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What if Italy stayed neutral in World War 2

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by British-Empire, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Would we? There is considerabl evidence that what determined the date was weather and ground conditions not operations in the Balkans.
    While this has been widely stated the actual evidence is a bit skimply and the weather in particular the mud and river situation is better supported by documents from the discussions I've seen.
    The numbers I've seen were 10% of the truck fleet used by the Africa Korp. Furthermore it's not clear how many of these were Italian. Of course trucks weren't the main problem in the East by any means.
    How many weapons did the Germans deliver to the Italians? For that matter how many weapons did the Italians deliver to other Axis powers?
    Highly unlikely. The rail net is what limited the logistics of the advance. Throwing more units into a logistically limited situation doesn't improve things.
     
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Churchill actually ordered plans drawn up as early as July 1940 for a return to the Narvik Enclave.

    Why am I not surprised??? But much as I admire Churchill, his pressing for something hardly establishes it as a feasible operation of war ;)

    If any return to the Northmark denies the Germans use of Bodo...they're in the same boat as they were in May 1940....

    As I recall, May 1940 was shortly followed by June 1940; the Germans might not mind being in that boat ;) Seriously, the hypothesis is that the British could land significant forces in Norway, against opposition, and promptly develop, equip, and supply air bases sufficient to give them air superiority in the north. Presumably in time they could build up their amphibious capabilities; of course Hitler would be improving his Festung Norwegen as well. An incursion into Norway would be even more desirable once the war expanded to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, by that time the threat in the Far East would be demanding their attention and resources; protecting their Empire would be a more feasible proposition without the war in the Med or Middle East.
     
  3. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    Its just a historical fact that Barbarossa was postponed on March 30th because of the Balkan Invasion.
    Hitler could not know what the weather or ground conditions would be like on May 15th at that date.

    Will check but I think your figure may well be if you count the whole war.
    Of course Germany was only there 2 years which is where the 25% figure may come from but ill have to look.

    A couple of hundred Mk 4's, Stuka's, anti tank guns etc.
    Not huge numbers but enough to help.
    The main difference is the mass of equipment lost or damaged in North Africa or the Balkans.

    It was logistical issues that caused the failure to capture Leningrad but tactical and political issues.
    The opportunity had been available to capture Leningrad on the march early in the 1941 campaign but this was missed as the Panzers were ordered to hald and allow the infantry to catch up.
    Had the extra Panzer Divisions from North Africa been available the Germans could have been more outgoing with their Panzer advances.

    Later had this extra armour been available in other areas we could have seen better efforts to capture Moscow or more armour for army group south to capture Kiev unaided.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Actually it's not.
    When this has been discussed previously over on the axis history forum and perhaps here as well no one has been able to produce an official document that stated that the postponement was due to the Balkan operations. Official documents mentioning the wet spring, ground, and river conditions on the other hand have been sourced.



    Will check but I think your figure may well be if you count the whole war.
    Of course Germany was only there 2 years which is where the 25% figure may come from but ill have to look.


    ??? You are proposing to take a major city with panzer divisions? Could those divisions have been supported by AGN? Would they have been used there? Or would they more likely have been sent with AGC or AGS?
    Or the Germans may have had to halt sooner to resupply.
     
  5. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    Oh really perhaps you would likely to tell me when Hitler postponed it then?

    When this has been discussed previously over on the axis history forum and perhaps here as well no one has been able to produce an official document that stated that the postponement was due to the Balkan operations. Official documents mentioning the wet spring, ground, and river conditions on the other hand have been sourced.

    John Toland's Adolf Hitler. page 652-654
    http://www.amazon.com/Adolf-Hitler-The- ... 0385420536




    They would likely have gone to AGS or atleast one of them.
    But they could have been used by AGN also.

    Halt sooner are re-start sooner.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    There were only two panzer divisions in North Africa in 1941-42, and one of those, 5th Light/21st Panzer, was only formed for the Sonnenblume deployment. The likely impact on Barbarossa would be one more panzer division and about 5% more tanks and vehicles for the others, most of which were not up to full TO&E.

    Much of Rommel's transport in North Africa was ex-British; for example Afrika/90th Light Division motorized itself with captured vehicles during Crusader; it also used 25pdrs for its artillery. Trucks and petrol for the advance to El Alamein were largely from Gazala and the capture of Tobruk.

    The most notable impact of Italian neutrality might have been in the air, both combat and transport aircraft. The Ju-52s lost in Crete might have been very useful for supporting the advance in Russia.
     
  7. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    You not counting the loses in North Africa or the wear and tear on the Panzers in the Balkan campaign?
    All would add up to enough material for around 2.5 Panzer Divisions.
     
  8. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    The extra armour would likely go to Army Group South which may be able to capture Kiev without the need to divert forces from Army Group Centre.
     
  9. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Ok British Empire, You mention an opportunity lost with Leningrad that may have otherwise been taken if they had an extra panzer division, Yet at the same time you your self state the decision to stop the panzers from AGN was a tactical one. From what I can see you are countering your own arguments. An extra panzer division would not have made a lick of difference with Leningrad nor any of the other cities really. What it would have helped with is possibly the Battle of Moscow but likely a source ofspare parts for other divisions going into 1942.

    I wasn't aware that so many panzers were out of action due to the Balkans campaign? But if you could provide me with some credible sources Im willing to listen.
    As for NA, The panzer numbers they had would not have made the war winning difference. Also you must realize that those 2.5 divisions you claim would have been equal to would have been entirely from 1 division with the remainder being small numbers from various divisions, Not enough to effect them.
     
  10. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    A tactical error by high command.
    It counters nothing I have said but supplements it.

    Well we are looking at 2.5 extra Divisions a year for starter alone if you count wear and tear on tanks in the Balkans which made many not available and the losses in N Africa in 1941.


    It really would help if you did some reading on the issue rather than me constantly having to provide you with basic information.
     
  11. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Stopping armoured formations from approaching built up residential area's with out infantry support was a tactical error? Perhaps you should stop playing Battle Field 2 and actually learn some basic combat tactics and reasons for them.

    You continue to claim 2.5 divisions and have implied that the number could increase (or decrease if I have misunderstood) yet you still have not provided any actual numbers beyond 2.5. You say that you constantly provide me with basic information yet I and Many others have only ever refuted AH arguments that are simply theory with out any actual statistics and very few fact's listed. When you give an argument such as there being 2.5 divisions wasted it is up to you to provide the proof, Not for others to prove them selves wrong and you right. The fact that you have not provided even a basic number just goes to show you are pulling it all out of your bum.
     
  12. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    A tactical error if they are no infantry to oppose them?
    Come on give your head a shake.

    Shall we count the equipment sent to North Africa, damaged and lost in the Balkans and on occupation duties in the Balkans?
    I have yet to mention the 6 German occupation Divisions in the Balkans.
    Or course then we have the losses of aircraft and paratroopers in and around Greece and the aircraft based in these areas through out the war?
     
  13. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Except the Soviet forces already there along with the arms industry already producing tanks and guns.

    Please do, Count ALL equipment that was lost or unable to participate in the opening attacks of Barbarossa.
     
  14. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    And civilians can drive tanks by magic?
    As for the militia it had been armed and sent outside the city hence the chance to destroy it and take Leningrad on the bounce.
     
  15. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Many have said about this topic so I just chip in a bit.

    Italy would have acted like how Spain did in staying neutral diplomacy but help fight limited combat to gain geopolitical advantage. From 1940 to 1943, that is starting from the beginning of the battle of France, Capturing Malta is one priority.

    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/21827-the-fall-of-malta-decisive-or-not/page-3

    Helping out Romania at Odessa and Germany in the Crimea is another during Barbarossa. Instead of statlingrad, the Italian troops in Russia would be reduced in numbers because of the garrison and loss of lives for Malta but could hold the Kerch Peninsula and the Crimea to provide another corridor for German advance to the oilfields, bypassing partially the northern slope of the Caucasus by travelling along the Black Sea coast. In other words, With Rommel's achievement clearing out Egypt and securing Malta, Italian warship could travel less hazardously in the Med east of Malta to the Black Sea for supporting the German advance This scenario could also include Romanian and Spanish troops. For the Italian nation, she better waited until 1943 and beyond to decide her stance based on the situations as it then was.

    Maybe the Guns of Navarone would be a reality to guard the Aegean waterways where Italian navy would voyage frequently.

    Also, a more conservative stance by Italy would be selling hydrocarbons from Libya to Germany; German and Italian troops would be guarding the oil and gas fields which had already been discovered in July 1937.

    So all in all, Italy staying neutral but under the radar military aid like Spain could probably be her best choice to help Germany.
    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=137891
     
  16. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    According to McGregor's book, Hilter Italian Allies, the organization of industry, military and society let down its military performance while some resources are still available. Would staying neutral give the required time to remedy the principal deficiency? Or time is not much a factor but else that might change some issues for the better for Italy in ww2?
     
  17. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Did a friendly neutral Italy mean it secured Corsica, some lost part of Italy to France during its unification, and Malta? Did a friendly neutral mean Italy sending non-commissioned personnel to Finland or Romania to help their independent fight against USSR, leaving the fighting to those local troops?
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Italy might have sent more material to Finland. I don't see them getting any additional territory. The Germans would also have to worry a bit about the Italians changing from a friendly to an unfriendly neutral or even joining the allies. Those wouldn't be a concern in 39-41 or much of a worry in the first half of 42. After that though it could become a progressively more troubling issue. A lot depends on whose in charge in Italy. Ill Duce wanted see Italy regain it's image as a world power (even if it hadn't been since the fall of Rome), in the fall of France he saw an opportunity to grab some terrain and boost Italy's reputation as a military power by playing a part in defeating France. The inability of his forces to make much progress against French defenses defeated the latter. If he doesn't enter the war in 40 he or whoever succeeds him may see similar opportunities in 44 and 45 but by allying with the other side.
     
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  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Assuming Italy stays neutral in 1940 what it does in 1941 depends on what Germany does in the Balkans and probably Germany cannot afford not to send troops to Rumania to protect it's oil supply during the early stages of Barbarossa. Mussolini will not let German influence in the Balkans grow without doing something, most likely something really stupid. Being able to use the Suez route in 1940 and 1941 will help Britain a little as it will save on shipping, and with Italy neutral Mers El Kebir is less likely to happen so Vichy France will be less hostile.

    But according to Ciano's diaries Mussolini was planning to go for Yugoslavia in 1940 and he did historically attack Greece. Both actions are likely to bring Italy into the more generalized conflict though it's not a sure thing..
     
  20. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting train of thought. Churchill also disliked Communism and the totalitarian Stalin regime (which was another oppressive dictatorship that led to the Cold War), and using Mussolini to coax Hitler to invading Russia sooner rather than later is interesting. Though its documented that Hitler thought that invading and defeating Russia while England was still in the war would force England's hand as it would be out of possible major European allies, and Hitler could direct all his pressure on England without the threat from the rear. Also, it was always his intention to destroy Communist Russia.
     

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