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

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,794
USA
These threads always come down to British posters defending Churchill suggesting that Italy was a CRUCIAL theater of operations, while everyone else disagrees with them.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,794
USA
It also sucked the Germans themselves into an extended campaign and they were less able to cope with the diversion of troops and resources than the Allies.
Sucked a minimal of German mobile divisions who still managed to stall what was essentially an army group sized advance from southern italy to the Po, with two axis competing from limited supplies and manpower split by the Apenines and forced to travel on very limited roads, usually coastal or through mountains, that massively limit maneuver and make the defenders job just so much simpler.

Kesselring was clearly a defensive genius in order to succeed in this terrain:



Now compare to France.



But to believe Churchill, trying to fight maneuver war with air dominance in this terrain is just flawed unbridled exuberance that will lead to another Dunkirk.
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,794
USA
Really nice maps. See the giant "gap" at Ljubljana!
(sarcasm...sorry)
The best part of using the Ljubljana Gap as a gateway to Berlin is the route they'd need to take afterwards.



And this AFTER spending nearly two years slogging their way through mountain and river situated defensive lines to reach the Gap, only then does the hard part even begin...
 
Nov 2019
82
United States
Sucked a minimal of German mobile divisions who still managed to stall what was essentially an army group sized advance from southern italy to the Po, with two axis competing from limited supplies and manpower split by the Apenines and forced to travel on very limited roads, usually coastal or through mountains, that massively limit maneuver and make the defenders job just so much simpler.

Kesselring was clearly a defensive genius in order to succeed in this terrain:



Now compare to France.



But to believe Churchill, trying to fight maneuver war with air dominance in this terrain is just flawed unbridled exuberance that will lead to another Dunkirk.
Trying to win a war by fighting across the North / South terrain of Italy was just foolish, it so favored the defense that it was unfathomable to consider doing so when the results would only be tangential to the end of the war.

Meanwhile the game was to destroy Germany's ability, to make war, and that meant capturing the Ruhr and the Saar valleys.

One of the presumed failures of WW1 was not to bring the war to Germany, exposing to the citizens of Germany the idea that they had not really lost the war but somehow "had been cheated and lied to". To this the beer-hall brawler and despot staked his claim on a nation.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,172
Sydney
There is no particular problem with taking Sicily ,plenty of juice in that low fruit
it wouldn't make the Mediteranean quite safe , there was still Greece and Crete as German position but they would be inconvenience rather than threats
there was some hopeful delusion expecting to achieve great success all along the Italian ridge
to end up , months later exactly where the Italians died in their hundred of thousands during WW1

Corsica was liberated in October 1943 , the whole of the Western Mediterranean was under allied control
a landing in the South of France would have no major problem with the Weather ,
the German reinforcement would be severely constrained in the Rhone valley
Marseilles and Toulon are impossible to be defended , both are closely surrounded by mountains

at a glance it seems to be quite doable , anybody know if it was ever considered
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,794
USA
Trying to win a war by fighting across the North / South terrain of Italy was just foolish, it so favored the defense that it was unfathomable to consider doing so when the results would only be tangential to the end of the war.

Meanwhile the game was to destroy Germany's ability, to make war, and that meant capturing the Ruhr and the Saar valleys.

One of the presumed failures of WW1 was not to bring the war to Germany, exposing to the citizens of Germany the idea that they had not really lost the war but somehow "had been cheated and lied to". To this the beer-hall brawler and despot staked his claim on a nation.
The defeat of Germany was only coming after their entire nation was conquered following the death of their extremist leaders and the defeat of the armed forces and all popular resistance. To do that required getting into Germany, trashing it while killing as many German military servicemen as possible. Italy was not the place to do that.

The best argument for invading Italy was to knock Italy out of the Axis (Mussolini being overthrown) in order get their forces out of the Eastern Front (to help USSR), and to reach the Calabria area and build airfields to hit Romania oil effectively, as part of strategic bombing Oil Plan.

And neither of those justifications warranted transversing the peninsula to the Po and beyond, fighting across the Apennines across countless well crafted lines in some of the best defensive terrain in Europe, where the Germans had nearly every advantage.

At best, the Sicilian/Italian campaign had limited strategic importance. Realistically, it delayed the invasion of France definitely one year (and thus the duration of the war), and it would be in that sector that would actually have the ability to tie down the most Germans in terrain favoring the Allies, thus kill the most Germans, while being the easiest supplied ( from US across Atlantic, from UK across Channel, vice from US and/or UK then through Gibraltar and into the Med). And it was there that was the most direct route into Germany to reach Berlin, to jump start the process for Hitler to suck start his Walther pistol, and thus end the war in Europe..
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
... a landing in the South of France would have no major problem with the Weather ,
...
at a glance it seems to be quite doable , anybody know if it was ever considered
The original germ of the idea behind Anvil/Dragoon was as a way to transfer many of those divisions from the Mediterranean to France without having to withdraw them all the way back to Britain first. From that idea it evolved into a simultaneous and then a slightly delayed invasion in conjunction with Overlord.