The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

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Peter89
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Peter89 » 16 Mar 2021 15:17

historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 14:39
Peter89 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 07:55

Why don't you actually address the issue that the Germans did not need Narvik for the Swedish ore imports?
The Germans needed Narvik to ship iron ore during winter months when the northern Baltic was frozen.

Holding Narvik also puts the British in a position to invade Sweden and occupy the iron mines at Kiruna 100 km from Narvik.
The Germans did not need Narvik to ship iron ore to Germany... in the the second half of 1940, the deliveries amounted 11.2mt ...

And why would the British invade Sweden, thus pushing them outright into German arms? Sweden has both a military and a militarily important economy (eg. ball bearings industry was in Sweden hands)? If they voluntarily join the Germans at the critical moment of 1940 June, the Swedish navy might be the difference between sealion and no sealion. Churchill would never risk that, especially because the Brits could do nothing about the joining of the two fleets.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

KDF33
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by KDF33 » 16 Mar 2021 16:19

historygeek2021 wrote:
15 Mar 2021 13:10
Germany couldn't "just occupy" Sweden because Sweden mobilized an army of 320,000, and its Navy was extremely powerful.
Versus:
historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 14:39
Holding Narvik also puts the British in a position to invade Sweden and occupy the iron mines at Kiruna 100 km from Narvik.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 17:30

Im not the expert here, but the general population in Sweden was largely unsympathetic with Facism, and disliked German foreign policy of the the recent decade. There was a minority of Facists & pro nazi citizens in Sweden, but they seem to be well out numbered by democratic & liberal Swedes. I don't think this means they would welcome a abrupt British invasion with sweets & flowers, but it should not be assumed they would automatically embrace nazi Germany. If the Brits do somehow hold on to Narvik into 1942, then the entry of the US may encourage Sweden to cease trade with Germany, and accept quantities of US made weapons.

If Sweden does find itself at war with Germany its best bet might be to make a maximum effort to open a route to Trondheim for a better connection to Allied supply. Capture it & they will come?

Swedish actions favorable to the Allies:

1940: Swedish merchant ships caught outside the Baltic were leased to Britain.

1941> Only 180 Swedish facists volunteered to serve in the German SS or other military organizations.

1941> Sweden allowed couriers to the Polish underground to pass through

1942> Shared intelligence with Britain. Passed deception material to Germany. Did direct intelligence gather for the Allies concerning the German petroleum industry and supplies.

1942> Changed policy and allowed Norwegian & Danish refugee, incl;using Jews asylum in Sweden.

1943: Participated in the evacuation of Danish Jews to Sweden.

1943: Started organizing Danish and Norwegian 'Police' battalions. Assisted Norwegian underground.

1944: Allowed Allied military aircraft to use Swedish airfields for refueling, maintenance, & crew read without internment.

1945: Assisted Danish and Norwegian Police battalions to enter German occupied territory.

The Brits may have been allowed to set up either a signal intercept station, or a radio beacon on Swedish territory. Maybe both?

The primary assistance to Germany was the continued sale of Iron ore through 1944. There may have been some intel sharing. Ive seen claims of that, but its not clear how much if any was connected to British deception ops. SKS also sold invaluable ballbearings, and other machine goods to Germany. Sweden also permitted German soldiers and select supplies to pass through Sweden by railway & automobile.
Last edited by Carl Schwamberger on 16 Mar 2021 17:59, edited 1 time in total.

Peter89
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Peter89 » 16 Mar 2021 17:49

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 17:30
Im not the expert here, but the general population in Sweden was largely unsympathetic with Facism, and disliked German foreign policy of the the recent decade. There was a minority of Facists & pro nazi citizens in Sweden, but they seem to be well out numbered by democratic & liberal Swedes. I don't think this means they would welcome a abrupt British invasion with sweets & flowers, but it should not be assumed they would automatically embrace nazi Germany. If the Brits do somehow hold on to Narvik into 1942, then the entry of the US may encourage Sweden to cease trade with Germany, and accept quantities of US made weapons.

If Sweden does find itself at war with Germany its best bet might be to make a maximum effort to open a route to Trondheim for a better connection to Allied supply. Capture it & they will come?
The Swedish coast as well as its industrial and population centres were exposed to German military, and Britain could give little help to them. Swedes were also quite afraid of the Soviets - not without reason - and they've also seen what happened to Finnland and other nations who were supposed to be protected by the French & British. They chose the prudent policy of armed neutrality, and gave each party the absolute minimum. If anything, they gave more than that to Germany and not to the Allies.

If the Brits dig in in Narvik for 1941 (though I think it would be a mistake and questionable if it was possible), the Germans could easily wipe out the Swedish army before or instead of Barbarossa. Also I don't think that the Brits would jeopardize their naval assets for such a questionable mission.

What I think is that they could have stayed a bit longer to force the Germans to do something stupid (the means of aerial supply was outrageous sometimes) and retreat a bit slower.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

KDF33
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by KDF33 » 16 Mar 2021 18:04

Peter89 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 17:49
If the Brits dig in in Narvik for 1941 (though I think it would be a mistake and questionable if it was possible), the Germans could easily wipe out the Swedish army before or instead of Barbarossa. Also I don't think that the Brits would jeopardize their naval assets for such a questionable mission.
Yes. There is no way the Germans would leave British forces on the continent before attacking the USSR. If Sweden sided with the British (doubtful) or hampered their expulsion, Sweden would go the way of Yugoslavia.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Mar 2021 18:40

Now Im contemplating the effects of a second peripheral & preparatory campaign for Op Barabarosa, as well as a broader partisan insurgency in Scandinavia. How long does it take to restore the railways, ports, and other ore extraction infrastructure? What about the sabatoge & general loss of efficiency in SKS production of machine parts. Its easy to say any one of these things is not decisive in itself, & that is absolutely correct. But, economically Germany was dying the death of a thousand cuts & invading yet another neutral steps up the pain and blood loss. They may as well invade Switzerland & Iberia as well & make it a faster suicide.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Peter89 » 16 Mar 2021 19:16

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 18:40
Now Im contemplating the effects of a second peripheral & preparatory campaign for Op Barabarosa, as well as a broader partisan insurgency in Scandinavia. How long does it take to restore the railways, ports, and other ore extraction infrastructure? What about the sabatoge & general loss of efficiency in SKS production of machine parts. Its easy to say any one of these things is not decisive in itself, & that is absolutely correct. But, economically Germany was dying the death of a thousand cuts & invading yet another neutral steps up the pain and blood loss. They may as well invade Switzerland & Iberia as well & make it a faster suicide.
The chrome mines in Greece took about 2-3 months per occasion to restore.

The Swedish ore was not nearly as important as the Swedish ball bearings, which was an edge that cut two ways: one way was 31% of Britain's ball bearings.

The same goes for Iberia, which was also a somewhat important trading partner of Britain, or at least its loss would be felt in the British trade. Not because something irreplaceable would be lost but because to trade with Spain was economic.

The occupied lands provided Germany with all kinds of goods and I wouldn't say that they'd lead to a faster suicide. It's another question what would have happened on the long term, because Germany's economy was headed for the rocks no matter what. But occupying lands, even allies, always profited the Germans; in some way those "conquests" were the most successful ones, because for little effort and losses, they always found something useful in their allies' territories. Sad but true.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

historygeek2021
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by historygeek2021 » 16 Mar 2021 22:01

KDF33 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 16:19
historygeek2021 wrote:
15 Mar 2021 13:10
Germany couldn't "just occupy" Sweden because Sweden mobilized an army of 320,000, and its Navy was extremely powerful.
Versus:
historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 14:39
Holding Narvik also puts the British in a position to invade Sweden and occupy the iron mines at Kiruna 100 km from Narvik.
Invading Sweden would be a significant undertaking for either Germany or the Allies. Ultimately, Sweden would lose, but it would put up a good fight. There are also several factors that work in the Allies' favor but not Germany's:

(1) Sweden was a pro-Allied country, as Carl explained. The Allies would have a better chance of convincing Sweden to stop selling iron ore to Germany through economic incentives, diplomatic pressure and military threats. In response to a limited incursion to occupy the Kiruna iron mines, Sweden may even look the other way and do nothing more than issue a feeble diplomatic protest, as Norway did in response to British violations of its sea lanes in 1940.

(2) The Allies would only need to occupy a small part of Sweden, the Kiruna iron mines, which were only 100 km from Narvik. Sweden's military would be spread out to defend against Germany aggression, and if the Allies got the sense through diplomatic feelers that Sweden was not going to cooperate, the Allies could launch their invasion by surprise.

(3) The Swedish navy posed a significant threat to German ships in the Baltic, but it posed no threat to Britain.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by John T » 16 Mar 2021 22:45

historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 22:01


Invading Sweden would be a significant undertaking for either Germany or the Allies. Ultimately, Sweden would lose, but it would put up a good fight. There are also several factors that work in the Allies' favor but not Germany's:

(1) Sweden was a pro-Allied country, as Carl explained. The Allies would have a better chance of convincing Sweden to stop selling iron ore to Germany through economic incentives, diplomatic pressure and military threats. In response to a limited incursion to occupy the Kiruna iron mines, Sweden may even look the other way and do nothing more than issue a feeble diplomatic protest, as Norway did in response to British violations of its sea lanes in 1940.
Germany did it very clear that allied troops on Swedish soil would be seen as a declaration of war.

historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 22:01
(2) The Allies would only need to occupy a small part of Sweden, the Kiruna iron mines, which were only 100 km from Narvik. Sweden's military would be spread out to defend against Germany aggression, and if the Allies got the sense through diplomatic feelers that Sweden was not going to cooperate, the Allies could launch their invasion by surprise.
Well If we agree that German gebirgsjägers would have a hard time getting to Narvik from Fauske, with supplies
Then the allies would be dependant on French and Norwegian troops to go from Narvik to Kiruna,
the British would have to keep themself on the railway bank until the snow thawed and grounds dried up.
The speed of advance would be as fast as the railway could be rebuilt. Tunnels and bridges included.

There is a reason why Germans never got to Murmansk.

historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 22:01
(3) The Swedish navy posed a significant threat to German ships in the Baltic, but it posed no threat to Britain.
The subs could do some sea denial, but the surface navy cooperated with the Germans,
convoying ore shipments and sometimes the Germans were kind to the Swedes and said they had a strong navy..

It was the biggest in Scandinavia, and the "home Fleet" ("Kustflottan") was professional
but without air superiority there little they could do in the southern Baltic.

cheers
/John

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Mar 2021 05:32

TMP bookmark: economics of occupying Sweden
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 18:40
Now Im contemplating the effects of a second peripheral & preparatory campaign for Op Barabarosa, as well as a broader partisan insurgency in Scandinavia. How long does it take to restore the railways, ports, and other ore extraction infrastructure? What about the sabatoge & general loss of efficiency in SKS production of machine parts. Its easy to say any one of these things is not decisive in itself, & that is absolutely correct. But, economically Germany was dying the death of a thousand cuts & invading yet another neutral steps up the pain and blood loss. They may as well invade Switzerland & Iberia as well & make it a faster suicide.
That's a partial analysis; to complete it you'd have to account for at least (1) economic exploitation of Sweden as occupied country versus neutral, (2) strategic impact of Sweden's occupation on Norway's defense.

Re (1):

Chapter 6: Sweden as an Occupied Country in Paying for Hitler's War: The Consequences of Nazi Hegemony for Europe contains a price adjusted tally of Swedish-German wartime trade:

Image

With a little arithmetic, we can see that the Germans got KR 654mil more from Sweden than they gave in real prices. As Sweden's 1938 GDP was KR 12.1bn, that's 5.4% of Swedish GDP over '41-'44 or ~1.3% extracted per year. Germany paid for Swedish ore with a lot of chemicals, coal, and other high-value goods:

Image

German economic exploitation would have been much greater had Germany occupied Sweden. Does Conquest Pay? by Liberman, estimates that Germany extracted, on average, 33% of GDP from Western Europe:

Image

Occupied Sweden would receive far less from Germany than OTL. Meanwhile Germany would use financial methods (clearing accounts, occupation accounts) as efficiently as it did elsewhere to plunder Sweden economically.

So even if Swedish GDP declined from OTL by 1/3, Germany's net and total economic gain from conquering it would be around ~15x higher. Topline economic data cannot, of course, tell you whether an iron ore shortage may result in the window between outbreak of hostilities and restoration of Kiruna's production, but German stocks and feasible substitutes (e.g. more labor in Salzgitter and Alsace mines) should be able to bridge the gap.

Plus Sweden would contribute more workers to Germany's domestic economy if occupied - a factor at least as important as the above analysis.

------------------------------

Re (2):

Hitler maintained excessive defensive forces in Norway throughout the war due to his awareness that Northern Norway was not easily reinforceable if the Allies attacked. Had Germany occupied Sweden, however, the Norwegian coast is only the forefield of a region with strategic depth and therefore need not hold as many forces as OTL.

In addition, we'd likely see greater Swedish recruitment to the Waffen SS. Norway produced ~6,000, Sweden 100-300.
Sweden had 2.13x as many people as Norway in '40, so Waffen-SS gets ~12k more soldiers if same rate as Norway.
That would easily counterbalance permanent casualties from invading Sweden.

------------------------

There is an argument that Germany should have conquered Sweden anyway based on the foregoing factors. There are very good counterarguments based on politics and the impact on, e.g., Finland. If the Allies invade/occupy Kiruna, however, the political repercussions of Germany invasion would have been greatly ameliorated.
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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by glenn239 » 17 Mar 2021 17:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 18:40
Now Im contemplating the effects of a second peripheral & preparatory campaign for Op Barabarosa, as well as a broader partisan insurgency in Scandinavia. How long does it take to restore the railways, ports, and other ore extraction infrastructure? What about the sabatoge & general loss of efficiency in SKS production of machine parts. Its easy to say any one of these things is not decisive in itself, & that is absolutely correct. But, economically Germany was dying the death of a thousand cuts & invading yet another neutral steps up the pain and blood loss. They may as well invade Switzerland & Iberia as well & make it a faster suicide.
I've seen estimates that a German occupation of Sweden would have impacted RAF aircraft production by about 3,000 due to cutting off all ball bearing exports (smuggling) to Britain. Swedish meatballs, and ball bearings, and ABBA. All world-leading.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by glenn239 » 17 Mar 2021 17:35

historygeek2021 wrote:
16 Mar 2021 22:01
Invading Sweden would be a significant undertaking for either Germany or the Allies. Ultimately, Sweden would lose, but it would put up a good fight. There are also several factors that work in the Allies' favor but not Germany's:
The Germans could have invaded and occupied Sweden in 1940 at comparatively little effort. With hindsight, it is more than a little surprising they did not.
(1) Sweden was a pro-Allied country, as Carl explained. The Allies would have a better chance of convincing Sweden to stop selling iron ore to Germany through economic incentives, diplomatic pressure and military threats. In response to a limited incursion to occupy the Kiruna iron mines, Sweden may even look the other way and do nothing more than issue a feeble diplomatic protest, as Norway did in response to British violations of its sea lanes in 1940.
There was no chance the Allies could have convinced Sweden to do any such thing before about 1945, for the reason that the Swedes knew perfectly well that if they cut iron ore exports to Germany, Germany would invade Sweden. So, the Allies cannot just occupy the Kiruna iron mines because the Germans will be coming and if Sweden believes the Germans will get to Stockholm first, they will throw their lot in with the Germans.
The Swedish navy posed a significant threat to German ships in the Baltic, but it posed no threat to Britain.
If Sweden were forced to choose sides due to Britain's actions, they very well might choose Germany (not because they like the Germans more, but because the British were weak and far away). If so, the Swedish fleet could send elements out of the Baltic as part of their duties as an Axis power.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Mar 2021 17:50

glenn239 wrote:
17 Mar 2021 17:27
...

I've seen estimates that a German occupation of Sweden would have impacted RAF aircraft production by about 3,000 due to cutting off all ball bearing exports (smuggling) to Britain. Swedish meatballs, and ball bearings, and ABBA. All world-leading.
Britain would have had to purchase more from the US. Its like Iron ore, timber, or Heavy Water. With Scandinavian sources blockaded from Britain they had to purchase elsewhere.

"3000" represents about 3% or less of gross Brit aircraft production for the war. The Yanks would have just built another factory.

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Peter89 » 17 Mar 2021 19:07

glenn239 wrote:
17 Mar 2021 17:27
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Mar 2021 18:40
Now Im contemplating the effects of a second peripheral & preparatory campaign for Op Barabarosa, as well as a broader partisan insurgency in Scandinavia. How long does it take to restore the railways, ports, and other ore extraction infrastructure? What about the sabatoge & general loss of efficiency in SKS production of machine parts. Its easy to say any one of these things is not decisive in itself, & that is absolutely correct. But, economically Germany was dying the death of a thousand cuts & invading yet another neutral steps up the pain and blood loss. They may as well invade Switzerland & Iberia as well & make it a faster suicide.
I've seen estimates that a German occupation of Sweden would have impacted RAF aircraft production by about 3,000 due to cutting off all ball bearing exports (smuggling) to Britain. Swedish meatballs, and ball bearings, and ABBA. All world-leading.
A little sidenote here: one of the ABBA ladies was a Lebensborn baby, fathered by a German soldier in Norway.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The Allies invade neutral countries to cut off German imports of crucial metals

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Mar 2021 19:30

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Last edited by Carl Schwamberger on 17 Mar 2021 19:32, edited 1 time in total.

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