Tank ID request - Convoy M.42 in Benghazi 19 Dec 41

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Andreas
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Tank ID request - Convoy M.42 in Benghazi 19 Dec 41

Post by Andreas » 21 Nov 2007 13:01

On 19 December 1941 two ships with one German tank company each reached Tripoli and Benghazi (Ankara was the latter). Does anyone know what kind of tanks they were? My guess is Panzer III 50L60, but does anyone know for sure?

Many thanks in advance.

All the best

Andreas
Last edited by Andreas on 22 Nov 2007 12:15, edited 1 time in total.

13emeDBLE
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Post by 13emeDBLE » 21 Nov 2007 14:53

I have the datas.

Please wait until I get back home (next saturday or sunday).

CM

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Post by 13emeDBLE » 21 Nov 2007 22:52

Well, you're lucky that I could get back home earlier than planned :)

The Ankara sailed from Taranto the 16/12/1941 (convoy 52) and reached Benghasi the 19th of december 41 with :

8./artillerie-regt (mot) 155 : 48 trucks, 5 Mcycles, 4 guns
3./Panzer-regiment 8 : 24 trucks, 22 Panzer and 3 Mcycles
HQ Panzergruppe Afrika : 4 trucks
additinnal delivery : 6 trucks.

The 3./Panzer-regiment 8 was composed of : 5 Panzer II & 17 Panzer III. It seems to have joined the 15. Panzer-division the 24th of december.

But the bad quality of the panzer delivered is the cause that only 13 Panzer III were "runners". The others had to be taken by repairs workshop.

The situation will be worts for the brand news Panzer II delivered in january to Panzer-regiment 5. That's why the 14th january 1942, a "report on the poor state of PzKpfw III wich arrived in Africa at the beginning of january 1942" was sent from HQ Panzergruppe Afrika - Gruppeningenieur K.I./M.139 to Herrn Oberquartiermeister Qu. 1 to alert Berlin on this problems.

Hope this will help you,

Regards,

CM

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Post by Jon G. » 22 Nov 2007 09:30

Cedric, are you sure you don't mean convoy M.42? :)

According to Sadkovich, p. 216 the Ankara carried 140 unspecified vehicles, four guns, and 900 tons of materiel for the Heer; 750 tons for the Luftwaffe and 1,700 tons for the Italians. Further, Sadkovich has the Pisani delivering 3,800 barrels of POL for the Heer and 750 tons of POL for the Luftwaffe*; 160 vehicles, 6 guns and 260 tons of materiel for the Heer, 1,700 tons of materiel for the Luftwaffe and 1,900 tons for the Italians; and 100 vehicles, 17 Pz III tanks, 280 tons of fuel, 11,000 rounds of 88 mm ammunition and a motor launch delivered with the Napoli. All according to a December 18 ULTRA report - which could mean either that ULTRA decrypters knew the cargo manifest but not the date of arrival, or it could simply be a typo from Sadkovich (not the first one :| )

Likewise, the 17 Panzer IIIs aboard the Napoli could be additional to tanks carried about the Ankara, or it could, again, be a gaffe by either Sadkovich or ULTRA.

According to the Ankara's logs she carried 25 unspecified tanks when she left Taranto on Dec 16th. The discrepancy could either be that only some of those tanks were delivered at Benghazi before she moved on to Tripoli**, or it could (gasp!) be yet another typo.


*I wonder why Heer POL is measured in barrels whereas Luftwaffe POL is measured in tons..?
** With the fall of Benghazi being imminent, the Ankara went on to Tripoli between the 22nd and the 23rd. It does not seem at all implausible that there was not time to unload the entire cargo at Benghazi.

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Post by Andreas » 22 Nov 2007 10:56

Excellent, many thanks for this everybody. But no chance to ascertain which type of Panzer III we are talking about?

All the best

Andreas

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The_Enigma
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Post by The_Enigma » 22 Nov 2007 16:07

My understanding is that no Panzer III with the 37mm gun went over to Afrika they were all the 50mm variants, if that is any help.

I believe this is mentioned in Panzer Truppen: The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany's Tank Force 1933-1942: Volume 1 on page 160 (dont have the book so cant double check that for you but that was information passed on to me)

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Post by Andreas » 22 Nov 2007 16:14

Thanks for that. :) To clarify, the question is in particular whether the tanks had long (L60) or short (L42) 50s as guns, and if the armour was face-hardened or not. There seems to be some uncertainty about that.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by The_Enigma » 22 Nov 2007 16:17

Sorry my mistake there, the information on that page iirc refers to the initial deployment of the 2 panzer divisions during sonneblume, from other information regarding the initial deployment i believe the majoriity were the G model and only a few were the H model.

So soz cant really say what they were that late in the year :(

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 22 Nov 2007 16:43

Andreas wrote:Thanks for that. :) To clarify, the question is in particular whether the tanks had long (L60) or short (L42) 50s as guns, and if the armour was face-hardened or not. There seems to be some uncertainty about that.

All the best

Andreas


Hi Andreas

They can't possibly be Panzer IIIJ 'Specials' with the 50mm L/60 (long barrel) gun. They didn't arrive in Africa until April 1942 - their first fight was at Gazala in May 1942. For obvious reasons, the Russian Front had priority on the new L/60 armed Panzer III's.

They must be an earlier model if they have the L/42 and were delivered in December 1941. They could be Ausf G or H.

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Post by Andreas » 22 Nov 2007 16:55

What's the difference between the G and the H in terms of armour?

All the best

Andreas

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David W
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Post by David W » 23 Nov 2007 08:43

According to Chamberlain & Ellis....

Ausf H has extra 30mm bolted/welded to hull front, hull rear, superstructure front, & superstructure rear.

Arrivals in N.A for Dec '41 are 34 x PzKpfw III (all Ausf G & H, but don't know the splits). 11 x PzKpfw IV Ausf F. 8 x 15Cm S/fH.

In confirmation of earlier points.

No 37mm PzKpfw III in N.A.

No 50mm L/60 armed PzKpfw III in N.A that early in 1942.

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Post by Gothard » 23 Nov 2007 22:09

theres a lot of photos showing the offloading of the 15cm guns - maybe some detail available there try searching those first or references to them and you'll get more info on the transport operation. the IIIJ L/42's didnt arrive Naples till Jan.5 and it took time to organise the Convoy to Tripoli ( it had no less than 4 Battleships. ) I've video of that convoy loading, sailing and unloading http://www.artsmagicdvd.com Panzer III Dvd. I must point out this Dvd series is above excellent quality - best I've ever seen and worth buying - especially at the very low price they charge, narrated by a british guy with aqbsolutely no propaganda twist and a combination of video and stills. Most of the tanks were model G that were sent to North Africa - The photos I've seen are all backfitted G/H models. You can tell by the MG ball mounts on the H, basically if you see an H without a ball mount its a backfit.

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Post by Jon G. » 24 Nov 2007 22:34

Gothard - I respectfully submit that you are confusing convoy M. 42 (which was the first 'battleship convoy') with the second battleship convoy M. 43, which was bigger (144 tanks in M. 43 as opposed to 54 in M. 42), and which was delayed because the Italians did not know for sure how succesful their frogman raid on Alexandria (on December 18, in the wake of the first battle of Sirte, in turn related to convoy M. 42) had been until early January.

According to Sadkovich p. 225-226 the ships of convoy M. 43 all left Brindisi, Taranto, Messina and Naples on January 3rd, assembled the next day, and arrived safely and uneventfully at Tripoli on January 6th.

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Post by Jon G. » 25 Nov 2007 08:28

From Seekrieg, here is a nice (if slightly confused) map showing Axis convoy operations in December 1941 and the first battle of Sirte:

Image

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 25 Nov 2007 11:06

Gothard wrote:theres a lot of photos showing the offloading of the 15cm guns - maybe some detail available there try searching those first or references to them and you'll get more info on the transport operation. the IIIJ L/42's didnt arrive Naples till Jan.5 and it took time to organise the Convoy to Tripoli ( it had no less than 4 Battleships. ) I've video of that convoy loading, sailing and unloading http://www.artsmagicdvd.com Panzer III Dvd. I must point out this Dvd series is above excellent quality - best I've ever seen and worth buying - especially at the very low price they charge, narrated by a british guy with aqbsolutely no propaganda twist and a combination of video and stills. Most of the tanks were model G that were sent to North Africa - The photos I've seen are all backfitted G/H models. You can tell by the MG ball mounts on the H, basically if you see an H without a ball mount its a backfit.


Many thanks for that, it answers my next question. The IIIJ is factory up-armoured face-hardened?

All the best

Andreas

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