Amphibious and River Crossing Engagements in the Italian Campaign 1943-44

Now, there were a few amphibious operations and major river crossing operations during the Italian Campaign. These are significant enough that we should examine them separately. Among the 141 Italian Campaign engagements there are three amphibious operations and 16 river crossing operations. These are outlined in our previous post:

Amphibious and River Crossing attacks in Italy 1943-44

This is a small number of cases, but does seem to show that the defender has an advantage when defending against amphibious assaults and river crossings. To compare them to the rest of the engagements:

 

Amphibious Operations Comparison – Italian Campaign 1943-44:

………………………………………………………………..Average..Average

……………………………………………………Percent…Percent…Attacker..Defender

………………………………….……..Cases….Wins…….Advance..Losses…Losses

U.S./UK Attacking – Amphibious…..3……….100………..100………..417……….105

UK Attacking – other RM…………….10………..40………….67…………382………152

U.S. Attacking – other RM…………..20………..65………….80…………341………430

 

………………………………………….……………Force….Exchange

………………………………….……..Cases…….Ratio…..Ratio

U.S./UK Attacking – Amphibious…..3……………3.45…….3.98-to-1

UK Attacking – other RM…………….10…………..1.94…….2.51-to-1

U.S. Attacking – other RM…………..20…………..1.69…….0.79-to-1

 

River Crossings Comparison – Italian Campaign 1943-44:

………………………………………………………………..Average..Average

……………………………………………………Percent…Percent…Attacker..Defender

………………………………….……..Cases….Wins…….Advance..Losses…Losses

UK Attacking – River Crossing……8………….63………….67………..169………154

UK Attacking – other FM…………….6………….50………….67………..306………284

U.S. Attacking – River Crossing…..6…………67………….67…………388……..112

U.S. Attacking – Other RM………..17…………59………….76…………374……..477

German Attacking – River Crossing..2……….50………..100…………955………507

German Attacking – Other FM………5………..40………….40…………756………805

 

………………………………………….……………Force….Exchange

………………………………….……..Cases…….Ratio…..Ratio

UK Attacking – River Crossing……8……………2.20…….1.10-to-1

UK Attacking – other FM…………….6……………1.71…….1.08-to-1

U.S. Attacking – River Crossing…..6…………..1.47…….3.47-to-1

U.S. Attacking – Other RM………..17…………..1.72…….0.78-to-1

German Attacking – River Crossing..2…………1.96…….1.88-to-1

German Attacking – Other FM………5…………1.39……..0.94-to-1

 

Now this is a very small number of cases for comparison, and just for balance I tried to match it across similar terrain types.[1] Still, even with this very limited data, there appears to be a clear pattern. In every case the exchange ratio more favors the defender. In the case of amphibious operations, this either 2.51-to-1 or 0.79-to-1 compared to 3.98-to-1 for amphibious operations. For river crossings this is 1.08-to-1 compared to 1.10-to-1 for UK river crossings, 0.78-to-1 compared to 3.47-to-1 for U.S. river crossings (or 0.78-to-1 compared to 0.82-to-1 if the two Rapido River engagements are left out), and 0.94-to-1 compared to 1.88-to-1 for German river crossings. Obviously a whole lot more cases would need to be examined to establish anything with certainty, but there are not a lot of amphibious operations over river crossings coded in the ETO or Kursk/Kharkov sections of the database. It would require a significant research effort to assemble such data.

Of course, what this really all points to is that the data needs to be more tightly prescribed and a whole lot more cases need to be assembled.

 

 

———

[1] In the case of U.S./UK Attacking – Amphibious, one engagement was done by the U.S. and the other two by the UK. In the case of UK Attacking – River Crossing there were 7 cases in flat mixed terrain and 1 case of rolling mixed terrain. In the case of U.S. Attacking – River Crossing there were 3 cases of rolling mixed terrain, one case of Rugged Mixed, and two cases codes as FB/M, meaning the terrain varied from flat bare to flat mixed. In the case of German Attacking – River Crossing, both engagements were in flat mixed terrain but one was against the U.S. and the other was against the UK. In the case of German Attacking – Other FM two engagements were against the U.S. and three were against the UK.

 

Share this:
Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
...
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
...
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
...
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *