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 » 06 Dec 2019 18:53

Richard Anderson wrote:
05 Dec 2019 16:35

Germany occupying Gibraltar does not magically secure "Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Southern France, Yugoslavia, Greece" for the Axis. I am honestly bewildered as to why you think that would be so. You may have been reading too much Churchill.
You mean they could invade all these places from the Egyptian end? I'd assumed the shipping costs around the Horn were way too much to consider offensive operations of that magnitude from that direction.
What "Axis fleets"? Unify? Seriously? The Italians have zero interest in sending their fleet into the Atlantic to contest with the Home Fleet.
The Italians had zero interest in winning WW2? That would not have been my first guess....
What "German fleet in France"? A handful of destroyers and torpedo boats and a gaggle of R-Boot and VP-Boot? That is a fleet? :roll:
Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Eugen and Hipper all used France as a base at one time or another. Bismarck too had she not been sunk.
Cape Verde, the Azores, Madeiras, and Canaries. The Bay of Biscay was not closed to the Germans by aircraft flying out of Gibraltar's tiny field, it was by aircraft flying out of the south of England and then the Azores after Salazar leased them in 1943. A German occupation of Spain virtually guarantees those bases get activated two years early.
Quite possibly. The big danger for the Axis in getting too far into the Atlantic theatre is that complications with the United States are there, and this was one thing they were best to avoid at any cost.

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Dec 2019 01:57

glenn239 wrote:
06 Dec 2019 18:53
You mean they could invade all these places from the Egyptian end? I'd assumed the shipping costs around the Horn were way too much to consider offensive operations of that magnitude from that direction.
No, I meant they could invade all those places from the Britain and America end.

Yes, you have been reading too much Churchill, since you have fallen for his red herring regarding shipping round the Horn. The only direct shipments through Gibraltar after the Italian DOW were the TIGER convoy and a few missions to support Malta. The Western Desert Force and then Eighth Army, along with the RAF and USAAF in Egypt were all supplied via the Horn, as were all the Lend-Lease shipments to the Soviets via the Persian corridor.
The Italians had zero interest in winning WW2? That would not have been my first guess....
Given I never said anything of the sort, I'm not sure why I should respond to this?
Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Eugen and Hipper all used France as a base at one time or another. Bismarck too had she not been sunk.
They were never a fleet. They were commerce raiders. The only time they fleeted was when they were fleeing from Brest to Wilhelmshaven in ZERBERUS...and that did not end well for the major fleet elements.
Quite possibly. The big danger for the Axis in getting too far into the Atlantic theatre is that complications with the United States are there, and this was one thing they were best to avoid at any cost.
And they did a damned poor job of doing it in the real world too.
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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 » 07 Dec 2019 16:01

Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Dec 2019 01:57
No, I meant they could invade all those places from the Britain and America end.
With Iberia in German hands and no war in Russia, I don't think the Allies would ever consider sailing troop and supply convoys past German controlled Iberia into the Med to invade North Africa or Italy beyond. They might think about landing in Morocco and advancing north in order to prise open the route into the Med by dominating Iberia from the Africa side by land based air, but that option is going to take a long time to develop and starts a great distance from Northern France.
Given I never said anything of the sort, I'm not sure why I should respond to this?
You suggested that Italy had no interest in pressuring Britain to make peace. Let's reword the idea another way. If the Italian fleet does nothing, and Britain is never pressured to come to the table, how exactly does Italy expect to win the war?


They were never a fleet. They were commerce raiders. The only time they fleeted was when they were fleeing from Brest to Wilhelmshaven in ZERBERUS...and that did not end well for the major fleet elements.
So because the Germans only formed one fleet in France, therefore the Germans and Italians cannot form a fleet in Iberia?

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

Post by ljadw » 07 Dec 2019 18:30

glenn239 wrote:
07 Dec 2019 16:01
Richard Anderson wrote:
07 Dec 2019 01:57
No, I meant they could invade all those places from the Britain and America end.
With Iberia in German hands and no war in Russia, I don't think the Allies would ever consider sailing troop and supply convoys past German controlled Iberia into the Med to invade North Africa or Italy beyond. They might think about landing in Morocco and advancing north in order to prise open the route into the Med by dominating Iberia from the Africa side by land based air, but that option is going to take a long time to develop and starts a great distance from Northern France.
Given I never said anything of the sort, I'm not sure why I should respond to this?
You suggested that Italy had no interest in pressuring Britain to make peace. Let's reword the idea another way. If the Italian fleet does nothing, and Britain is never pressured to come to the table, how exactly does Italy expect to win the war?


They were never a fleet. They were commerce raiders. The only time they fleeted was when they were fleeing from Brest to Wilhelmshaven in ZERBERUS...and that did not end well for the major fleet elements.
So because the Germans only formed one fleet in France, therefore the Germans and Italians cannot form a fleet in Iberia?
Italy did not expect to win the war, it expected Germany to win the war .

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 Dec 2019 01:33

glenn239 wrote:
07 Dec 2019 16:01
With Iberia in German hands and no war in Russia, I don't think the Allies would ever consider sailing troop and supply convoys past German controlled Iberia into the Med to invade North Africa or Italy beyond. They might think about landing in Morocco and advancing north in order to prise open the route into the Med by dominating Iberia from the Africa side by land based air, but that option is going to take a long time to develop and starts a great distance from Northern France.
Glenn, I made it quite clear I was not talking about the Allies "sailing troop and supply convoys past German controlled Iberia into the Med to invade North Africa or Italy beyond". Try responding to what I say instead of what you keep imagining I said.
You suggested that Italy had no interest in pressuring Britain to make peace. Let's reword the idea another way. If the Italian fleet does nothing, and Britain is never pressured to come to the table, how exactly does Italy expect to win the war?
I suggested nothing of the sort. My statement was quite clear, "The Italians have zero interest in sending their fleet into the Atlantic to contest with the Home Fleet. They are having a bad enough time with the British Mediterranean fleet." Again, please try responding to what I say instead of what you keep imagining I said.

So because the Germans only formed one fleet in France, therefore the Germans and Italians cannot form a fleet in Iberia?
This is becoming tiresome more quickly than usual for you. Given I never said anything of the sort, I'm not sure why I should respond to this?
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

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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 » 09 Dec 2019 15:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
08 Dec 2019 01:33
Glenn, I made it quite clear I was not talking about the Allies "sailing troop and supply convoys past German controlled Iberia into the Med to invade North Africa or Italy beyond". Try responding to what I say instead of what you keep imagining I said.
My conclusion is that the failure of the Axis to secure Gibraltar in 1940/41 led to the direct predictable outcome of Italy being subject to offensive operations by the Anglo-Americans from the direction of Africa. Assuming the elimination of the French North African front by way of occupation of Gibraltar, I do not believe offensive operations from the direction of Egypt alone were sufficient to take Tripoli by the end of 1943, let alone build the port and air base network required to contemplate offensive landing operations on the European side. Therefore, Hitler's failure to resolve the problem of Gibraltar in 1940 was a severe strategic error.

I suggested nothing of the sort. My statement was quite clear, "The Italians have zero interest in sending their fleet into the Atlantic to contest with the Home Fleet. They are having a bad enough time with the British Mediterranean fleet."
I do not agree that the Italians had "zero interest" in using any elements of their fleet in the Atlantic in order to pressure Britain to make peace. Nor do I think, barring a 1941 Sealion, that potential operations in the Atlantic required the Italians to engage the British "Home" fleet in Northern Waters.
This is becoming tiresome more quickly than usual for you. Given I never said anything of the sort, I'm not sure why I should respond to this?
Do you believe that the Axis had the capacity to form fleets (German and Italian warships operating in mixed formations of warships from torpedo boats and destroyers up to capital ships) in Iberia assuming that Iberia was Axis controlled? That would be 'yes', or 'no'. If 'no', then why not? For example, perhaps the conclusion is that the available logistics network was insufficient?

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Dec 2019 17:59

glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2019 15:13
My conclusion is that the failure of the Axis to secure Gibraltar in 1940/41 led to the direct predictable outcome of Italy being subject to offensive operations by the Anglo-Americans from the direction of Africa. Assuming the elimination of the French North African front by way of occupation of Gibraltar, I do not believe offensive operations from the direction of Egypt alone were sufficient to take Tripoli by the end of 1943, let alone build the port and air base network required to contemplate offensive landing operations on the European side. Therefore, Hitler's failure to resolve the problem of Gibraltar in 1940 was a severe strategic error.
Okay.
I do not agree that the Italians had "zero interest" in using any elements of their fleet in the Atlantic in order to pressure Britain to make peace. Nor do I think, barring a 1941 Sealion, that potential operations in the Atlantic required the Italians to engage the British "Home" fleet in Northern Waters.
Okay.
Do you believe that the Axis had the capacity to form fleets (German and Italian warships operating in mixed formations of warships from torpedo boats and destroyers up to capital ships) in Iberia assuming that Iberia was Axis controlled? That would be 'yes', or 'no'. If 'no', then why not? For example, perhaps the conclusion is that the available logistics network was insufficient?
Capacity? No, I doubt it. Forming a joint fleet is not a matter of capacity, but rather a matter of training together, developing communications and liaison linkages, and then attempting operations. Note that the joint amphibious forces on D-Day began exercises the previous year.
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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 » 09 Dec 2019 18:36

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Dec 2019 17:59
Capacity? No, I doubt it. Forming a joint fleet is not a matter of capacity, but rather a matter of training together, developing communications and liaison linkages, and then attempting operations. Note that the joint amphibious forces on D-Day began exercises the previous year.
Noted. I wouldn't picture the Axis navies achieving anywhere near the level of inter service integration of the Allies in the late war period. I'd expect something more than what the ABDA command managed in its brief lifetime, but significantly less than the Anglo-Americans later in the war. The Axis seemed to excel at mistrust, so no reason to suppose a joint Axis fleet in Iberia would be immune from such squabbling.

Any other reasons why the Axis can't form fleets in Iberia assuming that Germany's strategy was competent and Gibraltar was taken care of in 1940/1941 in order to shut down the whole West Med front before it could even get rolling?

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 09 Dec 2019 21:50

glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2019 18:36
Any other reasons why the Axis can't form fleets in Iberia assuming that Germany's strategy was competent and Gibraltar was taken care of in 1940/1941 in order to shut down the whole West Med front before it could even get rolling?
What "fleet"? A conglomeration of a few Italian and German assets hardly count as a "fleet".

Littorio isn't available until March 1941.
Caio Duilio isn't available until June 1941.
Conte di Cavour is never available.

That leaves Giulio Cesare, Andrea Doria, and Littorio as the sole modern Italian capital ships, until Roma is completed in June 1942. And a pretty mixed bag they were and all especially vulnerable to torpedo attack.

They do have six heavy cruisers...assuming Matapan doesn't happen, but all have extremely short legs, under 5,000 NM (in comparison, a contemporary, the American Portland class, had an endurance of 10,000 NM). In fact, ALL the Italian vessels have short legs; they were designed for the Med after all. The Vittorio Venento class was just 4,100 NM compared to the American Washington class at 17,450. Just getting to, say Brest, to join with the German "fleet" will burn half their bunker load...assuming they can maintain an economical 14 knots the entire time.

The Germans have Bismarck, Gneisenau, and Scharnhorst. And their four heavy cruisers. A mighty host indeed.

The Italians though are in Naples and the Germans are in Wilhelmshaven...the first trick will be getting them together. :lol:
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ljadw
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Re: What if Hitler made fighting Britain a serious consideration from the start..

Post by ljadw » 10 Dec 2019 09:42

glenn239 wrote:
09 Dec 2019 15:13


My conclusion is that the failure of the Axis to secure Gibraltar in 1940/41 led to the direct predictable outcome of Italy being subject to offensive operations by the Anglo-Americans from the direction of Africa. Assuming the elimination of the French North African front by way of occupation of Gibraltar, I do not believe offensive operations from the direction of Egypt alone were sufficient to take Tripoli by the end of 1943, let alone build the port and air base network required to contemplate offensive landing operations on the European side. Therefore, Hitler's failure to resolve the problem of Gibraltar in 1940 was a severe strategic error.


1 French North Africa would not be eliminated by the occupation of Gibraltar
2 Rommel was already on the run before the start of Torch .
3 35000 Allied soldiers landed in Morocco,38000 in Algeria
4 That the problem of Gibraltar was not resolved in 1940 was not a severe strategic error,but an impossibility : it was impossible for the Germans to occupy Gibraltar in 1940 .
5 You cant use Torch ( November 1942 ) as a reason for a German occupation of Gibraltar in November 1940 .

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

Post by glenn239 » 10 Dec 2019 16:13

Richard Anderson wrote:
09 Dec 2019 21:50
What "fleet"? A conglomeration of a few Italian and German assets hardly count as a "fleet".
A "fleet" is defined according to a google search as,

"a group of ships sailing together, engaged in the same activity, or under the same ownership."

So yes, if hypothetical a group of German and Italian ships sailed together and engaged in the same activity, it would literally be the textbook definition of a fleet.
They do have six heavy cruisers...assuming Matapan doesn't happen, but all have extremely short legs, under 5,000 NM (in comparison, a contemporary, the American Portland class, had an endurance of 10,000 NM). In fact, ALL the Italian vessels have short legs; they were designed for the Med after all. The Vittorio Venento class was just 4,100 NM compared to the American Washington class at 17,450. Just getting to, say Brest, to join with the German "fleet" will burn half their bunker load...assuming they can maintain an economical 14 knots the entire time.
The Germans have Bismarck, Gneisenau, and Scharnhorst. And their four heavy cruisers. A mighty host indeed.
First you'd indicated that,

Forming a joint fleet is not a matter of capacity, but rather a matter of training together, developing communications and liaison linkages, and then attempting operations.

But with the previously cited case of ABDA, the joint fleet that went into battle in 1942 was not formed after an extended period of training, developing communications, and liaison linkages and only then attempting operations. Rather, it was formed by four nations throwing ships into a joint command somewhat haphazardly. Subsequent operations were hindered by the lack of preparation in the areas you mention, but the fleet itself existed and was sent into action; so too with an Axis fleet.

Now, you suggest that the Axis force structure and logistic characteristics of the Italian fleet in particular were inadequate to the task. But I’d never said that the Axis navies were numerically or logistically optimal to the task. I said that with access to Iberia that the Axis navies could unify and conduct operations against British SLOC in the Atlantic.

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

Post by glenn239 » 10 Dec 2019 16:41

ljadw wrote:
10 Dec 2019 09:42
1 French North Africa would not be eliminated by the occupation of Gibraltar
2 Rommel was already on the run before the start of Torch .
3 35000 Allied soldiers landed in Morocco,38000 in Algeria
4 That the problem of Gibraltar was not resolved in 1940 was not a severe strategic error,but an impossibility : it was impossible for the Germans to occupy Gibraltar in 1940 .
5 You cant use Torch ( November 1942 ) as a reason for a German occupation of Gibraltar in November 1940 .
1. French North Africa would not be occupied by the Axis if Germany does not invade the USSR? Out of curiosity, why would that be the case?
2. Rommel's defeat at El Alamein certainly ended any Axis threat to Egypt, but would not have caused the fall of Tripoli without severe extenuating circumstances elsewhere for the Axis, (Torch, Eastern Front).
3. Morocco was previously identified by myself as a potential target for an Anglo-American offensive, with the reservation that it is an awfully long way to Broadway from Morocco. Algeria I'm less convinced could ever be an objective if Germany possessed Iberia and Sicily-Tripoli, and Morocco was not yet Allied controlled.
4. Germany most certainly could have taken Gibraltar in 1940 or early 1941 and it was a severe strategic error of the highest magnitude that they did not. On a related note, many of Germany's errors in strategy and operations stemmed from the fact that Hitler was an opinionated hack.
5. Pretty sure I just did.

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

Post by ljadw » 10 Dec 2019 19:22

1 Because the Germans could not do it : to occupy French NA,they had first to conquer and occupy Spain, which would last months and absorp at least 25 divisions . And, how could they cross the Mediterranean : there is a lot of water between Gibraltar and Tanger .
And the claim that they could conquer and occupy French NA is totally ridiculous : it took the French more than 40 years to conquer Algeria and 22 years to conquer Morocco .Besides: why would the Germans wast their forces by occupying French NA ?
2 NO : it was totally impossible for Germany to take Gibraltar in 1940 or even early 1941 : it was impossible to cross the Pyrenees in the winter with an army of 500000+ men . Impossible .It would take months to send even small forces to Gibraltar with the consent of Spain .

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

Post by pugsville » 10 Dec 2019 20:25

glenn239 wrote:
10 Dec 2019 16:41
1. French North Africa would not be occupied by the Axis if Germany does not invade the USSR? Out of curiosity, why would that be the case?
Because the Vichy regime would certainly not agree to it, Occupation would likely lead to collapse of the armistice with France in the colonies if not in metropolitan France . There were some 120,000 French troops in French North Africa, admittedly not that well equipped by a large force. Throwing Vichy Syria into the allied camp.

glenn239 wrote:
10 Dec 2019 16:41
4. Germany most certainly could have taken Gibraltar in 1940 or early 1941 and it was a severe strategic error of the highest magnitude that they did not. On a related note, many of Germany's errors in strategy and operations stemmed from the fact that Hitler was an opinionated hack.
5. Pretty sure I just did.
But what woudl taking Gibraltar actually achieve?

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

Post by glenn239 » 11 Dec 2019 15:05

ljadw wrote:
10 Dec 2019 19:22
And the claim that they could conquer and occupy French NA is totally ridiculous : it took the French more than 40 years to conquer Algeria and 22 years to conquer Morocco .Besides: why would the Germans wast their forces by occupying French NA ?
The overall pattern of these discussions seems to be that Germany can't impose its will in France, or Spain or North Africa, or Turkey, in 1940/41 because of various forms of pixie dust. You estimate Spain would take 25 divisions and a few months. Yes, and so what? The Axis had over 200 divisions available and years. The fact of the matter is that the destruction of the French army as the consequence of the Battle of France left the German army with most of Europe outside Britain and the USSR at its mercy. That was the consequence for the elimination of the French army from the scales of power in 1940. Germany had two basic moves by July 1940 - try to get along with Europe while throwing everything at the Soviets, or try to get along with the Soviets while cleaning up the rest of Europe. If it chooses the former, (and historically Hitler did), then weak also-ran tinpot dictatorships like Spain and Turkey had some space to negotiate and Stalin did not. If it chose the latter, (and that is what we are talking of), then the weak tinpot dictatorships of Spain and Turkey would have had no latitude for negotiation whatsoever, and Stalin would.
NO : it was totally impossible for Germany to take Gibraltar in 1940 or even early 1941 : it was impossible to cross the Pyrenees in the winter with an army of 500,000+ men . Impossible .It would take months to send even small forces to Gibraltar with the consent of Spain .
France fell in June 1940. It should take at least two months to prepare to invade Spain, maybe even three given that Sealion is being prepared simultaneously. September 1940 is wintertime in Europe?

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