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  • Originally posted by richard g View Post
    OK, talking to myself again, more on the 'Rommel to Alexandria in 1941' scenario. Some extracts from A World at Arms, Gerhard Weinberg, Cambridge University Press, pp 222-223, new edition.

    "Unable to advance into Egypt without taking Tobruk and thereby opening the harbour for supplies, and also unable to concentrate all his forces on one push, Rommel insisted on a series of poorly planned and executed attacks on the Tobruk perimeter".

    "King Farouk of Egypt secretly contacted the Germans to explain his hopes for a German occupation of his country."

    "Time and time again German bombs and mines had closed the Suez Canal
    to shipping, a critical point ignored in many accounts."

    There is more but basically Weinberg obviously considered a German push into the Middle East in 1941 entirely possible and sensible.
    It's very dangerous to lay mines along a predictable path like a canal
    The RAF considered mining the Dortmund-Ems canal as one step from suicidal.
    They did do it and I believe a VC was won.
    The Germans done it too.
    It's neccessary to fly low and slow and AA and searchlight sites can be placed confidently.
    If a mine is laid it's position can be determined very easily.
    Depending on the type of mine dropped it could then be simply exploded in place without even the RN becoming involved.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by flash View Post
      I live in "Europe" (nearly)and I can honestly say the Germans have won!!!!
      They done this by losing the war.
      If war is a continuation of politics by other means then peace can be too!
      And see what happens once Germany begins to call on those European Foreign debts as per German bailout monies, the fact is that Germany owns the EEC and the rest of Europe knows it.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by richard g
        My basic point is that Rommel (shorthand for any Axis force he may command) could have logistically reached Alexandria, had he been briefed and equipped to do so. Had that happened then it would have caused choas for the Allies, particularly logistically. The political implications that would likely have followed in Egypt and elsewhere also cannot be ignored...
        Has it occurred to you that if the Germans decided to send more troops the British would have reacted to this new reality. For example, in the OTL the British knew that Rommel was to receive 2 divisions and that they would be complete on the ground by the end of May. They also knew how much could be landed in the ports in the way of cargo and how many tons of supplies were needed for maintenance. If the Germans decide to send 4 divisions a number of things could possibley happen.

        The first is the British would look at the concentration dates, perhaps June 41. If the threat is considered severe enough to their position in Cirenaica they could scale back on Greece (perhaps only send forces to Crete).

        Second. The British were not all that weak and if they decide the four German divisions are a threat they have the following forces available to Mid-East Command without any changes:

        7th Armoured division - (they need only send the tanks that shipped in the Tiger convoy one month early and around the Cape to be there by late April.
        2nd Armoured division
        1st Army Tank Brigade HQ - thanks to Tiger both 4th and 7th RTR can be re-equipped
        6th Infantry - later designated as 70th Division
        6th Australian
        7th Australian
        9th Australian
        2nd New Zealand
        1st South African - being transferred from Abyssinia
        4th Indian - being transferred from Abyssinia
        5th Indian - being transferred from Abyssinia
        11th African - in Abyssinia
        12th African - in Abyssinia
        Polish Carpathian Brigade
        1st Free French Bde

        Note that all of these divisions/brigades are formed and equipped. Without adding anything other than the early shipment of Tiger the British have far more options than do the Germans. Now, admittedly, not all of these divisions can be deployed forward to El Agheila but certainly all of 2nd Armoured and perhaps one more Australian division can deploy to Tobruk and they could hold the port (7th and 9th Australian, 1st Army tank brigade) while 2nd AD withdraws to link up with the 7th AD. Two or three more divisions could stand on the Egyptian frontier (7th Armoured, 2nd NZ, 6th Australian) while the Alamein position could easily hold another pair.

        This still leaves two divisions and two brigades to deal with Syria. Since Abyssinia has been dealt with and Crete needs only a base force garrison the British do not even need the two African divisions (but they are available for Africa or, as in the OTL, India/Burma). With all of these troops also comes the corps HQ as well as artillery, AA and logistics assets so instead of a weakened XIII Corps the British could deploy XXX and X Corps as well.

        All of this without a single additional formation sent from England,... just kit for 7th AD.

        Originally posted by richard g
        ...As for the build up of Allied forces in the Middle East, it must be kept in mind that they were scattered all over, mainly to guard against Axis incursions in that politically volatile area. I recall from somewhere that Wavell considered there were no spare forces for Greece, for example, except those he eventually used.
        When he was first ordered to form the expeditionary force that was true. Both Indian, the S African and African divisions were in Abyssinia until Mar-April when they became free for use elsewhere. 7th AD was worn out and its tanks were either turned over to 2nd AD or returned to workshops for major repairs. The NZ division was fitting out and completing its deployment but that was complete by May. The Australians were either In Cirenaica or on their way to Greece as was 2nd AD. This left 6th Infantry, the Poles, the Free French who were to be assigned to Syria until Rommel's foray changed things.

        Originally posted by richard g
        ...There was no pool of spare trained and equipped troops sitting around with nothing to do even though the figures might indicate otherwise. So if Rommel had shut Alexandria down then what was likely to follow would have had severe consequences logistically for all of them.

        Of course Hitler was focussed on Russia so the priority was never there but that does not mean that a planned Axis thrust into the Middle East would have failed or was of little value. The oil alone guaranteed value, both to the Axis and by depriving the Allies.
        Let's take this in pieces.

        1)How was Rommel going to shut down Alexandria? He needs to wait for his divisions (4?) to arrive and concentrate as well as the build up of supplies. In the meantime the British react. They knew what he had historically, they would know in the alternate as well. The more divisions deployed the more supplies and time required.

        2) Supplies - Rommel's original two divisions brought with them about 5000 trucks for moving supplies. To this was added some 3000 Italian trucks as well as a few hundred more by dismounting the Trento motor division. These 8000 trucks (suffering 50% off road at a time on average) were tasked with moving the roughly 70,000 tons per month required for his army of 7 divisions. Now you want to add to this logistics strain by adding 2 (?) more divisions. Where are the supplies, mainly fuel coming from to support this additional force?

        3) Fuel -

        part i - a larger commitment to Africa would require more trucks. Even if economies are found and this additional corps only requires 3000 trucks, from where do they come? The army groups in Russia had only some 14,000 trucks (iirc) for the movement of supplies from the railheads to the corps. Which army group do you immobilise to keep a mere two divisions moving in Africa. Africa used more trucks to supply the front than did Russia due to the lack of infrastructure and the nature of the climate and terrain. As it was Rommel had about as many trucks in 1942 for hauling supplies that an army group did in Russia, and he had only four Germans divisions at Alamein.

        part ii - Where is the fuel coming for the required shipping to move the men and equipment then the supplies for these additional divisions. Double the German troops and the shipping requirements also double. The fuel used by the German forces in Europe and the Italian force in Africa and the RM all come from the same sources. Do you plan on immobilising the U-boats to fuel the Italian navy and merchant marine? The German surface units? Both? Part of both?

        part iii - The trucks, tanks, tractors, carriers in this expanded German force also require more fuel and spares. Which panzer corps is removed from which army group in Barbarossa to send to Africa? Or do you remove the panzer corps from the attack on Greece? The forces in Barbarossa were already inadequate for the task so removing a pz corps or even a motorised corps weakens one thrust or another in Russia

        part iv - capturing oil is pipe dream. There is very little oil in Egypt and the next fields are at Mosul and the Persian Gulf. The distance from Alexandria to Mosul is greater than the distance from Warsaw to Moscow (approximately) over desert terrain with no road or rail infrastructure of note (the British had to greatly expand the small pre-war rail line from the Suez to the Egyptian frontier). The distance from any German refinery was even further. Why would OKW agree to this when the resources Germany needs can all be found much closer to home in the Soviet Union and reached without the need to cross the Mediterranean and then drive from what amounts to Tripoli to Mosul,... or Paris to Moscow.

        part v - refineries. If by some miracle the axis were to reach Mosul, how do you get the oil back to Europe for refining. Italy has no tanker fleet of the size required, there is no pipe line and any refining capacity would be destroyed long before the Germans got there. In the OTL the Germans captured the oil region of Miakop but they were never able to make use of a single drop. The Russians wrecked everything of value and even after four months in German hands, no oil was shipped back for refining. And Maikop is much closer than Mosul.

        In summary, the German high command got it right. There were no strategic targets within reach in Africa and thus no reason for Germany to expend more than a minimal amount of resources there to prop up the Italians. Alexandria is not worth the effort for the simple fact that once Italy entered the war the Suez Canal was effectively closed until the summer of 1943. As of June 10th, 1940 the British had to sail around Africa regardless if the cargoes were headed for Egypt or India.

        Germany had finite resources and Africa was simply too costly, too far away and promised too little to be worth the effort. Your fascination with Tobruk is misleading. We have the facts and figures concerning the ports capacity and know from history that the Italians could not use it to much benefit in 1940 and early 41 before its fall to the British. The British were able to keep a reinforced infantry division supplied (just) but the port did not ease their supply situation much prior to Rommel's arrival. And finally, in 1942 when it was captured in June its discharge capacity was of not much value to Rommel's army at Alamein and it was constantly disrupted by air and naval interdiction. Tobruk was not the answer to the axis supply problems in Africa.
        Last edited by The Purist; 11 Sep 12, 15:26.
        The Purist

        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

        Comment


        • Weinberg, A World at Arms, Cambridge University Press, certainly maintains that Britain, America and Russia were concerned about the German threat to the Middle East as late as 1942. He devotes several pages to the various factors involved, the effects on policies and the reactions. All of which clearly indicate that there were good reasons for the Allied concerns.

          P.350 "Hitler....now saw the opportunity to demolish the whole British position in the Middle East......Berlin and Rome agreed to skip the Hercules operation and put all their resources......into the effort to seize Egypt." For that assertion Weinberg notes an official source.

          P.354 There was a good reason to send (American) assistance because a complete German victory in North Africa would threaten Russia's southern flank and open the possability of a German-Japanese junction in the Indian Ocean..."

          P.356 "Concerned about the great danger of a complete Axis triumph in the Middle East that would enable the Germans and japanese to cut the Allied supply route across Iran to Russia and across India to China , the Americans ordered the new bomber force being built up in India under General Lewis Bereton to be shifted to the Egyptian front."

          There is heaps more of quotable material but it is tiresome to do so I'm knocking off With a final comment. If there was no viable threat to the Middle East then the combined Allies got it wrong at the time even though the situation was crystal clear?
          Last edited by richard g; 15 Sep 12, 02:41.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by richard g View Post
            Weinberg, A World at Arms, Cambridge University Press, certainly maintains that Britain, America and Russia were concerned about the German threat to the Middle East as late as 1942. He devotes several pages to the various factors involved, the effects on policies and the reactions. All of which clearly indicate that there were good reasons for the Allied concerns.

            P.350 "Hitler....now saw the opportunity to demolish the whole British position in the Middle East......Berlin and Rome agreed to skip the Hercules operation and put all their resources......into the effort to seize Egypt." For that assertion Weinberg notes an official source.

            P.354 There was a good reason to send (American) assistance because a complete German victory in North Africa would threaten Russia's southern flank and open the possability of a German-Japanese junction in the Indian Ocean..."

            P.356 "Concerned about the great danger of a complete Axis triumph in the Middle East that would enable the Germans and japanese to cut the Allied supply route across Iran to Russia and across India to China , the Americans ordered the new bomber force being built up in India under General Lewis Bereton to be shifted to the Egyptian front."

            There is heaps more of quotable material but it is tiresome to do so I'm knocking off With a final comment. If there was no viable threat to the Middle East then the combined Allies got it wrong at the time even though the situation was crystal clear?
            Weingburg, or you, needs to define all their resources, p. 350, considering the plans for the USSR, etc.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by grognard View Post
              Weingburg, or you, needs to define all their resources, p. 350, considering the plans for the USSR, etc.
              Why? The quote shows that the Axis considered a Middle East objective worth pursuing and their intention to do so. And how about you quote something useful to the discussion instead of merely trying to snipe mine?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by richard g View Post
                Why? The quote shows that the Axis considered a Middle East objective worth pursuing and their intention to do so. And how about you quote something useful to the discussion instead of merely trying to snipe mine?
                What part of the word ALL fits 2-4 divisions vs. ca. 160 for Russia?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by richard g View Post
                  Weinberg, A World at Arms, Cambridge University Press, certainly maintains that Britain, America and Russia were concerned about the German threat to the Middle East as late as 1942. He devotes several pages to the various factors involved, the effects on policies and the reactions. All of which clearly indicate that there were good reasons for the Allied concerns....<snip>...
                  Richard,

                  Texts that speak in generalities are not of much value in such a s discussion. The Germans, Italian, British and US all were living in the moment and were not aware of what we know thanks to hindsight. For all the Germans and Italian enthusiasm in July 1942 for pushing on to the middle they could come up with only two addition infantry units for Africa,... both of them without transport (Folgore parachute and 164th Light, a converted LW air landing division). They were of no offensive value and had to be used to hold the Alamin line as captured supplies dried up and Rommel's logistics situation deteriorated. No additional trucks (there were none anyway), no additional fuel (same as the trucks) other than basic requirements, no tanks beyond TO&E were sent to Africa.

                  In short, Hitler got all excited, told Rommel to go like hell, then soon lost interest as the fighting in Russia grew in intensity. If one looks globally, the summer of 1942 looks as if both the USSR and the British are about to collapse,...

                  but we know better

                  The Germans thought 8th Army was defeated and broken,... it was not, it was disorganised. Its tank losses had been heavy but XIII Corps (in particular) was almost intact and with further units brought up from the Delta it was even stronger. When XXX Corps reached Alamein it had managed to take possession of more than 200 new tanks and was now able to support the infantry in their defensive battle.

                  Once Rommel used up his captured fuel he found himself in the situation that the fuel delivered to Tripoli and Benghazi was being consumed in the effort to get at least some of it to the troops at Alamein.

                  If you cannot show where the trucks, tanks, fuel and other troops are coming from as well as the means to supply all these extras simply referring to general history that states "Hitler now saw that..." is not of much value when placed up against sources that examine the details behind the campaign.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by richard g View Post
                    Why? The quote shows that the Axis considered a Middle East objective worth pursuing and their intention to do so. And how about you quote something useful to the discussion instead of merely trying to snipe mine?
                    No, it makes a sweeping statement without reference to resources. Hitler may as well have said, "Let's push on to India". Its not much evidence of actual *capabilities* at all. After all, Rommel was stopped in a week at Alamein and the Germans in Russia never got past Grozny.

                    Quite obviously the ability to get to Mosul was not within the capabilities of the axis armies in Africa, and they were a hell of lot stronger in 1942 (12.5 divisions) than they were in April 1941 (2.5 divisions)
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                    Comment


                    • I am confused about why we are arguing about 1942 or even about late 1941 in this thread. It seems evident that any Axis victory in the Middle East in 1942 is not going to win them the war.
                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      ....Quite obviously the ability to get to Mosul was not within the capabilities of the axis armies in Africa, and they were a hell of lot stronger in 1942 (12.5 divisions) than they were in April 1941 (2.5 divisions)
                      However
                      Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                      You need to look at what was happening 'on the other side of the hill' a bit more

                      "THE OCEAN CONVOYS, whose work during 1940 was referred to in the previous volume, continued to pour men into the Middle East at an average rate of more than 1,000 a day during the seven months from January to July 1941. Not counting the movements from other parts of the Command, such as the transfer of 4th and 5th Indian Divisions and 1st South African Division from East Africa after the surrender of the Duke of Aosta, the arrivals at Egyptian ports were, in round numbers:

                      From the United Kingdom 144,000
                      From Australia and New Zealand 60,000
                      From India 23,000
                      From South Africa 12,000
                      or, in all, 239,000

                      of which about 6,000 were for the Royal Navy and 13,000 for the Royal Air Force. Included in these figures are: from the United Kingdom, the 50th Division, Headquarters 10th Corps, the rest of the New Zealand Division and of the 7th Australian Division, many anti-aircraft, engineer, signal, and administrative units; from Australia, the 9th Australian Division and various corps troops; and from South Africa part of the 2nd South African Division. During the same period of seven months over a million tons of military stores, ammunition, weapons, aircraft, and vehicles were off-loaded at Egyptian ports, an average of nearly 5,000 tons a day."

                      http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/U...-Med-2-11.html
                      http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/U...-Med-I-13.html is also relevant.

                      Taking these together, it seems that the 1942 strength, which could be supplied if poorly in 1942, would have had a very good chance of victory in late 1940.

                      What I initially suggested was

                      Originally posted by Mostlyharmless View Post
                      ...
                      5. Various versions of the Mediterranean option. The point is that Germany needs to intervene in the Mediterranean quickly and ideally starting from July 1940. One big problem is persuading Mussolini to agree. Even victory in the Mediterranean does not force Britain out of the war. However, it can remove the victories against Italy that encouraged Britain during 1940-1 and may make Britain's position more difficult if, for example, they have to convoy ships in the Indian Ocean in 1941.
                      ....
                      I am still not at all sure that such a campaign could win the war but it seems just possible that Axis victories could lead to a weakening of British willpower.

                      Comment


                      • Too much hindsight.

                        As great pains have been taken to show, it was not possible. The resources are not within reach, the troops are not available,... especially the tanks. The logistics of the situation are impossible.

                        In the summer of 1940 the Italians could barely supply the troops they had in Africa much less accept more. Germany was desperately short of trucks as it had to return a good portion of the truck fleet used in the French campaign (drafted from civilian business) back to the economy. The tank fleet was down by 50%, air losses approached 1500 a/c and logistics were, frankly, a mess.

                        Above all of this is the fact that everyone (except the British government) were thinking the war was just about over. Even the British military was (rightfully) worried. The Germans were expecting the British to sue for peace or be convinced by a few bombs. The peace dividend was at hand and Hitler was already looking at Russia,... where all the resources were without the pain of getting there via the Mediterranean and the desert.

                        By 1942 the Germans and Italians had managed to build and deploy enough trucks (inclusive of 50% attrition), supply them with the filters, tires and spares required for the desert, increase fuel supply from the various sources, deploy an army... and so on.

                        In 1940 it was all the Italians could do to supply a handful of leg infantry divisions (trucks pulled the guns, troops walked) much less an army of 12.5 divisions, 6 of those armoured or motorised.

                        One can never forget that the defeat of the USSR is the goal and everything else is secondary to that objective.
                        The Purist

                        Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                        Comment


                        • I am not denying that there were problems but the critical problems were political problems. Had Hitler and Mussolini agreed in July 1940 that German forces needed to be sent to Libya, I believe that Egypt would have fallen.

                          The logistical problems were soluble. The German Army did not actually need all their trucks as they were not fighting too many battles between July 1940 and March 1941 and German, Italian and French trucks could have been shipped to libya.

                          According to page 20 of a the reference that I gave earlier http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA367611

                          “The Italian military had over 167,000 military personnel, 8000 trucks, 339 armor vehicles, and 306 airplanes in her colony of Libya in June 1940 (Montanari 1990,463-466).”

                          Not all the Italian trucks were light because the Italian light tanks were transported on trucks in 1940 when contact with the enemy was not expected.

                          In 1941, the Germans received a one off gain. According to a post at Axishistory by Jon G. http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=116941

                          “According to Piekalkiewicz the French handed over 1,100 trucks, 400 cars, 300 motorbikes and 10 buses to the Germans as part of the Vichy-German accord of may 1941. As I understand it, these vehicles came directly from French depots in Vichy North Africa. They weren't delivered by ship, although apparently another 400 trucks were delivered from France at a later point.”

                          It is possible that such a deal could have been negotiated earlier, especially if the Germans had been willing to release some French prisoners.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Mostlyharmless
                            ...The logistical problems were soluble. The German Army did not actually need all their trucks as they were not fighting too many battles between July 1940 and March 1941 and German, Italian and French trucks could have been shipped to libya....
                            Were they? Not that simple. Why strip the army of trucks it would need in the spring 1941 for a *temporary* foray into Africa in the second half of 1940? Once you set a force in motion in one direction it becomes difficult to turn it around. How easy do you think it would have been in late July and August to get more than two divisions to Africa when the Italians were struggling to on their own. Why send forces to Libya in the late summer of 40 only to recall them back to Europe mid-winter to refit and re-equip for Russia. The logistics requirementsof what you propose are staggering.

                            A couple of divisions introduced over 8-12 weeks maybe. But this had to compete for shipping with the Italian army.

                            Originally posted by Mostlyharmless
                            ...
                            According to page 20 of a the reference that I gave earlier http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA367611

                            “The Italian military had over 167,000 military personnel, 8000 trucks, 339 armor vehicles, and 306 airplanes in her colony of Libya in June 1940 (Montanari 1990,463-466).”

                            Not all the Italian trucks were light because the Italian light tanks were transported on trucks in 1940 when contact with the enemy was not expected....
                            I read the thesis but it has problems and is self-contradictory in a number of places.

                            It talks about Italy having developed their own doctrine of mobile warfare but then fails to show that was effective against European armies. It worked in1935-36 against Ethiopian tribesmen and the poor army of that nation but failed against the British from the outset of the war.

                            The 8000 *motor vehicles* were stretched to their limit to keep the army of 14 divisions and independent battalions and reg'ts supplied as well as provide transport for all the guns and supplies as well as transport a few battalions. There was no surplus of trucks.

                            The author also fails to prove his point about doctrine and has to admit the Italians failed to implement it but not explaining why. The answer was they were not trained in manoeuvre warfare. When motor columns were met by the British the Italians had no idea what to do and reverted to tactics used against tribesmen. They formed square. This episode is famous andit showed the poor level of training and the poor equipment of the Italian army in 1940.

                            The Italian tanks went into battle with the L3/35 versus the British MkVI and A9 cruisers. It wasn't much of a fight regardless of how brave the Italians were. The Italian air force was large but largely grounded for want of spares and other supplies,... the air force too needed access to those 8000 trucks and cars.

                            In any case, the complaint about "not employing doctrine" but they "could have" is weak. The army was not trained in the new theories and the army was not equipped to fight those theories. For example, he complains the Italians failed to include AT guns in mobile columns in 1940 but ignores the fact that AT guns in Italian divisions were normally kept in the artillery regiments which were deployed to the rear. He also otes the light guns that were included in the columns did not have have AP ammunition but fails to note that the 75mm Italian light field piece in use (and its larger 100mm piece) in 1940 did not *have* AP amunition. The British, on the other hand, were trained and equipped. Here the author again contradicts himself. He claims the 4th Indian division and 7th Armoured were in need of training in one breath and then notes they were well trained and dominated the Italians with another. He also makes the questionable claim that 7th Armoured was less effective due to the arrival in early 1940 of additional tanks. This is a false claim as the 7th AD had been using the MkVI and the A9 since those tanks first arrived in Egypt bginning in 1938. The author has no answer to the fact that British very soon attained a morale advantage over the Italians mainly because their smaller army *was* fully motorised and trained o make use of mobility. He riposte is that "the Italian's could and should have".

                            Its goes on. While the article has good information (also available elsewhere) the author should have taken note that anyone reading his article may also have access to his sources and might have knowledge of the situation. He played a bit loose with the facts.

                            Take for example the port situaion. Claiming Benghazi could handle 35,000 ton per month is not what van Crevald states. What is stated is that Benghazi, under optimal conditions could have managed about 22,500 tons (if one does the math) but available shipping limited this to 15,000 tons and that under interdiction from the RN and RAF it was often less.

                            Tobruk is another stretching of the truth. The claim, misusing van Crevald again, is that it could handle 25,000 tons per month when in fact it rarely achieved 600 tons for a day. If those 600 ton days could be stretched to a 30 day month the total is inly 18,000 tons and the fact is the actual tonnage was far less.

                            The fact is that while at the Itaian army group in Africa was at peace on June 1939 it three main ports could handle about 75,000 tons of supply. This placed the 14 divisions and attached units, the air force and static installation in a deficit position. It could just maintain itself by taking certain economies (as the army did in June-August along the Egyptian frontier) but it could only manage the advance in September by 1/3 of its forces by immobilising the rest.

                            When the British came back the other way in December they met the Italian regiments and divisions strung out in seprated camps and positions, unsupported and, even in December, totally ill-equipped to fight any sort of mobile battle. The CW troops were able to tackle each position in turn with superior local strength and after two months had destroyed 10 Italian divisions before their own personnel and equipment exhaustion and logistics brought them to a halt.

                            It should be noted as well that when Rommel asked for two additional divisions in early 41 to take Tobruk these could not be provided because the shipping could not be found to lift or keep them upplied and the ports could not handle the additional supplies required to keep them in the fight. Van Creval notes that even the capture of Tobruk would not have helped due to its small size and exposure to British air and naval attack.

                            Finally, it should be noted that the Germany navy, in planning their supply efforts with the Italians took one look at Tobruk's facilities and declined to make use of it even if captured. Too small and too logistically inefficient.

                            Originally posted by Mostlyharmless
                            ...In 1941, the Germans received a one off gain. According to a post at Axishistory by Jon G. http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=116941

                            “According to Piekalkiewicz the French handed over 1,100 trucks, 400 cars, 300 motorbikes and 10 buses to the Germans as part of the Vichy-German accord of may 1941. As I understand it, these vehicles came directly from French depots in Vichy North Africa. They weren't delivered by ship, although apparently another 400 trucks were delivered from France at a later point.”

                            It is possible that such a deal could have been negotiated earlier, especially if the Germans had been willing to release some French prisoners.
                            Anything is possible but why would the Germans want to do this when they were still working out the details of the French surrender, had not heard of Egypt, were looking toward the British Isles and the only long term thoughts were concerning the Soviet Union. They were also needing to demobilise a number of divisions to lessen the strain on the budget and the economy in general. They were not looking for further adventures accept where Russia was concerned. Again,... reality checks as to what was important to Germany, what it has resources to do and what was it planning to do with resources it had.
                            Last edited by The Purist; 18 Sep 12, 11:23.
                            The Purist

                            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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