Was the italien soldiers more worse soldiers then others?

Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
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McBeast
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Was the italien soldiers more worse soldiers then others?

Post by McBeast » 13 Dec 2004 13:38

Did the soldiers from italy preform with less effectivity than other? generally?

Yes i know that the italien divisions used the 2 regimental system to look greater on the paper, but that did that they preformed not as good like the german 3 regimental division.

I often hear that they was more easy to give up than japanese soldiers. It would be nice to hear if me interpatation was right. And i would be nice if you could post som battlefield examples.

Kind Regards McBeast

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G. Trifkovic
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Post by G. Trifkovic » 13 Dec 2004 17:33

Hi McBeast,

you asked a tricky question-Italian army suffered some of the most spectacular defeats in the war,like being repulsed by much weaker Greek army in 1940,or catastrophe at Bedda Fom (there were so many italian prisoners that one british officer radioed something like:"We have captured 10 acres of prisoners") administred by the british Army of Nile which was five times smaller than the invasion force.
On the other hand,Italian soldiers were not remotely so well drilled and equipped like their german counterparts.All kinds of modern equippment were in short supply.Officer corps was class-conscious.They were much better clad and fed than soldiers,and the vital link soldier-officer was missing.Italian generals led from the HQ miles behind the front and didn`t have clear picture of what was going on. Ordinary Italian didn't acctualy know what was he fighting for-few understood Mussolini's grand plans for Mediteranean hegemony.
All this led to the forming of stereotype of Italian soldier as cowardly and incompetent.And yet,as far as I read,all the german sources (on the North African campaign,at least) depict Italians as brave men,willing comrades who are doing their duty under almost-impossible circumstances. For example,armoured division "Ariette" was held in high esteem by Rommel because of it's competence-and they were fighting with obsolete tanks.
Italian frogmen were first-rate-just wittness the penetration of Alexandria habour in December 1941., when two british battleships were put out of action by these underwater commandos.And the example I heard was that of an accuracy of Italian mortars-an old partisan (yugoslav) put it this way:
"Boy,they could land a shell on a top of box of matches."

You can take a look at this:

http://www.comandosupremo.com/

Hope this helps a bit,and that we'll hear from our Italian friends on the forum,

Gaius

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 13 Dec 2004 23:42

"I often hear that they was more easy to give up than japanese soldiers."

I think you must have meant something else or this is a typographical mistake. The Japanese soldiers of World War II almost NEVER gave up (surrendered). Surrender was an unforgiveable dishonor and disgrace to the Emperor's soldiers who following the Bushido code of conduct. If they could not die by throwing themselves on the enemy (Senbotsu and Senshi), then they took their own lives by blowing themselves up with grenades or blowing their brains out with their rifles. The officers committed hari kiri (Jiketsu - self-disembowelment). Pilots crashed their airplanes into enemy ships or other targets (Jibaku and Tai-atari). IIRC, the total number of Japanese prisoners (not Korean or Formosan auxiliaries) taken by the Americans from December 1941 to the end of July 1945 was in the 20,000 to 25,000 range (10,000 of these surrendered on Okinawa in May-June 1945). That is out of some 8,000,000 men who served in the Japanese armed forces during the course of the war. Italy had a much smaller armed forces by comparison, yet hundreds of thousands chose to surrender rather than fight for a cause they either didn't understand or didn't agree with. Of all the combatants met by U.S. forces on the field of battle in World War II, the Japanese soldier was the most fearless, relentless and resilient. If they had been better armed and had used different tactics, they would have been the best soldiers of the period.

--Larry

Jagdkommando
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Post by Jagdkommando » 14 Dec 2004 02:47

If they had been better armed and had used different tactics, they would have been the best soldiers of the period.


Theres a big difference between intelligent, intense bravery, and self sacrificing & stupid, fanatical, and suicidal. 8O

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red devil
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Post by red devil » 14 Dec 2004 03:37

Italian soldiers, badly trained and poorly led. I recall reading about an anglo-italian scrap in the Western Desert where a whole unit surrendered to ONE british soldier. Italian officers were good for posturing, and little else ;) not too sure about why this is in with Waffen SS though :roll:

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Alter Mann
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Italian Military

Post by Alter Mann » 14 Dec 2004 12:24

Several of the points that I think are significant have already been mentioned.

One factor that I think had a big effect on the effectiveness of the Italian military, and that I think is often overlooked, is that the Italian military was not designed as an army of conquest. Most of the AFVs that the Italians produced were designed for the special conditions INSIDE Italy. They were not designed for use in campaigns like North Africa.

In AFV production, there were also major problems caused by Italy's industrial capabilities.

Some of the other problems are as stated above.

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 14 Dec 2004 17:20

In 1940- early 1941 Italians were :lol: . Most officers and soldiers were green at the beginning of the war, but luckly when Rommel arrived to Afrika he managed to teach some of them how to fight well, and they became OK soldiers.

I dont have any info about how the Italians performed in Eastern Front, hopefully some wise German officer teached them a trick of two, if not, god help them. :wink:

GiordanoWC
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Post by GiordanoWC » 14 Dec 2004 19:14

red devil wrote:Italian soldiers, badly trained and poorly led. I recall reading about an anglo-italian scrap in the Western Desert where a whole unit surrendered to ONE british soldier. Italian officers were good for posturing, and little else ;) not too sure about why this is in with Waffen SS though :roll:
I currently reside in Canada, we read the same Anglo-happy history books in high school... It glorifies the Canadian, Indian, and British fighting units, while demonizing the Germans, Belittling the Italians, and underscoring the Americans. Really sad, actually.

Italian form of leadership (in my nonno's words, from abyssinia) came as a beretta in the hands of an officer willing to shoot any man who wasn't firing his M-C 91. Italian soldiers were not poorly trained in the use of their weapons, but in advanced, modern tactics. Sadly, that was our downfall. And men in my family fell in Africa, in Albania, and in Greece. Women in my town fell victim to Indian and British indescretions. British troops seem well trained in posture, considering they couldnt win much until Monty showed up. :)

that's my due lire

-Giordano

GiordanoWC
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Post by GiordanoWC » 14 Dec 2004 19:18

Christian W. wrote:In 1940- early 1941 Italians were :lol: . Most officers and soldiers were green at the beginning of the war, but luckly when Rommel arrived to Afrika he managed to teach some of them how to fight well, and they became OK soldiers.

I dont have any info about how the Italians performed in Eastern Front, hopefully some wise German officer teached them a trick of two, if not, god help them. :wink:
I don't know too much about the Don campaigns, but from the little I've read, they seem to have performed well, despite having a portion of the Alpini surrounded and it being the dead of winter, not to mention being outnumbered 4-1.

if anyone has any literature available, please post.

-Giordano

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 14 Dec 2004 19:35

Have you ever heard of Nibeiwa Fort?

GiordanoWC
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Post by GiordanoWC » 14 Dec 2004 22:27

Christian W. wrote:Have you ever heard of Nibeiwa Fort?
Egyptian position, battle was fought in early 40's. don't know much about the fight tho.

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 15 Dec 2004 00:50

To be more accurate, it was fought on early December 1940. Though the Italians had quite strong force in Nibeiwa, the battle turned out to be a fiasco as the British forces took them with suprise. This was the first time Italians encountered Matilda tanks and their tanks proved to be very poor match agaisnt them. Infact, the tank crews were still eating their breakfasts when the attack came. Some of the Italian forces were consisted of Libyan conscripts who proved to be more or less effective soldiers. Some of the Italian troops did do well agaisnt British infantry but they had problems agaisnt Matildas. General Maletti, Commander of Italian forces in Nibeiwa was killed when he attacked British forces with submachinegun, as the attack came as an suprise, he was still wearing his pajama. The Italian forces fought hard agaisnt overwhelming odds, but in the end they had to surrender. Over 2000 were taken as POWs.

"The Italian and Libyan dead were everywhere. The guns were piled around with empty cases where men had fired to the very last. The Italians...fought like hell in Nibeiwa."

A British soldier after the the Battle Of Nibeiwa.

GiordanoWC
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Post by GiordanoWC » 15 Dec 2004 02:59

interesting, i'd like to know if any of my great-uncles fought in that battle or any other ones, alas, all but two are dead, and of these two, one fought in Albania and the other was 12 when war was declared on the US...

do you happen to know where i might get regimental information on Italian units fighting in Africa?? i'd really like to see if i can glean any additional info on my Nonno's whereabouts before 1944.

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Panzerfaust XxX
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Post by Panzerfaust XxX » 15 Dec 2004 04:36

GiordanoWC wrote:
red devil wrote:Italian soldiers, badly trained and poorly led. I recall reading about an anglo-italian scrap in the Western Desert where a whole unit surrendered to ONE british soldier. Italian officers were good for posturing, and little else ;) not too sure about why this is in with Waffen SS though :roll:
I currently reside in Canada, we read the same Anglo-happy history books in high school... It glorifies the Canadian, Indian, and British fighting units, while demonizing the Germans, Belittling the Italians, and underscoring the Americans. Really sad, actually.

Italian form of leadership (in my nonno's words, from abyssinia) came as a beretta in the hands of an officer willing to shoot any man who wasn't firing his M-C 91. Italian soldiers were not poorly trained in the use of their weapons, but in advanced, modern tactics. Sadly, that was our downfall. And men in my family fell in Africa, in Albania, and in Greece. Women in my town fell victim to Indian and British indescretions. British troops seem well trained in posture, considering they couldnt win much until Monty showed up. :)

that's my due lire

-Giordano
It is very funny when the British try to down play the Americans as cowards and weak soldiers. They didn't remember much about their history. It was not the Americans who got thrown from the mainland of Europe it was the British and French.

Also the Brits before they even go at the Italian soldier should remember how these same people invaded their island and took like 2/3s of it over. About those women where they raped?

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Christian W.
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Post by Christian W. » 15 Dec 2004 10:58

Well, yes. The Italians almost conquered entire Britain over 2000 years ago, but those crazy celt berserkers stopped them from taking the whole island.

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