Plan Round Up

Preliminary missions for the Operation Overlord

The Americans want to open a second front as quickly as possible to lighten the weight of the German forces, threatening the Soviet armies. To this end, the US Warplans office has been studying the feasibility of a large allied amphibious operation on the northern coast of France since 1942.

General George Marshall, Chief of Staff of the US Army, proposes to the British on the 8th of April 1942 two operations aimed at marking a new turning point after the Battle of Stalingrad: this one is a prelude to Operation Overlord but Which has two components. The first operation proposed by the Americans was to take place in September 1942 in the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, known as Operation Sledgehammer. The second operation proposed to the British, Operation Round Up, was to take place in the spring of 1943 between Boulogne and Le Havre with the engagement of no fewer than forty-eight divisions.

This ambitious plan was not very successful with the British. The latter make the Americans understand that they want to wait a little longer to learn as much as possible of the amphibious operations to come in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Moreover, the material and human means for such an operation were not yet in the hands of the Allies at that time: they had to equip themselves with suitable landing craft and form sufficient operational units.

The Americans then concentrated on Operation Bolero, which consists of transferring their human and material resources from the United States to England to prepare for the opening of the new front to the west.

However, in view of the Soviet relentless demand and also with the aim of obtaining information on German reactivity on the coasts of northern France, the Allies developed an amphibious operation at Dieppe on 19 August 1942: Operation Jubilee.

This medium-sized operation, however, must bring very important information to the Allied forces in preparation for a larger landing in the months that follow, still in the north-west of Europe, then also being prepared (Overlord operation). 5,000 Canadians, 1,100 Britons, 56 Americans and 15 French (Free French forces) are participating in the assault, which is doomed to failure. Of the 6,086 allied soldiers engaged, 4,397 were reported missing, taken prisoner, wounded or killed.

Operation Jubilee brings a lot of extremely important information to Allied leaders. These data, paid for at the cost of blood, were very useful to Allied militaries in the preparation of Operation Overlord.


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