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German tanks sent to africa

Discussion in 'Naval War in the Mediterrean, Malta & Crete' started by chromeboomerang, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    So, if I can add them up right for once, 25 Pz I, 120 (2) Pz II, 727 (82) Pz III, 328 (77) Pz IV, and 31 Tiger. Note that of the 1,393 recorded as shipped, only 149 were lost in shipping to enemy action (the 13 lost in March 41 were to a shipboard fire), or just over 10 percent. OTOH note that half those shipped as critical reinforcements to Pz.A.O.K. Afrika in December 1941 were lost.

    Hope that helps, I'll see if I can firm up some of the arrival dates, especially in late 42 and in 43.
     
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Quite interesting. The icing on the cake would be a month by month tally! Can your sources provide this?
     
  3. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    I have a month by month tally of AXIS merchant shipping lost in the Med...

    Regardless of tanks lost, the losses in supplies would have been considerable...

    Merchant shipping Tonnage Lost in Med...

    1940 - 186,631
    1941 - 714,410
    1942 - 522,082
    1943 - 767,734

    Thats 2,190,857 Tonnage lost or 597 ships...

    And something from Kriebel on shipping losses...

    "At first German troops and supplies were transported on German ships, but ship losses soon became so heavy that German troops and supplies had to use Italian ships on an increasing scale.

    Malta proved to be a most important strongpoint and of the greatest advantage for British strategy. Subs and torpedo-carrying aircraft based on Malta and at Alexandria launched their attacks on our convpys and ships with growing success. In order to lessen casualties in men, troops were flown to Africa on an ever-increasing scale. It had become impossible to comply with the requirements regarding reinforcements and supplies for the German and Italian troops in North Africa. An additional drawback was the fact that harbour installations in Tripoli and Benghazi were limited and did not allow for the unloading of more than three or four ships at the same time. During September (1941) losses mounted to 18% of all supplies sent by sea, and during October losses were still increasing.

    Transport by sea became increasingly difficult. By the end of November and at the beginning of December the losses became so shattering that the Italian Navy actually suggested the abandonment of the African theatre before the entire Italian Merchant Fleet found itself resting on the bottom of the Mediterranean.

    On the 18th December 1941 and 5th January 1942, two convoysa arrived undamaged in the Libyan harbours without having encountered the enemy. These two convoys had been escorted by Battleships. Owing to the shortage of oil fuel, battleships requiring large quantities could only be made use of in exceptional circumstances. The oil reserves accumalated by the Italian Navy before Italy entered the war had been exhausted. Four German Panzer Kompanies had been shipped to Africa in these convoys and strengthed the fighting power of the DAK.

    Rommel would find it very difficult to carry on operations of any length so long as the difficulties of sea transport made the arrival of reinforcements for men and material a matter of uncertainty. The replenishment of fuel and ammunition supplies was another great question that remained unanswered."

    Kinda says it all really... [​IMG]
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    The Med being a closed sea, except for the Gibraltar and Suez outlets but we know who controlled theses, in the first place I assume there would be only a very small number of German merchants left over from pre-war, that had been unable to escape in time. Remember this Mediterranean campaign had been an afterthought in 1940. The rest of shipping available would be Italians supplemented by a limited supply of taken over or otherwise enrolled French, Yugoslavian and Greek ships.

    I don't know how many ships would be available considering suitable tonnage, maintenance condition, availability of fuel, port facilities suitability at both ends (Tobruk and Tripoli wouldn't be in their best shape), etc etc.

    I have this nagging feeling that things wouldn't really be what we call bright for the Admiral in charge of Axis shipping.

    Or we can say they did a brilliant job considering the difficulties they were up against.
     
  5. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    I don't vouch for it's accuracy, but here it is.


    Sorry David, missed this. Here is the best I can do off hand.

    Africa shipments (total arrived plus number lost in transit in parens):

    8-10 March 41, 5 le.Afrika-Div. with 25 Pz I, 45 Pz II, 61 (10) Pz III, 17 (3) Pz IV
    24 April-6 May 41, 21 Pz.Div. with 45 Pz II, 71 Pz III, 20 Pz IV

    Replacements (release date given, all arrived between August and October 1941):
    ? April 41, 10 Pz III, 3 Pz IV
    4 June 41, 15 Pz III, 5 Pz IV
    30 June 41, 4 Pz II, 6 Pz III
    10 July 41, 4 Pz III
    19 December 41, 11 (11) Pz III, 34 (34) Pz IV

    Monthly reported shipments:
    January 42, 81 Pz III, 18 Pz IV
    February 42, 75 Pz III, 22 Pz IV
    March 42, 6 (3) Pz III
    April 42, 14 Pz III
    May 42, 33 (6) Pz III, 9 Pz IV
    June 42, 2 (6) Pz III
    July 42, 47 (3) Pz III, 10 Pz IV
    August 42, 29 (3) Pz III, 10 Pz IV
    September 42, 7 (9) Pz III, 12 Pz IV

    Arrived November-December 1942:
    Pz.Abtl. 190 with 7 Pz II, 52 Pz III, 10 Pz IV
    10. Pz.Div. with 19 (2) Pz II, 89 (16) Pz III, 8 (12) Pz IV
    s.Pz.Abtl. 501 with 25 Pz III, 20 Tiger

    Arrived March-April 43:
    s.Pz.Abtl. 504 with 19 Pz III, 11 Tiger
    3./Pz.Regt. HG with 2 Pz III, 8 Pz IV

    Replacements 1 November 42-1 May 1943:
    68 (16) Pz III, 142 (2 Pz IV

    So, if I can add them up right for once, 25 Pz I, 120 (2) Pz II, 727 (82) Pz III, 328 (77) Pz IV, and 31 Tiger. Note that of the 1,393 recorded as shipped, only 149 were lost in shipping to enemy action (the 13 lost in March 41 were to a shipboard fire), or just over 10 percent. OTOH note that half those shipped as critical reinforcements to Pz.A.O.K. Afrika in December 1941 were lost.

    Hope that helps, I'll see if I can firm up some of the arrival dates, especially in late 42 and in 43.

    Rich

    P.S.,
     
  6. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Can someone elaborate on the reason why the 41 vintage panzers did not get the 75 mm high velocity gun, & got the 50 instead?

    I heard a story about Hitler going into a rage when he discovered this & the Russsian T-34 hasd a 75mm. The culprit committed suicide. Is this an old wives tale? or is it for real. Perhaps the 75 was not ready for tank installation, I don't know & am curious about it.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    I can't answer all your question, c/b, but can make some contributions.

    I think that you're mixing the PzKw III and IV.

    The III started out armed with a 3.7cm gun pre-war in order to standardize with the infantry's 3.7cm anti-tank gun. On 4th January '39 the Weapons Dept was conracted to arm the PzKw III with a 5-cm gun and installed the 5-cm ( short ) L/42 gun with a muzzle velocity of 450-/685 mps. This became the PzKw III ( 5cm ) Ausf F ( type 5/ZW ). The same gun was fitted to the F,G and H models. The gun inadequacy was indeed only realised when the T-34 appeared in 1941. An order was hurriedly given that the PzKw III should be armed with the long ( KwK 39 ) L/60 5-cm gun which was fitted as standard on the J models and retro-fitted to all Mk IIIs returned to the factory for refit or repair. This weapon had a muzzle velocity of 1180 mps.

    It is correct that Guderian proposed, and Hitler instructed, that all Mk IIIs should have the long-barrelled gun from the start of the war.

    Perhaps others here can elaborate on why this wasn't done, and if the suicide story is true.

    ( The information above came from von Senger und Etterlin, German Tanks Of WWII )
     
  9. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Cool sites. One can't help but wonder how much effect the installation of the long barrel gun would have had on the African campaign early -mid 42.

    When did some of these long barrels arrive in Africa?
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    My German language a bit rusty but I suppose the Pz III L 60 ( 14?) AND Pz IV 75 mm L43 ( 2-4? ) were in action at least on 27th May 1942 in Africa although the PZ IV´s could not take part in the battle because of unsuitable ammo
    ( nothing against armor )?.

    Gegen 2:30 Uhr stand das Regiment etwa 15 Kilometer südlich Bir Hacheim herum nach Norden. Bei Sonnenaufgang am 27. Mai 1942 schwenkte das Regiment, nach einem Versorgungshalt von einer Stunde, im Abstand um Bir Hacheim herum nach Norden. Ziel war die Via Balbia zwischen Tobruk und Acroma. Links vom Regiment war die 21. Panzer-Division eingesetzt, rechts hing die 90. leichte Division leicht zurück. Da die Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 33 an anderer Stelle eingesetzt war, ging das Regiment, ohne Luft- und Erdaufklärung, in alter Gliederung vor. I. Abteilung im Breitkeil, die II. Abteilung folgte nach rechts herausgestaffelt. Kurz nach 7:00 Uhr überschreiten die Spitzenpanzer der I. Abteilung südlich von Bir el Harmat den Trigh el Abd und erkennen dunkle Punkte am Horizont. Beim näheren Heranfahren auf etwa 3000 Meter werden Panzersilhouetten erkannt. Hauptmann Kümmel setzt aus der Bewegung heraus die I. Abteilung zum Angriff an. Voraus tauchen Bodenwellen auf, hinter denen Feindpanzer am Hinterhang einen Riegel gebildet haben. Mit höchstem Tempo fahren die Kompanien an die Feindpanzer heran und eröffnen den Feuerkampf Zugweise. Kaum ist der Feuerkampf eröffnet, da erhalten die ersten Panzer Treffer. Das eigene Feuer ist wirkungslos, die 5 cm Granaten richten nichts aus, auch nach 3 bis 4 Treffern feuern die Gegner weiter. Die eigenen Ausfälle nehmen zu. Der Angriff der I. Abteilung steht. Die beiden Panzer IV lg können sich am Kampf nicht beteiligen, da sie nur Sprenggranaten an Bord haben.

    http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gliederungen/Panzerregimenter/PR8-R.htm
     
  11. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Thanks Kai. here's a rough breakdown of material & manpower strength at beginning of El Alamein. Don't have airpower comparison.


    In fact, Montgomery was waiting for the arrival of something that soldiers in the desert were only allowed to refer to as ‘swallows’. In fact, they were Sherman tanks - 300 of them to assist the Allies. Their 75 mm gun shot a 6lb shell that could penetrate a Panzer at 2000 metres. The 300 ‘Monty’ had were invaluable.

    To cope with Montgomery’s attack, the Germans had 110,000 men and 500 tanks. A number of these tanks were poor Italian tanks and could not match the new Sherman’s. The Germans were also short of fuel. The Allies had more than 200,000 men and more than 1000 tanks. They were also armed with a six-pound artillery gun which was highly effective up to 1500 metres. Between the two armies was the ‘Devil’s Garden’. This was a mine field laid by the Germans which was 5 miles wide and littered with a huge number of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. Going through such a defence would prove to be a nightmare for the Allies.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Wasn´t the Shermans a special present from Roosevelt? When Churchill was in the US and got the message that Tobruk had been lost, then Roosevelt told that he´d give him the 300 tanks?
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Located just off the western coast of Greece, Cephalonia had been occupied by Axis forces in 1941. The Italian garrison consisted of the 12,000 men of the Acqui Division.Relieved that their country was no longer involved in a hugely unpopular war, the members of the division celebrated when they learned of the armistice. The Italians seemed unfazed by the sullenness of the Germans, who also had their own garrison on the island.

    When German Maj. Gen. Hubert Lanz demanded that the Italians lay down their arms, the soldiers of the division overruled their officers, who realized the futility of resistance. Lanz received considerable reinforcements, and on September 15 his 1st Gebirgsjäger Division attacked.

    The Acqui Division resisted the superior German forces for a week and suffered more than 1,600 casualties before its commander, General Antonio Gandin, negotiated a surrender. As part of the agreement, Gandin was assured that his men would be repatriated to Italy.

    After Captain Amos Pampaloni's artillery unit was disarmed and assembled, German soldiers began to strip the men of their valuables. When the captain protested that it was illegal to take prisoners' effects, the German commander replied, "Not from prisoners, but from traitors, yes." Shortly thereafter, the Germans began shooting the Italians.

    There were so many prisoners that one of the Germans confided to his diary that the sound of machine gun fire could be heard continuously for more than two hours. By the time they were finished, the Germans had shot some 5,000 Italian prisoners in cold blood and thrown their bodies into unmarked pits or into the sea. Those who were not shot were transferred to ships. An additional 3,000 perished on the voyage to Germany, where the rest endured months of brutal captivity in slave labor camps.

    After the war, the graves containing the remains of the men of the Acqui Division were uncovered. It was hoped that Gandin's body could be identified among the thousands of other corpses by the Iron Cross ribbon that he wore on his uniform for his service with the Wehrmacht in Russia. Unfortunately, the general's remains could not be found.


    http://www.thehistorynet.com/wwii/editorial_09_03/

    [​IMG]

    General Antonio Gandin
     
  14. gregm

    gregm Member

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    wasnt that after the Australians 9th div was pulled out.
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    These range figures seem rather optimistic. Who told you this?
     
  16. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    No one told me it. it was from an article. Sounds like a question for Tony Williams.
     
  17. Major Destruction

    Major Destruction Member

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    WO 185/133 states the 6 pounder gun could penetrate 60mm homogenous armour at 30degrees at 1500 yards.

    2 pounder shot had defeated German AFV side and rear armour at up to 1000 yards. 2 pounder littlejohn shot could not defeat German spaced armour.

    WO 185/178 states the 75mm M2 gun, firing APCBC (M61), could penetrate 56mm armour at 1500 yards, MV 1850 fps. The M3 gun could penetrate 68mm at the same range firing APCBC, MV 2050 fps.

    also, referring to shots on frontal armour;

    Sherman penetrates MkIII (50+20mm armour) at 700 yards; penetrates MkIV (50mm armour) at 2000 yards.
    Sherman is immune to Mk III (50mm L/42) and is penetrated by the MkIV (75mm L/43) at 1200 yards.

    Normal combat range was 400 yards for 2 pounder guns.
     
  18. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    During Lightfoot a Sherman from the 9th Lancers knocked out a german tank at 4000 yards shooting indirect fire AP ammo. (Source Niall Barr: Pendulum of war, three battles at El Alamein.) Clearly these shells must have hit the top armour.

    As for the Devils garden, it was a case of reinventing the Wheel. Or as Douglas Wimberly did, ask the 9th Australian Div, how to kill off the germans. The answer was the night attack.

    During the nights of Lightfoot, Aussies, Scots, Kiwis and English marched through the mine gaps carrying in addition to their regular kit: Sandbags, armour plates and AT ammo. During the night they had to reach their objectives, and dig in ready for the counter attack at first light.

    If you haven't read the book, then I highly reccomend it.
     
  19. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    The only indirect fire AP round I know of, is a HEAT round. Shermans weren't armed with HEAT rounds in this period.
    What I suspect, is that the Sherman hit it with a HE round, which caused enough damage to KO the Panzer.
    This was the big advantage with the Sherman, not its anti-tank ability ( the 6 pdr armed British tanks were better in this respect), but its ability to engage German anti-tank guns at a distance with High Explosive rounds.
    With the Grant, the Shermans were the only Allied tanks in this period to have this ability.
     
  20. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    These range figures seem rather optimistic. Who told you this? </font>[/QUOTE]The optimistic part is hoping to hit them at this range ;)
    The 75mm M3 gun fitted on the Sherman could penetrate around 40mm to 50mm at an angle of 30 degrees at 2000 yards.
    This is slightly less than a 6 pdr, but in truth, firing AP at this range, using the sights fitted on tanks in this period, would be a waste of ammo.
    A better bet would be to lob a couple of HE shells in its direction, at best a near miss, or a direct hit might damage the panzer. At worst it would at least 'worry' them. and make them think twice about attacking your position.
     

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