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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by strathnaver View Post
    OK we lose Gibralter, the Axis get bases in the Canary Islands. The Germans set up a FOB there for Uboats threatening the Panama UK, SA/Australia UK Convoys and the SA UK convoys . In the Med the Germans now have the Spanish ports to use. And if the alliance doesn't occur until after the fall of France then the French ports are added and the Luftwaffe has bases in both Spaanis & French Morocco. Malta is cut off, unless resupply runs fron Alexandria. This would make eeverything just that much more difficult.
    Yup, it makes things just that much more difficult. For the Allies thru 1941, for the Axis sometime after that. I'm skeptical the Axis would hang onto any Atlantic islands for very long. The Brits proved able at amphibious warfare, continuing their tradition at it. But securing those islands is yet another resource draining task for Britian. The only way the Allies gain much from this is if Germany over commits the Luftwaffe and reduces strength for the Barbarosa campaign, or elsewhere.

    A quick look at the economic contribution of nuetral Spain to the Axis shows a important net loss from 1940. The import of critical items via Spain was a major consideration in Britians economic warfare strategy. It took several years, until 1942-43 to gain anything significanton that front. With Spain a enemy the blockade can imeadiatly be streatched to cover the entire Atlantic coast.

    Originally posted by aber View Post
    Peninsular War Mark II

    Which British general fancies himself as Arthur Wellesley?
    I'm sure many Brit Generals and Marshalls would want to fill the Dukes shoes. Who would actually be qualified is another matter. Wellesley understood the tactics Moore developed and adapted the very well for fighting the French. He also a had a operational and stratigic sense that complemented his tactics. Can we identify many British Generals of the early war with the same ability? I know that British artillery tactisc became superior to the German circa 1942, but can the same be said for the overall tactical ability of the British during 1940-41? Or later? Maybe Brooke or Ironside had the proper balance in skill early on. Who of the next level would serve best in 1942 or 1943?

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  • Aber
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    .
    My bet is sometime in 1942 or early 1943 the Allies land and sieze several Atlantic ports. The Portuguse would regard them hopefully, as would the Basque and perhaps the Catalonians. The OSS would find other hopefulls amoung the remnants of the Republican supporters, and anyone else who hated the Nationalists. A Second Front in Spain accomplishes much of what was hoped for from the Italian campaign and requires Germany to either commit more resources to fighting in Spain or abandoning it.
    Peninsular War Mark II

    Which British general fancies himself as Arthur Wellesley?

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  • strathnaver
    replied
    OK we lose Gibralter, the Axis get bases in the Canary Islands. The Germans set up a FOB there for Uboats threatening the Panama UK, SA/Australia UK Convoys and the SA UK convoys . In the Med the Germans now have the Spanish ports to use. And if the alliance doesn't occur until after the fall of France then the French ports are added and the Luftwaffe has bases in both Spaanis & French Morocco. Malta is cut off, unless resupply runs fron Alexandria. This would make eeverything just that much more difficult.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    1. There is often the assumption that the loss of Gibraltar is catastrophic for the British. True they do lose a naval base, but the Azores, Canaries, ect.. are adaquate subsitutes for operations in the Atlantic. Losing Gibraltar would not "cut" Britians route to Suez. That occured when Italy entered the war. The Italian navy and airforces made it impractical for Britian to send cargo via the Gibraltar route after June 1940. They thought to force the issue and the fate of the Pedestal Convoy is as good a example as any of what aircraft and speed boats can do vs a large convoy, even with aircraft carriers and battleships escourting. So from June 1940 to August 1943 virtually all British ships to the East went by the long South African route. By using a combination of mines, aircraft, torpedo boats and submarines the Axis can close the straits to British ships. This prevents British naval sorties into the Western Med, but is not stratigically or economically catastrophic.

    2. Economically this is a problem for Germany. First off Spain served Germany as critcal nuetral conduit for raw materiasl from outside Europe. As the war spun out Germany first lost Scadanavia & then quickly Italy as a route for stratigic materials from South America and Asia. A year later the USSR was shut out as a route or source for many necessary imports. Spain remained as a route until British/ US pressure restricted it in late 1943. If Spain becomes a German ally in 1940 imports via that route are closed down imeadiately. Second, Spain itself was dependant on imports. Germany could not make up for the items Spain would not longer have acess to. This was the source of Francos 'To High a Price' for becoming a German ally. Franco unlike Hitler seems to have had a understanding of basic economics and saw what would be needed were Britian to extend a complete blockade to Spain.

    3. Now look at how much more shore line there is to defend. Germany was hard pressed to cover everything north of the Franco Spainish border. Adding another 1000 kilometers of Atlantic coast and ports to the problem does Germany no good. True Spain had a army, badly armed, with little transport, poor communications, trained for trench warfare, and led by officers choosen for loyalty to the government rather than military skill. Germany already had difficulty arming and supplying the men it had. Adding another half million Spainards & rifles does not seem to help much.

    My bet is sometime in 1942 or early 1943 the Allies land and sieze several Atlantic ports. The Portuguse would regard them hopefully, as would the Basque and perhaps the Catalonians. The OSS would find other hopefulls amoung the remnants of the Republican supporters, and anyone else who hated the Nationalists. A Second Front in Spain accomplishes much of what was hoped for from the Italian campaign and requires Germany to either commit more resources to fighting in Spain or abandoning it.

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  • Fenris Hachiman
    replied
    If Spain joined the Axis in 1939, is it possible that France would've been less eager for war with Germany, seeing as how the French would've faced a war on two fronts (not that it would matter, I'm just saying that maybe France... wouldn't 'notice' the German invasion of Poland?).


    If Germany and Britain were already at war when Spain decided to join with the Axis, then Gibraltar would fall, but the only effect on the war I see is that Germany would stretch their forces even further. Besides, if and when Gibraltar falls, wouldn't Germany just move most of their forces from Spain to invade the U.S.S.R, thus leaving it open to Anglo-American invasion later on in the war?

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  • UGLYGUTS
    replied
    skoblin, i can concede that point, after the fall of france would seem a better time

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  • PatBC
    replied
    Malta had limited supplies because of the large civilian population. That was not an issue in Gibraltar because they were all evacuated by June 1940. Malta in peacetime was a very small British base. Gibraltar was always more important. It was the transit point not only for the Med but also important for the Atlantic and to and from the British isles. Royal navy ships sailing to India, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean would go by the Rock.

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  • iron
    replied
    Gibraltar?

    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    Pervitan...huh...pervitan
    My bad...I broke cardinal rule #1...never post on the internet when one is "in one's cups"...

    I was sure that was the "grey" name for the amphetamines they gave their guys...obviously not.


    Longshanks said:
    I know spain was not exactly a military power but given the help franco recieved from the germans in the civil war and such etc.

    I know spains military would not be good for too much, but i dare say with effort, the could take gibralter, and perhaps offer the german ships and planes a temporary home in spanish ports and airfeilds.
    Given the effect it would have on entry to the med etc
    Agreed, it would definately give the UK a good "tweak on the nose"; they would not be amused...

    As PatBC mentioned, the defenses at Gibraltar were formidible; defeating them would require commando type operations against the command and control network of the interlocking artillery, mortar and HMG positions (and the key positions themselves), followed by a well coordinated combined arms assault with highly trained soldiers (artillery/demolitions/assault infantry tactics). The were only two armies with the means and training to carrying out such an operation in 1939 , the other one will be defending at Gibraltar. Uncoordinated frontal assault by massed infantry with artillery support (which is how Franco's troops would likely approach the situation) will be a bloodbath of epic proportions. Surpressive bombardment will not work against the fortified emplacements and counterbattery tactics have been practiced; the fields of fire are all mapped out...
    ...Ouch!!

    I'm sure this whole Gibraltar thing has likely been covered here in the past...it's one of the more popular "what-if's"...

    Cheers, Ron

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  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by PatBC View Post
    To me it would depend on when the attack was made. There was already man made tunnels before world war two. ...

    Quote:
    By 1942 there were over 30,000 British soldiers, sailors, and airmen on the Rock.
    Not exactly a small garrison by 1942. What was the size earlier in the war?

    As to a siege, I think resupply by sea including submarines would be possible and extremely difficult for german or spanish to prevent.

    Given enough resources it could fall sure but not easy.
    I think Longshanks timeline was that Spain joins in 1939. A little too far-fetched for my tastes. Summer of 1940 sounds a little more plausible, as I think Franco would have been too wily to join the axis until he saw the outcome of the battle of France. That given, we should maybe work with a timeline of a German-Spanish attack on Gibraltar in late 1940 as per Operation Felix.

    Still have not found any information on the complement of Gibraltar's defenses in 1940 compared to 1942. Perhaps a comparison of Malta's land forces in 1940 may provide a template approximation for how men may have been at Gibraltar in 1940. This site lists land defenses at Malta in June 1940 at 4,000 men with a limited amount of supplies.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Siege-of-Malta-(1940)

    Perhaps less than that at Gibraltar at the time makes sense.
    Last edited by Skoblin; 10 Aug 08, 11:10.

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  • PatBC
    replied
    To me it would depend on when the attack was made. There was already man made tunnels before world war two.

    The Great Siege Tunnels were hollowed out during the longest siege of Gibraltar in history, lasting from 1779 to 1783.
    http://www.gibraltarinfo.gi/gibralta...e-tunnels.aspx

    In addition there is 150 natural caves including the St. Michaels cave 700 feet deep.

    An attack from the land side is overlooked by defender atop the 411 meter tall cliff face. Monte Cassino anybody?

    By 1942 there were over 30,000 British soldiers, sailors, and airmen on the Rock.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Gibraltar

    Not exactly a small garrison by 1942. What was the size earlier in the war?

    As to a siege, I think resupply by sea including submarines would be possible and extremely difficult for german or spanish to prevent.

    Given enough resources it could fall sure but not easy.

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  • UGLYGUTS
    replied
    I know spain was not exactly a military power but given the help franco recieved from the germans in the civil war and such etc.

    I know spains military would not be good for too much, but i dare say with effort, the could take gibralter, and perhaps offer the german ships and planes a temporary home in spanish ports and airfeilds.
    Given the effect it would have on entry to the med etc

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  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by iron View Post
    You're thinking "little war" here Pat; if Franco declared allegience and Hitler came on board? Gib had a formidable defense network, it's been gone over from stem to stern on many of these discussion boards. Heavy artillery suppression followed by a "creeping barrage" would be required if the flat land defenses were to be overcome. It would not be pretty...but it would be done. Like I previously stated, probably two Battalions of highly motivated (i.e. full of "pervitan") assault troops would be sufficient to win the day.
    If "pervitan" makes no sense to you, google that word and "wehrmacht" together...A whole different side of the German soldier here...

    Cheers, Ron
    Pervitan...huh...pervitan and wehrmacht don't show up together on google. No matter..I don't think the Germans would have required doped up soldiers to take Gibraltar. A small garrison cut off from supplies would eventually succumb to siege. May be a tougher nut than the Germans may have thought with Operation Felix, but the long term prognosis would still be negative. Do the British attempt re-supply with Force H? Major risks involved with a large complement of German bombers and dive-bombers using nearby Spanish airfields. Utltimately, I think the British would not make the attempt and focus instead on Azores and Lisbon and defending Malta.

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  • iron
    replied
    Originally posted by PatBC View Post
    31 miles of tunnels existed at the end of WW2 no idea how many at start.
    You're thinking "little war" here Pat; if Franco declared alliegence and Hitler came on board? Gib had a formidible defense network, it's been gone over from stem to stern on many of these discussion boards. Heavy artillery surpression followed by a "creeping barage" would be required if the flat land defenses were to be overcome. It would not be pretty...but it would be done. Like I previously stated, probably two Batallions of highly motivated (i.e. full of "pervitan") assault troops would be sufficient to win the day.
    If "pervitan" makes no sense to you, google that word and "wehrmacht" together...A whole different side of the German soldier here...

    Cheers, Ron

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  • PatBC
    replied
    31 miles of tunnels existed at the end of WW2 no idea how many at start.

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  • Skoblin
    replied
    Originally posted by iron View Post
    Disregarding this one benefit, what does Hitler offer up to make the deal?

    Do you understand the economic constraints which Spain was operating under in the year 1939?

    While it all sounds like wine and roses...would it happen?

    Cheers, Ron
    Good point...other than Gibraltar....not much could Hitler offer. French territory in North Africa? Not without angering the Vichy French. Accession of Portugal and unity of the Iberian peninsula? That would be about it I think...

    Spanish accession to the Axis would very likely lead to the British takeover of the Azores and possibly an invasion of Portugal. The British would have to replace Gibraltar somehow as a naval base somehow....

    Agree...with German military support, Gibraltar would not last long. Luftwaffe would drive Force H away pretty quickly, leaving the fortress cut off. But after this....what benefit does Spain provide except more coastline for the Germans to help defend...Portugal, however, would give the Germans another Atlantic base with Lisbon.

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