My question is not about an alternative scenario, nor about the reasons that caused Switzerland to not get invaded (as could be seen here: Why was Switzerland not attacked during the two World Wars?). I am asking about if the Swiss military of WW2 is clearly overrated.
Many people claim that the country was (and still is) impossible to invade due to the mountains and the guns owned by Swiss citizens. But there are many examples of similar situations that happened in history, as exposed in the question below, that show very clearly that those reasons are not sufficient to exclude an invasion and occupation.
Often, people make the claim that, given the mountainous terrain of Switzerland, an invasion would have been close to impossible. However, the Germans successfully invaded Norway, Yugoslavia, and Greece, all of which also have mountainous terrain, and they did that in a matter of days/ weeks. Also, Switzerland is much closer to Germany than Greece and Norway, so bringing new troops and supply would have been quicker and easier.
For the same reason, it is generally said that in case of invasion, the Swiss army, under the command of general Henri Guisan, would have retreated into the mountain strongholds, leaving much of the population and economical/ industrial centers to the invader. This is the so called "National Redoubt" strategy. However, why would the German and Italian armies need to attack those strongholds in the mountains? Why could they not simply occupy the Swiss plateau, then wait and let the Swiss soldiers starve to death in their mountain fortresses? Feeding 800,000+ soldiers in the Alps for months if not years isn't realistic. Plus, their ammunition stocks would be limited, while the Axis could bring as much supplies as they want to.
Then, there is the argument that, given the vast majority of Swiss men who own guns at home, even in case of German victory, there would be guerrilla warfare. However, if I am correct, the German army knew quite well how to deal efficiently with rebels in its occupied territories. They could simply retaliate on the village or region, thus causing the rebels to think twice before deciding to do something. And anyway, wouldn't this guerrilla warfare calm down after a few years, when people become accustomed to German and Italian rules?
In case of invasion, the Axis would benefit from the surprise effect, given that they would be the one attacking:
- First, that means that at least the border cities of Geneva and Basel would have fallen quickly.
- Then, that also means that the Swiss army would not be able to destroy all the roads, railways and other means of communications before retreating from regions close to the borders. Thus, the German army would potentially advance relatively quickly in the first few hours.
- That also means that parachutists could be dropped behind Swiss lines to secure important positions. Like strategic areas in the Jura mountains to prevent the Swiss from using them as a defensive line. Given the close proximity to the border with occupied France, wouldn't the German army then be able to quickly secure the Jura Mountains, thus having free room for an invasion of the plateau?
- Fourth, and most importantly, the Blitzkrieg tactic could still be used in the plateau. That means that, especially in the first hours of the invasion, the German Luftwaffe could simply bomb each and every Swiss military position on the Plateau, which would then allow for its conquest. And then, as said, one could just wait for the Swiss army to starve in their mountains and finally surrender (or die).
There are probably more reasons, but those are the main ones that I found. Was Switzerland much easier to conquer than imagined?