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What if Spain joined the Axis?

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  • What if Spain joined the Axis?

    I always wondered what would have happened had Franco decided to join the Axis powers in Word War II. Say about 1940 after the fall of France.

    Do you think it would have been possible for Spainish troops to capture Gibraltar and seal off the medditerrainian from the british? This would allow the Germans to have a easier time resupplying the Afrika Korps and possible defeating the british in North Africa.

    Also, what would be the effect on D-day. Would it have changed the location of the beaches? Would there be a seperate campaign to capture spain, like with Italy?

  • #2
    I don't know how much in the way of men and material the Spanish could have added to the Axis cause. The country was truly a shambles after their civil war concluded.

    What it would have offered the Axis is bases to interdict Allied shipping, especially for U-Boats. Gibraltar would have been difficult to resupply and Malta would have been threatened even more.

    What it might have also done is force Vichy France to be even more compliant with their occupiers. It would have made escape from the continent more difficult for downed flyers as Spain was a haven for many.

    On the other hand I think their would be a huge anti-Axis resistance. Remember we get the term guerilla warfare from the Spanish fight against Napoleon in 1809-14. It was this "little war" that finally bled the French occupiers to the point more conventional forces could defeat them. The Basque territories would be especially tough to deal with and any overland resupply would have to pass through them.

    I don't think it would have changed the location of D-Day because Spain is isolated on its peninsula behind the Pyrrennies. I think it would be left to wither as supplies to it dwindled.

    I don't think it would have altered the outcome of the war, but I think it would have delayed the inevitable from 12-18 months.
    Lance W.

    Peace through superior firepower.


    • #3
      I agree. While Spain joining the Axis would have prolonged the war a bit and naturally would have made life more difficult for the allies the end would be the same. Spain alone joining the Axis would not be near enough to swing the balance of power massivly to the Axis.


      • #4
        Control of the Med

        If any of you play or have played War in Europe (SPI's monster game), you would have found out that Spain was the key to turning the Med into an Italian lake.
        Spain did not have to join the Axis (but they likely would have once the Axis controled all the Med), they just would have to let the German's have free passage through Spain to get to Gibraltar.
        Gibraltar could have been quickly neutralized, and eventually taken. With the West end of the Med closed off, Malta would have become a moot point. With supply to the Africa Corps unbothered, the fall of Egypt would have been certain.
        With the sealing off of the East end of the Med, all the Med would have falled under Axis control by early 1941.
        The Axis would have been able to take the Middle East with the then in full production oil fields in Northern Iraq. Also there was a very large oil refinary in Halfa at that time, that supplied all British needs in the Eastern Med, Middle East amd India.
        Bet most of you never heard about that before!
        Since Turkey was pro Axis, Axis total control of the Med would have brought Turkey into the War. That would have added a third front to attack Russia in the summer of 1941.
        I have found this line of attack a sure winner for the Axis.
        After Russia was beaten(by the end of 1942), India could have been next on the hit parade.
        If the Germans could have talked the Japanese into a move West ans South Weat instead of South and East in 1941, that would have been a sure fire end to Russia, Southeast Asia and India in 1942!
        Yes, Spain would have added a lot more beach to guard against an invasion. But the War in Europe would have been for all practical reasons, over by the Spring of 1943, when American might finally got into the European game. By then it would have been too late.
        With half the troops and equipment that was on the Russian Front in 1944, redeployed to Western Europe along with was historically already there, does anyone really think an invasion of Europe from England would have happened?
        The invasion (if it ever happened) would have been against North Western Africa, into the Vichy French controled area (as happed historically in the Summer of 1943). But who thinks Northwest Africa would still be under Vichy control if all of the above had happened?
        Regards, Gregg


        • #5
          It would have made life for the Allies in the Mediterranean a lot tougher, to be sure.


          • #6
            This one I am not so sure about -- in the past -when I have gamed this out -- it really depends upon the situation when the event happens - it is way too variable.

            The Spanish Army would have made the Italian Army look potnet -- mainly because the Spanish Army was bled by its Civil War - so mainly what Spain would be - would be land and access.

            The thing is -- it would also be that much more coast line that would need to be garrisioned. If also the germnas were into the Soviet Union when this might have happened -then there would probably be some major long term problems .

            What if the Allies had invaded Spain instead of French North Africa?

            WiE - it would seem investing the full stacking limit allowed there would pretty much prevent the Axis from ever taking it. As a matter of fact, the last time I played against another player in the 39 scenario I attacked Spain with the French Army - along with some select British units. - Under the I figure you are going to eliminate France theory - and I want to force you to garrision all these nice ports along the Spanish coast - as well as force you to take out Portugal...In games like that - as the Allies one has to take the long term approach -while the Axis -well the clock usually is ticking for them.


            • #7
              Re: What if Spain joined the Axis?

              Originally posted by Panzer Leader
              I always wondered what would have happened had Franco decided to join the Axis powers in Word War II. Say about 1940 after the fall of France.

              Do you think it would have been possible for Spainish troops to capture Gibraltar and seal off the medditerrainian from the british? This would allow the Germans to have a easier time resupplying the Afrika Korps and possible defeating the british in North Africa.

              Also, what would be the effect on D-day. Would it have changed the location of the beaches? Would there be a seperate campaign to capture spain, like with Italy?
              Interesting thought. Yeah, almost certainly the Spaniards would have seized Gibraltar, though probably there would have been quite a fight. After this a naval battlegroup, probably built around the Scharnhorst or Gneisenau, would anchor in a Spanish port, set to engage any Allied shipping transiting the Straits. This will be a problem for supplying several areas; Malta, Egypt, Greece (including Crete). Given this, could the British drive across North Africa have been pursued so vigorously? Supplies would have to travel around the Horn of Africa - and even these convoys maybe subject to raids my the Kriegsmarine for Spanish ports. Could the British raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto have been carried out? Would they have pulled out of Greece/Crete? If this happened, would Barbarossa have gone forward earlier, and what impact would this have had on German fortunes in Russia? What about Operation Torch? Where would American troops have landed? Would the Spanish have conducted naval raids from their African colonies, or allowed the German Navy to do so? Also, the Spanish could have staged a second front into France in 1940, and challenged the Allied landings in Southern France.

              Without even considering the quality of the Spanish forces, the war is dramatically changed by Spanish involvment on the side of the Axis
              Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
              (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)


              • #8
                If the Suez canal was in existence, then the Allies could have gone around Africa, up and through the canal. It would have taken a while longer, and be more dangerous, but I think it's the only option to get supplies to Egypt unless there was a direct invasion of Africa itself.

                Also, what would have happened to Portugal? I think it would have become another victim of Hitler at the worst, or driven into the hands of the Allies at could have been a base of operations and a foothold in Europe. If the Allies held Portugal, then Churchill's attack of Europe's soft underbelly would have gone trough and Normandy possibly would never have happened.
                Pvt. Bob Mana,
                Co. B, 3rd Maryland Vol. Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Corps, Union Army of the Potomac

                For the Union


                • #9
                  Spain with Axis...

                  Interesting "What if" we have here...

                  I tried to simulate it (with boardgame and computer) and it turns out that...

                  - Spain couldn't do much to aid the Axis... It is only because germans troops can go there (U-boots and airplanes, mainly...) that make it so valuable...

                  - Italian fleet can do a much active role in the Mediterranean... They can garrison Gibraltar and harrass UK Egyptian fleet...

                  - Gibraltar indeed fall quite quickly, but UK fleet defending it fled as soon as Spain declare war... So not much ship loss there...

                  - A lot more convoy losses for Allies...

                  - Egypt, reinforced via Suez canal, is still a serious threat...

                  - Malta ignored... It's still a tuff nut to crack... It's far easier for Axis to surround it... Blocus + Bombardement is enough...

                  - Portugal stay Neutral as long as possible... If Allies try to take it, Axis can counterattack (ferocity depends if attack against Russia has begun or not)... If Axis take it, it means more beach to defend...

                  - Allies invasion of Spain is generally slow and messy due to lots of mountains and lack of support...

                  - Allies invasion of Africa through Morocco is possible... If they can defend their ships against enemy ships and airplanes (from conquered Gibraltar)...

                  Most of the times, Axis wins the games because...

                  - Allies lack the "African-battlefield-experience"...
                  - Allies invasions need much more ressources...
                  - Generally, Axis is more free to pour ressources against Russia...

                  Keep in mind that there is nothing "scientific" here... Only food for thought...


                  • #10
                    Yeah i think it could have really changed the outcome of WWII. Sure spain was in shambles after the Civil War but look at the location. There would have been no way Allied ships Like the sips from torch would have been able to get through. Then the Germans could've concentrated their X Flieger Cors on the Suez and won control of the Medditerranean. Spain could have landed troops to provide a Costal Defense line in Morroco. They could have given Rommel maybe 150,000 more troops to boost is Afrika Corps.
                    101st Airborne Screaming Eagles Rule


                    • #11

                      The blocking supplies from from Africa would have been affective but only for so long. The british fleet and french would of been able to get sullpies in eventually. Even if this worked Hitler thought that the middle east was Mussolinis call to invade or not. Mussolinis army would of been to busy in Africa for a while to even invade the middle east. So when Hitler invaded Russia he as screwed. Mussolini even made a mistake in putting his troops in northern Italy. The Axis would of been to spread out in Europe and in Africa. Turkey joining the war any ways would have been debated. Your also looking at another civil war in Spain caused by France join the Axis. The people of spain would have been pushed to the Edge knowing Francos army was weak. Russia had far more troops that Hitler and Turkey combined. The main reason why the Axis lost the war is because they invade Russia an they wer to spread out. THe only reason the U.S joined the war in the first place is because they were afraid of Stalin spreading Communisism in Europe.

                      P.S Im only 12


                      • #12

                        Back then spain was not very powerful. I think we would have still won the war, but if Spain had joined the Axis it would have taken longer to win the war and there would have been more loses but I think we would have still won.


                        • #13
                          If only by stretching out the war, it could have been significant. Maybe it gains the Germans enough time to produce the Me 262 in significant numbers to force a pause in the Allied bombing offensive. If the war dragged on an extra 12+ months, it's possible there would have been some sort of negotiated settlement. Alternately, it's likely that the atomic bomb would have been used first on Germany.

                          So while I don't think that Spain's joining the Axis would have led to an Axis victory, it would have seriously altered the details of the war's final outcome.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by British_Apostle
                            They could have given Rommel maybe 150,000 more troops to boost is Afrika Corps.
                            This is a common fallacy. The afrika corps can not FEED or supply more troops. The port capacity of Benghazi, Tripoli and Tobruk is NOT large enough to unload enough supplies for the Axis to ever win in North Africa. That's true even if the British never sink a single supply ship.

                            The German high command calculated that the port capacity of North Africa could only support 4 mechanized divisions. They had 6 in theatre and couldn't win. Add more troops and paradoxically the Axis can do less as you have to ship more food and less fuel and ammo.


                            • #15
                              If Gibraltar is in Axis hands, Malta doesn't get resupplied, so the Axis have an easier time in Africa. If they take Egypt or at least bomb the Suez Canal to pieces, the Med is truly an Axis lake.

                              Whether freeing more German forces for Barbarrossa would have finished Russia is the question. Without the Med, Britain can actually concentrate more on getting supplies to Russia trhough Murmansk or trying to take Narvik again--no other "distractions" for the British Army and the Germans are locked on Russia. And with Norwegian resistance help, they could seriously hurt the iron ore pipeline to Germany. Even if the Brits get kicked out again, Germany is hurt. If they stay, Hitler goes nuts and builds up forces there instead of Africa, weakening the drive to the east.

                              I can picture Churchill pushing for Narvik redux and talking about the "soft overbelly" (sorry about that one, honest)


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