Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Discussions on WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean. Hosted by Andy H
Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jul 2020 10:30

Hi Urmel,

You post, "1) is the key issue from my perspective. If the Italian units were able by themselves to put in quite inspired performances such as Bir el Gobi, then in my view the claim that they were as a whole a bunch of quitters begins to look like the wartime propaganda that it was. That's the core of the argument. It is what Sid is unwilling to engage with by first coming up with 2), and when called on it with 3). it's really the only thing I am interested in, which is why I stopped responding to him or even reading his posts."

When have I ever called the Italians "a bunch of quitters" or anything resembling that?

i don't have to defend things I never posted and do not, in fact, believe. If you want to argue with yourself, feel free, but do not drag me into it!

As regard 2) and 3), it would appear to be your position that everything was going just fine for the Italians in North Africa before the German intervention, that the Germans added nothing to the already superb performance of the Italian Army and their help was not needed!

No? Well it certainly sounds like it!

My position is that there was a very definite shift in Italian performances between before and after German intervention and that this is not unrelated or purely coincidental.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jul 2020 10:42

Hi Urmel,

....in evidence, I repeat my original post on the subject:

"The fact that the article has to cherry pick a handful of good Italian performances to make its point, only serves to illustrate the wider point that on the whole the Italians did not perform well.

Indeed, one would be hard pushed to find a single occasion where they did perform well before German intervention in North Africa gave them cover to do so.

The poor Italian reputation is based almost entirely on the events of December 1940 - January 1941, when the British Commonwealth forces had a massively lopsided victory over the Italians on their own. This proved difficult to live down. (My grandfather had Italian relatives and spoke the language fluently. At the end of 1940 He was sent to Egypt to take thousands of Italian POWs to camps in India. We still have a silver cigarette case made by the POWs for him when he left in early 1943.)

There are multiple perfectly good explanations as to why the Italians generally performed poorly, none of which have their basis in the Italian national character (if there is one).

I have mentioned before a story told by my boss at work some forty years ago. He had been a tank driver in the desert. He recalled over running an Italian trench system. An Italian officer stood up in front of his tank firing his pistol at it until run down. This is suicidally brave but "ce n'est pas la guerre".

It is also worth recalling the Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattricchio in Iraq who shouted "Vi faccio vedere come muore un Italiano!" ("I'll show you how an Italian dies!") when he realised he was about to be executed.

But none of this takes away from the fact that Mussolini's Italian Army as a whole performed without conspicuous success against any of its opponents over 1935-43 and suffered some spectacular defeats and collapses.
"

You have offered nothing to make me change my opinion on any of that.

I can recount a number of good Italian performances, but the fact remains that generally the Italian Army was just not very good in WWII. It is better to try to understand why that is so, than to try to pretend it was not the case.

As I said above, I had Italian relatives, some of whom served in the Italian Army, so I am not predisposed to be anti it. One was a survivor of the massacre on Corfu, who managed to escape with some of his men to southern Italy in a fishing boat.

Cheers,

Sid.

Ружичасти Слон
Member
Posts: 248
Joined: 24 Jan 2020 16:31
Location: Изгубљени

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 30 Jul 2020 11:29

Sid Guttridge wrote:
29 Jul 2020 23:10
Hi Urmel and Ружичасти Слон,

So, it would appear to be your positions that everything was going just fine for the Italians in North Africa before the German intervention, that the Germans added nothing to the already superb performance of the Italian Army and their help was not needed?

No? Well it certainly sounds like it!

Cheers,

Sid.
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 ?

You was write
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."
I have interest on specific on Italy army performances on Bir el Gubi. You was make claim Italy army performance was benefit on Germany army.

What was be your evidences and historical datas on specific topic for to make your wave on hand and gutteridge opinion ?

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jul 2020 14:57

Hi Ружичасти Слон,

There almost certainly would never even have been a battle at Bir el Gobi if it wasn't for the German presence in the theatre because it seems highly unlikely that the Italians could have hung on in North Africa on their own.

Do you believe that everything was going just fine for the Italians in North Africa before the German intervention?

Do you believe that the Germans added nothing to the performance of the Italian Army?

Do you believe that German help was not needed by the Italians?

Do you believe that it was pure coincidence that the Axis position in North Africa only started to improve with the arrival of the Germans?

I don't. That was why ".....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."

Cheers,

Sid.

Ружичасти Слон
Member
Posts: 248
Joined: 24 Jan 2020 16:31
Location: Изгубљени

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 30 Jul 2020 16:59

Sid Guttridge wrote:
30 Jul 2020 14:57
Hi Ружичасти Слон,

There almost certainly would never even have been a battle at Bir el Gobi if it wasn't for the German presence in the theatre because it seems highly unlikely that the Italians could have hung on in North Africa on their own.

Do you believe that everything was going just fine for the Italians in North Africa before the German intervention?

Do you believe that the Germans added nothing to the performance of the Italian Army?

Do you believe that German help was not needed by the Italians?

Do you believe that it was pure coincidence that the Axis position in North Africa only started to improve with the arrival of the Germans?

I don't. That was why ".....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."

Cheers,

Sid.
I was try much times for to have serious discuss on Italy army performance battle Bir el Gubi. I must to conclude it is impossible for to have serious discuss on Italy army performance battle Bir el Gubi because gutteridge have dishonest argue. But i will to try one more and last time.

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 ?

You was write
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."
I have not interest on gutteridge waves on hands and gutteridge opinions on wider points.

I have not interest on gutteridge waves on hands and gutteridge opinions on battle on Bir el Gubi.

I have interest on specific historical datas and evidences on specific Germany army support and benefit on specific Italy army performance on battle on Bir el Gubi. How was Germany army support and benefit ? How much was support and benefit ? How was affect result ?

Remember again. You was write
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."
Gutteridge claim have premise on Germany army was be on Afrika. Gutteridge claim was be on real history support and benefit on Germany army in Afrika. Gutteridge claim was be all real history battles was benefit on Germany army on Afrika. How was can to benefit when not on Afrika ?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
30 Jul 2020 14:57

There almost certainly would never even have been a battle at Bir el Gobi if it wasn't for the German presence in the theatre because it seems highly unlikely that the Italians could have hung on in North Africa on their own
It is dishonest for to write again and again benefit was make from idea that when Germany army was not be on Afrika was not be battle.

It is dishonest for to make argue on gutteridge claim on real history with gutteridge opinion on imagination story.

I have not interest on imagination storys when Germany army not be on Afrika.


I am sure Germany army was support and was benefit Italy army on many places on many ways. Also i am sure Italy army was support and was benefit Germany army on many places on many ways. I am sure supports and benefits was must be different on every battle. I am sure results was must be different when one was not be on Afrika.

I have interest on specific battle on Bir el Gubi for to understand best specific details on battle. Gutteridge claim was have premise Germany army was be on Afrika.

Can gutteridge please give some historical datas and evidences on Germany army benefit on Italy army performance on battle Bir el Gubi what was make gutteridge opinion and gutteridge claim ?

User avatar
jwsleser
Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 14:02
Location: Leavenworth, KS

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 30 Jul 2020 19:27

Good day Urmel

Thank you for your response. The following is just offering what I read in the article and how I understood it.

Please note I understand what your are trying to present. What I believe you are tying to say is that the Italians were able to some extent improve their performance in-spite of the issues you outline in your argument. I basically agree to a point.
Contrary to what you perceive, as your quote shows the article makes it very clear what the reasons for incomplete formations were. Units in A.S. were missing whole force elements, for reasons of transport.
No it doesn’t in terms of your thesis. That is part of the challenge of reading your argument in the article.

Your first main paragraph is labeled Structural Issues.

1) Structural. The Italian Army had TO&Es that might not meet the requirements of modern warfare, especially in the A.S. setting. If the units had 100% of the personal and equipment, the structure itself was inferior to that of the Germans and the enemy.

2) Equipment. Even if all the equipment was present, much of it was inferior to that of the Germans and the enemy.

3) Enemy actions against the LOC couldn’t change 1) and 2). All the enemy actions against the LOC meant is that the Italians had less men and equipment to man an inferior organization (if that is your position).

Combat losses and lack of replacements are not a structural problem. It can be a structural problem if you are addressing the nation as a whole and it was structurally unable to supply the needed materials.

Saying that an Italian division is smaller and has less equipment is a valid statement. Saying that the smaller number of weapons was a problem is only valid if you don’t compare the ratio between maneuver units and the support weapons. If you look at what 6 Italian infantry battalions have in support as compared to six UK battalions, the numbers are much better.

To be clear, an Italian division stacked against UK division was a mismatch if nothing else is taken into account. But wars aren't fought that way.

Your next paragraph is The German View. This support the ‘why’ you feel that the Italian performance is misrepresented, but doesn’t support your argument. It needs to be up front to demonstrate the problems of how the Italians are depicted.

Your evidence paragraphs are okay, but note they are all defensive battles and the combat ratios were nearly 1 to 1 in the key ones. The defense of the passes was a loss cause. The fact the Italians held for so long is commendable and supports the fact that the Italians can fight well, but it is a unique (and undesirable) situation.

I had difficulty understanding this statement:
A fair assessment would be that the only ones coming out of these two engagements with any credit at operational level were the Italians. Stephan failed to push and did not achieve his objective.
One was defensive («Ariete») and one was offensive (KG Stephan). Note that «Ariete» lost a similar amount of equipment as 22 Armour Bde. These were tactical fights, so I don’t see how they highlight operational decision. Even if KG Stephan was a failure, was the attack the right operational decision which wasn’t well resourced?

Mass Surrender follows. As written, it is not an effective argument. My position is that the Italians surrendered when placed in untenable situations. The real issue is ‘why were they placed in those untenable positions’?

You must look to the reason why they were placed in those situations: lack of transport for mobility in the desert; inability to defeat the Matilda tank; low level of training (both officer and EM); lack of radios, etc. They fought hard and as well as they could within the limitations, but once it was hopeless, it was over.

Tobruk Fortifications. The problem here is that the Italians defended those fortifications and failed to hold. The UK defended the same fortifications and held.

Empire War Diaries. The first part needs to be up-front. Supports the problem statement (why the article is needed). The second part might help the main argument (I would need to read about the fight).

Outside North Africa. Either limit your article to A.S. or expand it to address the good, bad, and ugly of the Italian Army in all theaters.

These are just my thoughts. The tactical performance of the Italian Army clearly improved in 1941. It improved more in 1942. The army lacked the equipment to be truly successful at the operational level. Better tanks, significantly more trucks, better mobile artillery, etc. were needed to allow the R.E. to execute an effective offensive.

Offered as a friendly comment, nothing more. Unless you have specific questions/issues, I will step away from this discussion.

Pista! Jeff
Last edited by jwsleser on 30 Jul 2020 20:41, edited 1 time in total.
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4242
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 30 Jul 2020 20:10

Thanks Jeff, I’ll have a look and see that I rewrite it more clearly.
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
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jul 2020 04:24

Hi Urmel.

I have been having a closer look at Bir el Gobi.

It was undoubtedly an Italian success. But shouldn't it have been?

On one side we have the better part of an armoured division with a balanced, all arms force, that had had time to prepare its position. And not just any division, but arguably the best and most experienced division in the Italian Army.

On the other side we have an inexperienced British tank brigade in its first action. It had little artillery or infantry and so was an unbalanced force incapable of properly preparing the ground for an assault or occupying any ground it might take. Its only obvious advantage was slightly more tanks of a better quality and its reconnaissance element. In infantry and artillery it was totally overmatched. In terms of manpower it was also probably heavily outnumbered. Both sides' tanks were vulnerable to the other's tank and anti-tank guns, but the Italians had a lot more of the latter.

One has to wonder what the British alternatives were, presuming they were going to engage at all? They seem to have attempted an unimaginative tank charge in order to panic the Italians out of a position they certainly couldn't effectively occupy themselves. Given previous Italian performances, was this really totally unrealistic? They seem to have had some success and inflicted at least as much damage as they suffered.

What makes it a clear Italian victory is that it entirely frustrated the British plan.

But should the outcome be regarded as in any way surprising, given the type, size and experience of the two forces engaged?

Was there an indirect approach the British could have adopted that would safely have avoided the Ariete? Or did they have to go through it to reach the German rear?

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. A Wikipedia article says of the Ariete: "Ariete, instead, had learned the German tactics of tank-infantry coordination while training together with the Panzer units of the Afrika Korps during the previous months, and had put it into practice at Bir el Gubi." Is this true?

User avatar
jwsleser
Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 14:02
Location: Leavenworth, KS

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 31 Jul 2020 13:15

Sid Guttridge wrote:
31 Jul 2020 04:24
P.S. A Wikipedia article says of the Ariete: "Ariete, instead, had learned the German tactics of tank-infantry coordination while training together with the Panzer units of the Afrika Korps during the previous months, and had put it into practice at Bir el Gubi." Is this true?
IMHO, no. Doctrinally the Italian understood the style of combined arms warfare that the Germans practiced (one could make the argument that they developed it first). See Timothy Sweet's book Iron Arm. Their armor division structure in 1940 is what all the major powers had adopted by 1942; a balanced force of armor, infantry, and artillery. What the Italians didn't have was the equipment and opportunity to employ it as design. The lack of a suitable tank in sufficient numbers, time to train as an organization, and the opportunity to be correctly employed were problems that weren't partly solved until 1941. France 1940 saw the Italians with only the anemic L3/33 tankettes. A.S. had only a handful of M11/39s with disagreements by the Italian senior leaders how to use them. The armor command in A.S. in August 1940 recommended organizing a balance force with the assets on-hand. The senior infantry leaders wanted the tanks penny-packeted out. We know who won that discussion.

By the time the Italians were forming the «brigata corazzata speciale» (aka the Babini Brigade) in Dec 1940, the Italians in A.S. were on their back foot trying to recover from the initial phase of Compass. The «brigata corazzata speciale» equipped with the first version of the M13/40 without radios and with a thrown together organization fought credibly at Mechili, stopping that British thrust. Beda Fomm saw the now fragmented armor force trying to organize combined-arms attacks against the blocking position, only to have the infantry falter and fail to stay up the tanks as they overran the objective.

What the German performance did was finally convince the Italian senior officer non-believers that the Italian armor doctrine was the way to go. The DAK also gave the Italians the breathing space to get «Ariete» and «Trento» up to speed and some experience under their belt. But the Italians didn't adopt German tactics and techniques; they used the ones they have been developing since the mid-30s.

Just my thoughts. :-)

Pista! Jeff
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jul 2020 13:27

Hi Jeff,

Thanks.

Was the rebuilding of the Ariete entirely without any German input? They certainly had the benefit of positive experience to offer. Was there no combined training in 1941?

What was the role of the German liaison staff in Italian divisions?

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
jwsleser
Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 14:02
Location: Leavenworth, KS

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 31 Jul 2020 14:16

Good day Sid
Sid Guttridge wrote:
31 Jul 2020 13:27
Was the rebuilding of the Ariete entirely without any German input?
I am not sure what you mean by rebuilding. The TO&E of the divisione corazata has been set in 1940. Except for some changes based on new equipment and some lessons, it remained pretty much the same: a tank regiment, a motorized infantry regiment, and an artillery regiment. Pretty much how and American, UK , and German armored divisions looked like by 1942 and beyond.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
31 Jul 2020 13:27
They certainly had the benefit of positive experience to offer.
Yes, but what the Germans offered was proof that it worked. The challenge for the Italians was to take what they had on paper and get it onto the battlefield.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
31 Jul 2020 13:27
What was the role of the German liaison staff in Italian divisions?
Just as the title suggests, liaison. They weren't there to train/supervise Italian operations. The Italians were very sensitive to Germans stepping into the Italians areas of responsibility. There is no doubt that informal exchanges of information/experience happened, but it was as professionals exchanging ideas. The centri di istruzione didn't have any Germans assigned to them. If one was going to impact Italian training, those centers were the place to do it.

A good article to read is Sadkovich's Some Considerations regarding Italian Armored Doctrine prior to June 1940 Global War Studies 9 (1) 2012. The article covers Italian observations and reports on Ethiopia, Spain, Poland, and France and how these campaigns impacted Italian armor doctrine.

Pista! Jeff.
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10391
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 31 Jul 2020 20:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
30 Jul 2020 10:42
Hi Urmel,

....in evidence, I repeat my original post on the subject:

"The fact that the article has to cherry pick a handful of good Italian performances to make its point, only serves to illustrate the wider point that on the whole the Italians did not perform well.

Indeed, one would be hard pushed to find a single occasion where they did perform well before German intervention in North Africa gave them cover to do so.

The poor Italian reputation is based almost entirely on the events of December 1940 - January 1941, when the British Commonwealth forces had a massively lopsided victory over the Italians on their own. This proved difficult to live down. (My grandfather had Italian relatives and spoke the language fluently. At the end of 1940 He was sent to Egypt to take thousands of Italian POWs to camps in India. We still have a silver cigarette case made by the POWs for him when he left in early 1943.)

There are multiple perfectly good explanations as to why the Italians generally performed poorly, none of which have their basis in the Italian national character (if there is one).

I have mentioned before a story told by my boss at work some forty years ago. He had been a tank driver in the desert. He recalled over running an Italian trench system. An Italian officer stood up in front of his tank firing his pistol at it until run down. This is suicidally brave but "ce n'est pas la guerre".

It is also worth recalling the Italian hostage Fabrizio Quattricchio in Iraq who shouted "Vi faccio vedere come muore un Italiano!" ("I'll show you how an Italian dies!") when he realised he was about to be executed.

But none of this takes away from the fact that Mussolini's Italian Army as a whole performed without conspicuous success against any of its opponents over 1935-43 and suffered some spectacular defeats and collapses.
"

You have offered nothing to make me change my opinion on any of that.

I can recount a number of good Italian performances, but the fact remains that generally the Italian Army was just not very good in WWII. It is better to try to understand why that is so, than to try to pretend it was not the case.

As I said above, I had Italian relatives, some of whom served in the Italian Army, so I am not predisposed to be anti it. One was a survivor of the massacre on Corfu, who managed to escape with some of his men to southern Italy in a fishing boat.

Cheers,

Sid.
"Not very good " is something very meaningless .
The Italian army suffered some spectacular defeats and collapses, as did the British army, the Soviet army, the US army, the German army, the French army .
The Italians stopped the British advance in Libya BEFORE the arrival of the Germans .
And, having conspicuous successes/not having conspicuous successes does not indicate that an army is doing well/badly .

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4242
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 31 Jul 2020 20:14

I see Sid is still on a roll trying to find an angle that even Rommel didn’t claim regarding German influence on Italian success. Now it’s the liaison officers who directed the Italians. And Repeating Wikipedia claims that Ariete trained with German tank forces. I’m sure there is ample evidence of that in the German war diaries (not).

Well I’m shocked that that is where he’s going. Never saw it coming. Okay, maybe not that shocked, and I actually did.

Ariete wasn’t rebuilt for CRUSADER. It was the first time it was in action and concentrated as a division. It was a well balanced force. Certainly better balanced than 7 Armoured Division.

Funny thing is that the German lesson from CRUSADER was NOT to pursue a balanced force. In February 1942 15.Panzer proposed a radical restructuring in which the infantry would be reduced and number of tanks doubled I think. That obviously never happened but it was still put forward by 15. Panzer (21. Panzer had no street cred after CRUSADER).

Trieste obviously suffered because it had substantial force elements sunk, while Trento was just an infantry division with a Bersaglieri regiment. They were not even part of CAM during CRUSADER.
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
Member
Posts: 7629
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jul 2020 22:12

Hi Urmel,

Now play nice.

You must know that in writing "Now it’s the liaison officers who directed the Italians. And Repeating Wikipedia claims that Ariete trained with German tank forces.", you are not being very honest.

I asked questions on both these subjects. I made no statements of the sort you are claiming.

It benefits nobody to misrepresent each other.

Think on that for a little while, as I park up, go indoors and get a quick bite. I'll get back to you shortly.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
jwsleser
Member
Posts: 1110
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 14:02
Location: Leavenworth, KS

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 31 Jul 2020 23:04

If I may provide a bit more information.

I did a quick scan through both version of the Italian official histories on A.S. Neither discusses any joint training actives in 1941. While I didn't check the other years, I have no memory of any such events. What is more import is that I don't recall any such exercises in the preparation for C3. If any campaign screamed for such preparation, it would be the invasion of Malta. I don't believe anything like that happened and the plan was such that the two armies operated in different areas of the island.

I again reviewed Carrier's article and found nothing about joint training. There are many mentions of the training the Italians undertook in 1941.

MacGregor Knox offers this from his The Italian Armed Forces in Military Effectiveness:
The few Italian mobile units that accompanied the Afrika Korps in its desert peregrination apparently learned for more quickly than the British the lessons that armor, artillery and infantry must function as a team. The German,man example might have helped, but Italian doctrine, precisely because it was obvious to the work of the British all-tank theorist, was already predisposed towards integration.
Lucio Ceva's The North African Campaign 1940-43: A Reconsideration in Decisive Campaigns of the Second World War offers this bit of insight:
One may therefore ask why the same campaign [N.A.] enjoys historical popularity, if such it can be called, in Italy too. There appears to be a reason for this which is specifically Italian. In contrast to the events on other fronts, during the Second World War (in Greece, for example), the North Africa campaign provided Italian with an opportunity to redeem themselves after their poor, even humiliating, performances during the winter of 1940-41. Of course, without German intervention the North African front could not be have held out at the beginning of 1941. Neverthless the German presence did not necessarily mean that there was bound to be an improvement in the Italians' technical capacities, other than whatever might be born of emulation. The real change lay in the fact that the German presence and the gradual increase in the bravura of the Italian armoured units, and above all of the «Ariete» division', minimized the sense of fatal inevitability which had previously surrounded every setback. In the «Ariete», training was so through and well thought out - the work of a handful of fighting soldiers such as General Baldassare, Colonel Maretti, Major Rizzo and other s who were able to gain the support and collaboration of non-professional officers such as Tank Lieutenant Serra and Artillery Capatin Pisicello-Taeggi, b=oth of whom subsequently produced war memoirs that are of considerable interest.
And from the fore-mentioned Lieutenant Serra's Carristi dell'«Ariete» .
...we are profiting by the pause in activities to intensify the training of our units. We chose land which is variegated and irregular, and we prepare dummies made of the shells of abandon vehicles. I explain th lessons over an dover again. Our tanks must approach th enemy at an sustained speed...they must pause for a moment to allow th tank commander to fie his gun and then leave quickly as possible...I explain repeatedly that it is useless to fire while the tank is in motion as the rolling motion, makes it impossible to aim...
I wouldn't give much credence to the Wiki statement.

I do need to touch upon this statement....
ljadw wrote:
31 Jul 2020 20:09
The Italians stopped the British advance in Libya BEFORE the arrival of the Germans .
I would need to disagree with this. The British stopped the British advance.

Pista! Jeff
Last edited by jwsleser on 01 Aug 2020 15:25, edited 3 times in total.
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

Return to “WW2 in Africa & the Mediterranean”