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  • #16
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    Great idea, unfortunately we had that worse than useless Bomber Harris in charge. He only wanted to bomb as many people as possible, winning seemed a secondary consideration for him at best.
    Actually, winning was Harris' primary, and only, consideration. He just thought that bombing cities was the way to do it.

    Anyway, Harris commanded Bomber Command, not Middle East Command which was commanded by Tedder who may have seen the advantage of having bombers on Crete. If Tedder had wanted some of the 4-engine heavies in 1942 he probably would have gotten some Stirlings or Halifaxes. Harris had been forced to give up some squadrons to help Coastal Command, so he could have been ordered to give some up for ME Command.

    I see this scenario as unlikely. As FM pointed out it would have been very costly to take and hold Crete in 1942. Also, if an invasion had been attempted I can see Churchill pushing for it to be through Greece. However, it is pretty moot as the British did not have the necessary equipment or logistics to launch a seaborne invasion in 1942 on their own.

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    • #17
      i would say a reinforcement of malay peninsula and consequently a stable front against japan without loss of prestige as well as singapore and burma

      and perhaps a corps sent thru persia to serve in ussr and fight 6th army in stalingrad

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      • #18
        Originally posted by jfcfuller View Post
        i would say a reinforcement of malay peninsula and consequently a stable front against japan without loss of prestige as well as singapore and burma
        There would not have been enough time to reinforce the Malay Peninsula.

        The Japanese were investing Singapore by the end of January /early February 1942. The main part of Crusader did not end until the end of December 1941, and fighting continued into January 1942.

        By the time a decision could have been made to reinforce Malaya because of the success of Crusader, it would have been too late to do so.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by michammer View Post
          Actually, winning was Harris' primary, and only, consideration. He just thought that bombing cities was the way to do it.

          Anyway, Harris commanded Bomber Command, not Middle East Command which was commanded by Tedder who may have seen the advantage of having bombers on Crete. If Tedder had wanted some of the 4-engine heavies in 1942 he probably would have gotten some Stirlings or Halifaxes. Harris had been forced to give up some squadrons to help Coastal Command, so he could have been ordered to give some up for ME Command.

          Also I can't envisage Tedder getting any 4 engined bombers. Harris would resign and Churchill wouldn't allow that.

          I see this scenario as unlikely. As FM pointed out it would have been very costly to take and hold Crete in 1942. Also, if an invasion had been attempted I can see Churchill pushing for it to be through Greece. However, it is pretty moot as the British did not have the necessary equipment or logistics to launch a seaborne invasion in 1942 on their own.
          Harris wanted to kill German workers. Even when given proof that other targets would be more effective he wanted to continue to kill German workers. He was a fanatic who lost sight of the objective of winning, focused on what may have been a reasonable stategy before events and technology made other targets more desirable. The Yanks overall strategy in the Airwar in Europe was far more practical and intelligent.
          Last edited by Nick the Noodle; 21 Sep 08, 15:02.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
            Harris wanted to kill German workers. Even when given proof that other targets would be more effective he wanted to continue to kill German workers. He was a fanatic who lost sight of the objective of winning, focused on what may have been a reasonable stategy before events and technology made other targets more desirable. The Yanks overall strategy in the Airwar in Europe was far more practical and intelligent.
            Let's not forget that Harris was following the principles laid down by Douhet as to the objective and effects of area bombing. Let's not also forget that the USAAF believed that it could 'precision bomb' from height because of the Norden bomb site when, in reality, it could not. Both strategies were predicated on false assumptions and those that formulated them did ignore, to a certain extent, evidence (not 'proof') that showed that this was the case. In the end the strategic bombing campaign was an important factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany and both air forces contributed greatly.
            Signing out.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
              Let's not forget that Harris was following the principles laid down by Douhet as to the objective and effects of area bombing. Let's not also forget that the USAAF believed that it could 'precision bomb' from height because of the Norden bomb site when, in reality, it could not. Both strategies were predicated on false assumptions and those that formulated them did ignore, to a certain extent, evidence (not 'proof') that showed that this was the case. In the end the strategic bombing campaign was an important factor in the defeat of Nazi Germany and both air forces contributed greatly.
              All true. But using evil practises to defeat an evil regieme can never be the way forward. The capability of area bombing to do what Bomber Harris wanted was not developed until it was making no difference. The one big impact of the bombing campaign was not the actual damage it caused, but the resources it took away from the Eastern Front. And the destruction of Nazi airpower over Germany, when Mustangs by day and Mossies by night started hunting rather than just sheperding. Also Harris did not care about the aircrew lives. At least US pilots had a statistical chance of surviving a tour. One in the RAF fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured. Hence the outrageous losses.

              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
              Well, in the highly unlikely event of 'Crusader' actually achieving that I can't see an invasion of Sicily being mounted by the British/Commonwealth forces. For starters they don't have the landing craft or the kind of air and sea superiority that the Allies enjoyed in July 1943. Then, with the Japanese rampaging through South-East Asia it would be likely that any assets that might have been used to invade Sicily would be transferred out to try and hold Burma and protect Australia. Another consideration would be the position of the Vichy regime. Would 8th Army, logistics permitting, be deployed to put pressure on them or even invade as had happened in Syria? Or, with North Africa secured, would one of Churchill's crackpot schemes to open a front in the Balkans been taken up? To be honest though, even if Italy were ko'd in early 1942 I can't see it making a vast difference to the war as a whole. It might have stymied 'Case Blue' forcing the Germans to adopt a more pragmatic approach on the Eastern Front but that means no Stalingrad and, in this scenario, no 'Tunis disaster' either.
              As to the original thread, can't fault your reasoning above.
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              • #22
                German gain is the equivalent of a whole Panzer Korps and probably half a Flieger Korps in time for Fall Blau.


                Britain has some pretty interesting options open for '42; they got a powerful 4 aircraft carrier fleet together for Pedestal so could go either for a landing in the Dodecanese or counter-attack in the far east. Operation Husky at the time of Operation Torch.

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                • #23
                  A British victory is also a Nazi gain? Intriguing.
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                  • #24
                    On the down side many British tactics & techniques are not fully redeveloped. Without the combat subsequent to Crusader the artillery arm does have a combat test of their 1940-41 changes, ditto for the various improvements the RAF command in Egypt implimented. so, any British army looking for a fight in Crete or Sicilly will not be quite as good as the 8th Army of the latter half of 1942.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                      A British victory is also a Nazi gain? Intriguing.
                      Aside from the armored corps consider all the extra trucks and fuel that can be used in Barbarosa instead. Were I the German commander at the gates of Moscow I might prefer to see several thousand trucks with fuel and artillery ammo show up, instead of another tank divsion or two.

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                      • #26
                        Carl,

                        Considering that a successful Crusader would have seen the DAK destroyed in Dec 41 it is unlikely tank or trucks could have been tranferred to the Moscow front (or for the Stalingrad campaign). I would wager that instead of three German divisions in Libya in early 42 the Germans would have to commit a dozen or more to Sicily Italy and Greece to cover potential allied landings.

                        Perhaps the Germans and Italians would move against Tunisia prior to Tripoli falling and thus delay being forced out of Africa until later in 42 (??)
                        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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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
                          One in the RAF fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured. Hence the outrageous losses.
                          The RAF had a tour system which, for Bomber Command, meant a tour of 30 ops followed by a rest and then a second tour of 20 ops. After this the only way they could fly more ops with BC was to volunteer - with the PFF or 617 Sqn.

                          In his book The Nurmeberg Raid Martin Middlebrook uses loss statistics to figure out how many survived the full cycle with Bomber Command. He figures that in a group of 100 aircrew who came together at an OTU, 24 would survive the full cycle unharmed.

                          So to say they "...fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured" is a bit of a stretch.

                          However, you are correct - losses were horrendous.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            Carl,

                            Considering that a successful Crusader would have seen the DAK destroyed in Dec 41 it is unlikely tank or trucks could have been tranferred to the Moscow front (or for the Stalingrad campaign). I would wager that instead of three German divisions in Libya in early 42 the Germans would have to commit a dozen or more to Sicily Italy and Greece to cover potential allied landings.
                            Oh yes, quite! I had my dates mixed. Silly me.

                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            Perhaps the Germans and Italians would move against Tunisia prior to Tripoli falling and thus delay being forced out of Africa until later in 42 (??)
                            Hmm... the politics of Vichy France. Its not likely a Axis army forced back against Tripoli or worse could afford to respect Vichy nuetrality. Hitler would be 'forced' to take Tunisia into protective custody to prevent Perfidious Albion from violating aformentioned nuetrality. How that might affect any plans and politicing for Gymnast or Torch is interesting... I wonder if this makes Gymnast any more practical?

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                            • #29
                              Well,...to my mind it would have been easier for the Germans to force Tunisia in January 42 while the Brits were downsizing 8th Army due to requirements in Asia. Both Tinis and Bizerte are better ports than Tripoli and both are further away from Malta. It may have been easier for Rommel to retreat to Tunisia and rebuild the axis army there for a continued campaign in Africa in 1942. Considering the problems with British armour doctrine (or rather a lack of one), Rommel could still have handed 8th Army some serious set backs.

                              Only later on in 42, when 8th Army could have been reinforced as it was, together with the arrival of US troops through Moroccan and Algerian ports would Africa be policed up. Perhaps by the period Nov 42 - Jan 43. An invasion of France in 43 would still be avoided, imo,...the allied forces were still too weak over all and any lodgement on the continent could simply be labelled as the world's largest POW cage.
                              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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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by michammer View Post
                                The RAF had a tour system which, for Bomber Command, meant a tour of 30 ops followed by a rest and then a second tour of 20 ops. After this the only way they could fly more ops with BC was to volunteer - with the PFF or 617 Sqn.

                                In his book The Nurmeberg Raid Martin Middlebrook uses loss statistics to figure out how many survived the full cycle with Bomber Command. He figures that in a group of 100 aircrew who came together at an OTU, 24 would survive the full cycle unharmed.

                                So to say they "...fought until the war was over, or they were dead, wounded or captured" is a bit of a stretch.

                                However, you are correct - losses were horrendous.
                                Another thing that happened was the closer they got to the end of their 'tour' the more wragged there nerves became "Will I make it" etc: some of them having complete breakdowns and the worst thing I think was they were stripped of there ranks and there papers were stamped L.M.F. 'Lack of moral fibre' a polite but cruel way of calling them cowards!!
                                'By Horse by Tram'.


                                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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