Falklands war in WWII

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
Francis Marliere
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Falklands war in WWII

Post by Francis Marliere » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:46 pm

Gentlemen,

imagine that Argentina takes the opportunity of British difficulties during WWII (let's say in August 1940 or November, 1941). Is it politicaly plausible ? What may happen ? How can Britain react ?
Argentina has a stroong navy with 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 12 destroyers and 3 submarines. I don't have any information on the Air Force / naval aviation. Do you have some ?
I guess that Britain could always spare a battleship or two plus a few cruisers in the South Atlantic for retaking the islands. However, how could they operate so far away from their bases ? As far as I know the Royal Navy did not refuel at sea at this time and the nearest base, Capetown, is 3500 nm from the Falkands. The only solution I can see would be to anchor one or more tankers in South Georgia and refuel the ships here. That would make the use of short ranged ships such as destroyers difficult around the Falklands because South Georgia is 800 nm east of the area.

Thanks for any comment,

Francis Marliere

Tom17
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Re: Falklands war in WWII

Post by Tom17 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:40 pm

I would think a 1600 mile round trip is within the capabilities of most RN WW2 destroyers with a decent margin for operations around the Falklands.
V&W class (some of the oldest designed destroyers in RN service in 1940-41) all had a range of 3500+ at cruising speeds.
Also, what forces (if any) did Britain have in the Falklands at that time?
Tom

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tameraire01
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Re: Falklands war in WWII

Post by tameraire01 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:48 pm

At least Three cruisers and HMS Cumberland a county class heavy cruiser refitting in the Falklands them selves so it would not have been a cake walk for the Argentines.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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RF
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Re: Falklands war in WWII

Post by RF » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:18 am

Francis Marliere wrote: imagine that Argentina takes the opportunity of British difficulties during WWII (let's say in August 1940 or November, 1941). Is it politicaly plausible ? What may happen ? How can Britain react ?
Argentina has a stroong navy with 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 12 destroyers and 3 submarines. I don't have any information on the Air Force / naval aviation. Do you have some ?
Francis Marliere
An interesting question.

I think part of the answer is that Argentina never contemplated such an operation, let alone make any bellicose noises on the issue of the ''Malvinas'' in the way that their present leader has.

An August 1940 operation would have been a serious matter, as Britain had to cope with the threat of German invasion and also deal with the Italian naval threat in the Med. There would be an additional consideration, that with Argentina being a Spanish speaking country it could drag Spain into WW2 as well, with the issue of Gibraltar.

So what would happen? In August 1940 an Argentine force using the full strength of their navy could land in and seize the islands, but it wouldn't be without cost. In some ways it would resemble what happened in British Somaliland, in East Africa, which the Italians invaded, also in August 1940. This episode turned out to be Fascist Italy's only military victory of WW2, and once Britain was relatively free from the threat of immediate invasion and the Italian threat was reduced as per the Taranto attack, the British become free to pursue offensive operations. As part of those offensive operations, in East Africa it included an amphibious operation to recover British Somaliland in April 1941. This was achieved without loss, the Italians immediately surrendered without putting up any fight.
In the case of an occupied Falkland Islands, they do have strategic significance for Britain. Also Argentine accession to the Axis would concern the USA, which while neutral at the time, would support logistically any British operation to retake them.
Expect therefor a British attempt to retake the Falklands in early December 1940, coupled with a blockade of the Argentine coast. The campaign would be very similar to that of 1982. Could the KM have helped the Argentines? Well, of the surface ships only the Admiral Scheer would be available, having started a commerce raiding operation in the Atlantic a month earlier. But would Raeder have risked her in directly supporting the Argentine navy? Probably not, unless Hitler ordered it. But the Fuhrer at that time was pre-occupied with dealing with the Soviet Union and the orders for Barbarossa. U-boats? It could be done, but only a handful would be available. Donitz would have insisted on concentrating on the North Atlantic convoys and resist sending any U-boats to help Argentina.
The only other possibility of German support I can think of would be the despatch of Luftwaffe planes stored on merchant ship blockade runners and ship them to Argentina. But logistics would ensure that such a force would be tiny and therefor ineffective. The same would apply in respect of ground troops. Any larger force would be intercepted by the RN long before it got to Argentina..
So Argentina would fail.

An operation in November 1941? Very unlikely. Expect Churchill to divert POW and Repulse from their journey to Singapore as part of an RN force to defeat an invasion attempt. Even if the invasion did succeed then US entry into WW2 within a few weeks immediately places the US Navy to support British forces.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

paul.mercer
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Re: Falklands war in WWII

Post by paul.mercer » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:08 pm

Gentlemen,
I thought that the German Navy had one or two Q ships in that area the Pinguen and Kormoran?

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RF
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Re: Falklands war in WWII

Post by RF » Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:49 am

Pinguin and Kormoran operated in the Indian Ocean rather than South Atlantic.

A Falklands campaign isn't really suitable for a hilfskreuzer, whose purpose is to operate as a remote from the battle front commerce raider.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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