WWII in the Mid-East

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A strategic level video game about the Eastern Mediterranean theater of the Second World War.

This game lets you play out a few interesting alternative history scenarios from the Second World War. After conquering Greece, Germany had the opportunity to invade the Middle-East. Instead, Hitler decided to invade the Soviet Union. Axis forces did try to capture the Suez canal and Middle East oil fields via North Africa, but British naval dominance in the Mediterranean ultimately doomed this effort. Given the logistical problems of operating in North Africa, the Afrika Korps never had a realistic chance of reaching Cairo or the Red Sea. Sooner or later, Axis forces would have to fight a set piece battle with a very well supplied and well entrenched Allied Army. If this battle had not happened at El Alamein, it would have happened on the outskirts of Alexandria (in a possible repeat of the Siege of Tobruk) or along the western bank of the Suez Canal. The forces allocated to Operation Torch could have easily been rerouted to Egypt if the Afrika Korps had broken through at El Alamein. Rommel never had a real chance of reaching the Mid East from the West.

What if Axis forces tried to invade from the East? This game explores an alternative Eastern strategy for the Axis. A successful invasion would have played out in three parts:

1) No Invasion of the Soviet Union: canceling operation Barbarossa would have freed up forces for operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. Additional aircraft would have made a real difference for Axis forces in North Africa in 1941 and 1942. Capturing Malta would have been more feasible, British submarines would have had a harder time operating in the Mediterranean and fewer Allied convoys would have reached Alexandria. Most importantly, Axis shipping could move freely throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

2) Island Hopping: German paratroopers managed to capture the island of Crete in 1941. Hitler considered Operation Mercury to be a bloody mess, and avoided large scale airborne operations for the rest of the war. Had Germany been willing to try another large scale air drop, Axis forces could have taken Cypress from the British. With Cypress in hand, Luftwaffe bombers could target ports in Eastern Egypt with good fighter cover. With proper air cover, the Italian Navy would also dominate the Eastern Mediterranean. The ports of the Eastern Mediterranean would effectively be off limits to Allied shipping. This naval blockade would severely restrict the Allies’ ability to sustain a large, mobile mechanized force in the Mid East. In this scenario, the Afrika Korps could push aside a much smaller and poorly supplied Eight Army at El Alamein. In fact, El Alamein would probably never have happened, since Axis forces would not have been tied down by the Siege of Tobruk for months (remember, the British would not be able to resupply Tobruk by sea) or driven back to Gazala during Operation Crusader (The Tiger Convoy would never make it to Alexandria. It certainly would not arrive in time if it had to sail around the Horn of Africa and offload at a Red Sea port). Instead, the Afrika Korps pushes into Egypt in late 1941 with an uninterrupted stream of cargo ships unloading supplies at Tobruk.

3) Alliances: the summer of 1941 was perhaps one of the most unstable periods in modern Middle Eastern history. While fighting Germans and Italians in Libya, Commonwealth forces invaded Vichy controlled Syria and Lebanon, suppressed an uprising in Iraq and occupied Iran. The inhabitants of these regions rarely greeted Commonwealth forces as liberators. At the time, the Germans could only provide limited assistance to those resisting the British because Axis forces were occupied with the invasion of the Soviet Union. If Germany had captured Cyprus in June or July of 1941, Axis forces could have done a lot more damage to British interests in the Middle East. Syria and Lebanon would likely have remained under Vichy control with German military support. Local Vichy officials in Syria would probably have also agreed to let German forces operate in their territory, creating an Axis beachhead in the Middle East. With Syria secure, Germany could also provide more effective support for Iraqi forces fighting the British. Allied forces in Egypt could have faced invasion from the West AND the East by 1942. This game allows you to simulate these possibilities with the SYRIA JOINS AXIS card and the IRAQ UPRISING card.

The game also allows Turkey to enter the war as an Axis ally. While Turkey was neutral for most of the war, and ultimately joined the Allies in 1945, an alliance with Germany was a real possibility. In the summer of 1941, Germany was not the only aggressor in Europe. The Soviet Union had also invaded and annexed parts of Eastern Europe and Finland. Given its long history of territorial disputes with Russia, Turkey would have been very nervous about its Eastern border. If Germany had opted not to invade the Soviet Union in the Summer of 1941, Stalin may have decided to invade Turkey. The Turks, like the Finns, would have had to turn to the Germans out of desperation. The TURKEY JOINS AXIS card simulates this possibility.