Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

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AnchorSteam
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Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 13 Dec 2020 07:48

Hey now, before you start laughing me out of the boards, I do have a few things to say.

This thread won't be about miracle weapons or increased production or anything like that. What I want to do is see if Italy could have hit the war at a sprint like Japan did in 1941.
At that time, most people seem to have had a higher opinion of the Italians than they did of Japanese fighting ability, so this might not be as crazy as it appears at first glance. What made the Japanese so successful at the outset was mainly (I believe) their meticulous planning, which allowed them to bring every bit if force they could muster to bear on their enemies. This was a trick the European Axis powers never seemed to match, but they could have.

The ONLY points of deviation are 1) a pruge of the Italian Officer Corps to retire the deadwood and allow more talented and driven officers to rise to the top, 2) an end-of-year confrence in 1939 that leads the Italians to draft a whole new set of plans to deal with the new situation.
A re-shuffle of some units will be possible, but only what could be done from January to June of 1940, no new equippment or units of any kind is contemplated here.

To start with, I'll mirror the American approach (stick to what you know, right?) and go with a set of color-coded Plans;
Black would be a minor re-vamp of Italy's long-standing plans for war with Germany
White would be plans for incursions into the Balkans in the absence of any threat from any major powers.
Purple is the plan for war with France and Britain
Blue is the plan for war with France exclusively
Red is the plan for war with Britian exclusivly.

What we will see is a quick flip from Purple to Red if we go with historical timing. A very quick one, seeing as how the Military has some bargaining chips with the Political Leadership if they went along with the Purge. One thing they can demand is advanced warning of a Declaration of War (DOW) of 72 hours..... and they would ask for that much because 48 is the minimum they would actually need.

I have ideas about a reduction of the number of Divisions to bring them up to a much better state of readiness and overall strength, but I don't want to bore everyone with too many numbers too quickly.

Facing a similar situation at sea as did Japan, but without any Aricraft carriers, Italy can still do a lot of damage to enemy fleets by staging heavy Bomber raids on Toloun concentrating a dozen or more of their many submarines around Gibraltar, Alexandria and Malta.... now many depends on where the RN is located at the time. Movement from Gibratar and Alex would be triggered by events elsewhere, and at Malta the fleet would want to get out in a hurry if the island was suddenly covered with Italian Paratroops.

I'll get more into this next post, this one has already run a bit long.
But, about Malta-
How do you get the Paratroops to Malta and give them the right amount of cover, I hear you ask. Well, I did some digging and assigned the Italian Air Force as I would have posted them-


Distribution by area (not counting IEA, mostly)

France/Home - 108 x Cr.42, 81 x Fiat G.50, 144 x M.C. Saetta, 54 x C200 Macchi, 81 x Ba. 65, 192 x SM. 79, 96 x SM.81
((only half will be flying missions over France at any one time after the Day One raids. The remainder are split between grounded for maintenance and on-call for Italy/Home service))
{so a daily availability over France would involve over 150 fighters, 40 ground-attack, and nearly 150 bombers, many of them can fly more than once a day}

Home/Reserve - about 40 x Cr. 32, 108 x Cr. 42 38 x Re2000, 80 x Br.20

Sicily (malta) - 36 x Cr.32, 54 x Cr.42, 30 x G.50, 18 x C200 Maachi, 18 x Breda Ba.65, 72 x SM.79, 48 x SM.81,

Sardinia - 30 x G.50, 72 x SM.79,

N. Africa - 54 x Cr.32, 90 x Cr.42, 30 x G.50, 72 C200 Macchi, 54 x Ba.65, 96 x SM.79, 48 x SM.82,

Rhodes - 36 x G.50, 54 x SM.79, 7 x Ro.44 floatplane fighter

Albania - 18 x Cr.32

Now for the transports -
250 x Ca.133
(180 Home/Reserve, 70 IEA)
34 x SM.75
(General reserve)
100? x SM.84
(Home-everywhere)

That sure looks like enough to drop the better part of a Division in one go, and the Ca. 133 was not such a bad aircraft;
Maximum speed: 230 km/h (120 kn, 140 mph)
• Cruise speed: 200 km/h (110 kn, 120 mph)
• Range: 1,350 km (729 nmi, 838 mi)
• Service ceiling: 5,500 m (18,000 ft)
• Guns: 4 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns
• Bombs: 1,200 kg (2,646 lb)
Certainy good enough to carry some Paratroops to a target so close.

So.... how does it look so far?

(edited for typos!)

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Kingfish » 13 Dec 2020 11:55

Which topic do you want to discuss - hitting the war at a sprint or winning it altogether? The former may put Italy at a better position than the OTL but does not guarantee the latter.

Something else to consider: a strong Italian showing early on might convince Hitler not to divert any resources to the Med theater - something he never really wanted to do anyway. This would be disastrous consequences for Italy once the Commonwealth shakes off the initial shock.

BTW, I don't see Pantelleria mentioned in your list of Italian airpower distribution.
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Dec 2020 16:17

Hi Anchorstream,

For Italy to have been in war-winning shape would have required decades of preparation.

It has been said that Italy was the only country to unify itself without ever beating a foreign enemy in battle. I don't know if this is true, but it may well be quite close to it.

Its colonial record until 1912 was particularly marked by the annihilation of its army at Adowa by the Ethiopians.

For all the blood and courage Italians displayed in WWI its army had been stalemated by a minority of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Army.

Mussolini had recognized some of these problems but, even after nearly twenty years in power, he was still surprised to learn during the occupation of Albania in April 1939 that only a third of his air force was serviceable, he had no amphibious naval force and he had nowhere near the much touted "8 million bayonets" ready for operations.

Mussolini's military successes in the 1930s in secondary operations in Ethiopia and Spain had pretty much used up all the country's financial reserves. It also had very few natural resources, notably of oil and coal, and only the northern third of the country was industrialised. It was not really a great power as yet.

To rectify some of these things would have require decades-long modifications to newly unified Italy's fundamental national culture and for Mussolini himself to be more clear sighted and pragmatic than he actually was.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 13 Dec 2020 18:51

In addition to what Sid has said, I'd like to address the military points you've mentioned.

The Italian Naval strategy was built on a number of premises which were more or less correct. Amongst them, most notable were the abandoned idea of aircraft carriers, the focus on convoy escort ships, the buildup of the submarine fleet and the Central Mediterranean battle concept.

See more at Fabio de Ninno.

What Cunningham lacked in caution, the Italians compensated it with ineptitude. When they ventured into the Central Mediterranean as early as July 9 1940, the Italians had every chance to score a decisive victory, with most of the Mediterranean Fleet in range of their bombers. It was a pitched battle, but what really happened there was an Italian debacle.
"Therefore, in reality, the relative tranquillity of the international situation and disarmament
policy allowed the Italian fleet to appear stronger than it was. Naval disarmament worked in favour
of the weaker and more aggressive power, boasting the Fascist claims about the efficiency of the
fleet, while giving to the Duce more political control over the Navy."
So why do you think that the Italians were capable of launching massive air raids at well-defended ports?

Especially, I don't understand why'd they attack the Marine Nationale. The units of the MN were stationed in Dakar, Mers el Kerbir, Alexandria and Toulon. A few ships already departed to England. What sense would it make to attack the few ships left at Toulon, when the French collapse was imminent?

So one enemy was soon to be neutralized, the other showed up at their doorstep (and they failed to sink a single capital ship).

Italy also had no capacity to reach either Suez or Gibraltar, both vital for the security of the lines of communication with their colonies.

The Duce's nice entry into the war left the best part of Italy's merchant fleet in foreign ports, and made the East African colony untenable if they are not able to score a swift victory against the British in Egypt and Sudan. (Only rivaled by the Germans' beautiful entry into the war, with 50% of their merchant fleet lost immediately.)

The interwar Italian planners correctly foresaw what could or should be done in case of a war; and they were preparing for it since 1936. First, the Suez should be cut off from Lybia. Then, the RN must be met in a pitched battle in the Central Med. Then, an all-out attack must be launched from Italian East Africa to secure the Horn of Africa. Then Corsica and / or Malta must be taken. The Spanish will do the favour to capture the Gibraltar, so the focus can shift towards the Eastern Med, where Greece must be attacked on land, staging from Albania. When the Balkans was secure, the RN was defeated with no possibility of reinforcement in sight, Sudan must be taken with a two-pronged attack from IEA and Egypt.

It was not a fault of the strategy that the Italians have failed with everything.
“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 AnchorSteam » 14 Dec 2020 00:10

I have to do it this way to avoid a whole stream of posts to answer posts ....
"Something else to consider: a strong Italian showing early on might convince Hitler not to divert any resources to the Med theater - something he never really wanted to do anyway. This would be disastrous consequences for Italy once the Commonwealth shakes off the initial shock.

BTW, I don't see Pantelleria mentioned in your list of Italian airpower distribution."

A lack of German Participation in their theater is exactly what the Itlaians would have wanted. Remember, this is pre-war planning and they would have preferred to do it themselves, and not just for political reasons.
Little Panatela could have come under the aegis of Scicily or North Africa, its not large enough to be a thing until itself, but it would be an eaasy mark for an enemy airstrike.

"Mussolini had recognized some of these problems but, even after nearly twenty years in power, he was still surprised to learn during the occupation of Albania in April 1939 that only a third of his air force was serviceable, he had no amphibious naval force and he had nowhere near the much touted "8 million bayonets" ready for operations."
Then he should have received a good wake-up call in 1939 and taken a firm hand to rectify the situation, and given a free hand to those who were thinking the same way he did.
This "what if" is based solely on that on premise.... and I have more to go over.

"Italy also had no capacity to reach either Suez or Gibraltar, both vital for the security of the lines of communication with their colonies."
With their surplus of submarines they can make things difficult for the RN at the outset, and that is what matters.
"It was not a fault of the strategy that the Italians have failed with everything."
Wait and see what I have to say about that.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 14 Dec 2020 00:35

A massive raid by about about 200 bombers at Toulon might not be a war-winning move, but it would be more than the devastated French Air Force could deal with effectively and it would help trigger a French counter-move.
And since my Air Power distribution seems to look good to all of you, moving on to the Navy now.

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....
There were two "Colonial Cruisers", WW1 left-overs made in Germany with 5.9" guns, but neither of them was anywhere near the Horn of Africa that June.... why? Even if one was refitting, the other one should have been where it belonged? And if one had to be in dock, they why not at Massawa?


One last thnig; The war plans include hard strikes at France because we have to start with Purple and then move on to plan Red as stated above.
Yes, the idea is to take advantage of France crumbling, but you also must hit France hard enough to ensure that it does fall.
THAT is why a major attempt to invade France is also part of the plan here. Without pretending to have some sort of magical firesight, how could Italy proceed otherwise?

Next, Army, and after that IEA.

(would the East African Theater have to be abreviated as E.A.T.?)

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Dec 2020 03:45

AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 00:35
... 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. ...
Where do thes minefields go, & how many mines are required? The Sicilian straits were mined in several stages as the mines became available & the need became apparent. Have to do some data analysis to see how successful was.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 14 Dec 2020 06:20

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
14 Dec 2020 03:45
AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 00:35
... 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. ...
Where do thes minefields go, & how many mines are required? The Sicilian straits were mined in several stages as the mines became available & the need became apparent. Have to do some data analysis to see how successful was.
That's very true. By 1942 the barriers were stout enough to discourage any major warships from getting too close to Malta, the merchant ships and Destroyers had to go it alone after a certain point.
But that did not mean it was that way quickly, would laying mines in ways that was quick & dirty (no thought given to safe lanes or future recovery) help with setting up a good barrier quickly? The idea being to funnel enemy ships into zones where Subs and torpedo craft could be concentrated.

The gap between Sardinia and Corsica is small and easy, ut the gap between Corsican and the naimalnd could not be closed at all, so the French would not be fooled.... but there is shallow water north of Corsica where mines could be laid.... in French territorail waters. That would be sure to rile them up if the bombardment of Nice does not do the trick, perhaps?

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Peter89 » 14 Dec 2020 09:34

AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 00:35
A massive raid by about about 200 bombers at Toulon might not be a war-winning move, but it would be more than the devastated French Air Force could deal with effectively and it would help trigger a French counter-move.
And since my Air Power distribution seems to look good to all of you, moving on to the Navy now.

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....
There were two "Colonial Cruisers", WW1 left-overs made in Germany with 5.9" guns, but neither of them was anywhere near the Horn of Africa that June.... why? Even if one was refitting, the other one should have been where it belonged? And if one had to be in dock, they why not at Massawa?


One last thnig; The war plans include hard strikes at France because we have to start with Purple and then move on to plan Red as stated above.
Yes, the idea is to take advantage of France crumbling, but you also must hit France hard enough to ensure that it does fall.
THAT is why a major attempt to invade France is also part of the plan here. Without pretending to have some sort of magical firesight, how could Italy proceed otherwise?

Next, Army, and after that IEA.

(would the East African Theater have to be abreviated as E.A.T.?)
Hmm, what do you exactly plan here?

Did or did not France fall in your scenario?

If they did, the attack on their ships is highly unlikely.
If they didn't, the Italians might not join the war at all.

And what exactly would you try to hit with the air raid?

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).
“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 Peter89 » 14 Dec 2020 09:48

After the unfortunate Italian debut in war in June 1940, Hitler reportedly ordered Field-Marshal
Wilhelm Keitel, Chief of the OKW, not to hold staff talks with the Italians. Indeed, OKW
complied, to such an extent that the first meeting with the then Chief of Comando Supremo,
Marshal Pietro Badoglio, only took place on 15 November 1940, with the mere purpose of
expressing German disappointment for the Greek fiasco and the dispirited Italian conduct of the
war in the Mediterranean.
A large-scale invasion of France in concert with the Germans was not really likely. It was very unlikely. Whatever opening moves the Italians do in 1940, they'd do it without German cooperation.

Please be very careful with Italian numbers. The combat readiness of the troops was terrible, their combat value was very limited. The best example of this are the RM, where the capital ships were formidable in numbers, so they might give a nice toy to play with - but their equipment, doctrine and interservice cooperation were lackluster.

Italy looked more powerful at the beginning of the war than it actually was.
“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 Kingfish » 14 Dec 2020 10:45

AnchorSteam wrote:
14 Dec 2020 00:10
A lack of German Participation in their theater is exactly what the Itlaians would have wanted. Remember, this is pre-war planning and they would have preferred to do it themselves, and not just for political reasons.
Little Panatela could have come under the aegis of Scicily or North Africa, its not large enough to be a thing until itself, but it would be an eaasy mark for an enemy airstrike.
Understood, but your WI title asks if Italy could win the war in 1940, so at some point we would need to look beyond the pre-war planning or even the initial coup-de-mains and discuss the inevitable Commonwealth response.
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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 14 Dec 2020 17:45

Kingfish wrote:
14 Dec 2020 10:45
...
Understood, but your WI title asks if Italy could win the war in 1940, so at some point we would need to look beyond the pre-war planning or even the initial coup-de-mains and discuss the inevitable Commonwealth response.
Yes, absolutely! But, one thing at a time. Trust me, I am the last guy in the world that you want to go ahead and let go rambling on, I can make one post 25 paragraphs long and that does nothing but put everyone to sleep posting TLRD all over the place.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 14 Dec 2020 18:07

Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2020 09:34
Hmm, what do you exactly plan here?
Did or did not France fall in your scenario?
I am trying to restrain myself to reality as much as possible, and that means spending the first half of 1940 preparing for a number of contingencies.... and then accepting Mussolini's Declaration of War on June 10th and applying the best option to it.

That means that France has not yet fallen at the outset, but the writing is one the wall and Political opportunism has plunged the military into a war that this thread is trying to make them better prepared for.
One of the key items is the military's demand for 48-72 hours of advanced notice, so Italy will actually be opning hostilities on June 12th or 13th.
Peter89 wrote:
14 Dec 2020 09:34
If they did, the attack on their ships is highly unlikely.
If they didn't, the Italians might not join the war at all.

And what exactly would you try to hit with the air raid?

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).
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.

However, 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, and that is the very place on the French-Italian border with the fewest natural obstacles.

All those other ports you mentioned are out of effective range of most Italian bombers and will have to be left alone. The bombers must be concentrated where they are effective.
With active fronts vs metropolitan France, Tunisa, Egypt and Malta they have enough to do.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by Dili » 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.
The numbers are wrong and they only entered in service by September 1940 because the straight wing leading edge made they unable to recover from a spin.

Your air power numbers are significantly wrong.
Littorios only entered service in August.
SM 84 is bomber from 1941...

--
Then the whole proposition. What is a Win? a Win is putting Britain out of War, That can't be accomplished in Mediterranean.

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Re: Could Italy have won the war in 1940?

Post by AnchorSteam » 15 Dec 2020 05:35

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.
The numbers are wrong and they only entered in service by September 1940 because the straight wing leading edge made they unable to recover from a spin.
Is it possible that the one is the sub-type of another?
The development of this plane dos seem a bit confusing, but it was in service in those numbers at the start of the war;
In August 1939, about 30 C.200s, by then nicknamed Saetta ("Arrow"), were delivered to 10° Gruppo of 4° Stormo, stationed in North Africa.[15] However, pilots of this elite unit of the Regia Aeronautica opposed the adoption of the C.200, preferring the more manouvrable Fiat CR.42 instead. Accordingly, the Macchis were then transferred to 6° Gruppo of 1° Stormo in Sicily, who were enthusiastic supporters of the new fighter, and Gruppo 152° of 54° Stormo in Vergiate.[15] Further units received the type during peacetime, including 153° Gruppo and 369° Squadriglia.[32]

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]

C.200 in flight
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]
If the numbers are wrong, can you show me where to find the right ones?
Dili wrote:
15 Dec 2020 03:23
Your air power numbers are significantly wrong.
Littorios only entered service in August.
SM 84 is bomber from 1941...
Good catch, but that is a typo. I meant to say SM. 82, the magnificent Transport also known as the Kangaroo.
It is under the transport heading.
Dili wrote:
15 Dec 2020 03:23
--
Then the whole proposition. What is a Win? a Win is putting Britain out of War, That can't be accomplished in Mediterranean.
Yes, it s. As has been brought up already, Italy was broke and could not sustain a long war. Indeed, it didn't!

And yes, knocking Britain out of the war isn't possible, even by fearsome and sudden reversal of fortune and dire threat to Colonial Empire, in the Mediterranean alone.
More on that later. :milwink:

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