Mercury or Hercules first? Could the Axis powers have won the war by not invading Crete by airborne assault, but instead eliminate the Maltese menace and thereby securing supplies to the DAK?

Hi Indy, Sparty and all you lovely knowledgeable people at the Timeghost Factory of Infinite history exploration!

Earlier, you asked us what could be an interesting extra topic to address besides the regular programming,
I first suggested the Dieppe raid, aka Operation Jubilee, as many more fellow Patreons suggested. (also I suggested the Englandspiel, but now besides the point, I hope you will make a comprehensive series on ‘spy-stuff’ later).

I was thinking about your question and it hit me that we might risk overlooking the (possibly) biggest mistake the Axis powers made, concerning the strategy on the North African theater!

I want to raise this ‘what if’-question.

I realize that Operation Mercury (invasion by Students airborne forces of the Greek island of Crete) has been the ultimate demise of the German large scale airborne operations (due to very heavy casualties and losses) and that had, I presume, a big impact on the decision on whether to go forward with Operation Hercules or not.
The attacks on Malta were horrendous and the population had much to endure.

Consider this: what if it was the other way around? What if Malta was occupied and secured first? Would there even be a reason to occupy Crete?
Even this question alone also brings us to the delaying of Operation Barbarossa, again a very important reason why, luckily, it all went sour for the Germans!
My thoughts are that it would have been a major game changer for all parties!
We all know that Churchill was reinforcing Greece, depleting troops from the North African forces, so if Malta would have been captured by Student instead of Crete, would the chances for Rommel to overwhelm the Allied forces be much greater? Taking the Suez Canal and move on to envelope the Caucasus from the south while gaining much needed oil resources in Irak, barely defended? I think it could have possibly tipped the balance of power in this horrendous war (for the worst, i might add).
I recon this is an interesting topic, up for an interesting discussion. :blush:

thanks as ever!
sincerely yours,

private Harry
from the Netherlands


As you may know, there is an historian who has written a book and given 1 or more lectures which are recorded and up on youtube. He thinks Hitler and the Nazis could have won and he claims that not taking Crete rather than Malta and then doing Barbarossa were the 2 very bad blunders that ruined his chances.

He also thinks that if Hitler and had merely provided sufficient supply to Rommel to win and take Egypt, that, even without Barbarossa, Hitler could have coerced the Soviets into giving him something, even though they were already bending over backwards to be accomodating and nice to Hitler.

Would the Soviets have given or sold the Nazis even more oil and supplies if they were facing a victorious Nazi army from Egypt or Turkey?

The guy actually claims to have 4 or 5 different scenarios in which Hitler could have won, but, once we are over these 2 ideas, they are get a lot less realistic.

Since Russia was selling Hitler needed supplies, attacking instead of enjoying the bounty was quite bad!


I appreciate your reaction, although I don’t know the historian you are referring to. For me, I would very much like the Timeghost team to do a program on this topic.

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Unfortunatey the guy’s name escapes, but he has a book out and I first saw him on youtube and then went to see if his book was in my local libary and it was!

One of his farfetched ideas as to how Germany could have won would have been to strategically retreated in the East when the battle was going against them, and then, to have had a victory and negotiated a peace settlement!

I do not think that would have worked and there would still be the Americans and British at the point, so . . .

I assume and hope that youtube has not deleted the guys lecture or caused it to disappear for other reasons!


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It would have been far more sensible for Hitler to broker a peace between Greece and Italy and leave the whole mess alone.


I like your sense of humor: Hitler being sensible?:rofl:
Furthermore I really don’t think that Mussolini would want to budge on his aim to reclaim the Roman Empire and certainly not by conceiting to arch rival Greece, which already humiliated the Italians on their Albanian campaign (you can look up those programs on this fabulous channel)


It occurred to me that, when Churchill decided to reinforce Greece and Crete, he tighted up a bunch of forces there and even when Hitler invaded Greece bunched up a lot of evacuees on Crete. Good troops doing nothing. Imagine Hitler sending Students Fallschirmjaeger to Malta on mass around 1942 as Rommel reacts to Battle axe and Crusader…the need to cease Tobruk might not be so much paramount and, knowing Rommel’s drive, given the right amount of supplies his ‘dash to the wire’ could have maybe been a dash to the Suez Canal, which would leave the allies in a predicament!


Yes. Take a heart from me.