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  • #31
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Then they hold Alexandria.

    Unless the British forces have completely vaporized an Italian or Axis army must then move on to Suez to seal the deal. Assuming that can accomplised then what? are there significant resources in Egypt that will alleviate any of the Axis stratigic deficiencys? The oil at the head of the Persian Gulf is another 1000+ kilometers as the crow flies across a desert with no improved roads or ports.

    In terms of resources the Africa littoral was a stratigic dead end for Italy and the Axis in 1940-43. The best they could hope for would be the loss of the Nile Delta as such a blow to British national morale that a armistice could be had.
    Yes, and maybe pigs can fly!!
    'By Horse by Tram'.


    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
      Then they hold Alexandria...
      Well,...with only 2 2/3 divs in Egypt in Sep the British would probably have to retreat from the Western Desert if Alaexandria falls to a 3 or 4 division attack. However, the Italian 10th Army crossing the frontier would have to push on with Trieste, Trento and the Babini Arm'd Grp as quickly as they could to effect a link up. The boys marching would have to follow up as quickly as possible.

      A successful landing at Alexandria would also have meant that the Italian navy defeated the eastern Mediterranean squadron (such as it was) and the advance from Libya could be supported by small scale seaborne supply drops of water, etc along the march route. With an army of 7-8 divisions based on Alexandria (plus a plethora of the small L3/35 and all the M11/39s that could be kept running) the next step is obvious.

      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
      ...Unless the British forces have completely vaporized an Italian or Axis army must then move on to Suez to seal the deal. Assuming that can accomplised then what? are there significant resources in Egypt that will alleviate any of the Axis stratigic deficiencys? The oil at the head of the Persian Gulf is another 1000+ kilometers as the crow flies across a desert with no improved roads or ports.
      The danger for the Italians would be after the landing when the fleet must support the invasion and the shipping is stuck stationary of the coast. By using hit and run raids, superior British seamanship and gunnery should take a heavy toll if the Mediterranean Fleet still has any teeth (which it should). If the British army cannot defeat the Italian forces at Alexandria before the army arrives from Libya it would probably have to retreat on Cairo and Suez. From there the British carry out the planned destruction of facilities and then retreat into the Sinai and up the Nile until reinforced for a counterattack.


      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
      In terms of resources the Africa littoral was a stratigic dead end for Italy and the Axis in 1940-43. The best they could hope for would be the loss of the Nile Delta as such a blow to British national morale that a armistice could be had.
      As long as Churchill is PM I doubt even the loss of lower Egypt would bring England to the peace table. If one reads the cabinet meeting notes from May 1940 onwards, the likelihood of the British making an accomodation with axis gets smaller and smaller with each passing day. By Sep, the pro-peace faction has lost that battle and with the threat of invasion greatly diminshed, reinforcements were on the way to Egypt. Besides, once Italy enters the war Suez is pretty well useless to the British except to support either Malta or Greece. With Malta lost, Greece neutral and Alexandria occupied, the loss of Suez is not a strategic catastrophe

      Further, with an Italian success in Egypt there is less chance of German intervention, so when the British counterattack (after taking care of east Africa first) with a larger than historical army in early '41 the 10th Army would still probably be destroyed. The British recovery of Egypt itself in probably (?) would not trigger a later German intervention as the launching of Barbarossa would be too close.

      That's my guess.
      Last edited by The Purist; 05 Oct 08, 17:21.
      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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      • #33
        one would have to factor a possible massive Egyptian nationalistic upheaval as soon as an italian army gets near alexandria - The Egyptians only dreamed of kicking their british colonial (well, protector) master - but knew they could only do it if support from abroad was imminent.

        don't count to see in such a what if british forces holding alexandria or cairo - retreat to suez canal is the plan.
        "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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        • #34
          Originally posted by Granatiere View Post
          6 The general commanding has to be Giovanni Messe
          just anyone else than the incomptent, pompous Graziani - ost plausibly, imagine thath Balbo was still around. he had drawn plans (and built stocks and trined for) for very good tactics (paratroops assaults, LRDP-style attacks, etc.)
          "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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          • #35
            I'ven't consider the Balbo death or life... I think he was a good commander, totally different from the other fascists... May be it can works also with Balbo, not only with Messe.
            A ME LE GUARDIE
            "Di noi treṃ la nostra vecchia gloria. Tre secoli di fede e una vittoria". Gabriele D'Annunzio

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            • #36
              Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
              one would have to factor a possible massive Egyptian nationalistic upheaval as soon as an italian army gets near alexandria - The Egyptians only dreamed of kicking their british colonial (well, protector) master - but knew they could only do it if support from abroad was imminent.

              don't count to see in such a what if british forces holding alexandria or cairo - retreat to suez canal is the plan.
              Anwar Sadat wrote about this in his biograpy. While the Egyptians wished the British would leave the knowlegdable amoung them understood the arrival of the Italians, or Germans, would mean simply new colonial masters, and problablly worse as well. He did not discount a popular uprising but saw the real problem as the lack of a effective Egyptian army. Their two or three rifle brigades and tiny air wing was not enough to leverage negotiations with anyone, or make a uprising stick.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                Anwar Sadat wrote about this in his biograpy. While the Egyptians wished the British would leave the knowlegdable amoung them understood the arrival of the Italians, or Germans, would mean simply new colonial masters, and problablly worse as well. He did not discount a popular uprising but saw the real problem as the lack of a effective Egyptian army. Their two or three rifle brigades and tiny air wing was not enough to leverage negotiations with anyone, or make a uprising stick.
                true! but this is the view of a bourgeois, well-educated, rich class.
                the people in the street could have been stirred (by any combination of religious or nationalistic fervor, some charismatic leader, etc.) to raise in massive unrest. it happened before and was feared in 1915 when then ottomans neared the canal. such crowds would hve made the defense of large cities impossible... and if Egypt sparks up... watch palestine...

                and with Syria and Iraq to take into account, the situation would become interesting!
                "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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                • #38
                  Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                  true! but this is the view of a bourgeois, well-educated, rich class.
                  the people in the street could have been stirred (by any combination of religious or nationalistic fervor, some charismatic leader, etc.) to raise in massive unrest. it happened before and was feared in 1915 when then ottomans neared the canal. such crowds would hve made the defense of large cities impossible... and if Egypt sparks up... watch palestine...

                  and with Syria and Iraq to take into account, the situation would become interesting!
                  Now this is simply wishful thinking. Alternate histories must retain a solid link to the facts or they simply become nonsense. The Arab world of 1940 was just a disunited as it is today, perhaps more so and the chances of an uprising in Egypt, let alone the rest of the middle east, without the support of your so-called bourgeois, well educated class, is next to nil. There is no "Mahdi" waiting in the wings. And as Carl points out, the Arabs were not going to trade relatively benign occupation by Britain and France for a dictatorial and atheistic one. They were not stupid.
                  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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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                    Now this is simply wishful thinking. Alternate histories must retain a solid link to the facts or they simply become nonsense. The Arab world of 1940 was just a disunited as it is today, perhaps more so and the chances of an uprising in Egypt, let alone the rest of the middle east, without the support of your so-called bourgeois, well educated class, is next to nil. There is no "Mahdi" waiting in the wings. And as Carl points out, the Arabs were not going to trade relatively benign occupation by Britain and France for a dictatorial and atheistic one. They were not stupid.
                    I disagree.

                    first, the egyptians do not consider themselves, nor are arabs

                    second, while the intelectual class was clearly convincent that a rule by italy or germany would not be as "nice" as the british (not that the british rule was, really) the masses would not care. I'll grant you that the masses often need leaders - but look at whaat the british feared in 1915 when the senussi uprising sparked unrest in egypt and when the hope of ottoman crossing the Suez channel also sparked unrest in the Egyptian masses for beeing liberated.

                    third, egyptian nationalist (not arab) has always been present, from Cleopatra, to Farouk (and later to Nasser) and in between to how the brits invaded the place in 1882. just look at the egyptian royal family situation just before and during ww2. VERY nationalistic - egyptian nationalism, not arab.

                    I'l agree that the rest of the middle east is another story. but still, look at Iraq, it did raise up. axis armies at the gates of Alexandria would be a shock to the egyptians and arabs for kicking out their hated rulers. of course all this is conjecture and indeed, what ifs need to be plausible, if not probable..
                    "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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                    • #40
                      Would an Italian army landing and taking Alexandria have been able to use Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to rouse the masses?

                      This religious/political leader was highly pro-fascist, and historically spent most of the war in Berlin.

                      I believe he was in Iraq in 1940.

                      (It's difficult to find 'straight' history on this individual as his beliefs certainly polarize all accounts of him. In this case Wiki does have a pretty thorough account:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amin_al-Husayni )
                      Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                        Sorry folks but Mussolini could have focused on nothing more than Africa and his army would have still crumbled away without German support. Malta is almost irellevant in the supply situation as over 90% of the supplies that left Europe arrived in African ports. Even the invasion of Egypt in Sep 1940 showed the army could not supply itself away from the ports without long pauses to drag supplies forward.

                        Italy simply did not have the trucks, or the means to build them, for adequately supplying the Libyan front. As it was the Trento division (iirc) had to give up its trucks to keep the supplies moving for the balance of the Italian army in theatre. Unless Italy could motorise its infantry (it couldn't) the British were going to outmaneuvre them. Further, Italian armour, while well served by the crews, was never going to be able to compete against the best British models. Italian gunners were incredibly brave but with the exception of one or two guns were ill-equipped for a modern war against European armies. The ari force had good models in the Macchi 200-202 but not the means to produce enought. The navy had no fuel (the army and air force were also starved) since all the oil came from the Romanian fields and Ital only got what dribs the germans would send their way.

                        Italy's best hope was to remain neutral.
                        I could not have said all this better, 100% agree.
                        If you sacrifice freedom to obtain some security, you deserve neither and will gain none.

                        There never was a good war or a bad peace.

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