Sir John Valentine Carden survives.

And don't forget the USA was sending food convoys to Vichy France. Because they were now out of the war and were a "Neutral"! If they now allowed the Germans to use their own fortifications against the British Commonwealth Forces, then they become a combatant. And that would not play out well for France in the USA! Plucky and defiant Britain forces the dastardly Nazis back and the French allow them to use French fortifications? Whose side are those French on, anyway?
Adding to this in the eyes of the United States and a good deal of the French people it will give the Free French a greater degree of legitimacy and also recruits as well may even cause the more rapid defection than OTL of the French Middle Eastern and African to DeGaul.
 
By no means claiming to be an expert in this subject, but I always viewed German intervention in Africa (and Greece) as a political necessity to prop up Mussolini under the premise that if the Italian Leader had failed not only in his new bids at expansion of the Italian Empire, but also lost all their historical possessions (with hundreds of thousands of prisoners taken), the odds of him being deposed by popular uprising would rise dramatically. With Italy no longer an ally, all of a sudden Hitler's flank in Austria is much more vulnerable. Going down this path, although having an unaligned neutral on his border would have been worrisome, what would likely have terrified Hitler and justified whatever investment was required, was not only the fear of popular uprising in Italy, but one followed by the election of a Soviet-friendly Italian government. Even the remotest possibility of suddenly having hundreds of Soviet bombers parked in his back yard withing striking range of his key industry in Austria and Southern Germany was a risk he just could not take.

That's just me....
 
Hunh. That's actually better than I thought.
However, DOES a 3 ton truck get 5mpg on dirt tracks? (Because however good the road was beforehand, it's going be a dirt track by the time the tanks and hundreds/thousands of truck trips have been made over it.)
The larger problem is engine wear, as many of the early vehicles didn't have the desert pre-filter to prevent the standard oil bath air cleaners from letting that fine grit into the intakes.
It's hard pack for the main road, that would be called a trail anywhere else. MPGs would be good at first, till the engines started to wear.
 
So looking at it, North Africa is Germany as Greece is to Britain? An unwanted drain that they'd rather do without, but can't escape due to politics?
 
By no means claiming to be an expert in this subject, but I always viewed German intervention in Africa (and Greece) as a political necessity to prop up Mussolini under the premise that if the Italian Leader had failed not only in his new bids at expansion of the Italian Empire, but also lost all their historical possessions (with hundreds of thousands of prisoners taken), the odds of him being deposed by popular uprising would rise dramatically. With Italy no longer an ally, all of a sudden Hitler's flank in Austria is much more vulnerable. Going down this path, although having an unaligned neutral on his border would have been worrisome, what would likely have terrified Hitler and justified whatever investment was required, was not only the fear of popular uprising in Italy, but one followed by the election of a Soviet-friendly Italian government. Even the remotest possibility of suddenly having hundreds of Soviet bombers parked in his back yard withing striking range of his key industry in Austria and Southern Germany was a risk he just could not take.

That's just me....
The potential for an Italian collapse certainly played a part in Hitler's thinking when it cam to intervening in North Africa and even Greece, though less so there.

The problem with predicting what will happen ITTL is that so many things play into the decisions that it becomes hard to decide just how the scales will tip on them all.

For Hitler Barbarossa is the priority long term. The problem is events in the here and now are distracting from that. For a start Italy is looking like it could well collapse if the military misadventures of Mussolini keep going from bad to worse. That has to be prevented if it is at all possible, the question becomes how to do that. The other more fairly immediate problem is the British currently looking at Greece, they are already on Crete and if they get airfields on the continent then his main oil supply is at risk, jeopardising Barbarossa. The annoying thing is the only reason the British are in Greece is because of Mussolini. So what to do.
Well an intervention in Greece is a certainty, it not only removes the threat the British pose but also takes pressure off of Mussolini. It is also a much easier proposition as you can travel there by land so the logistical issues are quite a bit simpler. The question becomes what to do about North Africa. Saving Mussolini's blushes there does have benefits. The issue ITTL is will it be possible, as we stand we are a week away from the OTL decision to send troops. When that decision was taken OTL Britain was camped outside Tobruk and would be for some days. Britain could be at Breda Fomm or inside Benghazi in another week for all the Germans know right now. Every day that passes ITTL without a decision being made to send troops to North Africa makes that decision lass likely. Remember that even though the decision was made on the 11th of January it was not until the 12th of March that the whole of the initial force arrived and that was only a couple of Regiments renamed the 5th Light Division if I recall correctly. The 15th panzer division was not in North Africa until May. Hitler and the Heer have a few things they need to consider ITTL when it comes to sending a force to North Africa.
  1. How far can Britain get in another month, and how far by the time any German force gets to North Africa in any given strength.
  2. How strong is the British force because the stronger the British Force the more we need to send to counter it.
  3. How are the Italians holding up, if they are a spent force they become more of a hinderance than a help so we have to send more as we can't rely on the Italians at all.
Those three points form the basis for the equation that needs to be carried out by the Germans. How strong a force do they need to send to stop the British. How long will it take that force to get to North Africa. Can that force arrive in Tripoli in sufficient strength before the British do . The last thing the Germans want to do is send a force and have it trying to unload at Tripoli under artillery and land based air attack as the British are on the Doorstep.

Right now the speed of the British advance and the apparent size of the British force (as well as the actual size) all mean that the likelihood of Germany being able to successfully intervene diminishes by the day. Germany wont willingly sacrifice units for Italy, if they thing there is a hope for success then yes they will intervene or at least look too. If they think it is a forgone conclusion and they can't arrive in time in sufficient strength then i'm sorry Benito. Now about Greece.

Edit; I forgot to add this bit back in.

The dilemma for Hitler will be being unable to intervene or trying and failing to intervene in North Africa then having that British army jump on ships and Land in Athens, possibly backed up by more British formations. He then has a large, battle hardened British Formation sat in Greece on the Defensive, using the terrain to its advantage and possibly being reinforced by the day. Trying to remove that threat will be very difficult and will use up a lot of troops, tanks and other resources. All better spent on Barbarossa. The lass likely an intervention in North Africa becomes for Germany the greater an earlier intervention in Greece becomes.

That is an interesting scenario where German troops appear on the Yugoslav border in February rather than march and the whole thing is brought forward a few weeks to a month or more or so. In that case a lot of the troops used could then return to Germany and rest, re-equip and perform maintenance before Barbarossa after having fought an easier enemy in Greece due to a much smaller British commitment.
 
Last edited:
What is so easy to forget nowadays is how long it took to move stuff around in 1941.
The British (with their control of the sea, and a world-spanning logistical base to help) are, despite the fact it looks slow, moving with lightning-like speed in North Africa.
It's not just a matter of moving a few tanks, though even that takes time, its the supplies, the ammo, the men, getting the ships there.
At some point, its going to be obvious to the Germans that there isn't actually time to do anything more than send a few 'advisors'
 
What is so easy to forget nowadays is how long it took to move stuff around in 1941.
The British (with their control of the sea, and a world-spanning logistical base to help) are, despite the fact it looks slow, moving with lightning-like speed in North Africa.
It's not just a matter of moving a few tanks, though even that takes time, its the supplies, the ammo, the men, getting the ships there.
At some point, its going to be obvious to the Germans that there isn't actually time to do anything more than send a few 'advisors'
Yep one thing that Britain could always do was get a shipping schedule and cargo plan set up and moved off right quick, seriously even in this day of container ships and rapid loading it can only take one slip up to crash a whole schedule.
 
Right now the speed of the British advance and the apparent size of the British force (as well as the actual size) all mean that the likelihood of Germany being able to successfully intervene diminishes by the day. Germany wont willingly sacrifice units for Italy, if they thing there is a hope for success then yes they will intervene or at least look too. If they think it is a forgone conclusion and they can't arrive in time in sufficient strength then i'm sorry Benito. Now about Greece.

There is a potential action for the Germans if the British appear to be winning quickly in North Africa and if Hitler happens to be a double-dealing backstabber. Let Mussolini know that you will be sending aid to North Africa, send troops and supplies to Italy but encounter numerous "unforeseen difficulties" delaying arrival at the embarkation ports until the situation is clearer, then tell Mussolini, "Sorry but unavoidable circumstances mean that we are now unable to intervene in North Africa. However the troops we sent can remain to help defend Italy against any Allied incursions (and to make sure you don't turn on us)".
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
Crete as you said can be held with some small changes ITTL as you have said which would have major effects since the Royal Navy won't take as many casualties in the Eastern Med so fewer ships will need to be pulled from Home Fleet and other station to make up for the losses in that happened in the OTL fall of the Island. The hardest part will be sitting on Churchill its one of the great skills of Alan Brooke that he was able to both sit on the Prime Minister and redirect him as needed.
Crete will be under the Luftwaffe cosh for as long as you hold it with limited ports and airfields on the south coast of the island. Your air and sea movements will be closely followed and maybe intercepted.
 
Crete will be under the Luftwaffe cosh for as long as you hold it with limited ports and airfields on the south coast of the island. Your air and sea movements will be closely followed and maybe intercepted.
Luftwaffe formations in Greece are Luftwaffe formations not in Russia. Until a real build-up starts, it's unlikely the Germans will spend much energy suppressing Crete.
 
Crete will be under the Luftwaffe cosh for as long as you hold it with limited ports and airfields on the south coast of the island. Your air and sea movements will be closely followed and maybe intercepted.
Only until '42, when the number of planes the axis can put up is outnumbered by those of the allies, and they have to make hard decisions on where to put them.
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
Only until '42, when the number of planes the axis can put up is outnumbered by those of the allies, and they have to make hard decisions on where to put them.
Luftwaffe formations in Greece are Luftwaffe formations not in Russia. Until a real build-up starts, it's unlikely the Germans will spend much energy suppressing Crete.
@MattII The scale of air power needed to locally suppress Crete is much smaller than Russia needs to resist the massive air suppression across the entire eastern front. It won't make a difference to them, but it will to Crete.

@dave_r_gilbert The number of aeroplanes that the western allies can put up (which includes US armed forces aircraft) is a lot more than they have the logistics in place to position them where they will do any good. Ports and airfields linked by goods transport to a capacity to operate and maintain forces in the field.
 
@MattII The scale of air power needed to locally suppress Crete is much smaller than Russia needs to resist the massive air suppression across the entire eastern front. It won't make a difference to them, but it will to Crete.

@dave_r_gilbert The number of aeroplanes that the western allies can put up (which includes US armed forces aircraft) is a lot more than they have the logistics in place to position them where they will do any good. Ports and airfields linked by goods transport to a capacity to operate and maintain forces in the field.
The issue is not with the number of aircraft the allies can put on crete, which as you say isn't many.
It's that the axis will have too many priorities, and not enough aircraft to cover them all.
Interdicting supplies to Crete isn't going to be a high enough priority to keep large number of aircraft in greece, when they are needed urgently elsewhere.
And from '42 onwards, there is always an urgent need somewhere else.
 
So looking at it, North Africa is Germany as Greece is to Britain? An unwanted drain that they'd rather do without, but can't escape due to politics?
Stevenson and SOE claimed that they engineered the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. That might have been a bit of post-imposo-facto reasoning but there is a certain amount of truth to it. It did delay the opening of Barbarossa and therefore the Germans were caught by Colonel Mud and General Frost on the way to Moscow.
 
Last edited:
Aircraft wise all Britain really needs on Crete are fighters. Yes bombers and torpedo planes would be nice but realistically as long as you are preventing the Axis from using Greece as a place to attack British shipping in the Eastern Mediterranean then you are winning.
Once you have enough fighters then attacking Crete from the air probably becomes costly enough for it not to be worth it. It essentially becomes a repeat BoB for the luftwaffe where they send pilots across and they don't come back. For the British their pilots land back on Crete so they can put them back in the air.
The question becomes is it worth if for Germany to spend the resources suppressing Crete
 
@MattII The scale of air power needed to locally suppress Crete is much smaller than Russia needs to resist the massive air suppression across the entire eastern front. It won't make a difference to them, but it will to Crete.
But far more than was needed to suppress Malta, assuming they even bother to try, which they probably won't at first.

Stevenson and SOE claimed that they engineered the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. That might have been a bit of post-imposo-facto reasoning but there is a certain amount of truth to it. It did delay the opening of Barbarossa and therefore the Germans were caught by Colonel Mud and General Frost on the way to Moscow.
Barbarossa was far more delayed by poor weather than the German's gallivanting around the Balkans. Not that it no effect, the wear-and-tear of equipment, and the use of supplies did nothing to help Germany, but from what I've read , the weather was a far more critical factor.
 
There was a book called The Moscow Option by David Downing where the Germans take Moscow and Leningrad, but still lose the war, for largely the same reasons as OTL (granted, there is going to be a lot more blood spilled by the US and UK and France in that TL)...
 
Last edited:
But far more than was needed to suppress Malta, assuming they even bother to try, which they probably won't at first.


Barbarossa was far more delayed by poor weather than the German's gallivanting around the Balkans. Not that it no effect, the wear-and-tear of equipment, and the use of supplies did nothing to help Germany, but from what I've read , the weather was a far more critical factor.
The delay was caused by Yugoslavia and Greece. That resulted in Barbarossa being delayed by about 4 to 6 weeks IIRC. Those weeks were vital in that they weren't able to reach Moscow before the Autumn rains and Winter set in. The Germans send more ammunition instead of winter coats and sleeping bags. They literally froze to death.
 
The delay was caused by Yugoslavia and Greece. That resulted in Barbarossa being delayed by about 4 to 6 weeks IIRC. Those weeks were vital in that they weren't able to reach Moscow before the Autumn rains and Winter set in. The Germans send more ammunition instead of winter coats and sleeping bags. They literally froze to death.
The Nazis should have used mediums to consult with Napoleon's ghost--he could have warned them not to invade Russia without winter supplies...
 
Top