Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Italian Partisan Movement

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by JeffinMNUSA, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WWII Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Messages:
    687
    Likes Received:
    563
    Merdiolu

    I know and appreciate that you have responded to a thread that dealt particularly with Germany's action against partisans but I was Immediately struck by one of your emotive phrases and rush to reply.

    Well may you say "i don't understand" when speaking of your puzzlement in understanding some of Germany's actions during WW2.

    Seventy years after the events which we now discuss, I too still don't understand and I write as someone who lived through those terrible times and who's family, like so many others, suffered accordingly.

    When I looks back at the obscene actions of those who started and promoted the Third Reich i am still as puzzled today at the idiocy and inhumanity of those who supported Hitler and his minions.

    Lest we forget !

    Ron
     
    lwd likes this.
  2. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    I guess the US did not learn anything from it either. They did not do well against the VC. Destroy the village to save it?
     
  3. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    Severe repression does work in the short term and the Germans were only interested in the short term at least in the West.

    Terrain plays a part in any successful Partisan movement - mountains and jungle clearly favour the unconventional forces.

    So it is important for the Partisans to time their uprising to co-incided with the imminent arrival of friendly forces. Thus we only see successful actions in France (for example) immediately before arrival of the the Allied Armies - too early and they got wiped out. To a certain extent this was also the case in Italy.
     
  4. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Southern parts Of Germany and Austria are ideal for partisan warfare but the Germans have essentially lost will to fight after the fall of Berlin. They didn't dare. Courage and deep sense of defiance is something you need more than anything to fight the enemy until the end, whatever it costs. My father has spent fighting four war winters in the forests and mountains where temperatures fall below 20 deg. Celsius for two or three months. You simply are a man or you are not.
     
  5. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    So you consider the Japanese that "fought WWII" for a few decades after the war ended MEN? I think they were borderline brain damaged.

    As to losing the will to fight, the war was over. Even a moron like Hitler realized that. Any continued fighting would have hurt Germany more than any kind of benefit. They fought until they had nothing left. You cannot ask an army to do more. They actually did what everyone was afraid that the Japanese were going to do. Though I highly doubt they would have fought the western allies at all and certainly not to the degree that they fought the commies in the battle of Berlin. A battle which any rational leader would not have fought. Unfortunately for Ivan, Stalin was not that guy.
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    That's a bit difficult to understand. My country was overrun in a week or so and at that time Germany looked like a certain winner but what to do else than stand up and fight? Should people stand in a queue like sheep and wait to be slaughtered or fight and drag few invaders into a grave before being shot. You cannot win if you don't dare to fight.
     
  7. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    well Germans actually acted in a benign conquerers , disciplined and "korreckt" way especially in occupied Western Europe BUT right after they began to lose and war extended more and more they abandoned this conduct and looted every resource from manpower as workers to manufactured items to food. In Est though because they saw slavs as Unmenchen (subhumans) they decided not to exterminate them. And surprised when they shot back...
     
  8. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    Basically what you are saying is that no war should ever end. No matter who wins the losing side should just keep fighting until they win. Then that losing side has to keep fighting til they win and so on. The military industrial complex loves you and wants to subscribe to your newsletter. A true forever war that Orwell described in 1984. Being fought by the Ministry of Peace, of course.
     
  9. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    I don't think you can understand becaause you have never been faced with the dilemma of: survival or miserable life as a second class citizen on your own land. WW2 in the Central-Eastern and Europe wasn't just an academic question - it was about the survival,

    Nazis have made a mistake to attack peoples of Central and Eastern europe because our desire to live free was higher than their desire to have a 1.000 years Reich. They fought for a dream, we fought for real goals. We have won and they have been doomed when they crossed our borders. We have pushed them to the borders where they have started their "Drang Nach Osten" 1000 years ago: to the borders of Otto I, Emperor of the Holly German Empire. We have won because we did dare to fight back. But I'm affraid that you still don't understand.

    Finally, what I am saying is that a war should end, with the defeat of the enemy.
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    449
    The British won two counter insurgency wars in South Africa against the Boers and after WW2 against Communists guerrillas in Malaya. They used quite different tactics, concentration camps in the former and aggressive counter patrolling in the latter but they had the huge advantage of not having to fight a regular army at the same time. There are very few instances where an army was able to put down an insurgency while fighting a regular war at the same time.

    An "occupation" army cannot tolerate sabotage, assassinations and the like, even more so when the actions are "piloted" by enemy agents, if the commanders don't take action the troops will probably do. The problem with guerrilla is two fold, on one side it's possibly the most horrible form of warfare not involving WMDs, on the other it's the only tactic possible against military occupation by a regular army that enjoys a large firepower advantage.

    The situation in Northern Italy was far from clear cut, the RSI enjoyed significant support and was not just a German puppet, and a self respecting person will not go from fighting alongside to fighting against from one day to the other just because a king that didn't have the guts to stay and face the consequences of his choices tells him to. German arrogance somewhat helped that choice but it wasn't an easy one for those that had to do it. There was even the "extreme" case of many South Tirol's citizens that actually chose to become German nationals at Hitler's urging after 8/9/1943..
     
  11. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    So Germany should still be fighting until all their enemies are defeated. Also the US should go back to Vietnam and defeat them, and so on.
    Like I said above, a forever war.
     
  12. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Istanbul Turkey
    Actually Mussolini's Salo Republic was quite unpopular after 1943 winter. It was a joke , it was recognized by no one but other Axis sattalite goverments (not even by all !) Its offices were bugged and constantly reported to Berlin because Hitler was quite distrustful to Mussolini after his rescue. Even Mussolini's personal guard force in Salo days were SS Leibstandarte. When Salo Republic Army (a total of four divisions ) were trained and equipped in German expanse German High Command tried to send it to Eastern Front and only Mussolini's interventation and threat of changing sides complately changed Hitler's mind and it was send to Italy in 1944 summer when Allied armies driving fast from south and west. It proved useless desertion rates among Fascist Goverment Army was all time high. Salo Goverment even suspected correctly Hitler intended to annex Tyrol and Alpine territories of Italy (which was true , gaulitiers were already informed for that eventual decision ) Italian Communist and SOE supported royalist partisans at the other hand constantly struck to Germans (who lived off land and angered Italians quite a lot plus sending lots of able bodies males to Germany along Italian POWs as forced labour.) , provided intelligence to Allies and smuggled escaped Allied POWs or sheltered them. Towards the end of war partisan bands in Northern Italy became a semi goverment authority and even retreating Germans and Italian fascists asked their persmission to get through their territory.

    I think the keys for sucess in any partisan guerilla war is external support and regional geography. In mountainous , jungle of vast open areas partisans can strike then vanish , hit communication supply lines and centers then disappear once larger enemy forces approach. That was one of the advantages Italian resistance had. Northern Italy had all kinds of geography and perfect hit and run area plus bordering Switzerland and looking to Adriatic Sea and Gulf of Genoa , close to Allied lines for air drops pick ups....they were fortunete compared to Polish Resistance (which was gallant but isolated in Eastern Europe , deserted by Red Army far from Allied lines )
     
  13. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Of course not. They knew they had nothing to fear because allies did not plan annihilation of Germany. But when the Nazis advanced towards East, their intentions were clear to anyone: strict ethnic cleansing.


    There is nothing in Vietnam America should fight for. Neither then nor today.

    Don't consider a war as symmetric conflict between two or more parties having similar but opposing interests.There is always asymmetry: oppostion of population of one territory against aggression from another.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    A bit off topic but ...
    This rather imlies a lack of understanding of what happened there. The Viet Cong were defeated. Subsequently the NVA was also defeated at which point most US forces left. A subsequent invasion of the South by the NVA was also defeated with the aid of US air power. The US didn't elect to support the South during the final invasion.

    That is debateable. The Cold War strategy for the US was to contain Communism. The US (like the Communist) was convinced that there system was supperior enough in the long run that they could win without a direct conflict with the USSR so based on that rational the US did indeed have a reason to fight there. On the otherhand a more nuanced approach would have been to have supported Ho Chi Minh and strongly urged the French not to return or try to stay in Vietnam.
     
  15. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    I think there are very few countries that think the US won the war in Vietnam. Do you not wonder why that is? The US may have won every battle but they most certainly lost the war.

    Tamino, Germany had nothing to fear? Are you kidding? How many died after the war ended? How many rapes took place? How much destruction continued after the war ended? I think Germany took the rational way out. They surrendered, adapted and overcame and are now where they are. If they continued fighting where do you think they would be today?

    Hindsight is 20/20. And if one of your allies was "an evil empire" then how "good" a war was it really? I always hated that term. WWII was in no way, shape or form a "good" war.
     
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    The World War 2 had a "Happy End" and that's good about that war. Even Germany should be happy because they have got away with it very cheap. A cynic would say that Germany was rewarded with all that after-war aid.

    If the Germans have won I wouldn't exist neither my country nor many other countries because the Nazis anticipated destruction of many countries/nations. Therefore the only way to survival was stubborn defiance.

    You're not here long enough and I will tell you one story again. After the Germans over-run my country my father was invited to collaborate: to join the German forces. I am from the region considered as a part of the Reich and was considered racially adequate for direct incorporation. That night my father took his rifle and escaped into the forrest. Most of countrymen from this region have decided for Wehrmacht - for safety. Some have returned in coffins, some have never returned, one of our neighbours has returned so awkwardly wounded that he never stopped drinking untill he died. After four years in the forrests and mountains my father has returned, healthy, never wounded. Last time he cleaned his rifle in city of Celje where he ended the war as a winner. Enemies were running away towards the border, he went home to sleep in his bed. Four years before, in 1941, his decision was seemingly fatally wrong. My father told me he escaped serving the enemy because he didn't want to shoot people who fight for freedom.

    Please, don't mix this with Vietnam or the Cold War. This is about the WW2.
     
    scipio likes this.
  17. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    As near as damn it they fought to the last bullet and last man

    They are where they are today because they were forced to see and admit the evil of Nazism and changed their ways.

    Fortunately we had more humanity and helped them build a prosperous and democratic country within the rule of Law.
     
    Tamino likes this.
  18. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    449
    A bit off topic, as it's not Italian partisans but Italians fighting partisans, but it helps to give an idea of how brutal anti partisan warfare was in WW2.
    The battle of Pljevja in December 1941
    After the start of Barbarossa the partisan movement in Jugoslavia was strengthened by the communist joining the insurgency at Stalin's urging, in July the Italian Montenegro garrison centered on the Messina division was nearly overwhelmed and had lost control of most of the country that had been formally declared independent from Jugoslavia on 11/7/1941 as part of the axis plans to break up the former Yougoslavia into small satellite states.
    Faced with the insurgency the Italians, besides replacing the civilian governor with a general, sent considerable reinforcements including the Pusteria alpini (mountain) divisions that recaptured part of the lost territory finally halting in Pljevja with the outset of winter.
    Tito's forces with an estimated 4000 men (but probably not all were committed to the attack of the town) attacked Pljevja in the night of 1 December 1941, the Italian garrison included the Trento battalion of Pusteria's 11th alpini regiment and other divisional units for a total of around 1800 men. The Partisans reached the town and took the hospital where they captured 34 medical personnel that were used as human shields in the subsequent attack to the Puteria's command post that failed by a narrow margin thanks to the Italian throwing hand grenades from the upper story into the street the partisans had to cross. With the rise of the sun the situation for the Italians improved allowing them to bring to bear the greater firepower they had thanks to a battery of 8 75/13 guns and 15 81mm mortars, while the partisans apparently lacked anything heavier than a machine gun.
    House to house fighting went on for most of the day with the Italians using 75/13 point blank fire to demolish the houses defended by the partisans and by nightfall had recaptured most of the town, during the morning following day the Italians cleared the rest of the town and shot the captured partisans.
    The final losses for the battle on the Italian side was 73 KIA (including 13 officers) , 171 WIA and 8 MIA to which must be added another 52 men lost by a relief column that was ambushed, the Italians "body count" amounted to some 300 dead partisans, including those shot, but estimated Tito's force had lost around 1000 men due to the habit of partisans of recovering bodies, the surviving partisans dispersed with many returning to their homes leaving just the communist hard core to continue the fight in the area. Tito was shocked at the bad results of what was the largest operation conducted so far but proud of having been able to assemble such a strong force in the first place.

    While this fight was a bit larger than most it's pretty typical of partisan offensive combat, there are many things that can be "read between the lines" of this story.
    - There is a strong reliance by the partisans on surprise acting as a force multiplier though in this case it was not achieved.
    - Neither side was particularly interested in the Geneva conventions regarding POW, "no quarters" seems to have been the norm.
    -There is no mention in the accounts of civilian/non combatants losses, looks like "collateral damage" was considered irrelevant as well.
    - The Italian regulars, prevailed thanks to the greater firepower provided by the artillery element, though the deficiencies in automatic weapons both in numbers and quality nearly proved fatal (any small arms expert would have no doubts in a choice between a Breda 34 and the ZB-26 used by the partisans). This is typical of partisan warfare though in modern times both sides are likely to have more firepower with the regulars being able to call in airstrikes.
    - There was no attempt at pursuing the partisans once they decided to break contact, this is also typical of the "strongpoint" strategy most regular armies adopt when faced with guerrillas that have a much better knowledge of the terrain.
     
  19. arminiuss

    arminiuss New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    How come that same aid wasn't extended to Poland? They were an ally after all. It's like all those poor indigenous peoples that had to endure colonialism under Italy or Japan, they were "liberated". What happened to the ones who were under French, British or Dutch rule? Did they get freedom?
     
  20. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    Ask Stalin - he refused Marshall Aid and crushed democracy

    Egypt just prior to WW2 (excluding Suez Canal) but arguments continued over the Sudan (which Egypt claimed). India was offered Dominion Status in 1929 but like Ireland wanted Independence which was granted in 1947, Burma 1948, Malaya promised independence after Communists defeated - promise kept 1950ish (I think).

    WW2 hastened everything but it was all moving in that direction. The French were slow to realise the days of Empire were over.

    I was not just American money that got Germany moving again - but also British assistance its zone of the Ruhr which as you know was the industrial heartland of Germany.
     

Share This Page