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The Fall of Malta Decisive or not

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by StudentofWar, May 15, 2009.

  1. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Well,Rommel always was claiming that he was short on supplies (the usual tactic of a front commander to blame supply forces for his failures/defeats ), but I like to see the proofs for his claims .
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well to anyone that has actually looked even superficially at the situation it's pretty clear at times that he was short on supplies, at other times not so much. There is the serious question of how much holding Malta would have helped though, especially if the cost of taking it was high enough.
     
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  3. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    If Italy was able to drag on for about half to just less than a year by concentrating on taking Malta at the onset of DoW on France, such shift of focus would indicate the importance of Italian North African coastal ports. In the ceasefire talks after the surrender, Germany might take an earlier but possibly game-changer note of the importance of dragging GB in fighting Italy -- Italian troops essentially would become British cannon-fodder; more French assets in the Mediterranean would have been secured onto Axis' control. Speculation beyond that is getting less meaningful than taking onto Malta itself.

    While I concur with Belasar ideas about keeping the British busy, Triton indicated that Italian and German fighting against the British could update their equipment and tactics. This idea holds a merit from the designing just after the fall of France and performance on North African battles of the Italian design Semovente 75/18 tank destroyer/self propelled gun from German stug3. 75/18 was capable of taking out British M3 Grant and M3 Stuart. With the combat dragging on regardless of outcome, German army might share some captured Soviet artillery pieces so the Italians could keep on fighting, including ZiS-3 field gun. The advantage of 75/18 and ZiS-3 was their effectiveness with respect to production costs. If ZiS-3 knocked out any German light and medium tanks, it could be able to knock out Shermans.

    In other words, as Italy was capable to manufacture 75/18, it would be even more capable in refitting captured and donated Allied and Soviet equipment -- which I think Triton's idea could be updated for describing Italian performance.
     
  4. Regertz

    Regertz New Member

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    Lets consider the buildup before Gazala, Rommel's greatest victory. Malta was bombed to blazes and supplies got through without loss and that building up gave Rommel sufficient strength first to punch the British back to Gazala then win Gazala, Tobruk, Merza Matruh. I can't help but believe the extra petrol, tanks, etc, that would have got through, with Kesselring pushing for all he could get through...After all K was responsible for getting just enough fuel for Rommel to shift the Panzer armee during 2nd Alamein and nearly win the battle...Would have made a difference at El Alamein, particularly 2nd Alamein and perhaps would have given the Axis the punch to break through at 1st Alamein. Rommel in recent years gets the back slap as not understanding logistics but to me, reviewing his memoirs and the various accounts of the african battles, British and German, he understood the situation quite well but gambled that with victory in sight Hitler, Kesselring, and the Italian Command would make a supreme effort. Two of the three did and one must be fair to the Italians who actually were making a gallant effort to supply Rommel at huge cost. Hitler however, despite fair words, was totally focused on the southern Russia offensive and did not make the pressure acute to get extra supplies to Rommel until after the Allied Torch landings when as Rommel angrily points out, supplies flowed into for several months on a grand scale. Perhaps the big question is whether Rommel or Hitler should take the blame for not assaulting Malta in April-June 1942. If we follow a lot of modern thought, Rommel must take the hit for not halting before or just after Gazala and allowing the Malta assault. But that beggars the question was an assault going to be made at all and how could the German-Italian forces in Libya have afforded to give up significant units to support it? If the assault was to be made, there surely should have been sufficient force earmarked apart from the Afrika Korps and its Italian complement to carry it out...The most Rommel could have provided was air support.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    It is interesting that when in Tunis Hitler sent Tigers etc but beforehand quite a lot less.
     

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