OPERATION PEDESTAL

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pgollin
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by pgollin » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:39 am

aurora wrote:
............ I think strategically the operation was minimally successful; .......... - without taking the final outcome in Norfh Africa into account-purely judging Operation Pedestal
You do know what "strategic" means, don't you ?

The operation was undertaken knowing that there were likely to be large losses.

The supplies delivered enabled Malta to survive and to STRATEGICALLY AFFECT the course of the North African war for the next 6 months.

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:58 am

I am aware of the long term objective;but "the means" of achieving that objective must be taken into account-"the means" vis a vis Operation Pedestal fell short IMO
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Garyt
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by Garyt » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:25 pm

Putting some deep thought into this... :D

A "Tactical Defeat" but Strategic Victory seems almost an oxymoron on modern non set-piece battlefields.

I'm trying to think of any that fit this, and I'm sure their may be a few but it is rare. On an ancient or middle ages battlefield I think it could be more common, as the tactical aim was generally to defeat the opponent (opponent being the army assembled immediately upon that particular battlefield), while the strategic goal might be different.

Goals upon the modern (20th century or so and later) battlefield are a bit different. And the Tactical goal of operation Pedestal was to get the convoy through to Malta. The strategic goal was to keep Malta alive and functioning. The tactical goal of pedestal was NOT to shoot down X amount of enemy aircraft, or to inflict more casualties than received. The Goal was to get the supplies through.

Failure or success of this goal would have to be determined by whether or not sufficient supplies made it through, though a caveat could be made as to whether or not the losses were acceptable.

Then I guess the question we have to ask, is would the Allied commanders, knowing the losses in advance, still send the task force on it's merry way, or would they abort? And another caveat would have to be that they could not abort and try another method of re-supply, it's Pedestal or nothing for Malta.

And I do indeed believe that the Allied commanders, having this choice would still commit to Operation Pedestal. As mentioned above, ships could be built to replace or damaged ships could be repaired, but prying an occupied Malta from Axis hands would be much tougher, and would have a profound impact on the war in Africa.

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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by pgollin » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:47 pm

aurora wrote:I am aware of the long term objective;but "the means" of achieving that objective must be taken into account-"the means" vis a vis Operation Pedestal fell short IMO
.

It achieved its objective - how did it fall short ? It achieved its strategic aim.

Would it have been better if no ships had been sunk - well, obviously, yes - but that is unrealistic.

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:56 am

I admit that Pedestal "only just" achieved it's strategic objective; but because of the heavy losses in ships mercantile and naval-it was a tactical defeat IMO.
Picked up an interesting passage from Bernard Ireland's book "The WAR in the Mediterranean 1940-43" I quote as follows re.Pedestal:
"With the benefit of hindsight,British casualties would have been considerably lighter if procedures had not been quite so predictable.The Axis was well aware that timetables called for the heavy covering force to turn back just short of the Central Narrows.This was always at dusk.to give the convoy a night passage through potentially the most dangerous stretch of water.Axis plans for attack were laid confidently on this assumption.Had the convoy actually travelled six hours behind normal schedule,it would have been saved by darkness from the damaging afternoon attacks that knocked out Indomitable,sank or damaged three of four cruisers and sank a destroyer and two freighters.Cape Bon would have been doubled at first light,which would have rendered impossible the assault by torpedo craft which claimed a cruiser and four merchantmen.In better shape,Pedestal would certainly have deterred any boldness on the part of da Zara and would have fared no worse from air attack"
PS. No- I do not think "tactical defeat and strategic victory" is an oxymoron.They go perfectly well together eg Battle of Jutland
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pgollin
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by pgollin » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:46 am

.

And round and around we go .........

IT ACHIEVED ITS TACTICAL AND STRATEGIC PURPOSES - so cannot be classed as either a tactical or strategic defeat.

Did it have large losses - YES. Were these expected - YES.

And what would the losses have been IF the convoy had not entered the narrows at dusk ?

Why do you insist on things that just aren't true ?

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:22 pm

Simply because I thought (obviously wrongly) that it might have been of interest to you.It was after all- just another view of the proceedings.not written by me;but by an author of some considerable standing IMO. It is also obvious to me that to continue in this vein-where I say something and you rubbish it-tells me that you are as obdurate as I am and therefore to prolong this "banging of heads"is pure folly. :stop: :stop:
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by Byron Angel » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:33 pm

Go here -
https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/467 ... -1942.aspx
- for a good scholarly analysis of the Malta situation and the Pedestal convoy operation.

Was Pedestal a strategic success? Yes. It bought enough time for Malta to survive until the military equation in the Mediterranean theater had reached the tipping point in favor of the Allies. Tactical success? Let's look at it this way. Could Britain have afforded to mount this sort of operation on a regular basis in the face of such losses? The answer IMO is no.

B

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:09 pm

Thank you Byron-I concur with your comments and appreciate your provision of the link.
One can be swayed by many factors in Operation Pedestal;even looking at the possibilities of what might have been; but of course-it is what did actually happen-that is the crux of the debate.I was somewhat surprised to find these words at the tail end of the Conclusions :

"One of the major errors on the Allied side was the decision,
based on false assumptions, to turn Force Z westward. That decision resulted in
heavy Allied losses. This Allied operation M.G. 3 failed to make any impression
on the Axis commanders. This was not a surprise, because the Allies had based
the entire effort on a faulty assumption. It represented a waste of time and sorely
needed resources."
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by Garyt » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:39 pm

PS. No- I do not think "tactical defeat and strategic victory" is an oxymoron.They go perfectly well together eg Battle of Jutland
That is indeed true for Jutland, though in all honesty it was not the battle that resulted in the strategic defeat of the German fleet. Th German fleet proved it could fight with the British Navy toe to toe, and inflicted more losses than sustained.

But it was the German fleet command decision to become overly cautious that led to Jutland resulting in a strategic defeat. Not the battle itself, but the German fleet Command's choice to be cautious.

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:09 pm

Garyt wrote:
PS. No- I do not think "tactical defeat and strategic victory" is an oxymoron.They go perfectly well together eg Battle of Jutland
That is indeed true for Jutland, though in all honesty it was not the battle that resulted in the strategic defeat of the German fleet. Th German fleet proved it could fight with the British Navy toe to toe, and inflicted more losses than sustained.

But it was the German fleet command decision to become overly cautious that led to Jutland resulting in a strategic defeat. Not the battle itself, but the German fleet Command's choice to be cautious.
Yes Gary- I think you are right to point this out- as indicated below :
The mere fact of the brave German fight against the odds does not materially change the result unless the morale of the Grand Fleet had been destroyed in the process. This was demonstrably not the case. Although proud of their achievements at Jutland, the more thoughtful German naval officers clearly acknowledged the legitimacy of the British strategic victory.
Quote
"The English fleet, by remaining a 'fleet in being', by its mere continued existence, had so far fully fulfilled its allotted task. The Battle of Skagerrak did not relax the pressure exerted by the English fleet as a 'fleet in being' for one minute".
Commander Georg von Hase, SMS Derfflinger, I Scouting Group, High Seas Fleet

Scheer understood this only too well. He had no intention of confronting the full strength of the Grand Fleet ever again and lost much of his enthusiasm for further surface adventures in the North Sea. Henceforth he advocated unrestricted submarine warfare as the naval panacea to the parlous strategic situation that entwined Germany. The morale of the German High Seas Fleet, which had briefly blossomed after the perceived German victory at Jutland, soon leached away as they realised that for them 'Der Tag' would never dawn.

As the war finally staggered to a close two long painful years later, the High Seas Fleet mutinied rather than emerge to fight a last futile battle. The ultimate triumph of the Royal Navy was reflected in the humiliating surrender of the 70 ships of the High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918.
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by Garyt » Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:11 pm

The ultimate triumph of the Royal Navy was reflected in the humiliating surrender of the 70 ships of the High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918.
I've read about it, it seems such a sad situation with a powerful once proud navy being made to surrender and later being scuttled. Regardless where you allegiance may have been, I think this would have been a sad way for the fleet to end.

I guess it would have been more proper for the fleet to have "died" largely because of a battle, like the old Norse idea of wanting your death to be in battle.

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aurora
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by aurora » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:21 am

Indeed it was a sad ending for,as you put it,"a powerful,proud navy having to surrender and then scuttled" but this was part of the Armistice Agreement pending a Geneva Conference decision on it's fate but there was much haggling and dithering.The crews became restive and bored; and the CinC suspecting the British were going to seize the ships (which was their intention) ordered the scuttling of the entire fleet to prevent the British gaining possession.
PS.The Italians surrendered their fleet in ww2 in 1943. After the war, the most modern battleships, Italia (ex-Littorio) and Vittorio Vento were allocated to Britain and the US as reparations, but scrapped. The modernized WWI-era Giulio Cesare went to the USSR and served in the Black Sea fleet until around 1955 as Novorossisk when she was crippled by an explosion, probably a German mine left over from the war, and subsequenly scrapped. Her half-sisters Andrea Doria and Caio Duilio continued in Italian service for a time, mainly as training ships; the names were later used for a pair of cruisers in the 1960s and today for the new Horizon-class air defence destroyers.
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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by pgollin » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:46 am

.

Quote (Byron Angel) ;

"......... Tactical success? Let's look at it this way. Could Britain have afforded to mount this sort of operation on a regular basis in the face of such losses? The answer IMO is no. ......."


A false argument - Why would it have to mount such an operation on a regular basis ?


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Aurora ;

I AGREE (shock, horror !) with your surprise at the words in the quoted article ;

"........ One of the major errors on the Allied side was the decision, based on false assumptions, to turn Force Z westward. ..........."

The idea that Force Z going into/through the narrows is weird in the extreme.

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Re: OPERATION PEDESTAL

Post by Byron Angel » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:20 pm

pgollin wrote:.
Quote (Byron Angel) ;
"......... Tactical success? Let's look at it this way. Could Britain have afforded to mount this sort of operation on a regular basis in the face of such losses? The answer IMO is no. ......."

A false argument - Why would it have to mount such an operation on a regular basis ?
.

..... You're playing word games worthy of a classical sophist, Phil.

B

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