Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

How many german divisions do you reckon could have been deployed in Greece? They have the single rail line to support said deployment.
Not an expert but the numbers I had seen were a German infantry division needing 250 tons of supply per day and a panzer division twice as much? Single railroad to the south of Thessaloniki with one line connecting it with the Bulgarian rail network and one with Serbia. So in theory no more than a dozen divisions to the south of the Olympus, more as you go north of it?

Now start subtracting from this losses to the carrying capacity from sabotage and allied air attack, troops on occupation duty and troops fighting partisans, that Lufwaffe units in Greece need to be supplied from the same railroads then take into account that the same rail line needs to keep in supply every single German to the south of Belgrade....

This of course does not take into account whether the divisions will be available in the first place while Germany will need to be rushing divisions everywhere from Italy to Russia. The obvious play on the German part would be to secure Bulgaria at all costs on their side. If that means handling over all of northern Greece Thessaloniki included to the Bulgarians... well it doesn't cost the Germans anything to do so.
 
@Lascaris that sounds about right.

There is one more thing: With the Peloponnese in Allied hands (read Patras harbor) there is no decent west-east railroad to support the italian divisions. Surely, the Ionian Island garrisons and the Epirus/Western Greece ones can get the odd cargo that escapes the Allied blockade. But the Pindus mountain range , teeming with thousands of guerillas cuts the terrain in half. Most of the roads that crossed the mountains were little better than goat-tracks. I think any italian divisions in eastern Greece/Thessaly has to be supported by the Triesti-Zagreb-Belgrade-Thessaloniki railroad. In OTL I think there were 3 italian divisions east of the Pindus.

If an italian corps is added to your calculations, then perhaps a theoretical maximum (no cargo losses at all by guerilla or air attacks) of ~9 German divisions can be supported. Does it sound right? And not all of these divisions can be deployed in the front. The Axis needs 1 division in Eubea to cover the flank, 1 to cover the mountain passages to Thessaly, 1 to cover the passages between Thessaly and Macedonia, 1 in Thessaly itself, 1 in Chalkidiki peninsula, 1 in western Macedonia. Epirus and the west will be covered by Italians as in OTL. If the Germans use the static italian infantry divisions to garrison the mountain passages against guerillas in the rear, then things can become interesting.

Boy oh boy, the situation in Greece will be explosive.
 
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How interesting would negotiations be to use Turkey as a conduit for supplying both Greece and the Soviets?
Greece cannot be supplied via Turkey by virtue of geography. I guess an agreement can be reached after Bulgaria is out of the game for freights to reach the Soviet Black Sea ports.
 

Driftless

Donor
Greece cannot be supplied via Turkey by virtue of geography. I guess an agreement can be reached after Bulgaria is out of the game for freights to reach the Soviet Black Sea ports.
I assumed (you know how that goes....) there was a direct train route between Istanbul and eastern Greece, but not so.... I was thinking on the long standing animosity between those countries being a severe diplomatic hurdle to overcome
 
I assumed (you know how that goes....) there was a direct train route between Istanbul and eastern Greece, but not so.... I was thinking on the long standing animosity between those countries being a severe diplomatic hurdle to overcome
Actually after the Balkan Pact of 1934 Turkey and Greece were very close. This close partnership continued until 1955. What I meant is that Greece will be supplied by sea and its ports by way of Gibraltar and Suez.
 

Driftless

Donor
Actually after the Balkan Pact of 1934 Turkey and Greece were very close. This close partnership continued until 1955. What I meant is that Greece will be supplied by sea and its ports by way of Gibraltar and Suez.
Thanks, that is helpful. My limited knowledge of the regions more recent history is showing.

*edit* One of the great virtues of this site is the wealth of knowledge in general, but also with the regional context
 
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If the Germans use the static Italian infantry divisions to garrison
Has Italy not just swapped sides? Can the Germans rely on any Italian support in this case as it looks better organized than OTL and even the northern passes might get destroyed?
 
@Lascaris that sounds about right.

There is one more thing: With the Peloponnese in Allied hands (read Patras harbor) there is no decent west-east railroad to support the italian divisions. Surely, the Ionian Island garrisons and the Epirus/Western Greece ones can get the odd cargo that escapes the Allied blockade. But the Pindus mountain range , teeming with thousands of guerillas cuts the terrain in half. Most of the roads that crossed the mountains were little better than goat-tracks. I think any italian divisions in eastern Greece/Thessaly has to be supported by the Triesti-Zagreb-Belgrade-Thessaloniki railroad. In OTL I think there were 3 italian divisions east of the Pindus.

If an italian corps is added to your calculations, then perhaps a theoretical maximum (no cargo losses at all by guerilla or air attacks) of ~9 German divisions can be supported. Does it sound right? And not all of these divisions can be deployed in the front. The Axis needs 1 division in Eubea to cover the flank, 1 to cover the mountain passages to Thessaly, 1 to cover the passages between Thessaly and Macedonia, 1 in Thessaly itself, 1 in Chalkidiki peninsula, 1 in western Macedonia. Epirus and the west will be covered by Italians as in OTL. If the Germans use the static italian infantry divisions to garrison the mountain passages against guerillas in the rear, then things can become interesting.

Boy oh boy, the situation in Greece will be explosive.
The Italian divisions needed less supply on average in 1940-41 than the German ones, roughly about 100 tons per division (from Ricter's Greek-Italian war history) but still you have 12 of these in Greece alone in 1943. Now granted some of these have been cut off along some of the Germans in the Peloponnese and the ones in Epirus and western Greece would be receiving supply by sea but still...
 
Another interesting discussion would be the fate of Albania with a more controlled italian armistice. The Germans are trying to reinforce their army in Italy and save their army in Attica. At the same time they have to replace the 19 italian divisions in Yugoslavia and Albania. The armistice really screws up the Wehrmacht reserves: In OTL in December 1943 and without an active Balkan Front, they had deployed 700,000 men in the Balkans and 20 divisions in total. (source: https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/antiguer-ops/AG-BALKAN.HTM#yugo2).

As Lascaris mentioned, I doubt a front can be established south of the Olympus. Logistics and commitments to Yugoslavia seem to indicate a new front along the old greco-yugoslav frontier. If the Germans needed 20 divisions in OTL, I guess now they need to deploy at least a couple more corps in the Balkans (~26 divisions).

Last but not least, the controlled armistice may save tens of thousands of Italians becoming POWs in Germany or outright killed. At least the Ionian Islands and western Greece garrisons can be saved in their entirety. More people saved and less forced workers for the german war machine.

By the way guys, check the free preview of this book https://books.google.nl/books?id=2LBvZPXmmqoC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false It is interesting to read about the fate of the Italians in Yugoslavia and Albania that prefered to get to the mountaints and join the partizans
 
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It's covered here https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/keynes-cruisers-volume-2.451883/page-210#post-19746825

7 infantry and 3 armoured divisions in addition to a number of independent brigades. Two divisions and a parachute brigade are Greek. Probably more on the way...
By the way by the standard British ToEs of the time this means the allies have brought between 1000-1200 tanks to the game. It's questionable if the Germans have more than 100-200 tanks in Greece many of them French cast offs from 1940...
 
Story 2235
RAF LAGANS FIELD, September 25, 1943

The bomber was back early. It should have been aloft for another five hours. Smoke trailed from the right wing gave a hint as to why the plane was coming in early. A flare shot out signalled to the airfield to scramble the ambulance and get the aid station ready to receive casualties. Half an hour later, the radar operator was in surgery while the flight engineer was already being wheeled out of the second operating bay. The pilot was in long talks with his crew chief on the mundane issues of repairing the damage a string of light anti-aircraft shells had done to the bomber and the far more important task of deciding what a U-boat kill silouhette should look like when the bomber's pilot side panel was repainted.
 
Story 2236
Northern Attica, 0800 September 25, 1943

Every gun in the 1st Greek Corps fired. The heaviest pieces reached for crossroads and trail switchbacks miles behind the lines. The heavy mortars began laying smoke around a series of hilltop outposts while the 25 pounders dropped hundreds of shells per minute on a two companies of German paratroopers that held a critical switchback. Within ten minutes, no one within a mile of the jumping off point could hear. The Greek infantrymen began to rise. Two regiments with tank support were low in the valley between the German defensive positions while another two battalions emerged from the tortuous mountain pathways they had climbed over the previous two nights.

The advance would continue.
 
In the Balkan Front the Allies have to utilize the hard-learned expertise of the Greco-Italian War. Fighting a mountain war for 6 months with limited equipment produced a generation of officers and soldiers with valuable experience in mountain warfare. Artillerymen that had to do their job with limited stocks of shells and old artillery pieces became creative and learned to utilized every nook and cranny of the terrain to their advantage. Junior officers and NCOs that lead teams to clear out steep ridges with grenades and cold steel alone. Hell, even mule-drivers that were driving forth mule trains in the middle of winter through goat tracks and two feet of snow would be valuable as well.
 
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Story 2237
Kure Navy Yard, 1200 September 25, 1943

The carrier Zuikaku touched the water for the first time in nine months. She had barely made it home after the fiasco in the southern seas. An American submarine had torpedoed her near Formosa as she crept north. Of the six tracks spotted, three were clean misses while two of the hits were duds. The last one ripped open a hole where another three thousand tons of water entered her already waterlogged hull. The repairs were slowed by the lack of some critical materials that could only be sourced elsewhere in the empire. Mines and submarine attacks had added at least another month to the time for the ship to re-enter the sea. It would not have mattered, her air group would not have been ready much earlier.

The heavy cruiser Asama and a trio of destroyers were ready to escort the carrier for her post-repair trials.
 
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Once Zuihaku is up and running how many carriers do the Japanese have left?

(Setting aside the question of how effective those air arms on said carriers are. I'm guessing somewhere between "mediocre" and "oh boy, we're screwed.")
 
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