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Cross Channel invasion 1943


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#1 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:50 PM

What if the US was able to push through a plan for a cross channel invasion in mid 1943? Let's say that they work out a plan with the British to put 3 US, 2 British and 1 Canadian division across along with 3 airborne divisions in late July 1943. Now, this doesn't have to be Normandy per se. They could invade along the coast from say about Calais to Bordeaux.
Of course, there would be no invasion of Sicily although the Allies might keep such a possibility as a deception to draw off German forces. Certainly, the Allies had the manpower to do this. They likely could have scrapped up the shipping too, even if it meant a slowdown on operations in the Pacific.
The Germans would also have been in poorer shape to repel an invasion. More of their armored forces were in Russia engaged in the Kursk operation. The Atlantic Wall was a mere fraction of the strength it would be a year later.
So, the question is could the Allies have pulled this off...eg., get ashore and stay ashore? I think they could have. I also think that they could have pushed across France by early 1944 and been on the Rhine nearly a year earlier than they were originally.

#2 PzJgr

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:07 PM

Wasn't the German spy network good enough in England that Hitler would have been made aware of the upcoming invasion? It is no coincidence that he transferred the SS divisions to be refitted so they could be ready for combat in 44 at the time he expected the invasion. Also, Once the Allies got these divisions onshore, what about reinforcements. They could not take the continent solely on those divisions alone. These 9 divisions would have been good enough for Italy since the front did not widen....it stayed narrow. Now France is a different story, they would have to spread out in 5 directions to succeed. Invading Normandy would have to be the only place since it is a peninsula and provides a narrow front for them to build a solid base to launch the breakout whereas anywhere Northwards, no such advantage is provided.

Also, Did they have the supplies necessary to support the armies in the field at this time. That extra year that took them to 44 was more time to build up not only material but also weapons and more men. If someone like Patton was in charge, then I can see some success since he pushed it to the limit. But Having Monty or Bradley, would have made it an 'iffy' since they were more conservative and relied heavily on overwhelming superiority in supplies, air support and manpower. This scenario is a big iffy
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#3 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 01:13 AM

There was no German spy network in England from about mid 1940 on. The few agents still in the field were all double agents working for the English. The rest were in prison or had been hug. If you read on the German efforts to put agents in England they read like a Three Stooges comedy. Guys that couldn't speak English let alone without an accent, had no clue where they were, given nothing to accomplish their mission worthwhile and, just plain clueless. The only intelligence the Germans were getting was through their Y service (radio intercepts). This gave them the bare bones basics of what was going on nothing more. By 1943 even aerial photography was getting sketchy.
If the Allies continued to demonstrate that they were more likely to move against Italy in the months preceding the invasion they could have given enough cover to their actual intentions to avoid a German buildup.
Besides, Hitler and the OKW were occupied with Kursk and the offensive there.

As to the invasion, I gave the initial wave as roughly the same size as the original D-Day. The Allies would have then brought over additional divisions just as they originally did. The big bottleneck in doing a 1943 invasion hinges on one item: LSTs. By depriving MacAuthur of his allotment and using those assigned to the Med there would have been sufficent for a 1943 landing.

The biggest Allied advantage is that the Germans had just two panzer divisions in France along with components of several others at the time. There were fewer divisions on the Atlantic Wall and most of these were already in poor shape manpower-wise. The typical infantry division was static, had older draftees, men invalided for frontline service (eg., wounded or other medical problems but still fit enough to serve in light duty) as well as the usual dregs. Most had been culled several times for replacements. Few had even trained as full divisions and most were occupied more with building fortifications than training for combat.

With Kursk occupying German attention this would have given the Allies time to get ashore and established before the Germans could mount a counterattack. It would also cripple their attack in the East by forcing the withdrawal of some mobile forces to contain the Allies in the West.

#4 Sloniksp

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 02:35 AM

This is an interesting topic, I am actually in the middle of watching a program called "war" and there is a minor referrence to this debate made by a British soldier. He says that any such atempt made by the allies would have been suicide.

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#5 TA152

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:20 AM

I don't think the allies had air superiorority in 1943 and you need that in order to have a successful invasion. 1943 was a transition year for air power in Europe and the Germans could still put up alot of airpower that year.

Anouther thought I had was that the British probably did not think we were much of a fighting force in 1943 since we had not won anything in Europe or the Pacific. We had a really bad showing at Kasserling Pass so I would be less than thrilled at having American troops guarding my flanks.
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#6 Owen

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:43 AM

Anouther thought I had was that the British probably did not think we were much of a fighting force in 1943 since we had not won anything in Europe or the Pacific. We had a really bad showing at Kasserling Pass so I would be less than thrilled at having American troops guarding my flanks.


I was thinking along similar lines but glad (as an American) you said it as if did I'd (a Brit) be in for some flak from across the pond.
In 1943 the US Military had the correct raw material but just needed some time to mold it into an effective fighting force.


(Getting Alanbrooke's diaries ready for reference in case the flak does start flying.)

#7 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 02:11 PM

The timing I've given is roughly equivalent to the Allied invasion of Sicily. Air superiority was not an absolute necessity as Sicily, Salerno and, Anzio proved. Even if the Luftwaffe put up some reasonable degree of resistance they would not be able to maintain it for long both for reasons of pilots and fuel.

#8 FramerT

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:16 PM

Correct me on my dates, but was'nt the North Africa campaign wrapping up in May or April '43? These units would'nt have time to go right back into battle at Normandy. The US would be using green troops for the invasion.

I have to dis-agree on the air superiority not being a factor. In mid '44, the Allies had hammered the German infrastructure. Also German armor could not move during the day time with Allied air ruleing the sky. They would not have this luxury in '43. The Germans had far more pilots and gas than in '44.
Again, correct me on this date. But was'nt the P-51 with the Merlin just starting to be mass produced in mid '43?
Rommel, just getting back from North Africa, would'nt have much time to strengthen his defences in Normandy in '43. The Allies might have gotten ashore easier but I don't think their dash across France would be. This timeline here puts the western allies ahead of Russia by a year. Would the Yalta agreement have still been? Germany feared Soviet occupation more than British or American.

<I also think that they could have pushed across France by early 1944 and been on the Rhine nearly a year earlier than they were originally.>quote.
Even if they did, were they prepared to take Berlin by themselves?

Eh, just some of my thoughts.

#9 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:51 AM

Correct me on my dates, but was'nt the North Africa campaign wrapping up in May or April '43? These units would'nt have time to go right back into battle at Normandy. The US would be using green troops for the invasion.

I have to dis-agree on the air superiority not being a factor. In mid '44, the Allies had hammered the German infrastructure. Also German armor could not move during the day time with Allied air ruleing the sky. They would not have this luxury in '43. The Germans had far more pilots and gas than in '44.
Again, correct me on this date. But was'nt the P-51 with the Merlin just starting to be mass produced in mid '43?
Rommel, just getting back from North Africa, would'nt have much time to strengthen his defences in Normandy in '43. The Allies might have gotten ashore easier but I don't think their dash across France would be. This timeline here puts the western allies ahead of Russia by a year. Would the Yalta agreement have still been? Germany feared Soviet occupation more than British or American.

<I also think that they could have pushed across France by early 1944 and been on the Rhine nearly a year earlier than they were originally.>quote.
Even if they did, were they prepared to take Berlin by themselves?

Eh, just some of my thoughts.


For a 1943 invasion the decision would have to be made no later than the Casablanca Confrence in January 1943. The decision to cancel the plans for France and focus on the Med for 43 meant a diversion of aircraft, men, equipment, ect.. from Bolero to support Husky & beyond in the Med.

Were the decision taken for France then the Bolero operation would continue without diversion to the Med. The Allied armys in Tunisia would simply sit there taking limited action aginst the Axis and pretend to be dangerous with various deception operations like Mincemeat. Note that the Axis had more armored divsions in Tunisa than in France in March 1943.

Anyway the material diverted to the Med from January to June of 1943 would be available for a cross Channel operation. This strengthens it a fair bit.

A attack on France in 1943 would force the issue on the Luftwaffe. In Western Europe the Luftwaffe fell back out of reach of the RAF and played a game of attacking only when the Brits made a mistake. With a Allied army ashore in France the Luftwaffe can either come out and fight or abandon the Wehrmacht. Supporting the battle in France places it in range of the shortlegged Spitfires and arriving US aircraft. In other words the Allies dont need drop tanks or P51s. The Luftwaffe comes to them. The Luftwaffe lost the air battle in the Med in the winter/spring 1943. Taking on another battle of attrition, against a larger number of Allied aircraft in the summer sounds good to me.




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