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Rommel pursues a different strategy in North Africa

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by T. A. Gardner, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. scipio

    scipio Member

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    True up to point Ulrich.

    However, on 13th February 1942,Raeder managed to attract a receptive Hitler to NA and possibility of attacking through Libya and Egypt to the British controlled Persian Oilfields and then on to link up with the japanese.

    Breifly known as the "the Great Plan".

    The Luftwaffe in considerable force was relocated to assist Rommel, who having run out of supplies during Operation Crusader and retreated to El Algehila, had turned, benefitting the problem of Japan's entry in the War had created (plus chaos on the British side) and advanced to a stalemate at Gazala. Rommel now for once received loads of supplies and extra Panzers.

    Operation Herkules (the taking of Malta by you G dad) and Operation Aida were rolled out and agreed by the Dictators - the aim being the elimination of Malta in July and Egypt taken in December 1942.

    And away we go again - but soon richer opportunities in Russia looked more juicy to Hitler, who lost interest again in NA.
     
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    No,the proposals of Räder were only mirages
    1)THere was NO posibility for Rommel to arrive in Iran,and there was NO possibility for Japan to conquer India (Japan was pursuing a defensive strategy):they neve would meet each other
    2) the transport of the 2nd Air Fleet was not decided in february 1921 but in november 1941,and already at the end of 1941,2 Air Fleet was operating from Sicily
    3)it is wrong to say that Rommel for once received supplies and extra panzers:
    tonnage delivered in NA (for the AK and the Italians):in thousands of tonnes
    1941
    january:49
    february:79
    march:93
    april:81
    may:69
    june:125
    july:62
    august:84
    septembe:68
    october:74
    november:30
    december:39
    1942:
    january:66
    february:59
    march :48
    4) The whole thing also was not the responsability of Räder
     
  3. scipio

    scipio Member

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    They may have been mirages but he sold Hilter on them - that is history as told by Barie Pitt, Crucible of War - surprising that Pitt is so accurate on so much else.

    So I guess I had better bin the book.

    However I beleive what he was refering to was the commitment of the Luftwaffe to bombing Malta - I see that even your figures in the January 1941 to March are double that of the next year.
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Yes,but,on an average the monthly supply figures that were arriving in NA were 71000 tonnes in 1941 and 65000 in 1942;thus it is not so that the Axis got more in 1942.
    And,the most important fact is the following :what would be more important for the AK?
    80 tanks arriving in Tripoli in september 1941,when the Germans were at Tobruk(some 1500 km from Tripoli),or 20 tanks arriving in Tripoli in january 1942,when the Germans were at 400 km of Tripoli?
    It is not the amount of supplies that was arriving,which was deciding,but the question if Rommel was far away of his supply base or near by .
    I like to see how the Germans were transporting 80 tanks on a distance of 1500 km .
    "From march 1941,when the AK first deployed around Sirte,300 miles east of Tripoli,Rommel's forces were extended well beyound doctrinal sustainment range ".
    Source:Rommel's desert war:the Impact of logistics on operational art .
    If Rommel was moving east of Syrt,he was in big problems,if he was remaining between Syrt and Tripoli,he had a chance (very small),but the eventual result still would be Tunisgrad .
     
  5. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Tunisgrad! I like it.
     
  6. scipio

    scipio Member

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    But only if the opposition with logistic support stretching back 1500 miles was superb at this art and had performed it at every level in WW1 and studied it intensely every since - Monty! and just as well as he did - came in handy for his command of ground forces at DDay.
     
  7. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I've heard opinions from Rommel's war camrades that there were many German generals who could perform Rommel's task equaly or even better. The only difference was that Goebels has turned ordinary Rommel into a Myth!
     
  8. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    Rommel was a good strategist with some errors. Some said that Guderian was as good but he was only good with his Panzers not so with the Infantery. I think that Rommel was the right man at the right place but he suffered from Hitlers way not to end a war at one theater.
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    IMHO,Rommel's claims that he never got enough supplies only are the usual attempts of a defeated general to put the blame on the shoulders of an other .
    The fact is that the AK never could go farther than the Suez Canal,and being at the Canal never would be deciding .
    Romel had no reasons to complain
    1) on manpower :at the end of 1941,the AK (without supply forces,LW) the AK had 32000 men,while it had lost in 1941 12540 CL and 57250 NCL(sick),the majority of whom did return to Germany :a low guess is that Germany was sending in 1941 more than 120000 men to NA.
    From april till september 1942,(5months),Rommel received 66000 reinforcements
    2) on supplies :the Germans produced in 1941 and 1942 110000 trucks,of which 30000 were going to NA.
    The Italian navy did its best,more than its best :it sent 2.345.381 GRT of supplies to NA(almost 67000 a month)of which 14 % was lost (315.426)
    (Source:Rommel de mythologized by Volga Boatman)
    Even at the end,the RMI was doing miracles:in december 1942,january and february 1943,188000 tonnes were sent (63000 a month)of which 23 % was lost and 42000 men (7.5 % lost),in march and april,12000 men were sent (12% lost)
    BTW:these figures are questioning the general belief that after Torch,the allied air and naval supremacy were preventing the sending of supplies to NA.
     
  10. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Did Rommel get a decent amount of supplies, man power and vehicles? Yes.
    Was it enough though? No were near it. The supply lines were that long it took time to get the supplies there, Then the vehicles them selves chewed up a sizable chunk of the oil driving back and forth. The vehicles in such conditions over such drives would have been seriously buggered, Would need to service the vehicle after a couple trips and so many vehicles with his man power, Would prove impossible.
    Did the Torch landings ability to allow allied warships and air craft closer to the front affect the supply situation? Yes, Maybe not to the point that make it out to be, But it affected there supplies enough that they couldn't wage war fare in NA effectively. As your numbers clearly show, There was a greater number of men in NA to supply and feed in 1943 and yet they started receiving less supplies coming through.
     
  11. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Yes,and no, :there were some railways
    1)a 950 mm gauge railway constructed in 1912,centered on Tripoli;from Tripoli to the east :120 km,to the south100 km,to the east 10 km
    2)a 750 mm (later 950)gauge railway (constructed between 1911/1927,centered on Benghazi,going 110 km to the east
    The BIG problem was that there was no connection between Tripoli and Benghazi(and still no is) and that the Lybian and Egyptian railways were not completive :the Egyptian railways had a gauge of 1435 mm,and this was hindering the British advance in 1941 and 1942.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Some sources on the war in NA (with emphasis on logistics)
    Van Crefeld (partially available on the net)
    Logistics and the desert fox
    Operational planning and logistical sustainment:the Axis experience in 2 North African offensives
    Rommel's desert war:the impact of logistics on operational art
    British and German logistics supports during WWIINorth African Campaign
    Toppe:desert warfare:German experience in WWII(with some reserves)
    A thread about North African railways on the Axis History Forum
    Rommel's Afrika Korps:from Tobruk to Alamein (by Battistelli):a must for informations about strength and loss figures
    Germany conquers Middle Eastern oil (WWII)
     
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  13. scipio

    scipio Member

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    I took the trouble of reading the 2008 start of this thread - Tobruk the second time around was take in less than a day (not weeks) and then Rommel did push on with everything he had and as fast as any human could have done. In fact to carried to the letter the "strategy" (wrong word of course) that the writer intimates that he DID NOT Do.

    However, Auchinleck sacked Richie, took over himself and prepared excellent defences at El Alamein which withstood everything that Rommel threw against it (Nice to read, at last, about a British commander who set artillery guns to blast Panzers to pieces).

    Those are the facts.

    With regard to the criticism of Hitler. I believe, for once, this is ill founded prior to the Tunisian Campaign.

    With Barbarossa ready to roll and needing every scrap of Armour for this campaign. Mussolini's idiotic Campaign and Greece and the Collapse of the Italian Army in Libya were distractions.

    Hitler quite rightly did the minimum necessary to keep his Ally, Italy, in the War which meant crushing the Greeks\Yugoslavs and holding the line in Africa. After he had defeated the Russians, he could then easily return and swat the British in Egypt.


    Rommel's activities were good for German propaganda without costing Hitler much. NA was never going to be decisive for Germany - it was a sideshow.


    Hitler's mistake was not to take Rommel's advice after the defeat at El Aghiela. Committing an extra 250 thousand men to a losing campaign was the strategic mistake - Hitler should have kept it as a sideshow. Losing a larger Army in Tunis that at Stalingrad was plain idiocy.
     
  14. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I am not enitely sure you can excuse Rommel in his choices. He has tasked to stablize the theater, not conquer Egypt. It would have been far more prudent, considering his resources, at stopping at the Egyptian border after 2nd Tobruck and waiting for the 8th Army to come back to him at the end of their line of supply. He was still better at mobile operations in the open desert than any British commander of the period.
     
  15. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    You may not be able to excuse Rommel entirely, But when it comes down to it, Rommel was known for his attack, Not defense. If they only wanted to stabalize the line then they really should have sent a defensive minded general to over see Rommel, That way Rommel would be able to do limited attacks, But would be unable to go too deep. British/Commonwealth forces would be kept off balance while Axis forces built up strength slowly.
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    They did, Kesselring for one tried, but convincing Rommel NOT to attack when he saw a chance was a hard task. His performance in the French 1940 campaign, where IMO he was far from irrelevant, is a good case of a subordinate pushing his "creative interpretation" of orders to the limit. But he was a good enough leader of men and tactician to pull it off most of the time and the military are unlikely to punish success. The problem with evaluating Rommel is that while
    "an army marches on it's stomach" if you win a decisive battle having outrun your supplies matters little.

    Gazala is a good example, Rommel pushed his troops to the limit and overwhelmed the numerically superior Commonwealth troops, but at the end of the battle the DAK was in no condition for a second battle, the pursuit was a shoerstring operation and he couldn' prevent a new, and even stronger, line a El Alamein from forming. And the numerically inferior and overstretched axis troops were unlikely to win a straight attrition battle like 2nd El Alamein, an even if they had they would have been a third and then a fourth until they broke. Monty, as a norm, was a lot less aggressive but he didn't have to be, quite the opposite, the earlier British defeats were often due to "getting caught on the rebound" when disorganized after a failed attack by the more aggressive Germans.
     
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  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The following figures are from :Christos military and intelligence corner:Ultra intelligence and Rommel's convys
    Supplies by recipiant
    1941:
    Italian Army :fuel :83000 tonnes,other supplies:280000
    Italian navy: fuel :25000,other supplies :15000
    Italian airforce:fuel:22000,other supplies :26000
    Germans :47000/223000
    Civilians:4000/174000
    1942
    Italian Army:93000/260000
    Italian Navy:17000/15000
    Italian Air Force:23000/13000
    Germans:113000/177000
    Civilians:300/76000
    Total :
    1941:181000/722000 (my correction:there was a typo in the post of Christos)
    1942:247000/531000
    There also are figures about supplies by type,but these are sadly enough not readable .
     
  18. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    LJAD, If you are willing to put the image u of the unreadable supply types i may be able to get the images cleared up a little. Have a few computer friends with some interesting programs, Might be worth a try.

    And i would have to say, Rommel's Greatest enemy in NA, Was Hitler, Then again he was the Greatest enemy to most Germans. Held them back when he should have given them free reign to make there own decisions on the Eastern front, and then gave total leeway to Rommel in NA when he should have told him to sit still for 12 months or so.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I can only give the link(problem with my scanner) :
    chris-intel-corner.blogspot.com/2012/04/ultra-intelligence-and-rommels-convoy...
    The problem is the following :when I am clicking on the table "supplies by type" ,to agrandize it,I get the table "supplies by recipients".
     
  20. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Just looked at it, And while it does give some of the number of supplies by type, It does not give it all, Nor does it give it the detailed information that we would prefer. While it gives some idea of the amount sent and received, It does seem to confuse the situation a little. Are the numbers in tons? or are they in both tons and numbers of equipment combined?

    While the combustible liquids would likely come down to fuel mostly, With oil etc for the vehicles and maintenance, Is easy enough to follow, The 11,199 sent in May 1941 of Vehicles and spares.. Is that in total tons? If so it provides more questions then answers as the vehicles probably also include tanks etc, and all of them are of different weight's.

    But in any case, Nothing was wrong on your end, seems just that wasn't listed correctly.

    Supplies sent to Africa:

    View attachment 16382

    Supplies received by various services from Italy and Germany:

    View attachment 16383
     

    Attached Files:

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