How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

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Michael Emrys
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Michael Emrys » 30 Jun 2008 09:23

diggerland wrote:Well, so almost convoys went from Cape of Good Hope to Suez? Then supply arrived very too late. But, Allies used train for large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis across form Mediterranean. So, supply material very quickly pilled up Tripoli or Bengazi. But Axis no have train which supply transport form supply depot to front. Also Allies air force and SAS attack supply route. So, Allies front arrive large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis front arrive small supply.

Right?
Essentially correct. One thing to keep in mind though, the problem with the long route around the Cape of Good Hope was not so much that the supplies and reinforcements arrived late, but that the long trip tied up lots of shipping. You see, once supplies begin moving "in the pipeline", they arrive in regular intervals anyway. But the longer trip means that it takes several times as many ships making fewer trips to move them.

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Jon G.
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Jon G. » 30 Jun 2008 11:29

The_Enigma wrote:...Well the first obvious change to the supply route was halting convoys going through the Med due to the presnce of the Italian navy and airforce and latter the Luftwaffe. Although a few special convoys were sent through there. The first one i can think of was the Tiger Convoy which only lost one ship due to a seamine and was not engaged by the Italian fleet due to Force H escorting it to Malta from Gibralter and then the Med Fleet escorting it from there all the way to Alexandria.

I dont believe the later convoys were as lucky...
Save for the Tiger convoy, I don't think there were any other North Africa bound convoys sailing from Gibraltar through the western Mediterranean until the end of the Tunisian campaign. There were of course convoys from both east and west bound for Malta, but that's a different matter.
diggerland wrote:...But, Allies used train for large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis across form Mediterranean. So, supply material very quickly pilled up Tripoli or Bengazi. But Axis no have train which supply transport form supply depot to front...
There were some small stretches of narrow gauged railroad in Libya. The most important was the line running from Benghazi to Barce. The subject of North African railroads is very thoroughly discussed in this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=99035

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 30 Jun 2008 11:44

Well, so almost convoys went from Cape of Good Hope to Suez? Then supply arrived very too late. But, Allies used train for large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis across form Mediterranean. So, supply material very quickly pilled up Tripoli or Bengazi. But Axis no have train which supply transport form supply depot to front. Also Allies air force and SAS attack supply route. So, Allies front arrive large number of supply. On the other hand, Axis front arrive small supply.
Each offensive which ran out of steam in the desert war primally down to supply issues, each side outrunning there main supply base and nothing having the motorised transport/trains or costal shipping to get up front as quick as they would like. The solution to this problem was i believe Monty stockpilied enourmous ammounts of supplies before and during the 2nd El Alamein to ensure this did not repeat itself.

The axis supply problem was really from the get go. The Royal Navy, especially when they were escorting special convoys through the Med would attack ports and dock facilities as decoy either via naval bombardment and/or Fleet Air Arm attacks from the carriers. Not to mention in the early months of the war the Royal Navy attempting to stop and search Italian merchant ships. On top of all that submarines were operating out of Malta and every now and again surface ships were too - all attempting to engagemerchant shipping.

There was RAF bombers when possible stationed in Malta making regular air attacks agaisnt Italian mainland ports while bombers based within Egypt attacked the ports within range i.e. Bengazhi, which i have read was one of the most bombed places of the war.
Later on this bomber force would literally crippled the Italian merchant fleet and make it extremely hard to ship supplies over.*

On the other hand, while having to run the gaunlet of U-Boats and a limited number of surface raiders and luftwaffe planes the supply convoys to Suez had a more easier time.


*There some figures somewhere showing the tonnage sunk over a few months split between the surface ships from Malta and the planes attacking the convoys. Ill try and find it later and provide the information.

Save for the Tiger convoy, I don't think there were any other North Africa bound convoys sailing from Gibraltar through the western Mediterranean until the end of the Tunisian campaign. There were of course convoys from both east and west bound for Malta, but that's a different matter.
I may have been thinking of Operation Hats, RN ships sent through the Med to reinforce the Med Fleet in Alexnadria and some sent from the Med fleet to reinforce Force H.

I could have swore though that there was more then one occasion the Med Fleet sallied out of port in conuction with Force H to escort ships. Maybe it was all Malta bound convoys this was done for, thinking about it seem to recall mention of the main fleet being put to sea as decoy for ships escorted by Force H to get through to Malta.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Jon G. » 30 Jun 2008 14:33

The_Enigma wrote:Each offensive which ran out of steam in the desert war primally down to supply issues, each side outrunning there main supply base and nothing having the motorised transport/trains or costal shipping to get up front as quick as they would like.
Yes, but the different sides operated with different handicaps. The Axis generally had fewer trucks, fewer ships and smaller ports than the British had; on the other hand their supplies and reinforcements arrived in theater much faster than British supplies and reinforcements did. Also, from the 1940 starting point the Axis had less distance to cover - assuming Graziani could have stockpiled what he needed on the Egyptian border (trucking his supplies over Libya's puny infrastructure), he 'only' had to make it to the Nile. The British, on the other hand, had to push all the way to Tripoli if they wanted to end the Axis threat to the Suez once and for all, and all reinforcements and supplies for the Middle East would be underway for a long while as discussed upthread.
The solution to this problem was i believe Monty stockpilied enourmous ammounts of supplies before and during the 2nd El Alamein to ensure this did not repeat itself...
Yes, but it was the great expansion of ports and railroads, and the development of alternative lines of supply via Takoradi and Port Sudan etc. which made this stockpiling possible in the first place.
...*There some figures somewhere showing the tonnage sunk over a few months split between the surface ships from Malta and the planes attacking the convoys. Ill try and find it later and provide the information...
German shipping losses in the Mediterranean
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 10#p924710

Axis shipping losses by cause
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 79#p981879

Axis shipping losses to air attacks
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 80#p910480

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The_Enigma
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by The_Enigma » 30 Jun 2008 21:12

Well this was the table i was thinking of:

Playfair, V II, p. 281

Number and tonnage of ITalian and German merchant ships engaged in carrying supplies to North Africa sunk at sea or at the ports of loading and unloading, June - October 1941
(Compiled from Italian post war and German war records)

Month......By Submarine......By Aircraft......By Mine......From other courses......Total

June........3 - 3,107...........2 - 12,249.....................1 - 1,600....................6 - 16,956
July.........3 - 8,603..........4 - 19,467....................................................7 - 28,070
Aug.........2 - 14,145.........7 - 20,981....................................................9 - 35,126
Sept........4 - 41,534........6 - 23,031......1 - 389......................................11 - 64,954
Oct.........2 - 7,305..........5 - 26,166.....................................................7 - 33,471

Total.......14 - 74,694.......24 - 101,894...1 - 389.........1 -1,600....................40 - 178,577



Playfair then notes that over the same period the overall loss to Axis shipping was some 60 ships over 500 tons and around 30 small costal vessels totaliing around abouts 270,000 tons of shipping lost.

H then notes the tonnage of supplies disembarked in North Africa and the percentage lost en route as compiled by the Italian official naval historian.

Month - Type - CArgo disembarked - Percentage lost en route

June - General military cargo (GMC)- 89,226 - 6%
June - Fuel - 35,850 - 0%
July - GMC - 50,700 - 12%
July - Fuel 12,200 - 41%
Aug - GMC - 46,700 - 20%
Aug - Fuel - 37,200 - 1%
Sept - GMC - 54,000 - 29%
Sept - Fuel - 61,660 - 20%
Aug - GMC - 61,660 - 20%
Oct - Fuel - 11,950 - 21%

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by diggerland » 07 Jul 2008 15:52

I add question. The Tripoli port capacitive is 45,000 ton/month. But, I know, Axis supply material was number of large axis port capacitive. For example, at June 1941, German Military Cargo was 89,226 tonnes, and Fuel was 35,850 tonnes. But, Tripoli and Bengazi port's capacitive is less than supply material. How did Axis supply unit possible this supply material capacitive?

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Jon G. » 07 Jul 2008 16:16

That is a good question. Have you seen these topics which I linked to upthread?

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=63008

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=93416

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=136337

...and also this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=102636

I've seen the 45,000 tons/month figure many times before. I think most writers have taken it directly from van Creveld; unfortunately van Creveld doesn't say where he got the figure from. However, have in mind that whichever port capacity figures you come across, they are not solid figures set in stone - how much cargo a port can handle depends on many things, i.e. availability of labour, a rail line for moving stores away, hoses and pipelines for fuel, how large (& how many) ships can berth at the same time, do the ships have their own derricks or do they have to rely on local cranes etc. etc. etc.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Allan M » 20 May 2011 06:47

Anyone have any figures on tonnages of war materiel that arrived in Egypt over the period of June 1940 to June 1943? In particular I'm looking for info on tonnages and quantities of vehicles.

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David W
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by David W » 20 May 2011 07:29

I have not seen any figures for Alexandria I'm afraid.

Diggerland's point is a good one.
Average tonnage unloaded per month can be a misleading figure. Perhaps a more useful one would be maximum capacity, allowing for good management, plentiful supply, full labour, no bomb damage etc.
Then it would be more practical to compare the various ports potential.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Allan M » 20 May 2011 09:11

I'm mainly interested in finding out how many vehicles the British and Commonwealth forces were bringing to Egypt for the war effort. Even if I only get the tonnages coming in then I can estimate quantities.

One of the faults ascribed to the Italian campaign into Egypt is that they were undermotorized, but at least in the early stages, the British and their allies were far more deficient in transport. One of the reasons, beside their imminent departure for East Africa, why the Indian 4th Infantry was sidelined soon after Compass began was that the transport that had carried them to Sidi Barrani was then used for stocking forward supply depots that would supply the 7th Armoured for their pursuit of the retreating Italians.

I know the British intially had about 300 lorries for moving supplies forward, then acquired 50 more from Palestine, and another 80 captured Italian trucks. That's not enough to move forward toward Tripoli, even with moving supplies by boat to Tobruk, or even Bengasi if they could have had that port in working condition, which they couldn't.

I suspect they weren't getting anymore transport for quite awhile, what with the effort going into trying to pull Greece out of the fire. There was a request for captured Italian transport to be shipped to Greece.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by PMN1 » 20 May 2011 12:15

Jon G. wrote:[quote="JonSImage

Image
Where would the oil storage tanks and the tankers being used for oil storage be?

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Allan M » 20 May 2011 17:20

PMN1 wrote: Where would the oil storage tanks and the tankers being used for oil storage be?
Look at Goggle Maps. I'd guess in the same area as they now are, in the bottom left 1/9 of the diagram.

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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Urmel » 01 Jun 2011 11:58

Jon G. wrote:That is a good question. Have you seen these topics which I linked to upthread?

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=63008

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=93416

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=136337

...and also this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 6&t=102636

I've seen the 45,000 tons/month figure many times before. I think most writers have taken it directly from van Creveld; unfortunately van Creveld doesn't say where he got the figure from. However, have in mind that whichever port capacity figures you come across, they are not solid figures set in stone - how much cargo a port can handle depends on many things, i.e. availability of labour, a rail line for moving stores away, hoses and pipelines for fuel, how large (& how many) ships can berth at the same time, do the ships have their own derricks or do they have to rely on local cranes etc. etc. etc.
This maybe of interest.

http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/20 ... ours-1941/

It shows that van Creveld is broadly right.
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: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by Urmel » 09 Jul 2012 10:52

Following further discussion I have to reverse my judgment, and consider that van Creveld is quite wrong. I have updated the entry accordingly.

http://wp.me/phMWl-js
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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David W
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Re: How much capacitive Alexandria port each month?

Post by David W » 10 Jul 2012 00:08

Andreas.
Thanks for that summary, and for the link to your excellent site.
How does Van Creveld's figure of 18,000 tonnes / month for Tobruk look now in light of the new evidence?
David.

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