Italy invading Malta in 1940

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MarkN
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 06 Nov 2018 11:26

Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 09:28
thaddeus_c wrote:
05 Nov 2018 23:58
my initial thought was if Italy decided to invade during that timeframe? why not attempt to seize Crete? (they were planning an invasion of Greece)

my understanding Souda Bay on Crete was the coveted port? did not think Malta was perceived to be necessary to Axis until later.
The Army called for the capture of Malta in 1939 to secure supply lines to Libya. In the spring of 1940 the Army planned out the troops required to take Malta with a planned invasion date of June 29, 1940. It was rejected on June 5.

It did not stay rejected. In July, the Navy made it's own proposal for invading Malta, making improvements to the Army's plan. This was followed by the Regia Aeronautica which made further improvements to the Navy's plan culminating in an argument with Mussolini that began August 8 through August 21. The military lost. Stupid won.

The "time frame" then was Mussolini's thinking. He wanted Italian boots be on British soil at the time that Hitler brought Britain to its knees with Operation Sea Lion. It's very similar to how he got himself included at the table for the surrender of France ("I only need a few thousand dead to sit at the peace table."). He either needed boots in Egypt or boots in Malta when Sea Lion took place. Grazziani, head of Tenth Army, argued for Malta while Mussolini had bigger eyes - Egypt. I have the arguments of all five sides; Il Duce, the Army, the Navy, the Regia Aeronautica, and even Germany's naval adviser attache.
The implication of what you write in this post is that it was an initial either/or scenario: Malta or Egypt; they couldn't be done simultaneously and that Mussolini won the bitch-fight with Grazziani.

And yet, in response to my post you stated that the invasion of Egypt would go ahead as planned on 9th September as it did in history.

Seems a bit of confused or contradictory thinking in there.

Wargames
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Wargames » 06 Nov 2018 11:34

MarkN wrote:
06 Nov 2018 11:26
The implication of what you write in this post is that it was an initial either/or scenario: Malta or Egypt; they couldn't be done simultaneously and that Mussolini won the bitch-fight with Grazziani.

And yet, in response to my post you stated that the invasion of Egypt would go ahead as planned on 9th September as it did in history.

Seems a bit of confused or contradictory thinking in there.
Mussolini was willing to consider two invasions in August, 1940. One was Egypt and he never backed off it. Therefore, I'm stuck with it. Mussolini's logic leaves much to be desired. A military genius he wasn't.

So? Can we get back on topic?

Wargames
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Wargames » 06 Nov 2018 11:45

LColombo wrote:
06 Nov 2018 09:40

Could you elaborate on that? This is the first time I hear about them.
Minesweepers similar to the Elan class.

As far as I know, the early invasion plans for Malta (before the Motozattere were built in 1942) called for a considerable use of rather makeshift landing craft such as converted ‘bragozzi’ (small Adriatic sailing vessels) and ‘vaporetti’ (very small Venice lagoon steamers, capacity 75 men each).
You may have it right. I quoted the English translation of someone else as I don't read Italian. The translation came out as "light coastal steamer".
There was also mention of semi-motorized sailboats but I don't remember the number (No more than 100). No capacities were given but if "vaporetti" is the correct description and 75 men their actual capacity then they must have been talking 50 men per sailboat. That's a guess.

Gooner1
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Gooner1 » 06 Nov 2018 12:04

Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 08:54
The steamers would be run up on the beach, their bows blown off, and the soldiers would have to wade in knee deep water to the beach.
Beach? Is this still Malta we're discussing. What 'beach'?

pugsville
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by pugsville » 06 Nov 2018 13:17

Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 08:54
Italy had four landing ships (Sesia class) plus one more which, combined, could land over 5,000 troops in one hour. They could also land tanks and artillery.
They only carried 1,000 men each , they could land 1000men each in a hour then pause for several hours if they were allowed to de-beach, reload returns, hours later,

very small tanks or artillery.

see other thread,

viewtopic.php?t=136199

and
http://www.navypedia.org/ships/italy/it_am_sesia.htm


Where extacly do see them landing very very few beaches.

MarkN
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 06 Nov 2018 13:23

Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 11:34
MarkN wrote:
06 Nov 2018 11:26
The implication of what you write in this post is that it was an initial either/or scenario: Malta or Egypt; they couldn't be done simultaneously and that Mussolini won the bitch-fight with Grazziani.

And yet, in response to my post you stated that the invasion of Egypt would go ahead as planned on 9th September as it did in history.

Seems a bit of confused or contradictory thinking in there.
Mussolini was willing to consider two invasions in August, 1940. One was Egypt and he never backed off it. Therefore, I'm stuck with it. Mussolini's logic leaves much to be desired. A military genius he wasn't.
What you are "stuck" with is evidence that it was an either/or decision and an opinion that they could do both. That's a problem for the topic and your efforts. If Italy was prioritizing Malta instead of Egypt, then the British deployments and responses would have been different.

There was a reason why it became only Egypt and not Malta and Egypt. And you seem to be deliberately neglecting to engage with that.

MarkN
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by MarkN » 06 Nov 2018 13:31

pugsville wrote:
06 Nov 2018 13:17
Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 08:54
Italy had four landing ships (Sesia class) plus one more which, combined, could land over 5,000 troops in one hour. They could also land tanks and artillery.
They only carried 1,000 men each , they could land 1000men each in a hour then pause for several hours if they were allowed to de-beach, reload returns, hours later, very small tanks or artillery.
Where extacly do see them landing very very few beaches.
Perhaps the assumption being made is that they would only be needed to make a single journey and the Island would fall in short order based upon just the first (and only) wave of troops landing.

Gooner1
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 06 Nov 2018 15:08

Image

Ghadira/Mellieha Bay in the west is probably the best area for a landing.

LColombo
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by LColombo » 06 Nov 2018 18:27

Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 11:45
LColombo wrote:
06 Nov 2018 09:40

Could you elaborate on that? This is the first time I hear about them.
Minesweepers similar to the Elan class.
However, I am quite sure that no French warships were transferred to Italy until November 1942 (when Italy and Germany occupied the Vichy-controlled part of France and the few French warships that did not scuttle themselves, or were salvaged and repaired, were commissioned under Italian flag).

Richard Anderson
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Nov 2018 20:05

LColombo wrote:
06 Nov 2018 18:27
Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 11:45
LColombo wrote:
06 Nov 2018 09:40

Could you elaborate on that? This is the first time I hear about them.
Minesweepers similar to the Elan class.
However, I am quite sure that no French warships were transferred to Italy until November 1942 (when Italy and Germany occupied the Vichy-controlled part of France and the few French warships that did not scuttle themselves, or were salvaged and repaired, were commissioned under Italian flag).
Of the thirteen Élan-class ships, Élan was interned in Turkey, four were seized by the British and eventually turned over to the Forces Navales Françaises Libres, and four went over to the Forces Navales Françaises Libres upon the German-Italian occupation of Vichy. Of the remaining four, two were scuttled in Toulon during ANTON and were later raised, repaired, and turned over to the Italians, while the last two were seized by the Germans at Bizerta and turned over to the Italians.

So how do the Italians get any of them in September 1940?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 06 Nov 2018 21:09

Wargames wrote: 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment: 5 officers 221 OR
Strength 30 June 1940 was actually 24 officers and 670 OR. It arrived on Malta in July 1938.
1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment: 4 officers 112 OR
Strength 30 June 1940 was actually 24 officers and 689 OR. It had been in Malta since at least June 1939.
2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment: 3 officers 164 OR
Strength 30 June 1940 was actually 25 officers and 678 OR. It too had been in Malta since at least June 1939.
8th Bn Manchester Regiment: 7 officers 72 OR
Strength 30 June 1940 was actually 27 officers and 778 OR. It arrived from Gibraltar on 20 May 1940, formerly a nominal part of 127 Infantry Brigade of 42 Division, but was detached and sent to Malta when the division went to France.
2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers 9 officers 147 OR
Strength 30 June 1940 was actually 22 officers and 691 OR. They arrived in Malta on 30 March 1939 from Haifa, where they were part of the Palestine garrison, under the 7th Infantry Division. It is the only one of these units that ever had a significant connection to the 6th/7th Infantry Division in World War II prior to going to Malta.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Robert Rojas
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RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Robert Rojas » 06 Nov 2018 22:38

Greetings to both citizen Gooner1 and the community as a whole. Howdy G-1! Well sir, in reference to your quite striking photographic contribution of Tuesday - November 06, 2018 - 6:08am, old yours truly is reminded of the old and battered adage of A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS. From my limited perspective on such matters, an amphibious landing within the environs of Melleha Bay would be a crap shoot at best and suicide at worst. An ad hoc "amphibious force" sailing into Melleha Bay would certainly be subjected to a torrent of enfilading fire emanating from both shores of this horseshoe shaped bay. I can only imagine what the survivors would face once they were ensconced on the beach itself. A diminutive force of Four Sesia Class Landing Ships does not provide much room for error. Apart from transforming Melleha Bay into a killing ground, the locality itself does look like a delightful destination for a winter vacation OR holiday as you Brits would say. It's just something to ponder. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this exercise into the hypothetical - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in your corner of merry old England. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN - not to mention everyone else.

Best Regards From The Upstart Colonies,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

Wargames
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Wargames » 06 Nov 2018 23:08

MarkN wrote:
06 Nov 2018 09:50
Wargames wrote:
04 Nov 2018 22:47
1) Cunningham had two battalions of the 6th Infantry Division available.
As a quick answer:

HMS GLOUCESTER and HMS LIVERPOOL - Under the operation title MB 5, these two light cruisers sailed from Alexandria 28.9.40 in company with the Fleet, having embarked 1200 troops and RAF personnel to reinforce the Malta garrison. The two ships entered Malta late on 30.9, landed the troops and sailed again at 0230 1.10.

The 1,200 men belonged to the 6th Division which was then being broken up at this time and afterwards ceased to exist. Here are the infantry battalion components (basically companies):

2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment: 5 officers 221 OR
1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment: 4 officers 112 OR
2nd Bn Royal West Kent Regiment: 3 officers 164 OR
8th Bn Manchester Regiment: 7 officers 72 OR
2nd Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers 9 officers 147 OR

They would be reorganized as two battalions on Malta.
All 5 of the battalions you mention above were already part of the Malta garrison. They were not part of 6th Infantry Division which had already ceased to exist.

You're right. However I said you'd get a quick reply. Here's the link I used:

https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/2015/09 ... -in-malta/

But the two battalions were taken from the broken up 6th Division if that's important.

Wargames
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Wargames » 06 Nov 2018 23:20

pugsville wrote:
06 Nov 2018 13:17
Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 08:54
Italy had four landing ships (Sesia class) plus one more which, combined, could land over 5,000 troops in one hour. They could also land tanks and artillery.
They only carried 1,000 men each , they could land 1000men each in a hour then pause for several hours if they were allowed to de-beach, reload returns, hours later,
five ships is 5,000 men. They could land 5,000 men in one hour. Is there a problem with my math?

very small tanks or artillery.
13 L3's or 8- 75/18's.

Where extacly do see them landing very very few beaches.
The plan called for Mellieha Bay and St. Paul's.

Wargames
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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940.

Post by Wargames » 06 Nov 2018 23:24

Gooner1 wrote:
06 Nov 2018 12:04
Wargames wrote:
06 Nov 2018 08:54
The steamers would be run up on the beach, their bows blown off, and the soldiers would have to wade in knee deep water to the beach.
Beach? Is this still Malta we're discussing. What 'beach'?
Look up "Mellieha bay photos" and "St. Paul's Bay photos".

I'll give you a hint. They're all resorts. :D

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