Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Sep 2020 16:09

Peter89 wrote:And of course, that's before reality kicks in :)
The nature of reality is one of the premises that you are seeking to establish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning
Peter89 wrote:If the Bulgarian (+ other) sensibilities are put aside
The reality is that Bulgaria's sensibility would be, as with Greece, "we want more of Thrace." That gives us a motivated owner of the rail lines and a dozen or so more divisions with extremely short supply lines. So this:
11-12 divisions could be supported to take the straits.
...is true, but doesn't count Bulgaria's divisions.

In any event, the Heer mostly walked/drove from Romania to the Greek border OTL; the Turkish border is closer. So honestly we don't even need the Bulgarian railways at first. If the Bulgarians want the railways for the harvest during the two weeks or so it would take to conquer Thrace, that's fine. Plenty of trucks unemployed from the former eastern front.
What the ferry / barge effort might be over the Bosphorus, it's just an imagination.
The idea of Germany supporting an army over the Kerch Strait was imaginary until it happened. And Germany had a lot more on its plate than in this ATL when it happened, such as a Red Air Force and Navy that, unlike Turkey's, actually mattered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuban_bridgehead

Re the capacity at Haydarpasa on the Asian side, there was a rail-linked port at Izmit built to address that bottleneck.
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.
A new study of the naval and anti-shipping war in the Med, replete with useful tables, recently came out. https://www.google.com/books/edition/St ... frontcover

Here's monthly Axis shipping losses from Jan '41 through Nov '42:

Image
Image

Image

Image

Submarines effected 54% of Axis shipping losses in this 23-month period - 628k tons. (To give some sense of scale to that loss, recall that Germany would sink >800k tons of Allied shipping November '42.)

As the narrative snippet in the third image discusses, Allied aerial/surface success became largely a matter of sinking Axis shipments to advanced ports after early '42 (Benghazi, Tobruk). Malta was suppressed and the Tripoli route was too far - and too well defended by the LW - for air or surface interdiction from Egypt. LW attacks drove Force K from Malta by April. When the British tried to push surface forces into the area again, the LW sank three of four destroyers immediately; thereafter surface forces generally avoided the area except for Operation Pedestal (which was a reminder of why they avoided the area).

The book also discusses something I mentioned earlier in the thread: that it wasn't lack of shipping per se but lack of escorts and security that limited Rommel's supplies in '42:
Numerous other ships were loaded with fuel and waiting in Italian ports, but the Italians regularly postponed sailing due to a dearth of escorts.
When convoys did sail for Benghazi/Tobruk, they often turned right around if spotted or if the RN was reported at sea.

Why was the Axis risking its shipping resources on the dangerous routes to advanced ports when the Tripoli route was relatively secure in mid-'42? Because Rommel was planning offensives - first Gazala and then late the abortive Alam Halfa push. Supplies in Tripoli weren't getting to him in time.










What's the takeaway of all this for a Turkey-focused ATL fall '42? Let me explain narratively:

-------------------------------------------
After the SU's fall, Germany's eyes turned towards the MidEast. The North African theater and its difficult logistical route to the MidEast became of lower priority. After the Battle of Gazala and the advance into Egypt, Hitler began building up his logistical base in Bulgaria and Greece for a move with/against Turkey from July '42. To that end, Italian shipments were directed on the now relatively-secure Tripoli route instead of to more exposed ports farther east. The slower flow of supplies to Rommel precluded his taking another offensive in contradiction to OKH orders. He knew, however, that he had a secure supply line behind him should the British mount an effort to push him out of Egypt. To make sure Rommel didn't do something undesirable like attack the British at El Alamein, he was recalled and given command of 13th Army as it assembled in the Aegean for the possible invasion of Turkey.

By redeploying LW assets from the Eastern Front to Sicily and Greece, Hitler was able to preclude Allied air and surface attacks on Axis shipping to the Aegean via Brindisi-Corinth. As neither the Libya nor Aegean supply routes faced excessive danger of air/surface attacks, the heavy escorts needed for previous shipments to Libya were no longer necessary. As a result, Axis shipping was far more productive - ships sailed regularly instead of waiting for large convoys and their large escorts to assemble. Italian warships were also free to ferry troops to Aegean and Thracian assembly points. Allied submarines continued to sink ~30k tons of shipping per month but the Axis merchant fleet of ~1.5mil tons could absorb those losses for at least a year before causing a serious shipping crisis. In any event, ship-building at former Soviet yards in Ukraine (e.g. Nikolaev, Mariupol) was accelerating and would soon be able to make good even more serious losses.

...were the narrative to continue, we'd have to decide whether it's an invasion OF Turkey or assembly for invasions FROM Turkey.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Sep 2020 16:45

Peter89 wrote:2. the battles to take the ports (Izmir, Zonguldak, Samsun)
If we're invading Turkey (instead of allying with it or passing through with permission), I don't think we land at Zonguldak and Samsun.

First, it's hard - long way to go for landing craft.

Second, the troops are stuck once the Turks blow the rail tunnels leading onto the Anatolian Plateau.

Third, we'd be hoping the Turks surrender (at least form a parallel Axis-friendly government) around when Ankara and Western Anatolia are lost. In that event, maybe the remaining Turks don't blow up the railroads from Samsun and Zonguldak. These lines were the tangible centerpiece of Turkish national development policy in the '30's, after all. With their war clearly lost already, are the Turks really going to waste all that to save Perfidious Albion (who has mislead them into self-immolation in this ATL)?

Finally, to Izmir we'd add another half-dozen points on the Aegean coast that sit well within artillery range of Axis-held islands.
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.
The British certainly didn't think so...

You need some hard facts/figures to back up this claim, something your Balkan railways analysis certainly provided. Absent that, in Western Anatolia I see numerous ports, 2-3 good rail lines, and many broad valleys leading onto the Anatolian Plateau from the Aegean (with railways running through the biggest valleys). I also see an eastern region (Kars province mostly) where the border bisects a wide open plain that would be impossible to defend. Unfortunately for Turkey in this ATL, her best natural defenses face north and south, not east and west.
Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942
I often quote this book, especially for its mention of the W.Allies strategic haplessness in '42 had the SU fallen. Eisenhower and the JCS saw a pivot to Japan as the only real option. I guess in that scenario they pivot back to Europe around '46 or so.

While that pivot included a defense of the MidEast, the shipping logistics of credibly defending the MidEast would require far less commitment to the Pacific than OTL.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 30 Sep 2020 12:29

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
Peter89 wrote:2. the battles to take the ports (Izmir, Zonguldak, Samsun)
If we're invading Turkey (instead of allying with it or passing through with permission), I don't think we land at Zonguldak and Samsun.

First, it's hard - long way to go for landing craft.
That's correct. So you actually agree that these lines are not eligible for supplies. I am flabbergasted.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45

Second, the troops are stuck once the Turks blow the rail tunnels leading onto the Anatolian Plateau.
That's correct, too.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
Third, we'd be hoping the Turks surrender (at least form a parallel Axis-friendly government) around when Ankara and Western Anatolia are lost.
Whoa whoa whoa. How did we get to Ankara?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
With their war clearly lost already, are the Turks really going to waste all that to save Perfidious Albion (who has mislead them into self-immolation in this ATL)?
The war wasn't clearly lost. A fact you fail to appreciate over and over again. The Wallies still controlled a major part of the world, and they still waay outproduced the Axis. Besides, they knew they couldn't give the Axis breathing space, and their home territories were not in danger. So the political stance of Turkey was not to be expected to be anything than neutral. As soon as the first German attack starts, Turkey join the Allies.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
Finally, to Izmir we'd add another half-dozen points on the Aegean coast that sit well within artillery range of Axis-held islands.
We can add a dozen, it wouldn't make a difference. The more important bottleneck was in the shipping capacity. You have to prove that shipments from Triest could arrive in sufficient quantities to the Agean coast to support your invasion. I gave you a tons of details, including lost shipments via this route and the state of affairs in naval and aerial warfare in the MTO. All these details point out that the Germans could not really hope to sustain a force of 20 divisons + air cover in this region.

Besides, you never really addressed the issue of the smaller DAK - they are most likely could have been crushed before the OTL date.

You keep referring these islands as proper bastions for artillery support, but I think the logistical support for these islands couldn't be much better than the army they were ought to cover.

I think this is your most important logical fallacy here: you cherry pick the datas (range of artillery, distance between shores) and completely ignore the ones you don't like. Let's begin with the simple fact that if the Germans try to reinforce these islands, the Wallies will try to stop them, and get more units ready to redeploy into Turkey.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
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.
The British certainly didn't think so...
Thank god, we have the access to both parties' documents now.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
You need some hard facts/figures to back up this claim, something your Balkan railways analysis certainly provided.
The Balkans railways was something of an exception of its kind, because the density and quality of those lines were seriously investigated, and we have a lot of actual data to work with. Other than that, it would be a nearly impossible job to accomplish, eg. the Spanish railways offered multiple possibilities if a tunnel of bridge was blown up. Who can say that a blown up bridge could bring logistical shipments to a halt for, let's say, a month? What happens if it's two? We don't know that for 100% certainaty as in the case of a single railway with known capacity, where we count with the theoretical maximum.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 16:45
Absent that, in Western Anatolia I see numerous ports, 2-3 good rail lines, and many broad valleys leading onto the Anatolian Plateau from the Aegean (with railways running through the biggest valleys). I also see an eastern region (Kars province mostly) where the border bisects a wide open plain that would be impossible to defend. Unfortunately for Turkey in this ATL, her best natural defenses face north and south, not east and west.
Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare 1941-1942
I often quote this book, especially for its mention of the W.Allies strategic haplessness in '42 had the SU fallen. Eisenhower and the JCS saw a pivot to Japan as the only real option. I guess in that scenario they pivot back to Europe around '46 or so.

While that pivot included a defense of the MidEast, the shipping logistics of credibly defending the MidEast would require far less commitment to the Pacific than OTL.
This is a serious underestimation of the Soviet strength, something that frequently plagued both the Germans and the Wallies, but put that aside.

I seriously doubt that the US would consider to make peace with Japan in 1942 October, after they've hammered them and effectively destroyed their carrier force. But put that aside as well, because this is a realm of guesstimation.

What we know for sure is that the Wallies controlled the world politically and they wanted to go on the offensive in the second half of 1942, at the ends of the Axis' logistical lines, to gradually wear down their best frontline troops and units an an unequal battle. This is what happened OTL and the decision making was clear behind this: the Wallies held an edge in intelligence, technology and naval assets, and they soon aspired to have the same edge in aerial warfare. These were areas of warfare that the Axis couldn't afford and / do, and the Wallies wanted to capitalize on the Axis' handicap.

What really happened was that the Axis lost all of its resupply battles. When I take a look at Turkey in late 1942, I see a country where the Germans have no interest in in your ATL, but it's the exact battleground that the Wallies wanted: they could supply it better than the Axis, they could count on local support (which mattered a lot, especially to Churchill) and the Germans have to overstretch their lines to take a battle they can't win. But even if they can win that battle, it didn't matter: they can't win the campaign, and consequently, they can't win the war.

That's why I said that a sustained Axis effort in the ME is not realistic in 1943.

The most likely scenario here is that the Germans have to withdraw from their exposed position in early 1943, as they should have from Stalingrad, Tunisia and Guadalcanal.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by glenn239 » 30 Sep 2020 17:37

Peter89 wrote:
30 Sep 2020 12:29
As soon as the first German attack starts, Turkey join the Allies.
Turkey will want to join the Anglo-Americans, but the Soviets? Not so much. OTOH, the Soviets will want to enter Turkey from the east in response to the German invasion. (The idea that the SU has been defeated prior to an invasion of Turkey really isn't feasible, IMO).
I think this is your most important logical fallacy here: you cherry pick the datas (range of artillery, distance between shores) and completely ignore the ones you don't like. Let's begin with the simple fact that if the Germans try to reinforce these islands, the Wallies will try to stop them, and get more units ready to redeploy into Turkey.
I don't think from the historical case it's likely that the US will commit forces to this theatre and, leaving aside the excellent arguments on both sides on the military aspects, a German invasion of Turkey may will cause a political crisis in the Anglo-American command structure and between the Soviets and British as well.
The most likely scenario here is that the Germans have to withdraw from their exposed position in early 1943, as they should have from Stalingrad, Tunisia and Guadalcanal.
The most likely scenario seems that the British and Americans will squabble on strategy even more bitterly while the Turks are fighting the Germans in the west and the Russians in the east. The German position will collapse, as you suggest, only when the Americans invade France or the Soviets reach Poland. But, how can the Americans invade France if they're bogged down even worse in the Med than historically, and will Stalin push westwards in 1943, or use the opportunity presented to drive south and make Turkey communist? (I think you are too focused on the military situation and not looking carefully enough at the political complications a German move in Turkey will cause between the Allies?)
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by glenn239 » 30 Sep 2020 17:42

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Sep 2020 02:28
Image

The data is from Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943, appendices A-4 and E. https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-5.pdf
Great find.

Questions - what is the the total of measurement tons required to lift a US infantry and armored division? Also, what is the measurement ton specs for a Liberty ship? I'm thinking maybe around 5,000 measurement tons?

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Sep 2020 17:46

Peter89 wrote:The more important bottleneck was in the shipping capacity. You have to prove that shipments from Triest could arrive in sufficient quantities to the Agean coast to support your invasion. I gave you a tons of details, including lost shipments via this route and the state of affairs in naval and aerial warfare in the MTO.
...and I have addressed each of your arguments.

Just for example, my last post included detailed discussion of Axis shipping losses in the Med in '42, pointing out these losses occurred predominantly on Axis attempts to ship to forward Libyan ports such as Tobruk. This shipping effort was vulnerable to Allied air interdiction, while the sea routes to Corinth and Tripoli were safe at that time from all but submarines (Malta had limited air strike capacity then and zero surface ships). Here's another quote from Strangling the Axis:
Efficiency in strike operations was very important, as shipping sent to Tobruk first went through the Corinth Canal, keeping it largely out of range of Beaufort and Beaufighter aircraft. It could only easily be attacked between Crete and Tobruk, which offered a window of opportunity of around one and half days.
As I said in a previous post, interdiction of Adriatic/Aegean shipping would have been entirely a matter of submarines and mines. I conceded that they'd sink ~30k a day as in OTL but even that's generous to your position. Why?

Because the combined-arms tactics that you rightly tout consisted partly of Wellingtons carrying direction-finding beams (ASV) to help subs home on targets. That works fine over the open Med but over an Aegean reinforced by a few hundred LW fighters? The Wellingtons can't operate there; the subs would be less efffective.

To repeat: Using Axis ships on relatively secure routes to Tripoli and the Aegean instead of Tobruk means those ships provide more shipping. Instead of sitting ports waiting for escorts, and instead of repeated abortive sailings due to RN/RAF interference, they conduct regular runs to Tripoli and the Aegean.

Axis still has ~1.5mil tons of ships at this point; to achieve 5,000t/day throughput to the Aegean at 30 day ship TRT requires only 10% of the merchant fleet.

In addition, Italian warships can be used for running troops. This was done OTL some but the need for heavy escorts limited it. ATL there's little need for heavy convoy escort. To repeat, the Tripoli sea line is now >1,000mi from British bases while the Brindisi-Corinth and Aegean sea lines are immune to surface and air interdiction.

All the Wallies can do is submarine warfare and mines. There's no reason to think that'd go better than OTL and plenty of reasons to think it goes worse in the Aegean than in the OTL open Med. (btw - dropping mines by air is also far more difficult over a reinforced Aegean).
Peter89 wrote:Besides, you never really addressed the issue of the smaller DAK - they are most likely could have been crushed before the OTL date.
What smaller DAK? I haven't said that. I've said ship to Tripoli instead of Tobruk, forcing Rommel onto the defensive at El Alamein from July. If you send all the British subs into the Aegean, Axis coastal shipping can bring up the supplies anyway. If not, Rommel (his replacement actually) cools his jets and doesn't launch his stupid Alam Halfa battle.
Peter89 wrote:That's correct. So you actually agree that these lines are not eligible for supplies. I am flabbergasted.
I can't see why you're surprised that I'm willing to adjust my views...

And keep in mind my broader view: I don't see Turkey fighting Germany in '42. At worst I see them allowing the Germans to pass through. Most likely they join the Axis for Cyprus, Lesbos, Aleppo, Mosul, Karabakh, etc. The alternative is national immolation for the Allied cause - not something they particularly cared about. Remember that the Turkish leadership, while not fascist, had no sincere moral commitment to Western-style democracy (Inonu would hold power without free elections for years after the war, all the Turkish leaders had been complicit in the Armenian genocide). Hitler could credibly have threatened that he'd take Georgia, Armenia, and the Kurds as allies (post-SU) if the Turks didn't let him pass.

Having seen what happened when Greece allowed Britain to make her a pawn in the game, the Turks would have made a narrowly-rational choice. [Greece belatedly responded to German mediation efforts in March '41, by which time it was too late for them. Inonu and Saracoglu were intimately familiar with all this. See van Creveld's article "Prelude to a Disaster" for good narrative.]
Peter89 wrote:The war wasn't clearly lost
I mean only Turkey's war, not the broader war. Again - why does Turkey care about anything else but Turkey?

This is the fundamental dynamic of all WW2: it would have been easy to stop Hitler in '39 or earlier had everyone acted with the global good in mind.
Peter89 wrote:Who can say that a blown up bridge could bring logistical shipments to a halt for, let's say, a month? What happens if it's two? We don't know that for 100% certainty as in the case of a single railway with known capacity, where we count with the theoretical maximum.
Having looked at the landscape of Western Anatolia - its small rivers, the flat valleys through which the railways run - I find this unlikely. Here's a bridge over the river Gediz, for example:

Image

The Germans could replace that in a day; the river is small enough to ford until then.

There's nothing in Western Anatolia that seems more challenging than France or Belarus. More mountains but plenty of routes around them. No rivers as big as the Bug or Dniestr, which the Ostheer crossed/bridged with ease.
Peter89 wrote:I seriously doubt that the US would consider to make peace with Japan in 1942 October
Once again, that's exactly my point: The U.S. would never make peace with Japan after PH, yet a credible defense of the MidEast - if at all possible - requires at least the diversion of all Army-controlled shipping from the OTL reinforcement of the Pacific. And that only gets you a division or so a month.

So the U.S. would have to choose between (1) strongest possible defense of the MidEast with an extremely passive stance in the Pacific and (2) functional abandonment of the MidEast - at least Syria, Suez, Basra/Abadan, and Iran - and an aggressive posture in the Pacific.

Given historical political realities and OTL choices (the U.S. was Pacific-heavy in OTL '42), I can't see the U.S. making the Pacific sacrifices necessary to get even 5 divisions to the MidEast.

Furthermore, I would expect Marshall et. al. to have opinions closer to British military opinion than to the opinions of your typical AHF member. I.e. they would also evaluate a defense of Anatolia as unfeasible.
What we know for sure is that the Wallies controlled the world politically and they wanted to go on the offensive in the second half of 1942, at the ends of the Axis' logistical lines, to gradually wear down their best frontline troops and units an an unequal battle.
That the battle would be unequal for the Axis is one of the premises you're trying to prove. Again, it was not prevailing military opinion at the time and our debate is primarily about whose logistics would support the stronger MidEast force.
it's the exact battleground that the Wallies wanted: they could supply it better than the Axis
Please address the Allied shipping issues. If you disagree with my analysis that all OTL U.S. Army-controlled shipping would, if redirected to the MidEast, get you only ~1 division/month deployed, please say why.

I hope you'll recognize that I'm willing to recognize good analysis - including yours - when I see it and even when it's opposed to my position. So don't take this personally but I get the impression you aren't up on the fundamentals of shipping logistics. Your comment on shipping requirements for Torch being the same as hypothetical shipments to MidEast supports that impression. You're plenty smart to grok the basics with a quick study.

The FM-101-10 manual that Richard Anderson mentioned upthread is actually a good place to start even though, unsurprisingly, it contains nothing to support Richard's claims and is 100% consistent with my analysis of Allied shipping. https://www.google.com/search?q=%22FM+1 ... e&ie=UTF-8
Page 446 of the pdf begins the section on ocean shipping and contains data for cargo volume/weight and loading considerations.

Global Logistics and Strategy is really the best source for the strategic view of Allied shipping resources and its impact on the war. Shipping continued to constrain Allied strategy well into 1944.
What really happened was that the Axis lost all of its resupply battles.
OTL not ATL. As discussed up-post, you're ignoring the reasons they lost those battles and failing to consider whether any of that changes ATL.
When I take a look at Turkey in late 1942, I see a country where the Germans have no interest in in your ATL
Not true. From Halder's diary on July 3, 1941:
As an initial move for the operations through Anatolia against Syria, possibly supported by a secondary drive from the Caucasus, we shall have to initiate concentration of the necessary forces in Bulgaria, which at the same time may serve as a means of political pressure to compel Turkey to grant transit for our forces.
It's true that Hitler didn't want Turkey in itself, but he was absolutely willing to crush Turkey to reach Syria if necessary.
but it's the exact battleground that the Wallies wanted: they could supply it better than the Axis, they could count on local support (which mattered a lot, especially to Churchill) and the Germans have to overstretch their lines to take a battle they can't win.
Again, whose logistics allowed the stronger force is the subject being debated and - as I showed in my last couple posts - British opinion was that no defense of Anatolia was possible. In case you missed it, here's the head of the Foreign Office's Southern Department reacting to the military analysis:
‘I have been innocently under the
impression that every hope was held of being able to defend the Taurus
line; but not at all, and not even the Turkish frontier (I wonder in this
case what line in the Middle East can be held).’
Britain, Turkey, and the Soviet Union, 1940-45, p. 66
That's why I said that a sustained Axis effort in the ME is not realistic in 1943.
Your impression is based partly on uncritical analogy to OTL and failure to dig into the details of shipping logistics. It contradicts contemporary military analysis of the military/logistical situation and is flatly wrong on historical German plans/strategy.

Let me suggest something: you've intellectually hobbled yourself by beginning this discussion with the view that my opinion is a fantasy, which has prevented you from critically examining your priors in light of new evidence.

I like and respect you enough to point this out; some others in this thread I consider lost causes who operate in bad faith. Regardless of one's mental capacity, it's impossible to do your best analysis if you don't take the opposing position seriously. The only times I got my ass handed to me in court were when I was overconfident and didn't put enough thought into opposing arguments.

I hope that doesn't come across the wrong way. I've enjoyed our discussion and learned quite a bit.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 30 Sep 2020 18:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Sep 2020 18:10

Glenn239 wrote:a German invasion of Turkey may will cause a political crisis in the Anglo-American command structure and between the Soviets and British as well.
For the purposes of this sub-ATL between me and Peter89, we're assuming the SU has been defeated. Long thread, I know. It's my intent to spin it off as a separate subject...
Great find.

Questions - what is the the total of measurement tons required to lift a US infantry and armored division? Also, what is the measurement ton specs for a Liberty ship? I'm thinking maybe around 5,000 measurement tons?
Thanks but it's all out in the open online. Probably the title "Global Logistics and Strategy" ranks low on the sexiness index and doesn't attract much attention.

One of the appendices to GLS lists MT capacity for type of ship. Liberty is ~12k MT. Google the title for a pdf of the book.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Orwell1984 » 30 Sep 2020 20:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Sep 2020 17:46
Because the combined-arms tactics that you rightly tout consisted partly of Wellingtons carrying direction-finding beams (ASV) to help subs home on targets. That works fine over the open Med but over an Aegean reinforced by a few hundred LW fighters? The Wellingtons can't operate there; the subs would be less efffective.
The amount of LW fighters is irrelevant if they're of the wrong kind and lack the proper support to deal with the Wellingtons.
Some basic understanding of how the Malta Wellingtons operated and more importantly when they flew is essential.

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... Epi-e.html
The twin-engined Wellington bomber, now being out-moded in the United Kingdom, was still the mainstay of the Middle East night-bomber force. Trials were therefore begun over the Red Sea to modify this aircraft into a torpedo-bomber, and the Air Ministry was finally convinced that these aircraft could form a highly efficient striking force. The Wellington, slow, unweildy, and fabric-covered as it was, would be too vulnerable a target by day, but possessed the necessary long range for night operations. Throughout the early months of 1942, pilots, among whom were Squadron-Leader M. J. Earle24 and Flight-Sergeant A. G. Metcalf,25 flew tirelessly over the Red Sea formulating tactics, and a new and interesting series of operations ensued.

Radar-equipped Wellingtons, loaded with parachute flares, patrolled the shipping lanes for up to ten hours throughout the night. Sighting reports were sent to base, and a striking force of torpedo-Wellingtons was homed on to the target convoy by continual position signals and by direction-finding radio. The search-Wellingtons, popularly known as ‘Snoopingtons’, promptly dropped parachute flares in an L-shaped pattern around the convoy from 4000 feet, utilising any moon path on the sea as well, so that the whole convoy might be trapped in a rectangle of light and the dispositions of the escorting destroyers clearly picked out. Meanwhile the strike-Wellingtons, or ‘Torpingtons’, attacked at sea level, making their runs so that the enemy merchant vessels were silhouetted against the flares. The torpedoes had to be dropped at approximately seventy feet above sea level, and on dark nights pilots sometimes flew into the sea. Radio-altimeters and some curious forms of torpedo-sights were later refinements, but pilots generally relied on their own judgment.
So Luftwaffe day fighters aren't the solution to the Wellington issue. And whatever gets deployed there would benefit from a proper support network.

As to the demise of Force K from Malta, it wasn't the Luftwaffe that put the kibbosh on them.

It was another less glorious tool of war that ended their career.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 30 Sep 2020 20:23

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Sep 2020 17:46
Having seen what happened when Greece allowed Britain to make her a pawn in the game, the Turks would have made a narrowly-rational choice. [Greece belatedly responded to German mediation efforts in March '41, by which time it was too late for them. Inonu and Saracoglu were intimately familiar with all this. See van Creveld's article "Prelude to a Disaster" for good narrative.]
Surely you mean "having seen what happened when Mussolini decides to attack a neutral country and fails miserably..."? Do you really believe that Italy invaded Greece because of some Machiavellian British plot?

BTW General Brooke's record of his lunch with the Turkish ambassador in London on 23 July 1942 (his 59th birthday no less :lol: ) (p.284 of the Danchev and Todman volume) suggests he shares TMP's doubts over Turkey's willingness to go down fighting against the Axis:
"Then lunched at Ritz with Turkish ambassador, he spent most of the meal explaining to me the various reasons why Turkey could not under any circumstances throw in her lot with the Germans! He did NOT entirely convince me."
Regards

Tom

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Sep 2020 21:48

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Surely you mean "having seen what happened when Mussolini decides to attack a neutral country and fails miserably..."? Do you really believe that Italy invaded Greece because of some Machiavellian British plot?
Of course I don't believe the British were behind Mussolini's aggression - didn't say that.

What happened is a complex narrative that requires reading van Creveld's "Prelude to Disaster." Basically Hitler really didn't want to invade Greece* and was sending offers to mediate repeatedly from November through February. The British, meanwhile, were promising Metaxas and - after his death - Papagos that they would send reinforcements and enlist Yugoslavia and Turkey in the common cause. Papagos seems to have relied on this for a while, but then lost the thread of the swirling issues and he undercut Yugoslavia by planning to abandon Salonika (Yugoslavia's only window on the world if it were in the war). Once the it became clear that Yugoslavia wasn't on board (before the coup of course), Papagos seems to have panicked and belatedly reached out to Germany trying to take up Hitler's offer of mediation. By then German troops were crossing into Bulgaria, Hitler had promised Bulgaria part of Greek Thrace, and it was too late for peace.

My "Perfidious Albion" comment is tongue in cheek. Britain did what every country was doing - looking out for its own interests. It certainly would have served Britain to have Yugoslavia, Turkey, and Greece join a common anti-Axis front and they tried to make this happen. As with Eden's "suppressio veri" that I quoted above regarding advice to the Turks in '42, the Brits weren't 100% forthcoming with their prospective allies in the run up to Marita. Turkey was following all these pre-Marita moves closely; my point is that an effort to get Turkey to resist Hitler in '42 would have sounded to Inonu and Saracoglu a lot like the noises made to Greece in '41, which contributed to her ruin.

*For pragmatic - not moral - reasons of course. Marita got in the way of Barbarossa as we all know or should know.
He did NOT entirely convince me.
Quite right. The British were not entirely trusting of the Turks and vice versa.

Brock Millman, by the way, has propounded a different take on all this wherein Inonu, Saracoglu, and Cakmak (Turkey's military chief) were all liberal democrats, committed to the Allies because they despised Hitler and Mussolini. That take is almost a parody of a facile "End of History" liberalism - it was written in 1998, btw, in line with the zeitgeist. The Turkish leaders considered Mussolini a buffoon and Hitler a madman but all kinds of political strips besides liberal democrats held that view. Inonu et. al. were urbane, elitist, militarist nationalists. They looked down their noses at the upstart dictators but had absolutely no problem with the nationalist parts of their agendas - except insofar as it threatened Turkey. If Millman had taken off his ideological blinders to consider whether men like Inonu could work with Hitler, he needed look no farther than Ankara: Franz von Papen was another elitist militarist, contemptuous of Hitler, who wound up being one the dictator's most effective servants.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Sep 2020 22:07

Orwell1984 wrote:So Luftwaffe day fighters aren't the solution to the Wellington issue.
It isn't clear to me that only night-based Wellington's used ASV but if so point mostly granted. I say "mostly" because night-fighters were sometimes deployed outside of Reich defense, including a few in the East. In any event, this would restore the submarine anti-shipping campaign to its OTL level, which is far from capable of diminishing Axis shipping sufficiently to preclude a buildup in the Aegean.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Orwell1984 » 30 Sep 2020 22:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Sep 2020 22:07
Orwell1984 wrote:So Luftwaffe day fighters aren't the solution to the Wellington issue.
It isn't clear to me that only night-based Wellington's used ASV but if so point mostly granted. I say "mostly" because night-fighters were sometimes deployed outside of Reich defense, including a few in the East. In any event, this would restore the submarine anti-shipping campaign to its OTL level, which is far from capable of diminishing Axis shipping sufficiently to preclude a buildup in the Aegean.
The history shows that only night-based Wellingtons used ASV for convoy attacks in the Med region. As the article posted shows tactics were developed for night attacks specifically because there were concerns about using Wellingtons to attack convoys during the day.

As to Luftwaffe nightfighters, yes they were used outside of the Reich. NJG 2 was active in the Mediterranean but ran into a lot of problems with operations due to restrictions they faced. To successfully use nightfighters, you need an infrastructure built up. Fighter controllers and ground radar stations for example. It's not just of case of sticking some nightfighters on an airfield somewhere and saying have at it if you want them to be successful.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Sep 2020 23:05

Orwell1984 wrote:The history shows that only night-based Wellingtons used ASV for convoy attacks in the Med region.
Minor nitpick...

From Malta and British Strategic Policy, 1925-1943:
Malta's ASV Wellingtons and Albacores tracked Axis ships attempting a night crossing, directing surface, submarine and air units to the attack.
Like I said, it isn't clear to me but it's at least implied that Albacores carried ASV as well.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Sep 2020 23:37

glenn239 wrote:
30 Sep 2020 17:42
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Sep 2020 02:28
Image

The data is from Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943, appendices A-4 and E. https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-5.pdf
Great find.

Questions - what is the the total of measurement tons required to lift a US infantry and armored division? Also, what is the measurement ton specs for a Liberty ship? I'm thinking maybe around 5,000 measurement tons?
The Liberty ship could carry up to 10,500 measurement or ship tons, which is of course a measure of volume. They also had a deadweight capacity of 7,800 long tons. Assuming a 15% stowage factor, that means it had a vessel factor of 420,000-63,000/7,800-1,170 or 357,000/6,630 = 53.85 cu.ft/long ton. Thus, it could be fully loaded with cargo that occupied 53.85 cubic feet per long ton. The thing is though, some cargo is much denser than others. Tanks for instance. In theory, a Liberty could carry up to 260 medium tanks M3 or M4, but a lot of space would be wasted, which is why mixed density cargoes were usually shipped. Personnel also require sustenance and sanitation during the voyage and consumables can take up a lot of space. So it gets complicated.

In theory, a Liberty ship with 420,000 cubic feet could easily accommodate the 174,000 cubic feet of lift required for an entire infantry division, but in practice none were ever shipped in such a way...it would have been difficult to feed and house the men for one thing. Instead, Liberty and other cargo vessels hauled cargo, while AP or other specialized transports hauled the men. Of course, it gets further complicated if you are talking an administrative move from friendly shore to shore or an assault landing. For example, TG 34.8 in TORCH transported the reinforced 60th Inf RCT, the 1st BN, 60th Armored, the 1st Bn, 540th Engrs, and various other units totaling 9,900 O&EM and 65 Light Tanks in 6 AP and 2 AK, the 3d ID with the 1st Bn, 67th Armored, 18,783 O&EM and 79 Light Tanks in 12 AP and 3 AK. Or, alternately, one of the Queen's typically transported the manpower of an entire division in one lift.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Orwell1984 » 01 Oct 2020 00:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Sep 2020 23:05
Orwell1984 wrote:The history shows that only night-based Wellingtons used ASV for convoy attacks in the Med region.
Minor nitpick...

From Malta and British Strategic Policy, 1925-1943:
Malta's ASV Wellingtons and Albacores tracked Axis ships attempting a night crossing, directing surface, submarine and air units to the attack.
Like I said, it isn't clear to me but it's at least implied that Albacores carried ASV as well.
Yes they did for short ranged missions being single engined aircraft. We were talking about Wellingtons which had the range to reach the area you're talking about. Which is why no mention of Albacores in my posts as they aren't relevant to the scenario you've painted. Malta also had Beauforts, Blenheims and Beaufighters that engaged in anti-shipping strikes too. But not at the range or in the conditions being discussed in this thread. Though given the conditions that were used OTL they can't be ruled out as Malta's anti-shipping aircraft suffered horrendous casualty rates.

Night Stike from Malta 830 Squadron and Rommel's convoys by Kenneth Poolman is the best book on Albacore units on Malta.

BTW if you look at pages p 125 of Malta and British Strategic Policy, the author points out the Swordfish and by extension Albacores had shorter ranged ASV radar than the Wellingtons. Coupled with a longer flight range and the ability to carry two torpedoes this ASV advantage made the Wellingtons more useful for the longer missions this scenario would require.

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