Operation Isabella (i)

This was the German early version of ‘Ilona’, and as such a plan to be put into effect after the collapse of the USSR or after any British landing in the region, to secure bases in Spain and Portugal, as well as Dakar in French West Africa, primarily for the continuation of the maritime strangulation of the UK (5 September 1941/28 May 1942).

The basic concept was laid out by Adolf Hitler in his Führerweisung Nr 32 of 11 June 1941, and came to include the seizure not only of mainland Spain, but also of Portugal, the Canary islands group and the Cape Verde islands group, and an extension to the south to seize the port of Dakar on the coast of Vichy French West Africa. The implementation of the plan was clearly beyond the capabilities of Germany at the time it was conceived, despite the comparative weakness of the UK in this period, but if successfully implemented would have given Germany a commanding strategic position in the Atlantic and West Africa to hinder the movement of British convoys across the Atlantic and also to and from the Middle East and India via the Cape of Good Hope.

A strategic corollary of ‘Isabella’ (i) would have been the seizure of Gibraltar in ‘Felix’ (i), thus denying the British access to the Mediterranean Sea from its western end.