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Gibraltar 1940?


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#1 Rick

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 1831 PM

The chances of success if the Germans invade Spain to capture Gibraltar after the defeat of France in 1940? Assuming no Battle of Britain. As a historical novice, I was wondering. What I've read so far is a definite maybe.
Thank you.


#2 R011

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 1918 PM

The eventual result would probably be a Soviet aligned Communist Spain at the end of the war once partisans take over like Yugoslavia, only closer to Moscow. Taking Gibraltar, if they can, would have a minimal effect on the war as the Med was closed to trade for most of it.

#3 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0152 AM

It would have made a great difference IMHO. Whilst trade to India might have been interrupted, it was the quickest way to get arms and fuel to Malta and North Africa. If that route had been interrupted, quite likely we would have lost both, and Germany would have access to all the fuel it ever needed. We would have had to go the long way around via the cape, and with the merchant crisis being what it was in 1941/2, we could easily have run out of ships.

 

Look at the route of Operation Pedestal and you will see what I mean.

http://news.bbc.co.u...ope/2289714.stm

 

Though im not overlooking the lethality of Spanish partisans. They were an unwelcome surprise to Napoleon, and with all the skills honed in the civil war, im doubting much would have changed.



#4 RETAC21

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0251 AM

Gibraltar would have fell 100% for sure, but the key here is whether the Germans enter Spain as allies or as enemies.

 

If as allies, the Germans not only get Gibraltar but El Ferrol and Cadiz as sub and air bases so the Battle of the Atlantic becomes so much more difficult for Britain. In exchange, the Canaries would have been invaded and lost and, assuming Portugal is also invaded, so are the Azores and Madeira. This would require a complete refocusing of German strategy to the Atlantic rather than Russia. 

 

Supporting Egypt would be more difficult but not undoable, although Malta would become untenable.

 

However, if the Germans invade Spain, the scenario is completely different, as not only do they have to defeat the Spanish Army (which wouldn't be that difficult) but keep lines of communication open from France to Southern Spain, across a hostile territory that had already been damaged by the Civil War and with poor communications to start with.

 

Spanish resistance may have a communist component, but after the Civil war it wouldn't be a significant force as it cadres were either in prision or exile. There were still plenty of maquisards around specially in the border with France and of course, the traditionalists/Carlist wouldn't line up with the Germans if the Falangistas do, adding another source of trouble, so the Pyrinees would be rather interesting.



#5 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0301 AM

Losing the Canaries would have been real bad from the perspective of the battle of the atlantic.



#6 RETAC21

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0315 AM

Yes, so if Dakar was attacked you can figure that some troops that would otherwise go to Egypt would be dedicated to that task.



#7 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0356 AM

Its a good strategy. I should try this in HOI3.



#8 JasonJ

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0402 AM

In the hypothetical, maybe Germany could split Spain with Italy. Maybe control of Gibraltar would enable more freedom for the Italian Navy to operate with confidence.



#9 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0408 AM

Im not sure, I mean we already fairly effectively beat up their Navy at Taranto in November 1940. So if they wanted to give the Italian Navy a decent chance, they would have had to get an awful move on. And I think they were assuming the British Army would fold in North Africa fairly early on, and what that failed, they had kind of painted themselves into a corner.



#10 Ken Estes

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0441 AM

Freedom of operations for the Italian Navy means fuel oil, not bases. No change in this scenario. 



#11 Adam_S

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0525 AM

I believe Spain was dependent on imported foodstuffs to feed its population at the time and the threat of a British blockade was enough to stop them letting the Wehrmacht through their country to attack Gibraltar.



#12 Markus Becker

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0534 AM

It would have made a great difference IMHO. Whilst trade to India might have been interrupted, it was the quickest way to get arms and fuel to Malta and North Africa. If that route had been interrupted, quite likely we would have lost both, and Germany would have access to all the fuel it ever needed. We would have had to go the long way around via the cape, and with the merchant crisis being what it was in 1941/2, we could easily have run out of ships.
 
Look at the route of Operation Pedestal and you will see what I mean.
http://news.bbc.co.u...ope/2289714.stm

AFAIK the Italian did effectively block maritime traffic from going through the Med. Egypt and Malta were supplied by going around Africa. Convoys like Pedestal were very rare exceptions.

Re: Malta. They often got new fighters by carriers coming from Gibraltar, though if the frontline was right planes were flown in from Libya too.

Edited by Markus Becker, 11 October 2017 - 0537 AM.


#13 RETAC21

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0601 AM

I believe Spain was dependent on imported foodstuffs to feed its population at the time and the threat of a British blockade was enough to stop them letting the Wehrmacht through their country to attack Gibraltar.

 

Not really, Spain was exporting foodstuffs to Germany all over the time they had a common border, but as the production was mediatised by Government intervention, production went down and it led to shortages and hunger for the less affluent in the cities. On top of that, international commerce was heavily dependent on shipping for phosphates and such, so the allies held the ability to restrict imports at will and they used that to reduce the amount if fuel (which led to grounding of the air force, for example)

 

Spain would have been a net detraction of resources for the Germans.



#14 Rick

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0814 AM

Its a good strategy. I should try this in HOI3.

Don't know what HO13 is, but a hypothetical Italy invades Malta the same time Germany invades Gibraltar?



#15 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0844 AM

Here you go. Ive given up on HOI 4, even modded its bugged as hell.

http://store.steampo...ts_of_Iron_III/

 

Not sure the Italians could have managed it without German paratroopers. I mean yes, they did have a Paratroop brigade, reportedly a pretty good one. Im unaware of if they had enough transports to lift it though.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 11 October 2017 - 0845 AM.


#16 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 0847 AM

 

It would have made a great difference IMHO. Whilst trade to India might have been interrupted, it was the quickest way to get arms and fuel to Malta and North Africa. If that route had been interrupted, quite likely we would have lost both, and Germany would have access to all the fuel it ever needed. We would have had to go the long way around via the cape, and with the merchant crisis being what it was in 1941/2, we could easily have run out of ships.
 
Look at the route of Operation Pedestal and you will see what I mean.
http://news.bbc.co.u...ope/2289714.stm

AFAIK the Italian did effectively block maritime traffic from going through the Med. Egypt and Malta were supplied by going around Africa. Convoys like Pedestal were very rare exceptions.

Re: Malta. They often got new fighters by carriers coming from Gibraltar, though if the frontline was right planes were flown in from Libya too.

 

 

Probably right, and yet when it was necessary, it was possible. Barely. With Gibraltar gone we woudnt have even been able to do that, and I dont rate our chances of supplying Malta going the long way around.

 

Basically it isolates the British Empire into two parts, and at that stage in the war that would be been damn scary. So much so I think we might have considered throwing in the towel.



#17 Markus Becker

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 1012 AM

 

Basically it isolates the British Empire into two parts, and at that stage in the war that would be been damn scary. So much so I think we might have considered throwing in the towel.

 

I think that overrates the importance of Malta. Between the summer of 1940 and mid 1943 the only secure connection to the eastern parts of the Empire was around the Cape. It hurt the economy pretty bad but you survived it. Furthermore loosing the control of Gibraltar and Malta would not have changed this big picture.

 

The Italians would have gotten even more than 90% of the troops and 75% of the supplies across the Med but there would have still be the matter of getting supplies to the front. Which was getting more and more difficult once the Axis entered the Cyrenaika.

 

I think control of the Spanish peninsula would be the bigger problem. With Axis air and naval bases there UK-Mid/Far East convoys would have to take a detour into the Atlantic. Maybe a longer one depending on who control the Spanish Western Sahara. 



#18 RETAC21

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 1027 AM

The Spanish Sahara didn't have good ports at the time, supporting any meaningful force would be really hard



#19 Markus Becker

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 1134 AM

I assume the roads north toward Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar were even worse. 


Edited by Markus Becker, 11 October 2017 - 1135 AM.


#20 Olof Larsson

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 1331 PM

The Spanish Sahara didn't have good ports at the time, supporting any meaningful force would be really hard

 

And the anglo-saxons would control the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores.

 

It would make it easier for the german surface ships (cruisers, BC's and BB's, merchant cruisers and blockade runners)

and it would make Torch far harder, with only Marocko available for initial landings.

It would also make it harder for the allies to move landing ships from the Med to channel.

 

So the allies might end up opting for defence or limited offence in the MTO

(retake all of Africa and possibly more Aegean islands but not go for Italy) and going for Norway in 1943 instead.






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