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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. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    The Germans could have done it, but they didn't. Every expert said that MacArthur could not land at Inchon. He did.The winners of any war are those who make things happen, even if they are not deemed realistic by 'experts'.
     
  2. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Yep, here's what the German army thought about Norway.

    Trondheim and Narvik offered the best sites, but on the questions of whether they could or should be acquired the estimates were almost entirely negative. When the Chief of Staff, Naval Staff, broached the question to the Chief of Staff, Army, he was told that difficult terrain, poor communications, and long supply lines placed almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of a military operation to secure the bases and that, if it was attempted, the entire war industry would have to be devoted to Army requirements. This would bring the submarine program to a halt, thereby making it impossible to exploit the bases.

    Sound familiar?


    & allies didn't really have airborne troops organized in 1940, only Germans did, making seaborne assault on Iceland the only option. & the only instance I can think of where allies may have ran ships straight into a defended harbor would have been in operation torch in Africa 42. Not that it couldn't be done, rather that it doesn't seem as though it was done very often.
     
  3. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Norway secured on the 10th of April [​IMG]

    When did Narvik fall?
    Southern Norway capitulated when?
    Where did the Claymore raid happen?
    Why did the majority of raids happen in the southern part of Norway?

    How are the germans going to transport engeneering equipment to Iceland?

    Chrome...
    This thread is silly. It remind me of Erasmus Montanus. The country lad that went to the Uni. in Copenhagen to study. He came back as a top disputer, but dumb as dirt. 'Can you fly? No. Neither can a Rock. That means that you are a rock.'

    You need to study the real essence of WW2 warfare. Getting there is one thing, staying there is another. This was the Achilles heel of German operations in WW2. The campaign in France was releived by german transports beeing able to refuel on petrol stations. The Germans were utter crap in logistics in areas that did not have the western europe infrastructure.

    The Pendulum in the desert. Rommel was an exeptional divisional commander. A good corps commander, and downright dangerous to the Wehrmacht as an Army commander. Expecting to propell his army forward by raiding allied supply dumps. Ignoring the Luftwaffes need for runways. I find Rommel to be symptomatic of the Germans performance overall in WW2. The Army was imbued with quick campaigns, (blitzkrieg meaning what?) the prospect of slogging it out over a protracted time was not appealing.

    So yes the Germans could invade Iceland, but they lacked the means of supporting it. The Kriegsmarine would have been eaten up trying to supply it. Airlift is out of the question given the RN carriers, and the limited cargo capability of Auntie-Ju.

    The fact is that occupying Norway was a sound plan. Costly in the number of men needed to garrison it, but the yield in Airbases to strike convoys, and Sub pens made it worthwhile.

    An operations base in Iceland would not be as effective. The convoys could go round it. The worst part of the convoy route was crossing the North Cape. Well within the Luftwaffe Umbrella.

    I honestly don't know why I bother replying you. Perhaps it is the fury when I see you typing about the Norwegian campaign with such blatant errors.

    My grandad on my fathers side did not return from the fighting until June 3rd. Having trecked/boated to Narvik after the Surrender of the South in May. My other Grandad would not return for five years, fleeing across the Atlantic in a 35foot fishing vessel.

    I would like to hear the author of the saboteur book that you wrote about.
     
  4. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "How are the germans going to transport engeneering equipment to Iceland?"

    In cargo ships. & remember, the Germans built the roads in Iceland in 38, so some equipment would already be there.

    "I see you typing about the Norwegian campaign with such blatant errors." What errors??

    http://www.amazon.com/Eggs-Plate-Oluf-Reed-Olsen/dp/B0006ATGMC/sr=1-1/qid=1162174866/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-7997327-0319327?ie=UTF8&s=books



    "Airlift is out of the question given the RN carriers,"

    Nope, British would have to send carriers 8-900 miles north on permanent station, which is silly & unlikely. You really need to study up on such operations before posting.
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    On airfields:

    Chorme mentions that two (from the description minimal in size and facilities) were on the island. This no doubt is why the US built their own. It is also likely that the US felt a paved runway was in order given the weather which would have left a dirt strip unusable much of the time.
    As for the Germans improving a strip: They would mainly be doing it by hand. German military engineers and OT workers rarely had much in the way of mechanization of any sort to assist in projects. Occasionally a crane or two, some cement mixers, or a small sawmill might have been available. There would not have been any bulldozers (a true rarity it seems...I have not been able to locate a single photo or description of a bulldozer in German service). I did find one drawing of a horse drawn road grader. Dump trucks were unheard of.

    I cannot see the Germans making any mechanized engineering equipment available to their invasion force.

    As for field artillery fighting ships: Better check out any and all Allied amphibious assaults in Europe and the Mediterrainian. The field artillery loses; badly.

    The Germans might be able to land. They might get several battalions ashore. But, these would be effectively cut off. Bomber or Coastal command could easily bomb any airfield built from the Faroes or Shetlands and the RN could show up and do the same at will with the Germans hard pressed to repair the damage.

    By your own (Chromeboomerang) estimates, a Ju 52 is just at the end of its range getting to Iceland at all. This gives it very little carrying capacity even in terms of stores and passengers.

    Norway cost the Germans their navy in the short term. It was also expensive in aircraft lost, particularly Ju 52s. There was also the real possiblity that they might have lost, particularly in the North.
     
  6. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    3 airstrips I mentioned. One was big. & was improved to large degree in 1931.
    "Town Council granted an area of 93,200 m²"

    http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Fea1/101-200/Fea188_Mosquito_Ingebrethsen/Fea188.htm

    Their main targets were German shipping stretching from the Dutch coast to Aalesund on the West coast of Norway. And the losses were heavy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aalesund Aalesund is in the south of Norway.

    No errors on Norway.


    "By your own (Chromeboomerang) estimates, a Ju 52 is just at the end of its range getting to Iceland at all."

    No, I mentioned the distance between Trondheim & east coast of Iceland between 6-700 miles, & Reykjavik 978 miles, well within JU 52 range, east coast without doubt.

    this from Ali, "Ju 52's, range with Auxilary tanks, 1300km, could not be used." Is 1300 km less than say 630 miles??

    & have we forgot the Condors already?? & other longrange seaboats?
     
  7. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "Bomber or Coastal command could easily bomb any airfield built from the Faroes or Shetlands"

    Not exactly, for starters it is 498 miles from Faeroes to Reykjavik, so round trip 1000 miles. & of course, there was no airfield in Faeroes in 1940, making such bombing efforts all the more difficult. here's a nice map. add 150-200 miles to Shetlands, & then it is 1400 mile roundtrip. With no fighter escort, these bombers could become easy meat. Me 110's , ( Range: 2,410 km combat, 2,800 km ferry (1,500 mi / 1,750 mi) could easily make the island & chew up the British Bombers while stationed there.
    http://www.flyingpirates.co.uk/faeroes.html


    "The only airfield on the Faroe Islands was built in 1942-1943 on the island of Vágar by the Royal Engineers of the British Army."

    http://www.fairisle.org.uk/History/page2.htm

    particularly as the climate did not lend itself to operational flying for most of the year; accounts of full 45-gallon oil drums being picked up by the wind and sent tumbling across the field, and of trolley acc's smashing into parked air­craft of their own accord, are not to be queried if you have ever witnessed a full Shetland gale - wind speeds of 130 mph plus are not unheard of.

    & airfields are easy to repair anyways.
     
  8. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    So, the weather in the Faroes and Shetlands is miserable while it is always sunny in Iceland....

    Fixing an airfield with a permanent (ie non-dirt) runway is not "easy to repair anyways." Particularly if all you have is picks and shovels and a half sack mixer..... Of course, this assumes the cement is even available.
    Oh, that reminds me, cement is not light. A runway will use literally hundreds of cubic yards at about 2 tons a yard.
    Building piers (another suggested "easy" thing to do) requires piles first. This requires a pile driver. Typically this is barge mounted for such an operation but there are crane variants usually in the 10 to 15 ton crawler tractor sizes. Piers are another thing beyond German capacity to build.

    The Ju 52/3m g7e according to the venerable Green (Warplanes of the Third Reich) lists 683 miles for standard fuel and 810 miles with auxiliary fuel for range. Not quite enought to do the trick..... Of course, this model did not appear until 1941 so.....
    With the common in 1940 g3e the range is only 610 miles and there is no accomidation for auxiliary tanks. There are going to be alot of Ju 52 at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea.....
    In fact, the only variant of the Ju 52 that might make the distance was the g5e float plane which carried about double the fuel (partially in its floats). But, there are a mere handful of these available so the Germans might have been able to transport a company of troops to Iceland by air.
     
  9. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Iceland does get bad weather, but like I posted before from the eyewitness, it rarely lasts long. In fact New York is usually colder than Reykjavik during x-mas time.

    Of course Germans could build a pier, c'mon. D-ya suppose there were some piers in Norway? Lumber available?? Norway would have had plenty of such equipment for Germans to appropriate.
    http://www.countryplans.com/foundation/

    & runways were non concrete, so yes, easy to repair.Let's not forget, Germany built roads & infrastructure for Iceland in 38, picks & shovels? hmmm, probably not. What equipment did Icelanders use for that matter to construct their airfields with? Probably still be there when Germans arrived eh?

    810 miles "is" enough to do the trick, remember our little distance lesson?? 6-700 miles to east coast?
     
  10. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Commercial trade between the countries also increased dramatically.

    http://www.sonic.net/~bstone/history/iceland.shtml

    German interest in Iceland in the 1930's grew from nothing at all to proportions found by the British government to be alarming. The Reich's favors began with friendly competition between German and Icelandic soccer teams and free instruction in glidering by German experts who arrived in the summer of 1938 with gliders and an airplane-- perfect, in the British view, for compiling maps and discovering suitable landing grounds. A "suspicious" number of German anthropology teams arrived to survey the island and Lufthansa airlines attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish an air service. U-boats visited Reykjavik and the cruiser Emden called. Commercial trade between the countries also increased dramatically.
     
  11. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Had quays there already anyways. I was referring to Bay of Hunafloi for piers.

    http://www.nps.gov/archive/wapa/indepth/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003118-00/sec1a.htm

    The cargo ships and the 5th defense Battalion had to unload at the quays,


    Just north of Reykjavik is this natural harbor. been a fishing village with quays for centuries.
    http://www.travelnet.is/JKL/journey/sv_hb/hafnarfjordur_map.htm


    Grass airstrips commonplace even today.
    http://www.hang-out.co.uk/light%20aircraft/iceland.html

    [ 30. October 2006, 02:19 AM: Message edited by: chromeboomerang ]
     
  12. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    It amazes me how some people think that Iceland was this backwards country with no amenities. The idea that Iceland may have some heavy equipment and fuel stores does not seem to factor into any concepts. If Germany took a conventional approach to the attack, it would never work. Bombing would destroy essential supplies and facilities. A prolonged attack would allow Allied recovery and response.

    The only way that Germany could succeed would be a special ops that secured vital facilities, followed by landing aircraft to install the troops to hold the island. Once existing airfields and docks were secured, fighter aircraft and Condors could be brought in to provide air cover. With the Condors, it might be possible to reduce the number of U-boats on convoy patrol and use them for supply support. With air coverage and submarine coverage, it would be possible to maintain a secure corridor to allow ships to get through. It would also greatly stop supply convoys from getting to Russia. There are no absolutes in war, but most lost battles are because someone was not smart enough to see a solution, or could not get needed support from others.
     
  13. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "It amazes me how some people think that Iceland was this backwards country with no amenities. The idea that Iceland may have some heavy equipment and fuel stores does not seem to factor into any concepts."


    Yep,concrete construction picked up considerably in 1915, port facilities 1913-17. They dredge the ocean to add seashells to the concrete to give it added strength as the weather is rough there & it has to be tough. Fishing fleet would obviously have fuel stores. Not to mention some nice ships to capture & use between Norway & Iceland for supply.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_horse
    During the period 1851-1939 more than 148,000 horses were exported from Iceland. Most of the horses went to England and many of them were sold as pit ponies for the coalmines. However there were other purposes as well, like transporting goods and supplies in the rapidly growing cities


    Icelanders manufacture large quantities of cement for concrete, a material from which most modern buildings in Iceland are constructed due to the lack of forest cover on the island.

    http://www.macalester.edu/courses/geog61/mahern/Hou_main.html

    So, as in Russia, the horse would be used as the pack mule. These could carry concrete sacks & infantry supplies etc. & they don't need gas, a handy feature.

    [ 30. October 2006, 11:41 PM: Message edited by: chromeboomerang ]
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting ideas here to think about but personally I don´t think a major base for Germany in Iceland could work. And the Royal Navy is answer enough to that I think.

    Anyway, I would like to compare this to , say, an Allied base in Finland in 1939-1940. I`d think the Allied would have created one hell of a block for Hitler´s iron ore shipments as well as stopped Stalin in his tracks during his invasion of Finland. The bad thing is that the losses would be great and the troops would be fighting for their survival instead of making any true actions against the enemy. But the idea sounds good, right?
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    So, it seems to come down to this:

    The Ju 52M g3e, the common model in 1940 lacks the range to make the flight to Iceland (610 mile range max) or barely make it. So, an air assault is extremely unlikely.

    A landing is possible by sea if the Germans are not intercepted enroute. The chance of interception is debatable but reasonably good for the British.

    The size of the potential landing force is likely a couple of battalions with support and a minimum of mechanization. The lack of mechanization is not a large problem from a combat efficency point of view.

    There are some existing facilities such as ports and airfields that may be suitable for use by the Germans.

    Resupply of this force would be spotty at best relying primarily on irregular air lifts, the occasional U-boat, and possibly by ship if one can slip through.

    The British could counter such a landing after it occurs at will. They could land a far larger and better supported force at virtually any point in time. The Germans would have a minimum of sea and air support, if any.

    Outside of the Lend-Lease convoys to Russia via the Arctic route the British could divert convoys further south and avoid a German occupied Iceland in its entirety.
     
  16. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    The south coast of Iceland is nearly all sandbars, making Reykjavik the only attack point, & Reykjavik harbor is designed to only allow one ship at a time to get through. Germans could drop a block ship in when they approached which would mean lifeboats as the only viable attack method for troops. Which would be cutdown by machine guns. Royal navy was pretty shy about going near any coastline dominated by Luftwaffe, ( Norway, France, Denmark, Holland etc ). Iceland would be no different. Extra paved strips could be built along south & east shores.

    The Royal 'Uber" navy concept needs to be put to bed. They would 'not' put several cruisers & a carrier on permanent station 800-1000 miles north of home islands between Norway & Iceland to intercept German shipping for a few reasons, # 1, they have to be refueled for one, meaning they have to go home at some point. # 2, They wouldn't place them between Trondheim & Iceland to be subjected to incessant German bombing. # 3, & these ships were needed elsewhere anyways, BOB anyone??

    besides, as I ponted out, many German ships slipped right through the Royal Uber navy into atlantic in the real war. & Narvik would be another debarkation point. British ships can't cover that much ocean, just isn't feasible or real.

    Uber Royal navy is myth.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Well, at the risk of repetition,

    First, the RN would not be landing from "lifeboats." There were, among other things 6 flotillas of LCA (Landing Craft Assault a 41' 6" boat carrying 36 troops) available in 1940. These were used, among other places, at Dunkirk.
    As for landing points, given the length of coastline on Iceland there are certainly more than a few points that are suitable for such an operation. I doubt that a mostly volcanic island standing alone is so inaccessable as suggested.
    I also doubt that the Luftwaffe could have maintained any significant presence on Iceland for several reasons:
    First, fuel. DFM or bunker fuel for ships will not work for aircraft (the aforementioned trawler fuel), not to mention that trawlers of the period take a mere fraction of the tonnage of fuel that even a single destroyer uses. Importing fuel means building a suitable storage facility. But, let's assume one is there.
    Next comes getting the fuel there. A single U-boat cannot carry fuel for more than a few sorties by a squadron at most and likely less.
    Without suitable pumping and other facilities available a tanker would be slow to unload and the alternative of shipping in drums is highly inefficent.
    A cubic meter of avgas weighs a metric ton. A single Ju 88 consumes over 2 tons per flight. If regular flights are to be made one can see that even a squadron of aircraft consumes a massive quantity of fuel in a relatively short time. With daily patrolling, training flights, and such what fuel is available to the Germans is quickly consumed.
    In any case, moving shipping regularly by sea is an impossibility for the Germans. Yes, up through late 1941 the Germans did manage to slip single warships, single merchants, and the occasional battlegroup out to sea. But, they could not manage this with any regularity and many operations either ended in failure or had to retire to safe ports to avoid interception.
    For example, as previously pointed out a relatively fast transport at 15 knots requires over two days at sea to reach Iceland.
    It certainly is possible, even likely, that a maritime patrol aircraft might spot it. Even U-boats had to worry about such a possibility.
    The RN does not have to have standing patrols at sea to intercept shipping just good maritime patrol aircraft coverage.
     
  18. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    "The RN does not have to have standing patrols at sea to intercept shipping just good maritime patrol aircraft coverage."

    Yes it does, aircraft spots transport ship, Royal navy ships have to be sent to intercept 800 miles north, which by the time they arrive, ships have arrived in Iceland. Unless you have a standing patrol. & good maritime patrol coverage did "not" occur in 1940 & 1941 in north sea. As evidenced by the many German ships that passed through the more dangerous waters around southern Norway, ( even harder to patrol way up north around Trondheim ). British anti U-boat measures were not too successful in 1940 either, only in 41 did they achieve any notable measure of success.

    & aircraft fuel at the airport would work for German aircraft, & ship fuel from Icelandic ships would work for ships. & destroyers would be fueled from Norway. Smaller supply ships from Iceland, & if need be from Norway on return trip.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narvik_class_destroyer "Range: 2,240 miles at 19 knots "



    "Without suitable pumping and other facilities available"
    Which they naturally "would" have to accomodate both aircraft fuel & their sizable fishing fleets needs.

    A standing patrol to be successful has to be placed near Reykjavik harbor since supply ships can go either north of Iceland or south of it, the "only" way British ships can intercept with certitude is to station ships there, which makes them vulnerable to Luftwaffe attack.


    & if British send carrier, they have Albacores & Swordfish to use which are no match for ME 110's, they would be shot down like a flock of geese, then the helpless carrier mauled by JU 88's.

    "Swordfish were considered backward plane at the beginning of the war, incapable to defend themselves against ground-based planes. This is usually credited to the lack of policy and structure in favour of a strong naval airforce until 1938. And this may explain why Great Britain lost the largest part of her carriers during the first phase of the war."


    "Fliegerkorps X, had been especially trained to attack shipping with its Junkers Ju-87 and Ju-88 bombers. They attacked the HMS Illustrious on January 10, 1941, causing such extensive damage to the carrier, that she had to be withdrawn to the United States for repairs."
     
  19. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    The problem with Lca's is that there weren't enough of them around in May 1940. Only 9 were used at Dunkirk. & they couldn't carry anything heavy.

    http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/mediawiki-1.5.5/index.php?title=Landing_Craft

    the British ordered construction of 64 LCAs, 4 LCMs, and 6 Landing Craft, Support (LCS) at the end of Sep 1940, and a second order for 104 more LCAs followed.

    The LCM, was problematic in that it was not considered seaworthy enough to cross the channel, and could not be carried by an LSI with a tank aboard. The first Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) was trialled in Nov 1940, but eventually supplanted by the Landing Ship, Tank (LST) which was large enough to be seaworthy yet still capable of unloading directly onto a beach. The first LST, a converted tanker named Bachaquero, conducted a successful tank landing on an undefended beach on 5 May 1942.

    9 times 36 is 234. so, 2-300 at most troops would attempt to land in the teeth of German machine guns, mortars & the odd mine. Sounds like a party. If they attempted a night landing, Luftwaffe would strafe the remainders in the morning.

    [ 01. November 2006, 01:17 AM: Message edited by: chromeboomerang ]
     
  20. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    & Condors roamed with near impunity 1940. Maritime patrol aircraft coverage would be superior on the German side in the far northern waters as they would have both sides covered between Iceland & Norways northern half. British ships patrolling in the area would be very vulnerable in the German air dominated space, 6-700 miles separating the 2 locales. Would be like 2 jaws of a shark.

    "Fortunately, while the weak early Condors were almost unopposed, the improved models had a very hard time, from ship AA guns, from Grumman Martlets (Wildcats) based on escort carriers and, not least, from the CAM Hawker Hurricanes, which scored their first kill on 8/3/41."
     
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