilung (motZ) was added as well as a full Panzerjeagerabteilung (motZ). Also the Grenadier Regiments added new 13 and 14 the companies.

    The formation of the former 333rd Staticheinfantrie Division to a full mobile infantry division which was ordered in September was completed on the 4th November 1942, total compliment to the division was 16,500+ officers and men, it was not until 1943 that the young troops were swapped out with older troops.

    So if we assume this timeline is the way it is, then the 333rd Infantrie Divisionen is by the 4th November 1942 a fully fledged mobile division and not a static division.

    Also to T.A do you have any other information on the German 1st Army which also was stationed in the west throughout the entire war, also with some discrepancy in mind there were anything up to 40 German divisions in the west at around November 1942, i have to look deeper into this as the various information sources i have vary, i'll try to clarify this at a later date.

    v.R
     
  9. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Taking a shallow look at the German resources from November 1942 through November 1943 it seems there might be two points of crisis for this version of Sledgehammer. The first would be in the November-January period. Various events might seperately combine to trash the Allies invasion. The Atlantic weather may have interfered more than anticipated. The Allied ground commander may have made some bad decisions; ie: over extending, panicing over a setback, botching his defense against a counter attack. AQ lot of this depends on who the Allied commander is.

    The other peak crissi period would be in the spring or very early summer. It is probable Hitler will reduce his ideas for a counter stroke on the Eastern Front (Kursk) and divert a portion of the strength to France. Any diversion of German strength from the East benefits the USSR in the short run. Of course if the Allied enclave is seriously damaged then the USSR will have new problems down the line.

    One huge benefit of this early establishment of the Allied in France will be the freeing of the amphibious fleet for other operations in 1943. Even if the Allies dont have large ground forces available due to the demands of the post Sledgehammer battle, they can use the amphib forces as part of one of the deception operations they were so sucessfull at. The Germans were contiually decived as to the overall strength of the Allied armys. They overestimated in 1942-44 as much as the underestimated in 1941. As 1943 unfolds the Germans can be kept amused expecting more Allied armys to come wading ashore in Norway, Marsallie, near Rome, the Damaltian coast, Athens... If a corps or two can be spared from the battle in France then the Germans can be further decived by limted diversion operations in those other directions.
     
  10. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    As for the 7th Army at the time here is some of the breakdown on the divisions involved

    Reserve
    257th Infantry Division

    257th (mot) Mapping Detachment
    257th 24th Motorcycle Messenger Platoon

    457th Infantry Regiment
    1 signals platoon
    1/2/3 battalions, each with
    3 Rifle Companies (12 x LMG's, 3 x 50mm mortars and 3 PzBu 39 ea)
    1 Heavy Company (12 x HMG's, 2 x PzBu 39 and 6 x 80mm mortars)
    13th (mot) Panzerjeager Companie (12 x 37mm PAK 36 and 4 x LMG's)
    14th Infantry Support Gun Companie (2 x 150mm sIG and 6 x 75mm leIG)
    1 Engineering Platoon (3 x LMG's)
    1 Cavalry Reconnaissance Platoon
    1 Light Infantry Supply Column

    466th Infantry Regiment
    Same as 457th Infantry Regiment

    477th Infantry Regiment
    Same as 457th Infantry Regiment

    257th Reconniassance Battalion
    1 (mot) Signals Platoon
    2 Bicycle Squadrons (3 x 50mm and 9 x LMG's ea)
    1 (mot) Reconniassance Squadron
    1 Infantry Gun Section (2 x 75mm leIG)
    1 Machine Gun Section (4 x HMG)
    1 Panzerjeager Platoon (3 x 37mm PAK 36)

    257th Artillery Regiment
    1 Signals Platoon
    1 Weather Platoon
    1st/2nd/3rd Battalions, each with
    1 Signals Platoon
    1 Calibrations Detachment
    3 Artillery Light Batteries, each with (4 x 105mm leFH, 2 x LMG)
    4th Battalion
    1 Signals Platoon
    1Calibration Detachment
    3 Artillery Heavy Batteries, each with (4 x 150mm sFH, 2 x LMG)

    257th Signals Battalion
    1 (mot) Radio Companie
    1 (mot) Telephone Companie
    1 (mot) Signals Supply Column

    257th Pioneer Battlion
    2 Pioneer Companies, each with (9 x LMG)
    1 (mot) Pioneer Company (9 x LMG)
    667th (mot) Bruko "B"
    1 (mot) Engineer Column

    257th Divisional Supply Troops
    1-3/257th (mot) Light Columns
    4-6/257th (mot) Light Columns
    7/257th (mot) Light Fuel Column
    257th (mot) Maintenance Platoon
    257th (mot) Supply Column
    257th Divisional Adminstration
    257th (mot) Field Bakery
    257th (mot) Butcher Detachment
    1/257th Medical Companie
    2/257th (mot) Medical Companie
    257th (mot) Field Hospital
    1/2/257th (mot)Field Ambulance
    257th (mot) Vetenary Companie
    257th (mot) Military Police Troop
    257th Field Post Office.

    I'll add more later.

    v.R
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    That's the paper organization (stand). The actual is probably much weaker as it was still forming (stoll).
     
  12. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    From 'Army at Dawn' by Atkinson the casualties of Pattons corps & Adm Hewitts amphibious fleet for capturing Morroco were:

    337 killed

    637 wounded

    122 missing

    71 captured

    That is from three days combat. There were two attacks by French tanks, which I belive were Renault 35 models. In one attack the French tanks were countered by Stuart type light tanks. In the other by light US AT weapons. There had been numerous FT17 types in Africa pre 1939 but I dont find any refered to by any knowledgeable historian for 1942 or 1942. That suggests none were still operable.

    The landing of Pattons Armored Corps was marked by disorder and serious logistic problems. He & his staff ignored both the experince from previous corps size exercises in 1941 and 1942 and the advice of Adm Hewitts staff. When the fighting ceased Patton had only 2/3 of his combat units ashore and the beach sites were a worse mess than usuall.

    At Oran Algeria the US II Corps under Ferhendall it went better. The landing sites were less well defended, and the French reserves less aggresive than in Morroco. Ward commanding the US 1st Armored Div and Allen commanding the US 1st Div were able to bypass key French defense positions between their landing site and Oran. Atkinson does not give exact casualty counts for the II corps but from his text I estimate them at a minium of 800 killed wounded captured. A large portion of these were from the failed Operation Reservist, a high risk commando style 'coup de main'.
     
  13. Lippert

    Lippert Member

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    I'm gonna have to second some other guys opinions on this one. The Allies as a whole were generally inexperienced at this point. Especially in America, the armed forces were still trying to get and train enough troops for the war to get to an adequate size. Then you want to send US commanders up against German commanders, some of whom were veteran leaders from three different wars. Many of the arguments that Germany would be knocked on its heels are based on the assumption that Allied fighting power and capability would have been the same as in June of 1944. Aside from the technological aspects and almost complete lack of intelligence about enemy weapons systems, there are a few other factors that I think would have contributed to an undoubted defeat of the Allies.

    Additionally, the joint/combined command structure wasn't in place yet. Air power was extremely limited in its effectiveness during the Tunisian campaign because air and ground commanders couldnt get along and properly prioritize missions, among other things. Lets not forget Patton and Montgomery...

    It took some years and some good honing of fighting ability to create a C2 structure that would support major joint/combined operations in the air and on the ground - and we didn't have it by this time. The better trained and experienced Axis troops would have crushed an initial landing this early in the game - I'm convinced.
     
  14. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    I dont think anyone wrote that Allied fighting power and capability would be the same as in June 1944. I certainly dont think so. In the case of the British it can be argued that they might be better.

    What technological aspects are you refering to? The inferiority of the M4 Sherman to the Pz MkIII ? The Spitfire to the Me109? The 6lbr AT gun to the 5cm AT gun, The 25lbr gun or M2 howitzer to the FH18? The M10 TD to the Marder? British and US trucks vs the clapped out French salvage the German were using in Western Europe? The Ju88 vs the B26 or the Blenheim? Perhaps you meant the MG34 or MG42 both above average general purpose machine guns?

    Are you certain about the "complete lack of intellegence about enemy weapons systems? What were the principle weapons available to the Germans in France in late 1943 and which of those were 'completely unkown' to the British?

    There was a joint/combined command 'structure' in place for the Torch operation of 6 November 1942. For that matter there was a joint/combined command being organized for Operation Gymnast earlier that year. I suspect that with only a single US corps avaialble in Britian for this Sledgehammer varaiant, but four British corps (approx ten divsions) and two army HQ this would be a Brtish show for the first couple months anyway, with The US II Corps a subordinate formation for at least the opening weeks.

    The limits had more to do with the extrreme range of the Allied airfields from the Tunisian battlefield in November & December. The Axis had control of the Bizerte, Tunis, Gabes, and Sfax airfields from the first week. Providing them with all weather airfields directly adjacent to the battlefield. After the Allies establsihed forward airfields the quality & quantity of air support improved. The US side of the air support also improved with the command changes during the winter, when those priority problems were worked out. I cant remark on the state of the British air support for the 1st Army. The 8th Army had already worked out the 'Tentacle' system for liasion and control of tactical air support. The Brits had certainly gone far beyond the method or lack of in the 1940 campaign. By the end of March the Luftwaffe was driven from the battlefield, and the Allied airforces were able to isolate the Axis enclave. That suggests they were able to get a few things right.

    This Breton battlefield is easier to reinforce from Brtian than the Tunisian battle area was from the airfields around Algiers and Oran, and even under worst case count for the Allies they will still outnumber the Lufwaffe by a 2-1 margin in Western Europe. More likely it will favor the Allies by a wider margin as the Luftwaffe leaders were not know for making optimal decsions after 1940.

    Ok what do you not want us to forget?

    Whatever ability at "C2 structure" the Allies had in 1942 was suffcient to defeat the Axis in Egypt/Lybia and get a army of three corps into Tunisia by the end of 1942. Seven months later it was suffcient to run the Axis out of Tunisia and to place two armys ashore in Sicilly. Whatever improvements there were came by combat experince. I'd suggest more combat experince will bring wider and faster improvements.

    Ok, better trained and experinced Axis troops would have crushed a intial landing. Were these present at the landing site proposed for this Sledgehammer variant? Those identified by Gardner as present at the landing site, or near enough to reposnd to the initial landing dont look much like 'better trained and experinced'. There are some in France that do qualify for that description, but they are located a fair distance from the proposed landing site, they are in the minority, and none in France are equipped to parity to the British or US units available.

    Beyond the relative quality of the Wehrmachts infantry or tank units available in France i'd make a strong argument the Allied army would have a clear superiority in artillery. The guns were equal indivdually to any German weapon, the US fire control methods that served so well in 1944 were already developed and established, the British artillery had worked out its its methods by the end of 1942 and retrained the regiments. The Germans also fielded fewer cannon per corps with both the divsion artillery and the corps/army units being fewer. The ratio in the Wehmacht being about 5-6 battalions of twelve cannon per divsion, and the ratio for the US/British armys being 8 - 9 per divsion. Neither does the Wehrmacht have the 12cm mortars or Nebelwerfers present in suffcient quantity in 1942 to make up for this inferiority in numbers.
     
  15. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Can anyone think of a board wargame, one of the existing published games, that could be adapted to model or play out this Sledgehamer variant? Sounds like a fun way to kill way to many hours.:cool:

    Back in the glory days of the Third Reich game i saw 1942 & 1943 invasions of France sucessfully executed. But, I dont regard that game as a adaquate model for really testing this sort of thing, particularly since its logistics rules are so simple.

    Lets hear from anyone with experince in this aspect.:)
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I used to do this with two games I combined, but only for the actual dates of the invasion. One was Fortess Europa by AH. I used the pieces, combat rules and most movement rules from this set. I used the map and rail movement rules from Against the Reich, by West End Games. The map was large, about 5' x 7' or so, and had better detail than did Fortress Europa, with various landing beaches marked.

    I would suspect you would have to heavily modify the playing pieces to reflect the units of 1942, rather than 1944. I feel that this would just be a matter taking the time to do it, rather than a difficult thing. Changing the weather tables to reflect 1942-43 weather would be a bit more difficult, but only in finding what the weather was like during those periods. Lastly, aircraft involvement is reather abstract in the game and would have to be historically adjusted.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I could do it with the Europa series from GDW without too much problem. The maps and units are already available.
     
  18. Lippert

    Lippert Member

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    Thanks for that good post Carl. I guess I have to explain myself a bit better :)

    IRT Technological aspects, we didn't have the mass or momentum in 1942 that we had in 1944. What I meant was not to speak of necessarily the inferiority of weaponry in direct comparison, but the lack of development in comparison to 1944. We developed our weapons to be particularly efficient at their tasks - based on experience

    Additionally, our troops were far less experienced. I don't know if Mortman's around to back me up on this, but it's not just the Generals that win wars, it junior officers and NCOs/Staff NCOs - and their level of experience makes a huge difference. Not to mention the riflemen.

    The distance of airfields from the front lines was certainly an issue early on, but as time went on and aircraft missions had to be prioritized, there were significant hiccups in getting CAS where it needed to be within a short enough order - a system we eventually got better at with the advent of TACPs and airborne controllers during the invasion of Italy. The difficulty of air ground coordination was so great that the US had to rewrite its air C2 doctrine almost entirely in FM100-20 (July '43).

    The Sledgehammer invasion force would have been a mostly British force, so that does lend itself to somewhat easier coordination. However, the lack of available landing craft meant that no more than 6 Divisions could land. If the forces were to land in southern France, they might have had a chance to hold out for Roundup but would still have been exposed to a longer drive toward Germany and a large concentration of Axis troops to the south in Italy and in Northern France. Sledgehammer, however called for the invasion across the channel - which in my opinion would not have lasted due to the relatively small size assault force. Not only do we have to put the troops there - we then have to supply and reinforce them - something that might prove difficult, particularly if the Luftwaffe could have organized an aerial interdiction campaign like we used in North Africa - the Afrika Korps and Luftwaffe were eventually all but starved of supplies due to our bombing of their vital supply shipping. Yes you have the fact that aircraft could fly from England, but they'd likely end up facing the same problem the Luftwaffe did over Britain with gas and minimal station time to defend the convoys.

    Sources include:
    Aerial Interdiction in Three Wars, Mark (pp21-25);
    Airpower and Ground Armies - Essay 1: Getting Together, Orange
     
  19. Emperor

    Emperor Member

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    Good what if. I'm convinced that the Allies could have done it. Would have saved lives too, and not just Russians.
     
  20. RAM

    RAM Member

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    With all respect T.A, I think you take lightly on two issues in your scenario: the weather and the U-boats.
    According to Coast Guard officer John M. Waters the winter of 1942/43 was the worst Atlantic winter in memory, he wrote in his war memoir.

    Notwithstanding the hostile weather, the buildup of U-boats on the Atlantic continued at a remarkable pace.
    In all fifty fresh attack U-boats sailed to the North Atlantic areas in December 1942:

    36 from France ( 5 x IXs, 31 VIIs)
    13 from Germany (3 x IXs, 10 VIIs)
    1 from Norway (VII)

    In November 1942, Axis submarines sunk more Allied tonnage than in any other month in the war: 802 160 tons.

    Even if you sail the Middle Atlantic Convoy Route used by the Allies after November 8th 1942, you will have to cross the Bay of Biscay.

    Along the French west coast you have U-boat bases at Brest, Lorient, St. Nazaire, La Pallice and Bordeaux. They will probably send boats out to wreck havoc on the armada.

    Luftwaffe anti-shipping units in France and the Mediterranean would also be waiting for the invasion fleet.

    RAM
     

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