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Old 09-21-2009, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,928,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Yes, but what did you think of the proposed costumes for my Fuhrerbunker?
Heh. To get to the pressing issue.

Although, if one were Fuhrer, to play the part properly one would have to suffer from meteorism. Evidently, between his vegetarian diet and all the quackery of Morell (I'm not calling that fool a doctor), Adolf's gas was tantamount to a chemical weapon unleashed on his own staffers. So you should perhaps 'shop the wearers of the costumes with expressions of long suffering.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:25 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
1,622 posts, read 2,777,275 times
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The interesting thing about Malta is that prior to the start of the Second World War, there appeared to be a question as to the strategic value of the island in the event of war in the Mediterranean. The so-called “Mediterranean Crisis of 1936” which was precipitated by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia the previous year, exposed how underprepared Britain was to maintain control of the region. Further, the successful use of airpower during the Spanish Civil War raised fears of how vulnerable the island and the British Mediterranean Fleet were to attack from Italian airbases. This was the main reason for the fleet being moved from Malta to Alexandria. British war planners advised that the island likely could not be held and went so far as advocating that it be abandoned should war break out. Winston Churchill strongly disagreed, but Prime Minister Chamberlain’s official position was that French bases in North Africa and Corsica would serve Britain’s needs better then Malta. In May of 1940, a short time after Churchill became prime minister, France’s prime minister, Paul Reynaud, proposed that as inducement to stay out of the conflict, Italy should be offered Gibraltar, Malta, Corsica, and Nice. This would happen only after Britain and France defeated Germany. At a meeting of the War Cabinet, the proposal was discussed and ultimately voted down, with only Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax endorsing it.

On the Axis side of things, Malta and the Mediterranean were viewed in two different lights. From the start, the Italians were determined to take control of at least the eastern Mediterranean, if not the entire sea. Since 1938, the “Supermarina” of the Italian “Regia Marina” had advocated invasion and occupation of Malta as a highly important, if not critical move to gain the upper hand in the region. It was felt that taking Malta should be a primary objective if hostilities commenced between Italy and Britain. When war was declared, the “Supermarina” offered up their plan for a Maltese invasion to the “Comando Supremo” but it was rejected. The decision had been made to utilize aerial bombardment alone to bring about the surrender of Malta. On the German side, Hitler and the High Command had basically zero interest in the Mediterranean. Their focus was on the West and East. However, much like their counterparts in the “Regia Marina”, the Kreigsmarine saw a great degree of potential in the Mediterranean. Grand Admiral Erich Raeder tried on two separate occasions to raise Hitler’s interest in the area, but got nowhere.

Going back to 1936, the strategy to keep Italy in check during a war was for the French fleet based out of Toulon and Oran to guard the western Mediterranean while the British concentrated on the eastern end. With the fall of France in 1940, that plan went out the window. Again, the British Admiralty proposed that the eastern Mediterranean be abandoned to the Italians and all British naval forces be shifted to Gibraltar. Churchill rejected the idea out of hand and it was at this moment that Malta became the focus of British efforts to stay in the eastern Mediterranean.

Truth be told, the British were no more prepared in 1940 than they were in 1936 to hold onto Malta or the Mediterranean. Had the Italians used a combination of aerial and naval bombardment as well as a blockade, they would have brought about the surrender of the island in short order without even putting boots on the ground. The first meeting of the British and Italian fleets at the “Battle of Punto Stilo” in July of 1940 presented the Italians with another chance to diminish British power in the region. If Admiral Campioni had pressed the action against the British the consequences could have been very serious for Admiral Cunningham. The British would likely have seen a loss of ships had Admiral Campioni brought the two newly completed “Littorio” class battleships with him, instead of leaving them behind in Taranto. Even after the raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto, when the two forces met once more in November 1940 at the “Battle of Spartivento”, Admiral Campioni commanding a slightly weaker fleet was again in a position to critically damage or sink British naval vessels but was unable to accomplish that task. Lastly, more aggressive movement on the part of General Rodolfo Graziani against British forces in Egypt could have turned the tide in the Axis favor early on, especially given that he had 250,000 men at his disposal to do it.

So if you want to sum up the Malta/Mediterranean/North Africa theater from the Italian perspective, it is a story of missed opportunities. The taking of Malta, diminishing the British fleet, capturing ground in Egypt or even the Suez Canal itself, would have made the British position in the eastern Mediterranean untenable. They would have had no choice but to withdraw as the Admiralty had suggested at the war’s outset, despite what Churchill desired. Mussolini would have gotten the short war that he originally believed he would have and which Italy desperately needed. Instead, all the decisions made by the “Comando Supremo” and Mussolini himself during the critical first year of the war doomed Italy to fight a protracted engagement that they could never win.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:47 AM
 
Location: Norwood, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Har har.
At least someone remembers the great Baron Mikel Scicluna.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
1,622 posts, read 2,777,275 times
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In regards to Greece, the Italian misadventure in that country was a byproduct of a decision that Mussolini made early in the war to conduct what he called a "parallel war" after watching Germany acquire so much territory so quickly. He was determined to conduct military operations as he put it "Not with or for Germany, but only for Italy at the side of Germany". His original plan was to invade Yugoslavia, but Hitler vetoed that idea, largely because an Axis friendly government was in place there.

Hitler wanted a quiet, neutral Balkans so that he could concentrate on taking out Russia. Mussolini on the other hand, felt that the Balkans should fall within the Italian sphere of influence, especially after "acquiring" Albania in 1939. What prompted his move into Greece was the fact that Hitler had successfully brought Romania into the Axis fold, thus securing that country's oil for German use. This was a prize that Mussolini had wanted for himself. With Hungary, Bulgaria, and now Romania, off limits to him, the only place left for him to go after was Greece.

Germany had no designs on Greece, primarily because that country's dictator, General Ioannis Metaxas, while not exactly pro-Axis, was decidely pro-German and determined to stay neutral. This obviously fit nicely into Hitler's overall scheme. General Metaxas was also a hardcore nationalist and was dead set against having British troops on Greek soil. Again, a situation that suited Hitler perfectly. Mussolini invading Greece in October 1940 without consulting Hitler threw all of that into a cocked hat.

Even after the Italian advance failed and the Greeks were able to push them back into Albania, the situation really did not concern Hitler very much. The Greeks and Italians were actually fairly evenly matched and the front, such as it was, had stalemated. That fact alone meant no threat to Germany's southern flank existed yet, so Mussolini could be left to flounder around until he could figure a way out on his own.

Two events ended up forcing Hitler to address Italy's "Greek Problem". The first was the death of General Metaxas in January 1941. His predecessor, Alexander Koryzis, finally reversed the decision to not accept British military assistance, and British troops began to enter Greece. The second was the toppling of the pro-Axis government in Yugoslavia in March 1941. Now a definite threat to the south and the Romanian oil fields had developed, which in turn created a perceived threat to Germany's impending invasion of Russia. Thus, plans were drawn up to invade Yugoslavia and Greece simultaneously and end the threat swiftly.

With the exception of Crete, the invasion of Greece really didn't cost Germany much by way of manpower or even time. The operation was quick and as soon as an armistice was signed, German troops began to withdraw back to re-equip and take their positions for "Operation Barbarossa". Occupation duties were turned over mainly to the Italians, with the region adjacent to Bulgaria falling under that country's control. And until Italy took itself out of the war in 1943, the Germans didn't have to bother with Greece again.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:16 AM
 
594 posts, read 1,655,989 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyT View Post
In regards to Greece, the Italian misadventure in that country was a byproduct of a decision that Mussolini made early in the war to conduct what he called a "parallel war" after watching Germany acquire so much territory so quickly. He was determined to conduct military operations as he put it "Not with or for Germany, but only for Italy at the side of Germany". His original plan was to invade Yugoslavia, but Hitler vetoed that idea, largely because an Axis friendly government was in place there.

Hitler wanted a quiet, neutral Balkans so that he could concentrate on taking out Russia. Mussolini on the other hand, felt that the Balkans should fall within the Italian sphere of influence, especially after "acquiring" Albania in 1939. What prompted his move into Greece was the fact that Hitler had successfully brought Romania into the Axis fold, thus securing that country's oil for German use. This was a prize that Mussolini had wanted for himself. With Hungary, Bulgaria, and now Romania, off limits to him, the only place left for him to go after was Greece.

Germany had no designs on Greece, primarily because that country's dictator, General Ioannis Metaxas, while not exactly pro-Axis, was decidely pro-German and determined to stay neutral. This obviously fit nicely into Hitler's overall scheme. General Metaxas was also a hardcore nationalist and was dead set against having British troops on Greek soil. Again, a situation that suited Hitler perfectly. Mussolini invading Greece in October 1940 without consulting Hitler threw all of that into a cocked hat.

Even after the Italian advance failed and the Greeks were able to push them back into Albania, the situation really did not concern Hitler very much. The Greeks and Italians were actually fairly evenly matched and the front, such as it was, had stalemated. That fact alone meant no threat to Germany's southern flank existed yet, so Mussolini could be left to flounder around until he could figure a way out on his own.

Two events ended up forcing Hitler to address Italy's "Greek Problem". The first was the death of General Metaxas in January 1941. His predecessor, Alexander Koryzis, finally reversed the decision to not accept British military assistance, and British troops began to enter Greece. The second was the toppling of the pro-Axis government in Yugoslavia in March 1941. Now a definite threat to the south and the Romanian oil fields had developed, which in turn created a perceived threat to Germany's impending invasion of Russia. Thus, plans were drawn up to invade Yugoslavia and Greece simultaneously and end the threat swiftly.

With the exception of Crete, the invasion of Greece really didn't cost Germany much by way of manpower or even time. The operation was quick and as soon as an armistice was signed, German troops began to withdraw back to re-equip and take their positions for "Operation Barbarossa". Occupation duties were turned over mainly to the Italians, with the region adjacent to Bulgaria falling under that country's control. And until Italy took itself out of the war in 1943, the Germans didn't have to bother with Greece again.
Tony T,

I was hoping you would weigh in on this subject. As always, very informative commentary and great recall, especially for so early in the morning!!
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:27 AM
 
28,900 posts, read 48,762,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_k_k View Post
Heh. To get to the pressing issue.

Although, if one were Fuhrer, to play the part properly one would have to suffer from meteorism. Evidently, between his vegetarian diet and all the quackery of Morell (I'm not calling that fool a doctor), Adolf's gas was tantamount to a chemical weapon unleashed on his own staffers. So you should perhaps 'shop the wearers of the costumes with expressions of long suffering.
Oh, I don't want full authenticity. Just hot girls on my general staff.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,564 posts, read 12,928,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big daryle View Post
At least someone remembers the great Baron Mikel Scicluna.
Friendly suggestion: when a joke goes clunk, flogging it to life just won't help.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:49 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
1,622 posts, read 2,777,275 times
Reputation: 3338
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Walmsley View Post
Tony T,

I was hoping you would weigh in on this subject. As always, very informative commentary and great recall, especially for so early in the morning!!
Thank you, sir. Happy to contribute to the conversation whenever I can.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Saugus, CA
98 posts, read 86,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
That being said, Greece itself, with its mountainous terrain and treacherous coastline would have proven extraordinarily easy to defend from any Allied invasion, much more so than even Italy, even if the British retained bases in Crete. There is simply nothing about the island that was strategic in nature.
Plus, Italy's a major Axis power, so it would be smarter to attack it either way.
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