1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

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phylo_roadking
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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 19 Jun 2009 01:11

For example, the London telegrams are probably primary to what FDR and his staff knew about what was happening in the Mediterranean and Middle East at the time
It would be fair to note for readers at this point that the Telegrams don't JUST deal with the Mediterranean and the Middle East; they deal with military activities in EVERY theatre - raids in/out of the UK, aircraft intercepted, or lost on the Home Front, damage done by German raids (including whether or not damage incurred at factories affected war production, and why), numbers of RAF aircraft sent on raids to the continent, merchant ships lost and in what circumstances - quite detailed this; I haven't yet checked if the MOST detailed ones just happen to be US-registered :wink: - naval operations etc. And given how detailed and accurate the MALTA data is...I would venture to say the UK material is as accurate - given that at least there was a U.S. Embassy staff in London to collate/check anything they were given to check against Press reports of raids etc.

(As an aside...Interestingly - and as wondered-about before in another WI - it's interesting that these situation reports went STRAIGHT to the White House and bypassed the State Department :wink: Just checked...FDR was indeed getting them through the BoB...when Joe Kennedy was being rather more defeatist about Britain's chances...)

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jun 2009 14:02

Hi Phylo,

Thanks for the FDR link. It will likely be very useful to me in the future.

However, I would suggest that it would be better to let others make up their own minds about its reliability. Unlikely as it may seem, there may actually be other posters out there better able to make such a judgement than us.

Of course Shores is limited by his sources. That is a truism applicable universally. You, for example, are limited by your over reliance on the internet compared to published books or primary sources. I have greater limitations than you with regards to the internet but perhaps not in the other areas.

The point about Shores is that his primary sources are wide and embrace all participants, unlike the FDR material you cite, which, useful as it is, is essentially unilateral and lacking the advantage of hindsight.

Shores' main shortcoming, as far as I am concerned, is in the limited analysis he gives compared to the enormous number of hard facts he offers in his books. Still, they give the rest of us an enormous amount of material to work on ourselves. (For example, a survey of half a dozen of his books would answer Dili's internet-specific question above in great detail).

Anyway, if you do find a better source than Shores in his subject area, please let us know, as it will necessarily be a real goldmine.

Anyway, time for a cigar, I think!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 19 Jun 2009 14:59

Unlikely as it may seem, there may actually be other posters out there better able to make such a judgement than us.
In which case, I'm quite sure they would have been aware of the archive long since :D
You, for example, are limited by your over reliance on the internet compared to published books or primary sources.
Sid - you've not been keeping an eye on what I've been posting over the last while. I very happily use books etc. when there is a net-published version for me to link to - hence using Poston, Richards, etc. I don't actually enjoy typing out large chunks of books that aren't on the Net (I'm fed up tyoping out Hooton...), and have always been cautious about conducting a discussion on ANY subject whee the source material is out of the view of 99.99999999999% of readers. Not everyone has the time to wait on interlibrary loan nor have they groaning shelves full of reference books.
(For example, a survey of half a dozen of his books would answer Dili's internet-specific question above in great detail).
Except where he runs up against the limits mentioned before in relation to Shores&Cull....or he could just go to Gunby & Temple's emcyclopediac RAF Bomber Losses: v. 1: Middle East and Mediterranean 1939-1942 and Norman Franks' similarly-comprehensive RAF Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War Vol 1: Operational Losses Aircraft and Crews 1939-1941 vol 1, and Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War: Volume 2. Operational Losses: Aircraft and Crews 1942-1943 vol 2. The last missing brick would be Ross McNeill's volumes on Coastal Command operational losses.

Dili, I'm not aware at the moment of a tabulated listing of TOTAL RAF losses by theatre on the Net - though the totals themselves are probably in Richard's Official History. It's online on Hyperwar. The yearly Bomber Command losses are on the Statistics Update page of this set of pages devoted to Bill Chorley's books http://www.rafinfo.org.uk/BCWW2Losses/default.htm - go halfway down the page and you'll get the tables. As various revisions are done these are becoming more and more definitive - but ONLY for Bomber Command :(

Dili, none of the above are actually overly dear either :wink: compared to average prices for purchasing paper nowadays! Though Bill Chorley's books are a couple of £Sterling more expensive than the others. It depends what you want them for, of course...it's possible any local aviation enthusiats near you have copies or know someone who does. I only know of their existence because friends here in NI more interested in that side of things have access to them. (Chorley's are among the list of "must-haves" for people who track down aircraft crash sites...especially ones that might have unrecovered bodies...)

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Dili » 19 Jun 2009 15:56

Thanks Sid, phylo. I am already getting data in Hyperwar pages about RAF i already got 575 losses (for Crusader 18Nov41-14Feb42) including Malta. Anyway this will be a step by step job since i am trying to assess/compare the resources put by Allies and Germans in Mediterranean: Airplanes, Tanks, Artillery.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jun 2009 18:20

Hi Phylo,

You write: "In which case, I'm quite sure they would have been aware of the archive long since." Why are you "quite sure"? Doesn't that rather assume that critical faculties are dependent on prior access to a particular source rather than the inherent and acquired intellect and other knowledge of the individual as applied to that source?

Thank you for the honest exposition of your limitations. As has been repeatedly pointed out by me and others you are largely restricted to the internet for sources and not hard copy or primary documentation unless "there is a net-published version for me to link to". While things are undoubtedly moving towards greater internet coverage, the vast majority of published material and archive material is not yet available on it. You are therefore self imposedly cutting yourself off from the bulk of source material, which necessarily limits the authority of your posts, but not the certainty with which you seek to imbue them.

While I appreciate that you "don't actually enjoy typing out large chunks of books that aren't on the Net" (and, believe me, you are not alone) it is a necessary labour if we are to add to the sum total of material available on the medium you prefer, rather than simply parasite off it. Idleness is not really a legitimate excuse for not making original contributions (i.e. those derived from personal research or other media) to the internet.

If we are always "cautious about conducting a discussion on ANY subject where the source material is out of the view of 99.99999999999% of readers" then little beyond the still limited parameters of the internet's existing collective memory are ever going to be discussed on it. (I would just say that you have not in past been shy of offering pretty firm opinions on books you had not read. For example, have you read Myth of the Eastern Front yet?)

It is true that, "Not everyone has the time to wait on interlibrary loan nor have they groaning shelves full of reference", but if these and other such non-electronic sources are not used by those making original contributions to the internet then little new will get added to the sum of the internet's knowledge.

I would add this. In my opinion, leaving aside other credits and criticisms, the value of the content of your posts has improved over the years in proportion to the growth of the internet as a reliable and well-stocked tool. I know you are aware of the continuing value of hard copy sources, as your paragraph to Dili on book sources for RAF losses illustrates, and I wish you were more inclined or able "to wait on interlibrary loan" (or) refer to "groaning shelves full of reference". A quick answer from a limited source has no merit if wrong and limited merit if only partially informed.

Dili can have reasonable confidence that if you say the internet is deficient in some information you are quite likely to be right. But he (and we) also has reason to regret that you restrict yourself so closely to the internet in pursuit of answers.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jun 2009 18:26

Hi Dili,

......and Italians?

If so, try the http://comandosupremo.com/forum/

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 19 Jun 2009 19:57

You write: "In which case, I'm quite sure they would have been aware of the archive long since." Why are you "quite sure"? Doesn't that rather assume that critical faculties are dependent on prior access to a particular source rather than the inherent and acquired intellect and other knowledge of the individual as applied to that source?
I'm afraid nothing quite so complicated as you would wish to believe; given that quite a few works refer to or are cited to F.O. correspondence :wink: And a letter/telegram has a person at EITHER end...looking back in the last few days at various books on various subjects, it's increasingly obvious that a number of authors refer to the BRITISH end of this correspondence, so by simple logic there was an American recipient. And the Americans haven't quite got into this terrible UK Civil Service habit of "weeding" files...
Thank you for the honest exposition of your limitations. As has been repeatedly pointed out by me and others you are largely restricted to the internet for sources and not hard copy or primary documentation unless "there is a net-published version for me to link to".
Sid, you're going to cold-turkey on your tobacco habit; I said "I very happily use books" but "and have always been cautious about conducting a discussion on ANY subject where the source material is out of the view of 99.99999999999% of readers" Not being happy to do something for the reason that on a public forum should we be discussing material out of the public eye...? - is FAR different from being limited to something. A goodly part of my time is spent finding online sources that at least cite what I've seen or read offline - so that if I post something on a thread the reader can then read it for themselves.

As for my limitations - Sid, you have absolutely no idea what my resources are or my bookshelves contain :wink:
(I would just say that you have not in past been shy of offering pretty firm opinions on books you had not read. For example, have you read Myth of the Eastern Front yet?)
See my comments on this matter on the closed predecessor to this thread http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1340369

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Dili » 20 Jun 2009 06:45

Thanks Sid, Italians are already done. I had to cut destroyed equipement in Russia,Battle of Britain, East Africa Vs Production and since i only need an approximation in values it is not difficult.
I am a member in Comando Supremo, i have a dozen posts there, some recent.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Jon G. » 21 Jun 2009 23:54

phylo_roadking wrote:
though it's theoretically possible that the London telegram authors had access to Axis loss records, it does not seem likely
Actually - more possible than you might think - fo it was daily reports by wireless, and LW intelligence material going back and forth, that Bletchley park was reading from mid-1940 onwards :wink: They couldn't pick up things like movement orders etc, the sort of stuff discussed by telephone THEN confirmed in writing...but they were picking up a LOT, like the details ahead of schedule of the Spring '41 bombing campaign...
On the subject of enemy aircraft movements, this page has the Luftwaffe sending 15 Ju 87s to North Africa:
...15 Junker 87's came from CRETE...
...it's not really in the timeframe we're discussing here, and it's also a relatively trifling matter - but most other sources, including, I think, ULTRA, have it as 30, which also rhymes better with normal Gruppe strength, which should be about 40, give or take. Interestingly, the next page of this particular optel is talking about 25 Italian Ju 87s transferred to North Africa.

On the subject of books vs. internet sources, I don't see any problem with using both in forum discussions - internet links have the advantage that you can check them yourself, if a link is provided, whereas there is no easy way around checking a book which another forum member is referring to, other than acquiring access to said book yourself. Books have the advantage over 'net sources that they have usually passed an editor's desk, and thus have already been checked for errors. In that regard, this thread is an interesting exercise in holding an internet source against a book written by an author with access to primary sources himself.

There's a good picture series of the Illustrious here, including some highly dramatic pictures from January 1941.

I wonder if anyone can make out the nationality markings on the Ju 87 seen in this picture?
Image

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jun 2009 00:47

Books have the advantage over 'net sources that they have usually passed an editor's desk, and thus have already been checked for errors.
...except for selfpublished - of course...and I'm sure we ALL have tales (and too many of them) where passing through the hands of an editor HASN'T eradicated errors :wink: (if they DID eradicate ALL errors - a percentage of threads in most of the sections in this forum would vanish!)
In that regard, this thread is an interesting exercise in holding an internet source against a book written by an author with access to primary sources himself
What makes THIS thread really interesting is that a good number of the "internet sources" are scans or reproductions of original "period" documents. Thankfully this is becoming more common, together with the exponential growth in "verbal history" projects like the BBC's and other personal reminiscences. Its not for example one of the common aviation-biased threads where modelling sites quoting third- or fourth-hand get posted as definitive sources...

Interesting anecdote about the Stuka transfer during CRUSADER - unfortunately, being a snapshot we don't ever hear WHERE any included intelligence in the FDR telegrams comes from. That telegram cited is from the 28th, while CRUSADER began on the 18th; Hooton doesn't mention the transfer in any detail, just that Giesler "sent" i.e. ordered a Stukagruppe four days after the weather began to clear on the 19th...which means when the telegram was sent to Washington on the 28th we haven't heard from Hooton if the transfer was complete - just that it was ordered on the 23rd...or how attrited/unserviceable the stukagruppe in question was/wasn't before it was sent. What the anecdote does show that in at the VERY most five days after Giesler ordering the transfer, and at least 15 Stukas arriving (some time between the 23rd and the 28th...do we know exactly when?)...the British had ccrosschecked their sources and knew where they had come from AND knew that they had arrived.
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 22 Jun 2009 01:30, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jun 2009 01:05

The "attack" pics of Illustrious being bombed IN Valletta are from the attack on the 16th; they are reproduced in a number of places across the Net, there's IIRC four in total in the series. The main defence for the carrier at that point - apart from her own AA, the surrounding ships' and the Grand Harbour barrage box...was the crane of the floating dock alongside. During raids the derrick was positioned over the deck.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Jon G. » 22 Jun 2009 02:23

phylo_roadking wrote:
Books have the advantage over 'net sources that they have usually passed an editor's desk, and thus have already been checked for errors.
...except for selfpublished - of course...and I'm sure we ALL have tales (and too many of them) where passing through the hands of an editor HASN'T eradicated errors :wink: (if they DID eradicate ALL errors - a percentage of threads in most of the sections in this forum would vanish!)
Sure, there are tons of poor books out there - just as there are 'oodles of poor websites and wiki entries.
...
Interesting anecdote about the Stuka transfer during CRUSADER - unfortunately, being a snapshot we don't ever hear WHERE any included intelligence in the FDR telegrams comes from. That telegram cited is from the 28th, while CRUSADER began on the 18th;
The optel says
...The following reinforcements have reached LIBYA since our offensive started:...
phylo_roadking wrote:... Hooton doesn't mention the transfer in any detail, just that Giesler "sent" i.e. ordered a Stukagruppe four days after the weather began to clear on the 19th...which means when the telegram was sent to Washington on the 28th we haven't heard from Hooton if the transfer was complete - just that it was ordered on the 23rd...
Originally, the transfer was not intended to be permanent.
or how attrited/unserviceable the stukagruppe in question was/wasn't before it was sent. What the anecdote does show that in at the VERY most five days after Giesler ordering the transfer, and at least 15 Stukas arriving (some time between the 23rd and the 28th...do we know exactly when?)...the British had ccrosschecked their sources and knew where they had come from AND knew that they had arrived.
Not 'at least'; the Optel gives 'since our offensive started' i.e. Nov 18 as the time horizon. The point being that, in this case, the FDR telegram is not congruent with ULTRA information, which gave I./St. G 3 strength as 20 serviceable a/c (out of 25) on nov 26th and 23 serviceable a/c (out of 26) on nov 27th. This from a discussion I had with Andreas a while back after he'd been to Kew where he had dissected the HW1/13 [ULTRA] series files.

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jun 2009 02:48

the FDR telegram is not congruent with ULTRA information, which gave I./St. G 3 strength as 20 serviceable a/c (out of 25) on nov 26th and 23 serviceable a/c (out of 26) on nov 27th.
But of course - as the British were very aware - ULTRA was incredibly valuable but for best effect STILL needed cross-confirmed with more..."human"...intelligence if it was available. We may have those totals from ULTRA...but as I said in
we don't ever hear WHERE any included intelligence in the FDR telegrams comes from
...what we DON'T know is if the FDR telegram data of the 28th was compiled from ULTRA alone or in conjunction with other material :wink: As raw decrypts at Bletchely Park were the start of the analysis process that produced the ULTRA digests, we have no idea what else may or may not have gone into that "15" figure; F.O. staff may not even have HAD the ULTRA digests for the 26th/27th in their sweaty hands by the time the 28th Telegram was sent. That figure could represent other intel for all we know; that's the problem with an event-driven snapshot, we don't know categorically where the Axis data comes from, that's not any part of what London was telling Washington in the Telegrams. IF Stab. I./St. G 3 was already flying combat sorties by then...it's not impossible the British already had a "permanent guest" to two to question :wink:

Can you remember from your discussion with Andreas if the HW1/13 ULTRA material confirmed the whole Stab. was in North Africa by those reporting dates?

Interestingly - those serviceability figures are much better than the rest of Frolich's command in North Africa, which Hooton puts at down at only 50% immediately before the start of CRUSADER and the bad weather.

Does anyone have John Ward's Hitler's Stuka Squadrons to hand?

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by bf109 emil » 22 Jun 2009 08:22

Interesting site listing wrecks around Malta which can be dived and scene, listing these 4 vessels from 1941..
The Tembien Italian submarine off Malta 1941
The HMS Gallant British G-class destroyer at Malta 1941
The HMS Jersey British J-class destroyer off La Valletta 1941
The HMS Southampton British light cruiser East of Malta 1941
This is only in the Malta section of the Med. as different area's and ships sunk are listed as to name, grid, and date sunk...
source showing Malta area....http://www.sportesport.it/wrecks013ma.htm...as well as here is a map of the Mediterranean where different area's can be sought and listing ship/type/date sunkhttp://www.sportesport.it/wrecks.htm
Unsure if this maybe add or subtract from this thread, but a definition as to where a ship went down, i.e. the central Med. or east/west might add to ones reference or POV's
i.e. listing showing losses in central med east of Malta and north of Libya for 1941
The San Giorgio Italian armoured cruiser at Tobruk 1941
The HMS Dainty British D-class destroyer off Tobruk 1941
The HMS Kandahar British K-class destroyer off Tripoli 1941
The HMS Neptune British Leander-class light cruiser off Tripoli 1941
The HMS Undaunted U-class British submarine off Tripoli 1941
The HMS Cachalot British submarine North-West of Benghazi 1941
The HMS Terror British monitor North of Derna 1941
The HMS Grimsby British sloop off Tobruk 1941
The HMS Auckland British sloop off Tobruk 1941
The HMS Latona British minelayer North of Tripoli 1941
The HMAS Parramatta Australian sloop off Tobruk 1941
I realize this checklist is not complete but it does aid in the where about of a sinking of a particular vessel might be if a discussion on it should occur

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Re: 1941 convoys in the Central Med & the air battle over Malta

Post by Dili » 23 Jun 2009 18:43

I wonder if anyone can make out the nationality markings on the Ju 87 seen in this picture?
I can't see the marks, it appears to be an R2 due to what appears to be external wing fuel tanks, I think Italians had already R's also . When Germans put the white Mediterranan band on? This doesn't appears to have the white fuselage band.

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