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The Fall of Malta Decisive or not

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by StudentofWar, May 15, 2009.

  1. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Which is basically what hapened in Crete instead, for absolutely no real gain whatsoever. German airborne forces suffered somewhere in the realm of 90% losses (killed & wounded), IIRC. At least with Malta, they gain some more freedom for their shipping across the Med.
     
  2. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    So that means hundreds of more miles to truck supplies to Egypt and Panzer Armee Afrika. They would run into the same problems the US did moving across France with the Red Ball Express. More gas was burned delivering the gas.

    And why would the Vichy French resist more than they did historically? With the Germans further away, seems that they would more likely defect to the Allied cause.

    Thirteen left now!
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Basically the Vichy French will do what the Vichy French governments tells them to do, after what they regarded as half harted resistance to the Algeria landings the Germans believed they could not take the risk of something similar happening in southern France so they occupied Vichy effectively anding all resistance. This would not be necessary with just a Morocco landing so possibly Vichy will go on existng and resisting.

    The reasons for going into Norway are just as valid in late 1942 early 43 as they were in 1940, deprive the Germans of the scandinavian ores and establish a tighter naval blockade, the later is less significant in 1942 as the Germans can supply the U-Boats from Northern France ports though the initial crossing from the Baltic shipyards will still be tough. Allied forces Norway would make the northern route to the USSR a lot more secure and create a chance of convincing Finland to get out of the war, a peace negotiated with all the allies in 1943, rather than an armistice with the Soviets in 1944 would go a long way in keeping Finland out of the Soviet sphere of influence post war.
    But not continuing an offensive in the Med in 1942/43 may have wide raning post war consequences as well, Churchill for one believed so.

    As for the attack itself the attack plans for the 1942 C3/Herkules are well known and include both air and shipborne assault, AFAIK those for a 1940 or 1941 attack a bit less, the RN, if it tried to intervene, would probably fare exactly as at Crete if not worse given that the route back to a safe port for damaged ships is much longer. I have little doubt that the axis could have taken the island, the plan had a 7-1 superiority in ground forces against basically isolated defenders, though it may have been costly, I do not see the local population giving the same sort of savage contribution to the defence as at Crete, after all most of them spoke the same language as the attackers not the defenders, AFAIK the "no quarters" policy of the locals greatly contributed to the para losses that BTW were nowhere close to 90%, Commonwealth losses at Crete were higher than axis ones.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    TOS, You are right, my figures were based on a very faulty memory, my apologies.
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    control of Norway ? very doubtfull:the distance for the invasion fleet ,from East England to South Norway =some 700 km,to Denmark,some 600 km.
     
  6. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Probably not decisive but meritorious for Italian forces in North Africa and the Eastern Front. With Rommel clearing up to Suez and Egypt, East Med is more or less cleared for Italian naval operations, which then could reinforce axis allies in the Black Sea, say Romanian assault of Odessa. Operation Torch would have still gone ahead, even if Spain would be an active axis partner.

    In short, many things had to fall in the right place for Italy and Spain to contribute greatly for the axis cause.

    In terms of decisiveness, Finnish and Ugric forces taking Murmansk, the whole Kola peninsula and Karelia would have a greater effect.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It's highly unlikely that Romel will reach the Suez even if Malta falls. Even if the Eastern Med is cleared of RN units the Italian navy doesn't have the oil to do much there.
     
  8. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Having read this, I add that once Malta was under Italian control, maritime cargo transport could be divided into aerial tactical reinforcement or supply onto parachute drop zone or if Rommel and Monty face-off dragged on, a Henderson Field 1 runway airstrip could be built. Does the RAF have supremacy or superiority from Libya to Alexandria ? Flak-88 could be employed against both tanks and aircraft.
     
  9. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Wasn't it one goal of the whole northafrican campaign to get access to the oil fields in the middle east?

    In summer 1940, Malta wasn't severly defended, only a few obsolete fighter planes and not enough men. Italy would have captured it easily, but instead they attacked in southern France against an army that was already defeated.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    NO : Germany could not capture these oil fields, the oil could not be transported to Germany and Germany did not need this ol
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The only part above I disagree with is that Germany indeed did need the oil.
    The North African campaign was only suppose to stabalize the Italian position in North Africa. The axis simply didn't have the logistics to succeed in the long run at much beyond that. Indeed some of Rommel's most significant advances would have been impossible without captured supplies and logistical assets. As it is he went out on a limb several times and essentially asked the Britts to cut it off eventually they complied.
     
  12. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    If the Axis would have captured oil fields in the Middle East, they would control the Suez and could carry it at least to Genua (Genova). The axis needed oil fields additional to those in Romania. In reality they even extracted oil from oil shale, a few miles from where i live there are examples of it and you can still find some of it close to the Autobahn.

    Libya was the only place, where the Wehrmacht could actually fight the british army, keeping them busy and up to date with their equipment and tactics. I don't think Hitler was very keen to make Mussolinis dreams come true (Tunis - Nizza - Tripolis).
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I've seen what if's that suggest a Turkish entry to the war on the side of Germany. If they went that way (and some how miraculously got the logistics they needed to actually acomplish it) they wouldn't necessarily control Suez but could control the air fields.

    How?
     
  14. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    ? Tankers?

    After the axis troops had conquered Egypt, I d'ont think the near oil fields would be a great problem.
    Islamic population was very nazi-friendly, to say at least.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What tankers? What oil fields? What shape do you think they would be in?
     
  16. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    If H was intended to help M -- which was doubtful, Kurt Student's paratroopers could have a role when Italy should have taken it in 1940, after DOW on France.
    With Malta secured, Italian airforce could operate to cover convoy and tactical bombing for Rommel's front-lines, as explained in previous posts by many other. Italian submarines -- a brightspot of Italian forces -- could also operate from Malta to attack Allies' convoys operating in the Sea, like the airforce would. Many minor incidents happened during the ww2 could have affected the cause of the war; therefore, given submarine capability to carry few persons, machines or messages -- sum up in a sentence -- the effect besides the two points would be incalculable.
     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The fall of Malta would have changed nothing .
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Are the German paratroopers able to do much at that point? They had a lot of planes lost or damaged in the Spring of 1940. Furthermore the Italians are at an incredibly severe naval disadvantage until France surrenders and until their new battleships are ready they have a pretty significant one even after the fall of France. True early on the British didn't have much in the way of defenses there but it's still a rough place to try to invade.
     
  19. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    While Malta was not the primary reason that Rommel was always short on supplies as is popularly believed, could Malta still be of much use to the Axis?
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It rather depends on when and how much it costs to take it. During most of the period attempting to take it was likely to be a costly failure and the next most likely outcome would be a pyric victory.
     
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