North Africa with no Barbarossa

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jwsleser
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 03 Nov 2019 14:57

Urmel
Interesting. How did this happen? Attacks by air and mining ops?
A combination of factors, but mainly intelligence allowing the UK to focus assets (air craft, submarines, occasional surface action) against the shipping. Again Malta's influence is intelligence and restricting timing/routes because of the threat. Coastal shipping used small ports, which are not well defended so vulnerable to attack.
Also, do you have a link to that discussion?
This discussion was called "The Great N.A. Logistical Debate". It cover a lot of ground over 3+ years. I have provide a few links below to various parts of the discussion. When I joined in in 2001, there had already been some previous discussions, so going back further in the thread might yield some more info.

If you wish, use the extended search tool and use my name (Leser) to find my posts with the data I presented. Start date needed to be 3 Jan 2001. The search results screen give the content, so an easy way to scan through the posts. You will need to go at least through 2004, but I didn't check to see when it informally ended. A lot of dross to work through to find the good stuff.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX/.ee6c2ec/4094

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6c2ec/9202

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6c2ec/9071

Note this discussion got quite argumentative and heated. Part of that was my fault, but much was due to others. BTWs, a typical online debate/argument.

Here is a link to the search engine. Use Leser start date 3 Jan 2001, end date sometime in 2005.

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?extend ... @@.ee6c2ec

Pista! Jeff
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 03 Nov 2019 15:25

I should add that CONSIMWorld doesn't use threaded discussions. There have been discussions to change that, but it is what it is.

Not easy to follow a single discussion.
Last edited by jwsleser on 03 Nov 2019 16:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by Urmel » 03 Nov 2019 15:33

Thanks. I don't think I can deal with that. Life's too short. You wouldn't happen to have the main data etc or the conclusion neatly written up somewhere? I'm particularly interested in the issue of convoy scheduling :)
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 03 Nov 2019 16:05

Thanks. I don't think I can deal with that. Life's too short.
I certainly understand and agree. :wink:

I will try to find my old files. Louis and I were working on a convoy spreadsheet that I think I still have (on another hard drive).

I am sure you read in the various histories of the Italians suspending convoy due to various factors.
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 05 Nov 2019 19:22

While doing a bit more research, I came across this example of how Malta created inefficiencies in the convoy system.

Three destroyers (Da Noli, Zeno, and Pessagno) made two trips from Augusto to Tripoli in Oct 1941 carrying German units. The Germans always insisted that their troops and equipment being transported in the safest manner. This was a total of 1676 troops and the three destroyers consumed 2.213 ts of bunker fuel. (La difesa del traffic con l'Africa settentrionale volume VII p.33).
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by thaddeus_c » 10 Nov 2019 03:53

have never seen a detailed comparison of supplies needed in NA for offensive campaign(s) vs. defensive posture? (assuming quite a difference)

also if Germany had better prepared, they might have been able to transport the smaller Type II u-boats overland to the Med? in many ways those might be better choice.

without their adventure in the USSR, more transport aircraft might have been completed, JU-252s or Condors could have flow directly to NA from Germany?

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by T. A. Gardner » 11 Nov 2019 04:37

What the Germans (and Italians) needed in N. Africa were:

Shipping tonnage. The Germans in particular didn't have much in the way of merchant ships to ship materials to N. Africa. Germany needed to find their own merchant tonnage as relying on the Italians was unreliable.

Port space. Even where the Axis did manage to ship sufficient supplies to N. Africa, much of the time these were slowly unloaded because of limited harbor and dock space. Why send a big convoy of ships with supplies when you can only unload a few ships at a time on the receiving end? The Axis needed to clear harbors of wrecks and enlarge their ports. That was unlikely to happen.

Transportation network. The Axis needed a better road and rail net than they had. As it was, even if supplies arrived and were unloaded it could take weeks for those supplies to be moved from the docks to the front. The Italians obviously didn't have the wherewithal to build a railroad across Libya or they'd likely have done it pre-war. The Germans had the means, but would the Italians let them? Would the Germans even be willing to do something like that?

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 12 Nov 2019 17:46

Let's examine each of these claims.
Shipping tonnage. The Germans in particular didn't have much in the way of merchant ships to ship materials to N. Africa. Germany needed to find their own merchant tonnage as relying on the Italians was unreliable.
How were the italians 'unreliable'? A lack of German shipping was never identified as a problem by the men on the spot or during postwar research. The Germans decided that German units would be transported on German hulls and that was done. Any problem with shipping schedules was due to enemy actions, not 'unreliable Italians'. Please note that Germany never kept its promise on the delivery of fuel oil to the Italians which had an impact on convoy scheduling.
Port space. Even where the Axis did manage to ship sufficient supplies to N. Africa, much of the time these were slowly unloaded because of limited harbor and dock space. Why send a big convoy of ships with supplies when you can only unload a few ships at a time on the receiving end? The Axis needed to clear harbors of wrecks and enlarge their ports.
As I pointed out in my previous post, port capacity wasn't the problem. Given unfettered access to the ports, Tripoli and Bengasi had more than enough port capacity as the historical numbers demonstrated. Add in Torbruk and Derna and you have even more. Tripoli and Bengasi handled 125K tons of cargo in June 41 (and that was with Bengasi's damaged state), and 150k tons in April 42 (which included 48K tons of fuels). Tobruk alone handled 20K of cargo in Aug 42.

Port capacity wasn't the problem.
That was unlikely to happen.


Actually it did happen. Bengasi was extensively reworked after it was recaptured in early 1942. Nothing prevented major upgrades to any of the ports except the desire and the perceived need to do so.
Transportation network. The Axis needed a better road and rail net than they had. As it was, even if supplies arrived and were unloaded it could take weeks for those supplies to be moved from the docks to the front. The Italians obviously didn't have the wherewithal to build a railroad across Libya or they'd likely have done it pre-war.
They didn't need to. That inadequate road network supported the Axis army at El Alamein for 4 months. Most of the supply problems were due to enemy actions against the LOC, not the inability of the LOC to move the supplies.

These are the points most individuals tend to overlook. The main limitations of the LOC (from Italy to the front in A.S.) were: 1) how much stuff did Germany want to send to A.S. 2) Enemy actions that impacted the LOC. Also note that without Barbarossa, all those Italian trucks that went to Russia are now available for A.S.
The Germans had the means, but would the Italians let them? Would the Germans even be willing to do something like that?
That is what this alt history is all about; The Germans would and the Italians said yes. :)

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by Urmel » 14 Nov 2019 00:23

Jeff, quite right, and T.A.Gardner's post is a great example of the warped view of history that still distorts our perception.

The Germans and Italians had a formal 1/3 - 2/3 arrangement for space on their vessels. The Germans would get 1/3rd on the Italian ships, and the Italians as well. This was adhered to as far as I can see.

I have never seen any suggestion that the Italians were not reliable. The Germans used their own ships of course, many of which were in the Med, and when they lost a large number of them in 1941, they issued contracts to build new ones. Starting with F-lighters (MFPs) in mid 1941, and moving on to KT vessels in late 1941.

https://rommelsriposte.com/2014/12/20/t ... programme/

For port capacity, again warped views, in this case I blame van Creveld.

https://rommelsriposte.com/2011/06/01/c ... ours-1941/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by jwsleser » 14 Nov 2019 17:58

The Germans and Italians had a formal 1/3 - 2/3 arrangement for space on their vessels. The Germans would get 1/3rd on the Italian ships, and the Italians as well. This was adhered to as far as I can see.


Another impact was the reducing the cargo load on the ships destined for A.S. I would need to dig to find the date, but ships were only loaded to 50% of capacity to reduce losses if a ship was lost. This also reduced ship vulnerability as ships could be unloaded at the destination ports in a shorter amount of time. It is hard to view this policy as a good option unless the amount of supplies shipped was considered adequate.

Without the threat from Malta, this bit of shipping ineffectiveness would not be needed.
For port capacity, again warped views, in this case I blame van Creveld.
Van Creveld was 100% correct in bringing the discussion of logistics into modern historical research.

I feel the problem surfaces when readers try to use his arguments in Chapter 5 "Russian Roulette'" when discussing logistics in A.S. A careful reading of Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 "Sirte to Alamein" clearly show two different types of discussions. The Russian chapter focuses on logistical planning and resulting decisions without any resource constraints (the Germans could use whatever was available if they wished to do so) without considering enemy actions. Chapter 6 is all about the the results of German decisions without addressing the resource limitations imbedded in those decisions, and the enemy actions that affected those decisions. There is little discussion of logistical planning in that chapter. Van Creveld himself does nothing to clarify the relationship of the two chapters, leaving readers to use the arguments of Chapter 5 to try to explain the events of Chapter 6.

That is how I became interested in A.S. logistics. Chapter 5 basically states El Alamein could never happen. History tells us it did happen.

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by JAG13 » 17 Nov 2019 21:10

jwsleser wrote:
02 Nov 2019 20:53


Next this analysis was then run against the ‘Mediterranean First’ Strategy. Our self-established proof was that Germany must gain a significant strategic advantage to justify the resources. Here our conclusion was the Axis likely could have gain the Delta region, but anything beyond was a ‘bridge too far’. The Axis lacked the ground and air forces to move further into Palestine and east to the oil fields, and/or up into Asia Minor and thus into southern Russia. Without such a move that provides an advantage over Russia or a steady, reliable supply of oil, a Mediterranean strategy is a dead end. The UK will not fall if Egypt is lost (all UK shipping was already going around the Cape) and the resources needed to implement would be badly missed once Russia enters the war. And Russia is the 500lb gorilla when looking at German strategy.

If anyone believes that Russia will remain out of the war without Barbarossa, that is a different discussion.

Just some thoughts based on about of year worth of research and discussion.

Pista! Jeff
Very interesting, one thing, wouldnt getting the delta mean the RN is out of the Med? They have no bases left leaving the RM free to land troops/supplies on Palestine and support attacks into Iraq, not to mention Vichy support which Germany did get in 1941. The RN might be able to supply and army through Basra, but that would be in the middle of a hostile population and facing a superior enemy...

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by T. A. Gardner » 18 Nov 2019 00:06

JAG13 wrote:
17 Nov 2019 21:10
jwsleser wrote:
02 Nov 2019 20:53


Next this analysis was then run against the ‘Mediterranean First’ Strategy. Our self-established proof was that Germany must gain a significant strategic advantage to justify the resources. Here our conclusion was the Axis likely could have gain the Delta region, but anything beyond was a ‘bridge too far’. The Axis lacked the ground and air forces to move further into Palestine and east to the oil fields, and/or up into Asia Minor and thus into southern Russia. Without such a move that provides an advantage over Russia or a steady, reliable supply of oil, a Mediterranean strategy is a dead end. The UK will not fall if Egypt is lost (all UK shipping was already going around the Cape) and the resources needed to implement would be badly missed once Russia enters the war. And Russia is the 500lb gorilla when looking at German strategy.

If anyone believes that Russia will remain out of the war without Barbarossa, that is a different discussion.

Just some thoughts based on about of year worth of research and discussion.

Pista! Jeff
Very interesting, one thing, wouldnt getting the delta mean the RN is out of the Med? They have no bases left leaving the RM free to land troops/supplies on Palestine and support attacks into Iraq, not to mention Vichy support which Germany did get in 1941. The RN might be able to supply and army through Basra, but that would be in the middle of a hostile population and facing a superior enemy...
If ports on the Nile delta were taken, the British planned in part to fall back to the south to Port Said and even Massawa if necessary.

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by JAG13 » 19 Nov 2019 02:01

T. A. Gardner wrote:
18 Nov 2019 00:06


If ports on the Nile delta were taken, the British planned in part to fall back to the south to Port Said and even Massawa if necessary.
Isnt Port Said on the Med coast, pretty much on the delta?

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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Nov 2019 02:19

JAG13 wrote:
19 Nov 2019 02:01
T. A. Gardner wrote:
18 Nov 2019 00:06


If ports on the Nile delta were taken, the British planned in part to fall back to the south to Port Said and even Massawa if necessary.
Isnt Port Said on the Med coast, pretty much on the delta?
I suspect he meant Suez rather than Said. Or Port Sudan and Massawa?
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Re: North Africa with no Barbarossa

Post by JAG13 » 19 Nov 2019 02:34

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Nov 2019 02:19
JAG13 wrote:
19 Nov 2019 02:01
T. A. Gardner wrote:
18 Nov 2019 00:06


If ports on the Nile delta were taken, the British planned in part to fall back to the south to Port Said and even Massawa if necessary.
Isnt Port Said on the Med coast, pretty much on the delta?
I suspect he meant Suez rather than Said. Or Port Sudan and Massawa?
Yeah, Port Sudan makes more sense.

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