LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

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Peter89
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 15 Mar 2021 09:16

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:46
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
Guys, let's make this clear.
Thanks for a very interesting post; so, was the German parachute troop element envisaged for Malta in 1942 basically a couple of battalions/light regiment, then, at most?

And, presumably, capabilities were even less by the end of the year (1942, I mean)?
No, no, the forces trained for Malta were much, much stronger than those against Crete. Everything was improved; equipment, parachute harness, individual weapon containers, doctrine (integrated training), weaponry, etc. Also, the OKW and the Commando Supremo did not believe it anymore that any infantry division would do for air landing, though they couldn't spare enough Ju-52s for air assault practice in large formations.

At the planning of Operation Herkules, the German paratroopers were to be 4 regiments (of which 2 were veterans). The Italian forces - 185th Division Folgore and 80th Division La Spezia were brought up to high standards by Ramcke. The La Spezia was to be an air landing force.

At that point, in the summer of 1942, the air assault and air landing capacity of the Axis was at its top height. Tunisgrad still did not happen, and many Ju-52 units became familiar with airlift operations, some of them were survivors of Crete or previous airborne missions, so they had some experience. Also the Italian units had some jumping experience, because they've jumped on Cephalonia in the spring of 1941.

After Tunisgrad, nothing is certain anymore, the number of Ju-52s doesn't tell much, the paratroopers were distributed as regular infantry, and only shattered remnants of experienced units remained. The concentration of forces, equipment, experience and tactical knowledge was the best in the summer of 1942.
Last edited by Peter89 on 15 Mar 2021 10:35, edited 1 time in total.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Peter89
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 15 Mar 2021 09:26

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
heavier weapons were usually delivered in 2 ways: gliders or containers. There were instances when larger weapons were tried to be dropped with parachutes, but those instances were born out of desperation, and the high number of lost and damaged equipments made it an undesirable way.

The 7.5cm and 10.5cm LGs as well as the 2.8cm Panzerbüschen could be packed into containers, and could be expected to survive the fall, but without time to assemble them, and without proper amounts of ammo, they were not good for much, and MGs and mortars were preferred.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Peter89
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 15 Mar 2021 09:29

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
By air landing, 20mm Flak autocannons, 37mm and 50mm PAKs and 7.5cm leichte IGs could be and was to be delivered.

For towing vechicles, the Germans used the Sfkz 2 Kettenkrad (and occasionally the VW 82 Kübelwagen).
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Mar 2021 13:05

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
Have read a dozen accounts of that battle & its not mentioned in them. The Germans had fire support, but from where is not clear. Some Italian infantry were present, and so was a FLAK unit with 88s. A German MG battalion marched to the bridge.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 23:43

Peter89 wrote:
15 Mar 2021 09:16
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 06:46
Peter89 wrote:
27 Feb 2021 18:21
Guys, let's make this clear.
Thanks for a very interesting post; so, was the German parachute troop element envisaged for Malta in 1942 basically a couple of battalions/light regiment, then, at most?

And, presumably, capabilities were even less by the end of the year (1942, I mean)?
No, no, the forces trained for Malta were much, much stronger than those against Crete. Everything was improved; equipment, parachute harness, individual weapon containers, doctrine (integrated training), weaponry, etc. Also, the OKW and the Commando Supremo did not believe it anymore that any infantry division would do for air landing, though they couldn't spare enough Ju-52s for air assault practice in large formations.

At the planning of Operation Herkules, the German paratroopers were to be 4 regiments (of which 2 were veterans). The Italian forces - 185th Division Folgore and 80th Division La Spezia were brought up to high standards by Ramcke. The La Spezia was to be an air landing force.

At that point, in the summer of 1942, the air assault and air landing capacity of the Axis was at its top height. Tunisgrad still did not happen, and many Ju-52 units became familiar with airlift operations, some of them were survivors of Crete or previous airborne missions, so they had some experience. Also the Italian units had some jumping experience, because they've jumped on Cephalonia in the spring of 1941.

After Tunisgrad, nothing is certain anymore, the number of Ju-52s doesn't tell much, the paratroopers were distributed as regular infantry, and only shattered remnants of experienced units remained. The concentration of forces, equipment, experience and tactical knowledge was the best in the summer of 1942.
Okay, thanks, I was just trying t get a handle on what "Oct 42: S-7th, S-11 th, S-l 3th KGzbV (Sicily) established" meant ... so of the one German and two Italian division equivalents earmarked for Malta in Q4, 1942, how many of the (presumably) eight (?) three-battalion regiments the Axis had available between the three divisions could have been in the air at one time?

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 23:44

Peter89 wrote:
15 Mar 2021 09:26
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
heavier weapons were usually delivered in 2 ways: gliders or containers. There were instances when larger weapons were tried to be dropped with parachutes, but those instances were born out of desperation, and the high number of lost and damaged equipments made it an undesirable way.

The 7.5cm and 10.5cm LGs as well as the 2.8cm Panzerbüschen could be packed into containers, and could be expected to survive the fall, but without time to assemble them, and without proper amounts of ammo, they were not good for much, and MGs and mortars were preferred.
Thanks; doesn't sound like the German paratroopers who dropped at Primasole in July, 1943, had artillery per se.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 23:44

Peter89 wrote:
15 Mar 2021 09:29
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
By air landing, 20mm Flak autocannons, 37mm and 50mm PAKs and 7.5cm leichte IGs could be and was to be delivered.

For towing vechicles, the Germans used the Sfkz 2 Kettenkrad (and occasionally the VW 82 Kübelwagen).
Thanks; doesn't sound like the German paratroopers who dropped at Primasole in July, 1943, had artillery per se.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Mar 2021 23:47

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
15 Mar 2021 13:05
daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 07:19
Did the artillery drop with their pieces, or were they essentially acting as infantry?
Have read a dozen accounts of that battle & its not mentioned in them. The Germans had fire support, but from where is not clear. Some Italian infantry were present, and so was a FLAK unit with 88s. A German MG battalion marched to the bridge.
Thanks; doesn't sound like the German paratroopers who dropped at Primasole in July, 1943, had artillery per se. Having said that, if they could drop an infantry regiment equivalent (sans artillery) in July, 1943, presumably they could have done the same in Tunisia in November, 1943, if the French had fought for the airfields. The distances are longer, and the situation is "fluid" to say the least. Could have been a German debacle.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 01:53

Barre was a pretty energetic & motivated commander. Looks like he is the best hope of the Allies to deny at least one port to the Axis.

Assuming Barre takes the first planeloads prisoner and shoots down the next few trying for the Tunis airfields, then how long does it take to to organize a air assault on it. If they do how does it affect the parallel airlift into Bizerte where Esteva rolled over. I should look up the date the first Axis ships started unloading.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Mar 2021 03:35

daveshoup2MD wrote:
15 Mar 2021 23:43
Okay, thanks, I was just trying t get a handle on what "Oct 42: S-7th, S-11 th, S-l 3th KGzbV (Sicily) established" meant ...
Those three units are designated in the German system as Kampfgruppe z.b.V. S-7, Kampfgruppe z.b.V. S-11, and Kampfgruppe z.b.V. S-13. They were provisional air transport units created 8-9 November 1942 in response to TORCH to provide the initial airlift from Sicily to Tunis. The "S" apparently stood for "Sizilien" and referred to Sicily. The personnel and aircraft apparently came, as was usual in emergencies, from the Flugzeugführerschule C and the Blindfliegerschule. As far as I can tell, only S-7. and 11. weres fully organized and recorded 26 losses during their brief existence. 13. may have existed only in name.

None of these were trained or experienced in air assault operations and had no relation to HERKULES planning.

Anyway, as of 10 October 1942, the entire Luftwaffe complement of operational transport aircraft of all types was 534 of 906 on hand. On 10 November, that increased to 741 operational of 1,176 on hand, but that was by raiding the schools system of aircraft and crews. Later, when the Stalingrad airlift was undertaken, they did the same with some bomber formations. Again, none of those were suitable for air assault operations.
so of the one German and two Italian division equivalents earmarked for Malta in Q4, 1942, how many of the (presumably) eight (?) three-battalion regiments the Axis had available between the three divisions could have been in the air at one time?
7. Flieger-Division was nominally 9 parachute infantry battalions in three regiments
Folgore was nominally 6 parachute infantry battalions in two regiments
La Spezia was nominally 6 airlanding battalions in two regiments

In theory, the Luftwaffe would supply ten Kampfgruppe z.b.V. with 500 aircraft, but that was probably pie-in-the-sky. The Italians were to supply 180 to 220 more transports, which was likely just more pie. As Peter has noted, most of the German units would have little real training or experience in air assault operations. I suspect the Italians had less.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Mar 2021 06:51

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 01:53
Barre was a pretty energetic & motivated commander. Looks like he is the best hope of the Allies to deny at least one port to the Axis. Assuming Barre takes the first planeloads prisoner and shoots down the next few trying for the Tunis airfields, then how long does it take to to organize a air assault on it. If they do how does it affect the parallel airlift into Bizerte where Esteva rolled over. I should look up the date the first Axis ships started unloading.
Yeah, that's my thinking. It's one thing to rush a screening force in by air when the airfields are, essentially, open; it's another when the locals are shooting back. Same for Tunis or Bizerte, of course.

If Barre sends a force to "protect" Esteva, perhaps they can keep him away from the phones long enough to persuade the Axis that Tunisia is an airbridge too far...

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 16 Mar 2021 07:47

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Mar 2021 03:35
so of the one German and two Italian division equivalents earmarked for Malta in Q4, 1942, how many of the (presumably) eight (?) three-battalion regiments the Axis had available between the three divisions could have been in the air at one time?
7. Flieger-Division was nominally 9 parachute infantry battalions in three regiments
Folgore was nominally 6 parachute infantry battalions in two regiments
La Spezia was nominally 6 airlanding battalions in two regiments
Normally yes, but in February 1942 the OKW authorized the formation of two extra FJ regiments for the 7th FJ, and it assumed a ternary configuration with 12 FJ battalions and extra engineer, etc.units.

The Folgore was also reinforced to 9 battalions, plus one saboteur battalion (whatever that means). La Spezia remained at 6.
Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Mar 2021 03:35
In theory, the Luftwaffe would supply ten Kampfgruppe z.b.V. with 500 aircraft, but that was probably pie-in-the-sky. The Italians were to supply 180 to 220 more transports, which was likely just more pie. As Peter has noted, most of the German units would have little real training or experience in air assault operations. I suspect the Italians had less.
I am not sure how many waves and what time of the day did they plan, but IIRC they wanted to launch a major tactical air strike at daybreak, immediately followed by the FJs. Thus blind-flight and instrument-flight was a must, and I see many units would face problems with that, especially when towing gliders. Note that the airlift to NA before Tunesia rarely faced interdiction, thus they flew at broad daylight with easy peasy navigation. Even the experienced units' experience is in question, at least for me.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 12:27

Peter89 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 07:47
I am not sure how many waves and what time of the day did they plan, but IIRC they wanted to launch a major tactical air strike at daybreak, immediately followed by the FJs. Thus blind-flight and instrument-flight was a must, and I see many units would face problems with that, especially when towing gliders. Note that the airlift to NA before Tunesia rarely faced interdiction, thus they flew at broad daylight with easy peasy navigation. Even the experienced units' experience is in question, at least for me.
I used to have brief outline of the plan, but can't find it. Vaguely remember the initial assault as six battalions, with one of those a pioneer battalion distributed among the several battle groups.

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Peter89 » 16 Mar 2021 13:51

Image

I have this invasion plan in my folder, however, I can't currently locate the source.

At the possible time of the invasion, the Air Transport Chief (Mediterranean) had 6 groups of Ju-52s under his command.

However, of these only the 3rd and 4th Groups of the 1st Geschwader (KGzbV) and the 1st Group of the 1st Luftlande Wing were trained outright in air assault. The other units, 400th, 600th and 800th Groups (KGzbV) were drawn from instructor cadre. I've read that the latter units were trained before the invasion, and some integrated training happened as well, and during the supply missions they've flown in close formation at low altitude; they were also familiar with the route, had adequate airfields and the weather was generally good; factors usually counting to success. I know that these latter units were based in Brindisi, unlike the former, which were in Tobruk, Maleme and Athens, respectively.

Also, the proposal was for 200 Ju-52s and 52 gliders of various types, which seems to match your estimation of a 6 battalion wave.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: LW transport fleet - losses, operations, stock, production

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Mar 2021 16:48

Peter89 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 07:47
Normally yes, but in February 1942 the OKW authorized the formation of two extra FJ regiments for the 7th FJ, and it assumed a ternary configuration with 12 FJ battalions and extra engineer, etc.units.
As I understand it, FJR 1. was complete and rebuilt from its Ostfront battles (including the former II./Luftland-Sturm-Regiment) by July 1942. FJR 2. though did not close in Germany from the Ostfront until the end of July and only had detachments in France training, consisting of personnel that had been on leave and convalescents.I don't think it would be ready. FJR 3. returned from the Ostfront in April, so may have been questionable for operations. FJR 4. was organizing and training and did not complete its II. Batallion until October, so again may have been questionable. FJR 5. was organized in May and arrived at Mourmelon to complete training in July.

It looks like it is possible that 11 battalions in four regiments would be ready for a July operation, but that may be a stretch.
The Folgore was also reinforced to 9 battalions, plus one saboteur battalion (whatever that means). La Spezia remained at 6.
186. Regiment consisted of four parachute battalions, 2., 4., 9., and 10. 187. Regiment consisted of three, 5., 6., and 7. The "saboteur" battalion was 8. “Guastatori”, which was an assault engineer battalion.
I am not sure how many waves and what time of the day did they plan, but IIRC they wanted to launch a major tactical air strike at daybreak, immediately followed by the FJs. Thus blind-flight and instrument-flight was a must, and I see many units would face problems with that, especially when towing gliders. Note that the airlift to NA before Tunesia rarely faced interdiction, thus they flew at broad daylight with easy peasy navigation. Even the experienced units' experience is in question, at least for me.
The main problem that I see is the planned D-Day airborne assault is near suicidal given the drop zone locations and the state of the British defenses by July 1942. The only worser part of the plan is the idea of attempting an amphibious escalade of the Famagosta coast and a direct assault on Larnaca. The former would only work if it was perfectly timed with the airborne assault and if the airborne assault was not then butchered, the latter would only work in someone's imagination. From what I can see only the assault on Gozo would work.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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