Well, what the Axis planned and what they ended up doing often had no resemplance to each other.daveshoup2MD wrote: ↑22 Jan 2022 23:36The Axis "Black Sea Fleet" outlined above is (roughly) half of what the Italians were willing to commit to HERCULES/C3, so that's two of the modernized old battleships, Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio, four Italian light cruisers, and nine Italian destroyers, plus various escorts, minesweepers, and assorted small craft, along with the Romanian fleet (four destroyers), and - presumably - at least Hermes to represent the KM surface force ... plus various submarines, Italian, German, and Romanian. If the Turks are willing to kick in, that's Yawuz/Goeben, four modern destroyers (for a total of 18), submarines, small craft, etc.AnchorSteam wrote: ↑22 Jan 2022 20:27Oh, and you will need more than 9 x DDs, the Russians had a lot of Subs down there. I would add 8 more DDs to what you have above, plus at least one Heavy cruiser and a seaplane tender.... for ASW float-planes.
Considering the realities of the war record of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet under Oktyabrsky, especially the major warships, presumably they'd go down fighting, but hard to see them "winning" against an Axis naval surface force worth the name ...
If they had not been stuck with the 6th army at Stalingrad, 4th Panzer was supposed to have gone all the way to Ashtrakhan!
.... and you thought the other guys had long, exposed flanks?
Yes, the situation would have been radically altered if the Black Sea had been cleared quickly, but to do that you have to tailor a force to meet the situation at hand, not just say "half of what was there for Malta" and go with that. I understand the concept, but alterations have to be made.
The Red Fleet had about 2 dozen subs, that's why I am walking about ASW here.
Another item is the lack of air cover. Sicily is close to Malta, the Crimea is not close enough to Poti and Batum for anything but recon/bombers. You would have to work your way down a little more gradually.
This is why I suggested modifications.
Timing is also critical, you should look up the dates critical events like Operation Bustard Hunt and the fall of Sevastopol.A lot of things happened surprisingly late, so maybe the basic idea here should be; can the Itlalian fleet speed everything up in this theater?