Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Oct 2018 14:32

Assuming no Tunisian or French NW African campaign, & Allied operations in the MTO remain at the level of diversions and holding actions in Lybia or elsewhere in the MTO. ...and a establsiment of a Allied front in NW Europe in early-mid 1943. How bad would economic conditions be in Italy by late 1943, or in the second quarter of 1944? Would these conditions be sufficient to lead to Mussolini being removed from power?

At what point does Italy collapse as a military force and the Germans are forced to take over Italian garrison efforts in Southern France, Greece, and other Balkan location?

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3660
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by BDV » 18 Oct 2018 21:20

I don't think Italians would be in that bad a shape as such. I think they had absorbed the shock of war economy through 1941 and '42 and were just about coming out of the funk, just as the Invasion hit them.

Kesselring (he gets mentioned a lot today) was planning to mostly supply his units' by the wares of Lombardy industry. It could not have been that bad.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

thaddeus_c
Member
Posts: 601
Joined: 22 Jan 2014 03:16

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by thaddeus_c » 20 Oct 2018 11:31

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Oct 2018 14:32
Assuming no Tunisian or French NW African campaign, & Allied operations in the MTO remain at the level of diversions and holding actions in Lybia or elsewhere in the MTO. ...and a establsiment of a Allied front in NW Europe in early-mid 1943. How bad would economic conditions be in Italy by late 1943, or in the second quarter of 1944? Would these conditions be sufficient to lead to Mussolini being removed from power?

At what point does Italy collapse as a military force and the Germans are forced to take over Italian garrison efforts in Southern France, Greece, and other Balkan location?
would Allied front in NW Europe likely force Case Anton scenario? and Germany even able to stage that under this scenario? (just trying to recall what they had where? and account for no reinforcement of N.Africa?)

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Oct 2018 12:33

thaddeus_c wrote:
20 Oct 2018 11:31
...
would Allied front in NW Europe likely force Case Anton scenario? and Germany even able to stage that under this scenario? (just trying to recall what they had where? and account for no reinforcement of N.Africa?)
Only thing I have to go on for that, would be Darlans response to US Ambassador Leahey, during discussions in 1942. 'If you come with three divisions we will fight you. If you come with twenty we will join you.'

Have not seen anything on what the German leaders thought the planned trigger might be for Op ANTON or any other action vs France. As it developed Hitler dithered for a few days on issuing the order to execute, tho the German armies in France had been on a high alert since the Fleets depart the UK to execute Op TORCH. Intelligence reports of French commanders in France preparing to fight the Axis, and the news of the cease fire in Algeria and Morroco were the actual trigger. The realization Barres Tunis division was resisting the Axis forces may have contributed to Hitlers decision.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2782
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Kingfish » 20 Oct 2018 13:19

thaddeus_c wrote:
20 Oct 2018 11:31
would Allied front in NW Europe likely force Case Anton scenario? and Germany even able to stage that under this scenario? (just trying to recall what they had where? and account for no reinforcement of N.Africa?)
I see no advantage to it.
An allied front in NW Europe means both sides will be making their main effort there. Control of Vichy France and the French Med fleet doesn't radically alter the strategies for either side.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Oct 2018 01:02

Kingfish wrote:
20 Oct 2018 13:19
O see no advantage to it.
An allied front in NW Europe means both sides will be making their main effort there. Control of Vichy France and the French Med fleet doesn't radically alter the strategies for either side.
The French have a vote in this. OTL several French commanders in Africa and France were actively preparing to fight the Axis. One was marching his battalions on Bourdeux circa 8-10 November.

thaddeus_c
Member
Posts: 601
Joined: 22 Jan 2014 03:16

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by thaddeus_c » 21 Oct 2018 12:31

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Oct 2018 12:33
thaddeus_c wrote:
20 Oct 2018 11:31
...
would Allied front in NW Europe likely force Case Anton scenario? and Germany even able to stage that under this scenario? (just trying to recall what they had where? and account for no reinforcement of N.Africa?)
Only thing I have to go on for that, would be Darlans response to US Ambassador Leahey, during discussions in 1942. 'If you come with three divisions we will fight you. If you come with twenty we will join you.'

Have not seen anything on what the German leaders thought the planned trigger might be for Op ANTON or any other action vs France.
my assumption was the Axis would withdraw troops from N.Africa to counter an invasion of France, predicated on no landings anywhere in Vichy N.Africa?

with the German forces rushed into combat, the Italian forces to southern France?

in my (simplistic) view Mussolini would not be in such a dire position? as he gains control over desired areas of France and Italy has not yet been invaded? (and you have the final looting of France)

have zero knowledge of how Italian industry would be affected? under Italian Social Republic, IIRC from one instance the SM.82 transport plane had its production greatly increased for LW use? that is attributed to Germans directing the efforts, which may or may not be correct?

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Oct 2018 13:17

thaddeus_c wrote:
21 Oct 2018 12:31
...
with the German forces rushed into combat, the Italian forces to southern France?

in my (simplistic) view Mussolini would not be in such a dire position? as he gains control over desired areas of France and Italy has not yet been invaded? (and you have the final looting of France)
OTL Italy occupied the southern France littoral November/December 1942. They were responsible for the coastal defense and garrison of the coastal provinces until they were disarmed in September.
have zero knowledge of how Italian industry would be affected? under Italian Social Republic, IIRC from one instance the SM.82 transport plane had its production greatly increased for LW use? that is attributed to Germans directing the efforts, which may or may not be correct?
There were problems with things like fuel, raw materials & eventually food imports from Africa cut off. In the case of Italian aircraft production increases had something to do with concentration of remaining aluminum stocks on a few select models, and/or the Germans sending more duraluminum. Need actual numbers on this & I no longer have the correct books on hand.

How important the African grain & other food was needs similar clarification. I recall the end of Lybian/French colonial imports was a problem, but exactly how large? Food rationing existed before November 1942.

thaddeus_c
Member
Posts: 601
Joined: 22 Jan 2014 03:16

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by thaddeus_c » 21 Oct 2018 13:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Oct 2018 13:17
thaddeus_c wrote:
21 Oct 2018 12:31
...
with the German forces rushed into combat, the Italian forces to southern France?

in my (simplistic) view Mussolini would not be in such a dire position? as he gains control over desired areas of France and Italy has not yet been invaded? (and you have the final looting of France)
OTL Italy occupied the southern France littoral November/December 1942. They were responsible for the coastal defense and garrison of the coastal provinces until they were disarmed in September.
have zero knowledge of how Italian industry would be affected? under Italian Social Republic, IIRC from one instance the SM.82 transport plane had its production greatly increased for LW use? that is attributed to Germans directing the efforts, which may or may not be correct?
There were problems with things like fuel, raw materials & eventually food imports from Africa cut off. In the case of Italian aircraft production increases had something to do with concentration of remaining aluminum stocks on a few select models, and/or the Germans sending more duraluminum. Need actual numbers on this & I no longer have the correct books on hand.

How important the African grain & other food was needs similar clarification. I recall the end of Lybian/French colonial imports was a problem, but exactly how large? Food rationing existed before November 1942.
my speculation was simply that Axis do not lose 400k troops in Tunisia, and further than the Italian forces which were historically in S.France are there in greater numbers.

with no Allied invasion of N.Africa? and possible Allied difficulties invading France? Libya is not (immediately) lost? that is question in my mind, even historically if they had gone on defensive, even if Cyrenica is lost? how long it would take Allied side to evict them had they not been strung out along the roads into Egypt.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1787
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by maltesefalcon » 21 Oct 2018 17:44

Lot of elements in play here.

Drastic reduction of Axis commitment and/or Allied progress in N. Africa likely means no DAK. The troops, transports, shipping and air support could be diverted to the Eastern front. Likewise more Italian efforts there.

No Torch means no sizeable Anglo American invasion until 1943. Stalin may be pressed to negotatiate terms in that case.

As well as mentioned the invasion of France would occur in 1943 under much more difficult situation. No local air superiority would be the most obvious handicap.

thaddeus_c
Member
Posts: 601
Joined: 22 Jan 2014 03:16

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by thaddeus_c » 21 Oct 2018 22:26

maltesefalcon wrote:
21 Oct 2018 17:44
Drastic reduction of Axis commitment and/or Allied progress in N. Africa likely means no DAK. The troops, transports, shipping and air support could be diverted to the Eastern front. Likewise more Italian efforts there.

No Torch means no sizeable Anglo American invasion until 1943. Stalin may be pressed to negotatiate terms in that case.

As well as mentioned the invasion of France would occur in 1943 under much more difficult situation. No local air superiority would be the most obvious handicap.
have read the summaries of the idea of 1943 invasion of France (directly) but not any of the books, with no Torch and no invasion of Italy, do they still propose an invasion of S.France?

maybe a capture of Brest and/or Cherbourg eliminates the need for that?

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Oct 2018 00:47

No Torch means no sizeable Anglo American invasion until 1943. Stalin may be pressed to negotatiate terms in that case.
The Soviet leaders in general considered the African theatre a waste of resources and proof the British were not serious. They were similarly disappointed later about the progress of the Italian campaign.
As well as mentioned the invasion of France would occur in 1943 under much more difficult situation. No local air superiority would be the most obvious handicap.
Not sure what you mean here. During 1943 the Germans lost heavily in the air. Post war examination of German records showed they suffered 68% of their 1943 total losses in the ETO/MTO. Three times in the Med in 1943 the Axis or German air force had to break off the campaign as losses were becoming unsustainable. In the autumn of 1943 Germany transferred 600+ interceptors from the eastern front to add some strength to the air defense of the homeland. It appears the total German operating strength in combat aircraft declined by about 10% between the start and end of 1943. Allied operating strength more than doubled across the ETO/MTO during the same months.
have read the summaries of the idea of 1943 invasion of France (directly) but not any of the books, with no Torch and no invasion of Italy, do they still propose an invasion of S.France?

maybe a capture of Brest and/or Cherbourg eliminates the need for that?
Even at massive over capacity, such as occurred at Cherbourg for a few weeks in September 1944, 25,000 tons daily vs a nominal peace time capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 tons daily, the Cherbourg and Berton port groups won't have enough capacity for the numbers needed to defat Germany in the west. At 900 tons daily per division 'slice' (44,000 men in combat, & support echelons) fifty Allied divisions would need a steady 45,000 tons daily. Then there are the requirements of the French population which ramped up quickly.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Oct 2018 01:12

thaddeus_c wrote:
21 Oct 2018 13:27
...

with no Allied invasion of N.Africa? and possible Allied difficulties invading France? Libya is not (immediately) lost? that is question in my mind, even historically if they had gone on defensive, even if Cyrenica is lost? how long it would take Allied side to evict them had they not been strung out along the roads into Egypt.
My guess is French neutrality evaporates about five minutes after a Anglo/US invasion of NW Europe starts. Pro Axis leaders would start preparing to fight one way, pro Allied leaders the other. Petain can either make a decision for one or the other, or opt to attempt continuing neutrality. I don't think the Germans will let neutrality stand, too few French leaders and followers can be trusted. The French Communists had already organized a active unground and they will be much more active soon. Even if Petain chooses to comply with the Armistice and aid the Axis the Germans are going to be sending considerable forces south to occupy the Vichy zone. I'd expect as in OTL Axis forces in the Med will be attempting to occupy airfields and ports in Tunisia & then Algeria & Morocco. That will run up against the portion of military commanders in Africa who are pro Allied. While the Axis ground forces can beat them at every turn its still going to suck away a army size logistics effort to pursue occupation of th north African littoral.

If the Axis ignore Africa then the Allies can try negotiating something with the French leaders there.

If Petain opts for the Allies ten the bulk of the African ports will be open to them and closed to any Axis efforts to enter.

Getting back to the OP. The African littoral is necessary for the Axis, or Italy. Whatever grain can be imported from there is essential as occurred Europe was significantly short by then. If Italy loses access to grain from Lybia and Tunisia it complicates rationing and keeping the occupied populations quiet.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1787
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by maltesefalcon » 22 Oct 2018 16:49

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
22 Oct 2018 00:47
No Torch means no sizeable Anglo American invasion until 1943. Stalin may be pressed to negotatiate terms in that case.
The Soviet leaders in general considered the African theatre a waste of resources and proof the British were not serious. They were similarly disappointed later about the progress of the Italian campaign.
As well as mentioned the invasion of France would occur in 1943 under much more difficult situation. No local air superiority would be the most obvious handicap.
Not sure what you mean here. During 1943 the Germans lost heavily in the air. Post war examination of German records showed they suffered 68% of their 1943 total losses in the ETO/MTO. Three times in the Med in 1943 the Axis or German air force had to break off the campaign as losses were becoming unsustainable. In the autumn of 1943 Germany transferred 600+ interceptors from the eastern front to add some strength to the air defense of the homeland. It appears the total German operating strength in combat aircraft declined by about 10% between the start and end of 1943. Allied operating strength more than doubled across the ETO/MTO during the same months.
have read the summaries of the idea of 1943 invasion of France (directly) but not any of the books, with no Torch and no invasion of Italy, do they still propose an invasion of S.France?

maybe a capture of Brest and/or Cherbourg eliminates the need for that?
Even at massive over capacity, such as occurred at Cherbourg for a few weeks in September 1944, 25,000 tons daily vs a nominal peace time capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 tons daily, the Cherbourg and Berton port groups won't have enough capacity for the numbers needed to defat Germany in the west. At 900 tons daily per division 'slice' (44,000 men in combat, & support echelons) fifty Allied divisions would need a steady 45,000 tons daily. Then there are the requirements of the French population which ramped up quickly.
Granted the Luftwaffe suffered serious losses in 1943. But they were skewed largely in the latter part of the year.
I'm not saying this site link is gospel, just indicating trends:

http://simhq.net/forum/ubbthreads.php/t ... n_Air.html

A successful invasion of Northern France required months of tactical bombing which may still have occurred, but at much higher cost. The Luftwaffe would have still been strong enough in 1943 to provide heavy fighter interference, as the invasion would be in May or June, before the heavy losses.

IRL Luftwaffe loss figures for Q1/Q2 1944 are much higher than peak 1943, as the Allies targeted them for destruction.

This would not have been impossible by May 1943, just much more difficult. For example the tide in the U-Boat war did not turn until May 43. This gave the allies the opportunity to build up supplies/equipment and troops in England. On top of that the Merlin Mustang was not available in large numbers until about Q4 1943.

Note: I am not saying the Allies would not make the attempt under these hypothetical conditions, just that doing so would be harder than IRL 1944. Hence my comments about the handicap.

On another note, Stalins opinion on the Torch/North Africa campaigns would be moot in this case because they did not take place. My thoughts were rather that the resources used by the Axis would be used in Eastern Front instead, especially since the Anglo Americans were idle until they invaded France.

Perhaps with these extra Wehrmacht resources Russia would be harder pressed and likely to seek terms? They actually did send out feelers just prior to the Kursk offensive.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6809
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Italian Economic Decline 1943-44

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Oct 2018 02:27

...
Granted the Luftwaffe suffered serious losses in 1943. But they were skewed largely in the latter part of the year.
I'm not saying this site link is gospel, just indicating trends:

http://simhq.net/forum/ubbthreads.php/t ... n_Air.html
That analysis is not bad I just skimmed through it, but the numbers were not far off from several others taking the same look. Unfortunately like most of the others it does not provide comparison with the relative Allied air strengths. Ellis in'Brute Force' does provide biannual comparisons of gross operational strength, but does not break them down by Front or Theatre. ie: The US front line operational air strength of mid 1944 of 20,000+ encompasses the entire globe. Ditto for the Brits. The charts pasted here are illustrations of the same material.
OB rate of Growth copy.jpg
German Fighter Losses 1943.png
German aircraft losses by Theatre.png

Granted the Luftwaffe suffered serious losses in 1943. But they were skewed largely in the latter part of the year.
This was largely because in the first half of the year the Axis or Germans in the west broke off the air campaigns or battles when the loss rates became unacceptable. As the summer passed into autumn this became increasingly difficult, & then impossible as the air assault on Germany became serious. the trends in the air campaigns over Tunisia & Sicily were very much against the Axis & Germans. while the Axis won some spectacular tactical victories strategically they lost over and over.
A successful invasion of Northern France required months of tactical bombing which may still have occurred, but at much higher cost. The Luftwaffe would have still been strong enough in 1943 to provide heavy fighter interference, as the invasion would be in May or June, before the heavy losses.
To illustrate the problem for the Luftwaffe requires solid numbers for the Allied airforces. Which I don't have at hand. What we can see in general terms is close to half the Allied air strength was committed to the MTO in 1943. The African & Italian campaign diverted a significant portion of the Allied air strength rom the UK to the MTO. Without a large scale African campaign and the build up for the Italian campaign there are far more air groups available for use in the UK vs NW Europe. There is another advantage for the Allies in the superior infrastructure and transportation in the UK, vs the thin rail, auto, and air field structure in Algeria, Tunsia, & Sicily or southern Italy. Having a larger skilled workforce at hand helps as well. Bottom line is it was easier and faster to expand a air base structure in the UK than in the MTO.

. For example the tide in the U-Boat war did not turn until May 43.
Strictly speaking it turned in latter 1943, but no one realized it yet. Least of all the Brits, who's 1943 PoV on this is still accepted in most circles. Note that the mid Atlantic US-Gibraltar convoys supplying the MTO in early 1943 were drawing on the ASW effort, splitting the effort as it were. More than one US or British admiral involved in the battle of the Atlantic remarked on this. What it allowed was the concentration of the submarine force vs a less well protected shipping stream to the UK. Waiving away the bulk of the fighting in the MTO in 1943 not only allows redirection of the considerable cargo shipping used there, but allows the redirection of the ASW effort as well.
On top of that the Merlin Mustang was not available in large numbers until about Q4 1943.
This is important for the Air assault on Germany. If the German air forces lean forward to contest a Allied operation in western France they will encounter the same Spitfires, P40s, P47, P38 that they conceded the air over western France to in OTL. A stand up battle with that lot just attritions the defense as fast as it did later over Germany, or as it repeatedly threatened to do in the Mediterranean. While the numbers are not as lopsided as a year later the ratio is still going to be heavily on the Allied side, as is the ability to replace losses.

Not argument this would be a hard battle, but its pretty much the same hard battle that occurred anyway later in the the autumn/winter of 1943-44.
Perhaps with these extra Wehrmacht resources Russia would be harder pressed and likely to seek terms? They actually did send out feelers just prior to the Kursk offensive.
I've seen that 'peace feeler' dated to late 1941, and to October 1943 as well. Where there is smoke there must be fire but I'd like to see some reliable Soviet sources on this subject.

If the Soviet leaders are unaware of the West Allied plan to make their move five or six months into 1943, then maybe they would have reservations. Otherwise if they are kept informed, as in OTL, I'd think they'd proceed with more confidence. Knowing a Allied army group will be forcing its way into France in the spring/summer of 1943 may change their calculation for their own summer battles, vs informed of a periphrial attack on Sicily.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “What if”