Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

I think a lot of the logistical and support stuff - trucks and such - were used up by 8th Army
A lot of 9mm rounds went to supplying sten gun mags, iirc. There were also 20mm guns that 'just happened' to end up fitted to RN ships.
Wavell's 30,000 also ended up as a major user of any MAB 38 SMGs captured from the Italians

Italian small arms during this period left a lot to be desired

However their principle SMG was a first class weapon - one of the best of the war
 
With Italy out of North Africa, but still in control of Sicily, Malta becomes much less important as a base, and it remains decidedly risky to run convoys through the Med.
If it's secure against air attacks and in good supply, Malta is very useful as a submarine base for attacking Italy & Italian shipping, and for covert operations involving dropping off or collecting commandos & resistance members.

Edit:
Obviously this is whilst Italy is still fighting...
 
There were Hundreds of aircraft on Malta during Op Husky - including 5 Spitfire Squadrons - how many aircraft would they need?

With North Africa in Allied hands it would be very easy to maintain reserves and workshops (for planned maintenance) etc away from the Island allowing for a leaner force
The narrowest point of the strait is ~150 miles away at the nearest. How long can a fighter hold station at that distance?

If it's secure against air attacks and in good supply, Malta is very useful as a submarine base for attacking Italy & Italian shipping, and for covert operations involving dropping off or collecting commandos & resistance members.

Edit:
Obviously this is whilst Italy is still fighting...
Only while Italy isn't doing the same to Malta. Plus Italian shipping can go through the Strait of Messina.
 

Orry

Donor
Monthly Donor
The narrowest point of the strait is ~150 miles away at the nearest. How long can a fighter hold station at that distance?


Only while Italy isn't doing the same to Malta. Plus Italian shipping can go through the Strait of Messina.

How much of that narrow passage can be passed during the hours of darkness?

Destroyers can still deal with subs but aircraft are far less of an issue
 
The narrowest point of the strait is ~150 miles away at the nearest. How long can a fighter hold station at that distance?


Only while Italy isn't doing the same to Malta. Plus Italian shipping can go through the Strait of Messina.
According to Alastair Mars' biography: Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine the Royal Navy had submarines operating out of Malta in mid-1942 (the submarine he was captain of was based there.) In Unbroken's case they were scooting around the area, dropping off commandos, attacking Italian convoys to Libya, and shooting up one of the Italian mainland coastal railway lines with their deck gun, whilst occasionally evading or surviving being depth-charged by the Italian navy.

Edit:
I'm not sure if we're posting about different things here. To try to be clear, I'm saying that Malta has uses for the Royal Navy (as a base, and in particular as a submarine base) beyond shipping things through the Mediterranean, at least as long as Italy is still fighting.
 
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How much of that narrow passage can be passed during the hours of darkness?
Since it's ~3.1 km wide at it's narrowest, I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'all of it's.

Destroyers can still deal with subs but aircraft are far less of an issue
And?

According to Alastair Mars' biography: Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine the Royal Navy had submarines operating out of Malta in mid-1942 (the submarine he was captain of was based there.) In Unbroken's case they were scooting around the area, dropping off commandos, attacking Italian convoys to Libya, and shooting up one of the Italian mainland coastal railway lines with their deck gun, whilst occasionally evading or surviving being depth-charged by the Italian navy.
And all of that means precisely what?
 
Pantelleria was regarded as crucial to Operation Husky, so although you were being facetious you weren't far off the truth either.
Sort of. My understanding is that the Italians not having the use of Pantelleria was regarded as crucial to the success of Husky. In and of itself it wasn’t much of an asset to the allies, I certainly don’t think it’s the key to the Straits for either side.
Since it's ~3.1 km wide at it's narrowest, I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'all of it's.
Wait, have we moved on to arguing about those other straits at Messina now?
 
Operation Compass Part 2. 12-14 December 1940. Sidi Barrani, Egypt.
Operation Compass Part 2.

12-14 December 1940. Sidi Barrani, Egypt.

With time running out before two of the 4th Indian Division’s Brigades were to be withdrawn, O’Connor had to decide on priorities. A certain amount of time was wasted on trying to sort resupply and the mess of vast quantities of Italian Prisoners. For the latter, O’Connor gave the job to the Selby Force to march the miles of prisoners back towards Marsa Matruh, under the watchful pompom guns of the A11 Matildas.

O’Connor knew it was important that the 7th Armoured Division, with its Support Group, would continue to press the retreating enemy. The armoured cars of the 11th Hussars reconnaissance patrols reported that were in contact with the Italians on a line from Halfaya Pass to Sidi Omar, where an enemy rear-guard was resisting strongly.

The 16th Infantry Brigade, having taken the most casualties the previous day, along with 48th Bn RTR were given a day to rest and re-organise. The 16th Brigade would be staying as part of Western Desert Force when the two Indian Infantry Brigades were withdrawn. O’Connor wanted them as rested as possible until the 6th Australian Division were present and up to speed. It also meant that the dwindling supplies could be distributed between just to the two Indian Brigades, while 16th Brigade would have first choice of the Italian pickings, something much appreciated by them.

In the morning of 12 December, the headquarters of 7th Armoured Division was eight miles east of Sofafi, its 4th Brigade in the Buq Buq area, the Support Group in the Sofafi area, and the 7th Brigade, pursuing the enemy north-west, had reached Bir el Khireigat. O’Connor knew that 4th Armoured Brigade would need support, so he attached it to Major-General Beresford-Peirse's 4th Indian Division for the moment. After discussions with Horace Birks, its Commanding Officer, Beresford-Peirse ordered 11th Indian Infantry Brigade to support the tanks.

In return for receiving 4th Armoured Brigade, Beresford-Peirse detached 5th Indian Brigade to reinforce the 7th Armoured Division’s Support Group. With much stronger infantry forces, 7th Armoured Brigade began their attempt to cut the road from Bardia to Tobruk and thus isolate the garrison there. While the rest of the Armoured Brigade waited for the Indian Brigade to join them, an advance-guard, consisting of part of the ubiquitous 11th Hussars; 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, two batteries of the 4th Royal Horse Artillery from the Support Group; and 3rd Sharpshooters in their Valiant Mark I*, set off to do so.

By the time the rest of the force had coalesced, 7th Armoured Brigade, the Support Group and 5th Indian Brigade, advanced in the evening to where Italian rear-guard remained in strength at Sidi Omar and, having surrounded it, waited until dawn to begin to break it down. After an intense bombardment by the RHA batteries, 1st Bn RTR closed to machine gun range of the Italian position, their A10s poured fire on any attempt to resist, the Close Support tanks with HE shells for their 3.7-inch tank mortars were particularly unpopular with the Italian defenders. The tanks then moved forward to point blank range before white flags began to appear. Sorting out the prisoners and resupplying held the British up most of the morning on 13 December, and then, when they were finally able to move forward again, the reinforced Italian artillery at Fort Capuzzo brought them under sustained and accurate fire.

By 11:00hrs 12 December, strong detachments of the 4th Armoured Brigade, had patrolled the main coast road finding numbers of Italian troops in Fort Capuzzo, Sollum, Sidi Suleiman, and Halfaya. O’Connor knew that Sollum would be needed to be one of the places where some of the shipping that had extra supplies could be unload. So, he ordered that this should be attacked as a matter of priority. The 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, equipped with Valiant Mark I* were given the task, supported by 11th Indian Brigade, backed up by the artillery of 4th Indian Division.

A frontal attack was always going to be difficult, and without being able to get through the Halfaya pass, there was no way round the flanks. The Royal Navy had pounded Sollum during the previous night, so that when the Valiant tanks approached at 15:00hrs, after a barrage from the 4th Indian Division’s artillery, the Italian force began to melt away back towards Bardia. A minefield slowed the progress of the tanks, but with the support of the 1/6th Rajputana Rifles they managed to put the Italians on the run. Here the speed of the Valiant I* came into its own, with the Cameron Highlanders in lorries accompanying them, they chased the retreating Italians along the road towards Fort Capuzzo. However, the light was fading and the weather continued to be appalling.

The inclination of the armoured regiment was to go into laager at night, but if they did so, the Italians would reach safety and have to be dealt with later. So, they kept going, machine gunning and firing their main guns at the Italian trucks whenever they could. Very quickly they came within range of the Italian artillery at Fort Capuzzo, which meant they stopped to regroup, resupply and hold the road. To go up against the Italian forces at Fort Capuzzo, they would need the artillery to catch up with them. Because of a communication breakdown, this took much longer to achieve than they’d hoped. Most of 13 December was wasted while 4th Armoured Brigade, 11th Indian Brigade and 4th Division troops sorted themselves out. They had been caught out by the speed of the Italian retreat, and were struggling to get their own re-supply forward, especially ammunition for the artillery.

6th Bn RTR in their A10s, with 4/7th Rajput Regiment made an attempt at the same time on 12 December as the attack on Sollum to dig out the Italian forces in Halfaya Pass, but it wasn’t until the Italians realised that they were on their own and in danger of being surrounded that they withdrew under the cover of night. The British tank regiment in this case did go into leaguer and so the Italians were able to join with the force at Fort Capuzzo along with those from Sidi Suleiman who also realised they were isolated.

When it became clear on the morning of 13 December that the British were approaching both from the direction of Sollum and Sidi Omar, the Italians at Fort Capuzzo decided that their position was untenable. They fell back to Bardia during the day, hotly pursued by the two pincers of the 7th Armoured Division. Fortunately for the Italians, they soon came under the protection of the artillery in Bardia, so the CO of 7th Armoured Division halted his forces. General Wavell confirmed with General O’Connor that the two Indian Brigades were to make their way back to the railhead at Marsa Matruh to begin the journey to Sudan as soon as possible. When O’Connor spoke to General Beresford-Peirse, the two men decided that this was an opportune moment. With the main body of Italians now in Bardia, O’Connor would need the fresh legs of the Australians to take them on. Urging Beresford-Peirse not to empty out any supply dumps on his way back to Marsa Matruh, they shook hands over what had been a very good piece of work.

The plan to cut the road from Bardia to Tobruk and thus isolate the garrison there continued. The force allotted advanced through Qaret Abu Faris, Gabr Lachem, Umm Maalif, crossed the Trigh Capuzzo (the track parallel to the main road and about fifteen miles south of it) at Point 211 and by 10:00hrs on the 14 December its patrols were overlooking the Bardia-Tobruk road from Bir el Baheira, and cut telephone wires along it. The 11th Hussars detachment however were badly hit by an Italian air attack, and once the road was secure returned towards the main British force to recuperate, while the 3rd Sharpshooters made the road impassable for Italian reinforcements to Bardia from the west, or to make withdrawal from Bardia very costly.

On 14 December the rest of 7th Armoured Division stood down to do whatever maintenance it could while waiting for the 6th Australian Division to move up, along with 16th Brigade, and the newly created 7th Army Tank Brigade, 40th, 44th and 48th Bn RTR in their Valiant Mark I (Infantry Tank Mark IIIs).

NB Text in italic differs from OTL. As with the previous update, I've taken the historical events as recounted in official histories and tried to imagine what differences have happened. One of the main ones, which happened in the previous part was that OTL 4th and 7th Armoured Brigades are swapped around, here they aren't so, while they did roughly OTL it was a different unit here. All in all I've basically cut three days off the OTL battle. Cutting the road between Bardia and Tobruk is the same, 10:00hrs 14 December. But the capture of Sollum and Halfaya pass, with subsequent withdrawal of the Italian forces into Bardia is ahead of schedule. As is the arrival of the Australians and obviously the non-existent 7th Army Tank Brigade. Sidi Omar didn't fall until 16 December, the attack on Sollum and Halfaya Pass didn't happen OTL, not sure why, it is 25 miles from Buq Buq to Sollum, too busy collecting prisoners? O'Connor was reported at being furious that Italians escaped during the night because the British tankies stopped at night. OTL the Italians pull back into Bardia on 16 December, here on 13 December. It made sense in my head when I was writing it.
 
I have edited my previous post to try to be clearer... :)
Point taken. Still, that means little compared to the issue of trying to run ships through the Med.

Sort of. My understanding is that the Italians not having the use of Pantelleria was regarded as crucial to the success of Husky. In and of itself it wasn’t much of an asset to the allies, I certainly don’t think it’s the key to the Straits for either side.
It large enough to allows for at least one air-base, with probably several squadrons of fighters. Sure, securing it won't promise safe transit for convoys, but it will at least allow some protection for them in the most dangerous part of the journey.

Wait, have we moved on to arguing about those other straits at Messina now?
No, I was simply pointing out to Orry that Malta doesn't automatically allow you to cut all traffic between the east and west coasts of Italy.


As to the update, great work. The Italians are really starting to feel the heat I think, and it's only just begun!
 
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Orry

Donor
Monthly Donor
Since it's ~3.1 km wide at it's narrowest, I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'all of it's.


And?

No West to East

Obviously if you can pass the main danger point at night the destroyers deal with the subs the enemy aircraft are grponded and you can pass a convoy through
 
I remember reading about a truck load of reporters who found an abandoned Italian supply dump and filled the truck with wine and salami!
I remember reading "the man who broke into auschwitz", an auto-biography of a tommy who was wounded and captured in '42.
In '41 he was with the rifles at beda fomm, and they captured an italian lorry filled with the wages for the entire army.
They took quite a lot of it, and had a good night out in Benghazi.
 

Ramp-Rat

Monthly Donor
Once again there is a lot of disagreement about guns, engines and tactics, while to my mind ignoring the basic problems that the British have, at this time. So let us look at the principal problems that the British face right now. Britain has been thrown out of Europe by the German Army, and has left a lot of its heavy equipment behind. While much of that equipment was obsolete or semi obsolete, and is no great loss, what is a major loss, is the lorries, or as the yanks would say trucks. The British Army, which was at the time, the most motorised Army in the world, other than the American, is scrambling around to find lorries/buses to use. And this will impact on events in North Africa, as fundamental the North African campaign is predicted on who has the best logistics. In the early campaign against the Italians, who had the larger Army, it was the British who thanks to better logistics and mobility who dominated.

And the campaign in North Africa and the Middle East is primarily about logistics, not tanks or personnel. You can send better tanks to the area, you can send increased numbers of troops, but if you can not keep them supplied, they are no use. And something that is often forgotten is the distances involved, the lack of local resources, and the poor/substandard infrastructure. From Berlin to Moscow is 1819 km 1130 miles, while Alexandria to Tripoli is 1899 km 1179 miles the short route, or 2062 km 1281 miles the long route via Benghazi. While the Germans had railways, broad gage multiple lines up to the Polish border, and only then did the roads become little more than muddy tracks. In Egypt the British had a single Cape gage railway along the coast, plus a sealed road, that wasn’t designed for extra heavy lorries. After the Border the road network becomes in many areas little more than unmade tracks, which imposed major problems. Lorries suffered from dust, it clogs up air filters and when mixed with oil becomes an abrasive.

However the British did have a number of advantages over the Italians and Germans, they had a much better access to base facilities, with large base depots established in the Delta region. They also have much better access to basic supplies, especially fuel, and food, being able to draw on the Delta, and the developed Commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand South Africa for preserved ( tinned ) goods. And Australia and South Africa, had developed a domestic industry during the inter war years, especially after the crash of 29. They could also draw on India for small arms ammunition, though anything else has to come from the UK, at this time. Also the British have a better access to coastal sea transport, though this is somewhat neglected by the poverty of the port infrastructure along the coast. At this time the ports between Alexandria and Tripoli, lack any of the equipment that is needed to transfer cargo from ship to shore. Something that will not be helped by being fought over, and suffering bombing and shell fire. However things are not quite as bad as it seems at first glance, there are ways to deal with this problem. First and foremost use only coasters under 3,000 tons, fitted with their own derricks, and man them with RN crews, who will not runaway if bombed. Second establish port handling units, made up from spare troops from the base area. As the ships are break bulk, cargo handling, provided you don’t expect the troops to load the ships, that requires skilled dock workers, isn’t a major problem. As someone who spent years loading and supervising loading aircraft, break bulk and containerised, unloading a break bulk is easy and you can get any fool up to speed in hours. The skill is in loading, and believe it or not, it is a skill that takes time to learn.

Provided that some reasonable preparation has been made, and there is not too much damage to the ports, or the Italians had time to place block ships in them. There is no reason why the Commonwealth forces shouldn’t be able to get to Tripoli before the Germans are able to intervene. With Tripoli in Commonwealth hands, by the summer of 41, the Mediterranean war will be very different, and there is a possibility of effecting events in the Far East. It’s going to be the winter of 42, after the Japanese attack before the British will be able to run convoys through the Mediterranean, but the ability to do so will have positive effects on events out east. And the RN, will be able to move its ships between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, in a way that it wasn’t able to IOTL. I will say it again, the war in North Africa is far more about logistics than it is about equipment.

RR.
 
Once again there is a lot of disagreement about guns, engines and tactics, while to my mind ignoring the basic problems that the British have, at this time. So let us look at the principal problems that the British face right now. Britain has been thrown out of Europe by the German Army, and has left a lot of its heavy equipment behind. While much of that equipment was obsolete or semi obsolete, and is no great loss, what is a major loss, is the lorries, or as the yanks would say trucks. The British Army, which was at the time, the most motorised Army in the world, other than the American, is scrambling around to find lorries/buses to use. And this will impact on events in North Africa, as fundamental the North African campaign is predicted on who has the best logistics. In the early campaign against the Italians, who had the larger Army, it was the British who thanks to better logistics and mobility who dominated.

And the campaign in North Africa and the Middle East is primarily about logistics, not tanks or personnel. You can send better tanks to the area, you can send increased numbers of troops, but if you can not keep them supplied, they are no use. And something that is often forgotten is the distances involved, the lack of local resources, and the poor/substandard infrastructure. From Berlin to Moscow is 1819 km 1130 miles, while Alexandria to Tripoli is 1899 km 1179 miles the short route, or 2062 km 1281 miles the long route via Benghazi. While the Germans had railways, broad gage multiple lines up to the Polish border, and only then did the roads become little more than muddy tracks. In Egypt the British had a single Cape gage railway along the coast, plus a sealed road, that wasn’t designed for extra heavy lorries. After the Border the road network becomes in many areas little more than unmade tracks, which imposed major problems. Lorries suffered from dust, it clogs up air filters and when mixed with oil becomes an abrasive.

However the British did have a number of advantages over the Italians and Germans, they had a much better access to base facilities, with large base depots established in the Delta region. They also have much better access to basic supplies, especially fuel, and food, being able to draw on the Delta, and the developed Commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand South Africa for preserved ( tinned ) goods. And Australia and South Africa, had developed a domestic industry during the inter war years, especially after the crash of 29. They could also draw on India for small arms ammunition, though anything else has to come from the UK, at this time. Also the British have a better access to coastal sea transport, though this is somewhat neglected by the poverty of the port infrastructure along the coast. At this time the ports between Alexandria and Tripoli, lack any of the equipment that is needed to transfer cargo from ship to shore. Something that will not be helped by being fought over, and suffering bombing and shell fire. However things are not quite as bad as it seems at first glance, there are ways to deal with this problem. First and foremost use only coasters under 3,000 tons, fitted with their own derricks, and man them with RN crews, who will not runaway if bombed. Second establish port handling units, made up from spare troops from the base area. As the ships are break bulk, cargo handling, provided you don’t expect the troops to load the ships, that requires skilled dock workers, isn’t a major problem. As someone who spent years loading and supervising loading aircraft, break bulk and containerised, unloading a break bulk is easy and you can get any fool up to speed in hours. The skill is in loading, and believe it or not, it is a skill that takes time to learn.

Provided that some reasonable preparation has been made, and there is not too much damage to the ports, or the Italians had time to place block ships in them. There is no reason why the Commonwealth forces shouldn’t be able to get to Tripoli before the Germans are able to intervene. With Tripoli in Commonwealth hands, by the summer of 41, the Mediterranean war will be very different, and there is a possibility of effecting events in the Far East. It’s going to be the winter of 42, after the Japanese attack before the British will be able to run convoys through the Mediterranean, but the ability to do so will have positive effects on events out east. And the RN, will be able to move its ships between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, in a way that it wasn’t able to IOTL. I will say it again, the war in North Africa is far more about logistics than it is about equipment.

RR.
Interesting but i don't see any mention of the not insignificant auto manufacturing industry in Canada that had started planning a series of trucks to a British spec back in 1937 and just managed to manufacture some 850,000 by the end of the war most of which were given to Commonwealth countries.half the trucks in the british army were built in Canada including most of the ones used in North Africa.....including the pugnosed ones with right hand drive.
 
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No West to East

Obviously if you can pass the main danger point at night the destroyers deal with the subs the enemy aircraft are grponded and you can pass a convoy through
That would be nice, but to the west of the Strait of Sicily, Britain has no bases, and so nothing to intercept maritime patrol aircraft short of bringing a carrier with them.
 
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