No Tunisgrad

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Urmel
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Urmel » 17 Oct 2011 14:10

But the quote talks about the German fleet, not the OBS fleet. Within two weeks those charts could have changed considerably. I would also submit that MERKUR is not the greatest example. Presumably planes engaged on cargo missions instead of parachute missions needed little re-building/prepping. So the need to ferry via Germany and to spend two weeks there was probably the exception, not the rule.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Oct 2011 14:27

Within two weeks those charts could have changed considerably.
Quite true - which is why E.R. Hooton gives different charts for different major milestones, like both the beginning of and the mid-campaign thinning out of the LW's effort during WESERUBUNG.
Presumably planes engaged on cargo missions instead of parachute missions needed little re-building/prepping.
Well...

1/ they'd need reconfiguring internally; by 1941 the LW had moved to a set of different prefabriacted internal furnishings and cargo frames etc. for various uses, and these would have to be removed and the aircraft configured for bulky, jump-ready FJ.

2/ the amount of preparation work to ready a given aircraft for a protracted deployment would depend on exactly how many flying hours since last intermediate or major service.

3/ aircraft from the training schools and the Reich Postal Service would need armed and pilot armour fitted.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Oct 2011 14:41

Here's a better example of what I mean - on the 2nd of September 19439, Nowarra gives the following figures...

In 1939, the LW's entire dedicated air transport capacity was KGrzbV 1 and 2, with a total of 8 squadrons each, each consisting of 12 Ju52's. This means only 96-100 dedicated transport Ju52s available...

BUT - a report from Gen.Qu.6.Abt. on the 2nd of September reigisters a total of 552 Ju52s "available" for military use; this means that around 450...or 81%...of the LW's Ju52s "available" on the outbreak of war were raised from the various flying schools.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Urmel » 17 Oct 2011 16:02

Or taken from Lufthansa.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Oct 2011 16:19

Lufthansa didn't have that many in service...nor were they the /3mge militarised types. They would have been uptaken once and impressed into service for things like the D-prefixed VIP transports discussed elsewhere, or the Army Postal Service. They would also have been relatively old and well-used...they also wouldn't have had the strengthened undercarriage that arrived with the /3mg4e, nor the roof and larger fuselage side doors, nor the steel pipework that was installed through the frame strengtheners in the /3mg4e-on to allow cargo to be lashed down.

The Germans were also perfectly willing to create "adhoc" transportgruppen, equip them with the training schools' aircraft and crews etc., and slot them into the command structures for major operations...and subsequently do away with them or fold them into other units. This was a longstanding habit - for example, KGrzb V2, V4, V5, and V6 had all been disbanded after the "Sudeten Crisis".

It's also worth looking at the production rate for Ju52 I posted up elsewhere; the 52 was not a quick aircraft to replace. By 1941 production had ramped up to ~41 aircraft a month on average...but before that, in the summer of 1940, the Junkers' production rate was still as low as ~23-25 a month. And that's for new builds alone. With it's corrugated outer skin, it was a slow aircraft to construct...and of course used up a large proportion of BMW's 132 radial outout!
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Urmel » 18 Oct 2011 16:28

I know they created ad-hoc Gruppen. A good example of this is CRUSADER. Nevertheless, I do not believe that the TG capacity was managed on a theatre basis. In fact, you make my point that it was managed centrally, in your post above. Thus, looking at 'in-theatre crippling' is not a meaningful metric. The only way to damage the transport fleet in a meaningful way was to:

a) overload it with tasks (the Wehrmacht managed that by themselves, as early as March/April 41 if not earlier, when commitments in SE Europe, North Africa, and prepping for Barbarossa were irreconcilable); and
b) destroy and damage transport planes at a rate that was higher than they could churn out new planes and put repaired planes back into service.

FLAX claimed to have done that. Based on the numbers you gave in the narrative, this was not the case. Based on the numbers actually lost in the operations to support Tunisia, it arguably was.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by phylo_roadking » 18 Oct 2011 16:34

FLAX claimed to have done that. Based on the numbers you gave in the narrative, this was not the case
The narrative ONLY gives specific numbers for certain high points/notable events in FLAX...
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.
...not the whole operation. For instance, Alan Levine gives a total of 157 Ju52s lost in FLAX in The War Against Rommel's Supply Lines.

He gives a total of 432 of ALL types lost - so if we subtract the 157 Ju52s, the 23 Me323s and the 4 SM-82s above - that's ANOTHER 184 to be accounted for somewhere.
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 18 Oct 2011 16:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Urmel » 18 Oct 2011 16:37

Indeed.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Oct 2011 15:29

Diverging a bit from the nuances of the proposed winter evacuation....

With Eisenhower reporting success or pending success in clearing Africa at the January 1943 Symbol Confrence, what changes will the Joint Chiefs & Churchill/Roosevelt take differently at Casablanca. Historically three fundamental decisions occured:

1. No invasion of France in 1943, priority would go to completing the securing of the Mediterranian sea route from Axis interdiction.

2. Op. Husky would be executed ahead of Op. Brimstone (Siclly/Sardinia)

3. Operations in the Balkans would take second priority to continuinf pressure/operations against Italy

What of this might change were Tunisia to be entirely secured by January/Febuary? I think it would be best to first consider this question from the PoV of January 1943 vs ours with so much hindsight.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Oct 2011 10:50

The whole extended campaign in North Africa was of enormous benefit to the Anglo-Americans in seasoning their troops. If the Italians had collapsed in early 1941, only two or three Commonwealth divisions would have gained just a few months of successful campaign experience.

In the European Theatre outside North Africa, by October 1943 the rest of the British Army had had only about six weeks of failed campaign experience in France in May-June 1940 and the US Army had no experience of combat at all. By contrast the Germans had some 200 divisions with years of campaign experience by then and dozens more seeded with veteran combat leaders.

By holding on to Tunisia, the Axis allowed the US Army, in particular, to gain vital combat experience.

In my opinion, the Axis would have benefitted from an early withdrawal from Tunisia, because it would have strengthened Siciliy's defences, and the approaching Allies, especially the Americans, would have to mount their first major seaborne invasion with a largely untested ground force. Imagine if the initial US panics in North Africa had instead occurred on a Sicilian beach!

It is probably also as well to remember that Italy lost alomost all its most experienced and best trained and equipped divisions in Tunisia. This is not simply a German question.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 23 Oct 2011 11:41

But,most of the US divisions fighting in France in 1944,also had no combat experience

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Oct 2011 03:21

ljadw wrote:But,most of the US divisions fighting in France in 1944,also had no combat experience
A important point. By 5 june 1944 only nine of the US divisions in the ETO had combat experience, only two of the five in the Neptune assualt on 6 June had combat experience. The British were only slightly better in this regard for Op Neptune & Overlord in general.

Beyond that the actual combat experience in Tunisia & Sicilly was fairly limited in number on formations and time. ie: the US 2d Armored Div had a day or two experince fighting the French (for a few companys) and another three weeks of chasing down Italians in Sicilly. The most experienced US corps commanders & staff remained in Italy.

What combat experience the US Army, and Brits for that matter, accquire depends on where & when they operate after this hypothetical Tunisian evacuation

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Oct 2011 03:52

MajorT wrote: In my opinion, the Axis would have benefitted from an early withdrawal from Tunisia, because it would have strengthened Siciliy's defences, and the approaching Allies, especially the Americans, would have to mount their first major seaborne invasion with a largely untested ground force. Imagine if the initial US panics in North Africa had instead occurred on a Sicilian beach!

It is probably also as well to remember that Italy lost alomost all its most experienced and best trained and equipped divisions in Tunisia. This is not simply a German question.
In general I agree the Axis benefit in the short run. As you say the best formations are preserved, vs the small cadres that were saved. Not just on the ground. In the air the Germans suffered severely over Tunisia. Those losses are set back until the Allies make another effort to contest air control. My guess is that would start over the straits between Sicilly & Tunisia as the Allies try to make that route safe for their cargo ships. Perhaps that will be as early as March 43 as the weather clears?

Downside for the Axis is plummeting Italian morale. A morbund economy at home, coal shortages despite German promises, growing food rationing,... were destroying morale faster than the defeats. Giving up Africa without a fight may not affect German morale much, but the Italians are going to be unhappy however it plays out.

A pair of problems are a second downside for the Axis, or Germans. They have a vast coast to defend, and Allied deception operations were already causing the Germans to leap after shadows at every turn. Hiter had a firm track record for trying to defend everything & spreading his forces a bit awkwardly. If the Allies can stay focused, which is not a given with Churchill on board, they can attack with some significant operational advantages.

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by ljadw » 24 Oct 2011 08:20

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
ljadw wrote:But,most of the US divisions fighting in France in 1944,also had no combat experience
A important point. By 5 june 1944 only nine of the US divisions in the ETO had combat experience, only two of the five in the Neptune assualt on 6 June had combat experience. The British were only slightly better in this regard for Op Neptune & Overlord in general.

Beyond that the actual combat experience in Tunisia & Sicilly was fairly limited in number on formations and time. ie: the US 2d Armored Div had a day or two experince fighting the French (for a few companys) and another three weeks of chasing down Italians in Sicilly. The most experienced US corps commanders & staff remained in Italy.

What combat experience the US Army, and Brits for that matter, accquire depends on where & when they operate after this hypothetical Tunisian evacuation
A lot of German divisions in France had also no combat experience:708,709,712ID .....

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Re: No Tunisgrad

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Oct 2011 15:56

Note that the heaviest German attack against the US Army's beachhead in Sicilly went against the completely green 45th Infantry division.

The 'panics in Africa had as much to do with the failures of Fredendahl and Anderson as with anything elese. Neither was the sort of man needed at the top in that situation & leadership style & decisions snowballed downhill to create problems on the battlefield. Green US or British soldiers did much better with other leadership. One can see severe problems were Fredndahl a corps commander in a Brimstone assualt. But, the Germans had their loosers as well. One can see Nerhring overcome with pessimism at some critical point, or a lesser Italian general than Meese creating problems within the Italian ranks. No guarantee Kesselring would be able to intervene in time to remove the problem.

One can debate the nuances of this endlessly, but the Allied armies are not going to accquire combat experience until they get into combat, on a large enough scale. The Tunisian campaign was far more helpfull to the Brits with their dozen divisions participating, or the French who had essentially the future cadre of their army participating. By the Axis collapse in April 1943 more US Army & Marine divisions had accquired sustained combat experience in the South Pacific than in Tunisia.

In January 1943 Brooke, the model of prudence, saw operations Brimstone & Husky as viable options & at that point there was no clear indication the Axis would loose many of its best, or that the Brit & US corps of 1st Army would gain much more in combat experience in Tunisia. In fact the outlines of the Brimstone & Husky plans presented then made no special provision or condition for using veteran units from Africa, other than logistics considerations. It was hoped in January additional air & ground combat units could be kept to a minimum to ease cargo ship requirements.

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