No Tunisgrad

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Politician01
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No Tunisgrad

Post by Politician01 » 09 Oct 2011 15:03

Hitler is persuaded by Rommel that any further resistance in North Africa is futile and so nearly all German and Italian troops inluding their material are evacuated from Tunisia.

When the Allies capture Tunis in mid may 1943 they still make some 30 000 prisoners - albeit only some 10 000 Germans.

Over 100 000 Germans and over 100 000 Italians have been evacuated to Sicily - including most of their euipment.

What impact does this have on Husky?

In OTL there were some 40 000 Germans on the Island - now there would be perhaps 120 000 to defend it - three times as many. Including many tanks that were saved from NA.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Oct 2011 15:51

Over 100 000 Germans and over 100 000 Italians have been evacuated to Sicily - including most of their euipment.

What impact does this have on Husky?

In OTL there were some 40 000 Germans on the Island - now there would be perhaps 120 000 to defend it - three times as many. Including many tanks that were saved from NA.
First of all - is this size of a withdrawal possible??? Particularly of materiel?

Remember - the Allies ran riot interdicting the supply bridge TO Tunisia...now they get TWO bites at the cherry; a chance to blow it out of the water (or the air!) going to Tunisia....and a second chance on the way back! 8O And of course...plenty of nice fat ships in Tunisian ports of departure; compare it with the shipping losses in the Dunkirk Basins, or off Crete, or off Namsos....
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Politician01
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Politician01 » 09 Oct 2011 17:46

phylo_roadking wrote:
Over 100 000 Germans and over 100 000 Italians have been evacuated to Sicily - including most of their euipment.

What impact does this have on Husky?

In OTL there were some 40 000 Germans on the Island - now there would be perhaps 120 000 to defend it - three times as many. Including many tanks that were saved from NA.
First of all - is this size of a withdrawal possible??? Particularly of materiel?

Remember - the Allies ran riot interdicting the supply bridge TO Tunisia...now they get TWO bites at the cherry; a chance to blow it out of the water (or the air!) going to Tunisia....and a second chance on the way back! 8O And of course...plenty of nice fat ships in Tunisian ports of departure; compare it with the shipping losses in the Dunkirk Basins, or off Crete, or off Namsos....
Even if Rommel convinces Hitler in early April - the Axis have one whole month to evacuated the troops + no more troops will be transported there.

And also the Allies couldnt stop thouse 150 000 Germans and Italians that were shipped to Tunisia.

Of course there would be losses - but with a month time - and the luxury of doing the evacuation at night......

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phylo_roadking
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Oct 2011 18:25

Of course there would be losses
Yes they got there in the first place, because the Allies sufered a number of setbacks in establishing mission profiles etc. for effectively interdicting traffic....but once they did...
Despite the difficulties posed by antiaircraft fire and a late start, the antishipping campaign was eminently successful in reducing the flow of supplies to Heeresgruppe Afrika. The Allies learned from ULTRA that of all the merchantmen that set sail for Tunisia in March, nearly half had been sunk-but a fifth had been lost in February. Because of the shortage of ships and general derangement of its logistical system, during the critical months of March and April the Axis was able to load only 140,572 tons of supplies for Tunisia. This equates to a barely adequate average monthly shipment of 70,286 tons, which was then subjected to a frightful loss rate. In April, 41.5 percent of all cargos were lost. This was slightly less than the percentage lost in March, but in April only 29,233 tons of supplies reached Tunisia-March’s figure had been 43,125. Of the vessels lost in these months, aircraft claimed about two-thirds. By the end of April, Admiral Friedrich Ruge, sent to Rome to expedite the flow of supplies to Africa, had come to agree with the conclusion reached some time before by the Italian Navy-that the losses on the run to Tunisia had become so great that they could no longer be justified by Heeresgruppe Afrika’s slim chance for survival. Berlin, however, continued to insist on throwing good money after bad.

The effect of the curtailed flow of supplies on the German and Italian forces in Tunisia was great. Even before the interdiction campaign became effective, their logistical position was weak. On February 13, Rommel’s quartermaster reported that he had not received enough supplies to cover consumption; the shortage of ammunition was critical when the attack through the Kasserine Pass began the next day. With the beginning of serious interdiction in late February, the logistical position of the Axis’ armies grew steadily worse. In early March, Rommel was still able to mount the Axis’ last offensive of the campaign. He struck at the advancing Eighth Army near Medenine, only to be repelled with heavy losses in tanks. Thereafter, the fortunes of Heeresgruppe Afrika declined rapidly. By the end of March, Montgomery had outflanked the Mareth Line, forcing the Germans to retreat north up the coast and to yield the ports of Sousse and Sfax. At this point the ailing Rommel left Africa, never to return. Von Arnim succeeded him as commaqder of Heeresgruppe Afrika. On the western front the First Army began a sustained offensive that by March 17 succeeded in capturing Gafsa. Not far from there, the two Allied armies linked up on April 7; four days later the First Italian Army joined the Fifth Panzerarmee. As the Tunisian Campaign entered its last month the forces of the Axis were completely hemmed in a small bridgehead defined by a front that stretched 100 miles from Cape Serrat just west of Bizerte to Enfidaville southeast of Tunis.

Heeresgruppe Afrika lacked the fuel and ammunition to counter the final Allied offensive. It reported on March 28 that it had entirely depleted its reserves of both commodities. On April 1 the quartermaster described the logistical situation as “very bad.” On April 10 the Allies intercepted a message that told of an armored division that for want of fuel had abandoned its equipment and retreated on foot.

From the earliest days of the Tunisian Campaign, the Germans had attempted to compensate for their inadequate supply of shipping by the extensive use of air transport. Nine groups of Ju 52 transports-468 aircraft- carried urgently needed supplies, particularly fuel and ammunition. They were aided by thirty large six-engine Me 323 transports. On some days as many as 585 tons were ferried across the Strait of Sicily, although the average appears to have been close to 172 tons a day. The Allies knew the details of the airlift from ULTRA, but the same problems that delayed antishipping operations stayed action against the German airlift. Strategic considerations dictated further delay. The assault upon the aerial convoys, Operation FLAX, was planned in early February but not implemented until April. FLAX was a card that could not be played more than a few times, as shown by the relative impunity with which the surviving Axis transports operated at night after the trap had been sprung. The flight time across the Strait of Sicily was so short that interception could be made only with precise intelligence. The Germans, understanding this but not knowing that their codes had been compromised, operated by day. Since their enemy had the option of flying by night, the Allies delayed implementation of FLAX until the most German transport aircraft were in operation so that the blow would be as decisive as possible. They also wanted to destroy the transports when they were most needed, and therefore timed FLAX to coincide with both a high point of the antishipping campaign and the final assault on Tunis.

The transport aircraft were mostly based at fields near Naples and Palermo; a few staged from Bari and Reggio di Calabria. Flights usually began at Naples and proceeded after stops in Sicily to the main Tunisian terminals, Sidi Ahmed and El Aouina. Occasional flights went directly to Tunisia, picking up their escorting fighters over Sicily.68 FLAX called for fighters to intercept the aerial convoys over the strait. There were also bombing attacks on the overcrowded staging fields in Sicily and unusually ambitious antishipping sweeps. On April 6 P-38s intercepted a large formation of Ju 52s a few miles from the Tunisian coast while bombers attacked airfields in Sicily and Tunisia. Further attacks on aerial convoys followed on April 10, 11, 18, and 19. These resulted in the destruction of about 123 Ju 52s and 4 Italian SM 82s. On April 22 an entire convoy of twenty-one Me 323s was destroyed; two of these giants had been destroyed earlier for a total loss of twenty-three. Thereafter reduced numbers of Ju 52s flew at night. FLAX dealt the German air transport fleet a blow from which it never recovered-and ended Heeresgruppe Afrikds last chance for any significant resupply of its rapidly dwindling supply of fuel.
http://www.africaaxisallied.com/blog/58 ... -may-1943/

Without the reinforcements rushed TO Tunisia November 1942-February 1943....how does the DAK survive long enough to perform an orderly withdrawal by sea across a month's duration??? As well as what was left when they crossed from Libya into Tunisia - from mid-November through January, 243,000 men and 856,000 tons of supplies and equipment arrived in Tunisia by sea and air; in your WI, if Rommel INSTEAD persuades Hitler to allow a withdrawal...those reinforcements don't arrive and the Egypt/Libya-weary DAK will be overrun long before they can withdrawal effectively.

And scope out those rates of interdiction when the Allies got themselves in gear...
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Politician01
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Politician01 » 09 Oct 2011 18:43

phylo_roadking wrote:

Without the reinforcements rushed TO Tunisia November 1942-February 1943....how does the DAK survive long enough to perform an orderly withdrawal by sea across a month's duration??? As well as what was left when they crossed from Libya into Tunisia - from mid-November through January, 243,000 men and 856,000 tons of supplies and equipment arrived in Tunisia by sea and air; in your WI, if Rommel INSTEAD persuades Hitler to allow a withdrawal...those reinforcements don't arrive and the Egypt/Libya-weary DAK will be overrun long before they can withdrawal effectively.

And scope out those rates of interdiction when the Allies got themselves in gear...
No I mean this:

No more extra troops are send to NA from February 1943 onward their mission is to hold the US Troops at bay - Kasserine Pass ect. Meanwhile the DAK races to Tunisia.

The Evacuation begins in March 1943 mostly under night cover.

From March to May the DAK fights a slow retreat battle to buy time.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Oct 2011 18:59

The Evacuation begins in March 1943 mostly under night cover
...which doesn't necessarily work against submarines and coastal forces.

By the way - how long does it take a 6-8 knot merchant ship to steam from Tunisia to Sicily???

In crow miles, Tunis is ~350 miles from the south-west coast of Sicily...http://www.mapcrow.info/cgi-bin/cities_ ... 184862%2CL

I'm afraid a lot of that two-day journey is going to be in daylight.

The Italian Navy would probably lift as much as it could, and its vessels will of course steam far faster - but it's only going to be able to shift men, not materiel...
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 09 Oct 2011 23:26

Politician01 wrote:No I mean this:

No more extra troops are send to NA from February 1943 onward their mission is to hold the US Troops at bay - Kasserine Pass ect. Meanwhile the DAK races to Tunisia.
Which is exactly what happened historically anyways, so I am puzzled as to how the outcome would be different.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Oct 2011 23:36

No more extra troops are send to NA from February 1943
So the evacuation would start just at that point historically that the Allies "got into their groove" on interdicting air and sea traffic to and from Tunisia? 8O
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Oct 2011 03:42

This one has been discussed tangentally in several other discussions.
phylo_roadking wrote: So the evacuation would start just at that point historically that the Allies "got into their groove" on interdicting air and sea traffic to and from Tunisia? 8O
Precisely

To make it practical the decision needs to come much earlier, not to support a Tunisian bridgehead. Either in November - withdraw the Axis forces from Tripoli; or as late as early January. At that date the Allies still lack the forward airbases to effectively interfere with Axis sea traffic. By March the Axis is screwed in this regard.

If the Axis has only a weak rearguard, or less, in Africa by Febuary the Allies can contemplate several other items on their 'to do list'. Operations Brimstone and Husky were both laid out at the Symbol Confrence at Casablanca in January. If it is seen the Axis will soon be gone from Tunisia preperations for husky & Brimstone can accelerate. It is likely the Allies will attempt invasions of Sicilly & Sardinia several months earlier, that may cause Musollini to be overthrown in May or June vs the historical date.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Tim Smith » 10 Oct 2011 13:37

Strategically and logistically, it makes sense for the Axis to fight the Allies in Sicily rather than North Africa. Sicily is closer to the Axis sources of supply.

But politically, the closer the Allied armies get to mainland Italy, the more shaky and fragile the Fascist government becomes. The majority of the Italian people want out of the war by the end of 1942 - the defeat at El Alamein destroyed what was left of their morale.

Hitler was far more concerned about the Italian political situation than the Italian military situation. Keeping Italy in the war on Germany's side was his top priority, and he was prepared to sacrifice troops for political gain.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 10 Oct 2011 15:23

The question is :if in november,no reinforcements were sent to Tunis,who would arrive the first at Tunis:the retreating AK,or the advancing Torch units ?
IMHO,it would be the Torch units,resulting in the loss of all Axis units present at that time in Africa .

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 10 Oct 2011 16:11

The question is :if in november,no reinforcements were sent to Tunis,who would arrive the first at Tunis:the retreating AK,or the advancing Torch units ?
Allied units of course...for that would ALSO mean no German forces rushed by air to Tunis itself in November to secure the Axis political position there - I'm referrring to that short few days when the local colonial authorities were all at sea...

There's a chance that without that rapidly air-lifted force "stiffening local resolve", Tunisia could have come over in favour of the Allies.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 10 Oct 2011 17:24

The loss of Tunisia would not necessarily mean the loss of the DAK.

*If* the decision is made to quit Africa early enough, then the DAK (or parts at least) could make its escape via Tripoli. The rapid advance would temporarily outstrip the establishment of forward airfields, so for a brief window there would be little interference from the the allied air force (both East and West) apart from what was stationed at Malta. 8th army's pursuit was also experiencing supply problems at the time, limiting the pressure it could exert on the withdrawal.

That said, Tim Smith makes a good point. Such a move, even if completely successful, would have been the proverbial straw for the Italian government.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 10 Oct 2011 18:14

And,if the Allies were already in Tunis ?

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 10 Oct 2011 18:33

I doubt very much that the AK with 41000 men would be able to escape from Africa .
About the situation in 1943,the Abwicklungsstab Group B Tunis (Human losses in WWII) gives the following:
Strength on 1 april 1943(including the replacements sent after 1 april):130061 men:
Returned :25152
Dead:3238
POW :95943
Missing 3293
Not Clarified:2435
The problem is that we don't know how many of these 130061 belonged
a)to the AK
b) to the rear and LW units
C)to the 5th Pz Army.
We know that the German lost 105000 in may 1943,of which 30000 of the AK (a GUESS),20000 to the rear units (aGUESS) and 55000 to the 5th PzArmy (a Guess)

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