Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Jul 2020 21:01

Hi Urmel,

I am sorry, but the Bir El Gobi action definitely did occur long (about 10 months) after German intervention in North Africa.

Are you saying that the presence of German troops in theatre didn't bolster the performance of Italian forces generally?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Urmel
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 23 Jul 2020 21:39

I am saying that unless you have evidence to the contrary, it had no bolstering or other impact on Ariete's performance at Bir el Gobi. If you disagree, feel free to pony up some evidence.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

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Ironmachine
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ironmachine » 24 Jul 2020 07:37

Berto wrote:That's the point. Image vs reality. In reality, Italian troops played a major and often decisive role in plenty of battles and campaigns - Malaga, Santander, Bilbao, Asturias, Aragon, Catalonia. But all the attention goes to Guadalajara...
The CTV did not take part in the offensive against Asturias in 1937.
And yes, all the attention goes to Guadalajara, and even then it is wrongly perceived, as it was not the catastrophic defeat that is often understood. In fact, even if strategically it was a complete failure, it can be argued that tactically it was an Italian victory. However, it's not difficult to understand why this happened at the time (I mean the focus on Guadalajara), if one considers the attitude with which the Italians (at least their high command) arrived in Spain.
Berto wrote:
Sid Guttridge wrote:After Guadalajara Franco did not allow the CTV to undertake any more largely independent operations.
Did he?
The plain fact is that after Guadalajara the CTV did not undertake any independent operation, that's true, and many times parts of the CTV (mainly its artillery) was simply put under the command of higher Spanish headquarters to support Spanish units while the rest of the Italians did nothing. In fact, it is arguable whether Guadalajara was really an independent operation, as a Spanish brigade (that was far larger than what the name implies) operated on the CTV's right flank to deflect attention from the CTV attack (and it had far better results than the CTV, by the way), though they were not coordinated in their actions in any way.
However, the problem is whether Franco could really "allow" or "forbid" anything, as Mussolini has all the political leverage; it was Franco who needed Mussolini's help, not the other way around. But after Guadalajara, Mussolini was probably so embarrassed after the perceived Italian failure that he did not press for the independence of command of the CTV, or perhaps he did not want it just in case another Guadajara happened (it was always better to blame the Spaniards for any defeat).
Sid Guttridge wrote:That said, it was one of the three or four most offensively used corps in the Nationalist Army, so it certainly had a significant share in the Nationalist victory.
Yes, it was much used. However, this does not imply any consideration about its quality being better than the Spanish troops. It has the advantage of being much better equipped, particularly in the fields of artillery and motorization. And of course, the main advantage of its use is that it was "free", as it was manned, supplied and equipped by Italy.
Regarding its significant shate in the Nationalist [sic] victory, it should be remembered that in the Ofensiva de Aragón, for example, there was IIRC about 24 divisions, just three of them from the CTV and one of those is composed mainly of Spaniards (and Spanish divisions had more men).
Sid Guttridge wrote:In the second half of the wsr the war the CTV was largely manned by Spaniards, so it is questionable how "Italian" it still was.
For most of 1938, it was mostly Italian, with two "Italian" divisions and one "Spanish" divisions (though with many Italian officers and NCOs).
Since the Italian "withdrawal" in October 1938, it was mostly Spanish, as there was only one "Italian" division and three "Spanish" divisions; the "Italian" division was smaller, but the "Spanish" divisions had about 10% of Italian personnel.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Jul 2020 22:28

Hi Urmel,

There almost certainly wouldn't even have been an action at Bir El Ghobi in November 1941 if the Germans hadn't intervened in North Africa in February 1941.

From February 1941 the whole North African campaign, and the presence of the Italians in it, was entirely predicated on the presence of the Afrika Korps. No Afrika Korps = No North African Campaign = No Ariete action at Bir El Gobi.

To believe otherwise one would have to make a case that purely Italian reinforcements (including much of the Ariete) in February 1941 were likely to have prevented the total expulsion of Italy from Libya.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Berto » 25 Jul 2020 10:20

Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Jul 2020 20:52
I have different figures. I have some 500,000 italian troops equipped with the full range of modern weaponry against some 800,000 Ethiopians, of whom only 10,000 had some modern weaponry. The rest had incompatible, obsolescent rifles at best.
Which is what I said... the Ethiopians were numerically superior but technologically inferior.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Jul 2020 20:52
As regards casualties, I have some 375,000 Ethiopians killed over 1935-41. Italian dead in 1935-36 were
some 10,000 and total Italian losses in dead, wounded, missing and sick were 208,000 over 1935-41
The figure of 10,000 Italian dead is not the official Italian figure, is - to use your words - a guesstimate by foreign historians who consider the Italian official figures as too low. If this is the method, then, we could put into question the British official figures about their casualties in Compass, for instance.

Including Italian casualties of 1940-1941 does not make much sense, as most of those were caused by the Commonwealth armies in World War II. Whereas most Ethiopian military losses occurred in 1935-1936.

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Urmel
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 25 Jul 2020 10:41

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Jul 2020 22:28
Hi Urmel,

There almost certainly wouldn't even have been an action at Bir El Ghobi in November 1941 if the Germans hadn't intervened in North Africa in February 1941.

From February 1941 the whole North African campaign, and the presence of the Italians in it, was entirely predicated on the presence of the Afrika Korps. No Afrika Korps = No North African Campaign = No Ariete action at Bir El Gobi.

To believe otherwise one would have to make a case that purely Italian reinforcements (including much of the Ariete) in February 1941 were likely to have prevented the total expulsion of Italy from Libya.

Cheers,

Sid.
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense and it is clear that you just cannot accept the facts. You claimed the Italians relied on German support or the knowledge that they could have it.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Jul 2020 22:28
[...]because thereafter all Italians had some assurance of strong support not available from within their own armed forces.
And now that becomes 'oh without the Germans they would not have been at Bir el Gobi'. You have not provided a shred of evidence that Gambara or Balotta relied on any support or the knowledge that the Germans could bail them out. None. Zero. Zilch.

Have a word with yourself. When you have done so, repeat after me: "Balotta took both Gott and Scott-Cockburn to the cleaners because he was the better general with the better force, and he did not need the Germans to do so."
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Urmel
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 25 Jul 2020 10:45

And before you respond with another observation that will simply prove that you have neither understood my point nor looked at what happened at Bir el Gobi that day, do yourself and us a favour and have a look at that battle. I'm really happy to have an informed discussion where my points are being challenged. You're not stepping up to the plate.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 11:30

Hi Urmel,

My casualty figures come from "The Price of Empire: Towards an Enumeration of Italian Casualties in Ethiopia, 1935-40" by Alberto Bacchi. It includes no casualties inflicted by the British.

Bacchi says that the Italian military archives would still not allow research of this subject in 1978. As a result, what we are left with are the Italian propaganda figures of the time. However, Bacchi did cite one document in another Italian archive that gives fatalities as 12,000 just in 1935-36.

It is strange that even 85 years after the event, the Italian military archives are still apparently closed on the subject. (Even the Vatican opened its wartime archives up recently and Israel has finally released the full texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls!)

It is also strange that there is apparently no public list of names for those dead who were reported in the lower official statistics of the time. This would make it much easier to cover up higher fatalities.

Anyway, until the Italian military archives open up to research on the subject, the question of Italian fatalities in Ethiopia will have to remain open.

However, whatever the figures, the Italian invasion was not a conspicuous success for the reasons I gave earlier and the country was never fully pacified, causing continuing casualty and disease losses in the tens of thousands for every year of the Italian occupation. Indeed, expenditure on AOI goes a long way to explaining why Italy was so drained even before WWII.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 11:58

Hi Urmel,

What I actually wrote was;

"However, I would suggest that all Italian performances benefited from the German arrival, even when they weren't physically present on the field of battle, because thereafter all Italians had some assurance of strong support not available from within their own armed forces."

On a given day, such as at Bir el Gobi, Italian forces could fight as well as anyone else, but after the German arrival the whole dynamic changed. Before their arrival, the Italians had little confidence in the ability of their own forces to save the situation in North Africa. After their arrival there was an ally in theatre who could. No longer were Italian forces fighting in an almost certainly lost cause, which is morale sapping. The Afrika Korps created the environment in which Italian troops could fight with more confidence in a way that the addition of more Italian forces could never have done.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 25 Jul 2020 15:10

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jul 2020 11:58
Hi Urmel,

What I actually wrote was;

"However, I would suggest that all Italian performances benefited from the German arrival, even when they weren't physically present on the field of battle, because thereafter all Italians had some assurance of strong support not available from within their own armed forces."

On a given day, such as at Bir el Gobi, Italian forces could fight as well as anyone else, but after the German arrival the whole dynamic changed. Before their arrival, the Italians had little confidence in the ability of their own forces to save the situation in North Africa. After their arrival there was an ally in theatre who could. No longer were Italian forces fighting in an almost certainly lost cause, which is morale sapping. The Afrika Korps created the environment in which Italian troops could fight with more confidence in a way that the addition of more Italian forces could never have done.

Cheers,

Sid.
Gutteridge opinions and waves on hands are not historical datas or evidences.

It seems to me you have prejudices on Italy army and think was be able to make success only because Germany army. So you was make opinions and was write storys for to confirm on self.

Have you some historical datas or evidences for to show Italy performance on Bir el Gobi was be improve was be affect was be influence on any way by Germany army ?

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 17:36

Hi Ружичасти Слон,

You haven't read what I wrote, so I will repeat part;

"On a given day, such as at Bir el Gobi, Italian forces could fight as well as anyone else, ..."

However, the fact is that it is almost certain that there was only any North African Front at all over February 1941 to May 1943 because of the German presence.

If there was no German presence in North Africa it is highly unlikely there would ever have been an action at Bir El Gobi in the first place.

Cheers,

Sid

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Urmel
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 25 Jul 2020 21:26

Okay, so no evidence that the Italians at Bir el Gobi depended in any way whatsoever on the Germans. Got it. Why you can’t say it is beyond me, but whatevs.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 21:46

Hi Urmel,

You really ought to read what I actually wrote.

Do you believe it likely that the Italians had the capacity to hang on in North Africa without German intervention?

I don't think it likely. The key thing that extended the North African Campaign for over another two years was the arrival of German troops. Only because of this were the Italians able to remain in the field. The arrival of more Italian troops instead was unlikely to have the same effect. All Italian operations after February 1941 were predicated on a German presence in theatre, even if not on the actual field of every battle.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ClintHardware » 25 Jul 2020 22:00

References to Germans at Bir el Gubi in November 1941 seem to relate to an error of the presence of Flak 88s instead of the Italian Marines unit using Lancia 3 Ro/564 mounting Ansaldo 90/53 or Fiat 634Ns mounting 102/35s. Wish there were Marine eye witness accounts available for that action against 22nd Armoured Brigade.
Imperialism and Re-Armament NOW !

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 26 Jul 2020 01:13

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jul 2020 17:36
Hi Ружичасти Слон,

You haven't read what I wrote, so I will repeat part;

"On a given day, such as at Bir el Gobi, Italian forces could fight as well as anyone else, ..."

However, the fact is that it is almost certain that there was only any North African Front at all over February 1941 to May 1943 because of the German presence.

If there was no German presence in North Africa it is highly unlikely there would ever have been an action at Bir El Gobi in the first place.

Cheers,

Sid
You was not write any historical datas or evidences. You was wave on hand and was write Gutteridge opinion and conjecture.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jul 2020 11:58

What I actually wrote was;

"However, I would suggest that all Italian performances benefited from the German arrival, even when they weren't physically present on the field of battle, because thereafter all Italians had some assurance of strong support not available from within their own armed forces."
Have you some historical datas or evidences for to show Italy army performance at Bir el Gubi was be benefit on Germany army on any way ?

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