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Malta & Gibralter instead of BoB 1940.

#1 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 09:53 PM

Italy takes Malta, Germany Gibralter. Morrocco joint Axis op. Then what? Canary & Azores?
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#2 User is offline   Carl Schwamberger 

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 01:05 AM

I'm unsure the italian Navy or Air Force had the range and fire power to attack and hold those Atlantic islands. The German Airforce or Navy certainly did not.
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#3 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:54 AM

Agreed, but even temporary use would a boon to the Axis navies. Condors for eyes in the sky & as well U-boat refuel supply.

And the allies would have to take em back which could well delay Operation Torch.
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#4 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 10:36 PM

View PostBlackHornet, on 24 December 2008 - 09:53 PM, said:

Italy takes Malta, Germany Gibralter. Morrocco joint Axis op. Then what? Canary & Azores?


Two very different piece of cakes. The conquest of these British bases would certainly have made it easier for the Axis in the short run. We know Italy had plans for Malta in 1940 as had Germany for Gibraltar. In 1942 both countries had decided to do Malta together. A combined operation against Malta in 1942 would have been a piece of cake if the Axis plan had been followed through. A German attack on Gibraltar winter 1941 would have to imply some cooperation with the French for the use of North African bases as long as Franco stalled. This might not have been a problem at all if Hitler had not kept the French on a string, but rather finalized a proper peace treaty with them.

Early 1941 Gibraltar did not have a proper airfield or fighter component. When the French quite leisurely bombed Gibraltar after the Allied attack on Dakar the RN ships left the base. An Axis cooperation at that time could also have been successful.

Canary and the Azores would not have helped the British much. That was to be a counter-move if the Germans had attacked Gibraltar.

Fred
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#5 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:25 PM

View Postfredleander, on 29 August 2011 - 10:36 PM, said:

...A combined operation against Malta in 1942 would have been a piece of cake if the Axis plan had been followed through


Not exactly a piece of cake, I would call it quite a bad piece of hardtack ... but it could have been done (and would have been done, if the unspeakable Rommel had been timely rolled down by a truck ... ;) )

View Postfredleander, on 29 August 2011 - 10:36 PM, said:

... A German attack on Gibraltar winter 1941 would have to imply some cooperation with the French for the use of North African bases as long as Franco stalled....


Absolutely right. And highly unlikely. The germans did try to reach an agreement with both but no way. And their entry in the war would have sarted many extra practical problems, as neither was self-sufficent in terms of military production (and many parts of their economical capabilities too), not to speak about diplomatic problems with Italy. Quite simply, not much worth the effort. And Spain was probebaly the key element much more than Vichy, at it had a land border with Gibraltar.

The point is that even if the Axis had taken the whole mediteranean (and it actualy proved to be impossible, given the balance of forces and resources) ... so what? An oceanic breakout? Where? How? The Italian Navy wasn't an ocean-going navy, and many of its ships had somehow limited range and sea-keeping capabilities. No naval airpower worth speaking of. No amphibious warfare hardware, capabilities or even specific know-how. How could they have reached the Azores, fought there successfuly an air-naval and then a land battle, build-up there from scratch an air-naval facility worth its name, and keep it garrisoned and supplied? Even more so considering that, Gibraltar fallen, it wouldn't have required any diviner skills for the CW to guess which was the only worthwile target, and Azores would have been promptly occupied and reinforced. (Canary are not a issue, if Spain was in the party they were aready owned, and if Vichy had joined up there would have been much better and more capable mainland africa ports and airports availabe in the area).

At the end of the matter, while it's half of a mystery why Malta wasn't invaded, I think that not going for Gibraltar was simply a "doesn't matter now" decision. It would have required extensive political-economical agreements with Spain and Vichy (but both weren't at all inclined to commit themslves, and he Germans hadn't much to offer to start with) for no immediate or forseeable gain, and could have had maybe some sense only after Egypt *and* the Middle East had been taken anyway ... and even just Egypt proved to be by far too hard a nut to crack.

Not a much viable "what if" option, IMHO

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#6 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM

View Postarturolorioli, on 30 August 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

Absolutely right. And highly unlikely. The germans did try to reach an agreement with both but no way. And their entry in the war would have sarted many extra practical problems, as neither was self-sufficent in terms of military production (and many parts of their economical capabilities too), not to speak about diplomatic problems with Italy. Quite simply, not much worth the effort. And Spain was probebaly the key element much more than Vichy, at it had a land border with Gibraltar.


We know Franco wasn't to be moved so it would have to be France. I am not sure if I agree that was that unlikely. Problem is Hitler would have to give something to get proper free access to the French colonies and he was very unwilling to do that. After all, the pending agreement France/Germany did give the Germans inspectional privileges in their colonies.

View Postarturolorioli, on 30 August 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

The point is that even if the Axis had taken the whole mediteranean (and it actualy proved to be impossible, given the balance of forces and resources) ... so what? An oceanic breakout? Where? How? The Italian Navy wasn't an ocean-going navy, and many of its ships had somehow limited range and sea-keeping capabilities. No naval airpower worth speaking of. No amphibious warfare hardware, capabilities or even specific know-how. How could they have reached the Azores, fought there successfuly an air-naval and then a land battle, build-up there from scratch an air-naval facility worth its name, and keep it garrisoned and supplied? Even more so considering that, Gibraltar fallen, it wouldn't have required any diviner skills for the CW to guess which was the only worthwile target, and Azores would have been promptly occupied and reinforced. (Canary are not a issue, if Spain was in the party they were aready owned, and if Vichy had joined up there would have been much better and more capable mainland africa ports and airports availabe in the area).


I don't think that the Germans would have had any particular advantage of capturing the Azores/Canaries, if they could or not. Having Gibraltar they could as well have worked out of there against the Allied Atlantic traffic. But, that would have been an advantage. I do not see an ushering of the British from the Med as an Axis expansion into the Atlantic but rather as a riddance of a belly ulcer. The short-term political gain could have been considerable. Both Spain and Turkey could have been won over in such a case. The next step would have been Egypt and the Middle East oilfields.

View Postarturolorioli, on 30 August 2011 - 01:25 PM, said:

At the end of the matter, while it's half of a mystery why Malta wasn't invaded, I think that not going for Gibraltar was simply a "doesn't matter now" decision. It would have required extensive political-economical agreements with Spain and Vichy (but both weren't at all inclined to commit themslves, and he Germans hadn't much to offer to start with) Not a much viable "what if" option, IMHO


Hitler had quite a lot to offer France for a cooperation on free access to their North African colonies.

Fred
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#7 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:53 PM

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... Having Gibraltar they could as well have worked out of there against the Allied Atlantic traffic.


How? It way more distant from the main north atlantic convoy lanes than Brest or Bordeaux. It's closer to the south atlantic lanes, that possibly would have needed to be moved westward toward the Azores, but given the puny naval air capabilities of the germans that's far from sure and would have hardly been a decisive factor in itself. Neither Gibraltar had any submarines-support capability or infrastructure worth of note. Of course having Gibraltar in Axis hand would have been better than having the Royal Navy there ... but as always it comes down to gain-vs-cost balance.

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... The short-term political gain could have been considerable. Both Spain and Turkey could have been won over in such a case....


??? It was perfectly clear that Gibraltair was not enough to bring Spain in (the Germans had offered just that immediately, and it didn't impress El Caudillo at all), and the notion that it would have any effect at all on Turkey is interesting ... but quite odd. Guess the Soviets were much more a worry to them than Gibraltar. But maybe there is some Gibraltar-Turkey link that I'm unable to grasp, I would be much interest if you can elaborate on that.

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... The next step would have been Egypt and the Middle East oilfields.....
.

And tomorrow ... the world!!! Friendly jokes apart, how the capture of Gibraltar (admitted that Vichy and/or Spain could be convinced to play along, and they wouldn't) would have proved decisive to the land campaign in North Africa?

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... Hitler had quite a lot to offer France for a cooperation on free access to their North African colonies.....
.

Again ... what did they had to offer? Keep your colonies? They already had them. We will return you back occupied France? And from where could we supposedly run our war vs Britain (mostly the submarines campaign), unless you French declare war on the Allies too? (and so accept to loose most of youcolonies for good). Because we can not give anything in terms of economic or military aid, neither territorial gains, neither political advantages of any sort respect what you do already have ... so ... what did Germany had to offer that France needed or wanted badly, that they didn't had already, and that would not have required them to enter in war against the CW?

I do not want to sound negative, Fred, so please let be perfectly clear that I'm not challenging you on any personal basis, on my side it is just a perfectly friendly, relaxed and respectfull chat, and I'm sure that everything will be keept in this positive frame. But if I may venture a mild and polite advice, maybe it could be more constructive to provide arguments instead of blank statements. Otherwise it is a bit difficult to star any sort of meaningfull discussion ... even about something inherently little meaningfull as a "what if" discussion! ;)
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#8 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:54 PM

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... Having Gibraltar they could as well have worked out of there against the Allied Atlantic traffic.


How? It way more distant from the main north atlantic convoy lanes than Brest or Bordeaux. It's closer to the south atlantic lanes, that possibly would have needed to be moved westward toward the Azores, but given the puny naval air capabilities of the germans that's far from sure and would have hardly been a decisive factor in itself. Neither Gibraltar had any submarines-support capability or infrastructure worth of note. Of course having Gibraltar in Axis hand would have been better than having the Royal Navy there ... but as always it comes down to gain-vs-cost balance.

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... The short-term political gain could have been considerable. Both Spain and Turkey could have been won over in such a case....


??? It was perfectly clear that Gibraltair was not enough to bring Spain in (the Germans had offered just that immediately, and it didn't impress El Caudillo at all), and the notion that it would have any effect at all on Turkey is interesting ... but quite odd. Guess the Soviets were much more a worry to them than Gibraltar. But maybe there is some Gibraltar-Turkey link that I'm unable to grasp, I would be much interest if you can elaborate on that.

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... The next step would have been Egypt and the Middle East oilfields.....
.

And tomorrow ... the world!!! Friendly jokes apart, how the capture of Gibraltar (admitted that Vichy and/or Spain could be convinced to play along, and they wouldn't) would have proved decisive to the land campaign in North Africa?

View Postfredleander, on 30 August 2011 - 02:05 PM, said:

... Hitler had quite a lot to offer France for a cooperation on free access to their North African colonies.....
.

Again ... what did they had to offer? Keep your colonies? They already had them. We will return you back occupied France? And from where could we supposedly run our war vs Britain (mostly the submarines campaign), unless you French declare war on the Allies too? (and so accept to loose most of youcolonies for good). Because we can not give anything in terms of economic or military aid, neither territorial gains, neither political advantages of any sort respect what you do already have ... so ... what did Germany had to offer that France needed or wanted badly, that they didn't had already, and that would not have required them to enter in war against the CW?

I do not want to sound negative, Fred, so please let be perfectly clear that I'm not challenging you on any personal basis, on my side it is just a perfectly friendly, relaxed and respectfull chat, and I'm sure that everything will be keept in this positive frame. But if I may venture a mild and polite advice, maybe it could be more constructive to provide arguments instead of blank statements. Otherwise it is a bit difficult to star any sort of meaningfull discussion ... even about something inherently little meaningfull as a "what if" discussion! ;)
Aighe-va

Arturo F.Lorioli
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#9 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:21 PM

View Postarturolorioli, on 30 August 2011 - 02:54 PM, said:

How? It way more distant from the main north atlantic convoy lanes than Brest or Bordeaux. It's closer to the south atlantic lanes, that possibly would have needed to be moved westward toward the Azores, but given the puny naval air capabilities of the germans that's far from sure and would have hardly been a decisive factor in itself. Neither Gibraltar had any submarines-support capability or infrastructure worth of note. Of course having Gibraltar in Axis hand would have been better than having the Royal Navy there ... but as always it comes down to gain-vs-cost balance.



??? It was perfectly clear that Gibraltair was not enough to bring Spain in (the Germans had offered just that immediately, and it didn't impress El Caudillo at all), and the notion that it would have any effect at all on Turkey is interesting ... but quite odd. Guess the Soviets were much more a worry to them than Gibraltar. But maybe there is some Gibraltar-Turkey link that I'm unable to grasp, I would be much interest if you can elaborate on that.

.

And tomorrow ... the world!!! Friendly jokes apart, how the capture of Gibraltar (admitted that Vichy and/or Spain could be convinced to play along, and they wouldn't) would have proved decisive to the land campaign in North Africa?

.

Again ... what did they had to offer? Keep your colonies? They already had them. We will return you back occupied France? And from where could we supposedly run our war vs Britain (mostly the submarines campaign), unless you French declare war on the Allies too? (and so accept to loose most of youcolonies for good). Because we can not give anything in terms of economic or military aid, neither territorial gains, neither political advantages of any sort respect what you do already have ... so ... what did Germany had to offer that France needed or wanted badly, that they didn't had already, and that would not have required them to enter in war against the CW?

I do not want to sound negative, Fred, so please let be perfectly clear that I'm not challenging you on any personal basis, on my side it is just a perfectly friendly, relaxed and respectfull chat, and I'm sure that everything will be keept in this positive frame. But if I may venture a mild and polite advice, maybe it could be more constructive to provide arguments instead of blank statements. Otherwise it is a bit difficult to star any sort of meaningfull discussion ... even about something inherently little meaningfull as a "what if" discussion! ;)


No problem - but I cannot see that your own opinions are anything else than mine - opinions........:-)
www.fredleander.com - River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sea Lion

#10 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:16 PM

"The Italian Navy wasn't an ocean-going navy"

Not exactly true. Italian U-boats operated in Atlantic,& even went to Japan for supply runs. & I believe small auxiliary cruisers and or destroyers operated in Red Sea.

http://en.wikipedia....ed_Sea_Flotilla



Hood 5,332 nautical miles
http://en.wikipedia....ki/HMS_Hood_(51)


Vittorio Veneto Range: 4,580 mi (7,370 km;
http://en.wikipedia....Vittorio_Veneto

In 1942, Vittorio Veneto was the first Italian battleship to be equipped with a radar device, a "Gufo" E.C. 4.
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#11 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:56 AM

View PostBlackHornet, on 30 July 2012 - 10:16 PM, said:

"The Italian Navy wasn't an ocean-going navy"

Not exactly true. Italian U-boats operated in Atlantic,& even went to Japan for supply runs. & I believe small auxiliary cruisers and or destroyers operated in Red Sea.

http://en.wikipedia....ed_Sea_Flotilla



Hood 5,332 nautical miles
http://en.wikipedia....ki/HMS_Hood_(51)


Vittorio Veneto Range: 4,580 mi (7,370 km;
http://en.wikipedia....Vittorio_Veneto

In 1942, Vittorio Veneto was the first Italian battleship to be equipped with a radar device, a "Gufo" E.C. 4.


Good points again!

Fred





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#12 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:49 PM

Neither Gibraltar had any submarines-support capability or infrastructure worth of note


Seraph...

Seraph first saw action in support of Operation Torch
Upon her return to "Gibraltar", Seraph was assigned to Operation Flagpole, the carrying of General Dwight Eisenhower's deputy, Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, to North Africa for secret negotiations with Vichy French officers. Loaded with collapsible canoes, submachine guns, walkie-talkies, and other supplies

On 24 November, Seraph sailed on her first war patrol in the Mediterranean. She was soon called upon to join other submarines in carrying U.S. and British Commandos for reconnaissance operations in the area. On 2 December 1942 she torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant ship Puccini. Later that month, on 23 December she rammed and damaged a U-boat, sustaining sufficient damage herself to necessitate repairs and refit back to England.

http://en.wikipedia....MS_Seraph_(P219)







"No naval airpower worth speaking of".

Italian flying boats
http://www.msacomput...taly/italy.html



The SM.79 was a good performer,[13] its wooden structure being light enough to allow it to stay afloat for up to half an hour in case of water landing, in the years 1937–39, set 26 world records that qualified it for some time as the fastest medium bomber in the world

The bomber version had 10 fuel tanks (3,460 L/910 US gal). Endurance at full load averaging 360 km/h (220 mph) was 4 hours 30 minutes

achieved many successes as a torpedo bomber in the Mediterranean theater

one of the very few Italian aircraft to be produced in substantial quantities.[8] Production started in October 1936 and continued until June 1943, totalling 1,217 machines
http://en.wikipedia....Marchetti_SM.79
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#13 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:16 PM

... A German attack on Gibraltar winter 1941 would have to imply some cooperation with the French for the use of North African bases as long as Franco stalled....


Or.. One could screw Franco & do a seaborne invasion of Portugal al la Weserubung & then on to Gibralter. Forget politics & use force instead.




Azores & Canaris would project German/Italian air power much further into Atlantic, west & south mainly. Same reason Wegener argued for taking Iceland.

Hanging onto them would be a problem, but air power is a nasty thing to deal with as the RN learned at Norway. here is a French General's impression.



the commander of the French troops in Norway, a man with the confusing name of Mittelhauser, admitted later:


At any rate, when the Stuka was revealed to us, when we saw the British fleet giving up before Trondheim (because of it), we had the feeling that we were face to face with something quite new, and of a technical surprise whose employment to be decisive.

_http://users.skynet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/history/stuka.html
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#14 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:23 PM

View PostBlackHornet, on 02 August 2012 - 08:16 PM, said:

... A German attack on Gibraltar winter 1941 would have to imply some cooperation with the French for the use of North African bases as long as Franco stalled....


Or.. One could screw Franco & do a seaborne invasion of Portugal al la Weserubung & then on to Gibralter. Forget politics & use force instead.




Azores & Canaris would project German/Italian air power much further into Atlantic, west & south mainly. Same reason Wegener argued for taking Iceland.

Hanging onto them would be a problem, but air power is a nasty thing to deal with as the RN learned at Norway. here is a French General's impression.



the commander of the French troops in Norway, a man with the confusing name of Mittelhauser, admitted later:


At any rate, when the Stuka was revealed to us, when we saw the British fleet giving up before Trondheim (because of it), we had the feeling that we were face to face with something quite new, and of a technical surprise whose employment to be decisive.

_http://users.skynet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/history/stuka.html


No need to quote Mittelhauser - just see what happened at Dunkirk and Crete. As for taking Gibraltar, admittance to French bases in North Africa would have been an advantage. I believe that Student, at first sceptical, put in a proposal to Hitler on a purely airborne attack. A cooperation with the Italians could have clinched it but it wasn't in fashion at the time. The Italians had the equipment for a combined assault - air/sea. However, after Spring of '41 the possibilities diminished quickly as Gibraltar was much reinforced.

Fred




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#15 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 08:56 PM

Crete an even better example than central Norway agreed, but it's good to have multiple corroborrating sources. here's another, a Cruiser sailor.Interesting concept, airborne assault.I still think rail supply through Portugal a good idea. Franco wanted no part of another war, just had one, therefore, I very much doubt he'd put up much resistance to German aggression in the direction of Gibralter..





The anti- aircraft control equipment was quite incapable of forecasting where to aim the guns and I doubt if any enemy aircraft were ever shot down by it. It could only deal with one aircraft at a time and was useless against dive-bombers. It was soon discovered that there was no substitute for air cover, lessons that were learnt off Norway, Crete and anywhere enemy aircraft operated.

The multiple four-barrelled pom pom was fitted and ships could not fire directly ahead or astern because the funnel and masts were in the way. It had a range of one mile but was not very easy to train round if the ship was manoeuvring. The Lewis guns on either side of the bridge were completely ineffective against aircraft. Enemy planes were getting much faster and usually attacked in groups, not to mention the newly developed dive-bombing of Stukas, and our armament was not equipped to deal with them. The best armament was the Bofors gun either in single form or a multiple mounting but this did not become generally available till the Pacific war.

http://www.world-war.co.uk/eskimo.php3
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#16 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 10:29 PM

How could they have reached the Azores, fought there successfuly an air-naval and then a land battle, build-up there from scratch an air-naval facility worth its name, and keep it garrisoned and supplied?


I would imagine via planes, U-boats & surface naval vessels. It's a bit of a trip I'll admit.Portugal to Azores 1019 miles. Bout the same to Canaris... http://www.mapcrow.i...Islands_SP.html

http://www.timeandda...nces.html?n=271

British subs at Malta were supplied exclusively by other subs.


With extra fuel a Ju-52 is reported to be able to tow a DFS-230 more than 1,000 miles.
http://www.lonesentr...rne-troops.html


Not an easy job to fill.
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#17 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 03:49 PM

View PostBlackHornet, on 03 August 2012 - 08:56 PM, said:

Most British biographies from this period are along the same lines. Quite unlike the postings we often see by "pro-British" debaters in the foras. Not that it is anything wrong being "pro-British" but the WW2 history is rather skewed by the fact that the winners write the history. This, in many cases, goes for the Allied official history as well, particularly British. It is as if it is very important for them to underline that they could never had lost the war, allies or not. If you have different opinions you are quickly judged a Nazi. This is particularly obvious when discussing an eventual Sea Lion. On such instances I often ask: What if the assaults on Norway, Western Europe, Greece, Crete and Singapore had never taken place - would you have expected the actual results? It was not so much that the Germans were very strong, but that the British were very weak. Fred
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#18 User is offline   BlackHornet 

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 09:50 PM

Yes, we know this from experience to be by & large true. I have to interject however that they did have their Lidell Harts, & Whittles, ( jet engine designer), and that it's more down to British leadership than it was down to the common fighting man.

The British Admiralty considered a German attempt on Norway abosolutely impossible, they were wrong. Germans only lost 21 cargo/supply ships out of 371. http://www.feldgrau.com/norwegian.html ,( Around 270 ships and 100 smaller trawlers took part in this facet of the invasion).

Crete most agree could've/should've been a British victory, ( they even had Ultra at that point). 9000 German paras, ( 1st wave), vs 40.000 British/commonwealth troops.
They were very slow to catch on to fast tank warfare. Set piece thinking was pedantic.


The US did somewhat better vs Japanese, Attu, Guadalcanal & even Phillipines, ( held out longer with less men supplies than British had at Singapore).


As to Azores, small fast supply ships with construction crew to build a field quickly, followed with air supply runs could get stuff there, but to hang on to it is another matter.
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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:26 PM

Killed the thread it looks to be.

One of the great overlooks or goofs Germany made in the 30's was to not build cargo subs. They had em in WW 1. Huge oversight. Ore traffic between Southn America & Germany went on in the 30's, could've mebbe did more of it with cargo subs.

A scenario like this changes dramatically with such boats. Admiral Wegener had better ideas than Raeder, ( who built superbattleships to "get even" with the British for WW 1, an immature view & strategically stupid). If Wegener & Doenitz had been in charge & the Z-plan wich insured Germany would be weak in all areas wouldn't have ocurred.
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