Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

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jbroshot
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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by jbroshot » 02 Apr 2024 03:43

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 22:47

Well, there was certainly a geographic position between the Quatara Depression and the coast, with or without any purpose-built fortifications; anyone looking at a topographic map presumably could see that. ;)

AAUI, the British commanders in Egypt had recognized this even before the war, and had done some basic surveying and planning. Presume Dill, Brooke, Macready, Ismay, Dykes, and Stewart were well aware of it.
Here's your topographic map. See Sheet 14 El Daba

Egypt and Cyrenaica 1:250,000 [topographic series].
Publication date 1943-
Publisher [London] : War Office

https://archive.org/details/WCWdb_30729

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by DixieDivision1418 » 02 Apr 2024 08:33

Von Bock wrote:
31 Dec 2023 08:26
DixieDivision1418 wrote:
30 Dec 2023 07:08
To provide some context for this scenario, assume the following: in October 1941, Hitler approves von Leeb's "small solution," and Army Group North clears the left bank of the Volkhov River. The Soviets are unable to supply Leningrad, and the city is forced to surrender in January 1942, though Operation Typhoon still ends in failure. Later in 1942, the Finns and Germans are able to cut the Murmansk rail line, denying Russia a large amount of their lend-lease supplies. Stalin goes into 1942 with most of his focus devoted to the north and center, with less attention given to the south. In summer, Case Blue is more successful, though the retreating Soviets are able to destroy the Caucasus oilfields, denying their use to the Germans for many months. With the Soviet Union in an increasingly dire state of affairs, the Western Allies decide to go ahead with a cross Channel invasion in 1943.

Assuming Operation Roundup had gone ahead, can we make any guesses as to what the order of battle would have looked like for the Allied forces? The plan called for 48 divisions - would the Allies have been able to put together an army of that size?
Can you give me one good reason why the Wallies, regardless of the situation in Russia, do not simply land in France in 1943?
That is the scenario I've laid out: the WAllies decide to land in France early because of the dire state of affairs in Russia.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Apr 2024 09:17

DixieDivision1418 wrote:
02 Apr 2024 08:33
Von Bock wrote:
31 Dec 2023 08:26
DixieDivision1418 wrote:
30 Dec 2023 07:08
To provide some context for this scenario, assume the following: in October 1941, Hitler approves von Leeb's "small solution," and Army Group North clears the left bank of the Volkhov River. The Soviets are unable to supply Leningrad, and the city is forced to surrender in January 1942, though Operation Typhoon still ends in failure. Later in 1942, the Finns and Germans are able to cut the Murmansk rail line, denying Russia a large amount of their lend-lease supplies. Stalin goes into 1942 with most of his focus devoted to the north and center, with less attention given to the south. In summer, Case Blue is more successful, though the retreating Soviets are able to destroy the Caucasus oilfields, denying their use to the Germans for many months. With the Soviet Union in an increasingly dire state of affairs, the Western Allies decide to go ahead with a cross Channel invasion in 1943.

Assuming Operation Roundup had gone ahead, can we make any guesses as to what the order of battle would have looked like for the Allied forces? The plan called for 48 divisions - would the Allies have been able to put together an army of that size?
Can you give me one good reason why the Wallies, regardless of the situation in Russia, do not simply land in France in 1943?
That is the scenario I've laid out: the WAllies decide to land in France early because of the dire state of affairs in Russia.
To repeat the answer to von Bock's question:

#1 By 1943 the choices had changed. Op Jubilee and Op Torch had taken place in 1942 and Op Sledgehammer did not. It made sense to land in Sicily and Italy for immediate gains than reposition to the UK. Hitler gave the Allied invasion of Sicily has his rationale for abandoning Op Ziterdel out of concern for an imminent Italian collapse. Op Husky opened a Second Front on a scale that copuld be sustained.

#2 The decisions were not made by a bunch of armchair strategists armed with hindsight and the Internet. They were made by a coalition of humans with different individual viewpoints, institutional cultures and attitudes to risk.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 02 Apr 2024 11:41

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 22:47
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
01 Apr 2024 18:58
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 18:44
the strength of the Alamein-Quatara position presumably was (or could have been known) to those attending 2nd Washington, correct?
Not really, there was no Alamein-Quattara position in June 1942. There was an Alamein box. :idea:

Regards

Tom

Well, there was certainly a geographic position between the Quatara Depression and the coast, with or without any purpose-built fortifications; anyone looking at a topographic map presumably could see that. ;)

AAUI, the British commanders in Egypt had recognized this even before the war, and had done some basic surveying and planning. Presume Dill, Brooke, Macready, Ismay, Dykes, and Stewart were well aware of it.
Oh, so you meant there is geography in Egypt! So what though? There was still no "Alamein - Qattara position" in June 1942 just the El Alamein box. There was also a box in Mersa Matruh and positions on the Libyan-Egypt border, that didn't stop Rommel blowing through them. Defences, and even more so, open desert, needs defenders!

There were also positions being surveyed and dug all over the Delta, in Palestine and in upper Egypt on the way to Sudan.

In addition, there was always Malta to be resupplied, so staying put defensively at Alamein wasn't an option that would have been attractive to the UK - particularly not the RN. I'm not sure running a few more "Pedestals" wouldn't have burned through any RN forces freed up by maintaining the hold on Arctic convoys.

Regards

Tom

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 00:15

jbroshot wrote:
02 Apr 2024 03:43
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 22:47

Well, there was certainly a geographic position between the Quatara Depression and the coast, with or without any purpose-built fortifications; anyone looking at a topographic map presumably could see that. ;)

AAUI, the British commanders in Egypt had recognized this even before the war, and had done some basic surveying and planning. Presume Dill, Brooke, Macready, Ismay, Dykes, and Stewart were well aware of it.
Here's your topographic map. See Sheet 14 El Daba

Egypt and Cyrenaica 1:250,000 [topographic series].
Publication date 1943-
Publisher [London] : War Office

https://archive.org/details/WCWdb_30729
Thanks; certainly makes the significance of the choke point between the sea and the Depression - better to defend there than along the Nile or the Canal, obviously ...and given the work of Bagnold & Company, both pre-war and with the LRDG, it's not like the British would be unaware.

Interestingly enough, Dill had served as GOC in Palestine in the 1930s; Macready's father had served in Egypt; Ismay in Somalia and as an intelligence officer under Dill with responsibility for the Middle East; and Dykes in the Med ...

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 00:17

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
02 Apr 2024 11:41
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 22:47
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
01 Apr 2024 18:58
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
01 Apr 2024 18:44
the strength of the Alamein-Quatara position presumably was (or could have been known) to those attending 2nd Washington, correct?
Not really, there was no Alamein-Quattara position in June 1942. There was an Alamein box. :idea:

Regards

Tom

Well, there was certainly a geographic position between the Quatara Depression and the coast, with or without any purpose-built fortifications; anyone looking at a topographic map presumably could see that. ;)

AAUI, the British commanders in Egypt had recognized this even before the war, and had done some basic surveying and planning. Presume Dill, Brooke, Macready, Ismay, Dykes, and Stewart were well aware of it.
Oh, so you meant there is geography in Egypt! So what though? There was still no "Alamein - Qattara position" in June 1942 just the El Alamein box. There was also a box in Mersa Matruh and positions on the Libyan-Egypt border, that didn't stop Rommel blowing through them. Defences, and even more so, open desert, needs defenders!

There were also positions being surveyed and dug all over the Delta, in Palestine and in upper Egypt on the way to Sudan.

In addition, there was always Malta to be resupplied, so staying put defensively at Alamein wasn't an option that would have been attractive to the UK - particularly not the RN. I'm not sure running a few more "Pedestals" wouldn't have burned through any RN forces freed up by maintaining the hold on Arctic convoys.

Regards

Tom
Except the line from the coast to Quatara would be kind of hard to flank to the south, though, which is - and was - the point.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 03 Apr 2024 10:59

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 00:17
Except the line from the coast to Quatara would be kind of hard to flank to the south, though, which is - and was - the point.
Except that's not what happened at Mersa Matruh nor what Rommel attempted to do on 1 July 1942 at Alamein.

It, the gap between the sea and the Qattara Depression, was still a 40-odd mile chokepoint and, at the beginning of July 1942, it was a pretty empty "chokepoint"! That's the point, surely, if you are sat in Washington trying to decide whether more reinforcement was needed in the Middle East as the reality of the catastrophic defeat 8th Army had suffered, and was still suffering, began to sink in.

According to the SA official history, the Alamein "position" consisted of three boxes equally spaced across the 40 miles of desert between the sea and Naqb Abu Dweis, "where a pass which is capable of being negotiated by cars leads down to a comparatively firm track across the eastern end of the Depression". The three boxes were 15 miles apart (Alamein, Bab el Qattara and Naqb Abu Dweis), "out of supporting distance of one another, and the plan on which the Alamein Line was based took for granted the existence of a strong armoured force". (Crisis in the Desert, pp.269-270. In fact the whole of Chapter 15 of the SA official history is very informative about the state of both the defences and the defenders at the time).

Regards

Tom

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 16:07

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
03 Apr 2024 10:59
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 00:17
Except the line from the coast to Quatara would be kind of hard to flank to the south, though, which is - and was - the point.
Except that's not what happened at Mersa Matruh nor what Rommel attempted to do on 1 July 1942 at Alamein.

It, the gap between the sea and the Qattara Depression, was still a 40-odd mile chokepoint and, at the beginning of July 1942, it was a pretty empty "chokepoint"! That's the point, surely, if you are sat in Washington trying to decide whether more reinforcement was needed in the Middle East as the reality of the catastrophic defeat 8th Army had suffered, and was still suffering, began to sink in.

According to the SA official history, the Alamein "position" consisted of three boxes equally spaced across the 40 miles of desert between the sea and Naqb Abu Dweis, "where a pass which is capable of being negotiated by cars leads down to a comparatively firm track across the eastern end of the Depression". The three boxes were 15 miles apart (Alamein, Bab el Qattara and Naqb Abu Dweis), "out of supporting distance of one another, and the plan on which the Alamein Line was based took for granted the existence of a strong armoured force". (Crisis in the Desert, pp.269-270. In fact the whole of Chapter 15 of the SA official history is very informative about the state of both the defences and the defenders at the time).

Regards

Tom
Not sure what point you are disputing, however; as stated in a previous post (#932):

1. True, but not arguing otherwise; obviously, the US efforts to get modern tanks (M4s) and SP guns (M7s) to 8th Army, and set up the 9th Air Force (1.0 version, under Brereton) in the ME, make it clear the US understood the needs (note - to reinforce the British). Interesting point is that 9th AFs' heavy bombardment groups (98th and 376th) were capable of hitting Axis targets across Libya from their bases in Palestine and Egypt, from as early as October, 1942; presumably a useful capability.

2. True, but the point being made is the British could hold on the defensive at Alamein-Quattara - with the equivalent of 3-6 divisions - against the best the Axis could get into the region; First Alamein (July) and Alam Halfa (September) make that clear; 2nd Alamein (October) was, by design, an offensive.

3. True in both cases; again, the point is not that 8th Army, PAI Force (9th/10th armies), RAF Middle East, and the Mediterranean Fleet (closer to a squadron at this point, of course), were not significant commitments that needed to be sustained; simply that with the forces in hand and/or being made available in Q31942 (as historical), the could both hold their own and (as shown at 2nd Alamein) go on the offensive, even while holding a substantial force in the PAI area, either for needs there or as a strategic reserve for the Middle East (or India, for that matter).

As far as British & Allied reinforcements to the 8th Army and SW Asia, although the South African 2nd Division had been destroyed and the British 6th/70th and Australian 6th and 7th Australian divisions had been withdrawn in 1942, the SA 1st, NZ 2nd, Indian 4th, 5th, 8th, and 10th divisions, and the Australian 9th were all still in the theater, and the British 8th Armoured and 44th Infantry divisions had left the UK in May for Egypt, arriving in July, the 51st left in June, arriving in August, and the 56th in August, arriving in November; the 1st, 7th, and 10th armoured divisions were already in the theater, as was the 50th Infantry Division, and the 5th Infantry Division arrived from India in August.

Given British needs, presume that - at the least - the historical movements prior to July are made. That leaves the British with 14 first-line divisions in or on their way to the theater, along with various second-line formations (Indian 6th Infantry and 31st Armoured, for example, various colonial/local forces, and - at the time - the Poles and Free French), with the immediate future deployments of the 56th Division in the UK and the 5th Division in India open.

Seems the above still gives Alexander and Montgomery at least 11-12 divisions in hand by October, with a constant stream of equipment and personnel replacements, the historical RAF, Allied, and USAAF forces, plus the various second-line contingents for duties farther east in SW Asia.

Other than the 5th Indian and 56th Infantry divisions, pretty much gibes with historical reality.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Aber » 03 Apr 2024 17:22

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 16:07
Seems the above still gives Alexander and Montgomery at least 11-12 divisions in hand by October, with a constant stream of equipment and personnel replacements, the historical RAF, Allied, and USAAF forces, plus the various second-line contingents for duties farther east in SW Asia.
During the 2nd Washington conference, the British lost Tobruk and failed to hold the Germans at the frontier. Shortly afterwards they lost Mersa Matruh and Fuka. They only just held El Alamein on 1 July and could easily have lost Alam Halfa.

The German attack southward in Russia started in late July heading towards Baku. Germany also put pressure on Turkey with a trade agreement signed on 2 June 1942, and further British losses would have only increased the pressure.

Given these circumstances there is no certainty that British deployments in the Middle East are sufficient; there is also a possibility that 'help for Russia' might involve ground or airforces fighting alongside the Soviets, if the Allies have to 'do something' before a 1943 Roundup.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Apr 2024 18:26

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 16:07
1. True, but not arguing otherwise; obviously, the US efforts to get modern tanks (M4s) and SP guns (M7s) to 8th Army, and set up the 9th Air Force (1.0 version, under Brereton) in the ME, make it clear the US understood the needs (note - to reinforce the British). Interesting point is that 9th AFs' heavy bombardment groups (98th and 376th) were capable of hitting Axis targets across Libya from their bases in Palestine and Egypt, from as early as October, 1942; presumably a useful capability.
Well, yes, but as in everything at this point it required robbing Peter to pay Paul. For example, the effort to get modern tanks to 8th Army necessitated taking them away from U.S. Army forces.

The Ninth Air Force was not "set up" in the Middle East, it was activated at Bowman Filed, Kentucky on 1 September 1941 and its organization was completed at Bolling Field, D.C. 22 July to October 1942. It then moved to Egypt and began operations on 12 November 1942. At that point the 98th and 376th Bomb Groups were assigned to it.

However, the 376th was not activated until 31 October 1942 at Lydda, it did not move to Abu Sueir, Egypt until 8 November 1942. Of course, its antecedent was HALPRO, the 1st Bomb Group (Prov), which had first bombed Ploesti from Fayid, Egypt on 20 June 1942, and the 9th Bomb Squadron, from India, which arrived at Lydda on 2 July and remained there until 1 October 1942, when it returned to India.

The "useful capability" was pretty marginal and really only existed from about 30 October 1942, when 54 B-24 and 11 B-17 were on hand in Egypt and Palestine, with enough trained and equipped crews present to man a single 13-sortie mission. With that useful capability they executed the one mission in June of 12 effective sorties, one mission in October of 13 effective sorties, twelve missions in November of 158 effective sorties, and twelve missions in December of 113 effective sorties. So 296 effective sorties of the 1,908 flown in the Middle East June-December. Note that part of the discrepancy was the Twelfth Air Force, whose November and December mission records are incomplete, totaling just 200 sorties (five of seven missions in November do not have sortie counts as do eight of nineteen in December).

BTW, not sure why it is a 1.0 version, what was the 2.0 version? It was activated as the V Air Support Command in the Z/I until redesignated as the Ninth Air Force in April 1942 and was not inactivated as such until 2 December 1945 in Germany.
2. True, but the point being made is the British could hold on the defensive at Alamein-Quattara - with the equivalent of 3-6 divisions - against the best the Axis could get into the region; First Alamein (July) and Alam Halfa (September) make that clear; 2nd Alamein (October) was, by design, an offensive.
Yes, but it wasn't really clear that the Axis had shot its wad until the smoke cleared at Alam Halfa after 5 September 1942. The British - and Americans - could not really plan on that event during the 2d Washington Conference, could they?
3. True in both cases; again, the point is not that 8th Army, PAI Force (9th/10th armies), RAF Middle East, and the Mediterranean Fleet (closer to a squadron at this point, of course), were not significant commitments that needed to be sustained; simply that with the forces in hand and/or being made available in Q31942 (as historical), the could both hold their own and (as shown at 2nd Alamein) go on the offensive, even while holding a substantial force in the PAI area, either for needs there or as a strategic reserve for the Middle East (or India, for that matter).
Of course, but again, not something the planners at 2d Washington could have been aware of.
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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 19:49

Aber wrote:
03 Apr 2024 17:22
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 16:07
Seems the above still gives Alexander and Montgomery at least 11-12 divisions in hand by October, with a constant stream of equipment and personnel replacements, the historical RAF, Allied, and USAAF forces, plus the various second-line contingents for duties farther east in SW Asia.
During the 2nd Washington conference, the British lost Tobruk and failed to hold the Germans at the frontier. Shortly afterwards they lost Mersa Matruh and Fuka. They only just held El Alamein on 1 July and could easily have lost Alam Halfa.

The German attack southward in Russia started in late July heading towards Baku. Germany also put pressure on Turkey with a trade agreement signed on 2 June 1942, and further British losses would have only increased the pressure.

Given these circumstances there is no certainty that British deployments in the Middle East are sufficient; there is also a possibility that 'help for Russia' might involve ground or airforces fighting alongside the Soviets, if the Allies have to 'do something' before a 1943 Roundup.
Well, yes, the historical British record in the eastern Med littoral was mixed in 1940-42; kind of mixed even in 1943, if one considers the results of the Dodecanese operations.

Having said that, the possibility of deploying US ground forces to Egypt was considered at this point, and set aside, historically, in favor of (as sketched above) British/Allied redeployments and the RAF/Allied and historical USAAF contingent, which - along with supply by way of the Cape, as demonstrated - was, along with the RN's dominance in the eastern and central Med, was sufficient to hold the most the Axis could commit, and - in fact - go on the offensive in October.

There's an obvious path forward for assisting the British from the west in Q41942, of course, which was - obviously - among the possible options being considered at the 2nd Washington Conference.

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 20:14

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Apr 2024 18:26
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 16:07
1. True, but not arguing otherwise; obviously, the US efforts to get modern tanks (M4s) and SP guns (M7s) to 8th Army, and set up the 9th Air Force (1.0 version, under Brereton) in the ME, make it clear the US understood the needs (note - to reinforce the British). Interesting point is that 9th AFs' heavy bombardment groups (98th and 376th) were capable of hitting Axis targets across Libya from their bases in Palestine and Egypt, from as early as October, 1942; presumably a useful capability.
1) Well, yes, but as in everything at this point it required robbing Peter to pay Paul. For example, the effort to get modern tanks to 8th Army necessitated taking them away from U.S. Army forces.

2) The Ninth Air Force was not "set up" in the Middle East, it was activated at Bowman Filed, Kentucky on 1 September 1941 and its organization was completed at Bolling Field, D.C. 22 July to October 1942. It then moved to Egypt and began operations on 12 November 1942. At that point the 98th and 376th Bomb Groups were assigned to it.

However, the 376th was not activated until 31 October 1942 at Lydda, it did not move to Abu Sueir, Egypt until 8 November 1942. Of course, its antecedent was HALPRO, the 1st Bomb Group (Prov), which had first bombed Ploesti from Fayid, Egypt on 20 June 1942, and the 9th Bomb Squadron, from India, which arrived at Lydda on 2 July and remained there until 1 October 1942, when it returned to India.

The "useful capability" was pretty marginal and really only existed from about 30 October 1942, when 54 B-24 and 11 B-17 were on hand in Egypt and Palestine, with enough trained and equipped crews present to man a single 13-sortie mission. With that useful capability they executed the one mission in June of 12 effective sorties, one mission in October of 13 effective sorties, twelve missions in November of 158 effective sorties, and twelve missions in December of 113 effective sorties. So 296 effective sorties of the 1,908 flown in the Middle East June-December. Note that part of the discrepancy was the Twelfth Air Force, whose November and December mission records are incomplete, totaling just 200 sorties (five of seven missions in November do not have sortie counts as do eight of nineteen in December).

3) BTW, not sure why it is a 1.0 version, what was the 2.0 version? It was activated as the V Air Support Command in the Z/I until redesignated as the Ninth Air Force in April 1942 and was not inactivated as such until 2 December 1945 in Germany.
2. True, but the point being made is the British could hold on the defensive at Alamein-Quattara - with the equivalent of 3-6 divisions - against the best the Axis could get into the region; First Alamein (July) and Alam Halfa (September) make that clear; 2nd Alamein (October) was, by design, an offensive.
4) Yes, but it wasn't really clear that the Axis had shot its wad until the smoke cleared at Alam Halfa after 5 September 1942. The British - and Americans - could not really plan on that event during the 2d Washington Conference, could they?
3. True in both cases; again, the point is not that 8th Army, PAI Force (9th/10th armies), RAF Middle East, and the Mediterranean Fleet (closer to a squadron at this point, of course), were not significant commitments that needed to be sustained; simply that with the forces in hand and/or being made available in Q31942 (as historical), the could both hold their own and (as shown at 2nd Alamein) go on the offensive, even while holding a substantial force in the PAI area, either for needs there or as a strategic reserve for the Middle East (or India, for that matter).
5) Of course, but again, not something the planners at 2d Washington could have been aware of.
1. Indeed. Probably more significant, of course, is the shipping required to move equipment, troops, and sustainment to multiple theaters, which - as indicated above - provides many options for prioritization.

2. "Set up" as shorthand for "deployment to" in the above example; given the historical streams of personnel and aircraft (from the US via Africa, from the US via Africa to India and back again, etc.) activation date wasn't really the intended point. "Useful" in the sense that the RAF's ability to reach out and touch Italian ports in Libya before the USAAF would be limited to (presumably) night raids by Wellingtons, etc. Seems useful.

3. Simply trying to avoid the "hey, the 9th AF was in the UK" objection.

4. Well, yes and no, but giving the British the benefit of the doubt in a defensive situation where their forces were closer to the Egyptian ports, and the Axis forces farther away from the Libyan ports, doesn't seem overly sanguine, does it? The British won on the offensive via COMPASS in 1940-41 and CRUSADER in 1941, and at farther distances from their ports and with fewer forces in both cases (granted, COMPASS was against the Italians, but still); between 1940-42, honors in the desert war were (more or less) even ...

5. Not "aware" of, but like everything else, one weighs the correlation of forces, the geography, assesses the effectiveness of supply, considers morale, etc., and makes decisions based on the best estimates. It's worth noting that even during Q31942, despite everything going on in Egypt, the British went ahead and mounted the 1st Arakan offensive (three division equivalents), smaller operations like JUBILEE and STREAM LINE JANE, etc., and the RAF had mounted at least three MILLENIUM-sized operations in May and June, while the UK and US were discussing handing over management of the Persian Gulf Corridor to the US and the US was considering various options in the Pacific, at the same time the US and UK were discussing what the "main" operations/theaters would be in 1942-43 ...

One can walk and chew gum, hopefully, after all. It's the "walk, run, ride, chew gum, sing, and give a speech, all simultaneously" where things tend to break down.

You know, "You want faster, better, and cheaper? I can give you two of the three. Pick." ;)

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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Apr 2024 22:55

daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 20:14
1. Indeed. Probably more significant, of course, is the shipping required to move equipment, troops, and sustainment to multiple theaters, which - as indicated above - provides many options for prioritization.
Nota bene, the aircraft, aircrew, and advance echelon of the ground staff were flown in, which is why it took a while from the airdales getting there to the point they were able to actual do something meaningful.
2. "Set up" as shorthand for "deployment to" in the above example; given the historical streams of personnel and aircraft (from the US via Africa, from the US via Africa to India and back again, etc.) activation date wasn't really the intended point. "Useful" in the sense that the RAF's ability to reach out and touch Italian ports in Libya before the USAAF would be limited to (presumably) night raids by Wellingtons, etc. Seems useful.
Oh, okay, but given that operational effectiveness was not achieved until a considerable time after deployment, I'm not sure that is a useful datum either? Unfortunately, I only have mission and sortie data for the USAAF in the Med. While I have his two-volume Malta air war series I hesitate to shell out the bucks for Chris Shores' five-volume Mediterranean air war series, since it is difficult to extract such data from his narrative.

Insofar as the USAAF goes, it took a long time to build up meaningful strength and operational capability. Ninth Air Force heavy bomber missions/effectives orties per month in the first half of 1943 were:

January 29/220
February 15/138
March 11/98
April 21/332
May 14/443
June 17/429

Twelfth Air Force were:

January 19/279
February 13/305
March 28/546
April 32/815
May 34/1352
June 20/1350

You could just declare all the Twelfth Air Force assets go to Egypt rather than the Morocco-Algeria-Tunis root, but then there are sustainment issues there, given absent TORCH they all need to go the long way to Egypt. TANSTAAFL. Of course for the purposes of ROUNDUP, even better to just keep them in Jolly Old.
3. Simply trying to avoid the "hey, the 9th AF was in the UK" objection.
Not from me.
4. Well, yes and no, but giving the British the benefit of the doubt in a defensive situation where their forces were closer to the Egyptian ports, and the Axis forces farther away from the Libyan ports, doesn't seem overly sanguine, does it? The British won on the offensive via COMPASS in 1940-41 and CRUSADER in 1941, and at farther distances from their ports and with fewer forces in both cases (granted, COMPASS was against the Italians, but still); between 1940-42, honors in the desert war were (more or less) even ...
Well, the thing is that by the end of the 2nd Washington Conference the British were hoping to hold on the Mersa Matruh position, which also did not work out, so sanguinity over stopping the Axis went out the window until things did stabilize.
5. Not "aware" of, but like everything else, one weighs the correlation of forces, the geography, assesses the effectiveness of supply, considers morale, etc., and makes decisions based on the best estimates. It's worth noting that even during Q31942, despite everything going on in Egypt, the British went ahead and mounted the 1st Arakan offensive (three division equivalents), smaller operations like JUBILEE and STREAM LINE JANE, etc., and the RAF had mounted at least three MILLENIUM-sized operations in May and June, while the UK and US were discussing handing over management of the Persian Gulf Corridor to the US and the US was considering various options in the Pacific, at the same time the US and UK were discussing what the "main" operations/theaters would be in 1942-43 ...
They did so, of course, but not based upon the foreknowledge that they could "simply...with the forces in hand and/or being made available in Q31942 (as historical), ...both hold their own and (as shown at 2nd Alamein) go on the offensive". in the immediate aftermath of 2nd Washington they did make as much available as they could by the 3rd Quarter of 1942 - via the direct reinforcement of tanks to Eighth Army via fast transport from the Z/I, as well as air reinforcement, but most importantly, by TORCH.

IRONCLAD and STREAM LINE JANE was already underway before the fall of Tobruk/2d Washington. First Arakan began in December 1942, long after the situation in North Africa stabilized. It wasn't until February-March 1943 that all three divisions were engaged. I find it difficult to see how either could affect the decision making at 2d Washington? Ditto what Bomber Command was doing.
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

Kurt_S
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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Kurt_S » 03 Apr 2024 23:41

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Apr 2024 18:26
daveshoup2MarDiv wrote:
03 Apr 2024 16:07
3. True in both cases; again, the point is not that 8th Army, PAI Force (9th/10th armies), RAF Middle East, and the Mediterranean Fleet (closer to a squadron at this point, of course), were not significant commitments that needed to be sustained; simply that with the forces in hand and/or being made available in Q31942 (as historical), the could both hold their own and (as shown at 2nd Alamein) go on the offensive, even while holding a substantial force in the PAI area, either for needs there or as a strategic reserve for the Middle East (or India, for that matter).
Of course, but again, not something the planners at 2d Washington could have been aware of.
The argument that you should be making (apologies if you have made it, long thread) is that strategic risks were wise, if necessary, to advance ROUNDUP.

Be ruthless about it: If the Axis holds Suez in Spring 1943 but the Wallies have a massive and growing army in France, the Axis is cooked. The German army can barely handle the Red Army; a giant Second Front dooms it. Hitler dies a year earlier.

You can - and should - add that Axis conquest of Suez is unlikely for all the reasons you've stated - most importantly the overland LoC's from Cyrenaica and low port capacity in Cyrenaica. But an argument that a catastrophe is unlikely is not very convincing; an argument that something is not a catastrophe - or insistence that it can be endured - is a better argument.

You should also add that the Empire was spreading its MidEast resources too thin - Iraq/Persia Command was ridiculously resourced given its role as a backstop for the unlikely and far-off contingency of Soviet collapse followed by a German deluge via Anatolia and Persia.

These kinds of arguments are absent from modern debates about Wallied WW2 strategy but were central to folks like Ike and Stimson at the time. After the war, these Wallied leaders had no incentive to say "our strategy was stupid" - that would have favored the new Soviet enemy, after all - but nonetheless Wallied strategy was stupid.

Kurt_S
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Re: Order of Battle for Operation Roundup, 1943?

Post by Kurt_S » 03 Apr 2024 23:59

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Apr 2024 22:51
Aber wrote:
01 Apr 2024 21:46

The issue that you are not addressing is where the extra resources to make that happen are coming from; and there is only really one source - scaling back Pacific operations.
I've followed a couple discussions on that last, reduced Pacific operations. They were all over the place and more than a bit fuzzy. Im wondering what can be scaled back in the Pacific from mid 1942 through 43 that would significantly benefit A ROUNDUP Operation?
There are three main resource sources:

1. British buildup in the MidEast. Turn the Alamein position into a permanent defensive, with Nile/Suez fall back options. Forgot about hoping to stop the Germans coming from Turkey/Persia, defeat those German forces in France and, by preserving the Red Army rather than preparing for its defeat, on the Eastern Front. UK had >5mil tons of shipping assigned to its armed forces in 1942/43, the lion's share supporting the MidEast.

2. Pacific. Total defensive until the Essex surge comes online. Take Plan Dog and your supposed fundamental strategy (Europe First) seriously. The Pacific took ~40% of US shipping resources in 1943.

3. Peripheral. Stop dispatching forces and resources to places like Sub-Saharan Africa, Alaska, and the Persian Corridor. Russia doesn't need the Persian Corridor, which doesn't do much until 1943 anyway, if its survival is ensured by the Second Front.

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