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North African campaign

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by GunSlinger86, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    This is more of an Alternative History thread and should have originated there, where it would need approval to be discussed.

    I am moving it.
     
  2. denny

    denny Member

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    Why does it need approval.?
    Is this an inflammatory topic.?
    Thanks
     
  3. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Italian oil tankers in 1938:78,with 0.378 million GRT

    Iraqi oil production before WWII :3.8 million ton .
     
  4. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Thanks although I read that in 1940 it had reached 4 million ton but that is neither here nor there.

    Looking at tanker capacity that I have been able to find little on (except for the T2 used by the allies) I can only hazard a guess at the average capacity but utilizing LJAd's number's may be able to work out an average ship size.

    Dividing the total GRT by the number of ships gives me about 4,846 GRT per a ship. On average from what I can find for each GRT an equivalent ton of oil could be carrier so 378,000t of oil could be transported at any particular time. Allowing a 10knt speed would give a little under a one week trip either way between Tripoli and Venice. Not accounting for maintenance that would be 25 round trips a year (likely less) giving a total transport of over 9 million ton of oil.

    So if my calculations are correct (and more then likely I'm off on the numbers) then before the war they more then had the capacity but it all depends on how many tanker's were in the Med at the start of the war as well as those captured etc. If my numbers are correct then they would have needed at least 160,000 GRT in tanker capacity for the Iraqi oil.
     
  5. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Even if the Germans had taken Egypt, there is the threat from British forces in Sudan so that will require troops and if you look at the size of the Middle East it's quite large and would require large numbers of trucks and oil to get to Saudi Arabia or Iraq, which the Germans didn't have. Its the same conundrum the Germans faced in Russia, how do they get the oil they need to get to the oil sources.
     
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Italy had plenty of shipbuilding capability, and enough steel plants to support an expanded programme, though trained workers were an issue as many were called up, but Germany would need to provide the iron for more ships than historical. By l943 they were building ships out of concrete for lack of steel one source gives the 1943 merchant building programme a 124 steel, 30 concrete and 144 wooden hulls. There was a large (21 ship) tanker programme in 1942 to make up for losses as ULTRA had allowed the British to concentrate on tankers, I will see if I can find designs for them.
    Refining capability in Italy was probably lacking, especially for high octane aviation fuel.

    Cyprus is a non starter as a base, it has no large dock, very limited shipyard capability, and is impossible to resupply so can easily be neutralized even without invasion, contrary to Malta any damaged ship there has nowhere to go, so I don't think the RN would leave surface units behind once Suez is threatened. Anything left at Cyprus is likely to be lost if the Germans make a determined effort to take it and if we imagine a late 1940 offensive getting to the area by mid 1941 the Commonwealth is still awfully short of troops and can ill afford to lose a couple of divisions If attacked or have them stranded if not. The troops there would be a total loss, no Crete like evacuation as there is nowhere to go so using ANZAC units could have big repercussions and creating a decent garrison would require most British infantry brigades available leaving very little to face Rommel.

    EDIT: Found reference to 3 "standard" wartime designs (A, B, C) for cargoes and a "tipo agip" tankers of 10.540 t cargo capacity and 14.770 t. full load (dimension: 150,3 × 20,8 ×11,1 m.; 6200 CV; 16,1 knots), from another source these "15000" tankers (FRANCO MARTELLI, IRIDIO MANTOVANI, GIULlO GIORDANI, SERGIO LAGHI) were named after military figures from the Ethiopia campaign and look like the latest pre war ships as 3 were in service in 1940 and one compteting so a wartime crude carrier may be similar though the 1942 design is likely to be a smaller ship, the second source credits them with a more reasonable 13knots. AGIP also had a smaller 2000t design (VITTORINO ZANIBON, UGO FIORELLI).

    Also found out a ship that ran a regular route from the refineries at Porto Marghera (Venice) with refined products to Bengasi then to Batumi to load crude pre war,one interesting fact I'm still looking for is which percentage of Italian oil came from Rumania and the USSR before WW2.
     
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Jeff was correct in moving this to the Alt-History forum, something I was contemplating myself, but hoping it could remain a "question" only.

    As for why we require approval, it is to avoid excessive threads on nearly Identical topics and to avoid downright silly ideas like "what if Hitler had a Atomic Bomb in 1940?".
     
  8. denny

    denny Member

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    Reading these estimates of tonnage...steel...factory availability...workforce depletion...etc etc etc.
    It really makes me appreciate what...was it Admiral Yamamoto...was hip to. And why he was probably not really in favor of the way Pearl Harbor was conducted.
    The USA had vast resources...population...know-how...factories...and a large country that was not being... bombed, shelled, .blockaded, or invaded.
    Oil/Fuel and supplies. The USA really drove the war. I am always amazed when I see naval stats.
    Good Heavens...!! The number of Navy ships (military and supply) in January of 1942 to compared to January 1944 was staggering. It is amazing how many Aircraft Carriers were built in that time...then ALL those other ships and planes and boats and trucks.
    That was the war right there.
    So you guys with the knowledge of that stuff really bring the nuts and bolts (for lack of a more cliche pun) of The War to light.
    I can see how hard certain campaigns might be. So much bigger than just how many guys with guns an Army has.
    Thanks
     
  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    It might be fair to call the United States the economic heart, the British Commonwealth, the circulatory system and the Soviet Union, the muscle of the anti-axis resistance. Questionable if any one alone could have prevailed, but working together (however inconsistently), nearly unbeatable.
     
  10. denny

    denny Member

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    I was often amazed/impressed by how long Germany was able to hold out against those forces.
    The things a few thousand Germans...with a few hundred MG42...a dozen Tiger Tanks...a handful of those 88 guns and some mortar teams could accomplish...was almost (I hate to say it) Super Human.
    Some of their battles of fighting retreat were remarkable.
    Must have been humbling for The Allies at times.....The Germans were so outnumbered by 1944.
    I guess Hungary was still on their side.?
     
  11. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Some good points but also some points that I don't see having any merit. Ill try and break it down, Tell me if I'm wrong.

    1. Defence of Egypt - You questioned Egypts defence in relation to Sudan which also at the time was a British possession. While being British and even having armed forces within Sudan I can not see it being used as a spring board into Egypt, For one the distances involved are far larger with far less ability to supply the needed resources for a force that would have to be large enough to capture Egypt, Or at the very least the Suez canal.

    Looking at Sudan and Egypt the safest and easiest route for an advance in conflict would likely be along the coast but difference between Libya/Egypt and Sudan/Egypt is that the former had more ports along the route even if smaller while the later lacked any real port of sufficient size. Other then the coast the next point would be from Aswan (Assuan) along the Nile but getting to there in its self would be a hell of a mission.


    2. Oil to capture the Middle East - While oil would be needed what need's to be taken into account is how much exactly? More would likely be needed should the British/Commonwealth forces fall back into the Middle East for a fight, But if they head into Sudan then there would be less if any opposition requiring less manoeuvre in combat and less men over all to complete the task. While I dont doubt they could muster the fuel and resources for a campaign in the Middle East I'll agree that such an undertaking would first require the Naturalization of Malta and Cyprus and capture of the Suez canal removing threat of RAN and RAF interception of transports moving troops and supplies forward. Should point out that with no Barbarossa they would be able to shift fuel intended for there historically to the operations in NA and Mid East.
     
  12. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    So considering there ship building capacity if Germany and other Axis nations within Europe through in they could conceivably build without too much hassle 30+ tankers and still leave room for everything else.

    30 tankers x 10,000t of oil x 25 round trips = 7.5m ton of oil with little risk of shipping loss if they use the Adriatic Sea for the most part
     
  13. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Italy had no tankers of 10000 ton,the average was 5000 ton:78 tankers for 380.000 ton.

    Other point : the Iraqi oil production was some 3.8 million ton .
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    In june 1940,the Italian merchant navy was 786 ships (3.3 million GRT),of which at the DOW,212 (1.2 million GRT) were lost,being outside the Mediterranean,including 42 tankers .Thus,at the DOW,Italy lost more than the half of its tankers .
     
  15. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    From what I have come across and even from what TiredOldSoldier has stated they did have a few though they where just that, A few.


    Actually I read that 46 tankers were outside of the Med and lost but Ill work with both numbers.

    1.

    42 Tankers lost with 36 remaining.
    As I do not have access to a complete list of the Tankers and there displacement/capacity I can only account for the average (Could be higher or lower) which leaves each ship with a GRT of 4,846t, multiplied by the 36 remaining tankers and you have a total GRT of 174,461t.
    From my readings per each GRT 1 ton of fuel was carried (In some cases higher or lower so don't hold me to it exactly) which would give an oil capacity of 174,461t.
    At a speed of 10 knots (average speed, Some faster or slower) travel between Tripoli and Venice would take 5.8 days giving a rough round trip of 2 weeks.
    Allowing 20 - 25 rounds trips would deliver between 3,489,230t and 4,361,538t of oil annually though the former is more likely so to allow ship down time and maintenance.

    2.

    46 Tankers lost with 32 remaining
    Average remaining combined GRT of 155,072t
    Oil transportation capacity of 155,072t
    20 - 25 rounds trips would deliver between 3,101,440t and 3,876,800t

    So even with the lowest number of tankers they could still retrieve 81% of the Iraqi oil production and that does not take into account new build tanker's that could grow the total number's, With the RN being out of the Med (Suez presumably captured) the risk and loss rate would plummet.
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    In truth AGIP (the state controlled oil company) had 3 with a fourth building, and they could probably build more. The following document is in Italian but gives a good summary of AGIP tankers.

    http://www.viverein.org/public/album%20navi%20verticale%20bianco%20finale%201.pdf

    AGIP was not the only tanker operator, the Regia Marina had some and a number of other companies as well though probably none as big as the four AGIP ones.
    Franco Martelli was outside the Med on DOW and went to Recife, was sunk in 1941 while attempting to run oil to Bordeaux by HMS Urge
    Iridio Mantovani, was sunk on 1/12/1941 by HMS Aurora. HMS Penelope and HMS Lively (Force K?) after having been immobilized by aircraft bombs.
    Giulio Giordani was sunk on 17/11/1942 by HMS Porpoise close to Tripoli.
    Sergio Laghi was completed in 1942 and survived the war being finally scrapped in 1970.
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    But,what would be the benefit for the Axis ? Would Britain give up ?
     
  18. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    For starters the Regia Marina would not have had the fuel issues that it did historically, Same with the Kriegsmarine. The domestic need of oil for the occupied territories would be alleviated if not solved completely. For the most part though it would sort out the hindrance that Italy had become oil wise, They imported something like 92 percent of there oil and historically that put a huge strain on Germany and the other Axis nations.

    As for would Britain give up? Not at all. Likely they would get there oil from other sources, US being the most likely. More likely just be a change in positioning of there forces and a deep thinking of where there troops could be used.. Likely be stationed in Oman, Sudan, Few more sent to Italian East Africa to crush them before the Axis can come and save them thus denying the Germans/Italians the horn of Africa that would be a big stepping stone into the Indian ocean.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1)As there would be no war in the Mediterranean,the importance of the RM would be superfluous


    2)Domestic needs or not,the occupied countries would get no barrel of oil .Only German needs would be taken in consideration .
     
  20. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    The war in the Mediterranean would be limited but that does not mean it would be over and done for there. They still would have to station ships in the Western Med as well in the Red Sea. As for the oil going to domestic need's in occupied territories, Are we certain that they would not receive any oil or is that just a theory? In any case the bulk would likely go to Italy as they needed it, They where closer and it would save Germany the hassle of transporting fuel to Italy only to have fuel come back from Iraq (logistical nightmare that way)
     

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