My alternative timeline in the Med.
Posted 19 August 2004 - 09:23 PM
Mid-July 1940: Mussolini lands two mountain divs. on Malta under the cover of the Italian Navy at St. Paul’s Bay. 600 Paras land at Luqa and Ta’Qali Airfields. The Italians face minimal opposition from the British support troops on the island, securing the airfields in one day and the island’s complete surrender in by the second night. The invasion force is strengthened by the arrival of another Inf. Div. by plane over the next week. The idea of a British RN counter force is debated in the British High Command, the Admirals thinking it useless, Churchill adamant on retaking the island. A RN taskforce is eventually sent out, but it is too late; they run headlong into the minefield and are pounded by AR and Luffwaffe units now stationed on Malta.
Sep. 1940: Hitler realizes that he is losing the BoB, and withdraws the remaining bombers from the Low Countries while keeping the fighters to deter British bombing of the Rhur. After Italy invades Egypt, Hitler sends Mussolini part of his bombers and 3 Armored Divs. and assorted other units under Rommel to assist the Italian advance. Hitler’s Chiefs of Staff devise a secret plan which uses a right of passage agreement with Russia to send another 3 Armored Divs., with an follow-up of 4 Inf. Divs. and the Death’s Head SS Div., through Russia to strike down on Iraq at Mosul, then Kirkuk and Baghdad and finally Basara. Hitler’s other bombers, along with a small section of paras, would be based out of Vichy Syria. This would secure Germany’s vital oil supply, and set up a good springboard for an attack on Russia. After careful consideration, Hitler approves the plan, but only 2 Inf. Divs. are allowed. Instead of radioing his Generals, Hitler gets the message delivered by hand. All preparation is done secretly, under the guise of a maneuver. Hitler sets the strike date: Nov 13, 1940. Italian bombers and subs based out of Malta have been wrecking havoc on British convoys, forcing them to sail around the cape to get to Egypt, a 3 month long trip.
Oct. 1940: Mussolini, impressed with his army’s advance into Egypt, discards the idea of invading Greece, for the moment. Rommel advances to Mersa Matruh. His brilliant use of 88mm AA cannons as potent long range AT guns catches the eye of Hitler, prompting him to start thinking about arming the next generation of tanks with an 88mm cannon. Hitler and Stalin re-affirm their non-aggression pact, Stalin secretly allowing the German Corp to pass through on train, as long as the tanks' wheels are removed during transit (to prevent a surprise attack). Stalin complies with Hitler’s request so as not to provoke him into attacking the Soviet Union, which Stalin knows is coming. After arrival in Tifflis, the panzer divs. ready themselves for the drive.
Nov. 1940: Rommel, because of logistical problems with his large force, is forced to wait for enough supplies for a renewed offensive. The German Corp swiftly moves through Iran into northern Iraq. Britain, caught completely unawares, immediately moves a number of troops from the famed Desert Patrol into Vichy Syria to destroy the airbases that the Germans are using to bomb Iraq. The Syrians, however, see this as a blatent attack on their country, just as Dakar had been, and fight back vigourously. The Death’s Head SS Div. moves into Syria to “protect the Vichy government from British tretchery. In northern Iraq, after a week of fighting, German troops enter Mosul. To their amazement, the Iraqis welcome them with open arms, having wrestled control of the oil wells from the Brits during the last days of fighting. After regrouping, the panzers move on towards Baghdad.
Dec. 1940: Rommel re-fitting is now complete and supplies now are starting to flow due to the laborious work over the last two and a half months of 8,000 Todlt slaveworkers on the port facilities of Tobruk and Tripoli and a rail line into Egypt. He advances to the small Egyptian town of El Alamein, easily pushing aside the weakened British and Indian force that had been thrown out to meet them. Meanwhile, as the German Corp enters Baghdad, a military coup happens, and the British are thrown out of Baghdad and a new Sate is formed by the pro-Axis government; the Iraqi Republic. The new leader of this Government is Rashid Ali. In a guesture of friendship to Hitler, Rashid Ali expels the Iraq Petroleum Company and all foreign nationals from Iraq and names Germany as Iraq’s temporary guardian. Congress, in a surprise move, pases Roosevelt’s idea of “Lend-Lease” almost unaniously. Besides sending material to the UK, Roosevelt also creates several “volunteer” Brigades to send to Europe. German paras land on Habbaniya airfield outside of Baghdad and after some short, but intense fighting, take control of it. In North Africa, Rommel halts only 35 miles away from Alexandria due to over-extended communication and supply lines and a lack of fuel. The British hastily throw up a “iron triangle” from Alexandria to Cairo to Port Said. This defencinve ring is made up of barbed wire entaglements, minefields, and dug in light anti tank guns. Hitler, after hearing of this, decides to order his 7th Para Div. to jump and secure the Suez. So far only a couple of battalions had been moved to North Africa and Syria, now the rest of the Div. moves into place.
Jan. 1941: The German corp now splits after “liberating” Baghdad, 1 Panzer Div. and 2 Inf. Divs. drive down on Basura taking it on Jan 23, 1941. The other 2 Armored Divs. and the SS Div. turn from Syria down upon Palistine and Trans-Jordan. By this time, Rommel is ready to drive on Alexandria. He launches a two prong assult; the Italians enveloping the city from the south, while the Panzers punch through the line. Rommel’s 88’s made short work of Britian’s 2-Pounder AT guns. The 88’s could desimate the defences all while staying out of range of Britian’s counter-fire. Rommel takes Alexandria and suffers heavy casualties as he slowly pushes towards Port Said. By the end of the month Rommel has taken Egypt and the Seuz Canal, while only a few small pockets of resistance are left.
Please, all feedback is appreciated smile.gif . Feel free to extend the story through 1941.
[ 19. August 2004, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Ancient Fire Resurgent ]
(Fu--ed Up, But I'm Just a Reservist... )
Posted 20 August 2004 - 01:46 AM
Italy lands a single Div. on Malta over the course of 3 days. It Malta surrenders within a week of the landings.
(Fu--ed Up, But I'm Just a Reservist... )
Posted 20 August 2004 - 08:00 AM
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
Posted 20 August 2004 - 09:10 AM
Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra...
Posted 20 August 2004 - 06:49 PM
Well, let's start with Malta.....
The 600 Italian paratroops land and the British infantry Brigade (with supporting units)that is stationed there mops the floor with them. The landing fails disasterously.
The seaborne landing runs into the coastal defenses, particularly the twin 6pdr anti-torpedo boat guns that fire 96 rpm (the Italians found out the hard way historically about these guns having made several attempts to use MTB's on shipping near Malta )blast the landing boats to bits. The disorganized survivors are quickly defeated and rounded up to the PoW cages.
Mussolini looks like a fool once again.
On Hitler's "losing the BoB" keeping fighters in the low countries to "deter British bombing of the Ruhr" does nothing. Day fighters do not deter the RAF's bomber command who has switched almost entirely to night bombing.
The "Death's Head SS Div." (I assume you mean Totenkopf) is a mere regiment in 1940.
I severely doubt Stalin would have let Hitler ship several divisions through the Soviet Union to launch an attack on anyone from Soviet soil even if he was smoking crack or taking LSD etc.
Basing troops in Vichy territory violates the treaty between Germany and Vichy France. This would be cause for the Vichy to recant their peace agreement and throw in with the Allies or at least attempt to retaliate. At a minimum, the Germans now have to occupy all Vichy territories and garrison them as the peace accords have vanished.
Mussolini (and his commander in Libya, General Grazinni (sp)) did attempt to invade Egypt shortly after declairing war. The advance went nowhere even though opposition was almost non-existant. The British counter attacked with the 1st Armored Brigade and 7th Armored Division along with some Commonwealth units crushing the Italians in a lighting campaign. Why should this change?
But, let's say at some point Rommel does successfully invade Egypt and take Alexandria. It does little for the Germans. The Suez would likely be both mined and clogged with block ships. This would, based on the inability of the Germans to clear other ports, render it worthless to the Germans.
The oil fields further South in Saudi Arabia etc are largely out of reach by a land advance. Neither roads nor rail lines are avaiable to move large armies and support them.
Bottom line: Without sea power the Germans are very limited in the Med. The Italians are not going to cooperate with the Germans to the extent necessary to make their Navy available to give the Germans sea power. This is historical fact. Italy insisted on a "seperate / parallel" war with Germany not a true alliance.
Posted 20 August 2004 - 08:17 PM
In 1940,Italy had two para battalions. Italy would realistically only be able to gather a MAXIMUM of 500 all ranks for an airborne operation. The additional 200-300 of the native parachute battalion was in the process of forming at this time and was stationed at Castel Benito.
I would doubt the effectiveness of a drop on Malta for several reasons.
1 - The number of troops is FAR too low for a successful operation. The operation at Crete utilised a whole airborne division and still and to rely on an airlanded Gebirgjager Division for success. The operations in Holland also required the combat landing of the 22nd Airlanding Division. Even against small numbers of defenders the minimum requirement for troops with no previous combat drop experience would be a divisional sized force, of at least 3 regiments to have any strategic or tactical impact. 600 paratroopers would be of little use.
2 - The Italian Salvatore parachute was of similar design to the German RZ series and negated the dropping with personal weapons. The lack of control during decent and the need to recover weapons canisters when landed would also have further negated effectiveness and the time taken to reorganise after landing would have passed the initiative to the defender with such a small airborne force.
3 - Casualties in the drop. Out of 600 men, dropping on a defended area, at a minimum 10-20% would be casualties from ground fire, landing accidents and casualties from damaged aircraft. All german airborne drops are characterised by heavy casualties in both men and aircraft.
Posted 03 September 2004 - 07:21 AM
Posted 03 September 2004 - 01:26 PM
The loss of Alexandria and the Suez would have effectively limited British naval power to submarines and the occasional foray in the Eastern Mediterranian. In the Western half, Gibralter would still be present.
Originally posted by chromeboomerang:
Regarding Suez, does not taking it deny British supply route for army? or can they unload south of suez regardless? If it does blunt their supply of army in Africa, would not its capture in conjunction with capture of Gibralter effectively nullify the Brit navy in med?
As for ports, Massawa in Eritria was already being developed in 1941 -42 as a major port in the event of a loss of Alexandria so an alternate was already in place. The British (and later the US) were frenzedly building infrastructure all over the Persian Gulf and Red Sea to allow for movement of armies and supplies at that time too. So, the British would have had an alternate.
Posted 03 September 2004 - 08:55 PM
Posted 05 September 2004 - 02:34 AM
Until the Germans develop their own sea power in the Mediterranian they really have a very marginal capacity to operate outside Europe.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users