Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

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ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 10 Aug 2020 20:45

Sid Guttridge wrote:
10 Aug 2020 14:40
Hi ljadw,





From February 1941, the war in North Africa essentially was between the Germans and the British Commonwealth. The Italians had proved incapable of sustaining the campaign on their own and were auxiliary to the Germans thereafter.



Cheers,

Sid.
I have to disagree : even in the summer of 1941 the German presence in NA was very limited : 2 non complete divisions against a strong British military superiority .
Without the Italian army, Air Force, Navy and merchant fleet, Rommel would not last a month in NA.
Richard Carrier ( a Canadian ) said the following in ''Some Reflections on the Fighting Power of the Italian Army'' P 505 :
''There was a steady improvement of the Italian forces between March 1941 and May 1943 .''

''The Italians were widely believed by the Germans to be weak, lazy,cowardly and military incompetent .''
Source :Some Myths concerning Italian Leadership,Morale and Combat Performance .
The presence of the Germans ADDED to an increase of Italian morale and performance but were not the originator of them .(Same Source 0 .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 11 Aug 2020 01:03

Hi ljadw,

You say, "We also know that Hart has been unmasked as a liar and cheater."

First I've heard of it. Tell us more.

Yes, I have found van Creveld's quote on Googlebooks. However, as I pointed out before, he is Israeli, not "Anglo-Saxon".

The core of Axis forces in North Africa from February 1941 were the Germans, regardless of the size of their presence. The key to all successful Axis offensive operations were the German formations. Even the best Italian formations, such as the Ariete, were auxiliary to them.

In posting "The presence of the Germans ADDED to an increase of Italian morale and performance....." you are repeating a proposition I made earlier but with which others here disagreed. I hope they take note of this quote. Thank you for it.

You also offer the quote, "There was a steady improvement of the Italian forces between March 1941 and May 1943 .'' I am happy to accept that and to note that this is from immediately after the Germans arrived.

I would also point out that Carrier, who wrote these pro-Italian things, is Canadian, and therefore presumably counts as "Anglo-Saxon".

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 11 Aug 2020 07:05

About Liddell Hart : see : ''Liddell Hart and the Weight of History '' (by Mearsheimer ).
The presence of the Germans ADDED ( how much ? ) to an increase of Italian Morale and performance,means that the increase was NOT created by the arrival of the Germans and that the improvement started with the arrival of the Germans does NOT mean that there would be no improvement without the presence of the Germans .
You can't subtract the Italians from the Germans or the Germans from the Italians : both formed a whole
The panzerarmee was predominantly Italian,that thus not mean that 55 % of the successes of the Panzerarmee, or 55 % of its failures were Italian ,or that 45 % of its successes/failures were German.
And I disagree that the German formations ( 2 !)were the key to all successful Axis offensive operations .
Besides,if it was so : who was responsible for all unsuccessful operations/ defeats ?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 12 Aug 2020 12:40

Hi ljadw,

What does Mearsheimer actually say? You haven't told us.

Of course it doesn't mean Italian morale may not have improved without the arrival of the Germans. So what?

The fact is, the Germans DID arrive. Moreover, coinciding with this, in the opinion of Carrier (who was a source YOU introduced) "There was a steady improvement of the Italian forces between March 1941 and May 1943.''

Of course, you may choose to believe that the two factors were completely unrelated, but the timings suggest otherwise.

Certainly the German and Italian forces in North Africa were mutually supporting and the presence of the Italians was key to releasing German formations for offensive operations. However, this does not mean their contributions were pro rata. If I play in a doubles tennis match with Roger Federer as my partner, it is improbable that my contribution will match his. Thus it is with the Italians and Germans in North Africa.

The share of responsibility for each defeat depends on the specific circumstances, as does the share of credit for each victory. The Germans can hardly be blamed for Italy's defeat in 1940/41, but they can hardly escape primary responsibility for defeats incurred when they were effectively in charge of combined operations later.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 12 Aug 2020 17:14

I will treat shortly several related points .
1 The official British WWII history is a shamble, no wonder tat a lot of people in Britain think that captain Bertorelli is the personification of the Italian officer.
2 examples :
BBC WWII People's War :Battle of Cape Matapan March 28 1941
Outcome :The Italian Navy was defeated and did not see battle on the British ships again .
Imperial War Museums
How the RN helped win a war in the desert
The British began to deny the Axis Powers access to the Mediterranean,disrupting the flow of vital supplies to German and Italian forces fighting in NA.
Malta's submarines sank 300,000 tons of Axis shipping between July and September 1941 .
Despite supply lines of just a few hundred miles across the Mediterranean,Axis forces in NA were plagued by shortages compared to the British.
The ignoramus who wrote this nonsense deserved not a F but a Z.
For the US it is even worse.
2 Liddell Hart :
after 1945 he published The German Generals Talk . ( better lie ) .Any Homo Sapiens could know what these gentlemen would say :
the crimes of the nazi regime ? Wir haben es nicht gewust
the defeat ? the fault of Hitler and the Italians .
Why did he publish The German generals talk,the Rommel Papers ? To restore his shattered reputation .A British officer who, after 6 years of war which caused the death of hundred of thousands of British civilians and military, compelled the defeated enemies to say that he was the inspirator of their successes,has for me lost all respect .
3 Mearsheimer : he said that LH manipulated the facts to create a false picture of his role in military policy debates in the 1930s.
4 Shimon Naveh, general of the IDF,and founder of the Operational Theory Research Institute said that in his letters to Manstein and Guderian and to relatives of Rommel, LH ''imposed his own fabricated version on the Blitzkrieg on Guderian and compelled him to proclaim it as original formule .''
He asked Guderian to write that he ,LH,was his inspiration . Guderian need no force to be convinced ( Birds of a feather ...) ,but Frau Rommel had more self respect than Herr Generaloberst Guderian : she refused flatly .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 12:34

Hi ljadw,

If Capt. Bertorelli were the only character in 'Allo 'Allo who was lampooned, you might have a point. However, every nationality is sent up in the programme without discrimination, so it is probably not a good example of anti-Italian prejudice.

Which of the following is innaccurate and why:

1) "The British began to deny the Axis Powers access to the Mediterranean, disrupting the flow of vital supplies to German and Italian forces fighting in NA."

2) "Malta's submarines sank 300,000 tons of Axis shipping between July and September 1941."

3) "Despite supply lines of just a few hundred miles across the Mediterranean, Axis forces in NA were plagued by shortages compared to the British."

I ask, because you did not explain. I

You make various attacks on Liddel Hart. I was unaware Liddel Hart needed to restore his "shattered reputation". How had he lost his reputation?

I have checked out Shimon Naveh and can find nothing by him about Liddell Hart and the Italians. Can you point us to it?

I ask again, what exactly does Mearsheimer say?

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 13:46

1 is wrong because the Axis forces were not denied access to the Mediterranean : German submarines operated in the Mediterranean til the end of the war .And the use of ''vital '' is meaningless . Axis supplies were not disrupted . Besides : the content of 1 is contradicting itself :if Axis forces fought in NA,this means that the Axis forces had access to the Mediterranean ,the Battle of Cape Matapan means that the Axis (here the Regia Marina ) had access to the Mediterranean, as Cape Matapan is located in the Mediterranean .
2 is wrong
if shipping means merchant ships ,the truth is that in July and August 1941 the Italians lost 6 MV by submarines who did not all operate from Malta
and 6 MV are NOT 300000 tons
if shipping means GRT ,the truth is that in 1941 the Italian convoys lost 162000 GRT of materials of whom 48000 GRT for the German army and LW,which is 14000 per month .During the 3 months who are cited ,the convoy losses were 55000 GRT, of a total of 267000 that was sent . Source :Sadkovich P 344
3 is wrong because the Axis supply line was much more than a few hundred of miles :
Distance Milan- Naples : 700 km
Distance Dusseldorf (Ruhr ) -Milan : 660 km
Distance Naples- Tripoli 890 km
Distance Tripoli-border with Egypt : 1500 km
German supplies were traveling 3800 km
Italian supplies : 3100 km
Source for 2 : Sadkovich The Italian Navy in WWII 175 and 343 .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 15:08

Hi ljadw,

It doesn't say that the Axis were "denied acess to the central Mediterranean". Read it again.

Of course Axis supplies were disrupted. It doesn't claim they were cut off entirely, or even fatally.

Of course Axis supplies were "vital". Without them they would have been eating sand, drinking urine and throwing stones.

The distance from Palermo to Tripoli is 360 miles. This looks a lot like "a few hundred miles across the Mediterranean" to me! Are you really trying to tell us it is 3,100 or 3,800 kilometres across the Mediterranean?

Italy and Germany lost 21 merchantmen in the Mediterranean July, August and September 1941, of which 11 were sunk by submarines. More than your six, but less than the IWM claim.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. You still haven't answered the following:

"I was unaware Liddel Hart needed to restore his "shattered reputation". How had he lost his reputation?

I have checked out Shimon Naveh and can find nothing by him about Liddell Hart and the Italians. Can you point us to it?

I ask again, what exactly does Mearsheimer say?"

.

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 15:38

About the reputation of Liddell Hart : he was the personal adviser of Hore-Belisha, and everyone knows the hostility of the army to Hore-Belisha (Source : Hore-Belisha and Liddell Hart ) , thus,his reputation was very bad .He was considered as a schemer .
About Naveh and Mearsheimer : see the article on LH on Wiki ,especially point 4 1 :Influence on Panzerwaffe and notes 50 and 52 .(50 about LH,52 about Naveh )
Mearsheimer said that 'LH put words in the mouth of German generals,with the aim to resurrect a lost reputation .''
And, during the war, LH,who had opposed the intervention with ground forces on the continent, had lost most credit .
After the war, he created the Rommel myth and to explain Rommel's defeat, he repeated the excuses of the WM generals : the defeat was caused by Hitler's incompetence and the betrayal of the Italians .
About the distance obetween Palermo and Tripolis :
the trains with German supplies starten in Germany (the Ruhr ) ,the Italian Trains in the industrial region of Italy,and when they arrived in Tripoli,they were still 1000 miles away from the front line .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 15:59

The loss figures I have given for July, August and September are from Sadkovich,who consulted the Italian sources .
For the British MV losses in the Atlantic,one uses British sources, not German sources . One must do the same for the Mediterranean .
About the attacks on the convoys : their influence was almost meaningless : 15 % was lost,but without these attacks,it is not so that an additional 15 % would arrive in NA(it is the same for the Atlantic ) : see The Law of Diminishing returns .

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 16:12

I said that the situation in the US is even worse than in Britain .
A proof is the following article on History Net by David T. Zabecki : How NA became a battle ground in WWII .
What do you think of the following stupidities ?
''The battle for NA was a struggle for the control of the Suez Canal and access to oil from the ME and raw materials from Asia ''.
1 The battle for NA was limited to Libya, a small part of Egypt and at the end,a part of Tunis .
2 The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used .
3 No one needed the oil of the ME
4 The capture of the Suez Canal would not give the Axis access to raw materials (which ones? ) from Asia .

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 17:54

Hi ljadw,

You disagree with the proposition that, "The battle for NA was a struggle for the control of the Suez Canal and access to oil from the ME and raw materials from Asia ''.

You write, "1 The battle for NA was limited to Libya, a small part of Egypt and at the end,a part of Tunis ."

Yes, but that wasn't either the Italian or German intention. They repeatedly tried to push to the Suez Canal.

You write, ".2 The Suez Canal was from 1940 to 1943 almost NOT used." It was, but mostly by the navy. The main British naval base in the Mediterranean was Alexandria, which could only be supplied via the Suez Canal. Convoys to Malta and Tobruk were also run from there.

You write, "3 No one needed the oil of the ME." The British certainly did. Apart from Trindad, the Gulf was the only significant source of oil controlled by the British Empire. And the Italians badly needed oil at all times. Both the UK and Italy also needed the oil to avoid being totally beholden to their allies. Given that the Germans attacked into the Caucasus for oil in 1942, they would probably have been delighted to have Middle Eastern oil as well.

You write, "4 The capture of the Suez Canal would not give the Axis access to raw materials (which ones? ) from Asia.". Well, it would certainly give immediate control of Egyptian rice, which was a vital import to India even before the loss of Burma. Doubtless Italian consumption of risotto would have benefitted as a result!

However, more importantly, it would bring the Gulf oil fields within reach. Their loss would cripple independent British operations East of Suez.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. If you don't like the shipping statistics I used, you will have to take it up with Urmel. They come from a site he frequents (runs?) And includes the name of each ship concerned and the circumstances of its loss. I seem to have relationship problems with Urmel here, but his site is definitely worth a look.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 13 Aug 2020 19:28

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Aug 2020 17:54
You write, "3 No one needed the oil of the ME." The British certainly did. Apart from Trindad, the Gulf was the only significant source of oil controlled by the British Empire. And the Italians badly needed oil at all times. Both the UK and Italy also needed the oil to avoid being totally beholden to their allies. Given that the Germans attacked into the Caucasus for oil in 1942, they would probably have been delighted to have Middle Eastern oil as well.
Although this is much off topic, I couldn't resist chipping in with some further information (which was new to me) about the importance to the war effort of the British Empire of Middle Eastern oil - this from Andrew Boyd's The Royal Navy in Eastern Waters (page 360) which I heartily recommend:
The [Petroleum] board stated that for the nine months April to December 1942, the total British Empire oil requirement, including Allies and neutrals for which Britain was responsible, was 24.5 million tons. Current plans anticipated that 41 per cent of this must come from the Middle East; 75 per cent of Middle East supply, and 66 per cent of eastern empire oil needs (including Australia and South Africa), came from Abadan.
He references TNA CAB 80/36, COS (42) 281 of 28 May 1942.

It's noteworthy that the British First Sea Lord also linked Middle East oil to the ability to deliver "any significant aid to China through India" and the need for US tankers to be used to replace lost Middle Eastern supply would undoubtedly have had a detrimental impact on US naval operations in the Pacific.

I hope that is of interest to some. :D

Regards

Tom

ljadw
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2020 21:00

The ME oil production was 4 % ! of the world oil production,and from the Italian DOW to the Italian capitulation ,the Mediterranean was not used for transports from and to the UK.The fact that the ME oil was not going to Britain does not mean that there were no British tankers for the Atlantic .
During the war 50 % of British oil imports came from the Carribbean.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Some thoughts on the Italian Army's performance

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Aug 2020 21:18

Hi Tom,

Yes, indeed. Thanks. It is nice to have one's contentions confirmed independently.

Cheers,

Sid.

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