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Would Germany have won WWII if Italy had not joined?

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  • Would Germany have won WWII if Italy had not joined?

    I personally think it would depend on how Germany's plans changed. The Italians forced Hitler to invade the Balkans and send the Africa Corps to Africa. This gave Hitler less time and troops to attack Russia with in 1941 but kept many British Divisions in Egypt that otherwise would most likely be fighting somewhere closer to Germany. Also the Italian navy kept many British warships in the Mediteranian. So Germany might have beaten Russia in 1941 but might have had to fight the British somewhere in Europe at the same time.

  • #2
    Only good (for the Germans) could come out of not alining with Italy. They would be able to do things their own way and without things such as North Africa and then Italy to take care off and draw precious manpower and airpower. Also, I doubt that the British would be able to fight anywhere. They couldnt land in Fortress Europe and they couldnt use anything else. Except maybe Yugoslavia, but I dont think it could be used by the allies without a Italy and Greece fighting.
    "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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    • #3
      Originally posted by Engineer 1888
      I personally think it would depend on how Germany's plans changed. The Italians forced Hitler to invade the Balkans and send the Africa Corps to Africa.
      The diversion into the Balkans did not really delay Barbarossa at all. As Guderian states in his memoirs, the spring thaw had come late in 1941 and the spring rains were heavier. The Germans could not attack from Poland earlier than they did since the rivers were still in flood and the ground too soft. Further, the troops diverted were all back on station in time for the scheduled launch of the invasion and their losses had been minor. The Balkan effect was negligable at best.

      As far as Rommel's three divisions are concerned, I seem to recall they represented less than 2% of the German armies strength,...not much to tip the balance in Russia with.
      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Engineer 1888
        I personally think it would depend on how Germany's plans changed. The Italians forced Hitler to invade the Balkans and send the Africa Corps to Africa. This gave Hitler less time and troops to attack Russia with in 1941 but kept many British Divisions in Egypt that otherwise would most likely be fighting somewhere closer to Germany. Also the Italian navy kept many British warships in the Mediteranian. So Germany might have beaten Russia in 1941 but might have had to fight the British somewhere in Europe at the same time.

        If Italy stayed Neutral, watch Russia be beaten in 1941 or 1942. The Africa Korps would happyly have replaced the Italian Corps sent to Russia. Also part of teh fuel sent to the Italians, part of the Lufwaffe sent to the Med would have stayd in RUssia. and Italy would have traded with Germany selling Germany fuel and materials that Italy could buy on the open markets..


        as for the British forces, what could they do in 1941 or 1942? attempt an invasion of France? Land in Murmansk? Invade Norway? they were small and underarmed then. Japanese would have had it tougher though against Singapore...


        later, in 1943, no italy, means no Tunigrad, no german garrisons in the Balkans, etc. that might have made any fight in russia a stalemate instead of a Russian Victory or even a german success in either winning or getting a good negotiated peace.
        "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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        • #5
          I don't think Italy could have gotten away with neutrality. One side or another, they would have gotten sucked into the war.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by piero1971
            Also part of teh fuel sent to the Italians, part of the Lufwaffe sent to the Med would have stayd in RUssia. and Italy would have traded with Germany selling Germany fuel and materials that Italy could buy on the open markets...
            The only source of oil for Italy was the same as that for Germany, Ploesti in Rumania. Even if Italy had remained neutral it still needed this fuel for the military,...which was seriously inadequate. Again, the benifit to the eastern front would be negligable. Even at its peak strength the Germans strength in Africa only numbered some 6 divisions

            All in all, I think it is safe to say that the Mediterranean theatre did not have a great draining effect on the eastern front until much later when the Germans strength peaked at some 26 divisions, but Italy was already out of the war by then.
            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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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Purist
              The diversion into the Balkans did not really delay Barbarossa at all. As Guderian states in his memoirs, the spring thaw had come late in 1941 and the spring rains were heavier. The Germans could not attack from Poland earlier than they did since the rivers were still in flood and the ground too soft. Further, the troops diverted were all back on station in time for the scheduled launch of the invasion and their losses had been minor. The Balkan effect was negligable at best.

              As far as Rommel's three divisions are concerned, I seem to recall they represented less than 2% of the German armies strength,...not much to tip the balance in Russia with.
              But already in 1941 the Axis had to keep 21 divisions in the Balkans. That however is a preety mayor drain on manpower, which was planned to be used against the USSR. Through time, it got even worse. In 1943, the Germans ALONE had to keep over 30 divisions in order to hold onto communications.

              Im going to have to check out about these weather facts. Thanks for specifying the source.

              True, but Rommel was a talented commander who knew how to defeat forces much large from his own. Something which would have proven useful to the Germans on the Eastern Front. Also, remember that the most important part of the Afrika Corps were tanks which the Germans needed badly against the Soviets. North Africa also drew a lot of aerial power which could have been used in supporting the armies in the USSR.
              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom Phoenix
                But already in 1941 the Axis had to keep 21 divisions in the Balkans. That however is a preety mayor drain on manpower, which was planned to be used against the USSR. Through time, it got even worse. In 1943, the Germans ALONE had to keep over 30 divisions in order to hold onto communications.
                But the vast majority of these men were those who were not considered fit enough for front-line service. There's an interesting article here

                True, but Rommel was a talented commander who knew how to defeat forces much large from his own. Something which would have proven useful to the Germans on the Eastern Front. Also, remember that the most important part of the Afrika Corps were tanks which the Germans needed badly against the Soviets. North Africa also drew a lot of aerial power which could have been used in supporting the armies in the USSR.
                Rommel was a maverick who had difficulty taking orders. The Desert was the perfect place for a man of his particular talents. As for the tanks, compared to what was deployed on the Eastern Front the 250 odd that Rommel had were a drop in the ocean. The same really goes for the air force.
                Signing out.

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                • #9
                  Italy, like Spain or Turkey could easyly stay neutral - while even beeing convinced to send a good division or two to Russia as a "volunteer" corps..

                  as for oil, a neutral Italy could have bought it from countries willing to sell it... Great Britain oil from Iraq, USA who had plenty to sell and Italy had plenty of ships to make money shipping goods from all over the world to all belligerents - like the Swedes and Swiss (yes, Swiss had a small merchant navy...!!), Spanish, Argentinians and Brazilians etc. - or venezuela, among others...

                  even 250 tanks in 1941 would have helped, not to mention 250 tanks well supplied in an effort to relieve Stalingrad... somtimes a drop in the Ocean can change a war...
                  "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                  • #10
                    That's an interesting theory.

                    Rommel in the East might have made a difference in how the germans fought, and perhaps Hitler might have been more willing to listen to a General he 'trusted' (Rommel used to be in charge of Hitler's bodyguards).

                    It would have affected the Western allies more than Russia, as the Britosh and the US would be under pressure from Stalin to do something against the Germans. We might even have seen an earlier Operation Overlord instead of the Torch landings, which could very possibly have failed.

                    The Americans and British would be untried combat troops, and all of the lessons learned in the deserts of Africa would have to be discovered again. On the German side, however, Rommel might not have been placed in charge of the atlantic wall, meaning the defenses would be weaker and the men there might not respond to the invasion correctly.

                    For the Russians, I see Rommel still becoming a successfull commander, with the steppes of Russia replacing the desert of Africa.

                    If the Allied landings failed, or were not successfull enough to break through, I could see Stalin seeking peace with Germany only if the Russian army was completely routed in '41/'42, with no Stalingrad and the Germans having seized Moscow (although I also could imagine Stalin unwilling to surrender and fighting on even then, perhaps even driving the Germans back after taking Moscow/Stalingrad/Leningrad).

                    Italy would try and remain neutral, but I doubt it could have stayed that way forever. The Allies might have invaded Italy on the pretense of preventing Italy from joining the Axis, and tried to invade Germany from the south.

                    Then, of course, perhaps Italy would invade Yugoslavia on it's own (without German help) and then try to invade Greece (if they actually seized Yugoslavia), therefore declaring war on the UK.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971

                      even 250 tanks in 1941 would have helped, not to mention 250 tanks well supplied in an effort to relieve Stalingrad... somtimes a drop in the Ocean can change a war...
                      Maybe? Who knows? But the DAK weren't at the front of the queue for spares or fuel and ammo. In many respects it was the captured Allied supplies that kept them going more than what came from Germany.

                      Rommel in the East might have made a difference in how the germans fought, and perhaps Hitler might have been more willing to listen to a General he 'trusted' (Rommel used to be in charge of Hitler's bodyguards)
                      .

                      But Hitler didn't listen to him prior to D-Day! Whilst Rommel was winning Hitler probably would but omce he'd suffered a defeat then he would have gone the way of many of the other Eastern Front Generals. In my opinion Hitler was a good judge of a man's talents and as such he recognised where Rommel's abilities could best be utilised and so sent him to North Africa.
                      Signing out.

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                      • #12
                        of course the question should be:

                        what would make Italy stay neutral.

                        my take is that had that silly Anthony Eden not have that personal vendetta against Mussolini, more pragmatic heads, like Churchill, who was an admirer of "il Duce", would have talked to Mussolini in 1935 and agreed to let Italy have a bunch of barbarians and rocks in Ethiopia if Italy would keep the anti-German lead of the "front of Stresa".

                        Italy LEADING the diplomatic front of the allies in 1937-1938 would have made a huge difference. At the time, Italy was considered a strong military power and probably the Anschluss of Austria by Germany and the Sudetenland affair would not have been made so easyly by Hitler..
                        "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Full Monty
                          Maybe? Who knows? But the DAK weren't at the front of the queue for spares or fuel and ammo. In many respects it was the captured Allied supplies that kept them going more than what came from Germany..

                          true true.. and in the East as well, captures Soviet supplies made the German army advance a lot...

                          by the way, this option would be great to play in a operationsl game...
                          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by daemonofdecay
                            The Allies might have invaded Italy on the pretense of preventing Italy from joining the Axis, and tried to invade Germany from the south..
                            that I dont' buy for the same reason the Allies did not attack neutrals, like Sweden, Spain, Persia (sort of)... and the South of Germany THROUGH Italy, is a tough one..(alps) and if attacked Italians would have fought on much more than as an agressor and after 3 unsuccessfull years of wars.. Italian moreal would have been high in such a case. and the Massed Italian Fleet, defending it's coastline (albeit a long) one would have been a formidable opponent in such a scenario (no long lines of communications). hardly any soft underbelly and hardly a move that, say, Italo-americans would have approved.. the USA at the time did not go attacking neutrals...
                            "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by piero1971
                              true true.. and in the East as well, captures Soviet supplies made the German army advance a lot...
                              After a fashion. Soviet fuel was of a particularly low quality compared to the German which, in its turn, was inferior to the British.

                              by the way, this option would be great to play in a operationsl game...
                              That it would
                              Signing out.

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