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If Germany took Iceland

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Ted, Oct 21, 2006.

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  1. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    No, Iceland was important regardless of what happenned to England. Who was it that said; whoever controls Iceland holds a pistol at the others head.

    & Hitler was also occupied with Iceland also, operation Ikarus was called off because Brits beat em there by 2 weeks.

    If England did fall, Britsh navy would go to Ireland & perhaps Iceland. But not if Germany occupied Iceland.

    & let's not forget those altantic convoys to Russia. US might reconsider that if Germany controlled Iceland. So, there are several strategic avenues to consider regarding Iceland. It's also very close to Greenland making the establishement of bases there much easier. & U-boat & Condor bases already mentioned. Also German warship forays into Atlantic made much easier.

    Aaaand, if Germany occupied Azores at same time as Iceland, (or just before), & the British decided to take em back, it would weaken their north african efforts.

    [ 24. October 2006, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: chromeboomerang ]
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    This sounds more like a pipe dream for the Germans than anything else. First, what kind of garrison could Germany place in Iceland and support? A battalion of infantry? Resupply would be difficult by air or U-boat given that the former could have been detected on flights in and shot down, as was done in the later stages of the North Africa campaign while the later has the British (and later US) would have sea control. There is nothing to simply stop them from showing up while the u-boat(s) are in harbor unloading and sinking them with gunfire or aircraft.
    Coastal defenses by the Germans would certainly be minimal. Basically, the Germans, a land power, were hopelessly outmatched in a campaign requiring sea power. Taking Iceland, Greenland, or the Azores are all wastes of time and effort to a far greater degree for the Germans than the British where the British could simply show up with a fleet, smash up the limited defenses, and then land in overwhelming numbers. The whole operation would take no more than a week or so to execute. Look at Madagascar for ample evidence of this as one example.
     
  3. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    T.A.

    I agree
     
  4. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "Resupply would be difficult by air or U-boat given that the former could have been detected on flights in and shot down,"

    Not at that lattitude, too far north. & have we forgotten the German warships? they can carry troops supplies as well.

    "There is nothing to simply stop them from showing up while the u-boat(s) are in harbor unloading and sinking them with gunfire or aircraft."


    North Africa different story. Over Iceland, Germans have air superiority & perhaps a few heavy ships, those ships that come in to smash the U-boats will be sunk.
     
  5. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    & I suppose Norway would fall in 2-3 weeks if Iceland only took 1? A bit odd that Britain never made any landings in Norway for 5 or so years.
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Germany would never risk an all out naval battle with Great Britain. This is why there were almost never any major naval confrontations between the two nations.

    And Germany would not have air superiority over Iceland, unless the location of Great Britain would change [​IMG]
     
  7. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Of coure they would have air superiority. Britain is too far away. All out naval battle unlikely & uneccessary, Luftwaffe would do the brunt of the work.

    & someone mentioned that ships with cranes were too few to unload cargo, but building a pier,( as opposed to a quay ), is not difficult. & Germans built roads in 38 for Iceland, & it is likely they left trucks & such equipment behind for Icelanders road maintenance. These would come in handy.

    A road connecting bay of Hunafloi did exist in 38, making it an auxiliary unloading point for German supplies. Just build a pier.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier

    Working piers were built for the handling of passengers and cargo onto and off ships. Working piers themselves fall into two different groups. Longer individual piers are often found at ports with large tidal ranges, with the pier stretching far enough off shore to reach deep water at low tide.


    Island of Surtsey is an ideal place for a forward airstrip.
    http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/europe_west_asia/surtsey.html
     
  8. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Cool map, click the interested area, & it will blow up. Hwy # 1 which goes between Bifrost & Laugarbakki is the route from bottom of Bay of Hunafloi to Reykjavic.

    http://atlas.lmi.is/kortaskjar/viewer.htm
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Seadog, I understand that submarines can be used as cargo ships for very specific purposes when there is no other viable option, but in less stringent occasions are these efficient? That is, how much fuel are you going to spend per ton of cargo compared to a regular cargoship or tanker? What is the ration (cargo capacity/ship tonnage) on both cases?

    Of course I understand that Germany had to resort to resupply subs as nothing else would do after all the blockade runners were being sunk, and Japan had to use these as well as the USN and USAAC were blowing everything that floated, but bar that it should be a very wasteful and limited way to move cargo or fuel.
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Possibly, but of course the carriers would not go by themselves but as part of a task force, wouldn't they? Ah, well, maybe this time the Scharnhorst would sink the Duke of York 3 years ahead of time. :rolleyes:

    Ah, yes, injecting some rationality into the process by dropping the Murmansk run and directing all LL to Russia traffic to Vladivostok and Persia.

    wait, wait wait, Greenland too? You haven't been able to supply Iceland yet and now you want to jump to Greenland as well? What next, the Panama canal? :D

    So Germany has no decent navy, no troop transport fleet, they could not do Operation Seelowe even after emptying the Rhine and the Low Countries of all barges until the economy started to paralyse, and you want to take the Azores at the same time or thereabouts? So we have Iceland, Greenland and the Azores in quick succession?

    Don't get annoyed at me, it wasn't I who said this :D :D :D
     
  11. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Operation Seelowe had close quartered RN & RAF to deal with, Iceland doesn't.

    "but of course the carriers would not go by themselves but as part of a task force"

    But of course a task force wouldn't sit in the middle of the north atlantic for weeks or months waiting for the odd cargo ship to pass by then would it?

    Azores has no defenses, a walkover.

    & how quickly they forget, Germany had no troop transport fleet to take Norway, but yet somehow as if by magic, they did it.
     
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    So to supply the Iceland garrison you would use the "odd cargo ship" every few month or weeks?

    Point taken.
     
  13. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    I would use warships, I would slip in the odd cargo ship & use U-tankers, ( this is what if & 700 tons of pasta would go a long way ), also large transport planes & flying boats.

    Heck, one cargo ship would have enough food for a year. There would be vehicles to take on the island as well. Not all transport trucks would have to be imported. Fishing boats would also be usable.

    This isn't at all the same as supplying an engaged army which has enormous needs in fuel, shells, vehicle repair supplies & so on.
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Ok for a small garrison accepting large losses on supply ships, and willing to live from the local produce (lotsa fish, good for you!).

    But what if the yanks decide to invade, how long would this token garrison be able to last?
     
  15. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Like I said, perhaps 9-12 months. There wouldn't be large numbers of supply ships, therefore no large losses. How many supplies did Crete need?

    The other thing to consider is what exactly would be the Yanks priorities? Feeding England would be 1st.


    & there is this also to consider.

    An airbase in Iceland would cut the distance between Germany and the United States by one-third, allowing planes to successfully reach their American targets and return without having to refuel.

    Again, Iceland presents some interesting strategic questions & issues.
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    4 - All right, if we assume the situation as an hypothesis per se and not a "how the hell do you get there in the first place", say, by assuming it was a pre-war possession or Raeder had caught the Brits by surprise, then it does raise some points.

    1 - All right, one year at most... Crete does not apply here as it was only a short hop and could be kept supplied by a multitude of local small fishing boats making a night's run, as for Iceland you need oceanic ships or (dare I say it), submarines :D .

    2 - Nope, having a German base sitting in the mid of your shipping route was something that needed attention.

    3 - What planes would have enough range and be able to carry a useful payload for that distance, allowing it to do significant bombing effect? And how would the USAAC respond?

    From Google Earth it's 2600km from Iceland to Newfoundland, and 4300km to New York, and 1400km to Tipperary (Ie.) so the song does not apply :D

    IMHO, I would skip this part of the plan and concentrate on the anti-shipping business.
     
  17. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    If Germany had decided to take Iceland, the logistics would be beyond their thinking at the time. Instead of the traditional methods, they would be best served by just sending a large number of Ju-52s in with troops and immediate supplies, arriving at dawn. With the airstrip contained, they could bring in supplies and fighter aircraft. They have to get the fighters there and able to resupply before the Brits could react. I would have done this before America was into the war. Once taken, Iceland would be a great base for subs and aircraft to contain shipping to Britain. Subs could be used for resupply of critaical items, but dedicated supply boats would be need to be built. If this was done, and an intelligent plan was pressed to take Britain, the Germans would only need hang on a short period. Once Britain had fallen, there would be little purpose for attacking Iceland. Plus it denies whats left of the RN a sanctuary close enough to be effective.
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Well, let's see:

    If Germany wanted to do this from late May 1940 on they would be faced with British or US occupying forces on Iceland. Starting in May, the British put 2 battalions of infantry on Iceland. This was followed by additional units including coastal command aircraft after that.
    In July 1941 the US took over protection of Iceland. The forces landed included the 1st Marine Brigade with 194 officers and 3714 men. One company of the 70th Tank Battalion was included in this force. VP-73 and 74 also were put on Iceland at this time along with several squadrons of USAAF fighters and bombers.
    In April 1941 the US assumed the duties of protecting Greenland from the Danish government in exile. The USCG and US Navy began to systematically eliminate all of the German weather stations on the East coast and did so within a few months. At the same time the US Navy set up 14 weather, radio, HF/DF and other similar duties stations on Greenland. There were also a number of USCG cutters and icebreakers operating around Greenland continiously from that date.

    For the Germans, radar stations of Chain Home in the Shetlands and other radar in the Färöe Islands would be easily capable of detecting flights from southern Norway so they would either have to fly out of Northern Norway or at very low levels. The Northern Norway option has the problem of poor weather frequently making supply difficult. The low level flight might not be possible due to higher fuel consumption caused by not flying at optimum altitudes and speeds.

    It is quite obvious that any German plan to occupy Iceland would have met with almost certain failure, particularly after July 1941.
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    The British 49th Infantry Division, who were stationed on Iceland, and acquired their divisional badge as a result. Were later referred to by Lord Haw-Haw as 'The Polar Bear Butchers'. Due to their tenacious & agressive fighting in the Normandy Campagn.

    Certainly no pushover.

    (From a nice little site, with interesting Christmas card, here.)
    Cheers,
    Adam.

    [ 25. October 2006, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: Von Poop ]
     
  20. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "2 - Nope, having a German base sitting in the mid of your shipping route was something that needed attention."


    Wasn't in the middle of their shipping route in 1940.

    "The Northern Norway option has the problem of poor weather frequently making supply difficult."

    Didn't stop German a/c from attacking convoys. & date of attack is April 1940, not 41.

    http://uboat.net/ops/convoys/pq-17.htm

    The first military loss from these convoys happened to PQ-8 when U-454 (Kptlt. Hackländer) sank the British destroyer HMS Matabele with almost all hands north-east of the Kola peninsula on 17 Jan, 1942.

    From May 24 right until May 30, 1942 German aircraft made 245 bomber and torpedo sorties against convoy PQ-16, the largest Russia convoy so far with 30 ships, sinking 5 ships and damaging 4. This was the biggest blow any convoy had suffered in the Arctic.

    Kola penninsula is waay up north. Much higher than Trondheim.
     
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