Italian "Allied" forces absent the 1943 invasion and co-belligerent status

Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
LColombo
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Location: Somewhere in Lombardy

Re: Italian "Allied" forces absent the 1943 invasion and co-belligerent status

Post by LColombo » 13 Feb 2020 12:31

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Feb 2020 20:17
The Soviets organised German and Polish forces and were certainly short of manpower by 1945. They capture quite a few Italians in 1942-43. Did the Red Army deploy a Free Italian Corps?
No, and it wouldn't have been feasible, as the vast majority of the Italian POWs in Soviet hands were already dead before the armistice of Cassibile; I don't think more than 15,000 were still alive by late 1943. There were attempts at political indoctrination of prisoners in several camps, but this was aimed at 'exporting' Communist/pro-Soviet ideas upon their return to Italy, rather than having them enlist in a Soviet force. I don't think there was any such attempt.

The closest thing I can remember is a group of ca. 150 Italian ex-IMIs (in German captivity) who escaped in 1944 during the retreat in Belarus and volunteered to join the Soviet unit that had found them. The request was satisfied only after some time, and they were given second-line duties like guarding prisoners and depots in the rear, etc. But this was a local initiative.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Italian "Allied" forces absent the 1943 invasion and co-belligerent status

Post by daveshoup2MD » 17 Feb 2020 02:34

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Feb 2020 20:17
The allies were unwilling to use the measures that the Germans adopted to recruit Poles and Hiwis. In the the former case the choice was to join the master race or become a slave and lose your house and possessions to inbound Ost-Deutch. In the latter case the options were to fight for the Germans or starve as a PW.

Returning to the point I made in #26. Without a commitment to liberate Italy with err an Italian Campaign there was neither an incentive for Italians to join the allies in any numbers nor a task the Allies could set for a Free Italian Army.

What did the Soviets do? The Soviet Union recruited Italians on an ideological basis. Communists with a loyalty to Moscow were at the centre of many of the Italian and French partisan groups.

The Soviets organised German and Polish forces and were certainly short of manpower by 1945. They capture quite a few Italians in 1942-43. Did the Red Army deploy a Free Italian Corps?
How likely was it for the Poles and Czechs in the units the British sponsored were ever going to see their countries liberated from the west? An yet the Polish army in the west rose to what amounted to four combat divisions by VE Day, and they and the Czechs fought to the end of the war...

Some men just want to fight, even for an essentially hopeless cause. An "Italia Libera" government could have been set up, even without a commitment for invading the Italian Peninsula from the south; the quickest road to Rome, realistically, went by way of France and Germany. The Italian Fascist government fell apart in 1943, simply with the expectation of Allied forces on the Peninsula; an Italian government in exile to the anti-fascists to rally around, with the expectation they would lead the way into Italy once the Germans surrendered, would have been at least as reasonable an option as HUSKY-AVALANCHE-BAYTOWN leading to an entire Allied army group spending 22 months and two winters grinding away from Sicily to the Alps.

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