I don't really get your point here.daveshoup2MD wrote: ↑15 May 2021 23:29It took the British until (arguably) May, if not November, 1941 to finish the Italians in East Africa; they'd already lost the chance to destroy the Italians in Libya by that point, and the Japanese were about to open an entirely new set of theaters for the British in Asia...Peter89 wrote: ↑07 May 2021 08:19
Let's not forget that most of the Axis positions in Africa was held by the Vichy forces, and Britain systematically cleared them up, but didn't quite finish before Torch. If the Italians were beaten in 1941, they'd attack French West Africa, Madagascar, etc. nontheless.
What kind of deltas do you have in mind after 1943?
The British eliminated all Axis or potentially hostile neutral footholds outside of North Africa before Torch. They'd have done the same anyway, which was, in my opinion, the correct strategy.
The British would be able to do so on their own, too, as US forces were not involved in the colonial fights from Dakar until Madagascar.
The chance to destroy the Italians was not lost, the chance to destroy the Italians AND the Germans was lost, but on the long run, it didn't really matter; the Axis operated on the far end of a vulnerable and inadequate logistical line. It was only a question of time before the Germans would lose that ground, regardless of the US involvement. For the British, even keeping Axis divisions in West Egypt was strategically beneficial; the Germans had to support them via sea and air, one option was worse than the other.
Also, if the Brits would simply just spin the web around the Axis from Iran to Western Africa, it would be enough. The Axis would feed more and more resources into that theatre instead of focusing solely on the SU. For the Brits, almost everything was beneficial in the MTO; a long stalemate, limited Axis gains, Axis defeat, Axis effort to a hopeless situation, etc. The only thing that would crush the Allied positions in the MTO would be an Axis victory on a scale that was impossible by late 1942; and I'm talking about a situation without US military involvement.
It didn't really matter, because for the Allies, it was perfect that the Axis starved in Cyreneica. What was there, actually? Population, industries, raw materials, strategic positions? Nothing, really. It was perfect for the British to wear down the Axis' air and sea transport capacities and keep their forces very far from the SU.daveshoup2MD wrote: ↑15 May 2021 23:29Even the British/Allied offensive into Cyrenaica in 1942 after 2nd Alamein required US support, and the final successful offensive to Tripolitania/Tunisia required TORCH.
Besides; I do not think that the British-led Allies were unable to pull of successful amphibious operation against Vichy-held territories. They've just captured Madagascar, as the last colony outside of North Africa. The Axis withdrew their capitals from the Atlantic, and the British were able to confuse the U-boats... also, the Germans would be forced to divide their forces once again, and drew resources from the SU to occupy Southern France, Tunisia, etc. So even just opening a new front in Northwest Africa would be a success, even if no decisive breakthrough would be achieved.
These "delta" scenarios would not change the outcome by any meaningful margin.daveshoup2MD wrote: ↑15 May 2021 23:29In 1943, after the final Axis surrender, there were various options, from Sardinia-Corsica to Sicily-Italy, in play; even southern Italy to the historical winter line and then holding, which would have given the Allies the Foggia complex, the only significant operational target for the Allies in Italy, before the winter of 1943. Avoiding the British defeat in the Dodecanese in 1943 would have been useful; avoiding SHINGLE in 1944 would have been as well.