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Battle for Northern Africa-interesting info


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#226 Kai-Petri

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:33 PM

Rommel got loads of letters from Germany demanding autographs etc. There were also some weird letters: Another girl wrote to Rommel that she would like to get to know a soldier with sensitive feelings. A member of the Hitler Youth wrote: Dear general, I would like to make the acquaintance of an unknown soldier. That is why I am writing to You.

From "At Rommel´s side-the lost letters of Hans-Joachim Schraepler"
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#227 Volga Boatman

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 12:41 PM

The Third Reich's poster General...political appointee, Erwin Rommel.

One wonder's whether Rommel's reputation would have survived the war if he did. Plenty of other reputations on both sides went down the tubes post war.
Llamas are bigger than frogs.:cool:

#228 Kai-Petri

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 12:51 PM

One wonder's whether Rommel's reputation would have survived the war if he did.


Didn´t Monty have his pic in his HQ wagon? And Patton admired him quite alot, I think. Rommel would have made big money with books and touring the world... ;)
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#229 Volga Boatman

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 01:11 PM

Probably right. Runestedt and other German staffers might have had something to say about it. It would be the same situation as James Longstreet found himself in for criticizing Robert E. Lee post ACW. Rather than engage in informed public debate, followers of the "Marble Model" simply shouted him down for his 'blasphemy'.

For all the worship, Rommel's campaigns were losing ones. He outran his supplies far too often, and insisted on going over the heads of his superiors to get his way by dealing directly with Hitler far too often for my tastes.

I much prefer Russian front German officers, like Hoth, Bock, Balch...or dare I say it, Bittrich.
Llamas are bigger than frogs.:cool:

#230 Kai-Petri

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 06:35 PM

I much prefer Russian front German officers, like Hoth, Bock, Balch...or dare I say it, Bittrich.


What happened to Model? The man who saved it all? Of course according to Hitler´s rules.
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#231 Volga Boatman

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Posted 01 May 2010 - 08:33 AM

Walter Model almost singlehandedly destroyed any hope of the Northern arm of the Kursk offensive doing anything significant; defensively, he was fairly competent at organising resistance on the run, but offensively, I cannot recall one action or group of actions where his generalship contributed materially to a successful conclusion.

At Arnhem, Model nearly lost it entirely, saved only by the cool head of Wilhelm Bittrich. Model was quick to grab the credit from Bittrich as well.

Walter Model could certainly stand up to Hitler, and as a divisional commander, he was certainly competant, if unsophisticated. But, as an Army commander, offensively Model was out of his depth. I would compare him to Erwin Rommel, great divisional commander, but rising to his level of incompetance as an offensive Army Commander.

Defensively, Model's actions were often seemingly calculated to severly annoy the majority of officers under his command, as is demonstrated by the number of requests for transfer every time he turned up in a new command.

As you can see, my feelings toward Model are as mixed as my feelings toward Rommel.
Llamas are bigger than frogs.:cool:

#232 Kai-Petri

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 07:43 PM

Takoradi air route:

At Takoradi various buildings had been commandeered and a large landing strip laid down. This was the secret route to get Fighter Aircraft to the Desert War in North Africa without which that war could not have been won. With the help of the Free French a series of landing strips had been built en route to Khartoum, spaced so that Fighter Aircraft could make the journey on their limited fuel. These planes were shipped from the UK in kit form and assembled at Takoradi to be flown in hops across Africa to the front line. No ships were available to take planes the long sea route via the Cape and Red Sea.

BBC - WW2 People's War - Takoradi (Ghana): Memories of the RAF

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#233 Kai-Petri

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 10:30 AM

Throughout W.W.2 Italian bombers were plagued by the lack of reliable bomb aiming devices, the availability of big-calibre bombs and poor bomb-carrying capacity.

On the basis of these considerations, colonnello Ferdinando Raffaelli conceived an unusual solution, consisting in loading the highest possible quantity of explosives aboard a single crewless aircraft and radio-controlling it onto its predetermined target, that was thus to be destroyed by a direct impact.

This solution offered many advantages: it allowed a crew to be spared, and a higher load of explosives to be carried since no fuel was needed for a return flight. Moreover, old machines nearing the end of their useful life could be advantageously used to this purpose.

Two aircraft were made available for this unusual type of mission. Initially, two S.79s were chosen, one as the flying bomb (and therefore called A.R.P. for radio-controlled aircraft) and the other as the remotely-guiding aircraft (in turn called E for radio-controlling aircraft). Later, the P.-machine was replaced by a Cant Z 1007 bis.

On 12August 1942, at 01.00 p.m. the two aircraft took off from the Villacidro air base. Maresciallo Badii took off on the A.R.P., set it on its planned route, then parachuted to safety. Colonnello Raffaelli followed with its CantZ 1007 bis radio-controlling the S. 79 flying bomb, bound for the British fleet near the Tunisian coast.

But off the island of La Galite, probably on account of a defective capacitor on the S.79, the latter escaped the radio-control from the R-aircraft, began turning westward, flew beyond Tunisian borders and crashed on the sides of a Little Atlas mountain at an altitude of 1,800 m (6,000 ft) and 70 km (43 miles) off the town of Philippeville.

17th Bomb Group in Villacidro, Sardinia, Italy, 1943-1944.

Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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#234 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 07:03 AM

The story I know is the failure was in the transmitter not the receiver, the mission included a couple of G50 as escort. The link below (in Italian) has lots of details.
VILLACIDRO: UN PO' DI STORIA

The intended target was the Pedestal convoy and the SM 79 was painted yellow to make it more visible to the controlling aircraft and nicknamed canarino (canary) because of this.

BTW in the same operations the Italian also finally tested a big bomb, the 750Kg 630 PD bomb derived from a 381mm (15") shell. It was carried by two Re 2001, apparently both bombs hit HMS Victorious but failed to explode.
Truth is the first victim of conflict

#235 Kai-Petri

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:11 PM

"Italy was totally deficient in anti-aircraft defence. In 1940 she possessed two searchlights and some 230 anti-aircraft batteries for the defence of the mother country. There were only 42,000 vehicles for the whole metropolitan army in July 1940. "

From " The Brutal friendship: Mussolini,Hitler and the fall of fascism" by F.W.Deakin
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#236 Kai-Petri

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:45 AM

" There was alot of prejudice among the high British officers towards the ANZAC officers and troops. General Wilson called them "troublesome", Auchinleck never liked them,and even O´Connor blamed the Australian troops for drunken disorders and looting ( to which there was some truth ). It would not be until General Montgomery arrived that the ANZAC troops were truly understood and accepted by the "Union of the British Generals" who ran this theater."

From "Rommel´s North-Africa campaign Sept 1940-Nov 1942 " by Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani
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#237 DauntlessEnZedder

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:49 PM

The old Maori weapon, the taiaha can be deadly when wielded by an expert. This was proved in a taiaha and rifle and bayonet duel at a small arms weapon training school at Maadi, the Middle East, in 1943.The school was an important centre in which soldiers of the 8th Army were given an intensive training course in every infantry weapon, from revolvers to bayonets. In this particular course there were Americans, Free French, English, New Zealanders, Cypriots, and Canadians. In one of the bayonet fighting sessions, Major Don Steward, a New Zealander, remarked to his hard-bitten instructors: “This is quite a weapon, I only know of one to beat it!” “What’s that?”Asked the instructor. “The Maori taiaha.”“What the hell is that?”“A fire-hardened wooden stave and fending spear, “replied Stewart. Derision and scorn followed this remark, which stung the Maori to the quick. As a result, he offered to prove his point. Immediately bets were offered at great odds that the man with a Maori weapon would be dead within seconds against an expert with a rifle-mounted bayonet.
The Maori champion, Lieut. Aubrey Te Rama-Apakura Rota, luckily had one with him. Rota was warned that he would have to take full risk of being wounded or worse, and that the incident was to be officially regarded as an exercise in the combat school, where ‘accidents ‘were fairly frequent. There would be no holds barred on either side. Stripping off his tunic, the young Maori stood facing the grinning ‘modern soldier ‘in much the same way his forebears had faced the British redcoats a century before. The signal to start was given. The soldier lunged in and thrust in perfect precision, but each move was parried by the light-footed Maori who bided his time and stood on the defensive. Failing to penetrate the Maoris’ guard, the other soldier grew increasingly angry as thrust after thrust was tossed aside by the stout wooden weapon. Sometimes it was repelled with such violence that the European soldier was flung sideways. Finally, he crouched and charged in directly at the Maoris’ midriff. This was Rota’s chance. Grasping his weapon firmly, he sidestepped, tipped aside the blind thrust, and caught the lunging figure a smart uppercut in the stomach with the bladed end of the taiaha. In a flash he whirled the weapon about, to crash the business-end on top of his opponent’s skull. Down he went, to be out of action for some days in the camp hospital—another regrettable accident from the small arms school. The effect on those present was profound. Money changed hands at great odds, as the jubilant minority collected. The story was repeated with almost unbelievable astonishment throughout the Middle East.

#238 Kai-Petri

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 03:34 PM

"...below Auchinleck´s brigade group was a smaller one, the battle group, which was still larger than a jock colum. A South African staff officer remarked that the difference between the two was that " a Battle Group was a brigade which has twice been overrun by tanks"...

From Rommel´s North Africa campaign by Greene-Massignani
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#239 macrusk

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:47 PM

I only learned about this today while reading a travel book! This lead me to look online for more information.

Here is the link to a panoramic photo of the Kalavryta Holocaust Memorial Site, and information on the events that day: Kalavryta, the Holocaust Memorial site

Massacre Of Kalavryta

Kalavrita Atrocities Survivors & Descendants Sought for Documentary : Greek News

Kalavryta, a photo from Ahaia, Peloponnesus | TrekEarth

H.F.Meyer - Von Wien nach Kalavryta. Die blutige Spur der 117. Jäger-Division durch Serbien und Griechenland

BBC - WW2 People's War - SOE, the Irish Agent and the Greek Massacre
Regards, Michelle

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#240 Kai-Petri

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 06:35 PM

" Not all German aid to Iraq went by air. Under the Paris Protocols Vichy had recovered 25 per cent of the arms it had been obliged to store with the Italian-administered Armistice Commission in Syria by agreeing that the rest could go to the Iraqi Army whose main arms supplier was Britain.The shipments were made overland to Mosul, mainly by rail but sometimes by road, and overseen by Dr Rudolf Rahn, Ribbentrop´s representative on the Armistice Commission in Syria.Starting 13 May ( 1941 ?!), Rahn sent 12 field guns- 8 of them big 155 mm - with 16,000 shells, 15,500 rifles with 6 million rounds of ammunition, 354 machine pistols, 200 machine guns, 30,000 grenades and 32 trucks. Then the British learned what was going on and intervened in what became their first land action against the Levant´s Vichy French."

From " England´s last war against France " by Colin Smith
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#241 Fred Wilson

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:45 PM

A very interesting site with coverage of the El Alamein battle with flash animation of troop movements.Very teaching!
http://www.g-ligue.c...elalameinEn.php


The above is a broken link. See now: BBC - History - World Wars: Animated Map: The Battle of El Alamein

FYI see also: http://www.the-map-as-history.com/

Edited by Fred Wilson, 03 June 2011 - 05:01 AM.

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#242 Kai-Petri

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:11 AM

Itely 1943:

War production department was only given a ministerial head in February 1943, after three years of war, was a measure of the lack of coordination of the Italian war effort.

From The Brutal Friendship by F.W.Deakin
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#243 Kai-Petri

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:11 PM

Clive Caldwell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On 4 July 1941 Caldwell saw a German pilot shoot and kill a close friend, Pilot Officer Donald Munro, who was descending to the ground in a parachute. This was a controversial practice, but was nevertheless common among some German and Allied pilots. One biographer, Kristin Alexander, suggests that it may have caused Caldwell's attitude to harden significantly. Months later, press officers and journalists popularised Caldwell's nickname of "Killer", which he disliked. One reason for the nickname was that he too shot enemy airmen after they parachuted out of aircraft. Caldwell commented many years later: "...there was no blood lust or anything about it like that. It was just a matter of not wanting them back to have another go at us. I never shot any who landed where they could be taken prisoner."
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#244 Skipper

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:26 PM

I have no respect for this debatable attitude. The German called these men Terror Flieger. By shooting helpeless airmen because ONE of his friends had been killed this way by a German is just not correct. It is against the Geneva Convention and makes whoever acts this way a war criminal . Not to mention his boldness caused a lot of trouble to many allied POWS who were falsely accused of shooting helpless pilots because of a small minority actually acted this way. Also Wiki is wrong when it claims these practises were "common". This is a myth and even though it did happen , intentionnal acts like this were fortunately exceptionnal.

Vorsicht+Feind.JPG


#245 Triple C

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:22 PM

Skipper, what part of the Geneva convention specifically proscribe killing an enemy pilot who had ejected over his own territory? The Geneva does not proscribe soldiers to kill enemy wounded in the course of an assault on an objective. My understanding is that POW status only extend to enemy soldiers whose lawful surrender had been accepted or who had been neturalized as a threat.

#246 lwd

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:59 PM

Not Skipper but this section is often used to at least in part make that claim:
The Avalon Prject - Laws of War : Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907

[h=3]Art. 23.....[/h]To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army;
To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;

As you can see it is rather problematic. I believe there is a post war addition that declares it unlawful.
This section could by extension be used as well but again it is hardly definitive:
The Avalon Project - Laws of War : Adaptation to Maritime War of the Principles of the Geneva Convention (Hague X); October 18, 1907

[h=3]ARTICLE 16[/h]After every engagement, the two belligerents, so far as military interests permit, shall take steps to look for the shipwrecked, sick, and wounded, and to protect them, as well as the dead, against pillage and ill treatment.



#247 Kai-Petri

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:50 PM

" Italian industry could not produce the vehicles necessary for mechanized war in WW2. In fact the Commissiarato Generale per la Fabrica di Guerra established 150 as the maximum number of tanks per month that industry could provide. Production would reach this figure in 1941 and remain there indefinitely. Annual production would be 1,800 tanks in a year. Italy never reached this figure because of the bombing of both Ansaldo and Fiat by the Allies. So TOTAL Italian production in the Second World War was approx. 2,800 tanks and self-propelled guns using tank chassis. "

"Iron arm" the mechanization of Mussolini´s Army 1920-40, by John Joseph Timothy Sweet
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#248 steverodgers801

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:19 AM

One of the biggest problems in the occupation of Ethiopia was that it drained vitally needed resources from other places.




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