Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

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Peter89
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 16 Dec 2020 12:32

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Dec 2020 07:41
AnchorSteam wrote:
16 Dec 2020 06:34
The Italians flew at around 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) and the monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Aphis and Ladybird opened fire. In the afternoon, another 38 bombers escorted by 12 fighters raided the capital. The raids were designed to affect the morale of the population rather than inflict damage to dockyards and installations. A total of eight raids were flown on that first day. The bombing did not cause much damage and most of the casualties suffered were civilian. No interception of the raiders was made because there was no RAF force ready to meet them.[30] No RAF airfield on Malta was operational at that time; one, at Luqa, was near to completion.[5]

Despite the absence of any operational airfields, at least one RAF Gladiator flew against a raid of 55 Savoia Marchetti SM 79 and their 20 escorting fighters on 11 June. It surprised the Italians, but the defences, almost non-existent on the ground and in the air, failed to impede the Italian force.[31] On 12 June an Italian aircraft on a reconnaissance flight over Malta was shot down.[32]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_ ... ld_War_II)

Ahem....
Do you have a point?
I think he refers to the new airfield of Malta.
At Malta the only air establishments existing before the war were the seaplane base and engineering workshops and two small grassed airfields. One of these airfields was used mainly by the Fleet Air Arm and the other by Italian civil air lines. Work on a third airfield was begun in October 1939, and completed with four runways by May Imo. But apart from the building of certain underground installations for aviation fuel, bombs, and wireless equipment, nothing was done to plan or provide for the accommodation of further units, or to build an aircraft depot. When aircraft began to operate from Malta in June 1940, the workshops had to be gradually expanded in no properly planned manner into a parent repair and equipment depot to cope with many different types of aircraft and engines. These included Flying-Boats, Swordfish, Walrus, Magisters, Queen Bees, Gladiators, Hurricanes, Hudsons, Glenn Martins, Wellingtons, Blenheims and Fulmars. It says much for this unit that in spite of the shortage of skilled men and most types of spare parts it was able to keep aircraft flying by improvisation and by manufacturing spare parts from whatever materials could be obtained locally.
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I. The Early Successes against Italy (to May 1941), CHAPTER IV: THE LOGISTIC FOUNDATIONS (1939-40), p. 70.
“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

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Dec 2020 16:42

Peter89 wrote:
16 Dec 2020 12:32
I think he refers to the new airfield of Malta.
At Malta the only air establishments existing before the war were the seaplane base and engineering workshops and two small grassed airfields. One of these airfields was used mainly by the Fleet Air Arm and the other by Italian civil air lines. Work on a third airfield was begun in October 1939, and completed with four runways by May Imo. But apart from the building of certain underground installations for aviation fuel, bombs, and wireless equipment, nothing was done to plan or provide for the accommodation of further units, or to build an aircraft depot. When aircraft began to operate from Malta in June 1940, the workshops had to be gradually expanded in no properly planned manner into a parent repair and equipment depot to cope with many different types of aircraft and engines. These included Flying-Boats, Swordfish, Walrus, Magisters, Queen Bees, Gladiators, Hurricanes, Hudsons, Glenn Martins, Wellingtons, Blenheims and Fulmars. It says much for this unit that in spite of the shortage of skilled men and most types of spare parts it was able to keep aircraft flying by improvisation and by manufacturing spare parts from whatever materials could be obtained locally.
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I. The Early Successes against Italy (to May 1941), CHAPTER IV: THE LOGISTIC FOUNDATIONS (1939-40), p. 70.
Yes, I got that, I'm just curious what real effect he thinks the Italian attacks had and how what they actually were able to do supports his notion that they would somehow suppress "key forts"?
"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

Peter89
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 16 Dec 2020 17:09

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Dec 2020 16:42
Peter89 wrote:
16 Dec 2020 12:32
I think he refers to the new airfield of Malta.
At Malta the only air establishments existing before the war were the seaplane base and engineering workshops and two small grassed airfields. One of these airfields was used mainly by the Fleet Air Arm and the other by Italian civil air lines. Work on a third airfield was begun in October 1939, and completed with four runways by May Imo. But apart from the building of certain underground installations for aviation fuel, bombs, and wireless equipment, nothing was done to plan or provide for the accommodation of further units, or to build an aircraft depot. When aircraft began to operate from Malta in June 1940, the workshops had to be gradually expanded in no properly planned manner into a parent repair and equipment depot to cope with many different types of aircraft and engines. These included Flying-Boats, Swordfish, Walrus, Magisters, Queen Bees, Gladiators, Hurricanes, Hudsons, Glenn Martins, Wellingtons, Blenheims and Fulmars. It says much for this unit that in spite of the shortage of skilled men and most types of spare parts it was able to keep aircraft flying by improvisation and by manufacturing spare parts from whatever materials could be obtained locally.
Playfair: The Mediterranean and Middle East Volume I. The Early Successes against Italy (to May 1941), CHAPTER IV: THE LOGISTIC FOUNDATIONS (1939-40), p. 70.
Yes, I got that, I'm just curious what real effect he thinks the Italian attacks had and how what they actually were able to do supports his notion that they would somehow suppress "key forts"?
I think he's at the stage where he reads military history literature in a way that only analyzes one side's possibilities.

There's an excellent quote about this from the memoir of the late Minister of Defence of Hungary, Vilmos Nagybaczoni-Nagy. He visited Hitler in 1942 and he was stunned how the small guy commented the strategic situation. He made super detailed and thus unimportant remarks of Soviet weaknesses and hand-waved at the shortcomings of the German forces, deflecting them with vague generalizations. I might translate it some time.

For my part, I enjoy it the most when I can be convinced of something I do not believe at a first glance. For example, I was stunned when I realized some major revelations in the history of WW2. Most of my convictions lie where I held the opposite opinion 10 years ago.
“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 » 16 Dec 2020 17:12

AnchorSteam wrote:
16 Dec 2020 02:12
And if you really think there was no chance of that, then maybe you should look into what Chamberlain and Halifax were up to at that time.
Am I trying to be too realistic with this scenario?
Somehow I missed this gem in the walls of text.

You might want to "look into what Chamberlain and Halifax were up to at that time" yourself. Chamberlain "at that time", specifically between 1757 and 1825 London time, 10 May 1940 was at Buckingham Palace resigning and recommending Churchill to the King as Prime Minister. After that Chamberlain was busy dying. Edward Wood, 1st Earl Halifax, refused the position earlier on 9 May when offered it at 10 Downing Street during the attempt by Chamberlain to form a new coalition government.

If you were referring to the War Cabinet crisis of 26-28 May, the likely outcome would only be made more certain by the likely disastrous outcome to Italy of these harebrained maneuvers.
"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 Richard Anderson » 16 Dec 2020 17:19

Peter89 wrote:
16 Dec 2020 17:09
I think he's at the stage where he reads military history literature in a way that only analyzes one side's possibilities.
Well, given his "sources" amount to repeated walls of text clipped from Wikipedia, it is hardly surprising the "analysis" is basically lowest common denominator.
There's an excellent quote about this from the memoir of the late Minister of Defence of Hungary, Vilmos Nagybaczoni-Nagy. He visited Hitler in 1942 and he was stunned how the small guy commented the strategic situation. He made super detailed and thus unimportant remarks of Soviet weaknesses and hand-waved at the shortcomings of the German forces, deflecting them with vague generalizations. I might translate it some time.
I would love to read such a translation. Aside from the transcript of the Hitler-Mannerheim recordings there seems to be a dearth of such accounts that were not from the German inner circle.
For my part, I enjoy it the most when I can be convinced of something I do not believe at a first glance. For example, I was stunned when I realized some major revelations in the history of WW2. Most of my convictions lie where I held the opposite opinion 10 years ago.
Oddly enough, me too. I enjoy well-sourced contradictions to my preconceived opinion and over the last 33-odd years have had my belief system regularly revised. Just not very often in what if discussions. :lol:
"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

Peter89
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 16 Dec 2020 18:44

Richard Anderson wrote:
16 Dec 2020 17:19
Peter89 wrote:
16 Dec 2020 17:09
I think he's at the stage where he reads military history literature in a way that only analyzes one side's possibilities.
Well, given his "sources" amount to repeated walls of text clipped from Wikipedia, it is hardly surprising the "analysis" is basically lowest common denominator.
There's an excellent quote about this from the memoir of the late Minister of Defence of Hungary, Vilmos Nagybaczoni-Nagy. He visited Hitler in 1942 and he was stunned how the small guy commented the strategic situation. He made super detailed and thus unimportant remarks of Soviet weaknesses and hand-waved at the shortcomings of the German forces, deflecting them with vague generalizations. I might translate it some time.
I would love to read such a translation. Aside from the transcript of the Hitler-Mannerheim recordings there seems to be a dearth of such accounts that were not from the German inner circle.
For my part, I enjoy it the most when I can be convinced of something I do not believe at a first glance. For example, I was stunned when I realized some major revelations in the history of WW2. Most of my convictions lie where I held the opposite opinion 10 years ago.
Oddly enough, me too. I enjoy well-sourced contradictions to my preconceived opinion and over the last 33-odd years have had my belief system regularly revised. Just not very often in what if discussions. :lol:
In my case, it's almost the opposite, because my proficiency in English is not really old. I could only understand basic conversational English for a time, I passed my B2 language exam in my uni years. Before that, I mostly read German, Hungarian and Russian sources. The problem is that the Russian sources of that time were mostly biased, especially the selection I could get. Let's just say the first books I've read in Russian were Vasily Belov's Such Was the War and Boris Polevoj's Story of a Real Man, and leave it at that.

German was and has always been a language of high culture, but my access to German books about military history, especially XX. century was limited. I've read a lot about Austrian and Prussian military history though.

Long story short, when I had to choose a career for myself, I specialized in healthcare and biochemistry, and left humanities for my later age, when I don't have to earn a living from month to month.

Also in Hungarian, most of the military history from renowned authors was biased bullshit; there was a good decade until a new generation of military historians came out. Until then, some periodicals were more informative than books. And even amongst the newcomers, 90% are useless because they are lectured at unis by those whom they should replace. Also a lot of them started to write history from a strictly Hungarian POV, which is like a low quality What If scenario. So I really enjoy What Ifs because in my opinion, consensus in military history is far too often a illusion byproduct of language barrier, especially in the ETO / MTO.

For example, I long held the belief that Malta could be taken "easily" by the Italians, and that their drive to Suez was "easily doable" given a superficial look at the numbers.

Then I've met a lady on another forum who was fluent in Italian and French and she lectured me how wrong I was. Without further knowledge, it is so tempting to think that disasters like Cape Matapan could be avoided or the course of history could be altered "easily". But the thing is that some disasters were bound to happen, if there was room for the deep problems to unfold. For example, the Battle of Midway was extremely unlucky for the Japanese, but even if they'd win that battle, their conduct of war was doomed to fail sometime, because they had to repeat this kind of operation over and over again. (Attack an isle with an airfield AND a carrier task force.) Their lack of radar, their faulty intelligence, their even more faulty counter-intelligence, their limited resources, their inept leadership (Nagumo), their industrial inferiority, the growing technological gap, their overcomplicated battle plans all pointed into the direction that they will run into a serious beating some time. They've been lucky at the Indian Ocean Raid, but unlucky at Midway. The point is that their luck will run out once. And if their luck will run out before the enemy will run out of troops and territories, they are doomed.

That's my main problem with the quantitative approach. If we see 1000 planes, their combat value depended on a number of factors. Their task, their deployment, the crews' training, their supply, their reinforcement and attrition rates, their noncombat losses, etc. So for me it is hard to believe that something was doomed to happen ONLY because of numbers (ofc when the difference is not too obvious).

Back to the Med, the situation was somewhat the same. Italy never had the power to launch a series of offensives against the British (+ French, + Greeks) without confronting with their own shortcomings. If the British lose Malta, it would change next to nothing. If the British lose Gibraltar, on its own, it would change next to nothing. If the British lose Sudan... etc. They had space, time and resources to give the Italians their chance to screw it up.

If the whole Med could not be bottled, the Regia Marina was nothing more than a defensive force. Only a little bit more than a fleet-in-being. And the Italians alone could not bottle the Med, so the whole outcome depended on the Germans. And the Germans chose the SU.
Last edited by Peter89 on 16 Dec 2020 18:51, edited 1 time in total.
“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

Orwell1984
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Orwell1984 » 16 Dec 2020 18:48

I'd recommend the OP look for the following article:
The Bomber Offensive That Never Took Off: Italy's Regia Aeronautica in 1940
By A D Harvey in Air Power History Vol. 63, No. 3 (FALL 2016).
It may clarify the actual capabilities and resources available to the RA in the time zone the what if is referring
Free pdfs can be found online.
It's a better source than Wiki.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Dec 2020 20:06

Hi Guys,

I noticed this above, "The Italians flew at around 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) and the monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Aphis and Ladybird opened fire. In the afternoon, another 38 bombers escorted by 12 fighters raided the capital. The raids were designed to affect the morale of the population rather than inflict damage to dockyards and installations. A total of eight raids were flown on that first day. The bombing did not cause much damage and most of the casualties suffered were civilian. No interception of the raiders was made because there was no RAF force ready to meet them."

My great grandmother was a victim of these first raids. She lived in retirement near the dockyard and was sitting on the verandah in her rocking chair when the first raids came in. She thought they were an RAF exercise and sat out watching all the way through. She suffered shock when she found out they were hostile and my grandparents had to move her away from the dockyard to their home in Sliema. She was never quite the same again and died a couple of months later. She is not counted among Malta's war dead.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by pugsville » 16 Dec 2020 22:26

On Malta, Italian intelligence was extraordinarily bad. IIRC the Italians intelligence thought the garrison at the start of the war as 20,000 men and over 100 tanks.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Dec 2020 00:34

pugsville wrote:
16 Dec 2020 22:26
On Malta, Italian intelligence was extraordinarily bad. IIRC the Italians intelligence thought the garrison at the start of the war as 20,000 men and over 100 tanks.
I believe it was 15,000 and 100 guns? Something like that. In any case, their intell was bad, their preparations were bad, and their execution was almost non-existent.
"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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AnchorSteam
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 17 Dec 2020 02:25

pugsville wrote:
16 Dec 2020 22:26
On Malta, Italian intelligence was extraordinarily bad. IIRC the Italians intelligence thought the garrison at the start of the war as 20,000 men and over 100 tanks.
I was thinking before I logged off last night that about 50% of what has been thrown at me so far has already proven to be false, so maybe I should just continue as I had planned.
As for this-
It does not make sense that an operational plan would be reduced from 40k to 20k if that was what they all truly believed. And considering the good intel that Italy was getting from their female friend at the US Embassy, they really should have known better.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 17 Dec 2020 02:31

Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Dec 2020 20:06
Hi Guys,

I noticed this above, "The Italians flew at around 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) and the monitor HMS Terror and gunboats HMS Aphis and Ladybird opened fire. In the afternoon, another 38 bombers escorted by 12 fighters raided the capital. The raids were designed to affect the morale of the population rather than inflict damage to dockyards and installations. A total of eight raids were flown on that first day. The bombing did not cause much damage and most of the casualties suffered were civilian. No interception of the raiders was made because there was no RAF force ready to meet them."

My great grandmother was a victim of these first raids. She lived in retirement near the dockyard and was sitting on the verandah in her rocking chair when the first raids came in. She thought they were an RAF exercise and sat out watching all the way through. She suffered shock when she found out they were hostile and my grandparents had to move her away from the dockyard to their home in Sliema. She was never quite the same again and died a couple of months later. She is not counted among Malta's war dead.

Cheers,

Sid.
That's kinda horrific.... sorry to hear that.
Did anyone think to inform the public that Itly had joined the war, or was the Declaration a little slippery about what their true intentions were?

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Richard Anderson » 17 Dec 2020 02:37

AnchorSteam wrote:
17 Dec 2020 02:25
I was thinking before I logged off last night that about 50% of what has been thrown at me so far has already proven to be false, so maybe I should just continue as I had planned.
Really? What? Specifics please.
As for this-
It does not make sense that an operational plan would be reduced from 40k to 20k if that was what they all truly believed. And considering the good intel that Italy was getting from their female friend at the US Embassy, they really should have known better.
Sigh...this is getting truly silly. Loris Gherardi was a man, not a woman. His action enabling the Italians to access the Black Code key was in September 1941. It would have minimal impact in June 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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AnchorSteam
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 17 Dec 2020 03:19

Richard Anderson wrote:
17 Dec 2020 02:37
I was thinking before I logged off last night that about 50% of what has been thrown at me so far has already proven to be false, so maybe I should just continue as I had planned.
Really? What? Specifics please.

[/quote]

Well, that was half an hour I won't be getting back, but these two really stood out;


Richard Anderson wrote: ↑
Yesterday, 10:57
AnchorSteam wrote: ↑
Yesterday, 10:20
26 Divisions, in Albania?
How did they fit them all in there?
And why did Italy then invade Greece with just 2 Corps? (25th & 26th)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Italian_War#Italy_2
Initial Italian attack on Greece was by the XXV and XXVI Corpo with nine divisions, reinforced by December with six more divisions, and by March 1941 to 28 divisions. As of April 1941, the Italians had committed 2d Army with five corps and fourteen divisions and 9th Army with five corps and fourteen divisions to the Balkans.

Not an outright lie, but those Divisions were not in Albania in JUNE 1940.




2nd case —

So there is something confusing about that aircraft, eh? 
Dili wrote: ↑
Yesterday, 01:00
and so Peter said this-
C.200 was suspended from service in June 1940.
That must have been an incredibly brief suspension.

When Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940, 144 C.200s were operational, half of which were serviceable.[9][12] The re-equipment programme, under which the type would have been widely adopted, was slower than expected and several squadrons were still in the process of reequipping with the C.200 upon the outbreak of war.[16] Although the first 240 aircraft had been fitted with fully enclosed cockpits, the subsequent variants were provided with open cockpits at the request of the Italian pilots, who were made familiar with traditional open cockpits that had been commonplace amongst biplanes.[19]
Service history[edit]
The C.200 played no role in Italy's brief action during the Battle of France.[16] The first C.200s to make their combat debut were those of the 6° Gruppo Autonomo C.T. led by Tenente Colonnello (Wing Commander) Armando Francois. This squadron was based at the Sicilian airport of Catania Fontanarossa. A Saetta from this unit was the first C.200 to be lost in combat when, on 23 June 1940, 14 C.200s (eight from 88a Squadriglia, five from 79a Squadriglia and one from 81a Squadriglia) that were escorting 10 Savoia-Marchetti SM.79s from 11° Stormo were intercepted by two Gloster Gladiators. Gladiator No.5519, piloted by Flt Lt George Burges, jumped the bombers but was in turn attacked by a C.200 flown by Sergente Maggiore Lamberto Molinelli of 71a Squadriglia over the sea off Sliema. The Macchi overshot four or five times the more agile Gladiator which eventually shot down the Saetta.[33]


In September 1940, the C.200s of 6° Gruppo conducted their first offensive operations in support of wider Axis efforts against the Mediterranean island of Malta, escorting Junkers Ju 87 dive-bombers.[16] Only on 1 November 1940 were the C.200s credited with their first kill. A British Sunderland on a reconnaissance mission was sighted and attacked just outside Augusta by a flight of Saettas on patrol.[34] With the arrival towards the end of December 1940 of X Fliegerkorps in Sicily, the C.200s were assigned escort duty for I/StG.1 and II/StG.2 Ju 87 bombers attacking Malta, as the Stukas did not have adequate fighter cover until the arrival of 7./JG26's Bf 109s.[35]

And BTW- for everyone that is always trying to make the Italians look like the world's biggest losers;

viewtopic.php?f=75&t=210001&hilit=Itali ... ies+in+WW2

Like I said, its on this very site.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 17 Dec 2020 03:23

Orwell1984 wrote:
16 Dec 2020 18:48
I'd recommend the OP look for the following article:
The Bomber Offensive That Never Took Off: Italy's Regia Aeronautica in 1940
By A D Harvey in Air Power History Vol. 63, No. 3 (FALL 2016).
It may clarify the actual capabilities and resources available to the RA in the time zone the what if is referring
Free pdfs can be found online.
It's a better source than Wiki.
Lots of things are, but the nay-sayers are posting some much stuff (and I am not even done with the initial presentation yet!!!) that I have to grab the first thing that comes up on Google.
And no surprise, guess where that takes me?

The whole idea here is a re-vamp of Italian planning for the war, starting on the first day of 1940, but I can only explain that ... I can't understand it for them. Is this a waste of time?
Fingers flying here so excuse any Typos. :oops:

Gotta move on or this goes into endless circular arguments.... I will post the main item, the good part and the reason I started this whole thing. Maybe I should have started with this?
BRB.

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