Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post An Allied Invasion of Gascony? My Presentation at Normandy 75
Created by John Eipper on 08/14/19 1:53 PM

Previous posts in this discussion:


An Allied Invasion of Gascony? My Presentation at Normandy 75 (David Pike, France, 08/14/19 1:53 pm)

A WAIS colleague asked me off-Forum for more information about my presentation at the Portsmouth "Normandy 75" conference. My paper limits itself to the role of von Rundstedt's lesser-known Armeegruppe G under Blaskowitz, assigned to south of the Loire (le Midi).

What I personally learnt from the conference was that Churchill had a strong interest in an invasion on the Gascon coast. AOK 1 (German 1st Army) in Bordeaux was sent north into the Normandy battle, but not in time to make a difference, and Hitler went to the trouble of replacing it in Bordeaux by an army corps sent from Brussels. What was in Churchill's mind in thinking of Gascony? I'm about to find out. The French Southwest made up the one third of France that liberated itself without any Allied help other than supply drops, and it was heavily communist. Very little was said at Portsmouth about the communist strength in the Resistance. But then again, the Midi was different from the north. The Midi also had the Spanish guerrilleros, and they were overwhelmingly communist. With the liberation, the Southwest under the brilliant polytechnicien Colonel Ravanel was ready to set up an independent Republic, and it took a visit to Toulouse by de Gaulle in September 1944 to put an end to that.

I had never before taken seriously the idea of a landing on the Gascon coast. An Allied invasion of Portugal or Galicia had been discarded by Oberbefehl West by February 1944.

JE comments:  A Gascony landing is a WWII alternate scenario I've never seen discussed.  David, what was Churchill's reasoning?  Wasn't the liberation of Paris a top priority?  Gascony is twice as far away from the capital (compared to Normandy).

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 189


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

  • An Allied Invasion of Gascony? Churchill and Europe's "Soft Underbelly" (Edward Jajko, USA 08/15/19 4:02 AM)

    In reply to David Pike and JE (August 14th), Churchill always had a strange (and mistaken) idea of the "soft underbelly" of Europe.  Gascony was just south enough to qualify. Or it could have been the wine that made it interesting. Or perhaps it was a memory from having read Roy Horniman's superb Israel Rank.

    JE comments:  We associate "soft underbellies" with the Italian campaign of WWII, but Churchill had advocated a similar approach at Gallipoli in 1915.  Both times the underbelly wasn't very soft--Europe's "Abs of Steel"?

    Nigel Jones addressed this topic back in 2012:


    David Pike (next) goes further into Churchill's strategy.

    Please login/register to reply or comment:

    • Roy Horniman's "Israel Rank" (Edward Jajko, USA 08/16/19 5:25 AM)
      My reference to Roy Horniman's novel of 1907, Israel Rank, in the context of an invasion of Gascony contemplated by Churchill may have left people wondering.

      Apparently I am the only one in WAIS who has read the book (a benefit of having worked in research libraries). Israel Rank is the source text for the 1949 movie Kind Hearts and Coronets and the more recent West End-Broadway musical The Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

      I first saw Kind Hearts when I was a boy and many times since, in theaters and on TV. It is a great film, beautifully photographed and written. I will see the B'way show in a local production this fall.

      The relevance in this context? In Kind Hearts, the sort-of-hero seeks his inheritance and recognition from his mother's family, the D'Ascoynes (she having been cut off for marrying an Italian singer). But in Israel Rank, she was cut off for marrying a Jew, and she was ... a Gascoyne.

      JE comments:  It would be interesting to speculate why the scandalous marriage was changed to an Italian.  Different sensibilities in the wake of WWII?  Kind Hearts and Coronets is a British film starring Alec Guinness, who plays nine roles.  I've never seen it, but all the pieces are there for a classic dark comedy.

      Please login/register to reply or comment:

  • Did Churchill Prioritize the Liberation of Paris? Battle of Madagascar (David Pike, France 08/15/19 4:23 AM)
    When commenting my post from yesterday (August 14th), JE asked: "Was not the liberation of Paris an Allied priority in summer 1944?"

    I don't see that. As everybody knows, Paris was liberated from the south, through Porte d'Orléans, by Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division, part of US Vth Corps, with US 4th Division in reserve. But the weight of the US advance is skirting Paris to its south. US XX Corps is at Melun heading for Château Thierry and the Marne. US XII Corps is at Sens driving towards Troyes. Paris is left to fall like an overripe plum. It makes sense. Don't surround the capital. Leave the Germans their escape route.

    Churchill's plan, code-named Operation Caliph, was for a landing near Bordeaux some three weeks after D-Day. He abandoned it only on June 5. It was hardly of the creative level of Operation Ironclad, the Battle of Madagascar in May-November 1942 that denied Japan the seizure of the island and was the first Allied action that included land, sea and air forces.

    Churchill's mind was constantly fixed on the need to avoid heavy Allied casualties. He can't be faulted for that. He had to endure many a taunt from Stalin as to why he didn't risk more losses in the Arctic convoys. It boiled down to a difference in their evaluation of the worth of the human person.

    JE comments:  The Battle of Madagascar was a British triumph over troops of Vichy France.  Presumably the Frenchmen were not very motivated, but David Pike could clarify.  Two Japanese midget submarines also took part in the defense of the island.  Both were destroyed.  I imagine there were other instances of tactical collaboration between Vichy and the Japanese, especially in SE Asia.  Who can tell us more?

    The Vichy colonial governor of Madagascar, Armand Annet, was imprisoned until 1951, and died in 1973.

    Annet's English-language Wikipedia biographer was not having a good day.  We're left with a bizarre final sentence--that Annet defended Madagascar in order to qualify for a pension.  This does not compute:


    Please login/register to reply or comment:

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (42697 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who