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What if Spain had joined the Axis?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by PzJgr, Jan 3, 2001.

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  1. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Yes Canaris was hanged in the final weeks or week of the war, Himmler actually "protected" him for a time of his arrest for fear of what "secrets" Canaris might have on him, and which might come out if Canaris was executed and his friends might publish.

    Canaris was adamant in the Hitler/Nazis having no chance of winning the war as it developed, and he (almost single handedly) convinced Franco to remain on "the sidelines".

    Franco was "wily" in more than one facet, he also formed the Blue Division and sent them to fight on the Eastern Front. Amazingly they were mostly made up of the radial members of the party, and his political and military enemies. Great move, give their nationalist "pride" a parade, medals, and "honor" and rid yourself of those who opposed you at the same time, with little expense to yourself. Master Stroke.

    This takes nothing away from Franco, in fact it should put his better understanding of "real politic" and geopolitics in focus. He was a super patriot, not a pure "nationalist". Much like DeGaulle, he kept his eye on the prize of France's past "glory and honor".

    And while some in the Anglo-American camp looked at him as an egotist to match MacArthur (and in some areas he was), it wasn't personal glory for DeGaulle, it was restoring the "glory and honor of France". Big dif.
     
  2. Mark4

    Mark4 Ace

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    If this is still about what i think it is about then I am going to picture this June of 41 Spain came on the side of the Axis. They have a poorly equipment army a population that has no desire for war and are running out of food.
    The Germans have to equipped and train the Spanish army and then figure out where they are going to get Food from (Mine you the Germans are suffering heavy losses in Barbarossa).

    So now the German Industry have to supply both the Spanish and the eastern fronts and i don't see how they are going to be able to do that. The spanish Industry if any are left was paralyzed in the civil and i don't think theirs any one who would even work in the factories I'm confused how is this going to work?:confused:
     
  3. Wiley Hyena

    Wiley Hyena Member

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    Great post. And, I don't take anything away from Franco, other than the fact he was an undemocratic military dictator (which is enough). While I don't agree with his political methods, he was possessed of a quick and perceptive mind, and that enhanced the fall of the Nazis. That in itself allowed him to stay in power in a post WWII western world that was concerned about the spread of communism. His decisions were more about staying in power rather than ideology, however. Don't forget that.

    As to DeGaulle, I do believe it was about the glory and honor of France. But, DeGaulle took it to the point of appearing that he had a chip on his shoulder. Which, unfortunately, he did. But, it wasn't his fault that he ruled 140 years after the downfall of Napoleon and right after the Germans officially neutered what was left of French pride. Thankfully, Churchill was a Francophile. And, for what it's worth, the French army's contribution to the winning of WWI constitutes one of the great herioc stands of all time.
     
  4. efestos

    efestos Member

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    IMHO, In Hitler´s mind the idea was that Spain had to join the axis BEFORE Barbarossa. When GB wasn't able to conuer the Canary Islands (BOB). To close the MED.
    In fact, the Endaya conference was before Barbarossa.
    All could have a little sense only if the Nazis had choosen the "Option South".

    Leaving a little of topic: is not it interesting that Franco never tried to pay his debt to Germany and Italy sending "forced labor." At the end of the one of the many reasons for the economic disaster of the post civil war was that the Franco regime was close to a million political prisoners. Although unlike others, most returned home.
     
  5. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    The only thin Spain joining the Axis would do is give Germany access to better locations, It would have prevented 2 of the 3 landing involved with Operation Torch (not to say that would lead to the failure of that operation, More likely just an increased time frame) and given German U boats use of the Canary Islands (Something that would have to be neutralized before operation Torch could take place).

    Spain would not have provided any increased aid on the Eastern front, Or in NA. They may have however provided more manpower for construction of defenses along the Atlantic wall.

    Really comes down to the same thing for those that ask what if Portugal joined the Axis, Would provide better locations but no real increase in manpower for the Eastern of NA fronts. Just the most important Islands in the Atlantic if manned being able to field sub's where they were needed as well as aerial support.

    If Spain was ever going to join the Axis (along with Portugal) it would have to have been early on, At least then several of Germany's capital ships rather then dashing through the English channel to Germany for repairs could have made it to the Med to be repaired and fielded from Gibraltar or the Canary Islands (or Azores).
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    They certainly lose Canaries once they attack Gib. They have no way of keeping them.
     
  7. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    By it's very neutrality, Spain made a vital contribution to the Axis war effort.

    Spain was the closest thing Reich holidaymakers had to an overseas 'jaunt'....
     
  8. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Spain would have required a lot of troops and equipment to guard its coast, exactly what Germany didnt have.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    When they weren't puting a boycot into place the US was also shipping Spain about 40,000 tons of oil a month. That amount was deliberately chosen to be less than Spain needed to keep them fromm selling it the Germans. Varius nations in the Americas were also shipping in quite a bit of food. If Spain joins the Axis someone has to pick up the slack and none of the Axis had either food or fuel to spare.
     
  10. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Not a chance.

    Gibraltar is not the key to the eastern Med, the supplies for Egypt went around the Cape anyways.

    How many troops were in the Canaries at the beginning of '41? ;)
    And how many in Tangier?

    But there is another factor too - Franco did not want the British arming the remants of the opposition to reopen the civil war.
     
  11. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Actually, Capturing the Canarys Islands would be hard for either side, neither had the means to really take them and gain a clear footing over all the Islands with out conflict with the other. UK was to busy with trying to keep them selves supplied and would be hard pressed to supply and operate the Nval and Air forces that would be stationed there while also maintaning safe supply routes to the Uk and keeping the German fleet bottled up. While the Axis had neither the ships or personnal in palce to really secure them straight off, Either side may have been able to shuffle forces around but would take time, Who ever did it first would have to expand the facilities intime and position enought air craft there with ships (likely submarines and torpedo boats etc) to fight off what would eventually be a US led invasion to take them.

    So really, Either the Allies or the Axis would have secured them or they would have remained conteted until the US joined the war.

    But all this is assuming Spain joins on a whim, Is it not likely that Spain joining would have been talked about and agreed upon in advance, That the German and Spanish high commands would have talked and started getting forces into position. The Germans would have realized the value of the Canary Islands, Is it not likely they would have gathered a small force secretly to occupy them along with the majority of the Spanish surface fleet (what remained of it, Which while nothing threatening would be enought to secure the Canary's with aerial support). Who in British intelligence would keep track of a little force of troop's and equipment (assuming they are picked up at all) moving away from the massive build up along the Eastern front.

    So if Spain joined on a whim, By early '42 there in Allied hands likely, If not then there in Axis hands and any force stationed there would have to be countered with several fleet carriers, Which would have to wait until constructed or be taken from the Pacific. Allow more time to build up the Islands capabilities and defenses or take away the fleet carriers in the Pacific leaving no carrier force to oppose the Japanese???
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I think you are giving German/Axis Strategic thought far too much credit here. For a maritime nation like Britain, US or Japan the Canaries would seem both a logical and obvious target, but Germany was a land power led by a man who in a rare moment of clarity admitted he knew nothing about naval matters. Nothing happened in German military operations that did not first have the blessing of Hitler and his history on naval decisions is not encouraging.

    Undoubtedly Reader/Donitz would have reccomended moving on these islands, but they made a great number of such suggestions that in hindsight seem commonsense, but were rejected by Hitler simply because they did not interest him. Not only could Britain take the islands fairly easily, they would gladly do so to help close the air gap and to gain an over-hyped victory against the evil 'Huns'.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Member

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    The Axis lack the ability to fly short-range fighters the ~800 miles from Cadiz to the Canaries, nor do they have the ability to fight their way through a superior British fleet to send or supply troops & support.

    On the other hand, the British do.

    Nor do the British need to capture all of the islands at once (or even at all), just one island is enough to establish an airbase & naval base.
    Suppose there is a regiment or two of Franco's troops on one of the other islands, how would they cross the water to attack the British airbase? Swim?

    Frankly (If I were British commander) I could care less who controls the other islands, provided that I maintain air & naval control and prevent the Axis from using Canary bases or shipping to/from the islands.
    (The populations will become more cooperative as food, fuel & supplies run out)

    And your basis for this is what?

    The British managed to "supply and operate the naval and air forces" at Gibraltar, Malta, Barbados, Bermuda, Aden, Cyprus, Ceylon, Iceland, Ascuncion, Singapore and dozens of other bases, so why would the Canaries be any different?


    The British had plans made & troops ready to seize the Canaries and/or Cape Verde should Spain join the Axis or the Nazis move to occupy them.

    Why exactly would the British need to fight off a US invasion?

    Do you mean contented? or contended?

    Why would they remain "contended" (assuming that's what you mean) once the British establish an airbase there?
    How would the Axis contend the Canaries? With 2 battlecruisrs and a half dozen or so cruisers?

    With CV Graf Zeppelin?

    How many destroyers & ASW ships do you think the Axis have to deal with British subs?
     
  14. freebird

    freebird Member

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    ....Which would be read by Bletchly Park & detected MI-6

    Aerial support from where?

    Bold prediction there!
    (Unless the Swiss navy invades?)

    What large troop buildup is there on the Eastern front in the spring of '41?

    So would the Royal Navy be paying attention to an Axis effort to set up Luftwaffe & U-boat bases on islands that are right along the primary Allied shipping route to Africa & Far East teritories?

    Uh, yes they would focus on that. Like a laser beam.

    Remember, there is an RN blockade of Europe in 1941, so any cargo ships trying to transport military supplies or aircraft to the Canaries will be intercepted.

    In Jan 1941 the British had 5 carriers in the Atlantic (including HMS Argos & HMS Eagle which operated as fleet carriers in 41/42) + 1 smaller CVE
    The other two carriers HMS Illustrious & HMS Hermes are in the Med/Far East.

    So no, there is no "waiting for construction", should the Axis make a move to send forces to the Canaries the British are not going to wait to react.

    How many fleet carriers do you suppose Britain had in the Pacific in 1941?
     
  15. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Hisorically the British failed to take the Dodecannese Islands, despite two attempts, the 1943 attempt turned into a half disaster, a prepared defence of the Canarias would require troops they don't have to spare until 1942, by then they could go there instead of Dieppe.
    Spain on the axis side would possibly give German industry something it badly needed, a way to put pressure on the Portugal for more tungsten and possibly stopping supply of that important resource to the allies. Knocking out Gibraltar and u-boat and long range plane basing is also useful. Without Gibraltar Torch becomes problematical (no decent bases and poissibly the Germans can resupply better than the allies can) so the allies will probaly go for Norway as Hitler expected. . Besides that it's a bad deal, Franco can't send lots of troops, his control of the country is still weak, and will require at least some aid, but the million or so, even if badly equipped, troops he can mobilize are still a big deterrent to any allied landing there, add a couple of German corps to them and it's a mess. IMO unless the civil war ignites again (fed by allied money and arms) an invasion of Spain is going to be worse than the Italian campaign as a manpower drain to little gain for the allies.
     
  16. scipio

    scipio Member

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    This is a poor example – maybe Madagascar would be a betterexample?

    The British blockade of Atlantic Ports was very effective.Nothing would be received in the Canaries except by Air.

    Aircraft carriers and full weight of the Royal Navy could bedeployed in a way that was not feasible in the Med.

    The prize for the British in Atlantic Convoy protection wouldbe so important that it would take the Canaries whatever the cost.


     
  17. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The moment the first Germans were entering in Spain(and it would take weeks before they would be ready to attack Gibraltar),the Canaries would be doomed.
     
  18. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    We are assuming Spain going to the axis side voluntaruily, they will not do so without the doing some preliminary troop movents includin reinforcing obvious vulnerable spots. Also you are assuming a British fast reaction capability they seldom if ever showed, look at Norway or the 1943 Dodecannese.

    IMO the 1940 Dodecannese is a lot more like what Canarias would be than Madagascar, with Greece neutral the islands were completely isolated but had a very strong garrison, Madagascar had a small garrison compared to the size of the island, that is huge, no comunications at all with mainland France and Vichy troops had divided loyalties.

    With Gibraltar under air siege. and we can expect LW forces to relocate in range within a couple of days, the RN has no nearby bases to support operations in the Canarias, British destroyers are notoriously short legged and many of the battleships are not that much better. Operating off the islands the RN is vulnerable to u-boats based on the Spannish coast and damaged ships are in big trouble, of course you have to convince Doenitz to pre-position them nearby waiting for political events, tough job as in 1940-41 he had very few boats to spare, but then he is an more likely to see the value of the Islands than his colleagues.

    All considered taking the islands in 1940-41 is not easy, 1942 scenarios make no sense as Franco would be crazy to join the axis after Barbarossa failed and US entry in the war. IMO he would be crazy to do that at any time but that contraddicts the OP.

    BTW for small island garrisons resupply by sub is doable, I'm not suggesting using the precious type VII or IX, those are much better employed hunting the blockaders, but a few Italian large boats would go a long way to solve the resupply problem.
     
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  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    We can not expect LW forces to relocate in a couple of days :relocating LW forces would mean:
    relocating aircraft,spare parts,ammunition,fuel (tons),ground personnel (thousands of them) to somewhere in the middle of nowhere:it would mean :building of airfields,the connection of electricity,water,building of barracks,etc,etc
     
  20. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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