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Torch in Sardinia & Corsica, instead of N Africa

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by mjölnir, Mar 14, 2016.

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  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One unusual aspect of Sherman's march was that as he advanced into enemy territory, he was moving towards his base of supply. As soon as he reached the coastline and made contact with the Union navy, seaborne logistics would take care of all his needs.

    A Civil War army moving through prosperous farmland was almost independent of logistics - until it started fighting major battles. Then it needed replenishment of ammunition and military equipment that can't be foraged off the countryside, not to mention wounded men to be cared for and transported to hospital. So living off the land had a limited duration. Grant's Vicksburg campaign is a good example; he largely - not completely - cut his army loose from its supply lines, foraged for food and fodder, fought several battles, but soon converged on Vicksburg and the Mississippi, his supply line from the north.

    One option for the Union after New Orleans would have been a combined army-navy operation to seize Mobile. This could be followed by an advance into the interior using the Tombigbee or Alabama rivers (not even Nathan Bedford Forrest could burn a river ;)). However it should be noted that New Orleans or Mobile were about 2000 miles by sea from northern ports, which would limit the forces that could be deployed or sustained there.
     
  2. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Obviously a larger force would have been used for a thrust from New Orleans. The Union had plenty of troops, but poorly deployed.
    Obvious areas for even earlier campaigns are
    1) N Florida, where a short campaign early in 1861 from Jacksonville to Tallahassee can isolate Florida and deny the Confederates its valuable long E coast for blockade running and its precious beef and salt. The population of Florida was extremely small (it contributed only 15,000 troops), it is incredible that the Union did not isolate it in early 1861, instead of having to blockade a long coast and letting the C. use its resources. Expecially, since there were many unionists in N Florida.
    It is very interesting the general Fennigan in Florida, who was also appointed politically and performed very well, did not go to jail afterward, but David Levy Yulee (the first Jewish senator), who did not fight, was imprisonned for 9 months, until he was pardonned. Antisemitism? The development of RR in Florida suffered greatly during those 9 months.

    2) Jacksonville to Savannah , while the city is attacked by sea. It's incredible that a fort near Savannah was captured in Oct 1861, but the invaluable city was not taken. From Savannah, Charleston can be attacked.

    3) Pensacola and then Mobile. The Union shelled Fort Barranacus in Jan 1961, but then defended fort Pickens with only 2,000 men against 7,000, wasting an invaluable opportunity early in the war to wipe out Bragg. Advancing from Tallahassee (after capturing it from Jacksonville) while Pensacola is under siege would have caused its fall.

    It seems surreal that with Pensacola and N.O. in Union hands in May 1862, Mobil, between the two and very close to Pensacola would remain confederate until days after Appomatox.

    Sorry, since this is the WW II forum, we might as well go back to 1942-43.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    mjölnir,
    Your ideas 1, 2, and 3, are pipe dreams utterly devoid of reality. The US Navy in no way, shape, or form, could support any sizeable invasions of Southern territory. The simple fact is that they did not have enough bottoms to go around. As such, your pipe dreams completely fall apart when view under the harsh light of reality.

    It is one thing to say "Make it so." It is something else completely to actually accomplish such invasions.


    It would help if you knew your US History...

    David Levy Yulee was only held for 9 months...Not 9 years.

    David Levy Yulee was held on charges treason after the war ended, because letters to and from Yulee, written while he was still a US Senator, were found and these letters showed that he was inquiring about US defenses & ammunition stores in Florida, as well as, showing that he was advocating secession & inciting war.

    Antisemitism...Hardly. Antisesech...Most assuredly.
     
  4. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Thanks, I corrected it.

    The USN wasted a lot of resources blockading huge areas, which could have been avoided by capturing a few key areas. It also wasted a lot of resources chasing 5 Confederate, steam & sail merchant raiders, which would be rendered moot if the enemy is rapidly defeated thanks to smart use of the USN.
    The captures of N.O., Pensacola, Jacksonville took place too late and were not exploited to attack invaluable ports and invade the South from the rear, forcing it to redeploy troops from other fronts (with its dismal logistics).

    The USN could afford to shell many forts all over the place and support the capture of N.O. Pensacola, Jacksonville and many forts along Florida, near Savannah, etc, and blockade a very long coast for years, yet you think it incapable of supporting the capture of these beachheads earlier and additional beachheads a year latter with considerable army help and supplying campaigns in the enemy rear. What do you think would hurt the C. more Gettysburg in 1863 or the loss of Pensacola, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile and N.O. in 1861 and Savannah, Charleston, Georgetown, Wilmington, Atlanta, etc, in 1862, the Confederates having to fight with a very small army and with even less supplies than OTL (less blockade running, food, salt, etc, and fewer shipyards and less industry and population) over two long fronts? The Union allowed the much weaker enemy to take the initiative, instead of attacking him from the rear in force and keeping the initiative.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Still having problems with the quote function I see. (For those just joining the conversation the quote below is mj's not mine as his post would indicae.
    Really? The Persian army was for the most part a militia I doubt it was larger than the Chinese armies of the time as well. The Immortals may have been the only well trained force Persia had. The various Greek city states had armies whose training level varied from decent to very good but the Macedonians were also well trained and had a tactical system evolved to deal with that of the Greeks and Persians. The Persians still had a decent chance of defeating Alexander if they had had better leadership but the Persian leadership was abysmal.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Here's a free clue. Repeatedly stating your opinion doesn't make it any more correct. Torch did take territory with some significant utility i.e. it was not "useless". Flipping the Vichy French there from Axis leaning neutrality to allied also had some considerable benefit. Securing North Africa was a big step to opening the Med again as well.


    Straw man. At no point did I state they could "wipe out a strong allied force" although a I do admit a failed invasion would cost a lot of casualties for no gain.. Note that you have the Axis unable to eliminate "a few fighters" in Malta yet the allies operating from much further away can do it for Sardinia or Corsica which are much more readily reinforced than Malta was.
     
  8. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    You did state that an allied attack in Sardinia has little chance of success. The only way that can happen is for the large number of naval and twin engine fighters to be wiped out by the few axis fighters in Sardinia or flying long distances from Italy or Sicily (a very short combat time over Sardinia).

    Again, the axis did not manage to wipe out the few fighters in Malta or stop the few carriers ferrying them, despite routine attacks with heavy axis plane losses (despite being based very close in Sicily, which allows single engine fighters a long combat time over Malta.
    Yet, you think that a few axis fighters in Sardinia or flying long distances from Italy or Sicily stand a chance against a large number of naval and twin engine fighters (P-38, Beaufighter and Mosquito) attacking Sardinia by surprise.
    The only axis fighter with adequate range to fight over Sardinia is the clumsy Bf 110, which is completely useless against nimble Wildcats, P-38 and Mosquito. Moreover, once the few Stuka, Ju 88 and SM.89 are wiped out in Sardinia, allied ships can only by attacked by multiengine axis planes from Italy or Sicily which Radar will pick up long before they arrive.
    Their only chance would be to use high speed skip bombing against transports, which the British, Americans and even Soviets used against the axis, but the axis did not use against the allies in 1942. Axis planes would have to perform low level bombing or low speed torpedo attacks, both of which expose the poorly escorted bombers to intense AAA and fighter cover from the large fleet (including dozens of destroyers, a dozen cruisers+battleships, at least 9 carriers, etc,).

    The axis air force in Sardinia in Nov 1942 is a joke, compared with the neutral French air force in Morocco and Algeria. It is completely absurd to engage the latter, losing men, planes, ships, etc, (both allied and French, which will eventually be allied) over useless, distant, neutral terrain, instead of wiping out the former, acquiring invaluable bases from the enemy.

    When axis spies in Spain report the large fleet entering the Med, the axis cannot reinforce both Sardinia and Sicily. The axis will probably reinforce Tunisian ports and Sicily, much easier to reinforce and defend than Sardinia and more valuable to supply the Afrika Korps. Probably even redeploying planes from untenable Sardinia.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Wrong.
     
  10. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Mention an amphibious invasion during WW II which failed despite complete air and naval superiority. Even extremely poorly planned Dieppe would have succeeded had it had complete air and naval superiority, instead of a few destroyers and no previous attempt to wipe out planes in the area. The British lost Crete because they had no planes there, the German invasion succeeded, despite complete RN supeirority and only thanks to air superiority. The British failed to take the useless Dodecanese in 1943, because they did not use a strong carrier force (which they used in Madagascar, despite the Malagasy militia having almost no planes) and a hundred Mosquito fighters (they didn't like the P-38) from Cyprus.

    The idea that a few axis planes and troops in remote Sardinia, the Italian navy and single engine fighters based in distant Italy and Sicily (nor even in S France when the invasion starts) can stop the strong fleet deployed for Torch and P-38, Mosquito and Beaufighters from Malta and Gibraltar is a joke.

    It's too bad that you cannot see the obvious uselessness of capturing neutral Morocco with pointless losses on both sides, relative to capturing enemy Sardinia in late 1942.
    Only an incompetent coward like Churchill would chose to waste time, men, ships and planes fighting a neutral in Mer el Bebir, Dakar, Syria, Madagascar, Morocco and Algeria, rather than fighting the enemy over invaluable territory. It's ironic that he balked at invading optimally located Sardinia with 9 carriers in 1942, but wasted thousands of men, a lot of planes and several vessels trying to invade the useless Dodecanese in 1943 and without a strong carrier force.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In regards to your first comment. The first invasion of Wake. In regards to Dieppe that is debatable. As it was the RN did have naval superiority. As you have also shown in your Malta example efforts to "wipe out" an opponents air capability seldom succeed without especially without considerable time or air supremacy. The allies could not gain air supremacy over Corsica and Sardinia in any reasonable time frame especially since their carriers could be located and subject to attack themselves. Even without much in the way of air cover at Crete and with a disorganized and ill equipped force there the German invasion came very near failing. Note that even small bombs can render carriers mission killed and when you depend on carriers for your air superiority you can loose it in short order. The carrier battles of the Pacific showed just how vulnerable carriers were once located.
     
  12. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    The first invasion in Wake failed precisely because the IJN did not have air superiority (the marines had Wildcats and the closest planes were G3M from the Marshalls, so a Wildcat sank a destroyer) nor adequate naval artillery (only destroyers and light cruisers agianst 5" guns). As soon as the carrier planes and heavier guns arrived, Wake fell.
    Naval superiority implies bigger guns, destroyers with 4" guns and poor AAA were outgunned by coastal defenses and planes, only a fool like Mountbatten would launch an amphibious landing aginst a fortified port only with destroyer guns for support.

    Even escort carriers provided excellent support for landings which depended exclusively on carrier support (including Morocco). It's strange that the allies would be willing to risk facing the more abundant planes and coastal guns in neutral Dakar, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, etc, and the much stronger axis forces and defenses in easily reinforceable SIcily than in untenable Sardinia.

    I can imagine Japanese officers wondering why the hell the allies wasted months and a huge fleet fighting the French, instead of taking Sardinia, they certainly never had anything close to 9 carriers to support any landing, even against stronger forces than in Sadrinia. Had not intelligence decoded the inasion of Port Moresby long in advance, the Japanese would have taken Port Moresby with support from only wee Shoho, which had some A5M!
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    First Japanese amphibious attempt to take Wake Island. Japanese amphibious attempt to take Milne Bay. Anzio was not exactly a "success". A small Japanese amphibious operation, during the invasion of the Philippines, that resulted in The "Battle of the Points" was a failure. IIRC, the Soviets failed in their amphibious invasion of Eltigen - but succeded at Kerch, in 1943.


    The British had naval superiority at Dieppe...Where, oh where was the Kriegsmarine at Dieppe?


    Correction, the British had planes at Crete, just not a lot of them.


    Are you really that dumb? The carriers were participating in the relatively simultaneous Salerno landings: the fleet carriers, HMS Illustrious & HMS Formidable, were part of the covering forces. While the light carrier HMS Unicorn and the escort carriers, HMS Attacker, HMS Battler, HMS Hunter, and HMS Stalker were with Task Force 88 Support Carrier Force. The Americans nixed their support for any British adventures in this area, so American escort carriers are out of the question.

    Further, two 1943-43 British fleet carriers hardly constitutes a strong carrier force. At Madagascar your "strong carrier force" consisted of this:
    • Aboard Illustrious :
    881 Sqdn : 12x Grumman Martlett
    882 Sqdn : 8x Grumman Martlett and 1x Fairey Fulmar
    810 and 829 Sqdn : together, 20x Fairey Swordfish

    • Aboard Indomitable :
    800 Sqdn : 8x Fairey Fulmar
    806 Sqdn : 4x Fairey Fulmar
    880 Sqdn : 6x Hawker Sea Hurricane
    827 and 831 Sqdn : together, 24x Fairey Albacore


    Yes, your invasion of Sardina is a joke, and a bad one at that...More's the shame since you cannot see it yourself.

    I just love how Italy is so distant from Sardinia(roughly 160 miles from Rome to Sardinia's coastline to be insurmountable for Axis aircraft. Yet, Malta(at 365 miles) and Gibraltar( at a whopping 800 miles) is nothing but a puddle jump for Allied aircraft.


    You see Operation Torch as useless, because you fail to see the larger strategic picture as a whole. Instead, you choose to focus all your attention on one very small aspect of such.

    Sardinia is hardly "invaluable"...After all, the Germans gave it up without a fight.

    You really need to read up on the British motivations for pushing for a Western Allied military effort into the Balkans to understand Churchill's reasoning for such. Until you do, you are just spouting an uninformed opinion.
     
  14. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    In 1942 Sardinia and Corsica were invaluable. In 1943 the Germans gave it up after the allies had wasted a lot of time, men, munitions and equipment taking Sicily (allowing the Germans to withdraw most of the force), rendering Sardinia moot and even more untenable.

    The whole strategic picture is a million times better with Patton in Sardinia and Corsica in 1942 (Italy heavily bombed, its fleet destroyed and therefore Mussolini deposed), than with Patton in Morocco still in Feb 1942. The early capitulation of Italy and build up of Sardinia and Corsica will inevitably bring France into the war in time for the invasion. Hitler would certainly have been much more scared of the allies in Corsica and Sardinia than in Morocco and Algeria in Nov 1942.
    Most importantly, allied forces in Corsica and Sardinia can even slow the advance of German troops to Toulon with P-38 and Mosquitoes and perhaps save and reinforce the latter, establishing an invaluable beachhead and definitely bringing French forces in Africa into the fight.
     
  15. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Again Milne bay had complete allied air superiority, an airfiled being constructed just there and barely in time.

    Tha landing in Anzio was a complete success, too bad the idiotic US general directing the invasion decided to wait and build up his force in low ground, instead of advancing rapidly ot occupy the surrounding hills (any German, Finnish, Polish or Japanese lieutenant in WW II would have done that onthe first day) and onto undefended Rome.

    As I mentioned repeatedly, the Bf 109 never wiped out even a few Hurricanes and flying from Sicily 100 km from Malta, yet you expect them to wipe out a large allied air force flying from Italy over 250 km away. Only a rather daft person measures the distance to Italy from the closest part of Sardinia, knowing that the allied fleet can establish a beachhead in the SW coast, so they can easily ferry Spitfires from Gibraltar (much more rapidly, safely and easily than to Malta)
    I am sorry if you cannot see the difference between Bf 109 flying from Italy or Sicily or P-38 and Mosquito flying from Malta and Gibraltar, Wildcats and Sea Hurricanes flying from carriers and only until the first airfeld is captured and then Spitfires operating from Sardinia and Corsica. Check out the typical range of the missions flown by P-38 in Alaska, Ploesti (flying from Africa, with LW in Crete) and the Pacific and Mosquitoes in Denmark, Norway, Germany, etc, and laugh hard when you compare that to the range of the Bf 109, even with drop tanks.
    It makes little sense to see what Churchill wasted in Madagascar, rather than what he wasted in Torch, the main fleet being used in Sardinia.
    By the way those naval British fighters shot down Stuka like bugs. In one case they shot down several but when their carrier deck was damaged, they flew to Malta to refuel and rearm and returned to defend the carrier, shooting down more Stuka.
    Since the axis has mostly Stuka and trimotors in Sardinia, even those carriers from Madagascar are infinitley more usefull supporting a landing in well located enemy territory than in remote-as-hell from the enemy, neutral Madagascar.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yes the US did have a few planes during the first invasion attempt. But PLS note that the second one came very close to failing indeed had the US command not been cut off from one battles the invasion probably would have been defeated. Takao gives other examples and again the point is that allied air superiority over those islands could not be guaranteed given their proximity to the mainland of Europe. Especially since it depended on relatively fragile carriers whose location would be pretty well known once the battle started if not before.
     
  17. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Forget about waiting till November 1942 to invade Sardinia,
    It is fascinating that the British would waste:
    1) A large force invading distant, useless, neutral Syria and Lebanon in 1941
    2) A huge RN fleet (4 carriers, 2 battleships, 34 destroyers, 7 cruisers) to escort 14 cargo ships and lose most of the large, fast cargo ships, a carrier, 2 cruisers and a destroyer in Operation Pedestal,(in August 1942, yet considered it a success, because it delivered a little fuel (just before the brand new tanker sank) and a few shiploads of munitions.
    3) A large fleet invading distant, useless, neutral Madagascar at the time of Pedestal and long before and after.
    4) A lot of planes, 8 destroyers, a large transport fleet trying to raid Dieppe in August 1942

    It is as if Churchill wants to piss off the French to the max and drive them to the axis side, attack a very strong German position on the Atlantic in the worst possible way and avoid disturbing weak axis territory in the Med, reagrdless of the losses supplying Malta.

    They could have easily invaded Sardinia in early August 1942 using all those forces and made supplying and defending Malta easier and life much more difficutl for the axis.

    Had France not been repeatedly attacked since 1940, the French would have definitely joined the British after the capture of Sardinia and Corsica in August 1942.

    Hell, instead of sinking French ships in Mers el Kebir in July 1940, the British could have taken very weak Sardinia in July 1940, causing a nightmare for both Hitler and Mussolini with RAF so close to Italy. The Italian air force and defences in Sardinia in July 1940 were ridiculous and using the carriers to invade it makes a lot more use than using them to supply Malta past planes in Sardinia.
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    At Milne Bay the Allies hardly had complete air superiority.
    [​IMG]
    That in not what I would call complete Allied air superiority.

    The Japanese failed at Milne Bay because the grossly underestimated the number of defenders. Thus, they allocated too few troops to their attempted amphibious assault.


    Anzio was hardly a complete success. You do not describe a complete success using the term "beached whale."


    The Bf-109s repeatedly wiped out the few Hurricanes in Malta...The problem was that the British, and the Americans, kept replacing those few Hurricanes.

    I have yet to see any proof of a "large allied air force" from you.


    Why, because a few extra tens-of-miles is going to break the camel's back?

    Further, have you looked at the SW coastline to see where the Allies can land? I don't think so.

    The Allies can ferry Spitfires from Gibraltar, but the Germans are incapable of ferrying any planes to Sardinia? And you talk about a daft person...


    And I am sorry that you cannot see that the Germans can shuttle aircraft in from much of Italy and even France.

    I have already pointed out that the carrier force was rather feeble when it came to aircraft.

    Again, the Allies with their extreme range reign supreme, while the dumb Germans and Italians cannot conceive of shuttling their aircraft into Sardinia and Corsica...

    Yes, I read this and laugh out loud.


    Yes, this statement makes little sense.


    Hmmm...And during Operation Pedestal, HMS Indomitable had her flight deck put out of action. As a result, her airborne planes had to land on HMS Victorious. Those they had room for were stored away, and those planes, Victorious did not have room for were dumped over the side. The short is that Victorious only had 10 operational Fulmars, 8 Sea Hurricanes, and 3 F4F Martlets until Indomitable could repair her flight deck.

    Not as rosy a picture as you are painting...


    You have "jumped the shark" with this statement...So, what, now you are moving up this Charlie-Foxtrot invasion of Sardinia to May, 1942?

    As I stated earlier, the Indomitable was in the United States being repaired, and the Illustrious remained in the Pacific...Both of these locations are quite remote from Sardinia...Even if their planes are fitted with drop tanks.
     
  19. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Too bad you haven't realized that infantry (even mighty marines) against planes and 8" and larger guns and almost out of munitions after a long fight is a sitting duck, regardless of cummunications. A carrier TF was supposed to supply Wake (they didn't know that IJN carriers were expected), but its new destroyers had a much shorter range than expected, so they had to refuel and Wake fell. I wonder what would have happended had the carriers met.

    Again, The allies achieved complete air superiority against a more formidable French force in Africa than the force in Sardinia. The axis has a hell of a time destroying carriers in SW Sardinia and after an airfield is captured, it has to fight Spitfrires, its Nemesis, along with the Mosquito.

    The "weak" carriers included Ranger and Victorious. Even the supposedly vulnerable CVE included Chenango (which OTL delivered 77 P-40 in Morocco and could carry more and better planes naval planes than Shoho (schedualed to support the invasion of Port Moresby with 30 planes and some of them A5M).and her sister Sangamon, these large CVE were much more formidable than Audacity, etc, and 9 carriers, ncluding 2 fleet carriers is a hell to a force to have to attack beyond range of the Stuka in Italy and Sardinia and with torpedo trimotors. Only the Ju 88 and Bf 109 would be useful and they stand little chance against Wildcats and Sea Hurricances.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yep...The only response this post deserves.

    [​IMG]
     
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