Roberto Rojas wrote:Greetings to both citizen Iron Machine and the community as a whole. Howdy I.M.! Well sir, in deference to your point OR points-of-view as articulated within your posting of Saturday - November 10, 2018 - 12:09am, old yours truly will most certainly concede that I am not the END ALL TO BE ALL on the this topic OR any other topic for that matter. Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, it has been my "understanding'" that the formations that would come to be known as the Infanteria de Marina had their contemporary genesis in the RIF WAR (1920-1927). During the course of this conflict, both the nations of France and Spain mounted THE first combined amphibious operation in the annals of modern warfare on September 08, 1925. This substantial operation was executed at ALUCEMAS BAY in the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. Some 13,000 personnel were landed directly on the beach from ramp equipped vessels.
Well, the Spanish "Infantería de Marina" has a long history, and its origins can be traced back, according to some authors, to the creation in 1537 of the "Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles". But the Alhucemas landing is not, in any way, a relevant point for the "Infantería de Marina" (IM from now on) . The participation of the IM in the landing (which, by the way, was basically a Spanish operation, French participation being very, very small) was reduced to an expeditionary battalion that was not part of the first wave of the landing. Its actions were in no way different to those of the Army units involved in the operation, and it could have been easily replaced by them.
Roberto Rojas wrote:It also my "understanding" that it was the "desire" of certain elements within the Republican Government to disband the Infanteria de Marina, because it was seen as a "TOOL OF COLONIALISM". That is quite an enlightening indictment from the SPANISH LEFT for men who allegedly did nothing more than guard naval facilities.
The IM was "declarada a extinguir" (that is, their losses were not going to be replaced until the IM ceased to exist) on 10 july 1931, certainly under the government of the left in the II Republic. But I have never heard that this was because the IM was seen as a "tool of colonialism", and I think this is blatantly false for a number of reasons:
- Through its long history, the IM was not specially involved in colonial campaigns. When the IM participated, it was a minimal contribution to the total forces involved in a campaign. The Army was the service charged with colonial warfare.
- For a corps supposedly considered a "tool of colonialism", I think it is highly significant that when the Spanish left parties came to power in 1931 there were no IM units in Morocco. All IM units were in Spain proper.
- Doubts about the need for an IM has been common in Spain since at least the beginning of the XX century; the idea of disbanding it as it was no longer necessary was floating around.
- At the same date, the Engineers of the Navy and the Navy Artillery branches were also "declarados a extinguir", and they both could hardly be accused of being "tools of colonialism". It was simply a reorganization of the Navy.
- Some Army units, like the Legión or the Regulares, that could much easily, and with better reasons, be considered "tools of colonialism" were not affected in any way.
- Between 1934 and 1936, when the right parties were in power (and they were not shy about colonialism), the decisión about the disbanding of the IM was not changed.
It is not that those men allegedly did nothing more than guard naval facilities, it's that they did nothing more than guard naval facilities.
Roberto Rojas wrote:However, historical events subsequently overtook that political "desire" from the SPANISH LEFT. The fratricide that would come to be known as the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) found the personnel of the Infanteria de Marina fighting with distinction on both sides of the political spectrum.
The personnel of the IM fought well in the SCW, but they were IM just in name. There was nothing in their equipment, training or capacities to distinguish them for Army units, and they did not fought better than Army units. They were not elite, not shock troops, not special in any way.
Roberto Rojas wrote:After the conclusion of that domestic unpleasantness,
Holy Cannoli, Bat... err, Roberto! That's the biggest euphemism I have ever seen...
Roberto Rojas wrote:Francisco Franco retained the Infanteria de Marina as a distinct Naval entity with projections to transform this organization into a credible force unto itself, which was quite an intraservice concession from an Army General.
The IM was retained, but I have never seen that Franco had any project to "transform this organization into a credible force unto itself". Now, Admiral Moreno, the Navy Minister, may have had those projects, but still in october 1940 his reorganization of the IM listed their missions as: garrisoning ships and bases; manning anti-aircraft machine-guns in warships and bases; and providing passive defense against air attacks on land bases. No mention at all was made of amphibious warfare (not to mention the lack of any way to project their force, that is, there were no landing ships of any kind). Doesn't look (to me, at least) as anything remarkable. Despite some earlier experiences with very small units, the Spanish IM did not began to recover its amphibious vocation until 1957.
And about what you consider "quite an intraservice concession from an Army General", you have to consider that by that time Franco was not longer an Army General but a head of state. Anyway, many more similar or even greater concessions were made, for example the creation of the Air Force as a independent service instead of letting it as a branch of the Army as it was originally, or the creation of land forces (not parachutists) for the Air Force for the protection of air bases (quite similar to the IM, indeed). Anyway, 5 regiments of IM is not so big a concession IMHO.
Roberto Rojas wrote:Apparently, Francisco Franco intuitively grasped the worthiness of amphibious warfare since he was one of the 13,000 personnel who debarked on the shore of ALUCEMAS BAY on September 08, 1925.
As one of the 13,000 personnel who debarked on the shore on Alhucemas on 8 September 1925 he would have seen that amphibious warfare could be made without "Infantería de Marina"! The worthiness of amphibious warfare does not directy imply the worthiness of Marines. And Franco does not seem to have pressed the Navy to build any kind of landing ship, so whether he grasped the worthiness of amphibious warfare or not is open to discussion. In fact, at the time there were not plausible scenarios in which a Spanish amphibious capacity, which by force of circunstances would have been very small, would have been valuable. And as I said before, the Spanish IM did not began to regain its amphibious capacity until 1957. With all that in mind, I don't think that Franco was especially involved in the fate of the IM.
Roberto Rojas wrote:Now, with all of that said, I also rather suspect that El Caudillo's clandestine commitment of his battle hardened Infanteria de Marina to the Malta Operation just "MIGHT" settle accounts with Il Duce over Fascist Italy's support of the Nationalists during the very recent Spanish Civil War. After all, BUSINESS is BUSINESS!
Well, accounts with Il Duce were settled with money, so there was no need to do anything else. If Hitler, who had much more leverage over him, could not move Franco to act, Mussolini is certainly not going to achieve success.
And Franco's battle-hardened "Infantería de Marina" would amount to maybe three-four battalions with neither experience nor training in amphibious warfare. They could do nothing that the Italians could not do better and more easily.
Roberto Rojas wrote:Finally, this might also be a "cultural" opportunity for the Infanteria de Marina to provide a taste of Spanish COLONIALISM to the fine burghers of Malta.
I'm sure there would have been more interest in showing Spanish "culture" to the proud sons of Italy.
Roberto Rojas wrote:Sound like a plan!?
No, not to me at least.
Roberto Rojas wrote:Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this expansive topic of interest - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in your corner of the greater Iberian Peninsula. Adios!
Have a nice day!