Was The Italian Invasion Of France Really A Tactical Draw?

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Alpini Arditi
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Was The Italian Invasion Of France Really A Tactical Draw?

Post by Alpini Arditi » 03 Jan 2022 23:47

Perhaps a controversial question, but one that I think needs serious consideration. Most, if not all, historians consider the Battle of the Alps a French victory and, indeed, strategically it was (or at least an Italian failure). But, a study of the actual fighting, the conditions involved and the terrain over which it was fought, may lead to suggest that the Italians achieved rather more than they've been given credit for. Regardless of the amount of territory which they overran, a not inconsiderable 832km2 either before the Armistice, the Italians had been hampered from the beginning by French demolitions of transportation and communication links before June 21st, and the region was always going to favour the defenders (even the Germans stated that they would've had trouble launching an offensive under those conditions and barriers). The Italian fort of Mont Chaberton silenced the French fort on Fort de l'Olive, and Italian troops pushed forward in several places, occupying enemy land. Even when the Alpini and other troops were stopped in their tracks by French defences in the Alps further north, they were taking steps to outflank these, and may well have done so after June 25th. Italian troops did well to gain what territory they did along the southern coast, as it was almost like advancing on a road 'funnel', as the terrain again did not favour the attackers. Menton was fought bitterly over, and street fighting again will mostly favour the defenders, as they are already in their positions. So, the capture of that town was no mean feat. True, the Italians outnumbered the defenders, but even at 2 to 1, that is not necessarily an advantage in such battle conditions. So, bearing in mind these and other details (nowhere were the attackers pushed back into Italy), I'm inclined to think that, tactically, the brief campaign could be seen to be a draw, or a stalemate, and not ignominious for Italian arms as has been recorded in military history. 
It-Fra Alps2.jpg
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