The importance of Suez

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DarrenMarshall
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The importance of Suez

Postby DarrenMarshall » 13 Sep 2017 15:41

We hypothesize that somehow, the Italian-German forces in northern Africa were able to reach Suez. Leaving aside the propaganda and emotional impact that such a victory would had, about the strategic purposes, losing Suez to the British would be really a drama?
The Mediterranean was a battlefield, so I doubted that British merchant ships from Asia used the Suez-Gibraltar-Atlantic route to reach their motherland.
With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, what would have changed strategically for the British?

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Kingfish
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby Kingfish » 13 Sep 2017 20:01

One way to answer that question is to look at it from the POV of the Axis. Control of the delta, and the port of Alexandria in particular, would help alleviate the supply crunch. It also shortens the front line down to around 175km. But the cost of maintaining that position would be huge in the face of a strong 8th army that itself can draw on supplies being shipped up the gulf of Aqaba. Strategically the situation does not change in any significant way.
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ljadw
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby ljadw » 14 Sep 2017 06:33

DarrenMarshall wrote:We hypothesize that somehow, the Italian-German forces in northern Africa were able to reach Suez. Leaving aside the propaganda and emotional impact that such a victory would had, about the strategic purposes, losing Suez to the British would be really a drama?
The Mediterranean was a battlefield, so I doubted that British merchant ships from Asia used the Suez-Gibraltar-Atlantic route to reach their motherland.
With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, what would have changed strategically for the British?


Not much . The Mediterranean was not used between june 1940 and may 1943 .There were also not much merchant ships sailing from Asia to the UK back and forth .

MarkN
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby MarkN » 14 Sep 2017 09:31

DarrenMarshall wrote:We hypothesize that somehow, the Italian-German forces in northern Africa were able to reach Suez. Leaving aside the propaganda and emotional impact that such a victory would had, about the strategic purposes, losing Suez to the British would be really a drama?
The Mediterranean was a battlefield, so I doubted that British merchant ships from Asia used the Suez-Gibraltar-Atlantic route to reach their motherland.
With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, what would have changed strategically for the British?

Does you imaginary scenario occur before or after Germany has 'won' on the Eastern Front and the Soviet Union is no longer in the fight?

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DarrenMarshall
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby DarrenMarshall » 14 Sep 2017 12:30

MarkN wrote:
DarrenMarshall wrote:We hypothesize that somehow, the Italian-German forces in northern Africa were able to reach Suez. Leaving aside the propaganda and emotional impact that such a victory would had, about the strategic purposes, losing Suez to the British would be really a drama?
The Mediterranean was a battlefield, so I doubted that British merchant ships from Asia used the Suez-Gibraltar-Atlantic route to reach their motherland.
With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, what would have changed strategically for the British?

Does you imaginary scenario occur before or after Germany has 'won' on the Eastern Front and the Soviet Union is no longer in the fight?


This is not an imaginary scenario. What i'm trying to know, it's if Suez was really important for the British.

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Kingfish
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby Kingfish » 14 Sep 2017 12:50

It was important in that it facilitated the flow of supplies to 8th army in it's drive westward, but your hypothetical assumes an Axis controlled Delta and therefore no westward drive is in play.
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ljadw
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby ljadw » 14 Sep 2017 13:55

Ships going to Alexandria did not pass through the Suezcanal, they stopped south of the Canal ,unloaded and the cargo went north by railway .
If the Canal was captured by the Germans, the British would be east of the Canal and the supplies would go east of the canal .

The Canal was only important for shipping going from the UK to "the East" (=east of the Canal ) and for shipping going from "the East " to the UK . Its importance for the supply of 8th Army was very limited : Britain did 3 years without the Canal . The Canal could only be used if there was no war in NA, or if the war in NA had been won .

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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby MarkN » 14 Sep 2017 14:00

DarrenMarshall wrote:With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, ...

DarrenMarshall wrote:This is not an imaginary scenario.

The Suez was never in Axis hands. It is not a real scenario. It is an imaginary scenario.

DarrenMarshall wrote:With Suez in the hands of the Axis powers, what would have changed strategically for the British?

Hardly anything. Some could argue it would have been beneficial to British strategic effort to not have the Suez to bother about.

DarrenMarshall wrote: What i'm trying to know, it's if Suez was really important for the British.

"Leaving aside the propaganda and emotional impact...." the answer is NO.

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Kingfish
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Re: The importance of Suez

Postby Kingfish » 14 Sep 2017 16:04

ljadw wrote:Ships going to Alexandria did not pass through the Suezcanal,


There was only 2 ways for British shipping to get to Alexandria: westward from Gibraltar or North through the Suez.

The Canal could only be used if there was no war in NA, or if the war in NA had been won .


Not at all true. The Eastern Med fleet used the canal regularly to get into or out of the theater. Following the 12/19/41 attack by Italian frogmen both Valiant and QE sailed thru the canal and on to Durban.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb


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