Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

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mikeDizzie

Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by mikeDizzie » 11 Jun 2012 11:00

Gentlemen, here is my second scenario for you all to enjoy:

The Mediterranian (for now) has, as of 12.7.42, become an Axis lake. Gibraltar, Malta, Crete and Cyprus have all fallen. Rommel and his Panzer Armee Afrika have crossed the Nile Delta and closed the Suez Canal. Remnants of British 8th Army have retreated southward into Sudan, pursued by Italian forces.

Questions:
1) What forces will British 10th Army have at its disposal to fight Rommel in the Near East?
2) Will the British be able to form a new defensive position along the Gulf of Aqaba to the Med?
3) Will the British be able to hold Port Sudan and retain control of the Red Sea?
4) What ground forces will the United States have available at this time to send to this theater?
5) Will the United States write off the Middle East entirely, and instead launch Operation Roundup?
6) Will the Germans send HG and 10.Panzer as reinforcements to Rommel, or will they remain in France?

Cheers and hope to hear some replies!
Mike

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Tim Smith
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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by Tim Smith » 11 Jun 2012 12:53

1. Whatever was there historically.
2. Yes. Axis will still have supply problems even after taking Alexandria, since the British will have helpfully blown up all the port facilities before retreating, including sinking blockships in the harbour. Plus the Egyptian Army will become a drain on Axis supplies also.
3. Yes. Italians won't be able to take them alone, and Hitler would likely lose interest in the theatre after the fall of Cairo.
4. Whatever was used in Operation Torch. Operation Torch would be cancelled in this scenario, and the forces sent to East Africa instead.
5. No. Britain will refuse to take part in Roundup, citing that Egypt must be retaken first.
6. No, they will likely go to the Eastern Front. Too difficult to supply them in Egypt, and historically Hitler only sent Rommel reinforcements if Rommel was losing. As long as he was winning, he was expected to perform miracles on a shoe-string resource level. Hitler will only take notice once the Allies retake Cairo and Alexandria, and by then it will be too late. Hitler's 'strategy' was to reinforce failure rather than to reinforce success.

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LWD
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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by LWD » 11 Jun 2012 13:21

mikeDizzie wrote:Gentlemen, here is my second scenario for you all to enjoy:

The Mediterranian (for now) has, as of 12.7.42, become an Axis lake. Gibraltar, Malta, Crete and Cyprus have all fallen. Rommel and his Panzer Armee Afrika have crossed the Nile Delta and closed the Suez Canal. Remnants of British 8th Army have retreated southward into Sudan, pursued by Italian forces.
...
I suggest you read the FAQ where the requirements for what if's are described. Both of yours are at least IMO inconsistent with the requirements of this board. They appear to fail in the following areas:
1) Poorly described POD
2) Very unlikely to impossible departures from historical time line
3) No opinions expressed on the impacts of the PODs.

mikeDizzie

Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by mikeDizzie » 12 Jun 2012 00:06

LWD wrote:
mikeDizzie wrote:Gentlemen, here is my second scenario for you all to enjoy:

The Mediterranian (for now) has, as of 12.7.42, become an Axis lake. Gibraltar, Malta, Crete and Cyprus have all fallen. Rommel and his Panzer Armee Afrika have crossed the Nile Delta and closed the Suez Canal. Remnants of British 8th Army have retreated southward into Sudan, pursued by Italian forces.
...
I suggest you read the FAQ where the requirements for what if's are described. Both of yours are at least IMO inconsistent with the requirements of this board. They appear to fail in the following areas:
1) Poorly described POD
2) Very unlikely to impossible departures from historical time line
3) No opinions expressed on the impacts of the PODs.
LWD,
Thanks for the reply. I have read the WI guidelines, but perhaps I have missed something. However, being as this is an alternate history forum, can we not suspend disbelief and assume that the conditions above exist as of summer 1942? I tried to keep my questions fairly specific based on the presumption of this alternate scenario.

mikeDizzie

Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by mikeDizzie » 12 Jun 2012 00:37

Thanks for the reply Tim! Keep it coming!
Cheers,
Mike
Tim Smith wrote:1. Whatever was there historically.
2. Yes. Axis will still have supply problems even after taking Alexandria, since the British will have helpfully blown up all the port facilities before retreating, including sinking blockships in the harbour. Plus the Egyptian Army will become a drain on Axis supplies also.
3. Yes. Italians won't be able to take them alone, and Hitler would likely lose interest in the theatre after the fall of Cairo.
4. Whatever was used in Operation Torch. Operation Torch would be cancelled in this scenario, and the forces sent to East Africa instead.
5. No. Britain will refuse to take part in Roundup, citing that Egypt must be retaken first.
6. No, they will likely go to the Eastern Front. Too difficult to supply them in Egypt, and historically Hitler only sent Rommel reinforcements if Rommel was losing. As long as he was winning, he was expected to perform miracles on a shoe-string resource level. Hitler will only take notice once the Allies retake Cairo and Alexandria, and by then it will be too late. Hitler's 'strategy' was to reinforce failure rather than to reinforce success.
In response to your respective points:
1) This is what I would like to find out.
2)Keep in mind that if the Suez is in Axis possession, they will also have Port Said and Suez. I agree with you that the British would certainly taken steps to render these harbors useless. However, Tobruk was put was put to use immediately after its capture by DAK in 6.42, not to mention Benghazi, Sidi Barani and Mersah Matruh. Can you elaborate on why the Egyptian Army would have become a drain on supplies? How much of an army did they have?
3)Disagree. Hitler would have had renewed interest in this theater with complete Axis control of the Med, and the possibility of reaching oilfields in the Middle East.
4) Torch took place in November 1942. Question is, would these forces have been available for action or at least shipment in July-August?
5)No argument about Britain. However the American joint chiefs did not want to become involved in a losing war, and Roosevelt himself considered it likely that the Allies would lose the Middle East if the Axis took the Suez Canal.
6)Disagree. If the Axis control the Med, then they have reason to believe there will be no landing in France in 1942. And rather than simply garrisoning Egypt, Rommel, Kesselring, Graziani, Mussolini, and Hitler himself will all want to continue an offensive, although possibly in divergent directions. Also, there will be no 'Case Anton'-occupation of Vichy France involving 10.Panzer, which leaves it and HG available for action elsewhere.

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Kingfish
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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by Kingfish » 12 Jun 2012 12:35

mikeDizzie wrote:3)Disagree. Hitler would have had renewed interest in this theater with complete Axis control of the Med,
The North African theater was a strategic dead end for the Axis. It offered next to nothing in the way of resources to offset the huge expenditure in men, material and supplies. Plus Hitler's interest at the time was firmly fixed on the Ostfront, and with good reason.
and the possibility of reaching oilfields in the Middle East.
This would require a drive across 900 miles of open desert even more inhospitable than that found in Egypt and Cyrenaica, with no Mediterranean on the flank to receive ship-borne supplies.

mikeDizzie

Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by mikeDizzie » 12 Jun 2012 16:10

Kingfish wrote:
mikeDizzie wrote:3)Disagree. Hitler would have had renewed interest in this theater with complete Axis control of the Med,
The North African theater was a strategic dead end for the Axis. It offered next to nothing in the way of resources to offset the huge expenditure in men, material and supplies. Plus Hitler's interest at the time was firmly fixed on the Ostfront, and with good reason.
and the possibility of reaching oilfields in the Middle East.
This would require a drive across 900 miles of open desert even more inhospitable than that found in Egypt and Cyrenaica, with no Mediterranean on the flank to receive ship-borne supplies.
1) No, it was not a strategic dead end. It offered the opportunity to force Britain to fight to defend key strategic possessions, without Germany actually invading Britain itself, and without Germany possessing a large navy to rival the RN. There is much in the way of natural resources in Spain (tungsten), Yugoslavia (many different metals), Romania (OIL!!!), Turkey (chromium), not to mention Iraq (OIL!!!). It is irrelevant that North Africa itself doesn't have mineral resources (unless we include the OIL discovered in Libya immediately after the war--which we won't). True, Germany had to defeat the Soviet Union, but to do so they had to fight Great Britain and visa versa. If the Germans hadn't sent Rommel to N.Africa, for example, the British would have captured the entire Italian Army in Libya. If the Germans hadn't intervened in Greece, Italy would have been further humiliated. Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey would have sided with Great Britain.
2) That's right. And the British Army did just that from April-July 1941 when HABFORCE drove across the desert from Palestine to Iraq to put down the rebellion, then turned about and drove to Syria to crush the Vichy French!

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LWD
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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by LWD » 12 Jun 2012 16:24

mikeDizzie wrote: ... I have read the WI guidelines, but perhaps I have missed something.
Well lets see looking at: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=77436
The What If’s need to be a plausible variation on actual military/political events occurring up to the end of 1985 or viable alternatives in their conception. This is a vital pre-requisite to any What If thread
Your initial post hardly meets that critieria at least without a lot of description which is not provided.
When you post the thread, don’t just ask the question but give us the benefit of your viewpoint and information to back up your argument, as this helps to put the question into context.
Your initial post was lacking in the above area as well.
You might also look at Andy H's post at:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&t=167937
or better yet read the thread.
However, being as this is an alternate history forum, can we not suspend disbelief and assume that the conditions above exist as of summer 1942?
No. For instance the fall of Malta implies a German presence in Spain. How did they get there? If they went through France that violates the treaty with the Vichy government does it not? Or did they propose a different treaty? How would the French react to the above? I'd think for instance there's a good chance that some of the colonies that historically went Vichy change over to Free French. Then there's the question of Spain. Did they join the Axis or did the Germans conquer them? The sitituation in the summer of 42 is going to varry tremendously depending on the answers here. The what if's on this board are not inteded to be works purly of fiction but reasnable extrapalations from possible events.
I tried to keep my questions fairly specific based on the presumption of this alternate scenario.
But you have provided niether the background nor as the guidlines require your opinions on what happens.

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Kingfish
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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by Kingfish » 12 Jun 2012 18:23

mikeDizzie wrote:1) No, it was not a strategic dead end. It offered the opportunity to force Britain to fight to defend key strategic possessions, without Germany actually invading Britain itself, and without Germany possessing a large navy to rival the RN.
History does not support your assertion. Note that Germany was fighting in NA for 2-1/2 years, and it was only during the last 6 months (when the situation was beyond hopeless) that substantial forces were sent to the theater. Bottom line is Germany never considered North Africa to be a theater worthy of a major commitment.
There is much in the way of natural resources in Spain (tungsten), Yugoslavia (many different metals), Romania (OIL!!!), Turkey (chromium), not to mention Iraq (OIL!!!).
The first four can be (and were) obtained through diplomatic channels, and it was only the overthrow of the pro-Axis government in Yugoslavia that prompted Germany to move in with military force. Her intention was, like the Swedish Iron Ore going through Narvik, to continue to receive these resources without the need for military intervention.

As for Iraq, it would require yet another dessert campaign equal to Tripoli-Alexandria (in effect tripling the cost/risk). All this before the first drop of Oil is secured.
It is irrelevant that North Africa itself doesn't have mineral resources
It is relevant if you propose a strategy of capturing the Nile Delta, which your OP does.
2) That's right. And the British Army did just that from April-July 1941 when HABFORCE drove across the desert from Palestine to Iraq to put down the rebellion, then turned about and drove to Syria to crush the Vichy French!
I'm not suggesting it can't be done. The rapid advance of Combe/Caunter force is proof a properly organized and supplied flying column can cover great distances in the open desert. That said, its' one thing to maintain a unit as big as Caunter force (or Habforce) out so far from friendly lines, and quite another with a full mechanized corp. As proven in the Med-Black Sea thread, just the fuel needed to keep the supply trucks rolling is a challenge even bigger than what the primary mission requires.

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Re: Alternate 1942 Med Campaign

Post by Von Schadewald » 25 Jun 2012 08:51

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We are not going to discuss the implications towards the Jews within this thread, as its a POD to far.
Andy H

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