Baltic invasion D-Day alternative?

#1
Hi all, just recently i learnt, possibly incorrectly, that Churchill had an alternative operation to D-Day involving an amphibious invasion in the Baltic. What, if this is correct, can any of you fine people tell me about this? Was it viable? What would this entail? What chance of success? I'm aware of the, to me impossible to know, view that it not only was possible but would of shortened the war by six months. Is this credible?
Cheers.
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,693
Georgia, USA
#2
Hi all, just recently i learnt, possibly incorrectly, that Churchill had an alternative operation to D-Day involving an amphibious invasion in the Baltic. What, if this is correct, can any of you fine people tell me about this? Was it viable? What would this entail? What chance of success? I'm aware of the, to me impossible to know, view that it not only was possible but would of shortened the war by six months. Is this credible?
Cheers.
Could you perhaps say where you learned it from ?
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,780
At present SD, USA
#3
I've seen references made to attacking the Pas du Calais instead of Normandy, though that was rejected and all the Calais area was ultimately used for... was a distraction to pull German troops away from Normandy.

There were some references to Churchill wanting to move into the Balkans, but that was as an extension of the Italian campaign with some idea that Hungary was close to surrender and switching sides, just as Italy did and that the Greeks and Serbs would support the landings more than the French would support landings in France... and would tush give the Western Allies the ability to block the Soviet Union from making advances into Eastern and Central Europe... But the covert mission into Hungary failed miserably and the Allied high command ultimately pushed back against Churchill when Ike got messages from HIS boss, General Marshall, that the US would NOT support any more diversions from Overlord.

But I've never heard of anything going into the Baltic. It'd need a far larger fleet than was used in Normandy just to support the landings and protect the transports and would take on greater risks, particularly in going through the narrow channels between Denmark and Sweden. Without any other information... I'd put this on par with the proposed speculative options of trying to land troops on the barrier islands in front of Hamburg as an option to Overlord... Impossible given the situation.

Post war issues with the Soviets aside, the Overlord Campaign remains the Allies best option in 1944.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,780
At present SD, USA
#5
The main purpose behind D-Day was to secure the countries West of Germany before the Soviets defeated Germany. I'm not sure an operation via the Balkans would have helped this.
It probably wouldn't have, but I think the idea was that the Allies would control a large swath of territory between the West and the Soviets. It would mean that they'd still have to take on Germany, BUT the idea was that they'd block the Soviets from getting Eastern Europe and they wouldn't be able to move around the Allies...

But, that would have meant a MASSIVE commitment to strategies that the US, and particularly General Marshall were against. And even if it works in blocking the Soviet advance, it'd still leave the Allies facing Nazi Germany, which wasn't likely to just surrender and wouldn't be above seeing everything they occupied burn with them if they couldn't win. Which is ultimately why Eisenhower blocked the move... or at least gave the caveat to Churchill's idea that it could go ahead ONLY if it didn't divert forces or material from Overlord... and since the idea couldn't do that... it was dropped.
 

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,392
Wirral
#6
I suppose Churchill might have raised it as a brainstorming "what if" option but I'm not aware that it was ever seriously considered, as others have said. I thought WSC's Baltic adventures related more to the anti-Bolshevik campaign in 1918-19.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,048
Dispargum
#9
It's exactly the sort of idea Churchill would think up and even consider or argue for, but the objections listed above (too far from airbases in England, navigating the narrow straits, etc) would kill this idea very early on. It was never given serious consideration by anyone except possibly Churchill.

Before WW1, some ameteur strategists imagined the British Army landing on the German coast and marching on Berlin. Someone in the German government (Bismarck, Von Moltke, etc) said that in such an eventuality he would send a Prussian policeman to go and arrest the invading British. In other words, the threat was not taken seriously.