Rommel obeys Hitler's orders

Hitler's original plan was for German forces to stabilise the situation in North Africa and defend a limited area, however, Rommel went on the offensive and the rest is history.

What would you expect to change had Rommel obeyed Hitler's orders?
 
Hitler's original plan was for German forces to stabilise the situation in North Africa and defend a limited area, however, Rommel went on the offensive and the rest is history.​


What would you expect to change had Rommel obeyed Hitler's orders?​

Interesting question, especially given the number of threads where somebody ends suggesting no German involvement in the Med. Since this actually has its drawbacks, I was thinking more along the lines of a very limited involvement, and one of the ingredients surely is this one.
I'll think about it...
 
Not so many men, tanks and other resources wasted to Africa... Not that those resources decided the result of WWII, but everything counts.

Maybe more stable Italy, without all the back and forth fighting?



_
 

CalBear

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The Germans waste fewer resources in a sideshow and get tossed out of Africa earlier.

Question is how long it would be until Hitler changed his orders to offensive. Based on his history, Hitler didn't really believe in sitting around when you could get at the enemy.
 
For the German High Command, you would have more supplies to be sent to other theaters, mainly the Russian Front. The Mediterranean was largely viewed by Hitler as a sideshow theater. He only sent Rommel to keep the Italians in the war and because he was mainly a celebrity for his exploits in France with the 7th Panzer "Ghost" Division.

The Italians would have been driven out of North Africa sooner and Sicily and Italy would have been sooner as well.

You would have to do a major personality change for Rommel. Even though he was eventually promoted to Field Marshal, he never really stopped thinking tactically. He enjoyed tactical successes, but had numerous strategic problems, mainly logistical. Let's not forget that in North Africa he had a virtually independent command, so can we really be surprised he ran around doing his own thing.
 
Well, Rommel being Rommel, he would have had a good reason to obey. That could have been a obedience inspiring “hands on” theatre commander in chief (hands on the “you’re sacked for insubordination” button that is) or a no-nonsense chief of staff.

I don’t think the campaign in North Africa would have gone any easier for the British however. Never forget that they were pretty piss poor to start and OTL needed overwhelming force to defeat 2+ ragtag German divisions at the end of a very insecure supply line. Had Rommel stayed within easy reach of Tripoli/Benghazi while the British had to rely on Tobruk (within range of Axis air power) and Cairo for their supplies, the Axis might actually have done better while defending.

The only major change would be a relocation of resources. The Germans would have considerably more motor transport assets for their Russian adventure (as Rommel got almost as much as each of the Army Groups in Russia) and less of the valuable German assets were squandered on a sideshow. If that would have been enough to make a real difference in Russia is uncertain but it would unquestionably have helped their chances of winning their “all-or-nothing 1941 invasion.

The British would not feel so threatened by an Africa Corps defending the Tripoli-Benghazi perimeter and would perhaps not allocate so much of their combat power to that theatre. Either their buildup for D-Day is accelerated as more troops are held back in England but more likely is the transfer of excess troops to the CBI (China-Burma-India) theatre. These troops will most likely be lost in the Japanese advance of late ’41 and ’42 as lack of troops was not the reason the British did poorly in the early stages of the Asian war.
 
Well, Rommel being Rommel, he would have had a good reason to obey. That could have been a obedience inspiring “hands on” theatre commander in chief (hands on the “you’re sacked for insubordination” button that is) or a no-nonsense chief of staff.

I don’t think the campaign in North Africa would have gone any easier for the British however. Never forget that they were pretty piss poor to start and OTL needed overwhelming force to defeat 2+ ragtag German divisions at the end of a very insecure supply line. Had Rommel stayed within easy reach of Tripoli/Benghazi while the British had to rely on Tobruk (within range of Axis air power) and Cairo for their supplies, the Axis might actually have done better while defending.

The only major change would be a relocation of resources. The Germans would have considerably more motor transport assets for their Russian adventure (as Rommel got almost as much as each of the Army Groups in Russia) and less of the valuable German assets were squandered on a sideshow. If that would have been enough to make a real difference in Russia is uncertain but it would unquestionably have helped their chances of winning their “all-or-nothing 1941 invasion.

The British would not feel so threatened by an Africa Corps defending the Tripoli-Benghazi perimeter and would perhaps not allocate so much of their combat power to that theatre. Either their buildup for D-Day is accelerated as more troops are held back in England but more likely is the transfer of excess troops to the CBI (China-Burma-India) theatre. These troops will most likely be lost in the Japanese advance of late ’41 and ’42 as lack of troops was not the reason the British did poorly in the early stages of the Asian war.

ranoncles

I would disagree on two points.
a) While there would be early Axis successes in a defensive battle they would almost certainly lose in the end. In fact Rommel’s' 1st campaign could hardly have been timed better. A British/empire force exhausted by the advance through eastern Libya then stripped of much of its strength for the mess in Greece. Give them time to rebuild and establish proper supply lines and an isolated pocket around Tripoli will inevitably go down.

b) I fear that if more resources became available, either due to earlier victor or less units being committed to N Africa they would probably be committed to either aid to Russia or the bomber offensive. Ideally a relatively small increased in the resources in the east, especially if it arrived early enough to acclimatise, could easily have made things very difficult for the Japanese’s in Malaya. [Although there would still have been the danger of a turning operation due to their advance through the Dutch Indies and their overwhelming naval superiority in the region at the time.

Steve
 
I'd disagree that Rommel was thinking tactically and Hitler strategically. Rommel saw the possibilities for linking with Barbarossa if he could get through Eypt and into Iraq. Hitler couldn't see shit if you stuck his head down a toilet.
 
I'd disagree that Rommel was thinking tactically and Hitler strategically. Rommel saw the possibilities for linking with Barbarossa if he could get through Eypt and into Iraq. Hitler couldn't see shit if you stuck his head down a toilet.

Have you got any idea of the distances you are talking about???

Wandwavium and ASB's didn't exist then.
 
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Yes I know the distances being talked about, and the reasons why supply in the desert was so difficult for the Axis but not the Allies. As per usual the solution requires Hitler to make things happen for the Axis he leads, and that wasn't going to happen, hence the eventual Allied victory in every single theatre/front without exception.
 
Yes I know the distances being talked about, and the reasons why supply in the desert was so difficult for the Axis but not the Allies. As per usual the solution requires Hitler to make things happen for the Axis he leads, and that wasn't going to happen, hence the eventual Allied victory in every single theatre/front without exception.

You seem to have wiped out the Soviet Union your theory of what Hitler considered a threat - North Africa was a total back water as far as he was concerned.
 
As far as Hitler was concerned the Jews and Gypsies were a threat, but that doesn't make it so. Britain and the US developed their strategies to defeat Italy, Japan as well as Germany, conducting campaigns which would provide benefits to other campaigns, particularly in Europe. _________________ Hitler on the other hand did no such thing; he didn't string together a Med campiagn which would weaken Britain, strengthen Italy and put Germany in a better position to fight the SU.
 
How does something which diverts so much motor transport away from an offensive against the SU help the German offensive against the Soviet Union?

North Africa was a side show for Hitler, it was vital for Churchill, but a side show for Hitler.


 
Sorry, I didn't spell my idea out at all. Hitler knew that Britian was shaping up to be an enemy from the late 30s but didn't have a coherent plan to fight them, especially after the fall of France. I'd suggest that a combination Uboat/Blitz and a Med campaign pursued straight after the Fall of France with a full 4 mobile divs. If done with enough purpose it could get Rommel to Iraq in time for the April '41 pro Axis coup, and northern Iraq isn't so far from Transcaucasia. Rommel could perhaps then strike at the SU from the south when Barbarossa was deep into the SU. The sort of political and strategic initiatives this would require is Hitlers job, I bet Churchill, Stalin or Roosevelt could string it together.
 
Sorry, I didn't spell my idea out at all. Hitler knew that Britian was shaping up to be an enemy from the late 30s but didn't have a coherent plan to fight them, especially after the fall of France. I'd suggest that a combination Uboat/Blitz and a Med campaign pursued straight after the Fall of France with a full 4 mobile divs. If done with enough purpose it could get Rommel to Iraq in time for the April '41 pro Axis coup, and northern Iraq isn't so far from Transcaucasia. Rommel could perhaps then strike at the SU from the south when Barbarossa was deep into the SU. The sort of political and strategic initiatives this would require is Hitlers job, I bet Churchill, Stalin or Roosevelt could string it together.


There isn't the port capacity to support 4 divisions and there is even less motor transport in the desert to move what can be offloaded.

Logistics, logistics, logistics and in North Africa, the UK held all the aces.
 
The appreciation made by the Germans (Von Thoma?) in Oct 1940 said that 4 divs was the most that could be maintained in the field AND the minimum which could achieve success. Not much room for error is there? I think that appreciation should have been made in perhaps March 1940, and the 4 divs refitted and deployed by October after the fall of France. Otherwise it's just the standard eastern Med strategy conducted with all the vigour it deserves.
 
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