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Forgotten Battles. Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945, by Charles T. O'Reilly

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Length: 365 pages, including index

    The author had been a translator for Italian POW's serving in a Italian Service Unit (ISU), which had been helping in the continental U.S. with the American war effort. He tells us the story of Italy's co-belligerent effort to drive the Germans from their homeland, including the Partisans.

    O'Reilly starts with Italy's entry into WWII, and how Mussolini plunged them in with little perpetration. His own generals and admirals told him it would be at least two more years before they'd be ready. They get cut up in the various fronts, from the Med to Russia, and their part at Stalingrad. Then comes the surrender and the Badoglio government effort to put Italian troops in the field to help the Allied armies. The Germans move ruthlessly to disarm, and in many cases kill, the Italians, who they look on as traitors.

    The British and Americans don't look kindly on the Italians either, from just plain bigotry, to a bad opinion of their fighting skill. This is while the war in Italy goes badly, and the Allies lose men to other campaigns. They finally use Italians "combat groups", like divisions, in their line, and the men acquit themselves well in action.

    O'Reilly also talks of the aforementioned ISU's, from Italy, to Britain, the U.S. and Australia, of POW's helping move cargo and work at hospitals, among other duties.

    The big problem with this work is O'Reilly's maddening tendency to go off on wild tangents. He suddenly talks about the Russians, or the Pacific, and eventually comes back to the topic at hand. If you go into this, be prepared to skip pages.
    I give this 2.5 stars.

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