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  • Italy sits out World War II

    Italy decides like Spain it is too weak to enter World War II on the German's side.

    Many make fun of Italy. But its forces did inflict a fair amount of casualties on the Allies. Not only against the Western Allies. A large number of Italian troops also fought against the Soviets during Germany's invasion of the USSR.

    Assuming Germany more or less respected Italy's neutrality would there have been a North African campaign? Probably no Sicilian and Italian campaign.

    Would the 1st large scale fighting by the Western Allied ground forces after Dunkirk have been the invasion of Europe?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    Was it a neutral-neutral Italy or a Axis- or Allied-leaning neutral Italy?

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    • #3
      This has been done a few times on other sites.

      The lack of a North African campaign doesn't hold a candle to the really important consequences. The whole Balkans' can of worms was opened because Mussolini couldn't sit on his hands (your proposal, in order to work, needs someone else in charge, BTW), and meddled with Greece.

      If Italy is neutral, so are Greece, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. A nice neutral buffer, sheltering Germany's right flank (and the main oil source). Also, no Marita-Merkur distractions. Barbarossa probably begins about the same date as in our history (bad weather counted more than other factors in determining that). But it still can count on a couple more Panzerdivisionen, the paratroopers, a couple more high-value mountain infantry divisions, and a dozen second-line infantry ones. Plus the Luftwaffe assets, including lots of transport Ju 52s.

      I do not believe that this would mean the German flag over the Kremlin by December, but those who think the first months of Barbarossa to have been a close call, might.

      On the plus side for the Allies, at least part of the stuff the British sent in Egypt probably goes to Singapore and Hong Kong. Out there, they could make use of part of the Med Fleet too, if it came with a batch of Hurricanes, which it surely would. Thus things get more dicey for the Japanese.
      Last edited by Michele; 25 Sep 15, 10:34.
      Michele

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      • #4
        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
        Was it a neutral-neutral Italy or a Axis- or Allied-leaning neutral Italy?
        I would guess a Nazi friendly Italy like Spain.
        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
          I would guess a Nazi friendly Italy like Spain.
          Right up to the Allies starting to win, then I could see Italy jumping in on the Allied side to get a spot at the table for spoils...

          I could also see Italy, like Turkey, wanting both sides to supply military aid to bribe them into continued neutrality, or joining one side or the other...

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          • #6
            T.A., Italy would need much more basic stuff than weaponry in order to stay out of the war and not collapse, such as coal, oil, rubber, and more. It was dependent on imports, which, in OTL, came from Germany. But all of those were pretty much on the table, offered by Britain, in the early negotiations, if Italy had just remained neutral.

            If anything, the flow of weaponry would go in the other direction. The British proposal was that Italy would supply aircraft and light artillery, among other things, in payment for the strategic raw materials.
            This was before the summer of 1940, Italy's DoW, and the Dunkerque equipment crunch. So the British did not really, really need all of that, but they surely wanted a neutral Italy not to sell weapons to Germany, and thus tried to outbid. Remember the pretty marginal and risky British trade operations with Sweden: Swedish ball bearings could of course be used, but the main point was outbuying them so that they wouldn't be sold to Germany.
            Michele

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Michele View Post
              T.A., Italy would need much more basic stuff than weaponry in order to stay out of the war and not collapse, such as coal, oil, rubber, and more. It was dependent on imports, which, in OTL, came from Germany. But all of those were pretty much on the table, offered by Britain, in the early negotiations, if Italy had just remained neutral.

              If anything, the flow of weaponry would go in the other direction. The British proposal was that Italy would supply aircraft and light artillery, among other things, in payment for the strategic raw materials.
              This was before the summer of 1940, Italy's DoW, and the Dunkerque equipment crunch. So the British did not really, really need all of that, but they surely wanted a neutral Italy not to sell weapons to Germany, and thus tried to outbid. Remember the pretty marginal and risky British trade operations with Sweden: Swedish ball bearings could of course be used, but the main point was outbuying them so that they wouldn't be sold to Germany.
              Then that's what they negotiate for to stay neutral or side with one power or the other.

              For example, the British might suggest to US companies like Texaco and Standard Oil that they look into doing oil exploration in Italian colonies like Libya. They could offer BP or Shell do the work too. The British already gave concessions to US oil companies to drill in their Middle East colonies to get production up.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Then that's what they negotiate for to stay neutral or side with one power or the other.
                Yes, that's what I'm saying.
                Michele

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                • #9
                  A completely neutral Italy probably allows France to divert funds, troops, resources that would have otherwise been used along the Alpine front to be used/diverted elsewhere in 1940.
                  You'll live, only the best get killed.

                  -General Charles de Gaulle

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by asterix View Post
                    A completely neutral Italy probably allows France to divert funds, troops, resources that would have otherwise been used along the Alpine front to be used/diverted elsewhere in 1940.
                    France's problem in 1940 is one of military doctrine not numbers. France had a military fully capable of stopping Germany in their tracks had they had a viable military doctrine.
                    As it was, the doctrine of Methodical Battle was completely and totally inadequate to take on the German army.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      France's problem in 1940 is one of military doctrine not numbers. France had a military fully capable of stopping Germany in their tracks had they had a viable military doctrine.
                      As it was, the doctrine of Methodical Battle was completely and totally inadequate to take on the German army.
                      I'm well aware of that. The point I was trying to make was that perhaps the added numbers/increased reserves could have made that campaign a little longer, regardless of outcome.
                      You'll live, only the best get killed.

                      -General Charles de Gaulle

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        France's problem in 1940 is one of military doctrine not numbers. France had a military fully capable of stopping Germany in their tracks had they had a viable military doctrine.
                        As it was, the doctrine of Methodical Battle was completely and totally inadequate to take on the German army.

                        I disagree : in 1940 France was weaker than in 1914 (qualitatively and quantitatively) and Germany was stronger (qualitatively and quantitatively) and the fact that France was weaker dictated the French strategy .

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michele View Post
                          This has been done a few times on other sites.
                          Yep, it's a common one. I' sure we have seen it here on ACG more than once. My take is this initially favors Germany, then from 1942 favors the Allies.

                          The lack of a North African campaign doesn't hold a candle to the really important consequences. The whole Balkans' can of worms was opened because Mussolini couldn't sit on his hands (your proposal, in order to work, needs someone else in charge, BTW), and meddled with Greece.
                          My take is British meddling could open a Balkans front. No guarantee, but possible. & if it happens is likely after 1941.



                          On the plus side for the Allies, at least part of the stuff the British sent in Egypt probably goes to Singapore and Hong Kong. Out there, they could make use of part of the Med Fleet too, if it came with a batch of Hurricanes, which it surely would. Thus things get more dicey for the Japanese.
                          The ability to properly prepare for a war with japan is a game changer. Perhaps to the point where the occupation of Indo China does not occur, no crippling embargoes, and the hard liners are unable to place Tojo as the head of government. No guarantee it goes that far, but the Japanese are looking at a stronger Commonwealth defense in Asia. One example of this stronger defense would be the the larger class/es of submarines lost in the Mediteranean. Those boats were designed specifically for a Pacific war, with very long range, deep diving capability, large torpedo capacity. The bulk were expended in the Med in 1941 in a attempt to interdict Italian ships to Africa. Large and noisy they were vulnerable in the restricted waters. In 1942 barely a quarter of the original fleet were deployed to the Pacific. The effect of fifty or sixty subs with well trained crews and good quality torpedoes in 1942 is interesting to speculate on.

                          The list goes on. Consider two reasonably well trained corps deployed to Maylasia in 1941, with heavy artillery, a robust engineer capability, & a couple tank brigades. Ditto in Burma. Or a strategic reserve & the ships to deploy it to Java.

                          With out a Mediterranean war, & a more successful Japanese war The Allies can put more pressure on Germany with more material to the USSR & larger operations around the coastal perimeter of western Europe.

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                          • #14
                            It would also seem that without Italy in the war the UK would have more naval, maritime shipping and material to use in the Arctic convoys. Perhaps the Norwegian invasion that Hitler feared would be much more viable?
                            "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                            -Omar Bradley
                            "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                            -Anonymous US Army logistician

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post





                              The ability to properly prepare for a war with japan is a game changer. . One example of this stronger defense would be the the larger class/es of submarines lost in the Mediteranean. Those boats were designed specifically for a Pacific war, with very long range, deep diving capability, large torpedo capacity. The bulk were expended in the Med in 1941 in a attempt to interdict Italian ships to Africa. Large and noisy they were vulnerable in the restricted waters. In 1942 barely a quarter of the original fleet were deployed to the Pacific. The effect of fifty or sixty subs with well trained crews and good quality torpedoes in 1942 is interesting to speculate on.

                              .
                              I'm curious. Did the British have better luck with their torpedoes than the USN did for the first part of the war?
                              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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