Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

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stg 44
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Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 20 Feb 2016 03:05

After the fall of Greece the Luftwaffe shifted their anti-shipping forces to Greece and away from interdicting Malta Malta recovered and proved to be a major base for interdicting Axis shipping until Luftflotte 2 showed up in 1942:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_ ... withdrawal
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_ ... er_1941.29
http://www.ww2.dk/air/hq/xfk.htm
Assuming that the Luftwaffe units bombing Malta were kept in place instead of moved to Greece, what impact would that have had on Malta? I wonder if it could have forced the island to eventually surrender and kept it largely irrelevant and bait for sinking even more shipping engaged in supply runs in the meantime. So what if from May 1941 and on the X. Fliegerkorps was kept in place in the Central Mediterranean and didn't allow Malta to recover? What impact would that have had on the naval war in the Mediterranean and operations in Africa?

I think it could have forced Malta out of the war by March 1942 and rendered it impotent in the meantime, while helping ensure Rommel had a bit better supply during the siege of Tobruk which might have influenced operations there up to and including Crusader. Then in 1942 losing both Malta and Tobruk would have been a pretty major blow to the British, perhaps making Churchill's vote of no-confidence a bit closer than it was historically, and impacted favorably Rommel's move into Egypt in 1942 and whatever happens in Tunisia in 1943. Thoughts?

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Feb 2016 19:39

I'd say the biggest change isn't Malta, but Crete. I'd say Crete survives in British hands and the invasion fails. The RN is in better shape too. Malta remains uninvaded and suppressed meaning less losses in material flowing to N. Africa but that doesn't make enough of a difference to win there. The danger in that is in 1943 the US will move bombers there, along with the RAF, and they'll be well within range of Romanian oil production.

North Africa was a side show for the Germans (if not the Italians). They should have cut their losses and let it fall rather than try to hold it for Italy.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 21 Feb 2016 20:18

T. A. Gardner wrote:I'd say the biggest change isn't Malta, but Crete. I'd say Crete survives in British hands and the invasion fails. The RN is in better shape too. Malta remains uninvaded and suppressed meaning less losses in material flowing to N. Africa but that doesn't make enough of a difference to win there. The danger in that is in 1943 the US will move bombers there, along with the RAF, and they'll be well within range of Romanian oil production.

North Africa was a side show for the Germans (if not the Italians). They should have cut their losses and let it fall rather than try to hold it for Italy.
X.Fliegerkorps had nothing to do with Crete, it transferred after it fell. VIII. Fliegerkorps did Crete, so the island still falls.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... xis_forces

Any issues of the lack of Luftwaffe resources in the Aegean will come after the fall of Crete when VIII Fliegerkorps redeploys immediately to Poland for Barbarossa.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 21 Feb 2016 22:32

I don't think X. Fliegerkorps was strong enough to subdue Malta in 1941. The island was an active threat while the Korps was in Sicily.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 21 Feb 2016 23:13

Urmel wrote:I don't think X. Fliegerkorps was strong enough to subdue Malta in 1941. The island was an active threat while the Korps was in Sicily.
It wasn't really a threat by the time they left, but they were only there for 4 months really.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_ ... uperiority
Nevertheless, the Germans and Italians held on to air superiority. Hitler ordered Fliegerkorps X to protect Axis shipping, prevent Allied shipping passing through the central Mediterranean, and neutralise Malta altogether as an Allied base. Around 180 German and 300 Italian aircraft would carry out the directive. The Luftwaffe in particular swarmed over the island almost at will. The RAF was barely able to put more than six to eight fighters in the air at one time. Occasionally, 12 would be flown in off British carriers but, being heavily outnumbered, the replacements were soon used up. The Axis were successful in implementing Hitler's directive. By mid-May, the central Mediterranean had been sealed off to Allied shipping, and the DAK was able to send reinforcements to North Africa with the loss of only three percent of its supplies, personnel and equipment. From 11 April-10 May, just 111 Axis raids were carried out. All targeted military installations. Most heavy equipment in Grand Harbour was destroyed; the dry-docks could only be operated by hand. Efficiency of most workshops was down to 50%, some down to 25%.[77] Coordinated Italian and German air attacks were taking their toll on the tiny island.

By early May 1941, the Luftwaffe had flown 1,465 strike, 1,144 fighter and 132 reconnaissance missions for just 44 losses.[81] III./Kampfgeschwader 30 (KG 30) and III./Lehrgeschwader 1 (KG 1) flew sporadic night attacks during April.[82]
It didn't reach the levels of bombing/suppression of 1942 in those 4 months, but they pretty much reduced the island's ability to interdict Axis supply lines to nil. When they left in May the island recovered and became a significant threat again, which prompted Luftflotte 2 to be removed from Russia in November 1941 and show up in early 1942 to bomb the island heavier than ever. But without the period of recovery I don't know if the island can recover and be a threat in the 2nd half of 1941 or survive well into 1942.

Plus without the recovery of the island in 1941 then Luftflotte 2 stays in Russia and is then there when the Russians counterattack; historically they left right before the Russians attacked, leaving behind only 3 operational aircraft to support AG-Center by December 8th with VIII Fliegerkorps.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 22 Feb 2016 06:48

stg 44 wrote:It didn't reach the levels of bombing/suppression of 1942 in those 4 months, but they pretty much reduced the island's ability to interdict Axis supply lines to nil.
No they didn't.


http://web.archive.org/web/200609100110 ... igo_us.htm
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 22 Feb 2016 14:49

Urmel wrote:
stg 44 wrote:It didn't reach the levels of bombing/suppression of 1942 in those 4 months, but they pretty much reduced the island's ability to interdict Axis supply lines to nil.
No they didn't.


http://web.archive.org/web/200609100110 ... igo_us.htm
Note that in my post above on Aprill 11th and on attacks on Malta dropped off dramatically. So this convoy battle happened after the Luftwaffe laid off the island.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 22 Feb 2016 18:15

1) you yourself said 'May'
2) The British OH claimed they still sank >31,000 tons and damaged over 54,000 tons of shipping, and just for February and March the subs from Malta did some good execution.

It's not nil, whichever way you turn it.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 22 Feb 2016 20:20

Urmel wrote:1) you yourself said 'May'
2) The British OH claimed they still sank >31,000 tons and damaged over 54,000 tons of shipping, and just for February and March the subs from Malta did some good execution.

It's not nil, whichever way you turn it.
Granted. In April, apparently they largely stopped flying missions by the 11th, they had severely reduced the Island's ability to fight, but it started to quickly recover once the daily raids had stopped. It gradually built back up its offensive power until January 1942 when Luftflotte 2 entered and bombed the island worse than ever before. If the bombing continued unabated from April on and increased if anything over the course of 1941 they aren't going to totally stop it, but would restrict Malta's offensive and defensive ability quite badly and be in place to really damage the supply runs that ran with minimal Axis opposition in 1941 after April 11th.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 11:02

Sure, but then you presume there won't be a reaction in terms of increasing the island's defensive capabilities. Also, you are not really explaining where the planes are coming from to maintain this level of attacks. They're going to be missed somewhere, be that in Russia, or North Africa.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 23 Feb 2016 11:16

Urmel wrote:Sure, but then you presume there won't be a reaction in terms of increasing the island's defensive capabilities. Also, you are not really explaining where the planes are coming from to maintain this level of attacks. They're going to be missed somewhere, be that in Russia, or North Africa.
The Brits did increase defenses historically, but without opposition from the Axis. The planes for the attacks would come from those historically shifted to Greece, where they sat without much use other than deterring attacks on Greece, not that the Brits were in a shape to try and take it back after Crete. By 1942 there would be reinforcemens anyway, before the Brits could go on the offensive in the Aegean, so historically the forces in Greece were largely wasted.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 11:19

That bit about 'not much use' is not correct. LG1 was engaged in North Africa throughout, with one Gruppe stationed there. The two Gruppen of SE fighters of JG27 went to North Africa. III/ZG26 was in North Africa, Greece and Sicily on convoy escort duty.

There is no free lunch to be had here.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 23 Feb 2016 11:37

Urmel wrote:That bit about 'not much use' is not correct. LG1 was engaged in North Africa throughout, with one Gruppe stationed there. The two Gruppen of SE fighters of JG27 went to North Africa. III/ZG26 was in North Africa, Greece and Sicily on convoy escort duty.

There is no free lunch to be had here.
Okay, that won't be any different than the historical situation, I'm talking about the units that were shifted to Greece.

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 11:40

So am I - the units that moved didn't sit idle in Greece.

You can have a look here what was left in Sicily in February after the first combat units departed for North Africa:

https://rommelsriposte.com/2016/02/12/1 ... th-africa/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Germans don't move X.Fliegerkorps to Greece in 1941?

Post by stg 44 » 23 Feb 2016 12:08

Urmel wrote:So am I - the units that moved didn't sit idle in Greece.

You can have a look here what was left in Sicily in February after the first combat units departed for North Africa:

https://rommelsriposte.com/2016/02/12/1 ... th-africa/
Okay? Again that's units that moved before April and the start of the shift to Greece, there units in the link moved to Africa weren't part of the Malta attack units.

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