Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

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Peter89
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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by Peter89 » 10 Dec 2020 06:51

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Dec 2020 01:54
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2020 20:28

It's strange for me that Student came up with an airborne attack on the Vichy Levant, where German planes refueled and such.

Besides, the Army of the Levant could shatter any FJ troops remained after Crete.
Probably the bad intel referred to before. Along with a hefty dose of overconfidence.
I see, but that plan must have been conceived in 1940. The Italian Armistice Commission oversaw the French weaponry in the Levant, although they haven't done a good job. Then Georg von Hendig was dispatched to Syria as early as January 1941. On May 13th the Germans secured a trainload of war matériel from Syria to Iraq and were in direct communication with General Dentz.

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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by Peter89 » 10 Dec 2020 08:15

AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
Peter89 wrote:
09 Dec 2020 20:38
Exactly. The Italians had to have Malta as soon as the conflict began. Everything else was out of their reach.
Really?
Everything in the world?
For Italian amphibious operations: yes.
AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
We should use numbers to see if that is true. At that time, even the British were not assuming they had absolute supremacy across the board. How much of the RN was posted in Home waters to make sure that Sealion would not succeed that very summer?
How much of it was in the rest of the world, dealing with Raiders and U-Boats? (the U.K. lost 400 ships that year, the mojority of whom were Merchant ships).
What does that actually leave for the Mediterranean and the Red Sea?
A comparison of naval strength at the end of May shows that British and French surface forces in the whole Mediterranean were together superior to those of the Italians. With the two Littorios (nine 15-inch, 31 knots), which were expected to join the fleet in about July, the Italians would have a force of six battleships, seven 8-inch and twelve 6-inch cruisers and some fifty fleet destroyers. They had no aircraft carriers, for they relied on shore-based aircraft to provide all their air support.

In the western basin, the French Mediterranean Fleet based on Toulon, Bizerta, Algiers and Oran included the two modern battle-cruisers Dunkerque and Strasbourg (eight 13-inch, 29½ knots), as well as two battleships, four 8-inch and six 6-inch cruisers and thirty-five fleet destroyers of a very powerful type. At Gibraltar, under the Flag Officer, North Atlantic, were one British battleship, one 6-inch cruiser and nine destroyers.

The Allied forces in the Eastern Mediterranean consisted of the British Mediterranean Fleet of four battleships, eight 6-inch cruisers, twenty fleet destroyers and the aircraft carrier Eagle, and a French squadron, under Vice-Admiral R. E. Godfroy, of one battleship, three 8-inch cruisers, one 6-inch cruiser and three destroyers.

[...]

In the Red Sea the principal danger lay in the eight Italian submarines and seven fleet destroyers which were based at Massawa, in addition to other vessels for local defence. Properly handled they could inflict serious initial losses on Allied shipping in that area, since the Red Sea Force could only just provide essential escorts for convoys. On the other hand, Massawa would be cut off from seaborne supplies and reinforcements, so that the enemy's naval effort in the Red Sea might be expected to grow progressively weaker.
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I Chapter V

AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
The same question goes for the RAF and the Army.
As regards the Allied forces, the French had in Tunisia six divisions, a fortress division, and a light cavalry division; a force which, as General Noguès had predicted, would be capable only of local operations with limited objectives. In Syria there was an expeditionary
force of three divisions, inadequately armed and trained, in addition to some forty thousand troops organized for frontier duties and tribal control.

In Egypt General Wavell had some 36,000 men; they were not however organized in complete formations. Equipment was seriously short throughout, especially artillery of all natures, ammunition, fighting vehicles, and transport. The two armoured brigades of the 7th Armoured Division had each two regiments, instead of three, and these were only partly equipped.6 The 4th Indian Division also had but two brigades and part of its artillery. Of the New Zealand Division there was as yet one infantry brigade, a cavalry regiment less a squadron, a machine-gun battalion, and a field regiment of artillery. There were also fourteen battalions of British infantry and two artillery regiments. There was, in addition, the Egyptian Army, which was in some respects better equipped than many of the British units; but as Egypt had not declared war on Germany the amount of support to be counted on from the Egyptian Army was doubtful. In Palestine there were about 27,500 troops consisting of an in-complete horsed cavalry division, two cavalry regiments, two Australian brigades with two field regiments of artillery and some divisional troops, and a British infantry brigade and two other battalions. Of these troops the cavalry and the Australians were unlikely to be fully equipped and trained before the end of the year. From Palestine one brigade might have to be provided for service in Iraq, while certain other units were earmarked for internal security duties.

[...]

British forces in this theatre {Italian East Africa} were few, scattered, and lightly equipped. In the Sudan, with a frontier against the enemy of 1,200 miles, were three British battalions and the Sudan Defence Force, which with police and sundry irregular detachments totalled about 9,000 men. In Kenya, whose frontier was 850 miles long, were two East African brigades and two light batteries, or some 8,500 men. British Somaliland had one battalion of the King's African Rifles and the five companies of the Somaliland Camel Corps; in all 1,475 strong. Aden was garrisoned by two Indian battalions.

[...]

On reviewing the state of his forces, Sir Arthur found the situation far from reassuring. He had no modern fighters or long-range bombers. He was short of aircraft spares and other equipment. The strength of his squadrons in Egypt and Palestine amounted only, to 96 bombers and bomber transports (mainly Blenheim Mark I and Bombay); 75 fighters (Gladiator)—including a fighter squadron of the Royal Egyptian Air Force—24 army co-operation aircraft (Lysander) and 10 flying-boats (Sunderland): a total of 205 aircraft. If Italy should enter the war there would be little prospect of receiving any reinforcements or replacements for some time to come. Any strengthening of the air forces in Egypt or East Africa would depend upon such reshuffling within the Command as circumstances would permit. Resources would have to be strictly conserved from the outset, for with this meagre force the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief would have to neutralize the enemy air forces in Cyrenaica and the Dodecanese; attack lines of supply and ports within range; provide support for naval and land operations; and give fighter protection to such important targets as the Fleet Base at Alexandria, Cairo, Port Said, and the Suez Canal. Furthermore, he knew that in certain circumstances he might be pressed to send squadrons to the aid of the Turks in Thrace. On the other hand, the French had in North Africa about 65 fighters and 85 bombers—the latter in the course of being replaced by American Douglas and Glenn Martin aircraft—and it was hoped that their activities would be co-ordinated with those of the Royal Air Force in neutralizing the Italian Air Force in Libya. In Syria the French had a weak force of some 95 aircraft (13 bombers, 26 fighters, and 56 of other types).
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I Chapter V
AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
Where was it all positioned June-September 1940?
Sorry, but to answer it it doesn't help, because by September 1940, the Vichy and Free French had different dispositions towards both the Italians and the British.
AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
He didn't want to do it (and therefore should have been replaced before starting) he had no confidence in his own army, but most of all he had no timetable, no clear objectives and NO PLAN to follow.

If there had been, it all could have been very different.
We agree on this one.
AnchorSteam wrote:
10 Dec 2020 05:11
Yes, Malta on Day One. What was the garrison like? Besoides 4 biplane fighters still in their crates, what Aircraft were on hand?
How many Paratroopers did Italy have at that time? How many transports, including the CA-133?
The numbers will tell the tale.
Search for Operazione C3 and you'll find a ton of interesting infos. First of all, C3 was mainly a seaborne attack where the parachutists only got an auxiliary role. Italy did have paratroopers since 1938, enough for the limited task they should have done.

But what is true for Cyprus is true for Malta: if the Axis could bottle the Med, they'll fall pretty easilyand quickly. If the Axis couldn't bottle the Med, their strategic value was limited.

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AnchorSteam
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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by AnchorSteam » 10 Dec 2020 18:22

Peter89 wrote:
10 Dec 2020 08:15
For Italian amphibious operations: yes.....

Search for Operazione C3 and you'll find a ton of interesting infos. First of all, C3 was mainly a seaborne attack where the parachutists only got an auxiliary role. Italy did have paratroopers since 1938, enough for the limited task they should have done.

But what is true for Cyprus is true for Malta: if the Axis could bottle the Med, they'll fall pretty easilyand quickly. If the Axis couldn't bottle the Med, their strategic value was limited.
Wow, that is a great post!
Everyone ought to put that much into backing up what they say.... and I wish I had more time to do it justice. I'll do more this weekend in the "What If?" section to show what I think Italy's opening moves should have been.
Meanwhile;

Yes, viewing the situation with both France and Britiain in the war it looks bad for Italy, until you factor in one of the world's largest Submarine fleets. Yes, it is not so effective thanks to the way the Air re-conditioning system would try to kill the crew when depth-charged, but that's another thing nobody knew until the shooting started.

However, thanks to the excellent Sparrow-Hawk, Itlay had a serious deterrent to enemy surface fleets (when armed with torpedos) withing range of air bases.
AND, if Italian Paras were so limited that they could only do one major operation at a time.....

That's it for me in this thread.
If Amphibious operations can only be conducted inside the range of attack aricraft, and if Italian Ariborne units were not up to Divisional strength yet.... then Cyprus truly is outside the realm of possibility for an early surprise move. And, if it can't be done before the U.K. has time to adjust to this new situation, then it should not be done at all.
Cyprus is a big island, and if you can't take the whole thing in the initial rush and then mount a credible defense of the airfields and best beaches with what you sent in, then you are just inviting a Crete in reverse.

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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by Dili » 10 Dec 2020 21:46

Italy had only 2 para battalions in Libya because it was a Balbo project, the most trained was Libyan combatants, the other made up mostly from Italians from Libya was smaller and being later less trained. They were not up to anything and were lost in Compass in land combat.

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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by EwenS » 11 Dec 2020 09:47

I recently came across this thesis on the C3 Operation.
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1003811.pdf

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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by AnchorSteam » 13 Dec 2020 07:51


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Urmel
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Re: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by Urmel » 13 Jan 2021 19:14

Dili wrote:
10 Dec 2020 21:46
Italy had only 2 para battalions in Libya because it was a Balbo project, the most trained was Libyan combatants, the other made up mostly from Italians from Libya was smaller and being later less trained. They were not up to anything and were lost in Compass in land combat.
They did have the Carabinieri Parachute battalion operational from at least July 1941:

https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2 ... rica-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: Why German not invade Cyprus 1941

Post by Dili » 16 Jan 2021 10:47

Yes forgot that one.

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