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It is 1942. You're commander of the Axis. What would you do?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by DangerousBob, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There are extensive threads on Malta both here and on the Axis history forum. A little searching will turn them up and allow you to proceed from there in a more informed manner.

    One thing you are apparently neglecting is that changing production can have a big impact on production. The US went to a considerable effort to minimize that impact. Shared parts between various vehicles helped to a great extent. Not much way to minimize it if you go from an Italian to a German design. Likewise major modifications can have a bit impact. That sort of industrial planning hasn't been noted as a strong point of Italian industry.
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I agree that taking modest improvements have value in a military effort and I agree it does not need to be a war winning idea to be worth doing, but let us consider the threads topic header. Its 1942 and what does the Axis leadership do? For Germany and Japan this is their high tide, or at least close to it. For most Axis allies their fate rests on the success or failure of the Big Two. For Italy it is the 11th hour, or at least past their bedtime. Italy will be looking for a exit strategy within a year and a half and be out of the Axis alliance by September 1943.

    As to not giving your ideas their fair due, and I am not trying to be harsh here, they tend to revolve around two main themes. The first is getting Italian, Hungarian and Romanian troops fighting along side or near Finnish troops for improved training and exposure to Soviet Technology. The other is a development of a Italian "Stug IV" like vehicle.

    Lets tackle the first, Italy was fighting along side Germany almost from the start and Germany was though most of the war the Gold Standard for both the tactical and operational art of war. There is really very little they could learn from Finland they could not learn from Germany except how to adapt to fighting in the winter taiga.

    With regard to a improved SPAT one has to consider the problems of Italian industry and production. Italy began the war in 1940 with equipment that largely would be considered obsolete in most military's. This lay at the feet of both industry and the Italian Fascist Government who chose numbers over quality. This might have been compensated by more effort in producing good troops and leaders, but again they chose numbers and loyalty (in the case of officers) over quality. More often than not when asked by the government to produce improved types, proven foreign designs or even modified versions of current designs Italian industry dragged their heels claiming either labor problems because of downtime to retool or an inability to produce what was required.

    Italian industry was far more interested in their bottom line and producing existing designs was the cheapest alternative. When they finally did begin to produce improved (though often still inferior to Allied versions) they did so in ever decreasing numbers. Remember its early 1942, if you are lucky maybe you can put together a design in 6 months, produce prototypes and approve it in another 3 months, its almost 1943 when you begin production. By the time they just start getting to combat units Italy is surrendering. The Macchi C205 is a good example of this kind of problem facing Italy.

    The problem with Malta is again time. Italy had a decent chance to seize Malta in 1940 by themselves, or with German help in 1941, but by 1942 the train has left the station and the Royal Navy would salivate at the opportunity to catch the Axis attempting a landing on Malta.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    As, lwd has said, their are many threads that have dealt with an Axis invasion of Malta, and the search function is most useful in finding them.

    Because the Italian tank factories will need to be completely retooled to produce the new German tank designs. Since these new designs do not share any common parts, this process will likely take some time, during which, few Italian tanks will be produced. Hence, few if any Italian tank losses will be made good. Much the same goes for converting damaged tanks to a newly designed TD...Again, there are no factories producing this new TD, hence no parts are available to make them. This will also take time to create the parts necessary. Remember, that this is the Spring of 1942, and time is against the Italians.

    These would be good ideas in a pre-war time frame, but at this late date, they are an unnecessary diversion of limited Italian resources.

    Simply, because first, no Italian tanks will be produced for the foreseeable future as the factories are converted to producing the new tanks. No production, means no replacement of losses and no spare parts except what is already in stock. Thus, we have Italian tank units that will quickly be running out of tanks given that there are no replacements available, and tanks that break down or are otherwise disabled are scavenged for spare parts. What this means is much higher losses for Italian tank units. Further, Italian tank production was never that high to begin with, and it will further be reduced given that the more complicated tanks will take longer to produce.

    Except, in your recent ramblings, you have not been using German designs already available. you have been using German paper designs(Panzer III/IV and various VK paper designs). The Panzer III/IV remained on the drawing board until 1944, well after Italy quit the war. Very few of these designs had even progressed to the prototype stage. Not sure why Italy would want unproven paper designs, when German Panzer III & IV were already proven in combat and readily available. Which is what the Italian military wanted to do, but met stiff resistance from Italian industrialists.

    The Italians already had casemate TDs on their existing chassis, granted they were produced only in comparatively small numbers, with even fewer actually seeing combat. Not only that, but these were 1942 designs, that began production in mid-late 1942, with the designs entering combat in 1943. And they did not effect the outcome one whit. A more powerful engine is going to accomplish nothing other than to delay production, as the casemate TDs are redesigned to accept the larger engine.

    Except, Italy relies on control of the sea and air to maintain it's African "empire." Without control of the sea and air so that the Axis Med convoys can get through to NA...Even with the best tanks in the world, their African "empire" is doomed because of a lack of supply. The Uber-Italian tanks become no more than steel pillboxes when their fuel runs out, and become coffins when their ammunition is gone.

    As it was, roughly 90% of Axis supplies were getting through to NA, and they were still having a rough time with logistics. Now, drop that by 10%-30% or more with the loss of effective air & sea forces.
     
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  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    In this instance you substitute Hungarian troops for Italian, but if follows the same general theme of proximity to Finland as a panacea solution to limitations found in Axis Allied troops. Indeed they would have to cross the Baltic Sea just to be able to work alongside Finnish troops, hardly very practical is it?
     
  5. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    To diffuse any misunderstanding about previous posts, I say now that I was merely participating in Carronade's ideas of how to use Axis allies' troops. How other readers interpreted my wordings, such as swapping Hungarians for Italians in Finland, is beyond my control. Readers alert! Furthermore I am still not participating now.
     

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