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Italy reforms their military in the late 30's

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  • #16
    You would also have to provide Germany as the target since the soldiers had no interest at all in fighting as a German ally. Reforms, a smaller army, rational officer/enlistsed rank relations, pay, rations would all work against Mussolini's "parallel war" strategy if he sides with Germany.

    The same reforms would present Britian and France with a worthwhile and motivated ally on Germany's southern flank.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
      Reducing the number of infantry divisions by a third to half and rebuilding the remaining ones as triangular divisions with reasonable levels of equipment.
      All the Brass Hats losing commands over those Binary Divisions to 3 would have caused a lot of political trouble for the Moose

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      • #18
        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
        We can see the forces could be managed. The next thing the Italians do is improve the infrastructure in Libya. They did build the coast road (Bilbo Highway if I recall). Here, they build a rail line to supplement it. Even a single track one would be worthwhile.
        Second, they start to improve Tobruk and Benghazi as ports. This would ease the supply situation to some degree over what was historically possible.
        Now, the rail system would have required diesel locomotives which Italy could have gotten from Germany.
        Maybe go in with the Germans on synthetic fuel plants too.
        Balbo, Italo Balbo. He wasn't a hobbit!
        All the rest are very good ideas, if not new, the railway is what really makes the difference - but you are pushing the point of departure from our timeline farther and farther back in the past.

        As to the resources for all of this... I can see where they might come from (again it's not a new proposal or an idea I had right now). If the POD is pre-1935, why launch the Abyssinian War at all.

        I would think a better strategy would be an immediate push into Egypt with improved motorized / mechanized forces on the outbreak of war before Britain could do much to reinforce their forces there. Even if the whole country is not overrun, the Italians with some degree of energy backed by better ports and a rail line from Tripoli to the Egyptian border would have been able to manage that against the hodgepodge of marginal equipment and units the British have as a colonial garrison in Egypt at the time.
        Of course if you evict the Royal Navy from Alexandria by running tanks into it, then Cyprus can be taken - though I wonder about its usefulness.
        Michele

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        • #19
          Lots of good ideas in this thread but where is all the money to come from?

          If Italy wants a better military by 39/40 by far the best idea is to not attack Abbysinia in 1935 and not to get involved in the Spanish civil war.

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          • #20
            Hi

            Gooner makes a very valid statement about the financial aspect, and whilst its tempting to set loose the new Italian Army, non of this wouldn't have taken place in a vacuum and without a response to the threat(s) by those in the area.

            The Maltese defences and OoB may well have been different from the reality of 1940, if the proposals put fwd here were being introduced.

            Regards
            "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

            "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Andy H View Post
              Hi

              Gooner makes a very valid statement about the financial aspect, and whilst its tempting to set loose the new Italian Army, non of this wouldn't have taken place in a vacuum and without a response to the threat(s) by those in the area.
              That is generally true, yes. But you should note that the initial proposal only amounted to shifting stuff around and not trying to boast a 90-division army when in any case the active ones are a third of that. If you were doing only this, you wouldn't be spending more - actually you'd be saving a few cents.

              That said, once you decide you want a Libyan railway, that's serious bucks and as several here mentioned, you might just as well not throw money into the Ethiopian bottomless pit.

              The Maltese defences and OoB may well have been different from the reality of 1940, if the proposals put fwd here were being introduced.
              Hmm. If one of the proposals was introduced, i.e. significant amphibious capability. The rest isn't going to be seen as threatening to Malta specifically or as all that different from our timeline.
              If anything, Italy went up on the British threat scale with Abyssinia, if that doesn't happen the British will be lulled into a false sense of security... (devilish cackle here).

              Seriously, all of this takes the sort of dedication that was Hitler's signature. Deciding years in advance that you'll be making war on one specific enemy and where and how - this isn't our Benito.
              Michele

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              • #22
                Seriously, all of this takes the sort of dedication that was Hitler's signature. Deciding years in advance that you'll be making war on one specific enemy and where and how - this isn't our Benito.
                Aye, so true.

                M. Mussolini was not at all interested in dancing to the tune played by the Germans and was determined to set an independent course for Italy when/if it entered any future war. Mussolini tried his very best to retain his 'parallel war' with objectives that met Italy's and not Germany's aims. In any case he was more interested in the Balkans and Tunisia than tangling with Britain. Unfortunately for Mussolini most of his targets were in areas that Germany wanted left alone so as not to detract from the plans for Barbarossa.

                Mussolini had hoped to pick up some free territory at France's expense but Hitler had him 'wait outside' lest his presence spur the French to continue fighting. Any attempts by Mussolini or his generals (or Rommel, later) to get a German agreement for the occupation of Tunisia were vetoed lest it push Vichy (and the French fleet) into the allied camp. Greece, as we know, had Hitler banging his head against his desk.

                A smaller, better organsed army may have helped Italy to some degree but I do not see it as doing much more than granting a small boost in perfomance. There was just so much wrong with the entire Italian approach to the war and general lack or resources. For Italy to be more effective it would have needed large scale German support and this Mussolini was determined to avoid until it was forced upon him by defeats but by then it was far too late.
                Last edited by The Purist; 03 Sep 14, 10:59.
                The Purist

                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                • #23
                  One thing that also needs to be taken into account is the very nature of Mussolini's regime. Militarism was an important part of Fascist Italy, with its military pageants and parades. The appearance of having a large powerful army was an important part of Mussolini's persona. Having a smaller army that could be better equipped would make eminent practical sense but it wouldn't satisfy Mussolini's desire for large numbers of "Roman legions" that could be paraded in displays of power.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Michele View Post
                    Balbo, Italo Balbo. He wasn't a hobbit!
                    All the rest are very good ideas, if not new, the railway is what really makes the difference - but you are pushing the point of departure from our timeline farther and farther back in the past.

                    As to the resources for all of this... I can see where they might come from (again it's not a new proposal or an idea I had right now). If the POD is pre-1935, why launch the Abyssinian War at all.



                    Of course if you evict the Royal Navy from Alexandria by running tanks into it, then Cyprus can be taken - though I wonder about its usefulness.
                    The Rail form Soluch to Tubruq was proposed in 1926- but the funds were never available.

                    In 1939 Italy had 'all the empire it colud manage' War was a dreadful mistake...
                    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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