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Could proper planning have won WW2 for Italy?

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  • MarkV
    replied
    [QUOTE=Aber;3402422]Some were deployed in 1940:

    /QUOTE]

    Too little too late - it appears that the whole operation was stymied by the French
    http://www.historyofwar.org/articles...al_marine.html

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  • CarpeDiem
    replied
    On the subject of floating mines, the time limit set by the Hague Convention was one hour.
    Chapter IX of Capt. J. S. Cowie RN's book Mines, Minelayers and Minelaying entitled " The Mine in International Law" goes clause by clause through the "Convention Relative to the Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines (No. VIII).
    On page 169 he begins with looking at Article I Clause 1:
    It is forbidden to lay unanchored automatic contact mines unless they be so constructed as to become harmless one hour at most after those who laid them have lost control over them.
    He notes that while the UK and the US were in favour of forbidding unanchored mines completely, Italy, Russia and Japan were in favour of them as long as they were made harmless after a set period. There was much too and fro with the German delegation against the one hour limit as 'in their view the proposed limit of one hour would be useless in the case of of a weak naval force attempting to escape from a stronger".(Cowie p 170). It was this use, as a way of screening fleeing vessels from pursuers, that unanchored mines were originally envisioned for. After much debate, one hour was eventually settled on.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Free floating, drift mines were heavily restricted but not completely illegal by WW 2. They could be used but had to have a time of only a few hours at most before they had to become inactivated. The Italians had at least two types the British labeled IO and IN (I don't know what the Italian designations were). These could be dropped and had a 9 hour float time before they sank to the bottom. As they were contact mines, they wouldn't have been useful past their 9 hour float time.

    I think the idea was you could use them in a battle in some fashion but couldn't simply lay them wherever and let them drift through shipping lanes forever.
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    AFAIK they were intended to be "laid" by a submarine in front of an oncoming battle fleet. As I said Italian submarine doctrine was to use subs to ambush battle fleets - a very old fashioned doctrine originally espoused by Jellico in WW1...
    Okay, thanks guys, this is better info than I had before.

    Now, since the Italians DDs had room for 30 or 60-100 mines, couldn't they have been used to lay the mines ahead of a convoy?
    They did go out, very game for action even if they only had 3-4 Destroyers to do it with. If they had started out with free-floaters, it would have been much more of a contest. The RN was concentrating it's runs to one or two big convoys a month, so there would have been a bunch of Cargo ships involved.

    They just sink after 9 hours? That sounds odd, and dangerous. Why not just have them self-destruct 8-10 hours out?

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  • MarkV
    replied
    Originally posted by Aber View Post
    :



    And the RAF mined the Danube later.
    But not with free floating mines but with magnetic mines - covered in another thread elsewhere.

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  • Aber
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    In the event the German advances in 1940 and 1941 meant that the planned launch sites for the British river mines became unavailable or unreachable and AFAIK they were never deployed.
    Some were deployed in 1940:

    On 10 May, mines were released into the Moselle against pontoon bridges built by German engineers; other mines were put into the Rhine to negligible effect.[13] On 13 May, the British put 1,700 mines in the Rhine near Soufflenheim, reported by General Victor Bourret, the Fifth Army commander to have caused damage to the barge barrier protecting the bridge at Karlsruhe. Several pontoon bridges were damaged and river traffic was temporarily suspended between Karlsruhe and Mainz.[14][15][6][16] By 24 May, over 2,300 mines had been released into the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse rivers.[9] On 9 June, General de Armée Andre-Gaston Pretelat, commander of the 2nd Army Group, ordered the fluvial mines to be sent down the Rhine to delay a German attack on the Maginot Line.[17] The RAF mine dropping between Bingen and Koblenz and into canals and river estuaries feeding the Heligoland Bight began but few mines were laid by aircraft before the Battle of France ended and the damage caused could not be measured.[18
    And the RAF mined the Danube later.

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  • MarkV
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Mining the Strait of Tiran on the exit from the Red Sea is certainly doable technically. These are mostly less than 300 feet deep and Italian mines have a maximum setting depth of 200 meters.

    Free floating, drift mines were heavily restricted but not completely illegal by WW 2. They could be used but had to have a time of only a few hours at most before they had to become inactivated. The Italians had at least two types the British labeled IO and IN (I don't know what the Italian designations were). These could be dropped and had a 9 hour float time before they sank to the bottom. As they were contact mines, they wouldn't have been useful past their 9 hour float time.

    I think the idea was you could use them in a battle in some fashion but couldn't simply lay them wherever and let them drift through shipping lanes forever.
    AFAIK they were intended to be "laid" by a submarine in front of an oncoming battle fleet. As I said Italian submarine doctrine was to use subs to ambush battle fleets - a very old fashioned doctrine originally espoused by Jellico in WW1 who believed in the fast fleet submarine (like the disastrous steam powered K class). These would be large and fast (enabling them to keep up on the surface and get into position before diving and lying in wait). Such subs were not good at the quick crash dive and their underwater performance was poor. In WW2 they were vulnerable in conditions where there were significant numbers of ASW vessels and air cover. The RN soon abandoned the doctrine but the Italians had retained it as to a lesser extent did the Japanese.

    The rules pertaining to free floating mines were an extension of those pertaining to torpedoes (and mines were originally known as torpedoes in any case) which said that a torpedo had to sink at the end of its run and could not be allowed to float and be a general hazard to non belligerent shipping. There was some argument as to whether free floating mines were in fact allowed to be classed in the same way as dirigible torpedoes but the old treaties referred to them as torpedoes and various pettifogging lawyers argued that this justified them. Churchill, although at times prepared to bend rules himself, did not regard them as legal and insisted that the free floating mines intended to be floated down German rivers be fitted with very accurate timing devices to sink them before they reached neutral territory and/or the open sea. This was achieved by using aniseed balls as part of the mechanism. being formed out of successive layers any aniseed ball of a given diameter had a very predictable dissolve time and so to the
    disgust of many a British Just William and Billy Bunter these sweets vanished from British shops and were used in a variety of maritime fuzes and the like. In the event the German advances in 1940 and 1941 meant that the planned launch sites for the British river mines became unavailable or unreachable and AFAIK they were never deployed. I have heard stories that SOE used a few in the Far East but have found no reliable source to confirm this - it would be in character though.

    In fact there were a great many free floating mines in both world wars - not deliberately sown but every time there was a storm numbers of mines would break free from their moorings in the various mine barrages both sides had laid. In 1919-20 and 1945-46 considerable effort had to be put into hunting and destroying such mines. The disappearance of some ships in these periods has sometimes been attributed to these (which makes a change from aliens, time warps etc).
    Last edited by MarkV; 08 Sep 17, 04:27.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Mining the Strait of Tiran on the exit from the Red Sea is certainly doable technically. These are mostly less than 300 feet deep and Italian mines have a maximum setting depth of 200 meters.

    Free floating, drift mines were heavily restricted but not completely illegal by WW 2. They could be used but had to have a time of only a few hours at most before they had to become inactivated. The Italians had at least two types the British labeled IO and IN (I don't know what the Italian designations were). These could be dropped and had a 9 hour float time before they sank to the bottom. As they were contact mines, they wouldn't have been useful past their 9 hour float time.

    I think the idea was you could use them in a battle in some fashion but couldn't simply lay them wherever and let them drift through shipping lanes forever.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    Other Italian warships whilst not dedicated mine layers had mine laying capability
    Oh sure, all of the DDs at Massawa could lay anywhere from 30-100 at a go.

    Point is, as per my plans, all of them should have gone out the first night and laid all that they could.
    Declaring war the way Mousey did was just plain ridiculous.


    EDIT -

    Whoops! Just found this at Axis History-

    Between June, 6th and July, 10th, 1940, four antishipping and four antisubmarine minefields were laid by minelayer "Ostia" in both Northern and Southern Channels of Massawa, with a grand total of 270 antishipping and 200 antisubmarine mines.
    In the same timeframe, the destroyer "Pantera" laid two antishipping minefields at the Northern entrance of Assab, with 110 mines.
    The IN AMC "Parvati" sank on a mine of Assab minefield on April, 30th, 1941. The steam Tug "Taikoo" struck a mine (probably a drifting mine of the old italian minefields) on sept., 12th, 1941 and sank between Aden and Massawa.

    They went all defensive, but at least they were doing something.



    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    But you could use "drift" to carry them into an area that your mine layer could not penetrate. In 1939/40 Britain developed free floating mines to sow upstream in German rivers but took elaborate measures to ensure that they became neutral before reaching international waters. I think free floating mines became illegal in international waters as early as the Declaration of Paris.
    I didn't know that, very interesting.
    Last edited by The Exorcist; 07 Sep 17, 23:55.

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  • MarkV
    replied
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post



    They had more than one?
    All I heard was that Ostia was hit in a air-raid in port, and blown up with all its mines still on the racks.
    Other Italian warships whilst not dedicated mine layers had mine laying capability

    Free-floating mines were actually a thing?
    Sounds ridiculous to me, drift alone would remove them from the area you want to deny the enemy in days, at the most.
    But you could use "drift" to carry them into an area that your mine layer could not penetrate. In 1939/40 Britain developed free floating mines to sow upstream in German rivers but took elaborate measures to ensure that they became neutral before reaching international waters. I think free floating mines became illegal in international waters as early as the Declaration of Paris
    Yes, the Italian subs preformed do badly I don't waste any time on them. Half were eliminated in the first week of operation, and the other 4 just gave up until it was time to run away.
    They were pretty good at that part, all of them slipped away and made it to France.
    Italian subs and Italian submarine doctrine were designed for a different kind of warfare - they were intended to act as ambushers of battle fleets and not for commerce war.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    Mines could have been a major issue in the Red Sea as shipping routes are quite constricted by coral reefs and the Red Sea is not that deep.
    That is what I was thinking; close the "gate of tears" with mines and torpedo-equipped SM.79s, the same combo that nearly wrecked Operation Pedestal. If you can do that, why would the forces way down there even think about the Suez? It is just too far away, even if the Italians take Port Sudan I don't think they have the reach to even threaten it, and they certainly don't have the force to waste on it.

    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    However an early British air strike took out the Italian mine layers in the area.
    They had more than one?
    All I heard was that Ostia was hit in a air-raid in port, and blown up with all its mines still on the racks.
    This, after the Italians opened things up with a declaration of it's own.
    Surely, this is one of the worst indictments of Italian "leadership" in the whole campaign.

    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
    Subs in the Red sea would find it difficult because of the restrictions and lack of depth in many places. Free floating mines were outlawed before WW1.
    Free-floating mines were actually a thing?
    Sounds ridiculous to me, drift alone would remove them from the area you want to deny the enemy in days, at the most.

    Yes, the Italian subs preformed do badly I don't waste any time on them. Half were eliminated in the first week of operation, and the other 4 just gave up until it was time to run away.
    They were pretty good at that part, all of them slipped away and made it to France.

    Oddly (or perhaps not) they didn't even try to re-base themselves somewhere else, like Mogadishu or Berbera.
    ... not that I know of for sure, but didn't a German Raider encounter one somewhere around Somalia?

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  • MarkV
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    The Suez canal has no locks. It is a simple ditch from the Med to the Red Sea. It is also much wider than the Panama Canal throughout its length. Two ships can easily pass each other in it. There is no place that could easily be blocked by a wreck or two.
    I also doubt the MAS boats could make the trip. It's hundreds of miles there and the same back.



    This gives a better idea how wide it is:

    Nasser found it very easy to block with a wreck or two in 1956. German mine laying in the canal by aircraft was a major problem at first.

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  • MarkV
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    On subs...


    Mines aren't going to be a big player in the Red Sea or off Africa. The ocean is simply too deep most places to make mines work well. Floating mines were outlawed well before the war and nobody really has any useful ones anyway.
    Mines could have been a major issue in the Red Sea as shipping routes are quite constricted by coral reefs and the Red Sea is not that deep. However an early British air strike took out the Italian mine layers in the area. Subs in the Red sea would find it difficult because of the restrictions and lack of depth in many places. Free floating mines were outlawed before WW1.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by Imperial View Post
    ...
    EDIT - The section I mentioned is in the Bitter Lakes section of the Canal, and given the premise, blocking it would depend on an enemy's ability to reach that section in the first place. Probably not possible. So my point is moot or difficult to pull off.
    Yeah, that would be a little crazy.

    But what would it take for Italy to push half a dozen Divisions all the way to Port Suez?
    (from Egypt)
    Logistically speaking, I mean.
    Last edited by The Exorcist; 07 Sep 17, 12:59.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    A couple years ago i discussed a game design for this subject with someone. 'Winning' was early on in the discussion defined as having Italy in a better position to negotiate surrender than in OTL. The best outcome was having no German forces in Italy when the time came to capitulate. So, we thought that the more grey German pieces the Italian player drew from the force pool the larger victory point penalty he received.
    Oh hell, inevitable capitulation and then back-stabing your own side?
    That's a pretty negative game!

    Hey, think I should take this to Axis History?

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    A couple years ago i discussed a game design for this subject with someone. 'Winning' was early on in the discussion defined as having Italy in a better position to negotiate surrender than in OTL. The best outcome was having no German forces in Italy when the time came to capitulate. So, we thought that the more grey German pieces the Italian player drew from the force pool the larger victory point penalty he received.

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