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Could Spain have entered World War 2?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Tom Phoenix
    Actually, from what I have read, there were many volunteers that joined the Blue Division. Also, my point was the Blue Division has a good combat record.

    And yes, The African Corps consisted of the most highly trained Spanish troops which, in the Civil War, dominated the South. It was thanks to the Germans transport planes that these troops were transferred into Spain itself.
    I stand corrected. The BLue Division was withdrawn due to pressure from the allies on Franco, not a dearth of replacements as I thought. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Division)

    The Army of Africa, as we both said, was the best the Spanish had. They were ferried over by German and Italian aircraft. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Army_of_Africa.

    Thanks for the correction Tom.
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    • #17
      Originally posted by Tom Phoenix
      Actually, from what I have read, there were many volunteers that joined the Blue Division. Also, my point was the Blue Division has a good combat record.

      And yes, The African Corps consisted of the most highly trained Spanish troops which, in the Civil War, dominated the South. It was thanks to the Germans transport planes that these troops were transferred into Spain itself.
      Tom:

      The war record of the Spainish Blue Division is puntuated by nothing so much as heroism. Against overhelming odds, theygave a good account of themselves in and around Leningrad. If anything, the Germans "used them up" unwisely, especially in diplomatic terms. Indeed there were not shortage of volunteers for replacements until after 1943.

      For those who have focused here on the military aspects of whether Spain would enter the war or not, may I suggest this was NOT a factor? In fact, you should examine the role of Admiral William Canaris much more carefully in the events surrounding Spain's possible entry into the war.

      The Spain/German war dance went through many phases fairly quickly between 10 May 1940 and June 22, 1941.

      France was ready to join the war after France, and Britain be damned - Franco wanted Gibralter back - but Canaris, a long time friend, and German anti-Hitlerist, warned him off. At first Franco dismissed this, but Hitler's heavy handed foreign policy, fresh from the victory in France {Germany needs no-one} insisted on German bases in Spanish Morroco and the Canaries, where as Franco was looking for Spainish expansion of its empire in North Africa at the expense of the French. Hitler's demands seemed to support Canaris warning and Franco feared he'd never get a victorius Germany out.

      Hitler wanted Franco to join the war, but he didn't want to pay Franco's price, and the timing was such that when the British assualt on Oran in July put Vichy close to war with Britain -- Hitler saw more opportunity in French support than Spanish at the one time Franco came closet to pulling the trigger so to speak.

      Hitler might have acheived both, Vichy and Spainish entry, had he brokered three (3) way talks to give Franco some of what he wanted in French Morroco, promising to recompense France from other British Territory in Africa and guranteeing the rest of the French Empire in the process, as Vichy was requesting. This latter was too much for Hitler, who really didn't trust the French, no comprehensive "peace" treaty was entered into -- the armistice (only) stood, awaiting Britain's "enevitable" defeat, and Hitler choose to meet with each separately.

      VM

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      • #18
        Spain would not have been able to defend against the Allies or even feed itself.

        Germany would neither have the troops nor the transportation to help them, not to mention it would be another Axis partner without oil.

        Potential benefits would be there. They probably would have been able to close Gibraltar. And they would have U-Boot bases on a much expanded coastline compare to just France. But the resources to gain this were just not there.

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        • #19
          Spain could have helped the axis by letting a German infantry division, pioneer battalion and 2 artillery regiments have passage through Spain. That's about all the force you need to take Gibraltar. 2 weeks of heavy artillery barrage and I think the garrison would surrender.

          Germany could then cede Gibraltar to Spain and maybe lease some air/naval bases back.
          Without Gibraltar, Malta probably surrenders in summer '42 and Torch takes longer to secure Morrocco. That just means that the North African campaign takes longer to reach its inevitable conclusion.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by AdrianE
            Spain could have helped the axis by letting a German infantry division, pioneer battalion and 2 artillery regiments have passage through Spain. That's about all the force you need to take Gibraltar. 2 weeks of heavy artillery barrage and I think the garrison would surrender.
            British naval artillery can easily cripple a division and would be invulnerable to the German land forces.

            And the defenders can be resupplied and reenforced endlessly from the sea.

            Without active support from Spain this is futile.

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            • #21
              Spain was absolutely devestated after the Civil War and I don't think they would have been able to fight. If Franco joined the Axis side and the Allies ever landed in Spain it could spark the Civil War all over again and turn the whole country into an even larger mess than it was.
              There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -Henry Kissinger

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              • #22
                Perhaps. The Spanish are a proud people and likely didn't forget the American-Spanish war that stripped them of their overseas colonies. If Franco made the effort to lead his troops personally and convince them that they were fighting for Spain not Hitler, the Spanish army could have easily expanded throughout Africa, perhaps gaining oil fields and other resources for it's Axis partners.

                Just a thought of course.
                Alliances With The Powerful Are Never To Be Trusted.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by GameGeezer
                  Perhaps. The Spanish are a proud people and likely didn't forget the American-Spanish war that stripped them of their overseas colonies. If Franco made the effort to lead his troops personally and convince them that they were fighting for Spain not Hitler, the Spanish army could have easily expanded throughout Africa, perhaps gaining oil fields and other resources for it's Axis partners.
                  I don't see them getting along with the Italians in North Africa.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Redwolf
                    I don't see them getting along with the Italians in North Africa.

                    Actually, Franco Spain owed more to Italy for its civil war victory than perhaps it did to the Germans. Spain didn't covet Italian NA possessions; they got along fine.

                    Vichy France would have been the problem.

                    VM

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Redwolf
                      British naval artillery can easily cripple a division and would be invulnerable to the German land forces.
                      If Spain had allowed passage to German/Axis forces, the Luftwaffe would not have been far behind, nor would the Italian air contingent. A British naval presence would have been untenable. Perhaps night high speed bombardments to harrass troops, but I doubt this would have been decisive.

                      Germany could have taken Gibralter, but would have likely asked for Spanish logistical support; no doubt Franco would have insisted Spainish troops participate if he'd decided to go to war.

                      Originally posted by Redwolf
                      And the defenders can be resupplied and reenforced endlessly from the sea.
                      I doubt it. Gibralter was viable only because it was "hidden" at the end of a neutral over long distances away from German and Italian bases. Ships trying to resupply would meet with air attack by day and naval attack by night. Subs and small surface craft. If British ships weren't long gone by days they would come under air attack while trying to offload.

                      VM

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by GameGeezer
                        Perhaps. The Spanish are a proud people and likely didn't forget the American-Spanish war that stripped them of their overseas colonies. If Franco made the effort to lead his troops personally and convince them that they were fighting for Spain not Hitler, the Spanish army could have easily expanded throughout Africa, perhaps gaining oil fields and other resources for it's Axis partners.

                        Just a thought of course.

                        I agree. The Spanish might have provided strong support in the NA theatre; better so than the European. Equipment or not, they would have fought well, marginably better than the Italians (probably) under Rommel.

                        VM

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                        • #27
                          Also, dont forget that the Giblartar door to the Meditteranian is quiet tight which would make manouvering of the ships quiet problematic.
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                          • #28
                            I think part of this depends upon the German attitude towards the Soviet Union - covering the Iberian Peninsula would seem to be a tall order.

                            If getting committed to action in Russia- then it would make the entire Atlantic coastline wide open -well I don't have time to get into this just yet - but it makes for fascinating gaming -- in fact the last War in Europe (DOS) game I played in 1939 as the Allies- I decided to take the decision out of the Axis' hands- and attacked Spain myself - because I wanted to suck the German Army into having to garrison the entire Atlantic coastline -because I did not think they could ( my opponent flaked out and disappeared before I was ever able to find out).

                            Gibraltar being a mountain fortress -probably as fortified as anywhere in Europe might not have required that large of a garison to hold out for a fair amount of time. Supplies -well I think that you would have to stash the place full before anything like the possiblilty of being cut off happened.

                            At any rate -aside from the Pyrennes barrier- the majority of Spain seems to be fair to decent tank country. It might have made for some pretty sweeping campaigns.

                            But I think too - that the Soviets would have been in a far stronger position -because a static defense could never work in Spain, meaning probably having to face fewer Panzer units -maybe even not a 1941 attack -it sorta opens a can of worms that I doubt the Germans would have been prepared for.

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                            • #29
                              If Spain was in the war, Germany could have waited to attack Russia and dealt with Britian for good. If Gibralter fell then Malta would fall soon after, meaning more supplies get through to Africa and less troops get the Egypt. With the odds more in the Axis favor in the Mediterranian, Egypt would quickly fall after a few German and elite Spanish divisions arrived the help the Italians. After Egypt fell the way would be open to attack the oil fields in the Middle East.

                              After this series of events the British have suffered a huge defeat and the Axis have the Mediteranian firmly under control and steady supply of oil. As all this probibly would have happened by the end of 1941 the Americans would be much less hesitent to attack Germany. And Germany with its southern flank secured could now concentrate on crushing Russia.

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                              • #30
                                However -with Hitler fixated on eradicating Communism at the source -(ie USSR) - doing anything remotely rational militarily speaking -would have indicated a huge victory for the Army - over the politicians.

                                I guess coulsd have - sure -- would have? -well that in my estimation is not such a sure thing.

                                It does make for a very interesting gaming question though.

                                I am basing my premise on the Spanish Army itself not being worth much more than the Italian or any othr Axis minor nation (aside from Finland) - in terms of over all quality -- basically nothing more than a highly disorganized speed bump. The Blue Div is not a real good estimation of the qualitty of the Spanish Army -but more of the ability of Germany to equip and organize an infantry division.

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