Operation Roundup (1942)
Operation Roundup was the code name for a 1942 plan for an invasion of northern France by Allied forces during World War II. The plan, for an invasion in the Spring of 1943, and drawn up by then-Brigadier General Dwight Eisenhower, reflected American enthusiasm for an early entry into Europe. The British were reluctant to commit themselves to the invasion plan; mindful of the painful losses during the Battle of the Somme, they preferred to avoid a direct assault on a powerful enemy. Winston Churchill preferred a strategy of attacking German forces in the Mediterranean instead (which he referred to as the "soft underbelly"), while other British military leaders hoped to defer an invasion until the Germans had been worn down by fighting on the Russian front. In addition, given shortages of merchant shipping, landing craft and other resources, the plan was unrealistic; it called for a force consisting of 48 divisions and 5,800 aircraft, with a landing on broad beachheads between Boulogne and Le Havre.
Instead, at the Second Claridge Conference in late July, 1942, the decision was made to carry out Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. Most of the troops and supplies accumulated for Roundup were used to implement Torch and preparations for Roundup were given lower priority due to the uncertainties of Allied strategy. The British were as reluctant to fully abandon Roundup as they had been to support it but in November 1942 Eisenhower told Churchill that no major operation on the Continent could be carried out before 1944.
Briefings concerning this plan brought Eisenhower’s organizational and diplomatic skills to the attention of senior civil and military leaders in the United States and Europe, launching his meteoric rise to Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
Operation Roundup included Operation Sledgehammer and the later variant Operation Roundhammer. Frederick E. Morgan incorporated aspects of the plan into, the earliest version of the plan that became Operation Overlord.
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