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North Africa falls 1941?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Destroyer25 View Post
    PGA, but yes, the lack of bridging equipment is problematic, but so is reinforcing the British when Rommel controls the west bank of Suez.
    I don't see why. The bulk of supplies and reinforcements/replacements came via the Persian Gulf. Iirc the rail network was adequate to route anything that should have passed through the canal that way. British/Commonwealth forces in Southern Egypt would probably be more difficult to maintain but there's nothing down there to encourage Rommel to drive south.
    Signing out.

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    • #17
      Assuming Battleaxe goes even worse for the British than historically, the advance on Suez would mean the lose of 9th Australian division and 32nd Army tank brigade in Tobruk. This would take time to accomplish, delying the advance on Alexandria by other than light forces (initially). At the same time the east African campaign and Syria are wrapped up freeing troops to reform British lines. The canal is too long for either army to do more than place outpost along most of its length but both sides would need to position themselves in strength to the north to protect their LOCs. For the British they would need to cover the road and rail line back to through Sinai, for the Axis they would need to cover the approaches to Alexandria from the Port Said region.

      Down south, 8th Army could form a new line along the only route to Sudan and that is near El Wasta, in the lower Nile Valley south of Cairo. To the west are the sand seas of the Sahara and to the east rocky mountainous country. As for the axis, provided Rommel can make "some" use of a mangle Alexandria by late Jul-Aug he could move some troops and supplies forward quicker than by road, assuming rolling stock is destroyed withdrawn by the British (quite likely).

      The Italo-German Pz Army could look like this

      Pz Group Africa:

      DAK: 5th Light div, 15th Pz div, 90th Light div (reg't strength)

      Italian XX Corps: 132nd Ariete div, 101st Trieste motor div

      Italian X Corps: 60th Sabratha, 55th Savonna, 102nd Trento

      Italian XXI Corps: 17th Pavia, 25th Balogna, 27th Brescia.

      The British retreat would likely see 9th Army absorb most of the former 8th Army's strength to add to the forces from Syria, while the HQ 8th Army withdraws south of Cairo with 7th Armoured. Based on the same time period these forces were available to the British.

      9th Army (Suez/Sinai):

      Anzac Corps: 6th Australian div, 7th Australian div, 2nd New Zealand div, 1st Army Tank Brigade (less 4th RTR)

      XIII Corps: 6th Infantry div (later renamed 70th), 4th Indian div, Free French Bde, Polish Carpathian Bde

      XXX Corps: 10th Armoured div, 22nd Armoured Bde, 29th Motor bde

      8th Army (El Wasta/Nile):

      X Corps: 7th Armoured div, 5th Indian div

      XII Corps: 1st South Afr div, 11th African div, 12th African div, 4th RTR (bn)
      Last edited by The Purist; 06 May 12, 10:54.
      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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      • #18
        I'll throw a spanner into the mix.

        It is 1941 and the British are fighting in heavy combat and all of a sudden in Cairo a groups of Egyptian officers belonging to a group called the Free Officers Movement led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat and others with Egyptian army troops seize control of British HQ in Cairo and within days of this the nation of Egypt revolts against the British and one incident that is borne out of this is that Auchinleck and his HQ is captured and during the the revolt the British fail to secure or destroy the Suez Canal.

        Ok it is not perfect but somewhat plausible.

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        • #19
          The problem with this is the fact that the British forces in the Delta were far stronger than the Egyptian army and any HQ was rather well secured (the British were on the lookout for trouble) with troops which could not be maintained in the desert due to supply limits. The army was also deployed to protect its line of communications between the ports and desert. As for securing the canal, they have two armies numbering a dozen divisions, the RN and the RAF, RAAF. It takes just one ship scuttled in the canal and it is blocked. Then again, simply deploying on the east bank also blocks the canal.

          It would make more sense for the Egyptians to come on board once the British withdraw from the Delta and Cairo. This would, of course, strain Rommel's line of communication so it is likely the Egyptians would be directed to the corner and asked to keep out of the way.
          Last edited by The Purist; 08 May 12, 14:17.
          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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          • #20
            Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
            I'll throw a spanner into the mix.

            It is 1941 and the British are fighting in heavy combat and all of a sudden in Cairo a groups of Egyptian officers belonging to a group called the Free Officers Movement led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat and others with Egyptian army troops seize control of British HQ in Cairo and within days of this the nation of Egypt revolts against the British and one incident that is borne out of this is that Auchinleck and his HQ is captured and during the the revolt the British fail to secure or destroy the Suez Canal.

            Ok it is not perfect but somewhat plausible.
            Anwar Sadats autobiography (there is a English language version somewhere on my shelf) has a chapter on that. He was not optimistic about what the small lightly armed Egyptian army might have accomplished.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              The problem with this is the fact that the British forces in the Delta were far stronger than the Egyptian army and any HQ was rather well secured (the British were on the lookout for trouble) with troops which could not be maintained in the desert due to supply limits. The army was also deployed to protect its line of communications between the ports and desert. As for securing the canal, they have two armies numbering a dozen divisions, the RN and the RAF, RAAF. It takes just one ship scuttled in the canal and it is blocked. Then again, simply deploying on the east bank also blocks the canal.

              It would make more sense for the Egyptians to come on board once the British withdraw from the Delta and Cairo. This would, of course, strain Rommel's line of communication so it is likely the Egyptians would be directed to the corner and asked to keep out of the way.
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              Anwar Sadats autobiography (there is a English language version somewhere on my shelf) has a chapter on that. He was not optimistic about what the small lightly armed Egyptian army might have accomplished.
              Well i see your points, and it may not have worked.

              What would the Germans and Italians need to do to conquer the rest of the Middle East?, i have tried to think of a few methods but have come up short.

              Welcome any suggestions.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                What would the Germans and Italians need to do to conquer the rest of the Middle East?, i have tried to think of a few methods but have come up short.

                Welcome any suggestions.

                Not shooting down 'Strafer' Gott would have given them their best chance.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                  What would the Germans and Italians need to do to conquer the rest of the Middle East?, i have tried to think of a few methods but have come up short.

                  Welcome any suggestions.
                  Apart from successfully staging 'Operation Sealion', there's nothing they can do. A large scale Arab/Muslim revolt could be exploited but the likelihood of that occurring is minimal. In any case the Axis don't have the capability of stirring that up and there's little to suggest that even if it happened the successor regimes would come down in favour of the Axis. Logistics rule out any thought of prosecuting a successful military campaign.
                  Signing out.

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                  • #24
                    Indeed. The logistics infrastruce east of Suez make Russia look like a transportation utopia and the front expands to a size almost as big as the war in Russia. And since the British collapse follows Barbarossa's launch the Germans have nothing to spare to reinforce Rommel, especially in 1941.

                    Like Alamein, a push to Cairo would likely spell the doom for the axis in Africa. Its easier to defend Libya from the Libyan frontier. This just reinforces the point that Rommel commanded a side show within over all German strategy. OKW Berlin new the limitations of possibilities in Africa, C-in-C DAK didn't.
                    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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