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The Italians were driven out of Africa in 1941?

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by Kai-Petri, Apr 1, 2003.

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  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In 1941 at the deciding moment whether to send troops to the Balkans or crush the Italian troops out of Africa the decision was made in favor of the former.What if instead the Italians were driven out of Africa? No El Alamein or Battle of Tobruk but would something else change, what do you think?

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    http://gi.grolier.com/wwii/wwii_8.html

    With the destruction of the Italian Tenth Army and the occupation of the whole of Cyrenaica, the British were faced with a difficult problem. The only Italian forces left in North Africa were 5 very weak and dispirited divisions of the Fifth Army around the port of Tripoli. General O'Connor was confident that the 13th Corps could advance and capture Tripoli, with the prospect of eliminating all Axis forces from North Africa, and he immediately drew up plans for doing so. There was, however, another urgent call in a very different direction. When the Italians began invading Greece, they had met with some initial success, but very soon the Greeks counterattacked and drove them back into Albania. Partly to help their ally and partly for other reasons, the Germans decided to advance through Yugoslavia and occupy Greece. German preparations for this move had been apparent to the British intelligence service for some time. Hitherto the Greeks had declined British aid, but on Jan. 29, 1941, Premier Ioannes Metaxas died, and his successor, Alexandros Korizes, intimated that he would welcome British help against what he regarded as an imminent German threat. British resources in the Middle East were insufficient to allow both an advance to Tripoli and aid to Greece. After numerous exchanges of views between the British government and General Wavell and discussions in Cairo and Athens (Athenai), which were attended by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and the chief of the Imperial General Staff, Gen. (later Field Marshal) Sir John Greer Dill, it was decided to send a force to Greece and remain on the defensive in North Africa.


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    What? No DAK??!

    :confused: :eek:
     
  2. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    They had the choice. Or they drove the Italians all the way back to Tunis and defeat them before they could retreat to Italy.

    But Churchill also saw this situation politically and he wanted to help - only if it was symbolic - his Greek friends.
     
  3. Brad T.

    Brad T. Member

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    I don't think this would have significantly shortend the war, If the Allies knocked them out of Italy, I don't think the Allies were prepared to land in Sicily, although the BEF didnt do that much in Greece either.
     
  4. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    Probably they wouldn't have been prepared to land in Sicly in 1941, but the Italians wouldn't enter in North-Africa again.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    What do you think would Hitler leave the Mediterranean ruled by the British? Could he make an invasion in Tunis or instead try to come back through the Vichy French parts of Africa?

    And of course the Crete would have been probably taken without the horrible casualties, and Fallschirmjäger would have been used in other operations. Maybe not Malta ?

    Luftlotte 2 and the troops would be available for Russian front. And Rommel.

    :confused:
     
  6. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    The Mediterranean wastn't that important for Hitler.

    So he would probably sent Luftlotte 2 and the troops from Rommel to Russia, where they might give the Germans a victory over the Russians.
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Ea! Wait a second!

    Don't you think that general O'Connor indeed tried to destroy the Italian forces in Libya and that he was very, very close to achieve it? What was his problem? That by early 1941 Great Britain was facing severe supply problems due to admiral Dönitz's sardine-cans... General O'Connor had only 30.000 men and not a lot of equipment... and the reinforcements were being sent to Greece, which Churchill considered much more important. O'Connor, as all the other commanders in the desert war, faced the problems of an over-extended supply-line... This what-if is an especial one, because if there would have been any chances of happening then it would have happened!!!

    And of course not, the British didn't have the logistical capacity, nor the experience for an amphibious invation of Sicily. The British Army had many lessons to learn yet...

    And Hitler would have not permitted to let Italy go that easily. He couldn't have the British winning at the Mediterranean because the Balcans, Italy and Southern France were in peril...

    But let's imagine: no DAK. Then our dear Rommel would have reached the rank of General der Panzertruppen by 1944 and would be as known as General der Panzertruppen Friedrich Kirchner is... (Also a Panzer divisional commander in France, lost a leg and did an excellent job with his awesome 1st Panzer division). The Eastern Front was not a suitable theatre of operations for Herr Rommel because he wouldn't have had two little things: freedom of action and a huge sand sea to manoeuvre... (this two little things, ironically, were the things which allowed him great victories in Libya and Egypt...) :rolleyes:
     
  8. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    It depends where in Russia. If Rommel would have been given command to attack towards Stalingrad and Astrachan he would have the possibility to attack on a wide front.
     
  9. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    No, Erwin. I do not think so. Because in Russia Rommel would have had to follow his superiors' orders. Because in Russia there are many marshes, woods, rivers and things which do not allow mobility. There were many urban fights... Imagine Rommel fighting at Stalingrad: no mobility, no corrdination between forces, an attrition war... That seems like the nightmare at El Alamein doubled by ten... And we know that Rommel didn't manage things very well at El Alamein... :rolleyes:
     
  10. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    The DAK was never a large force. Had Britain defeated the Italians quickly, then that theater of operations would no longer be a viable one, as the British would rule the sea. Overall, though, I don't see the outcome of the war being affected very much.

    Although we might have seen something like this:

    1) Italy with the help of Germany starts
    setting up a comprehensive defense
    of mainland Italy, making any Allied invasion
    that more difficult.

    2) Not having North Africa as a training ground,
    and Italy being fortified, the Western Allies
    put off opening a second front, possibly
    allowing the Soviets to gobble up more of
    Europe, and maybe shifting more war material
    to ETO, delaying some action in PTO

    As for Rommel, I too see him serving in the West somewhere.
     
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