What if in May 1941..... The Bismarck and Prinz Eugen make a reverse Channel Dash, under heavy Luftwaffe coverage, refuel quickly, pick up the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Breast, and along with escorts, take a route along the French coast, staying under a Luftwaffe umbrella. U-Boats precede them through Gibraltar to join the Italian fleet. The Axis ships were faster and more modern than what the RN has in the Med at the time. Would such a combined fleet turn the tide in the Med? A total of 9 modern BB's against the RN's 4 OBB's at the time? And let's say the combined fleet is under German direction, and of course Germany sends a LOT more fuel oil and raw materials to Italy to support this fleet. The main problem the Italians seemed to have was lack of fuel, and lack of secure intelligence information. Their fleet was no joke, but being forced to use a German cipher was an open book to the RN. Since the combined German/Italian fleet would still have that cross to bear, would that be offset by superior warships and a widely roaming U-Boat force. Remember, once the U-Boats became active in the Med, they took out the Ark Royal and the Barham. I believe the convoys to Libya would not suffer as much from the RN as they actually did, more material to Rommel. Enough to finish off Egypt? So what do you think would have happened if Hitler allowed his existing capital ships to work with the Italians (leaving the Deutchland class in the Baltic) before going after Russia?