No Spanish Civil War in 1936 (my new Timeline)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Dr. Strangelove, Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    I planned to include the italian invasion of Tunis in this update; but you know: you start writing and you can't stop. The invasion of Tunis will feature in the next update:





    From The New York Times, February 3 1940

    …It is true the old adage that says that generals always prepare to fight the past war. Or it used to be, since the first three months in the European war have seen two lighting campaigns that seem to have defeated the ghost of this second great war becoming another muddy nightmare like the first one. In September, Germany showed its might by destroying Poland in less than one month, with help of their unlikely soviet allies; who have since then proved their military ineptitude by being unable to defeat the heroic Republic of Finland.

    …This commentator must apologize to his readers for his past prediction of the Iberian front’s outcome. The old Tercios that were Europe’s terror for a century must be proud from their godless descendants, for the destruction of the Portuguese Army in only twenty days is no small feat for what used to be one of Europe’s most incompetent armies. The trench nightmare I predicted the Iberian front would become did not materialize thanks to the spaniards’ imaginative use of their French-built tanks. I hope Spain’s new allies have already taken their own conclusions from the Portuguese campaign. The Axis powers surely have.


    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …by Mid-February, as the Italian forces started their invasion of French Tunis, the naval stalemate in the western Mediterranean showed no signs of stopping. Iachino’s fleet, docked at La Spezia posed a threat to the allied forces by its mere existence. If the allies wanted to deal a decisive blow to Mussolini before Hitler attacked in the West, we would have to lure their fleet to a trap. That is why I authorized Admiral Cunningham’s carrier groups to leave Malta on February 20.

    …the Italians had taken measures to make sure none of our ships would make it west of Malta, but most of their remaining fleet based at Taranto was being used escorting their supply convoys towards Libya, and their security net around Malta was not as thick as it used to one month before.

    …The same day, the powerful French battleship Jean Bart, that had just been finished weeks before, crossed the Gibraltar Straits escorted by more French cruisers and destroyers.

    …During the night of the 21st, our carriers left Malta and headed towards Tunis together with HMS Valiant and a scort force to get as far as they could from the Italian planes based at Sicily. Unfortunately, they were discovered at dawn by an Italian reconnaissance plane, and during the rest of the day they had to endure constant naval and air attacks, that would be known as the Battle of Cape Bon.

    …Despite the disgraceful loss of the Australian cruiser Apollo and two destroyers, Cunningham’s group was able to cross the Italian blockade inflicting severe casualties to the enemy, while it sailed west to get out of the reach of Italian planes.

    …National morale was high after the fall of Portugal, and it could only rise when news of this first main naval battle between the Royal Navy and the Italian fleet. During the past month the First Lord of the Admiralship[1] had received a lot of undeserved criticism for leaving the Spaniards and French alone against the Italians. Now the three allied nations together would force Mussolini to take a decisive step.

    [1]I have no idea on who he should be. Churchill himself maybe? Suggestions welcome.


    From The sea campaign in the Mediterranean, 1940. by Antoine Beevorts, Antwerp, 1995

    …Between 1st and 2nd Menorca, both main fleets withdrew to their bases, and the only engagements consisted on attacks on Italian convoys heading to Libya, and submarine raids in the waters between Sardinia and Baleares. In these battles, the Spanish submarines proved to be an effective weapon against Italian submarines and destroyers, causing twice as casualties as they suffered.

    …when news of the british carriers’ advance towards Mallorca reached Rome, Mussolini decided that it was the time of the decisive battle to destroy the allied fleets once and for all. Despite his counselors’ advices of leaving his fleet in port –where its threat was enough to keep the French fleet pinned down at Toulon- , he insisted that the operation had to be done to destroy the three fleets one by one before they made contact.

    …With the Caio Duilio hastily repaired, Iachino left port again in February 24, while the british fleet made contact with the Jean Bart southeast of Ibiza and the Spanish fleet left Barcelona.

    …In February 27, both fleets made contact halfway between Sardinia and Menorca, and thus the largest naval battle in these waters since Renaissance times began.


    …In the end, and after 4 days, it was air power that would decide the outcome. The Italian planes were faster and more maneuverable, but were operating too far from their bases and were outnumbered by the allies[1]. Despite both fleets having engaged at close range, they were too matched in sheer firepower to make a single side prevailing. The Italians even were close by the 28 to separate the allied fleets, and the heavy cruiser Gorizia managed to hit the Illustrious, but in the end, the Italians had to withdraw when the allies gained air superiority.

    …the Spanish fleet had a good performance at 2nd Menorca despite its secondary role. Its surface ships were obsolete, and only the heavy cruiser Canarias, now the flagship after the sinking of the Baleares, could match the Italian ships. But the Spanish submarines wreaked havoc on the Italian fleet, sinking two cruisers and hitting the battleship Andrea Doria.

    …The French suffered serious losses, among them the modern battleship Richelieu, that suffered extensive damage in a long duel with the Littorio in February 1. It was able to withdraw to Mallorca, but the damage it suffered prevented it from active service during the rest of the war.

    … The Royal Navy proved to be decisive to the outcome of the battle, with the planes from the Illustrious and the Eagle providing decisive air support to the allied fleet. In the end, the Illustrious only received mild damage and was able to withdraw to Cartagena.

    …In March 2, Iachino gave the order to return to La Spezia. His fleet had suffered serious damage, and while only one of his battleships was damaged enough to make her unsuitable for combat, he feared that the allied air superiority could cause him serious losses, now that his attempt to divide the three enemy fleets had failed. The Italian fleet arrived to La Spezia in march 5. Iachino knew that his last possibility to dominate the Mediterranean west of Sardinia had vanished. The Baleares were now as far to him as the British Isles could be.

    [1]The allies have three carriers (Illustrious, Eagle and Beárn), plus the spanish planes based at Menorca, plus french reinforcements.


    [​IMG]

    The Richelieu leaves Toulon, february 1940. And no, it's a single ship, that is an optic effect from the camo painting.
     
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  2. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    A smallish update before I leave for the weekend:

    From The Desert Fox: Hauteclocque and the North African campaign of 1940, by Ernesto Andújar, Castro Editors, Madrid, 1981


    In February 10, 8 Italian divisions of the Tenth Army crossed the Tunisian border, starting the land campaign in Africa. Opposing them, Hauteclocque counted on three French divisions, two armoured brigades equipped with modern but not tested yet tanks and the Spanish promise to send reinforcements from their north morocco protectorate.

    …the Italian advance was fast during the first days: the French seemed to have been caught by surprise, and the Italians advanced into Tunis, slowly but finding little resistance. Medenine fell on February 14, and four days later the Italians found their first serious resistance at Marith.


    …the Moorish mercenaries from the Spanish protectorate numbered two divisions of cavalry, and had once been the best trained and armed part of the Spanish army. They had participated in the repression of the 1934 Asturias Revolution and the 1936 November Uprising. After they couldn’t arrive to the Portuguese Campaign due to its lighting speed, in February 1 the French command asked the Spaniards to deploy their Moorish units in Tunis. Between February 12 and 20, one of history’s first airlifts of large military units would send the Spanish Army of Africa to Hauteclocque’s base in Sfax.

    …by February 20, and after evicting the French from Marith, the Italians reached Gabes, and stopped to reorganize their columns. The Italian advance vas chaotic and only the french’s numerical inferiority and little resistance. Hauteclocque was receiving furious political pressures from Paris to counterattack and evict the Italians from Tunis, but he insisted that he would only attack when his forces were ready.

    …the road pass between the lake Chott El-Djerid and the sea was the obvious point for the French to set up a defense line, but after taking Gabes in February 26 the Italians kept their advance towards Sfax. Marshal Graziani, in command of the invasion force, insisted that the advance be stopped south of Sfax to reorganize and not risk being cut off, but Belbo and Mussolini insisted that he tried to reach Tunis. By this day, the tenth army’s supply lines had started to be harassed by raids from French colonial units.


    …In March 3, finally, Hauteclocque started his counterattack. This battle would earn him his nickname of the Desert Fox.




    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …During February, the forces of the Empire continued their raids and attacks on the Italian border position. Our planes bombed Benghasi and Tobruk, and for the first weeks we succeeded in our goal to draw as many Italian troops away from Tunis as possible. It was in late February when the first Luftwaffe squadrons arrived to Libya. If the germans had sent at least one of their divisions to Libya, a lot of things would have changed for the worse, but Mussolinis’ hubris led him to reject Hitler’s offers for land help.

    …In early march, after our fleet had again defeated the Regia Marina in Menorca, we took the decision to mount a greater attack on the Italian bases. Operation Compass started in March 2, and it was a far much greater success than we could have ever believed, when General O’connor’s armoured forces penetrated deeply into Libya, creating chaos into the Italian positions. I think O’connor deserves the title of Desert Fox as much as Hauteclocque.

    …After our victory in menorca, the allies breathed alleviated as the menace of an Italian invasion of Corsica or Baleares seemed to fade. The Italian fleet would not risk to leave La Spezia to threaten the western Mediterranean. But if the Regia Marina headed south to Tarento to unite both fleets, then our position in Libya and Malta was in serious danger, since the reunited Regia Marina would now be able to escort the Italian convoys heading to Libya. No, the Italian fleet had to be destroyed before it could threaten again the allied fleets.

    …In March 7 this point was brought on in one of the first meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the three allied nations. Hauteclocque’s counterattack into Gabes and the Libyan border was being successful and soon the Italians would be hard pressed to send reinforcements to Libya. The French proposed that Iachino be lured again out of La Spezia, but we pointed out that he would not be stupid enough to fall for the same trap twice. Then the Spanish delegate, General Miaja, proposed a plan that the Spanish armed forces had been working on for the past years. When informed, I gave my immediate approval and support. Something that seemed so crazy just had to work.
     
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  3. whaleofashrimp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    wow! this is the best...along with sun yet san (chinese one) are you playing this out on hoi or just playing this out
     
  4. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    :D:D

    I knew this would arise sooner or later. no, I am not playing this on HOI, although in some moments it may look like an HOI AAR. In fact, I always sucked at HOI and sold my copy ages ago. I still think it is Paradox' worst game.
     
  5. Geordie Well known among the mighty men Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    Jarrow-on-Tyne, or Farnborough, Hampshire
    I've been missing since my last post, so here come some comments


    Awesome timeline, it appears to be shaping up as well as your Morrocan War TL did - high praise indeed, i loved that TL! :cool:

    I really like 'The Desert Fox' - the irony :rolleyes:



    Do i sense a Spanish 'Taranto' on La Spezia? :D



    ps, i don't mind the Hispano-Wank World Cup, if England have won it once, then Spain should do :p
     
  6. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Thank you.

    `
    :D Actually, in the 30's the spanish team was one of the world's best, and it is not much of a stretch to imagine that it could have won the cup. Spain's curse with final phases in great competitions started after Brazil '50.
     
  7. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    From The Desert Fox: Hauteclocque and the North African campaign of 1940, by Ernesto Andújar, Castro Editors, Madrid, 1981

    …The French counterattack started during the night of March 3 as 30.000 French troops supported by Spanish moors attacked the Italian spearheads that were heading towards Sfax and Kasserine. Despite outnumbering the allies, the Italians were tired by one month of restless advance through the desert, and soon the front stabilised south of Sfax.

    …for the first days, the French seemed to be unable to dislodge the Italians from their positions between Gabes and Sfax. Graziani seemed sure that he would be able to continue his advance after receving reinforcements; as long as his lifeline from Tripoli held out.

    …It was on March 10, that Hauteclocque launched his flanking movement that would make him a hero of the early war. The Italian position depended on the coastal road leading from Gabes to Sfax. This, as can be easily seen on a map, was the only pass between Lybia and Sfax, since all the countryside is occupied by the great salt lakes of Chott-El-Djerid. The Italians had occupied Kebili, in the shores of Lake El Djerid in March 5, but they never thought that the French would be able to cross the lake and attack their supply lines.

    …In March 9 french troops had finally reached the shore of Chott el Fejaj; leaving only a narrow strip of Italian-occupied land between them and the sea. But the Italian positions here were too strong to be attacked directly; and if the French had tried to encircle the Italians north of Chott-el-Djerid, they would have risked being encircled again if the Italians attacked north from Gabes and west towards Kasserine. Hauteclocque knew this. He then decided to attack south of Gabes, encircling as much of the Tenth Army as he could, while destroying its supply depots. To do this, his tanks had to cross the salt lakes.

    …Hauteclocque had three brigades of SOMUA r-35, the most modern tanks in the French arsenal. Only 400 of them had been built, of which 90 had been deployed to Tunis thanks to Hauteclocque’s and de Gaulle’s insistence. They had seen little combat, since Hauteclocque wanted to save them for what he thought would be the vital point of the campaign.

    …The Chotts are very shallow lakes that are dry during most of the year. 1940’s summer was unusually dry, and the narrowest parts of the lake were mostly dry. The Italians, however, thought that the French would not be able to cross through the fragile salt crust.

    …In March 10, scout teams from a Spanish cavalry regiment crossed the Chott-el-Fejaj, followed by French engineers and a SOMUA battalion. The Spanish cavalry harassed the Italian positions in the southern shore of the lake to protect the tanks’ crossing.

    …Shortly before noon, the first French tanks, led by Hauteclocque himself were in the southern shore of Chott-el Fejaj, and started their surprising advance towards the coast.

    …The Italians soon discovered the French gambit and tried to bomb the makeshift road crossing the lake, but French air superiority protected the French armoured forces. The Italians had only second rate troops in this sector, that were smashed in few hours.

    ...In March 12, the Italian garrison at Kebili surrendered, and the Italians were evicted from the Chott region. By that day, the French armoured spearheads had arrived to Gabes’ suburbs, while other armoured units penetrated deeply into the Italian rear, arriving near Marith. In March 13, Graziani had to acknowledge that his army was trapped in a less than enviable situation: between two French armies, the salt lakes and the sea.

    …The Italians tried desperately to escape the cauldron, but French air superiority, coupled by naval and air attacks from Malta helped to take down these attacks. Meanwhile, the French advance on the Libyan border destroyed the Italian supply line.

    …In March 17 the Italians were evicted from Gabes, and Graziani set up his headquarters at Skhira, knowing that his army would resist for at most one week before running out of fuel. Mussolini was enraged, and his proposal to Hitler to use the Luftwaffe for an air bridge to supply the Skhira cauldron was politely refused by Goering.

    …In March 21, Hauteclocque reached the Libyan border. In 9 days, his armoured force had defeated an Italian army three times its size. Graziani would issue the order of surrender in March 23.






    From My War: reminiscences of the Great Independence War, by Enríque Líster, Ed. Espasa, Madrid, 1969

    …Operation Tormenta…I cannot tell much about it, since it all was a business of the airforce. Tormenta was Hidalgo de Cisneros’ brainchild. As fas as I know, he had already proposed it in early 1938 when it became obvious that we could not resist on our own to the italians, and in March 1939 it was staged at some maneuvers in Cadiz. For an infantry man like me, it seemed pretty straightforward –just take a bunch of planes, put torpedoes on them, attack the Italian fleet in port, where’s the big deal?-, but apparently there were some serious engineering problems with the torpedoes, which refused to explode in shallow waters, that made the plan impracticable from the beginning. The navy spent millions trying to figure out new torpedoes. As fas as I know, they still hadn’t solved their problems when war broke out, and Tormenta seemed like one of those unworkable plans that generals make when they have too much free time.

    …propaganda presented Tormenta as a great victory of Spanish ingenuity over Italian arrogance; but in all honesty, it was a triumph of the allies. Of 80 planes involved in the operation, only 25 were ours, and the rest of the force consisted on british Swordfish, and a sizeable escort of French Dewoitines, while the new torpedoes had been mostly built with british help. I cannot but include in this book this testimony of Captain Ramón Franco who took part on the raid:

    “My squadron arrived to Bastia in Mid march of 1940. It was our great moment. We had been training for two years. Many of our comrades had died fighting the fascists over Menorca. We were wishing to take our revenge.

    It was also our first joint mission with allied pilots. It was uncomfortable. Only one of us spoke some little French, and both the French and specially the british felt really smug when confronted to us. We spent a week training in Bastia, with each squadron getting to know his task. The French fighters would escort us, while each English and Spanish bomber squadron attacked a portion of the Italian fleet. In the end we ended having a good relationship with with our allied comrades. We could barely understand each other, but these kind of situations always create tight bonds.

    It was the most beatiful spring morning I remember. As we flew towards La Spezia, we had plenty of time to admire the sun rising above Italy and illuminating the sea. It looked like the world’s first morning, so calm and quiet, and beautiful. That morning, I killed more people than I would kill in the next five years.

    “The flight from Bastia to La Spezia is short, less than twenty minutes. I was in the first wave. We had to try to take out the four Italian battleships. A little before we reached the Italian coast, we turned east and then north to face La Spezia bay.

    “I don’t remember the attack clearly. Suddenly we were over the harbour, and I saw the AA artillery starting to fire. As I neared the docks, I saw an Italian ship jumping in the air in a fireball. I identified my targets, dodged a salvo of AA bullets, put the ships in my sights and dropped my torpedoes. Then, I turned back to get out of that nightmare. While I tried to gain altitude, I heard an enormous explosion, louder than anything I could have ever dreamed of hearing. I looked back and saw only a thick cloud of smoke that now covered most of the harbour. It was only after the debriefing at Bastia that I knew that my torpedoes had hit the Littorio’s ammunition depots, causing it to explode and split in two. The explosion killed most of the crew and Admiral Iachino. “​

    This is Captain Franco’s testimony, one of the most poignant I have heard from the war. He was awarded the Republic’s cross for his destruction of the Littorio, and would later become an aviation hero before he was downed in 1944.


    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …Tormenta was a huge success for the allied arms. In a single attack, the Italians lost four of their five battleships, three heavy cruisers, two cruisers and, most important, the fuel they needed to move their fleet. The Italian fleet based at Taranto, with only one battleship; the old Conte di Cavour, was not a match for the allies. In late march, our submarines and planes preyed on the Italian convoys that tried to reach Libya.

    …the series of misfortunes and defeats that beset the Italians in the second half of March 1940 is difficult to match in human history. In the same week, the Italians lost their fleet and their biggest army, while their allies expressed their embarrassment by the extreme incompetence of the Italian command. Only in Somaliland would the Italians gather some success, invading our portion of Somaliland and Sudan. However, Italian East Africa could not be reinforced, and their position would have been doomed in short time.

    …Operation Compass had evolved from an incursion on the enemy rear to a full-fledged invasion of Libya. Now supported by Indian and South African troops, O’connor’s tanks shattered the Italian position and by March 20 were at the gates of Tobruk. The port fell in a few days, and our army kept its advance towards Benghasi.

    …when Hauteclocque took Tripoli in April 2, the Italian position could not be worse.




    [​IMG]
    Hauteclocque's surprising advance on Gabes, March 1940.




    [​IMG]
    Spanish Regulares near Kasserine

    [​IMG]
    The Littorio destroyed at La Spezia
     
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  8. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Actually, they managed to invade British Somaliland, but they can receive no reinforcements so they're doomed.



    Mexico and Cuba were clearly friendly to the Republic; and I am still trying to figure out what to do with Argentina. But I can tell you that there will be more Latin American troops fighting in Europe than in OTL. Many more.
     
  9. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    OK, I hope this gets at least some commentary:

    From www.encyclopaediamemetica.org/Italian_Luck
    …a series of crushing and unexpected defeats to an otherwise formidable foe. “Pulling an Italy”: Surrendering despite still being strong enough to keep the fight.


    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    …Hauteclocque’s destruction of Graziani’s army in Tunis stunned the allies, who had not trusted in such an easy stop of the Italian offensive; and of course the Italians, who did not expect such a movement. In Germany, officers like Heinz Guderian or Erwin Rommel called for a revision of the invasion plans for western Europe to meet the new demands for armoured warfare.

    …Hauteclocque arrived to Tripoli in April 1 and the city fell the next day. The Italians now had only four divisions opposing eight allied divisions. Even worse, with the fall of Tripoli and the destruction of the Italian fleet Libya could not be reinforced.

    …In april 3, French troops landed near Alghero in western Sardinia. The raid was intended to destroy Italian airfields in the island, but it soon became a full invasion as Italian forces withdrew in chaos. The next day, the French took Sassari while a Spanish fleet bombed Oristano.

    …In Rome, this endless string of constant defeats took a heavy toll on Mussolini and would end with his demise. He had promised Italy a new Roman Empire, and now the Italian Empire was being destroyed piece by piece. Libya had fallen, the Regia Marina lay destroyed at La Spezia, and the allies were invading Italian soil.

    …If Hitler had agreed to send help, Mussolini could have still had a chance, but Germany was already fully engaged preparing the invasion of Scandinavia and Western Europe, and Hitler could not promise anything more than a few Luftwaffe squadrons. The truth was that the german command didn’t think Italy could be a reliable ally, and that Mussolini’s efforts to fight a second front in the Mediterranean were becoming a liability for the german strategy.

    …The Italians, seeing how Germany prepared to invade Norway and Denmark, were now fully convinced that they would have to fight the allies alone. In April 9, while the Wehrmacht occupied Denmark and started to invade Norway, and as the Commonwealth troops arrived at the gates of Benghasi and started turning the tide in Somaliland, the government crisis in Italy started.





    From New Dark Order: an historical summary on fascism (1922-1950); by Ernesto Guevara. Buenos Aires, 1971.

    …Mussolini’s end illustrates a basic premise of all leader-worshipping regimes: the taller the leader, the harder the fall. For eighteen years, Mussolini had been elevated to the status of an infallible demigod. Fascism’s infamous slogan “Mussolini a sempre ragione”; Mussolini is always right was an obvious example.


    …Mussolini had promised the Italians a new roman empire. All that they had gotten was one hundred thousand prisoners, two utter military humiliations and the loss of whatever empire they had. With Germany now giving them the cold shoulder at the same time the allies invaded Sardinia, the fascist regime was facing a very real danger of allied invasion. Italian fascism was willing to do anything it could take to survive. Even if it meant betraying itself and using Mussolini as an expiatory victim.

    …The consideration of a separate peace with the allies was brought in a session of the Grand Council in April 10, exactly three months after Italy entered the war. An enraged Mussolini branded the members favouring peace as traitors and expressed his desire to keep fighting until Libya had been taken back.

    …Ciano’s coup would have never worked without Vittorio Emmanuele’s consent. The king had been increasingly comfortable with Mussolini’s behaviour in the past months, and he gave support to his ousting from the first moment.

    …In a special session of the Grand Council in April 11, Ciano (who was Mussolini’s son in law) proposed a resolution asking the king to resume his constitutional duties- I. e., removing Mussolini from power. The resolution was passed by seventeen votes to nine. The next day, the King had Mussolini ousted out of office, and Ciano became Duce. His first act was to ask for peace with the Allies.


    …Despite Reynaud and Besteiro wishing to continue the fight against Italy, Germany’s offensive in Norway was now Britain’s main concern. Finally, the allies were convinced to sign an armistice with Italy, which would be negotiated in Geneva.

    …In April 16 1940, Galeazzo Ciano announced to the world that the Kingdom of Italy was not at war anymore with France, Britain and Spain. The allies would evacuate Sardinia and release all Italian prisoners in Tunis. Libya’s fate was to be settled by a definitive agreement, and would be kept under allied occupation. However, Italy was still allowed to keep Somaliland. In april 17, Vittorio Emmanuele announced his abdication of the Ethiopian Imperial crown and that Italian troops in Abyssinia were to evacuate the country in three months.

    …In three months, the Allies had won the first round against the Axis, securing the Mediterranean and allowing fascist Italy to survive independently from Germany’s defeat.
     
  10. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    From a bob Hope monologue sometime soon after in this TL:

    "Well, it looks like Mussolini proved prophetic when he talked about being just like Julius Caesar; his troops looked about 2000 years old....But you know, he really was right about a revived Roman Empire, I mean, Rome hasn't lost that bad since Atilla the Hun was loose in Europe...And speaking of the Huns, boy, is that Hitler up in arms. He's threatening to run roughshod over all of Europe. You know, I hear he aadmires Charlie Chaplin so much, he grew a mustache just like him. Well, if he admires a silent movie star so much, why doesn't he just shut up?...He'll have it rough with the other countries of Europe, but apparently he's close to conquering Italy already; a guy walking his German Shepherd dog got lost and wandered into Italy; hey, don't laugh, from what I hear, that dog looked MEAN! :D

    Okay, *serously*...

    I've had a little time off and came here, and this is a neat TL that I didnt' think was possible; from what I knew it seemed a Spanish Civil War wsa inevitable.

    The thing is, Hitler knows Spain's power now, but France also knows the power of the blitz. Will they try to take steps to prevent it? And, if Hitler gets bogged down in Spain, will he then not invade the Sovet Union? It seems like he has seen the Spanish do something similar to what he had planned, so he knows it'll work now, and he'll figure he has to smash them fast.

    Or...will he invade *Italy* first? He might just worry that the Allies will pull the Italians into their camp, like when Italy went witht he Allies in WWI. I can see him ordering a feint toward Spain followed by a two-pronged invasion of Italy.

    keep up the good work.
     
  11. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Good one. :D

    The germans are now rewriting their plans from scratch. Guderian has reviewed the portugal and tunis campaigns carefully and is ready to do something similar in the West.

    As for the Soviet Union, I am still working on a plausible situation. C'mon, it is not WWII without huge tank battles in the steppes.

    I was going to deal with this in the next update, but I guess I can tell now. The germans are of course pissed off with the italian surrender, but they are now tied in Norway and preparatives for the invasion of France are too advanced to change anything. And, in fact, while Italy has compromised to keep neutrality in the West, the Allies are much more pissed with the soviets than in OTL, so they have given Italy free hand in the East :eek:
     
  12. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    IIRC, you have Zhukov dead, which gives the Germans an advantage right there.

    Neat. Although Italy's still going to lose Greece, I bet - they did OTL till Hitler bailed them out. And, if Italy's got free reign in the East, it's going to mean Tito's guerillas have to fight Italy, not Germany.

    A really good friend in college majored in Spanish, and I learned a lot of cool stuff about Spain from him; I might e-mail him this link, too. I know he heard us discussing AH a fair amount in college, so he'll know all the POD, etc. stuff. This is really interesting.
     
  13. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Italy isn't going to venture into Greece. Ciano isn't Mussolini: his stance in OTL was more anglophile than germanophile, and Greece still has british protection.
     
  14. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Today's update is short and kind of an interlude before the great shitstorm in the western front begins. I am now mostly doing research so updates won't be posted as often as they were.

    From www.commonpedia.com/Virgilio_Leret_Ruiz

    …In 1935 he patented his “Turbocompressor of continuous reaction”, an experimental jet engine. Manuel Azaña named him teacher at the Airforce Mechanics School and gave him support for his project.

    …In 1939 his interests had shifted towards rocketry, and started his work at the “Multiple Rocket Armoured Launcher”; whose first prototypes would begin testing in January 1940. “MRALs”, or “Durruti’s bagpipes” as they were known would enjoy widespread use by the allied forces in the western front between 1941 and 1944.

    [Leret Ruiz is a fascinating man: born in 1902, in 1935 he patented a working jet engine, and the government gave him support to develop his project. In 1936, Spain was one of the few countries with official support for a working jet engine. Unfortunately, Leret was murdered in Melilla by the rebels in July 19, 1936 and his work interrupted. Making Spain have jet fighters by 1942-1944 is EXTREME WANKAGE, so I am not going down that road, but having Leret investigate MLRS’s and have some kind of a Katiusha analogue in the western front is a bit more plausible so I’ll stick with that]



    Excerpt from Buenaventura Durruti and the rise of Spanish anarchism, by Joseph Billings, Oxford University Press. 1976.

    …With the entrance of Spain in the war, everybody agreed to at least make a temporary stop in the road to revolution. The Republic and all of its achievements were in a serious danger, and only after the fascist menace had been destroyed could the revolution be restarted.

    …In the army, anarchist units formed by either former CNT militiamen or people coming from the communes had fought in Portugal with mixed success. While their morale and ideological determination left nothing to be desired, their discipline was obviously mixed. After the Portuguese campaign, anarchos as they were being known, would be mixed with other regular regiments to cement their discipline.

    …It was at this time, before the german invasion, that Buenaventura Durruti started to stick as the most prominent anarchist leader. In his three years at the government, first as minister for Work and later as Speaker of the House, Durruti had become a very popular politician, even for non-anarchists, and adopted more pragmatical positions.

    …During the debate in early 1940 about the convenience of sending troops to France, Durruti’s support to the creation of the Spanish Expeditionary Force was instrumental in assuring the anarchists’ approval of the plan to send six divisions to France.



    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    …As the menace of an Italian invasion faded, Spain found itself debating about the extent of its actual commitment to the war effort. Despite being officially at war with Germany, Spain’s only motivation to enter the war had been the Italian menace on Portugal, and now both countries had been defeated.

    …In February, Besteiro had signed the London Declaration together with Churchill and Reynaud, by which the three allied powers compromised to never sign a separate peace. Thus, asking for peace with Germany was completely out of the question, and the greatest debate became whether to send troops to France or not, and how many troops.

    …surprisingly, the biggest support to the idea of a Spanish Expeditionary Force came from the socialists and the anarchists. The PCE’s Stalinists followed the official line and wanted peace with Germany, while POUM’s Trotskyites preferred to see the imperialists fighting their own war. The right was the most outspoken opposer. The CEDA had supported the war against Italy (albeit very reluctantly) due to the real threat of an invasion to the national territory, but opposed vehemently any further involvement in the war. They argued that the Spanish submarines and destroyers now intervening in the Battle of the Atlantic were more than enough involvement.

    …In March 15 1940, the Spanish parliament passed a resolution approving the creation of an Expeditionary Force consisting on six divisions, two of them armoured, to be deployed in the Franco-Belgian border. The SEF would be under the command of General Rojo Lluch, who had commanded Army Group South in the invasion of Portugal. With the Italian threat fading and Spanish troops leaving Portugal, the SEF started deploying in their assigned zones around Sedan in mid-April 1940.
     
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  15. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    No update today, and the next ones featuring the german offensive will still take me a while to write. In the meantime, I made a map of the Portuguese campaign:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. boynamedsue Banned

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    Sorry for my lack of recent comment, i'm on holiday.

    Shaping up very nicely, but I have a few questions:

    1. Italian civilians in Libya, are they still there or expelled?

    2. Does Hitler believe he can afford to fight on without Mussolini? Though the Italians were useless in combat, the territory held by Italian troops freed German troops for actual fighting.

    3. You suggest the survival of an Italian Franco analogue. How are you going to get rid of the Partisans? In the north antifascist forces developed throughout the war. They were very handy against even German troops, they made fools of Mussolini's lot. I can't see fascist survival without partiton.
     
  17. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    1. Hadn't thought about that. I suppose they will remain in Libya while the war keeps on and Libya's situation is unclear.

    2. Hitler would have preferred to fight together with Italy, but the performance of the italian army has made him think otherwise. However, bear in mind that he can still count on the italians for his war in the east...

    3.War hasn't lasted too much, and Ciano is no Mussolini: he was a fool in OTL, but at least a fool who knew that messing out with France and Britain was a bad idea. I think he will forget about imperial adventures and concentrate into consolidating the fascist regime, who, unlike Franco's, has been around for 20 years already. I don't think there are many antifascist partisans in this Italy, and I guess they will have the same fate anti-franco partisans had in Spain in OTL. Also, I do not think of Ciano as a Franco analogue. He will not play Mussolini's cult of personality card, and he may try to liberalize the regime a little.
     
  18. Geordie Well known among the mighty men Donor

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    I didn't think that the partisans developed as a real problem until later in the war. In this TL, Italy has left the war before the Germans have launched the assault on Scandinavia and the Low Countries.

    IMHO, this negates increasing partisan activity, unless the Italians get very heavily involved in Italy, and Stalin tries to undermine them
     
  19. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    Long wait, long update. And a bit dull too, except at the end, that I hope will trigger some comments.

    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …The first four months of 1940 saw the allied fortunes triumph beyond our wildest expectations. Italy, a nation with a powerful military and the fourth fleet in the world, was eliminated from the game in a series of lighting campaigns that made the allied morale rise more than what I could have expected. In 1939, everybody feared that the war would be another nightmare that would swallow another entire generation. In 1940, the successes of the allied arms proved the peoples of the allied nations that war was the necessary evil to destroy the nazi beast. Whatever little opposition remained, it was swept by the allied victories. In France, fears of another generation dying in the trenches seemed more unreal as Hauteclocque’s tanks advanced into Libya. In Spain, centuries of demoralization and squabbling disappeared in the wake of national euphory when Líster entered Lisbon; while Britain recovered the fighting spirit of the Napoleonic wars when the Royal Navy defeated Iachino at Menorca. When Germany was left alone against the allied might, everybody thought that we would celebrate 1941 in Berlin. Only I warned against such foolishness: Germany’s formidable army was still intact, and the germans would not allow to be caught by surprise as the Italians had been. Unlike Italy, Germany was a nation of warriors, and they would no doubt put up a tough fight. How I wish I had been wrong! But unfortunately, facts would prove me right: The german invasion of Norway was a great blow to the allied morale, and it turned out to be only the prologue of the nightmare that the wehrmacht would unleash upon Europe for the following years.


    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    …The allies would keep battling around Narvik and trying to push south until September.

    …But the outcome of the campaign in norway would prove to be secondary when the Wehrmacht launched its long-awaited invasion of western Europe in the night of May 10, 1940. The day before, german troops had occupied Luxembourg, and the Belgian and dutch armed forces were in alert.

    …The French Dijle Plan, designed by Marshal Gamelin, provided that allied forces would enter Belgium and try to stop the german armies at the Dijle river east of Brussels. Gamelin trusted that the allied forces would be able to stop the german onslaught there, while the Maginot Line was considered unpassable for any army. The kernel of this strategy relied around Sedan and the Ardennes, where Gamelin thought that no armoured forces would be able to pass. This sector was then assigned to the Spanish Expeditionary Force together with parts of the French 7th army, whose bulk had been redeployed into the dutch border to link with the dutch army if necessary.
    There were obvious flaws in this plan, like its lack of flexibility: if the 7th army had to be redeployed, this would affect the entirety of the allied line. It also stretched the allied supply lines without necessity. [1]

    [1]Yes, there is another flaw that is painfully obvious for anyone who knows the slightest about WWII, but in TTL Mr. Millett can not even think about it…

    …Fall Gelb, the german invasion of northern france, had been developed in several stages since October 1939. German war aims at this stage were an occupation of the Low Countries and northern france to be able to bomb England. Once France and England sued for peace or the front was stabilized, Hitler could turn towards his dream of conquering the Soviet Union. Before January 1940, Fall Gelb envisioned a frontal attack against the allied positions in central Belgium that would be costly and slow. It was in that month that Erich von Manstein started working in his variant. [1]

    …Von Manstein`s strategy relied on a swift armoured advance through the Ardennes that would isolate the bulk of the allied army in central Belgium. Between January and April 1940, this plan would suffer major modifications as the german command learned of the allied campaigns in Africa and Portugal.

    …Líster’s use of massed armour in the Battle of Elvas was studied with special attention by both Manstein and Guderian, who was quoted to have said “that Spaniard has been spying on me!” Unfortunately for their theories, the OKW got the wrong impression from the allied victories and developed an unjustified fear of the allied armoured power.[2]

    …OKH made several modifications to Manstein’s plan[3], each one more conservative. OKH pointed out that Manstein’s plan meant that the armoured spearhead would create an open flank of hundreds of kilometres, open to counterattacks from the allied armour, and the german command was not really willing to run such risk.

    …By March, it had been agreed that the bulk of the invasion would attack through the Gembloux Gap between Brussels and Namur. However, Manstein accurately pointed out that the allies would place there most of their armoured mobile forces to try to contain the germans south of the Dijle. The germans would try to either cross the Ardennes or risk a massive tank battle in central Belgium. In the end, a compromise solution was adopted, with the push through the Ardennes being reinforced by two Panzer divisions, that would try to cross the river there and then push north to smash the allied armour. ´Both Manstein and Guderian were enraged with the change, but they couldn’t gain the upper hand in the complex political roleplaying game that the OKH had become and their objections were rejected. In the end, they would be proven right.

    …In April and early May, the allies tried to live up to the high expectations the germans had on them. Under De gaulle’s influence, French armoured divisions were trained to have a more autonomous role, and the chronic lack of radios in French tanks was somewhat relieved, although by May 10 many French tanks still lacked radio. French and Spanish armour was still plagued by many problems of lack of standardization, difficult maintenance and communication and many more doctrine flaws than propaganda and popular knowledge say. [4]

    [1]Fall Gelb goes as OTL until here.
    [2]Yes, in TTL it is the germans who are scared of the French tanks, not the other way around. A fear with little basis in reality, but which will have its influence in the german plans.
    [3]but no plane crash in Belgium in January 1940, so there are no drastic plan changes.
    [4]The allies’ armoured doctrine is WAY superior than its May 1940 OTL equivalent, but that still doesn’t make up for the design flaws of the French tanks, or the inertia of the French high command (although this is tampered by the influence of De Gaulle and Hauteclocque)


    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …The germans launched their invasion in May 10. They dropped paratroopers near The Hague to seize the dutch government, but their attempt failed when the dutch army overran their bridgeheads. In Belgium, the Belgian command had not learned from the Portuguese experience, and let their most important fort at Eben Emael be seized by german paratroopers. The allied troops immediately entered Belgium, only to meet with total chaos as the Belgian army withdrew towards the Dijle line and the roads filled with refugees. Skies over Belgium would soon be the scenario of massive air battles.[1]

    …Between May 10 and 12 the germans smashed the dutch army and advanced towards Holland and the Dijle line. They managed to surprise us by crossing the Ardennes and trying to cross the Meuse at Sedan, a bold movement that could have had important effects in the overall campaign.

    [1]The germans won’t gain air superiority as fast as in OTL since not only the Luftwaffe is far less experienced than in OTL, but the allies have more and readier planes.


    From My War: reminiscences of the Great Independence War, by Enríque Líster, Ed. Espasa, Madrid, 1969

    …My three divisions from the Spanish Expeditionary force were deployed in a front of 20 km covering from Sedan to Charleville-Meziéres. We were supported by elements of the 7th French army. There were frictions, of course, and we had to replace many competent officers because they did not speak French, but in the end both armies had to coordinate as they could.

    …The Battle of Belgium started for me in May 12 as we were informed that advanced german units were in the right bank of the Meuse. Already in the evening, some French units were already engaging the germans. The next day, the germans tried to cross the Meuse for the first time.

    …They almost made it. We did not think that their Panzers would dare to cross the river so soon without infantry support, and they caught us off guard. The French and Spanish defensees around Sedan were deep, but in the early hours of May 13 some French units panicked and left their positions. I don’t want to sound smug, but it was my divisions who held the line for hours against the Grossdeutschland before receiving reinforcements and driving them back. The german Stukas did us a lot of damage, but soon French fighters managed to even the odds.

    …the German Panzer II were fearsome machines, and the Panzer III had no match on our arsenal. Fortunately, there were few of them and our Toros firepower and armour were tough to match. While small compared to the epic armoured battles that raged those days in the Gembloux Gap, we fought a nice tank battle against them before driving them back to the eastern bank.

    …the next two weeks are a monotonous history of germans trying to cross the river and meeting our defenses. Three times they almost managed to break through, but by May 17 the French were already sending us reinforcements, and we held out despite the german numerical superiority. The german decision to cross through the Ardennes was very smart, and they were really near from breaking through, but the downside of that was that they were in a complete logistical nightmare. During all of may, there was a huge road chaos all over eastern Belgium as german units tried to make it to the front. The French bombers profited this by attacking their supply lines and they caused a great damage, despite suffering staggering losses[1]. The germans tried to cross the river for the last time in May 20. Three days later, they withdrew from Sedan towards the hills overlooking the city. The germans would cross the Meuse, but it would not be through Sedan.

    [1]In OTL the French airforce could have inflicted a huge damage to the german advance by doing this, but the germans acquired air superiority so fast that it would have been suicidal for the French airforce. In TTL the allied airforces hold against the Luftwaffe for much longer.

    [​IMG]
    German Armour crossing the Ardennes


    [​IMG]
    Spanish Troops during the Battle of Sedan

    [​IMG]
    Spanish officials visiting the front at Sedan in May 30. One of them is General Franco.
     
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  20. Geordie Well known among the mighty men Donor

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    It begins in earnest! :cool:
     
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