Gibraltar Invvasion query WW2

Fang_Farrier

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#1
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?
 
#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
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.
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.
 
#6
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.
The swift Jap invasion of Malaya and the Fall of Singapore springs to mind when reading the above!
 
#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...
 
#12
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.
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
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?
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
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.
 
#16
I'm not sure that I agree with the analyses put forward so far. The Napoleonic tunnels addressed a land invasion and were quite adequate for that era but not so much for WW2 weaponry. The outside wall is quite thin and probably wouldn't have provided much resistance against artillery. The WW2 tunnels are deep inside the rock, so while they would have been good for shelter, there's not much in terms of firing points.

WW2 defence was based on batteries located on the surface - a big gun on top of the southern face, a small battery half way down and presumably more guns at Buffadero and Europa Flats. There are emplacements on the west side but bugger all on the east side.

Given the necessary resources, with air attacks on the guns and a naval bombardment to stiff anti-aircraft defence and discourage use of the few eastern tunnel entrances, a landing on Sandy Bay seems a viable proposition. While it would have been difficult to gain access to and overwhelm the tunnels, it would have been just as effective to stand guard on the entrances of what would have become the world's largest POW camp.

Perhaps the French fleet was the necessary resource which was not available?
 
#20
The swift Jap invasion of Malaya and the Fall of Singapore springs to mind when reading the above!
But Singapore was much further away from the UK home base and crucially the planes to defend sigapore were old and antiquated and slow and poorly maintained and poorly equipped. It took too long to reinforce Singapore. The 18th British division embarked from the UK on or about the 7th November 1941 (original destination Basra to reinforce Middle East) On 7th december 1941 they were in Capetown. still a long way from singapore. Most of them arrived in Singapore after ten weeks at sea or in transit, and they were not battle hardened troops. If you ask me it was a waste that they were sent to Singapore.
 
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