So a what if thread: What if the Allies had not attacked Sicily and instead maintained their forces for Normandy

Apr 2014
411
Istanbul Turkey
" they already had a strong mobile Fuhrer reserve at south on Rhone and Southern France including one or two elite fallschrimjager divisions , three armored divisions and one panzergranedier division aside from regular infantry divisions and garrisons in between June 1943 June 1944 "

Nope there was nothing like that , the 19th Army was the poor child of Army group "G"
it had a new commander during the first half of 44 , Horst Grossmann was a thoroughly undistinguished general just promoted from division command
it had very mediocre equipment and was under-strength two of them classified as "static"..IE no transport , not even horses
the best soldiers were constantly siphoned to other units and the refill were mostly Hiwis

this is the order of battle for the 19th Army

148 th ID.... the only "regular" division
242 nd ID ....composed of convalescents
338 th ID ... a fortress division made of elderly and unfit men
198 th ID .... a reserve division , static
716th ID .... reserve division , static filled with Ukrainians

in the alps , the 157th ID had operated against the partisans ,
it would have its hand full fighting against them later and would retire toward Italy through the high passes
harassed by french partisans and a small mobile US battle group who had a whale of a time using the local knowledge to turn them constantly

the 242nd was , tasked with defending Toulon with it's very impressive pre-war fortifications , they held for ten days before throwing the towel
the rest was dispersed like chaff

Dragoon was the brainchild of General Marshall and strongly advocated by Eisenhower ,
approved at the Tehran conference , Stalin and Roosevelt though it was a great idea , Churchill grumbled but was ignored
it was delayed due to the Italian troubles and the difficulties at Anzio
the alternate proposed is to have Anzio cancelled , Anvil/Dragoon taking place in March /April 44
plenty of landing craft , plenty of time to move them for the main act , Normandy

the purpose is to have a safe lodgement , a major functioning port and sucking as many German as possible
any further exploitation would be dependent on Overlord

of the ports, Marseilles was the great prize with Sete an acceptable primary supply point
Toulon was unusable for a long time ,
the French fleet had scuttled itself rather than falling in German hands and the sunken battleships were an impediment
a very nice surprise was Port-de-Bouc , at the mouth of the Rhone it was a petrochemical facility with ample storage
it was perfect for fuel movement and made operations much easier
Dragoon never had fuel problem

on air support , from September 8th to 4th October 1943 operation Vesuvius freed Corsica which was used by the US air force from then on

As has been stated above the German were in a critical situation in early 44 , they had no reserve left
their panzer divisions had been bled white during the second half of 43 and the first two months of 44

they would need months of weapon production to fill the units who had lost so much men and material
I should remind that even with "enough" number of landing craft and LSTs Anzio turned out to be stamalate for four months because number of ships , LSTs and landing craft were not "enough". Actually there were not even sufficient to land a full corps at once and instead SHINGLE was basically landing entire assault on shore in three waves disapating and dilluting the attack and losing suprise advantage. (which they achived initial landşings on 22nd Jan. 1944 because German Army Group C was not expecting such a suprise landing in Anzio) but despite that Germans concentrated their reserves very quickly to bottle up beachead almost driving it back to sea. On Southern France not only Allies would land on a far larger and wider front on shore and again in several sucessive waves with weak forces till build up is complate and suprise advantage would be forfeit before landings , on top of that reliance on French resistance holding German reinforcements would not be a serious possibility (no guerilla army can stop or stall a regular army indefinetely and Germans had bigger guns and better organisation than Maquis as events in Vercors in spring/summer 1944 proved when French Resistance rallied on open to fight than surrounded then was wiped out in a few days) Allied naval transports and air cover had to cover a longer distance from Italy or Africa to Southern France and developing Corsica as a logistical and air force base would reveal Allied intentions to land Southern France further before landings hence suprise advantage gone.

On May 1944 there were three mobile and highly efficient German panzer divisions (9th Panzer Division , 11h Panzer Division , 2nd SS Panzer Division) and one panzer granedier division (17th SS Panzergranedier Div) for reserve to counter Allied attacks in Southern France as far as I know (my source "Invasion" from Hans Spiedel , a biased resource I know but his German order of battle seems to be correct) Operation Anvil/Dragoon suceeded on August 1944 because D-Day and Normandy campaign sucked most of these mobile counter attack divisions further north to fight against Allied bridgehead in Normandy during previous nine weeks (2nd SS Panzer and 17th SS Panzer Grenadier divisions left to Normandy on 9th June 1944 and 9th Panzer Division left Southern France to crumbling Normandy front at the end of July 1944. It is true they had suffered heavily previously in Eastern Front and in process of reorganisation , training and receving new equipment in Southern France but still they were operationally highly efficient and had serious combat power especially compared to Allied units which required material and firepower advantage against instant German counter attacks and they had no idea Marselles , Port de Bouc and Toulon harbours would be captured intact, they could be turned into a fortress with a Fuhrer order and demolished before capture just like Cherbourg or Brest) just like Operation Shingle (Anzio landings) and Cassino battles in Italy sucked and diverted elite German divisions from France to Italy on eve of D-Day (according to Lidell Hart again biased but still had grain of truth here : "Most profitable result of Operation Shingle for Allies was shifting and diverting five German mobile divisions from already weak German reserves in France to Italy in spring 1944 before Operation Overlord"
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,357
Sydney
quote from a post above

"the 2nd SS Division (Das Reich) was being rebuild in the South West , they were very far from Provence
when they were told to move to Normandy they suffered a lot with sabotage and delays

the 11th Panzer was being rebuild pretty much from scratch after its near death experience of the Cherkassy pocket ,
where it lost most of its men and all of its heavy equipment
in May 1944 wasn't in the Rhone valley but close to Toulouse

the 9th was a serious threat they were much closer and had been rebuild to close to nominal strength
it definitely would have been involved early ,
the infantry divisions were poor in material with in-existent transport and bad morale
all the infantry divisions available locally or close by had been stripped of equipment and manpower for months

in conclusion the German forces were in no position to push a landing back into the sea ,
the best they could expect was to denies the harbors , "

I guess there is little point is hammering the fact that 19th Army was poor , coastal defenses minimal , motorization totally lacking
and all the best Panzers were clapped out , being rebuild to be used against the Northern main landing far from the proposed landing area

if I understand your point is that five armored or motorized divisions plus any number of infantry would pounce on the bridgeheads to throw them back into the sea

there was no such force available within less than a month of deployment
by which time a whole army ( the US 5th) with air support would be holding the perimeter
Anzio was hemmed in on a coastal plain surrounded by mountains , the Germans had good divisions at hand to react swiftly
the situation in Provence was radically different , there was no strong forces immediately available , the US would be holding the mountainous ground