1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

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Tim Smith
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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Tim Smith » 25 Nov 2010 18:45

Sunbury wrote: Tim again refuses to see Vichy France was held in thrall. They allowed German advisors into Syria, they kowtowed to the Japanese in Vietnam, giving them the bases they needed to attack Malay. Also I said negotiated, not invaded and the Germans are reclaiming French terriorty from the Spanish.

The massive French Army did nothing when German advisors went into Syria. Most of them fought for the Vichy French when the Australian 7th Divison and the Indian 4th Divison undertook the Syrian Campaign. A "hidden" Campaign to most in here. Neither Britian or France post war wanted to talk of it, but it is well remembered here.

So simply saying "non" is meaningless, 3 million French troops were POW's and in 1940 Germany looked truimphent everywhere. The large French Army in Africa suddenly deciding to fight, lol, they wouldn't. The Germans only have to hint at a political solution of giving "autonomy" to the locals to scuttle that idea. Ideas are always stronger than bullets, and breaking colonial chains of oppression are a powerful tool to manipulate. Remember Mohammad Amin al-Husayni the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem? His visit to Adolf Hitler in 1941 to back Arab independence? That technique was a real possibility, Nassar the post war Eygptian President was a Nazi supporter during the early part of WW2.
The Vichy French didn't allow Axis planes to BASE in Syria and ATTACK the British FROM Syria. They only allowed them to land, refuel, and fly on somewhere else. The former policy, suggested by you, is much more aggressive, from the Vichy side, than the latter. Which makes it less likely to happen.

Plus in this thread, the assumption is, that Germany doesn't get involved in North Africa. At all. That includes the Luftwaffe. So any Axis incursion into Tunisia, Algeria, or Morocco, will be by the Italians alone, not the Germans.

The Vichy French feared the Germans but despised the Italians. Vichy had no incentive to cooperate with Mussolini... :lol:

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by phylo_roadking » 25 Nov 2010 18:48

Tim, I'm not sure the 1943 Mareth Line was quite as strong in 1941. IIRC the French built it to give Gen. Barre the most practical defensive possibility for his relatively small force in Tunisia :wink: And the terms of the Armisitice prevented Vichy simply shifting forces from Algeria to Tunisia without German permission....while their doing so WITH permission would obviously weaken Algeria...
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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by kfbr392 » 25 Nov 2010 20:24

Lets not discuss what happenes from Casablanca to Suez plus Gibraltar etc. in this thread at all, ok?
Since Germany won't go there, it is in effect Allied territory.

I am much more interested in y'alls thoughts on what would have happened if Germany refused to send troops to North Africa with regards to:
- Germany preserved materiel and men to fight another day
- Allies without vital ground fighting experience and victories (other than routing Italians and possibly Vichy French) prior to setting foot in Europe.

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Tim Smith
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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Tim Smith » 26 Nov 2010 09:17

phylo_roadking wrote:Tim, I'm not sure the 1943 Mareth Line was quite as strong in 1941.
Well, I'm sure it was strong enough to stop the remnants of an already shattered Italian army.

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Tim Smith » 26 Nov 2010 12:53

sturmfxr wrote:I am much more interested in y'alls thoughts on what would have happened if Germany refused to send troops to North Africa with regards to:
- Germany preserved materiel and men to fight another day
- Allies without vital ground fighting experience and victories (other than routing Italians and possibly Vichy French) prior to setting foot in Europe.
Well, it means Rommel commands an extra panzer korps in Operation Barbarossa. This would have a considerable local impact on whichever section of the front he was on, but only a slight overall strategic impact. The Russian Front is just too big a theatre of war for one panzer korps to tip the balance. For example, with the extra panzer korps assigned to Army Group Centre, Rommel might have reached Moscow in 1941 - but failed to take it. Just as Rommel was stopped by the Australians in Tobruk in 1941 historically, he could have been stopped by the Siberians in Moscow.

In 1942, during Case Blue, Rommel's hard-driving panzer korps might have reached the Baku oilfields - only to be forced into withdrawal by the defeat of the Sixth Army in Stalingrad.

The extra planes and trucks saved from North Africa would certainly help the German situation in Russia, but enough to change the outcome of the entire campaign? I doubt it - the numbers are too small.

The Allied lack of experience fighting the Germans would hinder the British and Americans later in the war, but not stop them. Personally I think it would lead to slower progress and higher Allied casualties in the early stages of the fighting on the European continent, but the experience would come with time and the Americans could have sustained higher casualties if they had to, they got off quite lightly historically.

Look at D-Day, for example. The Allies landed on five beaches. Even if two of the landings had failed, say, Omaha and Sword Beaches, for example, due to inexperienced troops panicking, the overall operation will still be a success since the other three beaches would be enough to establish a beachhead.

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Nov 2010 13:12

Tim, do remember after the first front assault they did just flank the entire line ;)

As for the Vichy French, those in the ME had actively helped axis interests in Iraq etc coupled with fears of some sort of Axis back door assault on Suez led to them being attacked; would have the Eighth Army carried on the assault west or attempted a diplomatic solution ala the defection of the Vichy French during Torch?

As for the OP hinting at post-compass, historically two “divisions” held the allied frontline both of which were not ready for battle so an immediate resumption of an offensive seems ruled out. Italian reinforcements arrived, decent ones too, would have they tried an offensive on their own (they did after all take part in Rommel’s attack)? Resonable to suggest I think that any British offensive aimed at driving the Italians out of NA would not have gone in until later in the year (post Crete, post supply and troop build up) i.e. an ATL ‘Crusader’ if you will.

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Tim Smith » 26 Nov 2010 14:21

The_Enigma wrote:Tim, do remember after the first front assault they did just flank the entire line ;)
Being flanked by a confident, victorious British Army is one thing. Being flanked by a pathetic rabble of fleeing, panic-stricken Italians is quite another. If anything, the Italians will be throwing down their weapons and begging the Vichy French general to grant them asylum in Tunisia, and then arrange for their repatriation back home to Italy.
The_Enigma wrote:
As for the Vichy French, those in the ME had actively helped axis interests in Iraq etc coupled with fears of some sort of Axis back door assault on Suez led to them being attacked; would have the Eighth Army carried on the assault west or attempted a diplomatic solution ala the defection of the Vichy French during Torch?
For the British, fearing German intervention in Vichy territory before the start of Barbarossa, and fearing such intervention after the start of Barbarossa, are two different things. Once Barbarossa starts the British will be less fearful, realising that the Germans won't have significant forces to spare for the Mediterranean theatre for a while.

In my version of the projected timeline, the British don't take Tripoli until July 1941, after the start of Barbarossa.
The_Enigma wrote: As for the OP hinting at post-compass, historically two “divisions” held the allied frontline both of which were not ready for battle so an immediate resumption of an offensive seems ruled out. Italian reinforcements arrived, decent ones too, would have they tried an offensive on their own (they did after all take part in Rommel’s attack)? Reasonable to suggest I think that any British offensive aimed at driving the Italians out of NA would not have gone in until later in the year (post Crete, post supply and troop build up) i.e. an ATL ‘Crusader’ if you will.
That's precisely what I suggested in my earlier post. My version of the timeline has the British attacking the Italians on the historical start dates of Operation Brevity (13 May 1941), and Operation Battleaxe (15 June 1941). Which are both after the fall of Greece. Until the surrender of Athens, the British will do nothing in North Africa except defend the El Agheilia line they reached in February 1941.

I don't think there's any chance of the Italians attacking the British on their own after their debacle in February at Beda Fomm. Even Rommel only attacked in March 1941 historically because he was disobeying orders! :lol:

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Nov 2010 14:54

Tim Smith wrote:
The_Enigma wrote:Tim, do remember after the first front assault they did just flank the entire line ;)
Being flanked by a confident, victorious British Army is one thing. Being flanked by a pathetic rabble of fleeing, panic-stricken Italians is quite another. If anything, the Italians will be throwing down their weapons and begging the Vichy French general to grant them asylum in Tunisia, and then arrange for their repatriation back home to Italy.
Quite true ... guess i should have read your post proper!!! :o Thought you were talking about an advancing British army deciding to have a crack at the Vichy boys and girls. :lol:
That's precisely what I suggested in my earlier post. My version of the timeline has the British attacking the Italians on the historical start dates of Operation Brevity (13 May 1941), and Operation Battleaxe (15 June 1941). Which are both after the fall of Greece. Until the surrender of Athens, the British will do nothing in North Africa except defend the El Agheilia line they reached in February 1941.
I dont think they would have acted quite so soon in the first instance, they only did so to gain ground for Battleaxe; manning the frontline more forward i would suspect maybe a return to raiding but nothing more.

An ATL Battleaxe more forward, its an intresting idea. WIth no losses to Rommel's advance their two infantry divisions and 1 1/2 armoured divisions plus a few other bits and bobs ... but they would be facing the Ariete and Trento plus a bunch of infantry divisions. I dont think we could write the Italians off just yet (so to speak)
I don't think there's any chance of the Italians attacking the British on their own after their debacle in February at Beda Fomm. Even Rommel only attacked in March 1941 historically because he was disobeying orders! :lol:
Quite true about Rommel but one does ponder what the Italian long term goal once before the arrival of the DAK; they had just lost half of one of el Duce's prized oversea colonies, an entire army, and shown up in front of the world. How long before el Duce starts prodding the generals like he did before the advance into Egypt?

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Tim Smith » 26 Nov 2010 15:41

The_Enigma wrote:How long before el Duce starts prodding the generals like he did before the advance into Egypt?
Probably not until after the fall of Greece. Even then, he'll be more cautious than in the past, he'll be aware that the only reason he beat the Greeks is because the Germans helped him out. At this point he'll probably be asking Hitler for help in Libya - but by May 1941 Hitler really cares about nothing except Barbarossa, and Mussolini's missed the boat.

Even Crete was only authorised by Hitler on the strict understanding that it would not hinder or affect Barbarossa in any way - which is why he was horrified and enraged by the losses incurred in Crete, not only to the Fallschirmjager, but more seriously, the Ju 52 transport fleet which was due to help ferry supplies into Russia.

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by curiosity » 10 Dec 2010 21:46

I agree with the nibble around the edges mentioned elsewhere. I think the British take Crete and Rhodes with the idea of bombing Ploesti. They might attempt for Sicily first just for the idea of securing the island that shall not be named and for trying to force Il Duce out the government and Italy possibly out of the war. Sardinia would follow at some point. The order of taking those 3 islands is open to what would be most expedient. I actually think best shot would be Sicily due to being in fighter range of unnamed ilsand and bomber range of N. Africa. Main idea being British Army still not excited about prospect of fighting it out with the German army just yet so willing to let bombing have its shot. Islands work better due to control of the Seas with RN and the RAF feeling it can meet the Germans on equal terms. Army getting its confidence back with beating Italians in N. Africa lose it again when Kicked out of Greece so will tend to be gun shy.

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Von Schadewald » 18 Dec 2010 20:13

As Monty's last words were: "I'm going to God now, and I'm going to have to give an account about all those men I killed at El Alamein".

Rommel head West towards Tangiers, instead of East towards Suez as per this thread
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=124171

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Dec 2010 03:32

With its army defeated in Africa & Lybia lost, and several naval defeats, I wonder what the odds are of Italy asking the Brits for peace terms are? The Unconditional Surrender policy was not established until January 1943. Would the king & the Fascist leaders be ready to challenge Mussolini nearly two years early, or would it take further defeats? If so how many more defeats & continued German indifference would be needed to trigger Mussolini's downfall? The other half of this is the British attitude. Would the Brit leaders take up the opportunity & what terms would be sought? How many months would it take the two governments to reach a agreement?

Would Hitler attempt to intervene with military force to turn the Mediterranian situation back to his advantage? Or, would he simply apply political & economic pressure against the Italians?

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by The_Enigma » 24 Dec 2010 10:41

Iirc from my reading several years ago of the official history, i dont believe there was landing craft available at the time; i remember lots of reference to several ships converted to some sort of troop carrying/landing craft role for commando units that were to take action in the eastern med until the situation in North Africa forced these plans to be dropped.

Therefore did the British have the capability to conduct a decent landing operation ala the Italian campaign to apply the additional preasure on el Duce if he did not surrender? I just have this picture in my mind of a stalemate with both sides sitting across the water looking at one another, both incapable of doing anything about each other.

With a large, mostly untouched (if incapable) land army, would el Duce be able to retain power and give the impression he could defend his country from the lack of British invasion?

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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Dec 2010 22:24

Would the king & the Fascist leaders be ready to challenge Mussolini nearly two years early, or would it take further defeats?
Carl, that's the point....two years earlier! :wink: Imagine the effect on them of such a mega-reversal all telescoped into a few months! 8O They wouldn't just sack him - he'd be damn' lucky not to see that noose four years early! :P
Iirc from my reading several years ago of the official history, i dont believe there was landing craft available at the time; i remember lots of reference to several ships converted to some sort of troop carrying/landing craft role for commando units that were to take action in the eastern med until the situation in North Africa forced these plans to be dropped.


Every time you see "lighters" mentioned in the histories of 1940-41...such as the "lighters" that ferried British tanks along the north coast of Crete before the invasion...those aren't barges or rafts, they're IIRC early MCAs, wooden-hulled landing craft :wink:
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Re: 1941: What if Germany refuses troops for North Africa

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Dec 2010 02:23

What Phylo wrote. Beach assualts were entirely possible with the Brit seacraft of 1941, They were not as efficient or slick as later, but still practical. Against Italian defenses on Sicilly, Sardinia, or Corsica its doable. Even against the Germans on Crete or the Greek coast the attackers challenge is not on the same scale as Normandy in 1944.

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