Presentation on theme: "World Wars – Ms. Hamer December 2, 2011. Mediterranean was not primary focus for Hitler (Soviet Union was), but hoped his allies could pressure British."— Presentation transcript:
Mediterranean was not primary focus for Hitler (Soviet Union was), but hoped his allies could pressure British colonial holdings in the Mediterranean Wanted to lure Italy, Fascist Spain, and Vichy France into an alliance to pressure England in the Mediterranean Without success Spain and Vichy France wouldn’t jump on board and Italy was erratic
Iraq – pro German coup caused British intervention April 1941 that restored pro-British government in Baghdad British and Free French troops moved into Syria in June 1941 where they fought against Vichy French troops End of June 1941, England controls or has friends in all of the Middle East
Believed in the weakness of the British Wanted to take Greece and Egypt and recreate the Roman Empire (like we haven’t heard that before) Italian Egyptian campaign launched September 13, 1940 British beat Italians out of Egypt by December 1940 Italian L3-33
By February 1941, England had taken most of Libya and captured over 130,000 of the Italian invasion force “Never has so much been surrendered by so many to so few” said Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden (parody of Churchill’s quote) British Crusader Tanks in Libya
British go on offensive against Italy in North Africa, Germany decides it has to help Early 1941 England had captured all of Italian East Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland) and had retaken French and British Somaliland
Hitler intervenes by sending Erwin Rommel in February 1941 to save the situation Rommel sent to Libya in charge of one armored and one mechanized division: together they’re called Afrikakorps Rommel had just shown up and forced British back to Egypt EXCEPT for Tobruk Rommel needed Tobruk for supplies Deadlock at this point along Egyptian frontier
Intended to be a side show Short-sidedness – shows Hitler’s limitations – traditional German statesman who doesn’t appreciate the strategic implications of the Middle East
Would had to have diverted the necessary forces to North Africa Could have seized the Suez and captured oil fields Would have cut England off from their Empire Would have helped Germany with oil later in the war
There were real problems that would have created real issues for Germany asserting their power in the Middle East Logistics Tripoli was the only major Axis port Fighting in narrow band on single road along the coast British air from Malta harassed supplies coming from Italy Water, oil, spare parts, and ammunition were always scarce
German troops took Tobruk and captured 35,000 British prisoners as well as many supplies By late June Afrikakorps was at El Alamein Hitler promoted Rommel to Field Marshall
Ended with British holding it, but unable to push Germans back British ability to resupply their troops in Egypt including US Sherman Tanks helped Churchill in mid-August replaced his commander in North Africa with General Harold Alexander who would command the entire theater General Bernard Montgomery was chosen to lead the British 8 th Army Monty was very popular with troops because he waited to move until he had superiority – seen to care about troops
British forces led by Montgomery: 230,000 troops; 1500 Tanks German forces 80,000 troops; 500 Tanks British were able to thwart Axis supplies with the use of ULTRA (breaking of German code) British lost more tanks than Germans, but Rommel couldn’t handle the German losses because Hitler refused reinforcements November Rommel was in retreat and Monty’s caution allowed the Germans to retreat into Libya
Debate between British and Americans Both agreed on Europe First US wanted to focus on cross-channel invasion only UK wanted to finish off Axis in Mediterranean first
US got the Dieppe Raid (August 1942) Small raid on Northern France with mostly Canadian troops Over 3,000 Allied casualties (60% of the invading force) Churchill urged FDR to adopt the plan for the invasion of French North Africa US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall was upset about this – thought it reeked of British colonialism (defending the empire and all) Result was Operation Torch
Skills in planning, organization, and logistics Personal and political skills: team player, not led by ego, had great personal magnetism Even Monty said that Ike had the “power of drawing the hearts of men toward him as a magnet attracts bits of metal. He merely has to smile at you and you trust him at once”
Allied landings at Casablanca in Morocco and Oran and Algiers in Algeria Out of German airspace, but would mean long campaign because landing so far west
200,000 French troops in North Africa loyal to Vichy France and they disliked the British So the US led this operation Allies didn’t trust De Gaulle so they picked Giraud to lead Free France, but de Gaulle would emerge in full control of French policy in N Africa Allied Troops in Algiers
Germans poured troops into Tunisia from Libya French resisted – 7000 French casualties Captured German Tiger 1 Tank
Allies successfully landed in November, but were bogged down in Tunisia Inter-Ally friction Americans did not perform with great distinction First encounter with Germans at Kasserine Pass was a disaster US commanded by Major- General Lloyd Fredendall and British General Anderson The 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army marches through the Kasserine Pass and on to Kasserine and Farriana, Tunisia.
March 6, 1943 - Ike named Patton as the new commander of Army 2 nd corps As much or more of an ego as Montgomery!
March 1943 - Allies had amassed great strength and began the final push towards victory Rommel was unable to get re-supplied Hitler refused to see the potential of the Afrikakorps Germans failed to hold North Africa and Operation Torch succeeded
This was scary to America because the success meant no cross-channel invasion in 1942 or 1943…
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