Which peripheral brief overseas campaign had most effect in Allied strategy in World War II ?

Which peripheral brief overseas campaign had most effect in Allied strategy in WWII ?

  • Capture of Iceland , Greenland and Faroes Islands in 1940

  • Capture of Italian East Africa (Eritea and Somaliland) in 1941

  • Supressing Axis backed Iraq Rebellion 1941

  • Capturing Vichy France controlled Syria and Lebenon 1941

  • Invasion of Iran 1941

  • Capture of Vichy France controlled Madagascar 1942


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Apr 2014
354
Istanbul Turkey
#1
During World War II , especially between 1940 - 1942 several brief overseas campaigns to capture strategic peripheral positions around the globe either from Axis or mostly from Axis collaborator regimes like Vichy France or Axis sympethic countries like Iraq under German sympatished regime , Italians or neutrals etc were waged by Allies. Especially by British Commonwealth. Which had been most critical to Allied victory and which had been most sucessful in contributing Allied strategy ? (this list can be expended further , I might have overlooked a few campaigns)

Most critical ones I believe were capture of Iceland , Greenland ansd Faroes islands in 1940 which provided vital air and naval bases for Allied navies during Battle of Atlantic when they were desperate for close bases for air and sea cover. Followed by capture of Italian East Africa which secured vital Red Sea , Suez Channel and Horn of Africa naval maritime route. After that invasion of Iran (which was somewhat odious against a soverign country) but provided a vital land route to ship Lend Lease supplies from Iranian ports to Soviet Union via Caucasus.

What do you think ?
 
Likes: Druid
Dec 2014
386
Wales
#2
I think I would generally agree with your list, except I would put the invasion of Madagascar above the capture of Italian East Africa

With the Med being closed to British shipping, the supply lines around the Cape were vital for the fighting both in North Africa and the Far East, but they were incredibly long and tenuous. So if the Axis had managed to establish bases on the island to interrupt that flow of supplies (and it was within reach of the Japanese navy as well as Germany/Italy) the result could have been devastating to the allied war effort, preventing or limiting re-supply in North Africa, Russia and to the Commonwealth Armies in India.
 
Apr 2014
354
Istanbul Turkey
#3
I think I would generally agree with your list, except I would put the invasion of Madagascar above the capture of Italian East Africa

With the Med being closed to British shipping, the supply lines around the Cape were vital for the fighting both in North Africa and the Far East, but they were incredibly long and tenuous. So if the Axis had managed to establish bases on the island to interrupt that flow of supplies (and it was within reach of the Japanese navy as well as Germany/Italy) the result could have been devastating to the allied war effort, preventing or limiting re-supply in North Africa, Russia and to the Commonwealth Armies in India.
The thing is there had been no Axis bases in Madagascar and even if Axis was willing to capture there , reaching , transporting men and materials and supplying any Axis garrison in Madagascar would be a long stretch for them. In Somali and Ethiophian coast though there were existing Italian naval bases and support infrastructure and plus even an Italian naval squadron (mostly made up by destroyers in Kassala)
 
Feb 2019
224
Serbia
#4
I'm torn between East Africa and Iran. My knowledge on the Atlantic theater is rather limited so I can't really speak for Iceland and the Faroe Islands invasions but I believe that Iran (Opening up new supply routes for the USSR and taking the resources.) and East Africa (Eliminating the Italian colonies and pretty much an entire front, also winning the Red Sea, as already mentioned.) were the most important of the operations listed.
 
Dec 2014
386
Wales
#5
The thing is there had been no Axis bases in Madagascar and even if Axis was willing to capture there , reaching , transporting men and materials and supplying any Axis garrison in Madagascar would be a long stretch for them. In Somali and Ethiophian coast though there were existing Italian naval bases and support infrastructure and plus even an Italian naval squadron (mostly made up by destroyers in Kassala)
There were Vichy France bases there and the concern was that if the Japanese established forces on the island they would effectively own the Indian ocean, preventing entry from both East and West. The British and Commonwealth forces currently in the Indian Ocean were far too small to pose any real threat to the Japanese, and the only way reinforcements could arrive for forces in North Africa and the Far East was via the Cape, which a Japanese force on Madagascar could prevent. If this happened it would be a huge disaster for the allies.

True, reinforcement and resupply would be difficult, but no worse than resupply for the British who had to send everything more than 10,000 miles round the cape, and easier than resupply to Ethiopia, which was impossible by sea for the Italians, so required travelling more than 1000 miles through desert and occupied territory. Here's an idea of the problems the British faced:


After the fall of France in June 1940, many of her far-flung colonies were tethered to the new Vichy regime. Among them was Madagascar, the massive island off the southeastern coast of Africa, which remained an isolated backwater until March 1942, when Japanese forces had not only taken vital Singapore but also threatened British India by striking deep into Burma.

After the Allies observed Japanese naval demonstrations off the coast of Ceylon in the Indian Ocean, it was believed that further Japanese expansion was inevitable. Suddenly, Madagascar was elevated to priority status. Earlier the Vichy French had permitted the Japanese to enter Indochina. If the Japanese were granted similar access to Madagascar’s deep-water harbor of Diego Suarez it was feared that enemy submarines and aircraft would commence wreaking havoc on the British convoys that passed the tropical island en route to the East by way of the Cape of Good Hope.

Such an occurrence would strangle the lifelines to British forces in Egypt and India and all but assure victory for the Axis powers. Having all the earmarks of a potential disaster, it was decided that Diego Suarez should not fall into enemy hands.


Mission to Madagascar: British Assault on Diego Suarez Port


It didn't happen, it might not have happened, but if it had happened and been successful, the results could have cost the allies North Africa, India, the route for much of Russia's re-supply and maybe the war.
 
Nov 2011
8,847
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#6
Add the Anglo-Iraqi War of May 1941. It may seem little more than a skirmish in the wider scale of things, but had it not been prosecuted robustly and quickly, it may well have compromised the British and wider Allied position. The timing of Raschid Ali's Axis promoted uprising was surely not co-incidental--occurring simultaneously with the German invasion of Crete and just a month before the beginning of Barbarossa.
 
Oct 2016
1,051
Merryland
#7
I think the US assault on Tarawa
bloody and miserable.
made the USA reconsider its plans and may have influenced the island-hopping strategy in which some Japanese bases (Rabaul) were bypassed and allowed to remain, albeit cut off from air/sea/supply.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,971
Canary Islands-Spain
#8
The defeat of the Iraq rebellion and the invasion of Iran. At the time, the oil production in the area was very important in global terms (still no oil in North Africa, neither in the Arabian peninsula), and the Allieds kept them under control
 

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