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Could proper planning have won WW2 for Italy?

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    The biggest problem with Italy's military in WW 2 was a social one. There was a very wide gap between officers and enlisted. Officers took their positions as ones of privilege while enlisted were treated poorly.
    Many units had officers that interacted only in the most peripheral ways with their troops. This often led to poor morale and an unwillingness to fight on the part of the enlisted, particularly in infantry units. The more elite divisions and units suffered less of this problem
    Compounding that was the existence of the Black Shirts within many units. These were the Italian political equivalent of the SS but neither elite, nor particularly well trained or organized.

    Overall, Italy's lack of resources and production means were going to doom them.

    Italy's best course would have been to stay out of the war until late 1942 or 43 then enter on the Allied side to reap the benefits of being on the victorious side. Italy, like Turkey, could have played both sides to get supplied with arms and materials they lacked. They could have remained a conduit for supplying Germany critical materials too.
    Without Italy in the war the British would have had little means other than the air war to continue to fight Germany. Yes, they could have supplied more material to Russia once Germany attacked that country, but Britain really needed the US to jump in if they were going to invade Europe itself.

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  • Marmat
    replied
    Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
    Or at the very least, made it less of a humiliating ordeal?

    I have looked at the slap-dash nature of the Italian military and its operations in WW2, and then at how Japan went about it. In December of 1941, Japan didn't have any aircraft or ships sitting idle wondering what to do, and it was all about proper planning.
    Like the Italians, the Japanese had poor logistics, some good (and some not very good) aircraft, lousy small-arms and artillery, horrible tanks and a navy that looked good on paper but which proved to be brittle in action.
    Without question, Japanese esprit was much higher, but the main factor in that is winning victories.

    The most shocking deficiency was in their planning for war, they just didn't do any of that sort of thing!
    Yes, the decision to enter the war was purely Political and based on short-term gains, pure greed, in other words. However, that does not excuse the Military from setting up some operational plans to cover that eventuality. After October of 1939 (let's start there) Italy knew it would be a real war and they knew what side they would be on. If they had started formulating plans at that point, and done a good job of it, they would have had a much better chance of forcing an early decision... which would have been the only way they could win.

    Italy could have attacked the following places simultaneously on June 12th; France (the only one they did) and supportive landings in the Riviera, Tunisia, Malta, Cyprus, British Somalia, Aden and the Sudan.

    And I can back that up, they had the forces to do all that.
    However, I need to dash out, I'll be back with facts and figures later on.
    When Mussolini declared war on 10 June 1940, 218 ships of some 1,215,000 tons, amounting to 35% of the Italian Merchant Marine were caught in enemy or neutral ports outside of the Med. Within the context of this thread whether a ship is sunk by torpedo off Cape Bon, is of over some 25,000 tons and unable to enter any North African ports, or is trapped in an enemy port because of Mussolini’s dim-witted impulsiveness, its tonnage is still lost for the transport and supply of Axis forces in North Africa. Even given the tonnage lost to enemy action in 1940; 186,631 tons of shipping over 500 tons, and 4,326 tons under 500 tons, only 35,299 tons worth of shipping was launched. Italy never came close to recouping her losses, regardless where or how they occurred.

    The Italian Navy was not able to properly defend its convoys. Co-ordination with the air force was almost non-existent, there were insufficient fuel reserves, it had no radar nor night fighting capability, no ASDIC/Sonar and minimal ASW capability, was lacking purpose built ASW types, and was composed of many ship types whose abilities were exaggerated. Ultimately 90% of the Italian Merchant Marine was sunk - that is a failure to protect.

    “From 1939 sugar and soap were rationed, and coffee was unobtainable. Fats were rationed in the Autumn of 1940. Newspapers were reduced to 4 pages then further reduced to 2. One pair of shoes or a few items of clothing could be purchased each year but not both. Food intake was reduced to below 1,000 calories a day: 200 grams (7 oz.) of bread (later reduced to 150), and 400 grams of meat, 500 grams of sugar, and 100 grams of olive oil a month. Only those engaged in heavy physical labour were allowed more” I should add that these draconian measures ensured that a black market would flourish. – Source is Professor Lucio Ceva, University of Pavia (Faculty of Political Science), author of "The North African Campaign 1940-1943".

    As far as the British Royal Navy vs. the Italian Navy and supply and reinforcement goes, unlike the Italian Navy’s surface forces, the Royal Navy was tasked with fighting in the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the Far East, as well as the Med. and what’s more, with the loss of the French Navy soon after Mussolini’s declaration of war, the Royal Navy was consistently outnumbered by the Italian Navy in all types i.e. BB’s, cruisers, and destroyers, other than carriers, which could have been negated with co-ordinated land based air power, until late 1942 and TORCH.

    From my North Africa bin,
    Last edited by Marmat; 26 Feb 17, 15:14.

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  • grishnak
    replied
    Their only hope for a planned win would have been to have remained neutral(but pro Axis) until after d day and then joined the allies,bit like they did against France.

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  • Could proper planning have won WW2 for Italy?

    Or at the very least, made it less of a humiliating ordeal?

    I have looked at the slap-dash nature of the Italian military and its operations in WW2, and then at how Japan went about it. In December of 1941, Japan didn't have any aircraft or ships sitting idle wondering what to do, and it was all about proper planning.
    Like the Italians, the Japanese had poor logistics, some good (and some not very good) aircraft, lousy small-arms and artillery, horrible tanks and a navy that looked good on paper but which proved to be brittle in action.
    Without question, Japanese esprit was much higher, but the main factor in that is winning victories.

    The most shocking deficiency was in their planning for war, they just didn't do any of that sort of thing!
    Yes, the decision to enter the war was purely Political and based on short-term gains, pure greed, in other words. However, that does not excuse the Military from setting up some operational plans to cover that eventuality. After October of 1939 (let's start there) Italy knew it would be a real war and they knew what side they would be on. If they had started formulating plans at that point, and done a good job of it, they would have had a much better chance of forcing an early decision... which would have been the only way they could win.

    Italy could have attacked the following places simultaneously on June 10th; France (the only one they did) and supportive landings in the Riviera, Tunisia, Malta, Cyprus, British Somalia, Aden and the Sudan.

    And I can back that up, they had the forces to do all that.
    However, I need to dash out, I'll be back with facts and figures later on.
    Last edited by The Exorcist; 27 Feb 17, 01:05.

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