Operation Dragoon - major error?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by rogthedodge, May 15, 2007.

  1. rogthedodge

    rogthedodge Member

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    The August '44 landings in Southern France achieved very little and certainly limited the Normandy landings' chances of success (ie 5 landings not 6 - meaning the vital stop line of the Orne River was held by only airborne forces, rather than armoured forces which would have landed in the 6th {most easterly} area and been astride the Orne and the Dives).

    German reinforcements would have been delayed / stopped, Caen and the airfields secured much earlier etc etc - at least accord ing to the original plan! Plus the Ouisterham port would have been secured on D+1 / soon afterwards

    The main impact on Overlord was on reduced availability of landing craft and the forces diverted

    The forces that actually opposed the Dragoon landings were poor / easily overcome

    The idea that German forces heading North would about turn to meeet the threat was frankly ludicrous!

    It was a major source of disagreement amongst the UK US allies.

    My question - was it a stategic error? An exercise in Realpolitik , involve the French (notably exluded from Overlord) to ensure that post-war Europe conatined another European dissenting voice (ie limit UK influence)? or a correct, bold move that ultimately wasted reources as the enemy had unexpectedly scarpered / were poor quality.

    Operation Dragoon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (accepting the limitations of Wiki) - gives a basic background

    Your views?
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I didn't know we had won the war at that time and were fighting for political gains.
     
  3. amrit

    amrit Member

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    One of the main reasons for Dragoon (apart from the political) was the need for ports. The Allied Command was fully aware that there was going to be major problems gaining control of the ports in northern France, and needed a contingency plan.

    However, the above interpretation makes two mistakes:

    1) the diversion of resources. The reason that Dragoon was delayed until August (as opposed to the original plan that it should occur simultanously with DDay) was because major resources (troops, landing craft, aircraft and tanks) were all diverted to the northern landings, and NOT the other way around.

    2) Even though the initial landings were relatively easy, the fighting became more intensive as the troops moved in. So, it did have an effect on the way that the Germans reacted because they were then placed in the position of having two fronts in France, and by ignoring the southern route, they may have opened up easier route for the Allies to move up to the German border.

    There was also the fear that the Allies may be able to swing around and endanger Northern Italy, bypassing the defence lines in Italy that continued to cause such a problem, right through 1945.
     
  4. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    My thought: It's too bad nobody remembers the soldiers that landed at Dragoon. The whole landing is forgotten.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The war was not decided by Aug 1944.
     
  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Yeah, agree with Adler and Njaco on this one. It wasn't an error. Was not a major part of the war in Europe but it gave the Germans one more headache to worry about. They had less than the Allies did. The Allies were taking advantage of their mobility and equipment advantages.

    In this situation, it's kind of like an investment. If it doesn't lose you money, then it is worth it. Might not make you a mint, but you make a few bucks and that is it. The big money was in Northern France. That was the big battle that had to be won.

    Smaller invasion, important but not earth shattering if it was lost. But it was won. And a win is a win.
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I was being sarcastic. :)

    a good site about Dragoon is this:

    Home Page
     
  8. Joe2

    Joe2 Banned

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    So if you count this landing the Germans where fighting on 4 fronts-and Hitler hated the idiea of having more than one. If you can support multiple fronts and your enemy can't, then that is a really good thing, in my humble opinion.
     
  9. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Yeah, that's pretty much it.
     
  10. rogthedodge

    rogthedodge Member

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    Not so on the landing craft I'm afraid - the COSSAC plan initially was for a 6 beach landing but cut back to 5 as the landing craft were diverted for Dragoon. Naval assets (ships) were moved down but the landing craft couldn't be moved in time so were allocated to Dragoon at the expense of Overlord. This is an undisputed fact and was the source of major differences between the allied commanders.

    Ports - initially cross-channel ports were the priority - after that atlantic ports were needed ie Brest which offered the shortest route from the US.

    If you were looking for a major landing port for logistic support you'd hardly select an option that involved getting into the med and then having supplies at the wrong end of France
     
  11. rogthedodge

    rogthedodge Member

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    I never said 'the war was won' at that time - just questioning the effort the US went to fund and equip an French force and land it on French soil - it seems (to me) a mainly political move with an eye on the post-war situation.

    Seems an extraordinary effort to support a nation who actively collaborated and fought with and for the Nazis.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    as Joe2 said;
    nuff said.
     
  13. amrit

    amrit Member

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    Not true. Operation Anvil, as it was originally called was buried as an idea as early as March 1944, and finally in April (TWO months before DDay). See: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/dl/DDay/006Dec_1943_April_1944OverlordAnvilPapersNo2.pdf

    So the idea that resources were diverted is not true.

    At the time of DDay, there were no plans to resurrect Anvil/Dragoon, and the idea was only brought up again AFTER Rome had been liberated, freeing up US troops and shipping in the Med AND whilst the Allies were bogged down in Normandy.

    Thus, planning for started again on 24th June, and final approval did not occur until four days before the invasion itself!

    See:
    http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/brochures/sfrance/sfrance.htm

    And from:
    Operation Anvil/Dragoon

     
  14. Joe2

    Joe2 Banned

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    the whole point of that landing was to tie down German troops, which could of attacked the Normandy landings.
    that is the reason
     
  15. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Or maybe protect Norway from russia
     
  16. Joe2

    Joe2 Banned

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    What do you mean by that?
     
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