What if Grecce has join the Axis in ww2

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 10 Jul 2021 11:47

Some quick thoughts.

Timing is key. I would say the turning point for Metaxas should come just before the Italian invasion of Albania. Greece could join in and occupy Northern Epirus, ahead of the Italians. Meanwhile he plays the Germans to hedge against further Italian aggression.

That means Greece is allied to the Axis from 1939 and not 1941. It builds up its own arms manufacturing, with German help (there was already a Rheinmetall presence I believe and the country had switched from French weaponry in the late 1920s to German/Swedish by the mid 30s). By 1941 Greece is a bit better armed than in OTL, though it remains a challenge, not to say a nightmare, to guard all coasts and islands against the Brits. The airforce and navy will get most focus.

Cyprus is not a real option, because Turkey will not remain silent on that one (they will feel surrounded by Greece), so the Germans must keep the Greeks calm.

However if the British decide to launch an attack on this weak and vulnerable member of the Axis in 1941, the Germans may again be needed to ward them off, so bye bye Barbarossa!

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by glenn239 » 10 Jul 2021 16:54

nuyt wrote:
10 Jul 2021 11:47
However if the British decide to launch an attack on this weak and vulnerable member of the Axis in 1941, the Germans may again be needed to ward them off, so bye bye Barbarossa!
A British invasion of Greece seems out of the question. But, now that you mention it, an invasion of Crete might be a possibility.

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 10 Jul 2021 17:20

glenn239 wrote:
10 Jul 2021 16:54


A British invasion of Greece seems out of the question. But, now that you mention it, an invasion of Crete might be a possibility.
Isn't that the same?

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by Kingfish » 10 Jul 2021 20:42

nuyt wrote:
10 Jul 2021 11:47
However if the British decide to launch an attack on this weak and vulnerable member of the Axis in 1941, the Germans may again be needed to ward them off, so bye bye Barbarossa!
This doesn't make sense.

In the OTL Greece was in the allied camp. It allowed the British access to its ports, airfields, rail network and logistics. The Germans launched an invasion on the fly, conquered mainland Greece and Crete, and still kept to the Barbarossa schedule.

Here the British enjoy none of those benefits - but this somehow means Barbarossa is canceled?
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Re: What if Grecce has join the Axis in ww2

Post by historygeek2021 » 11 Jul 2021 03:21

So no one's going to address plausibility? Greece just magically decides to join the Axis for no reason, even though Mussolini is threatening to conquer them?

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 11 Jul 2021 10:39

Kingfish wrote:
10 Jul 2021 20:42

This doesn't make sense.

In the OTL Greece was in the allied camp. It allowed the British access to its ports, airfields, rail network and logistics. The Germans launched an invasion on the fly, conquered mainland Greece and Crete, and still kept to the Barbarossa schedule.

Here the British enjoy none of those benefits - but this somehow means Barbarossa is canceled?
What I meant was that a pro Axis Greece (possibly with Luftwaffe bases) would be wide open to Allied counterattacks, opening up the possibility that Germany would have to come to the rescue of Greece in case Athens or other areas would be overrun by Brit and Commonwealth forces.

Which in turn would lead to similar delay and loss of a couple of divisions to Barbarossa as in OTL. Since the common assumption in this thread is that without a Greek campaign, Barbarossa might have been more successful, that option might disappear in case of a German rescue campaign for Greece - hence my "bye, bye Barabarossa".

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Re: What if Grecce has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 11 Jul 2021 10:50

historygeek2021 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 03:21
So no one's going to address plausibility? Greece just magically decides to join the Axis for no reason, even though Mussolini is threatening to conquer them?
Metaxas might join the Axis just for that reason. If Metaxas had joined the Axis, especially by becoming closer to Germany, he might have hedged his future against the Italians.

Greek magnate and Metaxas supporter Bodakakis was a very smart internatioal arms dealer and the Pyrkal company was closely aligned to Rheinmetall, delivering for instance German equipment to both (!) sides in the Spanish civil war. Pyrkal, mainly an ammunitions factory and the biggest in the region, was just about to start with other products, when war started. By 1941 Pyrkal was also about to produce ammo for the British army in Egypt. Bodakakis had a strong position in the Metaxas regime, but by that time he was apparently also hedging his interests and he saw good profits with he Allies. No doubt he convinced Metaxas to do the same.

But I'd say there somehow was a window of opportunity for Greece to join the Axis in 1939/40, not later.

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by Kingfish » 11 Jul 2021 12:44

nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 10:39
What I meant was that a pro Axis Greece (possibly with Luftwaffe bases) would be wide open to Allied counterattacks, opening up the possibility that Germany would have to come to the rescue of Greece in case Athens or other areas would be overrun by Brit and Commonwealth forces.
Only as wide open as Spain or Italy was during that time frame.

Bear in mind the strategic picture England faced in the spring of '41. The German threat across the channel was very much alive, the battle of the Atlantic was starting to heat up, and there was rumblings in the Far East of a possible Japanese entry into the war.

Add to that the ongoing campaigns in the Western Desert, the Levant and East Africa and the Commonwealth has it's hands full. I seriously doubt an invasion of an Axis-aligned Greece would be considered. This brings us to your second point...
Which in turn would lead to similar delay and loss of a couple of divisions to Barbarossa as in OTL. Since the common assumption in this thread is that without a Greek campaign, Barbarossa might have been more successful, that option might disappear in case of a German rescue campaign for Greece - hence my "bye, bye Barabarossa".
The delay in the Barbarossa start date had more to do with the late spring floods in Poland than the Greek campaign.

Actually, only part of the delay was caused by the campaigns in the Balkans. Operation BARBAROSSA could not possibly have started on 15 May because spring came late in 19-L1. As late as the beginning of June the Polish-Russian river valleys were still flooded and partly impassable as a result of exceptionally heavy rains

Source: https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/balkan/20_260_5.htm

The coup in Yugoslavia did throw in wrench in the German timetable, but would this occur in this ATL? Yugoslavia would be surrounded by pro-Axis nations with no realistic hope for assistance from the allies.
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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 11 Jul 2021 12:47

Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 12:44

Only as wide open as Spain or Italy was during that time frame.

Bear in mind the strategic picture England faced in the spring of '41. The German threat across the channel was very much alive, the battle of the Atlantic was starting to heat up, and there was rumblings in the Far East of a possible Japanese entry into the war.

Add to that the ongoing campaigns in the Western Desert, the Levant and East Africa and the Commonwealth has it's hands full. I seriously doubt an invasion of an Axis-aligned Greece would be considered. This brings us to your second point...
Yet, they still had the manpower and will to come to the aid of the Greeks in OTL....
Addition:
I think it would have been imperative for the Allies to attack Greece as it posed another threat to Egypt, with Luftwaffe flying sorties from Crete?
Also the Germans might have sent the airborne from Greece to Egypt, while the Egyptians would rise against the Brits and the Western Desert situation was precarious for them. Hmm, another option for using the FJ?

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by Kingfish » 11 Jul 2021 13:57

nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 12:47
Yet, they still had the manpower and will to come to the aid of the Greeks in OTL....
A friendly Greece, which as I had mentioned allowed them the use of ports and airfields.

That is in stark contrast to invading a hostile Greece with possible LW assistance. The lessons learned off Norway would no doubt temper whatever enthusiasm the Brits would have about maintaining an army on a hostile shore with no air cover.

Addition:
I think it would have been imperative for the Allies to attack Greece as it posed another threat to Egypt, with Luftwaffe flying sorties from Crete?
So what prevented the Allies from invading Greece when the Luftwaffe was actually flying from Crete? Could it be the realization that the risks far outweighed the benefits?
Also the Germans might have sent the airborne from Greece to Egypt
You mean fly unescorted into the teeth of allied air defenses, with no hope whatsoever for reinforcements or relief? The Germans balked at sending the FJ into Malta for fear of being left stranded by the Italian navy - this on an Island less than 90 miles from Sicily. Distance from Maleme to Alexandria is over 450 miles.
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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 11 Jul 2021 14:48

Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 13:57

You mean fly unescorted into the teeth of allied air defenses, with no hope whatsoever for reinforcements or relief? The Germans balked at sending the FJ into Malta for fear of being left stranded by the Italian navy - this on an Island less than 90 miles from Sicily. Distance from Maleme to Alexandria is over 450 miles.
Yep, that's what I mean and I never said they would be succesfull nor that they would not suffer heavy losses. After all, a drop behind the lines is an inherent risk in airborne operations and obviously the reason why so many have failed (Holland 1940, Arnhem and Crete).

But, preceded by a stepped up LW bombing campaign from Crete and other Greek airbases, an airborne landing on various sites along the Egypt coast, from just east of the front to Alexandria and RAF Idku, would have been a tremendous blow to Brit prestige and wreak havoc among Allied troops behind the lines (not the most battle hardened troops).

This drop of course is linked with both a planned German armored breakthrough in the Western Desert as well as a simultaneous rebellion by a pro-German Egyptian military eager to take their country back.

It may fail, but that's not my point, you know.

But from your other points I learn that a German aligned or occupied Greece was quite invulnerable?

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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by Peter89 » 11 Jul 2021 15:27

Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 13:57
Also the Germans might have sent the airborne from Greece to Egypt
You mean fly unescorted into the teeth of allied air defenses, with no hope whatsoever for reinforcements or relief? The Germans balked at sending the FJ into Malta for fear of being left stranded by the Italian navy - this on an Island less than 90 miles from Sicily. Distance from Maleme to Alexandria is over 450 miles.
1.) The Germans cooperated with the Italians in the planned invasion of Malta in the summer of 1942. That was basically the only joint planning, training and practice between the two armed forces. The "fear of being left stranded by the Italian navy" doesn't make sense, because the Italians trained airborne troops (Folgore and La Spezia) as well and because the command structure was approved by the Germans.

2.) "Airborne" does not equal "parachutists dropped". It also means air landing and air lifting. OTL the Germans airlifted hundreds of troops per day into NA for a considerable period of time. If nuyt meant an FJ attack into hostile territory, then it also doesn't make sense: the FJ doctrine in 1941 (pre-Crete) prescribed a stunning bombardment at daybreak, followed by an immediate landing of gliders (shock troops) and immediately afterwards a mass parachutist attack. The ends of the operation is to capture an airfield of considerable quality, and thus the second wave (the bulk) of air landing forces can land. The means of the operation is to constantly suppress the enemy until a local superiority can be achieved. For example, the FJs of 1941 were dropped virtually unarmed: with one pistol and 8 grenades. They also had a belt of ammo for a standard infantry rifle. That, and a knife. For stamina booster, they've used Pervitin pills, which caused unmanageable thirst, as they found out on Crete (if you have ever tried high quality metamphetamine, you know what I'm talking about). For energy, they've used Scho-Ka-Kola, which turns an empty stomach upside down.
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Re: What if Greece has join the Axis in ww2

Post by Peter89 » 11 Jul 2021 15:48

nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 14:48
Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 13:57

You mean fly unescorted into the teeth of allied air defenses, with no hope whatsoever for reinforcements or relief? The Germans balked at sending the FJ into Malta for fear of being left stranded by the Italian navy - this on an Island less than 90 miles from Sicily. Distance from Maleme to Alexandria is over 450 miles.
Yep, that's what I mean and I never said they would be succesfull nor that they would not suffer heavy losses. After all, a drop behind the lines is an inherent risk in airborne operations and obviously the reason why so many have failed (Holland 1940, Arnhem and Crete).
No, it wasn't the reason.

Btw the "drops" you mentioned, as well as those in Scandinavia, ultimately succeeded; even if they were defeated or suffered disproportionate casualties, they played their part in a broader strategic game that ultimately led to German victory of the respective campaigns.
nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 14:48
But, preceded by a stepped up LW bombing campaign from Crete and other Greek airbases, an airborne landing on various sites along the Egypt coast, from just east of the front to Alexandria and RAF Idku, would have been a tremendous blow to Brit prestige and wreak havoc among Allied troops behind the lines (not the most battle hardened troops).
Sounds like the glorious "Bombing of Bahrein" to me.

Wreacking havoc, achieving nothing: a matter of prestige in Axis minds.

Causing little trouble for the Allies though.
nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 14:48
This drop of course is linked with both a planned German armored breakthrough in the Western Desert as well as a simultaneous rebellion by a pro-German Egyptian military eager to take their country back.
There is no feasible German armoured breakthrough in NA or a stepped up LW bombing campaign from Crete if there is a Barbarossa; it is an either or.
nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 14:48
It may fail, but that's not my point, you know.
I simply don't understand why so many people think that the British would poop their pants if there was some kind of a danger presented by the Axis. The British stood firm and organized a coalition against the German / Axis aggression; they were both by and large invulnerable on their isles and they could keep in touch with their colonies and other neutrals. The Germans had 2 ways to defeat the British (as Jodl correctly wrote in 1940): either going for the jugular, and attack the British Isles, or attack Britain's empire via its diplomatic and trade relations. Churchill made it clear that nothing less would suffice. The British had enough demonstrations of power by the Axis, and they would not quit the war so simply.
“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: What if Grecce has join the Axis in ww2

Post by historygeek2021 » 11 Jul 2021 17:46

nuyt wrote:
11 Jul 2021 10:50
historygeek2021 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 03:21
So no one's going to address plausibility? Greece just magically decides to join the Axis for no reason, even though Mussolini is threatening to conquer them?
Metaxas might join the Axis just for that reason. If Metaxas had joined the Axis, especially by becoming closer to Germany, he might have hedged his future against the Italians.

Greek magnate and Metaxas supporter Bodakakis was a very smart internatioal arms dealer and the Pyrkal company was closely aligned to Rheinmetall, delivering for instance German equipment to both (!) sides in the Spanish civil war. Pyrkal, mainly an ammunitions factory and the biggest in the region, was just about to start with other products, when war started. By 1941 Pyrkal was also about to produce ammo for the British army in Egypt. Bodakakis had a strong position in the Metaxas regime, but by that time he was apparently also hedging his interests and he saw good profits with he Allies. No doubt he convinced Metaxas to do the same.

But I'd say there somehow was a window of opportunity for Greece to join the Axis in 1939/40, not later.
Hitler wasn't interested in helping Metaxas at the expense of Mussolini. Hitler threw his lot in with Mussolini after Mussolini supported him in the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland, and Mussolini wanted to expand Italian hegemony over the Balkans, a direct threat to Greece.

So what is the point of departure in this ATL that causes Mussolini not to want to conquer Greece?

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Re: What if Grecce has join the Axis in ww2

Post by nuyt » 12 Jul 2021 19:42

Maybe a flat NEIN, NEIN, NEIN from the Germans when the Greeks would make it clear they would resist and had something to offer to Germany. After all Mussolini had designs on Spain (Balearics), most of Yugoslavia, Romania, Tunisia, Bulgaria and did Hitler help him get those parts of the woods? NO, all Musso got was Albania...
Even during the Axis occupation, the Germans did not let the Italians have their way with Greece and they opposed all annexations. So they were NOT throwing in their lot with Mussolini just like that...

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