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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. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Andreas is right. Actually, the first real theory about the Blitzkrieg (learned from many tactics in WWI) was made by the British military expert Basil Lidell-Hart. Then, an unknown French officer named Chrles DeGaulle came up with some concepts too. So, a German officer in the 1930s, named Heinz Guderian learned from Lidell-Hart and DeGaulle to make his own theories helped in many ways by the early studies in armoured warfare made by another German officer in the late 1920s: Walter Model. ;) ;)

    It is curious how the names come up in places where you didn't imagine. :cool:
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting article on operation Felix:

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

    Operation Felix: Assault on Gibraltar

    Following a number of detailed reconnaissance missions by officers wearing civilian clothing and studying the Rock from Spanish soil as well as seaward perspectives, the Wehrmacht in the summer and autumn of 1940 drew up detailed plans for Operation Felix, the assault on Gibraltar. Only failure at the highest levels of diplomacy prevented the operation from occurring at the beginning of 1941.

    German Plans

    Under the overall command of Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, the German plan called for two corps to move into Spain in the middle of January 1941 with the consent of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. General Rudolf Schmidt's XXXIX Corps would cover the flank of the Gibraltar assault against any British intervention: the 16th Motorized Division would concentrate in the vicinity of Valladolid, the 16th Panzer Division around Caceres, and the SS Totenkopf Division at Sevilla.

    General Ludwig Kuebler's XLIX Corps would control the actual attack on the Rock. The assault forces would comprise the Grossdeutschland Infantry Regiment, the 98th Regiment of the 1st Mountain Division, 26 medium and heavy artillery battalions, three observation battalions, three engineer battalions, two smoke battalions, a detachment of 150 Brandenburgers, and up to 150 radio-controlled midget tanks ("Goliaths") packed with high explosives.

    Two additional divisions were earmarked to cross the Straits of Gibraltar and garrison Morocco after the successful completion of Felix.

    Due to the limited capacity of the Spanish rail system (which was not of the standard European gauge), much of the German ground force would move by road to its objectives.

    The Luftwaffe would contribute Ju 88As, Stukas, Messerschmitts, three light AA battalions, and three heavy AA battalions. The Kriegsmarine would cooperate by using U-boats to interfere with British naval movement and emplacing coastal batteries to further discourage the Royal Navy.

    From staging areas on the Spanish border near Bayonne, the ground troops would cross the frontier simultaneously with an initial raid by Ju 88As flying from Bordeaux against British vessels in the Gibraltar anchorage. While the Ju 88As carried out their mission, Ju 87s and Me 109s would transfer to airbases at Sevilla and finish the job of sinking British ships or driving them away from Gibraltar.

    With its flank protected by XXXIX Corps, XLIX Corps would move into position for the attack. A tremendous barrage was scheduled to knock out every known defensive emplacement in the Rock, followed by the arrival of the Luftwaffe for a succession of Stuka strikes against positions still firing when the assault troops began moving forward. German artillery fire would methodically demolish surviving casemates while smoke-generating units shrouded Grossdeutschland and the 98th Mountain Regiment. Due to the extremely limited frontage of the position, only those two regiments plus supporting engineers would be committed in the actual assault.

    Meanwhile, the Brandenburgers -- disguised as sailors abandoning a sinking ship -- intended to land inside British defenses in small boats and clear the way for the assault troops.

    British Defenses

    Had Operation Felix taken place during January 1941 as planned, what opposition would the attackers have faced?

    In September 1939 the garrison comprised two British battalions: 2nd The Kings Regiment and 2nd Somerset Light Infantry. 4th Devonshire arrived in May 1940 and 4th Black Watch in July 1940, so by January 1941 four infantry battalions were in place. (Later in the war this strength grew to 1st and 2nd Gibraltar Brigades with additional battalions.)

    3rd Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery (previously "Gibraltar Coast Defenses" and later redesignated 3rd Coast Regiment) controlled 4th, 26th, and 27th Batteries with 8 x 9.2-inch guns, 7 x 6-inch guns, and 6 x twin 6-pounders. (Artillery strength also grew considerably later in the war.)

    In September 1939 two AA batteries, the 9th and 19th, defended Gibraltar from air attack with 4 x 3-inch, 4 x 3.7-inch, and 2 x 40mm guns. HQ 10th AA Regiment was later formed to control the two batteries. The 82nd Heavy AA Regiment arrived in July 1940 with three batteries (156th, 193rd, and 256th) including 16 3.7-inch guns, 8 x 40mm Bofors guns, and the first radar sets. 3rd Searchlight Battery also arrived in July. Some shuffling of assets and re-numbering of units followed (including departure of HQ 10th AA Regiment, but no batteries); however, this AA strength was not further reinforced until March 1941.

    Because there were no fighters based at Gibraltar during this time (and no facilities for supporting them), AA fire was the only defense against the bombing of Gibraltar (including Vichy French air raids in 1940, but that's another story).

    Later Plans

    Given free passage through Spain for their ground troops and air forces, German planners were confident an assault in January 1941 would yield victory. However, Franco's consent was not forthcoming and the operation was postponed, transformed, and ultimately abandoned.

    With Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union) looming and units being transferred to the east, by 10 March 1941 Felix had been amended to become Operation Felix-Heinrich, for which German troops would be withdrawn from the USSR to capture Gibraltar when the approximate line Kiev-Smolensk-Opotschka was reached. Because the campaign in the Soviet Union did not succeed as planned, nor did Franco alter his position, even this amended version of the operation was not implemented.

    Operation Isabella was conceived in April 1941, originally due to Hitler's fear of British landings on the Iberian peninsula. Rather than an Axis invasion of Spain, Isabella was designed as a measure by which German troops would advance into Spain to support the Franco regime and defeat the British expeditionary force.

    In May 1942, with available resources shrinking, Isabella was replaced by the similar but less extravagant plan named Operation Ilona. Ilona was for security reasons renamed Operation Gisela in September 1942.

    In June 1943 Gisela was replaced with Operation Nurnberg, a contingency plan which called for, in the event of an Allied landing in Portugal or Spain, a defensive strategy in the Pyrenees. This marked the end of planning for operations in Spanish territory. At this point the plan -- and German capabilities -- had been reduced to two reinforced regiments and "certain labor formations".
     
  3. Brad T.

    Brad T. Member

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    Also, The Axis could have put air bases on Western Spain that could be capable of reaching the United States.
     
  4. Jumbo_Wilson

    Jumbo_Wilson Member

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    Brad

    With what?
     
  5. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    They would have been closer launching from Norway
     
  6. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    And what if they could use the Isles Canaries for their planes (long bombers) and to refuel their
    U-Boats.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting but I have not found other clues to confirm this piece of information:

    On Griffiths´ " Marshal Petain" it is claimed that Franco offered to join the nazis in June 1940 as he thought the battle was over in the west (!!). According to the author Franco believed he could get French territory for joining the "war". The Germans however did not show much interest at the time. Later in autumn the situation was different and Franco would not join the axis even if Hitler asked him to.

    :confused: :confused:
     
  8. MontE

    MontE Member

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    Hitler wqas unwilling to surrender Vichy French Territory to Spain to gain Franco as an Axis partner as it would damage his relationship with the Puppet Patain government and prolong French resistance to the new order.

    This is the argument given in Rise and fall of the Third Reich, The Germans needed to pacify the Frence state and consolidate the west. Gaining the week Ally of Spain (which would require Germany support anyway) when Hitler thought the war in the west was all but won was not worth the cost of creating an issue with the new Vichy regime.

    Better to be happy with a proped-up weak Axis mnor, than damage that relationship to add another weak Axis minor to your list of open mouths to feed.
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Correct, MontE.
     
  10. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    True enough. Had Mussolini taken the same route as el Caldillo, this would have benefited Hitler have to "Neutral" partners where he could obtain valuable trade goods.
     
  11. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Right, an Axis Spain would be more of a liability rather than an asset, as Spain was coming from a murderous civil war, and there was widespread misery and economic disruption, so her people would need to ber fed and her armed forces reequipped. In the end El Caudillo (caldillo is a kind of soup, stick to your StuGs :lol: ) took the right decision as in the end nobody disembarked in Spain.

    Italy might be another matter. It would be interesting to look at the implications of a neutral Italy :) At least there would be no running sore African and Italian campaigns, but I'm getting :eek:fftopic-sign:
     
  12. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Well, he was kinda soupy...................
     
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  13. MontE

    MontE Member

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    I like where you are going with this... I don't think I have considered before how benifitial "benevolant" neutrals would have been rather than luke warm or weak partners to the Third Reich.

    "Neutrals" like Sweden, Turkey and Spain allowed Germany access to world markets where as had these nations joined the Axis or the Allies, that trade and international access would have been severed.

    I brought this thread back to life after examining Turkey in another older thread and heard the same argument from many members. Thank you for giving me another way at looking at the situation... Hmmmmmm

    I agree that the "What If" of Italy's neutrality would be interesting
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The big problem here for Germany is that Spain brings in little of strategic, military, or economic value to their side and opens up a huge new coastal front that is vulnerable to landings. It is hardly a good trade off for Germany.
     
  15. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    This is why I mentioned that Italy taking the same stance as Spain would have been beneficial for Germany
     
  16. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    "Go ahead, make my day" :D Open a new thread, by all means!
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    NO NO, by all that is good and righteous in this forum, please no!

    I beg of you in the name of humanity.....
     
  18. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    I read a few months ago about a proposed German invasion of Spain can’t remember the name of it but it involved making use of Spain’s ethnic minorities the Basques, Catalans and to a lesser extent the Galician’s.
    VichyFrance was going to gain Catalonia and the Basque country.
     
  19. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    If Spain had entered the war I can see the Axis forces taking Egypt by the end of 1941 and the Turks entering the war not against the Soviets but against the British mainly to reclaim their imperial territory they lost in World War 1.
     
  20. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Why would the Turks enter the war this time, and not in real history?

    IN my opinion taking over spain or having spain join the axis would (as said earlier) just make a larger shoreline to defend, the Germans didn't have enough men to battle in Italy, Africa, Russia, SouthEast Europe, Norway, France and then attempt to make a continous atlantic wall from Denmark all the way down to SPain, although the jump of into North Africa and the cutting of the British forces in the Med would be a great blow to the Allies eliminating the Soft Underbelly I only think that it serves the Allies, being able to now push even more men and materials into an invasion area on the new 'atlantic wall', there were just not enough men to do it all.
     
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