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Italian Campaign: "what a waste!"?

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  • Italian Campaign: "what a waste!"?

    Major-General JFC Fuller stated: "The war in Italy was strategically the most useless campaign of the whole war. It prolonged the war, wrecked Italy and wasted thousands of American and British lives".

    With 20-20 hindsight, instaed of invading Sicily and Italy, what would have been the best possible Allied strategy after the fall of Tunisia in May 1943, assuming that Fuller is correct?


  • #2
    Sort of covered in this thread;
    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=145796
    TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mifletz View Post
      Major-General JFC Fuller stated: "The war in Italy was strategically the most useless campaign of the whole war. It prolonged the war, wrecked Italy and wasted thousands of American and British lives".

      With 20-20 hindsight, instaed of invading Sicily and Italy, what would have been the best possible Allied strategy after the fall of Tunisia in May 1943, assuming that Fuller is correct?

      What are your thoughts on this topic?

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      • #4
        Isolate the Axis forces by assaulting Southern France and then heading towards Venice thus cutting off all Axis units in the Italian Peninsula and the major islands.

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        • #5
          if an early landing in Southern France was to be attempted, first the Allies would have to take Sardinia and Corsica; this would be the equivalent of Husky in Sicily, but harder mainly due to logistics and distances. Attempting to reach the French Mediterranean coast without first securing those two islands is best answered by this: consider the range of fighter aircraft; look at the distance from British airfields and Normandy; look at the distance from bases in Algeria and Southern France.

          Once this is done - and it is unlikely it is done in the same time it took to conquer Sicily - the Allies still have enemy air bases on their right flank, in Italy. They will also be landing in areas held by Germans, not Italians. And that is not just meaningful from the point of view of the combat opposition to the landings, but also as to the level of demolitions carried out in the ports upon which any chance of further expansion is based.

          There is the political side of things to take into account, too. By the time of the fall of Sicily, the Italians were seriously considering changing sides. But they still believed they could negotiate, and the whole idea was strongly dependent on the Allies barging in and doing the fighting, or most of it, against the Germans.
          So openings will have taken place, and it's likely the Duce has been disposed of - but then the Allies say that they are landing in France, and they will arrive in continental Italy if and when (it's not as if the Western Alps are a cakewalk). Under these conditions, it's unlikely the new Italian government will jump the fence. In actual history, the armistice brought about the collapse of the Italian military everywhere; the Germans managed this very well, but it still burdened them with occupation and logistical duties in Italy, the Balkans, France etc.
          Michele

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          • #6
            Well, i'll pitch in my two cents worth and pretty much go along with what Michele has pointed out.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mifletz View Post
              assuming that Fuller is correct?
              He isn't.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by redcoat View Post
                He isn't.
                JFC Fuller was a member of a number of extreme right wing organisations and was an admirer of Hitler. I am not necessarily suggesting that his views may have influenced his strategic opinions, but he should certainly not be read uncritically.

                One wonders if, had Clark not allowed his fixed determination to be the General who liberated Rome to override the wider picture, the Italian campaign might perhaps have effectively ended in June 1944, and Fuller's 1948 assessment rendered largely irrelevant.

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