Spain joins Axis June 1940 - what if...

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by The Basket, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I am not so sure...would it have changed anything?

    Certainty not the outcome.
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Gibraltar was lost for the allied, Canary island was lost for the axis,
    Spain has some natural resources usefull for the war.
    Sure more trouble in north africa mediterranean for the allies
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Spain becomes a "full partner" (like Romania and Hungary) in Barbarossa - June '41. Doesn't effect the ending, however.

    MM
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    If it meant closure of the straits into the Med then things might have been very different for the Allies. Supplies for the 8th Army would have to go the long way round the Cape to get to Egypt. Would that have resulted in German victory in North Africa? Dunno but if it had, things might have been very, very different. German units released from North Africa for the Russian Front? Removal of the Takoradi air resupply route? All pure conjecture but not impossible.
     
  5. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Any knowledge on the military of Spain duriing WW2?

    Was it in any position to support Germany other than as a 'friendly' neutral?
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I did some research about 10 years ago on the state of the spanish armed forces at various stages in the war. Spain as a country had suffered enormaously as a result of the Civil war, and her military had also taken heavy casualties, and much military equipment was worn out and unserviceable. Her military was largely demobilised up to June 1940, though the field formations were maintained at cadre strength. To fully mobilise the Spanish army from a point in June 1940, it would have taken to around December before the field formations were up to strength, assuming a reasonable rate of supply and support from her Axis partners.

    Spain had the following field formations in her army

    On the mainland
    16 x Infantry Divs, 4 x Armoured Regiments (armed mostly with ex-Italian Light Tanks, and a few Russian T-26s, most of which were unserviceable), 1 x Cavalry Division (somewhat more ready than other formations) 1 xMtn Div,

    Two of the Infantry Divs were stationed outside of Gibraltar but do not appear to be at any higher readiness state than any other formations

    Balearic Islands
    2 x Inf Regts, 1 x Light armoured Bn (no tanks),

    Spanish Morrocco
    7 x Inf Divs (two were partially ready), 1 Light Armoured Regt, 3 x Inf Regt (Independant).

    There were about 16000 defenders in the Canary Islands....we think organized into 2 x Inf Regt.

    Her mobilization would have been slow , concentrating mostly on bringing these forces up to strength, however additional formations as follows would have been added to the regulars

    Mainland
    (D1 to 28)
    3 x Reg Inf Regts, 9 x Cav Regts, 1 x motorized Inf III,

    Spanish Morrocco
    1 x cav Bde, 2 x Cav Regts (these were about half the size of the Bde)

    Balearic Islands
    2 x Inf Regt

    D29 to D49
    Mainland
    by the 7th week of mobilization, the Spaniards planned to add 4 x Labour Regts (construction...concentration camp inmates), 7 x MG bns, on the mainland

    Spanish Morrocco
    1 x Construction Regt, 4 x Police Bns, 1 x MG Regt

    Balearic Islands
    2 x Inf Regt

    D50+
    Mainland
    By the 10th week of mobilization they planned to add 9 x Field Engineer regts, 8 x Fld artillery regt, and 3 x Corps Artillery Regts (150mm or larger).

    Spanish Morrocco
    2 x fld Artilleryt Regts, 2 x Field Engineer

    Balearic Islands
    1 x Engineer Bn

    I will do the air force and Navy, and the planned German and British formations in next posts. one thing to note, however, the entry of Spain as an active belligerent, would have almost certainly seen Colonial France and most of her surving military pass to the allies, as a pre-requisite of Spanish belligerncy was the ceding of most of the French north African possessions to her. The vichy leaders had already indicated they would join the allies if that happened.

    We estimated the Spanish resource and weapons demands wqould have cost the Germans between 25 andf 40 divs and about 600 aircraft in her pre-JUune 1941 preparations

    Spanish entry to the war comes at a hefty cost, and given the pre-conditions the loss of Gibraltar is not assured
     
  7. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thought, I shall see how the experts develop the idea.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Spanish air force and Navy

    (notes) it was very difficult to determine exactly how many of the leftover aircraft from the Civil war had survived in flyable condition. Our estimates should be viewed owith that in mind. We rounded the numbers to the nearest ten, to suit the purpoises for which this research was done)

    120 x CR-32, 50 x Me 109e, 80 x I-15, 30 x I-16, 10 x G-50, 40 x He 111B, 60 x SM 79, 20 x Do 17, 20 x Ca 311, 20 x BR 20, 20 x He 70, 20 x SM 81, 20 x Ju 52, 20 x Ju 87A, 20 x Ba 65, 20 x SB-2


    Navy
    1 x CA: Baleares
    5 x CL: 3 x Alphonso Class (designed 1915), , Eugenia, Nunez (built 1920)
    20 x DD: 3 x Alsedo (1922), 13 x Churucca Class (basically British Scott Class), 4 x ex Italian (Aquila, Falco, Guglielmo, Mellilla (they were about 1000 tons)
    7 x Sloops (sotelo, 4 x Jupiter Class, 2 x Eolo Class)
    7 x Subs: 5 x “C” Class, 2 x “Archimede” (FI)
    8 x large Minesweepers
    6 x Thornycroft CMBs (MTBS dating back to 1922), 2 x Ex Russian MTBS (G5 Class) 1 x ex-Italian MAS (MAS 437), 3 x ex German S-Boote (S3-5 Class)
    A large number of small craft used for Customs and Coastal police work

    In 1939, the Spanish Mercantle Marine had 824 vessels registered,, amounting to 913898 Gross tonnage.
     
  9. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    What 'Volunteers' did Spain send to fight the Soviets? Were they effective?

    I know the abwehr and Canaris himself was close to Franco and maybe he told them to stay out.

    In the film das boot, the U boat was allowed to dock in Vigo which could have been an indicator or more than nuetral. Also the Italians were allowed to use a ship in a Spanish port to attack RN in Gibratar using Algeciras as a base.

    Did the Spanish offer any other support?
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The 1941 Spanish economy had little to contribute to the anti-communist war effort besides tungsten ore. So I don't see how Germany would gain much if Spain sends additional soldiers. Their equipment and training would need to be supplied by Germany just as happened historically.

    As for Spain declaring war on Britain, that's not going to happen. Britain would need to declare war on Spain just as they declared war on Germany during September 1939. I don't think even Churchill could force the British Government into such a declaration of war.
     
  11. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    This 'what if' is based on June 1940 and the retaking of Gibraltar.

    One could argue that Franco did actively engage in war against USSR and thats why Stalin wanted Franco out.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    PM Churchill had a tough job getting the RN to attack France during 1940. If he also tried to attack Spain during the same time frame I think his government would fall and Britain would have a new Prime Minister.
     
  13. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The key question is the impact of losing Gibraltar on RN operations in the Mediterranean and the consequent effect on the fighting in North African, Malta, Crete, Greece, Syria etc.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I think it rather far fetched to think 1940 Spain would be at war with Britain. But let's set that aside. 1940 Spain is somehow at war with Britain.....

    After Mers-el-Kebir it would take very little to get France to ally with Germany. So it's a package deal. When Spain joins the war France is pulled in also. German military units now have access to the Atlantic coast from Tromso to Gibraltar. Plus Morocco and the North African coast as far east as the Italian border with Egypt.

    Britain wouldn't stand a chance in the Mediterranean and Germany is not going to miss an opportunity this good. There would be no Battle of Britain. Instead Germany, Italy and France will spend the fall of 1940 securing the entire Mediterranean coast (less Turkey).

    Speaking of Turkey, this may tip them into the war in return for getting the Mosul oil fields back. The opportunity is too good to miss when Britain is driven completely out of the Med.
     
  15. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I dont think its far fetched. If Spain believed Britain was finished like Mussolini did than very much on.

    Claim Gibraltar by force and you are at war with Britain. Italy fell for it.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Mussolini was butting heads with Britain from 1935 onward. He was the only Axis leader that desired war with Britain.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    We dont need to think "somehow, we know exactly "how". Spains price for entering the war wa the dissolvement of Vichy and the provision of a massive economic assistance package, that was about equal to 30-40 wehrmaqcht divisions, in terms of economic cost..

    There would not be a Mers el kebir. Faced with extinction by the Germans, the colonbial possessions in French North Africa, and her navy, would join the allies. This option was given to the French prior to the historical attack. They refused because their leadership what might happen in Metropolitan FDrance. With the Germans collapsing Metropolitan France, or alternativelyt with the Germans demanding unconditional surrender during the boF, ther is no issue with the French joining the Allies. They would do so automatically in this scenario


    It is far from an open opportunity. its an opportunity, but it has huge costs as well. Spain has not the air force, the navy or the army to protect its coasts and colonial possessions. It has not the strength to take Gibraltar. With the French joining the allies in north Africa, there are major threats to Italian possessions in Libya, and the Spanish in their territory of Morocco. The canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands as well as Spanish Sahara are all under severe threat of capture. This is not an easy scenario at all for the Germans.

    Not a chance. The turks had no trust in the Germans after being duped by them in WWI. The only way the turks would be induced into the war was by the full surrender of the British, and that was never goiung to happen.

    Turkey didnt trust the Germans, they feared them
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The German and Allied force committtments

    For the Germans there were two scenarios considered. The first was against Spain resisting a German invasion, the second was Spain acting as an Axis ally.

    Scenario 1....Spain as an Allied nation.

    The German plan (scheduled for early 1941) called for the following forces to be committed

    4 x Panzer Divs (3, 4, 6, 7), 2x Mot Divs (SS Totenkopf, 20 Mot), 2 x Gebirgsjager Divs, 14 x Inf Divs (5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 17, 24, 28, 34, 35, 52, 57, 78, 87, 267, 296, Pol (SS)) 1 x Air landing Division (22), 5 x Parachute Bns, 1 x Bicycle Bn, 2 x mot MG Bn, 3 x Hy AA Regt, 10 x engineer, 6 x Artillery Regt (Corps Artillery). On D-28 they hoped to have in place outside gibraltar an impressive Siege train, consisting of most of germany's heavy siege guns...about 6 x hy artillery regts. About half of these were railroad guns and would have required about three months to get into position due to the state of Spains railways.

    The LW committment was for one air fleet to be initially deployed. I forget which one, but not all these units are specialist anti-shipping units. Approximate committment levels were

    80 x Dp17z, 200 x He111, 180 Ju 87B, 280 Me 109, 120x Me 110, 3-400 Ju52s,

    Scenario 2....Spain as an axis nation

    In the event of Spain joining as an Axis Partner, German committment was far more restrained. Canaris's mission in June 1940, envisaged the committment of a single mtn div amounting to 15000 men. There was no heavy artillery committed, as the germans assumed the Spaniards would provide that. If so, there would have been a minimum three month delay between the Spaniards joining the Axis and and the commencement of an actual attack. In that time the Brits would have reinforced the garrsion even further.

    The British response

    The British also had a number of contingency plans in the event of Spanish belligerency. If Spain were hostile, this would have meant a delayed involvement of at least three months. in that time the Brits planned or made contingency plans to occupy Spanish Morroco and the canary islands, to seize the approaches to Gibraltar. I am not exactly sure of the operational plans....but they involved committment by 4 x Inf Divs (1, 2 Can, 3, 43), 1 x Armoured Div (1), 2 x Hvy Tank Bdes (3, 5), 3 x Cprps Artillery Regt, 3 x Engineer Regts, 3 x Hvy Aa Bdes. The Brits planned to commit about 400 aircraft to the capture of morocco, including 140 Spits and a similar number of hurricanes.

    The standing garrison in Gib consisted of 2 x Infantry Brigades (1Gib, 2 Gib) and over 300 gun emplacements. The approaches to Gibraltar were heavily mined, and aparently narrowed to less than 500 yards across. The approaches to Gib were flat and open, whilst the fortress rose uncharacteristically out of the sky.

    I have not found what the British response would have been if the germans had invaded Iberia. However it was expected that the Spaniards would have been jooined by the portuguese (since they had an alliance), and force levels similar to the above could be expected from the Brits.

    General situation

    "Following the fall of France to Germany in June 1940, Hermann Göring advised Adolf Hitler to occupy Spain and North Africa rather than invade Britain. As early as June 1940, before the armistice with France had been signed, General Heinz Guderian also argued for seizing Britain's strategically important naval base of Gibraltar. Guderian even urged Hitler to postpone the armistice so that he could rush on through Spain with two Panzer divisions, take Gibraltar, and then invade French North Africa. General Alfred Jodl, chief of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) operations, presented Hitler with a formal plan to cut off Britain from its eastern empire by invading Spain, Gibraltar, North Africa, and the Suez Canal instead of invading the British Isles.

    On 12 July 1940, the OKW set up a special group for the necessary planning. On 22 July, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr and an acknowledged expert on Spain, travelled with several other German officers to Madrid, Spain, where they held talks with General Francisco Franco and General Juan Vigón, his Minister of War. They then travelled on to Algeciras, where they stayed some days to reconnoiter the approaches to Gibraltar. They returned to Germany with the conclusion that Franco's regime was reluctant to enter the war. However, it has since become known that Canaris was disloyal to Hitler and actually encouraged Franco not to join the Axis, since an Allied victory was almost certain. Canaris' team did however determine that Gibraltar might be seized through an air-supported ground assault involving at least two infantry regiments, three engineer battalions, and 12 artillery regiments. The assessment team advised that without 15 in (380 mm) heavy assault cannon — which he knew were unavailable — Gibraltar could not be taken. When Canaris reported to Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, he gave his personal opinion that even if Germany were able, with the cooperation of Spain, to seize Gibraltar, the British would land in Morocco and French West Africa.

    On 18 July, Franco claimed Gibraltar. He did not expect the British to accede to the claim and made it to keep Germany from attempting to take it.

    In August, Canaris met with Franco's brother-in-law, Ramón Serrano Súñer, who was about to become Spain's Foreign Minister. Canaris urged Súñer to do what he could to convince Franco to stay out of the war. Soon after, Franco dispatched Súñer to Berlin to get an idea of Hitler's attitude, since Canaris had assured him that Germany would not forcibly intervene in Spain. When Súñer met Hitler on September 16, Hitler did not press very hard for Spanish involvement in the war, perhaps because he planned to meet Franco himself very soon.

    Canaris met with Franco around the same time and warned him that if Spain joined the Axis, the Spanish islands — even mainland Spain itself — would be at risk from British attack. Knowing that Franco feared a hostile German invasion of Spain if he refused to cooperate, Canaris informed him that Hitler had no such intention due to the planned invasion of Russia. Canaris also surprised Franco by admitting that he was convinced Germany could not win the war

    German military leaders proceeded to prepare for a large-scale operation against Gibraltar. Codenamed Operation Felix, the plan called for two German army corps to enter Spain across the Pyrenees. One corps, under General Ludwig Kübler, was to cross Spain and assault Gibraltar, while the other, commanded by General Rudolf Schmidt, was to secure its flanks. Air support would need one fighter and two dive-bomber wings. Overall command of Felix was to be assigned to Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau. The plan also made provisions for occupying Spanish possessions in North Africa: Spanish Morocco, Río de Oro, and the Canary Islands, whose ports could then be used as bases for German U-boats.

    On 12 November, Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 18, which stated that "political measures to induce the prompt entry of Spain into the war have been initiated" and that "The aim of German intervention in the Iberian Peninsula (code name Felix) will be to drive the English out of the Western Mediterranean." It also mentioned the potential invasion of Portugal if the British gained a foothold and requested that the occupation of Madeira and of the Azores be investigated.

    On 5 December, Hitler met with the German High Command and decided to request permission from Franco for German troops to cross the Spanish border on 10 January 1941. It was planned that General Jodl would go to Spain to make preparations for the attack on Gibraltar as soon as Canaris had obtained Franco's agreement. Canaris accordingly met with Franco on 7 December and put to Franco the need for Spain's immediate entry into the war. Franco responded that Spain was simply not capable, due to shortages of food. He also expressed his fear that German seizure of Gibraltar would lead to the loss of the Canary Islands and Spain's other overseas possessions.

    On receiving Canaris' report, Hitler decided that Operation Felix should be cancelled.

    In the opening weeks of 1941, unsuccessful efforts were made by both Berlin and Rome to encourage the Spanish government to change their stance. Franco answered negatively to another request from Hitler to join the war, received on 6 February, using as a pretext the precarious state of Spain's economy. Joachim von Ribbentrop, Germany's Foreign Minister, told Hitler that in his opinion Franco had no intention of ever joining the war.

    In February 1941, the OKW advised the naval high command that Operation Felix was out of the question for the time being, since the troops earmarked for it would soon be needed elsewhere.

    Felix-Heinrich

    On Hitler's insistence, the OKW developed a revised plan for the capture of Gibraltar, which might be implemented once the German invasion of the Soviet Union had been completed. Codenamed Felix-Heinrich, the plan was submitted to General Franz Halder on 10 March 1941. It proposed that as soon as the invading forces in the Soviet Union reached a line between Kiev and Smolensk, hopefully by 15 July, units could then be withdrawn to prepare for the Gibraltar operation, which it was thought could begin on 15 October. Felix-Heinrich would broadly follow the original plan, with the same forces, but with new supporting units."
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    This is from memory and may be faulty,
    The Spanish 'Azul' unit served on the Eastern Front. Shortly after Kursk it was removed but many members remained in defiance of orders from Spain. I believe that JG 27 or JG 54 also had a Spanish unit - 15./JG27?
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only a lunatic would purchase military alliance with Spain at that price and he would be deposed by military coup before the treaty is signed. So if Spain enters the war it won't happen that way.
     
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