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

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

Post by Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 12:29

I am not sure what is so difficult to understand here.

You maintain the units in Greece didn't do anything, so they could just go back to Sicily.

I am telling you that was not the case, so you need to consider how you fill the hole you create by moving these units back to Sicily.

You also might like to tell a veteran of HMS Illustrious that the Stukas were not part of the Malta attack forces.

Or a Hurricane pilot that the Me 109s weren't.
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

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

Post by stg 44 » 23 Feb 2016 12:57

The only example you provide of the units in Greece was something from February that had nothing to do with Greece, as the Germans weren't there yet. You have yet to provide evidence that the units in Greece did anything from May onwards. Also I'm not saying they move back to Sicily, I say they never leave. The units that were in Greece historically were the 8th air corps, which then departed to the Eastern Front and were replaced by parts of the 10th air corps from Sicily.

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

Post by Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 13:02

I don't have to do anything. You claimed they lay idle, and I am taking issue with your claim. Please provide proof for 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 Urmel » 23 Feb 2016 13:43

Here's the OOB of X. Fliegerkorps for 24 June 1941. The only planes that I can see that probably weren't doing anything other than be ready to defend Greece and the islands, just in case, are those of StG3 16/44 Ju87. The remainder of the combat planes were Ju 88 and He 111 which were not idle.

First, these were temporarily attached to VIII Fliegerkorps (see here). So contrary to the assertion of the OP, the main combat force of X. Fliegerkorps was in fact quite busy in May 1941, with LG1 e.g. involved in the hits on both HMS Barham and HSM Warspite during the Crete campaign.

Secondly, LG1 continued to be engaged against North African targets from Greece, e.g. sinking HMS Ladybird in May 1941 in Tobruk, or HMS Defender on 11 July 1941:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Defender_(H07)

The He111 of 4./KG4 went to Iraq in May.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kampfgesc ... n_theatres

Can we put this silly notion that they were unoccupied after leaving Italy to rest now please?
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 kfbr392 » 10 Jun 2020 21:04

stg 44 wrote:
20 Feb 2016 03:05
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?
once again, a very interesting thread by valued forum member "stg 44"!

I recon this clearly should have been done as outlined by OP.
(And ideally X. FK should have been moved to Sicily 5 months ahead of OTL. But lets not go there.)

A residual force of ca. 150 Luftwaffe planes should have remained in Sicily to keep Malta down.

Composition, from May 1941:
2 Sta/(F) with 24 Ju 88D-2 (one Staffel in Trapani to do daily reconnaicance towards Gibraltar, the other in Catania flying out towards Alexandria)
1 Sta/JG with 16 Bf 109E-7 in Gela
1 Sta/NJG with 12 Ju 88C-4 in Gela
1 Sta/ZG with 12 Ju 88C-4 in Catania
1 Gr/KG with 40 Ju 88A-5 in Catania (daytime high speed high altitude bombing of Malta airfields)
1 Sta/StG with 12 Ju 87R in Trapani (nocturnal harassment of Malta)
1 seaplane Staffel with 12 He 115C-1 in Syracuse (air sea rescue, aerial mine, aerial torpedo)
1 Sta/KGzbV with 16 Ju 52

Italy would also of course have RA fighters, bombers and torpedo planes on Sicily.

Now, in case an Allied convoy is spotted headed from Gibraltar or from Alexandria all Axis air and naval forces will be tasked with sinking ships.
In addition, organization and infrastructure should be in place to rapidly move a surge force of three additional Stukagruppen (120 Ju 87 when at full strength) from Russia (or the Reich, as it is best not to launch Barbarossa in the first place, right?) to Sicily, staging through pre-designated airfields in Austria/Hungary/as needed. These Stuka would land and be fueled and bombed up in Sicily before said convoy is within 500km of Sicily and hopefully send any and all freighters and tankers to the bottom before reaching Malta.
Two days later, with no enemy ships in range anymore, the surge force departs again back to its original airfields.

Repeat until Malta surrenders.

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Jun 2020 22:37

The problem there is that even with a force of about 150 aircraft in Sicily, the Luftwaffe still wouldn't be able to make a sustained air campaign months long against Malta. They would still lack the fuel, replacements, and even ability to maintain that force in operations week after week, month after month.

The Luftwaffe was set up organizationally for a short high intensity air campaign in support of the Heer. If air operations had to be sustained beyond a few weeks the whole of the system started to collapse. The Luftwaffe would then have to take a break in operations to recover from the impulse before starting another cycle. In a sustained war of attrition, it's a losing system.

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

Post by kfbr392 » 11 Jun 2020 09:07

Greetings Terry, I greatly enjoy reading your posts on AHF.
But no, my above scenario is sustainable.

During most weeks, the only job is to do recon, to interdict sporadic supply runs by RN fast warships (such as minelayers used as transports) and to destroy - on the ground and in the air - or render unoperational most British aircraft having been flown in from Gibraltar or Club Run Hurricanes.
The bombing of Malta's airfields could possibly be done - I argue - with about 200-240 Ju 88A sorties a week. Distance to Malta is short. According to what I read (don't right now know where), scrambled Hurricanes could not reach the Ju 88A's doing daytime high altitude high speed level bombing runs over Malta. This could be sustained, no?
Plus of course the Italian bomber and fighter contribution.

It is only during the rare convoy battle every other month or so that the Axis forces jump into high gear for a few days only, with a huge Stuka surge force transfering in AFTER a convoy is detected.

Also, note that my ATL Axis force does not include Bf 110 or He 111, improving the spare parts sustainment picture.

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

Post by stg 44 » 11 Jun 2020 15:13

T. A. Gardner wrote:
10 Jun 2020 22:37
The Luftwaffe was set up organizationally for a short high intensity air campaign in support of the Heer. If air operations had to be sustained beyond a few weeks the whole of the system started to collapse. The Luftwaffe would then have to take a break in operations to recover from the impulse before starting another cycle. In a sustained war of attrition, it's a losing system.
The Battle of Britain and OTL operations against Malta pretty much refute your contention.
As does this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Luftwaffe-Creati ... 0700609628

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 11 Jun 2020 16:48

The Germans could and did interdict Malta for short periods of time, say a couple of weeks or so, when they needed to. Usually this happened when a large convoy, particularly a troop movement to N. Africa (or later from it) occurred. The numbers simply don't support doing this day in, day out for months.

If you assume a 2% operational loss rate (some of these would be repaired and turned to service) with no losses to enemy action, that is 4 bombers out of commission every day of operational service. If we assume say 20 days out of a month you are flying missions, when you toss in light losses to enemy fire (AA or fighter), you have close to half your original force out of commission in a month. Luftwaffe frontline units were not set up to perform heavy maintenance on aircraft for the most part, just do the routine stuff.
The Germans could move in heavier maintenance units to permanent airfields to get the work done, but these have to come from somewhere and the supply is limited.

Flying at this rate also requires a lot of fuel. If each Ju 88 uses 3 metric tons of fuel per sortie which should be about right, then 200 aircraft sortieing uses 600 tons. Let's say the usual operational mission on a day sees 150 aircraft flying-- the other 50 are down for maintenance, or have been lost by accidents, etc., and not yet replaced. That's 450 tons of fuel per day and 9,000 tons per month. Then add in munitions and other supplies.

For the Luftwaffe a sustained campaign of many months against Malta while possible really puts a crimp in other operations. In the BoB the same thing happened. The Luftwaffe started off with a big surge in sorties and this tapered off as the weeks passed as the temp of operations could not be maintained. It happened in the East too.

As for British defenses, the probable reason the Ju 88 often went un-intercepted is that the warning time of a raid was too short to allow the Hurricanes to get to altitude and intercept. This wasn't an uncommon problem throughout WW 2 for many defending locations. The USMC on Guadalcanal initially had this problem too. Their available early warning radars were too close to the airfield to give sufficient warning of a Japanese raid so many went un-intercepted. Once they expanded their perimeter and could move the sets further from the field, this problem was solved.

So, the more detailed answer would be, yes the Germans could sustain a fairly large bomber campaign against Malta but the cost of doing that would result in major losses of applied air power elsewhere. I doubt that the Luftwaffe would see it as a worthwhile exchange.

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

Post by kfbr392 » 15 Jun 2020 12:13

I get your point, but my proposal is very modest and not as resource intensive as the one you outline.

also, and this is just a minor remark, max internal fuel on Ju 88A was 3580l = 2790kg, enough for 2030km range with 2000kg of Bombs.
But distance from Catania to Valletta is short at only 185km as-the-crow-flies.
So a Ju 88s would carry and consume only ca. 700-900kg of fuel per sortie.
T. A. Gardner wrote:
11 Jun 2020 16:48
As for British defenses, the probable reason the Ju 88 often went un-intercepted is that the warning time of a raid was too short to allow the Hurricanes to get to altitude and intercept. This wasn't an uncommon problem throughout WW 2 for many defending locations. The USMC on Guadalcanal initially had this problem too. Their available early warning radars were too close to the airfield to give sufficient warning of a Japanese raid so many went un-intercepted. Once they expanded their perimeter and could move the sets further from the field, this problem was solved.
yes, clearly it was a function of the time between detection of the bombers and their arrival over the island, the attack height of the bombers, and the rate of climb of the Hurricane. The "issue" was solved in the spring of 1942 with the availability of Spitfires on Malta (and presumably of improved radar as well). From then on, the high flying Ju 88's were not safe from fighters anymore.
This ATL assumes, however, the fall of Malta prior to spring 1942.
And, most importantly, the successful interdiction of supplies such as spare parts and aviation fuel.

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