Italo Balbo

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B5N2KATE
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Italo Balbo

Post by B5N2KATE » 05 May 2008 13:27

Hello All...

Looking at the fate of Italo Balbo, there is always the background accusation that his death was some kind of unsolved mystery, and assassination, even, by a jealous Mussolini. Wikipedia itself still lists the death of Balbo as "unsolved, suspicious" even though it presents no evidence as such.

Balbo was critical of Mussolini's descision to go to war in the first instance, commenting privately that war was forced on Italy without any further discussion or consultation, and,
"...rarely has an enterprise of such scope been staged with such lack of skill, or with such frivolous naivete'. The political, diplomatic, financial and, indeed, even military preparations had been completely inadequate."

Balbo described Mussolini thus...
"..was living in isolation, within four walls, seeing and hearing nothing of reality....surrounded by flatterers who told him merely what he wanted to hear. If a man is told a hundred times a day that he is a genius, he will eventually believe his own infallability."

When, on the 28th April 1940, an SM.79 containing Italo Balbo attempted to land at Tobruk on the tail end of a raid by Bristol Blenhiems, gunners of the Italian warship "San Giorgio", coupled with Italian AAA batteries, shot Balbo's SM. 79 down in flames, it seemed that Mussolini's most overt and high profile critic had met a very untimely death. The gunners of the "San Giorgio", specifically one interviewed as recently as 1994, brush aside conspiracy theories, pointing to their own lack of experience on only the 18th day of Italian participation in WW2.

Given that Balbo was so high profile, an outspoken critic, and Mussolini's acknowledged successor, is there any evidence whatsoever that Italo Balbo planned to intervene or ursurp Mussolini in his role as "Duce"?

Likewise, is there any historical evidence whatsoever that Balbo was a victim of foul play?

Balbo certainly was popular enough to replace Mussolini, and as Head of the Fascist Militia he certainly may well have commanded the power to do so. Further, his dislike of the German alliance is also well known, so what do Italian records indicate? Many Italians see Italo Balbo as "the good face of Italian Fascism", further strengthening his image as an Italian hero postwar...

Is there any evidence for either scenario?
"Es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodillas!"
("It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!")

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Spirow Ewes
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Re: Italo Balbo

Post by Spirow Ewes » 06 May 2008 14:49

B5N2KATE wrote:When, on the 28th April 1940, an SM.79 containing Italo Balbo attempted to land at Tobruk
You mean June 28, 1940.

About your doubts: I've never found any piece of concrete information that leads to Mussolini attempting to kill Balbo. Balbo was indeed very popular and the Duce casted him away giving him the government of Lybia. I don't think Balbo was interested in taking Mussolini's place, although he was one of the favourites to do so.

Balbo, besides constantly complaining to Badoglio of his shortage of war material, had a plan to attack Egypt in August 15. As we all know, Graziani did the same on September 13. Given that both men were to use the same strenght, I don't know why Balbo would be more successful.

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tigre
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Re: Italo Balbo

Post by tigre » 17 Apr 2020 23:40

Hello to all :D; reading a work regarding Balbo ...................

The last flight.

There is no certainty about the motivations of the flight who ended up being the final one, according to the official version, Balbo marched on an inspection mission and to bolster the morale of the troops; he planned to visit the troops of the 2nd Libyan Division stationed at Sidi Azeis and Ridotta Capuzzo. Another version says that the inspection was a cover and the reality was that it was looking to capture more British Recce vehicles (like the one it had captured a while before). The plan was simple, planes landing at Sidi Azeis to attract the British, and when this happened, a formation of fighters flying over at high altitud would descend and attack as a column from Ridotta Capuzzo closed the trap.

Balbo ordered a rendezvous point with the fighters over Tobruk. The mission scheduled for June 26 was suspended by a sandstorm, but the weather had cleared on June 28. At 17:00 the SM-79 I-MANU with Balbo in command took off from Derna, followed by another SM.79 with Porro as pilot. The first checkpoint was T-2 (Tobruk 2). Derna gave Tobruk notice of Balbo's departure, although this message did not reach the naval AA batteries. According to the procedures, upon reaching Tobruk, a 360º turn was to be made on the point and flying at no more than 300 meters. But Balbo ignored the regulations, did not make the turn and flew at 700 meters.

60 km from Tobruk (7-minute flight) Porro saw white smoke on T-2 and realized that they were bomb explosions and also spotted the tracing projectiles of AA weapons. He tried to warn Balbo and signaled him to fly south and avoid the airfield (they had no radio link). Indeed at 17:10 hours twin-engine Bristol-Blenheim planes attacked Tobruk in three waves of three planes. At 5:30 p.m. when the two SM-79s arrived, the raid was over. Although Tobruk was only a checkpoint, Porro realized that Balbo wanted to land. The approach took place from almost the same direction and height from where the attack was carried out ... and the confusion was fatal.

Sources: Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. Claudio G. Segre.
https://www.delcampe.net/de/sammlerobje ... ff-7242735 html

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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tigre
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Re: Italo Balbo

Post by tigre » 09 May 2020 17:45

Hello to all :D; more ...................

Victory of Balbo's S.79 over an armored car of the 11th Hussars.

" That day Balbo was flying his personal S.79 near Bir el Gobi when, at 1230 hrs, he spotted, in his own words, ‘one of those damned armoured cars running through all types of terrain and travelling at 50 kph’. This particular Morris CS9 armoured car of the 2nd Troop, ‘B’ Sqn, 11th Hussars, which had been immobilised as a result of engine trouble (or possibly damage inflicted by a strafing Italian aircraft, according to some accounts), was crewed by Troop Sergeant Major Howarth and Troopers Freeman, Young and Prewett. Balbo’s S.79 touched down briefly and then took off again, with co-pilot Maggiore Ottavio Frailich at the controls, after the Marshal and his nephew, Tenente Lino Balbo, had jumped out. The two men rushed to the nearest outpost, calling for reinforcements. The Italian force then encircled the four Hussars, who surrendered without a fight. After loading their captives on board his S.79, Balbo flew them back to Tobruk. To hearten their troops, the Italians gave this episode enormous publicity, although Balbo was to enjoy his personal triumph for only one week".

Sources: Italo Balbo: A Fascist Life. Claudio G. Segre.
Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units. Marco Mattioli

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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