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View Full Version : what if -- no Afrika Korps



xinhui
08 Jul 13,, 19:47
When I look at the map of North Afrika, there is really no economic value to be added the Germany's war machine. (no oil there yet) It seems to me that resource can be better use elsewhere. No, I am not saying it will change the outcome of the war as the Wehrmacht will still get their butt kicked by the Red Army but imagine what a 250,000 men strong Afrikakorps lost Tunisia could do to to the Allied Powers' Italian campaign later.

I am no strategist but I'd like'em ROIs -- what is the economical ROI on investing on North Afrika? besides the political leverage with that Italian dude? I mean North Africa has no man power, no oil, no resources, no wine/women, no industrial base to draw upon.

Minskaya
08 Jul 13,, 20:08
Not positive xinhui, but I imagine North Africa was envisioned as an Axis springboard to the oil rich Middle East.

Albany Rifles
08 Jul 13,, 20:14
What Minnie said.

Mihais
08 Jul 13,, 20:33
The assumption is it was thought over.It wasn't.OKH was busy planning Barbarossa and the initial mission specifically called for a defense of Tripolitania,while precluding any attack.That Rommel understood it the other way led to the whole show.But it was a mission looking for objectives,not the other way after Rommel took the initiative.Hitler supported it because he liked to attack and the Italians agreed for obvious reasons.
Btw,if the effort would have been put earlier,Rommel could have visited Suez.As it was, Panzer Armee Afrika was reinforced in due time to lose Africa.And AG B had no reserves at Stalingrad.Which lost the war in the East and thus the whole war.

kato
08 Jul 13,, 20:56
I imagine North Africa was envisioned as an Axis springboard to the oil rich Middle East.
The Africa Campaign was meant to ultimately deny the Allies access to the Mediterranean by taking both the Suez channel and ultimately at the other end using Spanish compliance to take Gibraltar (Operation Felix planned for 1941, derailed by Franco). Mussolini's further aim in the East was to take the Sudan (after Egypt), connecting his colonies in Libya and Abessinia. The driving factor in this wasn't the Afrika Korps and Rommel though but Mussolini.

There are varying interpretations regarding the springboard effect. There are some historians that suggest that, once Suez would be taken Northeast-Africa would be used not so much as a springboard as as a stable base from which to support pro-German local troops in the Middle East (Iraqis, Armenians etc) who'd overthrow British colonial rule and hence transfer the oil supply in the area from Allies to Axis.

xinhui
09 Jul 13,, 06:23
fair enough, how about this question "imagine what a 250,000 men strong Afrikakorps lost Tunisia could do to to the Allied Powers' Italian campaign later. "

Doktor
09 Jul 13,, 06:38
Not positive xinhui, but I imagine North Africa was envisioned as an Axis springboard to the oil rich Middle East.

Africa was envisioned to be the other coast of "Mare Nostrum", by Mussolini. After he got overrun in Egypt, Abyssinia, and had little to no prospects in Greece, Hitler had really no option but to help Italians, or would face double front on the south.

snapper
09 Jul 13,, 08:59
You are still at war with Britain; cutting the Suez canal supply line from India, Singapore etc helps close the Med.

Stitch
09 Jul 13,, 17:28
From what I've read, my understanding is that the ultimate goal of the DAK was to eventually link up with Army Group South somewhere around the Caucuses by moving east from Libya through Egypt and up along the east coast of the Meditteranean and through Turkey (which was not yet a member of the Allied Forces) in order to secure the resource-rich Ukraine.

kato
09 Jul 13,, 19:25
No, I am not saying it will change the outcome of the war as the Wehrmacht will still get their butt kicked by the Red Army but imagine what a 250,000 men strong Afrikakorps lost Tunisia could do to to the Allied Powers' Italian campaign later.
Well, no Afrikakorps means Mussolini comes under pressure domestically. I could, in that case, see Hitler and Mussolini pressure Vichy France into assisting Italian Libya. I know Petain didn't want to have anything to do with that. To get them there both Hitler and Mussolini would need to make concessions - i could see e.g. the Toulon fleet sortieing into the Eastern Mediterranean, possibly (with a good negotiator on the Vichy side) Italy withdrawing from occupied Savoy etc. A more confident and - in external politics - successful Vichy could lead to more domestic support for the regime. Wouldn't change the war, but could change some campaigns.

JAD_333
09 Jul 13,, 23:06
fair enough, how about this question "imagine what a 250,000 men strong Afrikakorps lost Tunisia could do to to the Allied Powers' Italian campaign later. "

If I get your question right, without Allied control of Tunisia there would have been no Italian campaign as we know it.

Doktor
09 Jul 13,, 23:41
If I get your question right, without Allied control of Tunisia there would have been no Italian campaign as we know it.

:wors:

JAD_333
10 Jul 13,, 00:37
:wors:

Stand, brave knight.:)

Officer of Engineers
10 Jul 13,, 01:36
Oh let him grovel. People here kiss your ass all the time. It's rare someone is kissing your feet.

astralis
10 Jul 13,, 03:19
in the context of fall-winter 1940, it was just to keep mussolini in the fight and hold the british. ideally, kicking them out of egypt, which would have been nice but was not vital to the Reich (or to the british for that matter).

remember that hitler fully expected the USSR to be a done deal within four months.

JAD_333
10 Jul 13,, 06:20
Oh let him grovel. People here kiss your ass all the time. It's rare someone is kissing your feet.

I'm way behind a certain Canadian officer on that score. :)

JAD_333
10 Jul 13,, 06:25
in the context of fall-winter 1940, it was just to keep mussolini in the fight and hold the british. ideally, kicking them out of egypt, which would have been nice but was not vital to the Reich (or to the british for that matter).

remember that hitler fully expected the USSR to be a done deal within four months.

One reads the whole history of it and comes away with the sense that it was just a big sand box for Rommel to play in, and if he ran out of tanks and fuel...oh well. Does anyone else get that sense?

Doktor
10 Jul 13,, 06:33
It was so obvious and in front of my nose.

JAD put it is so little words. Oh well... me standing - - - > :Dancing-Banana:

1979
13 Jul 13,, 19:13
You are still at war with Britain; cutting the Suez canal supply line from India, Singapore etc helps close the Med.

The Med was allready closed, due to british reluctance to use it, except in extreme circumstances .

astralis
15 Jul 13,, 02:45
not really. in this time period, the british had no issue putting troops in to assist greece against the germans, although given the correlation of forces it wasn't a surprise when the british were bounced out. moreover, the british sank the french fleet to keep it out of german hands, and also had no issue resupplying the forces that would beat the italians like a dirty rug, and fight rommel to a standstill.

Monash
17 Jul 13,, 12:35
Success in Africa would in theory have given the Germans control of the Lebanon and from there a base for a push into Iraq and Mosul which did have that most precious of substances for Hitler - oil. And there would have been little or nothing that Britain could have done about it in the short term, to committed elsewhere. But the big thing for the England was always the Canal. Hence the resources put into making sure the African Corps did not succeed. (Of course the Aussies with a little help from the Kiwis made sure that! :whome:)

1979
06 Aug 13,, 19:15
not really. in this time period, the british had no issue putting troops in to assist greece against the germans, although given the correlation of forces it wasn't a surprise when the british were bounced out. moreover, the british sank the french fleet to keep it out of german hands, and also had no issue resupplying the forces that would beat the italians like a dirty rug, and fight rommel to a standstill.

:slap:
Sir, the sunked french fleet consisted of the ww1 battleship Bretagne and some gunboats .
The french navy made it to Toulon .

And for the original question , merchants convoys traveled around africa , not trough the med, with some notable exceptions .

rogerwilko
01 Nov 13,, 05:31
Did the axis ever bomb the canal to deny allied use?

astralis
01 Nov 13,, 13:50
germans wanted to capture the suez for their own use.

Norseman
09 Nov 13,, 21:06
Did the axis ever bomb the canal to deny allied use? Approximately 34 night attacks between the period of July-October 1941 were made against the Suez Canal, mainly by Ju88's based in Greece. Damage was minimal.

SouthKorean
11 Dec 13,, 17:42
From what I understand it was to open a route to the Middle East which was vital in oil, and destroy the British grip on the Mediterranean. Keep in mind, the Brits controlled three extremely important locations-the Suez and Gibraltar, the gateway into the Med, and Malta which is at the very center of the Mediterranean. The DAK (I'm referring it to a name for all Deutsche units in Africa. There were many other Deutsche units besides the DAK in Africa, though many use the DAK to denote all Deutsche units) was also created to aid the Italians fight the Brits in Africa.

Nightowl
24 Dec 13,, 20:03
It seems to me like Italy was just dead weight for the Germans and they would've been better off without them. But perhaps inept Italy has some function as a placeholder - better than having another enemy there. Although wouldn't been easier for the Germans to just seal off the Alps to secure the south? Or what if Hitler limited his support to the Italian mainland? Or the Gothic line?

Samuels creek
23 Jul 14,, 07:00
The British lost a lot of equipment when they ran with their tail between their legs to Dunkirk. Germans would of had an idea just how much they had prior to removing the allies off their border. British lost a lot of equipment in Greece. Germany felt with its wolf packs and offenses elsewhere it could do enough to stop Brittan getting in her way with the ideological war with the east.

Rommel was sent to have a look around, to see whats left and why those Italians were inept against Australians. He told high command he could close Suez.

Those men and supplies lost were well worth their effort, Brittan lost a lot of friends defending Nth Africa, had to sell more of her soul to Americans. Lost a bit or Persia.

Lets say the Africa core was in the east, I can see they would of been useful trying to reach Paulus when he got surrounded. But what about those convoys to Russia from Brittan?How strong would they of been if England was aloud to go about its business however it pleased (like America)

Anyway, how many men the Germans lose at Kursk? about the size of the Africa core? chicken feed really. Russians lot 750 thousand over those 4 days.

Monash
23 Jul 14,, 13:21
Answering the original question, from my reading on the topic there was never really meant to be an 'Africa Korp', that continent being outside of Germany's immediate strategic objectives. Down the track, assuming the war went favorably there was the possibility of a push on into the oil fields of Persia vi southern Russia and the Caucuses but that was a long term objective at best. Everything I have read suggests that the Rommel and his famous Korp were a hasty solution to an unexpected/unwanted problem.

At the start of the war everyone including Britain assumed that Italy was in a strong position in Africa and would take the offensive. After all there were almost 200,000 (on paper well equipped) Italian troops in Libya and another quarter of a million or so in Somalia and Ethiopia. What no-one counted on was the virtual rout of Mussolini's Army in Libya in the face of O'Connell's brilliant first offensive. Hitler was virtually forced to commit troops into North Africa in order to save his erstwhile ally from disaster. If the Germans hadn't arrived Britain would have swept on through Libya and into Vichy French occupied Tunisia & Algeria.

Firstly, there would have been the very real prospect of Mussolini being deposed from power in the face of such a complete military and political disaster - he personalty ordered the initial Italian offensive on the assumption that Britain would surrender in short order. Secondly the loss of Africa by pro Nazi regimes would have opened the entire southern Med up to British shipping and exposed southern France and Italy itself to a (at that stage of course purely hypothetical) British counterattack.

Of course Rommel did arrive and rest as they say is history. But he was only sent in because Mussolini got his nuts caught in the proverbial ringer and needed someone competent to extricate them. If he hadn't shown up - the course of the war would have been dramatically changed.

Vargas
11 Apr 15,, 17:31
Answering the original question, from my reading on the topic there was never really meant to be an 'Africa Korp', that continent being outside of Germany's immediate strategic objectives. Down the track, assuming the war went favorably there was the possibility of a push on into the oil fields of Persia vi southern Russia and the Caucuses but that was a long term objective at best. Everything I have read suggests that the Rommel and his famous Korp were a hasty solution to an unexpected/unwanted problem.

At the start of the war everyone including Britain assumed that Italy was in a strong position in Africa and would take the offensive. After all there were almost 200,000 (on paper well equipped) Italian troops in Libya and another quarter of a million or so in Somalia and Ethiopia. What no-one counted on was the virtual rout of Mussolini's Army in Libya in the face of O'Connell's brilliant first offensive. Hitler was virtually forced to commit troops into North Africa in order to save his erstwhile ally from disaster. If the Germans hadn't arrived Britain would have swept on through Libya and into Vichy French occupied Tunisia & Algeria.

Firstly, there would have been the very real prospect of Mussolini being deposed from power in the face of such a complete military and political disaster - he personalty ordered the initial Italian offensive on the assumption that Britain would surrender in short order. Secondly the loss of Africa by pro Nazi regimes would have opened the entire southern Med up to British shipping and exposed southern France and Italy itself to a (at that stage of course purely hypothetical) British counterattack.

Of course Rommel did arrive and rest as they say is history. But he was only sent in because Mussolini got his nuts caught in the proverbial ringer and needed someone competent to extricate them. If he hadn't shown up - the course of the war would have been dramatically changed.

I believe that the alliance with Italy and Hitler's commitment to Mussolini was the worse error he ever did. When the Kursk offensive happened, almost the entire Red Army was around Kursk and Germany sent a pincer movement to isolate and destroy them. The north of the pincer movement was led by Walther von Model and the South part by Erich von Manstein. The von Model wing of the attack advanced very, very slowly, because the Soviets were trowing absolutely everything they got to defend there. Nevertheless von Manstein's attack was almost finishing encircling the entirety of the Soviet's force by doing a 360 degree turn and meeting up with Model. Then Sicily was invaded and Hitler called for everyone to back off to their original positions and then sent troops to aid Italy. Erich von Manstein said the complete truth when he wrote that Germany trowed her victory away at this move.

Remember that this was 1943, that the Soviets were already so desperate they were mobilizing anyone from ages 14 to 70, including invalids and sick people, and there were already entire regiments of women. They had 90% of their force around Kursk at the time and there wasn't any possible way of mobilizing any more people without completely collapsing the country.

Now, about the Afrikakorps itself, I believe that if they only had did an elastic defense instead of going frequently into the offensive, they would still loose that land, but it would take a year longer than they did for the British Empire and later Americans to amass enough people to beat the Desert Fox up. The Afrikakorps probably would have never achieved the star status that they achieved during their offensives, but overall they would have been much more effective for the war overall.