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Could Spain have entered World War 2?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by trauth116
    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.
    Germany would have loved to see Overlord in Spain. The Pyrennes act as a natural "neck" of unhospitable terriroty from which it would be VERY hard for the allies to break through -- not unlike the ALPS in northern Italy. In fact the need to coast hop would be strikingly similar to what happened in Italy at Salenro and Anzio.

    VM
    Last edited by E_Von_Manstein; 28 Feb 06, 20:11.

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    • #32
      The Pyrenne's is not in nearly the depth of the Alps; and imo it would have been easily flanked - - - I do think that with such a wide coast line that would have put the Western Allies back onto the European continent in 1942. Looking at the map Spain is a far different shape than Italy- which require a far different style of defense.

      But again - I mean, really - it is there to try out isn't it? All I am saying is that I bet that if the Axis got sucked into Spain/Portugal - that the Germans would have gotten their rear ends handed to them -much faster than they had in the Italian campaign - because there was that much more room to maneuver. I am saying it would be the same sort of sucking in force that Napoleon discovered.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by trauth116
        The Pyrenne's is not in nearly the depth of the Alps; and imo it would have been easily flanked - - - I do think that with such a wide coast line that would have put the Western Allies back onto the European continent in 1942. Looking at the map Spain is a far different shape than Italy- which require a far different style of defense.

        But again - I mean, really - it is there to try out isn't it? All I am saying is that I bet that if the Axis got sucked into Spain/Portugal - that the Germans would have gotten their rear ends handed to them -much faster than they had in the Italian campaign - because there was that much more room to maneuver. I am saying it would be the same sort of sucking in force that Napoleon discovered.

        You might want to survey some of the psots over at the barbarossa thread about the german army circa 1942. If the allies cam onto the continent in 1942, it would have been them that got those heads chopped off. The German army was a far more effective instrument in 1942 than the remnants (and they were) that met the allies on the beaches in 1944 France.

        Further, the Luftwaffe had not been competely worn down by combat losses on the eastern front.

        I appreciate your comments, but the allies had not built up there combat power (especially air) circa 1942; so virtually mirror circumstances weak allies, strong axis as opposed to strong allies weak axis would have done these landings in.

        VM

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        • #34
          No offense - but I have gamed this concept out for years -which is actually the only active method to investigate this all. And I used to be a big fan of the - invade Spain - we'll take Gibraltar- and own the Mediterranean as the axis crowd. malta topples -all North Africa -etc etc etc...

          This all presumes Stalin stands pat. But Stalin would never had stood pat - if he figured he had anything to gain - and clearly - what he did in Bessarabia - indicated that he was going to take what he felt he could get. If the Germans showed any weakness at all in garrisoning the Eastern borders of the conquered territories- then Stalin was going to try to take advantage of it.

          If you are talking about the Anglo-US armies going toe to toe with the German Army -without any second front in 1942 (eg Russia) -yeh sure you are right - but then again - Franco -was not about to let the Germans into Spain -when he had every opportunity; he also was not about to join the Axis unless he was entirely certain of an Axis voctory - he did not want to toss away what he had won in the Spanish Civil War - the only way for the Axis to ever be in a position of even being on the Iberian Peninsula (mainly because I am of the opinion that in order to fully protect yourself - you have to take out Portugal in order to prevent the major port of Lisbon falling -into Allied handsundamaged. - at any rate -the only way you as the Italo-German are even in the area -is if you invaded Spain -instead of taking on the USSR.

          You are assuming the Allies would come onto the continent in force in 1942 ... I was not necessarily saying that- but I was saying that the area wouldbe large enough -that you could establish a presence there. In fact using North Africa as a staging area -Vichy France poses a problem - in that all NW Africa was basically a French colony- sure there is Spanish Morocco. But if I were gaming this out -and a German player invaded Spain -I would probably have to commit enough forces to secure it -while reinforcing Gibraltar and the region.

          Anyway the premise I was making really was that Spain/Portugal might well have sucked in enough Axis strength -for long enough - in order to maybe give Stalin some ideas that the Germans might be pretty vulnerable ... or not in a position to do anything -should the Soviets decide to make Romania - with their huge oil fields -a Soviet Province.

          It'd make for a different war for sure; but I am not as certain it would be an war winning strategy for the Axis.


          Edited to add: I checked out that Barbarossa thread - frankly I am not interested at all - in getting into that sort of a message board discussion - plus what I read over there seemed like the mojority of it was just unsubstantiated opinion -and author bashing - not something I care to get into. I don't think anyone's opinion on a message board would be apt to sway my opinion regarding hypothetical situations unless it can be demonstrated. Anyway -what I am writing -and have on the Panzer thread -are about myself considering my gaming these things out in the past.
          Last edited by trauth116; 01 Mar 06, 07:23.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by trauth116
            No offense - but I have gamed this concept out for years -which is actually the only active method to investigate this all. And I used to be a big fan of the - invade Spain - we'll take Gibraltar- and own the Mediterranean as the axis crowd. malta topples -all North Africa -etc etc etc..
            I think this is an excellent Axis strategy; one Hitler could have pursued in 1940, Sealion or no Sealion, even as he built up for a Barbarrosa -- even better camoflauge.

            No, I was responding to what I thought was your assertion -- did I read it wrong -- that while Germany was involved with Russsia in 1942, the allies could invade the continent IN SPAIN and be successful in that attack.

            VM

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            • #36
              Originally posted by trauth116
              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.
              Spain would have been A LOT more worth to Germany then Italy. The Spanish army was in no way weak. They had trained and experienced fighters, especially the Army of Africa. Not to mention they were modernly equipped due to the SCW.

              Also, the men of the Blue Division still had to be good fighters if they had a good combat record.

              In my opinion, Spain would have been the best ally Germany could possibly imagine.
              "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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              • #37
                1) EvM - I thought about what I was writing yesterday and from what perecpective -and really I came up with this - that these would be the considerations I would be making before making a decision on whether to force a Spanish involvement in the war. No matter what - you as a German player could not rely on Stalin's doing nothing -and would have to have some sort of reserve to deal with any potentiality. I don't know if that makes sense or not. I do know that the massive coastline of Spain basically fixes your defense -as you have to cover all of the ports - but there are ports all over the place. The Allies could use French North Africa as a staging ground, or the Balaeric Islands -or both; the Allies could pick their spots for a landing site as well. I am not positive that any landing even in 1942 would have been guaranteed to be not just repulsed but completely elimiated -add that to the fact that no Allied player would risk anything less than a sure thing. The Anzio example used before was not such a good one -as the Allies went into that landing woefully understrength - had they had 4 divisions instead of 2 - the Germans would have been in a tougher spot - a much tougher one -mainly because the landings there were unopposed for the most part - however therewere not enough Allied men to cover the necessary ground, available -- and they basically had to choose a perieter and dig in. Something like that - I took that you meant the general strategy of flanking the line with a landing -- well that could work - but you could not half-ass it while conserving and building up forces for something bigger - the Allies half-assed it at Anzio - which would not necessarily be the case - if an entirely different situation was forced upon them.

                Tom, they had an Army that had gone through a major war -one with not a lot of movement -and one that had been pretty beat up. he population in any Civil War when it's over -does not automatically go over to the winner in terms of support and all that. I'm basing my opinions on a series of games that I am sure the designers did far more research on the subject than I ever have done. The Spanish Army in Spain is not rated much higher than the Italian Army- I think there is good reason for that -plus the majority of Spanish equipment would have been from the Spanish Civil War -hich meant Panzer Is - and not many of those -and CR 32s and not many of those. The Spanish Foreign Legion -well yeh compared to other Spanish units- it was the creme of the crop -but really - I mean Folgore was to the Italian Army as well -that is not reflective by the overall quality of any army. Spain's biggest asset -one that Franco was well aware of- was geography- ots position on the map of Europe is in a probably more advantageous place than Italy's - however Franco was a lot more shrewd that Mussolini -as he was not prepared to let his victory in the Civil War be tied to the fate of Hitler - Hitler's winning WWII was not in his interest so much as his own government's survival was. Spain is most valuable with Italy as an ally - strictly speaking geographically. (However the point is -if that is so obvious a point - the 'other side' might also be aware of it).

                Anyway, that is how I'd view things if a game map were spread out in front of me; and if I had to consider what to do after France having fallen or gone over to the Vichy govt.

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                • #38
                  The Spanish Civil War was actually quiet mobile, especially with the Army of Africa. They broke out of the souther tip of Spain preety quickly.

                  While the SCW did bring damage to the army, it also brought it a trained and experienced cader. And some preety modern equipment. Im not talking about tanks or airplanes (some of which were modern), im mostly talking about infantry equipment. But yes, tanks and airplanes would have had to have been supllied by Germany.

                  Also, I dont think you should base your opinion on games. Sometimes, games can be preety flawed historiclly wise and also dont usually count many factors.

                  The Spanish army wasnt as good as the Wehrmacht, but it was better then the Italian army and certainly much better then the army of the minor Axis.
                  "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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                  • #39
                    I'm not going to regurgitate the bibliography from the game: "For Whom the Bell Tolls" -save to note it isn't Axis and Allies.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Tom Phoenix
                      In my opinion, Spain would have been the best ally Germany could possibly imagine.
                      Thanks god that Germans of III Reich were so chauvinists so they dispised even their alies as untermench to this point the Franco was reluctant to join them IIRC only falangists were pro-nazi, the monarchists and especialy Carlists traditionalists the other elements of nationalist camp, saw National Socialism as allmost as red and atheistic as Comunism was. BTW the blue division was seen in Spain more as part of Crusade against Bolshevism and revenge for crimes comitted by NKWD on spanish soil than as form to suport the Germans, and you had right threre were circa 80 000 volunteers to 20 000 posts in BD.
                      Arriba Espana!
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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Tom Phoenix
                        The Spanish army wasnt as good as the Wehrmacht, but it was better then the Italian army and certainly much better then the army of the minor Axis.
                        I would consider the exception to this statement being the Romanians; would you?

                        If you had to "rank" the potential combat effectiveness of axis minor allies, I would rank Romania 1 or 2 -- depending on how you wish to view Finland -- a limited beligerant.

                        VM

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                        • #42
                          Romanians: Well the Soviets always enjoyed rolling through them -if that is what you meant - otherwise I mean there were no reliable Axis Allied forces that did not have any direct German control.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by E_Von_Manstein
                            I would consider the exception to this statement being the Romanians; would you?

                            If you had to "rank" the potential combat effectiveness of axis minor allies, I would rank Romania 1 or 2 -- depending on how you wish to view Finland -- a limited beligerant.

                            VM
                            I would probably put Finland first, altho' I accept your caveat.

                            Next would be the Baltic States.

                            I think I would put the Spanish (altho' one could argue that they were not strictly an axis ally) and Slovaks after them.

                            I would put the Hungarians ahead of the Romanians -- but I admit that was largely for the fighting in Hungary where they were a little more determined than they were in the Soviet Union. I think both of them, though, fall behind the Italians.
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                            • #44
                              Sorry, the Finish were definitly better then the Spanish. But the Finish cant be really considered minor Axis.

                              I would put the Spanish and the Baltic States second.

                              Third I would put the Italians, the Hungarians and the Romanians. While the Italians were slightly better, all three of them were more or less weak allthough they had their moments.
                              "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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                              • #45
                                Non of the minor Axis states were very interested in fighting the war and that was the problem. More motivated Axis armies could have overwhelmed the demoralized Russian armies of 1940-41.

                                Somebody needs to try playing as Spain and then joining the Axis in a game of Hearts of Iron 2. Tell us how it turns out.
                                Alliances With The Powerful Are Never To Be Trusted.

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