Looks like my post didn't make it, so this is a repost
Not sure how you can claim that. The majority of ships in that list is "lost" from Allied action, i.e. sunk or captured at sea by the British & French navies. Those in port at the time of the declaration of war are interned, those at sea are intercepted. Italy was the same: not all the ships "lost" on the declaration of war were interned in foreign ports, some were intercepted as well.Jon G. wrote:Here is a very comprehensive list of early war German merchantmen losses, taken from the brilliant German website I linked to earlier. The overall number of interned ships appears to be relatively modest, compared to eg. the number of ships lost to collisions or mines.
My point anyway was in answer to the claim that some of the ships lost to their owner at the declaration of war did not always end up being lost to their side, e.g. German merchant ships ending up being of use to the Italian and Japanese navies. As far as I can tell, the bulk of the ships lost to Germany, and particularly Italy - a country with longer sealanes and less forewarning of war - were permanently lost to the Axis cause.
There were 56 German merchant ships in the Mediterranean as of 10 June 1940 for 203,512 tons. The total rose to 67 by 31.12.40, then 64 by 31.12.41, 82 by 31.12.42, and 73 by 08.09.43. "German" includes a hefty dose of captures (Greek, French, Yugoslav ships) though I suppose that the June 1940 figure is fairly accurate as opportunities for the Germans to capture Polish merchant ships in the Mediterranean would have been fewJon G. wrote:The vast majority of ships outside German waters no doubt ended up as lost anyway as the war went on, but they could and did provide valuable service to the German war effort before being sunk - an example being the not insignificant amount of German merchant ships in the Mediterranean.
By that time, my hand count from the above-mentioned site (which I had downloaded years ago ) shows 90 merchant ships lost for 444,996 tons to the Allied blockade, skipping most ships under 1,000 tons and ships lost from other causes than Allied navies or internment (i.e. some ships scuttled and I didn't normally count them). Neither did I count ships lost during the Norway operation, though I did count ships sold to the USA (not to Mexico) and the batch of ships captured by the Dutch when Holland was invaded in May (the ships had taken refuge in Dutch ports where they could hardly "provide valuable service to the German war effort )".
What this shows is twice as much German tonnage being lost to the Allies, either interned in Allied ports or captured at sea, than were put to use in the Med.
To be more precise, 700,000 tons is the total amount shipping that remained in Vichy-controled France when the Germans occupied it in November 1942, of which Vichy "agreed" to "voluntarily contribute to the defense of the Reich" an amount of 645,000 tons, keeping 50,000 for its own use.Jon G. wrote:I recall reading that no less than 700,000 tons worth of Vichy merchant ships were put to use by the Germans following the invasion of the demilitarized part of France. To give an idea of proportion, 700,000 tons of merchant ships constituted ~½ the size of the Italian merchant navy at the time, or approximately what Dönitz' U-Boats would sink in a month when they did best.
By the end of the Tunisian campaign, only about 100,000 tons of the commandeered Vichy merchant fleet remained - the rest had been sunk by Allied air and sea forces.
At the time, the Italian merchant fleet had some 1,000,000 tons left of which only some 400,000 could be sailed to North Africa (the rest being undergoing repairs, or coastal stuff used for Albania & Greece) so the Vichy fleet - some 80,000 tons of which consisted of light coastal shipping, not counting the proportion of inoperable ships from the rest of the total - instantly doubled the Axis trans-Mediterranean lift capacity.
Of the above mentioned 400,000 tons of Italian shipping, 325,000 had been sunk by the time Tunis surrendered.