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N. Africa - British Defeat.

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by RSM123, Dec 15, 2002.

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  1. RSM123

    RSM123 Member

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    I would be interested to hear opinions on what the consequences would have been if the British had been defeated in N Africa - to the extent of surrendering in Egypt, say before the Torch Landings in 1942.

    Having read on the subject of Enigma it is quite clear that Britain had a key asset at their disposal,albeit not continual due to intermittent blank periods in decryption when 'keys' were changed. With this facility they were able to make significant refinements to operational strategy based on what they knew of German intentions in both offence and defence. Furthermore on the logistical front - Enigma tip offs allowed allied Submarines in the Med to sink resupply convoys bringing much needed fuel / ammunition etc.

    However I believe that without this it would have been a much more arduous struggle for Britain. I am not too sure of how much effect the two main protagonists had on their respective forces. I recall reading that Montgomery was only appointed when the General orginally designated to replace Wavell, was killed in a plane crash. And Rommel although seemingly idolised by his own troops, and even by the British - I read that Sepp Dietrich in his memoirs dismissed Rommel thus 'Rommel - Pah !! He just stood on a tank shouting I'm King of Africa.'

    As for the alternative outcome - would a British defeat here in what was viewed by many to be a 'sideshow' have had much more far reaching consequences ?? For example the immediate loss of the Suez Canal. And the absence of any other credible opposition perhaps allowing a German advance to occupy the Middle East, taking the oil, and delivering another large number of jews in Palestine for the Final Solution.

    All this is of course moot, but I would be interested in any input here.

    A very interesting forum. Shame it took me so long to find it and even then it was by accident.
     
  2. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    On the outcome of the war, very little, but politically for Churchill it might have been very bad.
    The British would not have surrendered, they would have fallen back to the other countries under their control in the middle east (Iraq, Sudan,Palestine etc )

    This would have almost no effect on the Allied war effort, because at this stage of the war the Suez canal was just being used to get supplies to N.Africa from ships coming via the Red Sea

    The trouble with this is, the Axis armies in North Africa didn`t have the logistical capability to advance that far, the supply chain was too long, so the furthest the Axis could have gone would be Egypt
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    This is a massive thing to discuss to wonder what might have happened if the Germans had taken Egypt...

    The one thing that was certain was that Hitler never thought of Africa as more than helping the Italians out of trouble until late 1942 as he decided to send troops to Tunis when the optimal moment of sending troops had gone, actually.

    As well the British had the knowledge of all axis movements with the Enigma secrets and thus a couple of aces up their sleeves all the time.

    Then again Rommel was very good with the use of 88´s as several British attacks were crushed and hundreds of tanks lost for nothing, battleaxe, Crusader etc etc. Although Auchinleck stopped Rommel, and might have done the beating of Germans at El Alamein as well,politically the Brititsh needed a new face to lift them up after all the losses. So he had to go.As well it was a close call for Churchill as with another defeat it would have forced him to resign although how improtant a figure he was during BoB.

    I don´t think Egypt or the areas behind were very secure for British troops as revolutionary forces wanted independence and to get rid of the British rule. If Germany had taken Egypt it might have started a revolution all around, some of the articles on this I sent to other parts of the forum, but let´s see what I´ll find here later on.

    If Germany had taken Egypt I think operation Torch would not have been there. It was done in order to drive the Germans out of Africa by attacking them from two sides and by "Torch" it was the soft area of Tunis where the Germans had little troops to defend the ports and without the extra men sent first by Kesselring and later Hitler´s von Arnim and tanks DAK would have been crushed in the sands of Libya.

    Just some thought on this matter..
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    Hitler did have some muslim connections and I would not think they did not matter. I have not read much on this but certainly if the muslims had started a religious fight as Rommel was closing Egypt there would have been more for the allies to worry than just Rommel..

    "The Führer did not give, however, official support to the Arab cause, mainly because of "military reasons". He proposed, however, as soon as the German armies would pass into the Southern Caucasus the Arabs would be liberated from the British yoke and Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power... "

    " Mufti himself went on the radio on several occasions and his broadcasts were among the most violent pro-Axis utterances ever produced. He had at his disposal no less than six "freedom stations"... urging the Arabs of Palestine and Moslems all over the world, including those in the United States, to rise against the Allies, join the fifth column, commit acts of sabotage, and kill the Jews... "

    http://notendur.centrum.is/~snorrigb/mufti4.htm

    [​IMG]

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    In May 1939 the British government issued a White Paper restricting Jewish immigration to a maximum of 15,000 a year for the next five years, after which no immigration would be allowed without Arab permission; it also promised independence for the entire mandate by 1949. To the Jews this could not have happened at a worse time; with the Holocaust now fully underway in Europe, the only hope for the survival of European Jews was in finding a new home for them, safely beyond Hitler's reach. And since no restriction had been placed on Arab immigration, it now looked like the Jews would be a permanent minority in western Palestine (some 50,000 Arabs had moved into the mandate from neighboring countries since World War I, mainly to take advantage of the better climate and job opportunities the Jews had created there). In the Arab camp, Hajj Amin al-Husseini rejected the White Paper for political reasons, but most Arabs welcomed it and their rebellion stopped for the duration of the Second World War.

    http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/neareast/ne15b.html

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    http://www.betar.org/download/DavidKrakow/jewisharmy.PDF

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    Britain had three primary interests in Egypt: (1.) the Suez Canal, (2.) the economic concessions or "capitulations" it had enjoyed since Ottoman times, and (3.) rule over the Sudan.

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    Very few Arabs really understood the Nazi doctrine; they just wanted somebody to destroy the British and French empires that ruled over them with such a heavy hand. Little did they realize that to Hitler Arabs were Semites just like the Jews, and they probably would have gone through a similar holocaust had the Nazis gotten to them.

    In Iran, the Shah's pro-Axis sympathies were his undoing. Early in the war he proclaimed Iran a neutral state, but everybody knew which side he favored. When Hitler invaded Russia in the summer of 1941, the Allies decided they must do something about Iran to safeguard Russia's back door. On August 24, two British columns invaded Iran from the west, and three Soviet forces attacked from the north. Reza Shah Pahlavi abdicated four days later and went into exile, leaving the Peacock Throne to his son. The young Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi was allowed to stay, but at the cost of becoming a puppet of the Allies, particularly the United States. His country became a transportation and communications center for Americans traveling between the European and Far Eastern theaters of war, and in 1943 he hosted the Tehran Conference, the first summit meeting between Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin.

    King Farouk of Egypt, was not so fortunate. Not only were major battles fought on Egyptian soil, but the British thoroughly humiliated him. Egypt was officially neutral, but there were many German nationals in Cairo and Alexandria, and some of the king's best friends were Italian. Britain chose to look the other way at first, while Egypt fulfilled its obligations under the 1936 treaty.

    On February 2, tanks surrounded Farouk's palace, and the towering British ambassador, Sir Miles Lampson, forced his way into the king's presence. He gave Farouk this choice: appoint a new government with the Wafdist leader, Nahas Pasha, as prime minister, or abdicate. Farouk fussed, wept, then gave in and sent for Nahas. Lampson, who had hoped to get rid of Farouk, left disappointed (he brought with him an unsigned declaration of abdication, which had been drafted by the same man who had overseen King Edward VIII's abdication in 1936).

    This episode kept Egypt, like Iraq and Iran, aligned with the Allies for the rest of the war, but the king's humiliation destroyed whatever confidence the Egyptian people still had in him. Gamal Nasser, now a lieutenant stationed at El Alamein, watched, took notes, and began plotting the overthrow of the monarchy

    http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/neareast/ne15b.html
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On Stephen Bungay´s book "Alamein"

    Churchill decided Gott was the man for 8th Army.
    But it was not to be. At 16:00 hours on 7 August Gott boarded an old Bombay transport aircraft at Burg el Arab taking some wounded soldiers and a few passengers to Cairo.

    The area was considered to be so safe no fighter escort was needed.The Bombay was intercepted by a pair of Bf 109´s, which set two of its engines on fire. The pilot ordered the rear door to be removed and force-landed, ordering the passengers to get out through the opening before the plane had come to a stop. The crew exited through the escape hatch. The Me´s strafed the wreck setting it on fire. To the crew´s horror the rear door was still closed. The fuselage was engulfed in flames and all inside were killed.

    I guess this is the man?

    [​IMG]
     
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