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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. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oddly enough, there seems to be only one person making the assessment a landing on Sardinia would be "easy". Certainly as late as 7 May 1943 the Allies were not making that assessment. They found only one beach suitable in the Gulf of "Cristano" (sic, Oristano) because of severe surf conditions and also assessed the presence of the existence of extensive "salt lakes and lagoons" behind te beaches as a significant obstacle to movement, while the beaches were described as "well protected by minefields and fixed defenses". In the the context of TORCH the surf conditions are especially significant, considering the absolute mess made of the landings and excessive landing craft losses due to inexperienced crews. Further, even after the severe Axis air losses of the Tunisian Campaign, the Allies on 7 May assessed the Axis strength available to respond to an invasion of Sardinia was 1500-2000 aircraft. Meanwhile, the Allied forces required were assessed as:

    3 BB
    3 CV
    6 ACV (CVE)
    10 CA and CL
    44 DD
    15 SS

    7 fighter groups
    6 bomb groups

    4 ID
    2 Armor CT
    2 Parachute Regiments
     
  2. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    If you can supply Monty in S Tunisia for a month sailing around S Africa and Patton in Morocco for months and then in Algeria and finally inTunisia, fighting a strong foe, you can certainly support Patton in Sardinia-Corsica fighting a weak force w/o supplies for days, then in Crete and finally in the French Riviera.

    It is precisely because I consider both sides' supply problems and resources that smaller, invaluable, weak Sardinia-Corsica in days and then Crete and finally, the French Riviera is an infinitely better option than huge Morocco.-Algeria to Tunisia to Sicily to Italy for years and in vain.

    The allies made the huge strategic mistake of first fighting a neutral (with eventual allied losses on both sides) then going where the axis (with poor logistics) was strong holding useless terrain and had experienced, well equipped troops, instead of attacking where they did not expect it, had weak, second rate forces, were holding invaluabel terrain (which closed the Med to the British, trying to supply Malta) and could not reinforce or supply, owing to complete allies air and naval superiority.

    A very strong LW bomber force sustained very heavy losses over and around Crete and only to land and naval AAA against a smaller fleet and land AAA than thaose in Torch. Deployed in Sardinia against a much smaller axis air force than in Crete, just this massive allied AAA rapidly dispatches a large part of the few axis planes. Bombardment and hundreds of naval and twin engine fighters and bombers finish off the rest, half of them in the ground (either before TO or when they have to land to refuel and rearm or to repair damage).

    Either in August or in Nov 1942, German planes and Panzers were spread thin, losses were high and plane production was still low. Planes and tanks were so scarce in Fall Blau that they had to alternate between supporting the 6th army to supporting Kleist in the Caucasus, with the offensive thriving only in the sector with planes and Panzers. In contrast, the British had a huge number of fighters idle at home and were using their bombers to blow up cities with extremely poor accuracy and w/o escort.

    The huge fighter force idle in Britain (wasted in Dieppe) and used in N Africa would have destroyed a lot more axis planes from Sardinia-Corsica and Malta (now with plentiful supplies and reinforcements thanks to air cover from Sardiani, clearing the mines in teh Narrows (with said cover).

    You state that 27 Spits were destroyed on the 1st day and 10 on the second day and they continued for days, so wiki is right in stating that they were wiped out.
    You seem to think that a vulnerable Spit which is not serviceable has a chance to survive repeated, methodical strafing with MG and 20 mm cannon and bombing in a few airfields in a wee island and be repaired after constant raids, I don't. If a plane takes off, it may survive, either fighting or avoiding the raid. However, on the ground, its is a sitting duck.
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    So I'm still mildly curious. You claim to be 46, but behave like a spoiled ten-year old. Which is it?

    Or are you just truly incapable of understanding simple declarative sentences? Or is it that you just enjoy making up things? I did not "state that 27 Spits were destroyed on the 1st day and 10 on the second day". Let me parse it out for you one more time.

    47 Spitfires launched from Wasp on 20 April
    1 lost en route on 20 April
    2 known lost to strafing Bf 109 on 20 April
    7 known lost to air combat on 20 April
    2 known damaged to air combat on 20 April
    27 operational on 21 April
    17 operational on 22 April

    From those data we may infer:

    8 others were lost, damaged, or otherwise mechanically unservicable to various causes, including German air attack, on 20 April
    10 ditto on 21 April

    You assume a "Spit which is not serviceable" will be destroyed, based upon the additional assumption it is "vulnerable", based upon the assumption its unservicability renders it vulnerable, and further based upon the assumption it cannot survive "survive repeated, methodical strafing", from attacks you assume will happen and cannot be thwarted.

    Assumptions, built on assumptions, and validated by assumptions are your stock in trade it seems.
     
  4. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    In May 1943 the Germans were already in Vichy France (including Corsica) and with the allies in N Africa, they had deployed a large number of planes from the USSR and reinforced the air force, defenses, etc, in Sardinia considerably and plane and tank production had increased considerably from August 1942.

    Invasions do not depend exclusively on beaches. For example a well supported invasion (not a pointless raid) of the port of Dieppe in August 1942, with previous destruction of the LW in the area and with support from 4 battleships, a monitor, 12 cruisers, 20 destroyers, 20 MTB, 10 minesweepers, 4,000 planes (half of them fighters, including long range Mosquitoes and half bombers), Stuart and Sherman tanks and 2 airborne divisions capturing an airfield and attacking the port from the rear with heavy air support would have certainly overwhelmed the 1,500 defenders and precluded reinforcements from arriving, thus establishing an invaluable beachhead. Of course, it would have been much more difficult invading Dieppe in 1943 or 44, after the botched attempt prompted massive reinforcement.

    In Normandy, some troops in the British sector did not land in a beach, yet took fewer casualties than Omaha Beach.

    On the other hand, landing in minute and useless Tarawa and Guam in most difficult coast and with enormous fleets, but without the possibility of deploying airborne troops to capture an airfield (allowing troops to land, as in Norway, Crete, etc,) and to support the landing was much less justifiable than landing in invaluable Sardinia in 1942 and , using airborne troops.

    Intrestingly, despite Sardinia being mcuh stronger in May 1943 than in AUgust or Nov 1942, the fleet estimates are lower than what was wasted OTL farting around and taking heavy losses in Pedestal, Dieppe and Madagascar in August 1942 (when Sardinia was weaker). Perhaps the few thousands neutral Malagasy and Senegalese troops did not justify the 15" Radar aimed guns of a monitor and battleships and 8" and 6" guns of cruisers as much as the axis in Sardinia.

    Only a military brureaucrat would deploy only 2 airborne regiments to capture an invaluable island from the axis with difficult coast and invaluable airfields, ports, munitions and fuel depots, etc, Especially, since more airborne troops were used for Torch against neutral France! I would deploy at least 2 divisions for any difficutl landing.
    The ridiculously huge air force estimates are probably based on the assumption of rapid LW deployment from Corsica and the French Rviera, which are certainly not possible in Aug or Nov 1942, when Vichy still controls these areas.
     
  5. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Tell that to the thousands of casualties on both sides. Patton faced more difficulties in Morocco than in Gela. His troops were strafed in Morocco (but unlike Gela, there was no AAA on the beach) , shelled and faced tanks. A USSN had to duel with a battleship and cruisers (none of which happened in Gela). The only heavy losses in Gela happened at the end of the day when friendly fire massacred the airborne units. Patton's general had a hell of time just capturing a fort, which surrendered only after heavy bombing.

    However, I won't continue arguing that it makes less sense to waste ships, planes, tanks, thousands of men fighting a neutral and certain eventual ally than the enemy.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, you're so very welcome.

    ROTFLMFAO. How long to you think the German-Italian occupation of Vichy took?

    Case ANTON was executed on the evening of 10 November 1942 and was essentially complete the next day. One of its principal units, 10. Panzer, was able to complete disarming Vichy units in its area, then was ordered to entrain for Naples and embark for Tunis on 14 November, with its leading elements arriving on 22 November. The thing about Sardinia? There was already an established ferry service from Marseille, the largest port in the Med, to Corsica and Sardinia. Remove the intervening train journey to Naples and 10. Panzer can embark directly. The only significant Vichy resistance to ANTON was the French fleet scuttling at Toulon on 27 November.

    Meanwhile, there you go making up stories and making assumptions again. The Italian Fifth Army's XIII Corps and its divisions, 30th at Cagliari, 31st at Sessano, and 44th (moved to Corsica as part of ANTON) had been there since BEFORE THE WAR. Two coastal divisions, 204th and 205th, were established after 8 November by the consolidation of existing coast defense and militia units already on the island. The 47th Division was moved to Sardinia in March 1943 from Livorno without significant interference from the Allies. The 20th Infantry Division (Assault Landing) was moved to Corsica as part of ANTON from Livorno as well. The large complex of Corsican and Sardinian airfields were an easy matter for the Luftwaffe to use, especially given those on Sardinia are already in their Italian allies hands.

    ROTFLMFAO again.

    "Invasions do not depend on beaches"? Only those that aren't amphibious don't. Oh, and please dredge up the Crete example again...exceptions do not in fact prove rules. Especially if you believe there were only 1,500 defenders at Dieppe.

    So in all that blather are you trying to say BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE, and YELLOW beaches at Dieppe were a figment of imagination?

    Oh, BTW, aside from the Allies not having "2 airborne divisions" to capture airfields, they also didn't have the troop carriers or the airfields to reach Sardinia.

    Pray tell, which were those...I of all people likely would benefit from your extensive knowledge of the NEPTUNE landings.

    More assumptions piled on top of assumptions. And bizarre asides. Are you also suffering from ADHD? You have a remarkably difficult time remaining on subject, or dealing with facts, or doing research, or comprehending simple sentences, or answering questions. So what are you good at?

    BTW, only a military dilettante would assume they were smarter than the Combined Chiefs of Staff...although of course like all dilettante's you revel in the power hindsight gives you.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Pray tell, details and references please? Especially as to what a "USSN" is and why it would "duel" with battleships and cruisers? Which ones? When?

    And what were the casualties of TORCH and HUSKY? And just where and when was "Patton's general"'s pesky fort?

    The world wonders.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    With regards to the first. Keeping a force supplied in Sardinia and/or Corsica wasn't the issue I was referring to although the shipping losses could have been significant given that North Africa as well as Italy remained in Axis hands. Don't know why they would want to go on to Crete though.or the French Riviera especially without invading Italy first.

    As for the second. Not really. The path from Morocco to Italy was hardly in vain. Indeed it was a well considered and reasonable approach that inflicted disproportionate damage on the Axis.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It really would behoove you to do a little research into those you are trying to correct/convince. Of course it would help if you did some research into the historical back ground as well. Then make an effort to understand it and you won't project such a negative image. I can't decide whether your efforts with regards to such as RichT are comedic or tragic or both, rational and reasonable they aren't however.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The word used is neither precluded no preceded...But, preluded.
     
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, likely a transcription error on my part.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It happens, no harm, no foul.
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it does, and perhaps no foul on my part, but certainly the foulness is strong with this topic...and others. :cool:
     
  14. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    In August or early Nov 1942 the axis air force in Sardinia is comparable to that concentrated in minute Midway in June (except in Sardinia there are no 4 engine bombers), which was devastated by a single wave of 108 IJN planes and by the carriers' CAP and AAA and inflicted zero damage on the carriers.

    4 waves of 120 carrier planes per day (most planed fly 2 missions a day), supported by naval guns shelling two airfields before dawn, naval and land AAA, airborne troops capturing an airfield and by twin engine fighters from Malta and Gibraltar and after an airfield is captured, by dozens of Spitfire, P-40 and twin engine fighters and bombers, will wipe out every axis plane and most vehicles in Sardinia by the end of the 2nd day and destroy any planes attacking from Sicily and Italy (if the axis is dumb enough to send any, knowing that the island is untenable against strong naval and air forces. They are more likely to order planes in Sardinia to fly to Sicily or Italy, to fight another day, than to send reinforcement planes).

    An interesting aside, British B-24 torpedoed Littorio on 16 June, 1942:
    https://books.google.com.mx/books?id=oOiwCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA262&lpg=PA262&dq=italian+cruiser+trieste+b-24&source=bl&ots=RCK-9n1_D9&sig=vu3f1epuxXmV8r8pNyidyHSJSaw&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEjuaw9vDLAhXKs4MKHc-LCQkQ6AEIPTAF#v=onepage&q=italian%20cruiser%20trieste%20b-24&f=false
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I hand it to mjolnir for hanging in there...you are not giving up or giving in, even after some of the 'cold' comments ...5 pages on this .??.Salute
     
  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yet more silliness. The P.108 - you know, the Italian 4-engine heavy bomber - raids on Gibraltar in October 1942 by the 274th Long-range Bombardment Group, were executed from...guess where?

    There were at least 14 airifleds active on Sardinia, not two. All could easily be reinforced from the mainland.

    Alghero dated from at least 1937 and was one of the main Royal Italian Air Force airfields on Sardinia. Rated for all classes. The Luftwaffe arrived in
    January 1943 and began building improvements but only a few Luftwaffe units were based here before it was evacuated in mid-September 1943.

    Alghero – Porto Conte was a seaplane base in use.

    Borore was an emergency landing ground in C Sardinia 5 km SE of Macomer and 1.2 km NNE of Borore used by Italian fighters.

    Decimomanu was a former satellite of Cagliari-Elmas that was upgraded to an independent airfield in 1942. Although it was heavily used by the Luftwaffe from Nov 42 to Jul 43, the base remained under Italian control.

    Elmas dated from long before the war and was the principal air base on Sardinia. Normally occupied by a Gruppo of torpedo bombers, a Squadriglia
    of tactical recce aircraft and a section of biplane night fighters. A primary lying school was also located here. Luftwaffe bomber and long-range reconnaissance units were based here from Nov 42 to Feb 43 but used Elmas mainly as a forward staging field for attacks on convoys, ports in Algeria and targets in Tunisia.

    Elmas-See was a pre-war joint civil and military seaplane station. Caproni factory repair shops were located there. At times, 40-plus seaplanes were
    stationed at Elmas, including Italian Cant Z 501s and Z 506s, these assigned to maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine patrols and air-sea rescue
    duties.

    Milis was a landing ground in use from mid-November 1942.

    Monserrato was in use since before the war as a Royal Italian Air Force fighter field and usually home to a Gruppo of fighters.

    Olbia-Land was an emergency landing ground/landing ground in NE Sardinia 1 km SE of Olbia town center.

    Olbia-Sea existed pre-war and served as the most important seaplane station in N Sardinia.

    Oristano-Land and Sea were two bases in W Sardinia.

    Villacidro was in use by Royal Italian Air Force bomber units since at least early 1940. The Luftwaffe used it mainly as a staging, fueling and bombing-up field for raids on targets in North Africa and the Western Mediterranean during the first half of 1943.

    B-24 did not carry torpedo. Littorio was hit by a bomb.
     
  17. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    Littorio was hit by 3 bombs from USAAF B-24 on June 19, 1943 in La Spezia.

    The reference mentions an attack on June 16 and south of Sicily by RAF B-24 launching torpedoes, it is probably wrong.
     
  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it probably was wrong. The only torpedo normally carried by the B-24/PB4Y was the Mark 24 "FIDO" ASW torpedo. FIDO was just 600 pounds and 7 feet long and could be accommodated in the aircraft's bomb bay. The standard Mark 13 Mod 10 was 13 feet 9 inches and 2,216 pounds. It would not fit in the bomb bay and the underwing attachment points such as in the B-26 (as used at Midway) were only found in the B-24 G, H, and J, which were not supplied to the RAF as Liberator VI and VIII until spring 1944.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Quite a bit different situation though isn't it? Midway is quite small with only one airfield. Just where the IJN carriers were wasn't well know either. The Axis will have a pretty good idea where the allied carriers are though if they are in the Med. Then there's all those fields on Sardinia and the fact that the Axis air forces have already practiced staging aircraft through some of them. Now the US did stage B-17s through Midway I believe but the Axis could stage fighters to and through Sardinia.
     
  20. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    It is more difficult to land in a small, remote, well defended island like Wake, Guam, Midway or Tarawa than in a large one (minefields, coastal artillery, etc, are much more concentrated in a small island than in a large one, like Sicily, Luzon or Sardinia- Airborne troops can be deployed in a large island, but not in a small one.

    Midway has a huge open area where ships should be spotted long before they approach and there are no other possible landing sites close to it.
    I never understood why the US did not spot the carriers the day prior to the batle, despite knowing their direction and time of arrival and having large numbers of B-17 and Catalina. In contrast, they did find and attack the much less important invasion fleet.

    In contrast, after entering the Med, the invasion fleet can head at night toward the Narrows of Tunisia and the axis cannot know if the invasion will be in Tunisia, Sicily or Sardinia, until it starts. Malta twin engine planes and carriers can launch dawn attacks on airfields in W SIcily and N Tunisia, before heading those carriers head for the invasion area.

    The axis had so few planes in the area, that Germany had to redeploy badly needed planes from Stalingrad during Torch. The axis had plenty of time even to modify the planes for the completely different weather and operating conditions in the Med, since the large number of planes landing in Morocco took a while to start fighting in Tunisia. ATL the planes from Torch, plus Spitfires land in Sardinia when the first airfield is captured, providing much less time for the axis to reinforce its meager air force, faster than the allies can deploy their massive air force.

    If the invasion is in August 1942, when axis plane production is even lower and the allies use in Sardinia the planes wasted in Dieppe, Pedestal and Madagascar, the axis is even less prepared to respond and Rommel is in an even worse position.
     
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