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Could the Axis Powers have won in the Mediterranean and North Africa?

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  • Glenn239
    replied
    Originally posted by Urban hermit View Post
    Logistical challenges were to great. The fact is they tried and they failed.
    The invasion of Russia drained the necessary resources by hogging most of the fuel and most of the trucks that would be needed for the supply chain. Within the context of an invasion of Russia, NA was simply second fiddle. But to jump from that to assuming the outcome if the German army took Tunisia and went for Egypt without invading Russia does not follow, much in the same way it does not follow to suppose that being hit over the head with a whiffle bat is the same thing as being hit over the head with a sledge hammer.

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  • Urban hermit
    replied
    Logistical challenges were to great. The fact is they tried and they failed. When the Nazis had concentrated all of their forces into a single mission they looked invincible. But as their sphere of occupation increased so too did their mission and the demand on man power and logistics.
    They should have never reached past the low hanging fruit.

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  • Glenn239
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    As for the Germans, they had pulled just about every serviceable truck from the civilian economy for France and these badly needed to be returned.
    Halder must have not got that memo when he invaded Russia in June 1941 with 600,000 vehicles.

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  • Glenn239
    replied
    Originally posted by ljadw View Post
    Here there is a flaw : a combined German-Italian offensive to go to the canal,was depending on supplies ,and as there were insoluble logistic problems in 1941/1942,these problems would also block an offensive in 1940: the Italians did not advance in 1940.
    The trucks the Axis needed were in Russia.
    The fuel the Axis needed was being burned in Russia.
    The ports the Axis needed were in Vichy French Tunisia, which wasn't going to be invaded because the Germans were in Russia.

    So, everything points to Egypt being impossible because of the invasion of Russia.

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  • The Purist
    replied
    The Italians were extremely short of trucks in 1940 and this effected Graziani's ability to move supplies forward from Tobruk, let alone Tripoli. As for the Germans, they had pulled just about every serviceable truck from the civilian economy for France and these badly needed to be returned. This lack of transport effected the LWs ability to establish their forward bases and thus the air campaign against Britain. The Germans were about to take possession of a large and varied truck fleet from France but it would take time to sort this largesse out.

    None of this overcomes the lack of port capacity in Libya and the Italians were behind the curve at sea almost from the very beginning. Supplies could be landed in Tripoli but that is where they stayed for some time.
    Last edited by The Purist; 16 Sep 14, 12:26.

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  • ljadw
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Approximately September 1940 about three to four months after Italy entered the war. Had Germany promptly put forces into North Africa following the fall of France they very likely could have taken Egypt.

    This is when Britain is suffering severe shortages of equipment at home and has to rebuild following their withdrawal from Dunkirk. Malta would have been unable to interdict the convoys and the RN really couldn't have either on short notice.

    If an Afrika Korps sized force were added to the Italians it is extremely doubtful the 7th Armored Division or the Mobile Division, its predecessor could have stopped a combined German-Italian offensive.

    It is a small window that Germany ignored.
    Here there is a flaw : a combined German-Italian offensive to go to the canal,was depending on supplies ,and as there were insoluble logistic problems in 1941/1942,these problems would also block an offensive in 1940: the Italians did not advance in 1940.

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  • ljadw
    replied
    It is not so that without a commitment in Tunisia after november 1942,more Ju 52 would be available for Stalingrad : a lot of Ju 52 were tied in Libya to supply the AK.

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  • Bwaha
    replied
    Yeah but in the long run we'd still grind them out of existence...

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by WarMachine View Post
    Do you know when and why this opportunity became unachievable?
    Approximately September 1940 about three to four months after Italy entered the war. Had Germany promptly put forces into North Africa following the fall of France they very likely could have taken Egypt.

    This is when Britain is suffering severe shortages of equipment at home and has to rebuild following their withdrawal from Dunkirk. Malta would have been unable to interdict the convoys and the RN really couldn't have either on short notice.

    If an Afrika Korps sized force were added to the Italians it is extremely doubtful the 7th Armored Division or the Mobile Division, its predecessor could have stopped a combined German-Italian offensive.

    It is a small window that Germany ignored.

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  • Cult Icon
    replied
    Some interesting bits from 'Stopped at Stalingrad' regarding the resource tug between the mediterrean/NA fronts vs the East:

    The Fuhrer orders were orders. Hayward postulates that Hitler was heavily distracted by events in the Mediterranean and did not fully grasp the importance of the southern front and prioritize. Even after the encirclement, the Germans sent 81,000 troops and 250 JU52s to the doomed theatre.

    To meet the 6th Army's supply needs (500 tons a day), they needed 800 JU-52s. But the entire LW had only 750. Over half were in the mediterranean theater with 295 serving the AGS. The medium bombers were as good as JU-52s but using them as transport decreased the LW's combat power.

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  • Desiree Clary
    replied
    Originally posted by ljadw View Post
    1)Already before Barbarossa,the Mediterranean and North Africa were considered a second priority

    2)there was no lack of supplies,attention and seriousness given to the Mediterranean and North Africa .
    Agree. Wasn't there considerable reinforcement or the German forces in North Africa *after* Second El Alamein? Which every commentator I have consulted considered an ill-advised move spurred by Hitler's perception of his loss of prestige? I am asking and would be grateful to be corrected as this is not my area of expertise, though I am interested in it.

    Susie

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  • The Purist
    replied
    Originally posted by WarMachine View Post
    ...However, despite these inferiorities was it realistically possible before American economic power came into the scales for the Axis Powers to win in the theatres of the Mediterranean and North Africa during and including 1940-42?
    No. It was all about logistics and the infrastructure to move said supplies to where it was needed. There was not enough fuel for the Italian fleet, air force and army. The ports were too few and too smal to properly supply an army of the required size in Africa. The air force, while numerically large was not well equipped in 1940 and by the time better kit arrived it was too little and too late. The navy, possessing some good ships, was still too small to protect both the convoys and capital ships with which it needed to try to wrest control of the region. The navy was also starved of fuel for training and reacting to British moves.

    The navy was so poorly supplied that only the central Mediterranean was contested not the entire sea.

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  • Glenn239
    replied
    Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
    Purely a personal opinion but I do believe that the Med was a too important key to the allies {particularly Britain } to allow them to take control. Anyway to completely 'Rule the roost' they would need Gib: and without the co operation of Spain that could never be and even with Spains assistance it would be extremely unlikely. I'm an old 'Bootneck' and the Gib: is ours!!! lcm1
    Occupying Vichy North Africa slams the door on the Atlantic, even with Gibraltar in British hands - the fortress only has to be taken if Italian naval operations in the Atlantic were deemed desirable.

    Taking out Vichy seems incompatible with Barbarossa, so once the decision was made for Russia, Britain would hold the sea route to the Atlantic.

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  • ljadw
    replied
    Originally posted by WarMachine View Post

    After the launch of Barbarossa the Mediterranean and North African theatres became officially a second priority to the Axis, which was shown by the lack of supplies, attention and seriousness given to them.
    1)Already before Barbarossa,the Mediterranean and North Africa were considered a second priority

    2)there was no lack of supplies,attention and seriousness given to the Mediterranean and North Africa .

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  • lcm1
    replied
    Originally posted by WarMachine View Post
    The perception I recieve of the Mediterranean and North African theatres is that they were for the Axis Powers seemingly impossible to win in or bring successfully to a conclution. This is particularly evident from the launching of Operation Barbarossa onwards.

    Geographically the Mediterranean sea was always heavily contested between the Axis navies (mainly that of Italy) and Allied navies (largely the British Royal Navy) even when all of Southern Europe was a member of, occupied by or influenced by the Axis. The strength and effectiveness of the opposing navies had a huge impact on the successful conduction of the Axis and Allied armies in North Africa. In this arena it was the Allies who had the numerical, technological and economical advantage whereas the Axis armies advanced just as much on the number of supply ships of essential fuels that managed to evade being sunk as on the number of supply vehicles that were not destroyed by Allied aircraft.

    After the launch of Barbarossa the Mediterranean and North African theatres became officially a second priority to the Axis, which was shown by the lack of supplies, attention and seriousness given to them.

    However, despite these inferiorities was it realistically possible before American economic power came into the scales for the Axis Powers to win in the theatres of the Mediterranean and North Africa during and including 1940-42?
    Purely a personal opinion but I do believe that the Med was a too important key to the allies {particularly Britain } to allow them to take control. Anyway to completely 'Rule the roost' they would need Gib: and without the co operation of Spain that could never be and even with Spains assistance it would be extremely unlikely. I'm an old 'Bootneck' and the Gib: is ours!!! lcm1

    Leave a comment:

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