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"June 1944" Topic


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ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 7:48 a.m. PST

I'm reading Samuel Eliot Morison's wonderful 15-volume work "US Naval Operations in World War II". I'm up to Volume 8 and Morison makes a comment that made me sit back and wonder: "Why hadn't I ever thought about this before?"

He points out that in June 1944 the Allies launch Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious assault in history. It was an enormous undertaking involving hundreds of thousands of men, thousands of ships and planes, and mountains of supplies and equipment. The countries involved can justifiably take enormous pride in the accomplishment.

But at almost exactly the same time, on the other side of the world another enormous amphibious operation was starting. "Operation Forager" the invasion of the Mariana Islands, which resulted in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (the famous "Mariana Turkey Shoot").

Forager wasn't as large as Overlord, although the actual naval strength was much , much larger (15 large and light carriers carrying 1000 planes, 15 battleships, hundreds of other ships.) but it was still a huge operation. That two such operations could go on simultaneously half a world apart is just awe-inspiring.

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 7:59 a.m. PST

The Arsenal of Democracy, baby….

Old Contemptible07 Nov 2019 8:00 a.m. PST

For a shorter version I recommend Morison's "The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War"

link

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 8:10 a.m. PST

Actually, I started reading "The Two-Ocean War", but despite its size I found it frustratingly short on details. When I learned that it was just a condensed version of the 15 volume work, I decided to I wanted the whole thing :)

donlowry07 Nov 2019 8:29 a.m. PST

Not sure what your point is, Scott.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 8:35 a.m. PST

Just that it a truly amazing accomplishment.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 9:44 a.m. PST

PzGeneral has the truth of it. Awe-inspiring and our folks were the ones who did it! Keep reading Scott. It is a great work.

JMcCarroll Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 10:30 a.m. PST

" The Devil in in the Details "

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 10:33 a.m. PST

When I learned that it was just a condensed version of the 15 volume work, I decided to I wanted the whole thing

ScottWashburn, you are a man after my own heart!

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

Yes, quite an accomplishment. Even one should be awe-inspiring.

"The Arsenal of Democracy, baby"…

Capitalism works!

Cerdic07 Nov 2019 12:10 p.m. PST

Yep. Credit where credit is due, US industry really stepped up to the plate in WW2!

My favourite story is of a captured German officer sitting on the beach a couple of days after D-Day. He was watching the constant offloading of equipment and supplies in mind boggling quantities, wondering when the horses were coming. He said, after a while I realised – there WERE no horses. That's when I knew we had lost the war…

Korvessa Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 2:49 p.m. PST

My father told me that German POW would complain of "belt-fed" artillery because they had so many shells to shoot

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 3:34 p.m. PST

I understand a key concern was the shortage of landing craft, Apparently they were always being switched from one place to another, and at least some assault scheduling was worked around their availability. I suspect there is an interesting story to be told here.

Grelber

donlowry08 Nov 2019 9:14 a.m. PST

Yes, IIRC, fewer amphibious operations were launched in Italy than could have been (to outflank various German defenses) because of the necessity of sending landing craft to Britain for Overlord.

Mark 108 Nov 2019 11:16 a.m. PST

PzGeneral has the truth of it. Awe-inspiring and our folks were the ones who did it!

My favourite story is of a captured German officer sitting on the beach a couple of days after D-Day. He was watching the constant offloading of equipment and supplies in mind boggling quantities, wondering when the horses were coming. He said, after a while I realised there WERE no horses. That's when I knew we had lost the war…

But … but … aren't you ashamed and humiliated and forever dismayed at the obvious complete failure of US leadership to provide GIs with anything like the superior weapons that to other guys' had???

I mean, BAR -- need I say more? Sherman? And the shame of the tank destroyer doctrine. McNair was a complete failure, and Marshall not 2 steps behind him! Is it any wonder we lost so many battles and took such terrible casualties? [/sarcasm]

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Mark 108 Nov 2019 1:21 p.m. PST

In a bit more serious tone …

It may be worthwhile also to consider just how early this naval muscle began to be exercised.

Yes, we have June 1944, with D-Day and the Marianas Turkey Shoot happening on opposite sides of the world.

But we also have, as early as November of 1942, the landings in Morocco and Algeria taking place on one side, while the landings and great naval battles of Guadalcanal take place on the other side of the world.

And besides the warships, consider the shipping, because you also had the Atlantic pipeline to the UK, and the Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union going on at the same time.

Yep. Two front war. The one thing everyone knows a nation should not, dare not, can not do.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Walking Sailor08 Nov 2019 10:32 p.m. PST

And standing out there on the water beyond all this wreckage was the greatest armada man has ever seen. You simply could not believe the gigantic collection of ships that lay out there waiting to unload.

Looking from the bluff, it lay thick and clear to the far horizon of the sea and beyond, and it spread out to the sides and was miles wide. Its utter enormity would move the hardest man.

As I stood up there I noticed a group of freshly taken German prisoners standing nearby. They had not yet been put in the prison cage. They were just standing there, a couple of doughboys leisurely guarding them with tommy guns.

The prisoners too were looking out to sea the same bit of sea that for months and years had been so safely empty before their gaze. Now they stood staring almost as if in a trance.

They didn't say a word to each other. They didn't need to. The expression on their faces was something forever unforgettable. In it was the final horrified acceptance of their doom.

If only all Germans could have had the rich experience of standing on the bluff and looking out across the water and seeing what their compatriots saw.

Ernie Pyle

Walking Sailor08 Nov 2019 10:54 p.m. PST

Ernie wrote in another column how German prisoners when captured were still full of fight, until they were marched to the rear and saw all the supply dumps. Supplies that they hadn't had in years. Then they knew that Germany kaput.

Sundance09 Nov 2019 5:14 a.m. PST

I love the story of the German officer manning a gun emplacement. His crew took a couple of potshots at a landing craft with a 75, and he was shocked to see a destroyer turn its entire battery on his little gun emplacement!

Lion in the Stars09 Nov 2019 12:58 p.m. PST

"In the 1930s, when the Americans said that they could build hundreds of planes in a month, Europe laughed.

Then, in the 1940s, when the Americans built hundreds of planes in a day, Europe wept."

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