Germany follows the Goering stratgy in 1940 and 1941

Happy New Year and sorry about the awkward thread title.

Hermann Goering gave an interview to American journalists during the Nuremberg trial where he sketched out the strategy that he claimed he wanted Hitler to follow in 1940-41. The whole interview is worth reading and can be found here:

https://www.historynet.com/lost-prison-interview-with-hermann-goring-the-reichsmarschalls-revelations.htm

Whether he actually recommended this is debatable but I think whether this was a feasible or desirable strategy for Germany is worth discussing. What if Hitler had actually tried this?

Goering essentially argues for giving into Molotov's demands, pushing a German-Soviet war off to 1942 or later, and using 1941 to destroy the British empire in the Mediterranean, with operations against Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria, Dakar (!), and Cyprus. Of these, I think only the operation against Gibraltar and the u-boat bases in Spain was feasible, and Malta would have been feasible if they had not used up their airborne weapon in Crete. If the Germans had both given into Molotiv's demands and not done Crete, they could have taken Gibraltar and Malta and pursued the Atlantic part of the war with more vigor.

One consideration is that Hitler hit the Soviet Union at a time when the Red Army was both reorganizing and out of position for a defensive war, and this would not have been the case in 1942. However, another consideration is the possibility of the 1942 era Wehrmacht being able to fight a defensive war in Poland and Hungary against the 1942 Red Army, if it came to that.
 
Well, someone has to give Hitler a good wack on the head to make him forget about conquering Russia and exterminating the commies, because that was a main point outlined in Mein Kampf.
Crete was going to screw up. The German parachute was so shit the Fallschirmjagers could not carry their rifles when they jumped and there was no quick release on the parachute either. Most only had a P08 Luger on hand when they landed (if they were lucky they had an MP40.) No gun=screwed. There were cases where Fallschirmjagers were shot to death by Cretan civies when their chute got stuck in a tree.
Gib is possible, but Franco was pretty reluctant to stick with Germany. The head of the Abwehr, Adm. Canaris literally told him not to (Canaris was an anti-Nazi).
And finally, the Atlantic war would only draw the US into battle against Germany. And then, SPLAT.
 
That would turn out badly for the Germans. They would not have been able to take the British out of the war. I would succeed and weakening the German military and giving the Soviets time to make reforms in their military as well as prepared that defenses and upgrade their equipment.
Bobarosa would run headlong into prepared Soviet defenses as well as a large numbers of T-34s and KV-1s backed up I rather large numbers modern artillery
 
I could potentially see the Germans taking Gibraltar, and potentially Malta owing to it's proximity to Italy, but Cyprus and Egypt are out of the question.

As for waiting until 1942 to invade the USSR. Horrible idea. The only result I can see from a prolonged fight in the Mediterranean is the weakening or destruction of Germany's air and naval assets. By 1942 the Werhmacht will be stretched thin in Europe and on her last legs from lack of oil and much needed resources being diverted to Africa. 1942 USSR would halt Germany in Poland and crush them.
 
Malta was doable. Gibralta was possible. Crete was doable. Cyprus was doable. They depend on when they were attempted. If you do them in 1940-41 they were achievable. Later than that? Not likely. All had been reinforced and were better prepared. Egypt was also a possibility if the Germans were serious about it and sent three or four full Panzer divisions there, rather than one and a half. Rommel could have carried it off. The problem was the Germans weren't that interested in Egypt and the Suez Canal. Rommel was only sent to save the Italians' bacon after COMPASS had defeated them. He never had the forces or the supplies to carry his attack to Cairo and beyond.

What would the Germans gain? Domination of the Mediterranean with the removal of all the major British bases there. Would that gain access to more resources/industry? Not really. North Africa was a wasteland, more or less. Egypt has more potential although, only along the Nile Valley though. The Canal was a potential objective but even seizing that only allowed the Germans to basically cut the British Empire in two - something they had already, achieved by staging combat in the Mediterranean.
 
That interview may have been the origin of the idea, stubbornly held in wargaming circles, that doing a lot of stuff in the Mediterranean was a war-winning strategy for Germany.

We know now that if they were going to hit Russia, it had to be in 1941 and 1942. We also know that sending a large tank army into Egypt and reaching the Suez canal was pretty much logistically impossible. If you can somehow make the British Mediterranean fleet go away, there is some value in taking Cyprus to support an amphibious attack on Egypt and to support a potentially friendly Syria, but of course you can't make the British Mediterranean fleet go away.

There are some ideas there. Make enough concessions to Franco and its possible to take Gibraltar and that closes British access to the West Mediterranean and makes Malta irrelevant, they have to send everything to Egypt the long way. It would probably mean no Torch. But Franco seems to have been trying to come up with excuses not to co-operate. Otherwise, you lose any possibility of Vichy French co-operation, though its not clear how much that was worth given they wound up occupying all of France anyway in late 1942. There also might be a British declaration of war on Spain and now the Germans have to keep forces in Spain to fight the British and later the Americans. Probably not as much as they wound up committing to Italy and less of a logistical burden than maintaining a panzer corps in Africa, but still. Closing off the Western Mediterranean keeps Italy in the war and prevents the invasion of southern France, so doing what it takes to get Gibraltar in late 1940/ early 1941 might have been worth it. Note that the u-boats used Spain as a supply base anyway IOTL.

Don't use the paratroops on Crete and you can take Malta. Not both. Malta is probably more valuable given Axis objectives, but there is a cost in the British and later the Americans being able to bomb the Ploesti airfields from bases in Crete. They did so anyway from bases in southern Italy, but only after late 1943, now they can do so at least a year earlier. Goering, who was responsible for both air defense and the paratroopers, must have been aware of that.
 
Fundamentally the best Mediterranean strategy for Germany is to not have one. Outside of some oil, the utility of which given the issues of transportation is of debatable, there's nothing to be had that addresses the chronic issues afflicting Germany's war economy. Worse moves like taking Gibraltar may actually make matters worse as that will require bringing Spain into the Axis which immediately cuts it off from international trade and cuts off a conduit Nazi Germany used to obtain some critical materials, not to mention it adds another country they have to prop up out of limited resources. This assumes that there is any bribe that you can offer Franco to overcome his view that the USA would enter the war and this would doom the Axis. Hitler went east because it was plainly obvious that even without a declaration of war the USA was ramping up its support for Britain and the only way to counter the massive potential of the Anglo-American alliance was to obtain the raw materials, food, and labour needed to fully exploit the industrial base of conquered Europe, and however generous Stalin might have been feeling the only way to achieve this wholesale redistribution of resources was to essentially cut the people of the Ukraine out of the food supply system, the 'Hunger Plan'.
 
in theory when Italy declared war it was their sphere of influence, and to try and bring Spain into the war only gains them another weak ally to support, not to mention the overlaying territorial claims (along with Vichy France)

but British stopped using the Med when Italy entered the war, the question is how best to support them? (in no order)

German engines for SM.82 and "help" producing more of them

evolutionary version of Type II uboat, able to be transported overland to the Med

invasion of Greece with just Germany and Bulgaria, Italy to cede the Dodecanese to Greek state
 
unless they suddenly find oil in Libya, North Africa and the Med is a no go
At the time, it took a non-USA based Oil company around 10 years to go from test bores to producing enough oil to put into tankers.

Finding Oil in 1939 won't make any difference to the war for helping the Axis, beyond very limited local straight run refining close to the wellheads

even if that was done in 1930, Italy wouldn't have the infrastructure to get that oil from Libya to Italy, and once in Italy, to Germany for many years, maybe by 1942, right around the time the Allies would be pretty good at bombing pumping Stations.
 
Don't use the paratroops on Crete and you can take Malta. Not both. Malta is probably more valuable given Axis objectives, but there is a cost in the British and later the Americans being able to bomb the Ploesti airfields from bases in Crete. They did so anyway from bases in southern Italy, but only after late 1943, now they can do so at least a year earlier. Goering, who was responsible for both air defense and the paratroopers, must have been aware of that.
How does that follow? Take Crete in 1941 and in 1942 they had the forces to take Malta thanks the Italians:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Herkules
Do it before Operation Pedestal when Malta was at it's weakest.
 
Malta is probably more valuable given Axis objectives, but there is a cost in the British and later the Americans being able to bomb the Ploesti airfields from bases in Crete. They did so anyway from bases in southern Italy, but only after late 1943, now they can do so at least a year earlier.
Actually the first USAAF raid against Ploiesti was in June 1942, and from African air bases; and the better known first sizable raid of mid 1943 also did not take off from Italy, it came from Benghazi.
 
I think I read somewhere that Malta in 1940 did not even require paratroopers It could have been done with a conventional landing of Italian forces. Can't find the reference.

Gibraltar would have been a totally different affair. The early bombing of Gibraltar showed that it was possible to make it inoperable, but not to invest it. That would have required an overland invasion that Spain would not allow anyway.

Did the importance of Crete warrant the paratroopers who basically got wiped out? I would vote a YES on that one.

It leaves a good harbor in Alexandra. Could Axis have taken that one.? That might not have been possible and without a harbor in that end of it all, it is difficult to see that Rommel could have been sustained in a meaningful way all way to Cairo. It was not just a matter of getting across the Med. It was LOGISTICS to get it to the front - as usual.

Landings in Palestine and Syria would have been a great idea as well.

However, Stalin might have been a bit (more) paranoid about a Southern Strategy. It is possible to get to Baku via Iran after all. And Iran is closer to Egypt than Baku is to Poland as the Barbarossa jumping-off point.

If Barbarossa is delayed until 1942, Stalin might just jump into it before Germany is ready. And with Molotov pointing out the non-delivery of items (according to the RM pact), well, it did just irritate Hitler a great deal.

So, could it have been possible? Yes, I would vote for it.

At least it could not be much worse than Barbarossa after all.
 
What would the Germans gain? Domination of the Mediterranean with the removal of all the major British bases there. Would that gain access to more resources/industry? Not really. North Africa was a wasteland, more or less. Egypt has more potential although, only along the Nile Valley though. The Canal was a potential objective but even seizing that only allowed the Germans to basically cut the British Empire in two - something they had already, achieved by staging combat in the Mediterranean.
Are you kidding? If the Axis can take Gibraltar and Suez and close off the Med it drastically shortens the defensive lines for the Axis and Protects the weaker partner, Italy. It probably then gives Turkey the impetus to allow Axis fleets through the Bosporus which would allow for the possibility of the Axis attacking the Kirch Strait area in a amphibious type landing. This would give the Axis a huge jump on cutting the soviet oil supply early in the conflict.

I have always thought this was where the Axis lost. The summer of '40 was when they should have cleaned out the Med. By kicking the Brits out of the Med my guess is that the Balkan states would have all towed the line and the Crete invasion never would have been necessary. After securing the Canal they could have pressed on to the the Persian gulf or prepped for the Caucasus drive.
 
Med campaign can only succeed if Italy is stronger than OTL, and other Axis nations like Spain and Turkey participate.
The Germans sponsoring Arab nationalism increases the probability of victory as well.
 

nbcman

Donor
Are you kidding? If the Axis can take Gibraltar and Suez and close off the Med it drastically shortens the defensive lines for the Axis and Protects the weaker partner, Italy. It probably then gives Turkey the impetus to allow Axis fleets through the Bosporus which would allow for the possibility of the Axis attacking the Kirch Strait area in a amphibious type landing. This would give the Axis a huge jump on cutting the soviet oil supply early in the conflict.

I have always thought this was where the Axis lost. The summer of '40 was when they should have cleaned out the Med. By kicking the Brits out of the Med my guess is that the Balkan states would have all towed the line and the Crete invasion never would have been necessary. After securing the Canal they could have pressed on to the the Persian gulf or prepped for the Caucasus drive.
You may want to look at what forces the Axis, almost exclusively Italy, had available to 'clean out the Med' in the Summer of 1940 before considering whether the Axis could have pursued a Med strategy in 1940.
 
in theory when Italy declared war it was their sphere of influence, and to try and bring Spain into the war only gains them another weak ally to support, not to mention the overlaying territorial claims (along with Vichy France)

evolutionary version of Type II uboat, able to be transported overland to the Med

invasion of Greece with just Germany and Bulgaria, Italy to cede the Dodecanese to Greek state
Med campaign can only succeed if Italy is stronger than OTL, and other Axis nations like Spain and Turkey participate.
The Germans sponsoring Arab nationalism increases the probability of victory as well.
my speculation was to reduce Greece to puppet state with the same tactics used against Romania, returning some WWI-era territory to Bulgaria, while giving the Greeks the Dodecanese back. running a parallel campaign to the Italians.
 
How does that follow? Take Crete in 1941 and in 1942 they had the forces to take Malta thanks the Italians:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Herkules
Do it before Operation Pedestal when Malta was at it's weakest.
The Axis lost air superiority over Malta just ten days after the Herkules plan was agreed in April. It was never going to happen.

...which was just as well for the poor glider and airlanding troops. Between stone walls everywhere on the island and defended airfields covered by 25 pounders, a 90% casualty rate upon landing looks likely. The plan was insane.
 
Are you kidding? If the Axis can take Gibraltar and Suez and close off the Med it drastically shortens the defensive lines for the Axis and Protects the weaker partner, Italy. It probably then gives Turkey the impetus to allow Axis fleets through the Bosporus which would allow for the possibility of the Axis attacking the Kirch Strait area in a amphibious type landing. This would give the Axis a huge jump on cutting the soviet oil supply early in the conflict.
It actually increases the area that the Axis has to defend, not shorten it. The Axis gets a sea to play in, yes. However, all that does is increase the area that the Axis must defend. The Allies can attack from the Red Sea, the Atlantic, sub-Saharan Africa. To what gain, I ask again? There are no new resources/industries to capture and use. So, what is the point?

I have always thought this was where the Axis lost. The summer of '40 was when they should have cleaned out the Med. By kicking the Brits out of the Med my guess is that the Balkan states would have all towed the line and the Crete invasion never would have been necessary. After securing the Canal they could have pressed on to the the Persian gulf or prepped for the Caucasus drive.
They didn't have the resources or the manpower to defend or exploit what they had taken off the British. They could have reached the Canal if they had allocated more resources to the endeavour but to move beyond that? No, I don't think they could have managed it and still defended what they have taken.
 
The ONLY way you have a chance of a knockout is this is done in 1940.

No Battle of Britain, move an airfleet to Sicily, scrap what you can of a para / air mobile force out of the wreckage from western campaign and combine with an Italian sea invasion. British defenses on Malta will never be weaker.

At once move a mech force to Libya and then hit Egypt.

Malta has a good chance, Egypt is possible but it depends on British weakness rather than Axis strength as the logistics is going to suck beyond words. More time goes by makes it less likely.

If both fall there is going to be a vote of no-confidence on Churchill, maybe that kicks him from office or maybe he survives; much depends on behind the scenes Politics.

UK moral at this point would be total trash of the string of defeats.

Or it all blows up in Germans face.

Michael
 
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