Who benefited the Allies more - Clark or Canaris?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by No.9, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    Italy 1943/44.
    On the Mediterranean side we have the 5th Army under Eisenhower's darling, General Mark Clark, with the experience of Operation Torch behind him.

    For the Axis intelligence is being gather, analysed and presented direct to Hitler by seasoned spy-master and Abwehr chief, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris.

    Between them a lot of mountains, fast flowing rivers and the German Gustav Line, meticulously set along one of the most formidable natural defence fronts in Europe.

    Now, which of these commanders was of more benefit to the Allies? :huh:

  2. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    Well, 9. I don't think I have to tell you what I think about Mark Clark's contribution to Allied victory in WWII... :rolleyes:

    But I am not sure about what the facts are to believe Admiral Canaris from spoiling things for the Germans as well. All I know is that since early 1942 the German Abwehr had completely lost the darwinist inner struggle in Germany and it no longer had much influence in operations. The RSHA —Reich's Security Main Agency— and particular German units in the field all gathered intelligence by themselves and didn't share it among the others.
  3. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    Canaris was not replaced following his suspension until 18th February 1944 by Colonel Alexander Hansen, the debacle of Anzio at least a contributing factor, some say ‘the’ factor?

    12th January the Allies launched an attack in the Casino sector and on the 18th it escalated into a full-scale offensive over Garigliano. The Army Commander feared a break-through into the Liri Valley and asked Kesselring for use of two reserve divisions. While Kesselring was considering this he was visited by Canaris who assured him assured him 'there were not the slightest indications of a new landing, and traffic in the port of Naples was absolutely normal.'

    From this, Kesselring agreed to hand over his reserves (29th and 90th Panzer Grenadier Divisions from the Rome area to Cassino), with the result that the Allies met barely token resistance when they landed at Anzio, and, as we know could have advanced well inland, as Brig. Churchill found. General Kesselring had also ordered a general invasion alert three nights before the landings, but after speaking with Canaris, he stood troops down on the night of the 22nd.

    Canaris, both anti nazi and anti Hitler, did this as part of the overall plan for their destruction and the salvation of the true Germany.

  4. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    I know that, 9. Oficially he remained at his post as chief of the Abwehr and the Abwehr itself remained an intelligence organisation. But so the 4-years economical plan organisation remained in 1944... :rolleyes:

    Remember that the nazi state was the complete contradiction of Prussian order and simplicity... :rolleyes:

    But I agree, Canaris is the person to blame. There was not a single German soldier between Anzio and Vienna, all due to Canaris.

    But in that case, Canaris' mistake was completely neutralised by Mark Clark's 'precautions' and disobedience... <_<
  5. No.9

    No.9 Senior Member

    I suppose we have to accept that the lack of intelligence in respect of German dispositions was unavoidable, and, there is some merit in caution following the experience of Salerno. But, there was no ‘Plan B’ for the eventuality of an unopposed landing, in fact nothing other than a ‘wait to be hit’ philosophy, and in any eventuality, no standard meaningful reconnaissance?

    Nice bit if sarcasm from Churchill when he was complaining about the inaction and was told about all the vehicles that had been landed; ”We must have a great superiority of chauffeurs in the area?” :rolleyes: :D

  6. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    nothing other than a ‘wait to be hit’ philosophy

    Quite a dangerous policy if your enemy is a military genious like marshal Kesselring, who when he hits, is going to hit you with 10 divisions —including heavy armour, artillery, planes and two huge rail guns— :rolleyes:
  7. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Getting back to the original question and original choice, then I would have to say that Canaris was more benefit, based on the "anyone but Clark", German or Allied, viewpoint.

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