Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

It has enough of a bank to be a plausible stop line
Oh sure. As said I remember it more than once in summer with little water but this has been in recent decades but it has enough of a bank and would likely need bridging. So sure is a plausible stop line for the Germans, particularly if they are trying to hold onto Thessanoniki... though I suspect not a very good one. With allied forces over the Aliakmon and Olympus they can advance towards Monastir on one hand and Gevgelija on the other with very little on the way threatening the supply lines back to the Danube. Worse from the German point of view multiple beaches open for landings near Thessaloniki, Epanomi for example...
 
In retrospect one can see that perhaps the extent of damage wasn't completely beneficial or needed. But the Allied planners how no way of gauging that at the time. It would have been helpful if the Allies could have captured a functional port and started repairing the railways immediately to better support the breakout from Normandy. But they did do all those things eventually. Ports and working railroads. Having those in the Summer of 1944 would have been greatly helpful.
My fathers military service (Corp of Engineers) was rebuilding pipelines in France in 1953, so the destruction must have been severe.
 
Toulon, May 25, 1944

[...] the first echelon of the 1st Polish Corps. [...]
@fester
Having the Poles in Southern France is interesting, but it might complicate the logistics. OTL (and ITTL ?), they were armed and organized on the British model. So, they were attached to British or Commonwealth Armies in Italy and Normandy.
Does it mean that the Allies are moving a British Army in Provence, to boost the 1st French and 7th US Armies ? you might not have the easiest logistics if there is only one Corps in Provence organized on British model otherwise.*

But, post linking of Normandy and Provence forces, we might see the creation a Polish field Army, with the political boost associate with it.

* Note : for all intent and purpose, the French Army was reliant on US logistics.
 
@fester
Having the Poles in Southern France is interesting, but it might complicate the logistics. OTL (and ITTL ?), they were armed and organized on the British model. So, they were attached to British or Commonwealth Armies in Italy and Normandy.
Does it mean that the Allies are moving a British Army in Provence, to boost the 1st French and 7th US Armies ? you might not have the easiest logistics if there is only one Corps in Provence organized on British model otherwise.*

But, post linking of Normandy and Provence forces, we might see the creation a Polish field Army, with the political boost associate with it.

* Note : for all intent and purpose, the French Army was reliant on US logistics.
The Anvil/Dragoon operation is a bit different TTL than OTL. The Army Group landing in the South will be a trinational 12th Army Group (US command as they're paying for the entire force) on with a medium sized US Field Army (7th with 2 corps HQ and eventually 7 divisions assigned but not all landed (significant TTL elements are units that in OTL were fighting in Italy) , a Free French field army with 2 corps and 8 divisions assigned and the Polish Army (2 corps --- 1st consisting of 2 divisions that had survived Norway/France and evacuated and then Anders Army manned 2nd Corps with 3 division. The Poles are mostly on UK style logistics but they will be able to draw on the shipping flow that is heading to Greece to supply themselves at this time. These 20 divisions (plus another French corps sitting in strategic reserve in North Africa waiting for sea lift) aren't all over the beach yet, but will be by the 4th of July.

The Allied plan is to force the German defenders in the west into a series of impossible dilemma so any choice will be the wrong choice. The first dilemma is whether or not to pull out the Germany army in northern Italy or let it get cut off. If they retreat, almost all the heavy equipment will need to be abandoned and the army needs to either take trains or march across the Alps while under constant air attack. If they stay their supply lines will likely be cut completely and are already severely interdicted. The 2nd dilemma is where does the marginal reinforcement from the strategic reserve go -- Provence or Normandy. Normandy is a much bigger operation (Germans think there are 75+ divisions committed to the UK/NW France AAO at this time (they are wrong, but this is what drives their thinking)) but not stopping the advance up the Rhone means France is biggest goddamn cauldron battle imaginable. The cauldron won't be departments or chunks of a country, but likely an entire country and then some.
 
The Anvil/Dragoon operation is a bit different TTL than OTL. The Army Group landing in the South will be a trinational 12th Army Group (US command as they're paying for the entire force) on with a medium sized US Field Army (7th with 2 corps HQ and eventually 7 divisions assigned but not all landed (significant TTL elements are units that in OTL were fighting in Italy) , a Free French field army with 2 corps and 8 divisions assigned and the Polish Army (2 corps --- 1st consisting of 2 divisions that had survived Norway/France and evacuated and then Anders Army manned 2nd Corps with 3 division. The Poles are mostly on UK style logistics but they will be able to draw on the shipping flow that is heading to Greece to supply themselves at this time. These 20 divisions (plus another French corps sitting in strategic reserve in North Africa waiting for sea lift) aren't all over the beach yet, but will be by the 4th of July.

The Allied plan is to force the German defenders in the west into a series of impossible dilemma so any choice will be the wrong choice. The first dilemma is whether or not to pull out the Germany army in northern Italy or let it get cut off. If they retreat, almost all the heavy equipment will need to be abandoned and the army needs to either take trains or march across the Alps while under constant air attack. If they stay their supply lines will likely be cut completely and are already severely interdicted. The 2nd dilemma is where does the marginal reinforcement from the strategic reserve go -- Provence or Normandy. Normandy is a much bigger operation (Germans think there are 75+ divisions committed to the UK/NW France AAO at this time (they are wrong, but this is what drives their thinking)) but not stopping the advance up the Rhone means France is biggest goddamn cauldron battle imaginable. The cauldron won't be departments or chunks of a country, but likely an entire country and then some.

Once the beachheads and Toulon are secure, I think the Allies will also use the "Route Napoléon" (fitting this days). It's the only other way to go North out of Provence outside the Rhône Valley. It ends in Grenoble, then you can go North toward the Swiss border relativelly easily (terrain wise) through Chambéry and Annecy, and cut the German force in Italy. Technically once you're in Annecy, Italy is cut with the railroads passing in those 3 cities.
They did it OTL, but, with the Résistance being more powerfull and securing their flancs, they might be quick enough to either cut the German in Italy or force a very hastly retreat (meaning that those forces will loose almost all their heavy material).
 
Story 2577
London, May 31, 1944

The fabulist finished his radio transmission. He pushed his chair away from the table as his control officer offered him a cigarette. This message would be one of the last planned messages to the Abwher for Operation Fortitude. The First United States Army Group was receiving orders to embark and prepare to land in France. Panzer Armee Patton would soon be unleashed. Destination was unknown but at least six different "agents" in four ports had reported to the network center that there were maps of both the Pas de Calais region as well as the Dunkirk to Ostend coast being distributed. Dutch dictionaries were seen to have been passed out as well.

In reality, the US 3rd Army was in fact schedule to move to France from ports on the east and southeast coast throughout the month of June. However they were heading to Normandy to be the exploitation force of the Overlord forces instead of conducting another landing on the narrowest and best defended approaches to the Reich.
 
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Once the beachheads and Toulon are secure, I think the Allies will also use the "Route Napoléon" (fitting this days). It's the only other way to go North out of Provence outside the Rhône Valley. It ends in Grenoble, then you can go North toward the Swiss border relativelly easily (terrain wise) through Chambéry and Annecy, and cut the German force in Italy. Technically once you're in Annecy, Italy is cut with the railroads passing in those 3 cities.
They did it OTL, but, with the Résistance being more powerfull and securing their flancs, they might be quick enough to either cut the German in Italy or force a very hastly retreat (meaning that those forces will loose almost all their heavy material).

There are no practical routes for the Germans to withdraw to the N.E. into Austria? I guess that's too far to be a supply route as well. It would appear then the German army in Northern Italy is going to be starving and running out of supplies in a couple of months. Nestled up close to the Swiss border. Would there be large formations or units choosing to present themselves to the Swiss for interment rather then surrender to the Allies, especially the French armies?

Their thinking being they'd receive better treatment from the Swiss and the Germans might believe they could be repatriated to Germany. Unlikely as that would be.
 
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Driftless

Donor
No knowledge of Swiss politics to support my notion....

I'd bet there could be two categories of German soldiers crossing the border: officially sanctioned (by some commander) and deserters.

OKH would probably lever Switzerland pretty hard for those internees to get passed through back to Germany. But the Swiss can read the situational tea leaves as well, plus their long standing position as neutrals. I'd think they'd park as many as they could, though housing, provisions, and security could become an issue.

Deserters probably get a more thorough vetting as to why they're seeking internment.
 
Would there be large formation or units choosing to present themselves to the Swiss for interment rather then surrender to the Allies, especially the French armies?

The thinking being they'd receive better treatment from the Swiss and the Germans might believe they could be repatriated to Germany. Unlikely as that would be.
Well the Germans in Italy are fighting in the Piedmont region right now (around Torino). So when the Allies breaks out of Provence and take the route Napoléon, the Germans will need to retreat as their logistical tail is tight to one railroad tunnel, the Fréjus. But, you also have a number of mountain pass that the retreating Germans can cross (the col du Petit Saint-Bernard being the Northern most one with a road).

I think the Germans will try to retreat into France, and most will make it but they will lose most of their heavy material, akin to OTL Falaise's pocket. Some of the stragglers might take their chances in Swizterland, even in constituted units, if the French road is closed.

On the Swiss, the German will find they're far less amicable now there are Allied troops on their borders.
 
London, May 31, 1944

The fabulist finished his radio transmission. He pushed his chair away from the table as his control officer offered him a cigarette. This message would be one of the last planned messages to the Abwher for Operation Fortitude. The First United States Army Group was receiving orders to embark and prepare to land in France. Panzer Armee Patton would soon be unleashed. Destination was unknown but at least six different "agents" in four ports had reported to the network center that there were maps of both the Pas de Calais region as well as the Dunkirk to Ostend coast being distributed. Dutch dictionaries were seen to have been passed out as well.

In reality, the US 3rd Army was in fact schedule to move to France from ports on the east and southeast coast throughout the month of June. However they were heading to Normandy to be the exploitation force of the Overlord forces instead of conducting another landing on the narrowest and best defended approaches to the Reich.
This guy?
Joan_Pujol_7th_Light_Infantry.jpg


Or this guy?
Dusko_Popov.jpg
 
Story 2878
Lorient, France June 1, 1944

U-853 slowly made her way down the channel. She had arrived at the port two weeks ago after attempting to torpedo the USS Lafayette. The greyhound outran the torpedo and three Swordfish had kept her down for several hours at which point four frigates or sloops had taken over the hounding. She barely escaped, damaged, and limped to port with half of her crew wounded. Now, with a new crew, she was back on the weather patrol. Good weather patterns in the North Atlantic would give the high command an indicator of several days to expect the Americans to invade the Pas de Calais. Now she had to dodge Coastal Command's patrols.
 
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Lorient, France June 1, 1944

U-853 slowly made her way down the channel. She had arrived at the port two weeks ago after attempting to torpedo the USS Lafayette. The greyhound outran the torpedo and three Swordfish had kept her down for several hours at which point four frigates or sloops had taken over the hounding. She barely escaped, damaged, and limped to port with half of her crew wounded. Now, with a new crew, she was back on the weather patrol. Good weather patterns in the North Atlantic would give the high command an indicator of several days to expect the Americans to invade the Pas de Calais. Now she did had to dodge Coastal Command's patrols.

Weather patrol. Good luck for THAT newbie crew ..

Less so for those sent from Brest to interdict the sea lanes to Normandy. That route is into the teeth of Operation Cork

This was a cunning British plan to ensure that every part of the approaches was swept by a plane every 30 minutes 24/7.
The whole area was divided into a net of irregularly shaped areas,
the location and size defined to suit a particular type of plane from a suitable base in the UK
The searchers simply orbited their assigned area at cruise using radar and Mark II eyeball.


No UB .. even snorkel equipped .. got through to the routes for a month
IIRC Later a similar scheme was implemented to the east to deal with minisubs being launched from the low Countries
(Added Later: Memories of "Aircraft vs Submarine" by Alfred Price read many years ago)
 
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Driftless

Donor
^^^ How soon after the Allied OTL break out, did those U-boat operations based on the French west coast fold up, due to their supply chain being cutoff?
 
^^^ How soon after the Allied OTL break out, did those U-boat operations based on the French west coast fold up, due to their supply chain being cutoff?
OTL the breakout began ~ 7 weeks after D Day
US Forces reached the edge of L'Orient less than 3 weeks later but only sieged.
(90% of the town already flattened by bombing but the UB pens untouched)
The last UB left within ~2 weeks mostly for Norway
iOTL that last departure was U-853 (rather interesting huh .. or a joke from @fester)

but that sub must have a different history iTTL since the OTL U-853 saw no action till May 1944 when assigned to a weather patrol
However, that mission turned out NOT to be a safe billet.
A CVE group had been assigned to hunt these weather reporting UBs in the mid-Atlantic.
They had sunk two already and wanted 853 as their third victim.
The UB eventually escaped after a 3-week chase but on return to L'Orient the crew was mostly unfit for duty

Caveat: this info is from online sources, including WIKI.
There is also some confusion as to whether U-853
left on a patrol and had intended to return to L'Orient in August
but instead passed roundabout Scotland to Norway
or even was ordered direct to Germany carrying senior offices from the L'orient base.
 
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Story 2879
Loyang, China June 2, 1944

Half a dozen guns started to fire. Two guns were firing smoke. The other four in the battery were sending high explosives. The gunners were shooting at pre-planned lines. The outpost lines had completed their mission. They had given the rest of the defensive position along the key east-west railway time to stand-to and prepare. Now they were withdrawing before the Japanese tanks and motorized infantry could overrun their positions. This was a drill that the rebuilt divisions in this war area had become proficienct at; first in training and then under fire. By now, the Japanese spearheads also knew the game. Artillery would create a mask, observers and scouts would slip away, there would probably be a small ambush or a minefield at some point covered by mortars and heavy machine guns, and then this would be repeated in another mile or until the main line of resistance had been encountered.

Today was slightly different. In the same bunker as the artillery command group, a quartet of officers, two American and two Chinese, came to an agreement. The radio crackled and soon half a dozen Thunderbolts were being called in to strafe and rocket the likely Japanese follow-on columns.
 
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