German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Counter
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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 02 Mar 2022 14:52

Peter89 wrote:
Counter wrote:Franco was an imperialist dictator and personally wanted to consolidate his power in Spain becoming a comrade of the great Führer. But he felt despised by Hitler, as he did not offer any booty for Spain in order to join Axis (only Gibraltar).
Could you please name your sources about Franco?
Sure. For example, "A world in arms" by Gerhard Weinberg:

The leader of Spain, Francisco Franco, had, like Mussolini, stood aside in the fall of 1939. Given the weakening of Spain by the
terrible civil war which had ended only a few months before the outbreak of World War II, as well as the country's dependence on
imported food and oil, it was understandable that Franco was exceedingly cautious, but caution in no way affected his appetite. Spain had wanted to recover Gibraltar from the British ever since its capture in 1704, but the Franco regime—with its military roots in Spain's
North African empire—also looked forward to an enormous expansion of that empire at the expense of the French. The Spanish ruler's appetite even extended to portions of French Africa which had been German before World War I! All such dreams obviously could be
realized only with German assistance and in the event of a total Franco-British defeat.33 In view of this combination of almost unlimited ambition with extremely limited resources and capabilities for their attainment, the Spanish leader followed a policy combining caution with bravado. He would cautiously assist the Germans by relatively riskless measures until the latter had won the war;34 then with great bravado he would offer to join them provided he were promised both the assistance he needed and the loot he coveted. Until German troops actually appeared on the Spanish-French border, caution still prevailed over bravado; even the entrance of Italy into the war on June 10 did not induce Franco to follow suit. Unlike Mussolini, he preferred to have clear assurances from the Germans before taking the plunge.


Maybe you has been influenced by the Francoist legend about Franco´s reluctance to join the war because he was a humanist catholic hating nazis and he was very inteliggent and he knew Hitler was going to lose... A very convenient story for Francoist propaganda after the war. As I presume you read spanish I recommend you reading too "La gran tentación" by professor Manuel Ros Agudo, giving more details about the imperalist ambitions of the spanish dictator.
Peter89 wrote:
Counter wrote:RAF was superior only in english skies. If Luftwaffe, instead of the stupid Blitz over London or Liverpool moved to the Mediterranean area (southern Spain, Sicily, Lybia...) they would have got overwhelming superiority by January or February 1941.
What is overwhelming superiority in your mind?
For example, what the Luftwaffe achieved from February to May 1942 over Malta, up to the massive arrival of RAF Spitfire units. As you know (I don´t link wikipedia :D !) a Luftflotte was moved from the Eastern Front to do the job (at the time Luftwaffe was engaged, simultaneously in Russia, Europe and Africa!). Malta was saved by those Spitfire that, by the way, arrived through Gibraltar straits and inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, big enough to transport them. So, figure out what would have happened by February 1941 instead...

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

Post by Peter89 » 02 Mar 2022 15:48

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 14:52
Peter89 wrote:
Counter wrote:Franco was an imperialist dictator and personally wanted to consolidate his power in Spain becoming a comrade of the great Führer. But he felt despised by Hitler, as he did not offer any booty for Spain in order to join Axis (only Gibraltar).
Could you please name your sources about Franco?
Sure. For example, "A world in arms" by Gerhard Weinberg:

The leader of Spain, Francisco Franco, had, like Mussolini, stood aside in the fall of 1939. Given the weakening of Spain by the
terrible civil war which had ended only a few months before the outbreak of World War II, as well as the country's dependence on
imported food and oil, it was understandable that Franco was exceedingly cautious, but caution in no way affected his appetite. Spain had wanted to recover Gibraltar from the British ever since its capture in 1704, but the Franco regime—with its military roots in Spain's
North African empire—also looked forward to an enormous expansion of that empire at the expense of the French. The Spanish ruler's appetite even extended to portions of French Africa which had been German before World War I! All such dreams obviously could be
realized only with German assistance and in the event of a total Franco-British defeat.33 In view of this combination of almost unlimited ambition with extremely limited resources and capabilities for their attainment, the Spanish leader followed a policy combining caution with bravado. He would cautiously assist the Germans by relatively riskless measures until the latter had won the war;34 then with great bravado he would offer to join them provided he were promised both the assistance he needed and the loot he coveted. Until German troops actually appeared on the Spanish-French border, caution still prevailed over bravado; even the entrance of Italy into the war on June 10 did not induce Franco to follow suit. Unlike Mussolini, he preferred to have clear assurances from the Germans before taking the plunge.
That quote does not support, or even address your statements.

1. Where does your quote say that Franco wanted to be a comrade of the great Führer?
2. Where does your quote say that France felt despised by Hitler?
3. Where does your quote say that Hitler offered ("only") Gibraltar to Spain?
Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 14:52
Maybe you has been influenced by the Francoist legend about Franco´s reluctance to join the war because he was a humanist catholic hating nazis and he was very inteliggent and he knew Hitler was going to lose... A very convenient story for Francoist propaganda after the war.
No, I wasn't. If you are interested in my opinion, ask me, and don't give your fantasies into my mouth.
Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 14:52
As I presume you read spanish I recommend you reading too "La gran tentación" by professor Manuel Ros Agudo, giving more details about the imperalist ambitions of the spanish dictator.
Thank you, I will, but imperialist ambitions that doesn't seem to address why he didn't join Hitler's Germany.
Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 14:52
Peter89 wrote:
Counter wrote:RAF was superior only in english skies. If Luftwaffe, instead of the stupid Blitz over London or Liverpool moved to the Mediterranean area (southern Spain, Sicily, Lybia...) they would have got overwhelming superiority by January or February 1941.
What is overwhelming superiority in your mind?
For example, what the Luftwaffe achieved from February to May 1942 over Malta, up to the massive arrival of RAF Spitfire units. As you know (I don´t link wikipedia :D !) a Luftflotte was moved from the Eastern Front to do the job (at the time Luftwaffe was engaged, simultaneously in Russia, Europe and Africa!). Malta was saved by those Spitfire that, by the way, arrived through Gibraltar straits and inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, big enough to transport them. So, figure out what would have happened by February 1941 instead...
Okay, let's do it step by step.
Please tell me the following things:

1. What is the distance between Sicily and Malta?
2. What is the distance between the nearest European airport in Axis hands to Alexandria / Port Suez?
3. What is the operational range of Me 109?

IF the Me 109s are in Africa, then:

1. Please name me the African airports the Luftwaffe used in February 1941.
2. What is the distance between those airports and Alexandria / Port Suez?
3. What is the operational range of Me 109?
_________________________________________________________________

What does overwhelming air superiority mean to you? Unescorted bomber raids?
“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

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Mar 2022 18:00

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 14:52
For example, what the Luftwaffe achieved from February to May 1942 over Malta, up to the massive arrival of RAF Spitfire units. As you know (I don´t link wikipedia :D !) a Luftflotte was moved from the Eastern Front to do the job (at the time Luftwaffe was engaged, simultaneously in Russia, Europe and Africa!). Malta was saved by those Spitfire that, by the way, arrived through Gibraltar straits and inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, big enough to transport them. So, figure out what would have happened by February 1941 instead...
Um, Luftflotte 2. moved from Smolensk to Frascati on 1 December 1941, but that was a headquarters to coordinate operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa. It brought II. Fliegerkorps with it and took command of X. Fliegerkorps, along with Fliegerführer Afrika, and set up Komm. General der Deutschen Luftwaffe in Italien, but implyng an entire Luftflotte moved is not really true.

II. Fliegerkorps brought with it KG 54 with I. and II. Gruppe, and JG 53. with II. and III. Gruppe (about 65 aircraft), and 10. Schwadron (about 80 aircraft). Most of JG 53 went to North Africa, most of the increase versus Malta was by KG 54, which lost 27 aircraft to enemy action and 14 not to enemy action March-May.
"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 » 02 Mar 2022 19:21

Richard Anderson wrote:Um, Luftflotte 2. moved from Smolensk to Frascati on 1 December 1941, but that was a headquarters to coordinate operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa. It brought II. Fliegerkorps with it and took command of X. Fliegerkorps, along with Fliegerführer Afrika, and set up Komm. General der Deutschen Luftwaffe in Italien, but implyng an entire Luftflotte moved is not really true.
Thanks for the precision. But the result was the same: overwhelming superiority over Malta. Then, if not "Barbarrosa" even easier to take aerial control of that area in the Mediterranean.
Peter89 wrote:Please tell me the following things:

1. What is the distance between Sicily and Malta?
2. What is the distance between the nearest European airport in Axis hands to Alexandria / Port Suez?
3. What is the operational range of Me 109?

IF the Me 109s are in Africa, then:

1. Please name me the African airports the Luftwaffe used in February 1941.
2. What is the distance between those airports and Alexandria / Port Suez?
3. What is the operational range of Me 109?
I think you have all that information yourself.

I link wikipedia :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_N ... rld_War_II and https://www.ww2.dk/Airfields%20-%20Liby ... 0Egypt.pdf

You know perfectly that Luftwaffe used these airfields in the african coastline from Tripoli to Fuka, at least. With aircraft of any type. So the superiority in Malta could be extended "step by step" to Suez and to the turkish border, if necessary. I remember to have read Cajus Bekker complaining that Rommel could get little aerial support in the first battle of Alamein because, as the offensive after the seizure of Tobruk was improvised, they had no time to organize the captured airfields... Later they could, of course, but at that time the allies were reinforced... and most of the Luftwaffe was fighting in the East Front...

About the spanish thing. Now, once and for all:
Peter89 wrote:The Spanish did not want to join the Axis by themselves. Period
Now, finally do you accept that Spanish DID want to join the Axis?

About why they did not...
Peter89 wrote:1. Where does your quote say that Franco wanted to be a comrade of the great Führer?
2. Where does your quote say that France felt despised by Hitler?
3. Where does your quote say that Hitler offered ("only") Gibraltar to Spain?
Obviously, if he wanted to join the Axis, he would become a comrade of Hitler and Mussolini (Führer-Duce-Caudillo). And that would be prestigious for him inside the Spanish regime...

About that he was offered only Gibraltar (and just a little bit of french morocco) and that he felt despised, I recommend you the book of professor Ros Agudo, pag 245, for example (there are more) about a meeting Hitler-Mussolini 4 October 1940 (Brennero): only Gibraltar for Spain and maybe later it could be fix something with the French in North Africa.

About the spanish feeling about that poor offer there are many testimonies. Most of them had to do with the fact that Hitler seemed to value more the "enemy" (the French colaboration) than the friend (Spain). As you know, by September 1940 the Vichy soldiers repelled the Allies attack at Dakar. So Hitler didn´t want to offer anything to Spanish from the french colonial possesions. Very offensive for Franco, of course...

Anyway, the key question is that Hitler had the power to force Spain to let the german troops to Gibraltar. Obviously, by using "carrot and stick". A better offer (carrot) or a straight threat (stick). As you already know that even not pro-german regimes were forced to combat with Germany, no doubt that the poor Spain (with the nazis had so may friends, at that time) could have been forced or convinced too.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by historygeek2021 » 02 Mar 2022 20:47

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 19:21

About that he was offered only Gibraltar (and just a little bit of french morocco) and that he felt despised, I recommend you the book of professor Ros Agudo, pag 245, for example (there are more) about a meeting Hitler-Mussolini 4 October 1940 (Brennero): only Gibraltar for Spain and maybe later it could be fix something with the French in North Africa.

About the spanish feeling about that poor offer there are many testimonies. Most of them had to do with the fact that Hitler seemed to value more the "enemy" (the French colaboration) than the friend (Spain). As you know, by September 1940 the Vichy soldiers repelled the Allies attack at Dakar. So Hitler didn´t want to offer anything to Spanish from the french colonial possesions. Very offensive for Franco, of course...
Actually Norman Goda in Tomorrow the World makes it clear that Hitler offered all of French Morocco to Spain, with the caveat that Germany would be granted enclaves to build permanent German military bases along the coast. It was these enclaves (along with economic relief) that were the sticking point for the Spanish. The Spanish did not want a German presence in their territory. They wanted Germany to supply them weapons and economic aid and do the fighting themselves.

Hitler despised the French, did not trust them, and would have much preferred to make a deal with the Spanish. After Franco's recalcitrance, Hitler vacillated and considered making a deal with the French, but that ended once Pierre Laval was sacked.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 02 Mar 2022 21:26

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 19:21
Anyway, the key question is that Hitler had the power to force Spain to let the german troops to Gibraltar. Obviously, by using "carrot and stick". A better offer (carrot) or a straight threat (stick). As you already know that even not pro-german regimes were forced to combat with Germany, no doubt that the poor Spain (with the nazis had so may friends, at that time) could have been forced or convinced too.
It is very much questionable what Hitler could or would do to take Gibraltar. The price Franco asked for it, certainly would not pay off easily, and Germany profited from Spain and Portugal already, though not on the scale they wanted it. Hitler was no madman in this particular moment, because he understood that he did not want to overthrow Franco and occupy Iberia, and their willing cooperation would be around the same price; a price he could also not afford. In fact, he paid a too high price for the Italian partnership already.

Franco knew that the war was not over and that Hitler had no aces in his sleeve to defeat Britain, and the USA. The Kriegsmarine was practically a spent force, the Italians could not reach their goals and the Luftwaffe was repelled. If Germany could not guarantee the compensation for the loss of the maritime trade, then why exactly would they join them in a war that could last who knows how long? Famine and bombing could overthrow him just as easy as panzers; but in the latter case he could join the government-in-exiles in London and consolidate his power with western help after the war. Which he actually did.

Franco would never join Hitler peacefully, and Hitler would never pay the price Franco demanded. And given that Franco held the upper hand, Hitler could only use force.
“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 Richard Anderson » 02 Mar 2022 22:45

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 19:21
Richard Anderson wrote:Um, Luftflotte 2. moved from Smolensk to Frascati on 1 December 1941, but that was a headquarters to coordinate operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa. It brought II. Fliegerkorps with it and took command of X. Fliegerkorps, along with Fliegerführer Afrika, and set up Komm. General der Deutschen Luftwaffe in Italien, but implyng an entire Luftflotte moved is not really true.
Thanks for the precision. But the result was the same: overwhelming superiority over Malta. Then, if not "Barbarrosa" even easier to take aerial control of that area in the Mediterranean.
No, sorry, but there was no "overwhelming superiority over Malta" if all it took was two runs delivering a grand total of 107 Spitfires to contest it. Worse, it only took the lessons learned from the first run for the second run of 61 aircraft to prove decisive.

One major problem for Luftwaffe and Regio Aeronautica operations agains Sicily was the dearth of suitable, well-supported airfields in Sicily.

Augusta - seaplane base only
Castelvetrano - single concrete all-weather runway, 1465 meters, with some repair infrastructure, reserved for RA use until December 1942
Catania - single concrete all-weather runway, 1650 meters, extensive repair and base infrastructure
Chinisia - dirt satellite field until fall 1942, limited repair and base infrastructure
Comiso - dirt/grass field with 395-meter concrete runway, not expanded until later 1942
Corleone - emergency landing ground with no facilities
Enna - emergency landing ground with no facilities
Gela - dirt/grass secondary field until September 1942 when construction of concrete runway began
Gerbini - main field with 14 satellite landing grounds, single 1645 concrete runway
Licata - dirt/grass field laid out in mid 1942
Marsala-Stagnone - seaplane base only
Milazzo - seaplane base only
Pachino - dirt/grass fighter airfield laid out in spring-summer 1942
Palermo - dirt/grass airfield
San Pietro - dirt/grass field, no paved runway until January 1943
Sciacca - dirt/grass fighter airfield
Syrakus - seaplane base only
Taormina - liaison base only
Termini - emergency landing ground with no facilities
Torre di Faro - seaplane base only
Trapani-Milo - dirt/grass airfield, heavily potholed, with single 1100 meter paved runway, extensive repair and infrastructure facilities

So effectively just four all-weather, well-supported airbases, sufficient, for purposes of striking Malta, for basing perhaps two Kampfgruppen, the c. 65 aircraft KG 54 brought with them, in addition to the Italian aircraft already based there. The other problem was the limited rail links on Sicily, everything from the mainland had to cross via the Messina rail ferries or come in via ports and then be transshipped by vehicles. AIUI, only Catania and Trapani-Milo had direct rail access to the bases, the others had rail connections ufther away: Chinisia (2.5 kilometers away), Comiso (5.25 kilometers away), Gela (9.25 kilometers away), Gerbini (1.5 kilometers away), Pacino (1.5 kilometers away), Palermo (4.5 kilometers away), San Pietro (15 kilometers away), and Sciacca (8 kilometers away).

The result was to limit the sortie capability of the Axis air forces when striking Malta. Yes, the addition of KG 54 meant that as many as 11,000 sorties were flown against Malta in March-May 1942, that was less than what the Allies managed in one day, 6 June 1944, over Normandy.
"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 » 02 Mar 2022 22:59

Peter89 wrote:Franco would never join Hitler peacefully
Well, in spite of what you wrote before, that does seem very similar to the Francoist story after the war...

The problem for this theory is that, apart from spanish authors like De la Cierva and the like, it is very difficult to find serious historians to agree...
historygeek2021 wrote:Actually Norman Goda in Tomorrow the World makes it clear that Hitler offered all of French Morocco to Spain
I remember the mister Goda book. That book is the only of his about military strategy in the second world war (he wrote more about Intelligence questions). Probably he got confused at that point. At the most, Hitler promised Franco that after the war (or, at least, after getting Gibraltar) it could be negotiated between Spain, Italy, Germany and France the territories in Africa for each one. France, for example, could be compensated with the british Nigeria. But Franco wanted a down payment (French Morocco) and at the time, something Hitler did not accept because he considered french colaboration more useful (remember Dakar september 1940). That is very thoroughly explained in the mister Ros Agudo book, with sources from letters, memoranda and the like.
historygeek2021 wrote:Germany would be granted enclaves to build permanent German military bases along the coast
That is right. And also they wanted to get one of the Canary Islands (a whole island). Canary Islands were not a colony, but national spanish territory.

Obviously, nazis did not show actually much interest in getting Gibraltar and starting a Mediterranean campaign to force UK to surrender and to improve their strategic situation in front of the USSR. If they would, they would have negotiated better... Or they have used force against Spain. Not invasion, but a straight threat. Something they never did.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 03 Mar 2022 07:32

Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 22:59
Peter89 wrote:Franco would never join Hitler peacefully
Well, in spite of what you wrote before, that does seem very similar to the Francoist story after the war...
And in spite what you wrote before, negotiation easy peasy is very similar to the Wehrmacht fanboys.

For some reason you people think that neutral countries all wanted to join Germany, but they couldn't follow their heart, because the Führer was not persuasive or pushy enough. I have been through this many times regarding Turkey as well. The very notion that countries were ran with different goals in mind than to serve the Germans, seemingly escapes your imagination.
Counter wrote:
02 Mar 2022 22:59
The problem for this theory is that, apart from spanish authors like De la Cierva and the like, it is very difficult to find serious historians to agree...
There is a difference between things that were tried and things that weren't. Things that were tried and didn't happen usually didn't happen because they couldn't happen.
“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 Ironmachine » 03 Mar 2022 08:36

Counter wrote:
Peter89 wrote:Franco would never join Hitler peacefully
Well, in spite of what you wrote before, that does seem very similar to the Francoist story after the war...
In this issue, there is only one undeniable fact: Franco (Spain) did not join Hitler.
But the reasons for that? They are highly questionable.
Was it because he was not given what he asked for? Maybe, but then there is the question of whether those demands (specially the territorial ones) were real or were simply devised as a way to frustrate the Germans. After all, he was asking Germany to give him territories that were not German and that Spain could simply not control.
Was it because he was afraid of the consecuences? Maybe, Carrero Blanco's famous memorandum supports this view.
It seems that Franco was ready to join the Germans (that is, join Hitler peacefully) when the war was favourable enough for him. The problem is that is highly unlikely that the situation could become good enough for him in 1940-1941 without Spain entering the war. So we have a vicious circle that Franco had no need to solve. He could have been forced to join Hitler by force (though Franco's reaction to a German ultimatum is not a sure thing), but that would have needed Hitler completely changing his mind about the course of the war, and this is something I can't see happening.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Peter89 » 03 Mar 2022 12:12

Ironmachine wrote:
03 Mar 2022 08:36
Counter wrote:
Peter89 wrote:Franco would never join Hitler peacefully
Well, in spite of what you wrote before, that does seem very similar to the Francoist story after the war...
In this issue, there is only one undeniable fact: Franco (Spain) did not join Hitler.
But the reasons for that? They are highly questionable.
Was it because he was not given what he asked for? Maybe, but then there is the question of whether those demands (specially the territorial ones) were real or were simply devised as a way to frustrate the Germans. After all, he was asking Germany to give him territories that were not German and that Spain could simply not control.
Was it because he was afraid of the consecuences? Maybe, Carrero Blanco's famous memorandum supports this view.
It seems that Franco was ready to join the Germans (that is, join Hitler peacefully) when the war was favourable enough for him. The problem is that is highly unlikely that the situation could become good enough for him in 1940-1941 without Spain entering the war. So we have a vicious circle that Franco had no need to solve. He could have been forced to join Hitler by force (though Franco's reaction to a German ultimatum is not a sure thing), but that would have needed Hitler completely changing his mind about the course of the war, and this is something I can't see happening.
I have been thinking about this and reading into the matter for a very long time. What would actually a Spanish join change? It would surely change the fate of Gibraltar, but other than that? I am not so sure; the Azores and Madeira would probably go to Britain as the Portuguese government could retreat there; and from Madeira, the Canaries could be bombed. So the net result for the Battle of the Atlantic is very questionable. The Spanish army was in no position to help the Germans with troops, or even if it was, the weapons for those troops should come from Germany. The same Germany that could not provide sufficient weapons for its own troops and other allies. Gibraltar on its own could only change German fortunes in the MTO, but in order to capitalize on that, the Germans and especially Hitler should have shifted emphasis from Eastern Europe to some kind of colonial and probably coalition warfare.

I agree with your notion that Franco was in no hurry to join either side; and he could make a nice profit by inflating prices of the minerals that both belligerents wanted - or wanted to prevent their enemies to get it.

The problem would also persist even if Spain was Axis, and the occupation cost would be nil, the Spanish would still want to make a profit from their exports, and also to make good the missing UK / US trade. And because they would hold the upper hand in negotiations, that would be a very high price for the Germans. It is also probable that Spain would withhold some products the Germans wanted from there, as Italy stockpiled oil, Hungary withheld foodstuffs, etc.

I was thinking about the threat option as well. Even if it worked (for the above mentioned gains and losses for the Germans), Franco could change sides as early as the Allies landed in numbers in North Africa (in this case, they might as well land in Iberia). Even from a German perspective, if there was no control over the Iberians, they would become a liability as soon as the Wehrmacht would be pinned down in the East. Also Portugal was likely to reamain a threat because they might ally themselves with the British, allowing them to land, so it was hardly possible that Germans could safeguard their interests with zero ground units. In fact, Iberian neutrality also covered Hitler's western flank.

I think Hitler weighed the gains and the costs of the Spanish question, and he realized that this is too much in every possible way, either via diplomacy, or via coercion or via military. It could only yield proper results as part of a larger strategy, which, as you wrote, was not likely to happen.
“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 Counter » 03 Mar 2022 16:16

Richard Anderson wrote:No, sorry, but there was no "overwhelming superiority over Malta"
Thank you very much again for the good information about the Axis Sicily airfields... but, anyway, did the Axis aviation reach their goal of disrupting the offensive capacity of the british base of Malta around April 1942? I think that the example is valid in order to point at the possibilities for the Axis to dominate the whole Mediterranean at the time of the Blitz (let´s say from January to May 1941).
Peter89 wrote:For some reason you people think that neutral countries all wanted to join Germany
Not at all. But as a matter of fact Franco´s Spain was not exactly "neutral", but "non belligerent" and, patterning after Mussolini´s Italy they did want to get "an Empire". But if Hitler was more interested in Vichy´s colaboration... It was impossible for Hitler to conciliate the interests of France, Italy and Spain.

And he was sure that, after "Barbarrosa" he was going to win the war once and for all. So, why bother with those miserable spanish, french or italian?
Peter89 wrote:I have been through this many times regarding Turkey as well.
Turkey was actually a neutral country... although inside Turkey it could be found also important supporters of the Germans (also in the military). But, as you yourself have explained, other neutral countries, like Hungary and Finland, were forced to join the german strategy.
Ironmachine wrote: Franco (Spain) did not join Hitler.
But the reasons for that? They are highly questionable.
Was it because he was not given what he asked for? Maybe, but then there is the question of whether those demands (specially the territorial ones) were real or were simply devised as a way to frustrate the Germans.
This thing about "devised as a way to frustrate the Germans" I read it already in a book about the Vichy France :D . It is easy to say that AFTERWARDS

But according to documents, it seems that Franco and his men were actually eager to get an African Empire.

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Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Mar 2022 17:47

Counter wrote:
03 Mar 2022 16:16
Thank you very much again for the good information about the Axis Sicily airfields... but, anyway, did the Axis aviation reach their goal of disrupting the offensive capacity of the british base of Malta around April 1942? I think that the example is valid in order to point at the possibilities for the Axis to dominate the whole Mediterranean at the time of the Blitz (let´s say from January to May 1941).
They did reach that goal, for about ten days.

No, they could not do that from about January to late March 1941, the Luftwaffe was too busy rebuilding from the losses incurred April-December 1940. Then they have to negotiate with the Italians over airfield space and supply and, yet again, about the only thing they can do in spring 1941 is what they did in spring 1942, add about a KG worth of bombers to the assault. I would have to check, but I think there was even less developed airfield space on Sicily in 1941 than there was in 1942.

Then there is the minor issue of the collapse of all Italian forces in Cyrenaica and Egypt December 1940-February 1941 to be dealt with.

Then there is the minor issue that to dominate the whole Mediterranean they have to attack Yugoslavia and Greece and Crete, as well as figure out how to seize the Levant, Cyprus, and Egypt. That is an undertaking that requires more air and naval forces than they have or can base there, while moving ground forces from the Soviet border does them little good, unless they intend to swim the Mediterranean.
"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 » 03 Mar 2022 18:20

Counter wrote:
03 Mar 2022 16:16
Richard Anderson wrote:No, sorry, but there was no "overwhelming superiority over Malta"
Thank you very much again for the good information about the Axis Sicily airfields... but, anyway, did the Axis aviation reach their goal of disrupting the offensive capacity of the british base of Malta around April 1942? I think that the example is valid in order to point at the possibilities for the Axis to dominate the whole Mediterranean at the time of the Blitz (let´s say from January to May 1941).
Peter89 wrote:For some reason you people think that neutral countries all wanted to join Germany
Not at all. But as a matter of fact Franco´s Spain was not exactly "neutral", but "non belligerent" and, patterning after Mussolini´s Italy they did want to get "an Empire". But if Hitler was more interested in Vichy´s colaboration... It was impossible for Hitler to conciliate the interests of France, Italy and Spain.

And he was sure that, after "Barbarrosa" he was going to win the war once and for all. So, why bother with those miserable spanish, french or italian?
Peter89 wrote:I have been through this many times regarding Turkey as well.
Turkey was actually a neutral country... although inside Turkey it could be found also important supporters of the Germans (also in the military). But, as you yourself have explained, other neutral countries, like Hungary and Finland, were forced to join the german strategy.
Ironmachine wrote: Franco (Spain) did not join Hitler.
But the reasons for that? They are highly questionable.
Was it because he was not given what he asked for? Maybe, but then there is the question of whether those demands (specially the territorial ones) were real or were simply devised as a way to frustrate the Germans.
This thing about "devised as a way to frustrate the Germans" I read it already in a book about the Vichy France :D . It is easy to say that AFTERWARDS

But according to documents, it seems that Franco and his men were actually eager to get an African Empire.
You still don't get it, do you?

Obviously Franco, Horthy, Mussolini, Antonescu, Mannerheim, etc. had appetite for a larger country. But their appetite does not prove that they would join the Germans in a war with a questionable outcome.

Hungary, Romania, etc. were not directly threatened by imminent food or oil shortages (both were exporters of the said stuff) or an inner collapse. In Spain, famine was a few months away and the low fuel stocks were threatening Spain with an amplified famine. This meant that Spain would entirely dependent on Germany's goodwill.
“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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Location: Europe

Re: German strategy regarding the maritime flanks of the USSR

Post by Counter » 03 Mar 2022 19:41

Richard Anderson wrote: the only thing they can do in spring 1941 is what they did in spring 1942, add about a KG worth of bombers to the assault.
I am amazed 8O From January to April 1941, Luftwaffe had, at least, two whole Luftflotten doing the Blitz over England (2 and 3, I think) and the only thing they could do -obviously after calling off the Blitz by shifting to a new strategy- would be to send a KG to the Mediterranean area (not only Malta, of course: Gibraltar, Lybia and so on)?
Peter89 wrote:Obviously Franco, Horthy, Mussolini, Antonescu, Mannerheim, etc. had appetite for a larger country. But their appetite does not prove that they would join the Germans in a war with a questionable outcome.

Hungary, Romania, etc. were not directly threatened by imminent food or oil shortages (both were exporters of the said stuff) or an inner collapse. In Spain, famine was a few months away and the low fuel stocks were threatening Spain with an amplified famine. This meant that Spain would entirely dependent on Germany's goodwill.
In January 1941, the british were fighting alone (and under the Blitz), the US was neutral, the USSR was a "friend" of the nazis. Who could think at that time that the nazi victory was a "questionable outcome"?

Obviously, Spain would require economic help from the Germans. That was part of the negotiations... Finland also got grain from Germany, by the way...

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