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  • Malta instead of Crete ...

    This scenario assumes that NAZI Germany engaged a Comprehensive Plan Of Action (CPOA) where in the process of sending an Armor/Mech Corps ~ two divisions (+) to North Africa meant that German Joint Staff worked out with Italy a Joint Venture Plan where by as German land formations were sent to North Africa , German and Italy Forces would work together to reduce/capture Malta, thereby securing (somewhat) the Central Med. in the MTO.

    After Malta, which could occur a month plus before conditions of Crete create the need for that case of "Airborne Forces" applications, the Airborne forces could absorb some replacements such to "Do" Crete a month or so later ... ???

    I'm thinking that when doing Malta, Italy's Navy could contest the UK's Naval sufficient to "hold off" from significant interference with landings and support of Axis Invasion of Malta, through initial stage unto final.

    Bottom-line, if pursued early enough, attacking Malta in conjunction with sending "high tech"
    German troops/divisions to North Africa Continent assures a better "secure" of 'Center of Board' for Germany/Axis than by leaving Malta alone as in the historical path ,,,

    "Point" being, if you are going to be involved in the Med., shouldn't you be more aggressive in trying to secure positions of Defense, AND Strike Threat Potential ...
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
    “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means” - von Clausewitz
    Present Current Events are the Future's History

  • #2
    Malta would have been a tougher nut to crack than Crete.

    From the New Zealand Official History

    3.

    The situation in Malta is, of course, very different to that of either Crete or Cyprus. Malta is a fortress which has been in our possession for over 100 years and has powerful defences which are constantly being augmented. A great deal of underground accommodation is available, so that, although there have been almost incessant air raids for a year, the casualties have been trifling. There is a completely equipped and efficient garrison; the air defences consist of fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft guns, the strength of which at the end of June was—
    Serviceable Hurricanes 50
    Heavy Anti-aircraft guns 112
    Light Anti-aircraft guns 72
    page 512

    It is hoped, before the end of this month, to increase the number of anti-aircraft guns to—
    Heavy Anti-aircraft guns 112
    Light Anti-aircraft guns 120

    A good system of R.D.F. has been installed.
    4.

    Nevertheless, the lessons of Crete are being thoroughly studied in Malta, and no stone will be left unturned to prepare the Island for heavy attack. A word of warning must, however, be sounded. The ability of any island to withstand a heavy air and seaborne attack must be limited unless air bases exist on the mainland nearby, from which additional cover can be provided, and unless a fleet can operate in the surrounding waters. At present no such air bases exist, nor could surface forces remain in the vicinity.
    5.

    If, therefore, the Germans decide to attempt to capture Malta, the success of their enterprise will depend upon the amount of force they are prepared to expend on it. They could undoubtedly mount an attack from Sicily and Southern Italy of the same type as they launched against Crete from Rhodes and Greece. Their losses would be a good deal heavier than they sustained at Crete, but if they decided to maintain their attack day after day regardless of loss for perhaps a period of several weeks, they would probably in the end be successful. There is good reason to suppose, however, that the cost of this success might be the crippling of a large portion of the German short-range air force. Conversely, the losses which the Germans would sustain in the attack might be so great that they could not face them. It is this thought which may have deterred them from making the effort before now.
    http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/schol...ee-b3-1-2.html

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    • #3
      If I was a Italian/German planner, the inferred reasoning I am taking from the NZ paragraphs 4 & 5 is that the Axis forces does not need to occupy the whole of Malta to eliminate its threat to Africa-bound convoys. As long as its Malta airfields are neutralized, the threat to Axis convoys is much mitigated.

      The invasion focus should therefore be on occupying Gozo and its airfield, so that Allied airfields on the main Malta island are in easy reach of Axis fighters.

      Add the capture of parts the main Malta island by an invasion force, and perhaps Allied airfields can come under Axis artillery fire. The threat issue to Axis convoys is therefore pretty much managed.

      Comments?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
        The invasion focus should therefore be on occupying Gozo and its airfield, so that Allied airfields on the main Malta island are in easy reach of Axis fighters.
        Gozo did not have an airfield until one was built in 1943 to support the invasion of Sicily.
        From Maltese History & Heritage : Airfields section Ta’ Lambert – Gozo

        Air field Ta’ Lambert was an airfield in Xewkija on the island of Gozo in Malta. The airfield was built when the Allies needed more runways and parking area in preparation for the invasion of Sicily in 1943. Tower of Gorgion was demolished to make way for the temporary airfield. It was a 14th century tower used by the Grandmasters as a summer residence

        Nobody really knows why up to that time the island of Gozo had not had any airfields, while there were 7 on the (larger) island of Malta
        It is notable that it took the USAAF 21st Engineer Aviation Regiment with bulldozers, tractors and other heavy equipment landing on the island to get the airfield finished in a timely fashion, a luxury of equipment the Axis powers did not possess.

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        • #5
          And how would this airfield be built by the Italians while isolated by British air and naval forces. The parchute forces would effectivel have been abandoned to their fate.

          If you are going to attack Malta you *attack* Malta and attempt to take it.
          The Purist

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

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          • #6
            While this tread was started by Draco and contains considerable drivel it also contains many responses on Gozo and Malta that are relevant here. Perusing it while ignoring the drivel (eg., Draco) is worthwhile.

            http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=145961

            Comment


            • #7
              This lifted from the thread listed:

              Malta in June 1940 is defended by:

              34 3.7" AA guns
              8 light AA guns
              5 battalions of British regular troops including about 70 carriers.
              2 battalions of Maltese troops with 2 more forming.
              1 regiment of RA with 18 pdr.
              4 Gladiators
              2 100 ton 17.75" RML cannon in barbette (probably unusable)
              7 9.2" BL in barbette
              3 10" /32 turreted (probably unusable)
              10 6" BL Mk VII in turrets
              9 twin 6pdr AMTB mounts (vicious versus MTB's and landing craft. These fire about 60 rpm and were designed specifically to repel landings and small craft)

              Approximately 85% to 90% of Gozo's coastline is cliff face and unsuitable for any sort of landing.

              The Italians have zero amphibious landing experience and no equipment or ships suited to that activity.

              Doveton Sturdee: On the subject of the Coast Defence guns (as opposed to the AA weapons), 1 x 9.2" was at Fort Bingemma, 2 at Ft. Madalena ( 6th Hvy Bty, RA). 2 at Ft. San Leonardo, & 2 at Ft. Benghisa (10 Hvy Bty, RA).

              There were 2 x 6" at Ft. Delimara, 2 at Ft. Campbell (4th Hvy Bty, RA), 2 at Ft. San Rocca (1st Hvy Bty RA), and 3 at Ft. Tigne (2nd Hvy Bty, RA).

              The 100 ton guns dated from 1877 and to the best of my knowledge had not been fired since around 1906, and I have no information on any 10 inch guns.

              There were also 18 6 pounders, 12 at Ft. St. Elmo and 6 at Ft. Ricasoli.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi

                This is from British & Commonwealth Armies 1939-45 Supplement Volume 2 by Mark Bevis
                Attached Files
                "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                  Hi

                  This is from British & Commonwealth Armies 1939-45 Supplement Volume 2 by Mark Bevis
                  Lucky for me I could turn my lap top sideways... I almost broke my neck trying to read that...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    Lucky for me I could turn my lap top sideways... I almost broke my neck trying to read that...

                    Same here. Andy H should be told in no uncertain terms to have pity on those of us with long-standing injuries from years of cricket and rugby.

                    The zimmer frame beckons!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yeh, ...

                      Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
                      Same here. Andy H should be told in no uncertain terms to have pity on those of us with long-standing injuries from years of cricket and rugby.

                      The zimmer frame beckons!!
                      ... cricket and rugby(?), and football, with 3 downs.
                      "I am Groot"
                      - Groot

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marmat View Post
                        ... cricket and rugby(?), and football, with 3 downs.
                        Rugby UNION, old chap! Fifteen a side, proper scrums, fancy shirts, and lines out. Not the game played by the oiks in the North of England, even though I am a North of England oik meself.

                        Never tried the other football. Truth to tell, I have always been a bit too large and clumsy to be anything other than a second row forward.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
                          Rugby UNION, old chap! Fifteen a side, proper scrums, fancy shirts, and lines out. Not the game played by the oiks in the North of England, even though I am a North of England oik meself.

                          Never tried the other football. Truth to tell, I have always been a bit too large and clumsy to be anything other than a second row forward.
                          Hi DS

                          Played 2nd row myself for a couple of seasons in the Army and then briefly up in Wallasey.
                          Still play Football, though my wife says I get stiff in all the wrong places after I've played

                          Regards
                          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            And how would this airfield be built by the Italians while isolated by British air and naval forces. The parchute forces would effectivel have been abandoned to their fate.
                            If the premise of the thread here is Malta instead of Crete in late May 1941, I assume that the same Axis elements would be available and therefore German army. naval and air forces units would be involved.

                            So, if the argument is that the invasion force against Malta would be isolated by British air and naval forces, why were the British not successful during the Crete invasion?

                            The naval force based in Malta at the time was a few subs and an old WW1 monitor, as the Royal Navy ships were mostly moved to Alexandria - So even a little farther away than Crete too. The RAF was based on Hurricane fighters, many of them worn-out with cannibalized parts, and a few Swordfish.

                            If you are going to attack Malta you *attack* Malta and attempt to take it.
                            Not necessarily. If the aim is to neutralize the threat to Axis convoys between Europe and Libya, it may be more efficient (ie going the right thing) in resources to simply keep constant cover of the place with air and sea power.

                            Of course, to be effective (ie doing things right). an airfield and port on Gozo would be much helpful. Therefore, a moot point, as for some reason I thought an airfield already existed on Gozo, but that would be incorrect (Thanks, CarpeDiem for the correction.)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
                              If the premise of the thread here is Malta instead of Crete in late May 1941, I assume that the same Axis elements would be available and therefore German army. naval and air forces units would be involved.

                              So, if the argument is that the invasion force against Malta would be isolated by British air and naval forces, why were the British not successful during the Crete invasion?

                              The naval force based in Malta at the time was a few subs and an old WW1 monitor, as the Royal Navy ships were mostly moved to Alexandria - So even a little farther away than Crete too. The RAF was based on Hurricane fighters, many of them worn-out with cannibalized parts, and a few Swordfish.
                              The take Malta two things have to happen for the Axis:

                              First they have to parachute in sufficient airborne forces to take and hold an airfield sufficiently to allow aerial reinforcement.

                              Second they have to take Valetta Harbor and the surrounding city to allow for a seaborne force to arrive using the air-landing forces.

                              They fail in the first they are done before they start. If they fail in the second it is unlikely they can overcome the defenses entirely. They cannot make an amphibious assault first as there are few beaches anything can land on. Most of Malta's coastline is cliff face.
                              So long as the British hold the harbor they can reinforce by sea and make taking the island a serious challenge to just light airborne forces.

                              Of course, to be effective (ie doing things right). an airfield and port on Gozo would be much helpful. Therefore, a moot point, as for some reason I thought an airfield already existed on Gozo, but that would be incorrect (Thanks, CarpeDiem for the correction.)
                              Gozo is all but worthless. It has a tiny port and the coast is almost all cliff. No airfield exists on it until late 1943 early 44.

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