Gibraltar Invvasion query WW2

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Fang_Farrier, Nov 16, 2011.

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  1. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I was asked the day why didn't the Germans invade Gibraltar during WW2.
    It made me think why not.
    All I could come up with was that it was heavily fortified and distant from German held territory. Is that all?
    I know they took the airfields at Crete but at a terrible cost, would te sacifice to take Gibraltar have been worth it?
  2. Couldn't Hitler have invaded us (UK) if he had a mind to? I've always put it down to secret shit that was going on.
  3. One of the competing German strategies (IIRC from the Navy/Admiral Raeder) was to take Gibraltar and Malta, and effectively deny the Mediterranean to the British. This scheme necessitated Op Felix, the capture of Gibraltar from the land by a German column. The plan was scotched (a) because Hitler chose another strategy (b) Franco refused access or alliance to the Germans. From Franco's point of view, Spain was only just under his control following the ravages of the civil war, so the last thing he needed was UK (and later the Soviet Union) re-igniting the Spanish civil war.

    Lot of debate about whether the Germans could have taken Gibraltar. Personally, I think they would have been slaughtered: (i) the British would probably have taken the Algeciras hinterland off the Spanish as soon as the German column entered Spain, and thus form a defence in depth (ii) the Germans would have to approach under some serious long-range fire from the heavy guns of the fortress and the Fleet (iii) the Germans would have had to penetrate a rock fortress capable of holding at least a British division (as Gibraltar did just before Torch), all the time being swept with fire from the Fleet - Gibraltar at that time was a bare-arrsed rock with most of the civilian population evacuated, so the Fleet would have been free to bombard the Germans on the surface.
  4. There are several lengthy old threads about Sealion here somewhere. Consensus is that, apart from possibly a temporary airborne bridgehead, not a chance - care of c.80 RN warships waiting to trash the Germans' primitive attempt at an invasion fleet.
  5. so navy scuppered German invasion threat in WWII ?
  6. The swift Jap invasion of Malaya and the Fall of Singapore springs to mind when reading the above!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. on a slightly different point what would do people think Germany would do if we invaded France ?
    [edit] I mean they don't have any nuclear weapons ?
  8. Germans also lacked finesse about amphibious operations and equipment like the Allies- LCA, LCT, LCVP, LST's etc. Kraust had nothing comparable. they could do a river crossing well but thats about it.

    Look at the Seelowe Pz III Ausf F (T) modification, Made the DD Sherman look like a battleship in comparison.
  9. They did invade:


    They even reached the tunnels:


    But they were eventually beaten back:


    One of the best kept secrets of WW2...
  10. Most of them look like schnell-imbiss storm troops....
  11. YES.
  12. I recollect that a wargame using the Sealion scenario was run at Sandhurst (Staff College maybe?) with Bundeswehr officers acting as the enemy.
    I think the result was as you describe above.
  13. The Germans considered taking Gibraltar in 1940/41. That was not practical unless Spain joined the Axis. Hitler met Franco in October 1940 and tried to persuade Franco to join the war. Franco's trms were too much for Hitler. He is quoted as saying to Mussolini five days later ""I would rather have my teeth drawn before returning to negotiate with Franco"
  14. The Brit military built a "stay behind post" in the Rock somewhere. It was to be manned by a few saboteurs to report on and then attack Fritz and Pedro should he ever take the Rock.
  15. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Fang, you would enjoy a trip to Gibraltar. Today some of the caves are now open to the public with guided tours, sadly I had an RCT guy doing mine ;)

    But in all seriousness, there were over ten thousand troops inside Gib during WW2, post war analysis of int shows the boxheads and spanish had no idea.

    I recall there are over 50KM of tunnels in there. I only toured a few KMs. The Napoleon era 'fire positions' don't leave much room for manoeuvre even today looking out towards Spain. There was no way onto the peninsular without overwhelming firepower, and in the 40's we had that.