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The current time is: 4/25/2019 2:30:46 PM
 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
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john hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 532

Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/27/2019 8:32:55 PM
Instead of airdropping into Crete in May, 1941, the Germans parachuted into Iraq in support of the anti-British group that took over that country. This group did ask for and was given aid in the form of
German and Italian air groups. Syria was controlled by pro Vichy troops and a strong German presents may have strengthened their position. The timing could have aligned with Rommel's first offensive.
The British Middle Eastern command would have been caught in a neat bind.


richto90

top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 488

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/27/2019 10:58:19 PM

Quote:
Instead of airdropping into Crete in May, 1941, the Germans parachuted into Iraq in support of the anti-British group that took over that country. This group did ask for and was given aid in the form of
German and Italian air groups. Syria was controlled by pro Vichy troops and a strong German presents may have strengthened their position. The timing could have aligned with Rommel's first offensive.
The British Middle Eastern command would have been caught in a neat bind.


Yeah and it would have been a neat trick too.

The Greek airfields the Germans used for the air assault on Crete were all under 200 miles away from its target. Add 1,000 miles to that for an air assault in Iraq.



john hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 532

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/28/2019 6:45:20 AM
Would Syria be a better option?

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4889

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/28/2019 10:25:22 AM
Here s a map on what happened with Iran in WWII.

[Read More]

Also a short history of the middle east during the period.

[Read More]

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

richto90

top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 488

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/28/2019 10:37:53 AM

Quote:
Would Syria be a better option?
--john hayward


John, I hate to say this, but you need to look at a map. Syria is over 700 miles from any viable air bases.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 2337

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/28/2019 6:59:41 PM
... (which, following up on Rich's post) is a stretch for a "Tante Ju", officially listed as having a 675 mile range. And I doubt Germany would have enough Fw-200Cs to support such a lift, even if there were Greek air fields that could support them.

Even had they a/c capable of the airlift, I would argue Crete would have been a better bet. Better to reduce as fully as possible the British presence in the eastern Med than open a front which could not easily be supplied. Germany wanted a quiet southern flank before the launch of Barbarossa.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

john hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 532

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/28/2019 8:51:30 PM
All good arguments against it. By the way I did look at a map but was unaware of the mileage limitations. Knowing now of the range limit Iraq is out of the question. How did the Germans/Italians get planes (a small number) to Mosul?

kaii
Tallinn, Estonia
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2534

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/29/2019 12:59:26 PM

Quote:
All good arguments against it. By the way I did look at a map but was unaware of the mileage limitations. Knowing now of the range limit Iraq is out of the question. How did the Germans/Italians get planes (a small number) to Mosul?
--john hayward


I believe the planes flew via Vichy French territory in Syria.
K
---------------
I’m not worried about the Third World War. That’s the Third World’s problem.

phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 3810

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/29/2019 1:51:27 PM
Brian's right : the geo-strategic imperative was to secure the southern flank of Barbarossa, so Crete prevailed as the more important objective.

Set against that was the excessive cost that Germany paid in capturing Crete : those paratroopers died in thousands.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

john hayward
Allenstown, NH, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant
Posts: 532

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/29/2019 6:17:32 PM
Wasn't British commanders against sending troops to Crete, feeling in spread its forces too slim. They felt they should concentrate on driving the Axis out of Africa. Instead Churchill overruled them

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major


Posts: 2337

Re: Instead of Crete
Posted on: 3/29/2019 9:20:09 PM
John, you got that right. This was a military/political decision. And while I support Churchill's reasoning, I also think his decision was a very costly one.

The British (meaning, in this case, a balance of British, Australian and New Zealand forces, with I believe some remnants of other "Imperial" troops) were very close to closing off North Africa from Axis powers, but they had not been totally successful. British commanders in North Africa argued that completion of their cleansing of North Africa would secure the southern flank of the war.

WSC, however, had made promises to the Greeks he felt were vital to maintaining GB's status through regions it felt it maintained a controlling interest. Italian incursions into Greece through Albania and other Adriatic countries met WSC's criteria for support, and he withdrew troops from West Africa to support Crete. It was an error that could honourably destroyed the hold GB felt it deserved as the war continued.

The British troops didn't sent to Crete, of course. They were sent to Greece initially, and then driven to Crete when their defence against a lack-lustre Italian campaign was redefined by German troops.

The withdrawal to Crete was seen by some a slightly larger Dunkirk, and the horror show of getting Brit troops from Crete to Alexandria was yet a larger removal of troops in the face of German arms. Added to this was the huge loss of RN vessels lost in their efforts to support the hastily rigged withdrawal of British troops from Crete.

At this point in the war, it appeared that German troops remained invincible. The British, the only original combatant still in the war, had fought well against Italian troops, all but driving them from North Africa. But British arms failed for the third time against the German enemy in Greece. That would be followed by a fourth failure in the Battle of Crete itself. This cannot have been a happy time for British and Commonwealth troops.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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