WI: France really fights on from 1940?

nbcman

Donor
Depending on how quickly the Allies clear the Italians out of Libya (and East Africa) I see them looking back toward Norway as an obvious destination, particularly once the Germans invade the Soviet Union. Not an attempt to clear the whole country but definitely using their overwhelming naval superiority to recapture Narvik and then northern slice of the country.
Getting an Allied foothold in Northern Norway and removing the Luftwaffe up there would be a big help for the Murmansk convoys. They'd still need to worry about UBoats and surface ships, but reducing the reach of the Lutfwaffe would make life a bit easier.
Would the RN want to try to attack Norway if they are opposed by a decent number of German Aircraft? The RN is pretty lean on a decent quality and quantity of carrier based fighters in 1941 and some of Fliegerkorps X's naval attack aircraft could be based in Norway to supplement Fliegerkorps V if there is no North African front and no need for the Germans to interdict convoys to Malta / through the Central Med.
 
Would the RN want to try to attack Norway if they are opposed by a decent number of German Aircraft? The RN is pretty lean on a decent quality and quantity of carrier based fighters in 1941 and some of Fliegerkorps X's naval attack aircraft could be based in Norway to supplement Fliegerkorps V if there is no North African front and no need for the Germans to interdict convoys to Malta / through the Central Med.
Fair point, it would depend on what air strength the Germans have up in the far north of Norway and what sort of carrier fleet the RN can assemble. With the Mediterranean quieter and assuming ships like Illustrious and Formidable are not damaged like they were OTL, it is possible they could field a sizable strike fleet in mid-1941 centered around Illustrious, Victorious, Formidable, Ark Royal, and Furious. I guess the fighter squadrons would be a combination of Sea Hurricanes, Martlets, and Fulmars, not sure how many of each they had at the time.
 
Yep, this is the problem with the Norway idea. You need far fewer forces to escort convoys round North Cape than you do to invade, and once you can escort convoys effectively, you don't need to invade.
 
Yep, this is the problem with the Norway idea. You need far fewer forces to escort convoys round North Cape than you do to invade, and once you can escort convoys effectively, you don't need to invade.
However, you cannot underestimate the need to "do something" and I can see Winston thinking invading northern Norway is a great idea, especially once the Soviet Union is invaded.
 
Risky ? Against forces inferior in number, equipement and fighting spirit ?
Advancing hundreds of km into enemy territory, far away from any base of supply? Against forces of unknown strength? (The French command of 1940 does not have the benefit of postwar hindsight.) Maybe the Italian forces are that weak. But then the Soviets expected to crush Finland in a week, the Italians expected to roll over Greece, the British never expected Japan to take Singapore... Oh, yes, and the French army expected to hold out for years against Germany, not collapse in a month.
Bullshit. The Soviet Army suffered a worse defeat in 1941...
I don't recall the German army entering Moscow.

Evacuated in North Africa, the governement can't let an enemy just sit right next door doing nothing.
France sat for seven months doing nothing from October 1939 through April 1940 with the enemy right next door. And that was with armed forces at full strength.
As for the doctrine it is already there and the dude who wrote it just happen to also be a de-facto minister of war.
De Gaulle was a clever boy with some of the right ideas about mechanized warfare. But it is a long long way from a theoretical treatise like Vers l'Armée de Métier to actual organization and procedures for actual armored troops. There are a host of details to be worked out: How many tanks in a tactical platoon? How should platoons be grouped into squadrons, battalions, and divisions? How should infantry work with tanks? How many support trucks to how many tanks? How should route marches and night lagers be formed? Should tanks have radios? What radio procedures should be used?

It took the Germans several years of experiments to get it together. The French remnants in North Africa aren't going to do it overnight. Oh, and while De Gaulle has gained a lot of prestige during the campaign, he's stlll a very junior officer. Even if the political authorities give him total authority, the dozens of senior commanders in the army will not all jump when he says "frog". (If you think they would, you know nothing of organizational politics.)

Oh, and De Gaulle had nothing to say about air power - which is an essential component of mechanized war.

Explain how german tanks would drive on the Tunisian airfields please.
Planes flying from France must take off from airfields in France, which are being overrun by German tanks.

North Africa was a net exporter of food. It even exported wine that was produced in prime cereal area because wine was more worth it. And please ignore the fact that France had the second largest gold reserve which would be enough to continue until the US would enact Lend-Lease. Also they are not fighting this war alone, theye were fighting along the largest empire in history, which had also the largest gold reserve in the world.
The question of France's gold reserve is important. It might be enough to keep the government and armed forces functioning at some level for a few months. I would note that while Britain may have had "the largest gold reserve in the world", in less than a year all British reserves of bullion and foreign currency were exhausted just supporting Britain's war effort. Britain cannot support France too.

Also what masses of refugees ?
Anyone in France who can get on anything that floats. There were huge numbers of people fleeing across France, clogging roads. This stopped with the armistice. No armistice, they continue to flee as far as they can.

The french government would probalby manage to evacuate half a million person not more. That is not massive and certainly not difficult to feed after the first winter.
I don't think anyone can say definitely how many civilians would have gotten to North Africa, but 500,000 seems low to me. Then again, it would be a relatively long trip, especially from Biscay to Morocco. Few vessels would make multiple round trips, even between Marseille and Algeria.

Many refugees would go to Britain; those might be resettled in North Africa, as the latter would be French territory. Also, many would probably flee overland into Spain. (Which will not want any refugees, but wouldn't be able to stop them all. As these refugees would be seeking passage to North Africa rather then permanent refuge, Spain might let them through.)

Anyway - as of 1940, there were about 18M people in all of French North Africa. All but about 3M were natives. Dropping 1M soldiers, refugees, officlals onto that is going to be a huge strain.

Lend Lease was more efficient than any credit could be and the US government would still enact it.
In 1941. Maybe. Not in 1940. Which is when France would need immediate unlimited credits.

Funny that they still sold things to the French government, namely 1000 75mm guns with their ammunition. Before the surrender, the French already bought...
France had a lot of stuff on order, not delivered or paid for. I can't find any reference to 75mm artillery delivered to France, Some were delivered to Britain.

Anyway the decision to sell things to the French do not rest on the US Army, but on the US Government, which would be very keen on the French continuing fighting.
Roosevelt (and Congress, and the State Department) would certainly listen to the Army's position. And as of mid-1940, nobody in the US thought of France or even Britain "continuing fighting". Churchill's defiance and the Battle of Britain eventually persuaded Americans that the war was not effectively over.

But until something like that occurs, the consensus opinion in the US will be:

Shipping arms to the Allies is throwing them away. All arms production should be used to build up US forces for defense against Axis attack. That attack may be imminent, soon after the Axis finishes off France and Britain.
Vichy France neutral ? That's good revisionist stuff dude.
When, in 1940-1942, did Vichy troops fight against the Allies? Only when attacked. When, in 1940-1942, did Axis forces operate in or from Vichy territory with French permission? Aside from allowing some planes to land and refuel en route to Iraq, I don't know of any such occasion.

900,000 French PoWs remained in German custody throughout 1940-1942.

So obviously, Vichy France was not a German ally. Nor an Ally - therefore, in an odd way, neutral.

Yeah sure, the 4th naval fleet in the world couln't stop axis shipping. I thought we were on an History not in a wehraboo asylum.
The two largest navies in the world did not succeed in blockading North Africa until 1943.

In the first part of June, french resistance was already stiffening and german units were starting to need operational pauses. This is not Hearts of Iron. Armies need supplies and the Germans were at a logistical breaking point at the end of the campaign. During the end of June they would need a week at least of operational pause due to their crappy logistic and to redeploy the Luftwaffe to airports closer to the front.
So by the end of June the Germans were slowing down only because of logistics.

That week would be used by the French to prepare their defense.
The French army had years to prepare their defenses against Germany before the war, then eight months during the war, then collapsed in eight weeks. Over half of the French army was killed, wounded, or captured. Why should scratch defenses by the remnants do any better?


2/ Hitler : His Alpha and Omega are the coming war with the USSR. The French government holding North Africa would beneath his notice.
That's an assertion without support. Germany wants an end to the war in the west, and France's continued belligerency is a problem. Not a big problem, but enough that Hitler and Germany would Do Something about it.
3/ The Royal Nay and the Marine Nationale...
Can't operate in the central Med without heavy losses. OTL, the RN lost more ships in the Med than anywhere else.


The 1st French Brigade had French and British equipement, no Lead-Lease there.
Eighth Army was receiving lots of Lend-Lease equipment. I don't know if any of it went to 1st FF Bde, but the availability of L-L insured that Britain would have enough stuff for themselves and to equip 1st FF Bde.

Also yes the 1st French Brigade had to retreat, but that was the point since the beginning. To gain time, not to stop the Germans. Also, the reason they retreated because the postion became useless at that point. But they could have probably held it longer if they had more ammunition and water (both of which ran out the day after the order of evacuation.
 
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Assuming the Axis in Africa are finished in 1941, or the Italians alone in 1940, it leads me back to what next? Eventually, perhaps sooner the Allies will be on the offense.
I pictured an Anglo/French landing in Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily in 1942, maybe something in the Balkans too depending on how that shakes out. Possibly an American-led landing in the north of France in 1943, though that might have to wait until 1944..
 
Yep, this is the problem with the Norway idea. You need far fewer forces to escort convoys round North Cape than you do to invade, and once you can escort convoys effectively, you don't need to invade.
True, except once the invasion is driven home then even smaller convoy escourt forces are needed. Theres a long term pay off here in return for a temporary spike in investment. That pay off extends in other directions as well.

Would the RN want to try to attack Norway if they are opposed by a decent number of German Aircraft?...
Depends on exactly when this invasion is executed. OTL the Germans let the Arctic convoys slide by for the remainder of 1941. A actual operational group was not established in Northern Norway until early 1942. The exact numbers varied from month to month, tho a average of 300 aircraft or slightly less operated out of all of Norway 1942-1944. In 1942 the Germans had penetrated the British convoy codes & were able to surge the number of operational aircraft to attack the PQ17 & PQ18 convoys. As with Op TORCH the invasion force used a different set of codes, that were opaque to the Germans. Theres also the question of if a sucessful Deception op diverts German attention and strength elsewhere. In November 1942 the TORCH Op saw a series of sucessfull deception ops surrounding it. Earlier in 1942 this may have been less effective. If the first warning the Germans have is of RAF & FAA aircraft hammering their airfields then it may not be the air battle the Germans would hope for. Theres also the question of RAF air cover from the northern USSR air bases they were using in early 1942.

Advancing hundreds of km into enemy territory, far away from any base of supply? Against forces of unknown strength? (The French command of 1940 does not have the benefit of postwar hindsight.)
Actually they did have a accurate take on Italian garrisons in Lybia in June 1940.

France sat for seven months doing nothing from October 1939 through April 1940 with the enemy right next door. And that was with armed forces at full strength.
No, they were not at full strength. The French army as mobilized by May 1940 lacked the additional 20-25 divisions thought needed for offensive operations, lacked the planned equipment, lacked key catagories of specialists, less than half had completed the necessary training cycle. the idea this army was at "full strength" indicates a iggnorance of the subject.

Planes flying from France must take off from airfields in France, which are being overrun by German tanks.
OTL the French evacuated over 400 aircraft by the cease fire, and had a similar number on airfields far from any German tanks, ready to fly.


The question of France's gold reserve is important. It might be enough to keep the government and armed forces functioning at some level for a few months. I would note that while Britain may have had "the largest gold reserve in the world", in less than a year all British reserves of bullion and foreign currency were exhausted just supporting Britain's war effort. Britain cannot support France too.
At the spending estimated for a sucessful French Army the gold and currency reserves were budgeted to last over two years for a army of 80+ divisions and a air force strength of far over 5000 aircraft. How is it this 'cash' would dissipate faster when there is a much smaller army to pay for?


Anyone in France who can get on anything that floats. There were huge numbers of people fleeing across France, clogging roads. This stopped with the armistice. No armistice, they continue to flee as far as they can.
What does a armistice have to do with it? With the government deciding to fight on there would be no armistice or cease fire. What are you thinking here?


I don't think anyone can say definitely how many civilians would have gotten to North Africa, but 500,000 seems low to me. Then again, it would be a relatively long trip, especially from Biscay to Morocco. Few vessels would make multiple round trips, even between Marseille and Algeria.
What do "civilians"have to do with this? The evacuation underway OTL was of military personnel. Mostly skilled & trained specialits. Any civilians that were headed for Africa were incidental and in small numbers. when the evacuation started in mid June the military had control of the ports and docks. There was no mass embarkation of civilians.

Roosevelt (and Congress, and the State Department) would certainly listen to the Army's position. And as of mid-1940, nobody in the US thought of France or even Britain "continuing fighting". Churchill's defiance and the Battle of Britain eventually persuaded Americans that the war was not effectively over.
The collapse of France percipitated the War Acts mobilizing the US military, and imeadiate emergency measure to support Britain. Why would a French government continuing to fight delay any of that????

Shipping arms to the Allies is throwing them away. All arms production should be used to build up US forces for defense against Axis attack. That attack may be imminent, soon after the Axis finishes off France and Britain.
The America First faction thought that way. But, neither Roosevelts cabinet, the senior military leaders, or a majority in Congress considered it. The balance established 1939 between US rearmament and arming the Allies continued after France collapsed. Why would this change if the French do not quit?

Can't operate in the central Med without heavy losses. OTL, the RN lost more ships in the Med than anywhere else.
...and other times the losses were very light. ie: the convoys of Op TIGER ran the entire length of the Med with negligable losses. In 1940 the Italians were unprepared for war & by July still poorly mobilized. With Allied airfields available in Tunisia and the combined weight of both navies Mediteranean fleets the Italaians are out match. The only hope for the Axis position in Lybia is if the German send the bulk of their air force to Italy. Assuming the logistics of such a move can be resolved swiftly then the Allies have a real fight on their hands.
 
That's an assertion without support. Germany wants an end to the war in the west, and France's continued belligerency is a problem. Not a big problem, but enough that Hitler and Germany would Do Something about it.
If the French can get assorted personnel into NA, along with some of the air force and a lot of the fleet, and form up the manpower they have there into divisions... what is Germany likely to do? What are they capable of doing?
 
If the French can get assorted personnel into NA, along with some of the air force and a lot of the fleet, and form up the manpower they have there into divisions... what is Germany likely to do? What are they capable of doing?
Pay Franco's price and close the Straits of Gibraltar/move on Morocco to cut off supplies to the French. That means no Barbarossa, but then letting the French build up in North Africa and driving Italy out of the war wasn't a course of events Hitler could allow.
 
Pay Franco's price and close the Straits of Gibraltar/move on Morocco to cut off supplies to the French. That means no Barbarossa, but then letting the French build up in North Africa and driving Italy out of the war wasn't a course of events Hitler could allow.
no Barbarossa... that seems like a steep price that Hitler might not be willing to pay... could he send some forces to NA without getting Spain involved, as he did with Rommel in OTL? Spain's price for entering the war was pretty hefty IIRC... lots of grain, coal, etc...
 
no Barbarossa... that seems like a steep price that Hitler might not be willing to pay... could he send some forces to NA without getting Spain involved, as he did with Rommel in OTL? Spain's price for entering the war was pretty hefty IIRC... lots of grain, coal, etc...
Given the continued existence of the French Navy, anything that tries to cross will die, and iirc most transport traffic during the Mediterranean campaign went around the Cape and through Suez anyways.
 
no Barbarossa... that seems like a steep price that Hitler might not be willing to pay... could he send some forces to NA without getting Spain involved, as he did with Rommel in OTL? Spain's price for entering the war was pretty hefty IIRC... lots of grain, coal, etc...
He didn't decide on Barbarossa until December 1940 and that was in response to a variety of things, one of which was the deal with Vichy and how they helped turn France into a resource farm to help the German war effort. No Vichy makes it hard to even make Barbarossa happen materially speaking.
Not sure how he could successfully get forces into North Africa without Spain. Leaving the French supply line via Gibraltar open would mean they only get stronger materially, which is a huge problem given the French fleet being available to cut off Italian supply lines to Libya. Sending more forces to Libya is basically just putting men in the sack for when supplies are cut off. Plus the number of men that would need to be sent to fight off both the French and British in Libya would make the material supply situation too difficult to deal with given the internal logistics of the colony. Fighting just the British is one thing with an axis-favorable Vichy west of Libya, but a two front war against a combined Allied navy is just a non-starter. Not only that, but Mussolini's political position couldn't tolerate the loss of Libya and Sicily becoming the front line, which means Hitler needs to do something ASAP to deal with the French. Plus having a French government in exile nearby with a navy isn't good for trying to hold down France and turn it into a resource farm.

BTW Spain's price for entry wasn't materially prohibitive. They only wanted 100,000 tons of grain, the USSR was offering 1 million more tons of grain for free if they were allowed to join the Axis pact. Barbarossa used up far more fuel than Spain asked for. The biggest sticking point was the lack of willingness to give Franco all the Vichy colonies he demanded, in part because Hitler didn't want to ruin the good situation they had with Vichy making France extremely lucrative to occupy with very few men (something like 100,000 or less by late 1940). No Barbarossa means not only are huge resources available to sustain Spain, but also end up with a net savings given how many divisions Germany could demobilize/not form compared to OTL, which creating a fully motorized force to operate in North Africa with the best and latest equipment. Beyond that, if the Mediterranean takes priority the savings from not launching the Battle of Britain would be pretty immense. Though the Brits save quite a lot themselves, it was a vastly more disproportionately costly operation to the Luftwaffe than the RAF. With the Luftwaffe spared those losses and supplies spend it has a really large budget to commit to operations out of Spain. Plus by taking Gibraltar and being able to commit Uboats at will to the region, the Allies are going to have a lot to worry about.

Given the continued existence of the French Navy, anything that tries to cross will die, and iirc most transport traffic during the Mediterranean campaign went around the Cape and through Suez anyways.
Most did, but a lot of critical stuff went through Gibraltar, including all the critical supply convoys to Malta. Not only that, but with the French needing shipping it pretty much has to go through Gibraltar other wise the 400% greater convoy run distance, which has to also then cut across the Italian bases in the Central Mediterranean, creates an insurmountable supply problems that the limited pool of surviving Allied shipping in 1940-41 cannot sustain.
 
Pay Franco's price and close the Straits of Gibraltar/move on Morocco to cut off supplies to the French. That means no Barbarossa, but then letting the French build up in North Africa and driving Italy out of the war wasn't a course of events Hitler could allow.
I suspect Franco's demands for entering the war were deliberately unrealistic so that he could keep Spain out of it. If Franco was unwilling to go to war IOTL with France as an axis vassal, I think he'd be even more unwilling with an active allied power on his country's doorstep, particularly one with a territorial dispute with Spain. Perhaps Hitler might decide it's better to deal with someone more maleable ...
 

nbcman

Donor
I suspect Franco's demands for entering the war were deliberately unrealistic so that he could keep Spain out of it. If Franco was unwilling to go to war IOTL with France as an axis vassal, I think he'd be even more unwilling with an active allied power on his country's doorstep, particularly one with a territorial dispute with Spain. Perhaps Hitler might decide it's better to deal with someone more maleable ...
Not to mention that Franco's demand would probably be higher than OTL since Spain wouldn't be gaining colonies from Vichy France without a fight. Spain would have to fight the combined Commonwealth and French forces and a few decrepit Spanish cruisers and destroyers aren't going to keep the Axis supply lines open in the Western Med any more than the overmatched RM would be able to keep the supply lines open in the Central Med.
 
I suspect Franco's demands for entering the war were deliberately unrealistic so that he could keep Spain out of it. If Franco was unwilling to go to war IOTL with France as an axis vassal, I think he'd be even more unwilling with an active allied power on his country's doorstep, particularly one with a territorial dispute with Spain. Perhaps Hitler might decide it's better to deal with someone more maleable ...
Per some Spanish scholars he was actually pretty disappointed Hitler didn't give him what he needed to join in.
Spanish wikipedia:
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco#Segunda_Guerra_Mundial._La_etapa_fascista
Later, when in June 1940 Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, at the urging of Mussolini, Franco changed his declaration of neutrality to non-belligerency. 294 Taking advantage of the situation, on June 14, 1940, Spain occupied Tangier . 295

Later, on the occasion of the fall of France, Franco congratulated Hitler:

Dear Führer: At the moment when the German armies under your direction are leading the greatest battle in history to a victorious end, I would like to express my admiration and enthusiasm and that of my people, who observe with deep emotion the glorious course of the fight that they consider their own. [...] I do not need to assure you how great it is my desire not to stay out of your troubles and how great it is for my satisfaction to present you on every occasion services that you value as valuable.

Letter of Franco sent Hitler on June 3 on the occasion of the fall of France. 296
At first Hitler dismissed Franco's offer, but the difficulties he encountered in his war against England made him think about the convenience of Spain's incorporation into the conflict. On August 8, 1940, Berlin produced a report on the costs and benefits of Spain's entry into the war. Spain, without the help of Germany, would hardly endure the war effort. With this forecast, the advantage centered on the suppression of Spanish exports of minerals to England, the access of Germany to English-owned iron and copper mines in Spain and the control of the Strait of Gibraltar.. The drawbacks would be: a foreseeable British occupation of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, the expansion of Gibraltar, the possible connection of the British forces with the French forces in Morocco and the need to supply Spain with essential products and fuel (since Spain these materials were supplied in third countries); also, the need to rearm it, adding the difficulties that the narrow roads and the different gauge would mean for the transport of war material. 298 A second detailed study of the assistance that Spain would need to enter the war discouraged the Germans. That summer there were numerous contacts between Spain and Germany. On September 13, 1940, Serrano SuñerHe made a trip to Nazi Germany as Franco's special envoy. Serrano informed the Germans that Spain would enter the war on the German side in exchange for aid, arms and territories of North Africa, where Spain could re-establish an empire. 299

In this meeting Serrano would leave a message for Hitler and recorded on video by the Germans, in which he said:

Franco's Falangist Spain brings the Führer of the German people his love and friendship, and his loyalty of yesterday, today and forever.

Ramon Serrano Suner message, Germany, September 1940. 299
According to Reinhard Spitzy, who was secretary and advisor to Joachim von Ribbentrop (German Minister of Foreign Affairs), Minister Ribbentrop was not surprised by Serrano Suñer's offer to enter the war and suggested to the Spanish envoy that " After all, Spain was no more than a puppet of Germany "and that" Hitler was not very interested in what Spain needed to take part in the war. " 299 The enthusiasm shown by Franco before the entry of Spain into the war, which with the subsequent distribution of Africa would fulfill his imperialist ambitions, contrasted with the skepticism shown by Germany. 300Franco's ambitions regarding his gains in the war were French Morocco, a part of Algeria and the expansion of the Spanish Sahara and the territory of Equatorial Guinea . 301 There was also talk in Hendaya of handing over to Spain the French Catalonia . 302There were also voices in the hard wing of the Falange asking for the annexation of Portugal . 303 However, these ambitions clashed with the Germans, who, in exchange for their military aid, demanded the surrender of one of the Canary Islands , Fernando Poo and Annobón , in exchange for French Morocco.304 Despite these disagreements, in a letter from Franco to Serrano Súñer in September 1940 he expressed that "he believed blindly in the victory of the Axis and was fully determined to enter the war." 305 On October 16, 1940, Franco appointed his third government, in which Serrano Súñer replaced Beigbeder in Foreign Affairs, considered an allyophile. 306

On October 23, 1940, Franco left, together with Serrano Suñer, from San Sebastián to France, where the Hendaye Interview took place between Hitler and Franco. Although Franco left with a lot of time in advance, he arrived five minutes late to the appointment, which caused him great displeasure. 299 According to Preston, «Franco went to the historic meeting with Hitler in Hendaye in the hope of obtaining an adequate reward for his repeated offers to join the Axis. Later his propagandists would affirm that Franco brilliantly contained the Nazi hordes in Hendaya holding off a threatening Hitler. In fact, the examination of the meeting does not indicate an excessive pressure on the part of Hitler in favor of the Spanish belligerence ». 308According to Reinhard Spitzy, Hitler went to the meeting thinking that Franco had a duty to enter the war on the German side and for all the favors that Germany did to Franco during the Spanish Civil War. 299 This also affirmed that Hitler, during the conversation, succeeded in persuading Franco to enter the war as an ally of Germany. 299 Serrano Suñer would affirm that Franco accepted Hitler's proposal to enter the war and, in return, wanted some African territories and protectorates. 299 Serrano would also affirm that, for an hour and a half, Franco was explaining to Hitler his ambitions and that the German only yawned again and again during all that time. 299Serrano also commented that, given the expectations of being able to annex Morocco , Franco was like "an excited child, fond of what had been his desire to always: the world that had formed as a great military leader." 309The meeting lasted for several hours. Franco's colonial demands, which clashed with Hitler's other interests, were not addressed by him; and Hitler did not get flexibility on the part of Franco in his pretensions. Both would comment on the meeting in a dismissive tone. Hitler would say "these guys there is nothing to do" and would prefer that you bring forth three or four wheels before returning to talk with Franco, whom he dubbed "Latin charlatan." Later he would comment to Mussolini that Franco "had arrived at Generalissimo and head of the Spanish State only by accident. He was not a man who was up to the problems of political and material development of his country. 310 Goebbelshe noted in his diary that "the Führer does not have a good opinion of Spain and Franco. [...] They are not at all ready for war, they are hidalgos of an empire that no longer exists ». 311 For his part, Franco would comment to Serrano Suñer that: "These people are intolerable; They want us to go to war in exchange for nothing. " 312Nevertheless, a protocol was established that "constituted a formal commitment on the part of Spain to enter the war on the side of the Axis." 313 According to Preston, in November 1940 Franco "took several dangerous and unnecessary initiatives, which can only be interpreted as indicating his willingness to enter the war on the side of the Axis." 311

Not to mention that Franco's demand would probably be higher than OTL since Spain wouldn't be gaining colonies from Vichy France without a fight. Spain would have to fight the combined Commonwealth and French forces and a few decrepit Spanish cruisers and destroyers aren't going to keep the Axis supply lines open in the Western Med any more than the overmatched RM would be able to keep the supply lines open in the Central Med.
Why? He already asked for what was beyond the ability of Spain to actually digest. Gaining colonies from France would be done with Germany and probably mostly by Germany and occupied by Spain. Spain won't be alone against the British given that without Barbarossa Germany has a lot of men and material to pour into Spain to defend it, as well as air power and Uboats. With Gibraltar out of the way the French are strangled of most supply, while the British ability to do more than raid the coast at night isn't particularly high. Plus Germany had experience fighting in Spain, including naval air operations against Republican and Soviet naval unit, the British didn't. Raiding occupied France, which BTW didn't have a navy beyond the KM to defend it, was a lot easier than trying to hit Spain without being spotted ahead of time.
 
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In a France fights on and there is no armistice in June 1940 scenario, I can see Mussolini viewing the whole situation as an opportunity and deciding to seize the initiative. While the Germans are busy getting their logistics straightened out and then getting on with conquering, consolidating, and occupying the rest of France, Mussolini orders an invasion of Tunisia from Libya, goes ahead with the invasion of Malta, and orders his fleet to interdict the stream of ships going from Southern France to North Africa.

I'm not claiming these are good ideas or that they will all work (although I don't Malta could have been seized) but I could easily doing this because he will view such operations as a chance for the Italians to win victories in an Italian only theater.
 
In a France fights on and there is no armistice in June 1940 scenario, I can see Mussolini viewing the whole situation as an opportunity and deciding to seize the initiative. While the Germans are busy getting their logistics straightened out and then getting on with conquering, consolidating, and occupying the rest of France, Mussolini orders an invasion of Tunisia from Libya, goes ahead with the invasion of Malta, and orders his fleet to interdict the stream of ships going from Southern France to North Africa.

I'm not claiming these are good ideas or that they will all work (although I don't Malta could have been seized) but I could easily doing this because he will view such operations as a chance for the Italians to win victories in an Italian only theater.
Part of the problem IOTL with the Malta invasion plan was the Italians' faulty intel that it was much more strongly defended than it was in 1940. What changes here?
 
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