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Malta falls on day 1

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  • Malta falls on day 1

    Could the Italians have seized Malta in a surprise attack to open their involvment in WWII? If so, what would that change in the upcoming war in the Med?

    To start, use much the same plan as my previous attempt to capture Gibraltar on the first day of the war. Substitute the word Malta for Gibraltar http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=86331
    Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
    Could the Italians have seized Malta in a surprise attack to open their involvment in WWII? If so, what would that change in the upcoming war in the Med?

    To start, use much the same plan as my previous attempt to capture Gibraltar on the first day of the war. Substitute the word Malta for Gibraltar http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=86331
    Consequences?

    1. British lose a usefull radio listening station.

    2. British find substitutes for Malta as a interdiction base vs Italian ships to Africa.

    3. Italian ship cargo losses to Africa are reduced 10%?

    4. British losses sustaining Malta are avaialble for use elsewhere. ie: No Pedestal Convoy, or similar ops.

    5. Incentive to execute Operation Gymnast earlier.

    6. People ask WI Malta had not been captured in june 1940

    7. And, many others...

    Comment


    • #3
      1) big ouch

      2) Huh? There weren't any, unless you can get Greece into the war early.

      3) A lot more then 10%, the RATE of loss would have dropped by about 90%, as they did when Malta was suppressed.

      4) GREAT point. The RN lost a lot, especially in merchant traffic keeping that island going. Aircraft losses were pretty bad too.

      5) What, not later?


      I don't think the plan for Gib would be even close to what Malta would require. The air defences were weak, but I think the Brits would have been aware of Malta's importance and have something more than what an oversize commando operation would be able to handle.

      To take Malta, they would have had to be willing to risk the lose one of the older Battleships. A good trade to me, but I don't think they would have thought so at the time. Italian skippers just weren't aggressive enough.

      Would the British have been so distracted by this that they never got around to attacking Vichy French ships?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
        Could the Italians have seized Malta in a surprise attack to open their involvment in WWII?
        Probably not ... unless, maybe, they'd been planning it for years in advance and had all the tools - paratroopers, landing craft etc - ready to use.

        If so, what would that change in the upcoming war in the Med?
        The invasion of Sicily becomes much harder. Other than that probably not a lot. The balance of accounts on Malta hardly favours Britain until November 1942 given the huge investment to keep the island a going concern for what was only occasionally rich rewards.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gooner View Post

          The invasion of Sicily becomes much harder.
          **How is that? Looking at the overall Husky operation the airfields in Tunisia & ports elsewhere appear far more important.

          2. British find substitutes for Malta as a interdiction base vs Italian ships to Africa.

          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
          2) Huh? There weren't any, unless you can get Greece into the war early.
          **More longer range efforts from Africa.

          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
          5) What, not later?
          **Tunisia is a better base for interdicting sea traffic to Africa. More airfields in range and 'safe' haven airfields further away in Algeria. Easier to to suply over the long run than malta was historically. Even if Tunisia is not imeadiatly captured the Axis defense of it is liable to become a battle of attrition the Axis cant afford. Malta's position was a poor one for exploiting British advantages. The small size & difficulty in sustaining it left the Axis with advantages. With the fight relocated to Tunisia/Algeria the Brit gain some advantages like a large base area, shorter and less vulnerable supply routes,

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