Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

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thoreau
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Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 07 Oct 2018, 21:10

After the Allies had driven the Axis out of North Africa, what if they had gone into France via Corsica instead of Italy via Sicily? It still would have opened a second European front, but it would have gotten the Allies into France sooner. Going up the Rhone valley wouldn't be easy, but moving up the Italian peninsula also meant fighting in rough terrain.

So why didn't they?

Is the terrain in southern France worse than Italy?

Were they afraid that fighting in that region would draw Spain into the war?

Did they figure that when they eventually invaded Normandy fighting on both coasts of France would make Germany's supply line situation easier than fighting in Italy and the north of France?

Was the Sicilian mafia a more effective ally than the French resistance?

Did they figure that when fighting their way up the Italian peninsula they could use naval forces to support ground forces, but they couldn't do that in the Rhone valley?
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Kolohe
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Kolohe » 07 Oct 2018, 21:57

There are some answers here



Edit i don't know why I can get this link preview image to come up but the link doesn't work.

Edit two - also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Dragoon

Edit 3 tokyo drift
link to reddit thread
Last edited by Kolohe on 08 Oct 2018, 06:53, edited 3 times in total.
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Jennifer
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Jennifer » 08 Oct 2018, 00:05

Kolohe wrote:
07 Oct 2018, 21:57

Edit i don't know why I can get this link preview image to come up but the link doesn't work.
An extra backslash somehow got into the link address; if you delete one of the two backslashes just before the ?utm bit, the link will work. At least it did for me. I'm reading the thread now.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Ellie » 09 Oct 2018, 12:02

Kolohe wrote:
07 Oct 2018, 21:57
There are some answers here



Edit i don't know why I can get this link preview image to come up but the link doesn't work.
I don't know either! Does this link go to the same place?
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thoreau
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 12:07

My question is not why they invaded Normandy--I get that crossing the English Channel was the best way into northern France and then Germany. Nor am I asking why they didn't send a large force into southern France once they had invaded Italy--I am aware that the Italian campaign was long and difficult.

My question is why they invaded Italy at all, when southern France was also a possibility once they had taken north Africa.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by JD » 09 Oct 2018, 14:15

thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 12:07
My question is not why they invaded Normandy--I get that crossing the English Channel was the best way into northern France and then Germany. Nor am I asking why they didn't send a large force into southern France once they had invaded Italy--I am aware that the Italian campaign was long and difficult.

My question is why they invaded Italy at all, when southern France was also a possibility once they had taken north Africa.
There was some belief that Italy was the "soft underbelly" of Europe (which was false), and that conquering Italy would take it completely out of the war and reduce Axis influence in the Mediterranean (which was true). Also, Africa-Sicily-Italy is a lot shorter and easier than Africa - France; you could eat the elephant one bite at a time, so to speak.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 15:22

True. Looks like they'd have to invade Corsica, which means they'd have to invade Sardinia to prevent the Italians from interfering. So invading southern France means a fight with Italy no matter what.

So I guess it makes more sense to just fight Italy, which they need to do either way, and do it in a place that they can support from north Africa and Malta, and a place where Germany can't easily provide support. Whereas fighting France right away means fighting Italy as well, then fighting Germany in the Rhone valley, where the Nazis can more easily run supply lines but the Allies can't use their navies.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 17:10

War is a government program. While a lot of questions about wars boil down to issues of logistics, everything from bad calls and reasonable misunderstandings to complete shit-headed stupidity comes up, too.

(After all, WW2 was the war the Nazis fought wearing expensive, individually-tailored uniforms that were quite literally designed to look good in victory marches. They actually focus-grouped Hugo Boss' designs with teenage girls. The damn things had, no lie, internal suspenders that often broke when they had too much gear clipped to their waists, so they ended up having to issue belts, too.)
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 17:15

thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 15:22
True. Looks like they'd have to invade Corsica, which means they'd have to invade Sardinia to prevent the Italians from interfering. So invading southern France means a fight with Italy no matter what.
Also a good point.

Of course, this raises the question of whether it would have been better not to invade from the Med at all. Hindsight, sure, but considering how many forces were tied up (and used up) in Italy, I can't help wondering whether the war in Europe would have ended quicker if those forces had been in Normandy. (And whether the Soviets might not have had quite as strong a post-WW2 position in Europe in that case)
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by JD » 09 Oct 2018, 18:00

Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 17:15
thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 15:22
True. Looks like they'd have to invade Corsica, which means they'd have to invade Sardinia to prevent the Italians from interfering. So invading southern France means a fight with Italy no matter what.
Also a good point.

Of course, this raises the question of whether it would have been better not to invade from the Med at all. Hindsight, sure, but considering how many forces were tied up (and used up) in Italy, I can't help wondering whether the war in Europe would have ended quicker if those forces had been in Normandy. (And whether the Soviets might not have had quite as strong a post-WW2 position in Europe in that case)
That's an interesting idea. If the Allies don't invade Italy, they leave Italy standing and the Axis with greater control of the Mediterranean, and as you say almost certainly stronger in Eastern Europe. That in turn may leave them in control of the Eastern European oilfields for longer. Leaving the Axis with more control of the Mediterranean also makes it harder to supply Allied forces in the Middle East and Far East. OTOH, I think the Allies learned a lot from the Sicily and Italy campaigns that they put to good use in Normandy.

Yet another question: What if the Allies had invaded Norway instead, either the British back in 1940 or the US and British later on?
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 18:24

Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 17:15
thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 15:22
True. Looks like they'd have to invade Corsica, which means they'd have to invade Sardinia to prevent the Italians from interfering. So invading southern France means a fight with Italy no matter what.
Also a good point.

Of course, this raises the question of whether it would have been better not to invade from the Med at all. Hindsight, sure, but considering how many forces were tied up (and used up) in Italy, I can't help wondering whether the war in Europe would have ended quicker if those forces had been in Normandy. (And whether the Soviets might not have had quite as strong a post-WW2 position in Europe in that case)
If they hadn't opened up a second front ASAP, the Axis might have been able to crush the Soviets and then fight the Western Allies to a standstill, leaving the Nazis in power and Eastern Europe annihilated in a genocide 10x larger than what we actually saw. I think the second front was a necessity.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 18:25

Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 17:10
They actually focus-grouped Hugo Boss' designs with teenage girls.
WTF?
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 18:40

thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 18:25
Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 17:10
They actually focus-grouped Hugo Boss' designs with teenage girls.
WTF?
Yup, though I forgot and made the conflation of Hugo Boss manufacturing (which they did) and designing (which they didn't, to my knowledge). I also misremembered the internal suspension: it was so as to support the equipment belt without visible suspenders, to look sleek and modern. Those broke, a lot. The top priority was a good-looking uniform so as to build fighting spirit, pride in the Aryan yadda yadda, etc.. The German army uniform was made of far more separate pieces of cloth than the American, British, or Russian army uniforms, and they were made to order in the wearers' sizes, not produced in standard sizes.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 18:51

JD wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 18:00
That's an interesting idea. If the Allies don't invade Italy, they leave Italy standing and the Axis with greater control of the Mediterranean, and as you say almost certainly stronger in Eastern Europe. That in turn may leave them in control of the Eastern European oilfields for longer. Leaving the Axis with more control of the Mediterranean also makes it harder to supply Allied forces in the Middle East and Far East. OTOH, I think the Allies learned a lot from the Sicily and Italy campaigns that they put to good use in Normandy.
Eh, I'm skeptical that it would leave the Axis stronger in Eastern Europe for the Western Allies to reach Berlin sooner. Italy had no meaningful presence in Eastern Europe.

I admit that the oilfields are a huge concern, and that the Western Allies might have had to learn bloody lessons before planning D-Day. I'm not sure how to evaluate those, though. The US was learning lessons in the Pacific, and the US and UK had already invaded North Africa. The invasion of Sicily was a pretty big operation, though.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Jennifer » 09 Oct 2018, 20:10

thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 18:24
Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 17:15
thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 15:22
True. Looks like they'd have to invade Corsica, which means they'd have to invade Sardinia to prevent the Italians from interfering. So invading southern France means a fight with Italy no matter what.
Also a good point.

Of course, this raises the question of whether it would have been better not to invade from the Med at all. Hindsight, sure, but considering how many forces were tied up (and used up) in Italy, I can't help wondering whether the war in Europe would have ended quicker if those forces had been in Normandy. (And whether the Soviets might not have had quite as strong a post-WW2 position in Europe in that case)
If they hadn't opened up a second front ASAP, the Axis might have been able to crush the Soviets and then fight the Western Allies to a standstill,
??? The Germans lost at Stalingrad in February 1943. According to a quick Google search, the Allied invasion of Italy didn't start until September of that year.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 20:20

I read Eric as questioning the wisdom of any sort of war in the Mediterranean, which would include North Africa (i.e. stuff before Stalingrad).

North Africa consumed Axis resources, presumably helping the Soviets. Italy kept the pressure on the Axis, presumably helping the Soviets further.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 20:25

thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:20
I read Eric as questioning the wisdom of any sort of war in the Mediterranean, which would include North Africa (i.e. stuff before Stalingrad).
No. Hence why I said avoiding invading Europe from the Med rather than saying "ignore Africa". We were involved in northern Africa well before Sicily or Normandy.

Invading Sicily might still be worthwhile, though.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Aresen » 09 Oct 2018, 20:26

Stalin wanted a Western Front ASAP to take pressure off Russia, but the US and Britain did not feel ready to do so, leaving the Soviets to take the brunt of German military power. This is a source of grievance to Russians and to this day, large numbers of Russians believe it was a deliberate plot by the US and the UK to weaken Russia. There is also a persistent Russian conspiracy theory that the Brits and Americans were secretly negotiating with Hitler for an armistice in the west.

(OTOH, there is a Canadian conspiracy theory that the botched Dieppe Raid was deliberately engineered by the British to show that the western powers were not yet ready to invade Europe.)
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Oct 2018, 20:34

Aresen wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:26
Stalin wanted a Western Front ASAP to take pressure off Russia, but the US and Britain did not feel ready to do so, leaving the Soviets to take the brunt of German military power. This is a source of grievance to Russians and to this day, large numbers of Russians believe it was a deliberate plot by the US and the UK to weaken Russia.
Eh, fuck those whiny bitch Russians. If we'd wanted that, we could have just not engaged in Lend-Lease. Stalin himself(the secular saint of modern Russia) said they wouldn't have lasted a single year against Germany without all that American materiel.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Jennifer » 09 Oct 2018, 20:47

Pfft, if anybody plotted to deliberately weaken Russia, it was Stalin, with all the damage his purges did to the prewar Soviet military (not to mention the civilian population).
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 20:54

Eric the .5b wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:25
thoreau wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:20
I read Eric as questioning the wisdom of any sort of war in the Mediterranean, which would include North Africa (i.e. stuff before Stalingrad).
No. Hence why I said avoiding invading Europe from the Med rather than saying "ignore Africa". We were involved in northern Africa well before Sicily or Normandy.

Invading Sicily might still be worthwhile, though.
Ah. Gotcha.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by thoreau » 09 Oct 2018, 20:58

Aresen wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:26
(OTOH, there is a Canadian conspiracy theory that the botched Dieppe Raid was deliberately engineered by the British to show that the western powers were not yet ready to invade Europe.)
I have heard a theory that it the raid was conducted to steal an Enigma machine, not to actually seize control of any territory.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by Aresen » 09 Oct 2018, 21:36

Jennifer wrote:
09 Oct 2018, 20:47
Pfft, if anybody plotted to deliberately weaken Russia, it was Stalin, with all the damage his purges did to the prewar Soviet military (not to mention the civilian population).
NEVER try to tell this to a Russian. For some reason, Stalin alone is the reason the Soviets defeated Germany (according to Russians). They completely ignore or gloss over the Army purges that decimated the officer corps, the Communist Party interference in the command, Stalin's 'no retreat' orders that wasted over a million soldiers between June and December 1941, the political arrests that continued even during the war (Solzhenitsyn was arrested while on active duty at the front), Stalin's ignoring warnings of the imminent invasion - including arresting those who warned of it, ongoing interference with strategy, etc.
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Re: Alt. History speculation: WWII in the Mediterranean

Post by JD » 10 Oct 2018, 13:34

Besides, if we'd really wanted to fuck with Russia, I think there was a lot more we could have done. As it was, the USSR basically got to re-establish Imperial Russia. Operation Unthinkable was probably never going to happen just because I don't think the civilians of the Western powers would have stood for it ("Hey, guys, we know we've been at war for the last five years straight and everybody is excited about victory and the end of the war...but now we have to go start a whole new war with our former allies!") but it says something that it was even considered.
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