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Italians in WWII

Discussion in 'Italy, Sicily & Greece' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    mikebatzel and PzJgr like this.
  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Interesting reading JC. In von Mellenthin's book 'Panzer Battles' he does reference Kesselring's description of the Italian army as it is also referenced here in full. I have been looking for the full excerpt. Good post.
     
  3. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    The Italian Army In WWII by W.W. Turnbow

    BACKGROUND AND PREPARATIONS:

    a. The Italian armed forces were faced with a conflict between theories of employment. They had historically been structured for deployment in the mountainous terrain found in Italy and her immediate neighbors. These forces were forced to adapt themselves to a colonial role, and, even more conflicting, to the “War of Rapid Decision.” These theories mixed about as well as oil and water, and Italy lacked the industrial power and the raw materials to field forces able to meet all these needs. She even lacked the means to be a major power in a modern industrial war.

    b. All Italy’s plans and preparations had been made for war against Germany/Austria, France, and Yugoslavia. Industry and trade had traditional ties with Britain, France, and the U.S. This was so prevalent that the geography section of the officer’s qualifying exam (tests prior to consideration for promotion) included the border areas with France, Switzerland, Austria, and Yugoslavia. The characteristics of the armies of these nations were also covered. Africa was ignored.

    c. One faction of the army wanted an alpine oriented army. In a 1937 conference on the future of armor, a ranking general said, “The tank is a powerful tool, but let us not idolize it; let us reserve our reverence for the infantryman and the mule.” This group saw “Men, our indisputable resource,” not machines. They came close to the philosophy of French Col. de Grandmaison and believed in “mind over matter.” This meant that the solution for any tactical problem was a mass of infantry.

    d. Architect of the mechanized concept was Gen Federico Baistrocchi (CoS during Ethiopia. Gen Alberto Periana succeeded him. This faction developed an innovative theory of manuever warfare in restrictive terrain. The “La Guerra di Rapido Corso” was adopted as doctrine in 1938. These men then found themselves in charge of an army that was not organized, equipped, or trained for the type of warfare envisioned. They found themselves in charge of an army wherein a large percentage of senior officers opposed the accepted doctrine. They also found themselves in charge of an army with its reserve officers lacking any training and experience in the new doctrine.

    Full article (1.JmA - Weapons & Hardware links page)
     
  4. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Since Italy has been brought up :).
     
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Very, very good piece of information! I'm aware of the globalsecurity library, but so much to read, so little time ;)
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    An interesting reading, lots of thing I didn't know. I'm currently reading about North Africa and I realize there are a lot of clichés to be swept away.
     
  7. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    One of my favorite sources of info on Italy. I have always felt that they got a bad rap for the the war. And reading up on them more had changed my opnion of them. One of the reasons that I post about them here.
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Few people know that the last shots in North Africa were fired by the Italians from the Trieste Division
     
  9. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Contrary to what some might think here quite a few of the threads here actually show a positive view of the Italians :).
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    The right soldiers fighting for the wrong regimes!
     
  11. THE_TRUTH_HURTS

    THE_TRUTH_HURTS Member

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    "THE ITALIAN MILITARY ENIGMA" is just a folklorist propaganda written from an american to badmouth a WW2 war's enemy.
    Maybe he should have to think to the american military failures after the WW2 instead to invent fairy tales about Italy.
    Just stupid stereotypes and ignorance.

    The history of Italy began on 1861 after three winning indipendence wars, led from the hero Garibaldi.
    After that Italy won on 1911 the war against the Ottomans (Turkish) to conquer Lybia.
    After that Italy won on 1918 the WW1 fighting almost alone against the austrians and also sending troops to fight against the Ottomans.

    Then the fascist era began and Italy conquered its empire in Africa and gave its massive contribution to win the spanish civil war.
    More over the italian military had and still have today the best special forces that born already during the WW1, decades before Uk and Usa.

    WW2 was lost only because of Hitler, because he never considered the italian needs before to unleash the war. Italy was under embargo of raw materials since 1935 (after the invasion of Ethiopia) and needed of several time to build a proper armament for a world war.
    Hitler didn't care about our problems and forced Mussolini to face the war unprepared.

    After that Hitler, on 1941, compromised definitively the war chosing to attack Russia, deploying there his best troops and armament and also the italian troops.
    This mistake meant to open two untenable battlefronts at the same time.

    So the allies in north Africa could resist waiting for the americans because the most of the axis forces weren't concentrated there.

    That meant the beginning of the axis defeat, from north Africa, through the invasion of Italy and from Russia.

    To conclude, Italy have had a great military history, it won 5 wars on 6 since the its birth as sovereign state.
     
  12. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I forgot to post this little bit of info about the "The Italian Military Enigma".

    "In view of this great cultural and military heritage, one of
    the great enigmas, at least to the casual student of military
    history, is that of modern Italy's failure to produce a military
    system capable of effectively projecting the country's national
    policy. But more than that, why is it that Italy, among all
    those countries which have been relatively unsuccessful
    militarily, been singled out as being particularly inept? Has
    this judgment been passed just by Americans who base their views
    on hearsay, bad jokes and shallow knowledge, or is it also shared
    by other countries who base their criticism on the hard facts of
    history? "

    "This seminar will therefore examine the
    Italian military system from its inception in the mid 1800s under
    a unified government to its present status as an important NATO
    ally. To that end, analyses and opinions of foreign as well as
    domestic Italian writers will be included in this seminar to
    provide a broad base of study. Political and social influences
    will be addressed in an attempt to determine their effect on
    Italian military performance.
    Perhaps the most important aspect of this seminar will be to
    determine if Italy has learned from its past mistakes and has
    corrected perceived and actual deficiencies."
     
  13. THE_TRUTH_HURTS

    THE_TRUTH_HURTS Member

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    I add again that first of all such writers should have to have doubts about their national military before to think about others. Let's see the american military history after the WW2.

    It's only deep ignorance to bring forward only a doubt about the italian military only because of the WW2, that anyhow was lost mainly for german faults. The Arditi during the WW1, Folgore, Decima Mas, Bersaglieri, Alpini, Comsubin, Col Moschin, GOS, GOI, Nocs, RIAM, Gis, AT-PI, since the WW2 till today are world top special forces, real professionals. And also the aviators (Frecce Tricolori) and all the rest of the italian military.
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    You misunderstand.
    The article refers to an attempt to revise the populist perceptions of the Italian Military somewhat, and enquire into 'how' these perceptions became ingrained over a more reasonable understanding or assessment.

    But as your posts have so far proved assumptive in the extreme about what people do or do not think of the Italian military and might often just as well be replaced with "I hate Britain" then I must confess I'm unsurprised.
    You seem so jumpy mate, and your tone does as much disservice to those Italian boys in uniform than any amount of jokes about tanks with 30 reverse gears ever did. If you took the time to enquire and search the site you'll find that your constant attacks are mostly unwarranted and apparently based on misconceptions of what actually goes on here.
    I for one am always interested in the Italians in WW2, it's often a lesser covered subject, I'm aware of where they shone, for instance The Italian AT gunners who stayed with their guns until virtual destruction at Alamein and were praised by both their allies and enemies in many official reports of the battle, and where they didn't.

    In short mate, why not chill out and drop the Nationalism a few notches?

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  15. THE_TRUTH_HURTS

    THE_TRUTH_HURTS Member

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    The only act to write such articles is an insult to the italian military.
    Giving importance to a bunch of stupids who invented some jokes about the WW2 losers means to bring forward a doubt, giving them a chance to be right. It's ridicolous. It's like to have a doubt that some comics of Benny Hill could have shown the reality of the british army.

    I don't hate anybody, but I have my opinions that I want to express.
     
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    A bit rich from a chap that chooses to twice post a long list of only Italian victories (and damns other nations based on apparently thin justification and appreciation of those forces and their international make up), such lists could be done in the minutest detail about any WW2 participant nation and would be equally meaningless in any historiographical sense without also citing the failures, and most importantly, the connections & happenings between the two.

    Again mate, you're misunderstanding that quoted seminar. The fact is that the Italian forces have acquired an unusually negative reputation in the light/popular observance of WW2. Whether that's truly deserved or not is far more complex and those chaps are enquiring into the historical context of the reputation and how it formed, not loosely damning the Italian Military.
    As they say: "perceived and actual deficiencies." (my bold).

    Thinking about this I forgot to add my own thoughts on how the Italian forces gained that populist reputation. Putting aside other factors with the Officer corps etc. I always reckon the fact that the bulk of their land fighting was in the desert has quite a bit to do with it.
    If you suffer a setback in more temperate climes there is a much better chance of regrouping/resupplying and going back in, but in the desert a small defeat that cuts you of from water etc. for even a short period can so much more quickly become disastrous. A Broken unit is far more likely to surrender en masse in those conditions, so a perception that may well apply to all sides and have applied to localised conditions becomes an accepted norm.
    So many photographs etc. of desert prisoner columns from a time where there was really little choice other than to seek survival in captivity may well unbalance perceptions when there's much less involvement in more 'forgiving' theatres to balance that cursory view.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  17. THE_TRUTH_HURTS

    THE_TRUTH_HURTS Member

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    You don't understand me. I posted all those WW2 victories to show to some people that the italian military wasn't so bad and that some other armies weren't so good as they described above.
    It's not my target to make shows, but sometimes it needs the "hammer" to try to restore the truth.

    Concerning the article, you call "populist reputation" a book of jokes invented from some people without respect for brave soldiers who fought and sometimes lost also their life on the battlefields. The clever and cultured people who have studied know the truth and don't give any importance to such folklorist propaganda, and these people are the most.
    That article enlarges a problem that doesn't exist in the reality but only in the comedies. This act offends only the italians, and that was probably the target of that writer.
    And anyway I don't understand why such jokes have never been invented for other armies, I don't think that only the italians have lost a war in their history.
     
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    What is the matter with you? Nobody here, as I've said before has doubts about the valour of the Italian Soldier. Problem is that tub thumping like yours only brings discredit to tour cause, if that is a cause at all.

    There used to be better and more skilful propagandists than you. Here are better examples than your tripe.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Has it occurred to you already that you are speaking only to yourself, nobody seems to agree with you. I don't believe in portents, but thos should be a clear enough signal, even for me.

    And by the way, that M-11/39 has the gun on the wrong side. So much for illustrators!
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    The people attending that seminar are exactly the people who are trying to work around any 'Folklore' that exists. WW2 is riddled with 'Populist perceptions' as so many feel they can fully understand the war on very narrow fields of view. We can dismiss completely if we like but as they form such a large part of the 'accepted' history for so many then these 'perceptions' are important and worthy of enquiry & discussion, whether myth, reality, or based on a grain of truth they form a part of the Historiography, whether good History or not.

    The hammer is a weapon for the response, when used pre-emptively and unjustifiably it has no proper target, and bounces with little more than a dull thud .

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    (cross-posted with Za above... now there's a bit of the correct useage of the Sledge :D)
     
  20. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Thanks all. You all know from my previous postings that I have tried to post info that shows the Italians in the good light. Such as the info I posted here. Obviously Truthie either did not try to read the information or chose to ignore it or just plain didn't understand it. Once again please just ignore him. I dont want a good thread closed because of one person.
     

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