Announcement

Collapse

New Site - PLEASE READ

Hello All,
My name is Ashley and I am the one that moved the forum to its new hosting location. This was done for security reasons and try to keep the forum from going down every other day. I understand that the new forum looks very different from the old one but I promise almost everything you had before you still have it might just be in a different place.

Items that are gone due to a limitation of the new hosting/ forum update:
- Awards
- Flags

As I was going thought your posts I was able to fix a lot fo the issues you were listing. Below is kind of a running list of issues an what is fixed and what I am still working on.

Items that I have fixed from your comments:
- Smilie are now working.
- Color/Theme changes
- Signature are now showing up. (Here is how to edit them https://screencast.com/t/OJHzzhiV1)
- Ranking is now showing up.
- Private messaging is now working.

Some issues I am still working on are:
- Missing items from the Calendar
- Like button the posts is giving an error.

One other note I have seen a lot is theme/color related items. I know this is important to all of you but at the moment the most important thing was getting you back a functioning forum with as many features I can get you back from before.

Theme/color is something we can change but it the moment I do not have the time and resources to fix all of the issue and design the site. I did do some theme updates yesterday but it is very time consuming. Please just be patient with the forum as we get it back to as close as I can to what you had before.

If anyone has any issues that they are running in to please let me know in the post below. Please give me as much detail as possible .
https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/forum/world-history-group-welcomes-you/armchair-general-magazine/5034776-new-site-please-read
See more
See less

Could proper planning have won WW2 for Italy?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    Years ago I did a outline of a strategic game modeling Italys war 1940-43. The object was for the Italian player to somehow come out better than Italy did by mid 1943. Like the other projects on my table this was shelved a decade ago. Be interesting to consider the points in this thread if I have any time for further work on this game.
    I hope we can make that happen someday.
    Would we need someone to play the British side?


    Something interesting that I just stumbled across; a number of tankers were taken by German Raiders in the Indian Ocean in 1940, and most were burned!
    That seems like a terrible waste to me, considering that IEA was right there.
    Couldn't an agreement have been made, one that would allow the Germans to pre-position supplies for the raiders in IEA in exchange for some of the loot?
    "Why is the Rum gone?"

    -Captain Jack

    Comment


    • My Father-in-Law was taken Prisoner of War off South Africa by a German Raider at the start of 1942. These Merchant Seamen were told they could eat whatever they wanted out of the captured food in the hold, but could not waste any. The Raider went to the Dutch East Indies and dropped off the POW's. A couple of months later they were guests of the Emperor in Japan. He ended up as a Cook in a Coal Mine.

      The problem you would run into is who would crew the captured vessels? The Royal Navy was just thick enough in the Indian Ocean to cut off Italian East Africa from outside contact.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

      Comment


      • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
        I hope we can make that happen someday.
        Would we need someone to play the British side?


        Something interesting that I just stumbled across; a number of tankers were taken by German Raiders in the Indian Ocean in 1940, and most were burned!
        That seems like a terrible waste to me, considering that IEA was right there.
        Couldn't an agreement have been made, one that would allow the Germans to pre-position supplies for the raiders in IEA in exchange for some of the loot?
        The Germans did do that to an extent. There were several German merchant ships in Massawa that were loaded with supplies for these raiders. They were sunk as block ships shortly before the Italian surrender. Some like the SS Liebenfelds was later raised and repaired being put into Allied merchant service as the Empire Nile. One hold was filled with sea mines for example.

        Empire Nile
        Empire Nile was a 6,318 GRT cargo ship which was built by AG Weser, Bremen. Completed in 1922 as Liebenfels for DDG Hansa, Bremen. On 4 April 1941 she was set on fire and scuttled at Massawa, Italian Eritrea. Later salvaged by Edward Ellsberg, an American Naval officer in charge of salvaging ships and facilities at Massawa, in 1942 and renamed Empire Nile. Sold in 1947 to Oceanic Navigation Co, Calcutta and renamed Alipur. Sold in 1948 to Dah Loh Navigation Co, China and renamed Dah Kiang. Sold in 1951 to Great China Steamship & Industrial Co, Panama and renamed El Grande, the sold later that year to the Chinese Government and renamed Ho Ping I. Renamed Shen Li in 1967. Name removed from shipping registers in 1977 and reported to have been scrapped in China but she was sighted in Shanghai in 1979 named Zhan Dou 75 and old name of Sheng Li visible.
        There were 8 other German merchants in Italian East Africa: Bertram Rickmers, Coburg, Crefeld, Oder, Oliva, Wartenfels, Frauenfels and Gera

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
          ...
          The problem you would run into is who would crew the captured vessels? The Royal Navy was just thick enough in the Indian Ocean to cut off Italian East Africa from outside contact.

          Pruitt
          The raiders had "prize crews", squads of armed men in most cases, who supervised the captive crews.
          And it would not be a one-way trip to Somalia or Massawa, The raiders could pick them up later or an Italian ship could arrange to meet the Raider at some point.

          But what I am really looking for is an arrangement that would allow those tankers (one had Avgas!) to be sent to Mog before the war starts for Italy in June of 1940.
          Sneaky, underhanded and dangerous... but this is Fascist Italy we are talking about.

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          The Germans did do that to an extent. There were several German merchant ships in Massawa that were loaded with supplies for these raiders. They were sunk as block ships shortly before the Italian surrender. Some like the SS Liebenfelds was later raised and repaired being put into Allied merchant service as the Empire Nile. One hold was filled with sea mines for example.

          There were 8 other German merchants in Italian East Africa: Bertram Rickmers, Coburg, Crefeld, Oder, Oliva, Wartenfels, Frauenfels and Gera
          Oh, I know that ship well, it is earmarked for the invasion of Aden.
          SS Lichtenfels was one of the world's first modern heavy lift ship, built for DDG Hansa in 1929. She was equipped with a 120*t (118 long tons; 132 short tons) boom crane capable of lifting fully assembled locomotives, which were shipped to India
          .

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Lichtenfels

          I don't have anything much on the other ships, but I will look again.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

          Comment


          • I have found some more definitive information on the Armored Cars in the East African theater, and it isn't good news for the Colonies;

            Distribution of armored units were as follows;

            At war start
            Riserva Generale Addis Abeba and Dessiè with:
            -321.a and 322.a Compagnia carri M11 (4 platoon each- 16 M11 each)
            -1.a and 2.a compagnia carri L (??? L3 each)

            Comando Truppe Scioa with:
            -Squadrone carri veloci “Cavalieri di Neghelli” (15xL3)
            -Reparto Autocarri armati PAI (some armaured trucks armed with MG)

            Comando Truppe HARAR with:
            -Sezione Autonoma autoblindo Fiat 611 – (5x37mm Fiat611)
            -Seziona Autonoma autoblindo Lancia IZ – (4xLanciaIZ)

            Comando Truppe Galla-Sidamo with:
            -Sezione Autoblindo Lancia del Galla Sidamo (Gimma)(3xLanciaIZ)
            -Sezione Autoblindo Fiat 611 del Galla Sidamo (Javello)(3xFiat611mg)
            -Compagnia autocarri armati del Galla Sidamo (Gimma)(some armoured trucks with MG)
            -Sezione autocarri armati (Uolisciò) (4xarmoured trucks)

            Comando Truppe Amhara with:
            -Reparto provvisorio autoblindo (Debrivar)(some LanciaIZ)
            -Sezione autoblindo Lancia (6xLanciaIZ)(Debra Marcos-Goggiam)

            After the war start
            Compagnia Carri Armati dell’ Amhara (Gondar)(367 mans and 34 armoured trucks)


            13+? x Lancias and 11 x Fiat 611s, total. That is pathetic, even if the home-brews were good ones.

            So, info about 126 Armored Cars was false. But there were also 32 instead of 24 M11/39 tanks, and maybe 45 of the tankettes.

            But.... why so few Armored Cars in a place where policing the interior was a major priority and Armored Cars would have been the more efficient and effective tool for that job?
            Bad planning, once again, and it is reflected by the fact that more than 50 trucks were made into armored vehicles at the start and during the war.
            "Why is the Rum gone?"

            -Captain Jack

            Comment


            • The Italians could have relied more on Horse Cavalry, both Italian and local instead of Armored Cars.

              Pruitt
              Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

              Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

              by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

              Comment


              • There was no bad planning,because there was no planning : the DoW was an improvisation :no one in Germany or Italy could imagine that in the first days of June France would already be defeated. Il Duce had to hurry to declare war, if he waited, the war would be over before Italian soldiers would be killed, and without a few thousand losses, he could not draft Italy's demands . As Adolf said ; if you want to eat, you must help in the kitchen .

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  The Italians could have relied more on Horse Cavalry, both Italian and local instead of Armored Cars.

                  Pruitt
                  That's true, they had a couple of Division-sized units in both Eritrea and Somalia, and the quality of those units was very respectable... but not regarding equipment.

                  But... okay, yeah... 1940 and its not western Europe, so nobody was very well equipped.
                  Yes, it actually works, especially if you are looking at being mobile with very limited fuel reserves.
                  Good call!

                  Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                  There was no bad planning,because there was no planning : the DoW was an improvisation :no one in Germany or Italy could imagine that in the first days of June France would already be defeated...
                  Yes, that is exactly how it happened, IRL.

                  However, as I mentioned before, there was much that could have been done, and some people did see it coming.
                  The Air Force did, and boosted their readiness from 50% to 75% between Sept 1939 and June 1940.

                  All I am doing here is speculating on what a dedicated and aggressive General Staff could have come up with.
                  When Japan lowered the boom on the Allies, every plane, every ship and every soldier had a mission... and they didn't have any more time to prepare for the inevitable than Italy did.
                  "Why is the Rum gone?"

                  -Captain Jack

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                    But.... why so few Armored Cars in a place where policing the interior was a major priority and Armored Cars would have been the more efficient and effective tool for that job?
                    Bad planning, once again, and it is reflected by the fact that more than 50 trucks were made into armored vehicles at the start and during the war.
                    Why so few? because the road network in East Africa was virtually non existent and ill suited to vehicle travel. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, most of Ethiopia & Eritrea is mountainous and riven by deep valleys. The Italians began to expand the amount of roads - though none of them were sealed with asphalt (there are still roads between major Ethiopian cities that are unsealed & many have only been sealed in the past 2 decades). The Italians also started to construct more bridges, though only some.

                    However, Ethiopia even without Eritrea & Somalia is big - 40% bigger than Texas. Add those two and it is Alaska size or larger. Cities and large towns are very spread out, with most of the population living on farms & in smaller villages. Somalia & eastern Ethiopia is relatively flat. So are bits of the south, but the main population is in the north west . Those villages would have been difficult or impossible to access in an armored vehicle of the time (some are still difficult unless you have a 4x4).

                    The value of tanks & armored cars in controlling the population would have been limited to major cities & the surrounds or the lowlands....assuming the infrastructure existed to keep these vehicles running. The same issues arise in warfare. Trying to supply large forces, especially mechanized ones, would be a fraught exercise, especially as supply would generally rely on a single road that was vulnerable to interdiction.
                    Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                    Comment


                    • I think the Italians in East Africa should have hedged their bet. Installation of a cement manufacturing plant early on, and then building a line of fortifications around the few key areas would have gone a long way to keeping them in the game if things went against them.
                      Certainly, the British with no heavy artillery and mostly lightly armed colonial troops couldn't have taken on a line of fortifications and bunkers. In the worst case these could have tied up considerable Allied assets for quite a while if there were stocks of food and such available for the defender's use.

                      As for roads, simple gravel with waste oil would have sufficed in most cases as the lack of constant rain and no cold winter would have made such roads perfectly viable once rolled and compacted. While this is less durable than an asphalt road, it is quick to manufacture and finish. All they'd need is a good sand and gravel plant to make the gravel, and they could use waste oil mixed with tar for the sealant.

                      This is the modern equivalent done in Australia:

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        I think the Italians in East Africa should have hedged their bet. Installation of a cement manufacturing plant early on, and then building a line of fortifications around the few key areas would have gone a long way to keeping them in the game if things went against them.
                        Certainly, the British with no heavy artillery and mostly lightly armed colonial troops couldn't have taken on a line of fortifications and bunkers. In the worst case these could have tied up considerable Allied assets for quite a while if there were stocks of food and such available for the defender's use.
                        The Ethiopian plateau should have been easily defensible given Italian resources. There were limited roads, some serious deserts in the north and lots of ravines & mountain passes. There are some easier approaches from the south - along the rift valley - but that also has huge lakes constricting movement to narrow routes. A mobile reserve south of Addis and hole up along the other access points. With a judicious placement of supplies & similarly judicious use of air power should have been able to hold the plateau for a lengthy period and force Britain to divert resources to seize it.

                        They did construct a few fortress complexes, but seem not to have paid much attention to a proper defensive strategy. Once the British began to attack from Sudan & Kenya there were a series of rapid retreats leaving behind lots of supplies and losing the ability to set up proper defensive positions.

                        The war in East Africa was a microcosm of the Italian war - poor planning, poor leadership, little or no strategy and poor troop performance. There were exceptions, but not nearly enough. Put a similar or even smaller sized force of Japanese, German, Russian, British, Australian, Kiwi, American or a few other nation's troops at Keren and the outcome changes. That alone makes the speed & cost of the British adavnce very different.

                        As for roads, simple gravel with waste oil would have sufficed in most cases as the lack of constant rain and no cold winter would have made such roads perfectly viable once rolled and compacted. While this is less durable than an asphalt road, it is quick to manufacture and finish. All they'd need is a good sand and gravel plant to make the gravel, and they could use waste oil mixed with tar for the sealant.
                        There is pretty heavy rain in Ethiopia for about two months a year around September/October, and again in March. Not sure if that would be an issue or not.
                        Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                        Comment


                        • The Italians continued the fighting in Ethiopia til september 1943.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                            There is pretty heavy rain in Ethiopia for about two months a year around September/October, and again in March. Not sure if that would be an issue or not.
                            Not really. Even if a portion of such a road washed out, it is easily repaired. Southern Arizona has a similar monsoon period. Dry washes on like roads in Arizona wash out pretty regularly but can be restored in a day or two easily. It also leaves something like 90% of the road unaffected and is way better than a simple dirt track.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                              Why so few? because the road network in East Africa was virtually non existent and ill suited to vehicle travel.
                              You may be more right than you know.

                              When the US took over the Iran supply system in a big way in 1943, they discovered that tires rated for 60,000 miles were only lasting for 4,000.
                              Now, maybe they were using the wrong sort, and the Italians were not going to be surprised like that in a part of the world where they had been since the 1800s, but I doubt the terrain in the horn of Africa was much better than in old Persia.

                              Maybe all those tankettes weren't just sitting around in depots waiting for the next war.

                              Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                              However, Ethiopia even without Eritrea & Somalia is big - 40% bigger than Texas. Add those two and it is Alaska size or larger.
                              I am glad somebody recognizes that!
                              The distance from Mogadishu to Khartoum is similar to the distance from Astrakhan to Leningrad. Italy only has 25 transport aircraft in theater...

                              I have said before that once any major unit is committed to a certain strategic direction, that is pretty much it for the duration. There can be no question of re-deploying a Division from one end to the other with a front like that and such lousy infrastructure.

                              Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                              The value of tanks & armored cars in controlling the population would have been limited to major cities & the surrounds or the lowlands....
                              Yes, but something must be assigned to that task.
                              Western Ethiopia was especially restless... I will have to work up a list of assignments for them and see how it all pans out.

                              Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                              Trying to supply large forces, especially mechanized ones, would be a fraught exercise, especially as supply would generally rely on a single road that was vulnerable to interdiction.
                              And that is what I am trying to avoid.
                              For the MSR for 65th Div., I use the Blue Nile. Not just for the fuel-free passage for the rafts & barges, but because you can blow holes in a river all day long, and nobody will care.

                              Also; the need for a no-nonsense approach lies in the fact that lack of fuel was given as an excuse for stopping the advance into Kenya. Yet, when the Brits took Mogadishu in February of 1941, they found 400,000 gallons there. (yes, intact)

                              That sort of thing just can't be allowed.

                              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                              I think the Italians in East Africa should have hedged their bet. Installation of a cement manufacturing plant early on, and then building a line of fortifications around the few key areas would have gone a long way...
                              That is a very interesting idea.
                              Could that have been done between Sept. and June?

                              If so, bridge abutments could have been much more plentiful, and areas prone to wash-outs could have been protected.
                              I'm not sure I would have given roads and bunkers priority over runways, depending on how well those were set up.

                              Good call!

                              Originally posted by ljadw View Post
                              The Italians continued the fighting in Ethiopia til september 1943.
                              Yes, a few hundreds, but only as Guerrillas.
                              The idea here is to force the enemy to have to do that!
                              Last edited by The Exorcist; 19 Jan 18, 14:53.
                              "Why is the Rum gone?"

                              -Captain Jack

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
                                You may be more right than you know.

                                When the US took over the Iran supply system in a big way in 1943, they discovered that tires rated for 60,000 miles were only lasting for 4,000.
                                Now, maybe they were using the wrong sort, and the Italians were not going to be surprised like that in a part of the world where they had been since the 1800s, but I doubt the terrain in the horn of Africa was much better than in old Persia.

                                Maybe all those tankettes weren't just sitting around in depots waiting for the next war.
                                I spent 3 weeks driving around the place, so I have a fair idea what it is like. Ethiopia is also the rockiest place I have ever been to. I mean everywhere, cities, towns, countryside, pretty much everywhere there is exposed dirt there are rocks at the surface. Even the farm land, though cleared, is enclosed in small fields surrounded by rocks. Not quote bocage, but more mountainous. Even now rural Ethiopians walk everywhere and cart heavier things with donkeys & mules. It is hard country on vehicles, even now.


                                I am glad somebody recognizes that!
                                The distance from Mogadishu to Khartoum is similar to the distance from Astrakhan to Leningrad. Italy only has 25 transport aircraft in theater...

                                I have said before that once any major unit is committed to a certain strategic direction, that is pretty much it for the duration. There can be no question of re-deploying a Division from one end to the other with a front like that and such lousy infrastructure.
                                Which makes what the Italians chose to do so mind numblingly stupid. They literally chose the worst possible option.


                                Yes, but something must be assigned to that task.
                                Western Ethiopia was especially restless... I will have to work up a list of assignments for them and see how it all pans out.
                                Horses might work, but its not even great horse country. I suspect they used lots of Eritrean troops on foot and aircraft. The best tactic was to get the local Ras (prince or lord) on side, as they did in Tigray & other areas. Contrary to popular opinion an awful lot of Imperial rule was done via local intermediaries. In Ethiopia there were quite a few Rases who disliked the Emperor for personal or ethnic reasons. That is why the Brits were bombing Mekele in 1943 - to put down a rebellion.

                                Unfortunately for the Italians the West is the old Amhara heartland and it is some of the hardest country to negotiate. It also has an open border to Sudan (I know a couple of guys who walked from Gondar to Sudan in the 80s to escape the DERG. It is a hard border to plug). Pacifying it was going to be difficult to impossible.


                                And that is what I am trying to avoid.
                                For the MSR for 65th Div., I use the Blue Nile. Not just for the fuel-free passage for the rafts & barges, but because you can blow holes in a river all day long, and nobody will care.
                                The Blue Nile is only going to be navigable for 6 months of the year at best and I'm not sure how effective it is as a 2 way artery. I'm also not sure what access points are suitable to load all this stuff on. Not sure I'd want to be the division relying on that.

                                Also; the need for a no-nonsense approach lies in the fact that lack of fuel was given as an excuse for stopping the advance into Kenya. Yet, when the Brits took Mogadishu in February of 1941, they found 400,000 gallons there. (yes, intact)

                                That sort of thing just can't be allowed.
                                Sure, but once you advance into Kenya, then what? The Royal Navy could take total command of that coast & drop a sizeable force in a very awkward spot. The Italians were skittish enough on 'home' ground - retreating from large areas based just on rumours & a bit of clever deception. Actually sitting a force of presumably their better troops at the end of a long supply line in Kenya just screams 'disaster'.
                                Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                                Comment

                                Latest Topics

                                Collapse

                                • wolfhnd
                                  Tommy Robinson Arrested
                                  wolfhnd
                                  Hate speech laws and arbitrary enforcement of laws seem to be the norm in Europe now. Are "socialist" countries unavoidably totalitarian?
                                  Today, 20:55
                                • Cosmos
                                  How to post a video
                                  Cosmos
                                  I've worked out how to post a video . Click on A to toggle Advanced Editor . Then in the last box of four on the new top row click the last symbol (Insert...
                                  Today, 18:00
                                • MarkV
                                  Ireland to drop 8th ammendment
                                  MarkV
                                  The pundits said it would be a close vote - too close to call but it wasn't. Surprisingly one sided. No comment from the Church which had backed the No...
                                  Today, 08:10
                                Working...
                                X