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  #1  
Old 11 Aug 14, 14:29
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Dakar & Dieppe, 2 golden opportunities are well planned and succeed.

a) Dakar had a good and well located naval base, thousands of men and the gold reserves of France and Poland. A powerful naval force was sent late in 1940, but a ridiculous number of planes supported the 8,000 troops and the Vichy coastal batteries were not knocked out and caused great damage. The BBs and cruisers did not have enough destroyers escorting them. Several British ships were damaged, the initial landing failed and De Gaulle called off the operation. The fiasco ruined De Gaulles standing and his relationships with Churchill. It also boosted Vichy's confidence, deprived the allies of a valuable base and reduced Free France's chances of persuading other Vichy colonies to join the allies (Somalia, Madagascar, La Réunion, etc,).

b) Dieppe was weakly defended (1,500 infantry troops, 100 bombers, 200 fighters and limited coastal artillery) and close to the crucial French iron ore deposits. Hitler could not afford to divert to France men, fuel, tanks, trucks, planes, cannon, munitions, food, etc, that were desperately needed in the USSR in August 1942, during the drives to Stalingrad and the Caucasus, after the great losses of Barbarossa and while industrial production was still quite low in Germany. However, the British did not plan an invasion, but only a pointless raid. Moreover, the planning was dismal. RAF did not attempt to decimate the LW forces defending Dieppe, the RN refused to supply ships with heavy naval guns and the landing area was not studied to ensute that the tanks could operate. Accordignly, the 6,000 troops were supported by only 8 destroyers, 6 of which had only 4" guns and were trounced by artillery and planes. Over half the men, a large number of craft, tanks, vehicles and a DD were lost and most importantly a golden opportunity was wasted.

Had Dakar succeded, a much stronger Free France would have been available for the Dieppe Invasion. Had Dieppe been planned well and intended to be an invasion, instead of a pointless raid, Germany would have been faced with two strong fronts. Canadian, American and British forces would have been far more useful in France than in Africa. Rommel would received minimal reinforcements and supplies and could have been easily held at bay in el Alamein without hundreds of allied tanks and self propelled guns, but only with infantry, planes, mines, AT, AA and field guns, releasing the tanks and SF guns for much better use in France.
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  #2  
Old 11 Aug 14, 14:32
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In 1942 there were not enough forces and supplies in the UK to invade France.

Period.
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Old 11 Aug 14, 15:36
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Planning the invasion of Dakar:

Churchill conditions the expensive operation on a succesful invasion (no troop evacuation with prompt fleet withdrawal if the operation fails). De Gaulle and Churchill extend and ultimatum to Dakar to join Free France with 24 hours or be attacked.

Wellington bombers had set a record non stop distance of 7,350 miles flying from Ismael, Egypt to Darwin, Australia in 1938. Therefore, they could easily fly the 3,100 miles from England to Freetown, Sierra Leone and perform daly bombing missions covering the 515 miles from Freetown to Dakar.

The British prepare aerodromes in Freetown and send 120 Wellingtons to Freetown to support the invasion of Dakar. Each plane drops two 250 lb and five 100 lb bombs over Dakar on the way to Freetown, targetting the subs, planes, barracks, DDs, etc, The 60 tons of bombs sink a subs, kill 70 men and surprise the army and naval commanders, casuig considerable concern.

Before the Wellingtons leave Britain, the allies send 3 CVs, 3 old BBs, 3 CLs, 18 DDs, 6 mine sweepers, 2 subs, 8,000 troops, etc, to invade Dakar.

The bombers from Freetown attack Dakar daily with 250 and 500 lb bombs, targetting the submarines, warships, coastal batteries, fortifications, barracks, army and navy HQ, etc,
As soon as the fleet arrives and the weather permits the landings are preceeded by one day of massive shelling and of bombing both by the carrier planes and the Freetown Wellingtons in order to first silence the coastal and ships' guns and then to soften the defenses.

If that doesn't disuade the defenders from a pointless and costly denfence, the landing proceeds again with massive shelling and bombing supporting it.
The troops know that they cannot fail and with strong naval and air support advance despite heavy losses. After suffering even heavier losses and facing certain defeat, Dakar surrenders. Half the troops join Free France and half (including many of the officers) are imprisoned. The rapid success with heavy looses for the defenders prompts several Vichy colonies to join Free France.

Half of the surviving Wellingtons then fly to Egypt, where they are quite useful. The rest remain to patrol the coast for U-boats, merchant raiders and warships.
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Old 11 Aug 14, 15:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
In 1942 there were not enough forces and supplies in the UK to invade France.

Period.
Huge amounts of supplies and equipment were going to Egypt, which are not in this scenario.
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Old 11 Aug 14, 16:39
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Planning the landing in Dieppe, with the intention to establish a second front in France:

The decision is made in June not to send tanks and self propelled guns to Egypt, but only to build a strong defensive line, very heavily mined and with strong AT and field artillery, fortifications, AT barriers and air force in order to keep Rommel at bay.

Sherman tanks and self propelled guns are shipped from the US to Britain for use in France.

Starting 3 days before the landing daily raids with 200 Stirlings escorted by 400 fighters bomb and strafe the aerodromes that can defend Dieppe, in order to reduce considerably the number of planes that can oppose the landing.

At 0400 on the day of the landing 1,200 paratroopers are dropped 2 to 3 to miles from Dieppe. After they assemble, half head toward Dieppe to assist the landing and half lay antitank mines and set up road blocks. Those advancing to Dieppe wait 1 mile from Dieppe until the prelanding bombing and shelling stops.
On the day of the Landing 400 twin and 4 engine bombers (including 60 Mosquitoes) and 200 escorts bomb Dieppe 20 minutes before the landing, while 3 old BBs, 3 CLs, 20 DDs, 4 mine sweepers, 4 MTB and 4MGBs shell Dieppe and cover the transports, landing craft and cargo ships. 20 P-40s with 100 lb bombs are destined exclusively to hunt for E-boats, submarines, etc, within 50 miles of Dieppe. 20 Swordfish are destined to look for enemy boats and ships within 200 miles of Dieppe.
600 fighters and 300 twin engine bombers support the landing, performing at least 2 missions during the day.

As the landing area is determined to be unsuitable for tanks and self propelled guns, steel matting is rapidly installed when the port is secured to move the tanks, etc, to suitable ground after the port has been secured.

6,000 troops and 400 trucks, 100 tanks, 80 SF guns and 100 field and 100 AT guns are unloaded before 1800 and rapidly advance. 30,000 men disembark and 600 trucks, 200 tanks and 100 SF guns, 200 field guns, etc, throughout the night and for every day afterward during a week.

Last edited by Draco; 11 Aug 14 at 17:27..
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Old 11 Aug 14, 16:56
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In order to ensure the success of the landing in Dieppe and to reduce the strength of the counter offensive, the warships return to Britain to refuel and replenish munitions, etc, to prepare a second invasion.
2 weeks after the Dieppe landing, the allies repeat the operation to decimate the LW in Holland and perform a second landing in Zandvoort, near Amsterdam. This landing threatens Germany much more than the Dieppe offensive and forces the counter offensive against Dieppe to divert to Holland, wasting invaluable time and allowing the troops in Dieppe to advance towards the ivital iron ore deposits in Alsace-Lorraine.
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Old 11 Aug 14, 18:03
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If the tanks, SF guns, etc, are diverted from Egypt to Britain, the idea that there are not enough supplies, equipment and men in Britain for a second front is absurd. Consider that the Germans had suffered massive losses in 1941, which they could not make good in 1942 and that there was extremely low German armament and synthetic oil production and extremely high losses and oil consumption in August 1942.

The suggested Dieppe landing would cost Germany the loss of at least 250 planes, 100 tanks and a division in a week, which Germany simply could not afford to lose. Most importantly, it would force Hitler to either weaken the eastern front to reinforce the west or to lose the invaluable iron ore of France, without which he cannot fight in the USSR. If he weakens the eastern front even for a few weeks in order to fight in the west, his losses in the USSR would skyrocket as the Soviets concentrate their massive forces into a much reduced front, enabling them to capture Romania and deprive Germany of natural oil, while synthetic oil production is still low.

When the Lee tank debuted in Egypt the Germans were quite surprised. If the Sherman debuts in France in 1942, instead of in Egypt, the Germans would be even more surprised, as the Tiger and Panther are not yet in production and the Pz IV are quite scarce and the PZ III are not effective against it.

A second landing in Holland would cost Germany at least an additional 250 planes, 100 tanks, a division, etc, in a week, rendering the LW in the west extremely weak and unable to support adequately the also weakened WM.

The invasion of France would also force the allies to use their massive strategic bombing force against military targets closer to the front, instead of wasting huge amounts of bombs, planes and men to destroy housing and factories that are rapidly rebuilt.

Last edited by Draco; 11 Aug 14 at 18:13..
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Old 11 Aug 14, 20:38
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Dakar was not a "golden opportunity." It was a potential political nightmare.

Two things conspired to make the operation fail:

The British - Vichy French political atmosphere.

and

Ambivalence on the part of De Gaulle about committing troops to the operation.

The first has to do with the Vichy government having the opinion and position that the British stabbed them in the back by withdrawing from France and then attacking their naval forces after the armistice. Dakar is just further evidence in their eyes of British duplicity.

As a point of historical fact, the Vichy air force bombed Gibraltar from North African bases on several occasions right before and after Dakar. Bombing Dakar by the British would have resulted in the French sending hundreds of aircraft to bomb Gibraltar and likely do so on a sustained basis. So, the use of Wellingtons in large numbers against Dakar would have only resulted in more damage to British bases and installations than they would have themselves caused.

Then there is the very real potential that British military action at Dakar by invasion would have pushed the Vichy to join the Axis openly against Britain. That would have given the the Germans and Italians access to ports in what was Vichy territory that would have rendered Malta irrelevant as well as greatly eased the German / Italian supply position in North Africa by giving them access to good ports with rail lines connecting them.
It also would have given the Germans excellent bases to pummel Gibraltar from the air.

Then there is De Gaulle and the Free French. There was a real problem here too. De Gaulle and the other top Free French were far more interested in post war politicking and their position politically with a re-captured France than they were with outright winning the war. Hence at Dakar why De Gaulle pulled out rather than take the city and Senegal. He recognized that politically it was a bad move for him.
One has to recognize that De Gaulle and other top French politicians and Generals did this sort of crap all the time. In 1944 De Gaulle and the French leadership threatened to pull out of the conflict if the US abandoned Strasbourg during the German Nordwind offensive. The US was left with having to defend a less than optimal position as a result.
The same goes during Torch.

So, Draco's whole Dakar scenario ignores political reality casting it aside for marginal and temporary military gain. It was far better that the Free French and Britain pull out of that operation than continue it at the huge political cost it would have entailed.

There, nothing more need be said on that subject.
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Old 11 Aug 14, 20:46
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Draco, if you were Churchill in the 40s, you would have been Germanys most valuable Ally...

Sometimes you come up with interesting thoughts but what i really find annoying is when you make assumptions like the Brits could have bombed Freetown/Dakar or whatever and base that claim on the fact that an Aircraft succeeded in a non stop flight to Australia in 38.
Do you really think that way???
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Old 11 Aug 14, 21:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Dakar was not a "golden opportunity." It was a potential political nightmare.

Two things conspired to make the operation fail:

The British - Vichy French political atmosphere.

and

Ambivalence on the part of De Gaulle about committing troops to the operation.

The first has to do with the Vichy government having the opinion and position that the British stabbed them in the back by withdrawing from France and then attacking their naval forces after the armistice. Dakar is just further evidence in their eyes of British duplicity.

As a point of historical fact, the Vichy air force bombed Gibraltar from North African bases on several occasions right before and after Dakar. Bombing Dakar by the British would have resulted in the French sending hundreds of aircraft to bomb Gibraltar and likely do so on a sustained basis. So, the use of Wellingtons in large numbers against Dakar would have only resulted in more damage to British bases and installations than they would have themselves caused.

Then there is the very real potential that British military action at Dakar by invasion would have pushed the Vichy to join the Axis openly against Britain. That would have given the the Germans and Italians access to ports in what was Vichy territory that would have rendered Malta irrelevant as well as greatly eased the German / Italian supply position in North Africa by giving them access to good ports with rail lines connecting them.
It also would have given the Germans excellent bases to pummel Gibraltar from the air.

Then there is De Gaulle and the Free French. There was a real problem here too. De Gaulle and the other top Free French were far more interested in post war politicking and their position politically with a re-captured France than they were with outright winning the war. Hence at Dakar why De Gaulle pulled out rather than take the city and Senegal. He recognized that politically it was a bad move for him.
One has to recognize that De Gaulle and other top French politicians and Generals did this sort of crap all the time. In 1944 De Gaulle and the French leadership threatened to pull out of the conflict if the US abandoned Strasbourg during the German Nordwind offensive. The US was left with having to defend a less than optimal position as a result.
The same goes during Torch.

So, Draco's whole Dakar scenario ignores political reality casting it aside for marginal and temporary military gain. It was far better that the Free French and Britain pull out of that operation than continue it at the huge political cost it would have entailed.

There, nothing more need be said on that subject.
Well said. It could've triggered a nightmare...
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  #11  
Old 11 Aug 14, 22:12
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Sinking the fleet in Mers-el-Kebir and torpedoing Richelieu in Dakar long before the attempted invasion, the failed landing in Dakar, shelling Richelieu, Dakar itself and a DD that was beached and bombing with carrier planes did not cause more than minor bombings in Gibraltar.

Vichy simply could not risk losing more prestige, ships, troops and possibly also Algeria, etc, by going to war with Britain and eventually the US. Had Vichy been able to fight Britain or join the axis after the above major provocations or the humiliating invasions of Madagascar, Syria, etc, it would have certainly done so. It never did.

Seizing Dakar weakens Vichy considerably and causes the loss of all of French West Africa and probably several other colonies, further weakening Vichy.

As I specified, Churchill should have conditioned the expensive enterprise to no evacuation in case of failure.

As it happened, Britain and Free France lost considerable prestige and Britain had CL Fiji torpedoed en route to Dakar by a German submarine(causing 2 DDs to escort her back to Britaon and miss the invasion), 2 damaged BBs, 2 damaged Cruisers, 6 planes, etc, and the use of a large fleet and a carrier for several weeks at a critical time.

Actually, Churchill should have warned Vichy after the first attack on Gibraltar that a subsequent attack would cause Vichy itself to be bombed within 24 hours by 200 planes. Petain would have certainly believed him and called off the futile bombings.

Once Churchill made the decision to sink the fleet in Algeria, killing 1,250 Frenchmen, there was no going back.

On another matter, it is surprising that during Dieppe, the British did not use their LSTs (HMS Misoa, etc,).

Last edited by Draco; 12 Aug 14 at 10:51..
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Old 11 Aug 14, 22:59
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The fall of Dakar also implies the fall of Ghinea, etc, and expedites
considerably the movement of fighters from America and Britain to
Egypt, India and China, because the carriers no longer have to ferry
them all the way to Ghana before they fly across Africa, so that the
same number of carriers can ferry more planes to west Africa per
month. The increased influx of fighters helps considerably in all
fronts in 1941.
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Old 12 Aug 14, 11:55
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It is interesting that some British and American historians and writers consider Crete a Pyrrhic victory. However, in Crete the Germans suffered 6,700 casualties and inflicted 23,800 casualties, kept the island and greatly boosted troop and civilian morale. In contrast, in Dieppe the allies had about 4,000 casualties, inflicted only 600 casualties, did not gain any terrain and did not even intend to gain it, but most importantly the allied leaders looked like complete fools before their troops and civilians. Moreover, in both cases many of the German wounded returned to service.
It is certainly difficult to win a war with that kind of leadership.
The worst damage that both Dakar and Dieppe caused was not in men or equipment or even in the morale of the troops and civilians, but in the terror it caused in the leaders, greatly affecting future invasions (postponing a real, very strong second front for years, allowing German industry to expand rapidly, despite the billions spent bombing Germany).

A successful landing in Dakar would have caused even Algeria and Tunisia to wonder when was their turn and to consider if they should join before being bombed and shelled into submission.

Successful landings in Dieppe and then Holland would have caused even more rapid influx of American troops to Europe, a more rapid collapse of the LW, extremely severe shortages in fuel, armament, munitions, etc, in Germany.

The second front would also require that less materiel be detoured to the USSR and allow more to be used in France.

Most importantly, instead of wasting months travelling from the US or Britain to Egypt around South Africa or to Iran (for the USSR), millions of tons of materiel, supplies, etc, would arrive promptly in France and Holland, cause more damage and require much less shipping, fuel, etc, All the resources wasted unloading and storing huge amounts of materiel in Britian and loading them again months later for shipment to France would have been avoided.

A second front would have forced Britain to produce more fighters and twin engine bombers and fewer Lancasters (each Lancaster not built releases Merlin engines and aluminum for 2 Spitfires and a Mosquito). Most importantly, fighters and Lancasters based in France and Holland would be able to perform more and escorted missions, rendering them more effective. A shorter mission means that the Lancasters carry more bombs and less fuel and an escort means that they can bomb much more effectively during the day and the Germans lose more fighters and the British fewer bombers.
A second front also means thatthe Germans cannot bomb London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, coventry, etc, from France, Holland or Belgium (where the LW would be depleted), so those fighters are far more useful in the front.

Last edited by Draco; 12 Aug 14 at 12:25..
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Old 12 Aug 14, 13:16
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Facing strong Free French, British, Canadian, Polish and American forces in France and Holland and with the poorly supplied LW and WM collapsing in 2 fronts and with the western allies already in German soil by Oct 1942, the German military realize the war is lost and stage an assassination attempt on Hitler in Nov, which further weakens Germany. The rapid defeat in 2 fronts of the once invincible WM has a much more deleterious effect on the population than continuous bombing, they realize the Nazis have ruined Germany and begin to surrender en mass in west Germany.
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Old 12 Aug 14, 14:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
In order to ensure the success of the landing in Dieppe and to reduce the strength of the counter offensive, the warships return to Britain to refuel and replenish munitions, etc, to prepare a second invasion.
2 weeks after the Dieppe landing, the allies repeat the operation to decimate the LW in Holland and perform a second landing in Zandvoort, near Amsterdam. This landing threatens Germany much more than the Dieppe offensive and forces the counter offensive against Dieppe to divert to Holland, wasting invaluable time and allowing the troops in Dieppe to advance towards the ivital iron ore deposits in Alsace-Lorraine.
As always Draco overlooks the important stuff:

Navigation charts for the Zandvoort portion of the Dutch coast show that it has a shallow gradient with lots of offshore sand bars.
The wind and surf for the region shows that there are serious rip currents and tides associated with the beaches.

http://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Zandvoort

Bottomline: The landing is going to be a disaster because of the navigation hazards for small craft.

Of course, aside from that, Antwerp is the city of military importance in Holland not Amsterdam.
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