Spain Joins the Axis: Where do D-Day and Dragoon Happen?

German units in France were a reflection of the Italian campaign in progress, and the lack of build up of an invasion force in the UK. Change Allied strategic deployments, and German dispositions will change.

German strategy and intelligence in Western Europe were a mess in 1943 - there were substantial force commitments to NW France, Norway, the Balkans, and Italy all on the basis of defending against potential landings. Italy and the Balkans received the greatest share of forces because that seemed like the most likely followup point from the Tunisian Campaign, not because the Nazis had any particularly insightful intelligence about where the next landing would take place. Even with a buildup for a cross-Channel attack, substantial German forces are going to be spread between the Balkans, Italy, France, Norway, and above all Eastern Europe. Even if all Nazi forces which concentrated in Sicily were deployed to NW Europe instead, we're talking about 2 extra panzer divisions - a drop in the bucket compared to OTL 1944.
 
Well, the TL has to start getting convoluted as there isn't really a reason for Spain to join the Axis voluntarily - Franco's conditions were simply too pricey. To get as close to OP's premise as possible you need to use force to get a Nazi-controlled Spain. But that won't happen with Hitler in power, as he was insistent on getting Franco to join up voluntarily. So, the first step to getting an Axis-controlled Spain is sidelining Hitler. It doesn't really matter who succeeds him (Though Goering is by far the most likely), because as I noted above all parties with substantial influence over Nazi foreign policy supported aggression against Spain to neutralize Gibraltar and seize bases in North Africa.
Which frankly was explained very clearly within the first page. If the original premise is unworkable why not just let it be rather than jumping through so many hoops to create a scenario that is so far removed from the OP's intent as to be essentially a different thread?
 
Suez was closed largely because of the seizure of British colonies in East Africa and in fact the supply situation was rather the opposite as much of the supplies for the Middle East were originally coming from India and the Pacific, so going round Africa after Suez was closed was the drain on shipping.
Right, and tell me, did the British throw their hands up and go “Well, looks like we’re sailing around Africa!”, or did they organize a force to retake the territory? Besides, we’re talking about Gibraltar, not Suez, being closed at a time when significant American aid was moving into Africa. Closing the Med to that would require moving around Africa and I see no reason why the Allies would not try to reopen the lanes. Like I already mentioned, if the Med being closed wasn’t such a big deal, they wouldn’t have invested so much into Malta.
And again it must be pointed out no has provided a plausible reason for Spain joining the Axis or for Germany suddenly deciding to draw yet more troops away from the eastern front, extend the coastline needing protection from Allied attack and lose a crucial pipeline for raw materials by invading. Unless someone can provide one or both of those then talk of where the Allies might launch alternative landings is meaningless.
The point of this thread is as a thought experiment, is it really that hard to suspend your disbelief in it? Going over and over about how it’s just impossible isn’t being helpful, it’s being contrarian with no purpose.
 
Bolero was not cancelled, it was just scaled back without telling the British - see Ruppenthaal. :)
To quote Ruppenthaal "General Lee first attended a session of the BOLERO Combined Committee with a large portion of his staff on 26 May, two days after he arrived in the United Kingdom, The mission of the London Committee was "to prepare plans and make administrative preparation for the reception, accommodation and maintenance of United States Forces in the United Kingdom and for the development of the United Kingdom in accordance with the requirements of the ROUNDUP' plan"

Once Roundup was postponed on 27 July 1942, Bolero was also suspended - hence the availability of Eisenhower to command Torch. Roundup was finally cancelled at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. The build-up of USAAF units continued, but only two divisions were sent to the UK after Bolero was suspended and the ado[ption of Operation Overlord - the 29th Infantry Division in October 1942 and 101st Airborne in September 1943. Hardly a simple scaling back.

Secondly, the idea the British were not told is utterly absurd. The British pressed for Torch, then Husky and Avalanche and the full commitment of US military power to the "soft underbelly of Europe. They sort of knew 1,147,000 combat troops, including 137,000 replacements had not showed up in the UK.

So US divisions were available for the ETO - they just didn't get sent. :cool: Given the bottleneck was principally UK port capacity it would have made sense to start shipping units earlier.

The retention of US Divisions in the United States and the diversion of nine of them to the Pacific was not because of UK port capacity. The nine went to the Pacific because they were not going to be sent to France in 1943. Those retained in the United States were also not going to be used against the Germans in France, and could be trained, fed and supplied in the United States without diverting merchant shipping needed to supply them in the UK; or exposing additional shipping to U-Boat attacks.
The British did not see it that way.

This is 100% correct in June of 1942. That's why historical decisions were made. We are examining if the OTL was in fact the best decisions possible. This June 1942 British view is not the way the British saw it as early as September 1945. By then the cost of an estimated one year delay in the end of the War in Europe was quite obvious. A year on reconstructing war damage and partial conversion to peacetime export economy had been lost. Lend-Lease debt to the United States had almost doubled between September 1944 and September 1945. Continued manpower losses to U-Boats, the drain in the "soft underbelly of Europe", RAF bomber losses would undoubtedly been curtailed with an earlier end to the war in Europe. The "second blitz" of V-1 and V-2 attacks would not have occurred.The Soviets gained much of Eastern Europe. There is no persuasive argument whatsoever that Britain was better off with the collapse of Nazi Germany in May 1945 than if Nazi Germany collapsed a year or more earlier. See Corelli Barnett "The Audit of War".

German units in France were a reflection of the Italian campaign in progress, and the lack of build up of an invasion force in the UK. Change Allied strategic deployments, and German dispositions will change.

This is flat out not true. The German Order of Battle I presented is as close as I could document as of 12 May 1943. This is concurrent with the surrender in Tunisia, well before German troops were committed to Sicily and Italy. It reflects a German Army attempting to reconstitute after the horrific losses of Stalingrad as well. Change the Allied strategic deployments and the Germans are still screwed. The dead and POWs of Stalingrad are still dead and in POW camps. The destroyed panzer divisions and POWs in Tunisia are still destroyed and in POW camps. Luftwaffe aircraft lost in these campaigns are still lost.

I could also post the German Order of Battle in Germany proper, Denmark and Norway in May 1943. That is even more depressing for the Germans.

The fact remains that the Allied failure to discern the German nakedness in France in the spring and summer of 1943 was a huge intelligence failure - one on par with Stalin's failure to believe Barbarossa was imminent, or the Allied failure to asses Japanese capabilities and intentions durin the autumn of 1941. The Germans in World War II made a number of utterly reckless military decisions, and got away with it. Stripping the Siegfried Line in 1939, the invasion of Norway in 1940, Rommel's offensive in early 1941 all come to mind. The Germans made another one in stripping France in early 1943 - and got away with it.
 
Right, and tell me, did the British throw their hands up and go “Well, looks like we’re sailing around Africa!”, or did they organize a force to retake the territory? Besides, we’re talking about Gibraltar, not Suez, being closed at a time when significant American aid was moving into Africa. Closing the Med to that would require moving around Africa and I see no reason why the Allies would not try to reopen the lanes. Like I already mentioned, if the Med being closed wasn’t such a big deal, they wouldn’t have invested so much into Malta.

The point of this thread is as a thought experiment, is it really that hard to suspend your disbelief in it? Going over and over about how it’s just impossible isn’t being helpful, it’s being contrarian with no purpose.
The thing is there reasons why Spain would do this will be just as important and possibly even more important than them doing so. Because the changes in the TL that would make it a likely thing will themselves be massively important to an ongoing war and the lead up to war and the decisions being made by all parties.
 
Once Roundup was postponed on 27 July 1942, Bolero was also suspended
No, there were a range of views of what was/should be happening - see for example the Bolero Key Plan 3rd Edition published in November 1942.
without diverting merchant shipping needed to supply them in the UK; or exposing additional shipping to U-Boat attacks.
So what was all this excess merchant shipping doing instead? This is the crux of the issue and I've not seen a serious attempt to quantify it.
There is no persuasive argument whatsoever that Britain was better off with the collapse of Nazi Germany in May 1945 than if Nazi Germany collapsed a year or more earlier.
Like most arguments for a 1943 invasion this is based on hindsight. The British remembered the Great War and saw an invasion of France in those terms. They were in no hurry to repeat Third Ypres; they would prefer to wait for US forces to arrive in force.
The fact remains that the Allied failure to discern the German nakedness in France in the spring and summer of 1943 was a huge intelligence failure
Brooke's estimate at Casablanca of the number of German divisions in France was pretty exact; divining how strong those divisions would be at the time of a potential invasion needs a crystal ball. In any case without US forces in the UK there is not much the Allies can do to take advantage of the potential weakness.
 
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The thing is there reasons why Spain would do this will be just as important and possibly even more important than them doing so. Because the changes in the TL that would make it a likely thing will themselves be massively important to an ongoing war and the lead up to war and the decisions being made by all parties.
Pro-Axis cliques pull a Xian Incident and force Franco to join the Axis. There, was that so hard?
 
Pro-Axis cliques pull a Xian Incident and force Franco to join the Axis. There, was that so hard?
OK and Franco who's just worn a long and bloody civil war and is in consolidation mode allows this to happen why?

And who are these ultra pro-axis generals (and it will have to be generals with their own power groups) who are so desperate to make this ATL happen that they do this with all the risks it would entail?
 
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OK and Franco who's just worn a long and bloody civil war and is in consolidation mode allows this to happen why?
He allows it to happen because otherwise he will be shot. What part of “Xian Incident” is under confusion here?
And who are these pro-axis generals (and it will have to be generals with their own power groups) who are so desperate to make this ATL happen that they do this with all the risks it would entail?
That doesn’t matter, it’s literally a plot device. It really seems that you’re more interested in being nit picky that actually answering the question at hand.
 
if Spain joins the Axis, Portugal will see that as a direct threat, though OTL they were neutral in these circumstances they would definitely turn to their oldest ally.
Just read up on the Peninsular campaign. Once the USA joins the war not only would American troops flood in via Lisbon and Oporto there would also be landing in Spanish Morocco. With Air bases in both Portugal and Spanish Morocco Spain would take a pounding. There would be another Spanish Civil war and the Axis would be in a world of hurt and for what gain? Gibraltar, inconvenient if lost but not a war losing event for the Allies. However their would be one future bonus any treaty ending hostilities between Spain and Great Britain would include a clause giving unequivocal sovereignty over Gibraltar to Great Britain.
 
He allows it to happen because otherwise he will be shot. What part of “Xian Incident” is under confusion here?

the bit where Franco is in a very different situation for this to work, for one thing the Xian incident was spurred by the ongoing Japanese invasion, so who's invading Spain here in order to trigger some generals forcing Franco jumping in with axis?

This leaves aside the fact that the Jian incident was about Chang forcing Chiang to make peace with CPC during the ongoing civil war in order to concentrate on the Japanese, but here Franco's won his civil war and is not being invaded.

so if there any confusion it's how the Xian incident would have any analog here.

That doesn’t matter,

Yes it really , really does


it’s literally a plot device. It really seems that you’re more interested in being nit picky that actually answering the question at hand.

No you have missed the point. Which is again for some thing or things to have changed enough to get Spain to throw in with the axis that thing or things itself is going to be as important and have many other effects!

So we need to know how does it happen because without knowing that we don't know what else has changed. and what else has changed is very important for looking at how this all shakes out.
 
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Pro-Axis cliques pull a Xian Incident and force Franco to join the Axis. There, was that so hard?
Yes, but in the Xian Incident you had a group of rapidly nationalist Japanese officers who wanted a war. The Nationalists after the Spanish Civil War knew that the country was on its knees and that they just couldn't afford another war. Franco would have a far larger segment of support behind him from the officers who thought that another war was utter madness. The circumstances are totally and utterly different.
 

nbcman

Donor
Yes, but in the Xian Incident you had a group of rapidly nationalist Japanese officers who wanted a war. The Nationalists after the Spanish Civil War knew that the country was on its knees and that they just couldn't afford another war. Franco would have a far larger segment of support behind him from the officers who thought that another war was utter madness. The circumstances are totally and utterly different.
The Xi'an incident involved the capture of Chiang Kai-shek by opposition groups to force a peace between the Nationalists and the Communists as well as to force a more anti-Japanese policy:


I think you are thinking one of a series of rogue Japanese officer actions like the Mukden incident or the Marco Polo Bridge incident.
 
Right, and tell me, did the British throw their hands up and go “Well, looks like we’re sailing around Africa!”, or did they organize a force to retake the territory? Besides, we’re talking about Gibraltar, not Suez, being closed at a time when significant American aid was moving into Africa. Closing the Med to that would require moving around Africa and I see no reason why the Allies would not try to reopen the lanes. Like I already mentioned, if the Med being closed wasn’t such a big deal, they wouldn’t have invested so much into Malta.

The point of this thread is as a thought experiment, is it really that hard to suspend your disbelief in it? Going over and over about how it’s just impossible isn’t being helpful, it’s being contrarian with no purpose.
If people keep proposing unworkable ideas that's hardly the fault of those pointing out the reasons why they are unworkable. A 'thought experiment' is only useful as means of formulating a working theory to follow the scientific analogy further and if the thought experiment doesn't lead to such then it should be abandoned.
 
No, there were a range of views of what was/should be happening - see for example the Bolero Key Plan 3rd Edition published in November 1942.
You are arguing semantics only. Show me the clear connection between Bolero Key Plan 3rd Edition and the original mission statement of Bolero to prepare for the execution of Roundup in 1943 by providing 1.2+ million US combat troops in the UK by April 1943. I am not arguing the the USAAF build-up begun under Bolero did not continue. But that continuation was for a strategic bombing campaign against Germany. It was not to support Roundup.
So what was all this excess merchant shipping doing instead? This is the crux of the issue and I've not seen a serious attempt to quantify it.
Did you even read what I posted? If you have not seen any serious attempt to quantify it you have either not looked or have ignored it. The shipping went to transport material to build bases in Australia, New Guinea and the Solomons to accommodate the nine US divisions trained for combat in Europe but diverted to the Pacific, then to transport those divisions a distance from the United States that required three times as much sea time as a voyage from the East Coast to Great Britain. The shipping was also used to support the build up of huge supply depots in Morocco and Algeria to support Husky and Avalanche. Some shipping and the 7th US ID were used to build the bases in the Aleutions to invade Attu and Kiska.

The bulk of it was used to continue Lend-Lease convoys to Murmansk from October 1942 to May 1943, and the horrific losses sustained there due to the doubling of the sailing times (USA to UK/Iceland; UK/Iceland to Murmansk) and the time lost awaiting off-loading by a strained Soviet port. In my posts, I made it clear that an invasion of France in 1943 would require a clear decision no later than June 1942, and must remain the top priority thereafter. That means priority over New Guinea, the Aleutions, and yes - aid to Russia. Since the Russians were howling for a Second Front, they understood Murmansk would no longer be a priority.
Like most arguments for a 1943 invasion this is based on hindsight. The British remembered the Great War and saw an invasion of France in those terms. They were in no hurry to repeat Third Ypres; they would prefer to wait for US forces to arrive in force.

While all Alternative History threads benefit from hindsight, that is limited to potential outcomes. My postings are based on the OTL arguments that GEN George C Marshall and MG Dwight D Eisenhower made to the British in June 1942. "They would rather wait for US forces to arrive in force" is actually the exact opposite of the OTL. Marshall bluntly told the British he would not send US forces in strength to the UK until Churchill set an unalterable date for an invasion of France. Marshall did not send the proposed Roundup forces to the "soft underbelly of Europe" as Churchill wanted. Marshall defied President Roosevelt's "Germany First" decision, and Roosevelt did not fire him. I would argue that if Churchill insisted there would be no British participation in an invasion of France in 1944, then Marshall would have sent the OTL Overlord forces somewhere else, perhaps a US only invasion of Southern France, but certainly not to Great Britain.

You are absolutely 100% correct regarding British memories of the Great War and Third Ypres. As quoted in the Fenzel Article, one of Churchill's advisors said to Marshall "Its no use - you are arguing against the casualties of the Somme." The British argued the "Ghosts of Flanders" on other occasions as well. I am not disputing that.

My post is in the context of if Spain joined the Axis where (and when) would D-Day occur. I would argue if Spain were an Axis member D-Day would occur in France in May 1943. To support the probable success of that invasion, I have brought considerable evidence that the Allies would have been stronger, and the Germans weaker in France in 1943 than in 1944.

Brooke's estimate at Casablanca of the number of German divisions in France was pretty exact; divining how strong those divisions would be at the time of a potential invasion needs a crystal ball. In any case without US forces in the UK there is not much the Allies can do to take advantage of the potential weakness.

No invasion enjoys the advantage of a crystal ball. All invasions entail a degree of risk. The Allies did not know of German weaknesses because they did not bother to devote the (mostly British) intelligence and reconnaissance assets needed to find out. They did not devote the assets because Churchill did not want an invasion of France in 1943, he wanted a Mediterranean Strategy. Therefore Churchill did not want to know. The final sentence is a straw-man argument. US forces were not coming to the UK in strength because there was no commitment to use them. If the commitment were made, there was a LOT the Allies could do to take advantage of the actual, not potential weakness of the Germans.

What I would really like from commentators are assessments as to whether the Allies were better off waiting until 1944 to invade Normandy rather than doing so a year sooner. In addition, is this still true in the context of Spain as an Axis member?
 
The Xi'an incident involved the capture of Chiang Kai-shek by opposition groups to force a peace between the Nationalists and the Communists as well as to force a more anti-Japanese policy:


I think you are thinking one of a series of rogue Japanese officer actions like the Mukden incident or the Marco Polo Bridge incident.
Aha, you are quite right and I apologise.
 
Adjacent to the topic, I've always wondered what would have become of Franco after the war if he'd been bold/foolish enough to join in. Shot by a band of anarchists as the country collapses a la Mussolini? Tried and hanged (the insurgents certainly did enough heinous shit during the civil war to justify it) by the restored Republic, or whatever form of Allied-sponsored government Spain ends up with? Allowed to slip off quietly to Argentina or some other Latin American republic?
 
The final sentence is a straw-man argument. US forces were not coming to the UK in strength because there was no commitment to use them.
The view from this side of the Atlantic is different; if the US was not sending forces to the UK, were they truly committed to Germany First?
 
Ignoring the specifics of when or why would Spain join the axis (there has been enough of a discussion regarding the topic already), I'll just assume it does and then Spain takes over Gibraltar. Assuming Portugal remains completely neutral (leasing bases in the Azores to the allies like IOTL might be too dangerous with German troops across the border), then the Allied stragy regarding Spain and its possessions would consist on sporadic attacks aimed at capturing or nullifying strategic assets for the Germans, mostly the naval and air bases in the Canary Islands which would be a shot in the arm for Germany's submarine campaign, leaving most of the Eastern Atlantic in Axis hands (the closest relevant allied base, with Gibraltar captured, would be Freetown, SL). The British and the Americans would consider attacking the Canary Islands in order to ease supply routes to the UK. Given the mountainous, almost labyrinthic nature of the archipelago, an attack would likely result in high casualties for the Allies should they attempt to expand their perimeter beyond the occupied ports, which they would have to do in order to subjugate the remnants of the Spanish garrisons hidden in the island's interior, either that or leave them to wither. Then the next logical step would be an attack on North Africa. Guess the best landing point for the WAllies would be to land in French Morocco, as the Spanish positions in Morocco are either difficult to attack, heavily defended, or too far away to be relevant. I guess the French reaction to the Allied attack would not differ much from OTL, this, assuming Germany does not hand over French Morocco to the Spaniards (which could cause an uprising in the already barely-controlled Atlas). Anyhow, northern Morocco is going to be a tough nut to crack, as it would host the best unit in the Spanish Army (The Army of Africa and the Legion) and has geography on its side.

Then comes the question of Europe. With Spain on the war the dynamic between the US and Britain changes, without the Mediterranean the British-favoured periferic strategy would be unrealisable, and I guess the Americans would have more of an argument to push for a 1943 version of the D-Day landings Those would happen either in Normandy or Calais, most other points in the Atlantic coast are no-goes (land in the Netherlands and you might find yourself bogged down, land in Brittany and you have to fight across a narrow peninsula). Aquitaine could be considered an option, but it is too far away from Allied bases for it to be the main point of attack.

The Brits would likely continue to push for an attack across the Mediterranean and the liberation of Gibraltar, and that recquires a landing in southern Spain. Luckily, the area from Cádiz to Huelva is one of the very scarce areas of coastal plains in Spain, and the only major plain in the Atlantic Coast, which also contains a handful of beaches such as that of Mazagón, close to the harbour of Palos de la Frontera (the same which saw Columbus leave for the Americas). From there there are no major difficulties in a push through the Guadalquivir river into Seville and due east to liberate Gibraltar, but past that point the terrain becomes mountainous and the already lackluster Spanish infrastructure almost dissappears, so I don't see the Allies attempting to push further than that, at least initially.
 
The view from this side of the Atlantic is different; if the US was not sending forces to the UK, were they truly committed to Germany First?
Not sure I fully agree. The British aversion to an invasion of France was rooted more strongly in the stalemate of World War I and the defeat of the BEF in 1940. Brooke was rather intimately involved in the latter. Marshall's view of France was much more narrow. His experience in Pershing's inner circle was in breaking the German Army in 1918 and he was convinced it could be done again in 1942-3. From Marshall's view, the British were more committed to Italy First, Balkans Second and Germany Last. When that strategy won the argument, Marshall wasn't committed to Germany First as far as infantry divisions were concerned.

What I am most interested in from you is not the review of the historical arguments from 1942, but were the OTL decisions correct? Was the eventual cost to Great Britain by delaying D-Day worth it? Would the decision-making process be the same if Spain entered the war and Malta, and perhaps Gibraltar were lost?
 
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