Hello All :
To Mr. TheMarcksPlan :
You asked ;
I'm afraid I don't understand the ATL. Are these German/Italian units? Do you mean to say they're made up of ww1 vets?
It is very simple, and can be summarized in two words: Spain and France.
With the fall of France in June, 1940, Hitler was on a roll, and one of the first people to acknowledge this fact was Francisco Franco, who, in late June of 1940, contacted the Germans and offered, FOR A PRICE !
, to enter the war as part of the Axis. Hitler, renowned for his innability to deal resonably with his allies, rejected Franco's offer, and so Spain essentially sat out the war, serving only as a transit point for Venezualan oil into Germany and providing some assistance with U-Boat operations.
Franco's price was quite reasonable, considering everything he had to offer. Spain wanted control over many of the French territories in Africa, and German / Italian assistance in taking Gibralter. Now, what did Franco have to offer? Consider the following: At the end of the Spanish Civil War ( SCW ) the Nationalist Army numbered some 1,000,000 men in 60 Divisions, along with a land based Air Force that was the fifth largest in the world, augmented by the fact that both the soldiers and the airmen were veterans of a victorious war against an army equipped to some extent with Soviet equipment and weapons, and following Soviet Tactics.
Franco began to de-mobilize his army, and by January, 1940, it was reduced to 250,000 men in the equivalent of 22 infantry divisions, a tank division, the equivalent of an artillery division, an anti-aircraft division, a Horse Cavalry Division, and a number of miscelaneous regiments.
In Autumn of 1942, after Operation Torch, fearing a U.S. invasion, Franco re-mobilized the Spanish Army, and by the end of 1943, had brought it back up to 750,000 men in appx 41 divisions plus mobile reserves and fortress units. From this it can be seen that in 1940, Spain had the ability to field a fairly significant force of very good soldiers, mostly veterans, and some very highly motivated to fight against Communism. Further, it shows that Franco was able to mobilize men at a rate of 40,000 per month for one year.
AT THIS SAME TIME
( summer of 1940 ) Germany had defeated France, and a part of the War Booty was the Following:
160 Char B1/B2 Heavy Tanks
39 Char D1 / D2 Medium Tanks
297 Somua S35 Medium Tanks + 10 ( unfinshed which could have been completed to a German order )
37 FCM 1936 Medium Tanks
843 Renault R35 Light Tanks
200 Hotchkiss H35 Light Tanks
350 Hotchkiss H39 Light Tanks
90 Renault AMR35 Cavalry Tanks
190 Panhard 178 Armored Cars
360 Lorraine 37L Tractor Units
Appx 3000 Renault UE and UK Chenillettes
Appx 1700 Renault FT-1917 Light Tanks, of which the Germans Refurbished 750
ALL OF THESE TANKS
were operational when captured, or were returned to serviceability in the late summer/early autumn of 1940. This is a total of over 2000 relatively modern French Tanks, along with 750 WW1 vintage tanks.
the Germans converted some of these to SP AT guns and SP artillery, to make up shortfalls in their army in 1942-1942. The rest of them spent the war driving around the flagpoles at Luftwaffe bases in France and the Low Countries, until D-Day, when they went into battle and got wiped out. This was NOT
a very wise use of these assets.
In the summer of 1940
, The Spanish Army consisted of twelve " Corps ' , nine in Spain, and one each in Algeria, the Canaries, and the Balearics. Two two island ' Corps ' had one infantry division each, the rest had two divisions each, for a total of 22 infantry divisions, plus a single armored Division of four regiments of 75 tanks each (two of T-26s, one of PzKw 1s/2s, and one of Italian CV 33/35s.
1. If Franco did a ' call up ' in the summer of 1940, and brought about 140,000 men back into the Army, and if he used the Armored Division as a nucleus to form more mechanized units, and Hitler turned over the Captured French Tanks, the following could have been organized and trained during the Autumn/Winter of 1940-1941:
Spanish Armored Div. 1 (Medium) - 150 Somua S35s, 150 Hotchkiss H39s, in four Regiments
Spanish Armored Div. 2 (Medium) - 150 Somua S35s, 150 Hotchkiss H39s, in four Regiments
Spanish Armored Div. 3 ( Heavy ) - 150 Char B1/2s , 150 Hotchkiss H35s, in four Regiments
Spanish Armored Div. 4 ( Reserve ) - 35 Char Ds, 35 FCM 1936s, and 225 Renault R35s. in four Regiments
Spanish Armored Cavalry Div 1 - 90 Renault AMR 35s, 190 Panhard 178s, in four Regiments
The personnel to make up these new Armored divisions would come from the existing Armored Division, with the rest being drawn from the Infantry Divisions, selecting men of small stature and mechanical skills, to man and repair the tanks. Further, the Spanish Cavalry Division could have been cherry picked for those officers and men who would be willing to give up their horses and become Armored Cavalry.
2. The Infantry Divsions could have been constituted by taking one division from each of the two-division Corps in Spain, for a total of Seven Infantry Divisions. These were 'square' divisions of two brigades, each with two regiments. To each of these seven infantry divisions could be attached a regiment of 75 Renault R35 light tanks.
Historically, when Franco formed the ' Blue Division ' , he called for some 15,000 volunteers, and got over 40,000 ! So, it can be seen that there is a certain element of the Spanish Population who were willing and eager to fight against Stalinism. This means that Franco could have called up some 100,000 of his veteran reserve, plus 40,000 volunteers, and would have been able to quickly reconsititute his peacetime army to it's level of 250,000 men, and, if he had seen the need, could have even done a 1943 style mobilization, giving him 750,000 men of which some 140,000 would be available to send to Russia, with the remainder left in Spain to serve as Garrison and Reserve Personnel for the Army in Russia.
Added to this force would be the four Spanish Artillery Regiments, as an Artillery Division . Now, this is a motley collection of French, Spanish, Russian, and Italian guns, many horse drawn, ( but some mechanized ) that ranged from old French 75s, to Geman 100 and 150mm
guns of SCW vintage.
3. IN SUMMARY , this would make a force of : 4 Armored Divisions , 1 Armored Cavalry Division, 1 Artillery Division, and 7 Infantry Divisions, each one with an attached armor regiment , for a total of 13 combat ready, Veteran Divisions, with the best armor France could provide.
4. Finally, on Jan 1, 1940, Spain had the following aircraft available:
60 + Me 109s, He112s, and Fiat 50s Monoplane Fighter
150 + Fiat Cr32s Biplane Fighters suitable for Ground Attack
80 + He 111s and SM 79s Medium Bombers
40 + Ju 52s and Sm 81s Transports
5. From these, the Spanish could have assembled and organized : 3 Fighter Squadrons , 6 Ground Attack Squadrons , 5 Medium Bomber Squadrons , and 3 Transport Squadrons, for a total of some 260 aircraft, all flown by veteran combat pilots.
NOTE: the assignment of the above aircraft to a Russian Expedition would leave some 200 front line fighters and an equal number of light, medium, and ground attack bombers in Spain, to serve to protect Spain.
6. Once Franco had Hitler on Board, he could have ' blooded ' his Army by carrying out an attack on Gibralter. After Gibralter had been taken, which, with air and naval bombardment, would have taken a few weeks at most, the Spanish can then move forces to take over the French African areas of Morroco, Mauretania, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Senegal, along with part of Algeria to make a nice, straight border that cartographers love so much. This gives Spain a new Empire in Africa, with all the future troubles that ensures......
This has two effects: 1) It seals off the Med to the British, making it Mare Nostrum for the Kriegsmarine and the Regia Marina, a huge tactical advantage for the Axis, and 2), it Puts Franco on FDR's shitlist.
7. But what has this cost Hitler ? He has given away equipment that he will not be immediately using, and territories that he doesn't own !!!
Admittedly, the Vichy Goverment will be upset, but after May-June 1940, the Vichy Government has all of the power and credibility of a Las Vegas Gaming Commisioner !
8. Finally, what has Hitler GAINED ? Well, the equivalent of about three Corps of Spanish Troops, or about one Army Group.
Now, obviously , the Spanish are NOT the 1927 Yankees.....
but they can fight, and if deployed in the South with the Italians, Bulgarians, Rumanians, and Hungarians, they might allow German Units to be freed up for the more important work in taking Moscow and Leningrad.
9. Next, we have the 750 Renault FT-1917s . These could be given an engine and paint overhaul, and distributed as follows:
200 to France
100 to the Netherlands
100 to Belgium and Luxembourg
150 to Norway
50 to Denmark
150 to Poland
Their duties would be driving around the Flagpole, airfield protection, and police duties. Moving at five miles per hour.
And all the while freeing up better equipment to go to Russia. Where it really counts.
10. Lastly ( And I can hear the sigh of relief from Mr. Anderson at this word ! ) We have the roughly 300 tanks of the Spanish Armored Division. The 150 Soviet T-26s could be gifted to Finland, to augment their forces for the Continuation War, and the Pzkw 1s/2s and Italian Cv 33/35s could be re-patriated to their home countries, to be rebuilt and returned to service.
So, here we have it. If Hitler had met Franco's price, he would have another army, well equipped, an entire ocean ( the Med ) to base his U-boats out of range of the British, and possibly enough forces to allow him to dance a jig inside the Kremlin in December of 1941.
And, to Mr. Richard Anderson, Mr. MarkN, and Mr. Michael Kenney, this is what is called, " Thinking Outside The Box "
Paul R. Ward