Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

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

Post by jwsleser » 03 Aug 2020 18:00

Okay Sid, I'll bite.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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 would need to check, but I believe that is correct. Again note that the Italians wanted to retake the position, but the Germans said no. As important, why does this matter? There were bridgeheads in German sectors throughout the war that the German didn't/couldn't eliminate.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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.
Not a question. Again comparing the Italians to the Romanians. Why is Romania having more divisions in Russia than Italy important? Russian was the main theater (heck the only theater) for Romania. That is not the case for Italy.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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.
Again a statement. The main decisive front for Italy was the Mediterranean, not Russia.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
By "active main battlefront" I meant North Africa and the Eastern Front. The Balkans were essentially occupation and police duties in the Axis rear.
I guess the impact/role of seapower escapes you. France in 1943-44 was only occupation/police duties for the Germans.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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.
As the 8th Army was one of the best equipped Italian armies, this is not true. A common point of discussion is whether that material had been used in the main Italian theater of war instead of being sent to Russia. All the Italian divisions on occupation duties were fit for combat. The general question in this thread is how effective were those divisions?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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.
Not a question. Why is this important in a discussion on Italian military effectiveness?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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,
Not a question. So what?
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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?
No, that is why I read Italian.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2020 17:28
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.
There is an article on the issue of archive. I will cite it once I am home.

You can't compare Italy to Romania in terms of commitments to the Russian front. Two completely different strategic situations. Stop trying to compare them.

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

Post by Urmel » 03 Aug 2020 20:08

jwsleser wrote:
03 Aug 2020 18:00
Okay Sid, I'll bite.
You’re a saint.

On the issue of the archives, it’s simple. Learn Italian. Go to Rome. It’s all there.

I also haven’t had a problem getting access to Italian archives or to the Italian files at NARA or in Kew. Yet these files don’t seem to be used much, because I guess people don’t speak Italian.

The difficulty has nothing to do with the archives. It’s got to do with native English speakers on the whole being disinterested in learning languages.
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 jwsleser » 03 Aug 2020 21:57

The Italian archives are a challenge. Not only in gaining access but in the functionality of the multiple facilities.

Read Niccolò Capponi's Clio, Mars, and Wine: Tracking down Military Records in The Society for Military History 2008.

There is also James Sadkovich's chapter Italian Service Histories in Fascist Italy's War Effort in Robin Higham's (editor) The Writing of Official History.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 03 Aug 2020 22:05

In looking through my files for the information on the Italian archives, I came across a collection of short articles in The Journal of Strategic Studies Vol 5 number 3 (June 1982).

The series is titled Italian Military Effectiveness - A Debate and the participants were Stanislav Andreski, John Gooch, Christie Davis, and Alexander Lopasic.

Just another resource for more information.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 03 Aug 2020 23:54

Hi jwsleser,

Thanks. I was only hoping you would address my questions, rather than everything.

In the interests of belatedly trying to keep this thread on the Italians, I won't answer your points directly in so far as they relate to the Romanians, however tempting I find it.

I await your further answers and source regarding the Italians with interest.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 04 Aug 2020 00:24

jwsleser wrote:
03 Aug 2020 18:00
Okay Sid, I'll bite.
I hope you was not get indigestion. :lol:

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ironmachine » 04 Aug 2020 07:28

Ружичасти Слон wrote: Mr gutteridge

We all know you have opinion on Italy army and was make conclusion it was no good.
Hi Ружичасти Слон.
Just out of curiosity, do you have an opinion on the Italian Army on WWII? And if you do, what is your conclusion?

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Urmel » 04 Aug 2020 08:44

jwsleser wrote:
03 Aug 2020 21:57
The Italian archives are a challenge. Not only in gaining access but in the functionality of the multiple facilities.

Read Niccolò Capponi's Clio, Mars, and Wine: Tracking down Military Records in The Society for Military History 2008.

There is also James Sadkovich's chapter Italian Service Histories in Fascist Italy's War Effort in Robin Higham's (editor) The Writing of Official History.

Pista! Jeff
Don't know about any of these problems. I have a range of Italian friends who I work with, and never had any trouble getting anything I wanted, but it is of course possible that this is because I have rather mainstream requirements. It is also notable that a lot of information has been published in book form (and quite a bit is online), e.g. the war diaries of Comando Supremo including a lot of the appendice documents, techno/operational directives of the Regia Marina, studies into the mechanisation of the Italian army. There are also very detailed campaign histories and specific studies. The navy is probably best in this regard, the army and air force less so.

The idea that these things are purposefully hidden is just another one of those grand conspiracy theories in my view.
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 ljadw » 04 Aug 2020 11:06

Sid Guttridge wrote:
03 Aug 2020 23:54
Hi jwsleser,

Thanks. I was only hoping you would address my questions, rather than everything.

In the interests of belatedly trying to keep this thread on the Italians, I won't answer your points directly in so far as they relate to the Romanians, however tempting I find it.

I await your further answers and source regarding the Italians with interest.

Cheers,

Sid.
Comando Supremo is active again .

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by jwsleser » 04 Aug 2020 13:50

Good day Urmel
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
Don't know about any of these problems.
The challenges of the Italian archives are well know to all serious researchers. I have good friend in Roma (former Granatiere officer) who smiles every time I discuss coming for a visit and think about stopping by the archives.
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
I have a range of Italian friends who I work with, and never had any trouble getting anything I wanted, but it is of course possible that this is because I have rather mainstream requirements.
There are three main challenges: Access, organization, and classification.

Access is a challenge for researchers who are not associated with the archives who must make appointments months in advance for a set period of time. Then the archives are closed that day for 'whatever'. Hours are weird can change at any moment.

The archives are poorly catalogued with a lot of material either misidentified or not listed. The physical organization/layout of the files is described by many as chaotic. Many files have bene moved the the state archives, so one must know where the desired documents might be located. This is why hiring someone who specializes in doing research in these archives is often money well spent.

Many documents are still 'classified'. Why is still a mystery. For example materials relating to the events of 8 September 1943.
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
It is also notable that a lot of information has been published in book form (and quite a bit is online), e.g. the war diaries of Comando Supremo including a lot of the appendice documents, techno/operational directives of the Regia Marina, studies into the mechanisation of the Italian army. There are also very detailed campaign histories and specific studies. The navy is probably best in this regard, the army and air force less so.
The many books published by the three services are quite good. I have collected most of the R.E. volumes (I am slowly finishing my set of the Comando Supremo diaries, though these can be found online). I have been posting translations of the field reports found in La meccanizzazione dell'Esercito fino al 1943 on the Comando Supremo website. Here is my Italian section in my home office library. About two-thirds of the books are Italian language, most published by the USSME. I have a few more in the main library.
Italian2GMBooks2.JPG
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
The idea that these things are purposefully hidden is just another one of those grand conspiracy theories in my view.
There is little doubt that there are materials which are being held back from public access.

Pista! Jeff
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 05 Aug 2020 14:28

Ironmachine wrote:
04 Aug 2020 07:28
Ружичасти Слон wrote: Mr gutteridge

We all know you have opinion on Italy army and was make conclusion it was no good.
Hi Ружичасти Слон.
Just out of curiosity, do you have an opinion on the Italian Army on WWII? And if you do, what is your conclusion?
I was write on message 35 on topic. You can to read self.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 05 Aug 2020 20:31

Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
jwsleser wrote:
03 Aug 2020 21:57
The Italian archives are a challenge. Not only in gaining access but in the functionality of the multiple facilities.

Read Niccolò Capponi's Clio, Mars, and Wine: Tracking down Military Records in The Society for Military History 2008.

There is also James Sadkovich's chapter Italian Service Histories in Fascist Italy's War Effort in Robin Higham's (editor) The Writing of Official History.

Pista! Jeff
Don't know about any of these problems. I have a range of Italian friends who I work with, and never had any trouble getting anything I wanted, but it is of course possible that this is because I have rather mainstream requirements. It is also notable that a lot of information has been published in book form (and quite a bit is online), e.g. the war diaries of Comando Supremo including a lot of the appendice documents, techno/operational directives of the Regia Marina, studies into the mechanisation of the Italian army. There are also very detailed campaign histories and specific studies. The navy is probably best in this regard, the army and air force less so.

The idea that these things are purposefully hidden is just another one of those grand conspiracy theories in my view.
jwsleser wrote:
04 Aug 2020 13:50
Good day Urmel
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
Don't know about any of these problems.
The challenges of the Italian archives are well know to all serious researchers. I have good friend in Roma (former Granatiere officer) who smiles every time I discuss coming for a visit and think about stopping by the archives.
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
I have a range of Italian friends who I work with, and never had any trouble getting anything I wanted, but it is of course possible that this is because I have rather mainstream requirements.
There are three main challenges: Access, organization, and classification.

Access is a challenge for researchers who are not associated with the archives who must make appointments months in advance for a set period of time. Then the archives are closed that day for 'whatever'. Hours are weird can change at any moment.

The archives are poorly catalogued with a lot of material either misidentified or not listed. The physical organization/layout of the files is described by many as chaotic. Many files have bene moved the the state archives, so one must know where the desired documents might be located. This is why hiring someone who specializes in doing research in these archives is often money well spent.

Many documents are still 'classified'. Why is still a mystery. For example materials relating to the events of 8 September 1943.
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
It is also notable that a lot of information has been published in book form (and quite a bit is online), e.g. the war diaries of Comando Supremo including a lot of the appendice documents, techno/operational directives of the Regia Marina, studies into the mechanisation of the Italian army. There are also very detailed campaign histories and specific studies. The navy is probably best in this regard, the army and air force less so.
The many books published by the three services are quite good. I have collected most of the R.E. volumes (I am slowly finishing my set of the Comando Supremo diaries, though these can be found online). I have been posting translations of the field reports found in La meccanizzazione dell'Esercito fino al 1943 on the Comando Supremo website. Here is my Italian section in my home office library. About two-thirds of the books are Italian language, most published by the USSME. I have a few more in the main library.
Italian2GMBooks2.JPG
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
The idea that these things are purposefully hidden is just another one of those grand conspiracy theories in my view.
There is little doubt that there are materials which are being held back from public access.

Pista! Jeff
75 years after the facts ?

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Contender » 05 Aug 2020 21:29

ljadw wrote:
05 Aug 2020 20:31
Urmel wrote:
04 Aug 2020 08:44
The idea that these things are purposefully hidden is just another one of those grand conspiracy theories in my view.
There is little doubt that there are materials which are being held back from public access.
Try looking for their AFV & artillery optics. :lol:

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 06 Aug 2020 03:59

Hi ljadw,

This is not uncommon. In the National Archives in the UK there are apparently about 1,000 files being held back, some from around1910.

Sid
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 06 Aug 2020 08:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Ironmachine » 06 Aug 2020 06:59

Ружичасти Слон wrote:
Ironmachine wrote:
Ружичасти Слон wrote:Mr gutteridge

We all know you have opinion on Italy army and was make conclusion it was no good.
Hi Ружичасти Слон.
Just out of curiosity, do you have an opinion on the Italian Army on WWII? And if you do, what is your conclusion?


I was write on message 35 on topic. You can to read self.
As far as I can see, message 35 is your opinion about the Italian performance for the Battle of Bir el Gobi, and I asked about the whole WW2. The Italian performance at that battle if for you (if I'm not wrong) "average normal". However, as even a broken clock is right twice a day, it is not evident that you think the performance of the Italian Army as a whole for the entire WW2 was equally "average normal". On the other hand, if to achieve one of its greatest successes of the war (or so it seems by the arguments in this thread) the Italian Army needed one of its best divisions on the defensive performing "average normal" against a numerically inferior opponent that performed "disaster" (your own words), it seems that the Italian Army would have had great problems against a "normal average" opponent or in other circunstances. So, to summarise, how would you qualify the performance of the Italian army as a whole during WW2? Maybe also "average normal" (and In comparison with whom), superb, disastrous...?
Regards.

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