Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

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Kingfish
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Kingfish » 21 Sep 2020 01:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Sep 2020 22:41
W.Allies have lots of theoretical options, just as in OTL, but the need for stronger forces in the MidEast seems obvious unless they just abandon the region. Might they just abandon it? Honest question - defense of Suez, Basra, and Tehran seem doomed to fail.
Perhaps if all three are undertaken, but if the Allies establish the Suez as the priority, and hold it (well within their capabilities) what exactly have the Axis accomplished? An axis push to Tehran only means something if the SU is still in the fight and receiving LL from that direction. Otherwise...???. A springboard into India? Never mind the logistical aspect, the terrain alone would make Turkey look like the Russian Steppes.
[*]1. Where does the shipping for sending First Army to Levant instead of Algeria come from?
I'm not sure I understand your question. Why couldn't the same shipping used to send 1st army to Algeria be used to send them to the Nile Delta? It is after all the exact same route -and method- the British used to send 8th army as well as the force earmarked for service in SW Asia. Granted, it is one hell of a round about way, but it was done.
You need ~4x the shipping to deploy the same forces in Levant versus Algeria
How do you arrive at that calculation? Are you suggesting a 20 ship troop convoy to Oran would require 80 ships to Alexandria?
I'm not saying the Axis sends 75 divisions into the Middle East - that's overkill. If they send "just" 40 divisions, British First Army is a drop in the bucket.
So its the British 1st, 8th and whatever other army they decide to deploy to the region. If we're going to accept multiple German armies advancing down from Turkey and the Caucasus as logistically possible then lets be fair about it and add at least the equivalent on the allies side. After all, it was the Allies, and not the Axis, that proved capable of transporting, landing and maintaining entire armies on distant shores.
On the 1944-45 timeline where a largescale battle over India becomes relevant, elsewhere would primarily be the threat of invasion against UK.
Why would India become relevant? What strategic value would India have that would compel the Germans risk a land campaign?
British and American bluewater naval assets - CV's, BB's, cruisers - aren't necessarily decisive in a Channel battle and risking them there has dire implications.
They weren't during the historical defense against Sealion and wouldn't have to in this WI. The British destroyer fleet alone vastly outnumbered their Kreigsmarine counterparts. They could also match any increase in axis production, and this is without even counting the contributions from the US and Canada.
So the Wallies need some presence in and defense of SWPac or else the OTL threat that prompted Guadalcanal emerges on the cheap for Japan.
I see no problem with this and historically they had it in the form of Port Moresby and New Caledonia / Fiji.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 21 Sep 2020 05:08

Kingfish wrote:Why couldn't the same shipping used to send 1st army to Algeria be used to send them to the Nile Delta?
I highly recommend reading parts of the US Army's Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943 ["GLS"]. https://history.army.mil/html/books/001 ... ub_1-5.pdf

Chapter 16 discusses Torch deployment and its effect on global logistics; Chapter 17 discusses the maintenance/reinforcement of Torch in the same context. If you have time for only a few page, 457-462 ("Torch and the Atlantic Shipping Pool") are particularly relevant. A proposal to use the Queens Mary/Elizabeth to move troops to the MidEast (8th Army falling under that definition) shows exactly why sending ships to Suez instead of Oran costs more in shipping, the service provided by ships:
If deployment to the Middle East were to be
speeded up, the fast, roomy Queens were
the only available transports that could
sail unescorted, but to use the Queens
would cripple the already weakened
BOLERO program, which would also have
to depend largely on unescorted troop
movements while the North Africa operation was in progress. For each trip that
the two Queens made around the Cape,
BOLERO would lose 70,000 to 80,000
troops, enough to halt the program altogether.
For those reading along, Bolero was the buildup for Cross-Channel - still an urgent item in '42 (it was shortly to be effectively ceased to support Torch and the Pacific). Removing the Queens from TransAtlantic troop movements due to the long journey around the Cape meant the virtual cessation of movements from the U.S. to Britain. Had the Queens sailed only to Oran, they could be back in New York and stuffed full of Portsmouth-bound Yankees sooner. That's the problem with movements to the MidEast rather than Algeria. You can use the same ships, sure, but the long journey costs you whatever shipping movements those ships would have completed during the extra journey time to the MidEast.

Your question about using the same ships as for Torch deployment also fails to account for Torch/MidEast supply. As Chapter 17 of GLS details, the supply of North Africa, subsequent to Torch's launch, was the real logistical task.

I really can't recommend GLS enough. Pick any campaign-based chapter and you'll get a better understanding of how tightly constrained were W.Allied operations in'42 by shipping/escort scarcity. It gives a first-hand, narrative account of direct tradeoffs between far-flung parts of the globe. It's about as compelling as logistical analysis can get haha.
Kingfish wrote:How do you arrive at that calculation? Are you suggesting a 20 ship troop convoy to Oran would require 80 ships to Alexandria?
Hopefully the reasoning about ship journey time, rather than number of ships employed, is clearer now... Appendix A-6 of GSL v.1 gives ship turnaround time to/from various points (i.e. roundtrip journey time). NYC to Near East is 210 days, 3.5x times longer than NYC to UK. I used 4x as an estimate for the additional relative burden of shipping from UK to Mideast versus UK to Algeria, as the UK is closer to Algeria than is the US.
Kingfish wrote:Perhaps if all three are undertaken, but if the Allies establish the Suez as the priority, and hold it (well within their capabilities) what exactly have the Axis accomplished?
If GLS and I have convinced you that moving the Torch force to Suez instead of Oran would cost ~4x the shipping, then you're probably at least reconsidering whether a simple move of Torch to Suez was within W.Allied capabilities.

I haven't run the numbers on such a move yet because I'm confident that more than the Torch force would be needed, and I'm all but certain that the needed forces exceeded W.Allied logistical capabilities in 1942.

For just a bit of context on the shipping squeeze in 1942, here's GLS again:
By late
1942 the inroads upon Britain's domestic
economy caused by the dwindling of her
imports had become so serious, in the view
of high American as well as British officials, as to dictate a comprehensive longterm redistribution of combined shipping
resources in order to keep the flow of imports from falling below the danger level.
So there wasn't really any spare shipping capacity short of starting to shut down the British economy in OTL 1942. I've calculated upthread that cessation of LL to the Persian Corridor would free up sufficient shipping to support (but not deploy) 6 divisions in the MidEast. If we move 4 of Monty's divisions to Syria that gives you 10 divisions (assuming you find deployment shipping). Still not enough, as explained below.
If we're going to accept multiple German armies advancing down from Turkey and the Caucasus as logistically possible then lets be fair about it and add at least the equivalent on the allies side.
Logistics isn't a matter of fairness, it's the brute facts of distance versus capacity. Most Axis fuel came from Romania and would travel ~800miles to Syria. Axis food would be requisitioned in Ukraine/Romania (recall that the Ostheer fed itself mostly from Ukraine; Germany wouldn't just let the natives keep their bread after SU's fall) - call that 1,000 miles from Syria. Axis munitions from Germany have a longer journey, call it 2,000 miles.

The W.Allied supply line around the Cape to Syria is ~14,000 miles long (average of UK/US routes).

Here again we're in a situation where the "W.Allies have greater resources" isn't sufficient. It matters how much greater and 10-20x the logistical distance per combat troop far exceeds even the Allies' OTL resource advantage (let alone post-SU resource ratios).
Why would India become relevant? What strategic value would India have that would compel the Germans risk a land campaign?
Germans and Japanese, especially after Japan beats China/Russia and has large armies with nothing better to do.

One strategically-relevant goal would be to force the British/W.Allies to fight there. As we've been discussing, their logistics to India are daunting. German/Japanese logistics are also daunting but in a different way: once road/rail connections are up, their operation (through Iran and Burma) would be relatively cheap. Japan built the Burma Railway from scratch to support a secondary theater; here's one American engineer's description of it:
"What makes this an engineering feat is the totality of it, the accumulation of factors. The total length of miles, the total number of bridges — over 600, including six to eight long-span bridges — the total number of people who were involved (one-quarter of a million), the very short time in which they managed to accomplish it, and the extreme conditions they accomplished it under. They had very little transportation to get stuff to and from the workers, they had almost no medication, they couldn’t get food let alone materials, they had no tools to work with except for basic things like spades and hammers, and they worked in extremely difficult conditions — in the jungle with its heat and humidity. All of that makes this railway an extraordinary accomplishment."
If Japan can do that in OTL with no assistance from Germany, and while 90% of her land army is watching the Red Army and fighting China, it's at least plausible that they extend the Burma Railway to the Indian border if China and Russia are out of the picture. Japan also can capture the former W.Allied supply routes from Kunming to Burma if she beats China.

Before everyone jumps down my throat about the terrain of Eastern Iran and Germany's logistical path to India, let's just leave it at Japan for now. A better-supplied Japanese threat from northern Burma would compel either British abandonment of India or the logistically-taxing deployment of more divisions and air forces there.

At the grand-strategic level, how much more motivated is Britain to cut her losses against Germany to face down the Japanese threat when she faces losing India? (Yes I know she lost India shortly after WW2 anyway but Churchill and many others cherished a delusion of an enduring British Empire).

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Kingfish » 22 Sep 2020 01:27

For those reading along, Bolero was the buildup for Cross-Channel - still an urgent item in '42 (it was shortly to be effectively ceased to support Torch and the Pacific). Removing the Queens from TransAtlantic troop movements due to the long journey around the Cape meant the virtual cessation of movements from the U.S. to Britain. Had the Queens sailed only to Oran, they could be back in New York and stuffed full of Portsmouth-bound Yankees sooner. That's the problem with movements to the MidEast rather than Algeria. You can use the same ships, sure, but the long journey costs you whatever shipping movements those ships would have completed during the extra journey time to the MidEast.
Why mention Bolero when this WI assumes the very reason for Bolero - opening up a second front to ease pressure on the Russians - is no longer in play?
Your question about using the same ships as for Torch deployment also fails to account for Torch/MidEast supply.


Not at all. My question was directed at the forces because you asked about the forces. It is (or should be) understood that a deployment of that magnitude would also include sufficient shipping to cover the logistics.
If GLS and I have convinced you that moving the Torch force to Suez instead of Oran would cost ~4x the shipping, then you're probably at least reconsidering whether a simple move of Torch to Suez was within W.Allied capabilities.
But the British were able to do the equivalent for a full year without any assistance from the US, and with commitments to the Arctic convoys. How is it that they couldn't do it now?
So there wasn't really any spare shipping capacity short of starting to shut down the British economy in OTL 1942. I've calculated upthread that cessation of LL to the Persian Corridor would free up sufficient shipping to support (but not deploy) 6 divisions in the MidEast.
That is interesting when you consider in 1942 the allies were able to undertake the Ironclad, Watchtower and Torch amphibious operations (all three not applicable in this WI), numerous supply runs to Malta, several to Arctic Russia (N/A), the buildup of Bolero (N/A), and the buildup for second Alamein. You could also throw in several '43 operations which were the relevant in the OTL, for instance the American invasion of the Gilberts /Marshalls and Aleutians, but not applicable now.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 10:23

Kingfish wrote:That is interesting when you consider in 1942 the allies were able to undertake the Ironclad, Watchtower and Torch amphibious operations (all three not applicable in this WI), numerous supply runs to Malta, several to Arctic Russia (N/A), the buildup of Bolero (N/A), and the buildup for second Alamein.
If we want to seriously discuss logistics it's a matter of numbers. I know some folks don't like math but numerical analysis is the only way these discussions don't turn into just confirming our prior beliefs. Please provide a little numerical analysis to support your claims. I'll get us started.

Watchtower - the entire Guadalcanal campaign involved 4 (? - 1,2 USMC and 23, 25 Army) infantry divisions operating 6,000 miles from California.

Ironclad - a brigade operating ~8,500 miles from Britain.

Malta convoys in second half '42:
  • Operation Pedestal - 14 merchant ships carrying 121k long tons, ~2,500-mile run from England to Malta
  • Stoneage and Portcullis - ~160k long tons delivered from Alexandria to Malta, a run of ~1,000 miles but let's just assume all the supplies came from Britain and call it 15,000 miles to be generous to your case.
Now let's convert these operations' shipping burden in terms of ton-miles. To do so, we need to convert divisions into tons and/or vice versa. As discussed upthread, GLS gives figures for in-theater supply per soldier and for initial deployment. At 67lbs/soldier-day and 30,000 divisional slice, you need ~25k tons/month for supply.

Deployment requirements I also estimated upthread:
Appendix A-3 of GLS (p.823) contains initial shipping requirements. It's in "measurement tons" (MT) which, confusingly, is a volume measure (40ft2). An infantry division needs 3.15 MT/man or 45,000 MT, an armored division requires twice that. Assuming the non-div slice has similar requirements per man similar to the infantry division, that's ~90k MT per infantry division and ~120k MT per armored division. As the non-divisional portions of American divisional slices included shipping-intensive units like gun battalions and engineering units (bridges, bulldozers), this is almost certainly an underestimate of shipping requirements.
A Liberty Ship's hold volume is 4,000 GRT which equals 10,000 MT: 9 Liberty Ships to deploy an infantry division and 12 for an armored division. A Liberty Ship's deadweight tonnage is also ~10,000 long tons in case you want to convert the volume-measured shipping burden back into weight.
...converting into long tons by assuming Liberty Ship density, we get 90,000 tons to deploy a U.S. infantry division and 120,000 for an armored division. For now I'm assuming UK divisions roughly the same but if you want to revise please do so (with appropriate math).

Converting the Malta convoys into shipping ton-miles allows us to ship - once - ~180,000 tons to from Britain to MidEast. That allows for deployment (not supply) of two infantry divisions.

The 4 Guadalcanal divisions were deployed/supported over 6,000 miles, let's call the shipping worth 2 divisions deployed/supported over 14,000 miles in the MidEast.

The Watchtower Brigade deployed/supported over 8,500 miles - let's be generous and call that 0.5 divisions deployed/supported in the MidEast.

So by re-apportioning the shipping for Guadalcanal, Madagascar, and Malta, you've gained the ability to deploy (but not support) 2 infantry divisions and to deploy/support 2.5 additional infantry divisions.
Kingfish wrote:It is (or should be) understood that a deployment of that magnitude would also include sufficient shipping to cover the logistics.
It should be but so far you haven't demonstrated a willingness to grapple with the actual (numerical) implications of logistical supply.
But the British were able to do the equivalent for a full year without any assistance from the US, and with commitments to the Arctic convoys. How is it that they couldn't do it now?
I already gave you the GLS quote stating that Britain's shipping was strained to the maximum in '42 and any further deployment/supply burden would have starved economic/sustenance imports.

I don't understand why it's so difficult to see that (1) Britain supported 8th Army OTL (barely) but (2) you need more than 8th Army in Syria to stop, say, 20 German divisions coming out of Turkey.

Again I have to recommend math and numbers over intuition. The answer to your questions lies in the numbers.
Kingfish wrote:Why mention Bolero when this WI assumes the very reason for Bolero - opening up a second front to ease pressure on the Russians - is no longer in play?
I was trying to explain the basic shape of the shipping quandary, using Bolero as an example. If that confused the issue I apologize.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 10:45

Upthread I stated that ending LL aid via the Persian Corridor would enable the support of 6 divisions. That was an overestimate based on the installed capacity of the Corridor in late 42; the actual shipments were considerably less:

Image

In 4Q '42, shipments from US/Canada averaged ~94k tons/month. The chart doesn't break down deliveries from Britain, let's call it 100k/month including British.

That's not quite enough to support 4 divisions.

---------------------------

@Kingfish upthread you mention the Arctic Convoys as part of W.Allied logistical burden. During the period we're discussing this was a neglible factor. It takes at least 2 months to ship from US/UK to Near East so if you want to stop the Germans in September you have to ship by July. As you can see from the chart, North Russia was sent 13k tons in July - in equidistant shipping terms that's the equivalent of ~5k tons to the MidEast. Enough to deploy a battalion perhaps. Over the next 5 months the route average 25k tons/month - in equidistant shipping terms that's ~8k tons/month.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 12:34

Let's take a step back and consider what the W.Allies could have logistically supported/deployed in Syria to stop a German army coming from Turkey in later '42. From that let's make a realistic, numbers-based assessment of whether the W.Allies could have stopped Germany in this hypothetical theater. As we'll see, the numbers show successful W.allied defense of Syria to be a fantasy.

So far we have three main sources of shipping to be diverted to this operation:

1. Persian Corridor aid to SU.

2. Guadalcanal offensive.

3. Translating the Torch shipping resources into Syrian support/deployment capabilities.

In the last two posts I estimate Guadalcanal as worth the shipping to support/deploy 2 divisions in the MidEast and 4 divisions for reassigned Persian Corridor shipping. So far we have 6 six divisions total logistical capability.

Translating Torch shipping burden into Syrian capabilities:

Let's stick with our estimate that support/deployment to Syria would cost 3.5x* the shipping, per man or unit, as did Torch.

*NYC-Algiers is 4,000 miles; NYC-Beirut is ~14,000 miles via Cape of Good Hope. Liverpool-Algiers is ~1,800 miles; Liverpool-Beirut is ~13,500 miles. This is likely an underestimate of the Torch-Syria shipping delta but let's be conservative.

-----------------------------
Does anybody have month-by-month W.Allied strength for Torch-Tunisa? The initial landing forces were 107,000 men; by May there were 13 US/UK divisions in Tunisia additional to 8th Army. IDK at what point 8th Army's logistical support switched from its Egyptian base to Gibraltar flows.
-----------------------------

GLS has, unsurprisingly, good data on supplies sent to Africa in the period we're considering:

Image

In 4Q '42, the US dispatched ~340k tons/month to North Africa. I don't have similar stats for the Empire but the final Torch agreement had Britain contributing 42% of the ships for Torch. GLS v.1, p.461. Assuming equal tonnage/ship implies total Torch lift of ~586k long tons/month [340 / .58 ].

Translating into Syrian lift via the 3.5x factor gives us ~167k tons/month.

...which enables the support (not deployment) of ~6 U.S. infantry divisions.

Total Syrian logistical support (not deployment) capability - Guadalcanal, Torch, and Persian Corridor shipping reassigned - comes to 12 U.S. infantry divisions.

To deploy 12 U.S. infantry divisions would require ~100 Liberty Ships by volume, which is 1mil long tons deadweight sailing 14,000 miles to Syria.

While Kingfish mentions Malta Convoys and Madagascar, do we really see the W.Allies giving up those operations? In any event, their Syria-equivalent shipping is ~160k long tons.

------------------------------------

Stretched over 6 months, our reassigned shipping can deploy 12 U.S. infantry divisions to Syria. If Monty can cancels Alamein and shifts 4 divisions to Syria (assuming no logistical burden for that shift), W.Allies can move 16 infantry divisions into the Near East by Spring '43*.

-----------------------
*As an aside, this inability of the Wallies to field a large army in MidEast in '42 is another reason that Turkey would join the Axis, and explains why Turkey's joining the Allies would still mean German victory in the MidEast even if Turkey immolates itself.
-----------------------

You still need to find the shipping for the little matter of supplying an army in combat against 20 or so reassigned crack Ostheer divisions, however [saying nothing of the Turks]. If we take the needed 167k long tons/month out of supply for the British economy at 3.5x the shipping cost per ton moved (Near East versus Transaltantic), that's >7mil tons/year taken from British imports. As Britain strained to reduce her imports not quite below 20mil tons, that's unimaginable.

But there's even more bad news: So far we haven't shipped any air forces to the MidEast. With Russia out, the LW now has ~2,500 unemployed and operational planes with frontline units. W.Allies are going to need at least all of 9th Air Force just to forestall German air supremacy in the theater. For US, air arms personnel were ~40% of ground arms personnel. The air forces were logistically hungry. Including air forces would increase our logistical burden - deployment and supply - by on the order of 50%.

Still more bad news: Syria isn't the only front in the MidEast theater unless you want to abandon Mosul, Basra, Abadan, and Iran - handing the Axis substantial fuel resources in weeks at virtually no cost. At a minimum you'd need 5 divisions there just to allow time to blow up the oilfields and evacuate equipment and logistical personnel (>60,000 military and civilian operating supply lines).

To enable an orderly retreat from Iraq and Iran and have an outside shot of holding Suez would require around 30 additional divisions plus substantial air forces (do 30 combat-ready W.Allied divisions even exist in late '42?). The W.Allies would be lucky to send 10.

As the word fantasy is often thrown around in these threads and the mods don't seem to care, let me be clear that it is an absolute fantasy to imagine the W.Allies holding the Mideast if the SU falls in '42. It is completely divorced from any rational, fact-based consideration of the logistical realities of WW2.

Many WW2 commentators, even interested/knowledgeable folks who traffic AHF, seem to ignore the little matter of shipping. The men actually fighting the war knew better. As Eisenhower said on January 12, 1942*: "Ships! Ships! All we need is ships!"

*W.Allies had a net loss of the shipping over the next 9 months...

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by pugsville » 22 Sep 2020 12:56

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Sep 2020 12:34
Let's take a step back and consider what the W.Allies could have logistically supported/deployed in Syria to stop a German army coming from Turkey in later '42. From that let's make a realistic, numbers-based assessment of whether the W.Allies could have stopped Germany in this hypothetical theater. As we'll see, the numbers show successful W.allied defense of Syria to be a fantasy.

So far we have three main sources of shipping to be diverted to this operation:

1. Persian Corridor aid to SU.

2. Guadalcanal offensive.

3. Translating the Torch shipping resources into Syrian support/deployment capabilities.

In the last two posts I estimate Guadalcanal as worth the shipping to support/deploy 2 divisions in the MidEast and 4 divisions for reassigned Persian Corridor shipping. So far we have 6 six divisions total logistical capability.

Translating Torch shipping burden into Syrian capabilities:

Let's stick with our estimate that support/deployment to Syria would cost 3.5x* the shipping, per man or unit, as did Torch.

*NYC-Algiers is 4,000 miles; NYC-Beirut is ~14,000 miles via Cape of Good Hope. Liverpool-Algiers is ~1,800 miles; Liverpool-Beirut is ~13,500 miles. This is likely an underestimate of the Torch-Syria shipping delta but let's be conservative.

-----------------------------
Does anybody have month-by-month W.Allied strength for Torch-Tunisa? The initial landing forces were 107,000 men; by May there were 13 US/UK divisions in Tunisia additional to 8th Army. IDK at what point 8th Army's logistical support switched from its Egyptian base to Gibraltar flows.
-----------------------------

GLS has, unsurprisingly, good data on supplies sent to Africa in the period we're considering:

Image

In 4Q '42, the US dispatched ~340k tons/month to North Africa. I don't have similar stats for the Empire but the final Torch agreement had Britain contributing 42% of the ships for Torch. GLS v.1, p.461. Assuming equal tonnage/ship implies total Torch lift of ~586k long tons/month [340 / .58 ].

Translating into Syrian lift via the 3.5x factor gives us ~167k tons/month.

...which enables the support (not deployment) of ~6 U.S. infantry divisions.

Total Syrian logistical support (not deployment) capability - Guadalcanal, Torch, and Persian Corridor shipping reassigned - comes to 12 U.S. infantry divisions.

To deploy 12 U.S. infantry divisions would require ~100 Liberty Ships by volume, which is 1mil long tons deadweight sailing 14,000 miles to Syria.

While Kingfish mentions Malta Convoys and Madagascar, do we really see the W.Allies giving up those operations? In any event, their Syria-equivalent shipping is ~160k long tons.

------------------------------------

Stretched over 6 months, our reassigned shipping can deploy 12 U.S. infantry divisions to Syria. If Monty can cancels Alamein and shifts 4 divisions to Syria (assuming no logistical burden for that shift), W.Allies can move 16 infantry divisions into the Near East by Spring '43*.

-----------------------
*As an aside, this inability of the Wallies to field a large army in MidEast in '42 is another reason that Turkey would join the Axis, and explains why Turkey's joining the Allies would still mean German victory in the MidEast even if Turkey immolates itself.
-----------------------

You still need to find the shipping for the little matter of supplying an army in combat against 20 or so reassigned crack Ostheer divisions, however [saying nothing of the Turks]. If we take the needed 167k long tons/month out of supply for the British economy at 3.5x the shipping cost per ton moved (Near East versus Transaltantic), that's >7mil tons/year taken from British imports. As Britain strained to reduce her imports not quite below 20mil tons, that's unimaginable.

But there's even more bad news: So far we haven't shipped any air forces to the MidEast. With Russia out, the LW now has ~2,500 unemployed and operational planes with frontline units. W.Allies are going to need at least all of 9th Air Force just to forestall German air supremacy in the theater. For US, air arms personnel were ~40% of ground arms personnel. The air forces were logistically hungry. Including air forces would increase our logistical burden - deployment and supply - by on the order of 50%.

Still more bad news: Syria isn't the only front in the MidEast theater unless you want to abandon Mosul, Basra, Abadan, and Iran - handing the Axis substantial fuel resources in weeks at virtually no cost. At a minimum you'd need 5 divisions there just to allow time to blow up the oilfields and evacuate equipment and logistical personnel (>60,000 military and civilian operating supply lines).

To enable an orderly retreat from Iraq and Iran and have an outside shot of holding Suez would require around 30 additional divisions plus substantial air forces (do 30 combat-ready W.Allied divisions even exist in late '42?). The W.Allies would be lucky to send 10.

As the word fantasy is often thrown around in these threads and the mods don't seem to care, let me be clear that it is an absolute fantasy to imagine the W.Allies holding the Mideast if the SU falls in '42. It is completely divorced from any rational, fact-based consideration of the logistical realities of WW2.

Many WW2 commentators, even interested/knowledgeable folks who traffic AHF, seem to ignore the little matter of shipping. The men actually fighting the war knew better. As Eisenhower said on January 12, 1942*: "Ships! Ships! All we need is ships!"

*W.Allies had a net loss of the shipping over the next 9 months...
"You still need to find the shipping for the little matter of supplying an army in combat against 20 or so reassigned crack Ostheer division"

I think first you have to consider the logistically impossibility of supporting 20 German divisions through Turkey into Syria. Turkish railways were not good. And it;s a long long way for trucks



. Because the Germans could not supply 5 divisions overland through turkey.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 13:01

There's another fantastical aspect to the W.Allies holding the MidEast if the SU falls in '42.

How does a U.S. Army that got taken to the woodshed in its first 4-5 months in ETO combat resist against crack Ostheer divisions sent into Syria/Iraq?

So far I have limited myself to analyzing the logistical fundamentals, assuming orderly withdrawals of defeated W.Allied forces in the MidEast.

It seems just as likely, however, that Patton and Bradley join 200k others in German PoW camps if a W.Allied army faces off against half of Army Group South in the Levant.
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 13:06

pugsville wrote:I think first you have to consider the logistically impossibility of supporting 20 German divisions through Turkey into Syria. Turkish railways were not good. And it;s a long long way for trucks
Logistics through Turkey already discussed extensively upthread. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=238638&start=30

Railway map of WW2 Turkey, once more:

Image

Axis has rail connections to Bosporus, rail ferry over the Strait to the Turkish network is simple. Axis can ship to Black Sea and Aegean ports then use at least 3 rail lines to Syria/Iraq fronts.

Your "logistical impossibility" of Turkey logistics is, like the fantasy of quadrupling the OTL Alamein build up, completely untethered from any hint of numerical or rational logistics analysis. Not a single bit of data, just received "wisdom."

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 15:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:Axis can ship to Black Sea and Aegean ports
Probably some of you are not familiar with German shipbuilding during the war. Among other things, Germany designed and built ships specifically to run on coal during the war and to operate in the Black Sea. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriegstransporter https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzme ... eitsschiff

Axis-controlled shipyards in Italy, Austria, and Ukraine built Kriegstransporters, floating them down the Danube into the Black Sea where necessary (another hint that "Germany got nothing from SU after Barbarossa" is flatly wrong). The Black Sea unit ships would have come later. Of course the shipyards that built the Black Sea unit ships were long-established; they would have been producing other shipping prior to the unit ship that could also be used on the Black Sea. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schiffswerft_Korneuburg

A Kriegstransporter could carry ~600t and do 14.5kn, taking a day or less to cross the Black Sea from Ukraine/Romania to unload in Turkey. Assuming a 4-day turnaround time, each relatively small and cheap Kriegstransporter would be able to move ~30,000t to Turkey in the >200 days it would take a relatively large and expensive Liberty Ship to complete an NYC-Suez-NYC leg with 10,000t. The Liberty Ship needs escorts for at least part of the journey, whereas the Kriegstranporter would not if the Black Sea is an Axis lake.

So Axis logistics to Turkey would be vastly cheaper than W.Allied. To ignore relative transport costs to a certain theater, superficially invoking the relative global logistical pools instead (as some have done in this thread), is a common error that must be avoided.

This is a reminder of the centrality of DISTANCE in WW2, especially when considering the US. Much is said about American resources and logistical acumen, but logistics was so important to America because distance forced America to expend proportionately more on logistics than any other WW2 power.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by pugsville » 22 Sep 2020 15:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Sep 2020 13:06
pugsville wrote:I think first you have to consider the logistically impossibility of supporting 20 German divisions through Turkey into Syria. Turkish railways were not good. And it;s a long long way for trucks
Logistics through Turkey already discussed extensively upthread. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=238638&start=30

Railway map of WW2 Turkey, once more:

Image

Axis has rail connections to Bosporus, rail ferry over the Strait to the Turkish network is simple. Axis can ship to Black Sea and Aegean ports then use at least 3 rail lines to Syria/Iraq fronts.

Your "logistical impossibility" of Turkey logistics is, like the fantasy of quadrupling the OTL Alamein build up, completely untethered from any hint of numerical or rational logistics analysis. Not a single bit of data, just received "wisdom."
I disagree. Turkish railways could not transport anywhere near the required tonnage. Thge posts linked to do not contain any real support for the claim.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 16:21

pugsville wrote:I disagree. Turkish railways could not transport anywhere near the required tonnage
@Peter89 - what is your source for Turkish railways handling 10 trains/day? I didn't even bother to ask earlier because 10/day is sufficient despite being an extremely low capacity figure.

Pugsville - what is your figure for the capacity of Turkish railways? As you claim insufficient capacity, you surely have some idea of the actual capacity of Turkish railways, right? Otherwise you're just making stuff up.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Sep 2020 17:09

Trains of Turkey has some decent historical info. http://www.trainsofturkey.com/pmwiki.ph ... ry/History

The line running from the Black Sea port of Zonulgdak to Ankara and Kayseri is heavy line designed to carry coal from Turkey's main coal source. It was built by a Danish-Swedish consortium. Trains of Turkey says "The Zonguldak line was, and still is the most industrial of all TCDD network thus earning the nickname of Iron and Coal road in official propaganda." This is clearly not a low-capacity line. Here's a bridge on the line in the '30's, btw:
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Between Diyarbakir and Gaziantep area (Fevzipasa) the line was built by the same Danish/Swedish consortium to haul copper ore. This also does not look like a light line:

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The axle load for all these lines was 20 tons (Trains of Turkey). For comparison, here's axle loads for some German/Soviet locomotives of the time:

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No German loco was too heavy for Turkish rails and only one class of German railways was heavier than 20t load; many railways used by Ostheer were lighter. So these were indeed not light railways.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:Pugsville - what is your figure for the capacity of Turkish railways? As you claim insufficient capacity, you surely have some idea of the actual capacity of Turkish railways, right? Otherwise you're just making stuff up.
I suspect you were indeed making stuff up, Pugsville. Unless you have better sources? Probably you heard somewhere that Turkish railways are "not good" (technical term?) and just repeated it here. Let us know if you find proof that Turkish railways were "not good" or if you want to concede the point.

-------------------------------

We still don't have the data on the weight of the rails, which determines the speed at which a train with given axle load can travel. And we still don't have info on the capacity in trains/day as dictated by installed signal lines.

But when you have a heavy, ore- and coal-carrying railway with 20t axle load, putting in signal systems to increase the train throughput is relatively cheap. If Germany were being really cheap, she could rip out signalling from elsewhere and move it to Turkey, as she did in the SU. With the Ostheer no longer fighting, they don't need heavy rail lines in economically-poor Soviet territories like northern Russia and Belarus. As discussed upthread, Germany invested 1.5-2bn RM in Russia's railroads and wouldn't have hesitated to spend a bit more. Upgrading 1,000km of Turkish lines to German signalling standards (36 trains/day) would be a small fraction of what Germany put into the SU.

Two lines at 36 trains/day means 72 trains/day, which is more than any army group got in Barbarossa.

Again, it's fantasy land to pretend Germany couldn't have swept the MidEast after beating the SU.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 22 Sep 2020 19:36

pugsville wrote:
22 Sep 2020 15:47
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Sep 2020 13:06
pugsville wrote:I think first you have to consider the logistically impossibility of supporting 20 German divisions through Turkey into Syria. Turkish railways were not good. And it;s a long long way for trucks
Logistics through Turkey already discussed extensively upthread. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=238638&start=30

Railway map of WW2 Turkey, once more:

Image

Axis has rail connections to Bosporus, rail ferry over the Strait to the Turkish network is simple. Axis can ship to Black Sea and Aegean ports then use at least 3 rail lines to Syria/Iraq fronts.

Your "logistical impossibility" of Turkey logistics is, like the fantasy of quadrupling the OTL Alamein build up, completely untethered from any hint of numerical or rational logistics analysis. Not a single bit of data, just received "wisdom."
I disagree. Turkish railways could not transport anywhere near the required tonnage. Thge posts linked to do not contain any real support for the claim.
Remember this one? : )))
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=207545

The whole idea is fundamentally flawed, because to get through with the supplies to Turkey, the Germans could only use one, limited-capacity (14t/axle, about 40km/h, maximum about 12 trains/d) railway. Also it must be noted that the single-way system ensured that no continous flow of matériel was possible - also it must be noted that this is a theoretical feeder capacity; if the target destinations can't unload the proper amount of trains, it's even less than that.

Then they have to unload the stuff, load it to barges, unload it from the barges, load it on trains, etc.

Besides: Supporting an army of 20 divisions for a quick campaign is one thing, supporting a sustained, heavy fight in a front for 20 divisions is another, and build a springboard for future offensives, hell that was another, too. It was simply not possible to do it on a scale that was required by 20 divisions plus the aircrafts, not to mention the later operations.

As for the naval means, the Germans had lost most of their transport assets in the Mediterraneum by late 1942, about 130,000 GRT. Most of the Italian merchant fleet vaporized by that time.

To add more to the logistical difficulties, the DAK had to be supplied, too. Their 3-4 divisions were served by Benghazi and Tripoli, with about an ideal 6700 t/d capacity (in reality, they've got a daily average of 2700), and we know how resource-starved they were. Also, we must note that Tobruk was so heavily pounded that it was deemed unsuitable as a naval supply base on 4th October 1942. Also, these are just theoretical numbers, because not even the Italian railroad system was capable to properly load the ships to the brim in time. And this effort ate up most of the Italian merchant shipping capacity.

We got to review the infrastructure and the colonial warfare of the 1940's. There was a reason why the colonial empires were upheld by naval means: the road and railroad network of the third world simply did not allow long, heavy fighting for modern armies. What we are talking about here is expeditional warfare, a few garrisons at key economic and military points, and not a full-scale, we-capture-every-village style invasion. Also it doesn't work without cooperation of the local authorities / governments / tribal chiefs.

Once again, it is one thing that we imagine an invasion of Turkey in late 1942 (right after the fall of the SU, China, etc.), and it is possible that it might succeed. But there was simply no way to support a huge army of 20 divisions plus the aircraft operating in this direction, against a determined resistance. Besides, the key points of interest were under British control, and unlike in 1941, they were ready to demolish the infrastructure.

Also... if we want to play a game like this we have to understand the friction between the strategical view of the area by the US and the BE. The US never really wanted to commit to the theatre because they saw it as a British playground for postwar claims, and they wanted to go for the jugular. Nicely argued in both The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II and The Mediterranean Crucible, 1942-1943: Did Technology or Tenets Achieve Air Superiority how and why were the Germans able to maintain local air superiority and repel the Dodecanese campaign.

Had it been in the strategic focus of the Germans, the Wallies - especially the US - could and would have diverted more resources into the area with ease. Besides, if we fantasize about the collapse of the SU, there's no need for the enormous LL shipments for that direction. The Wallies were able to unload a sustained 4000t/day effort through the Perian Corridor, including 10,000 motor vehicles in 1942 alone. Motor vehicles that could operate from the Iranian or Iraqi oil, because let's not forget, the Wallies don't have to import everything. Also, even though it was a shitty railroad, the rails ran continously from Basra to Istanbul. If the Turks were able to hold up the Germans for a time, the reinforcements would pour in.

It's a nice game and a funny fantasy, but it's nothing more.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 22 Sep 2020 19:46

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Sep 2020 16:21
pugsville wrote:I disagree. Turkish railways could not transport anywhere near the required tonnage
@Peter89 - what is your source for Turkish railways handling 10 trains/day? I didn't even bother to ask earlier because 10/day is sufficient despite being an extremely low capacity figure.
I don't have the exact reference at hand for that. Also let's not forget I read German, Russian and Hungarian, too, so I might have read it in a source that is not really available for everyone. But the Railways in the Balkan Peninsula (1941) by S. H. Beaver mentions that a single line's capacity is usually calculated as 12-20 trains / day, and usually going down from that number.

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