The Navy Department Library
PLANNING AND PREPARATION FOR CROSS-CHANNEL
EARLY PLANS FOR CROSS-CHANNEL OPERATIONS
A. Introduction: British Planning, 1940-1941
1. Introduction: British Planning 1940-1941. Detailed planning for cross-channel operations of the combined Anglo-American armies formally began early in 1943 in accordance with decisions taken at the Casablanca Conference. In the previous Chapter, reference has been made to the strategical decisions taken at the first Anglo-American War Conference (the Arcadia Conference), held in Washington, 22 December 1941-14 January 1942. Long before this date, however, British Planning staffs had been at work preparing preliminary studies of the operations that would be necessary to land armies on the Continent to defeat the German forces. In British strategy such an operation was envisaged in the final stage of war operations in the European theater.
2. From the time the British expeditionary forces were successfully evacuated from Dunkirk, at the end of May 1940, the British staffs had had in mind the eventual return to the Continent. Such an operation would involve larger scale amphibious operations than had yet been undertaken. The experience of the British in landings in Norway in April 1940, had clearly indicated the major problems that would be confronted in the planning and preparations of such amphibious operations. Mr. Churchill as Prime Minister and Defense Minister had set the British Joint Planning Staffs to work in May 1940 to implement the strategic concepts of the British War Cabinet. Even in that darkest moment of the war, this planning envisaged ultimate victory. The immediate strategy imposed, by the World situation at that time on the British High Command, was inevitably the defensive. In statements on long-range British intentions presented to the American Staffs in the Summer of 1940, definite provisions had been included for the ultimate return of British armies to the Continent.
3. During the period 1940-1941 the organized War Cabinet, with Mr. Churchill as Defense Minister, as well as Prime Minister, reinforced the Chiefs of Staff Committee and undertook to establish unity of command for future operations, and as a first step in July 1940, the Prime Minister asked Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Keyes, who had organized and conducted the
brilliant operations at Zeebrugge in World War I, to serve in the new post, then being created, of "Director of Combined Operations".1 This new Combined Operations Organization was charged not only with the organization and training of "Commando" Striking Forces for raids on German-held Europe, but also with the joint planning of amphibious operations. Such operations necessarily involved the employment, under unified command, of specially trained units of sea, land, and air forces. Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Keyes, has himself described the problems and difficulties that were encountered in the planning and conduct of small-scale Commando amphibious operations in 1940-1941. The Combined Operations Staff, formed at this time, working with the "Combined Commanders Committee" initiated the planning and preparations for cross-channel operations which preceded the development of the OVERLORD plan.
4. In the summer of 1941, when plans officers of the Staffs of the U.S. Special Army and Navy Observers in London began to work regularly with the British Joint Planning Staffs, initial work was done on "ROUND-UP" plans for landings on the French channel coast. These plans, like the later OVERLORD plan, are rightly associated with the name of Lieutenant-General Frederick E. Morgan. After thirty years in the British Army, Morgan had served as a Colonel commanding troops, with the British Expeditionary Forces in France and Belgium in 1939-1940. He was among those responsible for the organization of the retreat from Dunkirk. In the spring of 1941, as a Major-General commanding the British Army Defense Forces in the Devon Command, Morgan devoted his main attention to preliminary planning for the return of British Armies to France. Plans for a cross-channel operation soon came to be called "the MORGAN Plan". Many senior officers of the various British forces were consulted as these plans developed. Among them were Vice-Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, RN., then Vice-Admiral in Command of the Dover Station, and Captain (later Vice-Admiral) Lord Louis Mountbatten, who succeeded Admiral Keyes as Director of Combined Operations in October 1941. Admiral Ramsay had already begun in 1941 to study the naval and amphibious aspects of such a cross-channel operation.
5. When Mr. Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff had their first meeting with President Roosevelt and the American Chiefs of Staff at the historic "Atlantic Charter" meeting in Argentia Bay, Newfoundland, the "ROUND-UP" Plan was already in existence. After 'Pearl Harbor' when Mr. Churchill, with
1 "Amphibious Warfare and Combined Operations", by Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Keyes, page 81.
the British Chiefs of Staff, went to Washington for the first Anglo-American War Conference, a more detailed plan for the operation "ROUND-UP" was presented. This plan involved an operation from south-eastern England to the French and Belgium Channel Coasts, the question of the exact landing area being left for later decision.1
6. The discussions of this "ROUND-UP" plan in 1941-1942, like the early discussions in 1943 of the later "OVERLORD" plan, revealed a fundamental divergence between American and British strategical concepts. It was obvious to the Chiefs of staff, when they met in the Arcadia Conference, that the Allies in 1942, would be on the defensive in all theaters. The situation then confronting the combined Anglo-American forces was ably described in Mr. Churchill's address to the American Congress, and in his later address to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. The program which Mr. Churchill then presented had been discussed in detail by the British Chiefs of Staff in Staff Conferences in December 1941.
7. The Prime Minister had himself prepared for the discussions in Washington a note on "The Future Conduct of the War". In presenting this to his military advisors he explained that: "he thought it important to put before the peoples of both the British Empire and the U.S. the mass invasion of the continent of Europe as the goal for 1943. He thought, in general, the three phases of the war could be described as:
a. Closing the Ring;
b. Liberating the Populations;
c. Final assault on the German citadel".2
1 ROUND-UP J.P. (41) 1028 of 24 December 1941.
2 From the Report of Staff Conversations 1100, 18 December 1941; British Document C.R.8.
8. In the discussions which followed, the Prime Minister suggested the main points which he thought should be emphasized in the forthcoming discussions with the Americans. These points were:
a. A concerted U.S. - British effort to re-establish "our Naval position in the Pacific as soon as possible, and restore positions in the Far East which may fall into enemy hands";
b. The despatch of U.S. forces to Northern Ireland (3 Infantry Divisions and l Armored Division) to release trained British troops in the United Kingdom for overseas theaters;
c. The bombing of Germany by U.S. Air squadrons (initially at least six squadrons) to be based in the United Kingdom;
d. The United States to take the lead in occupying North Africa (initially with a force of 25,000 men to be built up to a total of at least 150,000 in 1942);
e. The United States should leave the largest possible number of destroyers in the Atlantic for cooperation with the Royal Navy in convoy escort, and anti-submarine duty;
f.The United States should help the Royal Navy by providing auxiliary aircraft carriers, and by assigning the highest priority for providing the aircraft required for equipping Royal Naval carriers. 1
9. The specific proposals thus presented by the British delegation at the Washington Conference were based on the strategic concepts developed by the British War Cabinets and the British Chiefs of Staff from May 1940. These had already been defined in the "General Strategy Review" communicated to the President and to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff at the Argentia Conference in August 1941. In
1 Report of Staff Conversation 1100 19 December 1941 British Arcadia Conference documents. (Ghormley papers).
this review it had been made clear that:
"So powerful is the German army that even if the Russians are able to maintain an eastern front, it would still be possible for them to face us in the West with forces which in the present state of German efficiency and morale we should be unable to overthrow. We must first destroy the foundations upon which the war machine rests - the economy which feeds it, the morale which sustains it, the supplies which nourish it and hopes of victory which inspire it. Then only shall we be able to return to the Continent and occupy and control portions of his territory and impose our will upon the enemy.
The methods we intend to employ are:
c. Subversive activities and propaganda.---
We believe that, if these methods are applied on a vast scale, the whole structure upon which the German forces are based, the economic system, the machinery of production and distribution, the morale of the nation, will be destroyed, and that, whatever their present strength, the armed forces of Germany would suffer such a radical decline in fighting value and mobility that a direct attack would once more become possible.
When that time will come no one can with accuracy predict. It will depend largely on how well we are able, with American assistance, to keep to our programme of Air Force expansion and to obtain and protect the necessary shipping.
It may be that the methods described above will by themselves be enough to make Germany sue for peace and that the role of a British Army on the Continent will be limited to that of an Army of Occupation. We must, however, be prepared to accelerate victory by landing forces on the Continent to destroy any elements of the German forces which still resist, and strike into Germany itself.
"We do not foresee vast armies of infantry, as in 1914-1918. The forces we employ will be armored divisions with the most modern equipment. To supplement their operations the local patriots must be secretly armed and equipped so that at the right moment they may rise in revolt ----
The intervention of the United States would have a dramatic effect on the certainty with which we could contemplate success and the date by which we could expect it. Blockade would benefit by the heightening of control at source, forces might be available either to assist Weygand (i.e., in North Africa) or to act against Vichy, the American bomber effort would increasingly swell the air offensive against Germany, and in the final phase, American armored forces would participate"---1
10. At the first meeting of the American and British Chiefs of Staff in Washington on 24 December 1941, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, in response to questions from Admiral Stark, outlined British views concerning the size of the forces which the United States would send to Europe. For example:
"from a preliminary study ........ of the landing of armies on the Continent of Europe, it seemed that 15 to 17 Divisions, including armored Divisions, would be the maximum forces which could be landed and maintained if the operations were to take place toward the end of 1942 or early 1943. Later on it might be possible to increase these forces up to forty (40) Divisions.....
The general idea was that it would not be possible to undertake land operations on a large scale in Europe until the Germans showed signs of cracking, and then the governing factor in the size of the forces to be maintained would be transportation and maintenance.".2
1 Joint Board Document No. 325 (Serial 729) of 30 September 1941 contains the "General Strategy Review" by the British Chiefs of Staff, dated 31 July 1941.
2 Report on the first meeting U.S. - British Chiefs of Staff, British Document CR15 of 24 December 1941.
11. The consensus of opinion in the later Staff discussions in Washington was expressed in a memorandum presented to the President and to the Prime Minister on American-British strategy. In this paper, under the heading "Development of Land Offensives on the Continent", the following statement was made:
"It does not seen likely that in 1942 any large scale land offensive against Germany except on the Russian Front, will be possible. We must, however, be ready to take advantage of any opening that may result from the wearing-down process .... to conduct limited land offensives".
In 1943, the way may be clear for a return to the Continent, across the Mediterranean, from Turkey into the Balkans, or by landings in Western Europe. Such operations will be the prelude to the final assault on Germany itself and the scope of the victory program should be such as to provide means by which they can be carried out."1
1 Memo U.S. - British Chiefs of Staff, British Document WWI, December 1941.
B. Combined Planning, January-June 1942
12. The American staffs, in December 1941, were influenced by traditional offensive doctrines, implicating the strategic concepts expressed by them at the ARCADIA Conference, and at subsequent meetings. Moreover, the American war production program was already well advanced. Hence the U.S. Staff representatives knew the great striking force which American man-power and industrial production would make available, when American Armies could formed, trained and equipped with the most effective offensive weapons. The American military leaders were, therefore, committed to an offensive strategy which would involve a maximum concentration of armed forces, at the earliest possible moment, in that area in which decisive military victory could most quickly be achieved. This strategy was up-held by the American Chiefs of Staff from the time of their first meetings with their British colleagues, in the informal staff conferences which began in 1940, and which led to the ABC-1 Agreement of 27 March 1941. The same views were emphatically expressed by General Marshall in the subsequent American-British conferences, and at meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
13. General Marshall's views had already found expression in the Joint Army-Navy Board "Comment on 'General Strategy Review by the British Chiefs of Staff'" (30 September 1941). This "Comment" extended and developed the definition of the "principal Offensive Policies Against the Axis Powers", contained in the ABC-1 Agreement (27 March 1941). It was pointed out
"that military operation, to be effective, should be directed against specific and concrete objectives and that care must be exercised to avoid diffusion of effort ----"
14. In criticizing the British strategic concepts, the Joint Board had referred especially to the -
"offensive employment of land forces ---. The 'Review' (of the British Chiefs of Staff) does not envisage the offensive use of such forces on a sufficient scale, either in operations designed to break down the German military power, or in the final operations designed to accomplish the complete defeat of Germany.
The Joint Board agrees that no clear decisions are now (September 1941) possible as to major land offensives against Germany. The Joint Board holds the opinion that --- plans should be made for equipping and training for offensive use land task forces of the British Commonwealth and possible allies, for eventual use wherever land offensives may ultimately appear to be profitable."1
15. In this same "Comment", the Joint Board had noted that the British Chiefs of Staff had given only minor attention to
"possible operations by land forces. Except in the case of Russian, the principal strength of the possible enemies of Germany is in naval and air categories. Naval and air power may prevent wars from being lost, and by weakening enemy strength may greatly contribute to victory. The opinion is held that dependence cannot be placed on winning important wars by naval and air forces alone. It should be recognized as an almost invariable rule that wars cannot be finally won without the use of land armies."2
1 Paragraphs 5-8 Joint Board No. 325 (Serial 729) of 30 September 1941.
2 Paragraph 9, Joint Board No. 325 (Serial 729) Commenting on paragraphs 19 and 20 of the "General Strategy Review by the British Chiefs of Staff," dated 31 July 1941.
16. General Marshall was ably assisted at the Arcadia Conference in his advocacy of immediate planning for the strategic offensive by land forces, by the new appointed Assistant Chief of the War Plans Division of the General Staff, Brigadier-General (later General of the Army) D.D. Eisenhower. At this Conference Eisenhower strongly emphasized the necessity of the complete pooling of Anglo-American resources in the war, and of the establishment of a combined Command system to undertake, as soon as possible, cross-Channel operations which would bring Anglo-American forces in contact with the full power of the German armies.
17. The Combined Chiefs of Staff Organization, established in January 1942, immediately organized a Combined Planning Staff to review possible operations in 1942. General Eisenhower, appointed in February 1942, Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of the War Plans Division, participated in these early planning activities. From the first he was convinced that American forces should be sent as quickly as possible to the British Isles, in preparation for the early undertaking of cross-Channel operations. With control of the seas assured, both Eisenhower and Marshall were convinced that Anglo-American forces could cross the Channel as soon as air supremacy could be obtained in the landing area. Eisenhower therefore began the preparation of plans for such an operation. A first draft was completed and presented to General Marshall on 22 March, 1942. After discussions by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington, General Marshall decided that the strategic concept of this draft plan was sound, as a basis for further discussions with the British staffs. It was then arranged that General Marshall, accompanied by Mr. Harry Hopkins as personal representative of President Roosevelt, should proceed immediately to England for conference with the British Chiefs of Staff and with the Prime Minister.
18. At the meetings which followed in London, the combined Chiefs of Staff reviewed the over-all war situation and discussed the detailed strategic plans to be developed for operations in 1942 and 1943. General Marshall strongly urged that all available forces, British and American, be concentrated in England to prepare for a full-scale cross-Channel offensive in May 1943, or as soon thereafter as possible. The British Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand, maintained that it would be a mistake to hold British and American forces unemployed in England for at least twelve
months as this would give Germany a free hand against Russia. The British favored the immediate use of forces, as they became available, for offensive operations in order to divert German forces from the Eastern front. The British believed this could be achieved by as rapid an increase as possible of the air offensive against Germany from bases in the British Isles, and by sea and land operations in the Mediterranean. The British pointed out, moreover, that if Russian resistance could continue with offensive operations in 1943, and with simultaneous attack by American and British forces from the Mediterranean and from England, it might bring about a rapid defeat of Germany.
19. No agreement was reached at these London discussions in April 1942, on any definite plan for later cross-Channel operations, but a plan was approved for the rapid build-up of forces in the United Kingdom (the BOLERO Plan). The British agreed that all possible British shipping should be diverted to assist in the transport of American air and land forces to the United Kingdom. It was also agreed that American Plans officers should work with British Planning Staffs in London to develop, as soon as possible, detailed plans for operations on the Continent.
20. In May 1942 combined planning staffs therefore began the work of drafting detailed plans for the various alternative operations then under consideration. These were:
a. Operation IMPERATOR, a major raid scheduled for the summer of 1942 with the object of destroying aircraft and provoking an air battle.1
b. Operation JUBILEE, a major raid scheduled for the summer of 1942 against Dieppe 2 (this was actually executed).
c. Operation WETBOB, a small scale assault to capture and hold the Cherbourg Peninsula in 1942. 3
d. Operation SLEDGEHAMMER, a small scale "sacrifice" assault on Le Havre in 1942.
1 See CC(42) 2; CC(42) 5; CC(42) 1st meeting; CC(42) 2nd meeting; CC(42) 3rd meeting.
3 CC(42) 63; CC(42) 10th meeting; CC(42) 11th meeting.
e. Operation ROUND-UP, a full scale invasion of France in 1943.
f. Operation LETHAL, a small scale assault to seize and hold the Brest Peninsula in 1943.1
g. Operation HADRIAN, a small-mode assault to capture and hold the Cherbourg Peninsula in 1943.2
h. Operation CRUICKSHANK, a small scale-assault against the Low Countries in 1943.3
I. Operation TORCH, an opposed invasion of Northwest Africa in November 1942.4
21. General Marshall has himself described the results of his conferences in London in April 1942:
"A general agreement was reached that the final blow must be delivered across the English Channel and eastward through the plains of Western Europe. At that time the Red Army was slowly falling back with the full fury of the German assault, and it was accepted at the London Conference that everything practicable must be done to reduce the pressure on the Soviet Union, lest she collapse and the door be opened wide for a complete conquest of Europe, and a probable juncture with the Japanese in the Indian Ocean".5
1 CC(42) 76; CC(42) 103 (final); CC(42) 2 (Final) LETHAL was originally called ARABIAN.
2 CC(42) 84; CC(42) 99 (final); CC(42) 16th Meeting; CC(42) 1st draft 2/10/42.
3 CC(42) 86; CC(42) 17th Meeting of 20 November 1942.
4 See Chapter I, Section 3, for reference.
5 In the Biennial report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army to the Secretary of War, for the period 1 July 1943 to 30 June 1945. (published by the War Department, September 1945).
22. During General Marshall's visit to London it had been agreed that steps should be taken immediately to arrange for two special planning committees, one in Washington and one in London to prepare a maximum build-up of United States forces and equipment in the United Kingdom. Such forces would then be available for any operation that might later be decided upon, whether in accordance with one of the cross-Channel operations plans, or for operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Those two committees, called the "BOLERO Combined Committees", were charged with covering:
a. Overall requirements of troops, equipment, and facilities.
b. Allocation of forces and equipment.
c. The determination of requirements for shipping, port facilities, concentration areas, and communications systems.
d. The analysis of time schedules for troop and cargo movements to the United Kingdom.1
23. It was specifically provided that this committee was not to be responsible for planning any tactical operations. The London Committee was established under the British Chiefs of Staff, as a single combined planning agency, with representatives of the U.S. and British Armies, Air Forces, Navies, Shipping authorities, and other Government services concerned. This committee was to work directly with the Washington Committee. It was to be specially charged with questions of port capacity and accommodations in the United Kingdom, while the Washington Committee would be primarily concerned with production questions.2
24. On General Marshall's return to Washington, the next steps in planning cross-channel operations were further discussed by the United States Chiefs of Staff with the President. It was decided that a group of staff officers should proceed to London for further discussions with the British services. General Eisenhower, General Mark Clark, General H.H. Arnold (U.S. Army Air Forces) and Rear-Admiral (later Admiral) J.H. Towers (U.S. Naval Aviation) therefore arrived in London on 26 May, 1942. President Roosevelt, in announcing this visit in a Press Conference,
1 Document COS (42) 97 (O) of 13 April 1942.
2 JPS 13th Meeting 24 April 1942; CCS 17th Meeting 28 April 1942 (Despatch 152217Z - 15 June 1943 JSM to Br.CoS).
emphasized the fact that the air offensive against Germany was not the exclusive topic of conversation. General Eisenhower and General Clark were chiefly concerned with further discussions of the possibility of planning cross-Channel operations for the beginning of 1943. This group returned to Washington on 3 June 1942, to participate in the Washington Conference attended by the Prime Minister and the British Chiefs of Staff. Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Commissar, visited London and Washington at the time to complete negotiations for the British-Soviet Treaty of Alliance, and for the U.S.-Soviet Lend-Lease Agreement, Molotov also strongly urged, both in London and in Washington, that the Western Allies should open a 'second front', by cross-Channel operations at the earliest possible moment, in order to divert German forces from the Eastern front.
26. General Marshall in commenting on the discussions at this Washington meeting, of possible future operations, such as "SLEDGEHAMMER", "ROUND-UP", and "TORCH", pointed out that:
"During these discussions, the Allied situation in North Africa took a more serious turn, culminating in the loss of Tobruk. The discussions thereafter were devoted almost exclusively to the measures to be taken to meet the threat facing Cairo, Rommel's forces having been checked with difficulty on the El Alamein line. Further advances by his Afrika Korps, with its Italian reinforcements, and German successes along the south-eastern portion of the Soviet front threatened a complete collapse in the Middle East, the loss of the Suez Canal and the total oil supply in the vicinity of Abaden. It was a very black hour."1
1 Biennial report of the Chief of Staff 1943-1945.
C. Preliminary Cross-Channel Plan: ROUND-UP 1943
27. The plan for Operation ROUND-UP went through a series of metamorphosis.1 The central concept provided for an operation in two phases. The first phase would be a Cross-Channel Assault by combined British-U.S forces on the north coast of France, with British forces striking the Pas de Calais sector, and with U.S. forces assaulting selected beaches between Fecamp and Caen. A simultaneous assault on the Cherbourg Peninsula was also envisaged.
28. Development of subsequent phases of the operation would depend on the seizure of sufficient aerodromes and the acquisition of the major ports of Le Havre, Rouen, and Cherbourg, which were to be made operative at the earliest practicable date. Based on successful completion of Phase I and assuming that the full number of divisions would be available, Phase 2 was to be carried out in two broad stages:
a. The capture of Paris and
b. The capture at Antwerp.
29. The plan provided for a widely dispersed attack, on the suggested target date of 1 April 1943, by 36 reinforced divisions, (20 British and 16 U.S.) with 6 divisions in assault and 10 divisions in follow-up or early build up. 2 The assault was to be supported
Footnotes for previous page. - 1 ROUND-UP does not appear to have been reduced to one definite co-ordinated operational plan before TORCH was decided on. See ANCXF NEPTUNE Report -CB/004385A or Admiralty M.07980/44 of October 1944, p.24. For details of ROUND-UP plans see Operation ROUND-UP - 1943 - Provisional Assessment of Naval Implications Admiralty M.051404 of 16 July 1942; CPS 26/1 of 3 April 42; CPS 26/2D of 28th April 1942; JP(41) 1028 of 24 Dec.41; and the following papers of the Combined Commanders CC(42) 7; CC(42) 11; CC (42) 88; CC (42) 96; CC(42) 106; and CC (43) 3.
2 Forces available were calculated as follows:
|U.S.A.||16 Divisions with 2 division build-up per month from U.S. after April 1, 1943.|
|5 Armored Divisions
2 Motorized Divisions
7 Infantry Divisions
2 Airborne Divisions
in addition to:
18 Separate Tank Btns.
|9 Armored Divisions
8 Infantry (New)
3 Infantry (Old)
1 Airborne Division
2 Paratroop Brigades
|Air Corps Forces (U.S. and British)|
a. 6,652 Aircraft
b. No heavy bombarding ships
c. Six old cruisers, 1 gunboat, 25 destroyers and 48 fire-support craft. 1
Assault lift was to be provided by approximately 1,788 major assault craft and ships. 2
30. The operation was to consist of four simultaneous assaults:
a. An attack by two British Infantry divisions against two beaches in the vicinity of Boulogne; to be followed up by 5 divisions, arriving over a period of 18 days. The object was to secure a beachhead, make a juncture with the U.S. forces in the Seine area and thereafter to advance on and capture Antwerp.
b. An attack by two U.S. reinforced infantry divisions against two beaches between Le Havre and Fecamp (north Seine sector) to be followed up by one infantry, one armored division and 1/3rd of a tank division. The object was to capture Le Havre then to advance north and eastward, making a juncture with British forces, and thereafter, in conjunction with U.S. forces further west to capture Rouen and later Paris.
c. One reinforced U.S. Infantry division (3 RCT), followed up by one infantry and 2/3rds of a tank division, were to attack the Normandy beaches astride the Caen-Ouistraham Canal. The object was to secure the Caen aerodromes, converge on the Seine, joining the northern U.S. forces near Rouen, and thereafter to envelope and capture Paris.
1 This compares with the 11,300 aircraft COSSAC expected to be available for OVERLORD and with 7 battleships, 2 monitors, 23 cruisers, 2 gunboats, 74 bombarding destroyers and 242 gunfire support craft which were employed in OVERLORD.
2 This compares with 2,327 major assault craft and ships employed in OVERLORD.
d. One and 1/3rd infantry and commando divisions with a follow up of 2/3rds of an infantry division were to attack the south-east beaches of the Cherbourg Peninsula with the object of seizing and holding the Port of Cherbourg and the whole Peninsula. The remainder of the 36 divisions were to come in gradually and thereafter 2 divisions a month were to arrive direct from the U.S.
31. This was general outline plan of the operation (ROUND-UP in 1943), which was discussed by the CCS in July 1942, as the alternative to the North African invasion (TORCH in 1942). When the decision was then made to abandon ROUND-UP in favor of TORCH, the likelihood of success in ROUND-UP seemed dangerously speculative. German forces were stretched but they had not suffered serious defeat. They held an estimated 25 divisions in France. 1 Italy was still in the War. The Italian and French navies still demanded surveillance. As long as use of the Mediterranean could be denied to the Allies, Germany was not required to disperse forces in defensive positions along the Mediterranean seaboard. Germany's submarine campaign was then at its peak and the rate of allied shipping losses still greatly exceeded the rate of new construction. 2 The speed and reliability of the build up of allied reinforcements from the U.S. was still dubious.
32. The German air force was heavily engaged in the east but its striking power had not yet begun to decline. Allied air forces employed for ROUND-UP would be operating at extreme ranges over a widely dispersed front. The Allies, far from having the overwhelming air superiority required for an amphibious assault, would therefore probably have not even had parity of air strength in the area of operations. From the assault lift point of view, ROUND-UP forces were scheduled to assault with 6 divisions (one more than in OVERLORD) but with about 2/3rds the lift. Thus, the weight of assault, and the follow-up which could be delivered, fell far short of the density and speed achieved in OVERLORD. The planned cross-Channel build up was far slower than that later employed for OVERLORD. Hence, there was a much greater chance that the Germans could concentrate their forces for decisive action before the Allied spearhead was firmly established ashore. Moreover, as the assault was to be dispersed over a wide area, the Germans
1 By 1943 they had built this up to a strength of 41 divisions in France and the Low Countries.
2 For details see Chapter I, Sections 2 & 4.
would have been able to concentrate their forces to defeat the four small Allied spearheads in detail. Finally, the weight of bombardment, which Air and Naval forces could deliver against beach defenses, immediately before H-hour, was minute in comparison to that actually employed in OVERLORD.
D. Plan for a Sacrifice Operation: SLEDGEHAMMER 1942
33. Operation SLEDGEHAMMER was a plan for an attack to be launched before September 15, 1942, against Le Havre. The assault was to be made by one British division, one British airborne brigade, and three American airborne battalions. The assault was to be built up to a total strength of 8-2/3 divisions (6-1/3 British and 2-1/3 U.S.)1
34. General Eisenhower has described the SLEDGEHAMMER Plan as follows:
"The SLEDGEHAMMER conception was not initiated upon a probability of a tactical success, but rather upon the possibility that general emergency conditions might arise requiring a 1942 attack against the western coast of Europe with the purpose either of taking advantage of an unusually favorable opportunity or of supporting, indirectly, the Russian front. Only the latter of these contingencies need be considered. SLEDGEHAMMER springs from the obvious fact that ROUND-UP will be a feasible operation, only in the event that the Russian Army is in the field next spring as an active fighting force.
It is difficult to give an estimate of probabilities (of success). Lack of suitable landing craft limits the initial landing to a total British-American force of approximately one division. Aircraft operating from England can support the operation only at reduced efficiency. Difficulties in maintenance are obvious. The danger of early defeat by enemy forces in France, even assuming a successful landing of the landing division, is always present. I personally estimate that, favored by surprise, the chances of a fairly successful landing by the landing division are about 1 (chance) in 2, or finally
1 For details of the SLEDGEHAMMER Plan see CC(42) 1, CC (42) 17, CC (42) 21, CC(42) 23, CC(42) 30, CC42 (43) CC(42) 45.
"establishing a force of 6 divisions in the area with supporting air and other arms, about 1 (chance) in 5. Later probabilities would depend largely on intensity of German reaction, and our success in developing and maintaining Le Havre as a workable port.
But we do not forget the prize we seek is to keep 8,000,000 Russians in the war.
The decisions that must be made are:
1. Is the Russian situation sufficiently desperate to justify an operation whose minimum cost would be measured in a great reduction in our readiness for 1943 ROUND-UP?
2. Would a reasonably or partially successful SLEDGEHAMMER help the Russians effectively?
If both these questions are decided in the definite affirmative, SLEDGEHAMMER is a practicable operation and should be launched at the earliest possible date, in spite of the relatively bleak outlook of eventual success. If either question is answered in the negative, we should not conduct SLEDGEHAMMER, but should:
a. redouble our efforts to build up ROUND-UP.
b. if the Russians are defeated this fall, go immediately on the strategic defensive in the Atlantic and begin to build up an offensive against Japan."1
1 See Memorandum by General Eisenhower dated 17 July 1942, "Conclusions as to practicability of SLEDGEHAMMER."
E. Build-up of U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom (Operation BOLERO)
35. A major step in preparation for a cross channel invasion was the establishment of the program for transporting U.S. troops and material to the United Kingdom. The BOLERO build-up program was originally approved in order to establish a sufficiently large force in England to launch ROUND-UP in 1943. The plan was so soundly conceived that it was capable of supporting almost any offensive action in Europe which the CCS might approve.1 American forces, equipment and supplies, sufficient to launch ROUND-UP 1943, would in fact have been available in time in the U.S., but that they could not be moved to Europe unless the British could provide 60% of the required shipping.2
1 For details of the BOLERO Plan and organization see CCS 72 of 16 May 1942. It will be noted that the code name BOLERO was originally linked with ROUND-UP, the cross channel operation planned for 1943. When TORCH was executed, the cross channel part of the plan was abandoned but the shipping program was continued under the name BOLERO.
2 General Marshall asked the British to provide if they could, the shipping required to transport the remaining 60% of the U.S. forces and supplies before April 1st. If the British did not have sufficient shipping for this purpose they should provide as much transportation as might be available in order that the cross channel operation could be launched some time during the summer of 1943. The British Chiefs of Staff were entirely in agreement with the proposal that all possible shipping ought to be concentrated on the task of building up in England the greatest possible U.S. offensive force in the shortest possible time. For the purpose of planning and coordination they also agreed that the build-up should be based on the assumption that an invasion would be launched during April or May 1943. The British reached this conclusion from entirely different strategic consideration. In the British view Anglo-American action in 1942 and the early months of 1943 would be governed by the situation in Russia. If Russia were defeated, the Germans might attempt an invasion of England. The BOLERO program would supply American forces which would be invaluable to strengthen the defense of England. If Russia were holding, an invasion in 1943 might be possible and might turn the scales and bring about the most rapid defeat of Germany. If Russia were winning, a major invasion in 1943 would probably hasten the defeat of Germany. If Germany showed signs of collapse the Allies should get all possible forces on the Continent to assure her ruin before she had a chance to recuperate. A fourth consideration was that a strong American build-up in England coupled with an effective cover plan designed to cause the Germans to believe either that the Allies definitely intended to invade in 1942 or 1943, or that they were prepared to take advantage of any German weakening in France, the Low Countries, Norway or elsewhere by immediate occupation, would contain strong German forces away from the Russian front. A fifth consideration was that circumstances might arise in which some other operation in aid of Russia ought to be launched from Britain. In all five cases the build-up of large American forces in England would be most desirable. (CCS (42) 97 (O) of 13 April 42.)
36A study was made early in 1942 of the availability of British shipping for the BOLERO build-up. At the time of General Marshall's visit to England, British shipping was fully employed and its future employment was scheduled for many months to come. The major uses of British shipping were:
a. Moving war material from the U.S. and the U.K. to Russia.
b. Moving war material from the U.S. to the U.K.
c. Moving food and other goods for the civil population from the U.S. to the U.K.
d. Moving U.S. troops and military cargo from the U.S. to the south-west Pacific.
e. Moving British reinforcements to the Middle East.
f. Moving British reinforcements to the Burma-India Theater.
37. The British could not take on the burden of moving U.S. forces to England without curtailing some of the above commitments. In their opinion, reduction of shipments to Russia was totally unacceptable. Reduction in the scale of movements of reinforcements to Burma and India was also unacceptable, unless the United States could undertake the task of defending the sea approaches against Japanese seaborne attack. If this were done, they estimated that they could arrange the movement of 50% of the U.S. requirements in the 10 months between June 1942 and April 1, 1943 provided:
a. The U.S. Army would scale down its schedule of vehicles, equipment and food to about 3/4th's of its standard.
b. The U.S. Army would accept a maximum of 2-months reserve of food stocks and equipment in England.
c. The British Government would accept a reduction of 1-3/4 million tons in the United Kingdom import program for the 10 months involved.
d. No unforeseen scale of shipping losses occurred, and no other major overseas movement were required, either resulting from disaster elsewhere or offensives in other theaters.1
38. Tentative agreements were accordingly reached on this basis. The British agreed to carry 50% of the U.S. forces and material included in General Marshall's estimate, and United States shipping was to carry 40%. 2 The U.S. Army was to accept the reduced scale of equipment, supplies and reserves, while the British agreed to reduce to about one half, their import program and also to reduce the scale of their reinforcements to India. General Marshall agreed for the U.S. Navy to undertake the protection of the Pacific areas involved. The U.S. Army was to be responsible for making forces available in America, while the British were to be responsible for their reception in England.
39. Two special BOLERO planning committees were formed, one in Washington and one in London. Each was composed of representatives of both the British and the American Army, Navy, Air Forces, shipping authorities, and other agencies. The
1 Annex to CCS (42) (O) of 13 April 1942.
2 The remaining 10% of General Marshall's requirement could not be met at all.
Washington BOLERO Committee, which was put under the Combined Staff Planners (a committee of the Combined Chiefs of Staff), was authorized to outline, coordinate and supervise all plans relating to the movement, reception and maintenance of American forces. Plans evolved by the Washington BOLERO Combined committee were to cover:
1. Over-all requirements for an allocation of troops, equipment, shipping, port facilities, concentration areas, and communication systems.
2. Analysis of time schedules for troops and cargo movements to the United Kingdom, and
3. The allocation of naval escorts.
This Committee was not responsible for the preparation of operational plans.
40. The London BOLERO Committee, which was put directly under the British Chiefs of Staff Committee, was established so as to provide a single combined planning agency with which the Committee in Washington could deal directly for planning and information purposes.1 The London Committee dealt primarily with questions of port capacity and accommodation, while the Washington Committee was principally concerned with production questions.2
41. Troop movements were begun under the BOLERO program in July 1942. Though curtailed in order to meet the requirements of TORCH and the Mediterranean theater, the BOLERO Plan and Committees continued to function throughout the war. After the decision to launch TORCH, the policy was adopted of limiting BOLERO shipments primarily to the transport of air forces and general cargo, so that when the time came to concentrate U.S. troops in Britain, supplies would be abundantly available.
1 (CPS 26/2/D, 28 April 1942)
2 JPS 13th meeting of 24 April 1942) (CCS 17th meeting 28 April 1942) See Despatch dated 1522172 of 15 June 1943 from Joint Staff Mission to the Chiefs of Staff.
42. The BOLERO operation became the basis of a joint Army-Navy shipping program, as a result of a joint logistic plan which was adopted in March 1943.1 The object of the plan was to insure coordinated logistical effort and procedure in each area of unified command (of which the European Theater was one),2 in order that the personnel, equipment, supplies, facilities, shipping and other services of the Army and Navy would be most effectively provided and utilized.
43. The Theater Commander (C.G. ETOUSA in the case of the European Theater) was charged with control of, and responsibility for all Army-Navy logistical services within the area under his command. He established an Army-Navy theater logistical organization which was required:
a. to keep the Commanding General, Services of Supply, U.S. Army, and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy, informed of future requirements;
b. to supply items or services common to both the Army and Navy from a single agency;
c. to establish a schedule of priorities of Army and Navy shipments arranged in a single list;
d. to arrange on a joint basis storage and port discharge facilities at shipping destinations;
e. to provide items from local sources if obtainable in his theater and to screen them out of requisitions submitted to supply agencies in America.
44. Based upon information supplied by the Theater Commander, Army and Navy seaboard agencies serving the Theater were charged with the necessary coordination to meet fully the combined requirements of both services with respect to:
a. Allocation of shipping
b. Loading of ships
c. Routing of ships.
1 CominCh serial 1428 of 8 March 1943. This is a joint Agreement between Admiral King and General Marshall.
2 See Chapter III for a discussion of Army and Navy Unity of Command in the European Theater.
The progress of BOLERO shipments to the U.K. is shown in the following table: 1
|U.S Army Cargo
Thousands of tons.
|U.S. Navy Cargo
Thousands of tons.
Thousands of tons.
1 Statistical Digest Series E. No. 50 of June 1945 (issued by Central Statistical Office, Office of the War Cabinet, London).
[Part of preceding table originally appeared on this page]
THE OVERLORD PLAN: COSSAC APPRECIATION AND OUTLINE, 1943
A. Casablanca Conference Decisions: January 1943
1. After serious consideration, the CCS concluded in July 1942 not to attempt the invasion of Northwest Europe in 1942 with the inadequate resources then available (see Chapter I). The application of available resources to the Mediterranean campaign for the TORCH operation prohibited the accumulation of sufficient strength in England for a full scale invasion in 1943. In the 1942 discussions, it had seemed possible that the forces required for a small scale cross channel operation in the late summer or early autumn of 1943, might still be made available.
2. After the decision was reached to launch TORCH in November 1942, outline planning for cross channel operations was continued in London with the object of having plans and long-term preparations in readiness should the CCS find it possible or expedient to execute some sort of an assault. Studies thus prepared were submitted at the Casablanca Conference which met in January 1943. The CCS then decided that, while the main American-British effort for the first half of 1943 would be directed toward exploiting the success of African operations, planning and preparations for the future cross channel assault should be continued. This would make it possible, when forces did become available, for the operation to be executed without delay.1
Footnote from page 79. - 1 Two British studies (CCS 167 of 22 Jan.43 and CCS 169 of 22 Jan.43) formed the basis for the CCS Casablanca policy on cross channel preparations. These studies indicated that:
1. Unless German reserves and the beach defenses of Northwestern Europe were substantially reduced, no limited operation to seize and hold a beach-head in France would be possible with the resources available in 1943 as the Germans still had 41 divisions in France. Even if adequate transport was employed on the BOLERO build-up, the largest number of field divisions the Allies could assemble in the U.K. before the weather closed in would be 17 (12 British and 5 U.S.). Even if all available assault shipping and craft were assembled, assault lift for only two brigade groups (equals approximately one division) would be available;
2. On the basis of available resources detailed plans should be made for the seizure of the Cotentin Peninsula of France;
3. An examination should be made to determine the level to which German reserves in Northwest Europe must sink in order to give a reasonable chance of success to the operations;
4. Preparations to launch the operation should be deferred until the scale of the German reserves available on that date could be reliably estimated;
5. Plans should be made to exploit a breakdown in German morale and for a return to the Continent in the event of German disintegration.
6. In 1944 the relative strength of German forces in France as compared to the assaulting strength of the Allies in the U.K. might be such that a cross channel invasion would be feasible. The reasons for this opinion were:
a. the increase of Allied assault lift provided by the production of an additional year and the reduction of Mediterranean requirements would make the assault stronger.
b. considerable increase in available ground forces and supplies should be expected from another year of BOLERO.
c. The air offensive would have reduced German strength and especially their ability to rapidly reinforce any Mediterranean fronts would create an overall strain on their resources with a proportionate weakening in France.
4. The continuing air battle would have further reduced German air strength over the channel;
7. Plans and preparations should be made for a full scale invasion in 1944 and an examination conducted to determine the level to which German reserves must sink in order to allow a reasonable prospect of success to a 1944 invasion;
8. A combined command organization should be established and a Supreme Commander or a deputy to act on his behalf should be appointed forthwith;
9. This Commander or Deputy Commander should be charged with the task of conducting the surveys, drawing the plans and initiating the preparations referred to above. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff agreed to these proposals subject to the conditions;
a. that cross-channel preparations should not be permitted to divert resources from the Sicilian invasion, and
b. that no cross-channel plans should be considered as commitments without further consideration by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
--80 - 81--
3. In order to put this further planning on a combined basis, and to make sure that plans were realistically based on the resources which the CCS would be able to allocate to cross-channel operations, the CCS at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, directed the formation of a combined British-U.S. authority with the title of COSSAC (Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Command) to undertake detailed planning and preparations for future cross-channel operations.1 It was also agreed that the British Chiefs of Staff should designate a senior British officer to act as COSSAC. General F.H. Morgan was selected for this assignment in February 1943. He set about immediately organizing a nucleus staff and took over and continued the planning that had been begun in 1942 in relation to "ROUND-UP".
1 In view of the fact that Operations in England were considered to be in Britain's area of principle responsibility, the CCS authorized the British COS to select COSSAC. For details regarding the decision to form COSSAC see CCS 67th Meeting of 22 Jan 1943; CCS 167 of 22 Jan 1943; CCS, 169 of 22 Jan 1943. For details of the selection of General Morgan see CCS 169/4 of 8 April 1943; CCS 169/5 of 13 April 1943. It is interesting to note that at the time of the Casablanca Conference that the CCS contemplated having a British Supreme Commander for OVERLORD. See CCS 170/2 of 22 Jan 1942.
B. COSSAC: Functions and Organization
4. The CCS on 12 April 1943, after reviewing the initial steps taken in England to organize planning for the OVERLORD Operation, issued a directive to General Morgan, as COSSAC, covering the following points:
a. The CCS have decided to undertake preparations for operations against Europe;
b. The object is to defeat German fighting forces in Northwest Europe;
c. The CCS have decided to appoint a Supreme Allied Commander (SAC) in the future;
d. They have decided to appoint you Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC) pending SAC's appointment;
e. You will prepare plans in the following order of priority:
1. For a return to the Continent with such forces as are available in the event of a German collapse, weakening, or withdrawal. i.e. Operation RANKIN.1
Footnote from page 83. - 1 RANKIN was to take place in the event of partial or complete collapse of the German morale and military defenses and was planned under certain assumed conditions, or "cases". It was decided that a return to the Continent under Operation RANKIN could take place under the following alternatives:
RANKIN - CASE "A" was a plan developed to exploit a substantial weakening in the strength and morale of the German Armed Forces to an extent sufficient to permit a successful assault with the Anglo-American forces available prior to the target date of OVERLORD. The course of action in the event of substantial weakening of German moral in France and the Low Countries envisaged operations in January or February 1944 to put a modified OVERLORD plan into effect, and provided for capture of the port of Cherbourg within the first forty-eight hours. In RANKIN "A" as in the case of OVERLORD, diversionary operations in the Pas de Calais area and from the Mediterranean were considered essential. No assault against organized resistance was believed feasible, unless measures were taken in time to make Naval Assault forces available. As maintenance over beaches and construction of artificial ports would prove too hazardous in winter, it was essential to capture the port of Cherbourg and as many minor ports as possible within forty-eight hours. RANKIN, "A", therefore, was OVERLORD, modified to meet these special requirements.
RANKIN - CASE "B" was a plan to exploit a German withdrawal from the occupied countries. In this event, strategic planners recommended that Cherbourg would be the first place of entry. As German withdrawal proceeded the principal Allied forces would be based at Cherbourg, Le Havre, and Rouen, supplemented as necessary by smaller force for the rehabilitation of Southwest France; the ports of Brest and Nantes similarly would be occupied by small forces only, partly to assist in French rehabilitation, but mainly to prepare for a long-term policy for the entry and maintenance of forces direct from America. Forces would also be despatched northward from the Mediterranean as required.
RANKIN - CASE "C" was a plan to exploit an unconditional German surrender coupled with the cessation of organized armed resistance in northwest Europe. Allied forces from the United Kingdom were (1) to occupy and control the Rhine Valley and the Ruhr. (2) to occupy and control Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Canal, and the cities of Hamburg and Bremen. (3) to operate selected ports on the west coast of France and the Low Countries, and, (4) to undertake rehabilitation measures in order to establish control in Norway and rehabilitate the country. The main object was to expedite disarmament of the German forces. The bulk of Allied forces would have to be carried by sea. In case of re-entry through Copenhagen, Bremen, and Hamburg, minesweeping was expected to impose short delays. Suitable ports for entry into the Rhine Valley and the Ruhr would be Rotterdam and Antwerp respectively.
2. For a limited cross-channel assault with a target date of 1 August 1943, to seize and hold a bridgehead such as the Cotentin Peninsula, in case the CCS decide at a later date to execute such an operation.
3. For a full-scale invasion of northwest Europe in the Spring of 1944.1
f. Small-scale amphibious operations (COMMANDO raids) will be dealt with by the Chief of Combined Operations consulting you;
g. You will be provided with monthly forecasts of forces likely to be available for RANKIN and other operations;
h. When you have completed your plans you will report to the CCS.
i. You will be provided with a staff drawn from the British and U.S. Navies, Armies, and Air Forces.
j. Service Ministries and ETOUSA will assist on administration and logistic aspects of your plans.
k. Controlling Security Officer will be consulted for coordination of cover plans and deception. 2
1 The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, particularly Admiral King, made it clear that though they would have preferred to have concentrated on the build-up for cross-channel operations, it having been decided to continue the Mediterranean offensive by assaulting Sicily (Operation HUSKY), resources would not be diverted from HUSKY for use in a 1943 cross-channel effort. See CCS 135 of 26 December 1942 and CCS 68th Meeting of 23 Jan 1943.
2 This directive is set out in CCS 169/3 of 5 March 1943. It was approved CCS 74th Meeting of 5 March 1943.
5. This directive was modified as a result of the Trident Conference,1 at which the CCS came to the conclusion that the possibility of even a limited cross channel invasion in 1943 before the weather closed in (15 September) was extremely remote, and that a full scale invasion was the most promising line of strategy for 1944. The new directive ordered COSSAC to submit by 1 August 1943 an outline plan for an assault, employing specified forces for the target date of 1 May 1944, to secure a lodgement on the Continent from which further offensive operations could be developed. 2
6. To enable COSSAC to draw up his Appreciation and Outline Plan, he was provided with a combined staff, comprising Army, Navy and Air Officers of both British and the U.S. services. In the beginning this staff consisted of representatives of the various military authorities directly or indirectly involved in this preliminary planning. These representatives at first acted more as liaison officers from their respective chiefs than as officers of one staff. The authorities represented were:
a. C-in-C, Portsmouth (an R.N. Home Command). This was Admiral Little who was subsequently designated ANCXF.
b. Commander of British Army forces in the U.K. This was General Paget who was subsequently designated CG 21 AG.
c. C-in-C Fighter Command (the R.A.F. Commander of fighter air forces in Britain). This was Air Marshal Leigh-Mallory who was subsequently appointed C-in-C, AEAF.
d. Commanding General ETOUSA (European Theater of Operations U.S. Army).
e. COSSAC and personal staff.
g. The British War Office.
1 Held in Washington D.C. in May 1943.
2 COS (43) 113th meeting (O) Item 4.
h. The British Air Ministry.
i. The Chief of Combined Operations, and
j. Other miscellaneous authorities.
The representatives of each of these authorities often had army, air, and naval components so that the early staff was a thoroughly heterogeneous collection.
7. The head of the U.S. section on COSSAC's staff was Brigadier-General R.W. Barker, USA. The U.S. Army Air Forces automatically came under his jurisdiction. During the COSSAC period the U.S. Navy representatives worked under the U.S. Army Command in the European Theater.1 The U.S. Naval representation on COSSAC's staff included officers designated by ComInCh and ComNavEu who formed part of the ETOUSA section.2 Gradually, however, the various elements were sorted out and the staff settled down in an organization with two main sections, the British and the U.S., each with an Army, Navy and Air sub-section. This process was continued until ultimately the two naval sections were working together; the two air sections were doing their part together; and the innumerable sub-sections of the two armies were paired off, each pair doing its part as one team.
8. In view of the fact that the Royal Navy was scheduled to provide the bulk of NEPTUNE sea-going forces, the R.N. section of the COSSAC staff was from the first
1 In accordance with the principle of Unity of Operational Command under an agreement between General Marshall and Admiral King, (W.D. 1120 of 2 June 42; ComInCh serial 00447 of 2 June 42; W.D. 1226 of 12 June 42; See Chapter III following, and under logistic agreement between Admiral King and General Marshall (See ComInCh serial 1428 of 8 March 1943 and Chapter II, Section 2).
2 An exception to this were two U.S.N. officers assigned by ComNavEu to the staff of the CCO, who were re-assigned to COSSAC at an early date.
regarded as the pre-eminent naval authority.1
1 On 5 May the Admiralty appointed Admiral Sir Charles Little, who was CinC, Portsmouth, Naval CinC Expeditionary Force (designate) and naval representative on COSSAC's staff. (Admiralty letter M 053171/43 of 5 May 43.) Admiral King and the CCS generally concurred in this selection on 20 August 1942. (See CCS 113th meeting of 20 August 43.) To enable CinC Portsmouth to carry out these duties, Admiralty supplied him with a special staff - the X Staff, under a special Chief of Staff (X). Admiral Sir Philip Vian was originally appointed COS (X) (Admiral Vian subsequently was appointed NCETF for the operation), but being suddenly required for duty at sea he was replaced by Commodore Hughes Hallet as COS (X) and he remained as Chief of Staff to ANCXF until after the assault. Admiral B.H. Ramsay replaced Admiral Little as Senior Naval Member of COSSAC's staff and as Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief Expeditionary Force (ANCXF) on 25 October 1943. (Admiralty letters M 053171/43 of 12 October 43, and M 053171/43 of 4 Nov. 43.) The U.S. Naval section on COSSAC's staff was very much smaller. In the earliest stages COMNAVEU detailed Captain J.H. Wright, USN, to act for him on the staff. Commander E.B. Strauss, USN, and Lieut. E. Russell, USNR, who up until that time were USN representatives on the staff of the British Chief of Combined Operations (CCO) also joined COSSAC at the same time. (Commander Strauss was at that time also U.S. Naval Commander Amphibious Forces Europe.) Pursuant to the Casablanca Agreement, CNO shortly detailed Captain Gordon Hutchins, USN, as senior U.S. Naval Officer with COSSAC, and Colonel R.O. Bare, USMC, and Captain L.A. Thackery, USN, as staff officers. In December Captain Thackery relieved Captain Hutchins as senior representative and Commander W.R. Carruthers, USN, joined the staff.
C. COSSAC Appreciation and Outline Plan for OVERLORD, July 1943
9. COSSAC was not required to start his planning from scratch. He had available very elaborate and well grounded plans prepared in 1942 for projected operations such as ROUND-UP, SLEDGEHAMMER, HADRIAN and others. In addition, his staff included a large number of officers who had had experience in drafting these plans and in devising the various operations which had been executed in the Mediterranean. The production of the COSSAC-OVERLORD Appreciation and Outline Plan consisted for the most part in a revision of the old ROUND-UP Plan, in the light of Mediterranean experience and on the basis of the forces tentatively allotted for a 1944 Cross-Channel operation.
10. The early phases of COSSAC planning were reviewed in two broad but rather heterogeneous conferences. The first of these, held between 24 May and 23 June, was organized by the CG ETOUSA at the U.S. Assault Training Center, Woolacombe, England, and was primarily a U.S. conference. The second, called Operation RATTLE, was a conference held at Largs, Scotland between 28 June and 1 July 1943. All authorities and agencies of both America and Britain, which would have any possible military connection with OVERLORD, were represented at the RATTLE conference. The agenda of both conferences were given over to a general discussion of all possible aspects of an amphibious operation against the strongly defended shores of Northwest Europe.
11. After these two conferences, a complete but very general summary of the preparations required and of the operational methods appropriate for the proposed operation, was drawn up. Each aspect of the problem was made into a "project". A suitable committee, drawn from all interested authorities,
was set up to deal with each project. In due course each committee submitted its findings. These were then developed by the COSSAC staff into the COSSAC Appreciation and Outline Plan for Operation OVERLORD. From time to time during the process of compiling the COSSAC Plan, various drafts were circulated to all interested parties, including the British and American Chiefs of Staff and the CCS, so that all could have a chance to add or subtract or revise the plan before its final publication. The final COSSAC Plan was published on 30 July 1943 under the label COS (43) 416 (O) and CCS 304 of 10 August 1943.
12. The size and nature of the operation, as planned by COSSAC, was limited by the forces which the CCS undertook to make available:
a. The land forces allotted were a maximum of 30 and a minimum of 26 divisions of balanced forces; plus 6½ U.S. divisions scheduled to arrive in the United Kingdom, too late for the assault but soon enough to be used in the later phases of the build-up. In addition, three to five divisions per month were to arrive after the assault.1
b. The airborne forces allotted were 2 airborne divisions, 5 paratroop regiments and 1 airborne tank battalion. Air lift for only 2/3rds of one division was available.2
c. The forecast of available air forces provided for an approximate total of 11,377 aircraft of all types.3
d. The allotted assault lift was sufficient to land three divisions in assault, two divisions in follow up, and to sustain a build-up of approximately one division a day.4
e. Naval strength sufficient to provide protection against hostile naval forces was available, but naval bombardment vessels were meagre.5
Footnote from page 90. - 1 Available land forces an estimated by CCS forecasts were:
|Assault forces -|
|Follow-up Forces -|
|Airborne forces -|
|Build-up forces (a) -|
a. British build-up may be reduced by a maximum of four equivalent divisions by possible cannibalization.
b. Type not yet decided.
c. Availability doubtful.
d. Assumed available as a basis for outline planning.
e. Excluding ranger battalions and parachute regiments.
f. Excluding commandos and counting four tank brigades and three L. of C. Brigades as two equivalent divisions.
|Maximum possible number of equivalent divisions||...||34|
|Deduct equivalent divisions of doubtful availability||...||4|
|Maximum of equivalent divisions likely to be available||...||30|
|Deduct maximum of 4 by possible cannibalization||...||4|
|Minimum of equivalent divisions likely to be available||...||26|
(See COSSAC Plan Appx. N)
--91 - 92--
Footnote from page 90 continued. - 2 COSSAC Plan, pages 12 and 13, paragraphs 16, 17, 18.
3 The following were the air forces allotted:-
|Squadrons||Aircraft (UE)||Squadrons||Aircraft (UE)|
|Light and Dive Bombers||52||832||13||260|
|Army Support (Fighters)||...||...||8||112|
|Army Support (Bombers)||...||...||4||56|
|C.G. - 4A||...||...||1,141||-|
(See COSSAC Plan Appx. K Annexure 1.)
p.90 #4 The available assault lift was as follows:-
5 (See COSSAC Plan Page 12, paragraph 8; page 19, paragraph 80, Appx. H and Appx. M).
13. COSSAC's problem was to advise the CCS whether a force so limited could successfully invade Europe by 1 May 1944, and to draw up an outline plan for doing it. The COSSAC Plan therefore included:
a. A review of the resources which the CCS had authorized
b. A survey of enemy capabilities, and
c. A plan by which, under certain conditions, a Cross Channel amphibious operation could be launched from England to secure a bridgehead on the Continent from which further operations could be developed.
14. The COSSAC survey indicated that German dispositions for the defense of the French coast were of three kinds:
a. Garrison troops installed in fixed defensive positions were posted along the entire coast, in varying degrees of strength, covering every stretch of beach which nature had made suitable for landing.1
b. The Germans were well aware that an Allied assault could not survive unless it could be sustained and reinforced by a vast build-up. This would force the Allies to concentrate on capturing a major port, without which the build-up would be impossible. The Germans, therefore, made it a second principle of their defense to concentrate heavily on the defense of major ports.
c. The third component of the German defense was a mobile reserve which could be moved rapidly to any point along the periphery, once the Allies had committed their forces.
1 Defenses consisted of a belt of shore minefields, under-water beach obstacles, shoreward mine fields, traps of various sorts, well dug in mutually supporting artillery positions with their field of fire covering beaches and beach exits, and well organized infantry entrenchments of both the permanent and the field type. This peripheral defense was relatively lightly manned but designed to accommodate reinforcements. The task of the coast defense was to hold off landings by delaying action until mobile reserves could be brought up.
The Germans considered that the Allies were most likely to launch their invasion against the Pas de Calais. Hence they had concentrated the bulk of coastal defenses, and the major part of their army forces in that sector.1
15. The available allied ground and air forces would be adequate to deal with German forces in France provided they could once be firmly established ashore.2 The allotted assault lift was sufficient to move a maximum of three divisions in assault, with two more divisions as follow-up forces. This figure set a limit on the weight of the assault which the Allies could deliver. Available cross channel shipping set a limit to the build-up rate of one division per day. The COSSAC Plan conditioned by available solutions of two main problems: first, that of getting assault forces, limited by the available assault lift, onto the beach; and second, that of holding off the German mobile reserve until the allied preponderance of forces could be firmly established, with the available build-up lift.
16. COSSAC planning began with a study of the sectors of the French coast, which would be most suitable for the initial landings. The coast line of Brittany and beyond was dismissed at once, because it was out of range of U.K. based fighter air cover and because the time required, for the turn round of build-up shipping, would reduce the build-up rate below an acceptable minimum. The remaining possible areas were the Pas de Calais area, the area around the mouth of the Seine, the Caen sector, and the Cotentin (Cherbourg) Peninsula. Of these, geography seemed to make the Caen area the least suitable. Its beaches were furthest from U.K. fighter airplane bases; it was furthest from U.K. ports, thus requiring the longest shipping turn round time and therefore the slowest rate of build-up; it had the fewest airfields, and it was not the best area for deploying armor. But its major handicap was that it did not possess a port of sufficient capacity to handle the build-up. The nearest port to the eastward was Le Havre, which could not be reached from the Caen sector, except by a long flank march over difficult country with a very poor lateral road and rail network, and after crossing the wide and well defended Seine river. The nearest port to the westward was Cherbourg, which could
1 See Chapter IV, Section 1 for details of German defences. The German 15th army guarded the Pas de Calais. The smaller German 7th army guarded Normandy.
2 And provided also that the German forces did not exceed a certain strength. This limitation is described later.
not be reached except after another hazardous flank march, with wretched lateral communications through the Vire swamp and up the rocky difficult Cotentin Peninsula.
17. The Germans had recognized that by nature the Caen sector was the least suitable for landings, and they had therefore left it the least defended. They had concentrated their strongest defense on the Pas de Calais sector which was closest to airfields, closest to U.K. ports, contained the best terrain for maneuvering, and led most directly into Germany. They had concentrated strong garrison forces around the Seine group of ports and around Cherbourg and the Brittany ports. But they held the coastline from the Vire river to the approaches to the Seine estuary with only one division, behind defenses less concentrated and less developed then in any Sector.1
18. From the Naval and Air point of view, the Caen sector though less advantageous than the others, was acceptable. From the Build-up point of view the Caen sector, being shy of a major port, was utterly unacceptable, unless a method of discharging the necessary tonnages over the beaches could be devised. COSSAC evolved methods by which the beaches could be sheltered, piers could be run out from the shore and ships could be provided with anchorages. In effect his plan was to build pre-fabricated ports in England and to assemble them on the French shore concurrently with the assault phase. COSSAC therefore, selected the Caen sector for the assault area. It was the only sector in which the German peripheral defenses were weak enough to give the Allied spearhead, limited as it was by the shortage of assault lift, a reasonable prospect of success. But COSSAC laid it down, as a condition, that sheltered water and artificial harbors must be provided.
19. Having contrived a method by which the Allied spearhead could gain a foothold, COSSAC next considered the problem of how the Allied army could establish itself in strength before the German mobile reserves would have a chance to crush it. This question resolved itself into the problem of how to win the Build-up race. The Germans would be faced with a Build-up problem too. Their mobile reserves would have to be brought up progressively, one part at a time, just
1 By D-day this had been increased to two divisions on the Caen beaches, and there were one or two on the Cotentin area. (See CTF 122 Intelligence Monograph.)
as allied forces would have to be ferried across the channel progressively. COSSAC believed that if the Allies could stay ahead in the race, they would eventually win, because their reservoir of troops was greater than the German reservoir. The problem was how to win the race with the limited build-up lift available.
20. One essential question faced was that of the early construction and efficient operation of the artificial harbors. A second essential problem was that of disorganizing German lines of communication leading up to the assault area. This would require both air action and sabotage by the French resistance. Another method would be to tie down German armies in the Pas de Calais, Scandinavia, and southern France by maintaining a threat against those areas. Another method would be to tie down German reserves in Italy, the Balkans, and in the German homeland by operations or threatened operations in Italy and the Mediterranean. All of these would contribute to the allied chances of winning the battle of the build-up. But COSSAC realized that, with the cross-channel shipping available to the Allies, they could not win the build-up race, nor maintain their foothold in Normandy, if the Germans had unlimited reserves available. In fact, if German mobile reserves in France exceeded some 12 full-strength first-line divisions, they would in all probability be able to win the build-up race and push the Allies back into the sea, before the full weight of the army could be established in the bridgehead area.
21. COSSAC made one further condition to his plan. The Allies must have overwhelming air supremacy over the channel and assault area. Failing this, the allied armada would be disrupted at sea and the soldiers would never get to the beach. Even if they did reach the beach, a comparatively small scale of German air action over channel build-up lanes could fatally delay the allied build-up, while the necessary disruption of German lines of reinforcement would also be prejudiced.
22. COSSAC reported that OVERLORD in 1944 was possible with the forces allotted, provided these three conditions were met, namely:
1. overwhelming air supremacy,
2. artificial harbors,
3. German mobile reserves not exceeding 12 divisions in France or 15 available to be brought in from Russia or the Mediterranean.
OVERLORD AND ANVIL: PLANNING THE 1944 GRAND ASSAULT
A. Quebec Conference Approval of OVERLORD, August 1943
1. The COSSAC for Operation OVERLORD was submitted for the consideration of the President, the Prime minister and the CCS at the Quebec Conference (QUADRANT) in August 1943. At that time the situation in Europe was good. The Sicilian campaign was finished except for mopping up operations. Mussolini had fallen from power. Italian peace negotiations were in progress. Plans and preparations were in hand for the occupation of Italy and for an offensive against German armies in Italy. The position in Russia was stable and in fact favorable for the Russians.
2. British views on the COSSAC plan were:
1. that COSSAC's three conditions were necessary for the success of the operation;
2. that the Allied margin of superiority during the critical first days was small; and,
3. that it was essential that the scale of German reserves should be reduced below the maximum twelve divisions specified by COSSAC or else the operation might not succeed.1
3. United States views on the COSSAC plan were that it was soundly conceived and within the means which would be available on the target date. In regard to the apprehension of the British Chiefs of Staff over the necessity of meeting COSSAC's three conditions, the U.S. Chief of Staff believed that, although OVERLORD would be more difficult and hazardous than any other operation attempted up to that time, the increasing pressure of the Russian armies, the demoralizing effects of the bomber offensive, and the steady air-ground pressure from the Mediterranean would have the cumulative effect of reducing the scale of German resistance to be offered in May 1944.2 The U.S. Chiefs of
1 CCS 304, Operation OVERLORD Outline Plan, 10 August 1943
2 JPS 253 of 13 August 1943.
Staff recommended that the plan be approved and that COSSAC be directed to proceed with full preparations to launch OVERLORD on a target date of 1 May 1944.1
4. The COSSAC OVERLORD plan was therefore approved, after being reviewed by the President, the Prime Minister and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff urged that OVERLORD should be definitely scheduled for May 1944. The Prime Minister stated that the British would agree to execute OVERLORD but only subject to the proviso that COSSAC's three conditions were met by the target-date. If it developed that the strength of the German ground or fighter air forces proved to be greater than that upon which the success of the operations was promised, the question of whether the operation should be launched was to be subject to review by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Subject to this proviso, Operation OVERLORD for May 1944 was approved.2
1 See also CCS 286/4 of 27 September 1943; CCS 286/5 of October 1943; CCS 124th meeting of 22 October 1944 for U.S. views that OVERLORD should not take resources away from other Theaters.
2 The COSSAC Plan was reviewed and approved at QUADRANT, at the Second Citadel Meeting of 23 August 1943. In paragraphs 11, 12 and 13, of CCS 319/5 of 24 August 1943, the final report of the CCS to the President and Prime Minister are quoted:
11. "Operation OVERLORD will be the primary U.S. - British Ground and Air effort against the Axis in Europe (Target date 1 May 1944) -- As between OVERLORD and operations in the Mediterranean where there is a shortage of resources, available resources will be distributed and employed with the main object of insuring the success of OVERLORD.
12. We have approved the Outline Plan of General Morgan for operation OVERLORD, and have authorized him to proceed with detailed planning and full preparations.
13. In case circumstances render execution of OVERLORD impossible it may be necessary to consider JUPITER as an alternative. Plans for this operation with particular reference to an entry into Southern Norway should therefore be made and kept to date."
5. At the Quebec Conference COSSAC drew attention to three measures which required immediate action if it were to be possible to launch OVERLORD in May. These were:
1. The system of command to be employed should be decided on and the principal commanders and command organizations should be established so that detailed plans and preparations could be started immediately.
2. The air offensive, then in progress should be re-oriented so as to bring about an over-all reduction in German fighter air strength and so as to disrupt German lines of transport into the assault area.
3. A cover plan should be devised and the execution of it should be undertaken, so that the reduction and dispersion of German force in Western Europe, necessary for the successful execution of OVERLORD, might be effected.
6. The CCS in directing COSSAC to produce that OVERLORD plan, had limited the "lift" available to that required for three divisions in assault and two in follow-up. COSSAC's plan was developed on the basis of this limitation. He reported at the Quebec Conference that -
"It is possible to undertake the operation described, on or about the target date named (1 May) with the sea, land and air forces specified, given a certain set of circumstances in existence at that time ----. As regards the supply of shipping, naval landing craft and transport air craft, increased resources in these would permit of the elaboration of alternative plans designed to meet more than one set of extraneous conditions, whereas the state of provision herein taken into account dictates the adoption of one course only or none at all. In proportion as additional shipping, landing craft and transport aircraft can be made available, so the chances of success in the operation will be increased. It seems feasible to contemplate additions as a result either of stepped-up production, strategical re-allotment, or, in the last resort, of postponement of the date of the assault."
7. At the Quebec Conference, General Morgan, and General Barker, and indeed the whole COSSAC staff, repeatedly urged the provision of more landing vessels. But the U.S. Chiefs of Staff were busy with their plans for the Pacific amphibious offensive and with persuading the British to launch an amphibious offensive against Burma. The British Chiefs of Staff in their turn were busy with projects for launching various amphibious offensives in the Eastern Mediterranean. Consequently little attention was given to the fact that OVERLORD was being planned with a precariously small spearhead.
8. One of the points of COSSAC's plan was that a diversionary threat against the Mediterranean coast of France should be mounted with a target date contemporaneous with NEPTUNE D-Day. This threat should be followed by an unopposed landing in southern France when the NEPTUNE battle had finally compelled the Germans to move their forces.1
1 COSSAC Plan paragraphs 25, 26. Paragraph 7 (b) and page 9 Paragraph 38.
B. Plans for Landings on the French Mediterranean Coast (ANVIL Operation)
9. The CCS approved at Quebec the COSSAC proposal planning operations on the Mediterranean coast of France, to coincide with OVERLORD. General Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander in the Western Mediterranean was therefore directed to draw up an outline plan for a diversionary assault (not merely a threat) against southern France in assistance to OVERLORD.1 General Eisenhower's report on this project made the following points:
a. Shortages in assault lift would limit any assault against southern France to a scale not larger than one division of two brigade groups, with a very slow build-up.
b. An actual assault would probably have less effect in pinning down the enemy than a threatened assault.
c. Availability of troops and assault shipping would depend on the progress of the campaign in Italy: until Rome was captured the assault lift available in the Mediterranean would be required to support Allied armies in Italy.
d. In case the Italian campaign had put the Allied forces into the Po Valley by June 1944, the assault into France could be launched from both land and sea, with better prospects of success, both as an operation and as a diversion.2
1 CCS 319/4 of 23 August 1943.
2 Report by CinC Med. to CCS on Operation to assist OVERLORD of 27 November 1943. See also NAF 492.
10. Concurrently, General Eisenhower submitted a plan to use resources in the Mediterranean to mount a threat against southern France.1 This plan involved:
a. A threat of an assault by one division with a one division follow-up;
b. The assault would be made to appear to be timed for OVERLORD D-Day or slightly afterward;
c. The threat would be made to appear as an invasion by British or U.S. forces or both, with a heavy build-up of French forces.
d. The threatened assault would be aimed at Toulon as a first objective.
e. The plan also provided for an actual invasion in case the Germans removed their mobile reserves and air forces in sufficient quantity to make an unopposed landing, or an assault a against slight resistance possible.2
11. General Eisenhower's plan to employ ANVIL as a diversion only, followed up if possible by an unopposed landing, was approved by the CCS in November.3 At Teheran, Marshall Stalin, having ascertained that there would be 8 or 9 comparatively idle allied divisions in the Mediterranean, which could not be transferred to England in available shipping, suggested that Britain and America should attack in southern France rather than in Italy or the Balkans.4 For reasons not indicated in the minutes of
1 This plan was worked out in conjunction with a mission from COSSAC's staff which was called to the Mediterranean in order to coordinate the planned diversionary threat with the OVERLORD Plan.
2 This plan is contained in NAF 492. See also (1) Report by CinC Med. on Operation to assist OVERLORD dated 27 Nov. 43. (2) Agreement between COSSAC and CinC Med. dated 25 Nov.43 and set out in COSSAC 17101/Ops. of 5 Jan. 44; (3) COSSAC (44) 5, of 6 Jan. 44.
3 FAN 276 of November 1943.
4 CCS 398 of 3 Dec. 43 is a Memorandum by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff entitled "Specific operations for the defeat of Germany and her satellites". As none of the operations mentioned in this paper are an assault on southern France, it appears certain that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff at any rate did not plan on ANVIL as an actual assault until persuaded by Marshal Stalin.
CCS meetings, nor in the minutes of the Plenary Meetings between the President, the Prime Minister, and Marshal Stalin, the British and American leaders agreed to this Proposal.
C. Strategy and Logistics of 1944 Amphibious Operations
12. At the Cairo meeting in November 1943 with Chiang Kai Shek, the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff had envisaged an amphibious operation in Burma. The U. S. Navy had plans for a series of amphibious assaults in the Pacific. The British were very desirous of launching a series of amphibious landings in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Italian campaign required supporting amphibious lift for one, and preferably two divisions. The acceptance of Stalin's suggestion for an assault against southern France in May 1944 would require amphibious lift for at least two divisions in assault, and one follow-up. Finally, the CCS had promised Stalin to launch the OVERLORD operation in May, for which the allotted assault and follow-up lift made the spearhead precariously weak. For this heavy program of simultaneous amphibious operations in different war theaters, Britain and America would not possess in the first part of 1944 the required assault lift in amphibious and landing craft.
13. The British reaction was prompt. They would have preferred to have continued with their Mediterranean strategy, to have applied available resources in the eastern Mediterranean, and to have allotted OVERLORD only those resources remaining after the requirements in the Mediterranean had been met. They would accordingly have preferred an elastic date for OVERLORD, dependent on the time when OVERLORD could be conveniently built up to the strength required by COSSAC conditions. But the Teheran decisions having been taken, and the Allies having committed themselves to landings in France, in operations OVERLORD and ANVIL in May 1944, they believed that OVERLORD had become paramount and everything else secondary. The British therefore cancelled their eastern Mediterranean projects.1 The British also found it necessary to reduce their planned
1 (See 3rd Plenary SEXTANT Meeting of 4 December 1943.) The British, however, continued minor raids dressed up to look like real major operations, or preparations for real major operations as part of the deception plan to keep German forces pinned down in the Balkans.
operations (BUCCANEER) in the Indian Ocean to negligible proportions.1
14. While landing craft in the Pacific were too far away to be drawn on to strengthen OVERLORD, Admiral King arranged to allot all new production, between November and D-day, to OVERLORD and ANVIL, to accelerate production and to transfer many of the larger amphibious ships from the Pacific to the European Theater. By these expedients, and by a project to use some OVERLORD follow-up landing craft in the assault and some build-up shipping in the follow-up, the CCS managed, before leaving Cairo, to strengthen the OVERLORD assault by almost one division.2
15. The Italian campaign would require supporting assault lift for two divisions until Rome was captured. ANVIL would require lift for two divisions in assault and one to follow-up. If this was to come from the Italian allocation the vessels would have to be available sixty days in advance of ANVIL D-day, in order to allow time for the necessary amphibious training of the assault divisions and to permit the vessels to be re-fitted, repaired and loaded. This meant that, if Rome fell before 15th March assault, lift for three divisions would be required in the Mediterranean but, if it did not fall until after March 15, either ANVIL would have to be postponed or assault lift for five divisions would have to be provided.3
1 (See 3rd SEXTANT Planning Meeting of 4 Dec. 1943.) This raised strenuous objections on the part of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff who believed that the cancellations of this operation, promised to Chiang Kai Shek, would be still another blow to the Chinese, which might have the effect of causing China to drop out of the war. In their view prejudicing OVERLORD by not allotting more landing craft was more acceptable than the cancellation of BUCCANEER.
2 When COSSAC and ANCXF made a study of these proposed allocations they found that the additional allocations would not be of an adequate type to launch a fourth division in assault but that it could be best used as a floating reserve - such that the attack would still be launched on a three-divisional (5 RCT) front but with added strength afloat to follow in over the beaches immediately behind the leading rudiments and before the arrival of the follow-up divisions. (See ANCXF Report Vol. l, Appx. l.)
3 Rome did not fall in fact until the first week in June.
with OVERLORD scheduled, even on the three divisional basis, Britain and America did not possess sufficient assault lift to meet requirements for five divisions in the Mediterranean. At the Cairo conference, therefore, the CCS left the question on the following basis:
a. OVERLORD was to be augmented from a three division assault to a four division (minus) basis;
b. The Italian campaign was to be accelerated so as to capture Rome and release assault lift before 15 March;
c. ANVIL was to be scheduled roughly contemporaneously with OVERLORD and was to employ lift released from the Italian campaign;
d. The U.S. Navy was to provide the bulk of assault lift and supporting naval forces for ANVIL, while the Royal Navy would provide roughly three fourths of the assault lift and the bulk of supporting Naval forces for OVERLORD.1
16. In early December 1943, General Eisenhower was designated Supreme Commander and General Montgomery CinC 21st Army Group. General Eisenhower's cursory review of the COSSAC OVERLORD plan, had led him to consider that the plan provided for the assault being launched with insufficient initial strength. 2 General Montgomery similarly considered that the assaults had been planned on too narrow a front, with insufficient forces. It would therefore be necessary to extend the assault area both to introduce a greater number of formations on D-day and also to accelerate the capture of Cherbourg. 3 On reviewing the amount of assault lift already allotted to OVERLORD it appeared that the transfer to the Channel of half of that allotted to ANVIL would permit OVERLORD to be launched on a five divisional basis.4
1 CCS 428 Revised of 15 Dec. 43. See also 3rd SEXTANT Plenary meeting of 4 Dec.43.
2 A copy of the COSSAC plan had been sent to General Eisenhower in August and he had had a considerable opportunity to study it.
3 ANCXF report Vol. l, Appx. l.
17. When General Montgomery arrived in England in December 1943, he arranged for the revision of the OVERLORD Plan to provide for an assault by five divisions with a two division follow-up, rather than by three divisions. Without waiting formal CCS approval, or allocation of the additional shipping for the assault lift, the combined staffs in London undertook this revision of the plan on the assumption that half of the lift assigned to ANVIL would be made available for OVERLORD. This revision provided that one of the two added divisions would assault on the east flank with the object of seizing Ouistreham and the Caen canal. The other would assault on the west flank at the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula with the object of accelerating the capture of Cherbourg. Even if one half the ANVIL lift were available to OVERLORD, the five-divisional lift could not be provided without reducing the number of vehicles per division from the COSSAC figure of 3,200 to 2,500 and without reducing the number of landing craft allotted for gun support.
18. From the U.S. Naval point of view the net effect of General Montgomery's action was as follows:
a. By abandoning the Burma campaign and by transferring amphibious responsibility for the Mediterranean to the U.S. Navy, the Royal Navy had been able to scrape together assault lift for almost one additional division;
b. As the Royal Navy did not have resources to fill out the fourth assault force, or to provide the fifth one, new naval assault forces would therefore have to be provided by the United States Navy;
c. The United States Navy would be able to supply assault lift for the additional assault force only if ANVIL were cancelled; but the U.S. Navy was not prepared to assign to OVERLORD those forces which were committed to ANVIL unless and until ANVIL was officially cancelled or postponed.
d. By drawing on fire support craft to provide lift, the bombardment effort would be unacceptably weakened at the same time that requirements were being increased and hence the additional vessels (destroyers, cruisers, battleships, etc.,) would be required which the Royal Navy could not provide, and which the U.S. Navy would have available only if ANVIL were cancelled.
19. Despite the fact that this revised planning, on a five divisional basis, made it necessary to rely on resources which were not then available, the three British Commanders in Chief began planning on this basis on 14 January and the initial Joint Plan was issued on 1 February.
D. 1944 Modifications of OVERLORD and ANVIL Plans: December 1943--March 1944
20. The President and the Prime Minister, after the SEXTANT and EUREKA Conference, (Cairo-Teheran, November - December 1943), had approved the outline plan for both the OVERLORD and ANVIL operations. The preliminary examination which General Eisenhower had made of the COSSAC and OVERLORD plans, with General Montgomery, had convinced both of them that it would be necessary to increase the strength of the initial assault on the Normandy beaches, even it this involved the abandonment, or postponement, of the ANVIL operation.
21. When General Eisenhower reached London in January 1944, to assume the functions and responsibilities of the Supreme Commander, he was immediately confronted with difficult problems of both strategy and policy, involved in the proposed modifications of the OVERLORD and ANVIL plans. General Eisenhower had conferred with the American Chiefs of Staff and the President in Washington in December, and with the British Chiefs of Staff and the Prime Minister in London in the middle of January. It had been agreed that the formal OVERLORD directive would not be issued until he had had the opportunity of reviewing the whole strategic situation, and of submitting his own recommendations to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. In this review of the OVERLORD and ANVIL projects he had to take into account the policy commitments which had been made by the American and British authorities at the Cairo and Teheran conferences. The President, the Prime Minister, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, had made commitments to Russia, both for the beginning of the OVERLORD cross-channel operations in May 1944, and for the simultaneous launching of the landings on the French Mediterranean coast, as outlined in the ANVIL plan. Both the President and the American Chiefs of Staff desired that these commitments should be fulfilled if possible.
General Marshall, moreover, attached particular importance to ANVIL, in order to bring into action in the Mediterranean U.S. and French troops who could not be transported to England, and who would be relatively inactive if ANVIL were abandoned or postponed.
22. Both the American and British leaders shared General Eisenhower's conviction that the OVERLORD operation would mark the crisis of the European War. It was the major combined American-British operation which could not fail. Everything must be done, at whatever risk in other theaters, to make this attack the decisive assault on the European fortress of the Axis. General Eisenhower felt, moreover, that if the OVERLORD attack was made, with the limited strength originally envisaged in the COSSAC plan, the Allies would be working on a very narrow margin of strength. It seemed essential to increase the prospects of success, both by extending the area of assault, and by using an initial force of five (5) rather than three (3) divisions, in order to obtain quickly an adequate bridgehead which would permit the allies to retain the initiative for subsequent operations. The main factor in any such modification of the original COSSAC plan was the availability of landing craft for the assault lift. General Eisenhower agreed with the COSSAC view that, if adequate shipping were not available, any additional craft which might be obtained for OVERLORD, above the requirements for the three divisional landing, should be used as a floating reserve to strengthen the assault on the three beaches.
23. The reallocation of available shipping and landing craft in the European and Mediterranean theaters, therefore involved the decisions as to the extent to which the assault lift of ANVIL should be reduced to permit strengthening the OVERLORD assault. General Eisenhower considered that the southern France landings, simultaneously with the Normandy attack, would be an important contribution to the success of the OVERLORD assault. The mere threat of such landings in the south would only contain briefly, if at all, enemy forces in southern France, which might otherwise reinforce the enemy strength in the North. Moreover, American forces in the Mediterranean, and French armies stationed in North Africa, or serving in Italy, were adequate for the ANVIL operation. Such an operation would increase the cooperation to be received from French resistance Groups in breaking up enemy strength and the cohesion of enemy forces in France.
24. ANVIL and OVERLORD therefore had to be considered as two parts of one coordinated operation designed to drive the German armies back to the Rhine. The ideal would be to have a simultaneous five-division OVERLORD, and a three-division ANVIL attack. If, however, available ships and landing craft were insufficient for both operations to be conducted simultaneously, General Eisenhower felt that the five-division OVERLORD assault should have first priority in the allocation of the available lift, even though this would have the result of reducing the Mediterranean resources to a one-division assault basis. This would, in fact, make ANVIL only a threat until its execution could be justified, either by the allocation of increased shipping to the Mediterranean, or by enemy weakness following the OVERLORD attack.
25. Another possibility of increasing the initial assault forces might be envisaged by the postponement of the OVERLORD target date. While an attack on 1 May would be preferable, as it would give a longer campaign season, a months postponement was acceptable especially as it would permit a longer time for preparation of air operations and would make available an extra months production of landing craft.1 Both the British and the American Chiefs of Staff had indicated to General Eisenhower their willingness to consider delaying the operation for a month. They also agreed that the OVERLORD operation should have over-riding priority in the allocation of assault forces and assault lift. The British, however, felt that although the ANVIL operation would be significant in contributing to the success of OVERLORD, it would be unwise to undertake it unless the assault could be made in sufficient strength, which they defined as not less than two divisions. Otherwise the British would prefer to maintain the threat of amphibious operations in southern France, while continuing offensive operations in Italy.2
1 CCS 465/1 of 24 January 1944.
2 CCS 465/2 of 26 January 1944.
The American Chiefs of Staff, on the other hand preferred to concentrate whatever forces were available in the Mediterranean for the ANVIL operation, even though this might involve complete postponement of any operation in the eastern Mediterranean and a reduction of the strength available for the continuation of operations in Italy.
26. General Marshall therefore recommended:
a. a target date for OVERLORD of not later than 31 May;
b. an ANVIL landing with a two-division assault;
c. the OVERLORD operation with the largest assault possible with remaining resources;1
d. operations in support of Turkey should be suspended, and the resources made available for OVERLORD, ANVIL, or operations in Italy;
e. the employment of these resources should be on the recommendation of SCAEF, who should also be given the authority to make reallocations of the resources of assault shipping between OVERLORD and ANVIL, after conferring with the Allied Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean.2
27. The British Chiefs of Staff, after considering the views of the American Chiefs of Staff and of General Eisenhower, recommended that the forces assigned to OVERLORD should be built up to the strength requested by the Supreme Commander, and that any remaining forces available should be left in the Mediterranean. As these forces would be inadequate for the ANVIL operation, the British felt the most profitable use which could be
1 It is a curious fact that when the agreed British-U.S. strategy was to exert maximum offensive effort in the Mediterranean, General Marshall invariably urged giving a priority to movements in England and allowing the Mediterranean only what remained of available resources. During the landings at Salerno, he even had seven divisions held in idleness in the Mediterranean for transfer to England. (See Chapter II, Section II, for references). But once the agreed British - U.S. strategy was OVERLORD, he urged providing ANVIL requirements, allowing OVERLORD only what was available from remaining resources.
2 CCS 465/3 of 31 January 1944.
made of the Mediterranean forces would be the continuation of the Allied offensive in Italy. The British pointed out that it had been believed at the time of the Teheran Conference that the Germans would withdraw to a line north of Rome but that later information indicated that the Germans intended to resist to the utmost the Allied advance in Italy. As a result the Allies had no choice but to prosecute the Italian campaign. It was greatly in their interest to do so, since the main object of the Mediterranean strategy was to prevent the Germans from sending reinforcements to France, and, if possible, to make the Germans draw forces from France before OVERLORD D-day. The distance between the ANVIL and OVERLORD areas was so great . . . nearly 500 miles . . . the country so rugged, and the defensive power of modern weapons so great that the "pincer" argument did not apply (that is, a "pincer" operation with simultaneous landings in Northern and Southern France.) As a result, ANVIL was not strategically interwoven with OVERLORD, except for its diversionary effect, which could be equally exerted from Italy or other points. The disadvantages of not putting French forces into Southern France were realized but the British believed that the bulk of the U.S., U.K., and French forces would probably be needed for the Italian campaign. The British believed that further consideration should be given to proposals for increasing French participation in Northern France.
28. In their proposals the British Chiefs of Staff agreed to the suspension of operations in support of Turkey, and in the Eastern Mediterranean. In order to get a maximum possibility of success from the offensives in France and Italy, the British made the following proposals:
a. The additional forces which were needed to build up OVERLORD to the strength required by the Supreme Commander, should be allotted immediately.
b. The Supreme Commander, Mediterranean, should be told that he would have an assault lift of at least one division and that ANVIL as presently planned was cancelled.
c. Further, he should be asked how he proposed to use his forces so as to contain the maximum number of German forces in his theater.
29. A difference of view also arose between the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff as to the extent of authority to be given to SCAEF to exercise over-all control of allocations of resources in assault shipping between OVERLORD and the Mediterranean. General Marshall still felt that the Supreme Commander should exercise at least a coordinating authority for operations to be carried out in Northwest Europe, and in the Mediterranean. The British, on the other hand, believed that this authority should be retained by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who alone were in a position to review constantly the situation in the various theaters of war, and to determine priorities for allocation of available resources to particular theaters.1
30. In the early part of February 1944, General Marshall and General Eisenhower exchanged messages concerning the OVERLORD and ANVIL operations. On 6 February 1944, General Eisenhower asked for General Marshall's personal views and repeated his own belief that an assault of five divisions constituted the minimum which would provide a really favorable chance of success. He hoped that this could be accomplished by 31 May without the sacrifice of a strong ANVIL. The experience in Italy had confirmed the necessity of a landing force strong enough to obtain a quick success, especially a quick seizure of ports. A factor to be considered, General Eisenhower thought, was that recent developments in Italy, the failure to advance to and beyond Rome, had created the possibility that forces from there could not be disentangled in time for a strong ANVIL. The Germans were fighting bitterly in Italy, and as long as that continued it would partly compensate for the absence of ANVIL.2
1 CC 465/4, 4 February 1944.
2 Eisenhower to Marshall, W10678, of 6 February 1944.
31. In his reply, General Marshall pointed out that the British and American chiefs of Staff seemed to have reversed themselves completely. The Americans were now "Mediterraneanites", while the British were strongly pro-OVERLORD. In the American view the OVERLORD operation was paramount, but General Eisenhower himself was the best judge of the basis on which the attack should be launched. General Eisenhower was, therefore, asked to indicate the additional landing craft which should be assigned to OVERLORD, taking into account the consequences for future operations in the Mediterranean of any transfers of assault lift to increase that available for OVERLORD.1
32. General Eisenhower then informed General Marshall that any offensive in the Mediterranean in the Spring of 1944 must be with all available forces. He felt, however, that a successful ANVIL would provide greater opportunity for the engagement of all Allied forces and would have an earlier effect upon the situation of the enemy in France than an intensified Italian campaign. General Eisenhower agreed that if the Allied aims in Italy could not be achieved soon, it was probable that the Allies would be committed to that battle with their whole Mediterranean forces. General Eisenhower then reviewed his own analysis of the OVERLORD plans and re-stated his own view, which was:
a. to postpone the OVERLORD date to 31 May, in order to get an extra month's production of landing craft and added time for air operations, and to retain the ANVIL operation;
b. the assault wave of OVERLORD must have five divisions heavily reinforced with armor;
c. there must be two months of heavy air preparations;
d. airborne troops must be used on D-day;
e. two reinforced divisions must be landed on the second tide of D-day;
f. there must be the strongest possible help from the Mediterranean;
g. during the first sixty days OVERLORD would take all of the resources which the United Nations could muster;
h. following that, the operation would be one in which the principal needs would be for land forces, cargo shipping and tactical air strength.2
1 Marshall to Eisenhower No. 78, 7 February 1944.
2 Eisenhower to Marshall, W-10786, 8 February 1944.
33. In view of the variety of complicated issues that had arisen over the discussion of the OVERLORD - ANVIL plans, the United States Chiefs of Staff proposed that these questions should be finally decided by General Eisenhower, as the representative of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, in conference with the British Chiefs of Staff. The British agreed, on condition that any disagreement be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 1 At this conference, General Eisenhower indicated that it would be possible to launch OVERLORD without the allocation of all of the ships and craft previously requested. He felt that a maximum effort must be made to mount ANVIL, because it would greatly aid the OVERLORD operation by diverting German divisions from the build-up against the OVERLORD lodgment, ANVIL would also open a way into France for the French and American divisions in the Mediterranean, so that they could aid in the decisive effort against Germany. General Eisenhower also made detailed recommendations for allocations between OVERLORD and ANVIL.2
34. In the discussion with General Eisenhower, the British Chiefs of Staff repeated their opinion that both OVERLORD and ANVIL forces, as envisaged in General Eisenhower's proposals, were being under-estimated. Moreover, they felt that the slow progress of the Italian campaign would make it necessary to increase support for this offensive, even though this involved the immediate cancellation of ANVIL.3 On the contrary, the American Chiefs of Staff were still of the view that ANVIL should be launched with a two-divisional lift by drawing upon all available combat and shipping resources in the Mediterranean, even though this involved cutting down reinforcements and assignment of assault lift for Italian operations. General Eisenhower was, therefore, requested to state these views to the British Chiefs of Staff, with the recommendation that plans for OVERLORD and ANVIL should be followed, at least until 1 April, then the situation might, if necessary, be reviewed.4
1 C.O.S. (W) 1139, 10 February 1944.
2 C.O.S. (W) 1157, 19 February 1944.
3 C.O.S. (W) 1156, 19 February 1944.
4 CCS 465/10, 21 February 1944.
35. The divergence of views which had developed in these discussions was brought to the attention of the President by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the 21st February, 1944. General Eisenhower was informed that this action was being taken and that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would support the Supreme Commanders' recommendations.1 The President was influenced by over-all policy considerations involved in view of the commitments made to the Russians at the Teheran meeting. They had strongly approved the ANVIL operation, and would naturally not understand its abandonment. The President therefore directed that Eisenhower be informed that ANVIL could not be abandoned without referring the question to the Third Power. In view of the existing military and political situation, the President felt that it would be inadvisable to refer to this Third Power the strategic divergences which had developed between U.S. and British staffs.2
36. General Eisenhower therefore met with the British Chiefs of Staff for a further conference on the 22 February 1944.3 It was agreed . . .
a. that the campaign in Italy should be given first priority on the Mediterranean resources until further orders;
b. that alternative plans should be made by the Allied Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean for amphibious operations which would aid the OVERLORD operation by containing the maximum number of enemy forces;
c. the first of these alternatives should be ANVIL, on about a two-divisional lift and ten-divisional scale, to be launched shortly after the OVERLORD operation; the maximum use of French troops should be given full consideration;
d. the Allied Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, should base these plans on the present allocation of landing craft with certain listed exceptions;
e. these arrangements should be reviewed on 24 March 1944 in the light of the then existing Italian situation;
1 JCS to SHAEF, 153, 21 February 1944. JCS to SHAEF, 151, 21 February 1944.
2 Mts. of Mtgs. between the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 21 February 1944.
3 ETOUSA to War, W-11674, 22 February 1944.
f. if ANVIL should not prove to be practical at that time on a two-divisional scale, landing craft above a one-divisional lift, which could be used for OVERLORD, should be withdrawn from the Mediterranean;
g. plans should then be revised on the basis of the lift remaining in the Mediterranean;
h. if these conclusions were approved by the President and the Prime Minister, they should be transmitted to General Eisenhower and to General H.M. Wilson.1
37. Both the President and the Prime Minister agreed to the conclusions reached at this conference between General Eisenhower and the British Chiefs of Staff.2
38. The situation in the Mediterranean was further reviewed by the Chiefs of Staff at the end of March. At that time the Italian campaign was still bogged down in the Monte Cassino area, the Anzio bridgehead was fighting an isolated battle, dependent for its support and safety on the Mediterranean's limited supply of amphibious lift. It was, therefore, obvious that, irrespective of NEPTUNE requirements, ANVIL could not be launched concurrently with OVERLORD. The CCS accordingly decided to postpone ANVIL and to allot to OVERLORD the assault lift released.
39. Admiral King set the wheels in motion at once. On March 20, he allotted the assault lift, and also the naval organization, forces, commanders and staff required to make up the 5th Assault Force. From 20 March to 31 May (the OVERLORD target D) was a period of 70 days, a short time for the task of moving the vessels to England, organizing them into an Assault Force, training the Naval and Army forces, and putting the vessels in the required state of readiness for D-day. Yet the job was done.3 With the postponement of the ANVIL operation, the additional assault lift required for the OVERLORD five-divisional assault became available. It also became possible to provide the required Naval covering and bombarding forces necessary to neutralize enemy coastal defenses on the more extended 8-RCT front. The final preparations for undertaking, the NEPTUNE assault phase of the OVERLORD operation could now be taken.3
1 C.O.S. (W) 1169, 23 February 1944.
2 C.C.S., 147th Meeting, Supp. Minutes, 25 February 1944.
3 ANCXF report, Vol. 1, Appendix 1.
AIR OPERATIONS IN RELATION TO OVERLORD
A. COSSAC Plan for Air Operations
1. In the COSSAC outline plan, it was proposed that, during the preliminary stage of OVERLORD, which must start forthwith, air action should be directed toward:
a. the reduction of German air forces on the Western Front;
b. the progressive destruction of the German economic system;
c. the undermining of German morale, and,
d. the disruption of German coastal defenses and lines of communication in and leading to the assault area so far as it would be possible to do so without revealing the intended point of assault.
2. When the COSSAC plan was produced, the strategic air forces had been engaged in a very similar program for some time. The COSSAC plan therefore required only a slight modification in overall objectives and in the priorities assigned to the list of targets. The objects and scale of the bomber offensive had passed through several stages of evolution, corresponding to the development in the general war situation. In the early days of 1941 and 1942, the primary object had been to compel the Germans to divert air strength from Russia, by inflicting heavy punishment on German war centers. The Germans would thus be led to move air forces from Russia to ward off Allied bombers in the period before January 1943.
3. The CCS, at the Casablanca Conference, reoriented the priority of targets of the bomber offensive and defined the primary objective as the progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial, and economic system, and the undermining of the morale of the German people to such a point that their capacity for armed resistance would be fatally weakened. The order of priority among primary objectives was established as follows:
a. German submarine construction yards;
b. the German aircraft industry;
c. German transportation;
d. oil plants, and,
e. other targets in the enemy's war industry.1
4. Prior to 1943 the size of the American air force in the United Kingdom was so limited by transatlantic shipping shortages that it played a minor role in the bomber offensive. But, by January 1943, substantial movements of U.S. air forces into England had been assured. The CCS accordingly decided to put the bomber offensive on a combined basis, under the overall supervision of the British Chief of Air Staff, who was to act in this matter as the agent of the CCS.
1 CCS 166/1/D of 21 January 1943. Other objectives of great importance either from the political or the military point of view, such as submarine bases on the Biscay coast or Berlin, were to be attacked. In connection with amphibious operations in the Mediterranean theater it might also be necessary to attack objectives in Northern Italy. There were other objectives of great, but fleeting importance, such as the German fleet. When the Allied armies re-entered the Continent, the allied Air Forces were to afford all possible support. In attacking objectives in occupied territories, the Allied Air forces were to conform to such instructions as might be issued from time to time for political reasons by the British Government through the British Chiefs of Staff.
[Manuscript's page numbering skips 122.]
B. Plans for Combined SICKLE-POINTBLANK Air Operations
5. At the end of April, the Commanding General of the 8th U.S.A.A.F. presented a plan for the progressive expansion in the employment of U.S. Air Forces, designed to match the cumulating arrival of bombers, and to function within the general framework of the agreed CCS plan for the combined bomber offensive.
6. Six systems, comprising seventy-six (76) precision targets, were selected as the objectives of the U.S. bomber offensive. These systems were:
a. submarine construction yards and bases;
b. the German aircraft industry;
c. the ball-bearings industry;
d. the oil industry;
e. the synthetic rubber and tires industry; and,
f. the manufacture of military transport vehicles.
7. Of these targets the Germans were most sensitive to, and had concentrated their principal defenses on:
a. aircraft factories;
b. submarine construction yards;
c. ball-bearings, and,
8. General Eaker's plan provided for the American and British bomber effort to be conducted as separate, but complementary, operations. The British bombers were very much more numerous, were capable of carrying much heavier bomb loads, and were fitted with special navigational devices which permitted them to bomb at night with a fair degree of accuracy. The U.S. bombers, which were equipped for pinpoint bombing of visual targets, and were very heavily armed for air combat, would follow up the British night effort with daylight raids with the dual object of destroying small targets and of engaging and destroying German fighter planes in the air. The Germans had realized the vulnerability
of their vital industries and were rapidly increasing their fighter plane strength. If this were not arrested quickly, it might have become impossible to carry out the destruction planned, or to create the conditions necessary for Cross-Channel operations. Daylight raids by American bombers would provoke reaction by the German day fighter air force. The formidable gun power of American bombers in air combat would contribute heavily to arresting this development by destroying first line German fighter in the air. Bombing of aircraft factories, it was hoped, would do the rest.
9. Considering the number of German fighter planes which could be concentrated to meet the bombers on penetration and withdrawal, it was believed that 300 heavy bombers constituted the minimum operating force capable of making deep daylight penetrations. In order to despatch 300 bombers on operations, it was necessary to maintain 800 in the theater.1
10. This plan for air operations was approved by the C.C.S. at the Trident conference in May 1943, at the time when tentative approval was given for detailed planning of OVERLORD.2 The Combined Bomber offensive, first known as operation SICKLE was later known as operation POINTBLANK. This plan of operations was divided into four phases, to correspond with the planned increase of American planes in the Theater. The depth of penetration, number of targets available, and the capacity of the bombing force would increase successively with each phase.
1 The general tactical plan of operations with a minimum force of bombers involved the following conception. First, a holding attack would be made with 50 bombers plus fighter escort to attract German fighter planes to certain areas and thus prevent them from massing on the main force. Second, the main striking force would consist of 200 bombers. Third, a covering force of 50 bombers with fighter escort would attack still another area and attract German fighter planes in order to divert them from the withdrawal of the main forces.
2 JCS 341 of 29 May 1943, JCS special meeting of 29 April 1943.
a. In the first phase, lasting until July 1943, 300 daylight bombers per raid would attack German fighter factories, repair depots, airdromes and submarine installations.
b. During the second phase, July - October 1943, some 400 heavy bombers would attack German fighter plane factories, making penetrations of 400 miles.
c. In the third phase, October 1943 - January 1944, German fighter strength would be kept depleted by 655 heavy bombers.
d. The fourth phase, beginning early in 1944, would employ a force of 2,702 heavy bombers. The entire force would be used to sustain the effort already produced and to pave the way for combined operations on the Continent of Europe.1
1 CCS 87th meeting of 18th May 43. The CCS also agreed that they would require a periodic analysis and review of the progress of the Bomber offensive (See CCS 211 of 11 May 43, and CCS 97th meeting of 4th June 43). An interesting side light is the policy adopted with regard to bombing of civilian populations in occupied territory. The British War cabinet wishes to limit the bombing of occupied countries to what could be accomplished without excessive danger to the civilian population. Their proposal was that by carefully selecting targets in occupied countries and by publishing lists of possible targets in advance for the information of civilians, the danger to allied peoples could be reduced without prejudicing the bomber offensives. German defenses would be kept spread out and effective bombing could not be diminished (USFOR to WAR of 23 April 43). The American chiefs of staff, however, believed that if this limitation were accepted it would mean the end of bombing occupied countries since strays were inevitable. In addition, if lists of possible targets were published, the Germans might strengthen the defenses of these targets, increase allied losses, and weaken allied effort. Hazards to the civilian population must be accepted as a direct consequence of their enslaved position. The complaints of these people were of secondary importance to the destruction of German operated factories. (JCS 34l, 29 May 1943). The CCS accordingly agreed that it was inadvisable to publish a list of intended targets in enemy occupied countries, and that the inherent military importance of the target should be the criterion of its selection (CCS 97th Mtg., 4 June 1943.).
C. Coordination of U.K. and Mediterranean Air Operations--1943
11. In October 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed to proposals for the building of a United States strategic bomber force in Italy. The advantages to be gained were that shuttle bombing between Italian and British bases could be started, German fighter plane strength would be dispersed, other targets could be reached, and better bombing weather could be expected in Southern Europe.1 (FAN 254, 22 October 1943.)
12. The first of a series of reports concerning the effects of the bomber offensive on the German war effort was issued in August 1943. It stated that all of the great industrial centers in the Rhur and Rhineland areas were devastated. This devastation led to a housing problem in the heavily bombed areas, and the problem of housing refugees elsewhere was very acute. The physical destruction of the productive capacity in Germany was considerable but effected only a small proportion of Germany's total industrial capacity. Few individual industries had suffered the loss of a critical number of factories. However, the reduction in steel output was believed to be having an effect on armament output. The greater part of the damage fell on industries producing or processing for other industries. This meant that there would be a time lag before the effect of the bomber offensive would be fully felt. Nevertheless, there would be an immediate effect on German plans because production prospects were becoming both more adverse and largely incalculable. The bombing offensive was also forcing Germany to adopt a defensive air strategy. It also made very heavy demands on German skilled manpower for radar and fighter defenses.2
1 CCS 124th Meeting of 22 October 1943.
2 JCS Memo for information No.113, 15 August 1943.
13. A second progress report on the combined bomber offensive, covering the period 4 February to 31 October 1943, indicated that conditions in Germany were resolving themselves into an increasingly acute conflict of priorities and a general deterioration in morale. It was difficult to estimate the overall effect in quantitative terms, but it was believed that a 10% reduction of the total German war potential had been achieved. It was estimated that nineteen of the towns of outstanding importance to the enemy's war economy had been virtually destroyed, nineteen more had been seriously damaged, and nine others had been damaged. The maintenance of morale was thought to be the greatest single problem facing German authorities.1
1 CCS 403 of 21 November 1943, and CCS 300/3 of 13 November 1943. The damage to housing, combined with the evacuation of certain areas, had resulted in what was believed to be the final saturation of all suitable accommodation in Germany.
D. OVERLORD Plan For the Air Offensive in 1944
14. This was the position of the air offensive when COSSAC presented his OVERLORD plan. Although the strength of the German air forces, which would be available in 1944 on the Western Front, could not be accurately forecast, it was clear that the Allies would have a vast numerical superiority in bomber forces. The comparable fighter situation, however, was uncertain. A definite and steady increase in the first line strength of the German fighter force was in progress. Although this increase was not expected to result in a situation in which the numbers of German fighters available would be equal to those at the disposal of the Allies, it might produce a local superiority in the area of operations. During the assault against the Continent and during the follow-up period, the Allied fighter forces would have a very large number of commitments which would entail wide dispersal of fighter forces and operations at maximum intensity. Allied fighters would also be operating under serious tactical disadvantages, particularly during the early stages, when they would be required to operate at extreme ranges. As a result, the Allied numerical superiority would be relatively dissipated, and the German air forces relatively concentrated.
15. Before the assault could take place against the Continent, therefore, it would be necessary to arrest the expansion and to reduce the effectiveness of the German air force, particularly that part of it which could be brought to bear against the Caen area. It would then be relatively easy to provide adequate air support for Allied land and sea forces. In view of the operations scheduled for the latter half of 1943, both in the Mediterranean, and by the Combined bomber offensive against the German air forces, it was not possible for COSSAC to estimate accurately, either the extent to which the effectiveness of the German air forces could be reduced by Allied air operations or the time required to complete such operations. It was clear, however, that an amphibious assault against the Caen area would require:
a. that the maximum number of enemy fighter forces should be contained in the Low Countries and Northwest Germany during the assault phase;
b. that the effectiveness of the German fighter defense organization in the Caen area should be reduced;
c. that the arrival of early enemy reinforcements from the Mediterranean and Russia should be prevented;
16. Above all, however, an over all reduction in the strength of the German fighter forces before the time of the surface assault was essential. The strategic bomber offensive then in progress was expected to retard the expansion of the German fighter force, and ultimately to reduce its strength, by destruction of aircraft factories. The main deterrent to the success of this long term policy was the existing first line strength of the German day fighter defense. Inflicting heavy casualties in a short space of time on German fighters would weaken the greatest obstacle to the reduction of enemy sources of production and the eventual depletion of the German fighter force by the bomber offensive.
17. The achievement of the necessary air situation prior to the assault stage of OVERLORD was therefore dependent on:
a. inflicting heavy casualties on the German fighter force by air battles brought about at an early date, in areas advantageous to the allies;
b. the long term bomber offensive against the sources of supply and production of first line units of the German Air Force;
c. the disorganization of the German Air Force and the destruction of enemy air field installations within fighter range of the Caen area; and
d. the disorganization of the main elements of the German fighter command organization in the Caen area.
18. CCS approval of the COSSAC plan included authorization for COSSAC to take the necessary preliminary measures to assure that the air offensive would be directed toward accomplishing these results.1 The Combined Bomber offensive was accordingly given an OVERLORD orientation and the program for air action from the west was established as follows:
1 CCS 304 of 10 Aug. 43 and Quadrant 2nd Citadel meeting of 23 Aug. 43. CCS 319/5 of 24 Aug. 43.
a. Long term bombing directed primarily at German sources of supply and production of aircraft, and particularly of fighter aircraft.
b. Employment of every available means to bring the German fighter air force to battle in areas not too disadvantageous to the allies.
c. Concurrently with, but without detriment to, the main effort of reducing the German Air force on the Western Front, the continuation of long term bombing, directed toward progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system and the undermining of the morale of the German people, to a point where their capacity or armed resistance would be fatally weakened.1
19. Although this new program did not progress as rapidly as was hoped, it did succeed in arresting the expansion of German fighter forces before the year was out.2 In December 1943, it was reported that as a result of successful attacks upon seven factories, German single-engine fighter plane production had been reduced by 40% below planned production. Attacks on factories and industrial areas had seriously affected German capacity for the manufacture of armaments, chiefly ball bearings, rubber, electrical equipment, vehicles, machine tools, steel, shipbuilding and heavy industry.3
20. In February it was decided to amend the directive for the combined bomber offensive by assigning an appropriate priority to Robot and Rocket Bomb (CROSSBOW) targets. In the modified directive the overall bomber mission remained the same. The primary objective was the German Air Force; first priority being given equally to the bombardment of the production centers of fighter airframes and of component parts, as well as of ball bearings. Second priority was given to installations which supported the German fighter air force. Other objectives listed were Robot Bomb and Rocket sites (CROSSBOW targets), Berlin and other industrial areas, and targets in south eastern Europe.4
1 CCS 309 of 15 Aug. 1943. CCS 319/5 of 22 Aug. 43 p.10.
2 CCS 300/3 of 15 Nov. 43 133rd meeting of 3 Dec. 43.
3 CCS 405/1 of 3 Dec. 43.
4 CCS 166/11, approved by CCS on 12 Feb. 44; FACS 8, 12 Feb. 44.
21. A report on the progress of the allied bomber offensive, dated 18 May 1944, made just prior to the invasion of France,1 indicated that a change in broad German strategy was unlikely before D-day. German production of aircraft had been further reduced. The acute shortage of parts and accessories had been further aggravated. More damage had been caused to factories for land armaments. Military traffic in France was not being appreciably hindered and the weight of dislocation, caused by the bombing of transportation facilities, was falling primarily on French civilian traffic. German civilian morale was low and apathetic. There was a steady weakening in the will to work, and signs of indiscipline and independence were appearing among the workers. However, it was not believed that a collapse of German resistance could be expected prior to the Allied invasion of the Continent.2
1 The report made on 15 February 1944 concerning the results of the combined bomber offensive was pessimistic (JIS 25/1, "Results Achieved by the Combined Bomber Offensive"). However, in March 1944 Maj.General B.M. Giles stated that the recent success in attacking primary objectives had so reduced the number of remaining approved targets that the operations of the strategic air forces in Europe were being seriously hampered (Maj.Gen. B.M. Giles, Memo for Secretariat, CCS, "Modification of the Revised Directive for the Combined Bomber Offensive," 10 March 1944.)
In May 1943 General Spaatz reported to General Arnold that the operations of the Eighth Air Force during the preceding four months had definitely resulted in a marked depletion of German air power. He reported that at a conference held on 6 May 1943 target priorities for the Eighth Air Force were fixed: (1) support of the battle in Italy; (2) targets of the combined bomber offensive; (3) railroad centers in Southern France; (4) targets in the Balkans (U 61850, 8 May 1944.)
2 JIC Memorandum for Information No.73 of 18 May. 44.
22. When COSSAC had produced the outline plan for OVERLORD in August 1943, the pre-eminent condition, which above all others was essential to the success of the assault, was that a major over all reduction in the strength of the first line German fighter air forces should be brought about before D-day. How well the bomber offensive succeeded in accomplishing this can be seen from the following figures:
a. First line fighter strength in Western Europe in June 1943 was 1,400 planes.
b. Their strength on D-day as forecast in January 1944 was 2,025 planes.
c. Strength on D-day as forecast in May 1944 was 825 planes.1
23. The successful development of the OVERLORD plan for air operations was conclusively demonstrated in June 1944. When the invasion came enemy air forces offered comparatively light resistance to the allied armada.2
1 These figures were taken from, (1) COSSAC plan Appx. K Annex 2. (2) Initial Joint Plan. Paragraphs 13, 14, 15 and 16 (3) ON 11 Appx. 4.
2 See Chapter VII Section 9.
OVERLORD COVER AND DECEPTION OPERATIONS
The text of this part of Chapter Two has been separately prepared and issued. For security reasons the detailed planning and conduct of these cover and deception operations remains highly classified.
From the time when plans for a cross-channel operation were first considered, the vital importance of concealing from the enemy any information as to the time and place of the assault on the Fortress of Europe had been recognized. It was also essential to the success of the attempt to establish a bridgehead in France that the enemy should be so deceived as to allied intentions as to disperse his available forces by committing them to defense of as many as possible of the European coastal areas that might be the target of allied amphibious operations.
Great success was in fact achieved by the allied High Command, both in concealing their own strategical and tactical plans and in misleading the enemy. The success of the Normandy landings is at least in part due to the OVERLORD program of Cover and Deception operations. The British services had developed the program and organization for such operations before the United States entered the war. The allied Combined Command exploited to the full from 1942 to 1945 the experience of this British organization.
In the months preceding D-Day the Germans were led to expect allied landings from the Mediterranean and in Scandinavia, as well as in the Channel. Even after the Allied bridgehead was established in Normandy, the German High Command failed to concentrate its reserves against this allied landing, as the major assault was still expected elsewhere. The story of these expert OVERLORD operations has been presented in this separate study.
A. COSSAC Cover Plan
1. The COSSAC Outline Plan had calculated the maximum enemy strength which the assault forces could normally expect to meet successfully in the early phases of the Normandy landings. If the OVERLORD operation was to have a reasonable prospect of success, German forces should not exceed:
a. on D-Day, not more than 3 German divisions should arrive; 1
b. on D plus 2, not more than two more, (total of five);
c. on D plus 8, not more than four more, (total of nine).
d. By D plus 8, the Germans would have had time to move all reserves stationed in France and the Low Countries into the Normandy battle, and they could be expected to do so unless deterred by allied action.
2. The COSSAC plan proposed the following courses of action to keep enemy forces in Normandy below these maximums:
a. An air attack designed to disrupt transport into the assault area, 2
b. Tactical diversions during and immediately after the assault designed to cause the Germans to postpone the despatch of nearby reinforcements until after the first critical days, 3 and
c. a cover plan designed to cause the Germans to delay the movement of a part of their strength in France to meet the assault even after the invasion had started.
1 One to stand guard at the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula and two to counter attack.
2 See Chapter 2 Section 6.
3 Naval diversions are discussed in Chap. VIII, Sect. 9.
3. COSSAC considered that two divisions could be tied down in the South of France by a threat of an invasion from the Mediterranean, and that one division could be detained in the Pas de Calais by the threat of an assault there. But he did not believe that OVERLORD could succeed if, on D-day the mobile reserves of the German army in France were larger than 12 full strength first line divisions, or if, before D plus 60 they could reinforce their strength in France by more than 15 additional divisions.
4. The cover plan (operation TORRENT) proposed by COSSAC was therefore designed to accomplish two objects:
a. To cause the Germans, during the months preceding the invasion, to make a faulty strategic disposition of their forces in Western Europe, by which their mobile reserves in France would be reduced to a level of 12 divisions or less, and,
b. to cause the Germans to leave a part of their strength in France immobile during the actual battle.1
5. If these objects were to be achieved, execution of the cover plan would have to be started before winter set in, as the Germans would use the winter months to carry out their major strategic disposition for the ensuing year. In August 1943, therefore, COSSAC recommended that the OVERLORD cover plan be set in motion without delay. But delay was unavoidable. A cover plan depends for its success on causing the enemy to believe a fictitious "story". During
1 The first draft of plan (TORRENT) as drawn up by COSSAC was simply intended to cause the enemy to believe that the Allied target area was Pas de Calais and the target date mid-July. As originally conceived TORRENT was not to attempt to carry the deception past D-day. But ETOUSA believed that the threat to the Pas de Calais could be maintained after D-day, and that even after the Allies had launched, a part at least of German forces north of the Seine could be deterred from moving into Normandy. Plan TORRENT was accordingly expanded to accomplish this result. The name was also changed to FORTITUDE SOUTH. FORTITUDE is discussed in more detail later in this Section, (See COSSAC (43) 28, of 20 Nov 43 entitled Appx. Y to OVERLORD Appreciation and Outline Plan.)
the years before the Quebec conference the allies had slowly brought the Germans to believe a "story" designed to tie down German forces in areas harmless to the Russian and Mediterranean fronts.1 One of the objectives sought had always been to induce the enemy to station strong forces in France. A considerable time was required to effect the transition from the former objective to the new one. As a sudden and radical change would only serve to put the enemy on guard, a skillful reorientation of the existing cover plan was required. The CCS directed COSSAC, and later SHAEF, to employ existing machinery and facilities, both for preparing and for executing the OVERLORD program of deception.2
1 Prior to the 1st September 1943 British and U.S. Cover Plans in the European Theater, known collectively as operation COCKADE, were designed with the object of containing the maximum enemy forces in Western Europe so as to ease the pressure on Russia. COCKADE had three parts:- (1) A threat to Norway (Operation TINDEL), (2) A threat to the Pas de Calais (Operation STARKIE), (3) A threat to Brest, the Brittany Peninsula and the Bay of Biscay (Operation WADHAM). It was clear, however, that if OVERLORD was to be executed, a drastically new cover plan was required which would cause the Germans to depart from the OVERLORD area rather than concentrate in France. It was also clear that if the cover plan were to succeed in deceiving the Germans the transition from the one "story" to the other should not be too abrupt. (See SHAEF/18209/Ops(B) of 3 June 44.)
2 CCS 169/3 of 5 March 1943.
B. British and Combined Organization for Cover and Deception Operations
6. This machinery for cover and deception operations dated back at least to the beginning of the European war. In 1939, the British Chiefs of Staff had designated a London Controlling Officer responsible for cover and deception plans and operations of all British services and governmental agencies. All proposed British cover plans were submitted via this officer to the British Chiefs of Staff and when plans were approved they were carried out by him. All over the world and in every echelon of command, the London Controlling Officer had established special groups of cover and deception specialists. These groups implemented the tasks which the London Controlling Officer assigned them. They also worked up, and implemented, special local cover plans. The London Controlling Officer, when requested, helped plan and implement theater cover plans.
7. When the U.S. entered the war, the CCS directed the London Controlling Officer to carry out the same tasks for both the British and the Americans and to continue to act under the direct supervision of the British Chiefs of staff. In the European theater the London Controlling Officer dealt generally with ETOUSA. No centralized U.S. authority was established until 1 January 1944, when a Special Plans Branch of the 1st U.S. Army Group was formed for coordination of the U.S. effort. This authority gradually absorbed the activities in this field of ETOUSA whose part gradually dwindled away to nothing.
8. Overall command of the OVERLORD aspects of cover and deception was exercised by SHAEF. For this purpose he organized a special branch of his staff known as SHAEF Ops "B" G-3. When the 1st U.S. Army Group became the 12th Army Group, A.E.F., the latter took over U.S. Army participation in cover and deception operations. In the British 21st Army Group, security, cover, and deception, were handled by a separate staff known as G (R). Later, in the 6th Army Group, security, cover, and deception, were the responsibility of the Advanced Tactical Echelon, known as "A Force". This was a purely American organization, a part of the U.S. 7th Army.
9. On the Naval side, cover and deception was managed in general by Admiralty (NID). For those aspects of the plan which were strictly related to OVERLORD, Admiralty and COMNAVEU supplied ANCXF with a special staff, which utilized the resources and facilities of Admiralty (and to some extent COMNAVEU) in developing and executing ANCXF's plans and orders.
C. OVERLORD Cover Plans: JAEL and BODYGUARD
10. OVERLORD cover plans passed through a large number of changes, developments and modifications. COSSAC's original proposals went little further than:
a. to mount a threat of a landing against the south of France, with a fictitious D-day approximately concurrent with OVERLORD D-day, and
b. to mount a threat against the Pas de Calais, with the same "D-day".
11. After OVERLORD was conditionally approved the London Controlling Section produced Plan JAEL 1 in August 1942. Plan JAEL was intended to lead the Germans to make faulty strategic dispositions with respect to all future operation of all the United Nations. Allied strategy for 1944 had not yet been agreed on, and it was not even unconditionally decided that OVERLORD should be executed. Moreover, the nature of future operations in the Mediterranean and in Russia were not known. Plan JAEL therefore, could be no more than a proposed outline plan.2
1 COS (43) 615 (O)
2 With respect to the cross channel and Southern France invasions plan JAEL proposed two stages of deception. (1) During Stage A, that period continuing to the moment when it would no longer be possible to conceal the allied invasion intentions, the London Controlling Officer, acting through normal channels, would develop threats against Scandinavia and Southern France, with the object of causing the Germans to retain and reinforce their forces there. (2) During Stage B, from the end of Stage A onward, cover and deception would be controlled by the Supreme Commander, utilizing as required the facilities of the London Controlling Officer. In this stage the object would be to conceal the strength, timing and assault area of intended operations.
11. After the EUREKA decision to launch OVERLORD, ANVIL and a Russian offensive in May of 1944, the London Controlling Officer was able to draw up a definite and comprehensive cover plan. This was called operation BODYGUARD. The object of BODYGUARD was to cause the enemy to make faulty strategic dispositions of his forces in relation to all United Nations operations against Germany as agreed at EUREKA, by leading him to so dispose his forces that they would cause a minimum of interference with operations OVERLORD, ANVIL and the Russian offensive. The stories which the Germans were intended to believe as a result of BODYGUARD operation, were comprehensive, closely interrelated and cleverly interwoven with fact.
a. Story A. Britain and America were holding forces in readiness to take advantage of any German weakening or withdrawal in any part of occupied Europe. If Germany withdrew, or even reduced, her forces at any point in Europe, the allies would immediately land and seize the weakened spot. This story had a basis of truth (Operation RANKIN) and had been true for a long time. But the allies did not have nearly so strong a force for RANKIN as BODYGUARD pretended. During the months just before D-day, neither shipping nor forces were available in the required quantity.
b. Story B. Britain and America were pinning their hopes on POINT BLANK, the bomber offensive. They were convinced that the war could be won by bombing alone. In any event, they believed that invasion of France would be impossible until bombing had proceeded much further than it had. Therefore, they were allotting available shipping space to the transport of air forces at the expense of ground forces.
c. Story C. Britain and America did not intend, and in fact were unable, to undertake cross-channel landings in France before mid July 1944.2 The German Army in France was estimated to be so strong, and the defenses so formidable, that the allies would not try to invade until they had assembled 50 divisions, nor until they had acquired landing vessels for the simultaneous lift of 12 divisions. The shipping priority, allotted to the transport of air forces, was moreover, delaying the movement of the requisite ground forces which could not arrive before mid-summer 1944, if by then.
d. Story D. Britain, America and Russia were preparing to attack northern Norway in May of 1944, with the immediate object of freeing the northern supply route. From the Anglo-American point of view, this required no radical change from the previous program of deception as operation TINDEL had developed and maintained the threat to Norway long before. The Russians' scheme of deception was even more realistic. They invaded Norway.2
e. Story E. After they had occupied Norway, Britain, America and Russia would enlist the cooperation of Sweden, who would particularly be requested to provide air bases in southern Sweden to supplement the Bomber offensive and to supply fields for air operations in support of an intended invasion of Denmark.
f. Story F. After having acquired the necessary air fields from Sweden, the allies would invade Denmark in the late summer of 1944. Plans and preparations were well in hand for this major effort. This would be the prelude to the main assault on Germany.
1 This story pretended at first that they did not intend to invade France at all, but as unmistakable signs of the approaching OVERLORD became more and more obvious it was only the date and target area which was concealed.
2 The British-U.S. part of the Norway threat was called FORTITUDE NORTH.
g. Story G. in the Mediterranean, Britain and America intended to launch an amphibious assault against Dalmatia; Britain intended to launch another against Greece; and the Russians would undertake a third assault against the Bulgarian or Roumanian coast. In connection with these Balkan adventures, the allies would endeavour to entice Turkey to enter the war on the allied side, in order to gain airfields for air support of scheduled operations and for the opening of the Dardanelles. The allies would also hold forces in readiness to give support to any of Germany's satellite or occupied nations which might be ready to abandon her. In Italy, the allies were preparing to launch amphibious attacks on the Northwest and Northeast coasts of Italy in order to turn the flank of the German armies in Italy. These various Mediterranean operations would together absorb all available Mediterranean assault lift, leaving none available for an attack on the south of France.
h. Story H. The Scandinavian and Balkan offensives together, with the forces held available for RANKIN, would absorb so large a proportion of available Anglo-American resources, that no major assault on France, either from the west or from the south, would be possible in the year 1944, and certainly not before mid-July.
i. b>Story I. The Mediterranean "story" was changed slightly, after the CCS decided to postpone ANVIL. The new "story" asked the Germans to believe that a strong amphibious assault of French and American forces was scheduled to land in southern France in mid-June, (8 days after the real OVERLORD D-day and 30 or more days before the bogus OVERLORD D-day.)
j. Story J. The Russian offensive would be continued through the winter and into the spring, until the ground became too soggy for operations. Thereafter they would pause, consolidate and regroup. Because of the weather which made the ground unsuitable for major offensive operations and because of the long time required to deploy for a new offensive, the Russian 1944 offensive was not scheduled to begin until the end of June.
13. It was intended to make this series of hypothetical operations sufficiently realistic to cause the Germans to disperse their forces in many different areas that might be threatened, such as Norway, the Balkans, southern France, and so on. The Germans might thus be led either to expect attack at wrong times, or not to expect an attack when one was imminent. The whole series of operation projects was presented so plausibly that inconsistencies which appeared from time to time were no more than what might have been expected, as allied plans varied or expanded. A whole series of reports, rumors and actual or simulated movements of forces had to be created to lead the Germans to believe these hypothetical versions of allied intentions. The first step was to provide the story tellers and to assign these their roles.
D. Outline of OVERLORD Deception Operations
14. The London Controlling Officer had previously established echelons of command in every area of the European and Mediterranean theaters, with special groups specially prepared plausibly to spread these versions of just such allied projects. When BODYGUARD was approved, it became necessary to guide the staffs of the theater commanders in producing the "story" they were required to "put over". The attached sketch indicates the allocations of responsibility for dissemination of the numerous subordinate deceptive operations and the development of each so as to serve a local purpose while at the same time contributing to the coordinated deception operation as a whole.
15. Many specific deception operations were envisaged to implement and develop the basic plans for misleading the Germans. Among these specific plans were a score which are briefly described below:
1. BODYGUARD was the overall cover plan developed in conjunction with OVERLORD and ANVIL and with all other United Nations operations scheduled for 1944 in Europe. It was designed to induce the enemy to so dispose his forces as to serve the strategic purposes of the allies, by dispersing as many divisions as possible in Northern Italy, in Southern Germany, in Southeast Europe and in Scandinavia. After the decision was made to postpone ANVIL, the plan was extended to include threats against S.W. Europe, to divert enemy divisions from the NEPTUNE area.
2. FORTITUDE was the broad plan of cover and deception operations in the Northwestern European area of Operations. Its objectives were:
a. to induce faulty strategic dispositions in N.W. Europe, before the NEPTUNE operation took place, by threats against Norway;
b. to deceive the enemy as to the target date and area of NEPTUNE;
c. to induce faulty tactical dispositions, during and after NEPTUNE, by threats against the Pas de Calais area.
3. ZEPPELIN was the broad plan of cover and deception operations in the Mediterranean Theater. SACMED was responsible for executing it.
4. ZEPPELIN STAGES 1, 2, 3, were threats against the Balkans, Adriatic Islands, and Northern Italy, in support of OVERLORD and ANVIL. They were to become effective early in 1944. (SACMED)
5. ZEPPELIN STAGE 4 was a threat against S.W. Europe generally, in addition to those directed against the Adriatic Islands, to become effective during NEPTUNE operations. (SACMED).
6. VENDETTA was a threat against Southern France from North Africa during NEPTUNE (SACMED).
7. IRONSIDE was the threat to the Bordeaux area during NEPTUNE.
8. FORTITUDE NORTH was the threat against Norway. It was designed to contain enemy forces in Scandinavia.
9. SKYE was a Military threat against the Narvik and Stavanger areas, implemented by a Fourth National Army training in Scotland.
10. GRAFFHAM was a diplomatic threat to reinforce FORTITUDE NORTH, with negotiations for Swedish airfields and transport facilities.
11. FORTITUDE SOUTH was the threat of a major invasion of the Pas de Calais area. It was to be effective during and after NEPTUNE in order to contain German Forces north of the Seine, during the critical first days of the landings in Normandy.
12. QUICKSILVER provided for a series of deceptions to be carried out, to implement FORTITUDE SOUTH.
13. BIGDRUM was a naval diversion in tactical support of NEPTUNE by development of a feint near the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula, to screen NEPTUNE movements from enemy Radar.
14. TAXABLE and GLIMMER were Naval diversions in tactical support of Operation NEPTUNE, the targets being Dieppe, Dunkirk and the Calais Area.
15. TITANIC I II III IV were airborne diversions in tactical support of Operation NEPTUNE, with dummy parachutists, supplemented by S.A.S. parties. Targets were the Boudeville area, the Trouville area, the Caen area and the Marigny area.
16. PARADISE was the dummy lighting of ports, beaches, and bridging operations on the English east coast in tactical support of NEPTUNE.
17. TROUTFLY was a diversion in tactical support of airborne elements in the Cotentin Peninsula.
18. COPPERHEAD was the pretended movement of General Montgomery to Algiers for a conference, executed Y minus 6,
19. ROYAL FLUSH was a Diplomatic plan, to provide for taking advantage of expected changes in Neutral attitudes after Operation NEPTUNE, by pressure upon Sweden, Spain and possibly Turkey.
E. Operations VENDETTA (and ZEPPELIN) in the Mediterranean (ANVIL)
16. Two sets of deceptive operations particularly affected OVERLORD. These were operation FORTITUDE and operation VENDETTA. When the CCS finally decided, in March 1944, not to launch an invasion of southern France (ANVIL) until NEPTUNE was firmly established, they ordered the Supreme Commander Mediterranean (SACMED) to mount a threat against Southern France. Before that time his cover plans, collectively known as ZEPPELIN, were designed to distract attention from southern France, rather than to call attention to it. SACMED ordered "A" force, the deception group attached to the U.S. 7th Army to mount this threat through operation VENDETTA, which coordinated with and formed a part of the ZEPPELIN collective plan.
17. VENDETTA was designed to substantiate the following story. The 6th Army Group, under the command of General Patch composed of the 7th U.S. Army and the French B Army, was preparing to assault the French Riviera in the neighbourhood of Cette and Narbonne on a target date of June 11 (NEPTUNE D plus 6).1 The deception was executed as follows. General Patch moved from Salerno in Italy to Mostagenem in Algeria. The 7th U.S. Army had no forces in it except for a National Corps Headquarters, shipped from the United States. The real U.S. 91st Division and the real 65th Puerto Rican Infantry Regiment, assigned to it, began amphibious training near Oran. The French B Army, under command of General de Lattre de Tassigny, was a real army composed of several real French and French Colonial divisions. This army carried out a considerable program of amphibious training under the impression that they were preparing for an actual invasion.
1 This date was selected so as to contain forces during the NEPTUNE critical period and also because the wind and moon were favorable on that date for a real invasion.
18. The activities of this presumed army were disseminated by the following means:
a. Bogus radio transmissions were organized over wireless networks specially established for the purpose and were combined with misleading manipulation of transmissions over real networks.
b. Various air fighter sweeps were made over the bogus target area.
c. Air and other reconnaissance was made of the bogus area.
d. Discreet display was made of training, mounting and other amphibious activity in the Oran area.1
e. Ships and landing vessels were specially displayed to indicate availability of assault shipping.
f. Special means (double agents).
19. As the bogus target date approached, all these means were reoriented to indicate that, while the operation was still scheduled, it had been postponed for 8 days. This postponing process was repeated as required. The results obtained through VENDETTA proved satisfactory. In the months preceding NEPTUNE, the Germans built up their strength in Southern France to 11 divisions, including 2 panzers. None were withdrawn before June 30 (NEPTUNE D plus 24). On July 28, (NEPTUNE D plus 52), all but two were still "tied down" in Southern France. Those two had been replaced by two others from Normandy, which were mauled but in fighting order. The German Army High Command retained these dispositions despite the fact that on June 16 the Chief of Foreign Navies Section, German Naval Staff, expressed the opinion that an enemy invasion of Southern France did not appear likely at that time, since there were very few ships in North African ports.2
1 Parts of the invading forces for Sicily and Italy were trained and mounted in and around Oran.
2 Report on German Naval War Effort Admiralty NID 24/T 65/45 p. 48.
F. Operation FORTITUDE (and TINDEL) (in relation to OVERLORD) in North Europe
20. The OVERLORD part of plan BODYGUARD was known as operation FORTITUDE.1 This was divided into two stages:
a. During stage A, in the period preceding the time when it would no longer be possible to conceal the allied intention of conducting an assault from southern England, the London Controlling Officer, acting through normal channels and in coordination with SHAEF, developed a threat against Scandinavia. This was FORTITUDE NORTH.
b. During stage B, after the allied intention to cross the channel from England had become apparent, SHAEF, utilizing as required the facilities of the London Controlling Officer, developed a threat against the Pas de Calais area, in order to conceal the target date, the real target area, and the strength of assaulting forces. This was FORTITUDE SOUTH.
21. In order to tie down German forces in Scandinavia, FORTITUDE NORTH was designed to indicate that the allies were preparing to assault Southern Norway, in the vicinity of Stavanger, on a target date of May 1st. The assault would be executed by one infantry division, supported by paratroops and commandos, and by one follow up division. This force, which would be built up, over a period of two months, to a total strength of six divisions, one of them mountain trained, would advance along the coast of Norway supported by the Navy and by carrier-borne aircraft. An additional Regimental Combat Team, with the associated Naval assault force, would be held in readiness to support the operation by flanking amphibious landings. Long range
1 FORTITUDE was originally known as MESSPOT.
fighter planes would be flown in as soon as airfields were captured.
22. When the assault forces had been firmly established in Southern Norway, the British and Americans would launch another assault on Northern Norway, in conjunction with a Russian advance from Finland. The initial objective of the Russian-British-American armies in northern Norway would be to open rail and road communication with Sweden. Once this was done, and allied positions in the north and south of Norway had been consolidated, an assault against Denmark would be launched. The airfields required for the attack on Denmark would be found in Sweden, who would be asked, through diplomatic channels, to permit this. (Operation GRAFFHAM).
23. After NEPTUNE was launched, FORTITUDE NORTH operations continued to lead the Germans to believe the allies would conduct the Norwegian offensive, as soon as assault lift was released from NEPTUNE, in the late summer of 1944. The ensuing assault on Denmark would be early in 1945. Even during NEPTUNE operations, the allies were in fact holding ample forces and lift to occupy Norway immediately if the Germans weakened their hold on it.
24. FORTITUDE NORTH was executed as follows:- The British General, Commanding in Chief Scottish Command, Sir Andrew Thorne, was made Commanding General of the mythical Fourth Army. The Fourth Army was to be composed of a mythical 2nd British Corps, a mythical 7th British Corps, and the real U.S. XV Corps, then stationed in Northern Ireland. The real British 3rd Infantry Division and the real Royal Navy Assault Force S, both of which were scheduled for NEPTUNE, were assembled and trained in the Moray Firth Area with headquarters at Inverness. The presence of this amphibious force in Scotland, formed the basis for the building up of the hypothesis that they were destined to assault Norway.
25. When this force began its migration at the beginning of April 1944 to its final assembly area in the vicinity of Portsmouth, (Operation DOWNSTREAM) this move was concealed. The mythical British 52nd Division was actually brought into existence, and moved into the Clyde area on 10 April. There it engaged in 41 days of intensive
amphibious training with the mythical Naval Assault Force - Force V. Force V, consisting of at least 38 non-existent Assault ships, was supposed to be training for a long sea voyage to be followed by an assault on a one-brigade front against a fjord type terrain, At the same time, the mythical 58th Division was also moved into the Clyde area and began training with the mythical Naval Assault Force W, a force containing at least 35 non-existent ships. This training was conducted with a view to a northern sea passage and an assault on a semi-RANKIN basis.
26. The means employed to disseminate reports of this pretended series of operations were:
a. Creation of special wireless networks for production of bogus "programs".
b. Manipulation of transmission and silences, on "real" wireless circuits.
c. Special means (double agents) and German "spies" sending back false stories.
d. Stimulated gossip in "informed circles" in foreign capitals and elsewhere.
e. Discreet "display" of activities.
f. Maneuvers of troops.
g. Construction of phony airfields, landing vessels, hards, and so on.
h. Movement of merchant shipping, assault vessels and combatant Naval ships in the Clyde and Scapa Flow and elsewhere in conformance with the story.
i. Careful control of security.
27. The results of FORTITUDE NORTH were good. On one occasion, German aircraft attacked one of the mythical headquarters in an air raid on Scotland. In April and May 1944, the Germans sent reinforcements in Denmark, although by October 1943, the Germans had already built up their strength in Norway to 12 divisions. On NEPTUNE D-day, there were still 12 divisions in Norway. By the
end of July 1944, three divisions were on their way southward, but in August there were still 8 divisions in Norway, a force which at certain stages of NEPTUNE would have been decisive.
28. The results of FORTITUDE NORTH (and of TINDEL previously) were also interesting from the Naval point of view. The heavy German fleet lay almost immobile in Norwegian waters (except for some ships, mostly damaged, in the Baltic) from the and of 1941 onwards. During this period, the allies transported their assault forces to North Africa, supported and built up their Mediterranean forces, brought many of them back to England from the Mediterranean, and launched the cross-channel operations. The German fleet during all this period remained idle in Norway. While surveillance of the heavy German surface vessels in this disposition absorbed a considerable allied force and involved great allied effort and loss in the Arctic convoy runs, the Germans could hardly have based their high seas fleet in an area more advantageous to the allies. By December 12th, 1941, Hitler had been persuaded that the menace of large British landings in Norway was so great and so imminent, that he ordered the concentration of all German battleships, Panzershiffe and supporting forces in Northern Waters.1 In November 1942, when allied forces were on the high seas converging on Africa, Hitler was so worried about the imminence of an invasion of Norway that he ordered a strengthening of land and sea forces there.2
29. When the Allied Expeditionary Force landed in Normandy in June 1944, the German heavy ships, with their supporting destroyers, remained inactive in the north. Even on D-day, Doenitz ordered the Northern and Baltic forces to be ready for action to repel the further landings (on Norway and Denmark) which he was convinced would be made.3 On the 10th of June, Hitler would not consider the removal of even one division from Norway, until the Navy had laid a barrage of mines off the Danish coast.4 By 8 August, the German Naval
1 Report on the German Naval War Effort NID 24/T 65/45 P. 20.
2 Ibid., P. 26. See also P. 28, Hitler worried about Norwegian invasion in January 1943.
3 Ibid., P. 46.
4 Ibid., P. 47 Hitler still wanted mines off Denmark, West France, Pas de Calais, and Holland (Normandy left out of the list) on June 11th.
Staff no longer regarded major allied operations against Norway as probable, but they still considered that Denmark was threatened.1 On August 31st, the Naval War Staff again ordered the strengthening of defenses of the east coast of Jutland and on the Danish Islands as they considered invasion imminent.2 On 25th September, Hitler ordered the movement of troops to defend the Ems area against expected attack. Doenitz thought a landing was more probable in Jutland and ordered Naval vessels up to the Bight, Skaggerak and Norway.3
1 Ibid., P. 50.
2 Ibid., P. 52.
3 Ibid., P. 54.
G. Operation FORTITUDE SOUTH (in Relation to NEPTUNE) Pas de Calais Threat
30. FORTITUDE SOUTH, as a threat of landings in the Pas de Calais area, was executed by SHAEF, employing his three service C's in C for the purpose, 1 but utilizing the available facilities and assistance of the London Controlling Officer. The objective of FORTITUDE SOUTH was to contain the German 15th Army north of the Seine, before D-day and for as long a period thereafter as possible.2 This threat was so designed and implemented as to induce the Germans to retain the 15th Army immobile on the coast of Flanders during the first 15 to 20 critical days of the invasion.
31. FORTITUDE SOUTH was not set in motion until allied concentrations in southern England had clearly indicated the allied intention to launch a cross-channel invasion in strength. It was so implemented as to provide evidence that the allies were intending to launch the main cross-Channel assault with an available force of 50 Divisions, against the Pas de Calais in mid July. This attack was supposed to be made with 6 Divisions in assault, four of which would land in the Boulogne area just south of Cap Gris Nez, while two would land North of Gris Nez in the area between Calais and Ostende. The follow-up and immediate build-up would consist of an additional 6 Divisions. The allied objective, during the first phase of such an operation, would be to establish and consolidate a bridgehead in Flanders from which to capture both the major port of Antwerp and the communication center of Brussels. They would then be able to advance eastward on a wide front to envelop and capture the Ruhr, as a step towards the final objective of occupying Germany.
1 SHAEF/18216/Ops. of 14 Feb. 44.
2 It will be seen in Chapter IV, Section 1, that the German land forces in France and the low countries were divided into four armies; the 15th holding the coast from the area of the Seine northward, the 7th holding the Normandy and Brittany area from the Seine to the Loire, the first army held the Biscay coast from the Loire to the Spanish frontier, and the 19th army held the Mediterranean coast of France.
32. Following NEPTUNE D-day, FORTITUDE SOUTH story was recast. The Normandy landings were presented as a diversion in strength, to draw German forces away from the Pas de Calais sector in order to weaken coastal defenses in this sector in preparation for the main assault, scheduled for mid-July, by which the allies would open the way for their major thrust against Antwerp, the Ruhr and Germany. The Germans were thus to be led to believe that any transfer of forces from the Pas de Calais would be a signal for an irresistible allied force to burst through Belgium straight into Germany.
33. The detailed outline of this mythical assault, outlined by FORTITUDE SOUTH, included the creation of a series of presumed allied dispositions. General Eisenhower, as Supreme Commander, was to have under his command two distinct army Groups:
a. The first U.S. Army Group (FUSAG), and
b. The British-Canadian 21st Army Group under General Montgomery.
During the period of the Normandy assault, American Forces were transferred to the 21st Army Group under Montgomery. When the strength in France had been built up to almost two army groups, General Bradley was to take over command of the American Army Group, while Montgomery continued to command the British-Canadian Army Group. The American Forces were stationed in South West England, from Poole Westward. The British end Canadian Forces were stationed in South East England, from Poole Eastward. The entire assault was to be launched against the Caen Beaches, Americans on the West, British on the East.
34. FORTITUDE SOUTH presented an alternative hypothesis of the allied Combined Order of Battle. SHAEF was made to appear to command two Army Groups: 1st U.S. Army Group (FUSAG) under command of General Patton, and the British 21st Army Group under Montgomery. FUSAG was fictitiously located in Eastern England, to be composed of the 3rd U.S. Army and the 1st Canadian Army.1 FUSAG was to be made to appear in training, in conjunction with the fictitious Northern Naval Task force,
1 Both real entities but stationed elsewhere.
composed of three fictitious Naval Assault Forces, F, M and N, based at Devon, Harwich and Yarmouth. These Task Forces would be supported and defended by elements of the British Home Fleet stationed in Scapa Flow.1 Further evidence would show that fictitious and real air forces were also to be assigned on the projected operation.2
35. FUSAG, the Naval Assault Forces and associated air forces gave every appearance of being activated slowly. While they appeared to be gradually assembling in Eastern England, there were indications of other preparations, such as the widening of roads, the building and reconditioning of airfields, the organization of landing vessel hards and berths, and the assembling of Naval Assault Forces, was progressing steadily but slowly and on a large scale. Amphibious training was proceeding, which, by the end of May, had only reached an elementary stage. By standards of ordinary allied procedure, this training had reached a stage which would be normal in a period about 45 days before an assault. Beach reconnaissance was being carried out by men in light boats off the Pas de Calais area, from which one of the reconnaissance parties unfortunately did not return. Preparations were also being made to land and assemble FUSAG and the Naval Assault forces in the Thames estuary and northward.
36. The other half of SHAEF's forces, for those FORTITUDE hypothetical operations, was the British 21st Army Group under General Montgomery, located in the Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight area and eastward. This force consisted of the real 21st Army Group, the real NEPTUNE Eastern Naval Task force and the real British Air Forces. These real forces, however, were to appear to be preparing for an assault of great depth against two narrow beaches (such as are to be found only near Boulogne). Other evidence showed that these forces were preparing convoy channels eastward and that they were to be joined by units of the Home Fleet, come down from Scapa via the east coast of England. By the end of May they also were presenting evidence of being in a very elementary form of training, such as would normally be expected some 45 days before an assault.
1 These in fact were scheduled to stand guard in Scapa against movement by the German High Seas Fleet.
2 The real ones executed a massive diversionary attack on the evening of NEPTUNE D-day to deter movement of German fighter aircraft from the Pas de Calais.
37. It had been intended originally to maintain this threat against Pas de Calais only until D plus 20. The Germans continued however to believe that the threat was real by leaving the 15th Army immobile. The FORTITUDE SOUTH operation was therefore continued until July 25th, when the breakthrough of the First American Army at St. Lo forced the Germans to change their dispositions. When General Bradley established his American Army Group in Normandy, it had been given the new name of "12th Army Group." The fictitious U.S. Army Group in Eastern England continued to be designated as First U.S. Army Group. When General Patton, with his third U.S. Army sprang from nowhere out of the Cherbourg Peninsula, a new commander for the fictitious FUSAG was required. General McNair performed this duty until his death. General De Witt was then flown over from the United States to take "command".
38. The following are some of the means employed to give appearance of reality to this simulated threat in order to lead the enemy to believe that such operations were imminent:
a. Battle headquarters were discreetly displayed as being in course of construction at Dover, by what appeared to be tunneling, by the erecting and testing of dummy wireless, stations, etc., (QUICKSILVER V);
b. FUSAG command organization and order of Battle was established by constructing with theoretical wireless nets, and headquarters closely approximating what would be required for an Army Group such as FUSAG (QUICKSILVER II);
c. Dummy air fields were built in South Eastern England with dummy aircraft displayed in them, while as large a proportion of real NEPTUNE aircraft, as was permissible without prejudicing the real operation, were based in south east England, along with reserve aircraft, particularly of the American type. Training in air sea rescue and flying was done in the south east. Air sweeps, air reconnaissance and bogus air force radio emission also pointed the threat to the Pas de Calais;
d. Dummy landing craft (Big Bobs) of various types were displayed in the Thames, Harwich, Nore and Dover areas, while dummy landing craft berths and "hards" were being built in the Thames estuary, dummy lighting was being discreetly displayed. The adjacent roads were being widened and marked with special signs and markers;
e. Concurrently, the training activities of the U.S. NEPTUNE forces in Western England were being concealed by a rigorous combination of security, camouflage and deception;
f. Double agents, gossip in informed circles, and similar means were also used.
39. The objective and methods of this operation would obviously have been betrayed, if the closest secrecy had not been preserved. To accomplish this the following measures were adopted:
a. On February 9th 1944, civil travel to Ireland was prohibited, to prevent leakages through that fertile German observation post;
b. On April 1st, the British Government placed a ban on all civilian visits to and from a band 10 miles wide extending along the entire British South and Southeast Coast from the Wash to the Bristol Channel and from Arbroath to Dunbar in Scotland;
c. On April 17, the British government banned the movements of friendly diplomats to and from England and deprived them of their diplomatic immunity of sending and receiving sealed courier pouches, a restriction which was continued after D-day until June 19 in order to permit the prolongation of FORTITUDE SOUTH, by convincing the Germans that Normandy was not the only intended assault area;
d. On May 25th SCAEF imposed an artificial delay of 10 days in the transmission of all U.S. personal mail so as to create the impression, when troops sailed, that the back log of mail then released came from troops standing by, ready for the Pas de Calais assault;
e. SHAEF also suspended all personal trans-Atlantic telephone, radio and telegraph traffic;
f. A careful censorship of all mail and other correspondence - personal and otherwise - was maintained.
H. Organization of Radio Deception Operations
40. The Germans were known to be listening in on a great many, if not all, allied radio transmissions in order to obtain information which would permit them to infer the real intentions of the allies. The fact that such radio monitoring existed made possible indirect confirmation of the diversion operations. If these allied radio transmissions had not been carefully controlled the whole secret of the simulated operations would have been disclosed. Therefore elaborate measures of radio security were taken to mislead the enemy monitoring services. Otherwise they could have inferred from the volume and character of allied radio traffic, the nature, composition, magnitude and state of readiness of operations being prepared. The effort was therefore made to withhold from him, so far as this was possible, radio evidence which would reveal the approximate invasion date and target area.
41. Standard precautions were therefore taken to preserve security of radio communications. The security value of codes and cyphers used prior to sailing, and of those selected for use during the operation, were carefully studied. Low grade and doubtful codes were limited to unimportant traffic, and proper coding procedures were enforced. The "BIGOT" Procedure of handling traffic, which previous operations had proved to be a successful means of limiting the number of persons handling highly secret traffic to the essential minimum, was adopted and enforced. The correct use of radio call signs and procedure was enforced. All allied radio circuits were constantly monitored. Breaches in procedure and security were noted end corrected, and, when necessary, steps were taken to cover up breaks which had been made. Other security measures were also adopted in order to arrange such combinations of real and bogus traffic as would prevent the enemy monitoring services from making accurate inferences. All forces were required to adopt practically identical wireless organizations, and to observe identical procedure. During the training period standardized exercise call sign books, with similar sets of call signs in every force were put into effect. Ships and authorities, working and guarding several circuits, used different call signs on different frequencies, in order to make it impossible for enemy Y, either to identify allied ships and forces, to associate ships with commands, or to learn of later additions of ships and forces.
42. It was anticipated:
a. that radio channels of long standing, such as those between the U.K., and the U.S., those between the U.K. and the Mediterranean, those used by the Home Commands, and those used for merchant shipping, would be called upon to carry a substantially heavier load during the period of preparation;
b. that the character of NEPTUNE traffic would be markedly different from normal traffic as to precedence, security, length, time of transmission, date time groups, crypto channels, etc.;
c. that the character and source of this traffic would alter during the different stages of preparations.
43. It was also necessary to open up certain new radio channels, shortly prior to D-day, to transmit distinctive types of traffic. To prevent the enemy from guessing allied activities, from those new radio channels, transmissions had to be begun long before they were actually needed, and padded with dummy traffic well in advance. All anticipated traffic peculiarities were inserted in these dummy programmes, so that the enemy would not be put on guard, by the sudden appearance of new channels, or by the sudden introduction of unprecedented types of traffic. Special attention was given to those "Fox" broadcasts, designed solely for use during the operation, which were opened up for the first time during the final exercises. Since the enemy would certainly have associated the intention of each broadcasts with the beginning of the exercise, transmissions on them had to be continuously maintained with dummy traffic, after the final exercises to prevent accurate anticipation of the actual beginning of the operation by observation that these broadcasts were being resumed.
44. The numerous transmitters of the forces had to be opened up for purposes of tuning and exercises on the frequencies intended for operational use. If this had been attempted on the eve of the operation it would have been possible for the enemy to learn the allied frequency plan and to prepare radio jamming of allied circuits.
To forestall this, every exercise and tuning test was preceded and followed, at irregular intervals, by exactly similar emissions originated in the same area on different frequencies. The cover plan was intended to mislead the enemy by transmitting bogus radio traffic which would cause his Y (monitoring) services to surmise that the intended target area was at a different location from that actually planned, and would thus lead the enemy to believe that the invasion date would not and could not occur until 15 to 30 days after the planned date. Special radio preparations were therefore required.
45. It was necessary, first of all, to determine what sort of bogus radio traffic to transmit. This was done by examining the radio logs and by monitoring the circuits of the allied Armies, Navies and Air Forces while they were in the process of preparing for large scale amphibious operations, especially during exercise. In this way it was possible to know just what enemy Y heard, when it monitored the radio transmission of large amphibious forces in the process of assembling, organizing, training, sailing and assaulting. Several mobile radio teams were then created, which, in conjunction with existing radio establishments ashore and on ships not involved in the operation, originated a "program" of controlled transmissions. Real radio traffic was so manipulated, and bogus traffic was so transmitted, that enemy Y services monitoring allied radio transmissions, would draw false conclusions as to allied activities.
46. Transmitters belonging to the Naval Commands at Cleethorpes and Nore on the east coast of England, were used on the special NEPTUNE broadcasts up until D-day. Dummy traffic was transmitted by a merchant ships' shore radio station, in Eastern England, paralleling transmissions of the Niton Broadcast on the Isle of Wight, which was the one actually used for merchant ships during the operation. A completely dummy "FOX" broadcast was begun from Eastern England for radio traffic parallel to that sent on the real command broadcast. The radio side of all exercises carried out by the actual assault forces along the south coast of England were reproduced along the east coast in order to lead the enemy Y to believe that concentrations of forces along the south coast were matched by similar groupings of forces along the east coast, which might be intended to meet off the south east corner of England for a concerted attack in the vicinity of Ostend-Calais-Dieppe. Troops and ships were moved about on the east coast to give visual corroboration for observation by enemy air reconnaissance.
47. The radio traffic emitted during exercise FABIUS, the culminating exercise prior to D-day, were so controlled that the total radio effect sounded like a large number of rather elementary uncoordinated exercises. After FABIUS all forces were put on strict radio silence, while special radio teams, adopting the call signs and frequencies of the forces, put out radio programs in imitation of transmissions being made by amphibious forces in a comparatively elementary stage of development and training. Enemy Y, which in the preceding two years had listened to the organization and training of at least five amphibious operations, were expected to infer that available forces were in a comparatively early stage of preparation. This artificial traffic was continued after the forces had sailed, to give the impression to the enemy Y that the major portion of allied forces were still in harbor on D-day.
I. Results of Cover and Deception Operations
48. The results of FORTITUDE SOUTH were gratifying. When the Allied armada appeared off the Normandy coast, complete tactical surprise was in fact achieved. The Germans seemed completely unaware that the long-heralded invasion was actually beginning. The German 15th Army, consisting of some 24 Divisions, including 3 Panzers, 2 Paratroop, and 5 or 6 mobile reserves, remained immobile to meet what was apparently expected to be the main Allied assault in the Pas de Calais, north of the Seine, until 25 July (D plus 49), when the first Division moved westward. The German C-in-C West still estimated on 25 May, that the expected major Allied invasion was most likely in the area between Dunkirk and Dieppe. He reported that this invasion did not yet seem imminent.
49. The night before D-day, this German Commander revised his view by stating that, in view of the heavy enemy air raids on the French coast, the invasion might be imminent. The concentration of bombing, on cutting off the Channel Front from the Seine Front and from Normandy, might indicate that the enemy intended to land in Normandy. The next day, D-day, the German Naval staff commented that the Enemy had acted against all traditions and calculation by beginning the invasion in such unsuitable weather. Throughout the early invasion period, the German High Command continued to expect another major landing. On 12 June, Keitel and Jodl considered the situation very serious, but believed that the best German chance of victory would come from isolating the Normandy bridgehead, and from defeating other future Allied attempts at landing.1 On 25 June, C-in-C West still considered it dangerous to weaken the Pas de Calais garrison, as he believed the Anglo-American Army Group in South East England was still uncommitted. In fact, the Germans did not move a Division from the Pas de Calais to the Normandy front until 25 July.
1 See report on the German Naval War Effort Admiralty NID 24/T 65/45, P. 44, 46, 47, 48 and ff.) See also Appx. 1 to Informal Report of Special Plans Branch G3, 12 A.G. (Army document).
50. Another threat mounted by SCAEF but on a smaller scale was operation IRONSIDES. This was a threat of a landing in Britanny or in the Gironde by forces coming, from the United States, Great Britain and the Mediterranean. This threat, in conjunction with VENDETTA, may have been partly responsible for the German decision to establish a new army in southern France is 1943. Of the six divisions in the German First Army in the Biscay coast, not more than two moved up to Normandy to meet the assault.
51. The overall results of the OVERLORD cover and deception operations (BODYGUARD) may be summarized in the following table:
Number of German Divisions Deployed in Various Areas.
|1 Feb.||1 Mar.||1 Apr.||1 May.||1 Jun.||1 Jul.||1 Aug.|
|North of Seine||9||7||11||11||12||14||14||14||13|
List of References regarding Cover and Deception:
(1) Memo from JCS Joint Security Control to Director of First Command Class, General Staff School. 2 January 1946.
(2) SHAEF/18209/Ops (B) of 3 June 1944.
(3) SHAEF (44) 21 of 26 February 1944.
(4) SHAEF (44) 13 of 23 February 1944.
(5) COSSAC (44) 4 of 7 January 1944.
(6) COSSAC/00/6/3/l/Ops of 22 September 1943.
(7) G.H.Q. H.F. 5/00/358/l/G (O) of 25 January 1944.
(8) SHAEF/18205/Ops of 7 February 1944.
(9) COSSAC/2355/Ops of 9 December 1943.
(10) COSSAC/3140/11/Sec. of 18 December 1943.
(11) COSSAC/18210/Ops. of 27 January 1944.
(12) SHAEF 18201/4/Ops. of 9 February 1944.
(13) SHAEF (44) 13 of 13 February 1944.
(14) SHAEF/18216/Ops. of 23 February 1944.
(15) SHAEF/18216/1/Ops. of 10 March 1944.
(16) NJC/00/261/33 and SHAEF/24132/4/SM of 6 May 1944.
(17) SHAEF/18236/3/Ops. (B) 9 July 1944.
(18) JAEL Cover Plan C.O.S. (43) 615 (O) C.O.S. (43) 65(final).
(19) Appx. Y to C.O.S. (43) 416 (O) of 20 November 1943.
(20) CCS 230023 Z January 1944.
(21) COSSAC 18216/Ops. of 11 January 1944.
(22) Serials 2, 3 and 14 to NJP of 1 February 1944.
(23) ANCXF (US) Report on Naval Communications.
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[End of Chapter 2]