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 » 25 Sep 2020 04:00

Because I seem to have hijacked Avalancheon's thread, diverting it from invasion OF Turkey to invasion FROM Turkey, I'll probably collate lessons learned in this thread into a new thread on the topic, "SU Falls, Germans Invade MidEast with Turkey." Besides clearing out some of the misfires of the earlier stages of this discussion (including my own), it will better enable situating the German push into Syria alongside the Basra and Iran axes. I'll give credit to those who have helped refine/correct my thoughts along the way, such as Peter89.

Of course that's not a demand to stop the Syria discussion, something I have neither the power nor desire to do. Just letting folks know how I see the discussion proceeding if some are interested in following along.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Sep 2020 12:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 08:43
Peter89 wrote:
18 Sep 2020 14:19

If we take one step backwards, the railroad capacity on the main railways of the Balkans were the Belgrade-Nis-Sofia and the Belgrade-Nis-Saloniki, the former could be used to transport matériel to the staging grounds.
This argument never sat right with me but I haven't had time to address it fully. Here's a map of Balkan railways in 1941:

Image

You've argued upthread that the lines through Nis were beset by partisans but even if that catastrophically limited throughput to Istanbul there's an easy solution: don't ship through Nis. The lines running north from Bulgaria don't touch Yugoslavia on the way to Germany. It's all friendly Rumania, Hungary, Slovakia, then the Reich. Problem solved.

"Railways in the Balkan Peninsula" is not available to me - what was the average capacity of Balkan line? Even if it's half of a German single-track line (36 trains/day, 450t/train, 16,200t/day), that alone is more than sufficient for 20 divisions. And of course the Germans can upgrade the line, as they did all over Europe when necessary.
The problem with the alternative routes is that they were interdicted by the Danube / Sava. It was so unfeasible for logistical operations, that the alternative route was via Budapest (like I quoted before).

The proper railroad bridges was in Belgrade (Alte Belgrader Eisenbahnbrücke), demolished by the Serbs, but quickly repaired by the Germans by 29th May 1941. (The other one was the Save-Brücke, but it only had road traffic.) The Romanian Anghel Saligny Bridge cannot be considered a viable alternative; it connected already overburdened and/or very low capacity networks, etc.

To sum it up, the continous flow of matériel via railway was only possible from the direction of Belgrade-Nis. From Nis, to Sofia or to Saloniki. The former being able to handle a limited trainload, and generally, the railways suffered from problems of design, gradients steeper than 1:200 and construction flaws, which the study classifies as "character of permanent way", permitted only 18t axle weight down to Nis, and only 14t in Bulgaria and otherwise. But there were 10-12t lines as well on former Hungarian lands, including much of Romania.

A single line had a lot of limiting factors, but 12-20 trains were expected to be handled, usually going down from that number. While it would take impossibly long to improve all the stations, etc. along the railway.

Image

Image

If you ask me, it is almost impossible to tell how much cargo EXACTLY could be shipped via this way; first of all, none of the railways were tested under sustained full capacity, second, we have to deal with too many bottlenecks and innate limitations to say that eg. 12, 2/3 loaded trains CAN get through. Every day. Also, most of these lines were used as primary routes of domestic economies (especially in case of Bulgaria), so their availabilities were restricted in time, season, etc.

In order to assess the realistic, sustained railway capacities of the Balkans, we can work with the Balkans campaign and the economic exploitation of the Balkans thereafter. But the problem of the method is that the former was limited in time and lines, and the latter was limited in quantity. So the Balkans campaign was more like a “stress-test”, also it used one-time assets like the river barges on the Danube, assembled near Vienna. We can also refer to the prewar years' traffic, which is sustained, realistic, and gives us an insight of the domestic needs.

Here's a map for the wheat, etc. traffic of the Bulgarian lines.

Image

During the Balkans campaign, the Germans were able to reach their estimated capacities, but at a great cost of eg. Austrian railway traffic. The Austrian single railways - with uniformized, well-maintained and well-established stations and rails - were assumed to be able to handle 18 trains / day, but even that was reached after overcoming a series of difficulties, and it was not sustainable. So calculationg with the maximum amount of trains on a line sustained through a long term campaign is not realistic.

I made serious calculations for an 1940/1942 offensive as part of the Med strategy for both the Spanish, the Italian and the Balkans way. The Balkans way was the weakest link in the chain, and I share the vision of S.H. Beaver that these difficulties were of permanent nature. What was historically realistic is that pressure on Turkey would allow to let through SOME trains to the ME, but it was not sufficient to maintain large troop formations in the ME or exploit the resources from there.

As for the naval way, the naval operations became combined arms operations by 1940/1942. So I started to examine how the Wallies were able to achieve aerial superiority in the theatre, and how intelligence and radar influenced the outcome. I recommend you to read The Mediterranean Crucible, 1942-1943: Did Technology or Tenets Achieve Air Superiority by François Roy. Long story short, the British completely lacked equipment, training, intelligence, etc. to conduct a successful combined arms operation in the MTO in 1940. By 1942/1943, they were on the winning side.
"Effective intelligence demanded more than collection and mere analysis; it also required the ability to apply the information at the strategic and tactical levels of war. This required officers with not only the intellectual prowess, but also a certain degree of experience and intuition to understand the importance of the information to the war effort. As historian and British intelligence officer Ralph Bennett writes, at the outbreak of war in 1940 there was “no means of bridging the gap” between these skill sets. He contends that “Hitler’s mistake in moving his Schwerpunkt [focus of effort] from west to east and south-east in 1941-42 gave the British time to acquire the new techniques needed for the purpose [of bridging the gap] and to forge them into a new and sharp weapon of war.”
So there is no point to talk about naval or aerial assets on their own, because the forewarning systems made sure that the Wallies will have the upper hand in almost all scenarios.

The Germans have lost other ships on these routes like SS Maritza Read (2910 GRT), SS Yalova (3750 GRT), etc. I tried to be fair here: Germans have lost ships to mines, gunfire, torpedoes, etc. It wasn't just a one-time lucky hit. As soon as the naval and aerial superiority of the Walllies were established in the MTO, the losses rose and the ship routes were not safe, especially not for a continous flow of matériel.

As for the Italian merchant fleet, at the outbreak of the war they had
786 ships with a gross tonnage exceeding 500 tons, for a total of 3,318,129 tons, and about 200 ships between 100 and 500 tons. As many as 212 ships, amounting to 1,216,637 tons, were stranded out of the Mediterranean when Italy declared war, and almost all of them were consequently captured or sunk by the enemy.
It was such a blow that they could never recover from it. On the contrary, it became worse.
Between 10 June 1940 and 8 September 1943, the fleet gained 204 ships - newly constructed or captured - amounting to 818,619 tons; but 460 ships, amounting to 1,700,096 tons, were lost.
Also, as early as 1941, the Wallies were able to completely wipe out convoys like the Tarigo Convoy or the Duisburg Convoy, but in general, the main causes of merchantmen losses were submarines and aircrafts; the former had to be countered with escorts (which the Axis did not possess) the latter with air cover, which is questionable, even after the remnants of the LW are joining the theatre (obviously not all of them, because you said that they will protect the Reich).

Also let's not forget that the stuff has to come from somewhere and had to be transported by some means. Your proposed route via Triest-Gulf of Corinth-Turkey would take forever to complete, and the Axis did not have the naval means to supply a force way bigger than the DAK that way.

The supply to North Africa was the following during the high season in 1941:
May: 52,720 t
June: 65,500 t
July: 76,270 t
August: 80,870 t

1700-2700t/day.

These numbers are representing the Axis' best efforts on a much, much shorter route.

We must also understand that port facilities were of primary importance. For example,
berthing space in Benghazi was given as two large (max. 3,500 GRT, 7 m draft), one small vessel, and one tanker. Only eight Italian and four German merchants fitted that bill in September 1941. Those merchants which fitted Benghazi were further restricted by being able to only take itemized cargo or vehicles, but not both.
https://rommelsriposte.com/2011/06/01/c ... ours-1941/

A lot of more infos - like how calculations and reality were different - are included on this link. So theoretically the numbers might even go upwards (not by your margins, but!).

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 08:43
Not a great image but you can see a beach on the west side of the harbor, it's also present on an aerial Google shot. The Quay is presumably behind those buildings besides the railroad. MFP's/Siebels don't even need to use the quay; they can run onto the beach and quickly unload. Leave the disembarked cargo to make its own way to the railroad. It'd be more manpower-intensive than a normal port operation but would give the MFP/Siebels very quick TRT. Brute manpower (unskilled laborers like PoW's) was abundant for Germany in the East; it'd be easy to wrangle a large crew for this work.
The problem with the Siebels and MFPs (not to mention other river and coastal shipping barges) is that they are not seaworthy. The EU has a Design Categories of Watercrafts ( https://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/ ... T84095.pdf ) and it categorizes watercrafts into 4 groups:
A. OCEAN: Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4 m and above but excluding abnormal conditions, and vessels largely self-sufficient.

B. OFFSHORE: Designed for offshore voyages where conditions up to, and including, wind force 8 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 4 m may be experienced.

C. INSHORE: Designed for voyages in coastal waters, large bays, estuaries, lakes and rivers where conditions up to, and including, wind force 6 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 2 m may be experienced.

D. SHELTERED WATERS: Designed for voyages on sheltered coastal waters, small bays, small lakes, rivers and canals when conditions up to, and including, wind force 4 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 0,3 m may be experienced, with occasional waves of 0,5 m maximum height, for example from passing vessels.

Most of these vessels you mentioned fall under the category of C. or D. Dependable open waters operations require category B, although under ideal weather conditions, you might be able to nail it with a C.

Siebels and MFPs were able to withstand force 5-6 waves (2-4m), but sadly that is not always the case in open waters. Especially in the Agean, the meltemi winds that can blow even for days, force 7-8 winds and the respective waves (4-7.5m) are very, very common. Given their slow speed, it is just a risk that none can take, especially not the Axis from late 1942.

Peter89
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Sep 2020 13:51

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Sep 2020 04:00
Because I seem to have hijacked Avalancheon's thread, diverting it from invasion OF Turkey to invasion FROM Turkey, I'll probably collate lessons learned in this thread into a new thread on the topic, "SU Falls, Germans Invade MidEast with Turkey." Besides clearing out some of the misfires of the earlier stages of this discussion (including my own), it will better enable situating the German push into Syria alongside the Basra and Iran axes. I'll give credit to those who have helped refine/correct my thoughts along the way, such as Peter89.

Of course that's not a demand to stop the Syria discussion, something I have neither the power nor desire to do. Just letting folks know how I see the discussion proceeding if some are interested in following along.
Thank you for the commendation btw!

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Sep 2020 17:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 05:23
make an assumption about the intactly captured Soviet infrastructure in the Caucasus
Where'd I assume that?

You have complained a few times now about me not taking W.Allied ATL response differences into account and I've addressed those supposed failures upthread.

You definitely are ignoring the demonstrated ability of Germany to restore/improve infrastructure in captured territories and the likelihood of her doing so here. A reminder that Germany spent 1.5-2bn RM on Soviet railroads alone, building the following infrastructure:

You are ignoring the likelihood that Germany would have restored/improved rail connections to Thrace and Caucasus in this ATL, just as it restored/improved rail connections before Barbarossa and after it. The Caucasian investments would have been for Baku oil and the Iranian campaign, not for Turkey. But they could be used for Turkey too if necessary.

You are ignoring the likelihood that Germany would have started building more Siebel's, MFP's, and KT's on the Black Sea and Danube early in '42 or even in '41, as the Turkish campaign would be all but certainly the next move after Russia.
Also, it it one thing that Germans were able to improve / rebuild a huge number and length of railroads in the SU, but they were not able to rebuild / restore the rail system of the whole Balkans peninsula by October 1942. It was simply impossible, especially with the ongoing fight in the SU. Even after that, to achieve the fast and effective exploitation of the SU, a lot of infrastructure has to be rebuilt, so the rear echelons of the Ostheer is not freed up instantly. It was only possible IF the Soviet infrastructure is captured intact.

We just agreed in your ATL that Germany has to focus on finishing off Russia, so it had no capacity to produce extra landing capacities for an invasion against Turkey either.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 05:23

The above should make it clear to any fair reader that the Germans can get 4,500t/day to Turkey in a post-SU ATL. More importantly, 4,500t/day is well below their OTL capacity and the ATL capacity would certainly have been greater.
Not at the initial stage of the campaign, because if the Germans have no access to Black Sea / Agean ports, we have limited options. If they are able to push the Turkish and the Wallies back, they might get more options, and 4500t/d is imaginable. However, the calculation is not this simple, because you must take into account the captured stocks, the locally gathered supplies (eg. food), etc. Also, for the Wallies, the Iran / Syria / Iraq staging grounds offered great sources of POL, so they could operate a large number of mechanized troops from there, much much more efficiently.
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 Axis was nowhere near the numerical parity in aircrafts in 1942, not even in your ATL.
The US produced more aircrafts in 1942 alone than Germany between 1939-1942 (47,836 vs 47,078). Also, you said that the SU will be finished off by September 1942, so until then, they could have produced at least something.

Also, the UK produced 23,672 aircrafts in 1942, totally outweighing the Japanese (8,861) and Italian (2,818) productions. In fact the Axis produced approximately 27,235 aircrafts in 1942, and the Wallies 71,508. 1942 was too early for your ATL economic improvements to take effect, so the ratio was 1:2.5 in favor of the Wallies. OTL in 1943 the Wallies produced 112,131 aircrafts, and Germany 25,527 (in your ATL: 51,054), Japan and Italy 17,660, so your ATL numbers don't give parity either (68,714 vs 112,131) 1:1.5 in favor of the Wallies. Besides: your ATL of increased German production was achieved by protecting the airspace above the Reich, and also some aircrafts have to remain in the East, too. The net win for the redeployment to the MTO in your ATL is far from the total number of 2500.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 02:23

I've already posted extensive analysis translating LL aid into shipments to the ME. This is largely a matter of the Persian Corridor, as North Russia shipments were minimal in our period. Far East LL went 100% in Russian ships that Stalin isn't giving back (Japan wouldn't let American ships through). If you disagree with the analysis, please say why.
Because they were not Russian ships but American ships under Russian flag.

Also I'm not sure what do you mean "in our pediod"? Because in the whole 1942 the Northern Route was the most important LL route (949,711 t, 38.7%), but it's true that most of the shipment was done in the first half of the year, and October-November was 0. However, I do not know when the northern Russian ports fall in your ATL, and I also don't know if they were to fall, would the Wallies send their stuff that way or not.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 02:23
I've repeatedly conceded the intel point, never pretended to disagree. So the W.Allies know what's coming - what can they do? As discussed upthread, I evaluate the Guadalcanal and Persian Corridor shipping as capable of supporting (not deploying) 6 divisions to Syria. I evaluate the Torch shipping resources as good for ~30% of the OTL Torch forces fighting in Syria instead (support and deployment). If you disagree with that analysis, please say why.

It appears you didn't read my long posts responding to Kingfish on translating Torch shipping to Syrian. Understandable, it's a long post. But I've already given credit for Torch moving to Syria - even assumed it happens two months earlier than OTL Torch. Torch started with 105k men, gradually increasing to ~300k by May IIRC (excluding 8th Army). Using 36% percent shipping factor for Syria instead of Algeria, that translates to ~40k men in Syria in September - 1.3 US divs if we assume no air forces.
It's not so, because a troopship doesn't need to take turns. So as soon as they are deploying the troops, their task is done. Also, the Wallies did have resources at a lot of places around the world; not everything has to come from the heartlands of their empires. POL, food, etc. are indeed logistical burdens, but I am really interested how many troops they could supply in this front. I don't know the exact numbers, but your very method of grasping the subject is wrong: unilaterally oversimplifying the scenario. Especially if they come to aid Turkey, using their infrastructure and stocks.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 02:23

You disagree about the strength of German opposition in this ATL (response on Black Sea shipping still coming) but for clarity of our discussion, how do you think these 16 W.Allied divisions would do against 20 Ostheer?
Combined with the Turkish Army and the shipments, I think it is a hard fight ahead for both parties.

However, Axis used to lose the logistics game in the whole war, so my two cents are on the Wallied defense.

Besides, I don't think it matters too much: if the victorious German veteran formations are decimated by the Wallies, they gradually exhaust their offensive capabilities by 1943 as they did OTL, and Turkey would be just another interesting and bloody chapter in the history of WW2.

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Sep 2020 17:26

Peter89 wrote:As for the naval way,
Can't resist saying that you're completely ignoring Cavafy's advice for sailing this route:
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
So all that's needed is a few wise, heroic souls to confound the RN with their indomitable spirit (is Cavafy still revered in Greece?).

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

Cavafy aside your analogy between RN surface forces around Tunisia and near Ithaka is totally misplaced: The RN owned the radar-less Regia Marina at night, often ambushing them as with your examples of Duisburg and Tarigo convoys. Between Taranto, Corfu, and Ithaka, the route is unsheltered for only ~100 miles. The Axis can cross that in daylight, using planes to provide aerial reconnaissance and supremacy. AFAIK there was no significant RN daylight, surface presence near Greece or Taranto after Crete (when the RN had 34 fleet units sunk/damaged by LW). A small fraction of the reassigned Ost-LW makes surface approach between Taranto and Ithaka suicidal if it wasn't OTL. Which means this entirely submarine campaign, which brings me to:
escorts (which the Axis did not possess)
Well then who sunk 33 British submarines and 44 Soviet? Angry Poseidon? :)
The Italians certainly had ASW forces in WW2, including destroyers and many smaller craft, many carrying depth-charge projectors. http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WAMIT_ASW.php
Italy sent 24 of its smaller ASW craft to the Black Sea (via Danube) in May 1942; these are free ATL and would be perfect for the in-shore journey to/from Ithaka.
The Germans have lost other ships on these routes like SS Maritza Read (2910 GRT), SS Yalova (3750 GRT), etc. I tried to be fair here:
Thanks, that makes 4 ships. (Source btw? Not cuz I doubt but I'd like to read more about WW2 Aegean). Let's both be fair - I never said the Axis would suffer 0 losses on the route or even that they wouldn't lose significant tonnage. IIRC I analogized to North Atlantic - significant losses but generally secure sea lanes. This seems to me an all-submarine campaign in Adriatic/Aegean and I don't see any evidence that the RN's subs inflicted great losses in those seas (regardless of what happened in the open Med).
I've tussled over this very blog post before. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229648&p=2241002&h ... i#p2241002

As I've been saying, I don't see a valid analogy between the journey to/from Ithaka and to/from Libya. Enough said on my end for now.

Italian merchant shipping is something I should have said more on earlier. Even after the bad losses, Italy had well over 2mil GRT shipping in September '42. This capacity was not fully used due to port and surface escort scarcity (fuel for the big escorts especially), not because Italy lacked the shipping the capacity absent RN interference in the open Med.

In this ATL, one-twentieth of Italy's merchant fleet can sail through the Bosporus and schlep Germans to Turkey. That immediately doubles the size of the Axis-controlled bluewater fleet in the Black Sea. Make it one-tenth if we need to.

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

Responses to your other points later.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Takao » 25 Sep 2020 18:30

Concerning LL shipping via the Pacific, your both right and both wrong.

In the first 6 months of 1942, there were 37 vessels moving LL shipments, mostly Soviet ships. During the last 6 months of 1942, the US transferred 27 merchantmen & 7 tankers to the Soviets for use in the Pacific. Also, in the last half of 1942, the Soviets moved a few of their merchant ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific, 33 more Soviet merchants would follow from the Atlantic to Pacific in 1943.

Of course, if the Soviets collapse, that is 27 merchants & 7 tankers the US keeps, not to mention, a possibly sizeable portion of the Soviet ships interned/defected and put to WAllied use.

Food for thought.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 25 Sep 2020 19:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Sep 2020 17:26
Peter89 wrote:As for the naval way,
Can't resist saying that you're completely ignoring Cavafy's advice for sailing this route:
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
So all that's needed is a few wise, heroic souls to confound the RN with their indomitable spirit (is Cavafy still revered in Greece?).

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

Cavafy aside your analogy between RN surface forces around Tunisia and near Ithaka is totally misplaced: The RN owned the radar-less Regia Marina at night, often ambushing them as with your examples of Duisburg and Tarigo convoys. Between Taranto, Corfu, and Ithaka, the route is unsheltered for only ~100 miles. The Axis can cross that in daylight, using planes to provide aerial reconnaissance and supremacy. AFAIK there was no significant RN daylight, surface presence near Greece or Taranto after Crete (when the RN had 34 fleet units sunk/damaged by LW). A small fraction of the reassigned Ost-LW makes surface approach between Taranto and Ithaka suicidal if it wasn't OTL. Which means this entirely submarine campaign, which brings me to:
escorts (which the Axis did not possess)
Well then who sunk 33 British submarines and 44 Soviet? Angry Poseidon? :)
The Italians certainly had ASW forces in WW2, including destroyers and many smaller craft, many carrying depth-charge projectors. http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WAMIT_ASW.php
Italy sent 24 of its smaller ASW craft to the Black Sea (via Danube) in May 1942; these are free ATL and would be perfect for the in-shore journey to/from Ithaka.
The Germans have lost other ships on these routes like SS Maritza Read (2910 GRT), SS Yalova (3750 GRT), etc. I tried to be fair here:
Thanks, that makes 4 ships. (Source btw? Not cuz I doubt but I'd like to read more about WW2 Aegean). Let's both be fair - I never said the Axis would suffer 0 losses on the route or even that they wouldn't lose significant tonnage. IIRC I analogized to North Atlantic - significant losses but generally secure sea lanes. This seems to me an all-submarine campaign in Adriatic/Aegean and I don't see any evidence that the RN's subs inflicted great losses in those seas (regardless of what happened in the open Med).
I've tussled over this very blog post before. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229648&p=2241002&h ... i#p2241002

As I've been saying, I don't see a valid analogy between the journey to/from Ithaka and to/from Libya. Enough said on my end for now.

Italian merchant shipping is something I should have said more on earlier. Even after the bad losses, Italy had well over 2mil GRT shipping in September '42. This capacity was not fully used due to port and surface escort scarcity (fuel for the big escorts especially), not because Italy lacked the shipping the capacity absent RN interference in the open Med.

In this ATL, one-twentieth of Italy's merchant fleet can sail through the Bosporus and schlep Germans to Turkey. That immediately doubles the size of the Axis-controlled bluewater fleet in the Black Sea. Make it one-tenth if we need to.

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

Responses to your other points later.
Most of the Italian merchant fleet was destroyed during the war. The LW is not a jolly joker here, because the RAF / USAAF was present there as well. Also, let's not forget if the escorts have been proper, the primary cause of merchantmen losses would look like something else.

Usually I start from here (a little German or Google translate helps): https://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/k ... r-sued.htm

and end up on either of these sites: https://www.wrecksite.eu , https://www.historisches-marinearchiv.de/index.php .

Another interesting story in the Agean is the Spanish small ships under German flag, mostly serving Crete: https://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/k ... ter-sp.htm

Very interesting though, because all of them found their resting place on the seabed of the Agean Sea. (Various causes.)
Alma ex Nikolajew ex Adeje (253 BRT)
Celsius ex Simferopol ex Jose Trujillo (338 BRT)
Isis ex Cherson ex Isora (316 BRT)
Marguerite ex Kertsch ex Maria Amalia (744 BRT)
Ostia ex Ellen ex Nereametza (359 BRT)
Reaumur ex Sewastopol ex Rigel (549 BRT)
Suzanne ex Feodosia ex San Juan II (552 BRT)
San Isidro Labrador (332 BRT)
San Eduardo (300 BRT)
Violetta ex Taganrog ex Vincente (534 BRT)

Again... naval warfare became combined arms operation. The level of coordination that you think was present between the various branches of the Wehrmacht (KM, LW, intelligence) and that of the Italian Navy / Marine, was never a thing. And I seriously doubt that the recently transferred LW units (most of them hasn't practiced on naval targets) are capable to perform to keep these lines secure.

The point here is that the Axis was losing the naval tonnages way faster than they could replace it, and if they start to capture the Mediterraneum in late 1942, they lose. Have you ever heard about the tonnage war expression?

***

Btw my last touch with Poseidon was the time when I accompanied my wife who painted a picture in the sunrise about the temple of Sounio.

If someone is interested, this weekend is the European Heritage days, so all archeological sites and museums are free to visit.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Sep 2020 05:28

“Peter89” wrote:The Balkans way was the weakest link in the chain, and I share the vision of S.H. Beaver that these difficulties were of permanent nature.
Did S.H. Beaver consider the possibility of a much-wealthier foreign conqueror/ally investing heavily in Balkan railways?

In any event, I'm going to remain focused on the discrete issue of whether Germany can get 4,500t/day to Turkey, concede that Balkan railways were worse than I thought OTL, and include (below) some downwards-revisions of Balkan capacity via Nis and/or Budapest. With all those concessions, my high-level analysis that there's more capacity to Turkey than you think remains true, IMO.

Here’s Soviet railroad maps of the Lviv and Chisinau areas:

Image
Image


I count at least 7 crossing points into Romania and/or eastern Hungary, none of which need to transit via Budapest or Austria. Rather, they’d use the Polish-Ukrainian rail network built up by the Germans before and after Barbarossa. We’re supporting 30* divisions instead of ~80 via these lines so capacity per track-mile shouldn’t be a problem. I take your point that many of the Romanian/Hungarian lines would have been low-capacity and shared with economic traffic (and thanks for the sources). But with several lines you spread the burden thinly. We need only 10-15 trains/day Istanbul to carry the entire logistical burden for 20 divs – before counting sea LoC’s. AND that’s assuming the route via Budapest/Nis gets us ZERO trains instead of, say, 5 on average.

*I'm leaving an allowance for Caucasus-bound trains for the Iran front. 10 divisions is probably excessive there.
“Peter89” wrote: continous flow of matériel via railway
To the extent you’re saying we need a discrete and reliable flow, rather than a flow punctuated by occasional disruptions, I don’t think that’s how logistics usually works. The 4,500t/day is an average figure; consumption will also be punctuated. We’d have forward depots to accumulate surplus flow at time X and to cover deficit flow at time Y.
“Peter89” wrote: it is almost impossible to tell how much cargo EXACTLY
Agreed but we don’t need to know exactly how much; we need to know whether 4,500/day was possible as a first check, then 4,500/day minus sea LoC capacity. As the Germans were pushing dozens of trains into Ukraine OTL, I can’t see any problem with pushing a dozen or so to Romania via Ukraine (and some – 5/day average? – via Nis/Budapest). Which brings us to Romania:
“Peter89” wrote: The Romanian Anghel Saligny Bridge cannot be considered a viable alternative; it connected already overburdened and/or very low capacity networks, etc.
We have the AS Bridge and two sets of unbridged lines separated by the Danube. Say the AS Bridge can give us 5 trains/day (average). That leaves us 5-10 trains-worth of supplies to bridge over the Danube. [EDIT- reviewing this, I forgot the small capacity via Nis/Belgrade proposed at 5 trains/day average. Consider it surplus).

At least a couple solutions available:
  • 1. Transshipment via barge and/or trucks plus pontoon bridges. In Russia Germany did this on multiple occasions, particularly during Blau over the Donets/Don rivers. Discussed in Der Alte Fritz’s railways thread, can’t recall the page. viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286&start=105 Here’s pontoon bridge at Rostov in 1942

    Image
  • 2. Build a new bridge. At Trykhaty on the Bug the Germans built an entirely new bridge to support the Ostheer. It was a similar situation to ours, with a line interrupted by a big river.

    Image

    When the Russians irreparably damaged the main bridge at Rostov, the Germans built a new one.

    Image

    The Germans nearly completed a bridge over the Kerch Strait too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerch_rai ... rch_Strait
Of course the new-bridge option would take time. In the meantime, use the pontoon and transshipment options over the Danube.

You will object to the Germans doing this on grounds similar to this:
to achieve the fast and effective exploitation of the SU, a lot of infrastructure has to be rebuilt, so the rear echelons of the Ostheer is not freed up instantly.
Two points:
  • 1. We have to differentiate between work needed for Ostheer combat and work needed for economic purposes in the former SU. In areas such as the Baltics, there’s little industry to restore and with the Baltic Sea an Axis lake ships can carry additional traffic after SU’s fall. Germany was putting much investment into Baltic railways for combat purposes that it could delay or forego in this ATL. From AHF’s best-ever thread, quoting Pottgieser’s authoritative work on German Railways:
    In the RVD Riga district were
    7.500 km track re-gauged,
    2.250 km track re-laid,
    Installed 5,180 points,
    carried out earthworks of 20 million RM,
    spent a total of 104 million RM for the above work.
    viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286&start=75#p1849752

    2,250km of track re-laid is sufficient to re-lay the entire route from Berlin to Istanbul. And that’s just the regional rail authority for Riga. At least as much work was happening in economically marginal areas like Minsk-Rzhev to support AGC.
  • 2. We must also differentiate (a) Ostheer rear-echelon resources devoted to supporting combat operations directly from (b) those devoted to rebuilding basic infrastructure for future economic and/or combat needs. All of (a) is free with Ostheer’s retirement. That’s thousands and men and trucks that, in OTL 1942, were trans-shipping across Donets, Don, and smaller rivers with blown bridges. We can move close to 100% of these assets to the Danube if needed.
“Peter89” wrote: in your ATL that Germany has to focus on finishing off Russia, so it had no capacity to produce extra landing capacities for an invasion against Turkey either.
Oh come on. Focusing on finishing off Russia doesn’t mean ignoring cheap strategic opportunities.

What’s the cost of a Siebel Ferry? (seriously – anybody have figures?) It embodies ~100t of steel. At ~500RM/ton, that’s 50,000 RM. Besides the engines and some Flak guns, it’s not much more than a hunk of steel. If a Siebel costs 100,000 RM then building 100 Siebels costs 10mil RM, which is 0.025% Germany’s ~40bil RM military budget in 1942. [note that this another calculation – such as with landing craft capacity – where my aim is be accurate within an order of magnitude because that’s all that’s needed for the point: if 100 Siebels is 0.25% of Wehrmacht budget the point stands]

In addition, my Ostheer victory ATL sees a much weaker RKKA in ’42. By building a stronger Heer in 1941 Germany can pump the brakes on army spending in ’42 without endangering victory. The cost of 100 Siebels is a barely perceptible brake-tap.
“Peter89” wrote: The Axis was nowhere near the numerical parity in aircrafts in 1942, not even in your ATL.
But that completely ignores logistics to the ME. I will treat this subject in greater detail in a forthcoming thread but note that the Wallies needed at least ~45 men/AC in operating theaters. So if you want 2:1 air force ratio against a 1,500-plane LW, you need 3,000 planes and ~135,000 men. The logistical burden of Army Air Forces, per man, was higher than for ground forces so this is more than the logistics of 4 divisions. Source is Global Logistics and Strategy – more detailed discussion to come.

Of course it won’t escape you that I’ve been ignoring logistics for the LW. But throughout this thread I’ve been saying that our 4,500t/day figure can support 20 divisions, OR fewer divisions and more planes, AND that more than 4,500t/day is foreseeable.
“Peter89” wrote: Because they were not Russian ships but American ships under Russian flag.
Not sure what the legal distinction is but Takao’s point compels me to revise/correct my analysis anyway, adding at least 34 ships to the W.Allied shipping pool (thank you Takao). More detailed discussion coming.
because a troopship doesn't need to take turns
I don’t understand your point. I suspect you think that the journey time for troopships doesn’t matter, perhaps because you imagine a pool of troopships sitting around waiting until needed. That wasn’t so. For example, sending technicians to ME cost lots of shipping because of distance:
In addition, some technicians were to be sent to U.S. missions in the Middle East. The total deployment was not large—about 30,000 men and 380,000 ship tons of cargo, spread over a period of seven months—but the length of the voyage magnified manyfold the cost in shipping removed from North Atlantic services.
GLS v. 1, p.457.

Troopships could be converted from MARCOM's standard shipping types (Liberty, Victory, C-4, etc.). But obviously such conversions come at a cost of supply shipping.

More discussion forthcoming - I'm putting together a spreadsheet analysis of OTL American Army shipments to estimate total ton-miles available for a given period. It will hopefully also include divisional/air-group requirements so we can discuss the W.Allies strategic options through a completely transparent and easily-modifiable logistical lens (though of course it will be approximate).
Peter89 wrote:I recommend you to read The Mediterranean Crucible, 1942-1943: Did Technology or Tenets Achieve Air Superiority by François Roy.
Unfortunately not immediately available to me. But I don't immediately see the relevance. Are you arguing that RAF/RN aerial assets were capable of dominating the Adriatic and Aegean in 1942? Or that it would enable RN surface assets to go on anti-commerce cruises in the Aegean/Adriatic? Again, the Dodecanese Campaign seems to disprove that.

There's surely much for me to learn about the development of British air/sea tactics in this period but unless it cashes out in the RAF/RN ruling the skies over the Otranto Strait and Aegean it doesn't seem decisively relevant to our discussion.
The problem with the Siebels and MFPs (not to mention other river and coastal shipping barges) is that they are not seaworthy.
I get that, it's why - for the third time - I remind you that we can use them for coastal shipping in Black and Aegean Seas.

Additionally: I haven't contested the point so far but I see plenty of examples in Tunisia of bluewater sailing by MFP's/Siebels. You're right it carries a risk of loss but, as with the Ithaka route and the Wallies' transatlantic routes, some losses are justified for compelling strategic needs. Plus for a one-day journey over the Black Sea, weather data from Western Europe could be employed to manage the risk. IMO we need a reduction of the MFP/Siebel transport rates by a suitable factor that accounts for losses and for waiting out bad weather, rather than a categorical prohibition on Trans-Black utilization. A negative rather than a negation.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 26 Sep 2020 05:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Sep 2020 05:39

Peter89 wrote:Usually I start from here (a little German or Google translate helps): https://www.wlb-stuttgart.de/seekrieg/k ... r-sued.htm

and end up on either of these sites: https://www.wrecksite.eu , https://www.historisches-marinearchiv.de/index.php .
Danke. Ich habe Deutsch im Schule studieren. Jetzt kann ich am meistens lesen - mit Google Translate.
Peter89 wrote:naval warfare became combined arms operation. The level of coordination that you think was present between the various branches of the Wehrmacht (KM, LW, intelligence) and that of the Italian Navy / Marine, was never a thing.
Then it must have been Poseidon again who sank/damaged 34 British warships around Crete in '41.

Look I get that the LW was waaaayyyy behind in naval warfare and that inter-service cooperation was abysmal. IMO you're improperly jumping from negative to negation. Combined arms warfare was pretty important on land too and the Red Army never really got good at it. Yet a mass of men will beat a smaller mass; a mass of planes will sink some ships.
Btw my last touch with Poseidon was the time when I accompanied my wife who painted a picture in the sunrise about the temple of Sounio.
Sounds lovely.

Poseidon has nearly caught me on smallish boats in Lake Michigan but my Odysseus-like cunning and intelligence bested him (that or it was my call to the Coast Guard).

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Sep 2020 06:02

Regarding cargo ship turnaround times, I was thrilled to find, "An Engineering Analysis of Cargo Handling," which extensively discusses WW2 cargo ops. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/020834.pdf

The paper states:
Conveyors and other automatic equipment can load specially-designed
ships with these commodities at rates as high as 2000 to 3000
tons per hour. Contrast this with the rate of loading general
cargo, which Is approximately 10 to 20 tons per hour per hatch
or a maximum of 50 to 100 tons per hour if five hatches are
loaded simultaneously.
The open body of an MFP/Siebel is probably the equivalent of 2 hatches, meaning 20-40t/hr loading/unloading, meaning 2-5hrs total if we assume the lower end of the typical range. That makes my 7-day TRT for Black Sea MFP/Siebel's extremely conservative - or allows us to ship to/from farther points.

Our Black Sea Fleet averages ~3,200 DWT/ship using Peter's data and my volume:weight conversion. If these ships had 3 hatches on average, that's 30-60t/hr loading and ~50-100hrs total. If we assume 2-days rountrip sailing on 200-270nm Trans-Black route, TRT could be as low as 6 days. For a 90,000t DWT BSF, that enables 15,000t shipped to Turkey per day. At the upper end, 10-day TRT means 9,000t shipped.

The contrast of bulk cargo with liquids shows that shipping fuel was more efficient in WW2, reducing its relative salience in W.allied logistics.
----------------------------

@Peter89 At some point I switched from invasion OF Turkey to invasion WITH Turkey into Syria. Probably during discussion with Kingfish. To the extent you were discounting Trans-Black shipping in the OF scenario, that's warranted.

Having read more now about the rail lines from Zonguldak and Samsun, I see more problems for my plan than before. A retreating Turkey might blow up the tunnels there. That doesn't save Turkey but it might save Syria by making Axis logistics, post-Turkey, more difficult.


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

While I promise a more detailed and quantitative treatment of W.Allied shipping logistics to the ME, I've also promised my brothers a (probably belated) fishing outing on the Lake Michigan this weekend. We're tempting Poseidon with potentially Category B seas in a Category A boat. More to come on logistics though, assuming good seas.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 26 Sep 2020 08:21

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
“Peter89” wrote:The Balkans way was the weakest link in the chain, and I share the vision of S.H. Beaver that these difficulties were of permanent nature.
Did S.H. Beaver consider the possibility of a much-wealthier foreign conqueror/ally investing heavily in Balkan railways?
In early 1941, he was not capable of doing that.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
In any event, I'm going to remain focused on the discrete issue of whether Germany can get 4,500t/day to Turkey, concede that Balkan railways were worse than I thought OTL, and include (below) some downwards-revisions of Balkan capacity via Nis and/or Budapest. With all those concessions, my high-level analysis that there's more capacity to Turkey than you think remains true, IMO.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 06:02
@Peter89 At some point I switched from invasion OF Turkey to invasion WITH Turkey into Syria. Probably during discussion with Kingfish. To the extent you were discounting Trans-Black shipping in the OF scenario, that's warranted.
If you ask me, it was possible, especially in 1941, without attacking the SU :D :D :D

Or Turkey, for that matter.

Let me be clear here, so I summarize my points regarding the possible Axis logistics to the ME:
1.) The Axis didn't need to occupy Turkey, what they needed was to let some traffic through the railway system and the safer ports
2.) It was problematic to defend large Axis convoys on the open seas in 1942/1943
3.) We have to address the timeframe and the goals:
  • if we are talking about a relatively quick offensive against Turkey in late 1942 ATL, it might succeed, because the logistical lines don't have to be overburdened, and alternatives open up as in the case of the Balkans campaign (plus building up depos near Turkey)
  • if we are talking about a continous campaign where Turkey must be a springboard for future invasions towards India / Arabia / Africa, it's not a viable option, unless
  • the Germans build a bridge over the Bosphorus and rebuild / renovate plus secure the whole line,
  • if the Wallies do not interefere
4.) Local cooperation and utilization of the local resources is the KEY: in 1941, the Axis had a chance to gain local support, intact infrastructures and resources (food, weapons & ammunitions, POL); in late 1942/1943, it was the other way around: the Wallies had it all.
5.) Axis naval losses are irreplaceable
6.) Intelligence, radar and cross-arms interactions played a key role in aerial and naval operations by late 1942/1943, and the Axis was losing that game
7.) The Axis war effort could not utilize anything in Turkey / ME if they successfully conquer the SU with most of its resources: chromite could come from Asia and POL from the SU, so the logical approach from them is to go on the strategic defense
8.) It made no sense to deprive the Wallies of the oil of the ME: over 60% of the oil (world production) was produced in the USA alone. Chromite was more important, but not crucial (besides, the Wallies didn't get any from 1943)
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
I count at least 7 crossing points into Romania and/or eastern Hungary, none of which need to transit via Budapest or Austria. Rather, they’d use the Polish-Ukrainian rail network built up by the Germans before and after Barbarossa. We’re supporting 30* divisions instead of ~80 via these lines so capacity per track-mile shouldn’t be a problem. I take your point that many of the Romanian/Hungarian lines would have been low-capacity and shared with economic traffic (and thanks for the sources). But with several lines you spread the burden thinly. We need only 10-15 trains/day Istanbul to carry the entire logistical burden for 20 divs – before counting sea LoC’s. AND that’s assuming the route via Budapest/Nis gets us ZERO trains instead of, say, 5 on average.
The thing is that it doesn't remove the bottleneck at the Bulgarian / Turkish border or the Belgrade-Nis bottleneck. Also doesn't remove the Bosphorus bottleneck. Nor the bottlenecks on Danube / Sava.

What the Soviet raiways were good for in your ATL is the cross Black Sea shipping IF + AFTER the Germans capture the two Black sea ports with rail connection.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
At least a couple solutions available:
  • 1. Transshipment via barge and/or trucks plus pontoon bridges. In Russia Germany did this on multiple occasions, particularly during Blau over the Donets/Don rivers. Discussed in Der Alte Fritz’s railways thread, can’t recall the page. viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286&start=105 Here’s pontoon bridge at Rostov in 1942

    Image
  • 2. Build a new bridge. At Trykhaty on the Bug the Germans built an entirely new bridge to support the Ostheer. It was a similar situation to ours, with a line interrupted by a big river.

    Image

    When the Russians irreparably damaged the main bridge at Rostov, the Germans built a new one.

    Image

    The Germans nearly completed a bridge over the Kerch Strait too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerch_rai ... rch_Strait
Of course the new-bridge option would take time. In the meantime, use the pontoon and transshipment options over the Danube.
Those options were a thing in real life (see the German-built bridge over the Sava, and the Turkey chromite transportation via Bulgaria / Danube), but they were of limited capacity.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
You will object to the Germans doing this on grounds similar to this:
to achieve the fast and effective exploitation of the SU, a lot of infrastructure has to be rebuilt, so the rear echelons of the Ostheer is not freed up instantly.
Two points:
  • 1. We have to differentiate between work needed for Ostheer combat and work needed for economic purposes in the former SU. In areas such as the Baltics, there’s little industry to restore and with the Baltic Sea an Axis lake ships can carry additional traffic after SU’s fall. Germany was putting much investment into Baltic railways for combat purposes that it could delay or forego in this ATL. From AHF’s best-ever thread, quoting Pottgieser’s authoritative work on German Railways:
    In the RVD Riga district were
    7.500 km track re-gauged,
    2.250 km track re-laid,
    Installed 5,180 points,
    carried out earthworks of 20 million RM,
    spent a total of 104 million RM for the above work.
    viewtopic.php?f=66&t=203286&start=75#p1849752

    2,250km of track re-laid is sufficient to re-lay the entire route from Berlin to Istanbul. And that’s just the regional rail authority for Riga. At least as much work was happening in economically marginal areas like Minsk-Rzhev to support AGC.
  • 2. We must also differentiate (a) Ostheer rear-echelon resources devoted to supporting combat operations directly from (b) those devoted to rebuilding basic infrastructure for future economic and/or combat needs. All of (a) is free with Ostheer’s retirement. That’s thousands and men and trucks that, in OTL 1942, were trans-shipping across Donets, Don, and smaller rivers with blown bridges. We can move close to 100% of these assets to the Danube if needed.
I paid attention to your quotations of the Wehrmacht's railroad works :)

I seriously doubt that these works could be done very fast, you know, like I said: the Germans have to build a bridge over the Bosphorus and rebuild / renovate plus secure the whole line.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
“Peter89” wrote: in your ATL that Germany has to focus on finishing off Russia, so it had no capacity to produce extra landing capacities for an invasion against Turkey either.
Oh come on. Focusing on finishing off Russia doesn’t mean ignoring cheap strategic opportunities.

What’s the cost of a Siebel Ferry? (seriously – anybody have figures?) It embodies ~100t of steel. At ~500RM/ton, that’s 50,000 RM. Besides the engines and some Flak guns, it’s not much more than a hunk of steel. If a Siebel costs 100,000 RM then building 100 Siebels costs 10mil RM, which is 0.025% Germany’s ~40bil RM military budget in 1942. [note that this another calculation – such as with landing craft capacity – where my aim is be accurate within an order of magnitude because that’s all that’s needed for the point: if 100 Siebels is 0.25% of Wehrmacht budget the point stands]

In addition, my Ostheer victory ATL sees a much weaker RKKA in ’42. By building a stronger Heer in 1941 Germany can pump the brakes on army spending in ’42 without endangering victory. The cost of 100 Siebels is a barely perceptible brake-tap.
The problem with this resource allocations in your ATL is that you often seem to spend the same coin twice. The relative percentage of the GDP is not really an important factor here, because if you spend let's say 10% of your GDP to ships, and you find another 10%, it doesn't mean that you can build twice that amount of ships.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
“Peter89” wrote: The Axis was nowhere near the numerical parity in aircrafts in 1942, not even in your ATL.
But that completely ignores logistics to the ME. I will treat this subject in greater detail in a forthcoming thread but note that the Wallies needed at least ~45 men/AC in operating theaters. So if you want 2:1 air force ratio against a 1,500-plane LW, you need 3,000 planes and ~135,000 men. The logistical burden of Army Air Forces, per man, was higher than for ground forces so this is more than the logistics of 4 divisions. Source is Global Logistics and Strategy – more detailed discussion to come.

Of course it won’t escape you that I’ve been ignoring logistics for the LW. But throughout this thread I’ve been saying that our 4,500t/day figure can support 20 divisions, OR fewer divisions and more planes, AND that more than 4,500t/day is foreseeable.
1500 LW aircraft covering what airspace exactly? Because if it's from the Caucasus down to Crete, it's acceptable. If you want to operate 1500 LW aircraft from Greece, that's another story :)

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.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
The problem with the Siebels and MFPs (not to mention other river and coastal shipping barges) is that they are not seaworthy.
I get that, it's why - for the third time - I remind you that we can use them for coastal shipping in Black and Aegean Seas.
Maybe, but let me remind you, these are not sustainable, dependable logistical options, just logistical firefighting, like
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
Additionally: I haven't contested the point so far but I see plenty of examples in Tunisia of bluewater sailing by MFP's/Siebels. You're right it carries a risk of loss but, as with the Ithaka route and the Wallies' transatlantic routes, some losses are justified for compelling strategic needs. Plus for a one-day journey over the Black Sea, weather data from Western Europe could be employed to manage the risk. IMO we need a reduction of the MFP/Siebel transport rates by a suitable factor that accounts for losses and for waiting out bad weather, rather than a categorical prohibition on Trans-Black utilization. A negative rather than a negation.
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.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Sep 2020 05:28
While I promise a more detailed and quantitative treatment of W.Allied shipping logistics to the ME, I've also promised my brothers a (probably belated) fishing outing on the Lake Michigan this weekend. We're tempting Poseidon with potentially Category B seas in a Category A boat. More to come on logistics though, assuming good seas.
I guess you referred a category C/D body of water with a D watercraft. I wish you nice weather though :)))

Btw I crossed the Channel at good weather conditions with a design category C watercraft, so I never said that it's impossible :)

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 26 Sep 2020 17:39

Peter89 wrote:
25 Sep 2020 12:13
...

The problem with the alternative routes is that they were interdicted by the Danube / Sava. It was so unfeasible for logistical operations, that the alternative route was via Budapest (like I quoted before).

The proper railroad bridges was in Belgrade (Alte Belgrader Eisenbahnbrücke), demolished by the Serbs, but quickly repaired by the Germans by 29th May 1941. (The other one was the Save-Brücke, but it only had road traffic.) The Romanian Anghel Saligny Bridge cannot be considered a viable alternative; it connected already overburdened and/or very low capacity networks, etc.

To sum it up, the continous flow of matériel via railway was only possible from the direction of Belgrade-Nis. From Nis, to Sofia or to Saloniki. The former being able to handle a limited trainload, and generally, the railways suffered from problems of design, gradients steeper than 1:200 and construction flaws, which the study classifies as "character of permanent way", permitted only 18t axle weight down to Nis, and only 14t in Bulgaria and otherwise. But there were 10-12t lines as well on former Hungarian lands, including much of Romania.

A single line had a lot of limiting factors, but 12-20 trains were expected to be handled, usually going down from that number. While it would take impossibly long to improve all the stations, etc. along the railway.

Image

Image

If you ask me, it is almost impossible to tell how much cargo EXACTLY could be shipped via this way; first of all, none of the railways were tested under sustained full capacity, second, we have to deal with too many bottlenecks and innate limitations to say that eg. 12, 2/3 loaded trains CAN get through. Every day. Also, most of these lines were used as primary routes of domestic economies (especially in case of Bulgaria), so their availabilities were restricted in time, season, etc.

In order to assess the realistic, sustained railway capacities of the Balkans, we can work with the Balkans campaign and the economic exploitation of the Balkans thereafter. But the problem of the method is that the former was limited in time and lines, and the latter was limited in quantity. So the Balkans campaign was more like a “stress-test”, also it used one-time assets like the river barges on the Danube, assembled near Vienna. We can also refer to the prewar years' traffic, which is sustained, realistic, and gives us an insight of the domestic needs.

Here's a map for the wheat, etc. traffic of the Bulgarian lines.

Image

During the Balkans campaign, the Germans were able to reach their estimated capacities, but at a great cost of eg. Austrian railway traffic. The Austrian single railways - with uniformized, well-maintained and well-established stations and rails - were assumed to be able to handle 18 trains / day, but even that was reached after overcoming a series of difficulties, and it was not sustainable. So calculationg with the maximum amount of trains on a line sustained through a long term campaign is not realistic.

I made serious calculations for an 1940/1942 offensive as part of the Med strategy for both the Spanish, the Italian and the Balkans way. The Balkans way was the weakest link in the chain, and I share the vision of S.H. Beaver that these difficulties were of permanent nature. What was historically realistic is that pressure on Turkey would allow to let through SOME trains to the ME, but it was not sufficient to maintain large troop formations in the ME or exploit the resources from there.

As for the naval way, the naval operations became combined arms operations by 1940/1942. So I started to examine how the Wallies were able to achieve aerial superiority in the theatre, and how intelligence and radar influenced the outcome. I recommend you to read The Mediterranean Crucible, 1942-1943: Did Technology or Tenets Achieve Air Superiority by François Roy. Long story short, the British completely lacked equipment, training, intelligence, etc. to conduct a successful combined arms operation in the MTO in 1940. By 1942/1943, they were on the winning side.
"Effective intelligence demanded more than collection and mere analysis; it also required the ability to apply the information at the strategic and tactical levels of war. This required officers with not only the intellectual prowess, but also a certain degree of experience and intuition to understand the importance of the information to the war effort. As historian and British intelligence officer Ralph Bennett writes, at the outbreak of war in 1940 there was “no means of bridging the gap” between these skill sets. He contends that “Hitler’s mistake in moving his Schwerpunkt [focus of effort] from west to east and south-east in 1941-42 gave the British time to acquire the new techniques needed for the purpose [of bridging the gap] and to forge them into a new and sharp weapon of war.”
So there is no point to talk about naval or aerial assets on their own, because the forewarning systems made sure that the Wallies will have the upper hand in almost all scenarios.

The Germans have lost other ships on these routes like SS Maritza Read (2910 GRT), SS Yalova (3750 GRT), etc. I tried to be fair here: Germans have lost ships to mines, gunfire, torpedoes, etc. It wasn't just a one-time lucky hit. As soon as the naval and aerial superiority of the Walllies were established in the MTO, the losses rose and the ship routes were not safe, especially not for a continous flow of matériel.

As for the Italian merchant fleet, at the outbreak of the war they had
786 ships with a gross tonnage exceeding 500 tons, for a total of 3,318,129 tons, and about 200 ships between 100 and 500 tons. As many as 212 ships, amounting to 1,216,637 tons, were stranded out of the Mediterranean when Italy declared war, and almost all of them were consequently captured or sunk by the enemy.
It was such a blow that they could never recover from it. On the contrary, it became worse.
Between 10 June 1940 and 8 September 1943, the fleet gained 204 ships - newly constructed or captured - amounting to 818,619 tons; but 460 ships, amounting to 1,700,096 tons, were lost.
Also, as early as 1941, the Wallies were able to completely wipe out convoys like the Tarigo Convoy or the Duisburg Convoy, but in general, the main causes of merchantmen losses were submarines and aircrafts; the former had to be countered with escorts (which the Axis did not possess) the latter with air cover, which is questionable, even after the remnants of the LW are joining the theatre (obviously not all of them, because you said that they will protect the Reich).

Also let's not forget that the stuff has to come from somewhere and had to be transported by some means. Your proposed route via Triest-Gulf of Corinth-Turkey would take forever to complete, and the Axis did not have the naval means to supply a force way bigger than the DAK that way.

The supply to North Africa was the following during the high season in 1941:
May: 52,720 t
June: 65,500 t
July: 76,270 t
August: 80,870 t

1700-2700t/day.

These numbers are representing the Axis' best efforts on a much, much shorter route.

We must also understand that port facilities were of primary importance. For example,
berthing space in Benghazi was given as two large (max. 3,500 GRT, 7 m draft), one small vessel, and one tanker. Only eight Italian and four German merchants fitted that bill in September 1941. Those merchants which fitted Benghazi were further restricted by being able to only take itemized cargo or vehicles, but not both.
https://rommelsriposte.com/2011/06/01/c ... ours-1941/

A lot of more infos - like how calculations and reality were different - are included on this link. So theoretically the numbers might even go upwards (not by your margins, but!).

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Sep 2020 08:43
Not a great image but you can see a beach on the west side of the harbor, it's also present on an aerial Google shot. The Quay is presumably behind those buildings besides the railroad. MFP's/Siebels don't even need to use the quay; they can run onto the beach and quickly unload. Leave the disembarked cargo to make its own way to the railroad. It'd be more manpower-intensive than a normal port operation but would give the MFP/Siebels very quick TRT. Brute manpower (unskilled laborers like PoW's) was abundant for Germany in the East; it'd be easy to wrangle a large crew for this work.
The problem with the Siebels and MFPs (not to mention other river and coastal shipping barges) is that they are not seaworthy. The EU has a Design Categories of Watercrafts ( https://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/ ... T84095.pdf ) and it categorizes watercrafts into 4 groups:
A. OCEAN: Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4 m and above but excluding abnormal conditions, and vessels largely self-sufficient.

B. OFFSHORE: Designed for offshore voyages where conditions up to, and including, wind force 8 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 4 m may be experienced.

C. INSHORE: Designed for voyages in coastal waters, large bays, estuaries, lakes and rivers where conditions up to, and including, wind force 6 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 2 m may be experienced.

D. SHELTERED WATERS: Designed for voyages on sheltered coastal waters, small bays, small lakes, rivers and canals when conditions up to, and including, wind force 4 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 0,3 m may be experienced, with occasional waves of 0,5 m maximum height, for example from passing vessels.

Most of these vessels you mentioned fall under the category of C. or D. Dependable open waters operations require category B, although under ideal weather conditions, you might be able to nail it with a C.

Siebels and MFPs were able to withstand force 5-6 waves (2-4m), but sadly that is not always the case in open waters. Especially in the Agean, the meltemi winds that can blow even for days, force 7-8 winds and the respective waves (4-7.5m) are very, very common. Given their slow speed, it is just a risk that none can take, especially not the Axis from late 1942.
Peter; Thanks for the comments on actual transportation capacities. Something that is frequently late to these conversations. I for one would appreciate it were more references/links added.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Sep 2020 02:28

Peter89 wrote:I wish you nice weather though
Thanks. Nice day, last of the season. Shorter than expected - the nephews got seasick and/or stabbed by fishing hook, puked and cried - so I put some quick shipping logistics numbers together:

Image

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

This covers only US Army-controlled shipping so the project isn't yet complete. Wanted to present these initial numbers to give some sense of the magnitude of the logistical problem facing the W.Allies if they want to mount a determined defense in Syria/Iraq/Iran.

Important note: "Tons" used in the spreadsheet is Measurement Tons (MT), a US Army logistical unit equal to 40ft2. For some reason, the US Army also calls MT "ship tons." I'll try to say only MT and avoid "ship tons," as that usually has a weight connotation.

In the first image I entered GLS App. E's list of US Army shipments by theater for 1942. To create a measurement of total shipping resources - a matter of MT and distance - I estimated the average distance traveled to each theater (Row 6, highlighted in blue).

Multiplying MT * distance gives you "MT-miles" - a decent measure for the shipping burden expended in each theater. Summing theater MT-miles gives you a measure for the total shipping resources used by the Army in a given month.

In the second image I entered GLS App. A-4 into a spreadsheet. My only additions are (1) to break out MT required for shipping a unit by fraction of maintenance (POL, unit of fire, plus "maintenance"), (2) to provide separate breakouts depending on whether vehicles are boxed or on wheels, (3) to break out POL as a % of shipping volume, and (4) to provide an additional row (20) summing and averaging the non-divisional units listed.

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Some assumptions/analysis are necessary to fix the shipping burden in MT for U.S. divisions, mostly related to division slice composition and weapons mix. GLS V.2, App. E-2 gives in-theater divisional slice data for 1945. The Med. is lowest at 32,481 per division; Europe was 35,480 per division. If we just assume that the non-div. slice of an American ID had the same shipping burden per man as the ID's personnel, we get 190k MT in vehicles-boxed condition and 270k with wheeled vehicles.

That assumption is almost certainly wrong, however: an ID's per-man MT burden - 6.8 MT - is far lower than the average of the non-div units listed (17.1). Typical non-div units that would accompany ID's such as engineers, quartermaster truck battalions, long-range artillery support, tank destroyers, would all be around twice as shipping-intensive (per man) as the ID. QM trucks would be especially necessary in the ME theater for combat supply. The non-combat service troops (in-theater but rear-area logistical/medical/administrative support) might be around the ID's per-man MT figure.

The armored divisions require nearly 3x as much shipping space to deploy.

Having vehicles boxed or on wheels makes a big difference, 23% less shipping space as an average of listed units. But a boxed 2.5-ton truck looked like this:

Image


...and assembling trucks in-theater from boxes imposed its own logistical/technical burdens:
The
British hoped at first that at least two
thirds of the vehicles for American forces
could be shipped over completely disassembled and crated (CKD). This did not
prove practicable, however, since assembly
plants and mechanics would have had to
be sent over in advance, and the shortage
of British labor was an obstacle. GLS V.1, p.270
In an ME theater with little native automotive expertise, division slice would have to increase significantly to build up vehicle assembly infrastructure.

Taking all these considerations together, I used 300k MT shipping burden for deploying the average US division to the ME. Seems fair but open to discussion.

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

At 300k MT per division, the ~14,000 mile journey from NYC to Beirut requires 4.2bn MT-miles of shipping.

By the first spreadsheet's estimate, that's around the average TOTAL monthly average of all shipments by the Army in 1942.

The cells highlighted in orange capture US Army MT-miles in the months of April-July '42. It takes at least two months to reach the Levant from U.S. via Cape of Good Hope so they've gotta ship by August 1 to be there on October 1. (really 3+ months but I'm being generous to W.Allies). Translating OTL MT-miles for those months into ME divisions shipped gives us only 3.81 divisions by my calculations.

Columns P and Q contain adjustments for distance-TRT (turnaround time) factor and POL factor, respectively.

Distance-TRT factor adjusts for the fact that sailing 4x as far didn't take 4x as long under WW2 conditions: the time for convoy assembly and loading/unloading is constant in each case. GLS V1, app A-6 gives 3.5x the TRT for NYC-Near East as for NYC-UK while the Near East is ~4x as far. That implies a distance-TRT factor of 1.12, which I used in the spreadsheet. It's generous to W.Allies because the OTL average shipping distance was longer than the NYC-UK run.

POL factor accounts for the W.Allies getting their POL in the ME (Abadan refinery). POL was ~7% of shipping burden by volume. Abadan is >3,000 miles from Beirut by sea, however, so it's not logistically free - just cheaper. I used a 1.05 POL factor.

Adjusting April-July OTL Army shipments by these two factors gives us 4.4 US divisions in the ME.

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

Realize that this calculation implies the Army ships to nowhere but the ME. In reality they'd have to continue supporting their other OTL missions; using half of global army-controlled shipping implies 2.2 divisions.

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I haven't translated LL aid yet; that will require some more work and some thought about the analytical framework. I previously estimated Persian Corridor LL as good to supply (not deploy) 6-7 American divisions. That still seems right but my previous emphasis on force supply was misplaced. Having dug deeper into the numbers, the shipping burden of deployment was much bigger, relative to supply, than I originally thought. This is largely an issue of shipping space rather than weight: the highly-mechanized US Army's vehicles take a lot of shipping space relative to weight, even if boxed. To translate OTL Lend-Lease shipments by volume instead of weight will probably give us a much lower estimate of translated division-slice lift than I previously thought.

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

British lift capacity must also be estimated somehow but all narrative evidence suggests Britain was maxed-out supporting 8th Army, CBI, and its domestic economy in '42. I'd be surprised if we can find another shipping space for another division, shocked by two.

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

My analysis so far assumes that volume is the limiting factor on shipping. That appears generally true but for certain dense items - ammo comes to mind - weight would become more important. So a purely volume-based analysis inevitably over-estimates W.Allied logistical capacity.

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

My takeaway is that I've been over-estimating W.Allied logistical capacity to fight in the ME during '42. Deployment is far more shipping-intensive, relative to supply, than I'd previously thought. I am increasingly convinced of W.Allied inability to stop a German MidEast push had the SU fallen.

I expect and hope for disagreement but please provide some numbers and analysis to back up contrary claims, rather than generalities.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Sep 2020 05:37

“Peter89” wrote: In early 1941, he was not capable of doing that.
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.
Yes to both and for both that was kind of my point… Beaver’s not an expert on whether the Germans could have improved Balkan railways, as it’s not something he analyzed. Wallies can’t dominate ME airspace the way they did in Tunisia/Sicily, which has important implications.
1500 LW aircraft covering what airspace exactly? Because if it's from the Caucasus down to Crete, it's acceptable. If you want to operate 1500 LW aircraft from Greece, that's another story
Only a few hundred additional AC in Greece/Crete. That should be sufficient to ensure safety of Aegean/Adriatic shipping from unescorted RAF bombers and to deter RAF surface ships.
Maybe, but let me remind you, these are not sustainable, dependable logistical options, just logistical firefighting
What makes them unsustainable or undependable? They are less efficient so wouldn’t be the ideal option. Logistics is an art of the possible, not the ideal. The W.Allies used improvised beach logistics for months after D-Day; it sustained 2mil troops into Germany. Here we’re talking many fewer troops.
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.
The Tunisian logistical operation was a disaster… Sadly, this is the most likely scenario if you don't have naval / aerial superiority.
Happily, the W.Allies don’t have air/naval superiority over Black Sea and Aegean.

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Re: Could a German invasion of Turkey succeed?

Post by Peter89 » 27 Sep 2020 17:36

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
26 Sep 2020 17:39

Peter; Thanks for the comments on actual transportation capacities. Something that is frequently late to these conversations. I for one would appreciate it were more references/links added.
My pleasure Carl. I started to translate and edit together the maps and calculations for an alternative 1941 ME campaign, and I just stumbled into these infos. In the meanwhile, I found another reference map from S.H. Beaver, from his presentation of the decision makers in the UK.

Image

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

Image

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