Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Was the Med a sideshow?

Discussion in 'North Africa and the Mediterranean' started by Mahross, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,613
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    London, UK
    One of the major historigraphical debates that has existed since the end of the World War II is, was the med theatre subsidary to the general war effort?

    Personnally i would argue that it was in many ways very important to the allies conduct of world war II. For example, i am currently writing a paper of tactical air operations in north africa and the pattern that is emerging from it is that much of what was learnt was used in NW Europe. Also north africa allowed a command relationship to emerge that would be succesfully used in the final campaings of WWII in europe.

    Opinions?
     
  2. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,122
    Likes Received:
    30
    Certainly not, a great deal was learned in terms of armour, amphibious landings and combat experience...
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,458
    Likes Received:
    1,373
    Location:
    London, England.
    I've always rather had the impression that it was a sideshow as far as Hitler was concerned ( more interested in Russia ), but certainly not for Mussolini.

    Vitally important to the British ( Suez, India, the Middle East ) and the Americans ( more interested in the Pacific ) were persuaded by Churchill.

    Or is this a bit over-simplistic ? :confused:
     
    Buten42 likes this.
  4. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    I'm interpreting this as to: "what effect did the Mediterranean campaign had on the war effort?"

    In this context I'd say it had a big effect, certainly not decisive but still big.

    It was important for the fact that it kicked Italy out of the war, because all threats against the British communication lines with the Far East were supressed, because British morale —at Tunisia and El Alamein— raised after these victories.

    But most important of all, the fighting here was the perfect training ground for all Allied Forces which went into Western Europe in 1944. Amphibious landings, mechanised, deffensive and offensive warfare, close air support, better communications, chains of commands, airborne and amphibious operations.

    I think that without all these lessons, the Allies wouldn't have been able to successfully make a n across-Channel invasion, which would have allowed the Red Army to finish mopping up Germany…
     
  5. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Being a Mediterranean thread I couldn't forget about bashing certain American general… :rolleyes:

    If the Allies would have managed to encircle and destroy the German X and XIV Armies after the Anzio/Cassino breakthrough, then the Italian campaign would have been decisive to the war effort and the biggest victory achieved by the Western Allies during the war —it would have meant the annihilation of 20 complete German divisions and clearing all the way between Rome and Vienna.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    14,439
    Likes Received:
    617
    Concerning Gottfried's post on Cassino jst not too long ago at least we can say truely that things were learned for the future with the disastrous frontal assault on dug in Fallshirm and Mtn. truppen. And how to deal with camo and defences though primitive and in small numerations could be so upsetting and slow a powerful attacking army.
     
  7. silentmidgetassasin

    silentmidgetassasin Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    If Hitler had not bothered with Northa Africa, do you think he would have been better off? I mean he didn't really care about anything else besides Russia (which was one of the reasons for his downfall), and he could have used those troops, and especially Rommel for other things that he considered more important. The way I see it, all North Africa did was initially boost morale, create too many fronts for the Germans to worry about, and cause them a stinging defeat.
     
  8. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,122
    Likes Received:
    30
    Shame the Allies didnt learn from Cassino to NOT bomb a place into ruins and give the Germans nice defences...

    The Med... A sideshow to Germany, A proving ground for the Allies.
     
    A-58 likes this.
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    I suppose the Allies (minus the Americans) would have pushed the Italians out of Africa sooner. No idea about French Tunisia! In any case Hitler would have to come to Italy's rescue, because after Sicily Italy would be one of the obvious next steps.

    Or Sardinia. Or Corsica. Or Yugoslavia (!), or Greece, who knows...

    The Turkish reaction would be interesting too.
     
  10. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    10 German divisions fought in North Africa… they wouldn't have made the slightiest difference in the eastern front.

    And I'd love to see how Rommel would have got a bloody nose when trying his tactics against the Red Army! :rolleyes:

    But certainly the Mediterranean Luftflötte could have helped a bit.
     
  11. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,122
    Likes Received:
    30
    Well all those JU52s that got shot down in the Med would have been of use...
     
  12. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Indeed, Mike. More JU-52s to act as air ambulances, staff transport, back up to the German supply lines and more transports for numerous air-bridges… :rolleyes:

    Hey! Maybe an airdrop behind the Soviet rear in the Volga at the Battle of Stalingrad to take out the guns and the railroads that the 'mighty' Luftwaffe was unable to neutralise… :rolleyes: But these Paras would have had a nice time, I'm sure of it, when some Siberian armoured divisions and a couple hundred T-34s would have been thrown at them… [​IMG]
     
  13. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,122
    Likes Received:
    30
    So 500+ Ju52s are not going to be of any use Freddy?

    ok... [​IMG]
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Of course they are, even with my rolleyes smilie, what I put there is true. But 500 transports don't win a war.

    They most surely would have been used on more airlifts once the mighty Wehrmacht started being surrounded over and over again, then the transports and their pilots would have been lost little by little…

    You know planty more about airborne troops and tactics than me. But I don't think these operations suited the war in the east.
     
  15. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    2,122
    Likes Received:
    30
    I was not suggesting their use for airborne troops, they would have lost them all like in Holland and Crete!

    Just think they may have helped the supply situation for a while.

    I dont think anything would help the Germans beat the USSR!!!
     
  16. Maverik

    Maverik Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read somewhere that for every 9 German casualties 8 were caused on the Eastern front. If this is the case nothing would have won the war in the east.

    I have a game on my PC at home 'Strategic command' its a turned based strategy game. Playing the Germans after invading Poland I hold off on attacking the USSR, anyway within 18 months the Ivan invades me!

    So if this is the case Germany was in trouble from the first kick of the ball so to speak!
     
  17. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Messages:
    6,548
    Likes Received:
    48
    Even worse, I think…

    Yes, they could have helped bringing up some couple thousand gallons of petrol to forward Panzer units and these wouldn't have lost the momentum. But their load weight was still too little.

    However, JU-52s when used as ambulances saved many lives of wounded soldiers.
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    Sure there was, all Adolf had to do was hire this pretty bunch of backseatdrivers we all are
    :D :D :D
     
  19. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,458
    Likes Received:
    1,373
    Location:
    London, England.
    A new book on exactly this subject has just been published ; 'Hitler's Mediterranean Gamble' by Douglas Porch ( Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 688 pages ).

    A very detailed and complimentary review appeared in 'The Sunday Telegraph' today written by historian Max Hastings.

    Porch is an American academic and, judging from the review, agrees with most of the points raised in our earlier posts ( or should that be, we agree with his points ? ;) Anyhow, not bad for a load of armchair generals ! [​IMG] ). The conclusions are very balanced ; German and Allied commanders come in for criticism, Erich's point about mountain troops is covered, and so on.

    This is such a positive review that I shall certainly be looking to buy a copy of the book.
     
  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    How do you know he isn't a lurker on this forum? :D
     

Share This Page