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  • Hitler and Russia

    I've always wondered if Hitler didn't attack Russia and would have faced more on the Med. if Rommel could have won, and if the germans would have conquered more. Rommel was not far from winning but Hitler ignored him to send supplies to the upcoming eastern front.
    "All Glory is Fleeting"

  • #2
    Originally posted by Napalm
    I've always wondered if Hitler didn't attack Russia and would have faced more on the Med. if Rommel could have won, and if the germans would have conquered more.
    There's a school of thought that believes that a Mediterranean strategy in 1941 - in the Eastern Med to be specific - could have brought great rewards and left the Germans in a much better position to attack the USSR in 1942. This would require Hitler to think in the long-term rather than his usual short-term modus operandi.

    If you haven't already, can I recommend you read 'Hitler's War' by Heinz Magenheimer. He explores the alternative strategies that could have been taken up and speculates a little on what might have been.

    Rommel was not far from winning but Hitler ignored him to send supplies to the upcoming eastern front.
    Not really true. Operating in Egypt stretched his supply lines way beyond their limits and the British/Commonwealth air forces were able to interdict what was sent over without too much difficulty. Just sending more would just have left more shipping on the seafloor or greater stockpiles in Benghazi and Tripoli.
    Signing out.

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    • #3
      Rommel wasn't in Egypt until 1942, well after the invasion of Russia.
      Before Rommel was sent to Africa, German staff studies concluded 4 German divisions were needed to win there. Had they sent all four in 1941, and taken Malta when feasible, Cairo would have fallen at some point.
      That still leaves the problem of defeating Britain completely the the possibility of Stalin attacking in 1942.

      Would make a different war but not a better one for Germany in the long run unless Stalin never attacked. And by 1942 the Red Army and Air Force would have had much more modern equipment to use against Hitler than they had in 1941.

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      • #4
        There is another school of thought that believes Hitler's long term strategy, in part, was an alliance with Britain. Hitler had to knock out France and Russia to convince Britain that they would face Germany alone. An alliance with Britain would be necessary for a German global domination against the only other challenger the United States. Consequently, he had to invade Russia and get an early knock out.

        Consequently, according to the other school of thought, Hitler's orders to Rommel were to defend, not attack the Brits in North Africa. Rommel believed in the theory of knocking out the Brit's and too great risks to accomplish it. It was after the invasion in Russia that Rommel realized he was not in the main war sector.

        rna
        Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 29 Jul 06, 09:36.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by grognard
          Rommel wasn't in Egypt until 1942, well after the invasion of Russia.
          My misreading admittedly, but that was the only time Rommel was really close to winning.
          Before Rommel was sent to Africa, German staff studies concluded 4 German divisions were needed to win there. Had they sent all four in 1941, and taken Malta when feasible, Cairo would have fallen at some point.
          The supply networked struggled to move such supplies as did arrive, increasing the number of divisions, even with Malta in Axis hands, would just further stretch the already inadequate logistic system
          Would make a different war but not a better one for Germany in the long run unless Stalin never attacked. And by 1942 the Red Army and Air Force would have had much more modern equipment to use against Hitler than they had in 1941.
          A strategy that pushed into the Middle East through modern Syria and Lebanon would have given the Axis the option of striking the Soviets from the South. Should keep some decent Red Army formations tied up for a while.
          Signing out.

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          • #6
            IMO if Italy had agreed to move his supply lines to tobruk and they had taken malta the n. African campaign would have been hugely different.
            He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.
            --Napoleon Bonaparte

            Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. --Napoleon Bonaparte

            We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction. --Douglas MacArthur

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Full Monty
              The supply networked struggled to move such supplies as did arrive, increasing the number of divisions, even with Malta in Axis hands, would just further stretch the already inadequate logistic system


              A strategy that pushed into the Middle East through modern Syria and Lebanon would have given the Axis the option of striking the Soviets from the South. Should keep some decent Red Army formations tied up for a while.
              If the logistics of supplying Africa over a short Med distance is tough, supplying a strong force through Turkey, assuming Turkey joined the Axis, or through Iran is even harder. A Caucasus attack is a logistic nightmare that makes supplying Africa look easy.

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              • #8
                i personally think that hitler would have poured more resources into africa and into western europe if he hadn't planned the invasion of russia. he wanted liebestrum and knew he had to invade russia so the he could have the space he needed. if he had thought and dismissed of invading russia, he would have had his armour, aircraft and men ready to invade england. once the invasion was over and africa was conquered, then he could have thought about russia without the distraction of africa.
                Big40 events. By skinheads for skinheads.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by grognard
                  If the logistics of supplying Africa over a short Med distance is tough, supplying a strong force through Turkey, assuming Turkey joined the Axis, or through Iran is even harder. A Caucasus attack is a logistic nightmare that makes supplying Africa look easy.
                  Well you don't have the problem of having to supply all the army's drinking water and neither do you have the vast sea distances. On top of that there are (relatively) friendly forces in the area who will at least harry the British/Commonwealth forces that might be deployed against the Axis invaders. Obviously the terrain will be unfavourable

                  There's an essay by John Keegan in 'What If?' (ed. Robert Cowley) that describes precisely this option as against launching 'Barbarossa' and suggesting it could have been a war winner for Hitler. I'm not saying he's right but it makes an interesting read if you can lay your hands on it.
                  Signing out.

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                  • #10
                    had Italy actually planned war, instead of clumsily deciding to join in in a few days in May 1940, when Benito Mussolini thought the war would end in a few days.. it could have easyly:

                    1. avoid that silly war on Greece - Greece, considering it's political leanings could eventually join the Axis as a member!!!

                    2. called in harbour it's merchant fleet and then used it for supplying Lybia and an operation against Malta

                    3. attacked Malta, japanese style, as the Declaration of War was beeing made, thus enabling a quick fall of the island and securing cross-med shipping lines - that in June 1940. with the French fleet out of the war soon the Italian navy did scare the British Navy into entering central Med for a while (until the Taranto raid)

                    4. planned with a good supply and especially good high-commander (not the moronic Graziani) an invasion of Egypt, which could only succeed in June 1940

                    5. Once Egypt falls, the arrival of the DAK, the Vichy-leaning french Syria, the revolt of Iraq would have made the Middle East Axis territory.. .perhaps even avoinding the italians to lose the East-African possessions..... that would surely have made Britain throw the towel... and still on time for a 1941 invasion of Russia.

                    it works all the time in World in Flames
                    "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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                    • #11
                      If the italians are that good in world in flames, the Germans must really be supermen
                      Last edited by grognard; 30 Jul 06, 16:14.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Full Monty
                        Well you don't have the problem of having to supply all the army's drinking water and neither do you have the vast sea distances. On top of that there are (relatively) friendly forces in the area who will at least harry the British/Commonwealth forces that might be deployed against the Axis invaders. Obviously the terrain will be unfavourable

                        There's an essay by John Keegan in 'What If?' (ed. Robert Cowley) that describes precisely this option as against launching 'Barbarossa' and suggesting it could have been a war winner for Hitler. I'm not saying he's right but it makes an interesting read if you can lay your hands on it.
                        I've read that essay, and I think that Keegan underestimates the logistical problems and overestimates forcing Turkey into the war. (Turkey didn't join when Germany seemed on top and about to take over Russia.)
                        Also, forcing the Caucasus passes would be tough once the forces got there. Even at the height of the German invasion, Stalin kept a strong force in the Caucasus and Transcaucasus and the border and passes were defended and fortified.
                        N. Caucasus MD 1 Jan 1942: 5 RD, 4 Rifle Brigades, 2 Cav. D, 2 AB corps, & 7Air R and that's not counting the forces in Iran or PVO units. (see Glantz, Companion to Colossus Reborn).
                        And there were plenty of troops in the Stalingrad and Central Asian and Ural MDs that could swiftly be brought in.
                        Last edited by grognard; 30 Jul 06, 16:16.

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                        • #13
                          I not sure exactly how many German divisions could be supplied through Turket without a major overhaul of the rail and road network (at least partially). An attempt to move through Turkey would have met with British resistance in northern Syria or Iraq,...the British did have troops available in the Delta and plenty more could have been diverted from Egypt or Britain.

                          <This all seems vaguely familiar...>
                          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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                          • #14
                            I really think one has to forget the idea of Turkey joining the Axis. it had anough of more than 10 years of war from 1911 to 1923 and the regime was in the middle of uneasy reforms.

                            as for supply through Turkey, possible, but indeed small.

                            as for Italians in Lybia, an army of 300'000 troops, well supplied and more importantly well led, could have easyly invaded and conqauerred Egypt - defended by 30'000 british in the summer of 1940 - especially if the Egyptian independence card was played, and even more so if Italy (not losing half it's merchant fleet could ship there and supply one armored division)
                            "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 The Purist

                              <This all seems vaguely familiar...>
                              We debated it as a possible option for the Germans if they achieved a temporarary ceasefire in the USSR around Spring 1942.

                              Originally posted by Piero1971
                              as for Italians in Lybia, an army of 300'000 troops, well supplied and more importantly well led, could have easyly invaded and conqauerred Egypt - defended by 30'000 british in the summer of 1940 - especially if the Egyptian independence card was played
                              Hmmm, not sure. It would have needed the Italians to build up massive supply dumps close to the Egyptian border. Even better leadership would not have made the Italian Army any more mobile than it was historically. I'd also be very doubtful as to the effectiveness of an Italian appeal to the Egyptian Nationalists. The Italians were 'Old Imperialists' as much as the British were and as such the Egyptians would probably suspected Italian motives. The Germans probably stood a better chance of stirring them up because they didn't carry the baggage the Italians did.
                              Signing out.

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