Discussion:
WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
(too old to reply)
curmudgeon
2004-10-08 03:32:17 UTC
Permalink
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-08 04:45:13 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 7 Oct 2004 21:32:17 -0600, "curmudgeon"
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
To answer that question we would have to know the answer to the
following questions ...

1) Why did Franco go insane and knowingly act against his best
interets when, historically, he showed no sign of insanity?

2) Why would the Turks go insane and knowingly act against their own
best interests and against the direct and specific advice of their
only recently dead national *hero*, Kemal Ataturk to *never* ally with
Germany?

Only if answers to those questions are provided could we hazard an
*informed* guess.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
T. Fink
2004-10-08 18:17:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
To answer that question we would have to know the answer to the
following questions ...
1) Why did Franco go insane and knowingly act against his best
interets when, historically, he showed no sign of insanity?
Hmm, maybe it goes the other way round. When Hitler invaded the USSR,
there was a Spanish volunteer division with the Germans. Now, what if
Stalin has one of his not-so-rational days when he hears about it and
declares war on Spain. Will Britain follow his example? And what will be
the Spanish reaction? Will they enter the war full scale and remove
their division and hope to settle it all again peacefully?

CU

Torsten
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-10 00:07:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by T. Fink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
To answer that question we would have to know the answer to the
following questions ...
1) Why did Franco go insane and knowingly act against his best
interets when, historically, he showed no sign of insanity?
Hmm, maybe it goes the other way round. When Hitler invaded the USSR,
there was a Spanish volunteer division with the Germans. Now, what if
Stalin has one of his not-so-rational days when he hears about it and
declares war on Spain. Will Britain follow his example? And what will be
the Spanish reaction? Will they enter the war full scale and remove
their division and hope to settle it all again peacefully?
OK, I change my question ... why does *Churchill* go insane?

Phil


Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
The Horny Goat
2004-10-11 23:40:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by T. Fink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
To answer that question we would have to know the answer to the
following questions ...
1) Why did Franco go insane and knowingly act against his best
interets when, historically, he showed no sign of insanity?
Hmm, maybe it goes the other way round. When Hitler invaded the USSR,
there was a Spanish volunteer division with the Germans. Now, what if
Stalin has one of his not-so-rational days when he hears about it and
declares war on Spain. Will Britain follow his example? And what will be
the Spanish reaction? Will they enter the war full scale and remove
their division and hope to settle it all again peacefully?
Actually that's a good question - I've no idea why Stalin didn't
declare war on Spain. In all probability such a declaration would have
led to the immediate withdrawal of the Blue division from the Eastern
front in hopes that war with Britain and/or the United States would
not result.

Stalin was not in a position to do much to Spain but Franco would have
collapsed pretty much overnight had Churchill or FDR declared a
blockade even if they did not actually declare war.

Given the logistical difficulties I seriously doubt a credible move on
Gibraltar would have resulted but if it did it would merely ensure
Torch when it occured would include Spanish Morocco.

As Phil correctly points out Franco needed to import food which Hitler
was not in a position to replace. This shall we say shortens his
options somewhat even if Franco was hell-bent on war which I've never
seen any evidence he was.
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-12 22:55:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Actually that's a good question - I've no idea why Stalin didn't
declare war on Spain.
One war at a time. Why force the issue with Spain, when it could
be disastrous for the Allies?

The Allies avoided declaring war on the USSR despite vastly
greater provocation in 1939.

BTW, the Blue Division did not go into action until October 1941.
(Training started in July.)
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
The Horny Goat
2004-10-13 02:23:46 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 17:55:37 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by The Horny Goat
Actually that's a good question - I've no idea why Stalin didn't
declare war on Spain.
One war at a time. Why force the issue with Spain, when it could
be disastrous for the Allies?
The Allies avoided declaring war on the USSR despite vastly
greater provocation in 1939.
BTW, the Blue Division did not go into action until October 1941.
(Training started in July.)
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.

Almost certainly that was part of the reason Spain was not accepted
for UN membership until 1955 (at the same time as Portugal).
President Chester A. Arthur
2004-10-13 04:40:07 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
Date: 10/12/2004 9:23 PM Central Daylight Time
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 17:55:37 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by The Horny Goat
Actually that's a good question - I've no idea why Stalin didn't
declare war on Spain.
One war at a time. Why force the issue with Spain, when it could
be disastrous for the Allies?
The Allies avoided declaring war on the USSR despite vastly
greater provocation in 1939.
BTW, the Blue Division did not go into action until October 1941.
(Training started in July.)
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.
But what would he have to gain, really? Now, if there's a TL where the Red Army
is in the south of France, feelin' fine, and there's no one around to raise a
fuss...


----

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history."
Abraham Lincoln, 1862
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-13 09:09:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Subject: Re: WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
Date: 10/12/2004 9:23 PM Central Daylight Time
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 17:55:37 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.
But what would he have to gain, really? Now, if there's a TL where the Red Army
is in the south of France, feelin' fine, and there's no one around to raise a
fuss...
Read "A damned fine war" ... its complete crap, as I've said
elsewhere, but it offers one possibility ...

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
The Horny Goat
2004-10-13 14:14:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Post by The Horny Goat
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.
But what would he have to gain, really? Now, if there's a TL where the Red Army
is in the south of France, feelin' fine, and there's no one around to raise a
fuss...
Stronger Spanish ostracism from the community of nations than Spain
"enjoyed" in OTL. Stalin could have referred to "Nazi allies" and
watched Spain make concession after concession to avoid reprisals - I
am of course talking in 1944-45 long after Hitler was in any position
to benefit in any way from Spain as an ally.

Certainly no one in the west would want to cooperate with Franco - it
would be a godsend for Soviet propaganda. Hey it might even
de-stabilize the post-war French or Italian governments - and Stalin
would never ever want that would he? Essentially endless mischief for
the west with little or no real cost to the Soviets.
President Chester A. Arthur
2004-10-13 23:57:17 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
Date: 10/13/2004 9:14 AM Central Daylight Time
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Post by The Horny Goat
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.
But what would he have to gain, really? Now, if there's a TL where the Red
Army
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
is in the south of France, feelin' fine, and there's no one around to raise
a
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
fuss...
Stronger Spanish ostracism from the community of nations than Spain
"enjoyed" in OTL.
What is Spain, to Stalin?

Stalin could have referred to "Nazi allies" and
watched Spain make concession after concession to avoid reprisals - I
am of course talking in 1944-45 long after Hitler was in any position
to benefit in any way from Spain as an ally.
What concessions could Franco have offered Stalin to make it worth the bother?
What concessions could Stalin have _extracted_ from Franco, at at any point
during WWII?






----

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history."
Abraham Lincoln, 1862
The Horny Goat
2004-10-14 03:57:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Post by The Horny Goat
Stronger Spanish ostracism from the community of nations than Spain
"enjoyed" in OTL.
What is Spain, to Stalin?
Somewhere that cost the international Communist movement a LOT of
credibility 1936-39.

I can see Stalin seeing Franco the way your president currently sees
France.
President Chester A. Arthur
2004-10-14 13:01:38 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
Date: 10/13/2004 10:57 PM Central Daylight Time
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Post by The Horny Goat
Stronger Spanish ostracism from the community of nations than Spain
"enjoyed" in OTL.
What is Spain, to Stalin?
Somewhere that cost the international Communist movement a LOT of
credibility 1936-39.
What, so the Spanish Republicans lost? It may have been an issue for Soviet
policy in general, but was it as viscerally important to Stalin in the way
issues like ideological purity and Ukranian-killing were? I don't think so.

Why risk a break with the imperialists (who will of course back their running
dog Franco) at _any_ point while he can still get advantage out of the
relationship?
I can see Stalin seeing Franco the way your president currently sees
France.
I'm trying to imagine a timeline where that analogy is perfectly direct, and I
like it.


----

"Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history."
Abraham Lincoln, 1862
Tzintzuntzan
2004-10-17 04:04:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Post by The Horny Goat
Stronger Spanish ostracism from the community of nations than Spain
"enjoyed" in OTL.
What is Spain, to Stalin?
Somewhere that cost the international Communist movement a LOT of
credibility 1936-39.
The Spanish war hardly cost Communism any credibility. In fact, it
gained a lot for it. The attitude of the chattering classes seems
to have been that the Republicans lost, but at least Stalin tried
to save them, unlike those treacherous capitalist British and
French. (In _The Pooh Perplex_, Frederick Crews has a dead-on
parody of what a pro-Soviet screed tended to look like back then,
with Spain as the center of the argument.)

It wasn't until much later that stories of Stalin's little games
began to get out. And the early exposes (like Orwell's) were likely
to get written off. There were so many Nationalist stories of the
"commie anarchists rape nuns on altar" variety that people who
were pro-Republican were likely to disbelieve anything that made
that Republic look bad.
T. Fink
2004-10-13 06:01:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by President Chester A. Arthur
Subject: Re: WI Turkey & Spain were not Netural in WW II
Date: 10/12/2004 9:23 PM Central Daylight Time
Stalin could have declared war on Spain pretty much any time he chose
up to 8 May 1945. Certainly he had ample casus belli.
But what would he have to gain, really? Now, if there's a TL where the Red Army
is in the south of France, feelin' fine, and there's no one around to raise a
fuss...
That's why I daid in my original post: "Stalin has one of his
not-so-rational days ..." (or something like this, to lazy to look it
up). Stalin could be a cold and rational tactician, but at times his
paranoia took over.

CU

Torsten
The Horny Goat
2004-10-11 23:38:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
To answer that question we would have to know the answer to the
following questions ...
1) Why did Franco go insane and knowingly act against his best
interets when, historically, he showed no sign of insanity?
2) Why would the Turks go insane and knowingly act against their own
best interests and against the direct and specific advice of their
only recently dead national *hero*, Kemal Ataturk to *never* ally with
Germany?
Merely joining the Axis does not guarantee they would have gone to war
with the Allies - Italy started off as one of the Central Powers in
1914 but never fought against the Allies.
Les
2004-10-08 12:37:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
For Spain:

In the OTL, Franco kept out of WW2 because the primary source of
Spain's external food was supplied by the UK/US, and shipped by the
aforementioned. Spain had also experienced a civil war, and had yet
to properly settle down.

So, if Franco does side against the UK, perhaps in hopes of a quick
knockout victory, he faces an immediate food shortage. To make
matters worse, his internal political situation worsens as the British
can start funding Guerilla resistance factions. Adding German forces
to help only worsens the situation, as Spain's transportation network
is inadequate in supporting any real amount of troops travelling
through Spain.

Now, what about Gibralter? Well, the British took the trouble to
fortify the garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the
nature of the base makes a land assault rather costly. The Italian
fleet may come into play to support an amphibious operation, but that
also means engaging the RN near one of their own major ports, and it
also means abandoning the Italian war effort in North Africa. In
short, such an endeaver does not promise to be quick and decisive, and
a Spain short of food is not going to enjoy any long wars of
attrition.

Meanwhile, the British mop up North Africa (losing Gibralter does not
stop the RN from supplying North Africa, as they still have the Suez
Canal firmly in grasp). The British also take Spanish possessions off
the Spanish mainland to offset any possible loss of Gibralter, then
concentrate on making Franco's life miserable if not short.

Net result: Spain quickly becomes a liability to the Axis war effort,
as the price to keep them operative during the war quickly exceeds
whatever benefit gained in threatening Gibralter.

Now, Turkey has a similar problem with regards to internal
transportation. Simply put, their rail is inadquate to allow even one
infantry division to be deployed with full effectiveness outside their
borders. Granted, the British don't have good land lines either, but
they do have their fleet and far better merchant shipping. Net
result, all the Turks gain for joining the Axis is to be in the
crosshairs of the UK, and ultimately the USSR.
Daniel Titley
2004-10-13 12:49:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took the trouble to fortify the
garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-13 13:18:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took the trouble to fortify the
garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".

Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.

But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.

A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.

Can you figure the likely result?

Can you say "slaughter?"

Sure, if the attackers are ...

a) completely unaffected by casualties and

b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)

... they they can certainly take the Rock *eventually*.

But will suffer horrendous losses.

And, frankly, I don't think any Franco-ite Nationalist force would
have had the morale to take those casualties. Nor the cohesiveness and
effectiveness of command to stage effective attacks in the first
place.

The Germans could probably have done it, but they would have had other
problems to face that make it unlikely that they would have been able
to do it.

On the whole, its fairly obvious that the Spanish simply weren't
capable of doing it ... though, if their other problems were solved, a
German force probably would have had a fair shot.

Phil


Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-13 13:50:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Daniel Titley
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".
Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.
But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.
A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.
Can you figure the likely result?
Can you say "slaughter?"
Sure, if the attackers are ...
a) completely unaffected by casualties and
b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)
Add: the heavy guns on top of the rock command the surrounding countryside
and can - at the very least - /interfere/ with resupply. Come to that,
a few Vickers HMGs in the gallery gunports (rows of guns positions inside
the rock facing out over Spain) could play merry hell with resupply,
firing in battery mode at night.

Even assuming the Spanish/German forces had air superiority (fair
assumption, given that the ground attack woudl be coming across the
Gibraltar airfield!) the rcord of air attacks at suppressing fortress
guns wasn't good at that time. More often they just annoyed people -
Oslo Fjord referes!
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
And, frankly, I don't think any Franco-ite Nationalist force would
have had the morale to take those casualties. Nor the cohesiveness and
effectiveness of command to stage effective attacks in the first
place.
Not sure that the land transport links down to the frontier were that
good - IIRC much of the transport into the region of Spain close
to Gibraltar was via the port at Algercias - which was completely
commanded by the fortress guns and will be of rapidly declining
value in a shooting war (9.2" bricks dropping every couple of minutes
will do that).

Sure, you could take the place given (a) lots of good troops and (b)
a willingness to have a lot fewer of them by the end, but it would
probably be an epically nasty business, even by Monte Cassino or
Stalingrad standards. Someone would have to ask whether they could
spare that army..
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
The Germans could probably have done it, but they would have had other
problems to face that make it unlikely that they would have been able
to do it.
On the whole, its fairly obvious that the Spanish simply weren't
capable of doing it ... though, if their other problems were solved, a
German force probably would have had a fair shot.
Agree - but would the gain be worth what you'd have lost (given that
Britain will now probably control the _other_ side of the straits,
having snaffled up the Spanish enclaves there, as well as grabbing
the Spanish atlantic islands and probably the Balearics as well..)
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-13 21:12:08 UTC
Permalink
<cogent comments snipped>
Post by ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
On the whole, its fairly obvious that the Spanish simply weren't
capable of doing it ... though, if their other problems were solved, a
German force probably would have had a fair shot.
Agree - but would the gain be worth what you'd have lost (given that
Britain will now probably control the _other_ side of the straits,
having snaffled up the Spanish enclaves there, as well as grabbing
the Spanish atlantic islands and probably the Balearics as well..)
Ah, yes. That's an entirely different question. Could the Germans
*take* the Rock? Probably, under certain provisos already enumerated.
Could the *Spanish* take the Rock? Probably not.

Would the results for *either* be worth the price paid?

No.

Which is, of course, what you are saying!

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-13 22:38:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Daniel Titley
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".
Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.
A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.
Well, that's one way of doing it. However - there are alternatives.
Such as bombarding the landward face of the Rock with artillery for
a couple of weeks first. Since the attacking artillery can be 5,000
to 8,000 meters away, concealed behind ridges, woods, or smokescreens,
the fort guns can't really do much counterbattery fire.

However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful. One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.

A similar barrage, from the west side of Algeciras Bay, could smash
up the west side of the Rock.

And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.

There are counter-arguments to be made. No amount of Allied bombing
could affect the U-boat pens at Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Brest -
and the living Rock was even stronger than reinforced concrete.

But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.

Besides which, a "fortress" under siege is necessarily doomed, unless
relieved. That's why Goebbels forbade the German press to use the
phrase "Festung Europa".

Eventually the defensive batteries would be disabled, and then
the Rock could be assaulted by infantry from the north and west
(by small boat).
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.

Any attempt to resupply or reinforce Gibraltar by sea would be
a death ride to make PEDESTAL look like a milk run.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
Nicholas Smid
2004-10-14 05:18:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Daniel Titley
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".
Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Yes, but that experance was against a force even less well trained or
equiped than they were and for all the supposed lessons learned from the
civil war, most of them dead wrong, the main one was that nether side was
worth a damn or the war would have been over in a fraction of the time.
During the civil war assults on far less formidable positions regulally
boged down into long indesisive sieges. It a bit like saying the Italian
army which had also fought in the war beinfited from that core of
experienced men.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.
A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.
Well, that's one way of doing it. However - there are alternatives.
Such as bombarding the landward face of the Rock with artillery for
a couple of weeks first. Since the attacking artillery can be 5,000
to 8,000 meters away, concealed behind ridges, woods, or smokescreens,
the fort guns can't really do much counterbattery fire.
The fortress guns included alot of types some o which would do well reaching
behind ridges. But you are right if the attackers can mass enough guns and
keep them feed for long enough eventually he will knock the defenses out.
But that is going to take months at the very least and WWI scales of ammo
use. Spain simply didn't have the guns or ammo for the job and the Germans
would have had lots of trouble getting them into the area down the Spanish
rail system, which hadn't been much even before a war got fought over it for
years.
Post by Rich Rostrom
However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful. One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
The Bombers arn't going to be able to hit anything important to the
defenders, most of that is dug deep into the Rock itself. But knocking out
all the gun positions is going to take weeks of near constent shooting, and
finding out you were wrong is going to cost you lots of troops. But even
after you knock out the guns digging the infantry out of deep shalters and
rocky ground is going to be a slow and bloody business. Given time an a
commander not to worried about how many eggs get broken yes you can take the
place, but is it worth the cost?
Post by Rich Rostrom
A similar barrage, from the west side of Algeciras Bay, could smash
up the west side of the Rock.
Again yes, though shooting across the bay from places safe from counter
battery fire will demand even bigger guns than the northen side, and
anything less than about 15 cm is probably a wast of space on the gun line
for ether job.
Post by Rich Rostrom
And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.
The basic defensive plan was tested several times, though not activly since
the early 1800's. Still the main defences were simply a matter of tunnaling,
and once you're through the crust thats easy for anyone with real experties.
I seem to recall reading of some worries about the water resivours, and
catchments used to cather rain. But even if there are weaknesses, very
likely many of the older positions would have problems, finding them is
going to be costly, and slow.
Post by Rich Rostrom
There are counter-arguments to be made. No amount of Allied bombing
could affect the U-boat pens at Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Brest -
and the living Rock was even stronger than reinforced concrete.
But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.
Once isolated a fortress must fall through simple starvation if you can
maintain the blockade, and getting supplies into the Rock would have been
difficalt against a serious German run effort. But they had rations for 6
months or so and that could probably be stretched a bit. The first and last
examples you gave fell fairly fast but Corregidor held out for months, and
would have beaten off the assult that took it if the majority of the
defenders hadn't just run away and hidden in the tunnles, Fort Drum for
example held out untill they ran out of food. And the Germans needed months
to gather a sieag train powerful enough to take Sevastopol, which is
geographically a much weaker position than Gib.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Besides which, a "fortress" under siege is necessarily doomed, unless
relieved. That's why Goebbels forbade the German press to use the
phrase "Festung Europa".
Eventually the defensive batteries would be disabled, and then
the Rock could be assaulted by infantry from the north and west
(by small boat).
An assult across the bay in small boats?, be sure you assign units you don't
expect to need again in the near future. But yes if you are in a hurry, or
clearly not able to stop supplies getting in you can assult the north side.
But digging defenders out of those tunnles and rocks is going to be very
costly unless their moarl colapses for some reason. Again the main question
is is Gib worth the cost of taking it and the answer is no its not.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.
Well in short order the Brits will have bases in Spanish Marocco, just
across the waters, Tangiers was officually an international city but I don't
think that will stop the Brits taking it over. South of there, far enough
south to make a pretty safe base, are the Canary's and assorted other
Spanish teritories none of which are defendable against the RN. If Portugal
joins the Axis or is taken over there are even more islands, Azores and
Madeira.
The Brits might have to loop convoys further west than they'd like but thats
hardly a show stopper, and maintaining those air groups means somebody else
gets shorted, like the eastern med. This probably means no support for Italy
in North Africa, which means no more Italians in North Africa by the spring
of 1941, and when Hitlers attention turns east bad things start happening in
the med and North Africa.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Any attempt to resupply or reinforce Gibraltar by sea would be
a death ride to make PEDESTAL look like a milk run.
--
No question Gibraltar could be taken if the Germans were willing to put
enough effort into it, and the problem of re supply is probably what would
finally force the defenders to surender. But taking the place simply isn't
worth the effort or time required.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-14 19:28:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nicholas Smid
Post by Rich Rostrom
However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful. One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
The Bombers arn't going to be able to hit anything important to the
defenders, most of that is dug deep into the Rock itself. But knocking out
all the gun positions is going to take weeks of near constent shooting, and
finding out you were wrong is going to cost you lots of troops. But even
after you knock out the guns digging the infantry out of deep shalters and
rocky ground is going to be a slow and bloody business.
Slow (2-3 weeks), and occasionally messy, but not horrifically
expensive. Once the outside works are disabled and destroyed,
the deep shelters are really only targets. The troops in them
can't fight back very well. Too many blind spots in the fields
of fire. Work around slowly to a ventilator and torch into it
with a flame thrower. Shaped charges to crack open bunkers and
pillboxes. Demolitions to seal up tunnels.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-14 19:36:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Slow (2-3 weeks), and occasionally messy, but not horrifically
expensive. Once the outside works are disabled and destroyed,
the deep shelters are really only targets. The troops in them
can't fight back very well. Too many blind spots in the fields
of fire. Work around slowly to a ventilator and torch into it
with a flame thrower. Shaped charges to crack open bunkers and
pillboxes. Demolitions to seal up tunnels.
Just as a question - and nothing nasty intended - but have
you been to Gibraltar and around that subset of the tunnels
which are open to the public? It's a _big_ system, linking
into enormous natural(?) caverns right under the highest
part of the rock and with ventilation shafts emerging in
the most unlikely places (as well as the rows of galleries/
gunports hundereds of feet up on the north face). The engineers
stationed in the barracks in the rock caverns (yep - stores
, ammumition dumps and barracks were inside) had heavy
excavation equipment (and could carve new tunnels - limestone,
the rock - as well as clearing blockages).
Until you're been there and wandered around it doesn't really
hit you how formidable the rock must have been. The place is
a heavily-fortified rabbit warren.
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
ADM
2004-10-14 20:13:03 UTC
Permalink
In article
Post by Rich Rostrom
Slow (2-3 weeks), and occasionally messy, but not horrifically
expensive. Once the outside works are disabled and destroyed,
the deep shelters are really only targets. The troops in them
can't fight back very well. Too many blind spots in the fields
of fire. Work around slowly to a ventilator and torch into it
with a flame thrower. Shaped charges to crack open bunkers and
pillboxes. Demolitions to seal up tunnels.
Just as a question - and nothing nasty intended - but have
you been to Gibraltar and around that subset of the tunnels
which are open to the public? It's a _big_ system, linking
into enormous natural(?) caverns right under the highest
part of the rock and with ventilation shafts emerging in
the most unlikely places (as well as the rows of galleries/
gunports hundereds of feet up on the north face). The engineers
stationed in the barracks in the rock caverns (yep - stores
, ammumition dumps and barracks were inside) had heavy
excavation equipment (and could carve new tunnels - limestone,
the rock - as well as clearing blockages).
Until you're been there and wandered around it doesn't really
hit you how formidable the rock must have been. The place is
a heavily-fortified rabbit warren.
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
But how different is it from some of the islands that the U.S. Marines (and
Army) took from the Japanese in the Pacific?

ADM
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-14 21:31:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by ADM
In article
Post by Rich Rostrom
Slow (2-3 weeks), and occasionally messy, but not horrifically
expensive. Once the outside works are disabled and destroyed,
Just as a question - and nothing nasty intended - but have
you been to Gibraltar and around that subset of the tunnels
which are open to the public? It's a _big_ system, linking
But how different is it from some of the islands that the U.S. Marines (and
Army) took from the Japanese in the Pacific?
MOre vertical, at a guess. And - being limestone - well-tunnelled
and burrowed and bunkered over a very long time. Unless I'm much
mistaken none of the pacific islands had been tunnelled for defence
purposes for 250-odd years.
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
hlg
2004-10-15 03:48:35 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Nicholas Smid
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Yes, but that experance was against a force even less well trained or
equiped than they were and for all the supposed lessons learned from the
civil war, most of them dead wrong, the main one was that nether side was
worth a damn or the war would have been over in a fraction of the time.
I think that a little unfair. It's a little like saying, "The German, French
and British armies in World War 1 weren't worth a damn, or that war would
have been over in a fraction of the time."

I think it more accurate to say that the armies in the Spanish Civil War
were equally matched, especially after mid-1937 when the Republicans
replaced all their colourful party and trade union militias with formations
on regular lines. It was this balance, plus the munitions supplied to the
opposing sides by Germany, Italy and especially Russia, which prolonged the
conflict.
Post by Nicholas Smid
During the civil war assults on far less formidable positions regulally
boged down into long indesisive sieges.
Again, as did the assaults on Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele ... Battles
such as Teruel or the Ebro which were contested for months, suggest to me
rather that the Spanish troops on both sides had the same sort of fortitude
as the armies on the Western Front in the Great War.


However, it is fairly certain that Spain was thoroughly war-weary by 1939.
Franco must have known that the nation could not have stood more years of
the privation and destruction of conflict.




It a bit like saying the Italian
Post by Nicholas Smid
army which had also fought in the war beinfited from that core of
experienced men.
I think that a slightly different matter. The Italian blackshirt
"volunteers" which fought for Nationalist Spain were mustered on the
principle of "I need three volunteers. You, you and you, step forward !".
They were quite upset by their long and unremitting service, their defeat at
Guadalajara, and in some cases by propaganda from Italians fighting in the
International Brigades on the other side of the line. They did play a major
part in the Nationalist victory at Santander, but for the remainder of the
war, the nominally Italian formations included more and more Spanish
personnel.

By the end of the Spanish Civil War, the Italian contingent were not really
experienced veterans, they were more like disgruntled time-served
conscripts. Whatever tactical lessons they may have learned were ignored by
the Italian army and the Fascist establishment.
mike stone
2004-10-14 07:24:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
However - there are alternatives.
Such as bombarding the landward face of the Rock with artillery for
a couple of weeks first. Since the attacking artillery can be 5,000
to 8,000 meters away, concealed behind ridges, woods, or smokescreens,
the fort guns can't really do much counterbattery fire.
However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful. One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
A similar barrage, from the west side of Algeciras Bay, could smash
up the west side of the Rock.
And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.
Istr[1] an exchange between the British commander at Gibraltar and a visiting
American. After having been shown over the defences, the visitor said "It's a
fine battery, but we had one like it at Corregidor. The Japs fired at the rock
face _above_ it and collapsed it on toop of us"

[1] Possibly in Churchill's _The Second World War_ but I can't swear to it.
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

"But it _can't_ be true. The government hasn't denied it"
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-14 19:30:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike stone
Post by Rich Rostrom
And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.
Istr[1] an exchange between the British commander at Gibraltar and a visiting
American. After having been shown over the defences, the visitor said "It's a
fine battery, but we had one like it at Corregidor. The Japs fired at the rock
face _above_ it and collapsed it on top of us"
Exactly. Thanks for the reference.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
michael price
2004-10-14 07:57:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Daniel Titley
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".
Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
But I don't think you could name a unit that could credibly
take Englands most powerful fortress.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.
A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.
Well, that's one way of doing it. However - there are alternatives.
Such as bombarding the landward face of the Rock with artillery for
a couple of weeks first. Since the attacking artillery can be 5,000
to 8,000 meters away, concealed behind ridges, woods, or smokescreens,
the fort guns can't really do much counterbattery fire.
Sure there is, blast every place that might conceal an Axis artilery
piece. Hey it worked at Long Tan didn't it?
Post by Rich Rostrom
However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful.
Hitting a slit from 5k out? Good luck doing that before
Post by Rich Rostrom
One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
And that will do them bugger all good. It's a rock. I doubt the
Axis had anything that could penetrate it that was carriable by plane.
Post by Rich Rostrom
A similar barrage, from the west side of Algeciras Bay, could smash
up the west side of the Rock.
And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.
There are counter-arguments to be made. No amount of Allied bombing
could affect the U-boat pens at Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Brest -
and the living Rock was even stronger than reinforced concrete.
But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.
Besides which, a "fortress" under siege is necessarily doomed,
Three words "Krak des Chevailias".
Post by Rich Rostrom
unless
relieved. That's why Goebbels forbade the German press to use the
phrase "Festung Europa".
Eventually the defensive batteries would be disabled, and then
the Rock could be assaulted by infantry from the north and west
(by small boat).
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.
Any attempt to resupply or reinforce Gibraltar by sea would be
a death ride to make PEDESTAL look like a milk run.
The Horny Goat
2004-10-14 14:47:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by michael price
Post by Rich Rostrom
One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
And that will do them bugger all good. It's a rock. I doubt the
Axis had anything that could penetrate it that was carriable by plane.
Even if they did it would be a mistake to think that in a siege
situation the Germans would have air superiority. Assuming Spain
either joins the Axis or is invaded Spanish Morocco and Tangiers fall
rather quickly to the British and if in a siege situation I would
expect Churchill to make Gibraltar #2 priority for fighters second
only to London itself.

Assuming Gibraltar doesn't fall in an initial assault (which I think
astonishly unlikely) the assault gunners are NOT going to have an easy
time of it.
Post by michael price
Post by Rich Rostrom
But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.
Eben Emael was much smaller than Gibraltar and had flat roofs suitable
for glider troops. In all the other cases you cite the attacker had
massive air superiority. That just isn't happening at Gibraltar.
Post by michael price
Post by Rich Rostrom
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.
Again, if you can figure out how the Spanish or Germans keep Britain
out of Tangiers and Morocco you're definitely one up on me. Once
you've got a reasonable level of air cover the Royal Navy operates
just fine. Your theory only works if you get Tangiers firmly in
Spanish hands and THAT just isn't going to happen once Spain is at war
with Britain.
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-14 19:37:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
ven if they did it would be a mistake to think that in a siege
situation the Germans would have air superiority. Assuming Spain
either joins the Axis or is invaded Spanish Morocco and Tangiers fall
rather quickly to the British...
If Germany _invaded_ Spain, yes. If Spain joins the Axis, forget
it. There are 30,000-50,000 Spanish troops in Morocco, most of
them tough Moroccan auxiliaries with combat experience. I wouldn't
put them up against British or similar forces in field combat in
open terrain - their equipment and leadership was inferior. But
all they would have to do in this case is prevent a small British
force from staging a coup de main. Certainly Britain, in (say)
1940, is in no position to send a _large_ force to Morocco, and
Britain has no amphibious capacity at this time other than total
improvisation.

Besides, with 48 hours of Spain's entry, there would be Luftwaffe
forces deploying to bases all through Spain, Spanish Morocco, and
the Canary islands.
Post by The Horny Goat
and if in a siege situation I would expect Churchill to make
Gibraltar #2 priority for fighters second only to London itself.
Gibraltar has one tiny airfield that's adjacent to the fence
with Spain.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
Nicholas Smid
2004-10-15 04:24:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by The Horny Goat
ven if they did it would be a mistake to think that in a siege
situation the Germans would have air superiority. Assuming Spain
either joins the Axis or is invaded Spanish Morocco and Tangiers fall
rather quickly to the British...
If Germany _invaded_ Spain, yes. If Spain joins the Axis, forget
it. There are 30,000-50,000 Spanish troops in Morocco, most of
them tough Moroccan auxiliaries with combat experience. I wouldn't
put them up against British or similar forces in field combat in
open terrain - their equipment and leadership was inferior. But
all they would have to do in this case is prevent a small British
force from staging a coup de main. Certainly Britain, in (say)
1940, is in no position to send a _large_ force to Morocco, and
Britain has no amphibious capacity at this time other than total
improvisation.
But those troops are at best light infantry, no armour worth the name, no AT
weapons, very little artillery, and most of it light guns of prehistoric
design by 1940's standards, a couple of companies of Matildas would roll
them up like a rug. They also have little transport so they have to fight as
isolated units against a much more mobile foe. The Brits can probably
scratch up a short division equivalint by the late summer of 1940, and
Franco isn't likelyto even start thinking about this untill after the French
surender. The brits don't need to take the whole area first off, just the
main ports, to stop reinforcements, and enough area for airfields, the rst
is a matter of wittling away at units that prove to be troublesome. The
Spanish troops will also probably be short of ammo, especually artillery so
they won't stay a real problem for long.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Besides, with 48 hours of Spain's entry, there would be Luftwaffe
forces deploying to bases all through Spain, Spanish Morocco, and
the Canary islands.
They might be able to fly the aircraft in fast, and some ground crew, but
getting supplies in will be a major problem, and forget about getting
convoys to the Carary islands, even convoys to Spanish Morocco will be high
risk runs, and Spain hardly has alot of shipping so they'd have to call on
Italian shipping, which means North Africa gets shorted.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by The Horny Goat
and if in a siege situation I would expect Churchill to make
Gibraltar #2 priority for fighters second only to London itself.
Gibraltar has one tiny airfield that's adjacent to the fence
with Spain.
--
But there is lots of space down in Spanish Morocco, even some fields since
didn't the Germans fly alot of Francos boys across early in the civil war.
The Brits will soon have these, and they are close enough to Gib to fly
fighter sweeps if not proper air cover.
The Horny Goat
2004-10-15 16:07:02 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 17:24:03 +1300, "Nicholas Smid"
Post by Nicholas Smid
But there is lots of space down in Spanish Morocco, even some fields since
didn't the Germans fly alot of Francos boys across early in the civil war.
The Brits will soon have these, and they are close enough to Gib to fly
fighter sweeps if not proper air cover.
Including Franco himself if memory serves... :)

These are the fields I was thinking of when I spoke of the British
providing air cover for Gibraltar - not the Gibraltar airfield itself
which as you correctly state might not actually fall in the initial
assault but would quickly fall under enough fire to prevent it being
used for air operations.
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-16 00:34:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 17:24:03 +1300, "Nicholas Smid"
Post by Nicholas Smid
But there is lots of space down in Spanish Morocco, even some fields since
didn't the Germans fly alot of Francos boys across early in the civil war.
The Brits will soon have these, and they are close enough to Gib to fly
fighter sweeps if not proper air cover.
Including Franco himself if memory serves... :)
I'd have to check, but didn't he get flown across in a Dragon Rapide
that already belonged to the Spanish Airforce?

Anyone know? Its a long time since I read Thomas.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
The Horny Goat
2004-10-16 04:37:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by Nicholas Smid
But there is lots of space down in Spanish Morocco, even some fields since
didn't the Germans fly alot of Francos boys across early in the civil war.
The Brits will soon have these, and they are close enough to Gib to fly
fighter sweeps if not proper air cover.
Including Franco himself if memory serves... :)
I'd have to check, but didn't he get flown across in a Dragon Rapide
that already belonged to the Spanish Airforce?
Anyone know? Its a long time since I read Thomas.
Please don't think I was implying that Franco crossed from Spanish
Morocco to Spain in a BRITISH plane - I know it was Spanish air force
who as we all know were heavily Nationalist. All I meant was to use
the example of Franco in 1936 to demonstrate that there were in fact
quite serviceable airfields in Spanish Morocco and Tangiers capable of
supporting fighters.

The only thing I'm unsure of in the account was the type of aircraft,
not which country it belonged to!
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-16 09:16:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by The Horny Goat
Post by Nicholas Smid
But there is lots of space down in Spanish Morocco, even some fields since
didn't the Germans fly alot of Francos boys across early in the civil war.
The Brits will soon have these, and they are close enough to Gib to fly
fighter sweeps if not proper air cover.
Including Franco himself if memory serves... :)
I'd have to check, but didn't he get flown across in a Dragon Rapide
that already belonged to the Spanish Airforce?
Anyone know? Its a long time since I read Thomas.
Please don't think I was implying that Franco crossed from Spanish
Morocco to Spain in a BRITISH plane - I know it was Spanish air force
who as we all know were heavily Nationalist. All I meant was to use
the example of Franco in 1936 to demonstrate that there were in fact
quite serviceable airfields in Spanish Morocco and Tangiers capable of
supporting fighters.
The only thing I'm unsure of in the account was the type of aircraft,
not which country it belonged to!
No, sorry! I wasn't implying that he flew across in a plane belonging
to the RAF or to a private UKan owener. I wasn't implying that *you*
were saying that.

What I *was* saying was that the plane that (if my memory is not
incorrect) *did* fly across was a Dragon Rapide, and that the *make*
of plane was British, but that it belonged to the Spanish Air Force
(or, I s'pose, a Spanish airline that it was commandeered from).

My apologies for being unclear.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Tzintzuntzan
2004-10-17 03:52:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Please don't think I was implying that Franco crossed from Spanish
Morocco to Spain in a BRITISH plane - I know it was Spanish air force
who as we all know were heavily Nationalist. All I meant was to use
the example of Franco in 1936 to demonstrate that there were in fact
quite serviceable airfields in Spanish Morocco and Tangiers capable of
supporting fighters.
The only thing I'm unsure of in the account was the type of aircraft,
not which country it belonged to!
I don't know about from Morocco to Spain, but Franco actually did come
from the Canary Islands to Morocco in a British plane. (The pilot
was a British Catholic who had volunteered his services to the
nationalists -- IIRC, the plane was paid for by British Catholic
contributions.)
The Horny Goat
2004-10-15 06:29:20 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 14:37:25 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
If Germany _invaded_ Spain, yes. If Spain joins the Axis, forget
it. There are 30,000-50,000 Spanish troops in Morocco, most of
them tough Moroccan auxiliaries with combat experience. I wouldn't
put them up against British or similar forces in field combat in
open terrain - their equipment and leadership was inferior. But
all they would have to do in this case is prevent a small British
force from staging a coup de main. Certainly Britain, in (say)
1940, is in no position to send a _large_ force to Morocco, and
Britain has no amphibious capacity at this time other than total
improvisation.
How is Spain going to join the Axis? Either:
1) Germany gives Franco what he wants economically
2) Franco is either butterflied into someone more "flexible" or is
replaced by someone who is.

1) has effects on the entire German economy - and may be unattainable
while 2) is against what we know of Franco and unlikely to have been
followed by any plausible replacement for Franco in 1940-41.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Besides, with 48 hours of Spain's entry, there would be Luftwaffe
forces deploying to bases all through Spain, Spanish Morocco, and
the Canary islands.
Until properly deployed the Fleet Air Arm could do a fair bit of
damage and assuming we're talking almost immediately after the French
armistice you're looking at Dakar-type incidents till the British are
satisfied by the number of troops and planes in Africa - notably
French Morocco.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by The Horny Goat
and if in a siege situation I would expect Churchill to make
Gibraltar #2 priority for fighters second only to London itself.
Gibraltar has one tiny airfield that's adjacent to the fence
with Spain.
Yep - I was thinking primarily of British air reinforcement of Tangier
and Spanish Morocco neither one of which I see Franco holding very
long after Spain joins the Axis.
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 11:15:20 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 17:38:46 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Daniel Titley
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
Well, he's not actually said that he *couldn't* ... "makes a land
assault rather costly" doesn't mean "couldn't".
Thing is, the Spanish (Nationalist) army was, basically, crap. Sure,
they had had some experience fighting the Republicans, but that was
not in the same league as what would be needed to assault major
fortifications owned by a major power.
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Well, they *did* ... at the end of the war. I wonder how many were
still under arms in 1940?

And, from what I have read, most of the "combat experience" (not all,
by any means!) was of fighting nothing at all like modern combat and,
often (again, not always!) not of a high intensity nature.

But, yes, I agree entirely ... they *could* have been trained. But
that would have taken time ... and that in itself is a problem.

Franco would have had to have pre-planned the operation well in
advance of actually implementing it. That means some pretty specific
training that would probably telegraph his intentions.

But think this ... he's not likely to start planning before 1939 and
the invasion of Poland ... he would be insane to take on the UK unless
the UK was involved pretty seriously somewhere else.

Given that even Hitler didn't think the UK and France would go to war
in 1939, I can't see Franco gambling on it.

And, once the UK and France *are* at war, that's even more of a reason
for Franco to do *nothing* to prepare ... if he attacks Gibraltar,
well, he's taking on (or has to plan to take on!) France in the rear
and the UK all around his coasts.

Which means that the planning is unlikely to take place before the
defeat of France ... which means its unlikely to take place before
1940.

So how long does this sort of training take? I'd guess *at least* six
months for a real army. For Franco's? Well, he'll have to acquire the
specialist equipment and build up supplies in the area as well. I'd
guess a lot more than six months for the Nationalists.

Do you have any idea/theory of how long it might have taken?
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
But, that aside ... there's only one land approach to the Rock. From
memory it is only around 800 yards across. Now, the Germans figured
they would need best part of two corps (say 6 divisions) to take it
... problem is, they all have to attack through this 800 yard gap.
A gap that is overlooked by a 400+ meter high rock with emplaced heavy
artillery, steep slopes, and all sorts of fixed defences.
Well, that's one way of doing it. However - there are alternatives.
Such as bombarding the landward face of the Rock with artillery for
a couple of weeks first. Since the attacking artillery can be 5,000
to 8,000 meters away, concealed behind ridges, woods, or smokescreens,
the fort guns can't really do much counterbattery fire.
The Nationalists, from memory, didn't have a whole lot of heavy
artillery. I think that they had better guns than the ubiquitous 75s,
but I am not sure how many. I doubt that they had much really heavy
stuff ... and the Rock *does* have a fair bit of heavy stuff ;-)

And, of course, since the Spanish didn't have much in the way of an
airforce, either, it means that those guns are *probably* vulnerable
to naval gunfire support, too ... of course, I guess, the Spanish Navy
*could* try and prevent it ;-)

So, yes, you're right ... but there *are* some fairly obvious risks in
doing it. Especially if, as I believe was the proposition, the Spanish
do it by themselves ;-)
Post by Rich Rostrom
However sturdy the gun emplacements are, they still have to have
firing slits, and if there are enough incoming shells, a few will hit
something useful. One could also target whatever AA positions there
area on top of the Rock. Eventually the north face will be softened up
enough to be vulnerable to assault. If the AA is knocked out, then
Axis aircraft can bomb anything visible with impunity.
Perhaps.

The Gibraltar defenses in Jan. 1941 consisted of:

2nd The Kings Regiment
2nd Somerset Light Infantry
4th Devonshire
4th Black Watch

3rd Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery (previously "Gibraltar Coast
Defenses" and later redesignated 3rd Coast Regiment) controlled 4th,
26th, and 27th Batteries with 8 x 9.2-inch guns, 7 x 6-inch guns, and
6 x twin 6-pounders.

AA batteries, the 9th and 19th, defended Gibraltar from air attack
with 4 x 3-inch, 4 x 3.7-inch, and 2 x 40mm guns. HQ 10th AA Regiment
was later formed to control the two batteries.

The 82nd Heavy AA Regiment with three batteries (156th, 193rd, and
256th) including 16 3.7-inch guns, 8 x 40mm Bofors guns, and the first
radar sets.

http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/axis5.html

Notes of a Conversation Between the Fuehrer and the Spanish Minister
of the Interior Serrano Suñer in the Presence of the Reichs Foreign
Minister in Berlin on September 17, 1940.

"When Serrano Suñer for his part pointed again to the great strength
of the fortress of Gibraltar, the Fuehrer replied that an attack with
heavy artillery against an establishment of that type would not be as
effective as would be an operation with the special weapons used in
overwhelming the Maginot Line. Heavy aerial bombs had an effect many
times as great as the heaviest artillery and even the works of the
Maginot Line could not stand up under it, since armored structures
which according to World War experience could withstand the heaviest
artillery, had been annihilated by 1,000-, 1,400- and 1,800-kilogram
aerial bombs inside of ten minutes. Even when there was no direct hit,
the concussion effect of a 1,000-kilogram bomb was in itself
tremendous. Therefore, the decisive factor for the conquest and later
defense of Gibraltar is the guaranteeing of absolute air supremacy."
Post by Rich Rostrom
A similar barrage, from the west side of Algeciras Bay, could smash
up the west side of the Rock.
Indeed. It could, but the same problems probably apply.

If the Spanish attempt to do it by themselves, they cannot guarantee
air superiority and naval superiority. And that means that, yes, while
they *can* probably take it ... they will suffer a *world* of hurt in
attempting it ;-)
Post by Rich Rostrom
And here's another factor: the defenses of the Rock were never tested.
To my mind, that all but guarantees there were weaknesses that were
never anticipated. Furthermore, the defenses were nearly all built
decades before, I'd guess, and thus were not designed to resist the
newer weapons and methods available.
There are counter-arguments to be made. No amount of Allied bombing
could affect the U-boat pens at Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Brest -
and the living Rock was even stronger than reinforced concrete.
But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.
Don't get me wrong, I am *not* (and never have) saying that Gibraltar
*cannot* be taken. It could.

You're quite correct. There is *no such thing* as an impregnable
fortress ... but it would not fall easily to the *spanish* and, while
they were in the process of gutting the best part of their armed
forces in doing so, well, one presumes the UK is doing something ...
*all* around the Spanish coast.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
b) can prevent reinforcement or resupply (even at night, against an RN
that would dominate the whole area!)
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.
Thing is, they can get supplies in at night. And bombard at night.

And, of course, as we've noted before, the Axis itself knew that it
could not actually supply forces in Spain by land ... which means that
they'd *have* to use the Italian Navy and Merchant Marine, and the RN
*could* and would gut them.

No, not prevent them from doing it, but make it a pyrrhic and
pointlessly meaningless "victory."

At the cost of turning the the whole peninsula into the "spanish
ulcer" a la the Peninsular War.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Any attempt to resupply or reinforce Gibraltar by sea would be
a death ride to make PEDESTAL look like a milk run.
Not certain if it takes place at night ... but, say it was, it would
be no worse than the supply runs the Italians would be making to make
the assault possible ... suicide.

Pyrrhic victory.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-14 11:42:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 17:38:46 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
But I just can't believe in any 'untakeable fortress'; at least,
not during WW II. Too many 'impregnable fortresses' fell too
easily for that: Eben Emael, Corregidor, Sevastopol, Iwo Jima.
Don't get me wrong, I am *not* (and never have) saying that Gibraltar
*cannot* be taken. It could.
You're quite correct. There is *no such thing* as an impregnable
fortress ... but it would not fall easily to the *spanish* and, while
they were in the process of gutting the best part of their armed
forces in doing so, well, one presumes the UK is doing something ...
*all* around the Spanish coast.
And across the other side of the strait, and the balearics, and probably
Spanish Sahara (that would shorten the aerial re-inforcement route
to Egypt, maybe)..
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
And, of course, as we've noted before, the Axis itself knew that it
could not actually supply forces in Spain by land ... which means that
they'd *have* to use the Italian Navy and Merchant Marine, and the RN
*could* and would gut them.
And their main port in the area was effectively point-blank for the
fortress guns (I've stood up near one of the gun positions up there,
when they were still active, and they really /did/ command the port)

There's another point I've not seen made. Even if the guns on the
north face (including the gallery guns, and from that height even the
rows on rows of old pieces up there would be useful for throwing shrapnel
down on an advance and distracting fire from the modern pieces) were
silenced and the batteries on top of the rock knocked out - which would
not be easy given even German resources (they've got to get 'em there)
and probably way beyond the capabilities of Spanish artillery - and
your infantry make it across the neutral ground, then you've still
got to take the fortress itself. This will not be nice.
The old fortifications of the town of Gibraltar were never really
demolished, just built on top of. This means that accesses into the
town are choke points (read: killing grounds) and streets provide a
lot of cover for defenders, often behind /really/ thick walls. This
will mean a lot of very bloody street fighting. If you're attacking then
you're having to re-supply across the neutral ground (and you can bet
there'll be harrassing fire from inside the rock, via the north side
galleries), while the defenders are bringing up their supplies from
stores deep in the rock itself.
OK. Eventually, after some very nasty fighting, you take the town
and the port (there have been comments elsewhere recently about how
lovely ports are in this respect). You still have a problem. Chances
are the defenders have pulled back to the tunnel system in the rock.
They're still well-supplied for the time being and can make raids
out. Sooner or later you'll have to go down there after them.
Sure, it could be done - not by Spain alone, but given the will to
lose troops in very large numbers germany and spain could do it.
But it's the sort of battle that it going to cost, to the extent
of really limiting what you can do elsewhere.
Not worth the attempt.

--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales....
Nieveler's law: "Any USENET thread, if sufficiently prolonged and not
Godwinated, will eventually turn into a discussion about
alcoholic drinks."
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 14:05:34 UTC
Permalink
On 14 Oct 2004 12:42:52 +0100, ***@aber.ac.uk (ANDREW ROBERT BREEN)
wrote:

<much interesting and cogent information snipped>

Yep, I agree. It would have been a blood bath. I don't think the
Spaniards could have done it alone. And even with Axis support there
are so many bad direct effects and side effects I don't see how it
could actually benefit them.

But they *could* take it, theoretically.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-14 14:20:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
<much interesting and cogent information snipped>
Yep, I agree. It would have been a blood bath. I don't think the
Spaniards could have done it alone. And even with Axis support there
are so many bad direct effects and side effects I don't see how it
could actually benefit them.
But they *could* take it, theoretically.
Oh, certainly. But it's one of those things the germans /could/
have done - like trying to invade .uk in the summer of 1940 -
that British strategists must have been hoping that they /would/
try. Gibraltar (in a wrecked condition, with the fortress destroyed
and the port demolished) could be a fair trade for the spanish
atlantic islands, the north african enclaves - and a good fraction
of the best german forces either dead or not capable of use for a while...
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 21:57:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
<much interesting and cogent information snipped>
Yep, I agree. It would have been a blood bath. I don't think the
Spaniards could have done it alone. And even with Axis support there
are so many bad direct effects and side effects I don't see how it
could actually benefit them.
But they *could* take it, theoretically.
Oh, certainly. But it's one of those things the germans /could/
have done - like trying to invade .uk in the summer of 1940 -
Actually, to be fair, while *successfully* carrying off an invasion of
Britain was impossible, taking Gib was *not*. It would simply have
been horrendously costly.
Post by ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
that British strategists must have been hoping that they /would/
try. Gibraltar (in a wrecked condition, with the fortress destroyed
and the port demolished) could be a fair trade for the spanish
atlantic islands, the north african enclaves - and a good fraction
of the best german forces either dead or not capable of use for a while...
... and, as you note (and as I noted some time ago), the downside for
the Axis would have been much worse than doing nothing.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-15 07:50:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
Oh, certainly. But it's one of those things the germans /could/
have done - like trying to invade .uk in the summer of 1940 -
Actually, to be fair, while *successfully* carrying off an invasion of
Britain was impossible, taking Gib was *not*. It would simply have
been horrendously costly.
Agree: OTOH a successful invasion of .uk (far-fetched as that might
be) would have been a very big step to them winning the war. Taking
the rock wouldn't have been, so the cost/benefit ration looks about
equally grim.
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-15 09:41:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
Agree: OTOH a successful invasion of .uk (far-fetched as that might
be) would have been a very big step to them winning the war. Taking
the rock wouldn't have been, so the cost/benefit ration looks about
equally grim.
If the Nazis could have taken the UK, the war, effectively, would have
been over ... assuming that, with Orbital Space Weasel support, they
manage to do it *before* they attack the USSR.

*After* the attack on the USSR (and ignoring the impossibility of
anything short of OSW aerial bombardment with Mass Drivers and nukes
allowing this ;-) I think that the US would take the Germans on
regardless, though perhaps not until they had largely defeated the
Japanese.

Just my .02c worth, fwiw.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-14 19:08:57 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the information
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
2nd The Kings Regiment
2nd Somerset Light Infantry
4th Devonshire
4th Black Watch
Four battalions; that's what, 3,000 men? But in super-hardened
fortifications, that's not an easy nut to crack.
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
3rd Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery (previously "Gibraltar Coast
Defenses" and later redesignated 3rd Coast Regiment) controlled 4th,
26th, and 27th Batteries with 8 x 9.2-inch guns, 7 x 6-inch guns, and
6 x twin 6-pounders.
So - 15 significant guns. (6-pounders are not terror weapons.)
Gibraltar is about 3 km long by 1 km wide, so the 'perimeter is
about 8 km. The defenses can have one heavy gun ever 500 meters,
or a 2 gun battery every kilometer.
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
AA batteries, the 9th and 19th, defended Gibraltar from air attack
with 4 x 3-inch, 4 x 3.7-inch, and 2 x 40mm guns. HQ 10th AA Regiment
was later formed to control the two batteries.
The 82nd Heavy AA Regiment with three batteries (156th, 193rd, and
256th) including 16 3.7-inch guns, 8 x 40mm Bofors guns, and the first
radar sets.
Oh, that's really _impressive_. 34 barrels total. A primitive radar
set and no proximity fused shells. Not that it matters; the AA
positions are exposed - they have to be - and can be taken out by
artillery.
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Rich Rostrom
The RN will not "dominate the whole area". Once any significant
amount of Axis airpower is deployed to the area, the RN leaves.
Or bleeds, really bad. The nearest base, other than Gibraltar,
is Malta (not helpful). The next nearest base is Plymouth, 2,100
km away. With Spain in the war, Axis air dominates everywhere
south of, oh, 400 km N of Cape Finisterre.
Thing is, they can get supplies in at night. And bombard at night.
Uhhh, night lasts twelve hours on average.

Assume a supply convoy rushes in at 20 knots. Then it has to
be no further away than 450 km at sunset to arrive before dawn.
And that's a one way mission, of course.

Axis airpower reaches out 600 km (He 111) to 900 km (Ju 88) to
1,000 km (B.R.20, S.M.79, Cant.Z.1007) to 1,700 km (FW 200).

So any supply mission to Gibraltar would spend at least a day
under continuous air attack.

Then there's the minor issue of unloading. The docks of Gibraltar
are only about 10 km from the other side of the Bay of Algeciras,
in direct line of sight and easy artillery range. A "French 75"
had over 11,000 meters range. This is not similar to Tobruk,
where the British position was 25 km wide by 15 km deep.

As for bombardments, a warship could run in at 30 knots (in
theory - very very few ships could sustain top speed for
twelve hours or more). That extends the range to 675 km, except
that the ship has to run, bombard, and run out - or die at
sunrise, so the range is halved, down to less than 350 km.
Oh well.
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
And, of course, as we've noted before, the Axis itself knew that it
could not actually supply forces in Spain by land ... which means that
they'd *have* to use the Italian Navy and Merchant Marine, and the RN
*could* and would gut them.
Just how many RN warships are going to be operating in the Alboran
Sea (east of Gibraltar), which is less than 200 km across with
hostile shores on both sides? And no useful bases nearer than Malta
and Plymouth?
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
ANDREW ROBERT BREEN
2004-10-14 19:29:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Sea (east of Gibraltar), which is less than 200 km across with
hostile shores on both sides? And no useful bases nearer than Malta
and Plymouth?
You might be able to add Cueta and Melita (sp.?) from quite soon
after a Spanish declaration of war (or even pre-empting it).
Still, I agree with your basic point. The heavy guns on rock-top
could be suppressed by aerial bombardment (eventually - they're
well bunkered in and it's _down_ on pretty much all sides from them),
no aeroplanes are going to operate from the rock, re-supply is hard
(so you can starve them out in 6+ months...).
It's still going to be hell trying to get in there. Those twin-6lbrs
may not be battleship-smashers, but firing 15-20 rounds/barrel/minute
of HE or shrapnel they're going to make life unpleasant for the poor
bloody infantry (and, given their height advantage, the 75-gunners).
Then there's the old stuff in the galleries - mostly rifled muzzle-
loaders, but load them with case-shot and retire around a corner in
the tunnel to fire and those that don't burst on firing (and who
cares if they do?) will chew up numbers of advancing infantry or
shower nasty quantities of ironmongery over the 75s - and a man is as
dead with a broken bolt in his head as a bullet. Then there are vickers
guns in the gallery ports - not nice, and hard to counter. The galleries
are behind 6'-odd of rock, and hitting the ports will be non-trivial.
Given the resources, though, you could probably suppress fire from the
north side (in daylight, at least - expect harrassing fire at night).
But to stop fire from there (and to take the rock) you'll need to get
into tunnel fighting. Against the troops there this seems - unappealing.
--
Andy Breen ~ Interplanetary Scintillation Research Group
http://users.aber.ac.uk/azb/
"Time has stopped, says the Black Lion clock
and eternity has begun" (Dylan Thomas)
Rich Rostrom
2004-10-14 19:18:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Well, they *did* ... at the end of the war. I wonder how many were
still under arms in 1940?
Several hundred thousand, at least, I'd guess. Franco
was taking no chances of a Republican insurrection and
renewed civil war.
--
Nothing which was ever expressed originally in the English language resembles,
except in the most distant way, the thought of Plotinus, or Hegel, or Foucault.
I take this to be enormously to the credit of our language. -- David Stove
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 22:03:15 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 14:18:50 -0500, Rich Rostrom
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Spanish Army was deficient in engineers and similar
specialists, but those can be trained. They did have a
very substantial core of men with real combat experience.
Well, they *did* ... at the end of the war. I wonder how many were
still under arms in 1940?
Several hundred thousand, at least, I'd guess. Franco
was taking no chances of a Republican insurrection and
renewed civil war.
Exactly.

Of those "several hundred thousand" how many were actual *combat
troops* who were also *combat capable* and *combat equipped, as
opposed to "Civil Guard" (or whatever the Spanish called their police
armed with SMGs).

And how many of those could have been deployed to Gibraltar.

And how quickly could they have been trained/provided with the skills
and equipment needed for assaulting a fortified position.

Again, I do not say it is impossible ... but I think it is unlikely
that the *obvious* preparations for an attack by the Spaniards *plus*
the attack itself going in to the bitter end wouldn't see much change
from a year.

And, as always, one has to assume that the British are not simply
doing the usual "allied untermensch" imitation while the Spanish are
learning the usual "axis ubermensch" skills.

Could they take it? The Spanish? Possibly. I doubt that they had the
morale or logistic capacity, but, yes, possibly.

Could the Germans have taken it? Yes. But to no good effect as it
would cause them more grief than it could possibly do them good.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Angus McLellan
2004-10-13 18:00:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took the trouble to fortify the
garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
David Flin checked up on this earlier when it came up, and in his
opinion and that of his informant(s) there was very little chance of
getting across the neck of land between the mainland and the Rock if
it was defended by anything better than two boy scouts and a dog.
That'll do me.

On the other hand (Butler, _Grand Strategy_, vol II, p432):

"The Chiefs of Staff considered in October and November [1940] the
requirements of the fortress for sustaining a long seige and approved
the estimate of the Governor (Lieutenant-General Sir Clive Liddell)
that supplies for six months should be held. Discussions took place
with him in London in January; it was clearly understood that in the
event of a land attack the use of the naval base would have to be
given up."

HTH,

Angus
--
"It is amazing what you can discover about people when you are willing
to just make stuff up." James Nicoll
Kelly McDonald sympatico.ca>
2004-10-14 00:15:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took the trouble to fortify the
garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
It's not so much that he couldn't. Given enough man power, resources,
determination, willingness to accept horrendous casualties and time
Spain could have taken Gibraltar. It's the consequences of such an act
that would be the real kicker. Allied shipments of food cease and the
transport infrastructure isn't sufficient to ship it in from France
(even if Germany had the extra to spare). In all Franco has a lot more
to loose than gain by taking Gibraltar

Kelly McDonald
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 11:27:13 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 20:15:05 -0400, Kelly McDonald
Post by Kelly McDonald sympatico.ca>
Post by Daniel Titley
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took the trouble to fortify the
garrison somewhat during the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
It's not so much that he couldn't. Given enough man power, resources,
determination, willingness to accept horrendous casualties and time
Spain could have taken Gibraltar. It's the consequences of such an act
that would be the real kicker. Allied shipments of food cease and the
transport infrastructure isn't sufficient to ship it in from France
(even if Germany had the extra to spare). In all Franco has a lot more
to loose than gain by taking Gibraltar
Exactly.

Couldn't have put it better myself!

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
JCarew
2004-10-15 04:11:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kelly McDonald sympatico.ca>
Post by Daniel Titley
"curmudgeon" wrote in message
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact
of Steel in World War 2 ?
Now, what about Gibraltar? Well, the British took
the trouble to fortify the garrison somewhat during
the Spanish Civil War, and the nature of the base
makes a land assault rather costly.
Why exactly couldn't Franco capture Gibraltar?
It's not so much that he couldn't. Given enough man power,
resources, determination, willingness to accept horrendous
casualties and time Spain could have taken Gibraltar. It's the
consequences of such an act that would be the real kicker.
Allied shipments of food cease and the transport infrastructure
isn't sufficient to ship it in from France (even if Germany had
the extra to spare). In all Franco has a lot more to loose than
gain by taking Gibraltar
How close did Franco come to entering the war on
the Axis side? Not that close, according to what he
stated to the British and French at the start of WW II
he wanted to remain neutral. And I quote from "Spain,
the Jews, and Franco" by Haim Avni page 57 "At the
start of WW II, Spain thus found itself closely bound
to Nazi Germany. But the very cause that had created
this association-the Spanish Civil War- made Spain
reluctant to be dragged into another war. During the
Czechoslovakian crisis of September 1938 Franco
hastened to inform England and France that in the event
of war Spain would remain neutral"

Jim
Daniel MacGregor
2004-10-08 17:49:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by curmudgeon
What if both Spain and Turkey joined the Axis Pact of Steel in World War 2 ?
Some years ago, there was an AH novel called "The Moscow Option."
IIRC, during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler is in
an airplane crash and is comatose for approximately six months.

The German General Staff runs things without the benefit of Hitler's
"intuition." Moscow falls, and, subsequently, everything that can go
right for the Axis does go right.

Malta falls. Rommel wins at El-Alamein. Turkey comes into the war on
the side of the Axis. Rommel takes Jerusalem. Japan wins in the
Pacific, and even manages to shell Los Angeles (the "Hollywood" sign
becomes "Ollywood," to the delight of comedian Oliver Hardy).

Then Hitler comes out of his coma, and the Axis begins to fall back
from a more extended position.

I'm inclined to think that this scenario would run in a similar
direction.

First, Spain. In OTL, Franco declined all of Hitler's entreaties.
With the Spanish Civil War just concluded, Spain wasn't really in any
condition to fight in a major European war.

Potentially, you can heark back to the days of the Spanish Habsburg
monarchy, dangle something like a Greater Spain in front of Franco:
Gibraltar, Portugal, Tangier, French Morocco, a greater or lesser part
of Algeria.

If Franco can capture Gibraltar, then there's a potential to deny
Britain's Royal Navy access to the Mediterranean.

Drawbacks: There's now a big target painted on Spain. Its Atlantic
coast is vulnerable to attack by the Royal Navy. Ditto to the
Mediterranean coast.

A Spanish take-over of Portugal further poisons Spanish-Portuguese
relations.

If I were Churchill, I'd be encouraging whatever Republican remnants
there were in Spain to set up something like Yugoslavia's Partisans,
and go for a repeat of the Peninsular War. Ditto the Basque, Catalan,
and Galician separatists, and any other region in Spain--Aragon,
Navarre, Andalusia--with a real or potential grievance against Castile
and Madrid.

Next, Turkey. In the various alternate World War II scenarios I've
seen, Turkey is written off as not having advanced that much beyond
World War I. Any successes that are achieved are German in origin,
not Turkish.

These may be accurate assessments, or they may betray the cultural
biases of their authors.

While Turkey as an Axis power may have enormous influence in
neighboring countries--Iraq, Iran, and their respective oil fields,
maybe even Syria and Egypt--what, exactly, does Turkey have to gain?

In invading Greece, Germany occupied a sliver of Greek territory that
bordered European Turkey, so that it would have territory to offer as
an inducement for entering the war on the Axis side.

Offering to revive the Ottoman Empire isn't going to make sense to a
secular, Kemalist republic. Pan-Turanian overtures (Volga, Caucasian,
Central Asian Turks and Tatars) would conflict with Nazi plans for the
Soviet Union.

Besides that sliver of Greek Thrace, the only other things Germany may
be able to offer Turkey are Cyprus and Kurdistan. And the latter is
offered with the risk of offending pro-Axis elements in Syria, Iraq,
and Iran.

The Azerbaijanis, Turkic inhabitants of Iran (Tabriz) and the
Azerbaijan SSR (Baku, with its oil fields) are another possibility.
How long do you suppose it would take the Azerbaijanis to resent their
Osmanli cousins? And again, you run the risk of offending pro-Axis
elements in Iran.

What interests me is a post-war scenario: what do Allied-occupied
Spain and Turkey look like? I think the Western Allies could have
kept the Soviet Union out of Spain, but not Turkey.

Would an Allied occupation of Spain resemble that of Italy or
Germany/Austria in OTL? If Germany/Austria, what might the US,
British, and French zones in Spain look like? Ditto, a four-power
occupation of Turkey and Istanbul?

Daniel MacGregor
Nick Barlow
2004-10-09 00:11:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel MacGregor
What interests me is a post-war scenario: what do Allied-occupied
Spain and Turkey look like? I think the Western Allies could have
kept the Soviet Union out of Spain, but not Turkey.
Would an Allied occupation of Spain resemble that of Italy or
Germany/Austria in OTL? If Germany/Austria, what might the US,
British, and French zones in Spain look like? Ditto, a four-power
occupation of Turkey and Istanbul?
I think a post-war Spain is going to be more like Italy, or even
Yugoslavia, than Germany. I suspect at an alt-Yalta or otherwise,
Stalin would probably agree to a limited 'official' role in Spain, in
exchange for a bigger role in Turkey and also because of Moscow's
dominance of what was left of the Spanish Communists after the Civil
War.

Of course, the question then depends on how Spain was liberated. One
would expect that the allies would have tried creating and supplying
partisan movements in Catalunya and Euskara, until they could bring in
serious forces from France, Portugal, Gibraltar etc

What's interesting is whether Spain, as we know it, survives the
post-war settlement - Daniel's other thread suggests Portugal gaining
territory and successful partisan movements in Euskara and Catalunya
are not going to willingly go back to being ruled by Madrid. One
option might be a Spanish federation, similar to Yugoslavia, but
another option might be a breakup of what's there - independent
Catalunya (possibly including parts of Valencia and Aragon),
independent Euskara (perhaps including Navarre, though the French will
likely have a big say in what happens there) and maybe Galicia to
Portugal leaving just a rump Spain behind - though on top of that,
France might be looking interestedly at Ceuta and Melilla as useful
bases in North Africa, and the Canaries could find themselves part of
Britain and/or Portugal.

Nick

------------------
www.nickbarlow.com
The Horny Goat
2004-10-11 23:49:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Nick Barlow
I think a post-war Spain is going to be more like Italy, or even
Yugoslavia, than Germany. I suspect at an alt-Yalta or otherwise,
Stalin would probably agree to a limited 'official' role in Spain, in
exchange for a bigger role in Turkey and also because of Moscow's
dominance of what was left of the Spanish Communists after the Civil
War.
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.

If Spain DID stumble into war with the Allies it would have been a
HUGE benefit to the Allies partly because of the drain on German
resources and partly due to the almost immediate British seizure of
the Azores which would have hugely benefitted the anti-U-boat war.
Spain's few colonies would also be quickly captured and barring covert
German fighter wings in Spain at the time of declaration of war
Spanish Morocco would have been toast.

I seriously doubt that given Spain's rail network there would have
been room both for the level of food shipments required and enough
siege artillery to seriously threaten Gibraltar which seems to be the
only real benefit to Germany in bringing Spain into the war. I don't
see knocking Allied Portugal out of the war being that big a benefit
to Hitler.
Post by Nick Barlow
Of course, the question then depends on how Spain was liberated. One
would expect that the allies would have tried creating and supplying
partisan movements in Catalunya and Euskara, until they could bring in
serious forces from France, Portugal, Gibraltar etc
I don't see Churchill encouraging Spanish separatist elements nor do I
see Spanish communists gaining significant support - they are going to
be liberated by US and British forces after all though I'd be
surprised if actual military operations differ that much from OTL.

I'm unclear how powerful Spanish anti-fascist resistance would be -
probably at least as much so as the French - a lot would depend on how
the Loyalist forces were disarmed in 1939 and the existence or not of
weapons caches.
Post by Nick Barlow
What's interesting is whether Spain, as we know it, survives the
post-war settlement - Daniel's other thread suggests Portugal gaining
territory and successful partisan movements in Euskara and Catalunya
are not going to willingly go back to being ruled by Madrid. One
option might be a Spanish federation, similar to Yugoslavia, but
another option might be a breakup of what's there - independent
Catalunya (possibly including parts of Valencia and Aragon),
independent Euskara (perhaps including Navarre, though the French will
likely have a big say in what happens there) and maybe Galicia to
Portugal leaving just a rump Spain behind - though on top of that,
France might be looking interestedly at Ceuta and Melilla as useful
bases in North Africa, and the Canaries could find themselves part of
Britain and/or Portugal.
Nick
------------------
www.nickbarlow.com
mike stone
2004-10-12 13:08:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Agreed 100%
Post by The Horny Goat
If Spain DID stumble into war with the Allies it would have been a
HUGE benefit to the Allies partly because of the drain on German
resources and partly due to the almost immediate British seizure of
the Azores
Do you mean the Canaries? The Azores were (and are) Portuguese.

[snip]
Post by The Horny Goat
. I don't
see knocking Allied Portugal out of the war being that big a benefit
to Hitler.
Portugal was neutral in WW2. She had been Allied in WW1 but sat out the next
round
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

Blairism Baffles Brains
The Horny Goat
2004-10-12 15:40:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike stone
Post by The Horny Goat
If Spain DID stumble into war with the Allies it would have been a
HUGE benefit to the Allies partly because of the drain on German
resources and partly due to the almost immediate British seizure of
the Azores
Do you mean the Canaries? The Azores were (and are) Portuguese.
[snip]
Post by The Horny Goat
. I don't
see knocking Allied Portugal out of the war being that big a benefit
to Hitler.
Portugal was neutral in WW2. She had been Allied in WW1 but sat out the next
round
Clearly I was having a mega-bad day. I knew that - obviously I have
got to stop posting with a glass of perfectly good Australian red in
hand. Too much fixation on the '600 year old alliance' I guess. D'Oh!
Angus McLellan
2004-10-12 18:33:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike stone
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
Post by mike stone
Agreed 100%
Post by The Horny Goat
If Spain DID stumble into war with the Allies it would have been a
HUGE benefit to the Allies partly because of the drain on German
resources and partly due to the almost immediate British seizure of
the Azores
Do you mean the Canaries? The Azores were (and are) Portuguese.
<snip>

No, Lyle ought to have meant the Portuguese Azores.

In the event of the Spain joining the war alongside the Germans,
British planning called for an initial op to seize the Azores, this to
be followed by an op to seize the Canaries later. [See Denis Smyth's
essay _Franco and the Allies in the Second World War_ in Balfour &
Preston, _Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century_, at
around p193 and J.R.M Butler _Grand Strategy_, vol II, pp431-434]

Angus
--
"It is amazing what you can discover about people when you are willing
to just make stuff up." James Nicoll
The Horny Goat
2004-10-13 02:13:34 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 20:33:20 +0200, Angus McLellan
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by mike stone
Do you mean the Canaries? The Azores were (and are) Portuguese.
<snip>
No, Lyle ought to have meant the Portuguese Azores.
In the event of the Spain joining the war alongside the Germans,
British planning called for an initial op to seize the Azores, this to
be followed by an op to seize the Canaries later. [See Denis Smyth's
essay _Franco and the Allies in the Second World War_ in Balfour &
Preston, _Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century_, at
around p193 and J.R.M Butler _Grand Strategy_, vol II, pp431-434]
Well there's no doubt there were British contingency plans to seize
the Azores (which certainly would have been useful in the U-boat war)
- Churchill in his 6 volume history refers a couple of times to them.

I have no doubt that Britain had plans to seize just about any island
that might have been potentially useful as a destroyer or air base.
That does not of course prove they actually intended to - merely that
they wanted to be able to if the opportunity arose.

Certainly a 1940-41 Portugese entry into the war would have been
enormously useful to Churchill and the record shows he more than went
out of his way to say and do "nice things" for the Portugese. I'm sure
it was in the "Can't hurt and might do immeasurable good" catagory
with Winnie...
Daniel Titley
2004-10-13 12:39:05 UTC
Permalink
Certainly a 1940-41 Portugese entry into the war would have been enormously
useful to Churchill and the record shows he more than went out of his way to
say and do "nice things" for the Portugese. I'm sure it was in the "Can't
hurt and might do immeasurable good" catagory with Winnie...
Why would a Portugese entry into the war be "enormously useful"?

Was it just use of the Azores as an ASW base, or could Portugal offer
other significant benefits to the British war effort?
Angus McLellan
2004-10-13 18:14:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
Certainly a 1940-41 Portugese entry into the war would have been enormously
useful to Churchill and the record shows he more than went out of his way to
say and do "nice things" for the Portugese. I'm sure it was in the "Can't
hurt and might do immeasurable good" catagory with Winnie...
Why would a Portugese entry into the war be "enormously useful"?
Was it just use of the Azores as an ASW base, or could Portugal offer
other significant benefits to the British war effort?
No, it was intended as a second-(?) best replacement for Gibraltar in
the event of a war with Spain. The Canaries would have been better
(and Dakar or Casablanca better yet) but the Azores were less well
defended than the Canaries.

BTW, describing the British plans to seize the Azores and/or Canaries
as contingencies and suggesting that they were like a hundred other
contingencies is quite wrong. Troops were earmarked for the operations
(variously called Puma, Pilgrim and Shrapnel) and ships were held in
readiness to transport the landing forces. These ships were kept idle
for over a year in western ports waiting for the orders to load and
sail. From that fact alone, the plans to seize the Atlantic islands
were very different from more nebulous contingency plans.

Cheers,

Angus
--
"It is amazing what you can discover about people when you are willing
to just make stuff up." James Nicoll
Robert A. Woodward
2004-10-13 07:06:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
--
Robert Woodward <***@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw
mike stone
2004-10-13 08:09:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
That is my impression also.

Franco seems in may ways to have had a distinctly un-Spanish temperament. More
Germanic in his hard-headedness.

In this, he is a kind of mirror-image to Goering, who has always struck me as a
typical Iberian or South American dictator who by some freak happened to get
born in Germany. Wonder what would have happened had Goering been Spanish and
Franco German
--
Mike Stone - Peterborough England

Blairism Baffles Brains
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-13 09:12:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike stone
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
That is my impression also.
Franco seems in may ways to have had a distinctly un-Spanish temperament. More
Germanic in his hard-headedness.
In this, he is a kind of mirror-image to Goering, who has always struck me as a
typical Iberian or South American dictator who by some freak happened to get
born in Germany. Wonder what would have happened had Goering been Spanish and
Franco German
That's *scary*.

Franco the German would have edged Hitler out, leaving him as a
puppet, and run the country with just as iron a hand. I suspect,
however, that he would never have attacked Poland or, if he did, that
he would not attack Russia while Britain was undefeated.

Lots of other possibilities with that one!

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-13 09:11:04 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 00:06:19 -0700, "Robert A. Woodward"
Post by Robert A. Woodward
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
That is my gut feeling, fwiw, based on the limited reading I have done
on it.

Of course, those with more knowledge of Franco, the man, his motives
and his politics, will have a better idea.

Phil

Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
The Horny Goat
2004-10-13 14:15:26 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 00:06:19 -0700, "Robert A. Woodward"
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
I think you'll find that that is the consensus of most contemporary
scholars.
Angus McLellan
2004-10-13 18:25:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@pacific.net.au
On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 00:06:19 -0700, "Robert A. Woodward"
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
I think you'll find that that is the consensus of most contemporary
scholars.
Apart from Denys Smith, Christian Leitz and Paul Preston that is ...

Leitz (, _Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain_ in Balfour & Preston,
_Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century_, pp136-137)
<quote>"... Germany's sudden ascendancy [opened] a new period of
temptation combined with danger for both Spain and its government."
(46) The temptation referred to is, of course, the lure exerted by the
Axis upon Franco to enter the war. Yet for some writers, not
surprisingly those of a right-wing, pro-Francoist hue, the use of the
word 'temptation' smacks of slander. To them, German-Spanish relations
after the fall of France are characterised by Franco's skill and his
successful struggle against Nazi Germany's demands that Spain should
enter the war. Apologists (47) generally portray Franco as the
glorious defender of Spain's sovereignty, as the leader possessed of
habil prudencia (skilful prudence).</quote>
<quote>Although there are still some pieces of the puzzle missing - in
particular a complete record of the conversations at Hendaye (50) -
the available evidence paints quite a different picture. In the first
instance, on or before 12 June 1940, the Nazis did not put any
pressure on Franco to change Spain's status from neutrality to
(Axis-friendly) non-belligerency. Spain's occupation of the
international zone of Tangier two days later was implemented on
Franco's own initiative. Most importantly, however, it was the Spanish
dictatorwho attempted to jump onto the Axis bandwagon when, on 19
June, he offered Spain's entry into the war under certain conditions.
</quote>

Smyth and Preston think similarly.

That leaves who, precisely, on the "consensus" side of things ? Andrew
Roberts, certainly, but is there anyone who is not an extreme
right-wing apologist for Franco who thinks so ?

Angus
--
"It is amazing what you can discover about people when you are willing
to just make stuff up." James Nicoll
michael price
2004-10-14 08:06:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
Franco lasted longer than all the other facists and died in
his bed, as I recall. Clearly a man of understanding and discretion.
Didn't Mussolini pull the same trick at the start of the war to avoid
getting into it while there was any risk of the invasion of France being
a washout?
Daniel Titley
2004-10-14 10:49:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
What did Franco actually ask for?
Jim Harker
2004-10-14 11:22:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Post by Angus McLellan
Post by The Horny Goat
Franco wasn't an idiot which is why this situation wouldn't have
occured in the first place.
Then Franco was an idiot. He was willing to go to war alongside
Hitler, only Hitler was unwilling to pay Franco's price.
I might be excessively cynical; but I am of the opinion that Franco
set the price KNOWING that Hitler would not meet it. Thus, Franco
avoided a direct refusal of Hitler's request.
What did Franco actually ask for?
Franco asked for most of the French Empire in Africa, including Morocco
and western Algeria. He also wanted large supplied of oil, weapons and food.

Jim
a***@pacific.net.au
2004-10-14 11:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Titley
What did Franco actually ask for?
This letter ...

http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/proc/letterfranco.htm

... mentions a demand for 100,000 tons of grain.

and this document from the German Ambassador to Spain (1940) ...

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/spain/sp02.htm

... says ...

"Besides this military assistance, however, economic support of Spain
will also be necessary. To this belong, above all else, the delivery
of gasoline and, at the beginning of next year, delivery of grain for
bread. According to a recent utterance of the Spanish Minister of
Foreign Affairs (of the third of this month) Spain, due to its
shortage of gasoline, can wage war without our help 1 1/2 months at
the most As concerns the grain for bread, the Minister believes that
Spain has sufficient supplies until about March of next year. I
consider this latter supposition as too optimistic, unless a strict
rationing is carried out.

Besides this necessary assistance however, Spain, beginning with entry
into the war, will with respect to a number of other commodities as
well be exclusively left to the resources of German and Italian aid."

... according to Count Ciano (Italian Foreign Minister) the Italian
Foreign Minister, in conversation with Hitler ...

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/spain/sp07.htm

... the Spanish wanted ...

"The Spanish proposals to Germany, somewhat crassly expressed, go as
far as the following:

1. Germany is to deliver for the coming year 400,000-700,000 tons of
grain;

2. Germany is to deliver all the fuel;

3. Germany is to deliver the lacking equipment for the Army;

4. Germany is to put up artillery, airplanes, as well as special
weapons and special troops for the conquest of Gibraltar;

5. Germany is to hand over all of Morocco and besides that, Oran, and
is to help her get a border revision in the west of Rio de Oro;

6. Spain is to promise to Germany, in return, her friendship."

... and, in a Telegram from the German Embassy in Spain to Berlin ...

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/spain/sp12.htm

... the Ambassador notes that ...

""3. Spain's provisioning is absolutely inadequate both with respect
to the present scanty supplies, as well as with respect to their
distribution. There are at the moment two problems:

a. the deficiency in foodstuffs, especially grain, which latter
[deficiency] is estimated at one million tons.
b. the inadequacy of transports due to lack of railway materials and
because of the compulsory restriction in the use of motor trucks. If
one adds to it the discontinuance of the sea transports as results of
the war, the situation of many provinces would become unbearable.

"4. Generalissimo and Government are endeavoring to remove these
difficulties. They effected grain-purchases in South America and
Canada; they are pushing the purchase of railway cars and are
expediting provision of locomotives; they are effecting purchases of
gas generators for motor trucks for the eventuality of a complete lack
of gasoline. But incipient exhaustion of all supplies and restriction
of foreign trade are preventing quick improvement."

... you get the idea?

Actually, this section ...

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wwii/spain/spmenu.htm

... of the Avalon project is *must* reading.

Hope that helps.

Phil


Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Email: ***@pacific.net.au (not the munged address vs spambots)
Tzintzuntzan
2004-10-17 04:16:27 UTC
Permalink
***@hotmail.com (Daniel MacGregor) wrote in message news:<***@posting.google.com>...

(snip)
Post by Daniel MacGregor
Next, Turkey. In the various alternate World War II scenarios I've
seen, Turkey is written off as not having advanced that much beyond
World War I. Any successes that are achieved are German in origin,
not Turkish.
These may be accurate assessments, or they may betray the cultural
biases of their authors.
I don't know the fine details, but I don't see how the Turkish
army could have possibly failed to advance beyond the WWI level.
Because in every area except raw fighting skill, it had nowhere
to go but up. Every foreign observer testified that Turkish
soldiers were willing to take hardships (caused by poor supplies
and even poorer logistics) that no other WWI army would have put
up with. And when Enver Pasha is replaced as head...like I said,
nowhere to go but up. Whether it kept pace with everybody else
is something I'm not sure of.
Post by Daniel MacGregor
While Turkey as an Axis power may have enormous influence in
neighboring countries--Iraq, Iran, and their respective oil fields,
maybe even Syria and Egypt--what, exactly, does Turkey have to gain?
Agreed; most of the spoils could be a lot more trouble than it would
be worth.
Post by Daniel MacGregor
In invading Greece, Germany occupied a sliver of Greek territory that
bordered European Turkey, so that it would have territory to offer as
an inducement for entering the war on the Axis side.
Offering to revive the Ottoman Empire isn't going to make sense to a
secular, Kemalist republic.
Yup; Ataturk had specifically disavowed all of the lost territories.
And it isn't just that. He told Inonu to stay out of further wars at
all cost; Turkey couldn't risk a WWI-scale disaster again. It wasn't
just defeat that was the problem; the war strained Turkey's economy to
the breaking point. Like Austria-Hungary, it was almost as bad for
Turkey to win WWI as to lose it. Inonu had a field day stalling and
playing games with diplomats who wanted Turkey on their side. (It
helped that he was hard of hearing; he'd often pretend to be even
deafer than he was, so he wouldn't have to answer awkward questions.)

It looks like we need to change Ataturk's personality to get Turkey
in on WWII; or maybe Inonu's.

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