Italy doesn't need German help.

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john2
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Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by john2 » 29 May 2019 07:12

From what I've read the Italians performed very poorly during the war and always needed Germany to bail them out. I don't understand what the problem was considering Mussolini was in power 10 years before Hitler. Anyhow what if the Italians had been able to perform as well as Germany and handle the Med theater on their own? Would the additional forces Germany had been able to make a difference? In this scenario the Italians defeat the allies in N Africa or at least hold their ground and there is no invasion of Italy.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by Kingfish » 29 May 2019 10:43

Performing as well as the Germans, and in some instances the Italians did just that, is only one piece of the puzzle. There is also having the means to wage war on the level required to achieve your goals, and it was here that Italy fell far short.

Case in point: Italy had a formidable fleet in their own right, but the lack of fuel was so severe that by the beginning of 1943 most of that fleet had to be removed from service.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by Baldir » 29 May 2019 11:39

Fuel is just one of the reasons for Italy's weakness. I always wondered if Italy was one of the main reasons for Germany's defeat. Fighting in Afrika, Germans wasted man and material for useless dessert sand. Disaster in Tunisia in '43 was in my opinion worst and the most stupid catastrophe for the Germany, considering the damage done to the adversary, even worst than Stalingrad.

I think the best thing was that Italy would stay neutral (although strongly pro axis), sending Germany war material and 'volunteers'. Until 1943 GB and USA weren't in position to launch any major attack on european mainland (Italy in war or not), by that time german resources would be much better used in SU.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by glenn239 » 30 May 2019 18:20

The main reason for Germany's defeat was the decision to invade the USSR. The collapse of Italy would follow almost automatically.

A neutral Italy is increasingly pressured by the Anglo-Americans to join the Allies. The situation would be highly unstable for Germany, and in such situations Hitler tended to attack. It therefore might not be possible for Italy to remain neutral.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 May 2019 04:02

Baldir wrote:
29 May 2019 11:39
Fuel is just one of the reasons for Italy's weakness. I always wondered if Italy was one of the main reasons for Germany's defeat. Fighting in Afrika, Germans wasted man and material for useless dessert sand. Disaster in Tunisia in '43 was in my opinion worst and the most stupid catastrophe for the Germany, considering the damage done to the adversary, even worst than Stalingrad.

I think the best thing was that Italy would stay neutral (although strongly pro axis), sending Germany war material and 'volunteers'. Until 1943 GB and USA weren't in position to launch any major attack on european mainland (Italy in war or not), by that time german resources would be much better used in SU.
The desert war tied down a ton of Allied resources; had Italy stayed neutral the Torch/Husky/Avalanche forces would have landed in France in '43. A secure Mediterranean means more British/Allied shipping resources during '40-'43, due to using Suez instead of the Cape route to India/Malaya/Australasia (and therefore, e.g., sufficient lift to mount a strong continental invasion in '43).
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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 May 2019 04:08

glenn239 wrote:The main reason for Germany's defeat was the decision to invade the USSR.
Obviously this is a big topic, but we should at least flag the very good arguments that you're wrong.
And we don't need to accept Hitler's obviously-false rationale - that Red Army was aggressor in '41 - to do so.
Stalin and Hitler both knew that Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a temporary marriage of convenience. Had Hitler focused on UK/USA - perhaps invading Spain, reinforcing Rommel significantly, building more aircraft and ships - Stalin would have been poised by '44 at the latest to overwhelm the Germans with a ~10million-man invasion force. Hitler knew this; Stalin knew that Hitler knew this; Hitler knew that Stalin knew that Hitler knew this; somehow Stalin didn't realize that Hitler knew that Stalin knew that Hitler knew this. Thus the surprise of '41 on Stalin's side.

Barbarossa was Hitler's one and only chance to defeat the otherwise insuperable coalition arrayed against him. By historical standards, it nearly worked.
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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by Baldir » 31 May 2019 07:35

[had Italy stayed neutral the Torch/Husky/Avalanche forces would have landed in France in '43.
[/quote]

Most likely. But nothing decisive would happen in '41 and '42. And those were the critical years for eastern campaign. If Germany had concentrated more resources there at that time (with significant italian help), the result would certainly have been better. Consequently they would have quite good chances to defeat Allies in France in '43. In any case, considering distances and logistic, fighting in France would be much easier than in Africa and less favourable for Allies. Even in '44 succesfull landing was far from being certain.

Africa certainly tied down Allied forces, but only navy and air force could be deployed elsewhere, the army would still have to wait until '43 and even than (at least at the begining) only part of it could land in France. I don't say I am right, but that seems to be a better idea than fighting for desert sand in Africa, loosing man and material against the army, which would otherwise sit idle on the shore and watch over the sea.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by Kingfish » 31 May 2019 09:23

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 May 2019 04:08
glenn239 wrote:The main reason for Germany's defeat was the decision to invade the USSR.
Obviously this is a big topic, but we should at least flag the very good arguments that you're wrong.
Please explain how his statement is wrong.
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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by Baldir » 31 May 2019 11:56

[Please explain how his statement is wrong.
[/quote]

The assumption of this statement is, that Stalin would just wait and do nothing, which is at least questionable. Most likely he would just wait for the right moment to attack. Whether he would attack or not (or just try to get more without war), depends on the situation, that's how succesfull would Germany be against GB and USA. In any case, he was a threat.

In '41 Germany had (basically) two options, fighting in the west with constant threat behind their back or invading SU and remove that threat (not to mention other reasons). They chose the last one, while still fighting in the west, instead of going on the defensive and concentrate all available forces against SU. The main reason why Italy was detrimential to German war effort is, that they had to help Italy instead of put more pressure on SU, when it was most vulnerable. Untill '43 GB and USA couldn't do anything serious to threaten Germany and with SU substantialy weakened by '43, they have worse chances to defeat Germany from '43 onwards. Without other measures, this would probably not be enough to prevent the defeat, but Germany would still be in better position than historically. That's my opinion, whether right or not, it's up to discussion. In any case, Germany needed radical changes in strategy to prevent the defeat, this is one of the options.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by glenn239 » 31 May 2019 14:10

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 May 2019 04:02
The desert war tied down a ton of Allied resources; had Italy stayed neutral the Torch/Husky/Avalanche forces would have landed in France in '43. A secure Mediterranean means more British/Allied shipping resources during '40-'43, due to using Suez instead of the Cape route to India/Malaya/Australasia (and therefore, e.g., sufficient lift to mount a strong continental invasion in '43).
Had Italy remained neutral then by 1943 the Allied would have increasingly wooed Rome to declare war on Germany just as a large Allied army was ready to land in Italy. The Italian army secures the passes over the Alps while the Allied units rush north. Even if the Germans manage to hold, Allied airpower pours into Northern Italy and goes to town on Germany from its new bases.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by glenn239 » 31 May 2019 14:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
31 May 2019 04:08
glenn239 wrote:The main reason for Germany's defeat was the decision to invade the USSR.
Obviously this is a big topic, but we should at least flag the very good arguments that you're wrong.
And we don't need to accept Hitler's obviously-false rationale - that Red Army was aggressor in '41 - to do so.
Stalin and Hitler both knew that Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a temporary marriage of convenience. Had Hitler focused on UK/USA - perhaps invading Spain, reinforcing Rommel significantly, building more aircraft and ships - Stalin would have been poised by '44 at the latest to overwhelm the Germans with a ~10million-man invasion force. Hitler knew this; Stalin knew that Hitler knew this; Hitler knew that Stalin knew that Hitler knew this; somehow Stalin didn't realize that Hitler knew that Stalin knew that Hitler knew this. Thus the surprise of '41 on Stalin's side.

Barbarossa was Hitler's one and only chance to defeat the otherwise insuperable coalition arrayed against him. By historical standards, it nearly worked.
Suicide for fear of death is what that type of reasoning is called.

Stalin's strategy was classic balance of power tactics, to counterbalance the emerging Anglo-Americans by supporting Germany. If an assault on Germany were to even be considered, it would have to first be the case that Germany had already lost the war to the Anglo-Americans. But how does Germany lose the war by 1945 if, because it did not commit the folly of Barbarossa, in 1944 it has 60 panzer divisions in France awaiting an Anglo-American landing? Questions indeed.

Back to Italy. The German invasion of the USSR was utterly fatal to Italy's prospects in WW2. Frankly, had Mussolini known this mistake would be made in 1941, I doubt he would have even declared war in 1940, so serious a miscalculation this was. Once the US entered the war, the Axis simply did not have the strength to hold Italy with the Germans distracted in Russia. OTOH, had Hitler not marched east, the Italians could have enjoyed not only far stronger direct German support, but also better access to resources, (oil) and equipment (panzers, etc.) to improve their own armed forces.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by glenn239 » 31 May 2019 14:46

Baldir wrote:
31 May 2019 11:56


The assumption of this statement is, that Stalin would just wait and do nothing, which is at least questionable. Most likely he would just wait for the right moment to attack. Whether he would attack or not (or just try to get more without war), depends on the situation, that's how succesfull would Germany be against GB and USA. In any case, he was a threat.
Finland, Turkey, Iran, Japan and China - all of which Stalin could have gone after would be quite surprised to discover that they constituted the act of "Doing nothing".
In '41 Germany had (basically) two options, fighting in the west with constant threat behind their back or invading SU and remove that threat (not to mention other reasons).
Nazi Germany had tolerated the threat to Germany posed by the USSR since 1933, and in all those years the Soviets never lifted a finger to march across Poland and string the Nazis from some street lamps. The fact that Hitler turned on Stalin the moment he could, the first moment the shoe was on the other foot had nothing to do with Stalin's intentions, and everything to do with Hitler's.

When Italy declared war in 1940, Rome had assumed with France falling that Germany would just concentrate on Britain until it made peace too. Within that mindset, French North Africa would be annexed between Spain and the Axis, Gibraltar would fall, Egypt taken, and if necessary the Italians could move forces to northern France for Sealion in 1941. What Hitler actually did was throw Italy under the bus - like with Vichy France, Italy was used as a temporary shield to stall the Anglo-Americans for a war in the east. When after 1941 it was clear this strategy was devoid, Hitler simply doubled down on it and tried again.

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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 May 2019 23:08

glenn239 wrote:If an assault on Germany were to even be considered, it would have to first be the case that Germany had already lost the war to the Anglo-Americans. But how does Germany lose the war by 1945 if, because it did not commit the folly of Barbarossa, in 1944 it has 60 panzer divisions in France awaiting an Anglo-American landing? Questions indeed.
Nonsense. Soviet pre-war planning was always for offensive warfare. By 1944, Stalin would have had easily 600 divisions ready to march; the results of that numerical superiority would have been the same as OTL. It's often forgotten just how damaged the USSR was by OTL 1944: at least 20 million dead, ~40% of its heavy industry base gone. The SU that hadn't suffered such damage would have been overwhelmingly strong and Stalin would have known it.

Plus a Germany that focuses on the West can't build up its army to the same extent as OTL; by '44 the Allies have damaged Germany from the air and drawn blood in at least North Africa, probably Italy as well.

Barbarossa was Germany's one and only chance to win the war. Up to that point its grand strategy was nearly flawless: isolate its continental enemies and defeat them in detail. Fortunately Hitler and the Nazis underestimated Soviet strength. Otherwise the Third Reich might still be around.
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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2019 00:01

glenn239 wrote:Nazi Germany had tolerated the threat to Germany posed by the USSR since 1933, and in all those years the Soviets never lifted a finger to march across Poland and string the Nazis from some street lamps. The fact that Hitler turned on Stalin the moment he could, the first moment the shoe was on the other foot had nothing to do with Stalin's intentions, and everything to do with Hitler's.
This is an incredibly naive take on Stalin and the USSR. Stalin invaded multiple countries the second the pact gave him breathing room to do so. Why suppose his ambitions stopped at Finnland, the Baltics, Bessarabia, the Turkish Straits? It's particularly naive given that we know exactly how conquest-hungry Stalin showed himself to be OTL - recall the whole Iron Curtain thing. It wasn't as if Stalin suddenly discovered a desire to dominate half of Europe in 1945.

Plus Stalin was ready to join an anti-Hitler alliance in 1939; the only thing that prevented it was Polish refusal to allow the Red Army to cross its border. [this isn't a criticism of the Poles, btw. They believed they didn't need to make such a drastic bargain because France/UK would come charging at the West Wall before Hitler swallowed them. They were wrong about that but not unreasonably so...]
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Re: Italy doesn't need German help.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jun 2019 00:04

duplicate
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