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 » 02 Aug 2020 17:28

Hi jwsleser,

As I understand it, the Italians had largely reached the Don and the Red Army then forced its way back across it to create the bridgeheads. Is this not so?

I did say, "For many reasons Italy seems to have found it extraordinarily difficult to project more than a minority of its army onto active main battlefronts." You provided some of those reasons. My point was that, just as the Italian role has been downplayed, so had the Romanian. In terms of division/ months on a major battlefront over June 1941 to September 1943, the Romanian contribution exceeded that if Italy.

I wouldn't say that the number of divisions on a main battlefront was meaningless. It was on the main battlefronts that the war was decided.

By "active main battlefront" I meant North Africa and the Eastern Front. The Balkans were essentially occupation and police duties in the Axis rear. One wonders how many of the Italian Army's divisions on occupation duties were fit for front line combat? My impression was that Italy has problems equipping 8th Army in Russia.

Romania, a much smaller country, had armies on only one main battlefront, but its commitment there at one time or another involved every single Romanian division and all were literally or functionally destroyed at least once. Its only occupation duties were in Transnistria, where one fortress and three security divisions were created. This was not remotely equatable with Yugoslavia.

I was not making an attack on the Italians. They had numerous problems, not least that Mussolini's eyes were bigger than Italy's stomach. I always think of Italy as one third industrialised like parts of northern Europe and two-thirds (the centre/south) as agrarian and more resembling the Balkans. Mussolini had ambitions that could only be supported if all of Italy was like its industrialised north,

It is interesting that all three books you illustrates on the Italian Army were based on US wartime intelligence and so probably full of flaws. Are there no later publications in English that update this information in the light of post-war research?

And do you know why the Italian military archives are so difficult to gain access to? The Vatican has recently opened all its WWII archives and facsimiles of all the Dead Sea scrolls have now been published, and yet it still seems to be extraordinarily difficult to view Italian military archives? Above we were arguing over Italian casualties in Ethiopia. This would presumably be easily resolved in the archives.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 02 Aug 2020 17:53, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Aug 2020 17:43

Hi Guys,

The only book on Italian aircraft as a whole that I have ever found is Italian Civil and Military Aircraft, 1930-45 by Jonathan W. Thompson. It was first published in the early 1960s. (Surprisingly, Putnam never had an Italian volume.)

Does anyone know of a more recent, better book on all Italian aircraft?

By contrast, the Italian Navy has been relatively well served, from Aldo Fraccaroli's Italian Warships of World War (1969) to Maurizio Brescia's recent Mussolini's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina 1930-1945
, which I bought as a result of a review here on AHF.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by jwsleser » 02 Aug 2020 18:51

Good day Sid

I have no idea what you are trying to discuss.

Have a nice day.

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

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 06:50

Hi jwsleser,

Maybe not, I have rather led us off course, but there were some questions in there to which I had rather hoped you might have the answers.

If not, that is our collective loss.

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 03 Aug 2020 07:04, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 06:54

Hi Urmel,

I earlier posted the following, to which you posted no reply. I was wondering if you saw it?

"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?"


Is that a fair assessment and can you answer any of the questions?

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by Urmel » 03 Aug 2020 08:11

jwsleser wrote:
02 Aug 2020 18:51
Good day Sid

I have no idea what you are trying to discuss.

Have a nice day.

Pista! Jeff
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 » 03 Aug 2020 09:57

Hi Urmel,

I can only assume you agree with what I posted.

It was undoubtedly an Italian success, but the outcome of Bir el Gobi should surprise no one.

Thanks for your quiet affirmation.

Cheers,

Sid

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

Post by jwsleser » 03 Aug 2020 14:14

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Aug 2020 06:50
Hi jwsleser,

Maybe not, I have rather led us off course, but there were some questions in there to which I had rather hoped you might have the answers.

If not, that is our collective loss.

Sid.
I did answer your questions. You didn't like the answers.

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

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

Post by Urmel » 03 Aug 2020 14:56

I'm wondering which part of 'I'm no longer reading your posts' is so difficult to understand.
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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Posts: 7624
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 15:39

Hi jwsleser,

Indeed, until your cut off post you had been kind enough to answer my questions.

However, my last post before your cut off post contained four questions that were never addressed.

You are under no obligation to do so, but it would have been nice to round things off more satisfactorily.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 7624
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 15:42

Hi Urmel,

To answer your question: The bit about you no longer reading my posts that I no longer understand is that your last post was in reply to my previous post!

If you are content to let thevfollowingbto stand, then we can leave it here.

"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

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 7624
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 15:46

Hi Urmel,

To answer your question: The bit about you no longer reading my posts that I no longer understand is that your last post was in reply to my previous post!

If you are content to let the following to stand and its questions go unanswered, then we can leave it here.

"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.

Ружичасти Слон
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 03 Aug 2020 16:14

Mr gutteridge

We all know you have opinion on Italy army and was make conclusion it was no good.

It seems to me everybody was decide not to have serious historical discuss with you because you was not make serious historical discuss. Youl was write gutteridge opinion on gutteridge opinion on gutteridge opinion for to try to make everybody believe only gutteridge opinion can to be correct. No historical datas. No evidences. Only gutteridge was think gutteridge opinion must to be correct.

You just want to waste everybody time.

Example
Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Aug 2020 09:57
Hi Urmel,

I can only assume you agree with what I posted.

It was undoubtedly an Italian success, but the outcome of Bir el Gobi should surprise no one.

Thanks for your quiet affirmation.

Cheers,

Sid
You was think only possible assumption was be everybody agree with gutteridge opinion.

And when Mr urmel was write he decide for not to discuss with you you was just write same questions again.

It was be same with Mr jwsleser to.

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 7624
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 16:40

Hi Guys,

We seem to have three approaches;

1) A rational, reasonably detached, well informed and helpful one from jwsleser, that was regretably cut short.

2) An essentially pro-Italian one from Urmel that was also cut short because he decided to withdraw to his tent and not defend his ground or the Italians over Bir el Gobi. For someone who was formerly so enthusiastically advancing Bir el Gobi as a pin-up action for the Italian Army this seems very strange. My theory is that he has begun to realise that he may have been a little too gung-ho on the subject, but I guess that as he won't be reading this, we will never know.

3) Whatever Ружичасти Слон is doing.

We learn nothing without some discussion.

I will keep trying, because at least two of them probably know more about the action than I do.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 03 Aug 2020 17:00, edited 3 times in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 7624
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 16:44

HI Ружичасти Слон,

As Urmel seems reluctant to engage in discussion, perhaps you would like to offer a critique of the following:

"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?"


Is that a fair assessment? If not, why not?

Can you answer any of the questions that Urmel won't?

Cheers,

Sid.

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