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?
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 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.
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.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.
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).
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.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.
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 rocky terrain also means that the garrison would be exposed to the R.A. and their bombs.
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.
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.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)?
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.
And a 99% chance of 48 hours minimum if Warspite is included and Warspite would be included. I used 48 hours.The R.N. The Italian plan states that the sailing time for the British to Malta is a minimum of 36 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.The sailing time for the invasion ships is 11 hours.
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.).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.
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.
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.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.
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".