Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Mussolini stays Neutral

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #46
    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
    My bet is that Italy can take a bunch of Dalmatian islands & perhaps some coast with navy support. Perhaps the NDH set up their new 'nation' on Vis - big & far enough away from Yugoslavia to make it hard to re-take. Beyond that it is going to be hard work. As I suggested top of page, I can see a stalemate emerging very rapidly with neither side able to gain an advantage. italy might even get pushed back. Eventually I forsee Germany forcing a settlement.
    I think the main front (the NE Italian border) gives Italy some satisfaction. It's going to be a matter of brute force, WWI-style or almost so, with a sprinkling of tanks and air support. Historically the Italians failed at that game with the Greeks mainly out of logistical considerations, non-existent roads, and, however hard that is to believe, numerical inferiority for much of the campaign. With the area mentioned above, the logistics is better, the infrastructure also is, thus allowing brute numbers weigh more, and the numbers aren't in favor of the Yugoslavians but of the Italians.

    Chances are, however, than even when initial gains are made (helped by the coastal operations you mention, by distractions on the Albanian border, by possibly unfriendly posturing by other neighbors, and by the unreliability of the Croatians), the thrust will peter out. The Italian army at this time simply lacks the operational dimension. They will pause, no matter what. That means the Croatians get to plant the flag with the Italians in Zagreb, which isn't bad, but going beyond that... it's unlikely.

    So yes, the Germans will be interested in brokering a deal, and they have good chances to pull that off, if the Italians are given something to show for their aggression.
    Michele

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Michele View Post
      I think the main front (the NE Italian border) gives Italy some satisfaction. It's going to be a matter of brute force, WWI-style or almost so, with a sprinkling of tanks and air support. Historically the Italians failed at that game with the Greeks mainly out of logistical considerations, non-existent roads, and, however hard that is to believe, numerical inferiority for much of the campaign. With the area mentioned above, the logistics is better, the infrastructure also is, thus allowing brute numbers weigh more, and the numbers aren't in favor of the Yugoslavians but of the Italians.

      Chances are, however, than even when initial gains are made (helped by the coastal operations you mention, by distractions on the Albanian border, by possibly unfriendly posturing by other neighbors, and by the unreliability of the Croatians), the thrust will peter out. The Italian army at this time simply lacks the operational dimension. They will pause, no matter what. That means the Croatians get to plant the flag with the Italians in Zagreb, which isn't bad, but going beyond that... it's unlikely.

      So yes, the Germans will be interested in brokering a deal, and they have good chances to pull that off, if the Italians are given something to show for their aggression.
      You think they will get as far as Zagreb? You are more optimistic than me. I would have thought that by the time Slovenia & Istria are taken the 'steam' will be running out fast, especially if Yugoslavia can inflict damage from the air or make much use of its tanks. I suspect that if that is the case there will be an attempt to set up 'Croatia' in a place where the vast majority of people are not Croatian & don't want to be. Could get awkward for the Italians.

      Where we all seem to agree is that this is not going to end in a glorious victory for Mussolini. He might get all of Istria & some nice Dalmatian islands, but nothing like what he wants & nothing that will justify the human & economic cost (not to mention the humiliation of being slapped about by germany). Mussolini sulks & has to watch his back at home - a recipie for sitting out the next few years. By that time he will probably jump on the Allied bandwagon. Yugoslavia might too - especially if there is a prospect that inviting a Western army in keeps Yugoslavia out of the hands of the Russians. the first 6 months of 1944 might get very interesting in the Adriatic.
      Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

      Comment


      • #48
        In 1941 the Yugoslav Army was composed of 17 regular and 12 reserve infantry divisions,6 combined-arms brigades,3 regular cavalry divisions and 3 reserve cavalry brigades,one fortress division,and one fortress brigade.
        There were also 23 frontier guard battalions,a number of frontier guard regiments,dispersed over some 3000km of border,and some fortification troops in Slovenia mostly (Rupnik line).The fully mobilized strength of the Army was slightly under 1,000,000 men.

        Although Yugoslavia was stronger than Greece,it's armored force countered only 56 FT-17 and M.28,54 of modern R-35 and in addition 8 Czech T-32 tankettes which where used for training in Belgrade.Contrary to usual belief,Yugoslavs purchased FT-17 and similar M.28 tanks for doctrine learning and training.They were forced in combat because of uncompleted order for R-35 tanks from France.There were also some armored cars,and somewhere in late 1941 there were some supposed deals with Soviets to procure at least battalion of 45mm armed tanks (some sources indicate BT-7,but since Soviets would have been probably not so inclined,they could have provided T-26 instead).One of 2 or 3 battalions available would have been probably deployed somewhere along Albanian border.In any case,because of trained personnel shortages and French doctrine,I hardly see armored force in combat with some impact.

        In January 1941 the Yugoslav Royal Air Force could field approximately 700 planes,of which however half was obsolete and relegated to training and other secondary duties.On other hand it had over 150 modern fighters,made up 60-70 Messerschmitt Bf 109E3,44 Hawker Hurricane I and 30 Hawker Fury II, as well domestic 10 Ikarus IK 2s and excellent 11 Rogozarski IK-3s,just entering the production.

        It is of note that bomber force gave excellent mark in short April War and consisted of 175 aircraft comprising some 70 Dornier Do 17K,60 Bristol Blenheim Is (both built under license) and 45 Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79s.Something going in Italian favor is that major portion of all weapons and equipment was of foreign make (just look aircraft!),with the Skoda armament plant the main source for land army.Therefore Yugoslavia would have been very dependent on British supply over Salonika port and German concessions.

        Navy was small,it consisted of old German light cruiser,couple of modern destroyers and some torpedo boats,no match for Regia Marina.

        Because of its difficult terrain,Yugoslavia war far from being ideally suited for the conduct of major military operations,except plains in North Serbia and Eastern Croatia (which Germans used).In fact Italians would have faced a fortified line in Slovenia,and Dalmatian Alps running parallel behind the coast,which are a formidable barrier as good roads are scarce,and that means very strong Alpini concentration.Advance over Albania would be hard like in Greece since it was poorly developed region,mountainous,with its limited routes of communication and sparsely populated area demanding strong logistical support.

        Combined-arms training and combat maneuvers had been seriously neglected by the Yugoslavs in '30.During training much emphasis was placed on delaying actions,defensive fighting,and the conduct of counterattacks,reflecting Serbian traditions from WW1.Considerable weight was also attached to assault tactics of infantry forces.The individual Yugoslav soldier (and again Serbs excelled at that,forming special commando battalions) was well trained in close-combat and hand-to-hand fighting,but trained little on how to face armor or air threats.

        There were some 170-180km to cover for Italians between Rjeka (Fiume) and Zagreb for example,and I can imagine....some 50km covered in first weeks after which losses will bring stalemate.
        It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.

        Косово је Србија!
        Never go to war with a country whose national holiday celebrates a defeat in 1389.

        Armored Brigade

        Armored Brigade Facebook page

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by BF69 View Post
          You think they will get as far as Zagreb? You are more optimistic than me. I would have thought that by the time Slovenia & Istria are taken (...)
          Istria is already taken. Maybe you are more pessimistic because you're seeing a wrong starting line, the current border.

          Where we all seem to agree is that this is not going to end in a glorious victory for Mussolini. He might get all of Istria & some nice Dalmatian islands,
          He already had istria and several islands in 1940! Again, I think you are probably not looking at the right map.
          That said, I agree that Italy conquering all of Yugoslavia single-handedly (save maybe some hostile posturing by Romania) is not in the books.
          Michele

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by nikolas93TS View Post
            Because of its difficult terrain,Yugoslavia war far from being ideally suited for the conduct of major military operations,except plains in North Serbia and Eastern Croatia (which Germans used).In fact Italians would have faced a fortified line in Slovenia,and Dalmatian Alps running parallel behind the coast,which are a formidable barrier as good roads are scarce,and that means very strong Alpini concentration.
            I wouldn't overestimate that. There's Alps and Alps. That terrain is not plains, yes, but it has nothing to do with say the Dolomite Alps (in which the Alpini fought in WWI). Mountain infantry (of which Italy had several divisions in addition to the Alpini ones) would be more than suitable.

            Advance over Albania would be hard like in Greece since it was poorly developed region,mountainous,with its limited routes of communication and sparsely populated area demanding strong logistical support.
            Definitely. That's going to be a distraction theater, no more.


            There were some 170-180km to cover for Italians between Rjeka (Fiume) and Zagreb for example,and I can imagine....some 50km covered in first weeks after which losses will bring stalemate.
            The defensive line is a sort of hard outer crust. Breaking that would be expensive. Once that is done, however, the Yugoslavians have to defend against multiple axes of attack, not just from Fiume to Zagreb but also from Postojna and down from Jesenice onto Lubljana. Also note that only the first two thirds of the main axis of advance is hilly.
            Michele

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Michele View Post
              Istria is already taken. Maybe you are more pessimistic because you're seeing a wrong starting line, the current border.
              Must be. Thought it was only half Italian - misread the map.


              He already had istria and several islands in 1940! Again, I think you are probably not looking at the right map.
              Pretty sure italy only had part of Dalmatia - Mussolini always struck me as a 'low hanging fruit' sort of guy, so I'm assuming a few more (if not all the big ones) end up being occupied.

              That said, I agree that Italy conquering all of Yugoslavia single-handedly (save maybe some hostile posturing by Romania) is not in the books.
              I think we agree wholeheartedly on that. The issue is whether or not they get as far as Zagreb. I forsee a struggle unless ther is a Croatian uprising, and Italy is going to have an awkward time occupying Slovenia. This is going to look like two drunks fighting until they both collapse.
              Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                Istria is already taken. Maybe you are more pessimistic because you're seeing a wrong starting line, the current border.
                No,I did take the old border as starting line,but distance I took is wrong indeed,it is around 130/140km (I was quite sure it was more! )

                He already had Istria and several islands in 1940! Again, I think you are probably not looking at the right map.
                That said, I agree that Italy conquering all of Yugoslavia single-handedly (save maybe some hostile posturing by Romania) is not in the books.
                For example Zara/Zadar naval base and enclave on Dalmatian coast,which was real thorn in side.Yugoslavs hoped for eliminating it quickly by surprise attack (yet they failed in 1941).I see rather hostile posture by Bulgaria,in fact all war plans included strong reserves in East,to counter possible attacks.

                Originally posted by Michele View Post
                I wouldn't overestimate that. There's Alps and Alps. That terrain is not plains, yes, but it has nothing to do with say the Dolomite Alps (in which the Alpini fought in WWI). Mountain infantry (of which Italy had several divisions in addition to the Alpini ones) would be more than suitable.
                Yes,they were lower,but still a formidable defensive barriers.Plus the rivers,which were torrential during spring.Correct me if I am wrong,but those mountain divisions were just regular infantry divisions that were entirely animal drawn.Alpini on the other hand were much better equipped.Most preferable route of advance would have been in direction of Zagreb from Rjeka/Fiume,with secondary attack along the coast to somehow relieve Zara/Zadar.In that case they would flank main fortification line in Slovenia,as well evaded Dinaric Alps,and could have partially severed communication in Yugoslav rear and assured some form of Croat support.From Zagreb,they are in theoretical possibility to advance further North and eliminate Yugoslav forces in Slovenia,and/or take advantage of plains and better communication lines to advance towards Eastern Croatia.

                Definitely. That's going to be a distraction theater, no more.
                Yugoslav war plan R-41 formulated an attack on Albania in conjunction with Greek forces.Now,most Italian sources I read say that they halted an attack because they anticipated Yugoslav intentions,however Yugoslav forces did took some ground and according to their sources they were forced to gradually halt their operations because Germans occupied Skoplje and advanced in Macedonia.I any case I hardly believe that any of two sides was capable advancing more that couple of kilometers.

                But war plan R-40,which didn't included Italian attack on Greece,envisaged that forces on Albanian and Bulgaria borders were to stand and defend vital route towards Salonika.

                Both plans (as well most of plans from '30) supposed that I Italy would attack in combined action with Germany,and plan was to delay their superior forces as long as possible while army evacuated to Greece,to form new Salonika front with British and French.It is unknown to me what was the plan if Italy attacked alone.

                The defensive line is a sort of hard outer crust. Breaking that would be expensive. Once that is done, however, the Yugoslavians have to defend against multiple axes of attack, not just from Fiume to Zagreb but also from Postojna and down from Jesenice onto Lubljana. Also note that only the first two thirds of the main axis of advance is hilly.
                That as well,maybe combined with my proposal to flank Slovenia.In that case Yugoslavs would have certainly retreated back to Bosnia and East Croatia.Since there is no Germany,I fear they would wait for Italians to over-expand their logistical effort and counter attack.It was embedded in their doctrine and minds.Delay,defend,counter-attack.
                It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge.

                Косово је Србија!
                Never go to war with a country whose national holiday celebrates a defeat in 1389.

                Armored Brigade

                Armored Brigade Facebook page

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by nikolas93TS View Post
                  No,I did take the old border as starting line,but distance I took is wrong indeed,it is around 130/140km (I was quite sure it was more! )
                  Yes, since you gave Fiume as a starting point, you were aware of the old border - I was under the impression that BF69, not you, was looking at a recent map.
                  And I didn't check the distance, I'll take your word for it.

                  Yes,they were lower,but still a formidable defensive barriers.Plus the rivers,which were torrential during spring.Correct me if I am wrong,but those mountain divisions were just regular infantry divisions that were entirely animal drawn.Alpini on the other hand were much better equipped.
                  The point is not being animal-drawn - ordinary infantry also were. The point is having mountain artillery that could be disassembled and carried by pack mules. The bottom line is that a mountain path that would be inaccessible to artillery using any kind of vehicle - be it a motor-vehicle or a horse-drawn limber - would be usable by the artillery of the Italian mountain infantry divisions. It's a big difference and gives them an edge over any other infantry divisions of the time which are not specialized in mountain warfare.

                  I cut other remarks about which I have nothing useful to add.
                  Michele

                  Comment

                  Latest Topics

                  Collapse

                  Working...
                  X