No Tunisgrad

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phylo_roadking
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 10 Oct 2011 18:38

And,if the Allies were already in Tunis ?
*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.
The Germans and Italians carried out their "coup" in Tunis/Bizerte on the 9th and 10th of November 1942....but the first combat elements of PanzerArmee Afrika didn't cross the Tunisian border until the 25th of January, 1943 IIRC.

If they don't take over in Tunis, and Nehring doesn't build his bridgehead in Tunisia through November - then the Allies have nearly three months to establish themselves in Tunisia AND to move air assets into the existing airfields and bases in the country. They wouldn't necessarily need to "establish" new ones 8O And they obviously have the same three months to move naval forces into Tunisian ports...

In other words - if the Germans don't put forces into Tunisia early - then there's actually a HUGE air and sea threat to a withdrawal from Libya.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 10 Oct 2011 19:01

ljadw wrote:And,if the Allies were already in Tunis ?
The more relevant question is "And, if the allied airforce were already in Tunis, which I would venture to say they wouldn't be.

Rommel began retreating from Alamein on 11/5. The Torch landings went off on 11/8, but it would be almost 2 weeks later before the British 1st Army would actually penetrate into Tunisian soil, and later still before suitable airfields were established.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 10 Oct 2011 19:15

phylo_roadking wrote:The Germans and Italians carried out their "coup" in Tunis/Bizerte on the 9th and 10th of November 1942....but the first combat elements of PanzerArmee Afrika didn't cross the Tunisian border until the 25th of January, 1943 IIRC.
But I'm not suggesting the DAK retreat beyond Tripoli, let alone make it to Tunisia.
If they don't take over in Tunis, and Nehring doesn't build his bridgehead in Tunisia through November - then the Allies have nearly three months to establish themselves in Tunisia AND to move air assets into the existing airfields and bases in the country. They wouldn't necessarily need to "establish" new ones 8O And they obviously have the same three months to move naval forces into Tunisian ports...
Where did the 'additional three months' come in? I am suggesting that the Axis forces in NA begin evacuation procedures the moment the DAK's defenses collapse at Alamein.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 10 Oct 2011 19:42

Where did the 'additional three months' come in? I am suggesting that the Axis forces in NA begin evacuation procedures the moment the DAK's defenses collapse at Alamein.
The three months is the period historically it took from the Germans taking control of Tunisia....to the DAK crossing the border.

If the Germans don't move into Tunisia - and I don't mean the DAK, I mean Nehring's forces taking control of the country - then Tunisia by default "falls" to the Allies in the second week of November. Certainly Gen. Barre's small field army isn't enough to stop them, it wasn't even enough to fully man the embryonic Mareth Line!

That means after November 91th-10th-11th, if the germans don't take over - then circumstances force Juin to go over to the Allies - and the Allies can take control of Tunsia's airfields and ports from then I.E. halfway through November....

Honestly, how long do you think it's going to take them to start flying interdiction ops into the Gulf of Sirte after that?
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 10 Oct 2011 20:49

phylo_roadking wrote: If the Germans don't move into Tunisia - and I don't mean the DAK, I mean Nehring's forces taking control of the country - then Tunisia by default "falls" to the Allies in the second week of November. Certainly Gen. Barre's small field army isn't enough to stop them, it wasn't even enough to fully man the embryonic Mareth Line!

That means after November 91th-10th-11th, if the germans don't take over - then circumstances force Juin to go over to the Allies - and the Allies can take control of Tunsia's airfields and ports from then I.E. halfway through November....
Understood, and you'll note that in my hypothetical the Axis concede Tunisia simply by not moving any further West than Tripoli, aside from maybe a border screen. This scenario calls for the immediate evacuation of all Axis forces from NA, with Tripoli being the main gateway out.

Granted, it is a huge risk (what wartime evacuation isn't), but there are some positive aspects to it. For one, the Axis are not "throwing good money after bad" in having to reinforce Tunisia just to keep the escape hatch open for the DAK. The other, as I mentioned, is it is done from a point furthest away from the two pincers closing in on the evacuees. The window is small, but it is there. Going to Tunisia virtually guarantees no one is getting out.
Honestly, how long do you think it's going to take them to start flying interdiction ops into the Gulf of Sirte after that?
Honestly, couldn't say. A quick Wiki check shows the distance from Tebessa to Tripoli to be ~600km. A bit much for interdiction ops by front line fighters. Bombers certainly could do it, but then again the Italian navy is only concerned with evacuating Rommel's remnants.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 10 Oct 2011 21:08

This scenario calls for the immediate evacuation of all Axis forces from NA, with Tripoli being the main gateway out.
....within bomber and P.38 range of fields in Tunisia?

Plus, I'm not just talking about attacks on evacuation ports - on the actual shipping/convoy routes too.
but then again the Italian navy is only concerned with evacuating Rommel's remnants.
Ther's another difficulty; the RM suffered losses during the operations to supply Tunisia - now they're mandated to a route that's at least a ten hour steaming at 30 knots each way. Means in a 24-hour period, at least one leg will be in broad daylight...they could of course spend daylight in Tripoli, under whatever AA defence the Axis can muster, but that's begging a spanking :P

Just had another thought too - once established in Tunisia, the Allies can start a bombing campaign on targets in Sicily - like....ports....
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 10 Oct 2011 21:25

phylo_roadking wrote:
This scenario calls for the immediate evacuation of all Axis forces from NA, with Tripoli being the main gateway out.
....within bomber and P.38 range of fields in Tunisia?
As I mentioned, no wartime evacuation is without risk. However, how quickly did the Allies field bombers and P38s in Tunisia?
Ther's another difficulty; the RM suffered losses during the operations to supply Tunisia - now they're mandated to a route that's at least a ten hour steaming at 30 knots each way. Means in a 24-hour period, at least one leg will be in broad daylight...they could of course spend daylight in Tripoli, under whatever AA defence the Axis can muster, but that's begging a spanking :P
How far is it from Crete to Alexandria?
Or Harstad from Scapa Flow?
Guadacanal from Rabaul?

Despite the enemy's air superiority, and losses incurred, all managed to evacuate the majority of the garrison.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Oct 2011 21:52

Looking at the Allied build up of air forces into NW Africa during Nov-Dec 1942 any interdiction of a Tripoli evacuation is going to be fairly weak. Certainly some squadrons can be quickly rushed forward to the Tunisian airfields, but the mass of aircraft & support echelon that made the spring 1943 interdiction possible could not occur instantly. There is also the matter of Axis aircraft continuing to operate from Sicillian & Sardinian airfields, counter attacking the forward deployed Allied air units, and covering the Tripoli evacuation. If the decision to abandon Africa comes shortly after 6th November Axis losses during this evacuation are not going to be much worse than their previous effort to sustain the forces in Africa. For the last quarter of 1942 Ellis (drawing from 'The Italian navy in WWII' Brandigan) identifies a little over 250,000 tons of Axis military cargo embarked for Africa & 210,000 tons arriving. With the flow of supply rapidly declining there could be a nuetral net or even a slight net gain with a evacuation. Even if manpower losses run 30% when the evacuation ends it wont be as bad as the aggragate Axis loss from the Tunisian campaign. In the first two quarter of 1943 another 500,000+ tons of military cargo were embarked for Tunisia. Over 100,000 tons were apparently sunk enroute. A 1942 withdrawl retains all that in Europe along with over 180,000 Axis soldiers eventually taken prisoner in Tunis.

The end result of a early evacuation is Allied control of the Africa littoral, & on the Axis side continued control of Scilly/Sardinia & the ability to attack Allied cargo traffic through the central Med. To reopen the Med to cargo traffic the Allies still have to fight a major air campaign, and may also have to invade both Sardinia & Sicilly. So the Axis gain a army oterwise lost and four or five months worth of supplies, while the Allies gain a few months on securing all of Africa. Not clear who the overall winner is here.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 10 Oct 2011 22:17

How far is it from Crete to Alexandria?
Or Harstad from Scapa Flow?

Despite the enemy's air superiority, and losses incurred...
Not the examples I'd have picked LOL the Royal Navy suffered considerable losses off Crete, in just a few days of evacuation - losses that by 1942 would cripple the RM; as for evacuating the Allied forces from the Narvik Enclave - the Germans didn't discover the British and French had left until a couple of days after they were gone, Ruge's Norwegians kept up the defence.

Carl -
For the last quarter of 1942 Ellis (drawing from 'The Italian navy in WWII' Brandigan) identifies a little over 250,000 tons of Axis military cargo embarked for Africa & 210,000 tons arriving.
At what ports? In this ATL, none of that goes to Tunisia...I mean, what sort of tonnage could the Libyan ports only shift out in the other direction during an evacuation?
Looking at the Allied build up of air forces into NW Africa during Nov-Dec 1942 any interdiction of a Tripoli evacuation is going to be fairly weak. Certainly some squadrons can be quickly rushed forward to the Tunisian airfields, but the mass of aircraft & support echelon that made the spring 1943 interdiction possible could not occur instantly.
Carl, this was by no means the only reason why an effective Allied air interdiction of the supply bridge was historically delayed;

A/ OTL, February 1943 saw three weeks of very bad weather which delayed ops greatly.

B/ There was also a steep learning curve - in that the USAAF flew against Tunis and Bizerte for some time first, attempting to attack merchantmen in port...and took heavy loses from the heavy massed AA there; I mentioned this previously - what amount of AA did the Germans and Italians have remaining in Libya by November-December 1942?

C/ OTL, there were problems with mission profiles I.E. how they bombed merchantmen; if there's no Tunis/Bizerte level of AA around Tripoli, then the USAAF isn't forced away from the more highly accurate skipbombing they tried first OTL.

D/ the USAAF historically attempted to bomb ships in port with B-17s; this tactic had to first fail then B-26s employed...but I would venture that with the DAK and the remains of the Italians clustered around major evacuation ports in Libya, shipping isn't the most effective target anyway...
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Kingfish » 11 Oct 2011 01:37

phylo_roadking wrote: the Royal Navy suffered considerable losses off Crete, in just a few days of evacuation - losses that by 1942 would cripple the RM;
I know, and this proves my point. Despite the losses the RN still managed to accomplish its mission.
Also, it should be pointed out that the Allies off Crete couldn't count on its airforce for support. The Axis could, as Carl pointed out.
as for evacuating the Allied forces from the Narvik Enclave - the Germans didn't discover the British and French had left until a couple of days after they were gone, Ruge's Norwegians kept up the defence.
Andalsnes?
Namsos?

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 11 Oct 2011 02:41

Andalsnes ...it was 100% RN ships - fast, as well trimmed as carrying hundreds of troops could make them, and after some weeks' experience of standing off air attack and avoiding fall of ordnance. The defenders were also greatly assisted by the weather, which closed in on the 29th of April, and didn't lift until the first of May, covering them from the worst of Luftwaffe atacks...and there was only 1,800 men to withdraw...

Namsos, however...on the 30th of April, the intensity of air attack increased "dramatically" (Kersaudy) and as well as sinking the AA sloop Bittern, Namsos itself was razed by the bombing. A flotilla of ships managed to lift the 4,200 men ashore in four hours over one night...but out to sea the next day, two destroyers were lost.

Can you imagine what the state of things would be if the USAAF levelled out a Namsos-level of destruction upon Tripoli???
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by JonS » 11 Oct 2011 02:46

phylo_roadking wrote:D/ the USAAF historically attempted to bomb ships in port with B-17s; this tactic had to first fail then B-26s employed...but I would venture that with the DAK and the remains of the Italians clustered around major evacuation ports in Libya, shipping isn't the most effective target anyway...
Abolutely, shipping is the most effective target. Without ships, all those forces are going nowhere. Ships are big, soft, easy to find, hard to hide, and relatively easy to damage and destroy. Going after the means of transport makes far more sense than trying to carpet bomb thousands of sq km around Tipoli, Benghasi, and other scenic spots.

Sink all the ships, then waltz up with a bunch of 3-ton trucks and drive the prsoners away.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened at Tunis in mid-43.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by JonS » 11 Oct 2011 02:49

phylo_roadking wrote:Namsos, however...on the 30th of April, the intensity of air attack increased "dramatically" (Kersaudy) and as well as sinking the AA sloop Bittern, Namsos itself was razed by the bombing. A flotilla of ships managed to lift the 4,200 men ashore in four hours over one night...but out to sea the next day, two destroyers were lost.

Can you imagine what the state of things would be if the USAAF levelled out a Namsos-level of destruction upon Tripoli???
That example only clarifies that the GAF - in bombing Namsos - were hitting the wrong target. Namsos was "razed by the bombing" but so what? The RN still got all the troops out in 4 hours. It's only whe the GAF went after the ships that things went pear shaped.

Doing an Ozymandias on Tripoli would have assisted the Germans. Not hindered them.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 11 Oct 2011 02:53

That example only clarifies that the GAF - in bombing Namsos - were hitting the wrong target. Namsos was "razed by the bombing" but so what?
Going after the means of transport makes far more sense than trying to carpet bomb thousands of sq km around Tipoli, Benghasi, and other scenic spots
It destroyed a large amount of materiel that had been landed there. Also, there would be a great deal more than 4,200 men in the vicinity of Tripoli during the DAK evacuation,as well as it taking a lot longer than four hours to lift them.
Doing an Ozymandias on Tripoli would have assisted the Germans. Not hindered them
Moving tens of thousands of men through a city under regular air attack? In effect, it would provide the Allies with the same sort of target that Dunkirk was; think they would replicate the various mistakes the Germans made in 1940?

Plus - that's air attack; Cunningham's going to have a field day, at the very least with his submarine and coastal forces.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 11 Oct 2011 07:56

In april and may,the Germans evacuated 25000 men .Why not more ?
My guess :not only the allied air and naval forces were hindering the evacuation,but,also,the front was collapsing .

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