Wargames wrote:1) A liner represents the fastest, simplest, most efficient method of transporting a division or brigade sized units to North Africa. It transports both men and vehicles, for which purpose it was designed. It is also faster, usually able to make 20 knots. It does not take days to load or unload as claimed. Liners are the most efficient means of boarding vehicles and troop passengers both, as well as disembarking them.
Only a handful of liners could transport a division's worth of troops. None could transport a division complete with equipment. Purpose-built car ferries are a postwar invention, WWII liners as a rule could transport cargo (many were in fact mix cargo-liners) but were not more efficient in loading / unloading times compared to a regular freighter.
Troops don't take days disembarking, but unloading equipment does take days. Most WWII liners were not able to make 20 knots, think 14-15 knots instead with 12 knots for the mixed freighters mentioned above and the small coastal liners. The fastest ships were also the largest i.e. most vulnerable and unable to dock in such small ports as Benghazi & Tobruk.
Wargames wrote:2) Army operations in North Africa were conducted on a minimum brigade sized basis. The only battalion sized units in independent operation were tanks and armored infantry, both vehicle heavy. None of these units can be transported by aircraft, submarines, tankers or warships.
As Andy wrote, this may be true in a wargame where a "battleship" counter can't transport a "division" counter, you need a special "transport" counter. In practice, combat units consist of a given number of men and their equipment. With the obvious exception of amphibious assaults, they would most of the time not travel together. The personnel of a given unit would be split between various transports, with its equipment split between various freighters. Most of the time a unit would arrive in altogether different convoys.
Wargames wrote:4) Tankers are limited to fuel transport and irreplaceable for this purpose by either liners, cargo ships, or warships.
If they were irreplaceable, how did the Allies manage to fuel their thousands of vehicles in Normandy until Cherbourg had been captured and repaired?
Tankers are specialist ships and the most efficient way to transport large quantities of fuel. It is perfectly possible, if wasteful, to transport fuel (in drums or other containers) on other ships. There are countless examples of that happening during WWII.
Wargames wrote:The Axis forces in North Africa required up to 6,000 tons of fuel each month.
They received a monthly average of a little over 19,000 tons under Rommel's watch between March 1941 and November 1942.
Wargames wrote:Example A: In August, 1942, Rommel needed 6,000 tons of fuel for his planned September offensive. 1,000 tons were to be flown in. The rest was to be brought in by sea. On August 28, the Italian tanker, Diepli, was sunk, denying 2200 tons of the required 6,000 tons. Just days later, on September 1, 1942, the Axis Army in North Africa was out of fuel.
1. Rommel received more fuel (8,000 tons) than he had requested. The problem was that the fuel was delivered too far west (largely Tripoli) and couldn't reach him in time. So this isn't a problem with tanker capacity but with an inefficiently-run supply system. Malta was a major part of that inefficiency. Please read the beginning of the thread.
2. All your examples are from the summer of 1942 and later, i.e. at a time when the Axis stock of tankers had indeed become critical. As in the pre-El Alamein example when the Axis situation was so tight that the loss of two tankers could put Rommel in jeopardy.
Fuel delivered by sea to North Africa was
Here are the figures from August to December 1941:
Sinkings of tankers don't explain that crisis given that deliveries picked up again later. That's where Malta comes in. Have you read the thread since the beginning?
Wargames wrote:If tankers were unnecessary to North African supply, there would have been no fuel shortage and no need to send tankers. Yet, in each case, tankers were sent and, when they failed to arrive, the Axis forces were left without of fuel and LOST the resultant battle every time. No alternative method EXISTED by which to deliver the required fuel.
This is a strawman. No-one claimed that Axis tankers were unnecessary. The question is whether they were the bottleneck in supplying North Africa. Until late in 1942, shipping in general and tankers in particular weren't.
Wargames wrote:4) Warships will not transport fuel, cargo, or combat brigades.
Between 2 July and 2 September, 1942 Axis warships delivered 1,326 tons of fuel, 137 tanks, 97 vehicles and 1,140 tons of weapons & ammunition. See the example of troops transported on warships provided by Andy: do you think they were all rear-area troops?
Wargames wrote:The concept that submarines could supply North Africa is imaginary.
Who claimed they could? Jon used that example to show that they could - and did - transport supply. If the example doesn't seem convincing enough to you, then see above.
Wargames wrote:5) Aircraft cannot supply North Africa with either the minimum required fuel or the minimum required supply maintenance in lieu of convoys and, with the exception of the Gigante used in Tunisia, will not transfer combat brigades other than parachute brigades (and possibly Italian mountain units as their equipment was designed for animal pack train). They can be used for transferring replacement troops for existing Axis divisions already there that already have existing equipment. They also represent the most inefficient fuel means available for supplying North Africa.
Aircraft can supply North Africa only with the minimum required fuel, and only on maximum effort i.e. not sustainable operations.
They can transfer personnel, with the equipment being shipped separately. The matter was brought up when you claim that loss of liners prevented the Axis from reinforcing North Africa. It didn't, end of story. Personnel is very shipping-inefficient (takes up too much volume, not enough weight) but is ideal cargo for air transport.
And yes, air transport is fuel-inefficient. So, for that matter, is warfare in general