Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

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glenn239
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by glenn239 » 22 Feb 2022 18:06

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Feb 2022 23:57
The question that is really on the table here is, How much tonnage in merchant shipping and warships can the Axis afford to lose to retain a significant presence on Gozo?
My chief concern would be that the type of specialized amphibious kit - MFP's and Siebels - useful to a Gozo campaign were also extremely useful in 1942 for supplying the Afrika Korps via movement along the Libyan coast. Whatever gains made by artillery, (and I doubt these would be significant) would be offset by the tying down of the kit.

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by daveshoup2MD » 23 Feb 2022 03:55

glenn239 wrote:
22 Feb 2022 18:01
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Feb 2022 17:52
Any Axis efforts directed at Gozo would be useless to the struggle for Libya, which was the point in the February-to-May window the GOZOLION advocates have suggested throughout this little thought exercise...
Agreed, it seems unlikely that artillery on Gozo in the 1st half of 1942 have that much effect at El Alamein in the 2nd half.
Where do you think the front line was in the desert war in the first and second quarters of 1942?

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by daveshoup2MD » 23 Feb 2022 03:57

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
22 Feb 2022 00:03
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Feb 2022 17:50
The Allies made such operations look "simple,"; the Axis never managed to do so, in any theater.
Well, they did succeed in landing on Jersey & Gurensey :P That looked really easy.
Excellent point; don't forget Alderney and Sark. Masterpieces of Axis amphibious warfare. :D

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Ironmachine
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Ironmachine » 23 Feb 2022 08:07

daveshoup2MD wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
daveshoup2MD wrote:The Allies made such operations look "simple,"; the Axis never managed to do so, in any theater.
Well, they did succeed in landing on Jersey & Gurensey :P That looked really easy.
Excellent point; don't forget Alderney and Sark. Masterpieces of Axis amphibious warfare. :D
Well, if we're going to list the German successes in amphibious warfare, don't forget Leros and Kos. :wink:

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Peter89 » 23 Feb 2022 08:44

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Feb 2022 23:57

The question that is really on the table here is, How much tonnage in merchant shipping and warships can the Axis afford to lose to retain a significant presence on Gozo?
Now, remember, any use of naval forces and merchant shipping for this purpose will also detract from tonnage and escorts available to move supplies to North Africa itself.
This is not entirely true, the supply to Africa could not be done by any ships, this is also true for Gozo. In my opinion, to support Gozo the Italians needed ships that could be used for the coastal shipping near Africa, and not the ones that were used to haul cargo from Italy to Lybia. Also the reason why in this ATL the Axis would want to have a presence on Gozo is exactly to need less escorts and to suffer fewer casualties. And let's not forget that this blade cuts both ways, so the Allied naval assets to retake or blockade Gozo are exactly the assets needed to attack Axis shipping to Africa.
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by danebrog » 23 Feb 2022 10:16

The original idea was to eliminate Malta as a attrition factor.
But as long as Malta itself continues to be in British hands - so my assumption - with GOZOLION one only creates another one.
Because all resources for stationing and supplying an even halfway effective siege garrison are then lacking elsewhere - without having really solved the actual problem.
Wouldn't it be more effective to take Malta (and to use the airfields to maintain air protection along the supply routes, for example)
At least to me this seems more obvious from the logistical factor alone

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 Feb 2022 17:41

The best solution would have been Italy pre-war has built a railway from Tunesia--connecting to the French lines--to the Egyptian border where it connects to the British line. It could have been a single-track line for all it matters, but that would have solved most of the supply issues in N. Africa on its own.

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by daveshoup2MD » 24 Feb 2022 03:33

Ironmachine wrote:
23 Feb 2022 08:07
daveshoup2MD wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
daveshoup2MD wrote:The Allies made such operations look "simple,"; the Axis never managed to do so, in any theater.
Well, they did succeed in landing on Jersey & Gurensey :P That looked really easy.
Excellent point; don't forget Alderney and Sark. Masterpieces of Axis amphibious warfare. :D
Well, if we're going to list the German successes in amphibious warfare, don't forget Leros and Kos. :wink:
True, but the issues of unity of command and air superiority, which the Germans had over the Dodecanese in 1943 and the Axis would not have had over Malta-Gozo in 1942, would have had an impact. Conversely, the British on Malta-Gozo would have one job: kill as many Italians and Germans as possible.

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Feb 2022 05:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 Feb 2022 17:41
The best solution would have been Italy pre-war has built a railway from Tunesia--connecting to the French lines--to the Egyptian border where it connects to the British line. It could have been a single-track line for all it matters, but that would have solved most of the supply issues in N. Africa on its own.
The closest French line in Tunisia terminated at El Menzel, 250 kilometers from the nearest Libya terminus at Zuara, west of Tunis. The French line was narrow-guage intended solely to transport phosphates from the nearby mines. From the terminus of the Libyan line east of Tunis at Tajoura, to the terminus of the Benghazi line at Soluch was another 950 kilometers. From the terminus east of Benghazi at Al Marj to the Egyptian border was another 500 kilometers. From the Egyptian border to the terminus of the Egyptian railroad at Alamein was another 420 kilometers. The Italians need to build 2,120 kilometers of railroad, with French and British cooperation.

How is that supposed to work? Historically from summer 1940 to the collapse in Libya they managed to build 60 kilometers of track from Zuara towards Tunisia, 18 kilometers from Tajoura towards Benghazi, and 40 kilometers of track running east from Al Marj towards Tobruk. So in roughly two years they were able to get about 5.6% of the project done.
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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Feb 2022 06:02

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Feb 2022 05:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 Feb 2022 17:41
The best solution would have been Italy pre-war has built a railway from Tunesia--connecting to the French lines--to the Egyptian border where it connects to the British line. It could have been a single-track line for all it matters, but that would have solved most of the supply issues in N. Africa on its own.
The closest French line in Tunisia terminated at El Menzel, 250 kilometers from the nearest Libya terminus at Zuara, west of Tunis. The French line was narrow-guage intended solely to transport phosphates from the nearby mines. From the terminus of the Libyan line east of Tunis at Tajoura, to the terminus of the Benghazi line at Soluch was another 950 kilometers. From the terminus east of Benghazi at Al Marj to the Egyptian border was another 500 kilometers. From the Egyptian border to the terminus of the Egyptian railroad at Alamein was another 420 kilometers. The Italians need to build 2,120 kilometers of railroad, with French and British cooperation.

How is that supposed to work? Historically from summer 1940 to the collapse in Libya they managed to build 60 kilometers of track from Zuara towards Tunisia, 18 kilometers from Tajoura towards Benghazi, and 40 kilometers of track running east from Al Marj towards Tobruk. So in roughly two years they were able to get about 5.6% of the project done.
The Italians had years to do it prior to the war and didn't. I agree, they couldn't do it during the war, but it is possible they might pre-war. Sure, it would take focus and effort, but it is doable.

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Feb 2022 06:30

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2022 06:02
The Italians had years to do it prior to the war and didn't. I agree, they couldn't do it during the war, but it is possible they might pre-war. Sure, it would take focus and effort, but it is doable.
They did? From 1922 to 1932 they were fighting a rebellion in Libya. In 1935-1936 they fought a war with Ethiopia. They invaded Albania in 1939. There were tensions with Yugoslavia from then through 1941. War with Greece. They had a lot of pots to piss in and little piss to go around. The Italian economy was shambolic during the 1920s and 1930s, they had few resources, manufacturing wasn't all that great either, and the financial situation was precarious. What would possess them to do such a thing? I don't know about focus and effort, but I doubt very seriously if it was financially, diplomatically, and practically doable.
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Feb 2022 06:56

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Feb 2022 06:30
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2022 06:02
The Italians had years to do it prior to the war and didn't. I agree, they couldn't do it during the war, but it is possible they might pre-war. Sure, it would take focus and effort, but it is doable.
They did? From 1922 to 1932 they were fighting a rebellion in Libya. In 1935-1936 they fought a war with Ethiopia. They invaded Albania in 1939. There were tensions with Yugoslavia from then through 1941. War with Greece. They had a lot of pots to piss in and little piss to go around. The Italian economy was shambolic during the 1920s and 1930s, they had few resources, manufacturing wasn't all that great either, and the financial situation was precarious. What would possess them to do such a thing? I don't know about focus and effort, but I doubt very seriously if it was financially, diplomatically, and practically doable.
They didn't, but they could have. Italy simply didn't have the foresight, and possibly the economic willpower, to do so. Even a partially complete line, say from Tripoli to Benghazi would have helped immensely. Every mile carried by train and coal firing saves a mile carried by trucks and gasoline. Of course, at the time operations management systems to calculate such efficiencies were in their infancy and barely used. But the possibility still exists.

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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Feb 2022 07:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2022 06:56
They didn't, but they could have. Italy simply didn't have the foresight, and possibly the economic willpower, to do so. Even a partially complete line, say from Tripoli to Benghazi would have helped immensely. Every mile carried by train and coal firing saves a mile carried by trucks and gasoline. Of course, at the time operations management systems to calculate such efficiencies were in their infancy and barely used. But the possibility still exists.
They didn't and they probably couldn't have. They did have the foresight though, plans for a trans-Libyan railway went back to the early 20s and parts of it were built, but the cost was too high, so they went for the easier and cheaper solution, road building - the Via Balbia. Train-mile savings only work if you can afford to build the rail system. Heck, the Italian rail system was ramshackle enough, why would expanding it into an even less economically viable region get justified in peacetime?
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Peter89 » 24 Feb 2022 09:33

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Feb 2022 07:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Feb 2022 06:56
They didn't, but they could have. Italy simply didn't have the foresight, and possibly the economic willpower, to do so. Even a partially complete line, say from Tripoli to Benghazi would have helped immensely. Every mile carried by train and coal firing saves a mile carried by trucks and gasoline. Of course, at the time operations management systems to calculate such efficiencies were in their infancy and barely used. But the possibility still exists.
They didn't and they probably couldn't have. They did have the foresight though, plans for a trans-Libyan railway went back to the early 20s and parts of it were built, but the cost was too high, so they went for the easier and cheaper solution, road building - the Via Balbia. Train-mile savings only work if you can afford to build the rail system. Heck, the Italian rail system was ramshackle enough, why would expanding it into an even less economically viable region get justified in peacetime?
Less viable is to put it mildly. The trade economy of Lybia was centered around the ports, a road network or even a railroad network would serve no purpose. The problem wasn't that they couldn't calculate, but that such an investment would make little to no sense. Think about it; pre-1940, the French were also a possible enemy of Italy, thus by all rational calculation, Lybia would fall without much hassle in a two front war. Also let's not forget that most colonies started to turn into a net loss for the colonial empires, so the empires became more and more interested in lowering the costs of occupation (thus less investment in infrastructure, especially those related to military). This was especially true to the North African and Middle Eastern colonies, where Arab nationalism swept over the region and produced many rebellions starting from 1921. It is no wonder that the Brits reformed their control over the region to decrease costs, installing local rulers, some forms of local legislation, police, military, etc. and it is also important to note that even they did not complete their improvements on the logistical network before late 1942. In truth, they could not have done it without substantial American help, especially in the Persian Corridor, where Americans did most of the job.

Let's not forget that Italy also occupied Albania with reasonable oil and chrome deposits (not to mention other materials in minor quantities), with a protected sea lane to Italy (or at least they thought so until Henry Wippell taught them a bitter lesson at the Battle of the Strait of Otranto).
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Re: Taking Gozo as a siege warfare alternative to C3/Herkules

Post by Ironmachine » 24 Feb 2022 10:25

daveshoup2MD wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:Well, if we're going to list the German successes in amphibious warfare, don't forget Leros and Kos.
True, but the issues of unity of command and air superiority, which the Germans had over the Dodecanese in 1943 and the Axis would not have had over Malta-Gozo in 1942, would have had an impact. Conversely, the British on Malta-Gozo would have one job: kill as many Italians and Germans as possible.
Well, yes, of course. I didn't say anything to the contrary, did I?
However, I thought that those two German amphibious successes should be mentioned regarding your previous statement that
daveshoup2MD wrote:The Allies made such operations look "simple,"; the Axis never managed to do so, in any theater.
because, in fact, the Axis sometimes managed to do so, when the conditions were favourable to them, just like almost anyone.

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