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"Anzio Interdiction" Topic

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655 hits since 21 Jun 2013
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warhawkwind Inactive Member21 Jun 2013 1:20 p.m. PST

I had a question about an earlier thread on the subject of Anzio that I dont think anyone saw, so I'll ask it in a new thread.
During D-Day there were great pains taken to interdict German re-enforcements from coming to the landing sights.
What steps were taken at Anzio? I've heard all about the German's quick response time. I haven't heard much about U.S preparations for slowing them down.
Where was U.S. airpower? Busy with the Luftwafe?

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 3:06 p.m. PST

I don't think the Allied high command realized how large or quick the German reaction was going to be, so they didn't plan to stop it. In fact it's pretty much true throughout the war that the Allied high command underestimated German reactions (e.g., Market Garden). And you don't plan for what you don't expect. They were too willing to believe their own BS about what would happen.

I also don't think the resources were available to properly interdict the Germans, as was done in Normandy. Most resources were going to England in the build-up to D-Day, not Italy. And the Allied air forces in the Med also had to support the main ground effort on the Cassino line, and they didn't have the over-whelming superiority that they achieved in NW Europe.

Anzio was, in general, a half-assed operation. Not enough troops were landed quickly enough to exploit the surprise, and not enough thought was given to possible German reactions. That it didn't turn into a total disaster is due to the excellent fighting of the troops and massive amounts of naval gunfire support.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 6:34 p.m. PST

Naval gunfire was crucial in and around the beaches. The allies , not just the US had a lot of resources in Italy area but the Germans were adept a moving at night especially. Italy present problems for air power that were absent in France. It is a lot more mountainous and cross crossed with valleys . plenty of tunnels to hide in by day..that sort of thing.

normsmith Inactive Member21 Jun 2013 11:08 p.m. PST

The german plan (Case Richard) to reinforce the Anzio area against invasion area was very effective and no doubt a surprise to Allied planners. They effectively managed to get more reinforcements into the area than the Allies did in the initial stages of the campaign and still have enough troops to manage the Gustav line.

This was an allied sideshow to the main event of that campaign the breakthrough 70 miles south at the most formidable Gustav line, which had been attempted before and was now subject of maximum effort. The military therefore saw Anzio as a secondary action that they were never keen on but it was 'politically' brought about through the determination of Churchill to see it happen.

From the outset, the issue of having enough supplies and troops to even make Anzio work was an area of tension between the commanders / planners / Churchill. Even the aims of the mission itself became a little uncertain and the troops allocated, never enough to really do much more than attempt to get into the Alban hills and cut the highway running from Rome to the Gustav Line (with a view to cut off the retreat path of Germans after the Gustav Line was breached). The plan relied on the notion that 5th Army would quickly break through the Gustav line and link up with the small Anzio force.

The attack at Anzio was to be a strategic surprise attack to the rear and itself to threaten the German rear and cause the Germans the need to divert troops away from the Gustav line to deal with the threat. I suppose uppermost in the Allied planners minds was the question of how to reduce the German strengths at the Gustav line and Anzio was intended in part to serve that purpose. It must have surprised them to see how effectively the Germans managed to bring in fresh 'ring fenced' troops from around Europe so quickly.

marcus arilius22 Jun 2013 10:26 a.m. PST

The Germans always feared amphibious landings behind their lines. Kesselring had made contingency plans to deal with possible landings at all the likely locations. The Allies should have listened to Napoleon. You only enter Italy from the top.

warhawkwind Inactive Member25 Jun 2013 11:52 a.m. PST

Thanx folks. I dont think I recall a large Partisan presence there either, tho I'm sure there were some. Imagine if all those little bridges and tunnels were blown the day of the landing…

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