Kingfish wrote:Why couldn't the same shipping used to send 1st army to Algeria be used to send them to the Nile Delta?
I highly recommend reading parts of the US Army's Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943
["GLS"]. https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-5.pdf
Chapter 16 discusses Torch deployment and its effect on global logistics; Chapter 17 discusses the maintenance/reinforcement of Torch in the same context. If you have time for only a few page, 457-462 ("Torch and the Atlantic Shipping Pool") are particularly relevant. A proposal to use the Queens Mary/Elizabeth to move troops to the MidEast (8th Army falling under that definition) shows exactly why sending ships to Suez instead of Oran costs more in shipping
, the service provided by ships
If deployment to the Middle East were to be
speeded up, the fast, roomy Queens were
the only available transports that could
sail unescorted, but to use the Queens
would cripple the already weakened
BOLERO program, which would also have
to depend largely on unescorted troop
movements while the North Africa operation was in progress. For each trip that
the two Queens made around the Cape,
BOLERO would lose 70,000 to 80,000
troops, enough to halt the program altogether.
For those reading along, Bolero was the buildup for Cross-Channel - still an urgent item in '42 (it was shortly to be effectively ceased to support Torch and the Pacific). Removing the Queens from TransAtlantic troop movements due to the long journey around the Cape meant the virtual cessation of movements from the U.S. to Britain. Had the Queens sailed only to Oran, they could be back in New York and stuffed full of Portsmouth-bound Yankees sooner. That's the problem with movements to the MidEast rather than Algeria. You can use the same ships, sure, but the long journey costs you whatever shipping movements those ships would have completed during the extra journey time to the MidEast.
Your question about using the same ships as for Torch deployment
also fails to account for Torch/MidEast supply
. As Chapter 17 of GLS details, the supply of North Africa, subsequent to Torch's launch, was the real logistical task.
I really can't recommend GLS enough. Pick any campaign-based chapter and you'll get a better understanding of how tightly constrained were W.Allied operations in'42 by shipping/escort scarcity. It gives a first-hand, narrative account of direct tradeoffs between far-flung parts of the globe. It's about as compelling as logistical analysis can get haha.
Kingfish wrote:How do you arrive at that calculation? Are you suggesting a 20 ship troop convoy to Oran would require 80 ships to Alexandria?
Hopefully the reasoning about ship journey time, rather than number of ships employed, is clearer now... Appendix A-6 of GSL v.1 gives ship turnaround time to/from various points (i.e. roundtrip journey time). NYC to Near East is 210 days, 3.5x times longer than NYC to UK. I used 4x as an estimate for the additional relative burden of shipping from UK to Mideast versus UK to Algeria, as the UK is closer to Algeria than is the US.
Kingfish wrote:Perhaps if all three are undertaken, but if the Allies establish the Suez as the priority, and hold it (well within their capabilities) what exactly have the Axis accomplished?
If GLS and I have convinced you that moving the Torch force to Suez instead of Oran would cost ~4x the shipping, then you're probably at least reconsidering whether a simple move of Torch to Suez was within W.Allied capabilities.
I haven't run the numbers on such a move yet because I'm confident that more than the Torch force would be needed, and I'm all but certain that the needed forces exceeded W.Allied logistical capabilities in 1942.
For just a bit of context on the shipping squeeze in 1942, here's GLS again:
1942 the inroads upon Britain's domestic
economy caused by the dwindling of her
imports had become so serious, in the view
of high American as well as British officials, as to dictate a comprehensive longterm redistribution of combined shipping
resources in order to keep the flow of imports from falling below the danger level.
So there wasn't really any spare shipping capacity short of starting to shut down the British economy in OTL 1942. I've calculated upthread that cessation of LL to the Persian Corridor would free up sufficient shipping to support (but not deploy) 6 divisions in the MidEast. If we move 4 of Monty's divisions to Syria that gives you 10 divisions (assuming you find deployment shipping). Still not enough, as explained below.
If we're going to accept multiple German armies advancing down from Turkey and the Caucasus as logistically possible then lets be fair about it and add at least the equivalent on the allies side.
Logistics isn't a matter of fairness, it's the brute facts of distance versus capacity. Most Axis fuel
came from Romania and would travel ~800miles to Syria. Axis food would be requisitioned in Ukraine/Romania (recall that the Ostheer fed itself mostly from Ukraine; Germany wouldn't just let the natives keep their bread after SU's fall) - call that 1,000 miles from Syria. Axis munitions from Germany have a longer journey, call it 2,000 miles.
The W.Allied supply line around the Cape to Syria is ~14,000 miles long (average of UK/US routes).
Here again we're in a situation where the "W.Allies have greater resources" isn't sufficient. It matters how much
greater and 10-20x the logistical distance per combat troop far exceeds even the Allies' OTL resource advantage (let alone post-SU resource ratios).
Why would India become relevant? What strategic value would India have that would compel the Germans risk a land campaign?
Germans and Japanese, especially after Japan beats China/Russia and has large armies with nothing better to do.
One strategically-relevant goal would be to force the British/W.Allies to fight there. As we've been discussing, their logistics to India are daunting. German/Japanese logistics are also daunting but in a different way: once road/rail connections are up, their operation (through Iran and Burma) would be relatively cheap. Japan built the Burma Railway from scratch to support a secondary theater; here's one American engineer's description of it:
"What makes this an engineering feat is the totality of it, the accumulation of factors. The total length of miles, the total number of bridges — over 600, including six to eight long-span bridges — the total number of people who were involved (one-quarter of a million), the very short time in which they managed to accomplish it, and the extreme conditions they accomplished it under. They had very little transportation to get stuff to and from the workers, they had almost no medication, they couldn’t get food let alone materials, they had no tools to work with except for basic things like spades and hammers, and they worked in extremely difficult conditions — in the jungle with its heat and humidity. All of that makes this railway an extraordinary accomplishment."
If Japan can do that in OTL with no assistance from Germany, and while 90% of her land army is watching the Red Army and fighting China, it's at least plausible that they extend the Burma Railway to the Indian border if China and Russia are out of the picture. Japan also can capture the former W.Allied supply routes from Kunming to Burma if she beats China.
Before everyone jumps down my throat about the terrain of Eastern Iran and Germany's logistical path to India, let's just leave it at Japan for now. A better-supplied Japanese threat from northern Burma would compel either British abandonment of India or the logistically-taxing deployment of more divisions and air forces there.
At the grand-strategic level, how much more motivated is Britain to cut her losses against Germany to face down the Japanese threat when she faces losing India? (Yes I know she lost India shortly after WW2 anyway but Churchill and many others cherished a delusion of an enduring British Empire).