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Spain joins Axis

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by dasreich, Aug 10, 2002.

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  1. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Suppose Franco decides to further Germany's cause and takes gibralter, effectively joining the Axis powers. What would the reprecussions be?
     
  2. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Blocking the Med for starters. Easier access to north africa.
     
  3. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    That of course is the first step; I would be interested to know the effect on the atlantic war and the strength of the Spanish navy. How the Allied invasion of Europe would have gone differently. Also, would Spanish troops be available for other theaters of operation, or be used as garrison troops in Europe. Personally, I think the latter would be true, freeing up German personnel and equipment for North Africa and Russia. The taking of gibraltar combined with a stronger operation to take suez would likely end all Allied operations in the med. Im not sure as to whether the outcome of the war would have been different though.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Interesting thread - needs thinking about.
    In addition to any Spanish involvement, the country would have been a useful 'base' for German forces.

    Certainly U-Boats for operations in the Med/Atlantic, airbases... North Africa would have looked very different. With Gibraltar 'out', there would be no Malta, no Operation Torch, no campaign in Italy. On a smaller, non-strategic level the option of the Pyrenees/Spain/Portugal route for evading aircrew and POW's would have become almost impossible.
     
  5. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    An interesting idea. The Spaniards would go into it for Gibraltar, most likely, and the probability that a German-Italian-Spanish operation there might succeed is quite high, if it was planned correctly. With Gibraltar removed, it would make things - as you have already said - far easier in the Mediterranean. Would Rommel be successful in capturing Egypt?

    Also, what would Portugal do?

    As another thought, how about the British landing in Portugal, recreating the scenario from the Napoleonic Wars.

    But there might also have been a drawback - Spain would certainly have wanted up to date German equipment and this could have been a drain that might have proved fatal on the Eastern Front (where Spain would be next to no help at all).

    Spanish Navy - I remember looking this up once. From a very clouded memory I seem to remember it being a lot smaller than the Italian and even worse in quality. I wouldn't count on it to change things in the Atlantic.
     
  6. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Interesting point about Portugal. I believe if she were under threat from Britain, Germany and Spain would rush in and take care of things. Besides, Spain is a lot like Italy...hell to attack.

    I think the Germans would hand Spain older equipment (Pz 1, older Me 109's, etc.) and use them for garrisson duty so more soldiers would be free for other adventures. Also, the med would almost certainly go axis, meaning Britain and the United states might never invade Europe. Remember, Torch and Crusader gave the Americans much needed experience and helped wear down the Germans. I cant see an invasion of fortress Europe succeeding while the med is axis controlled.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yes, Spain and Franco owed to Germany somewhat after helping with the civil war, but Hitler coulnd´t force them to join the war somehow?!

    Except for manpower and Gibraltar I am not sure if there was much else to give, as Spain didn´t seem to be very powerful in any area of army. Training the men to use new weaponry would take a long time, yet better late than never. At least several german divisions could have been moved to more important places by placing spanish divisions instead (french coast, yugoslavia, poland etc. ).

    Another country that might have helped was Turkey. If Rommel had won at El Alamein and thus they could have put pressure on the middle east, Turkey might have joined the war and attacked the british in the back. later they would have helped with the attack against russia, I think.
     
  8. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Not to sure what use Turkey would have been, they didnt have the best of armies in the world at that time. But I would be interested if anyone has got any details of the Turkish army in this period as my sources are very sketchy.

    maybe this should be a new topic....
     
  9. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    Both Spain and Turkey were far too canny to be drawn into the war. The famous meeeting between Hitler and Franco at Hendaye is one of the few examples of Hitlers aura failing to impress. Franco failed to be mesmerized like Mussolini and presented a shopping list of resources "that would have killed an Ox" as the Spanish Foreign Minister described it. Hitler said that he'd rather have 2 wisdom teeth pulled than go through a meeting with Franco again and so that was that. Franco was not going to gamble his war-torn country on Hitler's promises: rather by keeping neutral Spain could trade and rebuild herself. There is a reason Franco and Salazar survived longer than any of their contemporaries...

    Jumbo
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Being a what if, I would have to say that because of the civil war, Germany would have had to supply Spain with armaments putting more stress on their own war production efforts. Germany already was supplying Spain with obsolecent equipment but she was not at war so Spain did not need up to date equipment. Spain did end up producing a lot of equipment designed by Germany. Me 109s, He 111, and Me 108 aircraft are some that I am aware of. Nevertheless, Spain would have only been able to provide manpower and some fantastic bases for the Kriegsmarine. Would it have been worth it for Germany?
     
  11. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    An interesting idea just struck me, namely that maybe Spain and Turkey may have been a lot more useful to Germany as neutrals than as allies.

    Think about this: they were both benevolently neutral towards Germany, and traded with Germany extensively, ensuring a continuous flow of some badly-needed resources. Turkey, I believe, supplied over two thirds of the chrome needed by Germany throughout the war. Spain was, I think, used to import Wolfram from Portugal.
     
  12. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    They were useful as neutrals, but Spains benefit to German operations in the med could have been very great. Even with an antiquated fleet and an outmoded army, gibraltar alone would be worth it. And Turkey could serve as a launching point for an offensive into the caucasus. German forces could have taken that valuable oil very quickly. Perhaps the wehrmacht then could have steamed full ahead into Moscow, without the sidequest to the south. And to the question of what troops to use in a secondary assault; Spanish and Italian troops could man the western European defences in garrison style duty, freeing German soldiers for just such an assault.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Indeed, this question of neutrality is very interesting. these countries made alot of money by being friends with both sides. Our neighbouring country Sweden did help us a lot during the war, yet sold probably quite alot of Bofors guns to many countries as well at the same time.We also gave them a lot of help to graduate their neurosurgeons, alot of material from the front...bad joke, bad joke...

    Anyway, if you think it this way they were probably of more help as neutral countries instead of fighting the war and getting germany into trouble in strange places. ( like Italy ).
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    ¡Olé!

    Well, I lived in that beautiful country for 11 months and I can tell you that they are brave people and they know how to fight. Let's remember that Spain could not be defeated on land in the XVII century. And always had a powerful navy, althought it always lost: Calais, Trafalgar and in 1898... But for WWII Spain was like Italy, unprepared for war, with no important industry, idiotic leaders and bad weaponry. But it was quite worse than Italy, because it was devastated and exhausted by the civil war. 2.000.000 Spaniards were killed during the war and another 3.000.000 had ran out of the country... Spain had no real man power actually. It would have meant serious troubles for Germany as Italy did. But the naval bases for the Atlantic are even greater than the French ports. And with small Italian and Spanish support a few Wehrmacht divisions and aeroplanes would have smashed Gibraltar and therefore the war in the Mediterranean would have been won.

    And Turkey is quite a different thread. I thing there must be one. ;)
     
  15. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    This is a very good point Andreas. Whereas having the port access to the Mediterranean and Atlantic and closing down Gibralter, the price Germany would have paid was unrealistic. Not only supplying Spain with weaponry but also manpower and most of all, it would have extended the Atlantic wall which Germany could not afford. It would have given the Allies more options for invasion. Yes, Spain was more valuable as a Neutral country to Spain. But that did not stop my grandfather from volunteering...... :D
     
  16. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    This is a very good point Andreas. Whereas having the port access to the Mediterranean and Atlantic and closing down Gibralter, the price Germany would have paid was unrealistic. Not only supplying Spain with weaponry but also manpower and most of all, it would have extended the Atlantic wall which Germany could not afford. It would have given the Allies more options for invasion. Yes, Spain was more valuable as a Neutral country to Spain. But that did not stop my grandfather from volunteering...... :D
     
  17. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, I think Franco was very ungrateful. At least a neutral Spain 100% pro Germany. That bas... owed us his place!
     
  18. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    I think Franco thought his survival and longeivity would be far more important than showing his gratitude to Hitler and Mussolini!
     
  19. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Machiavelli would be proud of Franco for using others might to win the civil war and then stay neutral. But his help COULD have been a war winner. After all, closing allied operations in the med would have made things very difficult for the Allies...to say nothing for the Atlantic bases. And while Spain was ravaged by civil war their army at least had experience, if not up to date weaponry. They, with German and Italian help, could probably keep the Allies out. Plus, a seaborne invasion of Spain would be very unlikely. With the kriegsmarine prowling the waters, a version of Torch wouldnt happen. And Overlord used really small shortrange boats for the first waves of men that were launched from just the other side of the English Channel. Only Algeria could provide such an oppurtunity, and with the med under Axis control, thats a risky bet at best. Not to mention Spain is great defensive territory. It would have been a nightmare for the Western Allies to fight there, just like Italy. But it would require more men and equipment just to keep it stable.
     
  20. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Most excellent points, das Reich!

    Indeed, the Spanish nationalist army had combat experience. Perhaps the human resources of Spain would not have been much at the front, but would have been good ones. Remember the "Blue" division who fought quite well. Or remember PzJgr's grandfather, Maximilian Pertz, who became an officer and fought quite well for his ideas. Beside, Spanish workers would have helped. And the Spanish ports in the Atlantic are superb! And I don't think about an Atlantic wall's extension there. As das Reich says, Spain's terrains is awful to attack. Beside and invasion of Spain from where would have been launched? Britain? Too far? Algeria? With a so close Axis presence there? I don't think so... Beside with Gibraltar on Axis' hands, there would have been no Malta and perhaps no Alexandria and Suez for the Allies. All the Mediterranean in Axis hands. With the Luftwaffe and the Regia Marina controlling it. And an invasion "Torch" would not have been possible either. Thinking it better, it could have done a big difference.
     
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