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  • 1942: Mediterranean-Black Sea connection

    January 1942. Hitler decides, after the Moscow defeat and the entry of the USA in the war, to connect the North African front with the Russian front in order to create only one continental defensive bloc, according to the OKW memorandum of 14 th December 1941.

    A memorandum of 14 December 1941 on the significance of the entry into the war of the United
    States and Japan prepared by the Operations Staff of the Supreme Command of the German
    Anned Forces (Oberkommando der WehrmachtlWehrmachtftihrungsstab [OKW/WFStD

    "predominantly based on four assumptions, none of which turned out to be correct a year later": first, that before America could fully mobilize, "Germany would reach its military objectives in the east, in the Mediterranean, and in the Atlantic"; second, "Germany would succeed ... in securing the periphery by bringing ... Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden into the continental defensive bloc"; third, "the Japanese offensive ... would ... tie down a substantial part of the Anglo-American potential in the Pacific for a considerable time"; and fourth, "the United States would not be able to conduct an offensive two-ocean war in the foreseeable future.



    Three mobile divisions being built or resting in France would go to Lybia and not to Russia (let´s say 22 and 23 PzD, and 28 Leicht Division). With them, the Panzer Armee Afrika must seize the Suez Canal not later than June 1942. Then, Spain (joining the Axis) would close the Gibraltar Straits and Turkey (not necessarily joining the Axis) would open the Dardanelles Straits to the Italian fleet getting into the Black Sea.

    So, as Eastern offensive Fall Blau start, in June 1942, Axis would have an enormous strategical advantage in the southern USSR. Crimea will be unexpensively gained, orographic obstacle of Caucasus mountains could be outflanked, and Ostheer in Caucasus and Stalingrad area could use the Eastern Black Sea ports and railroads. Also the Black Sea-Mediterranean connection would allow, in the coming months, an easier exploit of the economical resources of the Black Sea lands (oil, coal, wheat).

    There will be three mobile divisions less for the Fall Blau offensive due to the sending of these as reinforcement for the Rommel´s army in North Africa, but in exchange of that
    -the Crimea battle will be easier and cheaper (at least one whole german division of the 11 army saved by not suffering so many casualties),
    -two Romanian divisions could be saved from Western Black Sea coastal defense duties and soviets would be forced to deploy coastal defense in Eastern Black Sea. The threat of turkish beligerance would be bigger too.
    -Moreover, with the Italian Fleet will come also into the Eastern Front an amphibious italo-german corps equivalent to three divisions (from the same forces that were prepared in OTL for the not implemented invasion to Malta, but smaller).
    -Axis armies to invade Caucasus will count with the big logistical advantage of using maritime transport for getting supplies (and saving fuel with it too).
    -Soviet armies resisting the Axis advance in the Caucasus mountains could not use maritime logistic routes (Black Sea ports, coastal Black Sea railways)
    ...
    I presented this story in other forums previously, fairly developed to the detail, I think. So I appreciate the opportunity offered by Armchairgeneral.com to present it here too.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forums.

    We've been here before.

    There was no way to supply three more mechanised divisions in Africa. The Germans did not have the trucks, they did not have the fuel. The Italians did not have the shipping nor port capacity. The only German reinforcements that could be supported in Africa was the 164th Light division and it did not possess enough trucks to either supply or move the division. It thus became a drain on the supply situation and was all but immobilised at Alamein.

    Witholding the divisions from Fall Blau would have made the fuel situation in Russia slightly better but the Germans were constantly running out of gas throughout July, August and September in any case.

    Why would Spain join the Axis? Germany could not meet Spain's need for food or other economic necessities. The Spanish were in terrible shape and would not entering the war, especially after the US was involved. It meant the lost of all over seas territory. Spain was gaining plenty more by remaining neutral. Turkey was even less likley to join the Axis and was making plenty of money by selling its strategic materials to the Allies (Germany did not have the money). Trust in Germany was extremely low and Turkey was not going to open the Dardenelles to the Italians (whom they had no love for at all).

    This scenario is not remotely based on the reality of 1942.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Andalusian View Post
      January 1942. Hitler decides, after the Moscow defeat and the entry of the USA in the war, to connect the North African front with the Russian front in order to create only one continental defensive bloc, according to the OKW memorandum of 14 th December 1941.

      A memorandum of 14 December 1941 on the significance of the entry into the war of the United
      States and Japan prepared by the Operations Staff of the Supreme Command of the German
      Anned Forces (Oberkommando der WehrmachtlWehrmachtftihrungsstab [OKW/WFStD

      "predominantly based on four assumptions, none of which turned out to be correct a year later": first, that before America could fully mobilize, "Germany would reach its military objectives in the east, in the Mediterranean, and in the Atlantic"; second, "Germany would succeed ... in securing the periphery by bringing ... Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden into the continental defensive bloc"; third, "the Japanese offensive ... would ... tie down a substantial part of the Anglo-American potential in the Pacific for a considerable time"; and fourth, "the United States would not be able to conduct an offensive two-ocean war in the foreseeable future.



      Three mobile divisions being built or resting in France would go to Lybia and not to Russia (let´s say 22 and 23 PzD, and 28 Leicht Division). With them, the Panzer Armee Afrika must seize the Suez Canal not later than June 1942. Then, Spain (joining the Axis) would close the Gibraltar Straits and Turkey (not necessarily joining the Axis) would open the Dardanelles Straits to the Italian fleet getting into the Black Sea.

      So, as Eastern offensive Fall Blau start, in June 1942, Axis would have an enormous strategical advantage in the southern USSR. Crimea will be unexpensively gained, orographic obstacle of Caucasus mountains could be outflanked, and Ostheer in Caucasus and Stalingrad area could use the Eastern Black Sea ports and railroads. Also the Black Sea-Mediterranean connection would allow, in the coming months, an easier exploit of the economical resources of the Black Sea lands (oil, coal, wheat).

      There will be three mobile divisions less for the Fall Blau offensive due to the sending of these as reinforcement for the Rommel´s army in North Africa, but in exchange of that
      -the Crimea battle will be easier and cheaper (at least one whole german division of the 11 army saved by not suffering so many casualties),
      -two Romanian divisions could be saved from Western Black Sea coastal defense duties and soviets would be forced to deploy coastal defense in Eastern Black Sea. The threat of turkish beligerance would be bigger too.
      -Moreover, with the Italian Fleet will come also into the Eastern Front an amphibious italo-german corps equivalent to three divisions (from the same forces that were prepared in OTL for the not implemented invasion to Malta, but smaller).
      -Axis armies to invade Caucasus will count with the big logistical advantage of using maritime transport for getting supplies (and saving fuel with it too).
      -Soviet armies resisting the Axis advance in the Caucasus mountains could not use maritime logistic routes (Black Sea ports, coastal Black Sea railways)
      ...
      I presented this story in other forums previously, fairly developed to the detail, I think. So I appreciate the opportunity offered by Armchairgeneral.com to present it here too.
      What The Purist said. Also, Sebastopol was a tough nut to crack--maybe it could be nuetralized rather than assaulted, thus freeing most of 11th army.
      As for flanking the Caucasus, the troops would have to land somewhere, and the Soviets could shift to meet them since they wouldn't need as many troops to stop Van Kleist.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Purist View Post
        Welcome to the forums.

        We've been here before.
        http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...?f=11&t=188260

        .....so has he.
        Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

        Comment


        • #5
          I see.

          As I noted fuel for all of this simply was not available nor was shipping. The war over the seas, be the Pacific, the Mediterranean or the Channel was all about logistics. Non of these what if scenario every satisfactorily answers the question of "why?" a Germany, tied firmly to Europe by lack of resources, wants to reinforce a theatre that is a dead end. There is nothing east of Tobruk or Crete of any use to them within reach of their military capabilities.

          Suez is already neutralised, Oil from Iraq might as well be on the moon and India could as well be on Jupiter.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
            I see.

            As I noted fuel for all of this simply was not available nor was shipping. The war over the seas, be the Pacific, the Mediterranean or the Channel was all about logistics. Non of these what if scenario every satisfactorily answers the question of "why?" a Germany, tied firmly to Europe by lack of resources, wants to reinforce a theatre that is a dead end. There is nothing east of Tobruk or Crete of any use to them within reach of their military capabilities.

            Suez is already neutralised, Oil from Iraq might as well be on the moon and India could as well be on Jupiter.
            I will admit to a certain fascination with what motivates people to go from forum to forum shopping the same idea only to have it shot down time & again. Leandros was trying to write/sell a book, so I can see the motivation. In other cases it is not so clear, which makes it oddly fascinating. As I can see this thread meeting the same fate as its ACG counterpart, only sooner, I'd love it if Andalusian would offer us an insight into his motivations while he still has the opportunity.
            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

            Comment


            • #7
              I'd recommend all take a look at the thread linked above on the AHF before making further comments.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                I will admit to a certain fascination with what motivates people to go from forum to forum shopping the same idea only to have it shot down time & again. Leandros was trying to write/sell a book, so I can see the motivation. In other cases it is not so clear, which makes it oddly fascinating. As I can see this thread meeting the same fate as its ACG counterpart, only sooner, I'd love it if Andalusian would offer us an insight into his motivations while he still has the opportunity.
                You might also look up peterhof's threads in WWI section which are treading the same path.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bringing Turkey into the war would have been a huge mistake for Germany. First, the Turks were being supplied by the US, in particular, from early on in equipment to in a way buy their neutrality. Assuming that Turkey does not willingly join the Axis the Germans will need at least a dozen or more divisions a third of which are mechanized to even try and take the country.
                  One might assume that the Soviets and Western Allies would both send troops and equipment to shore up the Turks as well.
                  One big danger is that if Turkey is mostly in Allied hands then the RAF and USAAF can start doing things like bombing Polesti and also running raids into the German rear in Russia.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aber View Post
                    You might also look up peterhof's threads in WWI section which are treading the same path.
                    I'd love to hear from one of those who actually goes from forum to forum doing this. I've seen enough examples, I'm more curious about why.
                    Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      Welcome to the forums.
                      Thank you very much, I will do my best to provide data and reasoning according to the study of this episode of history and according to the rules of the ACG-forum.

                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      This scenario is not remotely based on the reality of 1942.
                      I hope I will be able to show that, on the contrary, it is fairly well based on data of the time. The issue is not only seeing what it is evident to us today, as studying the data of history, but also seeing whether it was evident too for the people that acted at that time


                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      There was no way to supply three more mechanised divisions in Africa. The Germans did not have the trucks, they did not have the fuel. The Italians did not have the shipping nor port capacity.
                      I´ll try to answer this question shortly. Yes, the germans and Italians did have the trucks, the germans did have the fuel, and the Italians did have the shipping and the port capacity.


                      Three mechanized divisions included 1,500 trucks each Panzerdivision and a little less the Leicht division. Apart from that, there were already in Lybia around 7,000 italians trucks and 6,000 german trucks at the time. In order to supply a german Panzerkorps advancing in pursuit in the Lybian desert, and according to the figures of mr Van Creveld, another 5,000 trucks were needed.

                      The Rommel´s advance to conquer Egypt would be of 800 km to cover up to the Delta, once won the battle in the Gazala line against the british 8th army. The same way as Montgomery did in November 1942, after winning the battle (the british made 1,200 km in nineteen days), it would have been enough for Rommel to keep supplied an armored corps in full strength. The 5,000 trucks needed would be the sum of 2,500 trucks of the other Panzerkorps (staying in the battlefield, and handing over most of the vehicles) plus another 2,500 trucks specially prepared for the pursuit: around 5,500 trucks, 250 tanks, 2,000 other vehicles, 40,000 men and a whole of 100,000 aditional supplies (the weight including vehicles) would be needed to be transported to Lybia in the months of February, March, April and May, previously to the conquest of Egypt, in order to allow Rommel to reach the Delta in full strength in June 1942.

                      The origin of the vehicles: the german divisional allocation of the three new divisions (4,000 trucks), a considerable amount of Italian vehicles of Italian troops retired from the frontline, troops turned unnecessary due to the arrival of the second DAK (500-1,000 trucks), and 1,500-2,000 italian trucks more that could be detached from the more than 16,000 vehicles the Italians were preparing at that time for the ARMIR (Italian army in Russia for the 1942 summer offensive) and sent to Lybia.

                      In this period of time February-March-April-May 1942 the Italians transported 340,000 tons of supplies. For transporting the three new divisions, vehicles and supplies they would have need to transport 100,000 additional tons (340,000+100,000= 440,000: a monthly average of 110,000 tons for the four months). That was affordable. To transport all this (shipping capacity) the Italians had enough merchant ships at the time (lists can be found in Internet, website “naviearmatori”, for example) and the port capacity was high enough too, as the records show: 125,000 tons in June 1941, 79,000 and 92,000 tons in February and March 1941 (only Tripoli port), and in April 1942 was reached the peak of 150,000 tons, due to the improvements made in the Bengasi port (2,000 tons unloaded daily). The source of this data is that used by Wikipedia (article “Siege of Malta”), crusaderproject website and James Sadkovich: Dati Statistici Vol. I 2ª Edizione USMMM Roma 1972 (I´m sorry: I am not allowed to post links yet)

                      The additional expenditure of fuel for the whole period would have been of around 40,000 tons more, included here the bunker oil for the additional shipping and the escorts, the fuel needed to move the new divisions to the front line, the fuel needed for the new divisions in the weeks previous to the offensive, the fuel stockpiled for the battle and pursuit and the fuel for the around 2,000 flights Sicily-Tripoli for transporting the troops. As examples, the planned and never executed invasion of Malta would have required 40,000-50,000 tons, the naval battle of mid-June 1942 forced the Italian fleet to spend 15,000 tons in three days: that shows that amount of fuel was affordable if a priority existed, and closing the Mediterranean should have been a priority. A priority that would have saved a lot of fuel in the coming months, once the Mediterranean closed (fewer convoys and less supplies needed in North Africa). Apart from the probable booty of british fuel to find in the Delta and apart from the oilfields of Hurghada, not far away from the Delta (half a million tons year production at that time).

                      In the battle of Gazala took part around 40,000 german soldiers, 40,000 italian soldiers and 250 tanks Mark III and IV, in this alternate battle of Gazala would take part 80,000 german soldiers, 20,000 italian soldiers and 500 tanks Mark III and IV. Part of the Italian soldiers would be retired from the frontline, reserved for further use, handing over materiel to the germans, particularly the vehicles. Depots around 30,000 tons (mostly fuel and ammunition) would be stockpiled in the rear of the Gazala line for the battle and pursuit (only one reinforced Panzerkorps, but at full strength, for the pursuit). Time scheduled would be five days for the battle and fifteen days for the pursuit up to Cairo. 1,000-1,500 tons additional supplies dayly would be needed (fuel, ammunition and water, mostly) and transported by trucks, transport aircrafts and maybe coastal sailing seacrafts too.


                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      The only German reinforcements that could be supported in Africa was the 164th Light division and it did not possess enough trucks to either supply or move the division. It thus became a drain on the supply situation and was all but immobilised at Alamein.
                      Apart from the 164 Leicht, there also existed the Ramcke Brigade, but, above all, there were many Italian divisions that also consumed supplies as the german ones and that could be temporarily deactivated for the final offensive in order to save resources. And if the PAA was inmobilised at Alamein, that means that they were supplied in El Alamein (just one hundred kilometers away from the Delta) for four months, and that shows the logistical capacity of the PAA (100,000 men large at the time), but the problem was that that logistical capacity was only implemented at a time when the 8th army was much more strongly reinforced. That effort made earlier (from February 1942 on), Rommel could have got the Delta in June 1942, and at that time the british had not the equivalent resources to be reinforced the way they were later. But that was decided not to be the strategic priority, and Rommel was not given the extra german divisions he needed (and Hitler lost the war…). Anyway, I remind you that Rommel took 25 days to win the battle of Gazala, also showing that he was not so short of supplies. In Tobruk, Rommel only captured 2,000 fuel tons.



                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      Why would Spain join the Axis? Germany could not meet Spain's need for food or other economic necessities. The Spanish were in terrible shape and would not entering the war, especially after the US was involved. It meant the lost of all over seas territory. Spain was gaining plenty more by remaining neutral.
                      Joining Spain the Axis was the logical stand of a totalitarian, anticommunist and antidemocratic country as Franco´s regime was, but joining the Axis would be also interesting for the old reivindication of Spanish non-fascist military men (monarchist, traditional conservative): Spain participating in the international conflict in order to be equal to the other european powers of the time (like Italy). Of course, in order to Spain gaining “honor” and international prestige, Hitler should offer to Spain more colonial territories (something that Hitler never did in Our Time Line).

                      Spain was already engaged in the fight against the USSR in early 1942 (Spanish Blue division 250 ID, in the Ostfront), and Spain was suffering the constant threat of an angloamerican blockade. Spain was, undoubtedly, the most pro-Axis country in Europe among the neutrals (there was real enthusiasm to volunteer for the Blue Division), and if this plan (closing the Mediterranean) would have been exposed to Franco and his generals in March or April 1942, he would find it probably fairly feasible. Moreover, there would always be there the possibility of Hitler intervening in inner Spanish political affairs, as he did in other countries: there were many supporters of the Nazis in the Spanish francoist society, and also in the Army (young officers, specially).

                      Germany could provide Spanish basic import for economic necessities too: it would be expensive, but possible… as long as the strategic value of Gibraltar straits (closing the Mediterranean) would be worth. Basically, Spain needed 40,000 tons fuel monthly (the Axis could save that from closing the Mediterranean: less expenditure of the Italian navy and less expenditure of the PAA) and 40,000 tons wheat monthly: german consumption of wheat was around 1,500,000 monthly and wheat reserves in June 1942 still were over half a million. So, it was possible to supply wheat to Spain by shortening the rations in Germany 2 - 3 % and/or using part of the reserves. That would be bad for german population´s morale, but it would be made up by the extraordinary success of conquering Egypt, closing the Mediterranean, occupying the Black Sea lands and the expectations of a near victory and enjoying the booty of the new conquered lands (wheat and coal in Ukraine, oil in the Caucasus and Egypt: no problem for propaganda).

                      About Spanish overseas territories, Canary islands could be defended by the Luftwaffe (at least for some time) and the small Spanish territories in Guinea gulf were insignificant. Spain would be, anyway, largely compensated for that once the war ended with an Axis victory, as the whole british posesions in Africa would be shared, as booty, by Germany, Italy, Spain and probably France… if the French, as it would be predictable, also decide to sign finally a peace Treaty with Germany, including military collaboration (not necessarily joining the Axis).

                      I don´t think that Spain would have taken very seriously the involvement of the US in the war at that time. In 1942 nobody thought in Spain that the US was a big military power (because the military record of US in 1918 was not so spectacular). As a matter of fact, during the negotiations with the US in early 1942 about importing fuel and wheat, Spain could have retired the Blue Division from Russia in order to improve relationships with the angloamericans, but Spain only did it in October 1943, after Italians quit, because in 1942 Franco was still convinced that Hitler would win the war. Spanish-german negotiations in order to prepare Spanish joining the Axis (only once Egypt would be conquered, of course) would take place in the months of March, April, May 1942: at that time US troops were surrendering in Bataan and Corregidor, and the Japanese fleet was attacking the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean (apparently, with successful results), so Franco would see it was the time to participate too; germans would inform Franco that, if Egypt was seized, Japanese also promised to focus their interest in India. Spanish military required preparations being little, Franco could wait until the conquest of the Delta in June 1942 to join Axis. British intelligence knew that the danger of Spain was exactly that: losing Egypt would make Hitler to put pressure on Spain. Franco himself wrote to Hitler in February 1941 that seizing Gibraltar would make sense only if Suez was taken first.

                      The only reason why Spain did not join Axis was because Hitler was not interested in paying the price that Franco demanded (economic help and African colonial territories), that is clearly seen in the exchange of mail between both dictators, and that is seen so by most historians (only residual francoist historians believe today in the “clarividencia del Caudillo”: Franco foreseeing an Axis defeat already in December 1940)



                      Originally posted by The Purist
                      Turkey was even less likley to join the Axis and was making plenty of money by selling its strategic materials to the Allies (Germany did not have the money). Trust in Germany was extremely low and Turkey was not going to open the Dardenelles to the Italians (whom they had no love for at all).
                      I didn´t write Turkey to join the Axis in June 1942, just to let go in the Italian Fleet through the Dardanelles. That would be done under the threat of an Axis attack against Istanbul (not to suffer the fate of Belgrad). Anyway, Italy could promise to hand over the Dodecanese to Turkey (and Cyprus, once the british expelled from the Mediterranean), and, above all, the Russians, and not the Italians, were the real enemy of turks, particularly in mid- 1942, as soviet submarines were sinking Turkish merchant ships in the Black Sea. The Axis “cleansing” of that sea would be appreciated by the turks. Other countries, like Sweden, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria accepted letting to get through the Axis military power if they were pressed. Some of them joined the Axis, some others not, but they knew how costly the alternative could be. Yugoslavia experienced the sour consequences of that in April 1941.

                      By the way, Turkey signed a commercial Treaty with Germany in order to exchange raw materials for german armament, and Turkey resisted the pressure of the Allies to declare war to Germany until 1945.

                      In this story Turkey could remain neutral after the Italian fleet getting through in the Black Sea (the same way the Swedish remained neutral after the germans used their railroads in 1941), and only would join Axis once the Turkish borders reached after the successful german offensives in western Caucasus and Syria. Then Turkey would mobilize only two mountain armies in its eastern border, nothing onerous or risky.

                      Everyone wanted to be on the side of the winner.

                      Originally posted by Grognard
                      Also, Sebastopol was a tough nut to crack--maybe it could be nuetralized rather than assaulted, thus freeing most of 11th army.
                      That´s one of the reasons why it would have been extremely valuable to get the Italian Fleet into the Black Sea. The 11 Armee could have saved the battles of Kerch and Sevastopol, just gaining Crimea by blockade.
                      Originally posted by Grognard
                      As for flanking the Caucasus, the troops would have to land somewhere, and the Soviets could shift to meet them since they wouldn't need as many troops to stop Van Kleist.
                      The right place to land for the italian-german amphibious force would have been the Taman peninsula, blocking Crimea this way. Executed the landing inmediately, the russian would have had no chance to prepare an effective defense. German assault units could take probably the port of Anapa, and then getting more 11 Armee units transported using romanian maritime shipping from the port of Kherson. Fall Blau offensive units, after taking Rostov, would advance alongside the Azov Sea eastern coast to link with the Axis beachhead in Taman. The Red Army Crimea Front would be doomed.


                      In order to stop Von Kleist, the soviets would need practically the same force, as the only important german unit to be missing from the 1 Panzerarmee in this alternate Fall Blau offensive would be the 22 Panzerdivision, and one infantry division (from the 11 Armee) could be added to replace it, apart from those that, in OTL, were doing duty of coastal defense in West Black Sea (two romanian divisions freed now). At the same time, the soviets would need to deploy coastal defense in the whole East Black Sea coastline. And they would need to be more careful with the turkish border than ever.
                      So, from the begining of the Fall Blau offensive, having sent the three mobile divisions to Lybia would have turned a numerical advantage for the Axis in the Ostfront too.

                      Originally posted by T.A.Gardner
                      Assuming that Turkey does not willingly join the Axis the Germans will need at least a dozen or more divisions a third of which are mechanized to even try and take the country.
                      That would be assuming that the turkish government would be willing to see their country destroyed as Yugoslavia, existing an alternative to preserve neutrality (accepting to let the Axis forces pass through, as the swedish did). The Axis forces, anyway, in order to control the Dardanelles, they would not need to take the whole country, only the Istambul area, very close to the Axis forces in the Balkans (if modest, could be reinforced, apart from the amphibious force, and specially, the Luftwaffe units).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andalusian View Post
                        That would be assuming that the turkish government would be willing to see their country destroyed as Yugoslavia, existing an alternative to preserve neutrality (accepting to let the Axis forces pass through, as the swedish did).
                        You are misguided if you think that that's neutrality. It's a violation of a neutral's duties under Hague V 1907, probably the worst one.

                        Having made that clear, sure Sweden (and Switzerland) could get away with it during the war - because it was in the Allies' interest not to make a casus belli out of it. In the case of Turkey? I say the Soviets don't let them get away with it.
                        Michele

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          I'd recommend all take a look at the thread linked above on the AHF before making further comments.
                          I did,... it was painful. Nothing we could add here is not already mentioned there to dismantle this pipe dream.
                          The Purist

                          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The navigation through the Dardanelles was regulated by the Montreux convention of 1936. In theory, any Black Sea power could use these Straits, also for their warships. Bulgaria and Romania, being allies or collaborators of Germany and Italy could do it too, and the Italian fleet could hoist the flag of any of those countries (that happened sometimes in the second world war, as the US merchant ships that hoisted soviet flag to bring supplies to the Soviet Union via Vladivostok… passing by very near the Japanese coast). But of course that is not very important, being essentially a fraud.

                            The real important thing is that the turks must have choose between two possibilities: being in war against the Axis and being in war against the USSR.

                            What would have been the best choice to do?

                            A war against the Axis would mean the inmediate destruction of Istanbul by Luftwaffe bombing, the inmediate landing of the Axis amphibious force (it would have been formed, trained and concentrated in the Aegean Sea) and the attack of, at least, the four german divisions in the Balkans (704, 714, 717 and 718 ID) plus, probably, Italian and Bulgarian divisions. Besides, the moment the Axis would demand the free passage of the Fleet (supposedly Bulgarian or Romanian…) would be mid-June 1942 ATL, and at that time, the british would be recently defeated in Egypt as the Russians in Kharkov. Plus the closing of the Mediterranean and the Spanish joining the Axis.

                            A war against the USSR (or the Allies, angloamericans included) would have meant the attack of some soviet divisions in the remote and mountainous Eastern Turkish border… at the same time that the german Ostheer unleashes the “Fall Blau” summer offensive (something the germans would report to the turks… if that could not be already notoriously known by everybody), and at the same time that the defeated british in Palestine and Syria would be more worried about preventing a Rommel´s crossing the Suez canal than attacking Turkey or any other country. I remind you that in April 1941 Bulgaria invaded northern Greece at the time the british were still fighting in southern Greece: Britain did not declare war to the Bulgarians up to December 1941.

                            So I think it is very important to be realistic about historical events taking place at the real time, not thinking about them from our current point of view. It is unbelievable that Turkey would have accepted war against the most dangerous enemy, having the chance of keeping neutrality or –if that not possible- going to the war against the least dangerous enemy.

                            Turkey would be benefited with the entrance of the Italian Fleet in the Black Sea: the Axis fleet would clean the sea from the soviet submarines that were sinking several Turkish merchant ships at the time, would have secured the Turkish border with the Russians (the traditional enemy of the turks) and would have made possible, once joining the Axis some months or one whole year later, some Turkish territorial gains, like Dodecanese and Cyprus… but also some other Caucasus territories (in 1918 the turks were fighting in the Caucasus already supporting their azerbayans cousins…)

                            But I don´t think that Stalin would be so crazy in order to declare war to the turks. In that time, after the disaster of Kharkov and previous to Fall Blau, scattering Red Army units and gaining another enemy would be a very bad idea. Of course, once the german defeated it would come the time for the revenge against the turks... but with the Italian fleet inside the Black Sea I can not imagine how germany could have been defeated…

                            I agree: letting the Italian Fleet to get into the Black Sea would be the worst thing the turks could do against the russians, and that´s why the turks would know too that in some weeks they would have nothing to fear of the Russians anymore: Kharkovs´s disaster deactivated any chance of a Red Army counteroffensive for long time, Crimea would be lost, and the defense of the Black Sea and the Black Sea coast would be impossible.

                            Turks could wait for going to the war. They could try to become mediators (they did not want to declare war to the angloamericans) and, if not, just preparing the army for joining the Axis only in the best conditions (once the germans being in the Caucasus border and in the Syrian border). At that time, and this is OTL, the turks were already buying german weapons and observing war events, trying to keep neutrality and worrying only about factual chances.


                            The logical development of events once the Italian Fleet getting into the Black Sea in mid-June 1942 would be, first (and depending on the refueling necessities of the Fleet), to execute the amphibious landing in the Taman peninsula (with paratroops support too) and capturing a port, probably Anapa.

                            According to the Manstein´s book “Lost victories”, the 11 Armee in Crimea was in the 1942 springtime defending the gained territory in the 1941 Autuum from the Red Army amphibious operations executed at the end of December. In March 1942, the positions in Eastern Crimea were only saved by the arrival of the 22 Panzerdivision and the 28 Leicht division from France (April). As in this ATL these would be two of the three additional german divisions sent to the PAA in Lybia, it is possible that Mannstein decides –being informed of the Hitler´s plans- to retire the 11 Armee orderly to the Perekop isthmus. This withdrawal would be very convenient from a security point of view and very convenient too from a strategical point of view. The germans could defend Perekop with only five german divisions, plus the Romanians, and handing over two divisions to the 6 Armee in Ukrania, for the planned Friderikus operations in May. At the same time, the Red Army Crimean Front would go north, far away from the straits of Kerch, the strategical target of the planned Axis amphibious operation. The success of reconquering Crimea would be also good to encourage the Russians to act boldly.

                            In May, it would take place anyway the Russian Kharkov disaster. And in mid-June Manstein could move two or three 11 Armee divisions to Kherson port, near Perekop, to these troops to be ferried to the Taman´s beachhead with Romanian shipping resources. The soviet Black Sea fleet would try to keep Crimea supplied and the Italian fleet, the german submarines and the Luftwaffe would destroy them. The Crimean Front would be trapped and doomed. Another Red Army disaster, but much cheaper for the Axis than in OTL.

                            Fall Blau (17 Armee and 1 Panzerarmee) would attack Rostov immediately, according to the Fall Blau plan (only the 22 PzD would be missing, but that could be in part being made up by more units from the 11 Armee). Probably, in one month, the Axis beachhead in Taman would be linked with the Army Group A troops advancing.

                            Then, the last act: the Axis fleet would make impossible the supplying of the 47 and 56 russian armies defending the Russian positions south of the Caucasus mountains (they were supplied by the sea and by a coastal railway). If necessary, another amphibious landing could be executed in the Gelendzhik-Tuapse-Sukhumi area in September (flanking).

                            Before the end of the 1942 summer, the whole Black Sea coastline would be in Axis hand (Batumi port being the border with Turkey), and with the coastline, the germans would gain the ports (Anapa, Novorossik, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Sochi, Sukhumi, Poti, Batumi…) and the railways and roads starting from them. Also the Maykop oildfields: only 150 kms away from the Tuapse port, linked with road, railways and an oil pipeline. All those ports would be easy to repair, as all means of engineering in Europe would be at disposal of the germans using the Danube-Black Sea shipping resources.

                            All these forseeable events would be exposed in the german plans related to this strategical initiative from January 1942 on, and this way they would be exposed to the foreign authorities concerned: first the Italians (in January or in February), then the Spanish (in March or in April) and finally the turks (in June, once Egypt conquered). Once the Italian fleet into the Black Sea, Crimea blocked and the soviet Black Sea destroyed, it would be the time for France and for Egypt to decide what to do.

                            The situation would have been not very different from that one in June 1940, after the fall of France: at that time Italy joined Axis, Spain offered to join Axis too (but Hitler was not interested) and a country historically pro-french like Romania turned to Axis too.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                              I did,... it was painful. Nothing we could add here is not already mentioned there to dismantle this pipe dream.
                              I don't think our participation is really required - that was never the point.
                              Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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