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Subject: Gibraltar rss

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Gus I
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About 10 years ago I visited Gibraltar. While the rock itself is very impressive three things stood out:

1) The harbour/anchorage is in a bay. The Spanish town Algeciras is just on the other side well within artillery range.

2) The airport is a single runway extending well into the sea.

3) When you stand at Tarifa 20 kms west of Gibraltar you can clearly see Morocco and all the ships in the straights in between.

I think it is much more realistic that when an Axis land unit moves adjacent to Gibraltar,
- allied air and naval units must re-base.
- the straights are closed to allied shipping

The links below show maps and photos of the region.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibraltar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Gibraltar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Gibraltar
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Patrick Bauer
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Fortress Gibraltar may indeed be that small and vulnerable but the hex scale is larger than just the island. I believe it is presumed that Commonwealth forces would not passively sit by while the artillery rolled on into position. The entire hex is considered Commonwealth for play balance and historical accuracy -- those ships have their own artillery. If the Axis forces got so close to eject the air and fleet that would be essentially capturing the hex.

While perhaps a good variant to help a lesser skilled Axis player, I think that otherwise it tilts too far into the Axis' favor.

Imo
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Gus I
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It is not intended to enhance play balance. It is more a historical option. I was surprised at how small Gibraltar and the straights were in reality, especially after decades of playing games with Gibraltar as the strongest fortress in Europe.

With the technology of Napoleons era it is fair to keep the rock as impregnable but in WWII guns could accurately shoot across the bay. Similarly batteries and airbases at Tarifa would pose a huge threat to shipping in the straights.

Even the other option where British troops rush into the surrounding country side as soon as Germany invades Spain has its problems. How much could the Brits fortify in that time? Surely only the rock would count as a fortress and not the Spanish perimeter. Efforts in Norway, Belgium and Greece show that they were no match to numerically superior Germans.

The key to maintaining play balance probably lies in how to handle Spain if it is attacked by its ally. Hitler met with the Caudillo and is supposed to have said that he prefer a root canal than to repeat the experience.

I don't know enough of the history of the Spanish civil war but it finished only a few years before the fall of France. Spain has been left incredible traumatised by the experience.

Options would include:
1) large number of partisans/guerillas
2) resumption of the civil war
3) Ussr can attack germany in aid of it Spanish communist allies
4) Italy and other axis minors become neutral.
5) Germany undergoes nation building in Spain and sends large quantities of resources for free passage through Spanish territory.
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Rober Khan
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Hi, Guus!

It's lovely to meet someone interested in the details of the fascinating Spanish recent history!
Being Spaniard and History student myself, I've tinkered with the idea of doing Spanish diplomacy and politics in WiF far more complicated than they currently are. However, I understand that, as a design decission, it's more fair to keep it simple. After all, Greek, Finnish or, not least, Yugoslavian, politics were similarly tricky.
Our own historiography has been ripped in two about Hitler-Franco's relationships. That's the Civil War trauma. For conservative historicians, Franco skillfully dodged Hitler's demands for an Spanish alliance. For the rest -and this is the mainstream thesis today-, negotiations came to a deadend when Spanish demands were regarded as too high by Germany, as they included massive economic and military aid (Spain was a poor country empoverished by the the recent war, ended 1 April 1939, and the cruel post-war period) and parts of French territories in Morocco -that would piss off Petain-. Franco's insuffereable character didn't help, either.
In return, it offered a big but underequiped army with experienced in obsolete warfare officers, a small decent fleet, an inestable country -anarchist, communist and republican guerrillas would be active until late in the '40s and half of the population was politically suspect-, a loooong shore to fortify and hundreds of thousands of political prisoners. Franco's solution for this was to keep war going against the "inner enemy" even with the boom-boom war ended: Himmler himself -yeah, Endlösung's Himmler, not exactly a guileless soul- was surprised with the brutality of Franco's inner repression towards his own people. In a 25 million inhabitants devastated country were a million men are under arms, another million are in prison, watching or executing those in prison, recently KIA, assassinated or fled, who keeps the country going and well defended?
Hitler, already short on manpower, decided that it would not be him.
So, all the negotiating ended with a lot of grand manner rethorics, massive sells of strategic materials and the insignificant Blue Division detached in the Volchov river, which has become a masturbative motiv for right extremists in this country since then.
If you really want to go into detail in the game, options 1 and 5 seem plaussible to me (5 was actually Franco's goal, more or less). 2 and 3, not so much. Stalin lost interest in aiding the Republic well before the end of the war (mid. '37). From this point on, Soviet weapons and personnel shipments rapidly diminished. Moreover, Spanish Communists lost all power in the coup that happened just before the end of the war, politically defeated (with some shooting, of course) by more liberal Republicans and Anarchists. About Italy abandoning the Axis, I don't know...

Regarding Gibraltar, you're right, there is nowhere to land planes in The Rock itself. Nor is there place for a big fleet outside the Bay of Algeciras. But, in WiF, such abstractions are constantly happening. You can rationalize it by assumming that they are actually anchored in, I don't know, an occupied Cádiz, Tanger or something. On the other hand, the guts of The Rock are, as you know, a maze of tunnels and rooms which were full of guns, soldiers and equipment. In a way, it was a kind of natural superbunker.

Well, that was a long post. Hope it helps! Cheers!

P.D: I can recommend some bibliography, if you're interested.
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Magister Ludi
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GuusI wrote:
About 10 years ago I visited Gibraltar. While the rock itself is very impressive three things stood out:

1) The harbour/anchorage is in a bay. The Spanish town Algeciras is just on the other side well within artillery range.

2) The airport is a single runway extending well into the sea.

3) When you stand at Tarifa 20 kms west of Gibraltar you can clearly see Morocco and all the ships in the straights in between.

I think it is much more realistic that when an Axis land unit moves adjacent to Gibraltar,
- allied air and naval units must re-base.
- the straights are closed to allied shipping

The links below show maps and photos of the region.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibraltar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Gibraltar



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Gibraltar



You forgot the monkeys...those things are worth a few divisions of attackers!
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Jesper Noget
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Thanks for the historical analysis, always nice to learn something.

Also please have a look at.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Gibraltar_d...

Basically only a few Vichy portstrikes with landbased bombers and italian minisubs did insignificant damage to CW shipping placed in Gibraltar. No SCS or CV were hit. So in WiF term it limited it self to one or two CP lossed. So the vulnerability of Gibraltar goes both ways, in that in WiF Axis can portstrike Gibraltar and attack with minisubs, but have a harder time conquering it.


Yours,

Jesper
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Doug Harned
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I've never seen Gibraltar, but I do find it unrealistic that it is given such stature in the game. I see very little chance that any area that takes up so little of a map hex could withstand a land based attack for very long. Sure the CW navy could supply significant artillery support, but so could the Luftwaffe and German artillery.

I also would think that after France fell if the German army was mobilized to the Spanish border that Franco would have given a lot of thought to joining the Axis rather than see his country go the way of France.

That said what the game does very well is create play balance. If they made Spain or Gibraltar too easy to take it would upset that balance.
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Michel D
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dougofdeath wrote:


I also would think that after France fell if the German army was mobilized to the Spanish border that Franco would have given a lot of thought to joining the Axis rather than see his country go the way of France.



I am not sure Franco would have join Axis side even so (or Salazar in Portugal), given the character of the leader and the character of the spanish people who is quite different than the french. It's not that they would have a look at the odds the logical way, or the way we look at it. Spanish/portuguese have a tradition of stubborness even when the odds do not look good for them.

The Iberic war of 1809-1813 against Napoleon's invading Grande Armee is an example.

 
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Patrick Bauer
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Well for what it's worth, here's another wiki which includes the OOB of the planned German attack on Gibraltar using Spanish ports without Spain's approval (Operation Felix):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Gibraltar_d...


and here's a less then citeable British OOB against Operation Felix:


"Had Operation Felix taken place during January 1941 as planned, what opposition would the attackers have faced?
In September 1939 the garrison comprised two British battalions: 2nd The Kings Regiment and 2nd Somerset Light Infantry. 4th Devonshire arrived in May 1940 and 4th Black Watch in July 1940, so by January 1941 four infantry battalions were in place. (Later in the war this strength grew to 1st and 2nd Gibraltar Brigades with additional battalions.)
3rd Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery (previously "Gibraltar Coast Defenses" and later redesignated 3rd Coast Regiment) controlled 4th, 26th, and 27th Batteries with 8 x 9.2-inch guns, 7 x 6-inch guns, and 6 x twin 6-pounders. (Artillery strength also grew considerably later in the war.)
In September 1939 two AA batteries, the 9th and 19th, defended Gibraltar from air attack with 4 x 3-inch, 4 x 3.7-inch, and 2 x 40mm guns. HQ 10th AA Regiment was later formed to control the two batteries. The 82nd Heavy AA Regiment arrived in July 1940 with three batteries (156th, 193rd, and 256th) including 16 3.7-inch guns, 8 x 40mm Bofors guns, and the first radar sets. 3rd Searchlight Battery also arrived in July. Some shuffling of assets and re-numbering of units followed (including departure of HQ 10th AA Regiment, but no batteries); however, this AA strength was not further reinforced until March 1941. Because there were no fighters based at Gibraltar during this time (and no facilities for supporting them), AA fire was the only defense against the bombing of Gibraltar" from

http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/royal-artillery/20566-royal-art...
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Rober Khan
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micheljq wrote:
It's not that they would have a look at the odds the logical way, or the way we look at it.


Hey, what you mean, we are very cold blooded, rational people! Look at us now, if you need a proof!!

Ok, let's stay serious This scenario -Germany threatening/invading Spain- would have been very crazy! I can imagine Spain collapsing in a week, or the most philofascist part of Franco's government -Falange and Serrano Súñer- betraying him and aligning with the invaders, a lot of people putting zero interest in the fighting, unbelievable alliances between Civil War recent enemies, the use of political prisoners as conscripts...
But no, the most plausible scenario would be, IMHO, a national collapse similar to that of the French. The Civil War had cleaved the Nation in two. To some extent, this tearing apart still persists, so strong it was. I cannot see this wound magically healing in front of a fascist invasion. After all, half of the country had already fought fascism and lost.
The Iberic War -significatively, we call it "War of Independence"- helped building a notion of Nation more or less common to all Spaniards. This notion of Nation was abducted by the winners of the Civil War, negating it to the losers -they were even named "Antiespaña"-. Until very soon and even today, "España" meant "conservative, catholic, centralized Spain". Only recently is a joint concept of Spain being rebuilt, and it's still a weak baby, full of contradiction. Sport successes and economic crisis are helping there.

Oh, and Gibraltar is a fuXXXin' hard nut to crack! Spain besieged it no less than three times in the XVIII (Ok, not Spanish best military moment) century and failed everytime! Thanks to the Navy, of course. Looking at the numbers the Germans managed for Felix, it looks as if they had it for a hard go.
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Gus I
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No doubt the Rock would be very hard to take but my point is that if the Germans get to Algeciras they can close the harbour and the single runway airport. If the Germans get to Tarifa they can close the straights as well.

Thanks for the overview of Spanish politics at the time. I have Beevor's Spanish Civil war on the bookshelf but I have to admit that I only got a couple of chapters into it.

Being born and raised in Holland most of I my knowledge of Spanish history is the era of Philip II, III and IV.
 
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Gus I
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Aussie550 wrote:


You forgot the monkeys...those things are worth a few divisions of attackers!



The operation Felix OOB omits the all important detachment of zoo keepers.

In the forthcoming historical ASL module german MMCs will be TI on a DR 12 to simulate slipping on banana peels.
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Magister Ludi
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Operation Felix

This S & T Magazine game from 1992 specifically games out the topic, on a tactical level. The map from this game was actually pretty helpful in helping me retrace my visit to the Rock in 2012...

The Europa game 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' also has a scenario covering the operation, with various iterations.
 
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Gus I
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Aussie550 wrote:
Operation Felix

This S & T Magazine game from 1992 specifically games out the topic, on a tactical level. The map from this game was actually pretty helpful in helping me retrace my visit to the Rock in 2012...

The Europa game 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' also has a scenario covering the operation, with various iterations.


It doesn't show the airport on the map. It should go right across the neck.

Have you played it?
 
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Magister Ludi
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Not yet, but it seems pretty one sided. We could give it a go sometime.
 
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Gus I
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I might pass on that one, so many games, so little time
 
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Rober Khan
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GuusI wrote:
No doubt the Rock would be very hard to take but my point is that if the Germans get to Algeciras they can close the harbour and the single runway airport. If the Germans get to Tarifa they can close the straights as well.


A possible solution : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BULF8GH9O9k

GuusI wrote:
Thanks for the overview of Spanish politics at the time. I have Beevor's Spanish Civil war on the bookshelf but I have to admit that I only got a couple of chapters into it.


Maybe I got a bit overenthusiastic blush It's one of my fetish themes. Beevor's book gives a nice overview at the theme, although it's a bit outdated in some figures (Soviet tanks!) and offers a very simplistic explanation of Spanish 19th century which makes the Civil War a historical must.

GuusI wrote:
Being born and raised in Holland most of I my knowledge of Spanish history is the era of Philip II, III and IV.


Nice that I can forgive your heretic past and you can forget my genocidical fanatical background, then!
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Gus I
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Roberkhan wrote:


and I thought Hitler's UFO scientists were abducted to Rosswell not Mexico!
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Gus I
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Roberkhan wrote:
GuusI wrote:
No doubt the Rock would be very hard to take but my point is that if the Germans get to Algeciras they can close the harbour and the single runway airport. If the Germans get to Tarifa they can close the straights as well.


A possible solution :p : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BULF8GH9O9k

GuusI wrote:
Thanks for the overview of Spanish politics at the time. I have Beevor's Spanish Civil war on the bookshelf but I have to admit that I only got a couple of chapters into it.


Maybe I got a bit overenthusiastic :blush: It's one of my fetish themes. Beevor's book gives a nice overview at the theme, although it's a bit outdated in some figures (Soviet tanks!) and offers a very simplistic explanation of Spanish 19th century which makes the Civil War a historical must.

GuusI wrote:
Being born and raised in Holland most of I my knowledge of Spanish history is the era of Philip II, III and IV.


Nice that I can forgive your heretic past and you can forget my genocidical fanatical background, then! ;)


No worries - it is amazing how deep those fault lines are. The dutch Queen's sisters had to renounce their rights to the throne when they married Catholics, a Spaniard (a duke of Parma no less) and a Cuban. The current prince also married a Catholic (from Argentina) but things have finally moved on and her religion was no big issue.

The dukes of Alva and Parma from the late 1500's are not very popular in Holland.
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Rober Khan
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Yeah, it's good that national identity and religion are no more welded together in most of Europe. I greatly apreciate it! So, you could have an Argentinian queen in the future? That's weird.
Alba and Parma, yep, you have good reasons to have them as historical Dr. Evils. Just for laughs, here is a picture of the last of the Albas (the woman resembling a Jim Henson's creation) with her recent and suspiciously younger husband:

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/08/23/gentes/1314097963.h...

The once feared and powerful Albas are now yellow journalism fodder, general motive of joke and big fortunes to hunt! There is some kind of historical justice in there, isn't it?
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Gus I
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Roberkhan wrote:
Yeah, it's good that national identity and religion are no more welded together in most of Europe. I greatly apreciate it! So, you could have an Argentinian queen in the future? That's weird.
Alba and Parma, yep, you have good reasons to have them as historical Dr. Evils. Just for laughs, here is a picture of the last of the Albas (the woman resembling a Jim Henson's creation) with her recent and suspiciously younger husband:

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/08/23/gentes/1314097963.h...

The once feared and powerful Albas are now yellow journalism fodder, general motive of joke and big fortunes to hunt! There is some kind of historical justice in there, isn't it?


'strewth! maybe there is a regressive gene and some truth in this:
http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/RIJK04:RP-P-OB...

This is how we remember him. Click on zoom for a full blowup. The site has a huge archive in dutch but you can search people and places as these are mostly the same in all languages.

http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/NCRD01:0577901...
http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/RIJK04:RP-P-OB...

But you guys would probably have similar propagande pics of us.

Not sure how the new queen will go. She'll have her chance this April as the old queen has just abdicated. I have been away from the Netherlands for too long to what is going on. I think she is more popular than her husband.
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Rober Khan
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He is eating raw children while a hydra-like catholic bishop gets fuXXXed in the asX with a stick by some peasant/soldier??!! And what's this monstrous Pope he is kissing in the other graven?! XDDDDDDD Man, you're such rancorous people! He was only trying to save some souls!

Nowadays, and thanks to overall liberality and jobs-hunger, I would say that the Netherlands is one of the most popular European countries in Spain. In fact, it is somehow displacing Germany as the country of emigration of choice. Our historical "enemies" are England, because of Gibraltar and the piracy thing, and, of course, the French. My father in law -I'm not really married, but that's not important now- sometimes blames Frenchs, but only as after-dinner amusement, when wine has done it's work, and never too seriously.

I've heard about the abdication! It has become important here since the King is an oldie now who should, or many so think, abdicate before he becomes too ridiculous to bear.

P.S: Are we getting a bit too off-topic? You're the OP, after all.
 
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Gus I
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no worries those pictures are from centuries ago and Spain and the Spanish are very popular in Holland too. (and Barcelona is many peoples favorite foreign team)

The dutch queen reigns by the grace of the people so they have to pull their finger out. It does make sense to have the King reign in the prime of his live. This guys nick name was prince-beer and apparently is no Einstein. Willem IV can hardly be worse than Willem III.

Anyway as you say it is well off topic.

Have you played GMT's Spanish Civil war? That might inspire some alternate Spanish entry rules.
 
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Rober Khan
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I didn't know that game exists! Just had a look at it here in BGG and looks interesting, although maybe a bit classic in concept and visual. Sadly, there is yet no gamer's review, but the rating is quite high. It is a one evening game, so I'll do my best to try it.
I know better Antonio Catalan's "España 1936", which tries to introduce all the diplomatic and political complexity of the conflict besides the obvious military aspect. If I were to design a SCW wargame, I would put a serious effort in this point. After all, military operations in that war were a bit boring.
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Roberkhan wrote:
I didn't know that game exists! Just had a look at it here in BGG and looks interesting, although maybe a bit classic in concept and visual. Sadly, there is yet no gamer's review, but the rating is quite high. It is a one evening game, so I'll do my best to try it.
I know better Antonio Catalan's "España 1936", which tries to introduce all the diplomatic and political complexity of the conflict besides the obvious military aspect. If I were to design a SCW wargame, I would put a serious effort in this point. After all, military operations in that war were a bit boring.


Are you aware of this upcoming game: Crusade and Revolution: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939?
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