German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

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

Post by ljadw » 20 May 2022 11:40

Three points that were not mentioned in this ''discussion ''
1 Spain could only have some colonies AFTER the war AND if Hitler won him .Hitler would not ,never promise /give Spain some colonies, UNTIL after he won the war .
2 Even if Hitler gave ( NOT promised ) Spain colonies and food ,Spain would not join the Axis ,because in December 1940 it was obvious for every Homo Sapiens that Germany was not winning and Franco would not make the mistake of Mussolini,who entered the war in June,because he thought that Germany had won .
3 If Hitler in December 1940 asked Franco to join the war,although Spain had nothing to offer and it would be only a burden ( the importance of Gibraltar is a fantasy ),this proved that the German situation was dire and that Hitler was desperate .
In June 1940 Hitler did not ask the help of Franco and Franco did not offer to join the war .
In December 1940, Franco still remained neutral and it was Hitler who asked his help .
Do anyone think that in December 1940 Mussolini would offer his help or that he would say yes if Hitler asked his help ?
Thus why would Franco do this ?

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by pugsville » 20 May 2022 12:29

ljadw wrote:
20 May 2022 11:40
Three points that were not mentioned in this ''discussion ''
1 Spain could only have some colonies AFTER the war AND if Hitler won him .Hitler would not ,never promise /give Spain some colonies, UNTIL after he won the war .
2 Even if Hitler gave ( NOT promised ) Spain colonies and food ,Spain would not join the Axis ,because in December 1940 it was obvious for every Homo Sapiens that Germany was not winning and Franco would not make the mistake of Mussolini,who entered the war in June,because he thought that Germany had won .
3 If Hitler in December 1940 asked Franco to join the war,although Spain had nothing to offer and it would be only a burden ( the importance of Gibraltar is a fantasy ),this proved that the German situation was dire and that Hitler was desperate .
In June 1940 Hitler did not ask the help of Franco and Franco did not offer to join the war .
In December 1940, Franco still remained neutral and it was Hitler who asked his help .
Do anyone think that in December 1940 Mussolini would offer his help or that he would say yes if Hitler asked his help ?
Thus why would Franco do this ?
Hitler had betrayed and broken every agreement had had made. Franco would be nuts to take Hitler trust that he would get stuff later.....

Once Hitler had what he wanted why would he give Franco anything?

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

Post by ljadw » 20 May 2022 18:33

I agree,especially that Hitler could not afford to transform Vichy in a British ally .That if he gave French colonies to Mussolini,he would anger the French and Franco and if he gave them to Spain,he would anger Mussolini and the French .
Besides : Hitler did not own the French colonies in NA, thus he could not distribute them .
And even if he won ,the French in NA would oppose their transfer to Spain or Italy .
Mussolini asked also Corse and the Savoy : he did not get them .
Mussolini got nothing, thus, why would Franco,whose importance ,compared to Mussolini,was almost insignificant,get something ?

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

Post by Peter89 » 21 May 2022 06:23

We are going in circles with the colonies. By far the biggest help against the British could be offered by France; Spain lost most of her navy in the 1930's and the Italian fleet, never too effective to begin with, was hammered by 1941 March. But so it happened that the French were the Germans' main enemy; the French, no matter how they felt towards the perfidious Albion, wanted to serve France and not Germany.

Thus Germany didn't have much room to maneuver with the colonies. The Paris Protocols (and the cooperation between German and French officials) indicate that as Barbarossa's alternative was not a more closer cooperation with Spain or Italy, but with Vichy France.

The only way to drag Spain into the war was through direct military threat that could collapse Franco's regime sooner than the lack of food and fuel.
“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 » 21 May 2022 09:39

Peter89 wrote:The only way to drag Spain into the war was through direct military threat that could collapse Franco's regime sooner than the lack of food and fuel.
I don´t agree with that, but anyway a bit too late, I realize that I just wanted to learn about the "Raeder proposal" related properly to the "German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR" (in this case, the Mediterranean, because the "Mediterranean issue" has a lot to do with the Russian geoestrategy since the times of Peter the Great). So I should not have followed the "what if" stories of Ironmachine and others.

By invading Spain (no more pedantries about Franco-Hitler negotiations) or by invading Turkey (no more pedantries about logistics in the Libyan desert) Hitler could have conquered the whole Mediterranean (and the Persian Gulf) in the first half of 1941, as the UK was fighting alone.

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

Post by Ironmachine » 21 May 2022 10:57

Counters wrote:So I should not have followed the "what if" stories of Ironmachine and others.
Nobody forced you to do that.
Counter wrote:By invading Spain (no more pedantries about Franco-Hitler negotiations) or by invading Turkey (no more pedantries about logistics in the Libyan desert) Hitler could have conquered the whole Mediterranean (and the Persian Gulf) in the first half of 1941, as the UK was fighting alone.
:lol:
Yes, let's forget the "pedantries" of the real world.
:lol:

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

Post by ljadw » 21 May 2022 11:01

Logistics in the Libyan desert , Italy, the Mediterranean and Turkey are not pedantries but decisive points .
Have you ever thought on how the Germans would cross the Bosporus ?
Besides: the Mediterranean/ME was only a side show for Britain and a waste of time and resources for Germany .
Britain would fight as long it was supported by the US .

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

Post by Ironmachine » 21 May 2022 12:36

Counter wrote:So I should not have followed the "what if" stories of Ironmachine and others.
You are right in that a discussion about the implementation of "Raeder's proposal" is a "what if", so perhaps it would a good idea that you begin a thread in that section of the forum.
Or perhaps you can continue in any of many threads that already exist on that matter in the what-if section, for example about the Germans following a Mediterranean strategy:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=220964&p=2002071&h ... n#p2002071
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=178671&p=1596181&h ... n#p1596181
Or about an invasion of Turkey:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=238638&p=2170810&h ... y#p2170810
Or about the effects of Spain and Turkey joining the Axis:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=178215&p=1590667&h ... y#p1590667
You can always take a look at those and similar threads and see how many people agree with your ideas. However, be ready for a disappointment: many posters in those threads are very interested in what you so contemptuously call "pedantries."
Or you can keep claiming that an Axis Mediterranean strategy would have been a huge success and would have inevitably ended in a German victory over Great Britain just because you know that is how it would have happened.
Last edited by Ironmachine on 21 May 2022 12:37, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Peter89 » 21 May 2022 12:37

Counter wrote:
21 May 2022 09:39
Peter89 wrote:The only way to drag Spain into the war was through direct military threat that could collapse Franco's regime sooner than the lack of food and fuel.
I don´t agree with that, but anyway a bit too late, I realize that I just wanted to learn about the "Raeder proposal" related properly to the "German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR" (in this case, the Mediterranean, because the "Mediterranean issue" has a lot to do with the Russian geoestrategy since the times of Peter the Great). So I should not have followed the "what if" stories of Ironmachine and others.
I recommended you a whole series of sources to read about this topic, in comments #203 and others in this thread.

Raeder's strategy was not a sound, detailed, negotiated strategy, but a concept that served his agenda to propone the importance of the German navy and emphasize Britain as the principal enemy, both of which was in stark contrast with Hitler's views about the war.

Had it been a great strategy, and was the SKL an ivory tower of excellent strategists, its later modifications would not be so much detached from reality.

Raeder always despised the auxiliary role of the Kriegsmarine in the Soviet campaign, and Hitler was really disstatisfied with the fleet's performance in that role (no surprise) so in a sense Hitler actually did delegate the Kriegsmarine to the maritime flank of the Soviet invasion, but the Kriegsmarine failed miserably.

Without the Turk straits taken, there was no other maritime flank of the Soviet Union. Raeder wanted to subordinate parts of the Heer under his command as Göring took / kept the naval aviation under his. It's interesting to go through the KTB of the SKL in these critical months (see post #107). The Kriegsmarine's amphibious operations depended entirely on the Heer's cooperation, as they embarked and disembarked Heer units. They lacked a dedicated marine corps, which leads back to Richard Anderson's comments about the lack of planning and organization of an expeditionary infrastructure; the first guidelines of how to establish forward airfield repair shops and forward AFV mechanic shops appeared in the summer of 1942, and before that date, there were only two avenues: the use of existing infrastructure or to improvise.
Counter wrote:
21 May 2022 09:39
By invading Spain (no more pedantries about Franco-Hitler negotiations) or by invading Turkey (no more pedantries about logistics in the Libyan desert) Hitler could have conquered the whole Mediterranean (and the Persian Gulf) in the first half of 1941, as the UK was fighting alone.
It makes no sense to fantasize about a much larger, especially mechanized force in North Africa: at the opening phase of the El-Alamein battle, the Germans deliberately held back their artillery fire, because they didn't have enough shells. The 21st Panzer's Todenritt to the north was indeed a death ride because they lacked the fuel for mobile warfare. See Douglas Porch's Path to Victory or Robert Citino's The Death of the Wehrmacht as sources. Taking Gibraltar would not improve this situation at all.

The other theoretical pronge made more sense, because it could connect the front with the German heartland via a (low capacity, and sea-interdicted) rail line. However, we went extraordinary lengths before about the invasion against Turkey and concluded the debate with a maybe, mostly because the Germans lacked the necessary landing crafts, the Turkish defenses were established and concentrated in the axis of the main attack, and the Soviet response for this move might be extremely hostile.

The German top decision makers considered Turkish cooperation absolutely necessary (they imagined a ratio of 1:6 for air supply and train supply to the ME), the latter of which never materialized. The Turks made other concessions to the Germans - allowed war material through the straits and train traffic between Syria and Iraq, going through their own territory - and that was that. Most likely, nothing less than an invasion would suffice.

An invasion that could succeed if a sizeable portion of the Wehrmacht would try it, but then again, in line with Clausewitz, with every step taken in hostile territory, the strength of the attacker would wane and the strength of the defender would wax. Thus it was impossible to think about a German invasion of the Persian Gulf. At best, they could advance to Basra in 1941 for the limited gains what we've been talking about earlier.
“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

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by glenn239 » 21 May 2022 14:00

Peter89 wrote:
21 May 2022 12:37
I recommended you a whole series of sources to read about this topic, in comments #203 and others in this thread.
Counter's assertion that the Axis had a military option in 1940, instead of invading the USSSR, to attempt the overrun of the entire Mediterranean basin, is correct.
Raeder's strategy was not a sound, detailed, negotiated strategy, but a concept that served his agenda to propone the importance of the German navy and emphasize Britain as the principal enemy, both of which was in stark contrast with Hitler's views about the war.
Turning Raeder's proposal into an Axis strategy was Hitler's job. But Hitler wished to invade the USSR, which made Raeder's proposal impossible. This fact has been pointed out dozens of times, that it was Barbarossa that finished any chance for an Axis southern strategy.
Without the Turk straits taken, there was no other maritime flank of the Soviet Union.
Assuming a Nazi-Soviet partition of Turkey as the political basis for an Axis offensive into Egypt and Syria, the Straights would most certainly be in Soviet, not German, hands. The Axis would presumably sieze Izmir, Antalya, Mersin, and then Cyprus. Soviet control of the Straights would require, for the Axis, terms that elements in the Black Sea would be able to move through the Straights in support of operations there.
The other theoretical pronge made more sense, because it could connect the front with the German heartland via a (low capacity, and sea-interdicted) rail line. However, we went extraordinary lengths before about the invasion against Turkey and concluded the debate with a maybe, mostly because the Germans lacked the necessary landing crafts, the Turkish defenses were established and concentrated in the axis of the main attack, and the Soviet response for this move might be extremely hostile.
The other crucial factor was the Vichy territory of Syria. The British were able to conquer this in a campaign in 1941 because Germany had invaded the Soviet Union. The French fleet seemed willing to fight the British, but unable to do so due to lack of support from the Axis. Simply put, if the Germans do not invade the USSR, the French fleet could be supported by the Germans and Italians, and the British would be unable to contemplate the occupation of Syria. Yet, without the occupation of Syria, the entire British position in the Middle East was in peril.

An invasion that could succeed if a sizeable portion of the Wehrmacht would try it, but then again, in line with Clausewitz, with every step taken in hostile territory, the strength of the attacker would wane and the strength of the defender would wax. Thus it was impossible to think about a German invasion of the Persian Gulf. At best, they could advance to Basra in 1941 for the limited gains what we've been talking about earlier.
The key to the Axis ejecting the British from the Middle East was to maintain good relations with the USSR, not to attack it. The USA was not going to commit forces to this region. Whether Hitler did or did not do this was entirely outside the ability of the British to control. Therefore, the British were spectators to their own fate.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 21 May 2022 18:45

glenn239 wrote:
21 May 2022 14:00
Peter89 wrote:
21 May 2022 12:37
I recommended you a whole series of sources to read about this topic, in comments #203 and others in this thread.
Counter's assertion that the Axis had a military option in 1940, instead of invading the USSSR, to attempt the overrun of the entire Mediterranean basin, is correct.
In 1940? Absolutely no chance.

The Germans offered help to the Italians in the summer of 1940 but were rebuffed. The Germans did not have the Balkans; not even permissions from Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to move their troops there. Spain was still negotiating in mid-November 1940.
glenn239 wrote:
21 May 2022 14:00
Raeder's strategy was not a sound, detailed, negotiated strategy, but a concept that served his agenda to propone the importance of the German navy and emphasize Britain as the principal enemy, both of which was in stark contrast with Hitler's views about the war.
Turning Raeder's proposal into an Axis strategy was Hitler's job. But Hitler wished to invade the USSR, which made Raeder's proposal impossible. This fact has been pointed out dozens of times, that it was Barbarossa that finished any chance for an Axis southern strategy.
The peripherial strategy wasn't uniquely of Raeder's. Jodl wrote the exact same thing in the summer of 1940. And: Hitler did exactly that. Tried a direct approach to solve the British question, and failed. Then he tried to lay the foundations of the peripherial strategy, and failed again.
glenn239 wrote:
21 May 2022 14:00
Without the Turk straits taken, there was no other maritime flank of the Soviet Union.
Assuming a Nazi-Soviet partition of Turkey as the political basis for an Axis offensive into Egypt and Syria, the Straights would most certainly be in Soviet, not German, hands. The Axis would presumably sieze Izmir, Antalya, Mersin, and then Cyprus. Soviet control of the Straights would require, for the Axis, terms that elements in the Black Sea would be able to move through the Straights in support of operations there.
Let's not assume a German-Soviet partition of Turkey. Or do you have any sources that would support such an assumption?
glenn239 wrote:
21 May 2022 14:00
The other theoretical pronge made more sense, because it could connect the front with the German heartland via a (low capacity, and sea-interdicted) rail line. However, we went extraordinary lengths before about the invasion against Turkey and concluded the debate with a maybe, mostly because the Germans lacked the necessary landing crafts, the Turkish defenses were established and concentrated in the axis of the main attack, and the Soviet response for this move might be extremely hostile.
The other crucial factor was the Vichy territory of Syria. The British were able to conquer this in a campaign in 1941 because Germany had invaded the Soviet Union. The French fleet seemed willing to fight the British, but unable to do so due to lack of support from the Axis. Simply put, if the Germans do not invade the USSR, the French fleet could be supported by the Germans and Italians, and the British would be unable to contemplate the occupation of Syria. Yet, without the occupation of Syria, the entire British position in the Middle East was in peril.
Yeah, why would the Germans allow Vichy troops into the Levant, where they could join the British? It made little to no sense. Grobba was right: only decisive and swift action could have caught the British flat footed. The chance for that was close to zero, thanks to Rasheed Ali and Churchill.

Germans had no right to land, refuel, etc. at Vichy airfields and ports before May 1941.
glenn239 wrote:
21 May 2022 14:00
An invasion that could succeed if a sizeable portion of the Wehrmacht would try it, but then again, in line with Clausewitz, with every step taken in hostile territory, the strength of the attacker would wane and the strength of the defender would wax. Thus it was impossible to think about a German invasion of the Persian Gulf. At best, they could advance to Basra in 1941 for the limited gains what we've been talking about earlier.
The key to the Axis ejecting the British from the Middle East was to maintain good relations with the USSR, not to attack it. The USA was not going to commit forces to this region. Whether Hitler did or did not do this was entirely outside the ability of the British to control. Therefore, the British were spectators to their own fate.
Why do you keep repeating the importance of the German-Soviet neutrality in a Mediterranean strategy? I never questioned it.

However, for me it seems you greatly underplay the difficulties a German campaign would present in the Middle East. Unless the Germans conquered Turkey, we are not talking about more than a division, tops. I think the British would be more than just spectators of their own fate.

Besides: there is no proof that the loss of the MTO would deliver a crippling blow to the British Empire.
“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

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by MarkF617 » 22 May 2022 00:52

It seems to me that a lot of hindsight is being applied here. The main reason the Mediterranean option seems so good is because Barbarossa failed. At the time absolutely everyone thought the Soviet Union would be defeated leaving the British with no potential continental allies and Germany with supposed vast resources. A Mediterranean strategy offers, at best, very little resources, Britain still fighting and The Soviet Union getting stronger every day.
The Germans strength was their massive army built to fight a continental war. Britain's strength was the Navy with a small army spread thin over the empire. Germany had over 100 divisions yet people on this board are suggesting that the German main offensive should consist of only 3-4 of these well trained , well equipped divisions? And even these woulf be under supplied. With hindsight thete was no good option for Germany.

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

Post by Peter89 » 22 May 2022 06:23

MarkF617 wrote:
22 May 2022 00:52
The main reason the Mediterranean option seems so good is because Barbarossa failed.
I wrote the same thing before. But the problem is that some people percieve it as a "war-winning strategy" and others as an exercise in futility or impossibility.
MarkF617 wrote:
22 May 2022 00:52
At the time absolutely everyone thought the Soviet Union would be defeated leaving the British with no potential continental allies and Germany with supposed vast resources.
Everyone is an exaggeration, a whole bunch of officiers opposed the invasion of the Soviet Union.
MarkF617 wrote:
22 May 2022 00:52
A Mediterranean strategy offers, at best, very little resources, Britain still fighting and The Soviet Union getting stronger every day.
It is questionable whether German defeat was caused by the lack of resources. If the Germans held a wider and better supplied defensive perimeter around Europe, the US might push through Marshall's plan and attack France prematurely.
MarkF617 wrote:
22 May 2022 00:52
The Germans strength was their massive army built to fight a continental war. Britain's strength was the Navy with a small army spread thin over the empire. Germany had over 100 divisions yet people on this board are suggesting that the German main offensive should consist of only 3-4 of these well trained , well equipped divisions? And even these woulf be under supplied. With hindsight thete was no good option for Germany.
By nature, the Mediterranean strategy was to be a coalition warfare and combined arms operations with a lot of desert warfare and supply runs. It was no coincidence that Churchill chose this theatre to battle the Axis.
“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

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by ljadw » 22 May 2022 11:32

There was only one reason for the fighting in the Mediterranean and this was the Italian DOW in June 1940.The main result of this DOW was that all ships which were going to /were returning from the East were using the long way via South Africa til the Italian surrender .If Italy remained neutral against whom would Germans /British fight and who would help them ?

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 22 May 2022 14:00

ljadw wrote:
22 May 2022 11:32
There was only one reason for the fighting in the Mediterranean and this was the Italian DOW in June 1940.The main result of this DOW was that all ships which were going to /were returning from the East were using the long way via South Africa til the Italian surrender .If Italy remained neutral against whom would Germans /British fight and who would help them ?
The German and British troops would come into contact in Greece anyways.
“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

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