Pros/cons of Allied invasion of the Balkans

Discussion in 'The Eastern Front' started by joedanejr, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. joedanejr

    joedanejr Junior Member

    Today in my WW2 Studies class my professor gave us a premise for a term paper "An invasion of Europe through the Balkans could have been equally (possibly more) successful as the Normandy Invasion". I thought that the fighting in the Balkans was meant as a diversion. Can someone give me specifics or resources about Allied plans for the Balkans. thnx
     
  2. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Today in my WW2 Studies class my professor gave us a premise for a term paper "An invasion of Europe through the Balkans could have been equally (possibly more) successful as the Normandy Invasion". I thought that the fighting in the Balkans was meant as a diversion. Can someone give me specifics or resources about Allied plans for the Balkans. thnx
    Your professor is totally wrong :in WW I the Germans were holding the Balkans with a limited force . An invasion trough the Balkans in WW II would be a wastage of resources,withour any serious chance of success .Allied troop would have to be transported trough the Mediterranean to Egypt,from Egypt the fleet had to sail to Greece(a much more distance than the Channell ),there would be no surprise .To land a motorised army on the coast of Greece,to supply that army from Egypt,to advance trough the Balkans,with primitive roads ?Do not forget that in september 1944 the advance of the allies was stopped due to logistic problems . A Red Ball Express in the Balkans ? No Pluto possible . And what about of the support of the aircraft:transport the bombers of Harris and Spaatz to Egypt ? The bombers flying from Egypt to Greece to give support to the ground forces ? ?
     
  3. roodymiller

    roodymiller Senior Member

    ww2 studies??
     
  4. arkrite

    arkrite Senior Member

    It was hard going for Allied Troops in Italy, the terrain would have been as bad if not worse in the Balkans.
    Member L.J has outlined the salient points why this idea is a none starter.
    A further point is that the Balkan war was not a diversion.It was a hard fought war between Nationalist and Partisan Forces of many nations.The Red Army also had a say in it as well.
    I think perhaps your Professor should give you a good grounding in the basics of World War 2, rather than come up with pie in the sky stuff like this. If you don't have the right facts you cannot make a correct decision.
    Having said that I wish you luck with your studies and hope you meet along the way tutors who can implant a passion for your chosen subject.
     
  5. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    For the political dimension of the possible Balkans front have a look at Arthur Bryant's edited version of Alan Brooke's war diaries. Brooke talks about Churchill's constant desire for a second front in the 'soft underbelly' of southern Europe, and the American Chief's distrust of Churchill's intentions.
     
  6. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Maybe I am harsh on your professor,but what can be understandable for a student is not permittable for a professor;the topic of the paper is a wastage of time ;I think it is due to his ignorance and neglecting of the factor of logistics and-even worse-of not logical thinking ;my points were not so much based on my knowing of logistics(there is sadly enough not much information available for a non professor ) but on some logical thinking .
    If I were your professor,my topics would be:the importance of the Red Ball Express,the railway system in Nort Africa,WAS an invasion trough the Balkans possible,....Cheers and good luck
     
  7. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    In my experience plenty of lecturers give out problematic essay titles, the problem is sometimes you dont have a choice and you've just got to do whats put in front of you :huh:

    I think the title of the paper is slightly devils advocate-ish, it might not be that the professor actually thinks that, but just wants you to think about it critically and argue either way.
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    In my experience plenty of lecturers give out problematic essay titles, the problem is sometimes you dont have a choice and you've just got to do whats put in front of you :huh:

    I think the title of the paper is slightly devils advocate-ish, it might not be that the professor actually thinks that, but just wants you to think about it critically and argue either way.

    James,

    I think you make a very valid point about devils Advocate.

    If it was me replying I would be very negative with regards to a Balkans invasion.

    It may have held good in times very long gone where communications away from the battlefield was virtually non existant, but look at what Titos partisan army did to hold up the Germans and pin down so many German Divisions.

    It was bad enough for the Allies in Italy dealing with the terrain and logistical nightmares, with German defensive positions made to hold up the Allies.

    You could write far more about why an invasion would be a disaster rather than a success.

    Best of luck with the essay.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    In my experience plenty of lecturers give out problematic essay titles, the problem is sometimes you dont have a choice and you've just got to do whats put in front of you :huh:

    I think the title of the paper is slightly devils advocate-ish, it might not be that the professor actually thinks that, but just wants you to think about it critically and argue either way.

    Being a bit of a recently reformed eternal student I can agree with this. Of course how serious a title it is depends on the level of study.

    I quite like the title though; it weighs knocking out the axis oil fields, Romania and Bulgaria with Russian-allied relations; which is quite interesting. My first question would be with what would this invasion be conducted and therefore instead of what (i.e the invasion of italy or france).
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    No wonder alot of young American forumites keep coming up with stupid 'what if' threads over on ww2forum.
    It's what they're taught at school.
    Why does the American educational system not teach them what did ?
    Well that's what it feels like to me.
     
  11. joedanejr

    joedanejr Junior Member

    Okay Owen, calm down. I see where your coming from. Its not really a "what if" paper its more like "what were the the reasons for landing in Normandy instead of the Balkans" This paper is just one of five I have to write so its not like that this is all they teach over here. Thanks for all the info.
     
  12. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Okay Owen, calm down. I see where your coming from. Its not really a "what if" paper its more like "what were the the reasons for landing in Normandy instead of the Balkans" This paper is just one of five I have to write so its not like that this is all they teach over here. Thanks for all the info.
    In your first post,the title of the paper was different ;)
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    Having spent some time in northern France and a year in the Balkans you could start and finish your paper with one word.....

    Logistics :D

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  14. joedanejr

    joedanejr Junior Member

    You guys are getting to hung up on the title. If you must know the exact wording on the assignment was Should the Allies have invaded the European Continent through the Balkans rather than by landing in Normandy?


    And i can see what you mean by logistics. It would have been a nightmare. Thanks for the info. Almost done with the paper.
     

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