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A new Roman Empire.

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  • A new Roman Empire.

    Okay letís try something I donít remember seeing before (this of course doesnít mean that it hasnít been done). Letís say that in May of 1940 as Mussolini is seriously thinking about jumping into the war on Germanys side he is told by his military staff that the country is far from ready to fight Britain and France and if he decides to declare war he can expect to get his @$$ kicked, have the fleet sunk, lose all the overseas colonies and generally look like a looser. So he hesitates.
    Germany goes on to conquer France and setup the Vichy French regime. Mussolini is feeling seriously ticked off now, he figures that he could have gotten in on the action and picked up some prime territories but since he waited he got nothing. Than Britain spanks the Vichy fleet and Mussolini has a revelation. Since Britain obviously isnít going to side with Vichy he can take all of their North Africa territories with not much of a fight and be well on his way to establishing his new Roman empire.
    So would Britain have stopped Italy from taking North Africa?
    Would Vichy have whined to Germany about Italyís behavior?
    Would Italy have been able to take the Vichy colonies?
    Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

  • #2
    Given outstanding performances of the Fascists in their Ethiopia and Albania adventures, I would think that Mussolini would create a quagmire for his Roman Empire no matter whom he tries to conquer in North Africa. And without German help, he is overthrown three years earlier.
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    • #3
      Germany would be the problem. Hitler wants Vichy France. It frees him from fighting the French to no end. It stabilizes their overseas territories as neutral leaning Axis making them inaccessible to the Allies (e.g., Britain).
      Mussolini would be messing that up and that would likely **** off Hitler to no end.
      However with Italy not in the war yet, Mussolini could decide to garner German help and take Egypt in late 1940 before the British can reinforce. If Rommel was sent over with his original forces and both he and the Italians advance into Egypt from the Libyan border, the Italians reinforced by moving more troops from the border with Tunisia, it is likely Egypt would fall. That means Italian East Africa is likely to remain intact in Mussolini's hands.
      Hitler sees an opportunity to move U-boats to the IO along with now having a secure port for merchant raider ships. With Egypt secure the Italians are then free to deal with Greece even if it turns into a quagmire.
      In return Mussolini sends troops to assist on the Eastern Front.
      This would render Malta largely irrelevant even if it remained in British hands.

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      • #4
        Actually, Mussolini wanted to take Tunisia and more but all such plans were vetoed by Hitler. Hitler accepted a French armistice so that he could close the western front and move east. As for the French, they held the Italians in utter contempt and would have fought such a move and probably called for British help.

        Italians also asked for the occupation of Tunis and Bizerte so they could land more supplies for the fight against the British but this was also vetoed. The Germans realized that more supplies could be landed with less interference from Malta but the infrastructure issue was still there. The rail net in Tunisia did not help move supplies east and only extended the distance trucks would have needed to travel.

        Mussolini had hoped to run a parallel war, seeking Italian objectives with Italian forces and very limited German involvement. Between June 40 and Mar 41 Italy suffered military and diplomatic defeat after defeat which resulted in the need for German help. Germany had no choice if Italy were to remain a viable force for protecting the southern flank. However, the Mediterranean would never be a priority as the resources needed to make any real advance simply did not exist and the infrastructure could never support a large enough force to accomplish a strategic decision.

        Hitler and the German high command realized that the Mediterranean could never be more than a shield until the war against the Soviet Union was successfully completed (Mussolini suggested a negotiated settlement in the east a number of time only to be waived off by Hitler each time). The only hope for a successful expansion of the Italian "empire" in the Mediterranean is ending the war in the east and then only if the British and US decide to give up the fight. As long as the allies have control of the sea lanes not even the Mediterranean is safe for the Italians.

        Last edited by The Purist; 15 Sep 14, 13:40.
        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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        • #5
          The bottom line is that without German help the Italians are pretty much doomed to losing whatever they try.

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