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Successful Invasion of Egypt (1940)?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
    We can find an OOB easy enough, but I don't have the time ATM.
    What I will say is that about 80% of the 35,000 troops on the British side were mechanized. That's being generous.
    And lets say that 20% of the Italian Army in Libya was mechanized. Guess what? They had about 200,000 troops there.

    When Graziana asked for more trucks than existed in the entire Italian Army to support his offensive, he wasn't being realistic. He was being a putz.
    From what I have read,10 Army had 80000 men .

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    • #62
      Originally posted by ljadw View Post
      From what I have read,10 Army had 80000 men .
      I was referring to the total number of Italian troops in Libya.
      But look at Carpa Diem's post on the last page, that link is full of very good information.
      "Why is the Rum gone?"

      -Captain Jack

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      • #63
        But given the distances in Libya,the Italian forces stationed in Tripoli were not able to help the forces at the border with Egypt when Compass started .

        One should not compare the 200000 Italians in Libya with the British strength for Compass,but with all British forces in Egypt .

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        • #64
          Correct.
          Which is why, prior to the start of hostilities, a full re-shuffle would have taken place that puts the 60% least effective and least mobile in other places in garrison mode, and masses the rest on the Egyptian border.

          I would also have had a flying column down in the extreme Southeast, ready to probe towards Ethiopia.

          Having high-grade Infantry, even unmechanized ones, on the border with Tunisia serves no purpose at all after the fall of France. Half a Dozen non-mechanized Italian Infantry Divisions served with Rommel's army in Africa from early 1941-43, I don't see how people can say that such formations would have been entirely worthless in 1940.
          German Infantry were outnumbered 7-1 by Commonwealth Infantry, the Panzers could not have operated as they did without a mass of infantry to fall back on. Like it or not, the bulk of the Axis foot-sloggers in the desert were Italian, from start to finish.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

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          • #65
            Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
            I would also have had a flying column down in the extreme Southeast, ready to probe towards Ethiopia.
            Exo has me on ignore, so could someone get him to clarify this. Is he talking about the British or Italians? Does he mean a column slicing through Sudan to Ethiopia. The area is vast & the terrain unhospitable. next to no infrastructure. Not sure how said column would maintain supply, even if the locals decide to let it pass. More feasible for forces to move from Ethiopia into Sudan, though even this would be tricky.
            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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            • #66
              I wonder, could it be that the Italian military had prepared for a war to the north in the alps and in regards to desert warfare prepared only against colonial uprisings? Though to my knowledge the Italian military gave a very poor showing against the revolting Berbers between the wars and iIf I remember Michele correctly, the best Italian units were the Alpini, mountaineers of high quality.

              In regards to North Africa, to my knowledge the problem always was supplies and specifically transporting them. The desert offered few natural obstacles, so after a battle, there was nothing stopping the victor from advancing hundreds of kilometers, overshooting his supply lines because transport facilities are in even shorter supply than obstacles and between lack of water and an excess of sand, supply demand was probably higher than in the temperate European climate. The general asking for more trucks than the Italian army possessed might just have sat down and calculated what was required to keep his army going, Mussolini not doing so would be entirely in character.
              Reaction to the 2016 Munich shootings:
              Europe: "We are shocked and support you in these harsh times, we stand by you."
              USA: "We will check people from Germany extra-hard and it is your own damn fault for being so stupid."

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              • #67
                It's more a matter of numbers on paper. Italy looked strong on paper. That brought a degree of confidence that was unwarranted.

                Now, the Italians, if they knew they had serious combat potential issues, could have probably made a deal with the Germans and over run Egypt with just a little planning ahead.

                Imagine a scenario where Mussolini asks Hitler for some support in the Egyptian operation and Hitler agrees.

                The Wehrmacht is ordered to supply the equivalent of a reinforced division / mini-corps to Italy for use in North Africa in July / August 1940. Say the Wehrmacht recommends sending SS Totenkopf (a motorized infantry regiment), two separate tank battalions, a flak regiment, an artillery regiment, and two pioneer battalions to reinforce the Italians. The Wehrmacht sends the SS regiment because they don't really want it as part of things otherwise in any case. That's a minimum force of say, 10,000 men. Sending a full reinforced motorized division would certainly do the trick.
                The Italians have moved 60 miles into Egypt. The German reinforcements become the kernel of a defense that crushes the British offensives / raids in 1940 and then allows the Axis to over run the country.
                That might be sufficient to allow Italy to overrun Egypt in late 1940 before the British can reinforce. Adding 10,000 - 30,000 German troops to the Italian forces would have been sufficient to accomplish that task.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  It's more a matter of numbers on paper. Italy looked strong on paper. That brought a degree of confidence that was unwarranted.

                  Now, the Italians, if they knew they had serious combat potential issues, could have probably made a deal with the Germans and over run Egypt with just a little planning ahead.

                  Imagine a scenario where Mussolini asks Hitler for some support in the Egyptian operation and Hitler agrees.

                  The Wehrmacht is ordered to supply the equivalent of a reinforced division / mini-corps to Italy for use in North Africa in July / August 1940. Say the Wehrmacht recommends sending SS Totenkopf (a motorized infantry regiment), two separate tank battalions, a flak regiment, an artillery regiment, and two pioneer battalions to reinforce the Italians. The Wehrmacht sends the SS regiment because they don't really want it as part of things otherwise in any case. That's a minimum force of say, 10,000 men. Sending a full reinforced motorized division would certainly do the trick.
                  The Italians have moved 60 miles into Egypt. The German reinforcements become the kernel of a defense that crushes the British offensives / raids in 1940 and then allows the Axis to over run the country.
                  That might be sufficient to allow Italy to overrun Egypt in late 1940 before the British can reinforce. Adding 10,000 - 30,000 German troops to the Italian forces would have been sufficient to accomplish that task.
                  As you have already been made aware, the British were reinforcing the Middle East at a rate of knots since the summer of 1940.
                  http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/U...-Med-I-13.html

                  I would also point out that a German panzer corps, a couple of Italian mechanised divisions and a bunch of Italian footslogger divisions was inadequate to defeat 1 (one) British (Australian) reinforced divisional group.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    That might be sufficient to allow Italy to overrun Egypt in late 1940 before the British can reinforce. Adding 10,000 - 30,000 German troops to the Italian forces would have been sufficient to accomplish that task.
                    Unless the Germans brought their own railroad with them, there was still the issue of supply.
                    Better yet, lend Italy enough transports and Paratroopers to take Malta.

                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    I would also point out that a German panzer corps, a couple of Italian mechanised divisions and a bunch of Italian footslogger divisions was inadequate to defeat 1 (one) British (Australian) reinforced divisional group.
                    What? Oh, the siege of Tobruk Fortress.
                    I'm thinking that a lot of that Axis force was somewhat distracted by the need to hold the rest of the 8th Army off at the border, eh?
                    "Why is the Rum gone?"

                    -Captain Jack

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                    • #70
                      What I am proposing is an early Afrika Korps on a somewhat smaller scale. This would be in Libya / Egypt about concurrent or within a couple of months after the surrender of France.

                      Malta at that point is irrelevant. If the German reinforcements with the Italian army are able to push to Alexandrea then Malta becomes completely irrelevant as it can no longer interdict shipping now heading to Egypt. So, taken or not is no longer an issue.

                      So, if you have 10,000 to 20,000 German troops with motorization in Libya by August - September 1940 it could be possible. The British don't have the equipment and troops to heavily reinforce there yet.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        What I am proposing is an early Afrika Korps on a somewhat smaller scale. This would be in Libya / Egypt about concurrent or within a couple of months after the surrender of France.

                        Malta at that point is irrelevant. If the German reinforcements with the Italian army are able to push to Alexandrea then Malta becomes completely irrelevant as it can no longer interdict shipping now heading to Egypt. So, taken or not is no longer an issue.

                        So, if you have 10,000 to 20,000 German troops with motorization in Libya by August - September 1940 it could be possible. The British don't have the equipment and troops to heavily reinforce there yet.
                        Malta wasn't totally irrelevant yet, I know of one squadron from JG-52 that spent the winter fighting there.

                        But yeah, good idea, but it wasn't known yet how badly the Italians could be beaten, and thus the political will to bring the Germans into it wasn't there yet.
                        Keep in mind that Itlay invaded Greece in November to show off to the Germans, competing with them for glory.
                        I think that Egypt in 1940 would have to be a purely Italian show.
                        "Why is the Rum gone?"

                        -Captain Jack

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