Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Peter89
Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 27 Sep 2020 18:21

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Sep 2020 05:37
The problem with this resource allocations in your ATL is that you often seem to spend the same coin twice.
How so? Build 100 fewer tanks for 100 Siebels. By June ’42 the Red Army is kaput in this ATL; a hundred tanks (or equivalent in shells/guns) are surplus to requirements.

No, you can't do this.

In your ATL for the victory in SU, you've already spent these coins. You want to have the extra Siebels, so first you maximize the panzer output. Then you retrospectively - after I agree that the SU is defeated - alter the plan that you cut the panzer output in order to have more Siebels. Then you redirect another division from the theatre and predict the same outcome.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
The extra tanks come from not cutting the panzer program from 1,200 to 600 by mid-1940 during the 1939 financial crisis. Instead, cuts are made to the Z-plan and, if necessary, to the Ju-88 program. Projecting that higher rate of production forward, it's quite easy to get to 1,000 more tanks by mid-1941. A bigger panzer program should be attended by greater oversight and analysis. To that end I specify that the Germans begin rationalization of panzer production earlier than OTL by taking later-war steps such as using flow production instead of station production and by loosening up the Wehrmacht's counterproductive quality standards. Labor costs for a Panzer III declined by 50% OTL due to these steps; it's a matter of historical contingency that they did not happen earlier. The extra trucks represent ~6% of those available for Barbarossa. They can come from (1) greater production flowing from greater strategic priority for the Heer, (2) greater overall production from rationalization and better use of occupied Europe (i.e. for labor primarily), (2) the civilian economy, (3) sending only one division with Rommel to Africa, (4) some combination of the foregoing.


Also, when you think it is a real option to calculate with the cost of a weapon and you think that 100,000 RM in Panzer-production is interchangeable anytime with 100,000 RM in ship production, Ju-88 production or civilian production you are plainly wrong.


You also spent the extra railroad rebuilding capacities before, just as naval aviation resources, in favor of the successful invasion of the SU:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
The additional forces are as follows:

5 standard infantry divisions converted to motorized infantry divisions. 3 come from the June 22, 1941 OKH/AGN reserve, 2 come from the west (Norway/France/Balkans).
5 additional panzer divisions created. Ration strength of these divisions is ~68,000; with non-divisional "slice" included it's ~85-90,000 additional Heer personnel.
up to 2 additional infantry divisions moved from West to support AGS in Romania.

Strategic planning for a more challenging two-year campaign against the SU

Besides an additional panzer group, the ATL specifies strategic planning for a two-year campaign towards approximately the A-A line. This strategic conception conception implies long-term planning for logistical issues attendant to supplying 3 million men far from the Reich, a consideration that was ignored based on the assumption of a quick campaign. As a result, the Eisenbahntruppen have additional equipment for signals, communications, and other railway infrastructure. The Reichsbahn as a whole is stronger than OTL. Better strategic planning also implies progressive mobilization of manpower and economic resources throughout the campaign as opposed to de-prioritizing army programs shortly after Barbarossa's launch. The takeaway is that while the Ostheer is only slightly stronger than OTL in June 1941, it's ~30% stronger, better-equipped, and better-supplied in ATL May 1942 than OTL.


What Beaver's source tells us is that the Wallies knew that the railways in the Balkans were in terrible conditions, and the Germans had no means to improve those conditions; some of them were of permanent nature, some could be upgraded, but the overall performance of these lines are expected to be really bad. The Wallies also knew about the chokepoints. Another thing is that in your own ATL the German railway-improving teams can't even start to improve the railways in the Balkans before the conclusion of the Soviet campaign.

Then you make a few more ATL alterations, including more Uboats and eliminating the Greek question
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 May 2019 05:10
• I will detail additional ancillary ATL aspects including:
o Hitler decides to eliminate the Greek question months earlier than OTL, further bolstering Barbarossa’s strength
o Hitler follows through on, and the Wehrmacht abides, Hitler’s 1940 demand for longer barrels on the Mark IV.
o Early- and pre-war boosts to Uboat production at the expense of surface fleet
These ancillary aspects are not essential to the ATL’s thesis but they bolster its feasibility.


but then the Reich is in full mood of building up a carrier fleet and the control of the seas:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Sep 2020 12:26
Control of the seas

In addition, you're assuming too much IMO. The OKM had specific plans for carrier conversions, for example. Lutzow and Speer would have taken a year to convert and 400 workers. Seydlitz was to converted and may actually have started conversion (anyone know?). Eugen, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau... Italy had several hulls that could have been converted, completed plans for Roma's conversion, and nearly completed an aircraft carrier in 43. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_a ... ier_Aquila Germany had several ocean liner hulls that it considered converting and Russia left substantial hulls intended for its Kronstadt and Sovetskii Soyuz ships that could have been used.


And you do the same with the Luftwaffe:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Sep 2020 10:11
That's OTL not ATL.

I understand that you're responding to a low-detail post by me (one that followed very detailed posts)... but I've provided multiple reasons why ATL would be different from OTL on many of the factors you list. Most critically is German plane production delta for ATL over OTL. Nearly as important is the German fuel situation in ATL versus OTL: with Caucasus oil the LW maintains pilot quality with the W.Allies. The Wallies couldn't reliably bomb Germany by daylight until 1944; in an ATL with >2x LW production it's at least questionable whether W.allies can establish air superiority over Germany. Lack of AS over Germany doesn't mean LW has beaten RAF/AAF, just means the central W.Allied strategic goal has been defeated.


So first we allocate the freed aircraft units from the SU (obviously, they are victorious, so haven't lost a significant number of their own) in order to protect the AS over Germany to keep the industry running at a higher pace. But then
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 05:23

The extra capacity can support more divisions and/or a very powerful LW contingent in the ME. The LW has 2,500 unemployed frontline aircraft after the SU falls, this is very bad news for the W.Allies. In OTL campaigns in the Med, the LW was heavily outnumbered and, particularly in Tunisia, out-supplied. As a result its losses far exceeded Wallied losses - LW couldn't defend its bases and had such a spare-parts problem that >600 AC were abandoned in Africa. Here the LW has at least numerical parity unless the W.Allies focus all their limited ME shipping capacity on air forces (not a good idea). As a result, the LW would achieve approximate casualty parity with W.Allies, which implies the LW saving ~1,500 AC and their crews versus OTL Med campaigns through Salerno. Combined with the absence of LW losses in the East, this has serious implications for the W.Allied bombing campaign in Europe.
...the same aircrafts are establishing aerial AND naval control of the Eastern Med.

It's like I had 100 dollars last week OTL, and I spent it on food. But ATL I spend it on clothes so I can fill my stomach and look fancy, too! o.O

But when it comes to the Wallies or the Soviets, they are passive, incompetent, inexperienced and everything is twice as hard for them as in OTL.

While the 10th Indian division in 1941 was:
The 10th Indian Division deployed to Iraq hurriedly. The lack of fighting there was fortunate; the division had inadequate training and insufficient equipment. Most new formations were lamentably deficient in AT guns, AA artillery, and armored vehicles. For example, the 1940 divisions contained only 36 percent of their authorized artillery, 19 percent of the LMGs, and 11 percent of the mortars.
THE INDIAN ARMY IN AFRICA AND ASIA, 1940-42: Implications for the Planning and Execution of Two Nearly-Simultaneous Campaigns

Gooner1 questioned me whether I classify the 10th Indian Division as hodgepodge. I confirmed. In 1941.
Gooner1 wrote:
08 Sep 2020 12:02
Amongst the 'hodgepodge' of units the British assembled in Iraq was 10th Indian Division under the command of Bill Slim.
Because by late 1942 they became trained, equipped and battle-hardened.

Once again you think that these units were basically an inexperienced garrison force, who has to face the shining panzers of the Ostheer.

It was simply not the case.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Sep 2020 18:40

Peter89 wrote:
27 Sep 2020 17:36


Image

Please note the chokepoints, and also the detailed nature of the map compared to this one:

Image
Thanks for these.

The maps are useful, but the meat is in the actual capacity of these railways. In the US with its robust industrial base capacity in 1940 was around 70-75 % of the early 20th Century levels. The effects of the Depression and other longer term trends led to poorly maintained railways, reduced rolling stock. Traffic had fallen off drastically in the Depression & the current capacity reflected this. Did the Balkan & Turkish railways reflect this as well. The peace time delivery numbers for this region circa 1940 give some sort of base line for estimating military supply delivery.
Last edited by Carl Schwamberger on 27 Sep 2020 20:35, edited 1 time in total.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Sep 2020 18:44

Peter89 wrote:
27 Sep 2020 18:21
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Sep 2020 05:37
The problem with this resource allocations in your ATL is that you often seem to spend the same coin twice.
How so? Build 100 fewer tanks for 100 Siebels. By June ’42 the Red Army is kaput in this ATL; a hundred tanks (or equivalent in shells/guns) are surplus to requirements.
No, you can't do this.
Yes, he can, because it is the standard bait and switch tactic, fueled by hindsight, and supercharged through hand-waving, of the what-iffer when challenged..."you say I can't do this, because of that, so I just tweak that so it is this". Why waste your time and research on this? It's like arguing with a conspiracy addict, probably because it is a similar mindset at work.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Sep 2020 19:23

Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2020 08:21
...

Wallies, on the other hand, had bases on Cyprus and in the Levant, with local refineries, good ports and infrastructure; 100% safe sea routes and whatnot. 3000 seems to be a too big number for me: IIRC the whole Wallied MTO didn't have that many operational planes in late 1942.
What they had five months later, or three months later in February 1943 seems relevant to this discussion. Or more important how they got to that number, as it led directly to this:
The Tunisian logistical operation was a disaster, and the Germans sacrificed a lot of precious logistical assets (including aerial transports) and heavy equipment to delivery cargo to the already lost Africa. Sadly, this is the most likely scenario if you don't have naval / aerial superiority. ...

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Sep 2020 19:46

BTW, for those interested in calculating realistic seaborne loading, travel, and unloading times under various circumstances, I would recommend perusing FM 101-10, paras. 237-244, as a good alternative to just making **** up. :milwink:

Profanity removed by this Mod

T Duncan
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Sep 2020 23:51

Richard Anderson wrote:
27 Sep 2020 19:46
BTW, for those interested in calculating realistic seaborne loading, travel, and unloading times under various circumstances, I would recommend perusing FM 101-10, paras. 237-244, as a good alternative to just making **** up. :milwink:
Whoa there Richard. Calm down, we're just having a friendly discussion. The war is over.

Aside from profanity, does Richard have any substantive critique of using ton-miles as an approximation of US shipping capacity? Of course not. Anybody remotely familiar with transportation analytics knows that the ton-mile (and passenger-mile) is a foundational unit in the field.

He has a peekaboo reference to a source but no substantive argument as to why that source contradicts TMP. Here's a link to FM 101-10-1, btw. https://www.bits.de/NRANEU/others/amd-u ... 866%29.pdf If anybody can explain how this source contradicts my analysis, have at it. Likewise for any explanation of how FM 101-10 contradicts Global Logistics and Strategy's figures for ship TRT on the routes to UK and the Near East.

I suspect that will be a fruitless endeavor, however. Richard's invocations of sources and details often have no bearing on the point in dispute. This reminds me of Richard invoking the "reality" of the B-24 program in response to an argument that America could have produced fewer B-24's. That exchange prompted a long, detailed post about the B-24's program history: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&start=60#p2261101.

How any of the impeccably detailed historical narrative was relevant to whether the US could have built fewer B-24's is anyone's guess.

How any of the unspecified or even summarized detail in FM 101 is relevant to whether ton-miles is a good approximation of shipping capacity is, likewise, anyone's guess.


Profanity removed by this Mod

T Duncan

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Sep 2020 01:54

Carl Schwamberger wrote:What they had five months later, or three months later in February 1943 seems relevant to this discussion. Or more important how they got to that number
How they got to that number was a matter of shipping logistics (plus some land logistics of course). Relevant to those logistics were the in-theater manpower and equipment requirements for air groups. GLS v.2 gives air group personnel slice figures for 1945 in App E:

Image

This works out to ~53 men per medium bomber and ~27 per fighter. So sending 1,500 American planes to the ME - half bombers/fighters each - would require sending 60,000 men with them (equivalent of 2 division slices). If the per-man MT shipping burden of aircraft groups is around the same as for Army Ground Forces, that would require something in the neighborhood of 300k MT and 4.2bn MT-miles for Mideast deployment. I don't have much data on the AAF shipping burden, however (can anybody help?).

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Sep 2020 04:48

Peter89 wrote:No, you can't do this.
I'm going to explain why a mid-'42 pullback on army production is consistent with an ATL victory over the SU below. I'm wary about embarking on this process, however. I didn't specify a specific pre-Turkey ATL and you're holding me to the exact ATL I wrote over a year ago. My thoughts on those issues have evolved as I continue to read; I've explicitly noted possible revisions in the existing ATL thread to note plausible revisions (one of which - earlier Balkans campaign and therefore earlier Barbarossa - you quote).

Despite the evolution in the details of my view, one high-level theme is consistent and important to emphasize here: Had Germany conducted a stronger, earlier Barbarossa along the general lines I've sketched, by '42 the RKKA would have been ~1/3 weaker than OTL '42. That means ~3.8mil instead of 5.7mil and thousands fewer tanks, guns, etc.

Against that weaker SU, Germany can pull back on army production in mid-1942, not 40-41. That pullback can be applied to guns and ammo, tanks, or anything else army-related. As panzer/mobile divisions would disproportionately feature in post-SU campaigns, you'd probably want to pull back on artillery/ammo instead of tanks. I only said tanks because my guesstimate of Siebel Ferry cost is around the cost of a tank.

My year-old ATL also specifies greater overall production due to earlier recruitment of foreign labor. I remain committed to the feasibility of that ATL path; it is increasingly clear to me that German production was allowed to flounder after France due to a public perception that the war would soon end and a lack of strategic direction from Hitler on the urgency of maintaining and increasing army production. Chapter II-4-1 of Vol.V/1 of Germany in the Second World War (titled "THE VICTOR’S HUBRIS: GERMANY LOSES ITS LEAD IN ARMAMENTS AFTER THE FRENCH CAMPAIGN), and its subchapter 1 ("Mobilization discontinued") discuss these dynamics in good detail. At a point when Germany should have increasing the intensity of its war effort, the Nazi state did the opposite - largely because (I argue) Hitler did not take the Soviets seriously enough.

So an army pullback isn't even necessary to achieve more Siebels/MFP's but it's completely feasible with my ATL vision, specified at a high level.
Peter89 wrote:Also, when you think it is a real option to calculate with the cost of a weapon and you think that 100,000 RM in Panzer-production is interchangeable anytime with 100,000 RM in ship production, Ju-88 production or civilian production you are plainly wrong.
That's not my view at all and I bet you can't find a single point where I've said so. My view has been caricatured to that effect by other bad-faith readers of my threads; maybe you're confusing my statements with their bad-faith characterizations. I've consistently pointed to long-term decisions from which flow the investments that dictate production capabilities, such as decisions in 1939 to cut funding for the panzer program while maintaining Ju-88 and Z-plan funding. You can believe bad-faith mis-characterizations of what I've said or you can look at what I've actually said. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557#p2216328

In the particular case of Siebel Ferries, we know that these were constructed modularly from simple steel sub-assemblies that could be assembled at forward locations. There was no shortage of German facilities for making simple steel structures; Siebel parts could have been built across the Reich and assembled at even more places. The limiting production factor was likely, as with much German equipment, a matter of monthly steel allocation rather than of long-term investment decisions. You're familiar with this constraint on German maritime production, having cited it regarding Danube barge production.
Another thing is that in your own ATL the German railway-improving teams can't even start to improve the railways in the Balkans before the conclusion of the Soviet campaign.
This criticism has more validity than the others, mostly related to the difference between my envisioned Ostfront ATL of a year ago and the one I have in mind now. To the extent you're going off only what I've written, it's fair to make this criticism and unfair of me to expect you to know what's only in a draft on my computer. To be fair to me, I didn't jump into this discussion anticipating a need to articulate a full version of all preceding events. To be fair to us both, maybe we should embark on these discussions only after articulating all preconditions or we could - in a spirit of generosity - understand that our discussion is under-specified and that revisions/clarifications may be necessary.

The May Barbarossa starting point that I referenced as an addendum to the year-old ATL thread puts the Ostheer at/near Gorkiy by December '41 and envisions a winter offensive (only an AGS's front) that takes Stalingrad and Maikop. With that setup, I see the Soviets back near the Caucasus by July, the Ostheer drawn down to maybe 100 divisions, and the need for Ostheer rail logistics accordingly diminished. Except for a critical push by AGC into the Central Urals (the industrial center of gravity), the Ostheer's remaining tasks need only Barbarossa-style light re-gauging of the railroads. In that ATL, there should be sufficient free railroad workforce resources to effect the improvised/temporary measures I've discussed (mostly trans-shipment over the Danube to address Balkan bottlenecks).
Then you make a few more ATL alterations, including more Uboats and eliminating the Greek question
...
but then the Reich is in full mood of building up a carrier fleet and the control of the seas
You're (1) compressing the timeline and (2) assuming as certain the early-war U-boat production increases that I only suggested were possible.

Re (1) the Germans don't start building converted carriers until 1943.

Re (2) I have been using OTL Wallied shipping capacity. Had I been incorporating the possibility of more U-boats in this discussion, the W.Allies would have less shipping and their MidEast logistics more difficult.
So first we allocate the freed aircraft units from the SU (obviously, they are victorious, so haven't lost a significant number of their own) in order to protect the AS over Germany to keep the industry running at a higher pace. But then
...
...the same aircrafts are establishing aerial AND naval control of the Eastern Med.
Again you're compressing the timeline. I've said that the LW deploy ~1,500 AC between Greece and Tehran. That leaves another 1,000 to redirect from Ostfront.

I then describe the outcome of the ATL MidEast air battles: Unlike OTL Tunisia, the LW isn't massively outnumbered and under-supplied. As a result, it suffers many fewer casualties.

ONLY THEN - in mid-'43 or so - does my narrative pivot back to the air war over Germany. Having lost fewer planes in the ME/Africa, and having no active Ostfront, the LW is stronger over Germany than OTL.
But when it comes to the Wallies or the Soviets, they are passive, incompetent, inexperienced and everything is twice as hard for them as in OTL.
Sorry but this is complete BS. I have gone to great lengths to analyze and quantify what kind of response the W.Allies could have mounted in the ATL MidEast, including more quantitatively-based shipping logistical analysis than I remember seeing in any AHF thread. IMO this analysis is fair and data-driven - I certainly haven't seen any substantive pushback on the numerical analysis so far. I've also analyzed W.Allied moves in North Africa as an alternative to contesting the MidEast. If you can think of a W.Allied response that is better than the ones I am analyzing, please articulate it. One possibility is a Norway invasion - I also raised that idea up thread.
Because by late 1942 they [10th Indian Division] became trained, equipped and battle-hardened.

Once again you think that these units were basically an inexperienced garrison force, who has to face the shining panzers of the Ostheer.

It was simply not the case.
This was a combat-capable division in the desert campaigns but had lost a lot men. It was probably still a decent division in late '42 after being reconstituted, including with Balkans exiles. What about the other divisions of 10th Army?

I'm sensitive to the imperialist/racist overtones of criticizing Indian divisions but I hope we can avoid PC niceties. Even Richard Anderson will tell you that the Germans were on average more combat-effective than the W.Allies in 1942; for that reason numerical parity against the Ostheer isn't sufficient (see desert campaigns). The Indian divisions varied greatly in their combat value; those that actually fought were judged the best. So I have my doubts about the value of the rest of 10th Army in fall '42.

Given the difficulties of MidEast logistics, and the fact that less combat-effective divisions were no less hungry, it isn't clear to me that spending logistical resources on 10th Army would be wise.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 28 Sep 2020 05:38

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
27 Sep 2020 18:40

Thanks for these.

The maps are useful, but the meat is in the actual capacity of these railways. In the US with its robust industrial base capacity in 1940 was around 70-75 % of the early 20th Century levels. The effects of the Depression and other longer term trends led to poorly maintained railways, reduced rolling stock. Traffic had fallen off drastically in the Depression & the current capacity reflected this. Did the Balkan & Turkish railways reflect this as well. The peace time delivery numbers for this region circa 1940 give some sort of base line for estimating military supply delivery.
The thing is that the Bulgarian railway system connected the whole Bulgarian industry, with all of the factories. It had its seasonal peaks of grain and coal traffics, especially in the said timeframe (from October onwards), and it is sure that the Bulgarians would not allow the Germans to put their otherwise weak economy to an effective standstill. Also agriculture, the sector where 80% of the Bulgarians made their living, played an important role.

However, the problem is with the method. It is clear that some lines were not utilized 100%, but it doesn't help us at all; they do not remove bottlenecks, and they are poor substitutes for alternative routes, as we have seen it with the Turkish chromite deliveries. But we can't downgrade the full of local economy's traffic to zero for a long time, and we especially can't do it in its prime time.

What we need here is unused railway capacity and a relatively well-maintained line was only the Orient Express line in Bulgaria.

Let me put my two cents down on the table.

In theory, it could have handled a total of 12-20 trains per day under ideal conditions, with 14t axle weight (mostly ideal for the 2-10-0 DRB 52 locomotives, but not good for the Yugoslavian Pacifics or the DRB50s). To calculate with normal numbers, a German military train usually delivered 400t of supplies, but because of the limitations of permanent nature, we can work with 2/3 of that, so about 267t / train. So how many trains could go through Bulgaria - and proceed to Sirkeci railway station, if ever captured - is the question. There was no way that any stations could handle more than 18 trains / day in this area OTL, and even that number was achieved on stations that were not even on the same universe with the Bulgarian stations. This gives us a 4800t / day theoretical total.

But first, we have to deduct the Bulgarian economy's needs from the line, which is approximately (based on the figures from Mr. Beaver) 2000t / day. It is a very conservative extrapolation, assuming that the Bulgarian domestic economy doesn't require more freight capacity in 1943 than it did in 1933. So we are around 2800t / day theoretical maximum, even less than that in late 1942.

(Then we have passenger traffic, even if limited, but still, existing. Obviously, the lines near Sofia were the more used ones. A maximum of 12-13 trains (both directions) was achieved according to Mr. Beaver.)

A more rational number is 12 trains / day, so the numbers are probably still too high.

That's why I started with the question: is it a sustained operation, a blitzkrieg, or a blitzkrieg and a springboard for wild offensives against Arabia and India?

Because there might be a few months in a year when the domestic traffic is not that relevant and could be stopped, and also when stockpiling the resources near the deployment area is possible. Let's not forget that the OTL Balkans campaign used a lot of one-time logistical possibilities, and the swift deployment of resources was only possible because the Germans had started to stockpile resources near Vienna about a year before. Even so they had to split up their forces and disembark them at different locations (even before the Balkans' bottlenecks!).

Moreover, there wasn't a train ferry connection between Sirkeci and Haydarpaşa (European and Asian ends of the Bosphorus), not until 1958 http://www.trainsofturkey.com/index.php ... TrainFerry . The first train ferry service between two sides of Istanbul took place on October 5, 1926, but it was a very primitive system (so it is pointless to compare it with the Channel train ferries).
https://en.rayhaber.com/2020/01/Train-f ... returning/

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Sep 2020 17:59

Peter89 wrote:
28 Sep 2020 05:38
...

In theory, it could have handled a total of 12-20 trains per day under ideal conditions, with 14t axle weight (mostly ideal for the 2-10-0 DRB 52 locomotives, but not good for the Yugoslavian Pacifics or the DRB50s). To calculate with normal numbers, a German military train usually delivered 400t of supplies, but because of the limitations of permanent nature, we can work with 2/3 of that, so about 267t / train. So how many trains could go through Bulgaria - and proceed to Sirkeci railway station, if ever captured - is the question. There was no way that any stations could handle more than 18 trains / day in this area OTL, and even that number was achieved on stations that were not even on the same universe with the Bulgarian stations. This gives us a 4800t / day theoretical total.

But first, we have to deduct the Bulgarian economy's needs from the line, which is approximately (based on the figures from Mr. Beaver) 2000t / day. It is a very conservative extrapolation, assuming that the Bulgarian domestic economy doesn't require more freight capacity in 1943 than it did in 1933. So we are around 2800t / day theoretical maximum, even less than that in late 1942. ...
Thanks. Theres a variety of calculations/estimates for daily requirements of a 'division', or a division slice of a army, or per man. Using a round number of 500 tons per day for each divisions portion of a army total mass the 2,800 tons equals 5-6 divisions plus all the corps and army support units. What the air support might add may be substantial. The les optimistic Allied planners for OVERLORD allowed 900 tons per day per division slice when the tactical airfares rebased to France were included. They also were allowing for their army to be in near continuous offensive combat for the first 90 days, and the 900 tons included a small amount to build a local reserve in the beachhead. Theres also the question of a Germany corps or army having less heavy artillery above the division level than allowed for in OVERLORD planning, and a question of the difference in requirements between mechanized corps and those made up of horse draught artillery and foot mobile infantry.

But sticking with the 500 tons daily, and assuming Bulgarian sensibilities are kicked aside there could be in theory a army of 11-12 divisions sustained for 90 days? That would be before deduction of requirements for the air support. So what is realistic if we allow for Bulgarian needs to prevent revolt there after 90 days? Are we back down to a half dozen divisions supplied by the railways? Beyond that what is a realistic capacity of the Turkish railways after each 100km increment of advance east? Thats before reduction from any scorched earth action, sabotage & other partisan activity.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 28 Sep 2020 19:40

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
28 Sep 2020 17:59
Peter89 wrote:
28 Sep 2020 05:38
...

In theory, it could have handled a total of 12-20 trains per day under ideal conditions, with 14t axle weight (mostly ideal for the 2-10-0 DRB 52 locomotives, but not good for the Yugoslavian Pacifics or the DRB50s). To calculate with normal numbers, a German military train usually delivered 400t of supplies, but because of the limitations of permanent nature, we can work with 2/3 of that, so about 267t / train. So how many trains could go through Bulgaria - and proceed to Sirkeci railway station, if ever captured - is the question. There was no way that any stations could handle more than 18 trains / day in this area OTL, and even that number was achieved on stations that were not even on the same universe with the Bulgarian stations. This gives us a 4800t / day theoretical total.

But first, we have to deduct the Bulgarian economy's needs from the line, which is approximately (based on the figures from Mr. Beaver) 2000t / day. It is a very conservative extrapolation, assuming that the Bulgarian domestic economy doesn't require more freight capacity in 1943 than it did in 1933. So we are around 2800t / day theoretical maximum, even less than that in late 1942. ...
Thanks. Theres a variety of calculations/estimates for daily requirements of a 'division', or a division slice of a army, or per man. Using a round number of 500 tons per day for each divisions portion of a army total mass the 2,800 tons equals 5-6 divisions plus all the corps and army support units. What the air support might add may be substantial. The les optimistic Allied planners for OVERLORD allowed 900 tons per day per division slice when the tactical airfares rebased to France were included. They also were allowing for their army to be in near continuous offensive combat for the first 90 days, and the 900 tons included a small amount to build a local reserve in the beachhead. Theres also the question of a Germany corps or army having less heavy artillery above the division level than allowed for in OVERLORD planning, and a question of the difference in requirements between mechanized corps and those made up of horse draught artillery and foot mobile infantry.

But sticking with the 500 tons daily, and assuming Bulgarian sensibilities are kicked aside there could be in theory a army of 11-12 divisions sustained for 90 days? That would be before deduction of requirements for the air support. So what is realistic if we allow for Bulgarian needs to prevent revolt there after 90 days? Are we back down to a half dozen divisions supplied by the railways? Beyond that what is a realistic capacity of the Turkish railways after each 100km increment of advance east? Thats before reduction from any scorched earth action, sabotage & other partisan activity.
I'd say we can calculate with 3 stages of the operation Gertrude here:

1. the battles to take the straits
2. the battles to take the ports (Izmir, Zonguldak, Samsun)
3. the battles to take the interior

1.
If the Bulgarian (+ other) sensibilities are put aside, 11-12 divisions could be supported to take the straits.
If the Germans start to build up depos near the Turkish border prior to the campaign (as well as they start to send down the supplies into the streamline) they might be able to sustain the operations for 11-12 divisions for about the same time as they've stockpiled the resources.

But then the Bosphorus comes in as an inevitable bottleneck, so these numbers are strictly for the European side. What the ferry / barge effort might be over the Bosphorus, it's just an imagination. All we know it will be much, much less than on the European side.

2.
The ports with railway connections might add up more logistical opportunities.

The Agean port Izmir has a problem: it could be either supplied from Greece (which is not really effective, because there's a bottleneck in Belgrade-Nis, and we've already used 78% of that capacity in Bulgaria, thus the increase to the 11-12 divisions is a mere 28% (about 3 divisions).

The point is that the whole Balkans railway system is able to support about 14-15 divisions under the most ideal conditions.

The other route is via the ports of Italy, which are most certainly exposed, and the Axis did not have the naval means to do it for long either.

The Black Sea ports are quite far from Istanbul so most likely they have to be taken by an amphibious assault, but the main problem is the lack of the seagoing merchant vessels and the lack of the traffic from the Agean. So the whole straitscoast have to be cleared up first to utilize those ports for Mediterran Sea vessels. Until then (and mostly afterwards), every loss is irreplaceable.

3.
Let's assume the Germans were able to clear up the the straits and the aforementioned ports with all the facilities intact. The problem is that the deeper the Germans go into Turkey, the less means they have to sustain their troops, not to mention their air cover. And now the supply depos they've been building up hypothetically, don't help much because they lacked the naval capacities as well.

So we are talking about so many bottlenecks that it is slowly becoming a pure imagination. The Turkish railway system - in theory - made it possible to find alternative routes, so we can't be so precise as in the case of the Balkans, but it is very hardly imagineable that the Germans would be able to maintain more than 14-15 fighting divisions under the most ideal conditions in the interior of Turkey.

And of course, that's before reality kicks in :)

In my calculations (that were made for early 1941 and with Turkish support and Iraqi support), the whole line of logistics from the Balkans into the ME was good for 5 German divisions plus air cover at best.

***

Now that you've asked for references and things to read, may I recommend the Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942 by Maurice Matloif and Edwin M. Snell ?
But the Air Corps was
exploring the possibility of sending aviation
units to the Middle East some time later:
We have avoided any commitments in this
area. However, in 1942 and 1943 it will
probably be impossible to crowd any more
operating units into the British Isles. We are
now studying the possibility of supporting a
large air force in Egypt, Asiatic Turkey and
Syria via the Red Sea, with an airways via
Takoradi, British Gold Coast to Cairo.
It's a great source, featuring a lot of considerations in the theatre. Like:
The President had indicated his own
anxiety in his request for a report on the
situation, in which he asked for a detailed
estimate of what would happen and what
might be done in case the Germans gained
control of the Nile delta within the next ten
days. Marshall's reply restated the longheld
opinion of the War Department that
the loss of the Nile delta would lead to the
loss of the whole Middle East. On the basis
of the President's assumption—which fell
between the estimates of G-2 and of the
operations staff—Marshall reported that
Rommel, after doing his best to destroy the
retreating British forces, would move to take
Cyprus, thence into Syria, and finally across
into Mesopotamia and down to the head of
the Persian Gulf. The British Eighth Army
(after blocking the Suez Canal, a point
about which the President was particularly
interested) would probably have to retreat
southward along the Nile into the Sudan.
To stop the Germans in Syria and assure
the resistance of Turkey would require
much larger reinforcements than could be
sent in such a short time.
Marshall advised
against trying to hold the Middle East once
Egypt was lost, saying that "a major effort
in this region would bleed us white." He
believed there was nothing more to do at
the moment but wait and see what General
Auchinleck, who had taken command in
Egypt, would do.
But for 1942 / 1943:
The main object will be to strengthen this
ring, and close the gaps in it, by sustaining the
Russian front, by arming and supporting
Turkey, by increasing our strength in the
Middle East, and by gaining possession of the
whole North African coast.
We have avoided any commitments in this
area. However, in 1942 and 1943 it will
probably be impossible to crowd any more
operating units into the British Isles. We are
now studying the possibility of supporting a
large air force in Egypt, Asiatic Turkey and
Syria via the Red Sea, with an airways via
Takoradi, British Gold Coast to Cairo.
The new proposal
was one he could offer and the British Chiefs
of Staff could accept by itself, noncommittally,
while awaiting a determination of the
question of operations in 1942, from which
the disposition of the 2d Armored Division
could not be dissociated. Marshall proposed
that the Army send to Egypt 300 M4
tanks and 100 self-propelled 105-mm. guns
and 150 men specially qualified to work with
tanks and self-propelled artillery (as well as
4,000 Air Corps personnel, under the threegroup
deployment program for July). This
movement would involve no direct conflict
with BOLERO schedules.
Also, there's a more or less outdated, but still interesting booklet about the topic & the theatre, which I just downloaded: Hitler's last hope: A factual survey of the Middle East war-zone and Turkey's vital strategic position, with a special chapter on Turkey's military strength by Noel Barber.

Are you familiar with it by any chance?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Sep 2020 23:10

Peter89 wrote:
28 Sep 2020 19:40
Now that you've asked for references and things to read, may I recommend the Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942 by Maurice Matloif and Edwin M. Snell ?
Another interesting take on this subject may be found in Alan Brooke's diaries (the unexpurgated edition), since a German attack on Turkey would play directly into his desire to get Turkey into the war, something he was quite confident would result in German strategic overreach. Of course, in this scenario, as in so many of its ilk, the USSR has conveniently gone belly up, but in the real world he was eagerly awaiting such a denouement, which he saw would open up the Black Sea to the Allied navies and thus secure the Soviets southern front. He was a bit mad on the subject, but then he was a bit mad in general, believing he was the sole possessor of a "strategic outlook", apparently in the entire Allied high command.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Sep 2020 23:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Theres also the question of a Germany corps or army having less heavy artillery above the division level than allowed for in OVERLORD planning, and a question of the difference in requirements between mechanized corps and those made up of horse draught artillery and foot mobile infantry.
These factors are just the beginning of the logistical burden differences between US and German divisions. The US emphasized logistics to a far greater degree, going with a lower "tooth to tail" ratio. As a first order effect, that requires more service troops directly behind the combat troops. As a second-order effect, you have to feed/fuel/equip those in-theater service troops, which requires more service troops, which requires etc. The takeaway is a supralinear relationship between supply of the combat troops and the in-theater logistical burden.

Out of theater personnel requirements escalated as well - the men packing, sorting, and administering that bigger logistical flow across the oceans. That's how you end up with a global 60,000-man division slice (~35,000 in theater). The army was aware of this problem and unsuccessfully tried to check the growth of division slice:
By the time the War department general staff conducted detailed planning for the European theater, it accepted a figure for a standard division slice of 40,000 men. That number was valid only in a theater of operations, however, and a theater required support by still more men located in the Zone of the Interior. Worldwide, a more realistic division slice was around 60,000 men, or double to 30,000-man slice Wedemeyer used to tally the number of divisions he could create out of the Army's share of total military manpower.11 The gap between expectation and reality was greater than anyone anticipated and became a major concern for Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces. McNair worked tirelessly, although ultimately unsuccessfully, to check the proliferation of administration and service units in the Army sand thereby reduce the division slice. Despite his best efforts, it continued to grow until it reached a total of around 45,000 men in the services for every 15,000 in divisions, producing the phenomenon General Joseph W. Stilwell described as the "disappearing ground combat army."
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... ory-5.html

Fundamentally the US/UK always intended to fight a material-heavy, blood-light war whereas Germany and the SU were far more focused on the bleeding edge.

If there's a feasible ATL in which the US trims optimizes its tooth-tail ratio and approach to logistics, its ability to project force in the MidEast would be enhanced. Matters of doctrine and a country's fundamental approach to warfare are less amenable to contingency-dependent alteration, IMO.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 550
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 29 Sep 2020 10:09

Richard Anderson wrote:
28 Sep 2020 23:10
Peter89 wrote:
28 Sep 2020 19:40
Now that you've asked for references and things to read, may I recommend the Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942 by Maurice Matloif and Edwin M. Snell ?
Another interesting take on this subject may be found in Alan Brooke's diaries (the unexpurgated edition), since a German attack on Turkey would play directly into his desire to get Turkey into the war, something he was quite confident would result in German strategic overreach. Of course, in this scenario, as in so many of its ilk, the USSR has conveniently gone belly up, but in the real world he was eagerly awaiting such a denouement, which he saw would open up the Black Sea to the Allied navies and thus secure the Soviets southern front. He was a bit mad on the subject, but then he was a bit mad in general, believing he was the sole possessor of a "strategic outlook", apparently in the entire Allied high command.
Thanks for the reference!

I agree, it was the Wallies' best interest to prompt the Axis into these kind of operations at the very end of their thin and exposed logistical lines.

OTL all the turning-point Allied victories in late 1942 - early 1943 (El-Alamein, Guadalcanal, Tunisia, Stalingrad) were all eating up the Axis' best forces and logistical assets in a futile effort.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Sep 2020 14:55

Of relevance is the OTL British view on what could be done against a German invasion of Turkey. The below pages are from Britain, Turkey, and the Soviet Union, 1940-45:

Image
Image
Image

The OTL British view is largely in line with my own: there was little prospect of stopping Germany in Turkey but some hope of delaying Germany's advance from Turkey by blowing the rail tunnels through the Taurus Mountains.

These British plans were in the context of German victory in the Caucasus; the Douglas and Alanbrooke remarks date to March/April '42.

The British COS later revisited the contingency plans for sabotage in Turkey should that country acquiesce to German occupation, stating
‘The
weakness of the forces we shall have available in 1942 for the defence of
the Syrian and Iraq frontiers, if Turkey acquiesces to German demands,
enhances the importance of any and every means of delaying action.’
The British were concerned to hide their weakness from the Turks:
To maintain the façade, GHQ
Middle East were instructed to avoid staff talks, since ‘in your present
position you would feel yourself embarrassed ... your present deficiencies should not (repeat not) be revealed to Turks.’122 Eden was prepared
to let attaché-level military talks in Ankara continue ‘on a false footing,’ with the Turks being allowed to believe that Britain could assist
them with substantial forces. ‘The importance of not discouraging the
Turks unnecessarily is so great that, even at the expense of some degree
of “suppressio veri,” I feel that we ought to allow the present military
conversations to continue on their present basis.’
Concern persisted that summer:
German successes during July and August revived the
possibility of a complete Soviet collapse in South Russia. Overwhelming
German pressure on their borders would force the Turks to capitulate,
especially if they were inadequately supplied with Allied men and munitions. Auchinleck was painfully aware of this, and concerns about the
Northern Front exercised a powerful influence on him during 1942.135
Throughout that summer, he and Brooke grew ever more exasperated
with Soviet refusal to co-ordinate their Caucasian defence plans with
the British.
...and even into fall '42:
he face of armed Turkish resistance.159
By October 1942, as the German offensive in the Caucasus stagnated, and the western Allies counter-attacked in North Africa, the FO
acquiesced in the JIC view that Germany required 20 divisions to overwhelm Turkey; forces which had not been available since the summer
of 1941.160 Nonetheless, Brooke remained uneasy about the durability of the Northern Front, prompting renewed consideration of the
deployment of Anglo-American air forces in the Caucasus
Note the JIC's assessment - 20 German divisions to overwhelm Turkey - is in line with what I've been working from.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 29 Sep 2020 16:14, edited 1 time in total.

Return to “What if”