Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Aug 2020 20:32

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Appendix S - Strength of the navies of the British Commonwealth on 8 May, 1945. (Fleet Destroyers = 108; Escort destroyers = 83; Hunt Class destroyers = 66)
Proboably the author included pre-war American "DD's" as fleet destroyers, not DDE's. And likely the British decommissioned some older DD's rather than taking their logistical burdens across 13,000 miles of sea lanes. DD's are fuel-hogs in fleet operations because of their high HP/ton ratios and the Admiral King, who wanted to British shut out of the Pacific denouement, would not have helped.

154 lost + 108 = 262. Plus 50 old U.S. DD's is 312. Would be surprised if the British didn't decommission some of these ancient, fuel-inefficient vessels rather than send them east. App. S says "nearly all" DD's were in commission - is 91% (98/108) "nearly all"?

These are good questions you're asking though.
So, not a very scrupulous analysis that separates the allotment of British Commonwealth Fleet Destroyers (in terms of planning, construction, operation or losses) to the BoA as opposed to other RN commitments. In fact, not an analysis at all!
You're out over your skis IMO. What is the author's contention? That the British used a certain number of DD's in the entire war, and that half of this force was committed to BoA. If he included Lend-Lease DD's as DD's (a reasonable move for Americans, to whom they were DD's) then he's at least within a few % points of the real figure.

More important is the actual deployment of DD's. You still haven't provided any evidence that significantly more than half of Britain's DD's were deployed outside the Atlantic at any point in the war. If you can show such evidence, we can slightly revise downwards the author's warship cost.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 29 Aug 2020 21:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Aug 2020 20:32
You're out over your skis IMO. What is the author's contention? That the British used a certain number of DD's in the entire war, and that half of this force was committed to BoA. If he included Lend-Lease DD's as DD's (a reasonable move for Americans, to whom they were DD's) then he's at least within a few % points of the real figure.

More important is the actual deployment of DD's. You still haven't provided any evidence that significantly more than half of Britain's DD's were deployed outside the Atlantic at any point in the war. If you can show such evidence, we can slightly revise downwards the author's warship cost.
Out over my skis? That's a new one on me - thanks. :D

OK, so on this wonderful forum a chap called Olivier (Username 'Mescal') did some work creating a data base of various RN classes and their deployment throughout the years of the war. A fantastic resource which can be found here:

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=152290&hilit=british+destroyers

One of his summary charts is shown below (note the numeric values are not a number of ships but a number of ships multiplied by the number of month of activity).
RN DD Deployment by Year.GIF
So depending on which (full) year you want to consider, the employment of RN DD months in BoA varied from 42.5% (1941) to 14.6% (1944).

Worth noting, as well, Olivier's definition of Atlantic and of Home Waters:
* Atlantic : convoy escort from US East Coast to GB and from Azores to Iceland. Note that the escort based at Greenock or Londonderry, even if geographically in the Home Waters are listed in Atlantic. The ships escorting the WS or HG convoys at the start of their journey are also listed here.
* Home Waters : North Sea, Channel. Includes operations along the Norwegian coast as far north as Narvik, as well as operations in the Bay of Biscay.
Regards

Tom
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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2020 05:52

Tom from Cornwall wrote:OK, so on this wonderful forum a chap called Olivier (Username 'Mescal')
Thanks for the table and the linked thread. AHF is great for stuff like that.

The Battle of the Atlantic definitely includes the South Atlantic. Except for a few warship sorties and the armed merchantmen, the U-boats were the whole ballgame there (no LW). That adds 4.1-6% for '41-'43.

Likewise the Gibraltar-based boats seem likely to have covered the Moroccan/Iberian areas through which convoy traffic was no small matter.

Most importantly, note the definition of Atlantic: "convoy escort from US East Coast to GB and from Azores to Iceland." Not all ASW was convoy escort, such as constant patrols of Home Waters to keep the Uboats away from vital inshore traffic. The RN couldn't just let the Uboats own Home Waters until a convoy was incoming.

Here's "Home Waters":

Image

https://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-42 ... oaches.htm

Sinkings were lower but Britain needed absolute security of its inshore waters and appropriately spent ASW resources there. Deployment in Home Waters definitely includes ASW missions.

Notice also that the move of escorts from "Atlantic" to "Home Waters" coincides with defeat of the North Atlantic U-boats and their relocation to the Western Approaches by 1944.

Here's another image of "Home Waters" from 1919:

Image

The U.S. advanced its area of responsibility up to Iceland during/before WW2 but even with that geographical change it's unimaginable to exclude from the BoA those areas. Anyone have a broader-view map of "Home Waters" in WW2?

If anything, I suspect this shows that >70% percent of DD deployments were ASW up to '43.

But why don't you ask Mescal to clarify? Maybe he has data on mission type, not just deployment area. April of this year was his last log-in.

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

What is your estimate of the BoA cost ratio?

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2020 06:35

This discussion impelled me to see what's written about British in-shore shipping during the war; I came across this book (and some others of interest): https://www.amazon.com/Coastal-Convoys- ... 1844158616 (available cheap on Kindle)

From the foreword:
It is an extraordinary omission on the part of maritime historians of the Second World War that the coastal element of Britain’s fight for her seaborne supply lines has been ignored. The central element of this struggle has been dignified by its own, distinct name: the Battle of the Atlantic, but in truth it was only a third of the overall problem facing Britain as she geared up for the long fight with the German-led Axis.

Once a convoy had reached one of the major ports, its ships, arriving in a large number, all had to be discharged and then loaded with military supplies for campaigns being fought in the Western Desert, the Far East and elsewhere. They also had to carry a continuous stream of exported goods, just as in peacetime, to maintain an economy strained to the limit by the need to pay for war. The internal rail and road systems were incapable of handling the level of traffic required and coastal shipping, already a major carrier of cargoes, had to be mustered in convoys, organized and escorted. To the small- and medium-sized coasters were added deep-water merchant ships carrying cargoes consigned to the east coast ports of England and Scotland, and this task was made all the more difficult after the early occupation of France, the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway.
The book's author has in mind the popular image of the BoA: mountainous waves, freezing waters, etc. The author of our study clearly has in mind the general Uboat campaign, which included inshore waters. To the extent your picture of ASW excluded inshore waters, you seem to be in good company.

Another snippet:
According to the Official History of the War at Sea, approximately 5,500 ships required arming at the beginning of the war. The low-angle, antisubmarine guns were the first to be fitted and by the end of 1940 some 3,500 ships had been so equipped. By the end of the war a staggering 9,500 merchant ships had been armed with these weapons,
The arming of merchantmen is one of the biggest elisions I noticed in Poirier's study.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 30 Aug 2020 12:06

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Aug 2020 20:32
More important is the actual deployment of DD's. You still haven't provided any evidence that significantly more than half of Britain's DD's were deployed outside the Atlantic at any point in the war. If you can show such evidence, we can slightly revise downwards the author's warship cost.
Do you accept the evidence of the table that Olivier has created that "significantly more than half of Britain's DDs were deployed outside the Atlantic at any point in the war"?

Do you also accept that a description of the analysis behind the article that T.A. Gardner linked to as "scrupulous" is not borne out by the evidence that Olivier has created?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Aug 2020 20:32
You're out over your skis IMO. What is the author's contention? That the British used a certain number of DD's in the entire war, and that half of this force was committed to BoA. If he included Lend-Lease DD's as DD's (a reasonable move for Americans, to whom they were DD's) then he's at least within a few % points of the real figure.
So am I still "out over my skis"? Were half of British DDs committed to BoA throughout the entire war? He didn't actually say that - he actually said that "I've estimated that only 50% of their missions were related to ASW"; not the same thing at all unless you are arguing that all ASW was part of BoA?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
The Battle of the Atlantic definitely includes the South Atlantic. Except for a few warship sorties and the armed merchantmen, the U-boats were the whole ballgame there (no LW). That adds 4.1-6% for '41-'43.
Really, so every DD deployment per month in South Atlantic was strictly defined around an ASW mission? Have you studied the reasons for RN DD deployments to the South Atlantic in detail for this period? I know, for example, that a discussion was held at high level in British government over the need to reinforce the garrison of the Falkland Islands early in 1942 due to a fear of a sneak Japanese landing. So an assumption that all RN deployments to South Atlantic were strictly based on the U-boat threat alone seems a stretch.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
Not all ASW was convoy escort, such as constant patrols of Home Waters to keep the Uboats away from vital inshore traffic. The RN couldn't just let the Uboats own Home Waters until a convoy was incoming.
True - not all ASW was convoy escort, just as not all convoy escort was ASW. :thumbsup:

And just as not all Home Waters deployments were convoy escort nor ASW. :thumbsup:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
Notice also that the move of escorts from "Atlantic" to "Home Waters" coincides with defeat of the North Atlantic U-boats and their relocation to the Western Approaches by 1944.


And their employment in 1944 included much more than just ASW in Home Waters...training for and the conduct of air defence, gun-fire support and surface action against threats to the Normandy invasion spring immediately to mind.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
Here's another image of "Home Waters" from 1919:
Totally irrelevant, obviously!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
If anything, I suspect this shows that >70% percent of DD deployments were ASW up to '43.
DD deployments where? Your suspicion (guess?) is based on what?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
But why don't you ask Mescal to clarify? Maybe he has data on mission type, not just deployment area. April of this year was his last log-in.
Good idea, why don't you? Do you think that this would help your argument? If BoA convoy escort was all about ASW, why did Allies sometimes provide BB escort to them?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 05:52
What is your estimate of the BoA cost ratio?
I neither have the time nor the inclination to try to reduce the complexities of even just British costs to separate out some artificially constructed figure to support such a pointless simplification. That's my point in this thread.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 06:35
To the extent your picture of ASW excluded inshore waters, you seem to be in good company.
STRAWMAN alert!!

What picture of ASW? That's very disappointing. :roll: :roll:

Regards

Tom

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Terry Duncan » 30 Aug 2020 12:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2020 22:59
In truth 10:1 DDE-T21 exchange is more likely plus several merchant ships. It's not hard to foresee 50:1 attrition ratios being feasible.
If we accept this ratio for the moment, what are you saying about the dreadful figures from the Germans building the Type XXI? They took in large numbers of parts, managed to fit enough together to make 118 actual U-boats, of which only 4 were suitable for service and even then at a reduced service specification due to hull weaknesses beyond their ability to solve with the tools available! So, of all Type XXI's assembled we get 3.3% of them fit to go to sea on some form of service. That is a pretty poor return on so much investment, and never going to address the balance in favour of the Germans, if anything the wasted effort just makes things worse.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Aug 2020 16:01

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
30 Aug 2020 12:06
DD deployments where? Your suspicion (guess?) is based on what?
If someone wants to know it would be a relatively simple if tediously time-consuming task. We have the ship histories of the British DD, I suspect that is how Olivier originally created some of his tables. We have the convoys they escorted. We know where the convoys were according to the convoy codes. We also have the total convoys in each convoy series. Oh, you could even add in the U-Boot and DD sunk if you wanted.
Last edited by Richard Anderson on 30 Aug 2020 17:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Terry Duncan » 30 Aug 2020 16:15

Richard Anderson wrote:
30 Aug 2020 16:01
Perhaps the OP should have at it and crunch data instead of continuously expressing opinions as if they were facts?
Perhaps we can all concentrate on the discussion and not making personal comments? Quite a few 'What If's' revolve to some degree or other around opinions and we all often state things as facts when we are discussing things. Being polite and not making personal comments may well work best.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Richard Anderson » 30 Aug 2020 17:11

Terry Duncan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 16:15
Richard Anderson wrote:
30 Aug 2020 16:01
Perhaps the OP should have at it and crunch data instead of continuously expressing opinions as if they were facts?
Perhaps we can all concentrate on the discussion and not making personal comments? Quite a few 'What If's' revolve to some degree or other around opinions and we all often state things as facts when we are discussing things. Being polite and not making personal comments may well work best.
No problem, fixed it.

So, okay, part of the problem with assuming ASW commitment data from deployment areas of British DD is that it ignores there were different escorts, for different purposes, as well as which DD were used for what type of escort.

The Admiralty planned to make maximum use of older destroyer classes converted to escort duties...boilers were typically reduced to increase endurance, torpedo tubes removed to free up top hamper, different armament was shipped, and the like. However, not all the conversions were to ASW escort, many were to AA escort. Furthermore, since the early threat was perceived as the Luftwaffe, many of the prewar conversions were to WAIR - an antiaircraft escort vessel.

For example, the late Great War design, the V&W class was heavily tasked for these roles, a total of 58 vessels, although some, such as Vampire, were never converted and remained fleet destroyers. Valorous though was taken in hand from reserve and converted to a WAIR. As such, she escorted 10 convoys in 1939, 59 in 1940, and five in 1941 until June when she was redirected to coastal convoy escort.

Then there was Worcester, which was mobilized from reserve in 1939, but not taken in hand for conversion to a SRE - Short Range Escort - until she put into dockyards for repairs of her damage in the Channel Dash, from March to August 1942. As a fleet destroyer she was escort to just two convoys in 1940 and one in 1941, but after conversion to 6 in the last three months of 1942 and 12 in 1943, when she was eventually mined and surveyed.
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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2020 17:45

Terry Duncan wrote:what are you saying about the dreadful figures from the Germans building the Type XXI?
I'm not saying anything about those dreadful figures. We can probably all agree that OTL T21 was, with hindsight, not worth the expenditure.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2020 18:08

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Do you accept the evidence of the table that Olivier has created that "significantly more than half of Britain's DDs were deployed outside the Atlantic at any point in the war"?
Your entire point here rests on equivocation over the meaning of "Atlantic." To accept that none of the Home Fleet was used in the Atlantic requires accepting that no part of the Atlantic is in this picture:

Image

More importantly, you'd have to believe that none of those waters are relevant to ASW analysis, regardless of whether we call them Atlantic or North Sea, Channel, etc.

My "over the skis" comment appears to have offended you, no offense intended and apologies. In my day job it's an expression we frequently use in collegial discussions.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:True - not all ASW was convoy escort, just as not all convoy escort was ASW.
Neither was every U-boat mission part of Germany's guerre de course. Usually at least 20% of Uboats were deployed elsewhere (primarily Med):

Image

The Uboats also had an important role in Norway and carried vital cargoes in other areas as well.

Unless you want to show that significantly more than 20% of W.Allied DD escort missions were for non-ASW purposes I don't see how we're spending time on more than a rounding error re the cost ratio.

Again- what do you think the BoA cost ratio was?

This thread sub-plot has been quite a diversion. I appreciate your engagement and digging up that chart but if we're using different definitions of "Battle of the Atlantic" we're talking past each other and I'm inclined to let the issue rest.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 30 Aug 2020 20:55

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 18:08
Your entire point here rests on equivocation over the meaning of "Atlantic." To accept that none of the Home Fleet was used in the Atlantic requires accepting that no part of the Atlantic is in this picture:
Another STRAWMAN argument, thanks. :roll: :roll:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 18:08
My "over the skis" comment appears to have offended you, no offense intended and apologies.
No need to apologise at all: no offense taken, I found it amusing and novel - not something I am that used to on here. :lol:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 18:08
Neither was every U-boat mission part of Germany's guerre de course. Usually at least 20% of Uboats were deployed elsewhere (primarily Med):


Although you could argue that U-boat missions into the Med were also mainly part of the guerre de course against Allied shipping - just not that being used to support the UK mainland. After all, the Admiralty considered UK (and Allied) shipping at the global level - a merchant ship lost on a convoy to Malta was also one not available for the next trip across the Atlantic to get spam from Argentina.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 18:08
Again- what do you think the BoA cost ratio was?
And again:
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
30 Aug 2020 12:06
I neither have the time nor the inclination to try to reduce the complexities of even just British costs to separate out some artificially constructed figure to support such a pointless simplification. That's my point in this thread.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 18:08
if we're using different definitions of "Battle of the Atlantic" we're talking past each other and I'm inclined to let the issue rest.
That's a good point - what is your definition of the "Battle of the Atlantic"?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 Aug 2020 21:58

Another STRAWMAN argument
Do the Western Approaches, North Sea, Irish Sea, and Channel count as part of the Atlantic or not?

If not, then what I said is an accurate statement of your beliefs.

If they do count as part of the Atlantic then some of Home Fleet's DD's were used in BoA and your argument based on the table falls apart.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:That's a good point - what is your definition of the "Battle of the Atlantic"?
We should have started here.

As used in our discussion, BoA is all German Uboat ops, and all Allied ASW, between the Cape of Good Hope and Archangelsk. That includes U-boat ops in what the RN designates Home Waters, obviously.

What is your definition?
you could argue that U-boat missions into the Med were also mainly part of the guerre de course against Allied shipping
Guerre de course is French for anti-commerce war. Malta had negative commercial value, only operational/strategic value. All commerce shipping went around the Cape from Italy's entry to after Sicily fell - not through the central Med.

If we add the Med to BoA we're only adding W.Allied costs to the ledger, as Poirier already includes all Uboat construction in German costs as if no U-boats went to the Med.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:I neither have the time nor the inclination to try to reduce the complexities of even just British costs to separate out some artificially constructed figure to support such a pointless simplification.
Why even participate in the thread then?

Is it "pointless simplification" to cite Allied:Axis GDP ratios? Such ratios are always imprecise and always involve very complicated calculations to equate a nominal currency value to some concept of real-world value. This is especially true when currency markets fail, as in a time of war. Despite their complexity, few will disagree that the ratios are meaningful.

It's fine to say you have neither the time nor inclination to do something; it's another matter to say someone else's inclination/time is pointless. The latter requires a substantive judgment of the data/analysis, which requires understanding the data/analysis, which requires the time/inclination to research the matter. Otherwise it's like a bystander huffing "that'll never work."

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Terry Duncan » 31 Aug 2020 02:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 17:45
Terry Duncan wrote:what are you saying about the dreadful figures from the Germans building the Type XXI?
I'm not saying anything about those dreadful figures. We can probably all agree that OTL T21 was, with hindsight, not worth the expenditure.
Unless they can be fixed there will never be even close to as many Type XXI's at sea as there were Type VII's and Type IX's. Bringing forward a failed production process will hardly be an advantage. Might as well abandon the entire modular construction idea and just let experienced yards build them.

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Re: Earlier Type XXI - informed by Cold War developments

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 31 Aug 2020 09:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
Do the Western Approaches, North Sea, Irish Sea, and Channel count as part of the Atlantic or not?
Well, I wouldn't say the North Sea is part of the Atlantic - that's why it's called the North Sea.

Were some British operations conducted in the North Sea designed to combat German U-boat activity? I expect so. Ditto for the others. But as always, it is impossible to say with any precision which were and which were not without doing an enormous amount of research. It's also impossible to separate out which DD deployments in those areas were ASW and which not. DD deployment whether convoy escort or Home Fleet screen was so much more than just ASW.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
If they do count as part of the Atlantic then some of Home Fleet's DD's were used in BoA and your argument based on the table falls apart.
:lol: :lol:

How many is some? How long for? What about DD's that moved between the Home Fleet and other commands? Was the Home Fleet kept in existence at a certain number of capital ships because of U-boats or because of German capital ship threat? Once the German capital ship threat is removed, the UK can move (and did) the vast majority of its capital ships out of Home Waters together with their escorting DDs. Are they then always part of the BoA?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
As used in our discussion, BoA is all German Uboat ops, and all Allied ASW, between the Cape of Good Hope and Archangelsk. That includes U-boat ops in what the RN designates Home Waters, obviously.
All German U-boat ops? All Allied ASW? U-boat ops against TORCH shipping? U-boat ops against Arctic convoys?

So, in June 1944 was the attempt by U-boats to attack Normandy invasion shipping and the Allied ASW response part of the Battle of the Atlantic or part of the invasion of Normandy?

When HMS Onslow (as part of the Home Fleet) took part in distant screening of Arctic Convoys with capital ships assigned to interdict German capital ships and turned on her ASDIC, was that part of the BoA, part of Home Waters or part of the RU definition in Olivier's table? Actually, it appears Olivier marked it down as RU, I assume once the convoy was part a certain point.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
Guerre de course is French for anti-commerce war.
Get you!! :lol: :lol:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
Malta had negative commercial value, only operational/strategic value. All commerce shipping went around the Cape from Italy's entry to after Sicily fell - not through the central Med.
Hmmmm...you do realise what bottoms the Allies used to resupply Malta? A merchant ship sunk on a Malta Convoy is a merchant ship sunk! One less for the next Atlantic convoy - or do you think they were designed and built simply to resupply Malta.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
30 Aug 2020 21:58
It's fine to say you have neither the time nor inclination to do something;
Thank you.

Regards

Tom

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