What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

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glenn239
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 27 Dec 2019 17:42

pugsville wrote:
25 Dec 2019 10:55
since we talking a crash program pretty much aimed at North Africa why not the Kriegtansporter rather than the MFP?
Not aimed at North Africa specifically, but a crash programme aimed at defeating Great Britain, meaning Sealion as well. 100 Siebels and 100 MFP's per month, (ie, what I guessed a high-priority crash program might be able to deliver each month within six months of spooling up) would be far beyond what was required to win in Egypt, but about the minimum for tackling Sealion in 1941.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Dec 2019 19:13

glenn239 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 17:31
The ABDA command did as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Had its force structure been a unified command, (ie, all RN or all USN), the outcome would have been about the same.
It was a unified command...under Doormann, which was part of the problem. However, communications failures and misunderstanding of capabilities was also part of it, which could have been ironed out with more time.
The idea being that Torch was the precursor to Italy being knocked from the war, and that Torch was not possible without Gibraltar in British hands. The fact that it took until late 1942 to exploit Hitler's error of 1940 does not excuse the fact that Hitler in 1940 made the error of leaving the door open for the defeat of Italy. (Had the Allies been limited to just Egypt for an advance, it is questionable they even get to Tripoli in 1943).
Okay, except for the minor fact that TORCH was never anything of the sort. It was a a means of getting American ground forces into combat against Germany and Italy that did not require landing in France or placing them under the control of Eighth Army in Egypt. Nor was TORCH impossible without Gibraltar. The Eastern and Center Task Force were impossible without TORCH, but if Spain acquiesced to a German seizure of Gibraltar then it also opens up Portugal, Spain, and Spanish Morocco as allied targets.

Nor does Gibraltar have an iota of an effect on Eighth Army operations out of Egypt. Panzerarmee Afrika still gets utterly defeated at Alamein and flees to Tripoli...there is nothing in the German cupboard at Gibraltar that will stop that. Even the commitment of 10. Panzer to PAA rather than Tunisia is unlikely.

The reason why combined arms warfare at sea is synergistic is that the strengths and weaknesses of different weapons systems complimented each other, allowing for results beyond the sum of each in isolation. More specifically, the deployment of Italian battleships and cruisers with German battleships and cruisers in Iberia would allow Axis surface forces to break up British convoys, which then could be destroyed in large numbers by U-boats and aircraft - both of which were more effective against ships sailing alone rather than in convoys. The largest effect of Italian forces in the Battle of the Atlantic might actually be in the air in terms of recce, not in the operation of surface forces. The Italian air forces were more attuned than Goering's Luftwaffe to the needs of joint cooperation with naval forces. (Hitler's tolerance of Goering's unbelievable attitudes towards the Battle of the Atlantic is yet another in a long list of reasons why Hitler had risen to the level of his incompetence with the defeat of France in June 1940).

The anti-dote on the British side seems their advantage in aircraft carriers, also, long range 4-engine bombers; preservation of the carriers and threat of 4-engine bomber attack would to some extent deter roaming surface groups which in turn would prevent ,more convoys from needing to scatter.
With their short legs and horrifically bad anti-torpedo protection, committing the Italian battleships and cruisers to attempt to sever the HX convoy route is an invitation to naval suicide. What other convoys do you think they are going to "break up"? Furthermore, given the near zero coordination between KM and LW, why do you think that adding the RM and RA to the mix will change things? Yes, the RA has an effective torpedo bomber unit...a single squadron beginning operations in August 1940, followed by more in 1941 and 1942, but they simply weren't that successful and it is unlikely they would improve in the wider expanses of the Atlantic rather than the smaller confines of the Med...and again the short range of the Italian aircraft is problematic.

Yes, the antidotes the British have are numerous...bases in Newfoundland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, England, the Azores, and the Canaries complicates the German-Italian picture considerably.
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 28 Dec 2019 16:15

Richard Anderson wrote:
27 Dec 2019 19:13
Okay, except for the minor fact that TORCH was never anything of the sort. It was a a means of getting American ground forces into combat against Germany and Italy that did not require landing in France or placing them under the control of Eighth Army in Egypt. Nor was TORCH impossible without Gibraltar. The Eastern and Center Task Force were impossible without TORCH, but if Spain acquiesced to a German seizure of Gibraltar then it also opens up Portugal, Spain, and Spanish Morocco as allied targets.
IMO, Allied amphibious doctrine precluded landings in Iberia - too far from Allied land based air support - without major carrier support to wrest air control from Axis land based air. I would rate that as unlikely. A landing in Morocco was possible, but unlikely to culminate in knocking Italy out of the war anywhere near the historical timeline. US elements committed to Egypt would be subject to all the logistics difficulties the British experienced, and (IMO) would have had difficulty in seizing Tripoli by the end of 1943.

With their short legs and horrifically bad anti-torpedo protection, committing the Italian battleships and cruisers to attempt to sever the HX convoy route is an invitation to naval suicide. What other convoys do you think they are going to "break up"?
Italian surface forces operating in the Atlantic would need to employ at-sea refuelling. The key constraint, I assume, is probably the availability of Axis oilers and bunker fuel moreso than additional Italian crew training necessary to perform this task.
Furthermore, given the near zero coordination between KM and LW, why do you think that adding the RM and RA to the mix will change things? Yes, the RA has an effective torpedo bomber unit...a single squadron beginning operations in August 1940, followed by more in 1941 and 1942, but they simply weren't that successful and it is unlikely they would improve in the wider expanses of the Atlantic rather than the smaller confines of the Med...and again the short range of the Italian aircraft is problematic.
Against convoys moving to Malta the RN was able to concentrate heavy escorts to prevent effective surface attack. In the Atlantic with dozens of convoys scattered about, this simply could not be done. Most convoys were stretched for escort - and guarding against a stronger Sealion in 1941 would have stretched RN Atlantic escorts even more. The tactic of employing one "R" Class battleship might have deterred the "Twins" in 1941, but would be suicide against 4 or 6 Axis battleships attacking a convoy. The RN would have to form a flying squadron of its fastest vessels - the KGV's and battlecruisers and carriers. But, the Atlantic was big and such a squadron could not be everywhere. To rectify the situation and provide adequate coverage would probably require the US Atlantic Fleet, so in addition to RN carriers and land based air, one possible remedy would be FDR's ever-expanding definition of the neutrality patrol, especially as it related to the fleet carriers - Yorktown, Wasp and Ranger.

Airpower (the RA and LW) would be key to any Axis prospects 1941-1943, just like RN airpower would be key to providing effective defense.
Yes, the antidotes the British have are numerous...bases in Newfoundland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, England, the Azores, and the Canaries complicates the German-Italian picture considerably.
Indeed, save that the Canaries probably could not be held against a major Axis effort if Gibraltar was lost. The Azores are a curious case though. Given British incompetence circa 1940-1941, what causes us to suppose the British will move with the strength and determination required to secure these in time?

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 28 Dec 2019 16:57

glenn239 wrote:
28 Dec 2019 16:15


Indeed, save that the Canaries probably could not be held against a major Axis effort if Gibraltar was lost. The Azores are a curious case though. Given British incompetence circa 1940-1941, what causes us to suppose the British will move with the strength and determination required to secure these in time?
Why could the Canaries not be held if Gibraltar was lost ?
And what British incompetence in 1940/1941 ? Proofs ,please .

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Kingfish » 28 Dec 2019 18:54

glenn239 wrote:
28 Dec 2019 16:15
The tactic of employing one "R" Class battleship might have deterred the "Twins" in 1941, but would be suicide against 4 or 6 Axis battleships attacking a convoy.
When did the Axis ever have 4 or 6 battleships available for commerce raiding at any one time?

The twins were stuck in Brest (and repeatably bombed) when Bismark met her fate. By the time they made it back to Germany Tirpitz was already deployed to Norway, while Gneisnau was effectively bombed out of the war.

As for the Italians, of their 6 available 3 were damaged at Taranto, leaving the remaining 3 to face the Royal Navy's Eastern Med fleet.
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by pugsville » 28 Dec 2019 21:40

glenn239 wrote:
28 Dec 2019 16:15

Indeed, save that the Canaries probably could not be held against a major Axis effort if Gibraltar was lost. The Azores are a curious case though. Given British incompetence circa 1940-1941, what causes us to suppose the British will move with the strength and determination required to secure these in time?
Operation Compass, Battle of Britain, Raid on Tranato.....

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Orwell1984 » 28 Dec 2019 23:53

glenn239 wrote:
27 Dec 2019 17:31
The largest effect of Italian forces in the Battle of the Atlantic might actually be in the air in terms of recce, not in the operation of surface forces. The Italian air forces were more attuned than Goering's Luftwaffe to the needs of joint cooperation with naval forces.
The relationship between the RA and RM had more similarities to the Luftwaffe/Kriegsmarine relationship than differences.
In both cases, the more modern wing (the air force) took control of air assets away from the more traditional service (the Navy) and apportioned out support as they saw fit. As both Maurizio Brescia in the book Mussolini's Navy and James Sadkovich in The Italian Navy in World War Two, co-operation between the two service can at best be described as begrudging. The air force's priorities were elsewhere and naval support was low down on the list. The Navy had no air assets of their own and very limited access to the RA's aircraft. Planes on RM vessels were piloted by RA airmen with a limited number of trained naval observers, again a very similar set up to the Luftwaffe/KM set up. Interservice co-operation was poor up to the highest levels and was more of a rivalry than anything.

One of the early uses of the RA in support of the RM was at Calabria (Punta Stilo) in July 1940. At this stage in the war, the RA bombed from high level inflicting minimal damage due to lack of training in attacking moving targets. There was little communication/coordination between the RA and RM in this incident and the RA did attack their own vessels. This incident was one of the reasons Italian naval units had red diagonal stripes painted on their vessels , to avoid being attacked by their own aircraft.

So historically, there is no evidence of a better attunement or stronger co-operation between the RA and the RM versus the LW and the KM. Both left a lot to be desired.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Richard Anderson » 29 Dec 2019 02:52

glenn239 wrote:
28 Dec 2019 16:15
IMO, Allied amphibious doctrine precluded landings in Iberia - too far from Allied land based air support - without major carrier support to wrest air control from Axis land based air. I would rate that as unlikely. A landing in Morocco was possible, but unlikely to culminate in knocking Italy out of the war anywhere near the historical timeline. US elements committed to Egypt would be subject to all the logistics difficulties the British experienced, and (IMO) would have had difficulty in seizing Tripoli by the end of 1943.
England is 500 miles from the north Spanish Coast. Madeira is 675 miles from Gibraltar and Cadiz. The Azores are 1,000 miles away. There is also the question of Portugal's reaction.

I also wonder where the fixation of "knocking Italy out of the war" comes from? That was never an objective of TORCH. Objectively, it was also not an objective of HUSKY.

Yes, the logistical difficulties of operating U.S. forces out of Egypt were great...but Ninth Air Force managed it.
Italian surface forces operating in the Atlantic would need to employ at-sea refuelling. The key constraint, I assume, is probably the availability of Axis oilers and bunker fuel moreso than additional Italian crew training necessary to perform this task.
With what? What doctrine for UNREP did the RM have? What fleet oilers? Impressing civilian tankers? They had c. 46 as of the Italian DOW with the rest overseas and lost. And built 7 between 1940 and 1943. Where does the oil come from? The RM was operating on a monthly basis with the fuel allowance the British used weekly just operating in the Norwegian campaign.
Against convoys moving to Malta the RN was able to concentrate heavy escorts to prevent effective surface attack. In the Atlantic with dozens of convoys scattered about, this simply could not be done. Most convoys were stretched for escort - and guarding against a stronger Sealion in 1941 would have stretched RN Atlantic escorts even more. The tactic of employing one "R" Class battleship might have deterred the "Twins" in 1941, but would be suicide against 4 or 6 Axis battleships attacking a convoy. The RN would have to form a flying squadron of its fastest vessels - the KGV's and battlecruisers and carriers. But, the Atlantic was big and such a squadron could not be everywhere. To rectify the situation and provide adequate coverage would probably require the US Atlantic Fleet, so in addition to RN carriers and land based air, one possible remedy would be FDR's ever-expanding definition of the neutrality patrol, especially as it related to the fleet carriers - Yorktown, Wasp and Ranger.

Airpower (the RA and LW) would be key to any Axis prospects 1941-1943, just like RN airpower would be key to providing effective defense.
You keep ignoring the incapability of an Italian "fleet" in the Atlantic. It's short legs did not matter so much in the Med where they were close to their bases. Their vulnerability to torpedo damage was also a factor.
Indeed, save that the Canaries probably could not be held against a major Axis effort if Gibraltar was lost. The Azores are a curious case though. Given British incompetence circa 1940-1941, what causes us to suppose the British will move with the strength and determination required to secure these in time?
Now the ramshackle mythical German-Italian fleet is invading the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira? Neat.
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Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 30 Dec 2019 21:40

ljadw wrote:
28 Dec 2019 16:57
Why could the Canaries not be held if Gibraltar was lost ?
And what British incompetence in 1940/1941 ? Proofs ,please .
The British could take and hold the Azores because these were sufficiently distant from Europe. But the problem with holding the Canaries was that these were close enough to Africa that land based airpower could dominate.

The British intervention in Greece and subsequent defeat in the Battle of Crete would be examples of British incompetence during the period 1940-1941.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 30 Dec 2019 22:03

As there was no/ could not be German air power on the coasts of Africa, your point is not valid .
And what happened in Greece/Crete is not proving British incompetence . The British lost, ... because of the Germans . As in Market Garden .

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Aida1 » 30 Dec 2019 22:04

ljadw wrote:
30 Dec 2019 22:03
As there was no/ could not be German air power on the coasts of Africa, your point is not valid .
And what happened in Greece/Crete is not proving British incompetence . The British lost, ... because of the Germans . As in Market Garden .
Simplistic as always.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 30 Dec 2019 22:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
29 Dec 2019 02:52
England is 500 miles from the north Spanish Coast. Madeira is 675 miles from Gibraltar and Cadiz. The Azores are 1,000 miles away. There is also the question of Portugal's reaction.
I would rate the British as likely to occupy the Azores before Gibraltar fell, in which case they would be secure.
I also wonder where the fixation of "knocking Italy out of the war" comes from? That was never an objective of TORCH. Objectively, it was also not an objective of HUSKY.
The combination of Barbarossa and failure to take Gibraltar left Italy vulnerable to an Anglo-American offensive. The fact that this is what actually happened, knocking Italy out of the war in 1943, simply underscores the severity of the error made in 1940 by Hitler.
Yes, the logistical difficulties of operating U.S. forces out of Egypt were great...but Ninth Air Force managed it.
IMO, by 1944 USN logistics were so strong that the comments I made about Egypt as an offensive base in 1942-1943 would no longer apply.

With what? What doctrine for UNREP did the RM have? What fleet oilers? Impressing civilian tankers? They had c. 46 as of the Italian DOW with the rest overseas and lost. And built 7 between 1940 and 1943. Where does the oil come from? The RM was operating on a monthly basis with the fuel allowance the British used weekly just operating in the Norwegian campaign.
Navies create doctrine to fill operational needs. When a new operational requirement comes along, the vacuum is filled by the navy going out and learning the necessary tasks.

Japan converted dozens of civilian tankers to fleet oilers. This took 2-4 weeks in the shipyard.

The context of the discussion is no invasion of the USSR, so the historical fuel allotments the Germans doled out to the Italians would be considerably greater.
You keep ignoring the incapability of an Italian "fleet" in the Atlantic. It's short legs did not matter so much in the Med where they were close to their bases. Their vulnerability to torpedo damage was also a factor.
Italian ships were no more or less vulnerable to torpedo damage in the Atlantic, so I do not see it as a factor - it's a wash.

I don't consider the at-sea refueling task to be beyond the capacity of the RM.
Now the ramshackle mythical German-Italian fleet is invading the Azores, Canaries, and Madeira? Neat.
I see no basis for the conclusion that either the German or Italian fleets were "ramshackle".
Azores are most likely occupied by the British as the threat to Gibraltar develops. If so, a subsequent Axis occupation of the Azores would be highly unlikely.
It's about 300 miles or so from Tangier to Agadir. But, area of operations would be Vichy French territory. That fact might prevent any Axis threat there if the French did not cooperated. However, if VF Morocco was available, then the invasion of the Canaries would proceed after Axis forces occupied the African coast nearby to it and set up air bases. In the Crete and Dodecanese campaigns - similar idea.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by glenn239 » 30 Dec 2019 22:23

ljadw wrote:
30 Dec 2019 22:03
As there was no/ could not be German air power on the coasts of Africa, your point is not valid .
Here is a map of the railroads of Morocco,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... in_Morocco

The map might be modern day, but the text describes a large rail network by 1940.

Your argument that the Axis "could not" project airpower from the African coast in the region of Morocco does not appear to have merit either operationally or logistically. Therefore the argument that the British could somehow hold the Canaries against a determined Axis offensive in 1941 is infeasible. Politically, it might be the case that French cooperation would be lacking and this creates the barrier that prevents the Axis from moving in this direction.
And what happened in Greece/Crete is not proving British incompetence . The British lost, ... because of the Germans . As in Market Garden .
You asked for examples of British incompetence in the period 1940/1941. I provided two - the Greek campaign and the debacle on Crete.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by Takao » 31 Dec 2019 00:33

glenn239 wrote:
30 Dec 2019 22:23
ljadw wrote:
30 Dec 2019 22:03
As there was no/ could not be German air power on the coasts of Africa, your point is not valid .
Here is a map of the railroads of Morocco,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... in_Morocco

The map might be modern day, but the text describes a large rail network by 1940.

Your argument that the Axis "could not" project airpower from the African coast in the region of Morocco does not appear to have merit either operationally or logistically. Therefore the argument that the British could somehow hold the Canaries against a determined Axis offensive in 1941 is infeasible. Politically, it might be the case that French cooperation would be lacking and this creates the barrier that prevents the Axis from moving in this direction.
And what happened in Greece/Crete is not proving British incompetence . The British lost, ... because of the Germans . As in Market Garden .
You asked for examples of British incompetence in the period 1940/1941. I provided two - the Greek campaign and the debacle on Crete.
Nice map...Guess you didn't bother to read the article though. It's a map of narrow guage(600mm & 1000mm) railways. Not what you would want to supply a massive army with.

Nor does it describe a large rail network...No mention of double track or more, no mention of capacity. No mention of number of locomotives and rolling stock numbers.



The axis didn't really project air power in Norway, the Axis failed to bring Britain down with airpower, the Axis failed to halt the Allies in the Med with air power...Need I go on.



British incompetence in Greece? The Commonwealth had 62,000 troops to more than a million Axis troops, tanks 100 to 1,300, aircraft 250 to 1,200. The Commonwealth is far outnumbered on all accounts.

Crete was a debacle? Seems that the Germans took quite a drubbing, and were quite lucky to win. Note th art the German paratroopers never undertook another large scale airborne operation again.

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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by pugsville » 31 Dec 2019 01:18

glenn239 wrote:
30 Dec 2019 21:40

The British could take and hold the Azores because these were sufficiently distant from Europe. But the problem with holding the Canaries was that these were close enough to Africa that land based airpower could dominate.

The British intervention in Greece and subsequent defeat in the Battle of Crete would be examples of British incompetence during the period 1940-1941.
The Canaries are well beyond land based fighter escorts by Germany. 200 odd Kms off the coast and a long way from any logistical infrastructure.

The British wee far from being always incompetent. Operation Compass, Battle of Britain, Raid on Tranato, they are eually plenty of examples of the British performing very very well in 1940/1941.

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