WI: Rommel was right about Malta

If there's no BoB then there's likely a lot of changes all over, e,g Malta might have more than Glouster Sea Gladiators in crates
With no BoB, Matla probably has a lot of Hurricanes and at least some Spitfires, if not a full wing of Spits. Singapore and Malaya probably have far more fighters as well
 
It would be better for the Axis to fight the RAF with the Axis based in Sicily and the RAF based in Malta rather than with the Axis based in France and the RAF based in the UK. Malta had limited airfield capacity and the masses of RAF planes could be vulnerable. Fuel would be a constant issue for a large RAF force in Malta. Also spare parts.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
It would be better for the Axis to fight the RAF with the Axis based in Sicily and the RAF based in Malta rather than with the Axis based in France and the RAF based in the UK. Malta had limited airfield capacity and the masses of RAF planes could be vulnerable. Fuel would be a constant issue for a large RAF force in Malta. Also spare parts.
I agree with you on the tactical level. However, let us say that the BOB was "won" by the Luftwaffe, not in the sense that the USM is launched, but to a level where Hitler's hopes that the British would see sense, make peace & leave him free to attack Russia.

Now, Italy may claim Malta as a prize, but I doubt it would be handed over. In any event, Malta now doesn't matter. There is no North African front, no Axis convoys to prey upon. If you were the Axis & without hindsight, would you give up the BOB for Malta? After all, Germany had no ambitions in North Africa in June 1940.
 
Here is another factor - and this is a bit of an unknown to me.

I think (sic!) that I read somewhere that the Maltese population was not 100% united in having their island flattened because of the British. I have no reference at all, just a piece of memory that scoots around.

And yes, I have been to Malta.

It was apparent as the food situation really got critical and rations were very tight. Not all were happy about it.

Of course it could be interesting to speculate along the lines of Maltese asking the British to leave or something like that.
 
More importantly, with no BoB, Britain might be able to send some tanks to Malta. Those would really screw with any attempted landing.
 
More importantly, with no BoB, Britain might be able to send some tanks to Malta. Those would really screw with any attempted landing.
Even with the BoB, could have sent 50 Covenanters, and nothing of value is lost.
Can they move under their own power, at least once a week? Good enough.
Mobile Machine gun nest.
 
In 1940, fighting and winning the 'Battle of Britain' knocks the UK out of the war, if Sea Lion follows that up. Conquering Malta in 1940 leaves the UK in the war, with armaments factories getting up to speed, no 'invasion scare' to screw up UK tank production and a 'Hitler didn't even make the preliminary moves necessary attempt to invade us' propaganda victory.

In 1942 with the USA in the war Germany is on a clock, as the USA arms up and trains up. Taking Malta is a 'so what?' moment, where Germany has just spent several months with the clock running clearing an obstacle to its logistics chain. Taking Egypt in 1942 (if Rommel can pull that off, with cooperation from the senior British commanders in the region messing up yet again) destabilises the UK government (Churchill already was hauled over the coals over the fall of Singapore and the loss of Tobruk - he may not survive a third vote) and decisively shuts the Suez Canal, besides potentially threatening Russia from the SW (Okay: it's nasty terrain, but it's yet another thing for the Russians to worry about, as the Battle of Stalingrad rages and hangs in the balance.) Egypt is a big 'all in' move, and - with the USA in the war - the kind of move which Germany increasingly needs to pull off (and which it certainly won't, if it doesn't try them.)
 
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Even with the BoB, could have sent 50 Covenanters, and nothing of value is lost.
Can they move under their own power, at least once a week? Good enough.
Mobile Machine gun nest.
I was thinking more like Matilda IIs to be honest, almost nothing could crack them except air/sea attacks.

In 1940, fighting and winning the 'Battle of Britain' knocks the UK out of the war, if Sea Lion follows that up. Conquering Malta in 1940 leaves the UK in the war, with armaments factories getting up to speed, no 'invasion scare' to screw up UK tank production and a 'Hitler didn't even make the preliminary moves necessary attempt to invade us' propaganda victory.
The Med in 1940 was an Italian theatre, not a German one, so it won't affect the BoB. Further, Sealion was never going to happen, the the navy couldn't deliver on what the army claimed they'd need. The best that could be achieved would be a reverse Dieppe Raid.
 
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...The Med in 1940 was an Italian theatre, not a German one, so it won't affect the BoB...
I think I saw at least one poster upthread pursue 'the Germans do Malta in 1940 instead of the Battle of Britain'which line I consider it worth responding to.
As far as I can see 'the Med in 1940 was an Italian theatre' is a separate (and further) line of argument to the suggestion being made.
 
I think I saw at least one poster upthread pursue 'the Germans do Malta in 1940 instead of the Battle of Britain'which line I consider it worth responding to.
As far as I can see 'the Med in 1940 was an Italian theatre' is a separate (and further) line of argument to the suggestion being made.
Prior to Operation Compass Italy's weaknesses weren't obvious, so Germany getting involved in the Med would be stepping on the toes of an ally, ie, not something anyone wants to do without invitation or at least a reason, which didn't exist at the time.
 
So, I'm wondering something quite seriously: Would it have been feasible to neutralize Malta without invading? I'm thinking of something like sustained air attacks based out of Italy (runways can be patched up; naval facilities are a bit more complicated). If that could be arranged, how "right" would that have made Rommel in terms of supply interdiction issues?
 
Couldn't the Italians landing anything other than infantry?

It is harder to land tanks than infantry but I'm guessing it wouldn't be beyond the ability of teh Italians to work it out! (they had some landing craft that the Germans liked the look of IIRC from sealion threads, but I can't remember if they had vehicle versions)

But what are they going to land? I don't want to overplay an over used trope, but Italian Tanks aren't great. Non mechanised artillery is hard for infantry to attack with. And in a world of finite operational time and resources each Italian Tank you land is not something else being landed.
 
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So, I'm wondering something quite seriously: Would it have been feasible to neutralize Malta without invading? I'm thinking of something like sustained air attacks based out of Italy (runways can be patched up; naval facilities are a bit more complicated). If that could be arranged, how "right" would that have made Rommel in terms of supply interdiction issues?
That's what they tried, but presumably yes throw enough at it and it will be neutralised. But you're going to have to mobilise more forces than OTL and do so continuously to keep it neutralised, and Britain will try and stop you meaning you going to take loses as well.
 
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That's what they tried, but presumably yes throw enough at it and it will be neutralised. But your going to have to mobilise more forces that OTL and do so continuously to keep it neutralised, and Britain will try and stop you meaning you going to take loses as well.
Oh, agreed. I didn't presume it would be a no-loss situation, merely that there were resources available for a good chunk of 1940-41 that were very poorly allocated to bombing random British cities when they might have been shifted to interdicting British shipping in the Med (and incidentally, where the Brits are likely to lose more pilots due to most of the interactions taking place over the ocean...one of the big issues with the Battle of Britain was that the Brits were able to retain at least some share of their downed pilots on successful bailouts while the Germans weren't able to retain hardly any).

Granted, this question is rather more complex than Rommel being able to make a more aggressive push into Egypt, but it's not unrelated.
 
Oh, agreed. I didn't presume it would be a no-loss situation, merely that there were resources available for a good chunk of 1940-41 that were very poorly allocated to bombing random British cities when they might have been shifted to interdicting British shipping in the Med (and incidentally, where the Brits are likely to lose more pilots due to most of the interactions taking place over the ocean...one of the big issues with the Battle of Britain was that the Brits were able to retain at least some share of their downed pilots on successful bailouts while the Germans weren't able to retain hardly any).

Granted, this question is rather more complex than Rommel being able to make a more aggressive push into Egypt, but it's not unrelated.
True, but that then goes back to if the LW isn't bombing random British cities they'll be more able to put the RAF in the Med. You are right about losing RAF pilots over the Med as compared to say Sussex, but the RAF will still have some defensive advantage here. But as pointed out you need good reason for the LW to be there in large numbers, the BoB is a much more strategic operation than neutralising Malta
 
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With no BoB, Matla probably has a lot of Hurricanes and at least some Spitfires, if not a full wing of Spits. Singapore and Malaya probably have far more fighters as well
Why do you think the RAF would send home based fighters away?
I would expect much would depend on what kind of No BoB it would be but at the very least the Luftwaffe would have the same setup as they did post 1940 (e.g. some fighters for defense and fighter-bombers and bombers performing occasional nuisance raids).

Considering Britain kept a lot of troops and aircraft at home for defense and proper training while they were urgently needed abroad indicates IMO that home defense was their first priority. Even in 1941, when it became clear that the Luftwaffe had shot its bolt and was subsequently fully committed to Barbarossa, they still kept the bulk of the RAF in Britain.

It's easy to say the British would/should have released aircraft for other theatres but in reality the British wouldn't know what the Germans were up to and if they wouldn't change their minds and launch a major air offensive against Britain at a later date.
Getting aircraft/troops sent to reinforce secondary theatres back to Britain again would be time consuming so the Luftwaffe would have a serious headstart in such a scenario.

I think it is therefore very unlikely that the British would have transferred tanks, troops and aircraft in any significant number to secondary theatres as long as they perceived a genuine threat to Britain and it won't be until late 1942 when the Americans are ready to start propping up the tottering British Empire with American troops and ample lend-lease equipment that this outlook changes.
 
But what are they going to land? I don't want to overplay an over used trope, but Italian Tanks aren't great. Non mechanised artillery is hard for infantry to attack with. And in a world of finite operational time and resources each Italian Tank you land is not something else being landed.
Well non-mechanised artillery is pretty much what I was thinking actually, though I'll admit anything heavier than the Solothurn would be rather tough to man-handle. Would a 20mm shell be enough to stop a cruiser tank at close range do you think?

Considering Britain kept a lot of troops and aircraft at home for defense and proper training while they were urgently needed abroad indicates IMO that home defense was their first priority. Even in 1941, when it became clear that the Luftwaffe had shot its bolt and was subsequently fully committed to Barbarossa, they still kept the bulk of the RAF in Britain.
Yes, well a significant portion of the RAF consists of either Bomber Command (Britain was the only place they could operate from with even the hope of hitting Germany), Coastal Command (needed to keep U-boats at bay) or Training Command (needed to train new pilots). There's not a ton they could actually move out anyway.

I think it is therefore very unlikely that the British would have transferred tanks, troops and aircraft in any significant number to secondary theatres as long as they perceived a genuine threat to Britain and it won't be until late 1942 when the Americans are ready to start propping up the tottering British Empire with American troops and ample lend-lease equipment that this outlook changes.
Except they started in 1940. Anyway, the invasion scare was diminishing in late 1940.
 
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Well non-mechanised artillery is pretty much what I was thinking actually, though I'll admit anything heavier than the Solothurn would be rather tough to man-handle. Would a 20mm shell be enough to stop a cruiser tank at close range do you think?
Maybe depend on what it hits (sorry others may have better answers than this non answer :)), but your problem is you have to get that 20mm shell to the right place and at the right time (and it's going to need to be close I suspect) which as you say is hard by hand from a landing zone while you are under fire from basically anything in your half of the island
 
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