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Did Rommel have air support as well?


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#26 PzJgr

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 08:06 PM

The most serious criticism against Rommel's craft was directing Kesselring to do CAS in preparation of Gazala rather than sustaining the effort against Malta as Kesslring preferred. Kesslring anticipated correctly that Afrika Korps could not expect to be supported by his aircraft in the long run and therefore wanted to neutralize the British threat from Malta, rather than supporting a ground campaign of dubious strategic significance. Events seem to vindicate Kesslring, not Rommel's view that

It is amazing how Kesselring understood the concept of combined arms more than Rommel.  Many critics have described Rommel as a great Divisional Commander but not a good Army Commander.  I would agree with that assessment.  Rommel was a great opportunist and was not afraid of taking risks.  It served him well but only to a tactical degree.  Kesselring would have done better.


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#27 arminiuss

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 09:50 PM

I don't know about that. I think Rommel realized that he was never going to get what was really needed, in Africa or against Malta. So he took a long shot that was his only chance at beating the 8th army. If they would have halted and waited for Malta, it would never have happened. They would have had more stuff for defending against Monty but he prefered to go for it. The 8th army build up and Torch were going to happen regardless.


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#28 green slime

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 03:24 AM

 Most of our young men at the time had to do service in the army for England in North-Africa.

 

"Had to"? I understood that they were volunteers...

 

"One of the problems to continuously face South Africa during the war was the shortage of available men. Due to its race policies it would only consider arming men of European descent which limited the available pool of men aged between 20 and 40 to around 320,000. In addition the declaration of war on Germany had the support of only a narrow majority in the South African parliament and was far from universally popular. Indeed, there was a significant minority actively opposed to the war and under these conditions conscription was never an option. The expansion of the army and its deployment overseas depended entirely on volunteers."

 

"334,000 men volunteered for full-time service in the South African Army during the war."

 

from http://en.wikipedia....ng_World_War_II



#29 Kai-Petri

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:38 AM

I think Rommel´s operations were truly never ( until Alamein ) in any top 20 of Hitler´s plans until suddenly in 42/43 he decided to send Tigers etc to Africa, probably to keep Italy in war. Rommel had a so-called red line to Hitler which made Halder etc quite jealous but that did not give Rommel the supplies etc he needed. Perhaps the Luftwaffe units from Russia would have been more needed in southern Russia though in 1942.


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#30 Sheldrake

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 09:30 AM

The air war over North Africa is an interesting subject.   There was an aerial dimension to every WW2 campaign, and command of the air made a big difference to campaigns on land and sea.

 

North Africa was much closer to the axis powers who could operate on interior lines.  The battlefields of Libya and Egypt were a short hop across the Mediterranean from Sicily, Italy or occupied Greece.  The allies were operating from Egypt and sustained by  long sea routes around the cape from the UK or , when they entered the war, the USA.  E.g.. the US 1st Provisional Bombardment Group which operated from Egypt in autumn 1942 had been formed as a bomber element for the China -Burma-India theatre and was being supplied from the other side of the world.   Establishing an air staging route across central Africa via Takoradi in Ghana cut the time it took to supply aircraft, but absorbed a lot of resources. Establishing air superiority over El Alamein was an allied  logistic triumph.     OTOH, the Germans and Italians were operating on a logistic shoestring, reflected in poor aircraft serviceability. The Italian aircraft industry was ill equipped for a sustained war.  The Mediterranean campaign was a sideshow for the Germans, which sucked in aircraft which might have done more for them in Russia.  (E.g. the transport aircraft used to build up German forces in Tunisia, might have made a difference sustaining their troops in Stalingrad.  This is a point often missed.  The allies were in no position to engage the Germans on the mainland of Europe, but the Mediterranean offered opportunities to fight the Germans in places which hurt them more than the allies.    .

 

The story of the Desert Air Force is a great allied success story.   The North Africa campaign lasted just under three years, from June 1940 to May 1943.  During this time the RAF established an aerial ascendency from late 1941 which they never lost.  The Germans and Italians may have a handful of good fighter aircraft and pilots, and the ability to mount some attacks.  However, it was the DAF deploying airpower in support of the 8th Army and the axis complaining about the lack of air support.  .  This was a big achievement for the commanders of the Desert Air Force and in the face of RAF policy did not favour close air support.

 

Montgomery's books all stressed that the first principle of modern war is to obtain air superiority. . This was first achieved by the allies in WW2 over North Africa.  The chapters in John Terraine's book "The Right of the Line" om the RAF in WW2 tell this story well..   



#31 LJAd

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 11:13 AM

I don't know about that. I think Rommel realized that he was never going to get what was really needed, in Africa or against Malta. So he took a long shot that was his only chance at beating the 8th army. If they would have halted and waited for Malta, it would never have happened. They would have had more stuff for defending against Monty but he prefered to go for it. The 8th army build up and Torch were going to happen regardless.

Rommel received what was possible to send to him .:he had no reason to complain

 

What was needed was irrelevant,because,as all generals,Rommel always would need more and more .



#32 lwd

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:37 PM

"Had to"? I understood that they were volunteers...

Once you volunteer you usually don't have much say over where you serve.



#33 arminiuss

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 02:57 PM

Rommel received what was possible to send to him .:he had no reason to complain

 

What was needed was irrelevant,because,as all generals,Rommel always would need more and more .

I reread my post and this one and I have no idea what you are talking about. I said he did what he could with what he had, but rather than stop and wait for an assualt on Malta which would never have happened, he went for it. It failed but if he had not tried the result would have been the same. He was hoping, as in past experience, the allied armies would get disorganized and he would be able to push through. Even if he did not try they would have been pushed back by 8th Army, Malta would never have been attacked and Torch would have sealed the deal.


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#34 green slime

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:19 PM

Once you volunteer you usually don't have much say over where you serve.

 

They volunteered for service outside South Africa, in Africa. How many Britons got that choice?

 

They didn't "have to" volunteer. Wasn't that plain enough for you?



#35 Marcall Cloete

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:21 PM

"Had to"? I understood that they were volunteers...

 

"One of the problems to continuously face South Africa during the war was the shortage of available men. Due to its race policies it would only consider arming men of European descent which limited the available pool of men aged between 20 and 40 to around 320,000. In addition the declaration of war on Germany had the support of only a narrow majority in the South African parliament and was far from universally popular. Indeed, there was a significant minority actively opposed to the war and under these conditions conscription was never an option. The expansion of the army and its deployment overseas depended entirely on volunteers."

 

"334,000 men volunteered for full-time service in the South African Army during the war."

 

You are quite right there, but at the time a lot of our young men wanted to serve in the Army or shall I say, it was expected from them.  Not by the government as much, but rather from their families, their friends, communities etc.  You have to remember Genl. Jan Smuts or Fieldmarshall Smuts was the Prime Minister of the Colonial Government at the time, but before any of this he served with the "Afrikaners" or "Boers" in their Commando's as a Field Commander and fought against the British, so a lot of "Afrikaners" felt loyal to Genl. Smuts, not so much to the British Crown though but because of the history between Genl. Jan Smuts and the "Afrikaners" a lot of young men wanted to serve in the army.  There were a lot of loyalist views and political views in South-Africa concerning the war, a lot of families in South-Africa are related someway or another to German ancesstors.  Also adding that yes there were people in South-Africa that did not want to go to war with Germany.  I remember my Great-Grandfather used to tell us stories about the times when he listened in on German Radio stations, of course at the time, that was highly illegal seeing that South-Africa was at war with Germany.  I can recall a lot of people mentioned by my Grandfather and Mother that were opposed to the British Colonial government and the party of Genl. Jan Smuts who was the Governor at the time or Prime Minister if you will.  Other races also fought in North-Africa, maybe a little number of them, because the pressure and discrimination on other races became worse at the time yes.  But the policy of Apartheid only started in 1948.



#36 green slime

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:29 PM

You are quite right there, but at the time a lot of our young men wanted to serve in the Army or shall I say, it was expected from them.  Not by the government as much, but rather from their families, their friends, communities etc.  You have to remember Genl. Jan Smuts or Fieldmarshall Smuts was the Prime Minister of the Colonial Government at the time, but before any of this he served with the "Afrikaners" or "Boers" in their Commando's as a Field Commander and fought against the British, so a lot of "Afrikaners" felt loyal to Genl. Smuts, not so much to the British Crown though but because of the history between Genl. Jan Smuts and the "Afrikaners" a lot of young men wanted to serve in the army.  There were a lot of loyalist views and political views in South-Africa concerning the war, a lot of families in South-Africa are related someway or another to German ancesstors.  Also adding that yes there were people in South-Africa that did not want to go to war with Germany.  I remember my Great-Grandfather used to tell us stories about the times when he listened in on German Radio stations, of course at the time, that was highly illegal seeing that South-Africa was at war with Germany.  I can recall a lot of people mentioned by my Grandfather and Mother that were opposed to the British Colonial government and the party of Genl. Jan Smuts who was the Governor at the time or Prime Minister if you will.  Other races also fought in North-Africa, maybe a little number of them, because the pressure and discrimination on other races became worse at the time yes.  But the policy of Apartheid only started in 1948.

 

Thanks for adding the further detail Marcall! I suspected as much, but it was great to hear from someone who se relatives lived through those times in situ.



#37 Marcall Cloete

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:34 PM

They volunteered for service outside South Africa, in Africa. How many Britons got that choice?

 

They didn't "have to" volunteer. Wasn't that plain enough for you?

 

 

Thank you for your comments on the British but I am only trying to state the "Afrikaners" or South-African point of view at the time.  But lets get back to the discussion.  Did rommel have any air support?  Please do not insult me by arguing over volunteers or conscripts,  the political and cultural views weren't in favor of the British at the time, more so to the Germans I would say.  Beacause of the British Concentration Camps making certain that a lot of my ancesstors never saw the end of the Boer War or their Independence, especially women and children because they were no match for the "Afrikaner" men and their fighting tactics (Although Mostly Gorrilla warfare at the time) so they had to strike somewhere it would've hurt.  I guess that's probarbly why so little volunteered to do service for the British Crown.  But even if the were forced by conscription, I think very little would have gone anyway, and another rebellion would've broken out. 

 

"Was that plain enough for you?"



#38 Marcall Cloete

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 04:37 PM

Thank you for your comments on the British but I am only trying to state the "Afrikaners" or South-African point of view at the time.  But lets get back to the discussion.  Did rommel have any air support?  Please do not insult me by arguing over volunteers or conscripts,  the political and cultural views weren't in favor of the British at the time, more so to the Germans I would say.  Beacause of the British Concentration Camps making certain that a lot of my ancesstors never saw the end of the Boer War or their Independence, especially women and children because they were no match for the "Afrikaner" men and their fighting tactics (Although Mostly Gorrilla warfare at the time) so they had to strike somewhere it would've hurt.  I guess that's probarbly why so little volunteered to do service for the British Crown.  But even if the were forced by conscription, I think very little would have gone anyway, and another rebellion would've broken out. 

 

"Was that plain enough for you?"

 

Sorry if I seemed a little bit forward on that quote, I get a little bit jumpy if my people are the topic.  But thanks for your views,  I think the British sacrificed a lot, in my eyes more than Russia or anyother country during the war.  Great talking to you.  Looking forward to more discussions with you



#39 lwd

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:44 PM

They volunteered for service outside South Africa, in Africa. How many Britons got that choice?

 

They didn't "have to" volunteer. Wasn't that plain enough for you?

I agree they didn't have to volenteer.  That however has nothing to do with whether or not they had any say over where they were to serve as should be very clear to any one reasonably comptent in understanding English.

 

You were out of l line and got caught and called on it.  Dig your hole deeper if you must.



#40 scipio

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:51 PM

Thank you for your comments on the British but I am only trying to state the "Afrikaners"

 

 

Well I can understand the bitterness of someone of Afrikaans' descent but I do like to think that on this forum, we do try to be as absolutely accurate as we can.

 

Clearly your first statement of "South Africans" forced to join Commonwealth Armies was incorrect. 

 

or South-African point of view at the time

 

 

This bit is also incorrect since all South Africans (even white) were not of Afrikaners descent. 

 

lwd has just beaten me to the punch!

 

Also incorrect to say that British were forced to join since conscription was never applied in North Ireland in deference to Catholic antipathy to the Crown.

 

Nevertheless many Irish Catholics, North and South and I suspect (some\few)  Afrikaners (and very good they were too - and I presume Pinaar is a Afrikaner) joined in the fight against the evil of totalitarianism.

 

But as you say back to the Thread topic.



#41 arminiuss

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:54 PM

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Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
I KANT


#42 green slime

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 08:31 PM

I agree they didn't have to volenteer.  That however has nothing to do with whether or not they had any say over where they were to serve as should be very clear to any one reasonably comptent in understanding English.

 

You were out of l line and got caught and called on it.  Dig your hole deeper if you must.

 

Learn to spell. Then complain about other people's command of the language.



#43 lwd

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 09:46 PM

Learn to spell. Then complain about other people's command of the language.

I'd much rahter have problems with spelling and typos (which I do) than with comprehension.  Point out where I misunderstood something and I'll thank you.  Calling out my errors in spelling or typing to divert attention from your own inability to understand something is the act of a fool without honor.



#44 green slime

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:37 PM

I'd much rahter have problems with spelling and typos (which I do) than with comprehension.  Point out where I misunderstood something and I'll thank you.  Calling out my errors in spelling or typing to divert attention from your own inability to understand something is the act of a fool without honor.

 

With the number of people you have accused on these forums of failing to understand, failing to read properly or failing to comprehend, its almost become a badge of honor.



#45 Belasar

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 02:55 AM

Gentlemen, enough already. If you can not be civil to each other, pick another topic to pursue.


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#46 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 06:16 PM

The air war over North Africa is an interesting subject.   There was an aerial dimension to every WW2 campaign, and command of the air made a big difference to campaigns on land and sea.

 

North Africa was much closer to the axis powers who could operate on interior lines.  The battlefields of Libya and Egypt were a short hop across the Mediterranean from Sicily, Italy or occupied Greece.  The allies were operating from Egypt and sustained by  long sea routes around the cape from the UK or , when they entered the war, the USA.  E.g.. the US 1st Provisional Bombardment Group which operated from Egypt in autumn 1942 had been formed as a bomber element for the China -Burma-India theatre and was being supplied from the other side of the world.   Establishing an air staging route across central Africa via Takoradi in Ghana cut the time it took to supply aircraft, but absorbed a lot of resources. Establishing air superiority over El Alamein was an allied  logistic triumph.     OTOH, the Germans and Italians were operating on a logistic shoestring, reflected in poor aircraft serviceability. The Italian aircraft industry was ill equipped for a sustained war.  The Mediterranean campaign was a sideshow for the Germans, which sucked in aircraft which might have done more for them in Russia.  (E.g. the transport aircraft used to build up German forces in Tunisia, might have made a difference sustaining their troops in Stalingrad.  This is a point often missed.  The allies were in no position to engage the Germans on the mainland of Europe, but the Mediterranean offered opportunities to fight the Germans in places which hurt them more than the allies.    .

 

The story of the Desert Air Force is a great allied success story.   The North Africa campaign lasted just under three years, from June 1940 to May 1943.  During this time the RAF established an aerial ascendency from late 1941 which they never lost.  The Germans and Italians may have a handful of good fighter aircraft and pilots, and the ability to mount some attacks.  However, it was the DAF deploying airpower in support of the 8th Army and the axis complaining about the lack of air support.  .  This was a big achievement for the commanders of the Desert Air Force and in the face of RAF policy did not favour close air support.

 

Montgomery's books all stressed that the first principle of modern war is to obtain air superiority. . This was first achieved by the allies in WW2 over North Africa.  The chapters in John Terraine's book "The Right of the Line" om the RAF in WW2 tell this story well..   

I would say the axis had air superiority during the Gazala battles, allied air superiority was gained in late 1942 not 1941.


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#47 Sheldrake

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 08:25 PM

Tired old Soldier, 

 

The success of the German experten obscures the real picture.  The RAF exercised more control of the air throughout the campaign.  14 April DAK war diary notes that the RAF have had air superiority since the investment of Tobruk.  Despite a numerical superiority in May 1942 ,neither ER Hooten nor John Terraine thought the Germans had achieved air superiority..   



#48 steverodgers801

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 09:24 PM

You could divide the air war into three parts, Malta, the general ground and general med superiority. They are intertwined, but separate.



#49 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 07:50 AM

If you look at the Gazala battles the DAF had numerical superiority (but I don't have the figures at hand)  but couldn't prevent the axis planes from providing critical support in the reduction of the allied "boxes" that eventually led to the fall of Tobruk, I don't call that air superiority. The LW and Regia Areonautica ground support units were equipped with Ju 87 and CR 42s not exactly the sort of planes that could operate without at least air parity.

 

The problem with the DAF was that it operated large numbers of level bombers (Welligtons, Blemheims) that had few viable targets in the desert. It also got very low priority on Spitfires that mostly went to Malta leaving the DAF with Hurricanes and P40s that were not as good as the German Me 109.

 

As Steverdodgers801 pointed out it's difficult to make real comparisons between air availability in the Med, a lot of missions in support of Rommel in 1942 were flown by Crete based planes and axis units could swing from bombing Malta/naval interdiction to ground support more easily than the more tactically rigid British whose only reliable base in the central Med was Malta and lacked bases in the Western Med for most of the campaign.

 

Digging up some figures on plane availability would help this discussion.


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#50 scipio

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:31 AM

 The Mediterranean campaign was a sideshow for the Germans, which sucked in aircraft which might have done more for them in Russia.  (E.g. the transport aircraft used to build up German forces in Tunisia, might have made a difference sustaining their troops in Stalingrad.  This is a point often missed. 

 

 

I don't think it was a case of the Med depriving the Russian Front of German aircraft but that the Russian winter prevented their use on this front and hence their availability in the January to March periods for North Africa. Russia always got priority. 






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