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Should the Allies Defend Spain?

Edwin P.

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Question: What amount of effort should the Allies spend in defending Spain against an Axis invasion?

Ie is it worthwhile to station a few Allied units off the shore of Spain and operate in Air units to support the Spanish resistance? or should the Allies let Spain fall without any assistance and aim to liberate it later? and if so, before or after the Liberation of France?

The main problem that I experience in coming to the aid of Spain is that their is only one exit port for Allied land units - Gibraltar and that exit port can only accept one unit at a time.

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Fine topic.

I'm still trying to decide these issues myself. Gibraltar is a very tricky access point as the city needs to empty in order for incoming units to land, so you're left with the choice of vacating it and having the important digging in factor thrown right out the window!

Another problem is, by the time Allied reinforcements begin arriving via the south most of the best defensive hexes in the north have been overrun by the Axis.

Recently I've tried building a French HQ in 1940 and exiting it via Toulon in time to reach and garrison Gibraltar before the loss of Paris. If this is accomplished it sometimes pays off big later on.

At this point I think the best -- though decidedly expensive and awkward -- course may be to follow the French HQ and later place an Allied unit at sea astride the harbor so on the invasion turn they can land in friendly territory and start moving north to hold that southern mountain line north of Gibraltar.

Regardless of the plan adapted, I doubt the Allies can hold the penninsula against a determined Axis attack. The only hope along those lines might be a counter invasion somewhere else to divert Axis ground and air units away from Iberia.

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Personally, trying to 'save' Spain is like using a bandage when a tourniquet should have really been used. ;)

I agree, with the location of one exit port, if the need 'for speed' became necessary, you would indeed be looking at a serious exodus problem. To do a serious 'aiding' of Spain would require an amount of troop deployment's necessary to maintain and sustain a prolonged conflict. In other words, 'they' are there to stay. And in that case, one would have to weigh the 'real' reason for aiding or staying: to truly keep Spain on the allies side (the MPP's) or to maintain hold on or of Gibraltar.

As been stated, a 'determined' Axis will assurdedly take Spain but I do think the 'taking of' could be postponed, if not entirely repelled with or given enough attention (ie:sufficient forces and the willness to commit said forces). smile.gif



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Spain is okay to delay, early not an entire deployment of Allied troops. Depends on LR fighters and the situation in the East, Italian reiforcements. If you wait late it still usually be a supply nightmare for the Allies. Historically Lisbon had a major port, and trading Center. Tago... in the game. it's not represented whilst Albania has ONE??? Lordy let's make an alteration! I mean Portugal isn't as poor as Albania. Nor is Bulgaria-Hungary-Poland-Yugoslavia...

[ May 30, 2003, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: Liam ]

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Thnaks for the tip, I will have to see what the effect of a HQ is in Spain.

As for my stratgy, if the Germans attack from France and Italians launch a joint invasion from the coast I don't bother to send the Spain any assitance.

If the only Axis attack comes from land then it becomes more tricky. Occassionaly I might have 3 carriers and 2 battleships waiting off the West coast of the Iberian penininsula to bombard the Germans, that is until they operate their air units down to Spain, at which point I withdraw and I might have a corps waiting offshore.

Generally, I find the more forces I can force Germany to allocate to Spain the more MPP he has to use to Operate back to the Eastern Front. Also, as was pointed out, it can leave them exposed elsewhere, at the cost of a corps or two. (about 125 to 250MPP).

My worst experience was when the Axis made a 3 way invasion of Spain and Portugal - Germans from the West and North and Italians from the East. Spain fell in 3 turns and then the Italian Navy entered the Atlantic and cleared the way for an early invasion of Canada, which triggered an early US entry into the war, but the Italian navy had blockaded the Eastern Seaboard of the US!

[ May 31, 2003, 01:38 AM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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I've found Free French HQs can be very useful in places like Malta, Gibraltar and Scapa Flow due to the supply system. They aren't much use in other ways unless you've also evacuated a lot of French fighting units, which isn't always the case when you're fighting hard to hold the country as long as possible.

". . .and then the Italian Navy entered the Atlantic and cleared the way for an early invasion of Canada, which triggered an early US entry into the war, but the Italian navy had blockaded the Eastern Seaboard of the US!"

Yeah, that's the sort of thing most of us, I believe including yourself from other postings, would like to see changed. It's really very hard to imagine either the German or Italian Navy sailing up to the US East Coast and sailing around like bullyboys. I'd give them about a week before being blown out of the water. That's one of the odd things in the initial OB; the US starts with a good sized army and only two BBs.

In reality the USN was already the largest and most powerful fleet on earth. The Japanese only seemed to be the greatest because their entire navy was in the Pacific.

I'm not putting down any country's 1940-41 fleet, but in addition to the usual assortment of older ships, the U. S. already had the Washington Class Battleships launched by June of 1940 (North Carolina was sister ship). They carried 9x16" guns and did 27 knots. Those ships were far superior to anything the Italians had and easily a match for the Tirpitz (Bismarck was already sunk).

The Iowa Class Battleships, also carrying 9x16 guns and doing 30 knots, consisted of five sister ships and was under construction. They came into service between 1942 and 1944. No battleships, including the much larger Japanese Yamato and Musashi, were their equal (the Japanese 18" was not superior to the more advanced U. S. 16" and the Japanese lacked gunnery radar).

Moreover, U. S. ships were equipped with sonar and excellent radar, both for air and gunnery. The Italians, and the Japanese as well, had no radar or sonar of any kind.

Additionally, the USAF had already begun expanding and was equipped with the B-17. Enemy ships moving along the Atlantic coast would not only have been sitting ducks. Equally bad, ships damaged in combat would have needed to cross the full breadth of the Atlantic before receiving repairs.

Beyond what was actually in service, the U. S. had a number of ships in mothballs. So many, in fact, that she'd already turned fifty WW I over to Great Britain for convoy duty. Yes, they were obsolescent and sometimes the act is belittled, but I remember reading a book in the late sixties entitled, Fifty Ships the Saved the World! -- A bit dramatic but not far from the truth.

Returning to the original topic, as the Allies I value Spain primarily because of Gibraltar, of course. But as an MPP package with plenty of good defensive terrain, the Iberian Peninsula is a fine possession in it's own right.

[ May 31, 2003, 03:16 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Tragically, Spain cannot be defended against an axis attack, and take for granted axis is gonna attack very hard indeed as they need to connect mainland with North Africa to get supply up to 8. (4 armies, 1-2 tanks, 3-5 airfleet, 2 HQs plus italian anphifian invasion on Valencia, try to defend against that!)The sad fact that Franco HQ is not available in SC, the horrible initial disposal of troops, the 5 supply value of Gibraltar, carriers suicide if they try to fight, so spain and gibraltar are doomed. Unrealistic.

Things would be very different with:

- A port in Lisbon

- Franco HQ available

- Better initial disposal of troops

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This whole issue is problematical.

1) There should be some penalty to pay if you should willy-nilly and with your stalk boots highly glossed, decide to invade Spain.

Perhaps in SC2 we will have a deeper diplomatic paradigm (... even if the cost of Rampage is assessed in economic terms), and this will prevent some of the madcap adventurism.

2) Spain should probably have an armor unit, and air unit, and a HQ... Generalissimo himself! Then, it wouldn't be so easy to capture the mighty Grand Alhambra!

3) There should probably be a port on the west coast of Iberia. Well, we don't have it. Meantime, any Allied assistance to the beleaguered Spanish mainland will very likely FAIL. :eek:

There is just NO WAY to keep the expeditionary force adequately supplied.

I don't really care for the gamey Free French capabilities in this game, and I surely hope that SC2 will be truer to actual fact... a VERY small chance that ANY French forces are left to seriously impact game play!

But, if we are intending to be "players" and NOT feeble on-lookers, then it is a fairly good strategem for the Axis to take the peninsula for the bountiful MPPs. It's either them or some other hapless Foe, since the Eagle studded war chest must be over-flow! ;)

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Immer Etwas

You can turn the Free French Units off in the setup options screen.

I like your idea of giving Spain a Franco HQ unit. JerseyJohn and several others have suggested this in the past.

If Spain felt itself threatened it would have mobilized a HQ unit to supply its troops in the field and perhaps another corps. I would reflect this by saying that if Vichy France is conquered there is a percentage chance for a Spanish HQ (75% - Franco Lvl4) and one corps (40%) or two corps (5%) appearing when Spain enters the war.


75% Spanish HQ is mobilized

40% One corps is mobilized

5% Second Corps is mobilized

I would have the corps appear on in the mountains on the French border (40%), in the mountains north of Madrid (Hex 18,24) (30%) or in the mountains next to Valencia (30%). This would throw a monkey wrench in the carefully laid plans of the Axis invaders.

The Axis might be dissuaded from always attacking Spain if there was a chance for post surrender Spanish partisans (aka Yugoslavia Partisans) as this would force them to garrison the cities of Spain.

[ May 31, 2003, 05:10 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Historical penalties for Spain should be more than just the partisans.

But within context of the current game, taking Spain (as the Axis) is well worth it because of Gibralter.

And with Gibralter you now control the Med.

And with the control of the Med, you are gonna want a German port. That means Vichy France has to go. But no need to hand Vichy Algeria or Vichy Syria over to the Allies, so before Vichy France falls, take out Algeria or Syria. Then might as well take out the rest of North Africa on your way to Egypt. But why stop there? Might as well go for broke and take Iraq!

And somewhere along that path to victory, the knife of defeat is slipped into me by Russia or UK.

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Agreed the logistics of getting Spain would've been a task. Hitler would've never invaded as said before, and perhaps to evade this a "much," larger increase in US War Entry. As well as Sweden...<traditionally neutral> Along with this US fears of an Italian and German assualt upon the Mainland US with their combined fleets... A Bonus of 2 more mainstay Battleships and a Bomber Unit...Though I think as well to give Germany an automatic unit or two. Since the plans to build her Battleships were partially funded after the war primarily before she should automatically recieve two of them 1/3rd price at the appropiate time of the deployment of Tirpitz/Bismark...

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Why not have Spanish and Swedish production fall off drastically if those countries are invaded? But in order to have this mean anything we'd need an economic system that reflects neutrals lining up with beligerants.

-- All of which we've gone through in great detail a few months back.

As Immer says, it might appear in SC II. Hubert dropped in one day to say he found all that material as well as diplomacy to be very interesting and indicated he was working on it.

Aside from touching upon things we've covered elsewhere -- which includes practically everything at this point! -- this a Great Thread on Spain in the current SC situation.


Yes, that's exactly how it happens! I think the basic problem is the lack of realistic period political relationships. It's hard to reflect Germany's relationship with countries like Spain, Sweden and Switzerland -- The Three Essess smile.gif

[ May 31, 2003, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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You can turn the Free French Units off in the setup options screen.

You are allowed?

Lo & behold! All these many months & months of suffering the slings & arrows of Outrageous Misfortune, due to an unrealistic deployment of Free French hordes... and NOW I find out I can - ipso facto!

Turn them off!

Actually, I understand and appreciate the reminder, but what I meant to suggest is that it would be fine with me if there was a very SMALL chance, say on the order of 10-15% that one, or just maybe 2 FF units could come into play.

After all, when you play another person, some choice has to be made, and I'd rather it wasn't... ALL or nothing, yes? ;)

And, as added benefit, we would eliminate all those gamey "evacuate France" routines. :eek:

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Agreed with Immer, there should be an alternative to the present system. Turning Free French Off doesn't quite do it.

An earlier suggestion was to award the UK a percentage in MPPs of the final French military value. That sum can then be applied to the UK OB. Ideally this would be done in a way that specifies it needs to be placed in units. Or perhaps the computer can go one better and have a Free French HQ (DeGaule) appear in Britain (this would not be part of the awarded sum but a bonus unit) along with the nearest amount in UK MPP value expressed in Army sized units with the excess MPPs added to the UK total.

This would help Britain without encouraging an unrealistic exodus from France. French Air and Naval units, regardless of their location, would vanish from play with the Fall of France and their MPP value added into the French base total to be converted into Free French units.

Once established in this manner, the Free French units would be UK colored and elibible for all the same anti-tank increases as other UK infantry. If and when France is liberated they would continue being treated as UK troops to avoid confusion and also to reflect the fact they really represent the Free Poles (there were a lot of them as well) and volunteers from other occupied nations.

As this is going in a different direction from the Topic Issue and is really a separate Topic unto itself, I'm copying this posting to a Free French Thread.

[ June 01, 2003, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Defend Spain? - Agree its a losing proposition for the Allies under most circumstances.

However, for you history oriented folks, there seems to be a decent historical basis for SC(or SC2) random events that would bring Spain in as Axis, other than capturing London or at least cutting it off from Manchester, by Spring '41.

In the late summer/early fall of '41 Franco offered to join the Axis, in return for French Morroco, and a fair amount of economic and military aid. Included in the Spanish offer was permission for Germany to move two corps and at least two Panzer divisions through Spain for Operation Felix, the attack on Gibralter. The Panzers were to be stationed on Portugal's border to keep them quiet in case Hitler's plan to occupy the Azores went ahead.

Fortunately, for the Allies, Germany totally mishandled this opportunity. Germany's response was to waffle in regard to French Morroco, since Hitler feared Vichy French African territories, including Algeria and Tunisia might defect to DeGaulle. Worse, Hitler tacked on a proposal that Spain cede one of the Canary Islands for German exclusive use as a air and sub base. No chance said Franco. The Spanish/German talks dragged on through the fall/winter of 1940/41 until the forces designated for Operation Felix had to be redepolyed east for the upcoming Operation Barbarossa.

Why Hitler did not give up the Canary Island scheme, and simply agree to Spanish requirements for alliance purposes; get his troops and panzers into Spain, knock out Gibralter, and then perhaps do as he pleased, in accordance with the normal Nazi "diplomacy style", is unknown. After the fall of Gibralter, Franco would have not been in much of a negotiating position, even if the "agreement" was later "modified" by Germany.

Although Vichy had something like 150,000 solidiers, some well equipped, substantial naval forces, and about 60% of the former French Air Force in North Africa, these troops were poorly supplied with ammunition and fuel, and would have presented little threat, especially once the Wehrmacht achieved access to Spanish Morocco through Gibralter.

The loss of Gibralter, combined with German reinforcement of the Italians in the eastern Med, may well have ousted the UK from the entire theater for real, just as so often happens in SC.

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I can tell you why Hitler didn't come to an agreement with Spain.

Mussolini and oil.

Everything Franco wanted, so did Mussolini. Mussolini wanted French Syria and needed German economic aid. If Franco got Morrocco, Mussolini would have had to get Syria. And don't forget the oil. Spain imported oil as well. Once at war with the Allies, no more oil. This consideration alone would have forced Germany to delay Barborrsa and concentrate on North Africa, Egypt then Iraq.

I don't believe Hitler cared for Franco, one way or the other. But he admired Mussolini.

[ June 02, 2003, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: Shaka of Carthage ]

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Whachtmeister & Shaka

To add another entry to this. Franco did not want to go to war with England and also feared that the Spanish population might even rebel if he dragged them into another bloodbath after the one they'd just finished.

Hitler and Fanco tossed those issues about at a meeting on the Spanish border with France. Hitler sent Canaris ahead to smooth things over with the dictator. They were already friends. Canaris waited for Franco to begin stating his position, then let him in on all the supposedly secret reasons that Germany could not spare troops for a Spanish invasion. Knowing that, Franco made sure he was asking for conditions Hitler could not agree to, such as Vichy French territory. At the end of the day Hitler told an aid, "Before I would meet again with that man I would have four teeth extracted. Without gas."

For his part, Hitler learned from Napoleon's campaign that both Spain and the Spanish people were tough to conquer and said as much to several of his generals. It's interesting to me that he learned this lesson from the Napoleonic Wars and not the one about fighting Russia in the East and Britain to the west.

Link to an article about the meeting and photos

Hitler and Franco during their only meeting in the work room on Hitler's train, Amerika.


[ June 02, 2003, 09:17 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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The "Spain issue" has been well ventilated, I think.

I agree that SC2 should have more serious penalties for moves that completely defy diplomatic logic. SC seems to feature the kind of diplomacy practiced by Attilla the Hun and Ghengis Khan: "The best friends are dead enemies."

It's interesting to me that he learned this lesson from the Napoleonic Wars and not the one about fighting Russia in the East and Britain to the west.

The man was living proof about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. "Selective learning" can be catastrophic.

About the link: I'm glad to learn that Franco was a great humanitarian and benefactor of the Jews and of mankind in general. I suspect, however, that if he saw an advantage to allying with Germany he would have done so. Admiral Canaris, along with a handful of other Germans, are the guys we really should be thankful for in this story, I think.

And to point out the obvious: The Italian fleet is often rampaging around Boston harbor well before Pearl Harbor. So maybe the Arizona and Oklahoma could show up?

[ June 02, 2003, 11:13 PM: Message edited by: santabear ]

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I agree, lets have the US Pacific Fleet sail into the Atlantic in January of 1946 after Japan surrenders in September of 1945 or 4 turns after Axis troops land in North America.

[ June 02, 2003, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Edwin P. ]

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Glad you liked the link and photo and I enjoyed all your comments on the topic. You're probably the first one who mentioned anything positive about the Generalisimo as a person. It's true, he was a very fanatic Catholic, though of course many Cosa Nostra Dons make the same claim. The difference with Franco is he was concerned and did rebuild his country instead of plundering it the way Hussein plundered Iraq. The country was still poor when he died, but the the common man was probably better off than he had been under the Monarchy. With any luck our Spanish friend, Urko, will either set me straight or fill us in with some facts from Seville.

Actually, Urko did say a few things in another thread about the continued power of the Church under Franco's government. While managing a movie theatre a while back, I read something interesting in a trade journal relating to the countries lingering socialist sentiments. The movie Reds was filmed in Spain and in the scene depicting a singing crowd of peasant petitioners slaughtered by cossacks, the producers scheduled some time for teaching the extras the International . Turns out they didn't use any of it, they all knew it by heart! :D At that time the Civil War had been over nearly forty years.

Hitler later commented that he should have backed the Royalists and left Franco in Morocco!

[ June 03, 2003, 03:07 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Shaka: Mussolini was a factor, and perhaps oil. However, THE factor was more likely Vichy and the German inability to handle the disparate aspirations of both Italy and Spain, both of whom wanted to expand at Vichy's expense.

JJ: Its certainly true that Franco did not want war with the UK, or anyone else. Spain was just beginning to recover from their bitter civil war. However, there is reasonable evidence that Franco could opportunistically have come in on the Axis side in Mid-June '40, if "the price was right" - That is if Germany had decided to place Vichy in 3rd place and agree to Spanish desires for take-over of French Morroco, the Oran district, expansion of Rio de Oro and expansion of Spanish Guinea. The offer of 19 June '40 was originated by Spain, mainly since the Spanish determined that they were too weak to simply roll over the French Morroco border. Spain may also have considered a "mini-stab in the back" against French Morroco near the end of the German campagn in France to the extent of massing troops on the border. In fact, Spain did take the "free-city" of Tangier over French objections.

Germany's got off on the wrong foot by not responding to the Spanish offer for 6 weeks.

Here is a link to the book that is the source of much of this information: Review of the book "Tomorrow the World" (Found my copy at Half-Price Books)

As the review states, the author fails to really prove his central thesis that Hitler had specific, major plans for future war with the USA. However, he does provide interesting insights into how close Germany came, despite its fumbling, to dominating the Med.

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Hedaye: Hitler & Franco

Hitler demanded from Franco:

Spanish war-entry on 10th January 1941.

He proposed the liberation of Gibraltar within a few days by german troops. Spain should get back Gibraltar.

Franco answered, that only spanish troops could bring back Gibraltar to spain.

He demanded:

- the spanish army has therefore to be completly

re-equipped with new & modern german weapons

- the repair of the spanish railway-system

- food for the spanish population

- mauretania, marocco and oran (VICHY!)

After 7 hours of fruitless talks Hitler ended the debate and suggested that the foreign-ministers should complete the treaty.

Hitler left with his special train (btw.: an anti-air-(flak)fortress) the same day.

Ribbentrop and Serrano Suner started their talks after a boring banquet. Ribbentrop threatened Suner, and at midnight he finaly demanded from Suner to reappear the next morning at 08:00 h with an acceptable treaty.

Suner didn't appeared at the demanded time, he only sent his secretary Espinoza de los Monteros with an insignificant/unimportant text instead.

Ribbentrop took his plane to meet Hilter in France (Meeting with Pétain).

While Hitler complained he would prefer to lose 3 or 4 teeth instead of another meeting with Franco, Ribbentrop complained about "this Jesuit" Suner and the "ungrateful coward" Franco.

*********** all poorly translated from "Raymond Cartier: Le seconde guerre mondiale" ********

BTW: nice book with a french view on WW2

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Yes, I agree entirely. If Hitler had played his role in a more sensible manner Franco might yet have entered the war on the Axis.

Hitler began with the premise that Spain's entry was a given instead of a possibility. His propossal that Spain simply hand over one of the Canary Islands as a naval and air base was unreasonable.

As stated in the posting above, Franco also wanted the reequipping of the Spanish Army and Air Force and some degree of direct protection from Germany. Here again, Germany might well have been able to accomplish this; the U-boats stationed off the coast of Norway, where an invasion was unlikely, would have been better placed off the Iberian coastline, where they might have doubled as commerce raiders.

As usual Hiter became impatient. He wanted to take care of Gibraltar while the weather was poor everywhere else, then exit that theater and fight somewhere else. Probably Franco realized that Hitler would only help him to the extent that it benefitted his own cause.

Agreed also that Franco, like any military dictator, was also an opportunist. Hitler needed to choose between Vichy and Spain. As it was obvious after the UK takeover of Syria that nothing would induce Petain to join the Axis, Hitler should have revised their arrangement and negotiated Tunisia to Italy, giving it a tenable supply line to North Africa, and Algeria to Spain, assuring Franco's cooperation -- Spain would have been exchanging one of the Canary Islands for Algeria and Gibraltar. Such a move might well have had the unexpected effect of rallying the Spanish people behind his rule.

Toward War's end, Staling broached the idea to Churchill that Britain and the United States should invade Spain as a Fascist sympathizer and try Franco as a criminal. Churchill responded that Franco, unlike others of Britain's present Allies, had never actually assisted the Axis cause! :D

At the time they didn't know about the Italian Frog men operating out of a patially scuttled Italian merchanman in Gibraltar Harbor.

Basically Franco was in many respects a craftier version of Mussolini. Unlike his Italian counterpart he refused to enter the war unless his requirements were met in full. Mussolini entered hurriedly because, like a vulture, he was worried about missing out on the spoils.

The link is to an historical novel on the subject, but I like some of the aspects he includes and the photos are great so I put it in. I haven't seen a book that covers ths subject definitively but his novel looks pretty good.

The side you bring up is another aspect of it. As you mention, by this time Hitler was basically dangling the same promises to Vichy, Italy and Spain as though they were three hounds, and he only had enough to satisfy one of them unless he catered to two at the third's expense.


Great Posting. I think between Wachmeister's posting, yours, and mine we've pretty much covered the Fanco war entry subject. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if more interesting info turns up before it's completely run it's course.

[ June 03, 2003, 07:12 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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BTW: nice book with a french view on WW2

CVM Said:

They Came

We Saw

We Ran

I hate when people post that French-bashing crap.

Americans tend to overlook the fact that we would have been defeated twice as fast if we had been in the same position France was.

Besides, where were we while France was being overrun and Britian was holding on by its fingernails.......

[ June 03, 2003, 09:06 PM: Message edited by: Comrade Trapp ]

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