I don't think it, I know it, Bernd Philipp Schröder wrote an excellent book about the topic, going through most of the available German documents at the time, it's called Irak 1941, p. 111 is relevant for the enlargement of the airfield, which was made ready for an ~overburdened (Überlaststart) Ju 90 to take off. They enlarged the airfield by 400 m in a few days time, with modern (British) equipment and crude oil injection (Rohölaufguß). Now that tells me that the Germans lacked the following items to do that in Lybia:pugsville wrote: ↑13 May 2022 15:38Peter89 wrote: ↑13 May 2022 13:42I read this argument quite often, but in my opinion, it is only half-truth. The Germans could, and indeed did enlarge and equipped airfields for example in Iraq, in the matter of days. With local (British) equipment and civilian contractors, because they had nothing on the spot. In my opinion the problem was that Italy did not build enough airfields in Lybia nor did they stockpile resources and machines to build them in time of war.Richard Anderson wrote: ↑12 May 2022 23:56A good guide to how many they could put in Libya is how many they actually put in Libya. Keeping aircraft on Sicily and Crete when there was a crying need in North Africa makes no sense. However, there was also a dearth of Tropisch-modified aircraft, so it was likely a combination of things. Otherwise, they have to put a substantial commitment into airfield construction and logistic support. They did so, the expansion of the En Nofilia complex demonstrates that...except that none of them were ever more than sand strips and it took about nine months to open the additional three, even as crude as they were.You didn´t answer my question anyway (how many they could have put in Libya, if required?). You named five airfields. I know that aircrafts at that time were not like the jets today and infrastrucures could be improved much faster than today. To invade Crete, the germans improvised fast many airstrips. If you don´t answer, don´t worry. I understand.
No, the Germans could not improve infrastructure much faster than today, because they did not have an equivalent to the dedicated Engineer Aviation Battalion of the US Army, which was dedicated to and designed for rapid airfield construction. Germany relied too much on hand-labor with limited mechanized means of airfield construction.
If they'd have an equivalent of an Engineer Aviation Battalion, what could it do operating under the same lack of resources and same lack of integrated doctrine?
I seriously doubt that the problem was organizational in nature. More like the lack of preparations and shipping capacities (which were Italian anyway) were decisive. The British have started planning and preparations over a year before the Italians even jumped into the war.
The Germans were in Iraq for what 14 days operating 20 odd aircraft, based at existing airfield at Mosul. You think they really enlarged that airfield in that time? It sounds pretty dubious,
The force rapidly degraded to near uselessness, It was virtually inoperable after two weeks,
- a local entrepreneur
- modern British equipment and people to operate it
- crude to spray around the ground
Also his book Deutschland und der Mitttere Osten covers and partially debunks most of the myths around Germany's strategy about this region.
Btw I never said that the German mission in Iraq fielded a useful air force (it didn't), for various reasons. None of which was the lack of a proper airfield.