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What if? Full Powered Africa Corps?


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    What if Hitler realized the futility of invading the UK, forewent the air assault, and instead put full focus on taking Egypt before he unleashed Operation Barbarossa?  This would give the Germans almost exactly a year from June 1940 when France fell to June 1941 and the open of Barbarossa.

    How would the Germans do it?  How many units would be necessary?  Could the British hold?  Would Germany/Italy take Gibraltar? Could the Luftwaffe provide sufficient cover for the Italian fleet to ferry German troops to Libya in large numbers?

    Discuss.



  • Germany could not commit to the full support into Africa because they had to rely on Italy to move them there and the biggest issue was the British air corp on Malta that would keep Italy in check hence why the Axis wanted to capture the island.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    If the Germans used the Luftwaffe to clear the med of the British fleet and wipe out the allied airforce… then I supposed a full powered Africa Corps could have been a thing.

    Some ridiculous amount of axis supplies ended up at the bottom of the Mediterranean due to lack of convoy protection and air superiority.

    There were also Acis plans to take Malta that were never realized, I suppose those would have had to play though successfully first.  If they had then it could have been possible.

    I also think the Germans would have had to supply the Italians with a ton of 88’s as well.  A big issue the Italians had is their AT guns could not penetrate allied Armor.  Brave Italian crews would maintain fire on the British tanks until they were literally overrun, they definitely could have used Better equipment!

    I think the fall of Egypt would have meant more for Japan/India than UK. Hard to say though.  And would the Americans have just mopped up in 42/43?  Would have been an interesting campaign!


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Increasing the strength of the Afrika Korps itself would only be half the equation; the other requirement would be to substantially boost the logistical support for it (a point which Garg raised in his above post).  Mechanized desert warfare is extremely logistics-heavy, notably with regard to supplies of fuel and water, and this partially explains why the North Africa campaign rolled back and forth several times across the vast stretches of territory over its duration: as one side advanced, its supply lines would get longer and the opponent’s supply lines would get shorter, making things harder for the attacker and easier for the defender.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    The failure to take Malta was a real oversight.

    I know the idea in the real war was to neutralize it by air attack, but any fool should have realized that wasn’t going to work.

    How could the British have defended against a determined assault?  The Italian navy/invasion force leaves Taranto en mass, the UK notices, but its fleet is either at Gibraltar or Alexandria… too far to intervene given how close Malta is to Italy.

    The Germans/Italians with German air cover land, sweep the garrison and hold before the Royal Navy causes the Italian navy to withdraw.

    Why wouldn’t that have worked?  How big was the Brit garrison?  I am assuming no more than a couple thousand?


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    @Karl7:

    The failure to take Malta was a real oversight.

    I know the idea in the real war was to neutralize it by air attack, but any fool should have realized that wasn’t going to work.

    How could the British have defended against a determined assault?   The Italian navy/invasion force leaves Taranto en mass, the UK notices, but its fleet is either at Gibraltar or Alexandria… too far to intervene given how close Malta is to Italy.

    The Germans/Italians with German air cover land, sweep the garrison and hold before the Royal Navy causes the Italian navy to withdraw.

    Why wouldn’t that have worked?  How big was the Brit garrison?  I am assuming no more than a couple thousand?

    I see something similar in my industry on occassion.  Sometimes the known or expected cost of something is considered too high, when in reality, the ultimate cost of not paying the known cost is inevitably more; but many people still prefer the unknown “gamble”, as opposed to the fixed truth.

    The axis knew taking Malta would be a nightmare, and after the experience in Crete, that many good men would die, not to mention they would likely lose many ships and aircraft, for what they incorrectly perceived as something they could probably detour around, or avoid.

    Of course hindsight is 20/20, and the cost of blasting Malta would probably have been much less than the cost of constant air raids and an allied supply point of Malta/

    It’s also important to remember that it’s a decision axis generals would have to make on their honor and name.  Where it was perceived they were in full control.  If it’s a disaster, they would wear it politically.  Sometimes the “oh we lost 2 ships today, and 1 yesterday, but shot down an allied fighter” that is uncontrolled, is easier to use an “It’s not my fault” card.



  • Point being is that Germany was even lucky to get the Afrika Korp there in the first place. A full “invasion” would be ideal but Germany was already unhappy it had to rescue Italy in this case, twice so far.



  • If Germany planned for a Mediterranean Front Malta would have been the first move. Malta was turned into a fortress, however early in the war the island was lightly defended.

    Why an enemy island, so near to the Italian mainland, was allowed to survive the opening weeks of the War is the greatest blunders.

    Italy lost 689 ships to U-Boats in the First World War. The threat of an air and submarine base was a lesson forgotten by the Italians in the twenty  years between wars.



  • @ABWorsham:

    If Germany planned for a Mediterranean Front Malta would have been the first move. Malta was turned into a fortress, however early in the war the island was lightly defended.

    Why an enemy island, so near to the Italian mainland, was allowed to survive the opening weeks of the War is the greatest blunders.

    Italy lost 689 ships to U-Boats in the First World War. The threat of an air and submarine base was a lesson forgotten by the Italians in the twenty  years between wars.

    Let’s be honest, Italy is the reason why Germany lost and it was a complete failure for Hitler to not try and help the Italian modernize.



  • @Karl7:

    Why wouldn’t that have worked?  How big was the Brit garrison?  I am assuming no more than a couple thousand?

    Infantry
    In late 1939 the pre-war garrison was reinforced up to an infantry division (commanded by Major General Sir Sanford John Palairet Scobell).[13] The original infantry garrison, plus the three brigades that reinforced the island’s regular British Army were title 1, 2, 3, and 4 Brigades; but were subsequently renumbered in 1943 as follows:[14]

    231 Infantry Brigade – assigned to the Southern Sector under Brig L H Cox. HQ Southern Infantry Brigade at Luqa. Its infantry battalions were:
    2nd Battalion The Devonshire Regiment
    1st Battalion The Hampshire Regiment
    1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment
    2nd Battalion The King’s Own Malta Regiment
    3rd Battalion The King’s Own Malta Regiment
    232 Infantry Brigade – assigned to the Northern Sector under Brig W H Oxley. HQ Northern Infantry Brigade at Melita Hotel Attard next to San Anton Gardens. Its infantry battalions were:
    2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
    8th Battalion, King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
    8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment[15]
    233 Infantry Brigade – formed on 30 July 1941; assigned to the Central Sector under Brig I De La Bere. Its infantry battalions were:
    11th Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers
    2nd Battalion The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment[16]
    10th Battalion The King’s Own Malta Regiment
    234 Infantry Brigade – assigned to the Western sector under Brig F Brittorous. Its infantry battalions were:
    4th Battalion The Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)
    1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
    1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment

    Malta Forces

    16th Fortress Company
    24th Fortress Company
    173rd Tunnel Company
    2 Works Company
    127th Bomb Disposal Section
    128th Bomb Disposal Section
    Malta Command Signals, Royal Signals
    8 Special Wireless Squadron
    Royal Army Medical Corps
    39 General Hospital RAMC
    45 General Hospital RAMC
    90 General Hospital RAMC
    15 Field Ambulance RAMC
    161 Field Ambulance RAMC
    69 Field Security Section Intelligence Corps
    226 Provost Company Royal Military Police
    Royal Army Service Corps[23]
    32 Company RASC (MT)
    Malta Supply Depot RASC
    Water Transport Company RASC


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