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US in Africa and finding a place to fight. What Did

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by tikilal, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    :)This is not a What if but a What did.:)

    What led to the first US action in Europe being in Africa. Feel free to contribute facts, with references. Dates, names, and documents. No discussion of correctness or could have unless it was discussion that took place pre 1943.

    Here we go.
     
  2. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    it's funny you brought this up as i just started to read a book by Ernie Pyle where he talks about fighting the French in North Africa? i'm noew to this but that really confuses me? so anyway i will be reading this with much anticipation!!!
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Perhaps the "Under belly" of the 3rd Reich was its most vulnerable?
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The answer lies in the politics of coallition. The US Army and Roosevelt wanted to invade Europe directly almost from their entry into the war. Coded Roundup, there were plans for such an invasion from 1942 on.
    The British and Churchill pretty much steadfastly refused to go along with such plans, instead offering alternatives that "sniped at the edges" of the German army. Churchill's Greek campaign, the North Africa campaign, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica are all examples of this thinking.
    I think that North Africa was a good idea in hindsight. It allowed the US Army to get its act together without the pain of a major defeat (Kasserine Pass was a operational one that was recoverable as opposed to a Dieppe type disaster that would have been an outright repulse with no recovery possible). Beyond that the US was probably right in that the next invasion should have been a cross-channel one. But, this wasn't in the cards because of the British and even the actual D-Day in 1944 was a hard fought political win for the US as the British still were resisting the idea and only came on board because of the pressure Stalin added to that of the US.
     
  5. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Please contribute what you are reading about.

    Could you be refering to Churchills infamous crocidle? Only problem is that Italy or Greece for that matter did not contribute much to the war power of Germany and those areas could be defended with 10-20 divisions maybe 30. Not so soft.

    True. Sledgehammer was planned for '42, it was a Dieppe type raid. Roundup was intended to invade France in '43. Stalin kept requesting a front in 42, Roosevelt wanted to keep the Russians in the war and needed action for the 42 elections. American planners new that to beat Germany they needed to fight in France.

    Also true. Churchill didn't like the idea of getting into a war of attrition on the Continent. He gave the reason that there were not enough men and landing craft in the UK to launch Roundup or Sledgehammer. There were aroudn 30 divisions in the UK for defense.
     
  6. Emperor

    Emperor Member

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    Churchill explains his reasoning pretty well in History of the Second World War. Landing craft were always a big factor, from North Africa all the way through Italy, France, Burma, and landings that never happened near Trieste and Rhodes.

    I think he was also a little gunshy about amphibious landings after what happened at Gallipoli. But that was also part of his overall philosophy of not wasting lives and trying to find imaginitive ways to bring down Germany from the edges. Example: had an invasion of Rhodes happened, he thought he could get Turkey to join the Allies much sooner. Then a secure, warm-water route to the Soviet Union would have opened.

    Another option was Norway and the rest of Scandinavia. This had the potential to cut the Germans off from their source of iron ore in Sweden, and would have solved some of the convoy problems in the Arctic. I'm not sure why this didn't happen. Again, probably landing craft.
     
  7. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    It is true that landing craft are important to amphibious operations. But what was planned in north africa was an amphibious operation. IE what was used there could have been used in France. Had the French fought the allies on the landing beaches it would have been similar to Normandy.

    But then again if you invade Germany all of the German armies everywhere get cut off from supply. The only route to Germany for the US and Uk was through France.

    Chuchill invisioned a large mobile tank army taht would invade Europe at the right moment and get infantry from the liberated nations.
     
  8. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    okely dokely!

    Ernie Pyle was a reporter attached to the American army heading into combat in North Africa.
    They are in Oran fighting with the British forces there, here is one of the lines I am questioning, "...The French put up a terrific resistance, and in fact stopped us cold for a while." The context of this passage is of 2 Army photographers who were so caught up in their duties to record the war, they did not realize the battle going on around them.
    Another one is "...A friend of mine, Lieutenant Colonel Ken Campbell, captured eight French soldiers......."
    I don't know anything about this campaign, but the French? I'm confused!! :confused:
     
  9. Owen

    Owen O

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    Bigfun, The French soldiers they were fighting were Vichy French.
    Have a look here.
    Vichy France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    North Africa had to be cleared of Germans as well as the rest of the Med as it would then free up shipping.
    The quickest way from the UK to India , Burma and down to Australia is through the Med & down the Suez Canal on onwards.
    Until the Med was clear of Axis Forces supply convoys had to take the long way round via South Africa .
    Once the Med was free the shipping saved could then be used to get supplies across the Atlantic quicker.
    Well that's how I see it.
     
  10. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Excellent input BigFun. Post all the quotes you want.

    About shipping here is a quote from Winston Churchill and the Second Front

     
  11. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Could not agree more, the western allies were in no shape to invade Europe directly, as you indicate but they were being pressured by Stalin to get into the picture, so America and Britain knew that they could invade Europe through Italy via North Africa, plus this was to the allies advantage, as it turned out it led to the destruction of many Axis divisions, and it knocked Italy out of the war in 1943, again this proved strategically important as it diverted many German division from the Eastern Front and the Atlantic Wall.

    By mid 1944 the Americans and British were in position to invade contintental Europe directly, by this stage the much vaunted Atlantic Wall was defended by third and fourth rate (mostly recovering wounded) troops. Also the location of the invasion was a brilliant piece of planning as the Germans never expected the invasion to take place in the Normandie area, Germany had planned a Calais landing and had the bulk of its forces their.
     
  12. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    First Rundstedt please understand that my comments are not personal. :)

    In 42 probably not, but could they have been in 43 if the Torch (invasion of NA) and not been done?

    The only part of Europe that was invaded through Italy was Italy. There was the secondary landings in So. France in 44 but was this landing needed, or could it have been launched from other locations?


    Are you refering to the German Divisions in Tunisia 43? How many Allied divisions did it cost? Had the W. Allies invaded France in 43, how many more German divisions would have been lost, along with France? No more than 25 divisions were diverted to Italy and the Allies had more men there than the Germans. What was Italy contributing to the war effort that ended when Italy was invaded?


    I think you like this word. Nothing wrong with it. :)


    If you would like to prove this list the divisions in France their man power status, and previous war experiance. The landing in Normandy was war-gamed, I need the source on this, so it is not fact yet. But this was why the areas around the beaches were flooded.

    Please keep contributing your facts and referneces here. Again it is not personal.
     
  13. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    While I think Torch was necessary to shake out the new and raw American army, Sicily and Italy were not. This would have given sufficent landing craft to make an assault on the French coast. I also think that a several division sized assault would have been successful even against a port city like Dieppe. After all, that operation involved landing less than a full division and the Canadians nearly succeeded in their operation even if it was supposedly just a "raid." Several divisions landing there would have gotten ashore and been able to stay there.
    German defenses along the Atlantic Wall were far less well developed in 1943 and, with their position on the Eastern Front and lack of armored divisions in France compared to 1944 such an invasion would not only have succeeded but likely would have had far more impact on the outcome of the war overall.
     
  14. AntiWank

    AntiWank Member

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    My view is that the U.S. should have told Churchill to frack himself and invaded Vichy France instead of Africa.

    The Vichy Government under Petain had planned for just this eventuality and were ready to assist it.

    The advantages:

    Vichy Navy would join in immediately, Vichy Army could hold the key roads while French resistance attacked German Depots.

    The Vichy Merchant Marine could then bring in the Vichy Army in North Africa to reinforce the Allied landing.

    German Response would be limited for a few weeks buying additional time to build up forces and push forward.
     
  15. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Member

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    It seems that Torch might also have been a good way to give Eisenhower some field experience, since up to then he had never held a combat command.

    JT
     
  16. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Thanks Wessex!
    I had no idea the Vichy were outside of France! Here is another thing I will have to read about!:D
     
  17. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Do you mean the underside of France? What support for this operation do you have?

    What sources do you have showing that Vichy wanted the allies to invade them?

    Why would the French fleet be an advantage to the Allies?

    So would landing in France. What experiance do you think he gained in Africa that he needed to invade France?


    Not trying ot be a wet blanket but this is a what did not a what if.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    bigfun just so you know some of the materials out of Ernie P.s book are a bit on the warped side of things. dates are all about unknown, he makes reference to German parachutists but does not include where or timing either in this book or Here is your war or. I have two of his fine books rest his soul
     
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