The 'Myth' of the Afrika Korps ?

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Our points arent mutually exclusive

You are arguing that the RAF didn't get behind air support.

Im arguing that even if they had it would have been negated by the political constraints placed upon it and the fact it was piecemealed out rather than concentrated**.

In other words im not challenging your point viz the RAF just doubting if different it would have made a tangible difference given the French doctrine and restrictions.


**I didn't raise this point in my previous it should have been 3)
You need to read Baughen's books. The documents he has unearthed show the French wanted unlimited battlefield support - the RAF could have put its entire fighter and bomber force into attacking battlefield targets without any protest from the French. What the French didn't want was an attack on German industrial targets because they were located in German cities and the French didn't want to start tit for tab bombings of French cities.

The constraints were those put in place by Newall and Portal who regarded battlefield support as a waste of effort and only strategic bombing as likely to deliver results. Similarly, the reason Dowding was so insistent that no more fighters be sent to France was the fear that Germany could knock out the UK by strategic bombing even if France held out and the fighter force went to France to support the French.

Much the same thing happened in Greece - the Greeks wanted battlefield air support; the RAF ineffectively bombed the ports the German troops were coming through. There were huge political repercussions with even Roosevelt getting p!ssed off at the RAF.

Wordsmith
 
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You need to read Baughen's books. The documents he has unearthed show the French wanted unlimited battlefield support - the RAF could have put its entire fighter and bomber force into attacking battlefield targets without any protest from the French. What the French didn't want was an attack on German industrial targets because they were located in German cities and the French didn't want to start tit for tab bombings of French cities.

The constraints were those put in place by Newall and Portal who regarded battlefield support as a waste of effort and only strategic bombing as likely to deliver results. Similarly, the reason Dowding was so insistent that no more fighters be sent to France was the fear that Germany could knock out the UK by strategic bombing even if France held out and the fighter force went to France to support the French.

Much the same thing happened in Greece - the Greeks wanted battlefield air support; the RAF ineffectively bombed the ports the German troops were coming through. There were huge political repercussions with even Roosevelt getting p!ssed off at the RAF.

Wordsmith

Doh!
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Yep. As well as the Henley, there were plans to strip the Battle of the equipment needed for strategic bombing (navigator and autopilot, etc), armour it to resist ground fire and fit four forward firing machine guns (in place of the existing one) for ground strafing. The result might have been an aircraft with roughly the capabilities of the Shturmovik.


Both hoofed into touch by the RAF which wanted no part of ground support in the early part of the war. The documents uncovered by Baughen don't show so much an RAF ignoring the need for ground support as actively resisting it.

Among other things they feared that if an Army Co-Operation Command was set up, they would lose control of it to the Army (much like they lost control of the Fleet air Arm in 1938 ) and resources needed for the strategic bombing that would win the war would be diverted to unprofitable ground attack.

Wordsmith
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
indeed.

recall reading about some big attack in Normandy.... dashing newly raised young blades haring off over the horizon in their Cromwell’s as the old sweats in Sherman's moved forward gingerly, considering every movement.....
....the cautious old sweats passed their burning wrecks soon enough. Montgomery not happy at their lack of ‘aggression’.

aggressively charging dug in 88’s just gets you dead.
Which led to a battalion of Northants Yeomanry, 11 Armd Div recce regt, becoming hors de combat by August and being replaced by 15/19H, wiped out in Belgium 18 May 40, having learned their lessons (of all 15/19H casualties in WW2, half of them occurred on that day) and able to take 11 Armd to the Baltic at a pace but with the caution required.
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
Which led to a battalion of Northants Yeomanry, 11 Armd Div recce regt, becoming hors de combat by August and being replaced by 15/19H, wiped out in Belgium 18 May 40, having learned their lessons (of all 15/19H casualties in WW2, half of them occurred on that day) and able to take 11 Armd to the Baltic at a pace but with the caution required.
When there's unlimited confidence n your "massive piece of kit" e.g. Ferret Mk 2/3 and there isn't any reported competition for you in the area, former Belgian Congo, and all of a sudden the dreaded Bamboo Bazooka, RPG Mk1 makes an appearance and starts blowing holes in all sorts of vehicles once the operators twigged how to use them. Apart from a dead giveaway from back blast, the Discharger Cups on the Ferret didn't only pop smoke but the 2 forward looking cups were filled with 36m Grenades. On a snake patrol a single Ferret came across the Congo's answer to Audie Murphy who stood in the middle of the road with RPG brandished very threateningly, Ferret driver on own initiative pushed Fire buttons and 4 x 80 grenades and 2 x 36 grenades went hoppity ,skippity, jumpy, bumpy down the red laterite road. RPG gunner took a very quick look at what was coming at him and set land speed record for departure. He was seen no more! The mix for discharger cups became a an option amongst other vehicles fitted with scavenged units. I think it was the very loud bang from HE instead of the mild 'poof' from an 80
 
You need to read Baughen's books. The documents he has unearthed show the French wanted unlimited battlefield support - the RAF could have put its entire fighter and bomber force into attacking battlefield targets without any protest from the French. What the French didn't want was an attack on German industrial targets because they were located in German cities and the French didn't want to start tit for tab bombings of French cities.

The constraints were those put in place by Newall and Portal who regarded battlefield support as a waste of effort and only strategic bombing as likely to deliver results. Similarly, the reason Dowding was so insistent that no more fighters be sent to France was the fear that Germany could knock out the UK by strategic bombing even if France held out and the fighter force went to France to support the French.

Much the same thing happened in Greece - the Greeks wanted battlefield air support; the RAF ineffectively bombed the ports the German troops were coming through. There were huge political repercussions with even Roosevelt getting p!ssed off at the RAF.

Wordsmith
Im not disagreeing with you about Bomber commands attitude
Nor about the French requesting more support - you can add to that the feeling the UK was planning for failure by keeping so many fighter squadrons in the UK
Nor that the French would rather tactical support than bombing the Ruhr.

The point im making and which regrettably you are missing is that concentrating everything on Belgium -poor doctrine of penny packeting and the restriction about targeting where civilians (potentially)** were - meant that even if the RAF came fully on board with your ideas - the restrictions and plans in place would have rendered it moot .

An additional 20 sqns bombing German Forces in Belgium would make no odds to the Ardennes - by the time they were redirected its to late.
There was cock all on Land opposing them because Gamelin thrust even the reserve into Belgium - Additional air support would have been no different.

Its not that I disagree it was a poor show by RAF command - just that even a good show wouldn't help in may 1940



**That may extend to private property as well but im not sure
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Chums...all very fascinating general info on the French and the RAF ....but if it doesn't in some way relate to Rommel.....please?

There's a 100% light blue thread....er....THAT WAY ! <<<<<<<<<<<<<---------------------------
 
Summat else was that Normandy bocage etc wasn't exactly Mersa Matruh. Different cover etc.
Old soldiers get to be old because theyve seen what over confidence does and avoid it. Survivors from the desert war walked the same bit of ground from Alamein to Tobruk in opposite directions a few times. Must have made them cynical of the leadership and not to keen to boldly and blindly go.
Agreed.

Who might you think wrote this AAR, where and when?

"All the same old differences between us and the enemy - he would rather shoot; we would rather charge. If 15 enemy tanks advance and engage us from 2000 yards or greater from selected positions it is a very unpleasant situation."
 
One thing the RAF did get right was the Hurribomber of the DAF, along with Marylands Baltimores Wellingtons and some lend lease Kittyhawks controlling the sky. Mustn’t forget the Beauforts n Blenhiems that initially carried HE to the wops n their hun allies
 

ches

LE
One thing the RAF did get right was the Hurribomber of the DAF, along with Marylands Baltimores Wellingtons and some lend lease Kittyhawks controlling the sky. Mustn’t forget the Beauforts n Blenhiems that initially carried HE to the wops n their hun allies
Yes, the ultimate ground/air cooperation was almost a shining example of tac/cas air support & its capabilities. Its a shame that come post June 44 in NW europe, on occasion, those lessons were forgotten.
 
Funny thing was, the RAF was at the bleeding edge of ground attack and army cooperation in 1918.
 
Funny thing was, the RAF was at the bleeding edge of ground attack and army cooperation in 1918.
That's because there were quite a few who had only just left the Army in their ranks.
 
Funny thing was, by the time of the Italian campaign the RAF, helped in large by the Army, had mastered FAC and the 'cab rank' system.
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
Funny thing was, by the time of the Italian campaign the RAF, helped in large by the Army, had mastered FAC and the 'cab rank' system.
Recent reading of Western Desert actions, Monty & Rommel, it didn't help much having Monty grabbing headlines at the expense of DAF's excellent management and obvious successes. This friction carried over into Sicily and thereafter.
 

5645andym

Clanker
Convoy information came from Ultra or PR over the Italian ports - they always loaded ships for North African convoys at the same quays.

If possible an aircraft was told to patrol over the sea where it could make an unprompted sighting - the signal explaining the imminent shoeing of the convoy. On rare occasions where it wasn't possible for the aircraft to sight the convoy, it was told to fly to the limit of its range and make a sighting report. Probably puzzled the hell out of the pilot, but the signal would be picked up the the Germans/Italians and again explain the destruction of the convoy, camouflaging the role of Ultra.

Wordsmith
My Grandad flew on a number of those flights, in a Wellington with ASV radar.

He said that if they got orders for 3 aircraft to be sent out on very specific routes they knew that one of them would be bound to sight a convoy.They were not told anything,if course, but suspected that we had a spy somewhere passing on convoy routes and that the reason why 3 aircraft were sent out was to try to hide from the crews the fact that HQ knew where to send one of them!
 
Recent reading of Western Desert actions, Monty & Rommel, it didn't help much having Monty grabbing headlines at the expense of DAF's excellent management and obvious successes. This friction carried over into Sicily and thereafter.
The book I mentioned a couple of days back mentions the one HQ policy of then Gen BL Montgomery that incorporated both RAF and Army together
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
One thing the RAF did get right was the Hurribomber of the DAF, along with Marylands Baltimores Wellingtons and some lend lease Kittyhawks controlling the sky. Mustn’t forget the Beauforts n Blenhiems that initially carried HE to the wops n their hun allies
These seem to have been local initiatives rather than Air Ministry directed ones - the bulk of the heavy lifting being done by Tedder. Although Churchill began to take an active interest in close air support after Crete, which expedited things.

Going back to the original subject of the thread, one reason the DAK had a lot of success initially was the effective air support it received from the Luftwaffe - be it strafing or reconnaissance. As the RAF got better at Army co-operation, that advantage disappeared, but the 8th Army was still significantly worse at 'all arms cooperation' than the DAK.

Which led to well attested stories of German tanks repeatedly luring British tanks onto concealed anti-tank guns. One of the things Montgomery did upon assuming command was improve the coordination between tanks, artillery and infantry.

Wordsmith
 

Mufulira

Old-Salt
These seem to have been local initiatives rather than Air Ministry directed ones - the bulk of the heavy lifting being done by Tedder. Although Churchill began to take an active interest in close air support after Crete, which expedited things.

Going back to the original subject of the thread, one reason the DAK had a lot of success initially was the effective air support it received from the Luftwaffe - be it strafing or reconnaissance. As the RAF got better at Army co-operation, that advantage disappeared, but the 8th Army was still significantly worse at 'all arms cooperation' than the DAK.

Which led to well attested stories of German tanks repeatedly luring British tanks onto concealed anti-tank guns. One of the things Montgomery did upon assuming command was improve the coordination between tanks, artillery and infantry.

Wordsmith
The other biggie Monty insisted on was better Voice Procedure no more Brigadiers 'in clear' describing the advance of DAK tanks on his location. Rommel's on-site version of radio interception team of linguists quickly ID'd the sender and the result was nasty. Improved radio procedure soon gave results.
 
We are all probably aware that dress regulations were even more relaxed in North Africa than elsewhere, for both sides. But I was appalled to realise that the DAK/PAK were already committing the fashion faux pas of wearing socks with sandals, at least in the Officers' Mess:

IMG_4693.jpg


Fascinating thread, by the way.
 

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