Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

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ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 21:23

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Aug 2020 17:54
Hi ljadw,

You disagree with the proposition that, "The battle for NA was a struggle for the control of the Suez Canal and access to oil from the ME and raw materials from Asia ''.

You write, "1 The battle for NA was limited to Libya, a small part of Egypt and at the end,a part of Tunis ."

Yes, but that wasn't either the Italian or German intention. They repeatedly tried to push to the Suez Canal.

You write, ".2 The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used." It was, but mostly by the navy. The main British naval base in the Mediterranean was Alexandria, which could only be supplied via the Suez Canal. Convoys to Malta and Tobruk were also run from there.

You write, "3 No one needed the oil of the ME." The British certainly did. Apart from Trindad, the Gulf was the only significant source of oil controlled by the British Empire. And the Italians badly needed oil at all times. Both the UK and Italy also needed the oil to avoid being totally beholden to their allies. Given that the Germans attacked into the Caucasus for oil in 1942, they would probably have been delighted to have Middle Eastern oil as well.

You write, "4 The capture of the Suez Canal would not give the Axis access to raw materials (which ones? ) from Asia.". Well, it would certainly give immediate control of Egyptian rice, which was a vital import to India even before the loss of Burma. Doubtless Italian consumption of risotto would have benefitted as a result!

However, more importantly, it would bring the Gulf oil fields within reach. Their loss would cripple independent British operations East of Suez.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. If you don't like the shipping statistics I used, you will have to take it up with Urmel. They come from a site he frequents (runs?) And includes the name of each ship concerned and the circumstances of its loss. I seem to have relationship problems with Urmel here, but his site is definitely worth a look.
The traffic of the Suez Canal :
1938 "(North -South and South North ) :
ships 6171
GRT 34,418,187 tons
Passengers :479,802
1941 :ships 1804
GRT :8,262,841
Passengers : 14,124
Not all ships were British,not all ships were coming from/going to Britain .A lot of these ships never left the Mediterranean.
Egyptian rice : Egypt is not Asia and how could these rice go to Italy ?And why would Italy need these rice ?
About the oil for Italy : Italy's oil came mainly from Romania and besides, why, after the conquest of the ME should Italy need more oil ?
About the oil of the Caucasus : Germany attacked in the Caucasus not to have this oil,but to deprive the USSR of this oil,in the false assumption that the Soviets would be forced to give up without this oil .
About Alexandria :it is not so that Alexandria could be supplied only via the canal .
Oil production in 1940 :
KSA : 0,7 million ton
Iran : 8,8 million ton
Iraq : 2,5 million ton
Bahrein : 1 million ton
That's all for the ME : 13 million
US :182,9 million
Mexico :6,3
Venezuela : 27,5 million
Trinidad : 3,2 million
SU : 30,5
Romania :5.8 million
The production of Venezuela only was already more than the double of that of the ME.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 22:15

Hi ljadw,

You are missing the point. It was the British war effort in the Middle East and around the Indian Ocean that was sustained by local oil, not the UK. Tom gives you sourced information on this above.

The UK itself relied on Trinidad (as I mentioned before), the Dutch West Indies (which processed Venezuelan oil) and the USA.

Your figures show that, collectively, the Gulf was the fourth highest supplier of oil in the world. This is far from negligible.

A couple of posts ago you said, "The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used." Last post you say say it was used by 1,804 merchant ships in 1941 alone! Consistency would appear not to be your middle name!

In case you hadn't noticed, Italy had rationing. Besides, if the Italians didn't like rice, why did they bother to invent "risotto"?

You ask some odd questions, such as "why should Italy need more oil?

1) Because it entered the war with few oil reserves, which makes it difficult to compete in modern warfare.

2) Because, apart from a very little Albanian oil, Italy produced no oil itself.

3) Because it was pursuing autarchy (essentially self sufficiency) as a policy in order to be self sufficient.

4) Because Romanian oil was under German control, thereby reducing Italian autonomy.

5) Because future Italian industrialisation would heavily depend on it.

OK, if the navy had another way of sending ships and supplies to its main base in Alexandria while the central Mediterranean was largely closed to it, what was it?

Cheers,

Sid.

Dili
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Dili » 13 Aug 2020 22:25

Egypt also extracted oil and had refineries. Not a big amount compared to Iran but still a sizable quantity.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 06:12

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Aug 2020 22:15
Hi ljadw,

You are missing the point. It was the British war effort in the Middle East and around the Indian Ocean that was sustained by local oil, not the UK. Tom gives you sourced information on this above.

The UK itself relied on Trinidad (as I mentioned before), the Dutch West Indies (which processed Venezuelan oil) and the USA.

Your figures show that, collectively, the Gulf was the fourth highest supplier of oil in the world. This is far from negligible.

A couple of posts ago you said, "The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used." Last post you say say it was used by 1,804 merchant ships in 1941 alone! Consistency would appear not to be your middle name!

In case you hadn't noticed, Italy had rationing. Besides, if the Italians didn't like rice, why did they bother to invent "risotto"?

You ask some odd questions, such as "why should Italy need more oil?

1) Because it entered the war with few oil reserves, which makes it difficult to compete in modern warfare.

2) Because, apart from a very little Albanian oil, Italy produced no oil itself.

3) Because it was pursuing autarchy (essentially self sufficiency) as a policy in order to be self sufficient.

4) Because Romanian oil was under German control, thereby reducing Italian autonomy.

5) Because future Italian industrialisation would heavily depend on it.

OK, if the navy had another way of sending ships and supplies to its main base in Alexandria while the central Mediterranean was largely closed to it, what was it?

Cheers,

Sid.
1 1804 merchant ships in 1941 = 5 a day ,or better 2,5 a day as half of them were empty .
2 If the Axis conquered the ME, there would be no British naval base of Alexandria.
3 The land war in Libya did not depend on the naval base of Alexandria
4 Of the 2,5 MV using the Canal every day in 1941,the majority was used for local needs :the truth is that between 1940/1943 the Suez Canal ceased to be used as link between Britain and its Empire east of Suez .The MV took the long African route .
5 About Italy and the ME oil :
there is no proof that Italy would need more oil if the Axis captured the ME : it is the opposite : after the capture of the ME the war would be over for Italy, unless you think that the RM would sail in the Indian Ocean and attack the Indian harbors .And if Germany had defeated the USSR,it would also need less oil.
before the war Italy imported oil from the USSR,Romania,the Carribbean and the USA,not much from Iraq/Iran .
during the war, Italy imported oil from Romania and its oil problems were not caused by a lack of imports,but by transport problems.
it was TOTALLY out of the question that Germany/Italy could,after the capture of the ME, restart the oil production in Iran and Iraq and transport this oil to Italy and Germany .
the future industrialisation of Italy was irrelevant during the war .
For the last point : how MANY ships and supplies were sent from Liverpool to Alexandria between 1940 and 1943 ? And how many of these supplies transited through the Canal ? Most of the men and supplies for 8 th Army were disembarked BEFORE the Canal and were transported to their destination by train through the desert .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 06:33

80 ! years ago the economy of Italy and the other European countries was depending on coal, not on oil : before the war Italy imported 12 million ton of coal and ...150000 ton of oil .
In 1934 : 142,948
In 1935 :219991
1936 : 300,838 (ONE ship a week )
It had stocks of some 700000/800000 tons,and the war in Ethiopia consumed 20000/30000 tons per month .
During the war Italy imported 600000 tons of oil per year from Romania ( 2 tankers a week ).
Why should Italy import an additional 1 million ton of oil from the ME ? Besides it could not do it .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 09:00

Double post.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 14 Aug 2020 09:42, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 09:12

Hi ljadw,

Your proposition was "The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used". There were no qualifications.

You have, yourself, established that approaching 2,000 ships a year were using it.

No, less than half the ships would have been empty. Some were running to and from Turkey, Cyprus and the Levant. Others carried Egyptian exports, such as the aforementioned rice for India, most of which was grown in the Nile Delta around Alexandria.

You post, "2 If the Axis conquered the ME, there would be no British naval base of Alexandria." Yup. Hardly an earth shattering revelation. Your point?

You also post "3 The land war in Libya did not depend on the naval base of Alexandria." True. Who said it did? Not me. I mentioned Tobruk specifically.

You post, "Of the 2,5 MV using the Canal every day...." Nope, you have already established that an everage of over five vessels used it every day.

You post, ".... in 1941,the majority was used for local needs". Quite possibly. Your evidence for this is what?

You post, ".....:the truth is that between 1940/1943 the Suez Canal ceased to be used as link between Britain and its Empire east of Suez .The MV took the long African route ." Yup. Nobody here has claimed otherwise, so far as I am aware.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 14 Aug 2020 12:35, edited 3 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 09:38

Hi ljadw,

You post, "there is no proof that Italy would need more oil if the Axis captured the ME." Italy needed more oil even without the capture of the Middle East.

I very much doubt that Mussolini would pull Italy out of a winning war and lose his seat at the peace negotiations.

And why wouldn't the Italian Navy sail the Indian Ocean if it could? It already had.

You post, "Before the war Italy imported oil from the USSR, Romania, the Carribbean and the USA, not much from Iraq/Iran." Yup. Your point is?

It is worth pointing out that during the war Italy was cut off from all these suppliers except Romania, and even deliveries from Romania were dependent on German approval.

Certainly threats to tankers on the route from Romania to Italy via the Black Sea and Aegean existed. However, the main problem was that Germany rationed what oil Italy got from Romania.

You post, It was TOTALLY out of the question that Germany/Italy could,after the capture of the ME, restart the oil production in Iran and Iraq and transport this oil to Italy and Germany. Why? Surely that depends on the condition of the oilfields when captured, the degree to which the Suez Canal was sabotaged and whether the Royal Navy could still maintain a substantial presence in the Indian Ocean once it's main local source of fuel was lost?

You post, "The future industrialisation of Italy was irrelevant during the war". Mussolini had been running a policy if Autarchy for twenty years. It was still an underlying theme of Italian policy during the war, because the war exposed how dependent Italy was in imports.

You post, "Most of the men and supplies for 8th Army were disembarked BEFORE the Canal and were transported to their destination by train through the desert." This is true. Port Said was the usual convoy terminal. That is why I discussed the Navy, not the Army.

Cheers,

Sid

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 09:52

Hi ljadw,

You post, "80 ! years ago the economy of Italy and the other European countries was depending on coal, not on oil."

Yup, and Italy had to import coal as well!

Moreover, I didn't notice any gas-powered warships, coal-burning aeroplanes, or wood-burning tanks in anybody's armed forces. Oil was vital for modern warfare and Italy had almost none.

Most importantly, I would suggest you reread the following about Italy's fuel shortage;

http://www.regiamarina.net/detail_text. ... =125&lid=1

Cheers,

Sid.

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 14 Aug 2020 12:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
13 Aug 2020 19:28

Although this is much off topic, I couldn't resist chipping in with some further information (which was new to me) about the importance to the war effort of the British Empire of Middle Eastern oil - this from Andrew Boyd's The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters (page 360) which I heartily recommend:
The [Petroleum] board stated that for the nine months April to December 1942, the total British Empire oil requirement, including Allies and neutrals for which Britain was responsible, was 24.5 million tons. Current plans anticipated that 41 per cent of this must come from the Middle East; 75 per cent of Middle East supply, and 66 per cent of eastern empire oil needs (including Australia and South Africa), came from Abadan.
He references TNA CAB 80/36, COS (42) 281 of 28 May 1942.

It's noteworthy that the British First Sea Lord also linked Middle East oil to the ability to deliver "any significant aid to China through India" and the need for US tankers to be used to replace lost Middle Eastern supply would undoubtedly have had a detrimental impact on US naval operations in the Pacific.

I hope that is of interest to some. :D

Regards

Tom
Some historical datas.

COS (42) 281 was be paper look forward on april-december 1942.year not look back. It was be paper for to explain 2 things.
1. Britain was not have tanker capacity for to move all oil requirement - must to ask for help on Amerika.
2. When lose oil on Abadan source was will to make big problem and must to ask for help on Amerika.

Plan requirement on 9 months 24.500.000 tons
54% Gulf Mexico & West Indies
41% Abadan & Bahrain
5% West coast N&S Amerika

Calculation was be when Abadan was be lost must get 6.000.000 tons from Amerika.

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 14 Aug 2020 13:01

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Aug 2020 21:18

Yes, indeed. Thanks. It is nice to have one's contentions confirmed independently.
Nobody was confirm gutteridge opinions on Italy army performance on benefit Germany army.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 13:42

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
14 Aug 2020 12:59
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
13 Aug 2020 19:28

Although this is much off topic, I couldn't resist chipping in with some further information (which was new to me) about the importance to the war effort of the British Empire of Middle Eastern oil - this from Andrew Boyd's The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters (page 360) which I heartily recommend:
The [Petroleum] board stated that for the nine months April to December 1942, the total British Empire oil requirement, including Allies and neutrals for which Britain was responsible, was 24.5 million tons. Current plans anticipated that 41 per cent of this must come from the Middle East; 75 per cent of Middle East supply, and 66 per cent of eastern empire oil needs (including Australia and South Africa), came from Abadan.
He references TNA CAB 80/36, COS (42) 281 of 28 May 1942.

It's noteworthy that the British First Sea Lord also linked Middle East oil to the ability to deliver "any significant aid to China through India" and the need for US tankers to be used to replace lost Middle Eastern supply would undoubtedly have had a detrimental impact on US naval operations in the Pacific.

I hope that is of interest to some. :D

Regards

Tom
Some historical datas.

COS (42) 281 was be paper look forward on april-december 1942.year not look back. It was be paper for to explain 2 things.
1. Britain was not have tanker capacity for to move all oil requirement - must to ask for help on Amerika.
2. When lose oil on Abadan source was will to make big problem and must to ask for help on Amerika.

Plan requirement on 9 months 24.500.000 tons
54% Gulf Mexico & West Indies
41% Abadan & Bahrain
5% West coast N&S Amerika

Calculation was be when Abadan was be lost must get 6.000.000 tons from Amerika.
Abadan was not lost,it never would be lost, but still more than 90% of the UK oil came from America during the war .Besides : Abadan was a refinery for Iranian/Iraqi oil .
In 1935 61,9 % of British oil imports came from the Western Hemisphere, 38,1 % from the Eastern Hemisphere.
45 % from the oil imports traveled through the Mediterranean : eastern oil going west and western oil going east .
Between 1940 and 1943 this was no longer the case as the Mediterranean was closed ,and,as the eastern oil had to go via SA,which was impossible, the result was that the share of the eastern oil was going down .
Malta-Liverpool via Suez : 25 days
Malta-Liverpool via SA 40 days .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 13:58

About the restart of the ME oil production by the Axis and its transport to Europe :
the problems would be enormous
1 Repair the oil installations (think on how much time Red Adair needed in Kuweit )
2 Repair the pipelines : Iraqi and Iranian oil had to go to Syria using the pipelines,the Iraqi/Iranian oil could not leave from Abadan
3 Protect the oil installations and pipelines : where should the Axis get the needed staff?
4 Repair and protect the oil depots of the Syrian harbors
5 Where would the Axis get the tankers to transport the oil to Italy ?
6 Where would they find the trains and rail road space to move the oil to Germany ?
And : WHY,WHY would they need this oil ?
If the war was over after the capture of the ME,Germany would have enough oil from its synthetic oil program .
If the war with Britain continued, less oil would be needed,as the army would no longer be committed .
AND : more oil for the U Boats does not mean more U Boats and more U Boats does not mean more sinkings of MV.
The costs to have the ME oil available in depots for the German economy would be insupportable and would ruin the German economy .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 15:16

Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Aug 2020 09:52
Hi ljadw,

You post, "80 ! years ago the economy of Italy and the other European countries was depending on coal, not on oil."

Yup, and Italy had to import coal as well!

Moreover, I didn't notice any gas-powered warships, coal-burning aeroplanes, or wood-burning tanks in anybody's armed forces. Oil was vital for modern warfare and Italy had almost none.

Most importantly, I would suggest you reread the following about Italy's fuel shortage;

http://www.regiamarina.net/detail_text. ... =125&lid=1

Cheers,

Sid.
I know the article, but,what was the result of Italy's fuel shortage and what would be the result if there was no fuel shortage ?
That oil was vital for modern warfare is something meaningless : the SU arrived at Berlin in 1945 with an oil production that was 60 % of its prewar oil production .
That Italy had almost none is also meaningless : the RM had sufficient oil to execute during the war its primordial mission = to protect the convoys to N A .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 15:26

Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Aug 2020 09:38
Hi ljadw,

You post, "there is no proof that Italy would need more oil if the Axis captured the ME." Italy needed more oil even without the capture of the Middle East.



You post, "Before the war Italy imported oil from the USSR, Romania, the Carribbean and the USA, not much from Iraq/Iran." Yup. Your point is?





Cheers,

Sid
1 WHY would Italy need more oil without the capture of the ME ? What would it do with more oil ?
2 My point is that if Italy was doing well before the war without the oil of the ME,I don't see the benefit for Italy if it had more oil in the HTL of 1942 : more oil would not mean a stronger army in Libya,or more supplies for this army .
The same before the war : the war in Ethiopia lasted 16 months with an oil consumption of 20000/30000 tons per month: if Italy had more oil available for this war, would the war last 12 months ?
In 1940 the Italian advance in Egypt stopped very quickly;would the advance have lasted longer if more oil was available in Libya at the end of 1940 ?

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