Operation Ilona and Operation Gisela: The Invasion of Spain.

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

Moderator: sniper1shot

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Operation Ilona and Operation Gisela: The Invasion of Spain.

Post by Legionario » Sat Jun 07, 2003 3:46 am

Hi,

In May 1942, because of the ambiguous Spanish policy, several german divisions were disposed for the invasion of Spain (Operation Ilona) together an Italian disembark in Barcelona.

Where can I find information about these operations and about the divisions?

Thanks
¡Legionarios a luchar!

¡Legionarios a morir!

¡Viva la Muerte!

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Sat Jun 07, 2003 4:52 am

Hi Legionario,

I believe two "Gisela" divisions in the 300-series were created in southern France by the Ersatzheer in late 1942 or early 1943. I will give you their numbers in a later post.

I also know that the (2,000?) seamen used by the Germans during their seizure of the French merchant fleet at Marseilles and failed attempt to seize the French naval vessels at Toulon in November 1942 had originally been designated for use in the occupation of coastal areas in Spain.

I hope that is of some little use.

I will follow this thread with interest to see what else turns up.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Legionario » Sat Jun 07, 2003 8:36 am

Thanks sid guttridge,

The German Army also built a lot of bunkers in the Pyrenees, the only one that remains is in Port Bou (Gerona) near the French border. This bunker, the last of the Pyrinees is a 37 mm Panzer 38 (t) turret.
¡Legionarios a luchar!

¡Legionarios a morir!

¡Viva la Muerte!

User avatar
Enrico Cernuschi
Patron
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:05 am
Location: Pavia

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:31 am

Saludos amigos,

there was a plan, studied by the Italian Comando Supremo in March 1943, to cross Spain (hoping in Franco's neutral attitude, something like Danemark 1940 of Vichy France Nov. 1942) with a mixed German and Italian force (the Italian Army could give only the little Mot. Div. Piave and the not yet completed Paratroopers Div. Nembo for this purpose) which had to arrive until Gibraltar and to cross the strait closign so in a fantastic cul de sac the angloamerican and French foces in the French N. Africa. Hitler, in spite of Doenitz pleas for this plan which lasted untile late may 1943, dismissed the very odea since the beginning (he was right, I think). You may find all the history in "L'Italia in guerra, il quarto anno, 1943, ed. USEI, Roma, 1994".
But this is the first time I heard about an Italian landing at Barcellona in May 1942! (there was a study, in Spring 1940, for the Baleari Is. but it was cancelled in May 1940). Any further news and datas are available? EC

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Legionario » Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:55 am

Hi Enrico Cernuschi,

In May 1942 the Operation Illena was planned. The german army would had landed in Asturias and Italian troops would had landed in Barcelona.

For the Operation Felix (the Invasion of Gibraltar I think), the axis forces tried to cross Spain, but, although being a not belligerant country, Spain denied it because it was afraid about an invasion (as happened in 1808 with Napoleon).

Thanks Enrico, and regards from Spain.

User avatar
Enrico Cernuschi
Patron
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:05 am
Location: Pavia

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:22 am

Saludos Legionario:
I'm quite curious about details. A landing in Asturias would need ships. The operation Ilona (or Illona, I don't know) was a transfer of troops or a landing by force (the same difference which was between the despatch of French and British troops at Solinike in 1916 and Normandy 1944)?
Any further news is welcome.

Vista, suerte y al toro EC

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Legionario » Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:17 am

Hi Enrico,

I can be wrong about the landing in Asturias, because these operations are not very known and I haven´t enough information. But would the Italian had disembarked in Barcelona?

I have also read that these operations were planned to counteract an allied invasion, but there were several reasons to invade Spain for the germans (Gibraltar, the change of the Spanish Policy,...)

Besides, there were four operations for this invasion, weren't?

Operation Isabella (1941) - A full scale invasion.
Operation Ilona (May 1942)
Operation Gisella (September 1942)
Operation Nurnberg (1943)

About Isabella there is a web that explains something

http://www.sonic.net/~bstone/history/felix.shtml

But I´m not very sure of some facts Did the Goliaths exist in 1941?

Bye and Regards from Spain
¡Legionarios a luchar!

¡Legionarios a morir!

¡Viva la Muerte!

User avatar
Enrico Cernuschi
Patron
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:05 am
Location: Pavia

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:30 am

Ilona, Isabella, Gisela I and II were all counter offensive plans based upon the concept of a previous Allied invasion of Spain and or of Portugal. Nurnberg was a 1944 only a defensive plan for a Pyrenee defence. The Italian navy had no chanche to do a landing operation in May 1942. Not to mention others particoulars the oil situation was, in May 1942, the worste of all the war, with no naphta except for the bunkers of the ships. No reserves in the shore depots and a single mission autonomy for the fleet.
It would have been possible to send some troops in Barcellona by ship but only with the full cooperation of the Spainards yet fighting a menace of Anglosaxon invasion (I never heard, anyway, about such a project at the Comando Supremo or in SUPERMARINA during Spring 1942. The only Italian documents I can quote are about the Spring 1943 projects). Bye EC

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Legionario » Mon Jun 09, 2003 11:38 am

Thanks Enrico

User avatar
Enrico Cernuschi
Patron
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:05 am
Location: Pavia

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Mon Jun 09, 2003 12:45 pm

Arriba Espana EC :D

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jun 10, 2003 9:38 am

Hi Legionario,

The two Gisela divisions I mentioned in an earlier post were 355th and 356th Infantry Divisions, which were created by taking men from the eight reserve divisions in France.

The two Gisela divisions were formed on 1 May 1943, but within a couple of months the occupation of Spain was given up as impracticable and they were used elsewhere.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Enrico Cernuschi
Patron
Posts: 1086
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2002 2:05 am
Location: Pavia

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:23 am

I beg your pardon.
The two a.m. German Inf. divisions were formed just for Gisela? Was perhaps this plan something more than a paper exercise so? This piece of news would be quite different form the low level credit given by the Italian scholars, after the war, at the whole matter. If so the Italian studies (Piave and Nembo) were, then, more serious and things could begin to sound in a different way. EC

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:33 am

Hi Enrico,

The two divisions were definitely titled "Gisela" Divisions and were formed in the south of France at a time when Gisela was the German plan for a pre-emptive strike into Spain in the event of an Allied landing in the Iberian Peninsula.

So it is highly likely that the Germans did begin to make concrete preparations for a possible intervention into Spain in mid 1943.

However, they very quickly realised that this was not practicable with the resources at their disposal and seem to have settled on the easier task of defending the Pyrenees instead. The two Gisela Divisions were therefore used elsewhere.

Cheers,

Sid.

sid guttridge
on "time out"
Posts: 8055
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:54 am

Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:34 am

Hi Enrico,

The two divisions were definitely titled "Gisela" Divisions and were formed in the south of France at a time when Gisela was the German plan for a pre-emptive strike into Spain in the event of an Allied landing in the Iberian Peninsula.

So it is highly likely that the Germans did begin to make concrete preparations for a possible intervention into Spain in mid 1943.

However, they very quickly realised that this was not practicable with the resources at their disposal and seem to have settled on the easier task of defending the Pyrenees instead. The two Gisela Divisions were therefore used elsewhere.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Legionario
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:43 pm
Location: Spain

Post by Legionario » Sat Jun 14, 2003 3:15 am

Thanks Enrico & Sid for your information.

Do you know something about the Italian units involved in these operations?

Regards from Spain
¡Legionarios a luchar!

¡Legionarios a morir!

¡Viva la Muerte!

Post Reply