German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

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Richard Anderson
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 May 2022 19:59

Counter wrote:
03 May 2022 15:45
In the period Admiral Raeder presented his Strategy German numerical superiority against the British was not only on the ground but also in the air (and after the Axis closing the Gibraltar straits, the Royal Navy would have had very little to say in the Mediterranean). Balcans campaign showed it all. No further debate about it for HONEST and well-informed people. You choose your style of life, Richard...
Sigh...as of 7 September 1940, the entire Luftwaffe had on hand 3,979 combat aircraft, of which 2,719 were operational. The Luftwaffe in the the field opposing Britain had 2,804 combat aircraft on hand, of which 1,901 were operational. On 7 September 1940, the RAF Metropolitan Air Forces, i.e., those only in the UK, had on hand 2,308 operational aircraft, an immediately available aircraft reserve of 731, and a reserve available in more than 12 hours of another 2,218 aircraft.

How does the Axis close the Gibraltar straits if the Spanish are unwilling? More important, how do they close the Suez Canal?

What the Balkans Campaign showed was the ability of the Luftwaffe to use a central position to quickly establish temporary air superiority. What the long term Mediterranean Campaign showed was the inability of the Luftwaffe to convert that temporary air superiority to air supremacy anywhere.
Just ridiculous.
No what is ridiculous is your inability to present any concrete evidence for what is basically you ill-informed opinion.
Luftwaffe had not many problems to be effective in North Africa in spite of coming hastily to save the italians (not to conquer Suez, indeed).
The Luftwaffe had huge problems to be effective in North Africa. As of 11 October 1941, Fliegerführer Afrika had just 200 aircraft on hand, of which 113 were operational, an operational rate of 56.5%. As of 1 November 1941, RAF Middle East had 863 aircraft on hand, of which 777 were operational, an operational rate of 90.0%.

Can you imagine why the RAF operational rate was so much higher than the Luftwaffe? Could it be the RAF's 20+ years of experience in desert operations? Better air filters? Better maintenance infrastructure?
Technical problems were minor problems and you know perfectly that they were solved.
Stop expressing your opinions as if they are facts. On 5 April 1941, Fliegerführer Afrika had 432 aircraft, of which 284 were operational, a 65.7% operational rate, on 21 June it was a 74.4% operational rate, on 12 July 1941 it was a 65.6% operational rate. on 16 Auggust 1941 it was a 67.1% operational rate, on 17 January 1942 it was a 50.6% operational rate.

Do you notice a pattern? The technical problems were major and they were never solved.

snip more unsubstantiated opinion.
Interesting for you? I don´t think so. Now you have it... It was very easy... But... you knew all this before, didn´t you?
You have not "refuted" anything, i.e, you have not met the definition of refuted, which is to prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disproved.
That was the right strategy because, in hindsight, we know today that it was workable -you know it too, Richard- and the british could not have prevented it. But that was not so clear at that time. That strategy was dismissed in favor of "Barbarrosa" (and in favor of the "Blitz" over England, earlier). Why? That is what I wanted to learn...
Sorry, but you are still not learning anything or proving anything, you are just repeating unsupported opinion as if it was fact.
The same way, we know today that, for the japanese, the right strategy was landing in Ceylon and Madagascar in April 1942... but the japanese did´t know what was expecting them in Midway two monts later... Obviously, Hitler didn´t care much at the end of 1940 -as "Barbarrosa" was decided- about what happened to Napoleon in Russia in 1812. More... I don´t know.
Seriously? What was the Japanese supposed to be "landing in Ceylon and Madagascar in April 1942" with? Who has proven that was the "right" Japanese strategy? Yet again, your opinion that it was is not proof.
Simply, you, Richard, are not interested in discussing strategy. So, what are you doing in this sub-forum on Strategy? Just for fun? Good, let´s have fun... :lol:
This is like talking to my cat and he has probably as much interest as you do of discussing strategy.

You have not "discussed strategy". You have expressed a woefully unsupported opinion about a particular strategy and then refused to provide any facts to support your argument or to refute the facts that have been presented to counter your opinion.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Peter89
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 04 May 2022 07:36

Instead of throwing personal insults or running the same circles over and over again, we can analyize Raeder's strategy.

The DGFP series and the KTB of SKL are readily available online, and books like Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich by Keith Bird cover the topic as well.

Raeder and the SKL was actively involved in strategy-crafting during and before WW2, but they did not work as part of a joint high command nor did they consult with other services. What they came up with was directly presented to Hitler, and it was not based on a careful cooperation with the air force or the army, and even less so with the Italians, Vichy or the Japanese.

So the fundamental problem was that these plans of the SKL did not count with the constraints or wishes of other services and allies, and there was no German navy to speak of.

If Germany was to defeat the British in the MTO, a good cooperation between services and (potential) allies was neccessary, or at least a force that was big enough to force through their will. There was none of these present, of course.

In absence of all that, the historical option (to support a drive to Suez with a few low capacity ports in Lybia) was no real option. It worths to talk about going through Turkey or Spain, even against their will, where Germany could exercise its superiority (more so the latter case than in the former), but there is one thing we know about these campaigns: Raeder and the SKL did not and could not plan them as they were not Heer officiers.
Last edited by Peter89 on 04 May 2022 08:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Ironmachine
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Ironmachine » 04 May 2022 07:45

Counter wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:
Counter wrote:They added the Francoist legend -that Franco never wanted to join Axis
:roll:
Ironmachine wrote:
Another day, another lie. I have never said that Franco never wanted to join the Axis.
It is not correct to accuse me of lying. Fortunately, i don´t take you seriously...
Ironmachine wrote this in post 85, page 6 of this thread.
Ironmachine wrote:Spain was apparently not really interested in joining the war, at least in the situation that existed in 1940-1941
"Apparently" according to what? Not according to the historical record, when Franco so many times insisted in getting from Hitler a guarantee for a colonial booty in exchange for joining the Axis. Only Francoist historians deny that.
There's nothing in your quote of my post that supports the idea that I believe that Franco never wanted to join the Axis. I wrote "apparently", which clearly implies that there is a possibility that he really wanted, and I posted that my comment was only about "the situation that existed in 1940-1941". I consider it quite possible that with a Great Britain in the verge of collapse, or with a defeated Soviet Union (in the case of Felix-Heinrich), he may have happily joined the Axis in the war.
As for who deny your opinion, I have no interest in the political bias of historians, only in facts. And at the end of the day, what even those anti-Francoist historians that you seem to cherish so much can't deny is the fact that Franco did not join the war. And he did not join the war even though Hitler was really interested in a Spanish belligerance. So why? Why didn't he join the Axis if he really wanted and Hitler was actually asking him to do it?
Counter wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:
Counter wrote:Ironmachine has the extravagant idea that if Spain is joining the Axis would have been the only Hitler´s ally not getting the required assistance to turn Spain a serviceable factor in the war.
No, I don't have that idea and I have never stated such thing. Putting words in my mouth which I did not say only means that you have no serios arguments to defend your ideas.
Post 85 again..
There is not even a single reference in (my) post 85 to any German assistance to other German allies. There is single mention to Italy having "enough supplies" to join the war but not enough to win it, without examining German help to Italy. So again, you are putting in my mouth words which I did not say.
Counter wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:The Spanish authorities were not stupid, and even they could see that there was no point of obtaining some territories in Africa while your population is dying in droves because you can't replace the supplies that are not coming from the Allies because you have joined the Axis
Dying in droves in spite of having joined the Axis? Did Hitler want an starving ally? What would be the use of that ally, then? Extravagant idea of Ironmachine. Your words, Ironmachine...
It's not what Hitler wanted, but what he could do. In 1940, people were actually dying from hunger and cold in Spain, despite what supplies the Allies allowed to reach Spain. Can Germany provide enough supplies to replace those goods once Spain joins the war? Evidence showed till now in this thread says Germany can't.
Counter wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:You fail to note (on purpose?) that a footnote states:
[…] the OKW replied on Apr. 28 […] that the Army as well as the Luftwaffe was unable to provided any material whatsoever[…]
It is not much relevant because in april 1941 the german Army was preparing "Barbarosa" and obviously they had nothing to spare.
Then, show us how much equipment the Heer and the Luftwaffe could spare when they were not preparing "Barbarossa" and compare it with the Spanish requests.
Counter wrote:About the relevance of the negotiations about the exact amount of the supplies required for Spain, what is clear is that Spain and Germany, at the time being, did not agree. That´s not surprising. Anyway, there was no previous political agreement, if the political agreement would have come, then negotiations about exact figures would have advanced indeed.
Only because you think that a political agreement should be reached before the exact amount of supplies is determined. But as Spain has in OTL no hurry to enter the war, Spain can force the Germans to agree to the Spanish requirements before reaching a political agreement.
In fact, you seem to ignore that at the end of the negotiations a kind political agreement was indeed reached: Franco agreed to join the war at a time of his choice. You can see how much that political agreement went to make the negotiations advance.
As a matter of fact, no one knew how long would have lasted the war once the "Raeder strategy" started.
As a matter of fact, no one knew and no one knows if that kind of strategy would have resulted in a German victory.
Italians also planned that their joining the Axis (june 1940) would be brief. Then, situation got complicated and Germany had to assist Italy.
And with that strategy Germany would have to assist Spain also. Doesn't look like a winning strategy!

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 06 May 2022 19:13

Peter89 wrote:Raeder and the SKL was actively involved in strategy-crafting during and before WW2, but they did not work as part of a joint high command nor did they consult with other services. What they came up with was directly presented to Hitler, and it was not based on a careful cooperation with the air force or the army, and even less so with the Italians, Vichy or the Japanese.

So the fundamental problem was that these plans of the SKL did not count with the constraints or wishes of other services and allies, and there was no German navy to speak of.

If Germany was to defeat the British in the MTO, a good cooperation between services and (potential) allies was neccessary, or at least a force that was big enough to force through their will. There was none of these present, of course.

In absence of all that, the historical option (to support a drive to Suez with a few low capacity ports in Lybia) was no real option. It worths to talk about going through Turkey or Spain, even against their will, where Germany could exercise its superiority (more so the latter case than in the former), but there is one thing we know about these campaigns: Raeder and the SKL did not and could not plan them as they were not Heer officiers.
At last, we find arguments about "Germany strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR" in the thread "Germany strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR"...

All what I know about this strategy is what I got here and there in some books, just mentioning the "Raeder´s strategy". In the book of Bevin Alexander "How Hitler could have won", I read that this strategy was related to the general Von Thoma´s report, recommending to send four Panzer Division to get the Suez Canal. Apparently, "Operation Felix", to seize Gibraltar was a parallel strategy to this and it was promoted, among others, by general Jodl. But, at last, all of that could have been easily connected.

What happened in the Balcans and then in Lybia, proved that the opportunity existed and that, compared with the Blitz and Barbarrosa it was very certain that reaching Suez and dominating the Mediterranean was feasible. Defeating GB with the Blitz was uncertain; not suffering the Napoleon´s fate in Russia was also uncertain.

What could know the KM officers about the feasibility of such an operation in September 1940?

They had the experience of Norway and France, where it was evident that Luftwaffe could curb the Royal Navy superiority if fighting not far away from the coastline. Considering the geography of the Mediterranean, it was easy to realize that no one could stop at that time the german dominance to reach all the targets of this strategy. What happened -later- in the Mediterranean as the Luftwaffe acted against the Royal Navy demonstrated something that was easy to realize before: in January 1941 Luftwaffe units desabled "Illustrious" aircraft carrier and in May they did the same with the "Formidable" (in Novembar the "Ark Royal" was sunk by a U-boot, in the Mediterranean too). It was easy to realize that, even without Gibraltar -if the operations would be limited to the Suez area- the Germans could have closed the Mediterranean at will and then... Of course, Turkey would be forced to be an ally of Germany against the Turkey´s secular enemy (Russia) and the oilwells of the British Petroleum in Kirkuk would be also at reach. Politically, long before that disaster could have happened, a new british government (without Churchill and without the Labour Party) would have agreed an armistice in order to save the Empire.
Peter89 wrote:If Germany was to defeat the British in the MTO, a good cooperation between services and (potential) allies was neccessary, or at least a force that was big enough to force through their will. There was none of these present, of course.
Bad cooperation between services and (potential) allies? It could be. As I read about the japanese option to land two divisions in Ceylon in April 1942 (I read it in Gerhard Weinberg), I read too that was impossible due to bad cooperation between japanese Navy and Army. Something stupid, anyway. Maybe there is some psychological reason why the nazis, fascists and imperialists are bad strategists...
Peter89 wrote:the historical option (to support a drive to Suez with a few low capacity ports in Lybia) was no real option
It seems that a little unclear to me. The Lybian ports allowed the italians to land an army of more than 10 divisions, and along the war -sith the germans- they reached a considerable capacity (over 100,000 tons monthly). Anyway, that should have been a factor pondered by general von Thoma in 1940 as he did his report.

Anyway, thank you Peter89...

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 06 May 2022 19:39

Richard Anderson wrote:as of 7 September 1940, the entire Luftwaffe had on hand 3,979 combat aircraft, of which 2,719 were operational. The Luftwaffe in the the field opposing Britain had 2,804 combat aircraft on hand, of which 1,901 were operational. On 7 September 1940, the RAF Metropolitan Air Forces, i.e., those only in the UK, had on hand 2,308 operational aircraft, an immediately available aircraft reserve of 731, and a reserve available in more than 12 hours of another 2,218 aircraft.
Richard is improving too. Not so much about air-filters and airfields (a little, later...). :D

It is not a very good tally, because there are different categories mixed up (reserves, operational, on hand...). I don´t know, for example, how many reserves the Luftwaffe had at that time and it is difficult to understand how is possible that if the Luftwaffe had numerical inferiority at the time of the Blitz (1901 LW/ 2308 RAF?) they were putting on fire the british cities... But anyway, the superiority for this operation was required not over England, but in the Mediterranean area.
Richard Anderson wrote:What the Balkans Campaign showed was the ability of the Luftwaffe to use a central position to quickly establish temporary air superiority. What the long term Mediterranean Campaign showed was the inability of the Luftwaffe to convert that temporary air superiority to air supremacy anywhere.
Just ridiculous. Because the "long term Mediterranean campaign" was concurrent of the Eastern Front Campaign and the situation in North Africa at that time (African front plus Eastern Front) is not what we are supposed to debate. In September 1940 what was proposed was precisely an alternative to "Barbarrosa". Obviously the "temporary air superiority" would not be "temporary" but would continue up to reaching the goal (apparently, what Raeder proposed was keeping Russia under threat once conquered the Mediterranean).
Richard Anderson wrote:You have not "refuted" anything, i.e, you have not met the definition of refuted, which is to prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disproved.
Of course, I did refute you: you pretend that I believe that minor factors about "ground maintenance" and so on were decisive. They were not, as the Luftwaffe, if not doing "Barbarrosa" could have sent more aircrafts (as they did in the Balkans) and conquering Suez anyway (even if the RAF operational rate of their aircrafts would be temporarily higher). Once conquered Egypt the LW would have counted also with good airfields to continue operations up to the Turkish border...

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 06 May 2022 20:02

Ironmachine wrote:Spain was apparently not really interested in joining the war, at least in the situation that existed in 1940-1941
Ironmachine wrote:There's nothing in your quote of my post that supports the idea that I believe that Franco never wanted to join the Axis. I wrote "apparently", which clearly implies that there is a possibility that he really wanted
Apparently, Ironmachine is getting boring... and "apparently" he accused me of lying, which is not fair, but anyway... :D

And again... boring...
Counter wrote:Ironmachine has the extravagant idea that if Spain is joining the Axis would have been the only Hitler´s ally not getting the required assistance to turn Spain a serviceable factor in the war.
Ironmachine wrote:No, I don't have that idea and I have never stated such thing. Putting words in my mouth which I did not say only means that you have no serios arguments to defend your ideas.
BUT
Ironmachine wrote:The Spanish authorities were not stupid, and even they could see that there was no point of obtaining some territories in Africa while your population is dying in droves because you can't replace the supplies that are not coming from the Allies because you have joined the Axis
What I wrote was, of course, that Germany did assist its allies and it is a extravagant idea that with Spain they would have done an exception.
Ironmachine wrote:Can Germany provide enough supplies to replace those goods once Spain joins the war?
That is not the question -of course they could, by the way, if necessary by exploiting even more other countries under Germany´s power- but that it is not a good way of reasoning on history not considering whay really happened.

Did the germans help their allies in the war? They did. Not in the case of Spain? Why? Extravagant idea!

Boring...
Ironmachine wrote: Only because you think that a political agreement should be reached before the exact amount of supplies is determined. But as Spain has in OTL no hurry to enter the war, Spain can force the Germans to agree to the Spanish requirements before reaching a political agreement.
All what I read shows that the main problem -the "private guarantee" about colonial territories that Franco was expecting from Hitler- was political: the booty for Spain if joining the Axis. All the other issues were flexible. And, of course, in a short war -short, at least, against UK, as supposedly a new british government would have asked for an armistice in order not to lose the Empire- the price -economic assitance too- could be paid. But it seems that Hitler was not interested enough in what, finally, they should think that it was just a sideshow war scenario (the Mediterranean).

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 May 2022 23:29

Counter wrote:
06 May 2022 19:39
Richard is improving too. Not so much about air-filters and airfields (a little, later...). :D
Yes, because you've already had the reality of airfield space available to the Germans explained to you, but you have yet to come up with anything to refute it.
It is not a very good tally, because there are different categories mixed up (reserves, operational, on hand...). I don´t know, for example, how many reserves the Luftwaffe had at that time and it is difficult to understand how is possible that if the Luftwaffe had numerical inferiority at the time of the Blitz (1901 LW/ 2308 RAF?) they were putting on fire the british cities... But anyway, the superiority for this operation was required not over England, but in the Mediterranean area.
No, its a very good an accurate tally, but it doesn't demonstrate what you want it to, so you'll ignore it of course and continue with your fantasy.

There are very excellent reasons for those disparities. Just look at the dates. If we were talking about 11 May 1940, the figures would be different. The Luftwaffe was not capable of sustained high intensity operations.

So sure, the Mediterranean, so we are back to "what airfields"? How do they sustain operations in North Africa?
Just ridiculous. Because the "long term Mediterranean campaign" was concurrent of the Eastern Front Campaign and the situation in North Africa at that time (African front plus Eastern Front) is not what we are supposed to debate. In September 1940 what was proposed was precisely an alternative to "Barbarrosa". Obviously the "temporary air superiority" would not be "temporary" but would continue up to reaching the goal (apparently, what Raeder proposed was keeping Russia under threat once conquered the Mediterranean).
Nope, sorry, you simply still aren't thinking very clearly. You want to immediately divert the main strength of the Luftwaffe from facing Britain to the Mediterranean, in the fall of 1940, and then ignore the Soviets. The first problem is the Luftwaffe was at a low point in strength and capability in the fall of 1940 and spent the winter and early spring 1941 building up again. The second problem is that as was already explained to you the Luftwaffe does not have the airfields needed for operations to deny the Mediterranean to the British and project their major strength, land power towards Suez and Persia. Sicily, Greece, Crete, and North Africa did not have the airfield space or the repair infrastructure required to sustain large scale operations. Then there is the problem that except for Sicily and the Greek mainland, every bomb, round of ammunition, and liter of fuel has to be shipped by sea and is subject to interdiction, unless they choose to ship by air, which was unsustainable given the limited German air transport capability.
Of course, I did refute you: you pretend that I believe that minor factors about "ground maintenance" and so on were decisive. They were not, as the Luftwaffe, if not doing "Barbarrosa" could have sent more aircrafts (as they did in the Balkans) and conquering Suez anyway (even if the RAF operational rate of their aircrafts would be temporarily higher). Once conquered Egypt the LW would have counted also with good airfields to continue operations up to the Turkish border...
You have no idea regarding the realities of air power projection, do you? Operational aircraft and sortie rates are the most important factors, which require a robust base infrastructure, but the Luftwaffe tried to do it on the cheap and suffered for it.

BTW, the Germans did not send aircraft to the Balkans, the majority of the Luftwaffe basing for that campaign was in Austria, part of the Reich, and in Hungary. Only VIII Fliegerkorps was based out of Bulgaria.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Ironmachine » 07 May 2022 06:43

Counter wrote:Apparently, Ironmachine is getting boring... and "apparently" he accused me of lying, which is not fair, but anyway... :D
It's not only fair, but also true.
Counter wrote:And again... boring...
So you find truth boring? That's explains a lot!
What I wrote was, of course, that Germany did assist its allies and it is a extravagant idea that with Spain they would have done an exception.
And what I wrote was, of course, that Germany's assistance to its allies was far from satisfying their requirements and it is a extravagant idea that in the case of Spain Germany cuould have fullfiled Spanish needs.
Counter wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:Can Germany provide enough supplies to replace those goods once Spain joins the war?
That is not the question -of course they could, by the way, if necessary by exploiting even more other countries under Germany´s power
German opinions at the time seem to differ. Anyway, if the solution was exploiting even more other countries, one should consider that Germany could simply exploit Spain instead of helping it, which of course is not a good thing from the Spanish point of view and should have been a consideration for the Spanish authorities at the time.
Counter wrote:but that it is not a good way of reasoning on history not considering whay really happened.
I 100% agree with that, as is you who is not considering what really happened.
Did the germans help their allies in the war? They did. Not in the case of Spain? Why? Extravagant idea!
Yeah, a really extravagant idea. I wonder who thought that, as is clear it was not me. I had never claimed that Germany would have not helped Spain if the country joined the Axis, but that the help that Germany could provide would have not been enough to 1) convince Franco to join the war and 2) to allow Spain to fight effectively or even survive in a decent shape.
Counter wrote:Boring...
Yes, we already know that you finds truth and facts boring.
Counter wrote:All what I read shows that the main problem -the "private guarantee" about colonial territories that Franco was expecting from Hitler- was political: the booty for Spain if joining the Axis. All the other issues were flexible.
Actually, just the contrary. If the problem was, as it seem to think, that giving Spain those colonial territories would anger other German possible allies, Germany and Spain could, for example, sign a secret protocol to transfer those territories to Spanish control after the end of the war, when a victorious Germany would have no problem forcing Italy, France and anyone else to accept the fait accompli. It's possible that Spain could have agreed to that kind of procedure (or not, but it's an option). However, the other issues were not flexible: food, oil, military equipment, etc., were vital for the survival of Spain and its people, and Franco could not compromise on those subjects.
And, of course, in a short war -short, at least, against UK, as supposedly a new british government would have asked for an armistice in order not to lose the Empire- the price -economic assitance too- could be paid.
Could or could not, who knows? Anyway, the only one saying that it would be a short war is you. Spain had a long historical experience fighting Great Britain and a long naval tradition, both far longer that Germany's, and knew very well how strong was the British position from anything except a direct invasion of the island, which Germany seemed unable to mount. I don't think that the idea of a short war was prevalent among Spanish top heads at that time.
Counter wrote:But it seems that Hitler was not interested enough in what, finally, they should think that it was just a sideshow war scenario (the Mediterranean).
Well, it seems that Hitler was not interested enough when he finally decided to invade the Soviet Union, but it does seem that he was was interested enough during the last part of 1940 and very beginning of 1941, as he ordered the Germany military to plan the invasion of Gibraltar and keep pressuring Franco to join the Axis. In fact, he was still interested enough after the cancellation of Felix that he ordered a new plan devised for a new try after the defeat of the Soviet Union.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 07 May 2022 07:44

Counter wrote:
06 May 2022 19:13
Peter89 wrote:Raeder and the SKL was actively involved in strategy-crafting during and before WW2, but they did not work as part of a joint high command nor did they consult with other services. What they came up with was directly presented to Hitler, and it was not based on a careful cooperation with the air force or the army, and even less so with the Italians, Vichy or the Japanese.

So the fundamental problem was that these plans of the SKL did not count with the constraints or wishes of other services and allies, and there was no German navy to speak of.

If Germany was to defeat the British in the MTO, a good cooperation between services and (potential) allies was neccessary, or at least a force that was big enough to force through their will. There was none of these present, of course.

In absence of all that, the historical option (to support a drive to Suez with a few low capacity ports in Lybia) was no real option. It worths to talk about going through Turkey or Spain, even against their will, where Germany could exercise its superiority (more so the latter case than in the former), but there is one thing we know about these campaigns: Raeder and the SKL did not and could not plan them as they were not Heer officiers.
At last, we find arguments about "Germany strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR" in the thread "Germany strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR"...

All what I know about this strategy is what I got here and there in some books, just mentioning the "Raeder´s strategy". In the book of Bevin Alexander "How Hitler could have won", I read that this strategy was related to the general Von Thoma´s report, recommending to send four Panzer Division to get the Suez Canal. Apparently, "Operation Felix", to seize Gibraltar was a parallel strategy to this and it was promoted, among others, by general Jodl. But, at last, all of that could have been easily connected.

What happened in the Balcans and then in Lybia, proved that the opportunity existed and that, compared with the Blitz and Barbarrosa it was very certain that reaching Suez and dominating the Mediterranean was feasible. Defeating GB with the Blitz was uncertain; not suffering the Napoleon´s fate in Russia was also uncertain.

What could know the KM officers about the feasibility of such an operation in September 1940?

They had the experience of Norway and France, where it was evident that Luftwaffe could curb the Royal Navy superiority if fighting not far away from the coastline. Considering the geography of the Mediterranean, it was easy to realize that no one could stop at that time the german dominance to reach all the targets of this strategy. What happened -later- in the Mediterranean as the Luftwaffe acted against the Royal Navy demonstrated something that was easy to realize before: in January 1941 Luftwaffe units desabled "Illustrious" aircraft carrier and in May they did the same with the "Formidable" (in Novembar the "Ark Royal" was sunk by a U-boot, in the Mediterranean too). It was easy to realize that, even without Gibraltar -if the operations would be limited to the Suez area- the Germans could have closed the Mediterranean at will and then... Of course, Turkey would be forced to be an ally of Germany against the Turkey´s secular enemy (Russia) and the oilwells of the British Petroleum in Kirkuk would be also at reach. Politically, long before that disaster could have happened, a new british government (without Churchill and without the Labour Party) would have agreed an armistice in order to save the Empire.
Peter89 wrote:If Germany was to defeat the British in the MTO, a good cooperation between services and (potential) allies was neccessary, or at least a force that was big enough to force through their will. There was none of these present, of course.
Bad cooperation between services and (potential) allies? It could be. As I read about the japanese option to land two divisions in Ceylon in April 1942 (I read it in Gerhard Weinberg), I read too that was impossible due to bad cooperation between japanese Navy and Army. Something stupid, anyway. Maybe there is some psychological reason why the nazis, fascists and imperialists are bad strategists...
Peter89 wrote:the historical option (to support a drive to Suez with a few low capacity ports in Lybia) was no real option
It seems that a little unclear to me. The Lybian ports allowed the italians to land an army of more than 10 divisions, and along the war -sith the germans- they reached a considerable capacity (over 100,000 tons monthly). Anyway, that should have been a factor pondered by general von Thoma in 1940 as he did his report.

Anyway, thank you Peter89...
You are welcome.

However, in my opinion you misread the strategic context. To "fight a naval power without a navy" is one adequate way to describe Germany's strategic dilemma between June 1940 and June 1941.

One can not translate ground superiority to naval superiority, and a superior ground force can not be projected on distant shores without a navy either. The only way to so-so dominate a sea without a navy was through naval aviation, and even though the MTO was a great place for that, the interservice cooperation between the LW and KM left the German naval aviation arm in a sorry state. (The often quoted Crete example is not relevant because the LW knew exactly where the British ships are going to be. Blue water operations were nowhere near as successful.)

The other strategic dilemma was the decision making game; what could the Germans gain by invading Iberia for Gibraltar? ~30m hungry mouths and new enemies, instantly losing their merchant ships on the Canaries, etc. Even if a "Mediterranean strategy" would work, it would not knock Britain out of the war. For that, India had to fall. And again, in the unlikely event if Germany would be on the shores of the Indian Ocean, there was no navy to project power there.

Thus we arrive to the last dilemma, which is raw materials and food: there was nothing in the MTO that could solve Germany's problems, let alone exacerbated by a hungry Iberia. The agricultural surplus that was present in Turkey and some other countries like Persia and Iraq, could go below self-sustaining levels in case of a war there.

The oil infrastructure was again problematic, because one needs to capture the infrastructure intact. That is a lesson the Germans learned at Maikop. For that the only chance was the Iraqi coup and even that could not yield more than a pocket refinery, a 12 inch pipeline, storage for 100.000 t bunker fuel and 4-5000 t motor and aviation fuel.

If we put this into the context of the hoped plunder from the Soviet Union, where - at the very least in the border battles - German power could be fully projected, it is understandable why the Germans went there.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

glenn239
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by glenn239 » 08 May 2022 15:07

Peter89 wrote:
07 May 2022 07:44
However, in my opinion you misread the strategic context. To "fight a naval power without a navy" is one adequate way to describe Germany's strategic dilemma between June 1940 and June 1941.
The German strategic dilemma between those dates was whether to deepen relations with, or attack, the Soviet Union.
One can not translate ground superiority to naval superiority, and a superior ground force can not be projected on distant shores without a navy either.
Naval power comes in two distinct types, deep water and coastal. Germany could not in any feasible timeframe build a deep water fleet for operations far at sea. But it could apply its industry to build tiny coastal vessels that, in the narrow confines of the Mediterranean and under the umbrella of land based airpower, could influence operations at the theatre level.
The other strategic dilemma was the decision making game; what could the Germans gain by invading Iberia for Gibraltar? ~30m hungry mouths and new enemies, instantly losing their merchant ships on the Canaries, etc.
The big gains from occupying Spain (as opposed to Iberia) would be -

1. The union of the Axis fleets for combined operations, (surface, subsurface) in either the Atlantic or Med theatres, exploiting the advantages of internal lines hitherto enjoyed by the British fleet at Gibraltar.
2. Making secure Italy from any possibility of being knocked out of the war by the Anglo-Americans until Spain was reconquered.
3 A better capacity for the European fleets, (i.e., including the French) to circumvent the British blockade.
4. An improved Axis position for the war in the Eastern Med.

Peter89
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 08 May 2022 17:09

glenn239 wrote:
08 May 2022 15:07
Peter89 wrote:
07 May 2022 07:44
However, in my opinion you misread the strategic context. To "fight a naval power without a navy" is one adequate way to describe Germany's strategic dilemma between June 1940 and June 1941.
The German strategic dilemma between those dates was whether to deepen relations with, or attack, the Soviet Union.
If the Soviet Union was defeated, Britain could still not be conquered. Air superiority over Britain was out of the question, dominating the sea routes was out of the question, too.
glenn239 wrote:
08 May 2022 15:07
One can not translate ground superiority to naval superiority, and a superior ground force can not be projected on distant shores without a navy either.
Naval power comes in two distinct types, deep water and coastal. Germany could not in any feasible timeframe build a deep water fleet for operations far at sea. But it could apply its industry to build tiny coastal vessels that, in the narrow confines of the Mediterranean and under the umbrella of land based airpower, could influence operations at the theatre level.
Germany failed in that regard, too. The German destroyers and small crafts had a very weak performance, and land-based airpower was not properly developed. By all estimations the British and Cunningham personally should have been defeated on the summer of 1940 when he gave battle to the Italians on their own terms.
glenn239 wrote:
08 May 2022 15:07
The other strategic dilemma was the decision making game; what could the Germans gain by invading Iberia for Gibraltar? ~30m hungry mouths and new enemies, instantly losing their merchant ships on the Canaries, etc.
The big gains from occupying Spain (as opposed to Iberia) would be -

1. The union of the Axis fleets for combined operations, (surface, subsurface) in either the Atlantic or Med theatres, exploiting the advantages of internal lines hitherto enjoyed by the British fleet at Gibraltar.
2. Making secure Italy from any possibility of being knocked out of the war by the Anglo-Americans until Spain was reconquered.
3 A better capacity for the European fleets, (i.e., including the French) to circumvent the British blockade.
4. An improved Axis position for the war in the Eastern Med.
1. true, but it would also mean that the Canaries, the Azores and Madeira would welcome Allied aircrafts, thus the way to the Atlantic would be shut, or at least more tightly controlled. Also, I doubt that such a cooperation would be successful.
2. Italy's contribution for the war effort was questionable. They demanded too much, provided too little, and competed for the same resources as the Germans.
3. On the contrary, actually. The British blockade was not extremely effective and a lot of German merchant ships (720,139 GRT) got through. A German attack on Spain/Iberia (and the consequent fall of Gibraltar) would make it possible for Germany to send its ships to the Mediterraneum, but would make it harder to operate them in the Central and Southern Atlantic. This is why Hitler / Raeder knew that Spain has to join: because they needed the Canaries, Morocco, etc. in order to steam freely between Gibraltar and Dakar. In this regard, Suez and the linkup with IEA was more important, because it had a lot of merchant shipping, and patrolling the Indian Ocean would stretch British convoy escorts to their limits.
4. I doubt that the fall of Gibraltar would seriously endanger the British positions in the Eastern Med. As long as Turkey's neutrality held, they were safe from that direction except a brief moment in 1941.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Counter
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 08 May 2022 18:06

Richard Anderson wrote:as was already explained to you the Luftwaffe does not have the airfields needed for operations to deny the Mediterranean to the British and project their major strength, land power towards Suez and Persia. Sicily, Greece, Crete, and North Africa did not have the airfield space or the repair infrastructure required to sustain large scale operations.
You did not explain anything of that ridiculous idea about the LW could not have used the airfields that actually were used by LW and Regia Aeronautica in the Mediterranean. Only you quoted the figures at the time they could not send more units down there due to the needs of the Eastern Front.

How can you demonstrate that where the LW put 300 aircraft units could not have been put 1000?
Richard Anderson wrote:Operational aircraft and sortie rates are the most important factors, which require a robust base infrastructure
No, they are not. The most important factor is numerical superiority. If you have 100 but only 50 operational, and the enemy has 100 and 90 operational, then you send 300 -150 operational- and you have won...

If you are besieging a fortress, then the defenders they have some advantages inside over the attackers camping out (that´s why the fortresses are made). The attackers know that and they know that they require numerical superiority to storm the fortress, and they accept some sacrifices to make it. The nazis did that often as they realized that the prize was worth it.

For the nazi planners -for example, general von Thoma reporting about the situation in Africa in october 1940- there was no doubt that the Axis -with Germany, not only Italy- could seize the Suez canal because they had the means for that. You are not going to fool me with your airfields stories, Richard.

Counter
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 08 May 2022 18:32

,
Ironmachine wrote:if the solution was exploiting even more other countries, one should consider that Germany could simply exploit Spain instead of helping it
Because they needed Spain as an ally, obviously. Of course, they could have also invaded Spain in 1940 (why not? The german army was enormous and the spanish army was meaningless). But the choice was Spain as an ally (in order to get Gibraltar). So the exploited would be others, not the Axis members...
Ironmachine wrote:I had never claimed that Germany would have not helped Spain if the country joined the Axis, but that the help that Germany could provide would have not been enough to 1) convince Franco to join the war and 2) to allow Spain to fight effectively or even survive in a decent shape.
Boring: again the same. You have no proof about the help would have been not enough. I have the proof the British were scared of the germans could convince the spanish to join the Axis and british ambassador sir Samuel Hoare was urging London to allocate every "Navicert" for the cargo ships to transport the grain (because the grain was the capital issue) across the Atlantic for Spain. He never wrote to London: "don´t care about Spain joining the Axis, because the Germans could never afford to send grain enough to Spain". And I believe mr Hoare, and not you, Ironmachine.
Ironmachine wrote:Germany and Spain could, for example, sign a secret protocol to transfer those territories to Spanish control after the end of the war, when a victorious Germany would have no problem forcing Italy, France and anyone else to accept the fait accompli
That was exactly what Franco was asking to Hitler desperately in November 1940, and that was not conceded. The germans feared -reasonably- that that "secret" would be disclosed anyway. Hitler was more interested in keeping a good relationship with the French. I presume that in November 1940, with "Barbarrosa" already decided Hitler losed interest in the Gibraltar operation. At least, not to risk the "colaboration" with the French. That is what I read in not-Francoist historians dealing on the issue.

A "Francoist historian" is not only a person -which profession is to be historian- that has a particular ideology, but also a propagandist writing tendentious and false arguments to cover up some aspects of the reality, ignoring data, adding supositions in the place of facts and so on...

In the case of the Francoist legend (like the very similar Petainist legend) they write that Franco only pretended to join the Axis butactually never wanted to do it because he was very smart -he knew the Axis was going to lose- and very compassionate -he didn´t want his people to starve-.

Richard Anderson
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Richard Anderson » 08 May 2022 18:36

Counter wrote:
08 May 2022 18:06
You did not explain anything of that ridiculous idea about the LW could not have used the airfields that actually were used by LW and Regia Aeronautica in the Mediterranean. Only you quoted the figures at the time they could not send more units down there due to the needs of the Eastern Front.
Would you mind not using straw man arguments please? That was not my argument and it is pretty obvious you do not understand what the argument is.
How can you demonstrate that where the LW put 300 aircraft units could not have been put 1000?
Airfield and infrastructure capacity. Most of the airfields you are referring to were built or expanded over a period of years and simply did not exist in the state your strategy requires in the time required.
No, they are not. The most important factor is numerical superiority. If you have 100 but only 50 operational, and the enemy has 100 and 90 operational, then you send 300 -150 operational- and you have won...
Um, no. If both sides have 100 aircraft, but one side has a sustained operational capability of 60% and the other 90%, who is superior? The one with 90% aircraft operational, right? Or not. If the side with 90% operational capability can only manage one sortie per day, but the other side with 60% operational capability can manage three sorties per day, then which is superior? I'll do the math for you. 100 X 90% X 1 = 90. 100 X 60% x 3 = 180.
If you are besieging a fortress, then the defenders they have some advantages inside over the attackers camping out (that´s why the fortresses are made). The attackers know that and they know that they require numerical superiority to storm the fortress, and they accept some sacrifices to make it. The nazis did that often as they realized that the prize was worth it.
That is possibly one of the oddest analogies I have ever seen.
For the nazi planners -for example, general von Thoma reporting about the situation in Africa in october 1940- there was no doubt that the Axis -with Germany, not only Italy- could seize the Suez canal because they had the means for that. You are not going to fool me with your airfields stories, Richard.
Could you possibly try for a bit more coherence? Explain what the Germans would do in October 1940 that would enable them to seize the Suez Canal. Are they going to send a Panzer Division? Wait, not, all the Panzer Divisions are reorganizing between September 1940 and February 1941. Will the Kriegsmarine send ships to seize the Canal? Will the Luftwaffe send aircraft to land around the Canal and seize it that way? How do they seize Crete? They don't have a functional parachute division or the transport capacity to move it. So what is the means of seizing the Canal?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Counter
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 08 May 2022 18:49

Peter89 wrote:Even if a "Mediterranean strategy" would work, it would not knock Britain out of the war. For that, India had to fall.
The Germans thought that the Blitz and the submarine blockade could work. And look at the difference with respect to the alternative: if the aerial attacks and the submarine attacks failed, they germans would have to count only high losses (aircrats, ships, men...) and no benefit at all. But if the Mediterranean strategy failed to knock Britain out, then they would have won, anyway a lot of territories, logistic lanes, prestige, allies, strtegic positions against the USSR, raw materials...

Chamberlain resigned after the Norway fiasco... would have Churchill stayed in power after losing the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf oil?
Peter89 wrote:The oil infrastructure was again problematic, because one needs to capture the infrastructure intact. That is a lesson the Germans learned at Maikop. For that the only chance was the Iraqi coup and even that could not yield more than a pocket refinery, a 12 inch pipeline, storage for 100.000 t bunker fuel and 4-5000 t motor and aviation fuel.

If we put this into the context of the hoped plunder from the Soviet Union, where - at the very least in the border battles - German power could be fully projected, it is understandable why the Germans went there.
"Infrastructure intact" was something that the germans very rarely found in the USSR. But they worked hard to fix everything to exploit the booty. If they did not get benefits from that, it was due to the Red Army freeing the soviet lands later. And if you get the Persian Gulf you get more things apart from ruined infraestructures. You get what the others don´t have anymore, and a very good position to threat the Soviet Union, Turkey and so on... Much to win.
glenn239" wrote:The big gains from occupying Spain (as opposed to Iberia) would be -

1. The union of the Axis fleets for combined operations, (surface, subsurface) in either the Atlantic or Med theatres, exploiting the advantages of internal lines hitherto enjoyed by the British fleet at Gibraltar.
2. Making secure Italy from any possibility of being knocked out of the war by the Anglo-Americans until Spain was reconquered.
3 A better capacity for the European fleets, (i.e., including the French) to circumvent the British blockade.
4. An improved Axis position for the war in the Eastern Med.
Also: occupying north Morroco meant keeping French Morocco under threat too. They wanted to put two german divisions there.

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