WWII Sideshows....

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 187
    (4/26/01 8:21:11 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All WWII Sideshows....
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ....the Italian campaign and the CBI theater.

    Did they contribute anything toward ending the war, or just tie down a bunch of enemy troops?

    Your opinions please.............?

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 131
    (4/26/01 9:27:30 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For cinematic reasons, I kind of like the CBI. It gave us an Errol Flynn that was banned in Britain for six years, plus Jeff Chandler's last picture.

    As for Italy, you might make a case that, besides providing two of the worst-handled beachhead operations in the War, what it tied down was a bunch of ALLIED troops. Did anybody happen to notice the the country is covered with mountains? Or that when and if you get to the top what you get to is -- more mountains? I wouldn't want to try it without elephants.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 190
    (4/26/01 4:00:33 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mountains and the Rapido River. As I recall it, we crossed that damn thing 9 times while going north!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 327
    (4/27/01 3:48:23 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Napoleon said there was only one way to invade the "boot of Italy", and that was through the "open top."

    Churchill NEVER wanted a cross channel invasion and ALWAYS wanted to get at the Balkans. Italy was as much Churchill's baby as Gallipoli in WWI. We just didn't have the stones to tell him NO WAY at the time, so Italy was a compromise. "Soft underbelly" my a**!

    The CBI tied down MOST of the Japanese army for the whole war, with in reality minimal expense as compared to other theaters. The Japanese army was fooling themselves with apparently successful offensives on the mainland even as late as '44 while all thos resources could have been better used in the defense of the home islands. Japs are starving on bypassed islands and the home islands are being starved and bombed while the Army is on the ATTACK in China...go figure.

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 178
    (4/27/01 5:06:50 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    PS -
    Japan coveted China above all things, since the turn of the 20th century. The Dutch East Indies were needed for oil and minerals, Indochina and Burma for rubber and lumber - but - China had the agriculture base and slave people to produce the foodstuffs the home islands needed. Even the conquest of Manchuria could not provide the food required by home islanders. It was a sticking point of pride with the Japanese that they could not conquer the Chinese mainland. Mao Se Tung once told a visiting American military observer that the Japanese attempt to subdue China was like "trying to fill a gallon jug with a pint of liquid". It is not mentioned too frequently, however, the Nationalist Chinese Army gave the Japanese a good drubbing in several divisional encounters, when they weren't busy fighting the communists!
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 196
    (4/27/01 7:41:23 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One thing invasion of Italy from the south did was to deny the Luftwaffe the use of airfields there. This allowed the B-24s from Africa an enemy-free corridor to the Romanian oil refineries (at least 'till they got there).

    Serindipitous to be sure.......otherwise Italy seems to have been a waste of time, equipment, and mostly, lives!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 330
    (4/27/01 7:58:42 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: CBI and Italy
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One thing that surprised me was the number of US Infantry Units still armed with 03 Springfields as late as '44 in Italy.

    Canfield has alot of photos of squads and platoons where only about 20% or so have Garands, all the rest have 03s or 03A3s.

    Some units even carried 03s when they hit the beach at Normandy! I always thought my Dad was "forgetful" when I brought home my DCM Garand and he said he had never SEEN one before. He trained with Springfields, and when his unit loaded the Liberty ship in the winter of 43-44 they had them with them. He was pulled out of line right before the ramp because "his teeth were in," so never left the states. His buddies were 2nd wave at Omaha, I might not be here if Dad had good teeth! He didn't know if they ever got Garands.

    He got transferred to a unit transporting and guarding German POWs around Ft. Bragg, then transferred into artillery, was training with a new towed 105 unit when the war ended. Went from the 03 to the carbine, said the carbine was a POS and that he couldn't hit a barn with the .45, so it was a good thing the POWs never ran.

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 4/29/01 9:27:35 pm

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 135
    (4/28/01 7:20:46 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del 03/M1
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The persistence of the 03 has surprised me, too. On the other hand, though, you could turn it around and be surprised by how many Garands we put into use, since no other nation in the War turned out a semi-automatic in numbers large enough to mean much.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 198
    (4/28/01 8:28:19 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Sicliy, then Italy....
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After the Germans were driven from Africa, it was pretty obvious that Sicily would be next.

    A group of Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve officers were sitting in a pub on night, discussing how to mislead the Germans to thinking it would be elsewhere. Obviously, the way to do it was to allow false information to fall into German hands that was absolutely convincing....but how?

    They came up with the idea of allowing the Germans to recover a body of an allied officer bearing documents that the next target would be someplace other than Sicily. The idea was that this officer was a high-level courier whose plane had crashed at sea, and that his body would wash up on a German occupied beach.

    They went to a top British pathologist, and he suggested that, if possible, they should obtain the body of somebody who died of pneumonia.....which leaves fluid in the victum's lungs that looks very much like drowning. He also suggested that the body be allowed to wash ashore in Spain......German spies were very active there, and there were no expert pathologists that could tell the difference between pneumonia and drowning.

    When they submitted the plan for approval, there was opposition on the grounds that if the Germans saw through the deception, it would pinpoint Sicily as the next invasion target. The plan made it all the way up to Churchill, who said, "Go ahead.....any damn fool knows it's going to be Sicily, anyway!"

    After searching the length and breadth of the British Isles, they finally found the body of a Welshman in his '30s who had recently died of pneumonia. They obtained permission to use the body by promising his father that he'd be serving his country, and would receive a "Christian burial".

    They then created the identity of "William Martin", Major, Royal Marine Corps. They enrolled him in the Army-Navy Club, made up identity cards, letters and a picture of his "fiance", theater ticket stubs, a receipt for an engagement ring, etc. as personal items.

    In a brief case that chained around the waist, they put some routine Top Secret documents, and a Most Secret document & personal letter from one British General to another, hinting that the next invasion would be Sardinia.

    "William Martin" was then packed in dry ice, and taken by submarine and released off the coast of Huelva, Spain (where the British knew that Spanish authorities were sympathetic to Germany). When the body washed ashore, the British "acted" very anxious to get the body turned over to them. Eventually it was, and examination of the briefcase showed that the documents had been open and resealed.

    As a result of this deception (aptly named "Operation Mincemeat"), the Germans moved a number of E-Boat squadrons and other units from Sicily to Sardina.

    After the war, Edwin Montague, one of the originators of the idea, wrote a book about it...."The Man Who Never Was". A movie with the same title was later made starring Clifton Webb.

    Today, if you should go to Huelva, Spain.....in a small British cemetary, you'll find the headstone. "William Martin" received his "Christian burial".

    Kdubya
    Moderator
    Posts: 187
    (4/28/01 1:55:08 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Sicliy, then Italy....
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks, "X" -
    Knew the story and saw the movie years ago, but never knew the ending. Glad to know the Welshman received his proper burial.
    Churchill was right - any damned fool could look at a map, see the distances and logistics involved, all the idle troops and equipment stacked up in Africa and figure there would be activity either in Sicily or the boot heel of Italy.
    Had an Uncle that flew in B-25's and B-26's out of Sicily after it was secured. Was there when Mt Aetna erupted and they had to fly the planes out or lose them. Was shot down twice, once landing behind enemy lines and spent a night in a slit trench to evade the German soldiers. Said he considered surrendering a few times just to get out of the trench! The Germans were evacuating, so he and the others made it to allied lines the next day, a little smelly, but none the worse for their ordeal. He had a bomber jacket that I have coveted all these years - 52 bombs painted on, with two of them either red or purple, I can't remember which. Guess his only Son ended up with it after my Uncle passed away - probably hocked it to support his drinking problem.
    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 141
    (4/28/01 4:12:29 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del William Martin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    X, you got it all right, but you don't get to leave out Gloria Grahame, the fictional fiancee who made it all come out OK. s/gloriagrahamefan

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 199
    (4/28/01 4:40:57 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: William Martin
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, and I left out Sean Connery too......he played the part of the German spy.

    obelix2
    Registered User
    Posts: 144
    (4/28/01 7:53:29 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Naw,
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That wasn't Sean Connery. The first time he turns up in public is The Longest Day, where he plays a Brit/Irish/Scottish soldier with misgivngs. s/REAL Gloria Grahame fan

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 379
    (5/3/01 8:20:11 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: WWII Sideshows....
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Has anybody EVER read or been told of any tank action in the CBI involving Japanese Tanks?

    They had them, and we used Stuarts and Lees quite extensively, but I never heard of any actual Jap use in combat.

    There were a few encountered usually dug in as pillboxes on a few of the islands we invaded, but...

    Do you think they got so spanked by the Soviets in '39 and '40 in Manchuria that they just gave up on their own armor? Zhukov did smack them around pretty badly when the Japs invaded with an Armored Division.

    That little known war that no one even knew about til recently was why Stalin KNEW the Japs would never attack again so got to shift all those battlehardened armored and infantry divisions to Stalingrad in '42. If Hitler had only known, he may not have been so aggressive in declaring war on the US, he always thought he could get the Japs to hit Russia, he didn't know they already had, and lost big. The Soviets kept the war a secret, and the Jap Army sure wasn't about to publicize a major defeat to the Japanese public, the Emperor, or the Navy, much less the world, on the eve of their "big grab."

    Geez, I ran two posts together, didn't I.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
General Military Arms & History Forum 16 Awesome WWII Military Contraptions Sep 30, 2014
General Military Arms & History Forum WWII Cleaning Kit....What's the Rope For?? Jun 16, 2014
General Military Arms & History Forum What's Your Top 10 WWII Rifle List?? Feb 3, 2014
General Military Arms & History Forum WWII era next purchase??? Jan 2, 2014
General Military Arms & History Forum I'd like to introuce the WWII Museum in Eldred, PA Jun 19, 2013

Share This Page