WI: Wehrmacht Forces D-Day To Southern France or Bay of Biscay?

What if the German General Staff realizes by early 1943 that while outright defeating an Allied invasion using the Northern French beaches at the Pas de Calais or Normandy areas would be very difficult, the Wehrmacht still posses enough strength to make either a very uninviting proposition. Landings at either location will, at the very least, be an incredible bloodbath with the small possibility of being repulsed into the sea. In other words, while they can no longer win, they can still make the Allies take the long way around to the Rhine. In this case, the goal is to steer the Allies into landing in Southern France or somewhat less preferably, the beaches located on the Bay of Biscay*.

To accomplish this, the Germans strip several divisions from Southern France and the Med to reinforce the Normandy beaches to the level of the Pas de Calais, in the process making the Cote d'Azur a much more alluring landing location. More resources are poured into the Atlantic Wall defense, with greater Organization Todt efforts aimed at building a strong defense in depth set of fortifications for German defenders.

*I've always assumed that the topography and geology of the Belgian and Dutch coasts makes them lousy propositions for a D-Day scale invasion. Though faced with dealing with the U-boat infested waters of the Bay of Biscay or the long march to the Rhine from Nice, this may be re-evaluated.
 
I think even in the OTL Churchill once suggested the allies land in the Balkans instead of in France. Still haunted by the memories of the Somme the British were sensitive to losses so this sort of scheme might've worked.
But what if the Germans wrapped up the eastern campaign by mid 1943, possibly by withdrawing behind the Dneiper and ambushing a massive Soviet offensive just south of the pripyat? Without an eastern front, the northern coast of France could easily have been made too uninviting for the allies.
 
You need to look a tthe basic criteria that made Normandy and Calais the primary choices in the first place

1) Within fighter range of England
2) Could be isolated from heavy reinforcements

There were no other real choices.
 
I think even in the OTL Churchill once suggested the allies land in the Balkans instead of in France. Still haunted by the memories of the Somme the British were sensitive to losses so this sort of scheme might've worked.
But what if the Germans wrapped up the eastern campaign by mid 1943, possibly by withdrawing behind the Dneiper and ambushing a massive Soviet offensive just south of the pripyat? Without an eastern front, the northern coast of France could easily have been made too uninviting for the allies.
That's the other thing they can do; play to Churchill's affinity to go for the soft underbelly of Europe rather than the armored crocodile mouth in the Nortn. Have German propaganda and intelligence try to steer the Allies to Southern France in the same manner Allies Intel persuaded Hitler the big blow would come at Calais.
 
To accomplish this, the Germans strip several divisions from Southern France and the Med to reinforce the Normandy beaches to the level of the Pas de Calais, in the process making the Cote d'Azur a much more alluring landing location. More resources are poured into the Atlantic Wall defense, with greater Organization Todt efforts aimed at building a strong defense in depth set of fortifications for German defenders.
IIRC in OTL the limiting factor in Allied planning was number of mobile German divisions in the West. The original plan also called for a landing in Southern France to precede Normandy by about a month, although in this version Normandy would be a 6 RCT assault, rather than the 8 in OTL.

There will be some flexibility in the Allied plans depending on strength of beach defences, number and location of German mobile divisions, and Allied build-up of units and landing craft. The key date will be the position in January 1944 when the invasion command team assembles in London.
 
You need to look a the basic criteria that made Normandy and Calais the primary choices in the first place

1) Within fighter range of England
2) Could be isolated from heavy reinforcements
I'd argue that, while those were important, you're missing out a couple of big ones:

1) Close enough to the UK to deploy Mulberry and PLUTO (equal or higher than air support)
2) Close enough to home port to achieve operational surprise (the longer the invasion fleet is at sea, the higher the chance it will be spotted on the approach)

There's also the need to have enough sea room off shore to organise the assault waves, which effectively made Normandy the only feasible point of attack.
 
I'd argue that, while those were important, you're missing out a couple of big ones:

1) Close enough to the UK to deploy Mulberry and PLUTO (equal or higher than air support)
2) Close enough to home port to achieve operational surprise (the longer the invasion fleet is at sea, the higher the chance it will be spotted on the approach)

There's also the need to have enough sea room off shore to organise the assault waves, which effectively made Normandy the only feasible point of attack.
There's also the important factor that a landing in Southern France will take two breakthrough-exploitation operations before it reaches the German border, whereas a landing in northern France only needs one.
 
There's also the important factor that a landing in Southern France will take two breakthrough-exploitation operations before it reaches the German border, whereas a landing in northern France only needs one.
Interestingly, the first penetration of the Rhine was by French troops who'd come up from the Anvil landings, although part of this was the first-class port of Marseilles being captured far more easily than it should have been.
 
Interestingly, the first penetration of the Rhine was by French troops who'd come up from the Anvil landings, although part of this was the first-class port of Marseilles being captured far more easily than it should have been.
I've played that one out on the game board many times. It presents the defender with a 'interesting' problem. How much of the strategic reserve in the west to commit to defeating a southern France invasion & how much to hold back for the main event in the north? What further complicates this is the German leaders OTL had little clue of the real strength available to the Allies either way, and deception ops confused them further. Capping this is that they actually did expect a Allied landing on the Biscay coast and kept a mechanized corps in the region until August. If the intended ANVIL Op is executed as panned in April then its probable the German leaders would be regarding their western flank in the direction of Bourdeux.

On the game board this dilemma continued past the initial landings with the defense figthing in two directions from at least June and possibly May
 
Mighty Endeavor was the other I used to contrast with Fortress Europa. Sort of cross checking the results against each other. ME was a lot more flexible as written. But, variant rules had to be worked out to reflect differing quantites of landing craft at the alternate dates.

There were some logistics issues I looked at as well.
 
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