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Why did HITLER not take Gibraltar and turn the Mediterranean into a "German lake".

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  • Why did HITLER not take Gibraltar and turn the Mediterranean into a "German lake".

    Why did HITLER not take Gibraltar and turn the Mediterranean into a "German lake".

    Let the discussion begin:

  • #2
    Gibraltar was the most strategic place in the whole world.

    Why did the Nazis never bother to capture it.

    There was nothing to stop the Germans from driving through Spain and doing the job.

    We are told that Hitler conquered Crete and Malta (at great cost) because they were strategically important. But Hitler never bothered to conquer the most strategic place on the entire planet. Why?

    If Hitler had conquered Gibraltar, then Crete and Malta would have no longer had much strategic value, as there would be no allied ships in the Mediterranean to attack from them. They would have been kept out by the defenses at Gibraltar. Conquering Crete and Malta would have also been easy as the allied ships and guns and troops needed to defend these places would have not been able to get to them. And the resupply ships providing ammunition, men, and replacement artillery etc, would have not been able to get to them.

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    Last edited by lewinski; 11 Nov 19, 05:52.

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    • #3
      First off, Spain was neutral so doing so would have touched off major problems.

      Secondly, The British had fortified Gibraltar and taking it would have been very costly.

      Thirdly, Gibraltar was in the wrong direction at the time, south rather than East.

      Probbly other reasons at well, but those come immediately to mnd.
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      • #4
        Germany could "drive through Spain" in only one of two ways: Invade and take the country, or talk Franco into declaring war on the Allies. Neither of those are good options for the Axis. Germany ends up having to defend a huge amount more coastline since the Spanish army is in poor shape and recovering from the civil war the country went through in the late 30's.

        Spain uses a different rail gage than the rest of Europe. That too will be a problem just as it was in Russia.

        Then Gibraltar would be rendered moot as critical the second the US shows up and invades Vichy French territory in N. Africa. They'd take Spanish Morocco and have a base on the opposite side of the straight so Gibraltar is neutralized.

        But, let's assume the Germans do take Gibraltar. Could they successfully interdict Allied shipping entering the Med? They'd have no naval forces to speak of to operate out of there. Sure, they could mount coast defense guns, and have shoot outs with Allied naval vessels. Gibraltar would also become a target for bombing. The Luftwaffe probably could do little to defend it.

        North Africa was a sideshow for the Germans. Russia was the main focus. Gibraltar would have been a huge distraction as a military operation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lewinski View Post
          Gibraltar was the most strategic place in the whole world.

          Why did the Nazis never bother to capture it.

          There was nothing to stop the Germans from driving through Spain and doing the job.
          Gibraltar is the RM Battle Honour and somehow I find it hard to believe that the Germans could ever have been allowed to capture the place!! lcm1
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
            First off, Spain was neutral so doing so would have touched off major problems.
            You JOKE,.... I assume.

            Spain was neutral,... So what?

            Poland was neutral (before the war). That didn't stop Hitler.

            Poor Hitler the timid coward,... he must have been deadly afraid of Franco.

            Franco might have slapped him on the hand,... or said some nasty words,...

            Poor timid Hitler. What could he do?

            The poor timid coward Hitler,... he sat in the corner and cried for a week when he heard that he couldn't send his troops through Spain,....

            And he had just won the Spanish civil war for Franco,...

            Such ingratitude!!
            Last edited by lewinski; 10 Nov 19, 22:38.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              Secondly, The British had fortified Gibraltar and taking it would have been very costly.
              .
              So what?

              It was much more costly to let the Americans and British ship thousands of tanks and men to North Africa, where they defeated the German armies in North Africa.

              If the Germans held Gibraltar, the American and British transport ships would have ended up at the bottom of the ocean.

              Anyway, taking Gibraltar should have been as easy as the Japanese taking of Singapore. Just like the big guns in Singapore pointed towards the ocean and couldn't be turned around the big guns in Gibraltar pointed towards the straits and couldn't be turned around.

              Last edited by lewinski; 10 Nov 19, 22:30.

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              • #8
                So, there are a couple of problems with the entire idea:

                1. When, exactly, were the Germans going to do this?


                After the fall of France would've been best, but the Germans were occupied preparing to invade Britain. After the Battle of Britain, Hitler's eye had turned east. Once that happened it was immensely more difficult to find the forces for a Spanish campaign, not to mention that it would've been a violation of the entire idea of concentration of effort. North Africa was bad enough but that only cost the Germans one armored korps. Spain would've required more.

                2. Not enough resources

                So, how many divisions would you allocate to pacify Spain and isolate and take Gibraltar? Even assuming Franco cooperated, you'd likely require several infantry korps, plus Luftwaffe support, plus heavy artillery support and even then it would be a siege. All at the end of a lengthy logistical chain.

                3. Diplomatically difficult

                To get at Gibraltar you have to go through Spain and Vichy France. Yeah, ok, you could probably get Vichy France to allow it. Spain is not so easy. Franco had little interest in Hitler's war and Spain was still recovering from the civil war. And forget about invading Spain. You're talking about an invasion force that Germany just didn't have after Barbarossa began.


                Look, the Germans didn't even properly support Rommel and the DAK, so it's hard to see how any sort of attack on Gibraltar would've made it past the planning stage. Malta was a much more immediate, valuable target and Kesselring couldn't even convince Rommel that it was worth it. Gibraltar? No way.

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                • #9
                  Does Gibraltar need to be physically taken?

                  Could it have been effectively neutralized by either invading or co-opting Morocco? If a base could have been leased in Morocco, the Strait could have been closed from the south. Gibraltar was not self-sufficient and any re-supply or re-inforcement efforts could be stymied. Malta held out at tremendous cost.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DingBat View Post
                    So, there are a couple of problems with the entire idea:.
                    No. No problems at all.

                    1. When, exactly, were the Germans going to do this?

                    Anytime would have been great.

                    After the fall of France would've been best. Yes,... but anytime would have been great.


                    2. Not enough resources.

                    Wrong.

                    The winners of the Spanish civil war supported the Fascists. If Franco caused Hitler to conquer Spain, then Franco would be dead, and one of the lower people (who supported Hitler) would be put in place. There would be no rebellion against this person as all the communists were dead or in hiding (after the civil war).


                    So, how many divisions would you allocate to pacify Spain and isolate and take Gibraltar?

                    Zero divisions to pacify Spain.

                    Whatever it took to conquer Gibraltar.

                    The best and most obvious solution is the following:

                    The Germans would have just moved via the Spanish road system (prime-movers for the tanks) without Spain's permission. Franco couldn't/wouldn't attack the Germans; that would be suicide. Franco would not declare war on the Allies. That would be stupid.


                    3. Diplomatically difficult

                    Compared to Poland. Not difficult at all.
                    Last edited by lewinski; 11 Nov 19, 02:52.

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                    • #11
                      Thread moved to alternate timelines as it is a what if thread
                      thank you
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DingBat View Post
                        So, there are a couple of problems with the entire idea:

                        1. When, exactly, were the Germans going to do this?


                        After the fall of France would've been best, but the Germans were occupied preparing to invade Britain. After the Battle of Britain, Hitler's eye had turned east. Once that happened it was immensely more difficult to find the forces for a Spanish campaign, not to mention that it would've been a violation of the entire idea of concentration of effort. North Africa was bad enough but that only cost the Germans one armored korps. Spain would've required more.

                        2. Not enough resources

                        So, how many divisions would you allocate to pacify Spain and isolate and take Gibraltar? Even assuming Franco cooperated, you'd likely require several infantry korps, plus Luftwaffe support, plus heavy artillery support and even then it would be a siege. All at the end of a lengthy logistical chain.

                        3. Diplomatically difficult

                        To get at Gibraltar you have to go through Spain and Vichy France. Yeah, ok, you could probably get Vichy France to allow it. Spain is not so easy. Franco had little interest in Hitler's war and Spain was still recovering from the civil war. And forget about invading Spain. You're talking about an invasion force that Germany just didn't have after Barbarossa began.


                        Look, the Germans didn't even properly support Rommel and the DAK, so it's hard to see how any sort of attack on Gibraltar would've made it past the planning stage. Malta was a much more immediate, valuable target and Kesselring couldn't even convince Rommel that it was worth it. Gibraltar? No way.
                        Not just pacify Spain but defend Spain. By going to war against the Allies the Spanish would be inviting attacks against the Spanish mainland. Once the Americans were involved then there would likely be landings in southern Spain to secure the entrance to the Med.
                        There is no way the Franco would agree to go to war against the Allies. Spain was far too vulnerable. He did not want Spain to be turned into a battlefield again so soon after the end of the civil war. Much easier for Franco to sit out the war as a neutral.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lewinski View Post

                          No. No problems at all.

                          1. When, exactly, were the Germans going to do this?

                          Anytime would have been great.

                          After the fall of France would've been best. Yes,... but anytime would have been great.


                          2. Not enough resources.

                          Wrong.

                          The winners of the Spanish civil war supported the Fascists. If Franco caused Hitler to conquer Spain, then Franco would be dead, and one of the lower people (who supported Hitler) would be put in place. There would be no rebellion against this person as all the communists were dead or in hiding (after the civil war).


                          So, how many divisions would you allocate to pacify Spain and isolate and take Gibraltar?

                          Zero divisions to pacify Spain.

                          Whatever it took to conquer Gibraltar.

                          The best and most obvious solution is the following:

                          The Germans would have just moved via the Spanish road system (prime-movers for the tanks) without Spain's permission. Franco couldn't/wouldn't attack the Germans; that would be suicide. Franco would not declare war on the Allies. That would be stupid.


                          3. Diplomatically difficult

                          Compared to Poland. Not difficult at all.
                          By allowing the Germans to transit Spain on route to Gibraltar Spain would be in breach of her neutrality and would be at war with the Allies.
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                          • #14
                            Why did Hitler not take Gibraltar ?
                            Very simple
                            1 Hitler could do nothing with Gibraltar ,while Britain could replace Gibraltar easily .
                            2 It was impossible to capture Gibraltar :saying that prime-movers could go to Gibraltar with tanks is ridiculous : Spanish roads would make this impossible ,and there is the problem of the distance .. Besides the Germans need no tanks to capture Gibraltar . Using the railways was also impossible: source : letter from the German embassy in Madrid to Berlin .
                            3 It would be suicidal : Spain would be a drain on German resources and the occupation of Spain would make Barbarossa impossible . Other point : the survival of Franco's regime depended on the willingness of Britain to let pass merchant ships with food to feed the Spanish population. Without the food imports, there would be starvation in Spain and this would mean the end of Franco .

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Surrey View Post

                              By allowing the Germans to transit Spain on route to Gibraltar Spain would be in breach of her neutrality and would be at war with the Allies.
                              The best and most obvious solution is the following:

                              The Germans would have just moved via the Spanish road system (prime-movers for the tanks) without Spain's permission. Franco couldn't/wouldn't attack the Germans; that would be suicide. Franco would not declare war on the Allies. That would be stupid.


                              "By allowing the Germans to transit Spain on route to Gibraltar Spain would be in breach of her neutrality and would be at war with the Allies."

                              Franco wouldn't have allowed the Germans to use the roads; they would have just used the roads. End of story. Franco has no say in the matter, unless the poor timid coward Hitler, lets him. Why should Hitler care what the pip-squeak Franco says or thinks.

                              If the allies declare war on Spain, then they create another enemy.

                              I'm sure the Nazis would have been over-joyed.


                              "1 Hitler could do nothing with Gibraltar" Chuckle.

                              "2 It was impossible to capture Gibraltar" Chuckle.

                              "3 It would be suicidal : Spain would be a drain on German resources and the occupation of Spain would make Barbarossa impossible." Chuckle.

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