Spain joins the Axis.....

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Lucky13

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Aug 21, 2006
In my castle....
Spains joins the Axis at the same time as Italy, what's next, how do the Allied react, what can they do, air, sea and land?
What happens to the Allied shipping and fleets in the Mediterranean?
What did Spain have at this point, Air Force, Army and Navy and industry?
Can the Allies heavies reach, with escorts, targets in Spain, daytime and nighttime?

Among other things...
 
What do you mean by "joins"?

1940 Spain was already anti-communist (i.e. Fascist). They traded freely with other anti-communist nations. What more do you expect from a nation recovering from years of civil war? Devastated Spain had nothing else to offer and it's certainly not to their benefit to enter WWII on either side.
 
Hitler certainly tried hard enough to get Franco to fully join the Axis, but evidently Franco saw no gain for Spain in that.
What did Hitler say about dealing with Franco again ? Something like he'd rather get his teeth extracted.
 
1940 Spain was more valuable to Germany as a neutral then they could ever be as a military ally. That's especially true after France was defeated, which made transport between Spain and Germany much easier. If Chancellor Hitler had a clue he would have known it.
 
one plus for the Axis, constant pressure on Gibraltar. Whether that pressure would have really affected anything that the Allies were doing... They had Malta surrounded too and that failed in the end. Germany being allowed to operate in Spain would be a plus for them. But it might just spread them out even thinner than they already were once Russia was invaded. Hitler had a habit of not wanting to wait before he started the next campaign. Likely Gibraltar would been a slug fest like Malta but it would not have fallen.
 
Likely Gibraltar would been a slug fest like Malta but it would not have fallen.

Most thought it would last 2 months before having to surrender, there is only a limited supply of water as the Rock depended on rainfall. It would have been a Pyrhic victory though, 2 men with a Vickers machine gun and unlimited ammo could slaughter anything trying to cross the narrow isthmus from the mainland and the big guns on the Rock would be pounding the German support lines.

Hitler has the Rock then what. Allied supplies still go the long way round the Cape as before and all Spains overseas posssesions are scooped up by the Allies in a matter of weeks. Germany now has to feed Spain because the US is no longer going to provide the food, oil and finance like before. A valuable entry for goods has been shut and for all this the Germans get a few divisions of troops with no equipment. The U boat campaign would get a shock as bases in the Atlantic for long range patrol aircraft are set up. The Spanish Civil War which was still effectively going on in large areas of Spain would get a shot in the arm as SOE starts pumping supplies to anyone with a grudge against Franco. Give it a year and Spain is going to be a boil on Hitlers arse and give him a pain every time he sits down to draw up more meglomaniac plans.
 
Would have streched Germany even farther then they already where.
Perhaps might delay the Allies fight in NA some, but yet another front for the Germans to defend.
 
I was reading a book by Deaking called "The brutal friendship. Mussolini, Hitler and the fall of Italian fascism". It focuses on the last months of the fascist regime in 1942 and 1943. Very interesting to read is that Mussolini was bent on convincing Franco to join the axis ... when the Allies invaded Algeria. He was convinced that if Spain would allow transit to a German Panzerdivision, Gibraltar would be taken and the Allies would be forced to retreat. What can you say? The man was holding on to whatever straw he could find.

Also today I was reading another book "Mussolini and the origins of second world war". There is a reference to Guderian urging Hitler to delay French surrender and to allow him two Panzerdivisions to take through Spain, take Gibraltar and conquer French North Africa before peace negotiations. So, Guderian did not even consider it a problem marching through Spain. He was probably right. Franco would never have opposed it, he would have stuck to some formal protests.

Kris
 
one plus for the Axis, constant pressure on Gibraltar. Whether that pressure would have really affected anything that the Allies were doing... They had Malta surrounded too and that failed in the end. Germany being allowed to operate in Spain would be a plus for them. But it might just spread them out even thinner than they already were once Russia was invaded. Hitler had a habit of not wanting to wait before he started the next campaign. Likely Gibraltar would been a slug fest like Malta but it would not have fallen.
However, with Gibraltar taken, Malta would surely have been neutralized. The axis would even see no need to actually occupy it. And with Malta out ... the supplies get through to the Afrikakorps. As El Alamein was a close fought deal, it is very likely that the Suez would have been taken. Once the Suez, no more ships can supply the troops and Navy.
But I agree that keeping Gibraltar would have been close to impossible. The Royal Navy would have stopped at nothing to take it back.

Kris
 
Also today I was reading another book "Mussolini and the origins of second world war". There is a reference to Guderian urging Hitler to delay French surrender and to allow him two Panzerdivisions to take through Spain, take Gibraltar and conquer French North Africa before peace negotiations. So, Guderian did not even consider it a problem marching through Spain. He was probably right. Franco would never have opposed it, he would have stuck to some formal protests.

Problem was you couldn't "march through Spain" without destroying the two Panzer divisions as effective fighting units. It is 960 air miles from Paris to Cadiz/Gibraltar. It is 640 air miles from Toulouse to Cadiz/Gibraltar. By road the tanks and other tacked vehicles would need overhauls before attempting to enter combat. Moving the Divisions by rail is the only real option and that has problems of it's own. Spain using a different rail gauge than the rest of Europe. Forcing your way through Spain is going to be rather difficult. Franco doesn't need to confront the German forces directly, let them get several hundred miles into Spain and then stop their supplies in the Pyrenees mountains. A few curious train derailments should do it.
You still need ships (and a decent port) to get the Germans to North Africa and then what?
900 air miles from Tangier to Tunis or 800 air miles from Oran to Tripoli. 1028 land miles on today's roads. 1200 air miles or 1650 land miles from Oran to Benghazi.

French North Africa would be nothing but a giant sink hole sucking up tanks, half-tracks, trucks and fuel for no real return.

It is only 590 air miles from Berlin to Minsk or 715 air miles from Warsaw to Moscow.
 
Well then, I assume Guderian must have assumed full Spanish cooperation in getting his troops and tanks to Cadiz. Likewsise, he would probably have relied on Spanish ships and on Spanish supply lines to cross to Spanish Morocco. He then must have believed the French army was in such a state that a show of force would have sufficed for it to give up, like in Metropolitan France. A lot of risky assumptions indeed...

It just shows one thing; generals are not politicians! At least in Germany. The General Staff was hardly trained in subjects outside technical military matters and often had a very simplistic view on world politics. Only few exceptions, like Ludwig Beck. The rest was just a bunch of sheep hiding behind their oath of allegiance. But that is another subject... :)

Kris
 

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