Alamain

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
paul.mercer
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Alamain

Postby paul.mercer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:46 pm

Gentlemen,
Wuold there still have been a British victory at Alamain if Rommel had not been taken ill and returned to Germany?

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Re: Alamain

Postby tommy303 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:11 pm

Personally, I think the presence of the field marshal may have made a difference of sorts, but would probably not have staved off a German defeat at the battle. Montgomery had planned a battle of attrition knowing quite well that the Panzerarmee Afrika had neither the numbers of men nor the vast amount of equipment compared to what he himself had available. It was certainly no help to the Germans that General Stumme, who had taken over for Rommel, died of a heart attack during the battle.

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RF
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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:32 pm

Given the strategic position the Germans were in, the answer is likely to be no. The Germans were on the defensive with no option for successful attack.

This is quite apart from the Torch landings a short while later, which even without Montgomerys' attack would have rendered the Afrika Korps' position highly exposed.
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Re: Alamain

Postby Electron » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:30 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Gentlemen,
Wuold there still have been a British victory at Alamain if Rommel had not been taken ill and returned to Germany?


Yes Alamein was won at sea with the help of Ultra before it was "won" on land,...the British got to the stage of choosing which ships they would allow to pass,...ie Axis ships loaded with food clothing and medical supplies were essentially allowed through so that when defeat came the British would not have to be burdened with these logistics,...but tank,ammunition and fuel ships were sunk on sight....I read recently Rommels staff officers said that the British had everything and the Germans had next to nothing,they blammed RN subs,of course they weren't aware of the fact that the codes were broken and were being read.

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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:32 pm

Electron wrote:Yes Alamein was won at sea with the help of Ultra before it was "won" on land,...the British got to the stage of choosing which ships they would allow to pass,...ie Axis ships loaded with food clothing and medical supplies were essentially allowed through so that when defeat came the British would not have to be burdened with these logistics,...but tank,ammunition and fuel ships were sunk on sight....I read recently Rommels staff officers said that the British had everything and the Germans had next to nothing,they blammed RN subs,of course they weren't aware of the fact that the codes were broken and were being read.


It was rather more than just the situation at sea. Had Rommel been given proper full support by Hitler in 1941 there would have been no Alamein battle in 1942; Egypt and Palestine would already be under full Axis control. That is where the Germans really lost.
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Re: Alamain

Postby Steve Crandell » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:48 pm

RF wrote:
Electron wrote:Yes Alamein was won at sea with the help of Ultra before it was "won" on land,...the British got to the stage of choosing which ships they would allow to pass,...ie Axis ships loaded with food clothing and medical supplies were essentially allowed through so that when defeat came the British would not have to be burdened with these logistics,...but tank,ammunition and fuel ships were sunk on sight....I read recently Rommels staff officers said that the British had everything and the Germans had next to nothing,they blammed RN subs,of course they weren't aware of the fact that the codes were broken and were being read.


It was rather more than just the situation at sea. Had Rommel been given proper full support by Hitler in 1941 there would have been no Alamein battle in 1942; Egypt and Palestine would already be under full Axis control. That is where the Germans really lost.


The fuel still has to get to him.

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RF
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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:28 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:
The fuel still has to get to him.


With the Med as Mare Nostrum and Malta and Alexandria under full Axis control the supplying of fuel would not be a problem, be it 1941 or 1942.
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Re: Alamain

Postby Steve Crandell » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:33 pm

RF wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:
The fuel still has to get to him.


With the Med as Mare Nostrum and Malta and Alexandria under full Axis control the supplying of fuel would not be a problem, be it 1941 or 1942.


No, I'm referring to his attempt to get to Alexandria in the first place.

He couldn't get to Alexandria without more fuel than he could get from Italy, given the British interdiction of his supply lines both en route to Africa and along the coast with that one horrible road/sometime rail line.

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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:56 am

My point was that there would have been no British interdiction and ports such as Tobruk would have been fully operational for the Axis. Indeed apart from Gibraltar there could have been no Allied presence left in either the Med or the Near East.
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Re: Alamain

Postby Dave Saxton » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:48 pm

Raeder asked for a one on one confrence with Hitler in Sept. 1940. This was granted on the 26th. In this confrence Raeder laid out an entirely different long term war strategy. Raeder told Hitler that the Med was "the corner stone of the British position." Raeder proposed the occupation of Alexandria, Malta, and Gibralter, before "America is ready to take a hand." Raeder pointed out that this would not only seal up the Med but would secure for the Axis energy resources and check Stalin without actually creating a second front in Europe. Hitler did not adopt Raeder's proposal. Even a little later had Rommel received the resources and forces being set aside for Barbarossa he most likely could have quickly prevailed.
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RF
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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:52 pm

There is also the proposition that had Mussolini properly prepared Italy to fight a modern war with the necessary logistical back up by June 1940, it would not even be a matter for the Germans.
The Italians could have seized Malta immediately on declaration of war, seize Tunisia when the French surrendered and then in August 1940 simultaneously invade Egypt from Libya, Sudan from Eritrea and sweep down from Somaliland to take the port of Mombasa. Without the prospect of either reinforcement or adequate supply the British western desert forces would have been forced back on to the Suez Canal. The loss of Cairo would have had a substantial psychological impact which would have opened up the entire Middle East to the Italians: Turkey could have been encouraged to join the war and seize Cyprus, and of course join in the Italian attack on Greece. At the other end of the Med Spain could have entered the war and take Gibraltar.....
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Re: Alamain

Postby aurora » Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:07 pm

In the first 6 months of Italy's war for territory-his army is driven out of the Horn of Africa, Graziani's army of 120,000 was defeated by O'Connors 30,000 and driven out of Libya,Cyrenaica and Egypt.TheRegia Aeronautica failed to bomb Malta into submission.His attack on Greece is not going the way he expected.So strictly speaking his Declaration of War is pretty much a failure.

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RF
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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:59 am

aurora wrote:In the first 6 months of Italy's war for territory-his army is driven out of the Horn of Africa, Graziani's army of 120,000 was defeated by O'Connors 30,000 and driven out of Libya,Cyrenaica and Egypt.TheRegia Aeronautica failed to bomb Malta into submission.His attack on Greece is not going the way he expected.So strictly speaking his Declaration of War is pretty much a failure.
aurora


Mussolini's declaration of war was an act of political expediency at the time which was later exposed as an immense gamble - because it depended on Britain surrendering as well as France.

For the sake of accuracy, the situation in the horn of Africa as at 10 December 1940 was that Italy held all its pre-war territory plus also British Somaliland (the invasion of which in August 1940 was Fascist Italy's only military victory of WW2) plus the town of Kassala in Sudan (seized by Italian forces crossing over the border from Eritrea) and the small town and airfield at Moyale in Kenya. The Italians penetrated some 40 miles into Kenya from Ethiopia.
The British and British Empire forces campaign to drive the Italians out of the horn of Africa only fully commenced in January 1941 and was completed in November 1941 when the last of the Italian forces surrendered. Irregular Eritrean troops carried on a guerrilla war in Eritrea until 1944, however that wasn't really to do with the Italians but a reflection of the animosity between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and reflects the later failure of Ethiopia to incorporate Eritrea into Haile Selassie's empire.
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aurora
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Re: Alamain

Postby aurora » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:10 am

Certainly -for the sake of accuracy you are correct- but the result was the same in the long run-the Italian Army did not obtain their objective in the Horn of Africa nor anywhere else for that matter-all down to either poor or no planning,poorly trained troops and middling leadership.

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RF
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Re: Alamain

Postby RF » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:36 am

aurora wrote:.......the Italian Army did not obtain their objective in the Horn of Africa nor anywhere else for that matter-all down to either poor or no planning,poorly trained troops and middling leadership.
aurora


Actually the commander in East Africa, the Duke of Aosta was probably the most competent Italian field commander of WW2. He was certainly respected by the British, as per the full military honours given to him at his act of surrender in November 1941. Apart from the victory in British Somaliland he led the Italian defence in Eritrea, including the six weeks fierce battle for Keren, all achieved without German help and cut off from his homeland. The toughest soldiers in his army were the native Eritrean troops, who like the German Askiris of the First World War, are almost completely airbrushed out of the history books as they were native non-white African troops.

Where the Italians fell down was that there was no plan of campaign, no proper strategic doctrine decided by the Duce. The Duke was left completely on his own, with no prior plans.
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