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No Op. Torch. Axis Decisions for Africa?

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  • No Op. Torch. Axis Decisions for Africa?

    Assume for a moment The Allied decision is made for invading NW Europe in 1943. The Gymnast or Torch operations are handed over to the deception department. From the Axis PoV Allied amphibious ops are still possible in the Med & their spys in Britain and the Middle East provide collaborating evidence. The Allies do send the historical reinforcements to Egypt in the summer/autum of 1942, to enable the defeat of the Axis army there. So, what actions are the German& Italians likely to take in November/December with the situation unchanged in French Africa? That is no Allied army present there.

    Would substantial reinforcements b sent to retrieve the Axis situation in Cyrinacia & save Tripoli. Or would the Africa littoral be written off? Is there any indication of what Hitler favored pre Torch?

  • #2
    Would you really have to sacrifice Torch to have the 1943 D-Day?

    May is the soonest you could have had it, and there were many American Divs coming on line between November and May... and some combat experience was badly needed by the US Army.
    Tunisia was doomed in February and over with in April, plenty of time to re-deploy even those forces by June. Last one to the Riviera is a rotten egg!

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    • #3
      I believe that they were long written off in 1942, reinforcements by the Axis ... No.

      The Allies could land just a few divisions and wrap-up the Afrika Corps,
      In Vino Veritas

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
        Would you really have to sacrifice Torch to have the 1943 D-Day?

        May is the soonest you could have had it, and there were many American Divs coming on line between November and May... and some combat experience was badly needed by the US Army.
        Tunisia was doomed in February and over with in April, plenty of time to re-deploy even those forces by June. Last one to the Riviera is a rotten egg!
        No you dont have to. & the German did not think so either. But, the premise here is the Allied combined chiefs choose to, so there you are.

        So, any thoughts on how there Axis leaders decisions for Africa as November runs on and Rommel runs towards Tripoli?

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        • #5
          Oh, okay.

          Rommel makes his stand in Tripoli, and gets ready for yet another re-bound.

          Berlin is focused on Russia, and is now free to transfer even more Div's to the Stalingrad front. I suppose they could have been tricked into thinking Norway was the destination of alll the Americans piling up in England... but France would still beffed up by May, somehow.
          Most likely, every bomber worthy of the name would soon be in France by spring, getting ready to smother any invasion fleet as best they could.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
            Oh, okay.

            Rommel makes his stand in Tripoli, and gets ready for yet another re-bound.
            Theres a good move. Reinforce a stratigically marginal front with top quailty units and supplies.

            Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
            Berlin is focused on Russia, and is now free to transfer even more Div's to the Stalingrad front. I suppose they could have been tricked into thinking Norway was the destination of alll the Americans piling up in England... but France would still beffed up by May, somehow.
            Most likely, every bomber worthy of the name would soon be in France by spring, getting ready to smother any invasion fleet as best they could.
            Guess all this depends on how effective the Allied deception plans were. Some worked, some worked really well, a few missed the Germans entirely.

            & BTW. Do you lack just a Panzer Leader game & boards, or both PB & PL?
            Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 17 Dec 09, 21:11.

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            • #7
              & BTW. Do you lack just a Panzer Leader game & boards, or both PB & PL?

              None of the above, but good pics of them are just as good, IF they can cover the whole board.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                & BTW. Do you lack just a Panzer Leader game & boards, or both PB & PL?

                None of the above, but good pics of them are just as good, IF they can cover the whole board.
                You'll have mail

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                  Would substantial reinforcements b sent to retrieve the Axis situation in Cyrinacia & save Tripoli. Or would the Africa littoral be written off? Is there any indication of what Hitler favored pre Torch?
                  Substantial reinforcements were already on the cards for the Axis, including Pz.Abtl. 190 and the Centauro armoured division. Given that historically the Axis were unwilling to give up Africa I can't see any change in that attitude. Their biggest limiting factor in how much reinforcement the Axis can send to Libya is the single useful port of Tripoli. So probably no 10th Panzer Division but a limited rebuilding of the 15th and 21st PzD and maybe a Tiger tank battalion.
                  Rommel probably couldn't resist having another attack - would almost certainly be defeated, Monty would probably have to put in another 2 more full scale attacks and would take Tripoli no later than Tunisia was historically taken and very likely somewhat earlier.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    Substantial reinforcements were already on the cards for the Axis, including Pz.Abtl. 190 and the Centauro armoured division. Given that historically the Axis were unwilling to give up Africa I can't see any change in that attitude. Their biggest limiting factor in how much reinforcement the Axis can send to Libya is the single useful port of Tripoli. So probably no 10th Panzer Division but a limited rebuilding of the 15th and 21st PzD and maybe a Tiger tank battalion.
                    It occurs to me part of the reinforcements sent to Tunisia in November/December were from the group involved in the endless plan for attacking Malta. Absent Torch I wonder what the odds were of a airbourne/amphibious op. actually being attempted vs Malta in the winter of 1942/43


                    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                    Rommel probably couldn't resist having another attack - would almost certainly be defeated, Monty would probably have to put in another 2 more full scale attacks and would take Tripoli no later than Tunisia was historically taken and very likely somewhat earlier.
                    Hmm... Monty facing Rommel & a rebuilt mechanized army somewhere between Tripoli and western Cyrinacia. A look at the maps confirms this is considerably more open that the battlefields of Egypt or Tunisia. No vast salt mashes, or rough hill masssifs. Some rolling countryside, a few coastal enscarpements, some wadis coming to the sea. But, there is not a lot to anchor the sort of battles Monty & Rommel fought in Egypt or southern Tunisia. In other word there is the potiental for a fluid mobile battle. One can speculate on how Montys methods would work against the Germans in that circumstance.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      Hmm... Monty facing Rommel & a rebuilt mechanized army somewhere between Tripoli and western Cyrinacia.
                      A somewhat rebuilt army. 5th Panzer Army in Tunisia was never as strong in armour as the German-Italian Tank Army pre-November.

                      A look at the maps confirms this is considerably more open that the battlefields of Egypt or Tunisia. No vast salt mashes, or rough hill masssifs. Some rolling countryside, a few coastal enscarpements, some wadis coming to the sea. But, there is not a lot to anchor the sort of battles Monty & Rommel fought in Egypt or southern Tunisia. In other word there is the potiental for a fluid mobile battle. One can speculate on how Montys methods would work against the Germans in that circumstance.
                      One doesn't have to speculate that much. Montys methods worked just fine at Medenine
                      The lack of a formidable defensive line such as at Alamein or Mareth is definitely no bonus for the Axis.

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                      • #12
                        I thought I read in another thread that one of the primary reasons the invasion of Normandy was as late as it was was the need to establish air superiority over Europe. Did I mis-read or was that one of the major reasons it took until '44 to invade?

                        If it was, North Africa has little impact on the timing. However, I think the Allies learned a great deal from the African, Sicilian and Italian invasions that played a hand in the success of the Normandy landings. Is my understanding flawed?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                          I thought I read in another thread that one of the primary reasons the invasion of Normandy was as late as it was was the need to establish air superiority over Europe. Did I mis-read or was that one of the major reasons it took until '44 to invade?
                          Its a common claim.

                          Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                          If it was, North Africa has little impact on the timing. However, I think the Allies learned a great deal from the African, Sicilian and Italian invasions that played a hand in the success of the Normandy landings. Is my understanding flawed?
                          I had a career in the USMC, along with a portion of the schooling in amphibious warfare that went with that. The past three year I've rereading the Allied amphibious ops historys in the context of my former education (must make all that government expense pay off), and i am wholly unimpressed with how either Montgomery or Bradley thought things through. Overall from the 21st AG staff, down through US 1st & Uk 2d Armys, though the corps, and down through division and regiment the application of earlier experince was extremely uneven. Two of the three US divisions assualting the beaches at Normandy had never been in combat before, neither corps commander, Collins or Gerow, had been involved in a combat amphibious assualt.

                          As of 5 June 1944 exactly seven of the 25+ US Divisions in the ETO had any combat experience, and several of those remained in Italy. Few officers or NCOs had been transfered from those, or the experinced corps HQ, to the 'green' units. Neither was there a coherent effort to drawn on any experince from the PTO, despite numerous transfers of officers from the PTO.

                          Some correct conclusions were drawn by some commanders or staff from the Commonwealth or US experince in the Med. But, it is clear many other leassons were ignored or the incorrect conclusions drawn.

                          But I digress here... how bout those Axis?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                            A somewhat rebuilt army. 5th Panzer Army in Tunisia was never as strong in armour as the German-Italian Tank Army pre-November.
                            That answers part of the question. We might also take a look at Rommels physicall condition in November/December and the mental state of the other Axis commanders in the Axis army retreating across Lybia. Perhaps with to Tunisian bridgehead to retreat to their best effort would have been planning a evacuation of critical personnel before 8th Army assualts Tripoli. Still Rommel fooled folks before.

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                            • #15
                              Carl, I see your point about the divisions in Italy, but could they have been pulled out of Italy and replaced without the Germans knowing it? I'd argue it would be important that fresh troops be used because such a move from Italy would have alerted German command that something was up. I know they were already expecting an invasion of France, but doing anything to set off the rising hair's on the backs of the Wehrmacht's leadership would be a bad idea. After all, the Normandy invasion at it's heart was deception: make the Germans bottle up in Calais and smash through the weak defneses in Normandy before the Panzers could move. But I am playing the devil advocate here.
                              How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                              275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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