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Thread: Why D Day at all

  1. #1

    Default Why D Day at all

    I am not diminishing the sacrifice of our men in that endeavor but I do wonder. The Russians were not going to be stopped on their way to Berlin whether or not the western allies invaded France. Any thoughts?

  2. #2

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    youre correct the soviet juggernaut was unlikely to have been stopped had the allies not invaded europe, but with the troops freed up by not having to fight the allies from d-day on it certainly wouldve taken longer and been more bloody.

  3. #3

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    And the would the Russians have stopped at Berlin or in Germany..?

    "He is wise who watches"

  4. #4

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    Having a popular, national memory in mind, having Russia as an aggressive empire behind our eastern border AND having in mind their invasion of 1920 that was aimed at bringing the flame of revolution to the West I am absolutely sure they would have had pressed on to Germany at all costs. The soviets's plan was to oppress the whole eastern Europe and expand wherever possible. D-Day was a chance, but for the Western Allies to save as much of the western part of Europe as possible.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightbomber View Post
    Having a popular, national memory in mind, having Russia as an aggressive empire behind our eastern border AND having in mind their invasion of 1920 that was aimed at bringing the flame of revolution to the West I am absolutely sure they would have had pressed on to Germany at all costs. The soviets's plan was to oppress the whole eastern Europe and expand wherever possible. D-Day was a chance, but for the Western Allies to save as much of the western part of Europe as possible.
    Couldn't agree more Andy!
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  6. #6

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    Yes Spot on Andy!

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
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  7. #7

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    And if we had not kowtowed to Uncle Joe we could probably have saved the Czech Republic and.Yugoslavia as well.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  8. #8

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    Thanks chaps. That knowledge is not very common these days, unfortunately.
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  9. #9

    Question

    And do not forget another fact: opening of the Western Front helped Soviets advance faster. And every single day could mean hundreds alive prisoners from concentration camps. I do not know if Soviets knew about them, but finally these people were truly liberated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    And if we had not kowtowed to Uncle Joe we could probably have saved the Czech Republic and.Yugoslavia as well.
    Rob.
    Probably, including Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Patton was standing on Demarcation Line in Pilsen (close to brewery, I am sure ), had units to continue to Prague, but the deal was clear.

  10. #10

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    1. Liberating Britain’s early allies (governments in exile usually in Britain).
    2. Convincing the Soviet Union not to sign a separate peace.
    3. Stopping the Soviet Union from rolling over the entire continent by getting there first.
    4. Having a greater say in the post-war European map.
    5. Bring the evil bastards to justice.
    6. Peace on earth quicker.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    And the would the Russians have stopped at Berlin or in Germany..?


    certainly not in light of their post war behavior.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    And if we had not kowtowed to Uncle Joe we could probably have saved the Czech Republic and.Yugoslavia as well.
    Rob.


    also very true. and the allies collective forced "repatriation" is shameful for everyone involved.

  13. #13

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    From Britain's standpoint D-Day had to happen.

    1) Stalin had been pushing for a Second Front in Western Europe, to take the pressure off the Red Army, since 1942, and Britain had agreed even back then, so had to deliver. Stalin did NOT mean a "sideshow" in North Africa, involving fewer than 10 divisions per side, and Churchill knew that.

    2) Britain had to prove to its own population that it was still a Great Power. These were the days of Empire, and Britain's military showing had been quite poor thus far, despite having been an active opponent of Germany for longer than any other free nation. Kicked out of Norway, kicked out of France, kicked out of Greece, kicked out of Crete, and then kicked up and down North Africa by a numerically smaller and poorly-supplied German force. El Alamein turned things around, but only through a 3:1 superiority in men, 5:1 in tanks and 2:1 in aircraft - even then, it took 10 days to break Rommel's lines. "Operation Torch" was largely American, and largely unopposed until the Germans firmed up their positions in Tunisia, and the major American efforts in Sicily and Italy took the "shine" off any British successes there.
    D-Day would be the last large-scale operation in which the British Empire contribution outweighed the Americans, and the British public were war weary and in need of something to cheer about. After D-Day, the American contribution surpassed that of the British Empire.

    3) As a "great Power", Britain felt she deserved a place at the Post War Conference table, and couldn't really justify this by sitting back and letting the Soviet Union defeat Germany on her own. Though a Soviet victory seemed all but assured, a Second Front contribution would hasten the end of the War, hopefully without sustaining excessive British casualties.

    4) Britain had a vested interest in maintaining the European status quo. As the world's premier trading nation, Britain needed a diverse market, of differing needs and political standpoints, in order for her trade to continue to flourish. She went to war against Napoleon, in order to prevent Europe becoming subjugated under a single hostile (to Britain) will, and again against the Kaiser's Germany for much the same reason. Likewise against Nazi Germany; and she had also intervened against Russia in the Crimea and had planned to offer support to Finland in 1940, also to curb Russia power and influence. Britain simply would not be able to tolerate the prospect of a Soviet-dominated Western Europe, just a short hop across the Channel.

    5) With the proliferation of air power, and the significant capabilities of air forces to inflict terrible damage, Britain was no longer "an island" in a military sense, and therefore needed to secure friendly (and, if possible, grateful) neighbours from a security standpoint.
    Pushing the Luftwaffe out of their French bases would provide immediate relief from most of the 'nuisance' raids, and result in fewer losses to shipping in the Channel, helping the supply situation.

    6) Pushing the Germans out of France as quickly as possible would provide immediate relief in the Battle of the Atlantic, driving the U-boats from their French bases and forcing them to operate from German waters. Britain had come much too close to starvation, and although the situation had improved, it was still uncomfortable in 1944.
    Last edited by Flying Helmut; 06-09-2019 at 05:02.

  14. #14

  15. #15

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    Interesting replies chaps thanks for sharing. Seems most thoughts center around Russia and future Russian domination. I am surprised that no one has said that maybe if D Day didn't happen more resources could have been freed up to reclaim Britain's Far East possessions. Perhaps also, Russia could have been restrained from heading too far west by the threat of nuclear winter? D-Day could also have been seen as a genuine effort to free our close neighbors and old allies the French, from Nazi tyranny.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumptonian View Post
    Well summarized, Tim.
    Yes Totally agree!

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
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  17. #17

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    Russia wanted a second front to take some of the pressure off them.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baxter View Post
    Interesting replies chaps thanks for sharing. Seems most thoughts center around Russia and future Russian domination. I am surprised that no one has said that maybe if D Day didn't happen more resources could have been freed up to reclaim Britain's Far East possessions. Perhaps also, Russia could have been restrained from heading too far west by the threat of nuclear winter? D-Day could also have been seen as a genuine effort to free our close neighbors and old allies the French, from Nazi tyranny.
    Not really feasible, I'm afraid.

    Freeing up resources to combat the Japanese was fraught with difficulty. The Pacific and Far East campaigns were, from a Western standpoint, mostly Naval operations with a few land battles thrown in, and these land engagements were very small compared to the struggles in Europe.
    Even had Britain sent her D-day troops to the Far East, it would have drained the desperately-needed shipping capacity (and Royal Navy protection assets) from the Battle of the Atlantic, courting possible catastrophe there.
    Even had these troops arrived safely, there was almost no way to deploy such numbers in the jungle terrain of India, Burma and southern China - the units already there were often poorly supplied as it was; multiplying the supply burden without the infrastructure of a complex and reliable paved road network plus an intricate rail network as found in the West, would mean any new units deployed would almost immediately consume their supplies and become combat ineffective.
    A British "island hopping" campaign to recover Malaya, Borneo and free the Dutch East Indies was beyond the capacity of the Royal Navy to protect and support - the loss of key units to Japanese air power (HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse, HMS Hermes, HMS Dorsetshire etc) still haunted the British, and without protective air cover operating from numerous airfields the Royal Navy would not risk further losses.
    Plus, the nearest British Naval bases were in Australia and Ceylon - huge distances away from the required deployment areas.

    From the American standpoint, they had enough on their plate already.
    Their island-hopping campaign demanded more ships, not more ground troops, and they were being built but only at the best possible rate.
    It would have been possible to add the US D-Day troops to the Central Pacific instead, but there are only so many men you can cram onto a tiny Atoll without it becoming an unmanageable mess!
    The vast distances in the Pacific meant that a sudden increase in the number of available ships could not be matched by a sudden increase in naval fuel and deep water harbours, so any advantage would be lost. An extra fleet of transports would require extra safe anchorages, with on-shore facilities to support the masses of embarked troops - the Pacific simply could not accommodate such needs.

    There was no chance of "restraining Russia by threat of Nuclear Winter in 1944".
    The Manhattan Project was still Ultra-Top-Secret in 1944, and the first test firing (Trinity) did not occur until July 16th 1945; at that point, no one knew for sure that the Bomb would even work at all!
    Even when the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, there were doubts that it would work.
    After the Nagasaki bomb was dropped, the US had no more weapons available, not for several months anyway - any threat to Russia would be an empty one if the bluff was called.
    Also, the concept of "Nuclear Winter" was unknown in 1945. It would take dozens, maybe hundreds, of such "small" bombs to cause that effect - no discernible climatic effects were recorded after the three 1945 explosions (as far as I am aware).

    As for D-Day being aimed at freeing "our close neighbours and old allies the French", only the first part of that is true.
    The French were Britain's oldest and most implacable enemies for over 800 years, up until the Crimean intervention in 1854. Even then, cooperation was poor and mistrust rife.
    The French and British were colonial rivals right through the 19th Century, with several flashpoints in Africa particularly.
    It was not until Britain found herself politically isolated after the Second Boer War that she finally entered into an alliance with France, the "Entente Cordiale" of 1904, and even this was not a Military Alliance.
    Only facing Germany in 1914 pushed the two nations into formal alliance; and this was only 30 years prior to 1944!

  19. #19

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    The supply convois from England and the USA 1942-1944 saved the Russians from defeat or asking for a peace treaty.
    The strategic bombardements from the combined airfleets did their part, too.
    So without D-Day the result would be equal to a Russian/French border - no Western Germany at all.

    I think D-Day was a big signal, at all.
    Voilą le soleil d'Austerlitz!

  20. #20

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    By the time of the D-Day invasion, the allies had achieved air superiority. While there was still some fight left in the Luftwaffe, the rate of their losses in men, fuel and materiel was such that it was end was imminent.

    The strategic bombing campaign could have continued without a land invasion and would have eventually completely collapsed the entire infrastructure of Germany. So that was a possible path to victory without invasion. However, it was not known how long this would take to achieve and allied command wanted to end the war as quickly as possible. Also, relying primarily or solely on strategic bombing would probably have resulted in an exponential amount of destruction and loss of life in Germany.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marechallannes View Post
    The supply convois from England and the USA 1942-1944 saved the Russians from defeat or asking for a peace treaty.
    The strategic bombardements from the combined airfleets did their part, too.
    So without D-Day the result would be equal to a Russian/French border - no Western Germany at all.

    I think D-Day was a big signal, at all.


    and at a very strategic time when they were transferring their industry across the urals.



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