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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. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    From Skorzeny´s book " My commando operations ":

    " To return to Operation Felix, it didn´t appear that it would take any great effort on the part of Admiral Canaris to convince General Franco to allow German troops to march through Spain to get at Gibraltar. The Chief of the Abwehr certainly knew the Caudillo;it was even said that they used the familiar "du" form of address. Canaris made an inordinate number of trips to Spain, two alone in the summer of 1940, in July and August, and it was on the latter occasion that the Admiral discussed the matter of Gibraltar with Franco.

    I cannot reveal the military sources that informed me that Canaris convinced the Cuadillo to demand the following of Hitler in return, demands which definitely had to be rejected.Wheat, fuel, weapons and ammunition in enormous quantities, and above all the annexation into the Spanish colonial region of all French Morocoo and the Department of Oran in Algeria.

    This was impossible.Why should Hitler give away something that he didn´t possess and that he had never demanded from France? He was still of opinion that a policy of honest co-operation and friendly relations with France was very desirable.This friendly policy was outlined in Oct 1940 in Montoire during talks with Marshall Petain.

    Following Canaris´visit to Spain, the Reich´s ambassador in Madrid, Eberhardt von Stohrer, related the following in a report to the Wilhelmstrasse on Aug 8, 1940:

    "(Even if the German Government accedes to all of Franco´s demands ) the date for the beginning of preparations and the action ( Gibraltar ) itself must be adjusted to correspond to the expected developments in England ( succesful German landing in England ), so that we avoid a premature entry into the war by Spain, which would mean an unbearable length of conflict for Spain and the possible creation of a source of danger for us."

    --------

    Skorzeny indeed gives a picture that Canaris did not want Spain in the war. As well he seems to have had the keys to persuade Franco to join the war.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    From other part of the Skorzeny book:

    " Hauptmann Wimmel was leading my frogmen from 1943, who moved over from the Brandenburg to Friedenthal. He was an officer of quite special bravery and cool-headedness.In 1940-41 he commanded a special detachment which operated in the Gibraltar area. He sank numerous British ships and with the help of Spanish workers succeeded in smuggling a powerful time bomb into the rock´s tunnels, where there was a munitions dump. They hid the bomb in a metal hull, which looked exactly like an English artillery shell. The detonation of this bomb would have set off an explosion by thousands of large shells and would have inflicted serious damage on the rock. Wimmel never learned exactly why it did not go off. One thing is certain: one of the men who helped transport the bomb was "talkative". Had they paid him off or forced him to talk? Probably.There were great interests at work.

    The attempt was made on Dec 5, 1940 and obviously could not be repeated. "

    :eek: ;)
     
  3. vonManstein39

    vonManstein39 Member

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    I think the Germans would have been better off in the short term invading Spain and overthrowing Franco. The Spanish army would have been beaten as easily as the Yugoslavs were, but would have made great partisan fighters afterwards. If Italy could be persuaded to garrison Spain instead of Germany then it might have worked out - assuming the Italians took no part in the invasion.

    Germany and Italy would have taken the whole Mediterranean. Whether they could have held on to it afterwards is another matter.
     
  4. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    Why VonManstein 39 would Germany and Italy invade Spain. In this useless attack a lot of troops would have been killed.

    Then there would be another territory where a lot of guerillia would happen.
     
  5. vonManstein39

    vonManstein39 Member

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    The only way to reach Gibraltar is through Spain - attacking it from the sea in an amphibious operation would be suicidal. So if Franco won't allow German troops to pass through Spain, an invasion is the only alternative other than abandoning Gibraltar altogether. Taking Gibraltar is the only way to cut off the supply route to Malta, allow German warships into the Mediterranean while denying access to the Royal Navy, and make all the British convoys go round the long way via Cape Horn. Neutralising Malta as an air and naval base, preferably by occupying it, is the only way for the Axis to have any chance of wresting control of the entire Mediterranean Sea from the British. Doing that secures Axis supply in North Africa, which leads to the conquest of Egypt and control of the Suez Canal. Follow that up with Axis victories in the Middle East, Persia, and the Far East and you cause the collapse of the British Empire. Destroy the Empire and Britain will be isolated, demoralised, and more likely to come to terms.

    If all this could be achieved (as it could have been if Germany had put off the invasion of Russia until 1942), then the cost of invading Spain would have been worthwhile for Germany. If the British managed to hold Malta and the Suez Canal anyway, then Spain would have been just a liability.
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    That was probably a difficult problem-by getting Gibraltar the allied supplies would not have reached Egypt, Malta etc, and as well Supplies to Rommel would have reached him 90% at least.

    I am sure the Germans must have had long discussions over attacking Spain.

    It was estimated that some 35% ( sorry dont´have the source here )of the tanks, vehicles etc would have reached Montgomery by the time he would have started attack of El Alamein, if the ships went round Africa. Or rather, he would not have started it as he didn´t have overwhelming number of forces.
    The war in Africa would have at least lasted longer.
    And of course, no US invasion of nothern Africa!
     
  7. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    Kai

    Where did you get that 35% estimate?

    The famous 'Med convoys from Gibraltar were usually bound for Malta, not Alex. Axis air power was too strong to risk running past Sicily, even Pedestal struggled with 3 carriers, and that was only going halfway.

    Jumbo
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Jumbo,

    Actually the 35% I got from Skorzeny´s book:

    " If we occupied Gibraltar, the rock, in June 1940, we would have barred the entrance to the Mediterranean. The war would have taken a quite different course.The English would have had to sail around Africa, and I believe it is not an exaggeration to claim that Field Marschalls Alexander and Montgomery would only have received about thirty percent of troops and material which in fact arrived directly via Gibraltar."

    I guess you can read this two ways: of the material going through Gibraltar 30%. Or all the material that went to them 30% if Gibraltar was in the German hands. Eh?

    How do you read it, Jumbo?
    --------

    As well I found this:

    "It was the Allied success in the Mediterranean that enabled them to land an enormous amphibious force in the Torch landings and equip the Eighth Army to defeat the Afrika Korps at El Alamein in September 1942."

    From:

    http://www.topedge.com/panels/ww2/na/supplies.html

    ------

    Ok. Let´see if there is more accurate info on the net!

    :D
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On Malta:

    The Island was only able to hold on to the Axis onslaught through Allied convoys such as Pedestal and Harpoon that brought food, fuel, medical supplies aswell as more fighters arriving (61 Spitfires in May 1942). This was a costly effort however and out of the 86 supply ships sent to Malta between 1940 and August 1942, 31 were sunk and many others severly damaged.

    http://australianmaltin.homestead.com/maltaprofile.html

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    In 1942

    The convoys sent from Alexandria or Gibraltar did not arrive any more, but for a small fraction of the sent supplies. The second battle of the Gulf of Sirte (March 22nd) was a British success (the convoy went through after that its escort of cruisers had kept at distance a much more powerful Italian Task Force with battleships). But even that success was insufficient. Most of the merchant ships in the convoy were sunk by German air attacks before the unloading of supplies was complete. At mid-June, a simultaneous operation from Gibraltar ("Harpoon") and from Alexandria ("Vigourous") ended in a clear failure. In the West, only two of the seven sent cargo ships reached the Island, while in the East, the convoy had to retreat altogether. For that meager result, the losses had been enormous.

    Crunch time will be called "Pedestal": it was decisive for both sides. By supporting Rommel's inroad into Egypt, the Luftwaffe had spread itself too thin. It could no longer maintain the air pressure against Malta.

    For such a decisive action, both sides mustered everything they could get a grip on. The British did not hesitate to strip their holy Home Fleet of its battleships and carriers ! The Luftwaffe gathered in Sicily every planes it could find in the Mediterranean area, while all U boats in the sea were put on alert. The confrontation lasted for three days (10-12 August). And decisive it was: the tanker Ohio reached Malta. With the other survivors of the convoy, it was enough for lease on life of several months, as an offensive base.

    http://users.swing.be/navbat/edito/med/med.html

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    Pics:

    http://www.worldwar2database.com/cgi-bin/slideviewer.cgi?list=mediterranean.slides

    -------

    More Allied aircraft had to get to Malta. Churchill asked Roosevelt for the aircraft carrier USS Wasp to take planes to Malta on April 1, 1942. Roosevelt agreed, and in April and May Wasp delivered 107 Spitfires to the island.

    In April 1942, the island was expecting to be invaded. UK King George VI gave the entire island the George Cross for withstanding air attacks. The Germans called off Operation Hercules, fearing their Italian allies would not be reliable. Rommel objected — he knew the island had to be neutralized if his forces were to survive.

    The Royal Navy assembled four carriers, two battleships, seven cruisers, and twenty-seven destroyers to escort a single convoy In August 1942. The fleet was the greatest concentration of British airpower in the Mediterranean to that point in the war. Operation Pedestal was bringing fourteen merchant ships to Malta. Four major air attacks on the convoy left only two cargo ships unscathed. The British lost HMS Eagle and two cruisers. But five precious ships and their cargo made it to Malta.

    http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/mediterranean.htm

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    Day-to-day happenings

    http://www.worldwar-2.net/sea/mediterranean/mediterranean_frames_1942.htm

    ---------

    Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were meeting in Washington, DC, when news of the fall of Tobruk reached them. "I did not attempt to hide from the President the shock I received," Churchill wrote later. Roosevelt immediately offered to supply America's newest tanks and anti-tank artillery for newly-appointed General Bernard Montgomery's Eighth Army.

    Convoy AS-4, laden with nearly 85 million pounds of war materiel, sailed on July 13 from New York for the Persian Gulf with 3 destroyers as escort.

    http://www.usmm.org/seatraintexas.html

    --------

    Yes indeed! The US help went round Africa and not through Gibraltar. New things learned again!!
    ;) :D
     
  10. mp38

    mp38 Member

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    Sorry I got into this thread late, and didn't read through everything, so I appologize if I repeat anything that has been said before.

    I always wondered this question myself? Why didn't Spain Join the Axis? Especially since Hitler gave Franco so much help during the Spanish Civil war? If Spain took Gibralter, It would have seal N. Africa off from British supplies. Rommel would have had a much easier time in N. Africa.
    Also German U-boats would have a endless supply of Spanish ports! Not to mention air bases for long range maritime patrol aircraft such as the Fw200.

    Lets' not forget about Turkey as well. Why didn't Turkey join the Axis? They too were friendly with Germany. Imagine if Turkey and Spain Joined the Axis? Wow, we could talk all month about this!?

    Matt :cool:
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    MP 38,

    Indeed to get the bigger picture I suggest you read the ideas on this section properly.It is always how you yourself see it, as we all have somewhat different views, depending on nationality etc.

    For myself I think Franco wanted to see that the war would actually turn favourable to the axis until he would join the war. There had been the Spanish civil war where many people were killed and as well the equipment was not the standard to start fighting the allied at the time (1940 ).The Germans had helped Franco to win but he didn´t see himself being in debt that much anyway.
    I believe there was alot of pressure by the UK ans USA, as taking Gibraltar would have changed the balance totally in the Mediterranean on the axis behalf.So no operation Felix.

    The situation in Turkey was discussed as well:

    http://www.ww2forums.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000093

    Their army was totally useless for ww2 campaigns.With proper equipment I believe they would have taken their place but that would have taken years to accomplish.As well there was no strategic situation in war ( like Rommel in Israel ) that would have given a booster for them to enter the war.They probably were more valuable sith exchanging goods with Germany as has been discussed. Of course if they would have attacked Russia it would have given them more headache but it would not have been like another blitzkrieg.

    ;)
     
  12. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    Kai

    Running through the Med' to Alex was always off the cards once Italy was in the war. This in effect cut the "all-red-route" to India and tied up far larger quanitities of shipping going around Africa. It was to free up this shipping that Alanbrooke was convinced of the need to deal with Italy and the Med first, rather than the US desire to go straight into France. Brooke and the Brits were not convinced that they could effectively sustain a front in France without regaining this diverted tonnage.

    Jumbo
     
  13. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    The Americans didn't wanted to attack Italy, but rather South-France.

    But becuase the Brittish had the most troops in Noth-Africa, they decided where to land. It became Sicily and South-Itlay.
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I don't see that invading Spain would have been a wise decision. Spaniards are though fighters and Spain's terrain is very good for guerrilla warfare. Look at what happened to Napoleon in 1808... Then I can only see a bloody fighting in Spain, a lot of atrocities, many resources wasted and no taking of Gibraltar.
     
  15. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    It was also said that the Low-countries were difficult to attack with tanks, due to the many rivers. But in the end it was very easily.

    The Germans were after all the inventors of the Blitzkrieg, so there is no way to think that they couldn't defeat Spain in 2 months.
     
  16. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Actually, I believe it was the Polish who invented the blitzkrieg...I think. But anyway, I dont think Germany would have much problem defeating the Spanish Army...but the guerillas would certainly take their toll.

    Also, I am curious as to the fate of Portugal if Spain had joined the Axis. Would she be occupied, forced to join, or left alone?
     
  17. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    I realy fought the Germans invented the Blitzkrieg and not the Polish.
    But maybe you can give me some proof in which war they used it.

    And about the ressistance in Spain, I think you could compare it to the Maquis in France.

    And Portugal would be left neutral. Portugal was also the only country which hung the flag in the middle of the stick on 30 april 1945.
     
  18. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Actually we were both wrong. Charles De Gaulle of all people suggested its theory in 1934. Needless to say, the French didnt listen. :rolleyes:

    The Germans were the first to employ these tactics on the battlefield, however, in Poland.
     
  19. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    The French?????????????

    Oh man, I'm surprised.
    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  20. Andreas Seidel

    Andreas Seidel Member

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    Hart and Guderian also thought it up. Guderian was really the father of German Blitzkrieg. But the concept was discussed in many countries at the time. I wouldn't say that any single person or country can be credited with inventing the idea.
     
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