Operation Avalanche and Operation Overlord?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Just curious here lads...

    What were the backup plans, in case that Operation Avalanche or Operation Overlord had failed? Had Overlord still been put into action if Avalanche had gone nowhere?
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Its an intersting question. i know that Eisenhower had produced two speeches, one that we have heard of.....the one for a successful operation, and one in the event of failure

    There are probably two scenarios to consider here.....one being the tactical plans to get the survivors off the beaches in the event of failure. That in turn would depend on how the Germans defeated the allies. If the germans had developed some kind of weapon...ay a new type of mine, that played havoc on the invasion fleet, losses might have run at half the invasion fleet, but msnpower losses migt have been the least disastrous....say perhaps the equivalent of one divi.

    If the Germans had succeeded in destroying the first waves of the asault , the losses mighthave been about double that.

    Longer term, it would have taken months or years to mount a new operation, and in that time the Russians may have sought peace terms or pressed on to overrun the whole of Europe. For the allies it might have meant considering using the bomb in the EtO. I wonder if the allies would have used the bomb tactically or strategically....meaning (tactically) that they use it to support their armies...whilst (stratyegically) they use it to destroy German cities or kill Hitler.....
     
  3. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I think that. if Overlord had failed, they would have switched towards Churchill's Mediterranean strategy. Either an invasion of Greece or an invasion near Venice/Trieste.



    Kris
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Professional armed forces have a multitude of contingency plans, most of which are never executed. I am aware of a plan to invade Norway during 1944. There must have been a bunch more such contingency plans.
     
  5. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Just goes to show just how important Normandy was. If Normandy had failed, it would most likely have meant an extension of the war. Without the losses suffered in France, Bagration could have been stopped sooner. Or also the drive on Romania.

    It is interesting to think what they would have done in 1945. Normandy and Greece are fine ideas. But the goal is to hit the mainland and drive on to Germany.

    My guess is that they would try again in France (or Holland?) in 1945 with a much larger fleet of landing craft. Possibly two simultaneous landings.

    Anyway, I have never heard of a real back-up plan. I know for sure that Churchill and Roosevelt did not discuss any back-up plan. But they must have had staff working on all kinds of plans.

    Kris
     
  6. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Maybe they would have tried the South of France with a larger force?
    The German Army could not be everywhere in strength!
     
  7. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    True. Also, I've never really heard about Southern France having heavy field works or beach defenses, so it MIGHT be an easier fight.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    South of France is a lousy place for a main invasion trying to reach Germany. Better than landing in Italy but not much. The Only practical avenue of advance is straight up the Rhone Valley. About 300 miles before you can do a right turn around Switzerland and cross the Rhine and then you in the Black Forest.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only If the massive U.S. and British force assembled for Normandy is allowed to remain idle. Landing them in Norway or Greece would probably tie down at least as many German military units.
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The planning involved in Overlord was simply huge and I doubt that that there was a Plan B, there would have been Idea B but not a detailed plan B. It was years in the planning and preperation, any failure would have taken years to recover.

    Its only a guess but I suspect the USA might have switched to a Pacific first policy while planning took place
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Detailed planning for Normandy didn't require anywhere near that long.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    15 January 1944.
    Ike assumes command of SHAEF.

    21 January 1944.
    First SHAEF commander conference. OVERLORD plan was main topic.

    7 April 1944.
    Exercise THUNDERCLAP.
    A series of briefings by Gen. Montgomery providing details of Operation OVERLORD plan.

    At this point the invasion plan was more or less completed. 2 1/2 months after first SHAEF planning session.
     
  13. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but yes it did. the first plans for a cross channel invasion beagan in 1942, with Roundup, of which Dieppe was related to. It led to Torch when it was realized that the Allies lacked the experience and strength to take the germans on directly. Throughout 1943 the basic plan was evolved following the experiences in Dieppe, Sicily, and Salerno....what worked and waht diodnt. a major constraint was always the limitation of the ampphibious lift capacity.
    When Eisenhower took over, there was a wealth of material and experoience and numbers amassed fro which he could work. His woek was essentially to connect the dots and make a tactical plan from the strategic concepts that had been so painfully worked out in the preceding 3 years.

    If overlord had failed, I think it would have been because of a strategic miscalculation, not a tactical mistake. In any event, allied confidence would have been severaly shaken, and a long period of review and correction would have ensued to eliminate whatever had gone wrong. Likley that the command structure would have been sehuffled, and likley also that shortages in amphibious lift would have arisen as many would have been lost and many others had been promised to Admiral King for use in the upcoming operations in the pacific.
     
  14. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    At least as many? I beg to differ.

    Norway and Greece was mountainous terrain, excellent defensive terrain, even more than Italy. As such, the Germans would have been able to hold up large formations. Also, supply would be a problem. The road system was not as extensive as in France and very vulnerable for ambushes.

    As such, I think Normandy and Greece would actually play in the hands of the Germans. The Allies would be dangerously overstretched, while the Germans would be able to hold them with smaller forces. I would even go so far, as to think that it would be good strategy to lure the Allies into these areas!

    I agree that the south of France is another option, which would merely divide the Allied forces. Also, here the Central Massif with the Rhone valley was a good terrain to slow down the Allied advance. It would mean a long and slow campaign, taking much longer to reach Germany.

    Also, don't forget that these missions do not have the fight cover and easy supply from nearby Britain.

    It seems to me, that the choice for the Allies here, would be to start an offensive, which would result in the collapse of one of its major fronts, thereby significantly weakening it for a final invasion.

    With that in mind, the best option would be to land in the Venice/Trieste area. From there, two directions were possible: west through the Po-valley and northeast towards the Hungarian plains. The first would take out the Italian front, the second would probably result in the loss of the Balkans and the Balkan allies.

    Kris
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Southern Norway and Greece were strategically much more important to June 1944 Germany then Normandy. Mountainous or not, Germany would spare no expense to defend them.
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Pure specualtion, but probably an invasion of Spain was a likley possibility given the weather, the shortagesof lift and the inferiority complex that would have developed in the allied camp....if the germans had pulled troops out of the west to counter the Russian summer offensives of 1944, there would have been increased partisan activity that would have stifled even further German logistics....an invasion through Spain....the traditional backdoor to Europe would have been very difficult for the Germans to address, even at the Pyrenees barrier.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Spain was neutral and neither the UK nor the US would have compromised that. It's a non starter. Franco was out for Franco and Spain and had no intention of becoming embroiled in another war so soon after the trauma of a civil war. He had been assured by the Western Allies that there would be no invasion of Spain. Spanish troops were actually moved from the South of the country (defending an allied attack from Gibraltar) to the Pyrenees (defending against a Vichy/German attack from France).

    What would have happened if Overlord had failed? A long pause before another attempt on the coast of France or the Low Countries. In the mean time the Red Army advances and we continue the bombing, by now almost unopposed. Harris admitted that no one knew whether a war could be won by bombing alone in 1942, but I bet he'd have been quite happy to keep trying.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. redcoat

    redcoat Active Member

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    Ike and Monty increased the size of the initial invasion force from 3 divisions to 5 and expanded the landing beaches from 3 to 5 in order to enable the quick capture of the port of Cherbourg. They also moved the date of the landings from May to June in order to allow the extra time needed to build up the additional forces required for the expanded landings
     
  19. pattle

    pattle Member

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    #19 pattle, Jul 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
    The Germans withdrew from Greece in 1944 to avoid being cut off by the Red Army, Greece was actually under the protection of the British Army from October 1944. By the end of the war the free Greek army had fought its way through Italy with the allies as far north as Trieste, Tito had won the fight in Yugoslavia .
     
  20. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Why would they be strategically more important??

    And of course they would defend them. However, every time the Germans were opposed by an enemy invasion or offensive, they were short on strength. Each and every time, they would scrape some units together, which they believed would be sufficient to contain the threat. And almost every time, except on the Eastern front, it failed. Underestimating the enemy, for sure. But also, a matter of damage control. If they really had the manpower, they would send twice as much as what they enemy had, and drive them back.
    My point is that, neither a Norway nor Greece nor southern France invasion would be countered by an attempt to drive them back in the sea. The initial forces there were simply too weak to resist a landing. And as such, I do not think that was expected of them. The same cannot be said of Normandy. Normandy or Pas de Calais were so much more important to the Germans. This can simply be deduced from the massive defence preparations and the number of troops at hand.

    Kris
     
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