Italian air is busy in Morocco for the most part, so the RN dared to sortie into the Central Med. The Italian navy has severely punished the RN's audacity.
German HQ admits grudingly that the Sicily invasion it is very well played - despite the ship losses.
Italian air has been ordered back from Morocco in the meanwhile - but it will take some time to arrive since evil Algerian partisans prevented rail transport and we don't have the oil to fly them over the long distance.
Even though a capital ship (BB) has been sunk by the Italians the British navy can afford this loss easiest of all nations and without much dent in their future fighting capabilities.
With only the small capacity port at Syracuse in British hands, the Sicily jaunt may be doomed to failure. Palermo is strongly defended and British troops are not getting their full complement of supplies.
Beachhead supply, you say ... we'll try, but we're burning oil so fast keeping task forces at sea, that it will be difficult to do against an Italian navy that is willing to contest those beaches.
The British are crossing their fingers that the German infantry commander sitting on the Straits does not have the daring that the RM has had. If his force crosses into Sicily proper ....
Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, Stavka is dreading any spell of clear weather this winter.
Syracuse is a small port but Palermo is being deprived of supplies as well by the British air and naval forces.
One paper the German corps across Messina looks imposing at 14-2 compared to the British on paper. But once all modifiers have been taken into account it is a very poor odds attack. Less than 1-1 if I recall correctly. If possible at all it will need much support.
German dissimulation, which it is spreading along the front, is that the Wermacht is too weak to fight. Stavka has it's own sources, and is preparing for the worst.
Stalin is known to be quite paranoid.....
< Message edited by Chocolino -- 1/26/2020 5:23:30 PM >