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Battle for Northern Africa-interesting info

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by Kai-Petri, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. auslad

    auslad recruit

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    too true!!
     
  2. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    The whole of idea is to stop reprisals from the partisans in the area by making them be fearful of what will happen if they cause any problems. Little do they know that overall, history shows this doesn't work and if anything just strengthens the resolve of the local populace.
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Picture of a German Malaria medicine metal box. Picture from Finnish net auction. Quite rusty....
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Rear Admiral Sir Anthony Cecil Capel Miers VC, KBE, CB, DSO & Bar (11 November 1906 – 30 June 1985) was a Royal Navy officer, who served in the submarine service during the Second World War.

    In November 1940 he was given command of HM Submarine Torbay. He sailed on his first offensive patrol in March 1941 to hunt for the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, then continued to Gibraltar, then Alexandria, to join 1st Flotilla.

    Miers' first patrol from Alexandria in July 1941 featured two incidents which gave rise to the accusation of war crimes.

    On two separate occasions, Miers ordered the machine-gunning of several shipwrecked German soldiers in rafts who had jumped overboard when their vessels were sunk by the Torbay.

    These events were witnessed and reported by acting first lieutenant Paul Chapman who reported "everything and everybody was destroyed by one sort of gunfire or another".

    Miers also made no attempt to conceal his actions, his patrol log recording: "Submarine cast off, and with the Lewis gun accounted for the soldiers in the rubber raft to prevent them from regaining their ship..."

    When informed of Miers' actions, Flag Officer Submarines Admiral Horton wrote to the Admiralty about the possibility of German reprisals: "As far as I am aware, the enemy has not made a habit of firing on personnel in the water or on rafts even when such personnel were members of the fighting services; since the incidents referred to in Torbay's report, he may feel justified in doing so."

    The Admiralty then sent a strongly worded letter to Miers advising him not to repeat the practices of his last patrol.

    Anthony Miers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Rommel got loads of letters from Germany demanding autographs etc. There were also some weird letters: Another girl wrote to Rommel that she would like to get to know a soldier with sensitive feelings. A member of the Hitler Youth wrote: Dear general, I would like to make the acquaintance of an unknown soldier. That is why I am writing to You.

    From "At Rommel´s side-the lost letters of Hans-Joachim Schraepler"
     
  7. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    The Third Reich's poster General...political appointee, Erwin Rommel.

    One wonder's whether Rommel's reputation would have survived the war if he did. Plenty of other reputations on both sides went down the tubes post war.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Didn´t Monty have his pic in his HQ wagon? And Patton admired him quite alot, I think. Rommel would have made big money with books and touring the world... ;)
     
  9. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Probably right. Runestedt and other German staffers might have had something to say about it. It would be the same situation as James Longstreet found himself in for criticizing Robert E. Lee post ACW. Rather than engage in informed public debate, followers of the "Marble Model" simply shouted him down for his 'blasphemy'.

    For all the worship, Rommel's campaigns were losing ones. He outran his supplies far too often, and insisted on going over the heads of his superiors to get his way by dealing directly with Hitler far too often for my tastes.

    I much prefer Russian front German officers, like Hoth, Bock, Balch...or dare I say it, Bittrich.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    What happened to Model? The man who saved it all? Of course according to Hitler´s rules.
     
  11. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Walter Model almost singlehandedly destroyed any hope of the Northern arm of the Kursk offensive doing anything significant; defensively, he was fairly competent at organising resistance on the run, but offensively, I cannot recall one action or group of actions where his generalship contributed materially to a successful conclusion.

    At Arnhem, Model nearly lost it entirely, saved only by the cool head of Wilhelm Bittrich. Model was quick to grab the credit from Bittrich as well.

    Walter Model could certainly stand up to Hitler, and as a divisional commander, he was certainly competant, if unsophisticated. But, as an Army commander, offensively Model was out of his depth. I would compare him to Erwin Rommel, great divisional commander, but rising to his level of incompetance as an offensive Army Commander.

    Defensively, Model's actions were often seemingly calculated to severly annoy the majority of officers under his command, as is demonstrated by the number of requests for transfer every time he turned up in a new command.

    As you can see, my feelings toward Model are as mixed as my feelings toward Rommel.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Takoradi air route:

    At Takoradi various buildings had been commandeered and a large landing strip laid down. This was the secret route to get Fighter Aircraft to the Desert War in North Africa without which that war could not have been won. With the help of the Free French a series of landing strips had been built en route to Khartoum, spaced so that Fighter Aircraft could make the journey on their limited fuel. These planes were shipped from the UK in kit form and assembled at Takoradi to be flown in hops across Africa to the front line. No ships were available to take planes the long sea route via the Cape and Red Sea.

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Takoradi (Ghana): Memories of the RAF

    Bayou Renaissance Man: Weekend Wings #9: Final Flight
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Throughout W.W.2 Italian bombers were plagued by the lack of reliable bomb aiming devices, the availability of big-calibre bombs and poor bomb-carrying capacity.

    On the basis of these considerations, colonnello Ferdinando Raffaelli conceived an unusual solution, consisting in loading the highest possible quantity of explosives aboard a single crewless aircraft and radio-controlling it onto its predetermined target, that was thus to be destroyed by a direct impact.

    This solution offered many advantages: it allowed a crew to be spared, and a higher load of explosives to be carried since no fuel was needed for a return flight. Moreover, old machines nearing the end of their useful life could be advantageously used to this purpose.

    Two aircraft were made available for this unusual type of mission. Initially, two S.79s were chosen, one as the flying bomb (and therefore called A.R.P. for radio-controlled aircraft) and the other as the remotely-guiding aircraft (in turn called E for radio-controlling aircraft). Later, the P.-machine was replaced by a Cant Z 1007 bis.

    On 12August 1942, at 01.00 p.m. the two aircraft took off from the Villacidro air base. Maresciallo Badii took off on the A.R.P., set it on its planned route, then parachuted to safety. Colonnello Raffaelli followed with its CantZ 1007 bis radio-controlling the S. 79 flying bomb, bound for the British fleet near the Tunisian coast.

    But off the island of La Galite, probably on account of a defective capacitor on the S.79, the latter escaped the radio-control from the R-aircraft, began turning westward, flew beyond Tunisian borders and crashed on the sides of a Little Atlas mountain at an altitude of 1,800 m (6,000 ft) and 70 km (43 miles) off the town of Philippeville.

    17th Bomb Group in Villacidro, Sardinia, Italy, 1943-1944.

    Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  14. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The story I know is the failure was in the transmitter not the receiver, the mission included a couple of G50 as escort. The link below (in Italian) has lots of details.
    VILLACIDRO: UN PO' DI STORIA

    The intended target was the Pedestal convoy and the SM 79 was painted yellow to make it more visible to the controlling aircraft and nicknamed canarino (canary) because of this.

    BTW in the same operations the Italian also finally tested a big bomb, the 750Kg 630 PD bomb derived from a 381mm (15") shell. It was carried by two Re 2001, apparently both bombs hit HMS Victorious but failed to explode.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    "Italy was totally deficient in anti-aircraft defence. In 1940 she possessed two searchlights and some 230 anti-aircraft batteries for the defence of the mother country. There were only 42,000 vehicles for the whole metropolitan army in July 1940. "

    From " The Brutal friendship: Mussolini,Hitler and the fall of fascism" by F.W.Deakin
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    " There was alot of prejudice among the high British officers towards the ANZAC officers and troops. General Wilson called them "troublesome", Auchinleck never liked them,and even O´Connor blamed the Australian troops for drunken disorders and looting ( to which there was some truth ). It would not be until General Montgomery arrived that the ANZAC troops were truly understood and accepted by the "Union of the British Generals" who ran this theater."

    From "Rommel´s North-Africa campaign Sept 1940-Nov 1942 " by Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani
     
  17. DauntlessEnZedder

    DauntlessEnZedder Member

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    The old Maori weapon, the taiaha can be deadly when wielded by an expert. This was proved in a taiaha and rifle and bayonet duel at a small arms weapon training school at Maadi, the Middle East, in 1943.The school was an important centre in which soldiers of the 8th Army were given an intensive training course in every infantry weapon, from revolvers to bayonets. In this particular course there were Americans, Free French, English, New Zealanders, Cypriots, and Canadians. In one of the bayonet fighting sessions, Major Don Steward, a New Zealander, remarked to his hard-bitten instructors: “This is quite a weapon, I only know of one to beat it!” “What’s that?”Asked the instructor. “The Maori taiaha.”“What the hell is that?”“A fire-hardened wooden stave and fending spear, “replied Stewart. Derision and scorn followed this remark, which stung the Maori to the quick. As a result, he offered to prove his point. Immediately bets were offered at great odds that the man with a Maori weapon would be dead within seconds against an expert with a rifle-mounted bayonet.
    The Maori champion, Lieut. Aubrey Te Rama-Apakura Rota, luckily had one with him. Rota was warned that he would have to take full risk of being wounded or worse, and that the incident was to be officially regarded as an exercise in the combat school, where ‘accidents ‘were fairly frequent. There would be no holds barred on either side. Stripping off his tunic, the young Maori stood facing the grinning ‘modern soldier ‘in much the same way his forebears had faced the British redcoats a century before. The signal to start was given. The soldier lunged in and thrust in perfect precision, but each move was parried by the light-footed Maori who bided his time and stood on the defensive. Failing to penetrate the Maoris’ guard, the other soldier grew increasingly angry as thrust after thrust was tossed aside by the stout wooden weapon. Sometimes it was repelled with such violence that the European soldier was flung sideways. Finally, he crouched and charged in directly at the Maoris’ midriff. This was Rota’s chance. Grasping his weapon firmly, he sidestepped, tipped aside the blind thrust, and caught the lunging figure a smart uppercut in the stomach with the bladed end of the taiaha. In a flash he whirled the weapon about, to crash the business-end on top of his opponent’s skull. Down he went, to be out of action for some days in the camp hospital—another regrettable accident from the small arms school. The effect on those present was profound. Money changed hands at great odds, as the jubilant minority collected. The story was repeated with almost unbelievable astonishment throughout the Middle East.
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    "...below Auchinleck´s brigade group was a smaller one, the battle group, which was still larger than a jock colum. A South African staff officer remarked that the difference between the two was that " a Battle Group was a brigade which has twice been overrun by tanks"...

    From Rommel´s North Africa campaign by Greene-Massignani
     
    lwd likes this.
  19. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    " Not all German aid to Iraq went by air. Under the Paris Protocols Vichy had recovered 25 per cent of the arms it had been obliged to store with the Italian-administered Armistice Commission in Syria by agreeing that the rest could go to the Iraqi Army whose main arms supplier was Britain.The shipments were made overland to Mosul, mainly by rail but sometimes by road, and overseen by Dr Rudolf Rahn, Ribbentrop´s representative on the Armistice Commission in Syria.Starting 13 May ( 1941 ?!), Rahn sent 12 field guns- 8 of them big 155 mm - with 16,000 shells, 15,500 rifles with 6 million rounds of ammunition, 354 machine pistols, 200 machine guns, 30,000 grenades and 32 trucks. Then the British learned what was going on and intervened in what became their first land action against the Levant´s Vichy French."

    From " England´s last war against France " by Colin Smith
     

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