Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

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Urmel
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 14 Aug 2020 17:07

ljadw wrote:
13 Aug 2020 15:59
The loss figures I have given for July, August and September are from Sadkovich,who consulted the Italian sources .
For the British MV losses in the Atlantic,one uses British sources, not German sources . One must do the same for the Mediterranean .
About the attacks on the convoys : their influence was almost meaningless : 15 % was lost,but without these attacks,it is not so that an additional 15 % would arrive in NA(it is the same for the Atlantic ) : see The Law of Diminishing returns .
Full stats are here, based on Italian sources. https://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2 ... 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

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 17:37

Hi Urmel,

Thanks. I used another part of the site earlier.

Is it yours? It is very useful.

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 17:43

Hi ljadw,

You ask, "WHY, WHY would they need this oil ?"

The answers are in the article I referred to earlier:

http://www.regiamarina.net/detail_text. ... =125&lid=1

Yes, I had deduced that you had read it earlier. That was why I advised you to "reread" it and not just "read" it.

You have cherry picked from it in a most selective way that I would suggest is dishonest.

What about this bit:

"Italy entered the war not only with the most complete lack of readiness of her armed forces, but also without much fuel. It was thought that the war would not have last long and that the little fuel reserve would be sufficient. As a matter of fact, until January 1941, there were no limitations on the use of oil fuel, but during this month 671,560 tons had already been burned. Supermarina was forced to reduce training. Up to that moment, no large shipment of oil fuel had been acquired to replace the spent one. The 50,000 tons coming from Rumania were all destined to the Regio Esercito and civilian use, while the Regia Aeronautica benefited from 200,000 tons of very poor quality oil coming from the Albanian oil wells. The Regia Marina even attempted to increase domestic production obtaining annually 10,000 tons of low-grade fuel. The first replenishment was only 15,000 tons and it arrived from Rumania as part of an extraordinary shipment."

Or this bit?

"During 1941, Italy was only able to import 600,000 tons of fuel and of this 163,000 tons were "donated" to the Navy. At this point the situation became really dramatic and the monthly consumption had to be reduced to 60,000 tons. The total amount of oil fuel available at the end of the year was about 200,000 tons and during this period of crisis it was decided to remove from service the older battleships. To worsen this already negative situation, after the November British attack in Egypt, the high command and Mussolini requested that the fleet defend the Libya-bound convoys. This strain, which eventually paid off, was only possible thanks to the special shipment of 80,000 tons of German oil fuel, which was delivered at the end of the year."

And so on and on.

There is so much more about older battleships being laid up through lack of fuel, then all the battleships being laid up. Then some of the cruisers. Then all of the cruisers. Then the modern destroyers during the supply of Tunisia. Then oil being taken from submarines to half fill battleship bunkers etc., etc..

It concludes that the only reason that the Italian fleet was able to sail en masse for Allied lines in September 1943 was because it had had the windfall of most of the French fleet's reserves captured by the Germans at Toulon.

Why did you not mention any of this?

It all paints a picture of severe oil shortages constricting operations and training.

It actually reflects well on the Italians that they achieved as much as they did in such severe conditions of fuel shortage.

Cheers,

Sid

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 18:51

Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Aug 2020 17:43
Hi ljadw,

You ask, "WHY,WHY would they need this oil ?"

The answers are in the article article I referred to earlier:

http://www.regiamarina.net/detail_text. ... =125&lid=1

Yes, I had deduced that you had read it earlier. That was why I advised you to "reread" it and not just "read" it.

You have cherry picked from it in a most selective way that I would suggest is dishonest.

What about this bit:

"Italy entered the war not only with the most complete lack of readiness of her armed forces, but also without much fuel. It was thought that the war would not have last long and that the little fuel reserve would be sufficient. As a matter of fact, until January 1941, there were no limitations on the use of oil fuel, but during this month 671,560 tons had already been burned. Supermarina was forced to reduce training. Up to that moment, no large shipment of oil fuel had been acquired to replace the spent one. The 50,000 tons coming from Rumania were all destined to the Regio Esercito and civilian use, while the Regia Aeronautica benefited from 200,000 tons of very poor quality oil coming from the Albanian oil wells. The Regia Marina even attempted to increase domestic production obtaining annually 10,000 tons of low-grade fuel. The first replenishment was only 15,000 tons and it arrived from Rumania as part of an extraordinary shipment."

Or this bit?

"During 1941, Italy was only able to import 600,000 tons of fuel and of this 163,000 tons were "donated" to the Navy. At this point the situation became really dramatic and the monthly consumption had to be reduced to 60,000 tons. The total amount of oil fuel available at the end of the year was about 200,000 tons and during this period of crisis it was decided to remove from service the older battleships. To worsen this already negative situation, after the November British attack in Egypt, the high command and Mussolini requested that the fleet defend the Libya-bound convoys. This strain, which eventually paid off, was only possible thanks to the special shipment of 80,000 tons of German oil fuel, which was delivered at the end of the year."

And so on and on.

There is so much more about older battleships being laid up through lack of fuel, then all the battleships being laid up. Then some of the cruisers. Then the modern destroyers during the supply of Tunisia. Then oil being taken from submarines to half fill battleship bunkers etc., etc..

It concludes that the only reason that the Italian fleet was able to sail en masse for Allied lines in September 1943 was because it had had the windfall of most of the French fleet's reserves captured by the Germans at Toulon.

Why did you not mention any of this?

It all paints a picture of severe oil shortages constricting operations and training.

It actually reflects well on the Italians that they achieved as much as they did in such severe conditions of fuel shortage.

Cheers,

Sid
Fuel shortages as such is meaningless ,unless one can prove that the Italians would have done better without these shortages .If the RM had more oil,would the convoy losses have been less than 15 % ?And if so, would this have helped the Axis ?
The traditional view is that supplies were waiting in the Italian ports on MV to be transported to NA,but that these transports were delayed/cancelled because of oil shortages .
This view is wrong .What happened was that MV and warships were waiting in the Italian ports on supplies to transport them to NA,but that these supplies did not arrive.
Thus the influence of the oil shortages is very much exaggerated,it has become a dogma .
The USSR arrived in Berlin with less oil than in peace time .
Germany lost the war although it had more oil than in peace time .
The influence of oil was not that great as historians who live in a society where oil is very important,are trying to convince us .
It is the same for the Battle of the Atlantic : if less oil tankers were lost,would Overlord have happened earlier, would the air attacks on German cities have started earlier,would there have been more air attacks ?
If Montgomery had more fuel after Alamein,would he have been earlier in Tripoli? If Germany had captured Baku, what would have been its benefit ?What would they have done with this oil ?
If Italy had been able to use the oil of the ME after this was captured ,what would Italy have done with this oil ?
Germany did better in 1940 than in 1943,with less oil than in 1943 .
Etc,etc,

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 14 Aug 2020 18:56

Sid, you are saying that because of oil shortages, Italy decided to remove from service the old BBs. WHAT was the result of this decision ? Were the convoy losses increasing ?And if they were not removed from service, would there be less convoy losses ?

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 14 Aug 2020 19:45

The BB convoys were futile gestures and a waste of perfectly good oil. They were an instrument chosen because the Regia Marina had no other means to demonstrate that it meant business (and nothing says 'I mean business' as taking a super dreadnought out as close escort, not matter how pointless).

A shortage of escorts was far far more important in restricting convoying capacity than a lack of oil for the BBs. The RM did not have the numbers of escorts, and those that it did have weren't well enough equipped until well into 1942 with e.g. means to conduct modern ASW.
Last edited by Urmel on 14 Aug 2020 19:51, edited 1 time in total.
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: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 14 Aug 2020 19:46

Still not reading your posts Sid.
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: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 14 Aug 2020 19:52

On the importance of ME oil, in 1941 at least it had the advantage that it was half-price (50% owned by the government), and could be paid for in UK£ rather than gold or forex. It was neither the volume nor the location in my view, but the economics.
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

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Aug 2020 20:11

Hi Urmel,

That doesn't alter my opinion. It is still a very useful site, and if it is yours then it is to your credit.

I can say this without having necessarily to agree with all your conclusions.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Dili » 14 Aug 2020 20:39

Oil, fuel, escorts, ports are all minor issues.

The issue is the industrial output that the Axis was willing to spend in NA. After UK and US started to supply NA the game is up. Italians for all practical proposes could only have 1 armored division in operation. 1 and half at most.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Dili » 14 Aug 2020 20:40

Oil, fuel, escorts, ports are all minor issues.

The issue is the industrial output that the Axis was willing to spend in NA. After UK and Commonwealth had the industry in war footing and US started to supply NA the game is up. Italians for all practical proposes could only have 1 armored division in operation. 1 and half at most.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 14 Aug 2020 21:41

ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42
Ружичасти Слон wrote:
14 Aug 2020 12:59
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
13 Aug 2020 19:28

Although this is much off topic, I couldn't resist chipping in with some further information (which was new to me) about the importance to the war effort of the British Empire of Middle Eastern oil - this from Andrew Boyd's The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters (page 360) which I heartily recommend:
The [Petroleum] board stated that for the nine months April to December 1942, the total British Empire oil requirement, including Allies and neutrals for which Britain was responsible, was 24.5 million tons. Current plans anticipated that 41 per cent of this must come from the Middle East; 75 per cent of Middle East supply, and 66 per cent of eastern empire oil needs (including Australia and South Africa), came from Abadan.
He references TNA CAB 80/36, COS (42) 281 of 28 May 1942.

It's noteworthy that the British First Sea Lord also linked Middle East oil to the ability to deliver "any significant aid to China through India" and the need for US tankers to be used to replace lost Middle Eastern supply would undoubtedly have had a detrimental impact on US naval operations in the Pacific.

I hope that is of interest to some. :D

Regards

Tom
Some historical datas.

COS (42) 281 was be paper look forward on april-december 1942.year not look back. It was be paper for to explain 2 things.
1. Britain was not have tanker capacity for to move all oil requirement - must to ask for help on Amerika.
2. When lose oil on Abadan source was will to make big problem and must to ask for help on Amerika.

Plan requirement on 9 months 24.500.000 tons
54% Gulf Mexico & West Indies
41% Abadan & Bahrain
5% West coast N&S Amerika

Calculation was be when Abadan was be lost must get 6.000.000 tons from Amerika.
Abadan was not lost,it never would be lost, but still more than 90% of the UK oil came from America during the war .Besides : Abadan was a refinery for Iranian/Iraqi oil .
In 1935 61,9 % of British oil imports came from the Western Hemisphere, 38,1 % from the Eastern Hemisphere.
45 % from the oil imports traveled through the Mediterranean : eastern oil going west and western oil going east .
Between 1940 and 1943 this was no longer the case as the Mediterranean was closed ,and,as the eastern oil had to go via SA,which was impossible, the result was that the share of the eastern oil was going down .
Malta-Liverpool via Suez : 25 days
Malta-Liverpool via SA 40 days .
Why you was quote I ?
ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42

Abadan was not lost,it never would be lost, but still more than 90% of the UK oil came from America during the war .Besides : Abadan was a refinery for Iranian/Iraqi oil .
Ljadw imagination story not have connection to historical datas on document.
ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42
In 1935 61,9 % of British oil imports came from the Western Hemisphere, 38,1 % from the Eastern Hemisphere.
Not have connection to historical datas on document.

ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42
45 % from the oil imports traveled through the Mediterranean : eastern oil going west and western oil going east .
Not have connection to historical datas on document.
ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42
Between 1940 and 1943 this was no longer the case as the Mediterranean was closed ,and,as the eastern oil had to go via SA,which was impossible, the result was that the share of the eastern oil was going down .
Not have connection to historical datas on document.
ljadw wrote:
14 Aug 2020 13:42
Malta-Liverpool via Suez : 25 days
Malta-Liverpool via SA 40 days .
Not have connection to historical datas on document.


When you want for to write ljadw opinion for to argue on gutteridge opinion you can to quote gutteridge opinion.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 15 Aug 2020 06:27

Dili wrote:
14 Aug 2020 20:40
Oil, fuel, escorts, ports are all minor issues.

The issue is the industrial output that the Axis was willing to spend in NA. After UK and Commonwealth had the industry in war footing and US started to supply NA the game is up. Italians for all practical proposes could only have 1 armored division in operation. 1 and half at most.
That’s actually the core issue. The limitation of the logistics together with the utter lack of interest by the German high command in fighting the war in the desert meant that the Axis effort was doomed. The defeat they suffered in CRUSADER was the writing on the wall, and the lesson from that wasn’t learned.
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

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Aug 2020 06:41

Hi ljadw,

Your approach seems to be similar to that of the Yugoslav General who opposed mechanization during the 1930s. When asked "Why?", he reportedly replied "Well, at least our bullocks can't run out of fuel"!

You post, "Fuel shortages as such is meaningless, unless one can prove that the Italians would have done better without these shortages."

The mere fact that you are twice using the word "shortage" indicates that even you know there was a problem. "Shortage", by definition, means there was not enough oil for Italian purposes.

The rationale is also ridiculous. It is the equivalent of saying that the proposition that the 300 Spartans were short of men at Thermopylae is "meaningless, unless one can prove" they "would have done better without these shortages." it is certainly theoretically possible that the Spartans might have used an extra 6,000 hoplites unproductively, but is it really likely?

You ask, "If the RM had more oil, would the convoy losses have been less than 15%"?

Given that the article says "The crisis worsened with only 3,000 tons received in February 1943 and in March and April the modern destroyers had to be removed from escort missions" I think we can safely say that it is rather more likely than not. The Italians clearly thought so, because they put them back on convoy service the following month.

You ask, "And if so, would this have helped the Axis?" Yes, I think we can say with some confidence that having less of their military equipment sitting at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea would definitely have helped the Axis!

You say, "The traditional view is that supplies were waiting in the Italian ports on MV to be transported to NA,but that these transports were delayed/cancelled because of oil shortages." Possibly. What is your evidence of this?

You say, "The USSR arrived in Berlin with less oil than in peace time." And yet it was not fatal because it was also receiving Lend/Lease oil products. For example, the Red Air Force largely operated on US Avgas.

You say, "Germany lost the war although it had more oil than in peace time." So? It didn't have more oil than its opponents by a very wide margin. I don't think the German infantry divisions remained largely horsedrawn from choice.

"It is the same for the Battle of the Atlantic : if less oil tankers were lost, would Overlord have happened earlier, would the air attacks on German cities have started earlier, would there have been more air attacks?" No, not the same. Italy produced almost no oil. The Allies produced plenty. As a result, Italy's operational possibilities were far more constricted by oil shortages than were those of the Allies.

You ask, "if Montgomery had more fuel after Alamein,would he have been earlier in Tripoli?" He wasn't short of fuel. His opponents were. The fact that the British adopted the German Jerry Can to reduce wastage, shows that fuel was nevertheless an issue, even for them.

You ask, "If Germany had captured Baku, what would have been its benefit? What would they have done with this oil?" Well, they sent thousands of engineers into the Caucasus to get the oil fields they had captured back into action, so they presumably felt there was an advantage. My guess is that they would have used this output to power their war economy. What do you reckon? Have you a better option?

You ask, "If Italy had been able to use the oil of the ME after this was captured, what would Italy have done with this oil?" Again, my guess is that they would have used this output to power their war economy. What do you reckon? Have you a better option?

You say, "Germany did better in 1940 than in 1943, with less oil than in 1943." So? I would suggest that there might just possibly be other factors involved. For example, in 1940 Germany was nearly twice the size of any of its European opponents. In 1943 it was half the size of either the USA or USSR alone!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 15 Aug 2020 08:32

Dili wrote:
14 Aug 2020 20:40
Oil, fuel, escorts, ports are all minor issues.

The issue is the industrial output that the Axis was willing to spend in NA. After UK and Commonwealth had the industry in war footing and US started to supply NA the game is up. Italians for all practical proposes could only have 1 armored division in operation. 1 and half at most.
The issue is how this industrial output would go to the ports of NA and how it would go from the ports to the front line .The forces that could operate in NA were limited,not by the industrial output the Axis/Allies were willing to spend in NA, but by the geography of NA and by nature, climate .
After Alamein Montgomery advanced to Tripoli with one division ,because an advance with more divisions was impossible .And still it took him 2 months to reach Tripoli.An advance with more divisions would last longer .
Those who claim that with more trucks and more oil Rommel could have gone to the Canal,forget that there was no road space for more trucks.
The advance/fighting in NA was mostly done by soldiers marching on foot .
If Germany had 10 divisions available for NA, these 10 divisions would never operate in NA.
If Britain had 10 additional divisions for NA available, how could it transport them to NA, how could it supply them,how could these divisions operate in NA ?

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