Italy invading Malta in 1940

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Wargames
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Wargames » 15 Nov 2018 06:08

jwsleser wrote:
14 Nov 2018 16:10
Finally able to drop back in. Many Veterans’ Day weekend activities and I read through all 48 pages of the earlier Malta invasion thread. Of the latter, some good discussion mixed with a lot of bad information.
Those 48 pages were so full of crappolo profundo that the moderators had to close and lock the thread. Rather than involve myself in such dog chase tail argument, I simply skipped the invasion landing debate altogether. I knew what could be done. Why ask for what you already know?
Reggimento San Marco. A second (reserve) battalion was mobilized in June 1940, giving the force a total 1,200 men. Both battalions were practicing assault landings near La Spezia in June 1940 in preparation for a landing behind French lines along the Mediterranean coast.
It is claimed that San Marco was able to place a 47/32 gun on the deck of one your braggozo fishing boats for this practiced night landing. It may explain why the guns are included in their TOE. I have no idea how they planned to land them.
Reggimento Fanti dell'aria. Two battalion of 500 each. The regiment executed a large scale mass-tactical jump in 1938 which included seizing an airfield and air-landing a full infantry regiment and artillery (some artillery was parachuted). In all, nearly 5,000 troops were flown-in or dropped. A smaller exercise was repeated in 1939. The 1940 plan had the regiment landing near Zurrico (Zurrieq) and either seizing Hal Far airfield or, failing that, defending the Nigret hills.
Two points of disagreement, both minor. I show the battalions at 400 men each. If you add the 72 men added at Derna to man to the 47mm guns, you'll get 500 men. However, neither the 72 men nor their 47mm guns were a part of the battalion. They were simply assigned to Derna to support the paratroopers.

You didn't say it but you suggest an air landing regiment was to land at Hal Far after the paratroopers took it in 1940. This I don't have. Instead, I have this paratroop landing shown as a "diversionary" landing. Rather than engage in such a suicidal landing they were later reassigned to taking the heights above the beach landing sites (Think Marfa Ridge).
Everything was design to be man-packed. The batteria d’accompagnamento (infantry support guns, both the 47/32 and 65/17) were man-potable. The 75/18 mountain howitzer broke down in eight sections for transport.
I think we need to be more specific. The 47/32 did not break down and took ten men to move. The 65/17 was not intended to be carried by men but by mules. You have the 75/18 right.
The rocky terrain also means that the garrison would be exposed to the R.A. and their bombs.
Again, to be more specific, the planes the British garrison would have been exposed to was the Cr.32 and Cr.42 Falco flying in groups of 18 aircraft and carrying 220 pound bombs equipped with one 7.7mm machinegun and one 12.7mm. The 12.7mm would have been used on any British vehicles trying to move north (for the Italian pilots to find them is as simple as following any road south) while the 7.7mm gun would have been used on any British troops stupid enough to man the Victoria Line (and which basically includes two battalions).

The British would not have been exposed to Italian horizontal bombers as these bombers generally missed their targets by 200-500 yards and therefore could not be used in close ground support.
Use of Valletta by the R.N. Certainly damaged ships could use the harbor in am emergency, but does anyone believe the R.N. would operate out of that port during an invasion? When and how do they use Valletta? At night? What happens when the Italians mine the approaches or take other actions (see X MAS above)?
Damaged British ships would have put in at Valletta for repairs, true. It could also refuel four destroyers at a time and most could not get back to Alexandria/Gibraltar without refueling.

As to mines and MAS, I have not been able to find where Italy successfully mined Valletta (which had three minesweepers to clear them) or attacked successfully there with MAS. I did find where German aircraft did drop mines outside. As near as I can tell the obstacle to Italy mining Valletta or using MAS was the British searchlights. But I welcome correction.
The R.N. The Italian plan states that the sailing time for the British to Malta is a minimum of 36 hours.
And a 99% chance of 48 hours minimum if Warspite is included and Warspite would be included. I used 48 hours.
The sailing time for the invasion ships is 11 hours.
Which happens to correspond, to the British misfortune, with the change of the tides. It means the Italians can make two trips in 45 hours.

5 day invasion prep. The challenge for the R.N. is when to sail. When they sail and how much flex the Italians build into their plan are factors. The prep works against the UK. If some success in the first few days (especially in the north), it might ultimately cause the UK to decide to cut their losses and not sortie.
The ultimate decision lay with First Sea Lord Pound at Gibraltar. Pound not only conceded the loss of Malta but also the loss of Egypt in early 1940 and did not change his mind until after Taranto in November, 1940. Pound may very well have had the support of Admiral Somerville in this (Though certainly not the support of Admiral Cunningham.).

So, yes, Malta might very well be conceded. The problem is that it may not be conceded on August 28, 1940. British reinforcements are at hand in Gibraltar and Cunningham chomping at the bit.

Why August 28? Because there are enormous problems with a June invasion. First, the entire invasion was waiting on whether Spain would invade Gibraltar (Which Italy believed nullified any need to invade Malta at all as it could then not be resupplied from Britain.). The 47th Bari Division was still one week short of its landing training on June 5, the second division had not even begun its own and both divisions could not be trained at the same time. The second division would not have completed its training until June 26. The two Italian paratroop battalions were still in Libya and, based upon their experience at Derna, would have argued against defending any position with their existing equipment (And for which they subsequently received three HMG's and one 81mm mortar.). The R.A. did not come up with how to supply the landing until July. There is also the problem of the tides and phase of the moon to consider. IMO, Italy can't pull this off any earlier.

But I welcome correction. August 28 couldn’t be much worse.

Airfields to support the operations. The airfields on Pantelleria and A.S. were to be used as well as on Sicilia. 300 bombers and 200 fighters in the plan.
Another point of disagreement but possibly minor. I also have 500 aircraft but they are 500 bombers. According to the calculations used at the time it would have taken exactly 500 bombers dropping 1,100 pound bombs on the two feet of steel reinforced concrete of Fort Campbell to have an 80% probability of taking it out. The R.A. stated they did not have 500 bombers.

The difference can be explained though because they did have 300 bombers and, using 300 bombers, it would take 5 days (the same number of days you use) to take out Fort Campbell. It suggests someone did the simple math of how many extra trips would the available 300 bombers have to make to get the same critical hits 500 could make in one?

The first conversion is to calculate the operational aircraft out of 300 bombers. The Italians would have been lucky to put 250 of them in the air due to maintenance. So now we have get 250 bombers over the target twice to do the same damage as 500.

At the time, Italy flew photo recon flights over a bombed target the next day in order to assess damage. In five days of bombing those recon flights would be flown on the 2nd and 4th day and the equivalent of 500 bombers achieved on day three. Yet the British would have day four and day five to clear the rubble, make repairs, and return the guns to operation in time for day five ("D Day") requiring a third bombing run over the target on day five just "to be sure".

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 15 Nov 2018 10:42

Richard Anderson wrote:
15 Nov 2018 00:37
Wargames wrote:
14 Nov 2018 23:13
To hit a target you first have to see it.
Indeed, yes you are confused about how modern field artillery works.
I don't think he is confused at all. He has deliberately changed the rules of war in his game to push a set outcome.

Imagine this. Hundreds - if not thousands - of men are pouring onto a small beach, they are also bringing in thousands of tons of stores, a lovely 'gridsquare' target if ever there was one. But the British making a mess of that is not helpful to the outcome he is pushing - so invent a rule in the game that you can only shoot at targets you can 'see'. :roll:

Remember, he's already changed the rules significantly at the strategic decisionmaking level, why not make a few at the tactical level as well. I expect the British were also armed with teaspoons and crumpets rather than Lee Enfields and bayonets. Remember the stealth fishing boats? It took the US decades and billions of dollars to come up with special paint to hide their aircraft, the italians just dyed the colorful sails. :lol:
Last edited by MarkN on 15 Nov 2018 10:56, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 15 Nov 2018 10:50

Wargames wrote:
15 Nov 2018 06:08
Those 48 pages were so full of crappolo profundo ...
Whereas this one is infected by liberal doses of fantasy, non-historical narratives and illogical game rules.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 15 Nov 2018 12:58

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Nov 2018 20:43
Yep, an RN attempt to disrupt the invasion by the Fleet would probably be a non-starter. At best they might risk a cruiser-destroyer force...but even that could be dicey. The problem is that unlike the British incursions into Italian waters at this time, the Italians have the initiative and can decide on time and place.
I should think that the British Fleet being in two forces would be a massive complication for the Italians. As this ATL date is simultaneous with the OTL Operation Hats, the RN has: Cunningham from Alexandria with Warspite, Malaya, Eagle and upto 5 Cruisers and 12 Destroyers. Somerville from Gib with Valiant, Renown, Ark Royal, Illustrious, 3 Cruisers and 17 Destroyers.

So do the Regia Marina keep their battlefleet united to defeat one of the Forces but risk having the other destroy the invasion fleet or split them and attempt to fend off both Forces?

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 15 Nov 2018 14:42

Wargames wrote:
15 Nov 2018 06:00
It wasn't added until 1943. Nice picture though.
Good information, how did you find out?
Considering how important the guns were, how many people worked there and for how long, there doesn't seem to be all that much information, and less pictures!, in the public domain.

According to the calculations used at the time it would have taken exactly 500 bombers dropping 1,100 pound bombs on the two feet of steel reinforced concrete of Fort Campbell to have an 80% probability of taking it out.
Those calculations are very interesting, who made them, the Regia Aeronautica?
At the time, Italy flew photo recon flights over a bombed target the next day in order to assess damage. In five days of bombing those recon flights would be flown on the 2nd and 4th day and the equivalent of 500 bombers achieved on day three. Yet the British would have day four and day five to clear the rubble, make repairs, and return the guns to operation in time for day five ("D Day") requiring a third bombing run over the target on day five just "to be sure".
Yes, that's a problem. The guns might seem to be knocked out but Malta has full base facilities with workshops, parts, artificers and armourers.
Also by concentrating bombing on Fort Campbell doesn't that rather give the game away as to which area the landing is going to be?

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by jwsleser » 15 Nov 2018 16:25

There have been a quite a few comments and I haven’t tried to address them all. These are the points that I feel are important to the discussion. if you wish me to address other points, please ask again. :D

Lift of the paracadutisti. Yes, all can be carried in one lift. The primary aircraft was the SM81. 1,000 paratroopers can be carried by ~85-90 aircraft. Over 500 are in the inventory in 1940. I only mentioned the SM82 as they were coming available in 1940 and could carry more. I have about 50 SM82 available in the summer of 1940, but that is from sources I have not validated and might not be correct.

Fort Campbell. We can agree to disagree. The vulnerability of the fort in my opinion is not necessarily its construction (but it does have weaknesses), but its location and the fact it is one of a very few critical targets. It would be a main target during the prep and landings for the reasons mentioned here, and there are very few other critical targets competing for those same resources. It is easy to identify from both the air or sea, hence an easy target to TRY to hit. If the naval bombardment does nothing else, taking out Fort Campbell is important.

I am unclear about the 18pdrs. How many were on the island, where were they located and how were their positions designed? The term anti-boat has a significant meaning, which implies the sites have limitations. Positioning guns for direct-fire/anti-boat/anti-armor work is not ideal for using these same guns as general support artillery. It also implies individual placement, which then requires extensive communications and centralized fire control to mass effective indirect fire. So I am getting mixed messages on the purpose and associated placement of the 18pdrs.

To compare the actual Italian summer 1940 bombing campaign with its limited objective and resources to what the Italians would do if they decided to tackle the invasion is truly a stretch. It is quite possible that an actual 1940 invasion air campaign will be just as ineffective as the historical bombing campaign, but with the increased resources and the clear objectives, the results will likely be better. How much better, I don't know. If the R.A. can interfere with UK troop movements during the actual landings, then that is a very good plus.
It is claimed that San Marco was able to place a 47/32 gun on the deck of one your braggozo fishing boats for this practiced night landing. It may explain why the guns are included in their TOE. I have no idea how they planned to land them.
From Progetto del 18 giugno 1940 (Gabriele p. 232)
Each barge should have two heavy machineguns on the prow, and at least one third of the barges should also be equipped with an anti-tank gun. (my translation).
It is not only the San Marco, it is all the boats. Note that the 47/32 has a pretty effective HE round as it was designed to be an armi d’accompagnamento.

The comments about the infantry guns are incorrect. These were designed as armi d’accompagnamento and as such are designed to be man handled in extreme terrain. While the squada cannone/controcarro is 12 men (Addestramento della fanteria 1939), four men can move/maneuver the 47/32 (the others were mainly ammunition bearers, but assisted when the terrain required it). The 40-50 men in a motobragozzo with a 47/32 c.c. in the bow can easily lift and lower the gun off the boat. The gun doesn’t need to be broken down. BTW, one issue with the 47/32 was that it couldn’t be towed by a vehicle, it was design to be man portable. There are several great pictures of Graziani’s advance into Egypt with the 47/32s being pulled by the gun crew.

While the 65/17 can be carried by mules, it was still designed to be manhandled. It is lighter than the 47/32. Take a look at the many pictures of the 65/17 in the mountains. That was one of the main requirements for these weapons. Mules and trucks are nice when you have them, but the weapons could be (and many times were) moved by manpower.
Two points of disagreement, both minor. I show the battalions at 400 men each.
Okay. Different sources and different understandings of how these units would be organized for the invasion. Again I am not trying to prove that the Italians would have succeed, just demonstrating that they had a solid idea of what was needed. If 400 men is all that is required to make the invasion a success, then the 30,000 men in the 1940 plan should be enough. :wink:

I am not that concerned about the exact numbers to argue who will win. That will take us down a rathole that will never be resolved. :D
You didn't say it but you suggest an air landing regiment was to land at Hal Far after the paratroopers took it in 1940. 
You are correct, I didn’t say that. Nor did I imply it. All I pointed out was, unlike any other army except the Soviets, the Italians had actually tested/trained large scale airborne operations prior to 1940. The fact that they combined a vertical assault with an air landing showed a degree of sophistication in their thinking. That specific comment (and those comments about the San Marco) was to demonstrate that the Italians had a pretty good understanding of forced entry and the material/training needed to pull it off. The argument that Italy didn't have the knowledge/experience to conduct an invasion just isn't true.

I will once again note that the Italian invasion was based on mass, not finesse. Get enough stuff ashore and the garrison will lose. A comment was made that the 5 day prep might give away the main landing area. The 1940 plan was to land at multiple locations. Strip other sites of their defenders and success can be had at those locations. 38 motobragozzi were held in immediate reserve to support success.

Pista! Jeff
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by jwsleser » 15 Nov 2018 16:41

So, yes, Malta might very well be conceded. The problem is that it may not be conceded on August 28, 1940. British reinforcements are at hand in Gibraltar and Cunningham chomping at the bit.
Quite possible. 8O

The UK operational dilemma. The point I was making is that any decisions involving a commitment to Malta must be set into the operational/strategic environment. In this ‘what if’, Italy has decided to operationally commit to invading Malta, therefore resources are available to use in the invasion. Once the UK understands an invasion is going to happen, they must decide whether to operationally commit to saving Malta.

This is a different decision from one to reinforce Malta with no immediate threat of invasion. In this case, the timing is decided by the UK. The reinforcement can be done without a battle (that is the desired outcome). If the Italians decide/try to contest, the UK can always cancel and try again later. The risk to the UK is significantly lower because of these reasons. The gain can be quite high if the reinforcement prevents the Italians from taking the island.

Contesting an invasion is a different set of issues. The timing is decided by the Italians. Battle is the likely outcome and the Italians have already chosen the place. Given the timing, can the UK actually achieve their aim (sailing time vice the invasion timeline)? If the Italians can land sufficient troops before the fleet arrives, the R.M. can avoid battle while the R.N. is exposed to air and submarine attacks. If the R.N. sortie does cause the Italians to abandon the invasion without a fight, what prevents them from trying again. Risk is significantly higher with a lower chance of success.

All I am demonstrating is that the UK has a difficult decision. Strategically Malta had already been written out of the equation. Can the UK decide to intervene? Certainly they can, but it is a different decision from sending the Hats Convoy to Malta.

Pista! Jeff
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RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940 - (In Grand Style).

Post by Robert Rojas » 15 Nov 2018 19:32

Greetings to both brother Wargames and the community as a whole. Howdy Wargames! Well sir, this posting is not really aimed at one course of action over another, but given that brother jwsleser (a.k.a. Jeff) is of the point-of-view that the Anglo/Italian conundrum on the Island of Malta is NOT a MEXICAN STANDOFF and it is your point-of-view that the projected Italian Operation scheduled on or about August 28, 1940 will NOT require ANY outside assistance from National Socialist Germany, please humor me and allow old yours truly to borrow a page from brother Richard Anderson's playbook. In lieu of having a Bragozzi Armada hitting the beach under the cover of darkness, then why not have the Luxury Liner S.S. Conte di Savoia steam into the grand harbor of Valletta under the cover of darkness. After the ship ties up at the pier, then the Naval Infantry of the crack San Marco Regiment will then disembark in an orderly manner and march smartly into Valletta proper. While the S.S. Conte di Savoia quietly slips into the grand harbor of Valletta, the picked troops of Il Duce's quite diminutive paratroop force will be engaging in a suicidal NIGHT drop across the length and breadth of the Maltese Archipelago to sow confusion and possibly panic among the British Commonwealth defenders. By dawn, regular units of the Italian Army will be disembarking from conventional shipping now arriving in the grand harbor of Valletta. "ASSUMING" all has gone according to "PLAN", It will be a glorious day indeed for the latter day Roman Empire! Incidentally, old Uncle Bob was also going to appease citizen Iron Machine with the inclusion of a unit of Spain's Infanteria de Marina to SECURE and GUARD the S.S. Conte di Savoia from thieving gypsies and snooping Maltese customs officials, but as you previously asserted, the Italians do NOT require ANY outside assistance with their projected enterprise in the Central Mediterranean Sea. So much for the theory that you can have your Panettone and eat it too! It's just some wanting food for thought. Gelato anyone? Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this circular exercise into the hypothetically absurd - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Ironmachine » 15 Nov 2018 21:06

Robert Rojas wrote:old Uncle Bob was also going to appease citizen Iron Machine with the inclusion of a unit of Spain's Infanteria de Marina to SECURE and GUARD the S.S. Conte di Savoia from thieving gypsies and snooping Maltese customs officials
There's no need to appease citizen Iron Machine (sic) and he couldn't care less about whether you include Spanish Infantería de Marina in your Malta invasion in 1940 what-if scenario or not (historically you shouldn't, but...) . If you want to learn something about Spain's Infantería de Marina in 1940, you are welcome. If you don't, that's not my problem.
Now, there are posters here that are trying to have a serious discussion about the thread topic and may have a less favourable opinion about your last post.
Regards.

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Re: RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940 - (In Grand Style).

Post by Takao » 16 Nov 2018 00:10

Robert Rojas wrote:
15 Nov 2018 19:32
Greetings to both brother Wargames and the community as a whole. Howdy Wargames! Well sir, this posting is not really aimed at one course of action over another, but given that brother jwsleser (a.k.a. Jeff) is of the point-of-view that the Anglo/Italian conundrum on the Island of Malta is NOT a MEXICAN STANDOFF and it is your point-of-view that the projected Italian Operation scheduled on or about August 28, 1940 will NOT require ANY outside assistance from National Socialist Germany, please humor me and allow old yours truly to borrow a page from brother Richard Anderson's playbook. In lieu of having a Bragozzi Armada hitting the beach under the cover of darkness, then why not have the Luxury Liner S.S. Conte di Savoia steam into the grand harbor of Valletta under the cover of darkness. After the ship ties up at the pier, then the Naval Infantry of the crack San Marco Regiment will then disembark in an orderly manner and march smartly into Valletta proper. While the S.S. Conte di Savoia quietly slips into the grand harbor of Valletta, the picked troops of Il Duce's quite diminutive paratroop force will be engaging in a suicidal NIGHT drop across the length and breadth of the Maltese Archipelago to sow confusion and possibly panic among the British Commonwealth defenders. By dawn, regular units of the Italian Army will be disembarking from conventional shipping now arriving in the grand harbor of Valletta. "ASSUMING" all has gone according to "PLAN", It will be a glorious day indeed for the latter day Roman Empire! Incidentally, old Uncle Bob was also going to appease citizen Iron Machine with the inclusion of a unit of Spain's Infanteria de Marina to SECURE and GUARD the S.S. Conte di Savoia from thieving gypsies and snooping Maltese customs officials, but as you previously asserted, the Italians do NOT require ANY outside assistance with their projected enterprise in the Central Mediterranean Sea. So much for the theory that you can have your Panettone and eat it too! It's just some wanting food for thought. Gelato anyone? Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this circular exercise into the hypothetically absurd - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
Taking a page from our brother Robdab's 1941 Oahu invasion play book?

His plan fell apart when he tried to take a Japanese ocean liner with a draught of 43 feet into a shipping harbor and channel with a depth of about 1/2 that...Left his Japanese SNLF troops stranded on a ship two and a half miles from the beach

The Conte di Savoia draws about 32 feet on a good day, today the depth pierside is about 16-20 feet, and it was likely shallower back then. Hope your Italians can walk on water, because they will need to do so to make it to the pier or beach.

Speaking of Valletta...I'm fairly certain there were minefields protecting it. I doubt the British would be so fourthcoming in providing such locations of said fields to Italy. You see, ocean liners and mines tend not to play well together.


Of course, with Bletchley Park very likely giving an early tip-off of Italian intentions(they had made good inroads on the new Italian codes in July, 1940, and were providing a steady stream in August, 1940...I'd be very curious to see what surprise the British would prepare for these unwitting Italians.

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RE: Italy Invading Malta In 1940 - (Are We Having Fun Yet?)

Post by Robert Rojas » 16 Nov 2018 00:35

Greetings to both brother Takao and the community as a whole. Howdy Takao! Well sir, in reference to your posting of Thursday - November 15, 2018 - 3:10pm, old yours truly is gratified that you recognize the utter foolishness and sheer idiocy of my proposed lunacy for the Port of Valletta. I also hope that you also recognize the utter foolishness and sheer idiocy of the my other suggestions within the remainder of my posting. When the time avails itself, you might want review the ENTIRETY of this WHAT IF creation. Undoubtedly, as one of the forum's long time DEANS of matters both Naval and Maritime, you will find the colorful ideas put forth within this WHAT IF thread to be "enlightening" to say the very least. Citizen Mark N's commentaries are especially sardonic. ENJOY! Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this topic meandering its way into the Bermuda Triangle - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in your corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Richard Anderson » 16 Nov 2018 03:24

Gooner1 wrote:
15 Nov 2018 12:58
I should think that the British Fleet being in two forces would be a massive complication for the Italians. As this ATL date is simultaneous with the OTL Operation Hats, the RN has: Cunningham from Alexandria with Warspite, Malaya, Eagle and upto 5 Cruisers and 12 Destroyers. Somerville from Gib with Valiant, Renown, Ark Royal, Illustrious, 3 Cruisers and 17 Destroyers.

So do the Regia Marina keep their battlefleet united to defeat one of the Forces but risk having the other destroy the invasion fleet or split them and attempt to fend off both Forces?
Good point, I had forgotten all about HATS. That does make things a bit more complicated for a 5+ day operation starting around 28 August.
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by MarkN » 16 Nov 2018 12:09

Gooner1 wrote:
15 Nov 2018 12:58
I should think that the British Fleet being in two forces would be a massive complication for the Italians. As this ATL date is simultaneous with the OTL Operation Hats, the RN has: Cunningham from Alexandria with Warspite, Malaya, Eagle and upto 5 Cruisers and 12 Destroyers. Somerville from Gib with Valiant, Renown, Ark Royal, Illustrious, 3 Cruisers and 17 Destroyers.

So do the Regia Marina keep their battlefleet united to defeat one of the Forces but risk having the other destroy the invasion fleet or split them and attempt to fend off both Forces?
Whilst wargames' fantasy role play game has the British expecting an Italian invasion on 28 August 1940, in reality they were not expecting one at all.

If the Italians had been attempting an assault, the British would undoubtably have picked up on the prior preparations and build up and readjusted their plans and deployments accordingly. It is impossible to know where the RN assets would be on the evening of 27 August 1940 in this fantasy non-historical narrative. They could have been just 60 mins sailing time from the Sicily coast just waiting to carve through the sails-dyed, stealth sailing boats as they set off. :wink: The idea that they only show up after 48 hours is wargames' deliberate reengineering of the narrative to produce the outcome he wants.

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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by Gooner1 » 16 Nov 2018 17:52

MarkN wrote:
16 Nov 2018 12:09
Whilst wargames' fantasy role play game has the British expecting an Italian invasion on 28 August 1940, in reality they were not expecting one at all.

If the Italians had been attempting an assault, the British would undoubtably have picked up on the prior preparations and build up and readjusted their plans and deployments accordingly. It is impossible to know where the RN assets would be on the evening of 27 August 1940 in this fantasy non-historical narrative. They could have been just 60 mins sailing time from the Sicily coast just waiting to carve through the sails-dyed, stealth sailing boats as they set off. :wink: The idea that they only show up after 48 hours is wargames' deliberate reengineering of the narrative to produce the outcome he wants.
If you want to set up an ahistorical wargames scenario, you're sort of obliged to play a bit fast and loose with history. In that respect this scenario isn't too bad. Gaming the actual landing must be pretty impossible I would think though (1,2,3 on a d6 and the Italians get ashore, 4, 5, 6 and they don't?).
Which leaves the naval element as the fun bit to game - six Italian battleships chasing Warspite and Malaya with Somerville attempting to intercept or variations thereof :thumbsup:

Wargaming and fantasy role play are two different hobbies. :D

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jwsleser
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Re: Italy invading Malta in 1940

Post by jwsleser » 16 Nov 2018 17:56

The only fantasy discussion in this thread has been those who believe this discussion is about something that it is not.

This discussion has NOT been about whether the Italians would have invaded Malta in 1940. I and several other posters all agreed at the beginning that an Italian invasion would not happen in 1940. There were many good strategic and operational reasons why this was the case; note that the one reason not given was that the Italians themselves didn't think they could do it.

This discussion has not been about whether the Italians WOULD be successful if they had invaded Malta in 1940. As I have pointed out numerous times, there isn't any method to determine that answer.

What this discussion has been about is whether the Italians could have mounted a serious invasion that had a possibility of success IF they had decided to do so. That is why I have, at least, focused on what existed and what was possible. The one point I have consistently stated is that the Malta garrison is too small and with too few capabilities (especially offensive capabilities) that if a sizable Italian force was to land, there was little they could do about it. That, I feel, is a reasonable mark for success to help focus the discussion. So far, everyone has either implied or stated that this is an acceptable goal to work with (if some wish to discuss that, let do so). What I am discussing is whether the Italian had a realistic CHANCE to achieve that goal.

It is clear that for some, bias, rather than serious research is behind their comments. Rather than asking and answering questions to drive research and generate valuable discussion to enable learning, they have chosen to display their ignorance using petty comments and crude jokes. No one has suggested that the Italians sail into Valletta harbor, yet we have several posters acting as if it was the plan. No one AFAIK, has stated the invasion would happen at night (there was an off-the-cuff comment about black sails and such, but not a serious discussion of a night landing), yet is has become 'the plan' in the minds of those wishing to poke fun at this discussion. I read knee-jerk reactions to any hint of Italian competency, implying that the Italians were simply losers and therefore anything they attempt would fail, but without any knowledge or analysis of why they failed. As important, none of these AHF 'experts' have a clue about the Italians successes during the war (and why they happened), which demonstrates that their knowledge is woefully incomplete. There is also the hidden pro-British bias, that the UK forces and their impeccable (fill-in the blank) will somehow be everywhere and be 100% effective. While might be true, it also might be completely false. There are many examples of such failures.

Luck will always play a role in war. Since this is a 'what if', luck has no part in the discussion. With luck, I can make anything happen. We can discuss possibilities to capture the odds of success or failure. What is the possibly of the UK sortieing soon enough to catch the invasion fleet at sea vice the possibly of arriving at Malta after the first day of the landings? The latter is more likely than the former, but both are possibilities. What options do the Italians have to mitigate the former and what can the UK do to mitigate the latter? None of this discussion in any way means that the event will happen in exactly that way.

For those that wish to have a discussion that attempts to take a serious look at a historical possibility, please stay and participate. To those who wish to display their ignorance and joke around, please do it somewhere else on AHF. Unlike an invasion of Oahu, an invasion of Malta was a serious possibility in 1940 and 1943 and does merit investigation.

Pista! Jeff
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

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