What if prompt rightist victory in Spain in 1936?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by raharris1973, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2018
    A Spain that hasn't gone through an almost 3 year long civil war wouldn't need much oil, coal and, especially, food from the Axis.
  2. pjmidd Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2015
    Maybe a little less food but it still needs quite a lot of imports. Less damage helps a little but it does not stop trucks needing fuel etc and it has no oil internally.
    raharris1973 likes this.
  3. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012
    A lot more food without three years of devastation, which also means their iron ore production doesn't decline by like over half IIRC for example. Between the Canaries, Spanish Rif and Equatorial Guinea, U-Boats will be a lot more effective in 1940-1941 while Spain as an unsinkable aircraft carrier means the Western end of the Med is now closed to Allied shipping. The Brits can rectify the Canaries and Guinea issue, but no earlier than 1941 for all of them. Doing such also means foregoing operations in Greece, given the constraints on shipping and available forces. An undamaged German paratrooper force probably means Leningrad falls in the Fall of 1941 in particular but overall it can have a major effect due to less equipment losses and delays to the onset of Barbarossa.
  4. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    Also from the Naval Weapons Website

    30.5 cm/50 (12") VSM Mark H

    A Vickers design which, according to "The Big Gun," was quite different from other VSM or EOC weapons of this caliber. However, no details are given as to what were the differences. From an examination of photographs, it would appear that at least one of the differences was in the design of the breech mechanism. At least 24 guns were purchased between 1912 and 1920.

    When España was wrecked after running aground in August 1923, her guns were removed and then used in coastal batteries. When Jaimie I was scrapped in 1939, her guns were also then used in coastal batteries. As of 2006, some of these still survive.


    IOTL Alfonso XIII the third ship of the class was named España in 1931 and was sunk by a mine in 1937. ITTL she would not have been sunk and (in common with her sisters) her eight 12" guns might have been removed and used in coastal batteries by 1940.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 3:11 PM
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  5. raharris1973 Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Speaking of "pulling an Italy" this brings up a question I have, particularly for @Michele, but really for anyone in the group: In this ATL, without the lengthy Spanish Civil War, will even Italy "pull an Italy"? That is, will it join the war only when it thinks it is just about over?

    Or, in this ATL, does Italy feel better armed and otherwise better positioned for war, so if war breaks out in 1939 over Poland on schedule, Italy comes in on Germany's side from the beginning?

    Alternatively, while not outright wanting to declare war in 1939, Italy without the Spain experience is less risk-averse, and so decides that while Germany attacks Poland it is the perfect time for Italy to attack Yugoslavia?

    Or, if the affect of emboldening Italy is even more dramatic, during the Czech crisis of 1938, instead of trying postpone war at all costs and begging to hold the Munich conference at the last ditch, does he spend the Czech crisis pressuring Yugoslavia and possibly timing an attack on it to occur simultaneously with a German attack on the Czechs to the north in autumn 1938?

    Or, to go in the opposite direction, does the lack of a prolonged joint effort helping the Spanish Nationalists *slow down* Italo-German collaboration rather than speed it up? So that, without the SCW, Mussolini keeps trying to discourage Hitler from absorbing Austria throughout 1938?

    I tend not to buy the last view, because I tend to think that Mussolini's estrangement from the west over Abyssinia, and Germany's own strengthening were enough to get Mussolini to lean to Hitler and accept Anschluss, without the SCW being necessary.

    ...but I would appreciate others' thoughts on the matter.
  6. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    The specifications for the H35 were issued in 1933 & approved for production 1935. The S35 specs in 1934 & production approved in 1936. The H39 specs issued in 1938, perhaps those were influenced by the previous months of combat in Spain, but I doubt it. French armor or tank design ran back some fifteen years of post Great war development & does not seem to haven deeply changed by events in Spain. If anything those validated their existing doctrines.
  7. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    The eighteen 15" guns that the Spanish did receive were delivered over seven years (1929-35) a rate of 2½ guns a year. Had deliveries continued at the same rate they would have had received another ten guns in the four years 1936-39.

    My guess is that most of them would be used to protect Cadiz and the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar. IOTL they moved two of their eighteen 15" guns to Punta Paloma between 1940 and 1942. These guns were within range of Tangier. They also had a pair of Vickers 12" guns at Montaje Doble in 1942, but I don't know when they were installed.

    In a previous Spain joins the Axis I examined the plans to defend the Canary Islands IOTL. They included a scheme to move some of their existing 15" guns to the Canaries, but this wasn't done. They might mount some of the 10 extra guns received 1936-39 ITTL there.

    If the old dreadnought España (ex-Alfonso XIII) was disarmed between 1936 and 1939 I think that some of her guns would have been mounted around the Strait of Gibraltar.
  8. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    OTL Spain had a good second tier navy. However, Baleares one of their two brand new heavy cruisers was sunk in the SCW and the 6 surviving ships must have been in poor condition in 1939. However, ITTL Baleares would not have been sunk and the other six ships would be in reasonable condition in 1939.

    This is a list of the Spanish Navy's cruisers (including the Blas de Leso wrecked in 1932).


    Reina Eugenia Victoria was based on the British Birmingham class light cruiser. The Méndez Núñes class was based on the British C class. The Principe Alfonso class was based on the British C class. Finally, the Canarias class was based on the British County class.

    These ships should have a reasonable range, reliable machinery and been able to cope with Atlantic weather conditions because they were based on British designs. Reina Victoria Eugenia could only do 25½ knots, but Méndez Núñes could do 29 knots and the two succeeding classes had maximum speeds of 33 knots. Therefore, I think the six newest ships would have been effective commerce raiders and Spain is in a good place for them to attack the British trade routes. The Spanish naval bases are also harder for the British to blockade than the bases on the French Atlantic coast so it will be easier for them to break out and they are less likely to be damaged by enemy attacks while refitting at Ferrol or Cadiz. Once the coast artillery at Gibraltar is made ineffective they will be able to refit in the Mediterranean at Cartagena, which is even harder to bomb from the UK.

    ITTL Hipper will be operating from Ferrol or Cadiz instead of Brest in 1940-41 and the Twins will make for Cadiz at the end of Operation Berlin also. I think the coast defence guns of Gibraltar would have been made ineffective by March 1941 so they would probably proceed to an Italian naval base to refit. The chances of all 3 ships being able to support Bismarck and Prinz Eugen at the end of May 1941 are much better than OTL.

    ITTL Bismarck and Prinz Eugen will make for Cadiz rather than Brest. If she makes it, Bismarck will then proceed to Italy for a refit in the drydock the Italians used to refit the Littorio class. That will be much harder for the British to bomb than the Normandie dock at St Nazaire.

    Again Scheer will dock at Cadiz instead of trying to return to Germany at the end of her 1940-41 sortie. After refitting at Cartagena or in Italy it would be easier for her to break back into the Atlantic from Cadiz than Germany.
  9. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    At the start of the SCW IOTL the Spanish Navy had 12 submarines consisting of 6 B class completed 1922-26 and 6 C class completed 1928-30. It looks as if only one B class and 2 C class boats survived the SCW. Conway's says that both classes were Holland-type designs built under licence from Electric boat and I don't know how good or bad they were.

    There were also 3 D class submarines laid down 1933-34. However, the SCW and Spain's poor financial state after the war mean that the first two weren't launched until 1944 and the third wasn't launched until 1952. They didn't complete until 1947, 1951 and 1954 respectively. I think that all 3 boats would have been completed by 1940 ITTL. According to Conway's 1922-46 they had a surface endurance of 9,000 nautical miles at 10 knots so they might be good for long range commerce raiding.

    The Nationalist Navy also acquired two new Italian Archimede class submarines in 1937, but I don't think that will happen IOTL.

    There must have been plans for E and F classes because the next class was the G class. This was a licence built Type VII U-boat. 6 submarines of this type were ordered, but the sources differ to when. However, only one boat was laid down and that wasn't until 1953, work stopped in 1955 and the project was cancelled in 1961.

    ITTL the improved material and financial state of Spain after 1936 will give it the financial and industrial resources to build more submarines. My guess is that they will be more D class or an improved version of it. However, at best they will only build a few dozen. Spain's steel making capacity was about half of Italy's so at a guess they would complete half as many submarines as Italy did between 1940 and 1943.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019 at 4:52 AM
  10. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    The Spanish Navy had 17 destroyers in 1936 plus 2 more on order. All of them had been built in Spanish shipyards.

    The 3 Alsedo class completed 1924-25 were no longer fit for fleet work but would have been useful convoy escorts. The 14 Churruca class completed 1928-37 were based on the British Scott class flotilla leaders.

    Being based on a British designs they should have had reliable machinery, reasonable endurance for a destroyer and been able to cope with Atlantic weather conditions. One of the Churucca class was sunk in the SCW, but IOTL all 14 ships would have been afloat and in good condition in 1939 ITTL.

    The Nationalist Navy also acquired old 4 Italian destroyers. It's unlikely that they would have been acquired ITTL and because of their age they were of little fighting value by 1940. IOTL they kept them to 1947-50 because they were better than nothing, ITTL they would have had something better.

    A further pair of Churruca class destroyers was ordered in 1936, but due to the SCW and the poor financial and material condition of Spain afterwards mean that they weren't completed until 1950-51. However, ITTL no SCW means that they would be completed in 1940.

    The Franco Government wanted to build 18 destroyers consisting of 9 Quendo class fleet destroyers and 9 smaller Audaz class escort destroyers. The Audaz class wasn't laid down until 1945 and were completed 1953-65. Only 3 of the Quendo class were laid down and that wasn't until 1951. The name ship was completed in 1963. The other two weren't completed until 1969-70 and they were to a different design.

    ITTL the physically undamaged and not bankrupt Spain will be able to do much better than that. My guess is that they would be able to complete another 18 destroyers based on the Churruca class hull and machinery between 1941 and 1945 if they started ordering them in 1937.

    The first pair of Churrucas was sold to Argentina on completion in 1927. One of my sources says that the only reason why the pair of ships ordered in 1936 was begun after the SCW ended was because it was planned to sell them to Argentina, but the Argentines changed their mind in 1944. IOTL the Argentine Navy bought 7 British G class destroyers in the middle 1930s and had plans for 5 more. My guess is that the 5 additional boats weren't ordered because the British shipyards were full due to the rearmament programme. ITTL it's possible that they might order the 5 additional boats from Spanish yards. If they did they would have been fitting out in the middle of 1940 and the Spanish Navy would have taken them over.
  11. Catsmate Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Franco joining the Axis in WW2 is heading into ASB territory; he really didn't care about the world outside Spain, except as it effected his desire to create his version of Spain. Catholic, agrarian and static, with everyone knowing their place, and staying in it.
  12. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    At the outbreak of the SCW the Spanish Navy had 4 sloop type vessels. The sole surviving Recalade class ship was sunk during the SCW and would probably have been scrapped by 1940 ITTL. The 3 Castillo class completed 1923-24 were larger and better designs.

    4 Jupiter class gunboat-minelayers were under construction and would complete 1937-39. 2 Eldo class gunboat-minelayers were on order and the SCW delayed their completion to 1941-43. My guess is that all 4 Jupiter class would have been completed by the end of 1938 and both Eldo class would have been completed in 1939 or 1940.

    The Nationalist Navy incorporated the gunboat Calvo Sotelo in 1938. This ship had been ordered by the Mexican Navy but work was suspended in 1936 due to financial disagreements between the builder and customer. I think the ship would still be acquired by the Spanish Navy ITTL.

    8 Pizaro class gunboats were built for the Spanish Navy IOTL. The first group of 4 ships was ordered in 1941, laid down in 1943, launched in 1944 and completed 1946-48. The second group of 4 ships was ordered in 1943, laid down in 1944, launched in 1945 and completed 1948-51.

    I think they would have been ordered 1938-39 ITTL. I also think that because Spain was in better material and financial shape they would not take as long to build, so they would all be completed by the end of 1944 instead of 1945-48.

    No SCW probably means that the orders for the 7 Bidasoa class minesweepers are brought forward from 1941 to 1938. IOTL they were laid down 1942-46 and completed 1946-49. However, as usual the improved material and financial state of Spain ITTL probably means that they don't take as long to build. So my guess is that they would all be laid down in 1939-40 and completed 1941-42. However, they wouldn't be based on the German Type 1940 minesweeper. Instead they would be based on the British Halcyon class minesweeper or be built to a Spanish design.
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  13. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

    Sep 8, 2014
    San Sebastian Donostia
    So France ITTL knows since 1936 that it has a fascist Spain bordering her at the south. That is a lot of time to prepare. The Pyrinees are reforced and fortifications prepared. But you still has the Basque and Catalan extremes to protect. Maybe (just maybe) the French forces Siria and north Africa are further depleted and reinforced by the metropolitan Army deployed there. ITTL the Frenchs (having previously use part of their reserve in the south) don't charge like mad bulls up to the Netherlands and deploy at the frontier with defences in deep and the sickle is blunted...
    Also with Spain an axis ally may the British Government drope their "the British Army will not deploy on the continent" axiom some point before 1939 spring? A bigger better organized and planned BEF as a mobile reserve to this French army defence at deep in the Belgium border with Indian and other commonwealth divisions at the Spanish border and you have such a nice TL "When Franco (rather involuntary) saved Europe"
    I am going to take a shower I feel dirty ...
  14. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    The first paragraph sounds plausible.

    However, financial and industrial constraints make it impossible to do more than OTL to improve the British Army between 1936 and 1939. If more money and factory capacity had been available for the British Army priority would have been given to expanding what would become AA Command and not the field army.
  15. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

    Sep 8, 2014
    San Sebastian Donostia
    So OTL BEF is going to be but it was still a very useful totally motorized force. Not deployed and in reserve to the German attack...
  16. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    I wouldn't be sure of that. It depends upon how seriously Spain is taken as a potential enemy ITTL.

    No SCW means Spain has a better navy in 1939-40, but it probably means a weaker army and much smaller air force. Therefore, fewer French army divisions and AdA squadrons might be needed to guard the Pyrenees ITTL.

    I've been doing some research on the Spanish air forces. The AME had 277 aircraft of all types when the SCW broke out and the AN 62 front-line aircraft. The EdA inherited approximately 1,000 aircraft of all types, which had existed on both sides at the time of the surrender.

    The French and British would probably have been paying more attention to Italy, which would be stronger due to not sending any military equipment to Spain between 1936 and 1939 ITTL, or if they had the Spanish Government would have had to pay for it.
  17. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

    Sep 8, 2014
    San Sebastian Donostia
    Having Spain as a German puppet is an old France nightmare from the war of Spanish succession to the French Prussian one. With the Spanish army in full control of the country you would see serious efforts for rearmament. Any way what I wanted to point is that the butterflies from this POD would make the SWW initial European phase totally different.
  18. NOMISYRRUC Rostrum Camera Ken Morse

    Nov 7, 2014
    Battleships and Battlecruisers 1905-70 by Siegfried Breyer mentions a Spanish naval programme of 1940 for the following:
    4 battleships of 35,000 tons
    14 armour clad ships of 15,000 tons
    18 destroyers
    14 submarines​

    With no SCW this might become the 1937 naval programme.

    The battleships won't be built. However, TTL Spain may have the financial and industrial resources to build a few improved Canarias class cruisers between 1937 and 1945. I have already discussed the probability of Spain being able to build more destroyers and submarines between 1937 and 1945 in Posts 49 and 50.
  19. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

    Sep 8, 2014
    San Sebastian Donostia
    Take in account that was a program made by the spanish civilian government and now it is a military one in command. OTL the spanish navy had to wait for Franco to die to get the Principe de Asturias substitute to the Dedalo (as a bribe of Suarez to the navy in the very complicated transition times)
  20. thaddeus Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2014
    do not see another logical area for them to cooperate on? Italy might view Germany as an interloper in the Med if they have only provided the airlift along with selling arms to the Nationalists.

    there is also the issue of USSR, ongoing SCW froze in place German-Soviet cold war that began with Nazis coming to power? there might be an earlier thaw?

    there are articles back and forth over how much the Spanish gold benefited the USSR, but certainly it gave them some much needed liquidity in a very dire period for them. they only have avenue of resumed trade with Germany here?