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1942 El Alamein Bypassed

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  • 1942 El Alamein Bypassed

    in 1942, the Btitish Rail link in Egypt ended at Bittawi . Siwa Oasis is 160 miles further, on the Lybian frontier.
    Siwa was the base of the LRDG, has copious fresh water.

    could an mobile force be assembled to attack north, bypassing the Defenses at El alimein?

    (Note: not taking sides or promoting the idea....)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siwa_Oasis
    Attached Files
    Last edited by marktwain; 06 Sep 14, 10:11.
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

  • #2
    Hypothetically yes. The LRDG & SAS both took the long route, tho they usually passed through the salt marshes of the Quatarra region. I am unsure if any "Jock Columns" used that route. Or if they even operated during the static phase of the Alimein battles.

    The primary question is if the Brits could have organized a motor transport of supplies entirely around the Quattara area. A few minutes with the map should give a idea of how many hundreds or thousands of kilometers might be added to the supply road. Supplies would include maintinace sites for the trucks and tanks. The latter required some sort of forward repair site nearby if they were to do sustained operations. A road march of 300 kilometers could produce a breakdown rate of over 40%, necessitating a robust repair service in the corps making the manuver.

    Probablly a lot of pros and cons to this. I'm wondering how much serious consideration the 8th Army gave to this.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Hypothetically yes. The LRDG & SAS both took the long route, tho they usually passed through the salt marshes of the Quatarra region. I am unsure if any "Jock Columns" used that route. Or if they even operated during the static phase of the Alimein battles.

      The primary question is if the Brits could have organized a motor transport of supplies entirely around the Quattara area. A few minutes with the map should give a idea of how many hundreds or thousands of kilometers might be added to the supply road. Supplies would include maintinace sites for the trucks and tanks. The latter required some sort of forward repair site nearby if they were to do sustained operations. A road march of 300 kilometers could produce a breakdown rate of over 40%, necessitating a robust repair service in the corps making the manuver.

      Probablly a lot of pros and cons to this. I'm wondering how much serious consideration the 8th Army gave to this.
      Excellent point. The British would have had to lay 160 miles of military rail road across the desert, AND PROB. REBUILD THE EXISTING rail link.

      Plus the buildup may have Induced Rommel to defy his Fuerher , and pull back to SAollum in stages...
      The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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      • #4
        That said it might be worth looking at the pros and cons of establishing a more robust supply depot on the south side of the Quattara area is worth looking at. It might support some sort of raiding force like the Jock Columns, or larger conventional mobile groups. If nothing lese it requires the Axis army divert more to guard its flank and rear.

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        • #5
          Apparently, they could average abut 1-2 miles a day, depending on strafing . The Best crews were on the Northern desert railway.

          eighty days to Siwa...
          Start on July 1st/42, or its wasted effort...
          The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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          • #6
            Oh. I was thinking of something small enough to be established by automotive transport. Not sure if that was practical either. There would have to be a solid road/s established, refuel and repair stations, a depot area, communications, security, air cover....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              Oh. I was thinking of something small enough to be established by automotive transport. Not sure if that was practical either. There would have to be a solid road/s established, refuel and repair stations, a depot area, communications, security, air cover....
              Ice cream , air conditioning, women,....
              Attached Files
              The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

              Comment


              • #8
                I doubt that such a move could be kept quiet or unnoticed long from the Axis. There were plenty of operatives in Egypt willing to give them information and both the Germans and Italians regularly sent reconnaissance planes to scout deeper into the desert for such a move and to try and find LRDG and SAS columns.
                Once discovered I'd say the effort put into making such a movement by a large force would no longer be worth it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  I doubt that such a move could be kept quiet or unnoticed long from the Axis. There were plenty of operatives in Egypt willing to give them information and both the Germans and Italians regularly sent reconnaissance planes to scout deeper into the desert for such a move and to try and find LRDG and SAS columns.
                  Once discovered I'd say the effort put into making such a movement by a large force would no longer be worth it.
                  Good point Ta. The possibility also existed that Rommel may have been motivated to pull back if the concentration was discovered, as the force, once in the desert, would be hard to contain...

                  Reporting to 'don't give a yard Mister A' must have been Hades...
                  The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The benefit/cost analysis likely isn't tilted enough in the former. The benefit of keeping things rather low key in the south was the axis forces' eyes were kept in the north. Draw attention to the south and may make any reasonable use of the route impractical. It is unlikely any force of consequence could have been built up along the Siwa route.

                    As a side note, the Italians were actually better than the Germans at the deep recce stuff out into the wastelands. not as creative as the British but more flexible than the Germans.
                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      The benefit/cost analysis likely isn't tilted enough in the former. The benefit of keeping things rather low key in the south was the axis forces' eyes were kept in the north. Draw attention to the south and may make any reasonable use of the route impractical. It is unlikely any force of consequence could have been built up along the Siwa route.

                      As a side note, the Italians were actually better than the Germans at the deep recce stuff out into the wastelands. not as creative as the British but more flexible than the Germans.
                      Good point. I could see the route being developed, if only as increased flank harassment if the second El Alamein offensive had failed. The last thing that the Allies wanted was a withdrawal to the Libyan border by the Axis.

                      Adolph's "hold every yard' diktat was too juicy to tamper with.
                      The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        IMHO the Quatarra Depression could NOT have been simply by passed. An area the size Texas that has some marshes on the northern part and then becomes a sea of soft sand that even a tracked vehicle would have trouble crossing. Just finished a book about El Alamein being the true turning point of WWII. One of the points of discussion was that the British repair service was dragging its feet when order to leave the "comfort" of the Nile Valley and close up to the fighting front...vehicles that broke down were out of commission far longer than was desired because they had to be shipped back to Cairo, repaired and then shipped back to the front at the leisure of the repair service and availabilty of transport.

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