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What if Italy joins the Central Powers in WWI

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Rythmik View Post
    I am aware of this, as somebody else mentioned the French did not even withdraw their troops until 1915 when it was clear which way Italy would go.

    What I meant was would it be feasible for Italian troops to be shipped to Africa if there was a conflict occurring on the French/Italian border...
    Ok, that is clear. My best guess is the Allied navys would interdict most Italian cargo to Africa. The prewar discussions between the Italians and Germans are a clue where the Italian army might likely fight. Two corps were susposed to be deployed along the Rhine, south of Straussberg. Others might join the Autrians vs the Serbs, so as to secure a portion of the Adriatic coast for Italian control. Some Italian corps might also end up on the Eastern Front, or eventually aiding the Turks.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Legate View Post
      I find this little tidbit interesting,got any sources? I would like to study this further.
      sure, In Italy this battle is known (not well known in fact) under the name of Gasr Bu Hadi.

      soe general info : http://www.historyofwar.org/articles..._uprising.html

      and a great book on this battle, by well known italian historian Angelo del Boca:
      http://catalog.ebay.it/___ISBN-13-97...120930QQ_tabZ2

      or

      http://www.unilibro.it/find_buy/Sche...coloniale_.htm

      in short, Col Mani, was ordered to wipe out "rebel" forces in the Fezzan (south of Tripoli) and his idea was to arm outposts and then hve a "mobie" column that would go to these outposts once under siege and use superior firepower (mostly artillery and machine guns) to wipe out the libyans

      good idea, but:

      1. he did not receive the equipment (mostly the MGs) that he was promised

      2. the outposts prooved very vulnerable

      3. some of his troops, the libian local leviies, once under way ot relieve ana outpost ran away....

      4. the intelligence on the enemy was wrong... and the enemy forces were superior in numbers as what was expected.

      5. the mobiity was still mostly on foot and horse...

      about 6000 (iirc) italian troops and colonial levies got in action to relief one of the attacked forts.... the libians ran away with some of the water, the enemy - 10'000 strong attacked the 4000 italians and I think the Italians had to retreat, abandon the fort garrison to a gruesome fate (torture and death) and lost close to 1000 men. Col.Mani ws court martialled, etc. but not the superior officers who "forgot" to send him the all important machineguns (could have been useful against camel-backed cavalry!)
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
        Ok, that is clear. My best guess is the Allied navys would interdict most Italian cargo to Africa. The prewar discussions between the Italians and Germans are a clue where the Italian army might likely fight. Two corps were susposed to be deployed along the Rhine, south of Straussberg. Others might join the Autrians vs the Serbs, so as to secure a portion of the Adriatic coast for Italian control. Some Italian corps might also end up on the Eastern Front, or eventually aiding the Turks.

        Ha, thanks for that. I was unaware that the Italians & Germans had had staff talks prior to the outbreak of war. Do you have any links?

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        • #19
          No, no links. Part of that comes from some magazine articals circa 1966-1970. Other sources were a couple books on the events of 1914 & the runup to it. It has geen over thirty years since I read it, but one such was probablly Tuchmans 'The Guns of August'. Liddel Harts books may have been another, will have to check this

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          • #20
            You gentleman have brought up many good points to show how Italy's DoW wouldn't have made that much of a difference in reality.
            1) The combined Austro-Italian navies couldn't challenge the French navy and even if they gained control of the Mediterranean, attacks on Morocco would've failed.
            2) The terrain between Italy and France is very rugged and would make any Italian attacks very difficult.

            However, we are forgetting the power of the indirect result. Both sides succumed to panicky decisions throughout the war and throughout history for all sides. Even if the French could legitimately hold the Italian border with four divisions, we all know they would've sent more, especially if the Italians had eleven battles here instead of at Isonzo and managed to secure any objectives. The French would also be desperate to hang on to their colonies and probably sent troops there as well.

            Regardless, I think by 1918 the Central Powers are in a much better position; the war was pure attrition and if all the casualties and losses the Austrians, (Germans as well) and Italians suffered fighting each other were directed elsewhere, the American entry into the war would take alot longer to actually decide the war.
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            • #21
              Quite new to the forum and quite late even to post but i'd still like to share my considerations. I read in some books and looking around the internet i didn't find much but only a mere scrap of information that in 1887 while the Reinsurance Treaty was being discussed between the russians, austrians and germans, Spain secretly signed the Triple Alliance agreement. It was mainly to keep a certain balance of powers in the mediterrean due to the strong influence of the French and the british fleet. Not only i think that they counted the Ottoman Empire as a threat to both austria and italy during this period. I might be wrong but only at a certain point the ottomans were becoming friendlier with the germans. Anyway the British fleet and the french fleet did outnumber in some way the italian and austrian fleet, which were really weak. However having the spanish navy in the mediterrean would have surely helped to keep the french and the british at bay.
              Secondly, if Italy did join the war i am pretty sure the centrals would have won. Even though Germany did count on a swift victory, a war had to be won with many allies no matter what. As Britain did in the past centuries, they relied on their allies to win the wars. Germany did expect other nations to join with france, especially russia and great britain. The Schlieffen plan was flawed it is true. However if Italy was counted into the conflict it would have been easier to put it into action. If the italians went to war against France and Britain they might have had many problems with the navy but, the centrals could have negotiated with spain to enter into the war promising some parts of southwestern france plus morocco and part of algeria. Spain would have probably accepted seeing that France would have found herself overwhelmed by Germany, Italy and Spain. France was not as strong as Germany and this would have caused the army to split up too much to keep them away. Not only, Spain would have regained gibraltar, that meaning no available port for britain, and the passage to enter the mediterrean was completely sealed off. Britain would have not managed to provide a sustainable fleet in the mediterrean therefore making the job for the italian and austria fleets lighter and keeping the resources away from africa. This meant no reinforcements for egypt unless they sent from india, but still it was a long way. Regarding the colonies, if the spanish and italian colonies held long enough, the ottoman empire would have managed to destabilised the balance and would have contained or if possibly destroy the british army in egypt passing on to algeria and morocco. Regarding the front in europe, Greece would have remained neutral for fear and thanks to the king who was in favor for the centrals, plus Romania would have joined the centrals claiming bessarabia and probably transnitrania. Bulgaria would have joined aswell and seeing the situation japan would have refused to join aswell with such a balance of forces. Russia would have fallen easier too. Because a defeat for the French and British in France would have meant that they had the possibility to concentrate the forces on russia preventing also the rise of Communism. Serbia would have fallen faster aswell and montenegro too. Probably because the italians would have sent help. America would have not entered the war in this scenario and if they did they would have lost. Portugal would not have joined the war but they would still have traded with the allies supplying them with food and weapons, while not daring to enter in the war because spain would have overwhelmed them with italian forces most probably. This scenario could have happened if only the centrals played their cards better and they negotiated a little bit more. The Netherlands could have sent help against belgium. If Wilhelm simply gave them belgium and luxemburg they would have joined in no time. Even though they were weak, the german navy would have backed them aswell as in indonesia where they could have kept india and the english guinea busy, preventing reinforcements from india. This meant a REAL world war, not european. But anyway, there were many lives and things could have gone wrong yes but having italy romania spain and possibly netherlands, the centrals would have won. No Hitler, no Stalin, no ****** terrorist groups in the colonies which sought independence because of the two world wars, strong drainage of resources and too many human lives involved. This would have happened, there may have been other problems but there would have not been another world war in such a little amount of time.

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              • #22
                Cavaliere,

                Welcome to the forums!

                With that said, you need to paragraphs, it's all one big block with what you said. From waht I can figure you think the Central Powers would have won. I'd agree only if somehow it kept America out of the war. America wasn't the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room like in World War II, but a million more allied troops in France meant Germany was screwed.
                How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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                • #23
                  On paper the Austrian and Italian Fleets plus the Goeben if it could have broken out of Turkish waters would have been more than a match for the French fleet. As on the seas that would have put a great deal of pressure on the British navy

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                  • #24
                    I'd have bet big time on the Briitsh and French fleets in such a Mediterranean clash, not just numbers but RN experience, tradition, and cohesiveness in battle versus the patchwork opponent fleet.

                    And should the U.S. get involved, its fleet was the one combat ready military arm in the early 20th Century. For example:

                    Summary - Dreadnought Classes Completed or Completing by August 1914

                    Countries in order of first dreadnoughts - totals exclude German 'Blucher', French 'Dantons' and Russian Black Sea Fleet dreadnoughts building.

                    Britain 34--- 5 lost
                    Germany 24--- ('Blucher' lost)
                    Japan 8--- 1 lost
                    U.S.A. 8---
                    Austria 4--- 2 lost
                    France 4--- ('Danton' lost)
                    Italy 4--- 1 lost
                    Russia 4--- (1 Black Sea ship lost)

                    Total 90--- (50 Allied, 28 Central Powers, 12 later Allies)
                    Last edited by Tuor; 05 Oct 09, 18:24.

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