$5.00
$15.00
$30.00
$20.00
Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
74 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: If D-Day had been a disaster and rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Steve Pole

Winkleigh
Devon
msg tools
the Allies had been thrown back into the sea, what was "Plan B"?

Apologies if this is a dumb question; but, I have been unable to find a comprehensive/definitive answer. If someone could point me at a book/source which explains the Allies' fall-back plan, it would be much appreciated.

If no details exist as to "Plan B", it occurs to me that it might be reasonable to assume that the Allies would have beefed up Operation Dragoon and that a scenario based upon this, without Allied forces already ensconced in Northern France, would make an interesting "what if" game.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You may have to provide more details in order to answer the question.

Were the Allies thrown back from the beaches?

If so, they'd probably just give it another go in a matter of weeks. Of course, the airborne element would be gone (British 6th AB Div; US 82d and 101st AB), and that might be a showstopper for planners. It would take months to replace them.

Were they able to establish numerous divisions ashore before being defeated?

This might have been more difficult to recover rapidly from because it suggests that in addition to having lost the divisions that reinforced the D-Day divisions, essential Allied infrastructure had gotten ashore and was likely destroyed or captured by the Germans. That, together with a loss of the airborne divisions, could kill the deal for months.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
Florida (FL)
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Probably just wait for the Soviets to start overrunning Germany's eastern allies, drawing their forces out of France, and then try again.
23 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.D. Hall
msg tools
Rubenpup wrote:
If no details exist as to "Plan B", it occurs to me that it might be reasonable to assume that the Allies would have beefed up Operation Dragoon and that a scenario based upon this, without Allied forces already ensconced in Northern France, would make an interesting "what if" game.

Hell of an idea! Where's Ty Bomba when you need him?

It is an interesting theoretical question, no doubt. I'm certain this fear was behind the Allies landing at five separate beachheads on June 6. But, to play along:

1. The divisions involved in the initial landings (sea and air) would need extensive refit, particularly the airborne divisions. But the Allies had more than 100 divisions in England and in-theater. The really crucial issue would be landing craft -- how many were lost, how many were salvageable.

My guess is there would have been another invasion on the channel coast, probably north of Calais. Certainly, Anvil-Dragoon would have been beefed up. But what would have happened with Operation Bagragation on the Russian front? Would Hitler had transferred some of his mobile divisions from France to Poland?

Great question, man, just great.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
mb

    Three atomic bombs in the German homeland.

             S.


32 
 Thumb up
0.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Zurunkel
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Can't say offhand if there was a Plan B. Dragoon beefed up is likely, and don't forget the Allies were already in Italy with opportunities for Anzio style assaults there and in the Balkans.

The main beneficiaries of a failed D Day would have been the Russians. Worst case scenario for Germany would have been A Bomb attacks if they had held out long enough.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb


Well, at any rate Eisenhower had a message drafted in case that happened.

http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/d-day-message/

There never was an Allied amphibious operation that was so stoutly resisted that it was thrown back into the sea, or withdrawn.
Operations like the Salerno landing saw the Allies fighting their way ashore, and having to defend the beachhead, but Allied naval gunfire and air superiority always told.

They might have carried on with Dragoon, but it would have been no larger than it was historically, and probably smaller.
Originally Overlord and Dragoon were supposed to be simultaneous, but the enlargement of Overlord meant there would be fewer landing craft for southern France.
A disaster at Normandy would mean many of those landing craft would be destroyed, and unavailable for anything afterwards.

Sledgehammer, the plan for invading France in 1943, was centred on capturing Brest or Cherbourg and then holing up on the Cotentin Peninsula until follow-up invasions in greater force in 1944.
Perhaps they could have tried for this, assuming the Germans would not be able to completely snuff out this lodgement due to their problems on the Eastern Front.

Brian
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
Ste-Thérèse
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
With the Allied material superiority, especially their Complete mastery of the Air, I really don't see how they could have been thrown back. The bad hedgerow terrain of Normandy helped the Allies in the Defence too, not only the Germans! So it's hard for me to visualize what could have happened.

Don't forget that the Soviet were doing their "Bagration" offensive in the East simultaneously, destroying the German Army Group Center in the process.

Ok, so perhaps let's imagine that they tried to land in the "pas de Calais" instead of Normandy? Things would have been dicier then. Still, I can't imagine them thrown back to the sea. Perhaps a Gallipoli-style stalemate?

If yes then a new invasion in Normandy, instead of the South of France, would have been tried, probably in August or early September. The result would probably have been the same:Allies near Germany by December.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoffrey Burrell
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
flag msg tools
I don't think there was a Plan B because Eisenhower wrote a pre-invasion note taking full responsibility for a failed mission if the day went bad.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Ant
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I realize this is a "what if" and my answer would be what some others have suggested, namely, that the Soviets would simply have occupied Germany uncontested (by Allied forces, I mean).

I also don't think there is any chance that the Allies could have been "thrown back into the sea" considering that at least one landing was at an undefended beach (Utah?) and considering overwhelming air and sea superiority in gunfire and bombs.

Perhaps the breakout could have been delayed a month or two.

A related question: can anyone come up with a single example in the entirety of WWII where an amphibious invasion failed? Off the top of my head, I can't think of one.

I have a vague recollection that the Brits (during the very last days of the war in the Pacific) attempted a "landing" somewhere in Malaysia (?) that "failed" miserably -- but then the war ended a few days later.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lance McMillan
United States
Lakebay
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
licinius wrote:
I really don't see how they could have been thrown back.


I completely agree, but that's not the point -- the OP's posit was that the Normandy invasion is a disaster and the Allies are "thrown back into the sea." Saying it's unlikely completely undermines the intent/purpose of the discussion: to determine what plans (if any) the Allies had for subsequent operations should the invasion have failed.

As far as I'm aware, there weren't any fall back provisions for another cross-Channel invasion, at least not in '44. For one thing, an operation of that scale and complexity is not something you can throw together on the fly, and in any event the weather window for another invasion in '44 was fairly narrow (by mid-September the conditions aren't condusive to conducting extensive small craft operations in the surf zone).

Further, there are important political consideration that need to be factored into any subsequent cross-Channel invasion. As Brian points out above, Eisenhower was already prepared to accept the blame if OVERLORD had been a fiasco. Had he done so, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he would have been relieved as Commander SHAFE. Had that occurred, Eisenhower's replacement would likely have been Bradley (perponderance of force in theater dictate that it's going to be an American).

Bradley's memoirs make clear that he had a fairly low opinion of the British leadership (and of Montgomery in particular), so sorting out all the command relationship issues for a follow-on invasion with Bradley in charge would have been strained, further slowing the planning process. That, coupled with the fact that both Brooke and Churchill had always been against a cross-Channel invasion, and would probably have used the failure of OVERLORD to argue even more strenuously for the "Soft Underbelly" approach. Regardless, it would have been unlikely that another cross-Channel invasion could have been mounted until at least mid-'45 .

Another consideration that has to be factored into the equation is the condition of the German forces in France after they defeat OVERLORD. Assuming it isn't an entirely phyrric victory, they could then have diverted fairly significant forces from northern France to other theaters, with relative confidence that a second cross-Channel invasion would probably not have materialized for another year. This in turn means that any augmented Allied effort in Italy, southern France, or the Balkans would have faced greater German resistance -- or perhaps BAGRATION is contained before it reaches the Vistula if those forces are diverted to the East.
22 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob Zurunkel
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
JimZam wrote:
I realize this is a "what if" and my answer would be what some others have suggested, namely, that the Soviets would simply have occupied Germany uncontested (by Allied forces, I mean).

I also don't think there is any chance that the Allies could have been "thrown back into the sea" considering that at least one landing was at an undefended beach (Utah?) and considering overwhelming air and sea superiority in gunfire and bombs.

Perhaps the breakout could have been delayed a month or two.

A related question: can anyone come up with a single example in the entirety of WWII where an amphibious invasion failed? Off the top of my head, I can't think of one.

I have a vague recollection that the Brits (during the very last days of the war in the Pacific) attempted a "landing" somewhere in Malaysia (?) that "failed" miserably -- but then the war ended a few days later.


Technically, the invasion of Crete was to be a combined air and amphibious assault. The amphibious assault was a failure.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Confusion Under Fire
United Kingdom
Warrington
Cheshire
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
licinius wrote:
With the Allied material superiority, especially their Complete mastery of the Air, I really don't see how they could have been thrown back. The bad hedgerow terrain of Normandy helped the Allies in the Defence too, not only the Germans! So it's hard for me to visualize what could have happened.




This was my thinking too but if it had of happened by some amazing event then it is possible that Hitler may of offered a treaty to the British and maybe the Americans too. It wouldn't of been the first time he offered a treaty to the British. It would depend on how decimated the allied forces were and how strong the threat of invasion would be if a treaty was rejected.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John McD
Scotland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Lots of ways things can fail, I'm sure there was no way the Mongol invasion of Japan could fail either.

I think the answer to what next is not a simple operational one though. There would be huge political repurcussions, could Churchill have stayed on? Would the American public demand peace? Plan B on the day maybe wouldn't matter much, it would have been a different group leaders discussing it, and certainly in a different political context.

If it had taken two years to re-establish the political will maybe air superiority wouldn't have lasted, maybe everything up to France and Italy is communist.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Canada
Almonte
Ontario
flag msg tools
mb
Ah yes D-Day ... or as it became known the "Normandy Raid"

There seems to be an assumption that the Allies would have shrugged and gone ahead with Dragoon and/or more or less immediately tried again. I don't think you can really get very far with this "what if" without starting to talk about *why* D-Day failed. If the overwhelming Allied forces involved in D-Day weren't enough I don't think they would have tried again without addressing the specific reasons for failure or building an overwhelming squared invasion force.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Doran
United States
Columbia
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
JimZam wrote:
I realize this is a "what if" and my answer would be what some others have suggested, namely, that the Soviets would simply have occupied Germany uncontested (by Allied forces, I mean).

I also don't think there is any chance that the Allies could have been "thrown back into the sea" considering that at least one landing was at an undefended beach (Utah?) and considering overwhelming air and sea superiority in gunfire and bombs.

Perhaps the breakout could have been delayed a month or two.

A related question: can anyone come up with a single example in the entirety of WWII where an amphibious invasion failed? Off the top of my head, I can't think of one.

I have a vague recollection that the Brits (during the very last days of the war in the Pacific) attempted a "landing" somewhere in Malaysia (?) that "failed" miserably -- but then the war ended a few days later.


The first attempt to invade Wake Island by the Japanese was a failure.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Train
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
rayofsunshine wrote:
Ah yes D-Day ... or as it became known the "Normandy Raid" :)


Yeah, like Dieppe... "we meant to do that."

Brian
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Attilio Tribuzi
United States
California
flag msg tools
A failed D-Day (especially one where US bungling led to failure) would have been politically disastrous for FDR, since the election would have come in November of that year. His health was already deteriorating, and it would have been a completely different presidential campaign that could have led to all sorts of alternatives. A-bombs on Berlin would have had to wait until August 1945, so there is a lot of historical wiggle room for alternate scenarios from 6/44 to 8/45 vis-a-vis the Soviets, Churchill's position, DeGaulle, etc.

While we would like to think that we would have just "tried again", it's not that easy, since most of the planners would have been sacked (maybe even George Marshall) if the invasion was a fiasco. Landing craft were scarce, and it was not easy to build up a stockpile. Also, the Germans had jets by then, and any breathing room in the west from a failed d-day would have likely seen a challenge from the air as well.

What I find interesting is that the Allies actually had it tougher in Normandy due to the bocage than they would have if they would have invaded in the Pas de Calais...Initial resistance would have been greater, but the breakout would have come sooner as well, maybe beating the Soviets to Berlin...

I love alternate history!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Rinella
United States
New York
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Rommel felt the best employment of the Panzer divisions was as a local tactical force that could move swiftly to counterattack potential breakthroughs by the enemy. example, Rommel requested 12th SS Panzer Division be moved from near Evreux to Isigny at the mouth of the Vire River, placing it only nine miles from Omaha Beach and in a position to immediately counterattack and drive U.S. forces back into the sea. However, von Rundstedt disagreed and Hitler denied the request.

May have changed little in the long run but has interesting possibilities.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the logistics and the need to identify and correct the reasons for a fiasco would have precluded any second try that campaign season. For the invasion to be a 'fiasco' probably requires a major pre-invasion counterfactual such as a much larger German garrison in France close to the beaches or some deficiency in Allied preparations that didn't occur historically. The most likely near-historical suboptimal outcome would have been a failure at Omaha only. This would have caused problems subsequently but no wholesale withdrawal.

For a 'fiasco' something much more fundamental would have been required. This would probably have been am irretrievable disaster and ended up with the Soviets on the Rhine, if not the channel coast. Germany is still defeated but obviously the post-war world would have been much more challenging for the West. I think most would agree that would be very, very bad.

An awful lot was at stake and the Allies knew it. They devoted resources to the project at such a level as to make a 'fiasco' as postulated by the OP as unlikely as humanly possible. By 1944 the Allies had perfected amphibious warfare techniques and, in fact, no amphibious invasion by the Allies was ever repulsed during the entire war. (Dieppe was a raid, Crete and Wake were Axis invasions).

There was no Plan B and could not be a Plan B. It simply had to work.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Rommel's deployment plans he never got the chance to use included 2 or 3 extra panzer divisions that all would have been right in the landing areas or just behind them.

Quote:
A related question: can anyone come up with a single example in the entirety of WWII where an amphibious invasion failed? Off the top of my head, I can't think of one.


The Japanese a made half-assed attempt at invading Wake with no air support and not much naval support either. It failed, so they came back with some air support and cruiser bombardment and took it that time.

Quote:
Bradley's memoirs make clear that he had a fairly low opinion of the British leadership (and of Montgomery in particular), so sorting out all the command relationship issues for a follow-on invasion with Bradley in charge would have been strained, further slowing the planning process


Could be a good thing for the breakout attempt after the 2nd invasion - maybe the invasion happens again with the British commander being someone with a little more get-up-and-go in him. Not that Bradley wasn't plenty cautious-natured himself, but bear with me. If somehow it dragged on long enough (let's say, unlikely though it may be, that the Germans transfer enough forces East to stymie Russia for a time) that Japan surrendered before Germany, maybe Slim is transferred over to be one of the top ground commanders in the West?
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Trowbridge
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good comments and thoughts here.

A few have made the useful point that knowing why the invasion failed would be important to deciding how subsequent developments would evolve.

One fairly simple factor that could have contributed to invasion failure would be an intelligence coup on the part of the Germans. If they had seen through the bluff and disinformation and found the location and approximate date of the landing, things might have gone much differently.

But then even if Canaris had the date and location, he would have to convince Adolph, who often "knew better" than his advisors ...

Of course points made about naval support near the beaches and air supremacy in the theater might have simply led to more German attrition sooner and a similar outcome to the historical one.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
ltmurnau wrote:
They might have carried on with Dragoon, but it would have been no larger than it was historically, and probably smaller.
Originally Overlord and Dragoon were supposed to be simultaneous, but the enlargement of Overlord meant there would be fewer landing craft for southern France.
A disaster at Normandy would mean many of those landing craft would be destroyed, and unavailable for anything afterwards.


The US had an abundance of landing craft, but much of it was in the PTO. I think one thing we would've seen would be, at Churchill's insistence, a transfer of amphibious ships and landing craft to the ETO. This, of course, would take a couple of months at least, but it would've enabled another cross-Channel attempt shortly after Anvil-Dragoon. The natural impact would've been a curtailing of the 1944 Allied amphibious advances in the Central and South Pacific. This may have also resulted in a rethinking of the Italian effort, reducing the commitment there in order to feed divisions into southern France.

ltmurnau wrote:
Sledgehammer, the plan for invading France in 1943, was centred on capturing Brest or Cherbourg and then holing up on the Cotentin Peninsula until follow-up invasions in greater force in 1944.


Actually, Sledgehammer was the plan for 1942. It was pushed strongly by Marshall, but Churchill thought it impractical, and he was probably right. It remained on the table as an emergency operation should it appear the Soviets were on the verge of collapse and needed the Second Front. Stalingrad eliminated that fear, by which time the Allies were considerating the '43 invasions.

A '42 assault would've caught the Wehrmacht deep in the USSR, but the brunt of the Allied force would have to be carried out by the Commonwealth divisions. There would be no major Eighth Army advance in North Africa; no Torch; no Husky; etc. Additionally, there would be far less available airpower, and the German U-boat menace was still a threat. Italy probably would've passively remained in the Axis, but of little consequence to the overall outcome; the Royal Navy had neutralized the Italian fleet in the Med.

The 1943 plan was Roundup, and as John Grigg rather convincingly (IMHO) illustrates in his 1943: The Victory That Never Was, it was physically doable, but was politically squashed by Churchill, who persuaded FDR that the 'soft underbelly' of Europe should be the next strategic direction. Churchill still thought that an Allied push through Italy/Greece/Balkans could preclude a Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, but that objective was as improbable as Sledgehammer was in '42. Planning for Husky and Italy naturally pushed a cross-Channel invasion into 1944,

ltmurnau wrote:
Perhaps they could have tried for this, assuming the Germans would not be able to completely snuff out this lodgement due to their problems on the Eastern Front.

Brian


That would be a stronger likelihood than a complete destruction of Overlord. Allied air and naval supremacy could sustain a lodgement like it did at Anzio, tying down a sufficient number of German divisions so as to make a second cross-Channel invasion a viable threat, likely triggering a rapid German retreat to the West Wall.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
E_T_Lee wrote:
One fairly simple factor that could have contributed to invasion failure would be an intelligence coup on the part of the Germans. If they had seen through the bluff and disinformation and found the location and approximate date of the landing, things might have gone much differently.


The subject of Bodyguard Overlord, designed by John Prados.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Blank
United States
Unspecified
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Historically the allies had a window in the weather (barely) to pull of the invasion, and the Germans were unaware of this break in the weather, not having atlantic weather monitoring, they didn't expect an invasion as they didn't think it was possible at that time. One possibility for a failed invasion is if the weather went suddenly bad again at the worst possible time, after launching some of the force toward the beaches but before everything made it in, shutting down later air support, etc... for example. Possibly combined with Hitler responding properly and releasing panzer reserves and so on. What if he had not been so focused on Patton coming over at Pas de Calais?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.