How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

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The_Enigma
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 27 Jun 2008 10:00

(6) Britian - West Africa/Takoradi. A lot of a/c were flown to Egypt this way, rather than floating them round South Africa. I suppose small quantities of urgent supplies and VIPs went that way also.
Possibly the biggest understatement ever ... you should replace "a lot" with "bloody thousands!" :lol: :P

As for the security of the allied supply route, the Red Sea was classified as a "combat zone" by the United States and there ships would not enter those waters until the Italian navy in East AFrica had been suitably shot up and the East Africa Campaign made some good progress. The term was then dropped and yankie ships kept flowing in.
Thanks guys.
So, Allies supply routes are;
(1)Britain-the Mediterranean- Alexandria port
(2)Britain- East Africa- land route
(3)Britain- Cape of Good Hope- Suez canal(or Suez port)- Alexandria port
(4)Britain(or India)- Persian Gulf -Al Kuwayt
(5)Red Sea- Aqba port.
Is that Right?
I think Playfair has a nice dotted map somewhere in his book showing the length and general routes used, ill try and find a copy latter (like 12+ hours time :P ) when am home.

One should note that a proportion of the allied forces supplies came from Egypt itself, factories etc were set up to deal with spare parts etc, dont have the full details on them though.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Michael Emrys » 27 Jun 2008 11:06

JonS wrote:(7) West Coast US/Australasia/india - Suez. Stuff - and troops! - came direct from the colonies to this area.
This would have been the route of choice for anything coming from Australia/New Zealand, but West Coast US? That's a looooooong way to go, and after the fall of Singapore not entirely secure either. Just about everything but aircraft—and even a lot of those too—manufactured in the US came from the eastern half of the country. If would be much faster to rail to an Eastern Seaboard port and thence across the Atlantic to either West Africa or around the Cape to Suez.

Michael
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by nedz » 27 Jun 2008 11:44

Does anyone know the route by which the M4 Shermans were shipped to Egypt prior to El Alamein ?
(Or the previous supply of M3s ?)
This ought to answer this question?

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 27 Jun 2008 12:13

nedz wrote:Does anyone know the route by which the M4 Shermans were shipped to Egypt prior to El Alamein ?
(Or the previous supply of M3s ?)
This ought to answer this question?
Most likely Suez or the wharves and smaller docks along the canal or Red Sea coast, probably the same place were all the pervious Crusader tanks etc which had been shipped to.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by nedz » 27 Jun 2008 13:57

The Crusader tanks were shipped from Britian via the WS series of convoys (around the cape).
The US made tanks must have had another route - at least in part.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 27 Jun 2008 15:59

Why would each nation need a different port and route? :?

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by diggerland » 27 Jun 2008 16:24

The_Enigma wrote:Why would each nation need a different port and route? :?
Well, I know, if each nations used a supply route, the route is traffic jams. So, they use different route.
For example, RedBall Express used route is two.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by sallyg » 27 Jun 2008 18:14

diggerland wrote:Why would each nation need a different port and route? :?
A different departure point and initial route, I suppose; the Crusaders from the UK and Shermans from US.
The_Enigma wrote:Well, I know, if each nations used a supply route, the route is traffic jams. So, they use different route.
For example, RedBall Express used route is two.
But there is lots of room on the open seas. The limiting factor is more likely to be port capacity.

The Redball used 2 routes, one up and one back to facilitate traffic control on narrow roads. Convoys carry their own traffic control in the form of a convoy commander (backed up by the carrot of protection and the stick of U-Boats) and ports incorporate traffic control centres.

On arrival at a port a ship waits until traffic control assigns a priority, a pilot and tugboats.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by JonS » 27 Jun 2008 22:26

Michael Emrys wrote:
JonS wrote:(7) West Coast US/Australasia/india - Suez. Stuff - and troops! - came direct from the colonies to this area.
This would have been the route of choice for anything coming from Australia/New Zealand, but West Coast US? That's a looooooong way to go, and after the fall of Singapore not entirely secure either. Just about everything but aircraft—and even a lot of those too—manufactured in the US came from the eastern half of the country. If would be much faster to rail to an Eastern Seaboard port and thence across the Atlantic to either West Africa or around the Cape to Suez.
Yeah, sorry. I assumed that that would be understood to only be pre-Dec 1941.

By my rough-and-ready routing on Google Earth it's 13,100 nautical miles from Los Angeles to Suez via the Pacific, and 12,300 nautical miles from New York to Suez via the Atlantic/South Africa. That's a difference of about 4 days steaming (@10 knots) on a 7-8 week trip.

I doubt it was a main route - especially after Japan came into the war - but I'd be surprised if it wasn't used.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 27 Jun 2008 23:22

Pendulum of War: The three battles of El Alamein
by Niall Barr

Map 2: The sea lines of communication to the Middle East

If i had my camera up here i would take a photo and show you alas i will just have to describe the info:

3,000 nautical miles (2 weeks sailing), Western India - Suez Canal Zone
8,800 nautical miles (4-5 weeks sailing), Southern Ausatralia - Suez Canal Zone
12,000 nautical miles ( 6-13 weeks sailing), Western United Kingdom - Cape of Good Hope - Suez Canal Zone
12,200 nautical miles (10 weeks sailing), US Eastern Sea board - Cape of Good Hope - Suez Canal Zone
19,000 nautical miles (17 weeks sailing), US Eastern Seaboard - Panama Canal - South of Ausatralia - Suez Canal Zone

Nothing on the map shows the use of the Western seaboard nor does the map show how much was sent down each route. There is also a route shown coming from Iraq/Kuwait just above the Indian route but no information is shown, one would presume that that route was also roughly 3,000 nautical miles and 2 weeks sailing.


On top of that the already mentioned Takoradi Air Route ferried in well over 5,000 aircraft into the Middle East by October 1943, excluding planes flown in via the American Ferry Service and obviously planes brought in crated via convoys or flown into places such as Malta via Aircraft carriers.(Playfair, V. I, p. 197)

The planes were brought to Takoradi (West Africa) in crates or flown there via aircraft carriers (older ones such as HMS Argus iirc) and then flown 3,697 miles to Abu Sueir, near the Suez Canal. The majoirty of the route was across British controlled territory bar about 600 miles of it, which crossed Vichy controlled Chad (French Equatorial Africa).(Playfiar, V.I, p.196)

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Jon G. » 28 Jun 2008 04:47

diggerland wrote:Well, I know, if each nations used a supply route, the route is traffic jams. So, they use different route.
For example, RedBall Express used route is two.
No traffic jams at sea, as explained, but the Suez ports were definitely very congested at times. Other ports were used for material shipped to North Africa, for example Port Sudan, which was also expanded during the war in order to take off some of the pressure on the Suez ports.

See this thread

Using the Nile for transports?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=98933

Alexandria was important in other ways than as a port for loading and unloading cargo. There was a big RN water filtration plant there and a pipeline leading water for the desert railroad's locomotives west. At some point in late 1942, a jerry can factory (!) was built in Alexandria.

Digging around for info on Alexandria's capacity found me this four years old post:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 94#p475494
...The Lybian harbour capacity was, before the war, at best, no more than 100,000 tons. in a month. At war this total dropped to an half for simply logistic reasons, not considering the effect of bombers ect. The Suez, Port Said and Alexandria system was able to receive about 500,000 tons, not considering oil which was coming by pipeline. Quite heavier cargos (tanks, for example) could be managed in an easier and faster way in Egypt than in Lybia yet in 1940. It was a problem of docks, cranes, sea bottom, workers and so on which could not be changed, at war, in a brief time but would have need years of work during peace time...
...mind you, I think the figure for the Libyan ports' capacity is too low, and the oil pipeline mentioned ended at Haïfa. Regardless, we could use the 500,000 tons/month figure as a rough estimate on how much cargo British/British-controlled ports in Egypt were capable of handling.

It's true that Egypt's infrastructure was far more well-developed than Libya's ditto to begin with, but then the British - and Wavell in particular - also put much more effort into expanding their base area network than the Axis did. At one time in 1941, Wavell even said no thanks to receiving a full combat ready division as reinforcements, instead preferring 15,000 rear area personnel shipped to Egypt.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by diggerland » 28 Jun 2008 09:58

Well, I add question.

I know, U-boats destroyed Allies convoy at the Atlantic. So, Allies worried about this. As result, what did Allies supply route effect?

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Jon G. » 28 Jun 2008 10:17

diggerland wrote:Well, I add question.

I know, U-boats destroyed Allies convoy at the Atlantic. So, Allies worried about this. As result, what did Allies supply route effect?
Well, JonS touched that part of the subject upthread where he wrote
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 8#p1224528
JonS wrote:...The Commonwealth had ridiculously long supply lines, but they were reasonably secure, and at the end of it was a very well developed - and secure - base area at the Nile Delta.
...some north-south convoys were attacked by U-Boats, and at various times German surface raiders were a problem too. But the big problem was not that some ships might be sunk en route. The problem was simply the very long distances the convoys had to sail before they reached the Middle East.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 28 Jun 2008 11:22

Just to give an idea what could be transported over these routes, over a 17 week period(last week of August to end of the year 1940), nearly 126,000 were transferred from home, India, Australia and New Zealand to Suez* including two tank regiments and nine artillery regiments (mixture of medium and field guns) and a hell load of anti aircraft guns along with the ammo etc needed.

*two divisions plus supporting units sent to Port Sudan, however the majoirty of these men, tanks and guns were sent to the Suez area
It's true that Egypt's infrastructure was far more well-developed than Libya's ditto to begin with, but then the British - and Wavell in particular - also put much more effort into expanding their base area network than the Axis did. At one time in 1941, Wavell even said no thanks to receiving a full combat ready division as reinforcements, instead preferring 15,000 rear area personnel shipped to Egypt.
He turned down brining the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division into the theater because it would mean the exclusion of 15,000 additional men, which included reinforcements for the forces already committed, Corps troops and administration units. Not quite a fully admin force of rear personnel.

I believe the PM was none to pleased and a simlar event happened when at a latter date it was brought to his attention that there was at least 100,000 rear area personel and wondered why more combat troops were being requested until it explained to him that these men were vital in there current role.
I know, U-boats destroyed Allies convoy at the Atlantic. So, Allies worried about this. As result, what did Allies supply route effect?
Well the first obvious change to the supply route was halting convoys going through the Med due to the presnce of the Italian navy and airforce and latter the Luftwaffe. Although a few special convoys were sent through there. The first one i can think of was the Tiger Convoy which only lost one ship due to a seamine and was not engaged by the Italian fleet due to Force H escorting it to Malta from Gibralter and then the Med Fleet escorting it from there all the way to Alexandria.

I dont believe the later convoys were as lucky.
The Crusader tanks were shipped from Britian via the WS series of convoys (around the cape).
Well techically the first 50 Crusader tanks were on the Tiger Convoy and went stright through the Med :P

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by diggerland » 30 Jun 2008 08:08

Well, so almost convoys went from Cape of Good Hope to Suez? Then supply arrived very too late. But, Allies used train for large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis across form Mediterranean. So, supply material very quickly pilled up Tripoli or Bengazi. But Axis no have train which supply transport form supply depot to front. Also Allies air force and SAS attack supply route. So, Allies front arrive large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis front arrive small supply.

Right?

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