I’d have taken it another step. Malta lay astride the Axis shipping routes. But Gibraltar and Aden lay astride the two points of access of the entire Mediterranean. Both were within Axis reach during the war. If the Germans had taken them and held them, they would have had control of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Black Sea, and all the areas that bordered these seas.
It is my understanding that without Gibraltar, the Allies lose every war game scenario of WWII as the US military has replayed them.
None of which is surprising; what they were sunk by is a representation of what they faced as opposition, not what was most effective against them. In both World Wars, the major surface fleets the British faced (the German High Seas Fleet in WW1 and the Italian Navy in WW2) didn’t want to come out and play with the British very much as they were outclassed by them. As RickJay said, no one used submarines as their primary fleet arm for combat against surface ships because it wouldn’t work. Submarines are weapons of attrition, not decision. Nobody’s navy was blockaded in port by submarines during WW2, ever. For that matter, nobody’s merchant fleet, which submarines were much more effective against was blockaded in port by submarines during WW2, ever. It’s not something submarines were capable of doing. Operating in or near a port was actually something submarine commanders preferred not to do due to the added risk. Ironically, the means of conducting an actual blockade was surface ships. Surface ships could catch any ship trying to leave a blockaded harbor; submarines could not. If a submarine was unlucky and not in position to attack when a ship left harbor, there was nothing they could do about it. They were too slow to intercept and catch warships, and to have any hope of getting into a better firing position even against slow moving merchants required running on the surface.
Hitler probably COULDN’T have launched a successful invasion of Britain, and he knew it.
As late as 1939, his best hope was for a negotiated peace. Once Poland was conquered and France defeated, many potential British Prime Ministers would have concluded that the most practical approach was to recognize Germany’s dominance of the Continent (for now, at least), while preserving the Empire.
I don’t think that ultimately Nazi Germany could have conquered the U.K.
But the U.K. at any given time during the war was only a couple of days away from starvation, let alone operating power plants, and its industry operating.
(I don’t know the exact figures for this, so if anyone is better informed I readily defer to them )
So if the German submarine force had been larger, could have made the U.K. stagger.
The Luftwaffe should have concentrated on taking out the British radar stations, and the R.A.F., just before Eagle Day the R.A.F. was getting to irreconcilable losses level.
If the Wermacht had actually made a successful landing, there would have been a much more “fight to the death resistance”, then had been experienced in continetal nations previously.
Not because all Brits are incredibly brave, but because of Xenophobia.
The French and the Germans, for example hated each other at that time, but were familiar with each others cultures.(And the Belgians, Dutch, Danish etc.etc.)
So while they hated the idea of defeat and occupation they didn’t look on it as the end of the world.
But the British, not having experie
nced a succesful invasion since the eleventh century, viewed all non Brits as being “Foreigners”.
Upthread, posters said that the U.S would have warned off Germany from invading the U.K. or else.
But the fact is that apart from a strong Isolasionist following in the U.S., there were those who had no love for the U.K., including the then U.S. Ambassador of the time.
Another point .
The U.S. didn’t fund the U.K.s fight (An up thread poster postulated that in the alternative history the U.S. wuld fund the Brits.)
The U.K. was crippled by the debt to our U.S.Ally, and it was only fully paid in full, financially, a few years ago.
This is World War Two we’re talking about.