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Old 09-21-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Which made Greece strategic, given the situation as it developed and obtained. Its denial to the Allies was the part that was strategic. Oh, how infuriated Adolf must have been when he found out Mussolini opened up that particular Pandora's Box.


The last sentence is quite incorrect. Anything that made it more feasible to pound Ploesti--one of the strategic bombing targets most worth hitting on German-controlled soil--was by definition strategic. Crete was like Greece: useless to Germany in and of itself, but essential to deny to the Allies and secure the Balkan flank.

As for the invadability of Greece, even if you consider the Gulf of Corinth and north Ionian coast strategically inaccessible to invasion due to the high probability of devastating aero-naval interdiction, it's worth pointing out that not only do the Peloponnese have a lot of beaches and small coastal ports to garrison and defend, but the basic terrain of the Peloponnese that makes it defensible also makes lateral reinforcement difficult, especially for armor--normally the force expected to react fastest to crush a WWII amphibious landing.

If Crete is held instead of lost by the Allies, staging becomes an order of magnitude easier (and therefore, a larger Axis garrison is needed). None of the other Aegean islands are safe from raids, even invasions. What is more, the sword of the narrow isthmus at Corinth cuts both ways. Land near there (perhaps at Nafplion) and cut it off, and not only is that bottleneck highly defensible, but every Axis unit in the Peloponnese is now trapped and likely in serious trouble from an energized partisan movement that smells liberation. The only way out is at Patra (in those days, I believe by ferry or other sea transport) or some other path across the Gulf of Corinth. If the garrison is Bulgarian or Italian, perhaps it isn't even highly motivated to resist much.

The crux of our differing interpretations seems to be (if I understand your position correctly) that you don't consider something strategic unless there's something there to want, or a path to somewhere there's something to want. I consider something strategic if there's something there the enemy wants that I can deny him, even if it's not much direct use to me. And if that secures a flank and makes it easier to go about my other wartime business, I consider that strategic. If our definitions were matched against one another's in a grand strategic WWII strategy game, I have to say that I like my odds. (Too bad we probably don't live close enough to put this to a real test--it would be intriguing.)
Third Reich? We're on. I'll even play the Italians. I won the tourney with them at GenCon years ago.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
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Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Third Reich? We're on. I'll even play the Italians. I won the tourney with them at GenCon years ago.
Heh. 3R was the first AH boardgame I ever bought. Unfortunately, I think all versions of it abstracted strategic warfare, which makes it less interesting to hold Crete to make it easier to pound Ploesti. I haven't played that in well over twenty years--now you're bringing back memories.
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Heh. 3R was the first AH boardgame I ever bought. Unfortunately, I think all versions of it abstracted strategic warfare, which makes it less interesting to hold Crete to make it easier to pound Ploesti. I haven't played that in well over twenty years--now you're bringing back memories.
You know what I want to do once the chimps all graduate? I want to set up War In Europe in the basement and get together all my old wargaming friends and play the entire thing.

Come to think of it, I played the Italians in War In Europe, too. I always liked running things on a shoestring.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
You know what I want to do once the chimps all graduate? I want to set up War In Europe in the basement and get together all my old wargaming friends and play the entire thing.

Come to think of it, I played the Italians in War In Europe, too. I always liked running things on a shoestring.
Ah, Europa games. I used to have a 4x8 sheet of plywood I kept set up on what passed for a dinner table in my baching days, cut into fours and hinged into two parts so as to accommodate stuff like Objective: Moscow, Western Desert, etc. Another great one was Terrible Swift Sword.

For full War in Europe I think you'd actually need catwalk arrangements to reach and see the middle.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Ah, Europa games. I used to have a 4x8 sheet of plywood I kept set up on what passed for a dinner table in my baching days, cut into fours and hinged into two parts so as to accommodate stuff like Objective: Moscow, Western Desert, etc. Another great one was Terrible Swift Sword.

For full War in Europe I think you'd actually need catwalk arrangements to reach and see the middle.
Yes. We had to be really careful. Of course, I always wondered what would happen if SPI had adapted it to computer in full glory.

My vision is a kind of German high command bunker, yet with comfortable appointments such as comfortable stools and barmaids wearing dirndls. Also some uberhot frauleins pushing the counters around,



Also, I would have a continuous loop of sound effects such as 1940s era telephones and teletype machines, and plenty of assistants in my little Fuhrerbunker.

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Old 09-21-2009, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Norwood, MN
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Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Had the Axis dropped both the pre-Crete 7 Fliegerkorps and the Folgore divisions on Malta in a concerted assault, well supported by sea follow-up, it is doubtful Malta could have repelled such an invasion. The Italian jumpers were not the peers of the Germans, but few units in the war were.

The Axis never tried to take Malta. They tried to reduce it through air assault and isolate it, but we never really learned if they could take it. They would have to be willing to lose half the force, but if I am in command of the Axis force and you offer me that bargain--50% losses in my two functional airborne divisions in exchange for Malta--I'll take it before you change your mind. Control of Malta would give me the upper hand in supplying Rommel, make the Allies mostly go the long way around the Cape, and enable me to start chipping away at the Royal Navy through air attacks if it dares come near. Excellent deal, cheap at the price.

Of course, the main worry about Britain came earlier, when most of the BEF had just barely gotten home with only (or without even) their rifles. By 1941, with the Western Desert struggle heating up, Britain wasn't looking too vulnerable to Axis invasion.
I agree, the Isle of Malta, defended expertly by the forces led by Baron Mikel Scicluna, was the key to the Allies controlling the Mediterrenean.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
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Originally Posted by big daryle View Post
I agree, the Isle of Malta, defended expertly by the forces led by Baron Mikel Scicluna, was the key to the Allies controlling the Mediterrenean.
Har har.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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It's been interesting to read the excellent give and take on this subject. I have little to add to what has already been said, but I did find an interesting commentary by Colonel Edward C. Short in an online paper titled "Malta: Strategic Impact During World War II." A Short paragraph from his article follows:

"World leaders, historians and strategists have argued from the time of World War II until the present that the entire outcome of the war rested directly on the fate of this tiny island. F.M. Hinsley, historian and military strategist contended that the inability of the Axis Powers to capture the island was probably the single most important factor in the overall failure of the Axis effort, especially in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Mr. Hinsley emphasized, 'The importance of Malta to the final British success in the desert and considered that by failing to capture it, Hitler lost the war strategically.'"

Those are surprisingly strong words about the importance of Malta to the overall war effort and Britain's ability to hold on in the Mediterranean. With only Gibraltar and Alexandria being the other key British bases in the Mediterranean, Malta was the linchpin in Britain's Mediterranean defense. Sitting astride their supply routes, Malta was a thorn in the side of the Axis. Had Malta fallen, there is every likelihood that the Mediterranean would have become -- in the commonly used term -- an "Axis Lake," and Egypt would have been far more vulnerable to Rommel's forces. It's even more fortunate that Hitler was distracted in his planning for the invasion of Russia to concentrate on a side event that he never wanted in the first place.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by John Walmsley View Post
It's been interesting to read the excellent give and take on this subject. I have little to add to what has already been said, but I did find an interesting commentary by Colonel Edward C. Short in an online paper titled "Malta: Strategic Impact During World War II." A Short paragraph from his article follows:

"World leaders, historians and strategists have argued from the time of World War II until the present that the entire outcome of the war rested directly on the fate of this tiny island. F.M. Hinsley, historian and military strategist contended that the inability of the Axis Powers to capture the island was probably the single most important factor in the overall failure of the Axis effort, especially in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Mr. Hinsley emphasized, 'The importance of Malta to the final British success in the desert and considered that by failing to capture it, Hitler lost the war strategically.'"

Those are surprisingly strong words about the importance of Malta to the overall war effort and Britain's ability to hold on in the Mediterranean. With only Gibraltar and Alexandria being the other key British bases in the Mediterranean, Malta was the linchpin in Britain's Mediterranean defense. Sitting astride their supply routes, Malta was a thorn in the side of the Axis. Had Malta fallen, there is every likelihood that the Mediterranean would have become -- in the commonly used term -- an "Axis Lake," and Egypt would have been far more vulnerable to Rommel's forces. It's even more fortunate that Hitler was distracted in his planning for the invasion of Russia to concentrate on a side event that he never wanted in the first place.
Yes, but what did you think of the proposed costumes for my Fuhrerbunker?
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Yes, but what did you think of the proposed costumes for my Fuhrerbunker?
I don't know about leather, but dirndls (whatever they are), definitely, yes!
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