Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

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Richard Anderson
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Dec 2020 01:56

BTW, there were two Italian raids on Aden on 13 June, typical of the Italian (and British for that matter) attacks that could be mustered given the conditions, capabilities, and dispersed nature of the airfields on both sides.

The first attack was at 0440 by four SM.81 of the 4 bis out of Ghienele. They were intercepted by two Gladiators (two others aborted), which shot down one. AA fire damaged another that made it back to Assab. Mixed AA and possible fire from the Gladiators damaged the other two. One of them force landed east of Aden, the other force landed back in Italian territory, but the crew thought they were in French Somaliland so they destroyed the aircraft before they realized their mistake.

The second attack was by 7 SM.79 of the 44 bis, also flying out of Ghinele. One was hit on the first approach by AA fire from Carlisle and crashed, the rest continued the attack, but had to go around and repeat the attack after the bomb bay of the lead aircraft failed to open. By the time they went around, two Gladiators were back in the air and intercepted them (a third aborted again and force landed at Little Aden). One Gladiator exchanged damage with one of the Italian aircraft and another damaged another SM. 79.

End result of the day was five Italian aircraft destroyed and two badly damaged out of thirteen dispatched versus one British fighter slightly damaged and one pranged in the forced landing. The results of the bombing? Bupkis.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 24 Dec 2020 08:41

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Dec 2020 01:11
Do you think Aden was a parking lot?

Probably not. In the Italian raid on Aden on 13 June, nine Italian aircraft were claimed by Carlisle and the shore defenses, for no loss.

Why do they need to get up steam? You do think its a car park?
Well, you are the one that stated that each and every one of those ships was positioned to stop the attack on Aden, where else would they be other than Aden?
And to apply the same standards to you, what source tells us exactly where they were, or would be on June 12th if that had actually been the day the war started?
What was their berthing location? What were their patrol routes, exactly? How much fuel did they have in their bunkers at dawn that day? Weren't any of them laid-up?

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Dec 2020 01:11
For what? To be sunk?
Yes, because that's what plans do, always looking for ways to fail instead of setting their men up for the best possible gains. :roll:

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Dec 2020 01:11
No, all of that is available.
What does that even mean?

Look, I get it, you hate "what if" and don't care for the concept, I guess that's why you don't post much in the other threads and even when you do most of them seem to ignore you. I'll have to do the same, and regret encouraging you by responding to anything you posted.
A newbie mistake, apparently.
Bye.

Its just a little disappointing that this is all I get. Apparently the posts were too long.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 24 Dec 2020 13:34

SUMMARY POST

Air war plans:
AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 18:07
A massive raid by about about 200 bombers at Toulon

there are other promising targets in the area that would merit such a strike; such as Marseille and Aix en Provence since both appear to be the main transportation hubs in the coastal area
Dili wrote:
15 Dec 2020 03:23
144 x M.C. Saetta, 54 x C200 Macchi
This are the same airplane...you should study first than going on this.
Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Dec 2020 07:21
You can also find a pretty comprehensive list of the RA at http://www.niehorster.org/019_italy/__italy.htm
Naval war plans:
AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 00:35
Concentration of force seems to work well for the Panzers, let’s see if that is also good for the warships.

Leading off are 3 x Heavy groups with; 2 x BBs or BCs , 2 x Light Cruisers, 8 x DDs.

2 x Heavy Cruiser Divs with 3-4 x CAs, 1 x CL and 6 x DDs.

3 x DD Divisions of 8 x DDs/DEs each.

This leaves 1 x CA, 2 x CL and 19 x DDs/DEs as standby reserve or down for maintenance…. or on solitary patrol.


The western Med is to be walled off by deep belts of mines, MTBs, Subs and aircraft, as well as a few of the smaller DDs. This will eliminate the ability of the Italians to operate in the Western Med for the time being, and I know that's an issue, but it will divide the allie Fleets and I think this is best for Italy in the short term.


Malta- 1 x Heavy group, 1 x Cruiser Div, 1 x DD Division

Standby Reserve - 1 x Heavy group, 1 Cruiser Div,

Nice raid- 1 x Heavy group, 1 x DD Division ....this is a feint, intended to draw some of the French fleet into an ambush near, Genoa.

The idea here is that the northern gap would be the last to be closed by mines/MBTs/Aircraft etc., and therefore should be taken advantage of by the fleet; Bombard Nice and then dash away, hoping to pull the French along with them into Italian waters, where the Standby Reserve would be waiting for them.
That, or wait for them to try to pay Italy back in kind, and they did indeed bombard Genoa IRL, so this is not so far-fetched an idea. The trick is to be ready to spring the trap.

So… which Heavy Group gets the big Littorios with the 15” Guns?
You tell me, and meanwhile....
None. They were not combat ready in June.

Part of the Marina Nationale - 2 heavy cruisers and 2 destroyers - shelled Genoa OTL on 14 June 1940. The unlikely sinking all of them would not change anything. The capital ships were accounted for.
Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2020 09:34
Béarn was on a US-bound mission (terminating in the French West Indies) since May 1940.
Richelieu was completed in Brest and fled to Dakar.
Jean Bart was not fully equipped, but fled from Saint-Nazaire to Casablanca.
Strasbourg and Dunquerque were stationed in Mers-el-Kébir since September 1939 (Force de Raid).
Provence and Bretagne were stationed in Mers El Kébir since 18 May 1940 (from 27 April: Alexandria).
Lorraine was in Alexandria since 27 April 1940.
Courbet sailed for Portsmouth on 20 June, Paris sailed for Plymouth on 18 June from the Atlantic coast. Both were seized by the British on 3 July 1940.

The only capital ship in Toulon was the school hulk of the Jean Bart (Courbet class).
So no Maltese operation, no Nice raid, just a standby reserve.
AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 18:07
Damaging the base facilities at Toloun would hobble the ability of the French fleet to hit back at Italy in the area of the Riviera.
France was defeated in weeks, so it made no sense.

Army plans:
AnchorSteam wrote:
16 Dec 2020 03:16
To finish with Army strategy, Let me deploy and send them off; (and remember, these are the full-strength Divisions, a much leaner and meaner set of formations)

Malta; 1 x Marine unit, 1 x Paratroop Div.

France; 1st Mech Corps, 7th Mountain Corps, 4th Corps {inf}, 1 x Heavy Div. (a total of ten Divs)

Libya; towards Tunisia; 5th Corps & 3rd Mech Corps + 1 Heavy Division
towards Egypt; 2nd Mech, 6th Corps +2 Heavy Divisions
(The mechanized Division is detached to probe Siwa and Mishefa, and eventually towards Mersa Matruh.)
Your Maltese operation was impossible; if they dare to attack Malta, Cunningham arrives with the forces he assembled for the Battle of Calabria, and destroys the RM there and then.

There was no paratrooper division at Italy's disposal.

The attack against Tunisia would mean that both the Vichy French and the Germans are antagonized for no reason.

The attack against Egypt was totally disorganized, lacked interservice cooperation, logistical foundations, concentration of forces and started too late to capitalize on the effect of the British off-balance. What you claim is that now the Italians would be able to circumvent all that with more forces committed on all historical fronts, as well opening new ones.
AnchorSteam wrote:
17 Dec 2020 04:04
At war start
Riserva Generale Addis Abeba and Dessiè with:
-321.a and 322.a Compagnia carri M11/39 (4 platoons with 6 x M11/39 each) {one to 65th Div, one to 40th Div}
-1.a and 2.a compagnia carri L35 each) {one to 65th Div, one to 40th Div}

Comando Truppe Scioa with:
-Squadrone carri veloci “Cavalieri di Neghelli” (15xL3) {to Groupo Sudani… minus 3 to Aden group}
-Reparto Autocarri armati PAI (some armored trucks armed with MG) {Local Garrisons}

Comando Truppe HARAR with:
-Sezione Autonoma autoblindo Fiat 611 – (5x37mm Fiat611) {one to Aden, 4 to Kenya}
-Seziona Autonoma autoblindo Lancia IZ – (4xLanciaIZ) {to Somalia}

Comando Truppe Galla-Sidamo with:
-Sezione Autoblindo Lancia del Galla Sidamo (Gimma)(3xLanciaIZ) {to So. Sudan}
-Sezione Autoblindo Fiat 611 del Galla Sidamo (Javello)(3xFiat611mg) {1 to Aden, 2 to Kenya}
-Compagnia autocarri armati del Galla Sidamo (Gimma)(some armoured trucks with MG) {stays there for internal security duty}
-Sezione autocarri armati (Uolisciò) (4xarmoured trucks) {to Kenya}

Comando Truppe Amhara with:
-Reparto provvisorio autoblindo (Debrivar)(some LanciaIZ) {Home Patrol}
-Sezione autoblindo Lancia (6xLanciaIZ)(Debra Marcos-Goggiam) {with Groupo Sudani}


Armor deployment, by location/destination;

Kenya; 4 x Fiat611 w/37mm, 2 x Fiat611 MG, 4 x Armored trucks, 4 x 20mm on armored trucks.

65th Div ; 12 x M11/39 tanks, 12 x CV33 tankettes,

40th Div ; 10 x M11/39 tanks, 12 x CV33 tankettes, 4 x Lancia a/c

Aden ; 3 x CV33, 2 x Fiat611, 2 x M11/39 tanks*

Groupo Sudani (along with the Motorized Battalion & Cavalry attachments) ; 12 x CV33, 6 x Lancia a/c, 4 x 20mm on armored trucks.

So. Sudan ; 3 x Lancia a/c, some armored trucks later on.


*The small and eclectic team sent to Aden is to allow for the expansion of the perimeter as needed, and the propaganda impact of having Axis tanks on the Arabian Peninsula.
The Aden operation is kind of impossible because of the RN forces there, but definately impossible to hold as reinforcements could not come from anywhere, and the RN held an enormous advantage and control of the seas.

The IEA was doomed unless sea communications with Italy was restored.
On land the nearest Italian post and landing ground, the oasis of Uweinat, was nearly a thousand miles away across the Sudan. It was not as if Italian East Africa had the industries, the natural resources, or the accumulated reserves to offset a prolonged interruption of the normal routes of supply. To make things worse, Ethiopia was a military liability even in peace time, because the first and ever present need was to be able to enforce internal order. It was for this, and not for operating against an external enemy, that the forces were organized.
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I

So the Italians either take Suez, or they can wave goodbye to the IEA.

To make clear how underfunded and underequipped the Italian forces were in the IEA, instead of the preliminary war preparation costs of 5bn lire they've got 900 million, and a lot of equipment never even reached IEA.
AnchorSteam wrote:
23 Dec 2020 21:41

But what of Germany?
Yeah, what about them?
The Tripartite Pact has not been sighed yet. Italy did not need Berlin's permission to enter this war, it needs no such permission to exit it. It is a good thing I had a strong army doing it's best to make a good showing agianst the French, and made no move to remove it from that area once the fighting was done there, yes? :milwink:

As for German hostility.... why would they bother to get too huffy about it? Winter is coming, and in the Spring; Russia. Over all, they should be grateful that the plans Admiral Reader was fiddling with won't have to be implemented, and two additional Panzer Divisions are a better boost for Barbarossa than what Mussolini sent .... not to mention the logistic burden Africa posed.
If Germany cuts the coal deliveries to Italy, Italy is done for.

Also, the Germans needed to access the chrome, bauxite and copper of the Balkans, so there was 0 chance that they'd let the Italians "rule" the Balkans.

The British would never make peace with such terms, especially because all their major forces are undefeated, or better said, untouched by the Italian moves in your scenario. Besides, the Italians could exist only as long as the Germans wanted it. All you have to ask yourself is simple: "What if the British say no?" Then Italy is kaputt. So why would anyone leave them be and gain absurd territories and concessions? Because then the British could fight the war more easily? Absolutely impossible. The Italians hardly ever gave the British a headache.

I'm sad to say this, but your scenario is not plausible from either a military or a diplomatic viewpoint.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Dec 2020 16:20

AnchorSteam wrote:
24 Dec 2020 08:41
Well, you are the one that stated that each and every one of those ships was positioned to stop the attack on Aden, where else would they be other than Aden?
Stop with the straw men please. I never "stated" any such thing. I simply remarked as to what vessels were actually assigned to or in the vicinity of Aden or available to reinforce the Red Sea in the event of Italian aggression. You seem to imagine that all these Italian moves - reinforcing divisions, a few ships, aircraft, and such, would occur in a vacuum. The reality is the British were closely watching what the Italians were doing.
And to apply the same standards to you, what source tells us exactly where they were, or would be on June 12th if that had actually been the day the war started? What was their berthing location? What were their patrol routes, exactly? How much fuel did they have in their bunkers at dawn that day? Weren't any of them laid-up?
The summarized vessel war diaries as compiled by Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Mason, RN (Rtd). Given I did not try to tell anyone "exactly where they were, or would be on June 12th" I think I'll just ignore the straw man.
Yes, because that's what plans do, always looking for ways to fail instead of setting their men up for the best possible gains. :roll:
Your "plan" appears to be that your ATL Italian forces in AOI will outperform their historical analogs to an extraordinary degree, simply because your "plan" sets them up for the "best possible gains". How precisely is that actually a "plan" rather than wishful thinking?

I was simply pointing out what the actual performance was.
What does that even mean?
a·vail·a·ble, /əˈvāləb(ə)l/, adjective: able to be used or obtained; at someone's disposal.
Look, I get it, you hate "what if" and don't care for the concept, I guess that's why you don't post much in the other threads and even when you do most of them seem to ignore you. I'll have to do the same, and regret encouraging you by responding to anything you posted.
A newbie mistake, apparently.
Bye.
No, I don't "hate" what ifs. I dislike poorly thought out and poorly sourced what ifs, especially when the proponent can't adjust fire for new information and simply doubles down on their "alternative facts".

Toodles.
Its just a little disappointing that this is all I get. Apparently the posts were too long.
No, it is not that the posts were too long, it is they made little sense as ways Italy could "have won the war in 1940".
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Terry Duncan » 24 Dec 2020 18:38

Can people try to be civil and not antagonistic, it is Christmas after all! If we all agreed the place would be boring, but there doesn't need to be a barb attached when making a point.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Terry

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 24 Dec 2020 19:53

Terry Duncan wrote:
24 Dec 2020 18:38
Can people try to be civil and not antagonistic, it is Christmas after all! If we all agreed the place would be boring, but there doesn't need to be a barb attached when making a point.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Terry
Thank you, and I agree.
I was asked to "elevate the discussion", and now I am tempted to wonder why.

If anyone besides those two had followed the posts, especially the one marked "ENDGAME on the last page, I might have something besides regrets about soming here.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 24 Dec 2020 19:53

AnchorSteam wrote:
24 Dec 2020 19:53
Terry Duncan wrote:
24 Dec 2020 18:38
Can people try to be civil and not antagonistic, it is Christmas after all! If we all agreed the place would be boring, but there doesn't need to be a barb attached when making a point.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Terry
Thank you, and I agree.
I was asked to "elevate the discussion", and now I am tempted to wonder why.

If anyone besides those two had followed the posts, especially the one marked "ENDGAME on the last page, I might have something besides regrets about coming here.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by History Learner » 09 Jan 2021 22:07

Yes.

Fallen Eagles: The Italian 10th Army in the Opening Campaign in the Western Desert, June 1940-December 1940:
The Italian Army developed a new and revolutionary doctrine of combined arms warfare in 1938 based on the lessons learned from their experiences of the 1930s. The success from the use of Italian combined arm teams in Spain and in Ethiopia proved the concept of motorized forces and the natural follow-on of mechanization for the Italian Army. This doctrine was called the War of Rapid Decision. With this doctrine the Italian Army had developed a new and dynamic operational art of war. The Italian military in Libya had all the necessary elements to be successful utilizing this new doctrine. In addition it had a commander that already successfully used and demonstrated an applied motorized doctrine in the Italo-Ethiopian war where it proved victorious to him. Marshal Graziani didn’t utilize this new doctrine. The operational plan Marshal Graziani and his staff did execute was an advance in mass for the invasion of Egypt.​

The operational plan Marshall Graziani and his staff should have developed was for a two-phase invasion, utilizing Italian mechanized doctrine, based on the forces available to him. This plan would have called for the stripping of all the trucks from the Italian 5th Army and using the just-arriving Italian M.11 medium tanks as the main mechanized striking force. The Italian army should have formed a mechanized force to invade Egypt, only followed by garrison troops to maintain the lines of communication. Based on the amount of transport available in Libya, his staff estimated they could have fully motorized two divisions and a brigade of Libyan troops (Knox 1982, 156). Combined with the available armor and motorized artillery forces, he would have had a potential mechanized force to invade Egypt with in August of 1940. The only realistic motorized formation that could have been formed is with the Comando Carri Armati della Libia, possibly three or four artillery Regiments, and one motorized infantry division.​

The first phase of the operation would have been the Italian Army occupying the city of Sollum. This first phase would see them crossing the wire and occupying Sollum with the available infantry and artillery formations. This force would stay and garrison the city, protect the line of communication, and act as a reserve. This phase of the operation would see the Metropolitan Italian nonmotorized divisions advance along the coast and attack through Halfaya Pass and occupy Sollum. This would have allowed the Italian army to control this strategic terrain and use it has the starting point for the second phase of the operation.​

The second phase of the plan would see two primary forces advancing on two separate axes of advance to Mersa Martuh. Two separate forces attacking on two separate axes of advance would make this attack. The slow moving foot infantry could advance along the coastal road. This would allow the Italian binary nonmotorized infantry divisions to utilize the only road network available to them and have some use in the campaign. The Metropolitan Italian nonmotorized divisions would advance along the coast and continue forward to an intermediate objective of Sidi Barrani and then on to the final objective Mersa Martuh. The southern column consisting of the Libyan Divisions and the armored Comando Carri Armati della Libia would advance on the Dayr al-Hamra–Bir ar Rabiyah–Bir Enba track to flank the escarpment, and the enemy, with the ultimate objective of Mersa Martuh. In this manner, the Italian army could have met the British at Mersa Martuh utilizing the non motorized Italian formations in a suitable role, and the motorized formations to flank their defense and cut the British line of communications defeating, them at Mersa Martuh.​

This plan would have been an example of Italian mechanized doctrine utilizing the available forces. The combination of the advance of forces moving along the coast, pinning the enemy, and the Italian mechanized forces operating to turn the enemy’s flank followed Italian mechanized doctrine. This plan would have the Italian mechanized elements making long flanking movements through the desert. Such employment would have been ideally suited for the mechanized forces, according to Italian doctrine. Only under this concept and applying their mechanized doctrine would Italian forces have had a reasonable chance for success against the British. Since Marshal Graziani failed to apply Italian doctrine he was defeated in detail by a significantly smaller British force in the western desert.​

Had the Italian Army and Marshal Graziani struck early in the desert campaign and in strength utilizing their new doctrine it is doubtful that the British could have stopped them short of the Nile river. Instead of pursing that goal the Marshal Graziani asked for more resources to accomplish that mission instead of acting. When Marshal Graziani was forced into action, the Italian Army in North Africa didn’t adopt a plan of an attack in depth but reverted to a plan utilizing an attack in mass. This failing caused the Italian army to be defeated during its invasion of Egypt. One can only speculate on the reasons for Graziani’s failure to employ the rapid decision doctrine. Surely one key factor was the Italian Army’s deficiency in the areas of the army leadership, training level of the different organizations, leadership of the organizations, unit cohesion, logistics, and armored vehicles. A combination of these factors made the Italian Army less effective then it could have been in the campaign.​
Balbo's Great Adventure (aka Invading Malta in 1940)
Air Marshal Italo Balbo, a staunch Fascist and potential rival to Mussolini, had argued that if Italy entered the war, it should be on the side of Britain against Germany. Regardless of who Italy fought, she should enter the war with a dramatic first strike. A plan that would have met Balbo's requirements had been in the works since 1935, when tensions rose over the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. The Army and Navy began to draft what would become known as Operazione C.3, the invasion of Malta. In June 1940 Italian airborne and amphibious forces were only a fraction of what they would be in the summer of 1942, but then, so was the Malta garrison.

The Italian assault would be spearheaded by the San Marco Marine Regiment, which in 1940 was actually more capable than the marines assigned to the June 1942 landing. The regiment's toughest and best-trained men would be siphoned away on other missions, particularly in North Africa, one the war began and the companies that would have come ashore in 1942 would not have been as good as those of 1940.

The marines would be followed across the beaches by the 47th "Bari" Infantry Division, which apparently had undertaken very little amphibious training. By June 1942 the Italian Navy had assembled enough landing craft to bring three divisions to shore, and the three divisions selected for Operazione C.3 had trained intensively on Tuscan beaches for the mission. The Bari Division was later slated for an amphibious landing on the Greek island of Corfu, aided by the San Marco marines, but this operation was cancelled and the troops went instead to Albania where they fought the Greeks through April 1941. After a brief period refitting in Albania, they returned to Italy and saw no more action. The Bari Division performed coast defense duties in 1942, went to Rome that spring and then to Sardinia.

With a little over three months to train, Bari's infantrymen could have become familiar with landing operations though not as proficient as the three divisions slated for the 1942 operation. The number of landing craft would have been much less than in 1942, so it's unlikely that many more ground troops could have been introduced by amphibious landing.

But Italy was prepared to launch an airborne assault. Balbo had been exiled to Libya as Governor-General, and at his direction the garrison established a parachute school in 1938. By June 1940 a "national" battalion of about 300 paratroopers was ready for action and a colonial battalion of about 500 Libyan askaris and 50 Italian officers. Balbo envisioned an eventual force of two divisions, and a dramatic landing on the Suez Canal in the event of war with Britain. But after his suspicious death in late June 1940, the two battalions drew infantry assignments and both were destroyed in ground fighting in late 1940 and early 1941. About 200 men from the national battalion survived to return to Italy to help form new parachute units there.

The landing, therefore, would have been much smaller than the projected Axis attack of 1942: two battalions of marines, two of parachutists, and one infantry division. But the garrison awaiting them would likewise have been much smaller: only one brigade, as opposed to the four ready in June 1942. The Malta Brigade, as it was known, had one Maltese and four British infantry battalions. Coast defense artillery was much lighter, as was anti-aircraft artillery. The engineer companies who built the many pillboxes and other positions were present on the island, but had as yet done little work. Surprisingly, the island did have an anti-tank capability that was lacking in 1942, as the batteries were converted to heavier coast-defense pieces. This would have done the garrison little good, as the Italians were unlikely to bring tanks ashore.

As a dramatic gesture designed to force a peace treaty in quick fashion, the Balbo version of C.3 could have drawn much greater naval support than we posited in the Island of Death game. Vice Admiral Bergamini's 5th Division with three battleships and seven destroyers was slated for participation in the June 1942 attack and moved up to Messina from Taranto early that month in preparation. However, fuel shortages meant that the June 1942 plan called for one only sortie by the battleships: They would arrive off the island, silence the coast defense guns at Fort Benghaisa (hex 2214 on the Island of Death map). If the coastal guns fell silent soon enough, the battleships would shift fire to Hal Far airfield (hex 1916) before their return to base. There was not enough fuel oil to keep them on call to support the troops ashore. In June 1940 the Italian Navy had a much greater stockpile of oil on hand, and this could have been built up to a greater extent had preparations begun in March. Air support, however, would have been much less effective in June 1940, though on the Italian side of the ledger Allied air defenses were essentially non-existent.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Andy H » 22 Jan 2021 22:36

Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Dec 2020 01:56
BTW, there were two Italian raids on Aden on 13 June, typical of the Italian (and British for that matter) attacks that could be mustered given the conditions, capabilities, and dispersed nature of the airfields on both sides.

The first attack was at 0440 by four SM.81 of the 4 bis out of Ghienele. They were intercepted by two Gladiators (two others aborted), which shot down one. AA fire damaged another that made it back to Assab. Mixed AA and possible fire from the Gladiators damaged the other two. One of them force landed east of Aden, the other force landed back in Italian territory, but the crew thought they were in French Somaliland so they destroyed the aircraft before they realized their mistake.

The second attack was by 7 SM.79 of the 44 bis, also flying out of Ghinele. One was hit on the first approach by AA fire from Carlisle and crashed, the rest continued the attack, but had to go around and repeat the attack after the bomb bay of the lead aircraft failed to open. By the time they went around, two Gladiators were back in the air and intercepted them (a third aborted again and force landed at Little Aden). One Gladiator exchanged damage with one of the Italian aircraft and another damaged another SM. 79.

End result of the day was five Italian aircraft destroyed and two badly damaged out of thirteen dispatched versus one British fighter slightly damaged and one pranged in the forced landing. The results of the bombing? Bupkis.
Hi Richard.

The decision to send HMS Carlisle was pre-planned as a precaution for the Italian entry into the war and the fact that the RAF Base in Aden had no Radar. Carlisle with its Type280 set could provide that cover.
The ship arrived in Aden 2wkks prior to Italy's declaration of war and they spent that time training with the RAF Gladiators and working with the 3.7in AA Bty stationed there. As you state, things went downhill for the Italian aircraft pretty quickly. My source listed below says 12 SM.81's and that 9 aircraft were either destroyed or damaged and further 3 surrendered when they landed in the desert, by the combined AA Fire from land & sea plus the RAF.

Source: Radar at Sea (The Royal Navy in World War2) by Derek Howse

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Jan 2021 01:12

Andy H wrote:
22 Jan 2021 22:36
The decision to send HMS Carlisle was pre-planned as a precaution for the Italian entry into the war and the fact that the RAF Base in Aden had no Radar. Carlisle with its Type280 set could provide that cover.
Yes, I know. You can also read that between the lines in her war history too.

Of course, since this is a what if, the Admiralty has all been lobotomized, the RAF has been trained to crash all its aircraft on takeoff, and the Army only marches backwards towards the foe, while taking tea breaks and shooting themselves in the foot.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by pugsville » 23 Jan 2021 03:22

Andy H wrote:
22 Jan 2021 22:36
Richard Anderson wrote:
24 Dec 2020 01:56
BTW, there were two Italian raids on Aden on 13 June, typical of the Italian (and British for that matter) attacks that could be mustered given the conditions, capabilities, and dispersed nature of the airfields on both sides.

The first attack was at 0440 by four SM.81 of the 4 bis out of Ghienele. They were intercepted by two Gladiators (two others aborted), which shot down one. AA fire damaged another that made it back to Assab. Mixed AA and possible fire from the Gladiators damaged the other two. One of them force landed east of Aden, the other force landed back in Italian territory, but the crew thought they were in French Somaliland so they destroyed the aircraft before they realized their mistake.

The second attack was by 7 SM.79 of the 44 bis, also flying out of Ghinele. One was hit on the first approach by AA fire from Carlisle and crashed, the rest continued the attack, but had to go around and repeat the attack after the bomb bay of the lead aircraft failed to open. By the time they went around, two Gladiators were back in the air and intercepted them (a third aborted again and force landed at Little Aden). One Gladiator exchanged damage with one of the Italian aircraft and another damaged another SM. 79.

End result of the day was five Italian aircraft destroyed and two badly damaged out of thirteen dispatched versus one British fighter slightly damaged and one pranged in the forced landing. The results of the bombing? Bupkis.
Hi Richard.

The decision to send HMS Carlisle was pre-planned as a precaution for the Italian entry into the war and the fact that the RAF Base in Aden had no Radar. Carlisle with its Type280 set could provide that cover.
The ship arrived in Aden 2wkks prior to Italy's declaration of war and they spent that time training with the RAF Gladiators and working with the 3.7in AA Bty stationed there. As you state, things went downhill for the Italian aircraft pretty quickly. My source listed below says 12 SM.81's and that 9 aircraft were either destroyed or damaged and further 3 surrendered when they landed in the desert, by the combined AA Fire from land & sea plus the RAF.

Source: Radar at Sea (The Royal Navy in World War2) by Derek Howse

Regards

Andy H
Hmm Just reading that Book....

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Andy H
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Andy H » 23 Jan 2021 15:02

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Jan 2021 01:12
Andy H wrote:
22 Jan 2021 22:36
The decision to send HMS Carlisle was pre-planned as a precaution for the Italian entry into the war and the fact that the RAF Base in Aden had no Radar. Carlisle with its Type280 set could provide that cover.
Yes, I know. You can also read that between the lines in her war history too.
Hi Richard

I know you know but I was just putting it out there for those who didnt.

Stay safe

Andy H

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Andy H » 23 Jan 2021 15:58

pugsville wrote:
23 Jan 2021 03:22

Source: Radar at Sea (The Royal Navy in World War2) by Derek Howse

Regards

Andy H
Hmm Just reading that Book....
[/quote]

Hi pugsville

Its a good book and beyond its technical aspects it also provides interesting (new) snippets of knowledge, woven into otherwisewell trodden paths.

Another book worth looking into is this:-
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by pugsville » 23 Jan 2021 22:37

Andy H wrote:
23 Jan 2021 15:58
[
Hi pugsville

Its a good book and beyond its technical aspects it also provides interesting (new) snippets of knowledge, woven into otherwisewell trodden paths.

Another book worth looking into is this:-
Already got my hands on it, in the queue,

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 23 Jan 2021 23:41

History Learner wrote:
09 Jan 2021 22:07
Yes.

Fallen Eagles: The Italian 10th Army in the Opening Campaign in the Western Desert, June 1940-December 1940:
The Italian Army developed a new and revolutionary doctrine of combined arms warfare in 1938 based on the lessons learned from their experiences of the 1930s. The success from the use of Italian combined arm teams in Spain and in Ethiopia proved the concept of motorized forces and the natural follow-on of mechanization for the Italian Army. This doctrine was called the War of Rapid Decision. With this doctrine the Italian Army had developed a new and dynamic operational art of war. The Italian military in Libya had all the necessary elements to be successful utilizing this new doctrine. In addition it had a commander that already successfully used and demonstrated an applied motorized doctrine in the Italo-Ethiopian war where it proved victorious to him. Marshal Graziani didn’t utilize this new doctrine. The operational plan Marshal Graziani and his staff did execute was an advance in mass for the invasion of Egypt.​.....

.....

As a dramatic gesture designed to force a peace treaty in quick fashion, the Balbo version of C.3 could have drawn much greater naval support than we posited in the Island of Death game. Vice Admiral Bergamini's 5th Division with three battleships and seven destroyers was slated for participation in the June 1942 attack and moved up to Messina from Taranto early that month in preparation. However, fuel shortages meant that the June 1942 plan called for one only sortie by the battleships: They would arrive off the island, silence the coast defense guns at Fort Benghaisa (hex 2214 on the Island of Death map). If the coastal guns fell silent soon enough, the battleships would shift fire to Hal Far airfield (hex 1916) before their return to base. There was not enough fuel oil to keep them on call to support the troops ashore. In June 1940 the Italian Navy had a much greater stockpile of oil on hand, and this could have been built up to a greater extent had preparations begun in March. Air support, however, would have been much less effective in June 1940, though on the Italian side of the ledger Allied air defenses were essentially non-existent.
Fascinating stuff, and I didn't get back to this earlier because I assumed it was a dead thread.

So, do you agree with myh idea that Italy could have won a limited war, one where there is not formal agreement with Germany and where the aim is to grab what can be gained in 100 days and then negotiate a withdrawal when the UK is on the ropes?

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