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  • Iceland in Axis hands in ww2?

    Being a fan of war history and an Icelander I've been wondering quite much on this subject.

    Historically Hitler gave orders for invading Iceland when he heard that the British had done so 10. May 1940. However this time the generals could reason with him and the plan Ikarius was abandoned.

    But what if the attack would have taken place and maybe on a another timeframe?

    I see 3 possibilities:

    A) Invasion of Iceland is included in Weserubüngen. Iceland is without an army and is under the control of Denmark. Therefore a ship could be sneaked off to Iceland where it could take the capital Reykjavik and the only airport. Supplies and further troops would at first be supplied by air.

    B) Iceland is invaded immediately after Norway falls. It is still defenseless so troops that get there by air or sea can easily secure the capital and airport. However the British are now terrified of this possiblility and will soon start planning an invasion of their own - not to mention any signs of invasion of Iceland.

    C) The invasion goes according to the plan Ikarius and Germany will try to secure Iceland before attempting Sealion. Now British forces will have taken position on Iceland but they are secondary forces and without any proper equipment since France has fallen and the disaster at Duncerque has taken place. The British are therefore fixed upon defending Britain and it is safe to assume that if the Germans can get some force to Iceland then it will conquer the island.

    Further thoughts:
    The defence of Iceland was always based upon the Royal Navy and the supply situation for any German force would quickly become critical since the RN would impose a blockade upon an axis controlled Iceland.
    The Germans would definetely try to use their U-boots to contest the RN and you could say that having the carriers and capital ships waiting around Iceland would invite successful attacks by the submarines.
    Iceland in axis hands would open up sealanes to the US and further south. Both for the capital and pirate ships, supply ships and friendly buisness ships to maintain good ties with the isolationistic elements in the US. And of course the U-boots can now get easily to the back door of the isolated UK.
    Therefore the UK must invade Iceland as soon as possible! But things like such take time to plan and prepare. What will happen in the meantime?
    What will the reaction of the US be? Will this increase the possibility of it entering the war because of the sealanes close to America being threatened? Or will the opposite be true? Careful diplomacy by Germany making strong ties with those that do not want war.
    Will the British involvement in France be lesser before Fall Gelb if Germany invades Iceland early and the British decide to invade? Therefore lesser disaster in France? Maybe no plan of sending forces into Belgium?
    What will the political situation be in the UK? Would the fall of Iceland have any effect? Or would the public and diplomats feel seriously threatened? Enough to do something about it?

    Well now I've thrown down some speculations
    Hope you'll enjoy

  • #2
    Re: Iceland in Axis hands in ww2?

    Originally posted by Sturlungur
    Being a fan of war history and an Icelander I've been wondering quite much on this subject.

    Historically Hitler gave orders for invading Iceland when he heard that the British had done so 10. May 1940. However this time the generals could reason with him and the plan Ikarius was abandoned.

    But what if the attack would have taken place and maybe on a another timeframe?

    I see 3 possibilities:

    A) Invasion of Iceland is included in Weserubüngen. Iceland is without an army and is under the control of Denmark. Therefore a ship could be sneaked off to Iceland where it could take the capital Reykjavik and the only airport. Supplies and further troops would at first be supplied by air.

    B) Iceland is invaded immediately after Norway falls. It is still defenseless so troops that get there by air or sea can easily secure the capital and airport. However the British are now terrified of this possiblility and will soon start planning an invasion of their own - not to mention any signs of invasion of Iceland.

    C) The invasion goes according to the plan Ikarius and Germany will try to secure Iceland before attempting Sealion. Now British forces will have taken position on Iceland but they are secondary forces and without any proper equipment since France has fallen and the disaster at Duncerque has taken place. The British are therefore fixed upon defending Britain and it is safe to assume that if the Germans can get some force to Iceland then it will conquer the island.

    Further thoughts:
    The defence of Iceland was always based upon the Royal Navy and the supply situation for any German force would quickly become critical since the RN would impose a blockade upon an axis controlled Iceland.
    The Germans would definetely try to use their U-boots to contest the RN and you could say that having the carriers and capital ships waiting around Iceland would invite successful attacks by the submarines.
    Iceland in axis hands would open up sealanes to the US and further south. Both for the capital and pirate ships, supply ships and friendly buisness ships to maintain good ties with the isolationistic elements in the US. And of course the U-boots can now get easily to the back door of the isolated UK.
    Therefore the UK must invade Iceland as soon as possible! But things like such take time to plan and prepare. What will happen in the meantime?
    What will the reaction of the US be? Will this increase the possibility of it entering the war because of the sealanes close to America being threatened? Or will the opposite be true? Careful diplomacy by Germany making strong ties with those that do not want war.
    Will the British involvement in France be lesser before Fall Gelb if Germany invades Iceland early and the British decide to invade? Therefore lesser disaster in France? Maybe no plan of sending forces into Belgium?
    What will the political situation be in the UK? Would the fall of Iceland have any effect? Or would the public and diplomats feel seriously threatened? Enough to do something about it?

    Well now I've thrown down some speculations
    Hope you'll enjoy
    I have read quite a bit about the Germans sending out crews (weather and recon, I think) but I don't believe they went to Iceland. They went to Spitsbergen and Greenland. In fact, at least two crews were lost, presumably they lost their way in the high Arctic.
    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

    Comment


    • #3
      Well. Spies went to Iceland but usually they lasted only a short time mainly due to Enigma.
      There had been a lot of German activity on Iceland before the war and the British were concerned that they had been preparing among other things invasion and scouting for places to paradrop and use as open airfields. However it looks like this information was overlooked in the beginning steps of the Ikarius planning. But it could have been included in a more detailed planning at a later stage.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think Iceland could have been taken by paratroopers/gliders and it would have been a wonderful base for submarines and Kondor anti-shipping aircraft.
        The difficulty would be holding it long term. I think the Royal Navy would be too strong to effectively supply it by sea and I don't think enough aircraft would have been able to be used to supply it by air.
        Lance W.

        Peace through superior firepower.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lance Williams
          I think Iceland could have been taken by paratroopers/gliders and it would have been a wonderful base for submarines and Kondor anti-shipping aircraft.
          The difficulty would be holding it long term. I think the Royal Navy would be too strong to effectively supply it by sea and I don't think enough aircraft would have been able to be used to supply it by air.
          I agree.
          Although the effective use of planes is questionable due to the exceptionally long distance that needs to be covered. The Junkers cargo planes that were used for the paratroopers had to be equipped with extra fuel tanks to be used in operations in North Norway. I do not yet know if this would even have been possible in action against Iceland. There is also the question of a British aircraft carrier intercepting such flights.
          Actually the long term occupation of Iceland is not the question. What would the effects of German capture of Iceland? The focus of the British war effort would probably shift towards the island but what would the consequences be on the war that has already started in the Atlantic - and nearly cost Britain the war.

          Comment


          • #6
            I doubt Germany could have done anything more than harassing attacks or maybe an 'I took it and now you have to take it back' strategic kind of action. There's no way they could have sustained an operation to hold it.

            Now, seeing as how Britain HAS to deal with it, it draws off resources that could be used somewhere else leading to a whole slew of scenarios where the RN and RAF are too busy in the North Atlantic and not somewhere else at a critical time (seeing as how France is about to get rolled over, the BEF has less support and suffers more casualties? - leading to 'less resources' later for the British in the Med in '41 and '42). In any case, the British end up having to 'deal with it' in some way which changes the disposition of their forces which creates entirely new situations for the Axis in Europe and the Med and maybe even into Asia.
            If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by chrisvalla
              I doubt Germany could have done anything more than harassing attacks or maybe an 'I took it and now you have to take it back' strategic kind of action. There's no way they could have sustained an operation to hold it.

              Now, seeing as how Britain HAS to deal with it, it draws off resources that could be used somewhere else leading to a whole slew of scenarios where the RN and RAF are too busy in the North Atlantic and not somewhere else at a critical time (seeing as how France is about to get rolled over, the BEF has less support and suffers more casualties? - leading to 'less resources' later for the British in the Med in '41 and '42). In any case, the British end up having to 'deal with it' in some way which changes the disposition of their forces which creates entirely new situations for the Axis in Europe and the Med and maybe even into Asia.
              Yes. Exactly my point.

              The British will see German successes all over the place and their very meager resources will be spread extremely thin.
              They do however retain the supremacy at sea which assures them ability to get Iceland back. But in order to guard against supply reaching the island by sea they must station a carrier task force between Norway and Iceland and another task force south of Iceland to try to stop the German raiders that now could otherwise easely evade the RN.
              Then they need to gather sufficient force to be able to stop any sizeable German fleet that tries to sortie out to Iceland. This in turn would allow the German raiders to harass the allied shipping for many months to come - at least a lot longer than actually happened.
              Another twist is that Hitler decided to scrap the ambitious Z-plan that meant huge buildup of the German fleet and he also postponed the buildup of the U-boat arm that Dönitz had asked for until too late. These decisions could be changed if Germany becomes a major player in the N-Atlantic by capturing Iceland - even though it would only be for several months. Of course a buildup in the naval arm requires lesser buildup elsewhere which will affect the Barbarossa.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sturlungur
                I agree.
                Although the effective use of planes is questionable due to the exceptionally long distance that needs to be covered. The Junkers cargo planes that were used for the paratroopers had to be equipped with extra fuel tanks to be used in operations in North Norway. I do not yet know if this would even have been possible in action against Iceland. There is also the question of a British aircraft carrier intercepting such flights.
                Actually the long term occupation of Iceland is not the question. What would the effects of German capture of Iceland? The focus of the British war effort would probably shift towards the island but what would the consequences be on the war that has already started in the Atlantic - and nearly cost Britain the war.
                I agree that it is doubtful Ju-52's would have had the range to reach Iceland even with extra fuel tanks, but here is a viable alternative.
                The Kondor originated as a passenger carrier in the 1930's, it could have been used and it did have the range. the question would be if enough could have been made available for such use.
                Lance W.

                Peace through superior firepower.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lance Williams
                  I agree that it is doubtful Ju-52's would have had the range to reach Iceland even with extra fuel tanks, but here is a viable alternative.
                  The Kondor originated as a passenger carrier in the 1930's, it could have been used and it did have the range. the question would be if enough could have been made available for such use.
                  Yes the Kondor is certainly a promising alternative. It was a passanger carrier, very fast and had incredible range. I think only up to 370 planes were manufactured all the war but they proved very effective in co-operation with the U-boats.

                  The Kondor could have proven successful but there is a question of if the plane could be use efficiently with the paratroopers. I seem to recall someone telling me that the Russians attempted a parachuting operation near Kremenchug in September 1943. It went terribly wrong and one part of the disaster was considered to be because they used planes that didn't fit for parachuting operations. But maybe a passanger plane like the Kondor is suitable?

                  If I remember correctly then they were considered fragile and could not carry heavy loads. Probably gliders along with following planes that could land on captured airlanding areas could provide the neccessary support to make the operation successful

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sturlungur
                    Yes the Kondor is certainly a promising alternative. It was a passanger carrier, very fast and had incredible range. I think only up to 370 planes were manufactured all the war but they proved very effective in co-operation with the U-boats.

                    The Kondor could have proven successful but there is a question of if the plane could be use efficiently with the paratroopers. I seem to recall someone telling me that the Russians attempted a parachuting operation near Kremenchug in September 1943. It went terribly wrong and one part of the disaster was considered to be because they used planes that didn't fit for parachuting operations. But maybe a passanger plane like the Kondor is suitable?

                    If I remember correctly then they were considered fragile and could not carry heavy loads. Probably gliders along with following planes that could land on captured airlanding areas could provide the neccessary support to make the operation successful
                    The Kondor could carry at least 20-30 passengers in its pre-war configuration. In its marine /anti-shipping role it could carry 4,000 lbs of bombs, plus the weight of defensive machine guns. Based on these figures it should be able to carry enough paratroopers for reasonable operations.

                    I am almost positive the Russian planes you mention were based on bombers, not transport planes, so I doubt it would require extensive modifications to the Kondor to make it viable for airborne forces.
                    Lance W.

                    Peace through superior firepower.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lance Williams
                      The Kondor could carry at least 20-30 passengers in its pre-war configuration. In its marine /anti-shipping role it could carry 4,000 lbs of bombs, plus the weight of defensive machine guns. Based on these figures it should be able to carry enough paratroopers for reasonable operations.

                      I am almost positive the Russian planes you mention were based on bombers, not transport planes, so I doubt it would require extensive modifications to the Kondor to make it viable for airborne forces.
                      Yes I think you are right. The Kondor would have proven ideal for the role.

                      Let's assume that Operation Ikarius is put in action right after the fall of France in August/September 1940.

                      By now the British morale is in shambles and their army has suffered a severe setback. The expedition to Norway has also failed and they lost a carrier in the process. But the good news is that the German navy has suffered a severe blow and has to avoid any direct confrontation with the RN.

                      Kondors are sent out from Norway evading any possible British ships and dropping paratroopers over Iceland. The main goal is Reykjavik - the islands biggest harbour and the site of it's only airport. There are also the only oil supplies.

                      The defenders are no match for the experienced paratroopers. An then more planes start to arrive with reinforcements and supplies. The Germans are hopeful of sneaking supply convoys past the RN blockade in the ever increasing darkness. They realize that controling Iceland long term is futile but now the attention of the British empire is focused momentarily to Iceland.

                      The stage is now set for operation Sealion.

                      Will the British start to prepare to invade Iceland immediately? Or will they dig in in Britain and only try to blockade supplies to Iceland?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sturlungur
                        Yes I think you are right. The Kondor would have proven ideal for the role.

                        Let's assume that Operation Ikarius is put in action right after the fall of France in August/September 1940.

                        By now the British morale is in shambles and their army has suffered a severe setback. The expedition to Norway has also failed and they lost a carrier in the process. But the good news is that the German navy has suffered a severe blow and has to avoid any direct confrontation with the RN.

                        Kondors are sent out from Norway evading any possible British ships and dropping paratroopers over Iceland. The main goal is Reykjavik - the islands biggest harbour and the site of it's only airport. There are also the only oil supplies.

                        The defenders are no match for the experienced paratroopers. An then more planes start to arrive with reinforcements and supplies. The Germans are hopeful of sneaking supply convoys past the RN blockade in the ever increasing darkness. They realize that controling Iceland long term is futile but now the attention of the British empire is focused momentarily to Iceland.

                        The stage is now set for operation Sealion.

                        Will the British start to prepare to invade Iceland immediately? Or will they dig in in Britain and only try to blockade supplies to Iceland?
                        The scenario you outline is possibly the only way Sealion might have had a chance, if the British could not concentrate their forces on their eastern shores, but also had to protect for at least modest attacks from the west
                        Lance W.

                        Peace through superior firepower.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Iceland would be a good area for Germany to post U-boats and troops and would gain a foothold that could be used for destroying american shipping.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jivetalk0810
                            Iceland would be a good area for Germany to post U-boats and troops and would gain a foothold that could be used for destroying american shipping.
                            True. German U-boat bases and airports in Iceland would have been a truly horrible situation for the Allies.

                            However they would never have allowed it to happen. Should a German invasion succeed then the RN would have started by blocading the German forces thus making them short of supplies and equipment and then they would have invaded Iceland in turn.

                            The question is just: when? Because if the UK is under pressure and threatened with a possible invasion or heavy U-boat activity is being felt then I believe the options for the British are quite limited.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Iceland in Axis hands in WW2?

                              Being a fan of war history and an Icelander I've been wondering quite much on this subject.

                              Historically Hitler gave orders for invading Iceland when he heard that the British had done so 10. May 1940. However this time the generals could reason with him and the plan Ikarius was abandoned.

                              But what if the attack would have taken place and maybe on a another timeframe?

                              I see 3 possibilities:

                              A) Invasion of Iceland is included in Weserubüngen. Iceland is without an army and is under the control of Denmark. Therefore a ship could be sneaked off to Iceland where it could take the capital Reykjavik and the only airport (if it could be called an airport at that time . Supplies and further troops would at first be supplied by air.

                              B) Iceland is invaded immediately after Norway falls. It is still defenseless so troops that get there by air or sea can easily secure the capital and airport. However the British are now terrified of this possiblility and will soon start planning an invasion of their own - not to mention any signs of invasion of Iceland.

                              C) The invasion goes according to the plan Ikarius and Germany will try to secure Iceland before attempting Sealion. Now British forces will have taken position on Iceland but they are secondary forces and without any proper equipment since France has fallen and the disaster at Duncerque has taken place. The British are therefore fixed upon defending Britain and it is safe to assume that if the Germans can get some force to Iceland then it will conquer the island.

                              Further thoughts:
                              The defence of Iceland was always based upon the Royal Navy and the supply situation for any German force would quickly become critical since the RN would impose a blockade upon an axis controlled Iceland.
                              The Germans would definetely try to use their U-boots to contest the RN and you could say that having the carriers and capital ships waiting around Iceland would invite successful attacks by the submarines. However at that time Dönitz had very few U-boats and sending them against well protected Task Forces would certainly have causes considerable losses.
                              Iceland in axis hands would open up sealanes to the US and further south. Both for the capital and pirate ships, supply ships and friendly buisness ships to maintain good ties with the isolationistic elements in the US. And of course the U-boots can now get easily to the back door of the isolated UK.
                              Therefore the UK must invade Iceland as soon as possible! But things like such take time to plan and prepare. What will happen in the meantime? If the threat of Sealion is still kept strong including the airbattle over Britain then the RN will be split up between being ready for rushing in aginst a possible invasion and blocading the occupation forces of Iceland - maybe even preparing a counter-invasion?
                              What will the reaction of the US be? Will this increase the possibility of it entering the war because of the sealanes close to America being threatened? Or will the opposite be true? Careful diplomacy by Germany making strong ties with those that do not want war.
                              Will the British involvement in France be lesser before Fall Gelb if Germany invades Iceland early and the British decide to invade? Therefore lesser disaster in France? Maybe no plan of sending forces into Belgium?
                              What will the political situation be in the UK? Would the fall of Iceland have any effect? Or would the public and diplomats feel seriously threatened? Enough to do something about it?

                              Well now I've thrown down some speculations
                              Hope you'll enjoy

                              Comment

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