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The Italian Navy during World War II


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#101 jwilkerson

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 06:01 PM

Must admit I don't have a lot of info on training but,

...

it would be probably possible to contact the Ufficio Storico to get more precise info.


Thanks a bunch TOS - I will keep hunting!!

The first event set that lead me to think about training was reading about the problem of some Italian submarines leaking poisonous methyl chloride gas, thus impedding their operational performance.
(Stern, R., "Destroyer Battles", Naval Institute Press, p121)

Was this issue known before the war started? If not, then that would point to a training realism issue - if it was known then that would point to severe negligence.

But it would seem logical that a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of a Navy should include data regarding individual, ship and unit training.

Combining a study of the manpower readiness side, with the equipment and the logisitics would then tell the whole story.

#102 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 09:56 PM

Thanks a bunch TOS - I will keep hunting!!

The first event set that lead me to think about training was reading about the problem of some Italian submarines leaking poisonous methyl chloride gas, thus impedding their operational performance.
(Stern, R., "Destroyer Battles", Naval Institute Press, p121)

Was this issue known before the war started? If not, then that would point to a training realism issue - if it was known then that would point to severe negligence.

But it would seem logical that a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of a Navy should include data regarding individual, ship and unit training.

Combining a study of the manpower readiness side, with the equipment and the logisitics would then tell the whole story.


Fully agree with you, the loss of the subs (that's what I was referring to in my post #86) certainly points to insufficient or unrealistic peacetime tests, there were a couple of other deficiencies that where well within the "fixing" capability of a determined leadership but were actually never fixed.
It's easy to underestimate the importance of training and morale in naval warfare as it seems to be dominated by technology but the best ships in the world will not perform well with badly trained or overtired crews.

#103 jwilkerson

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 05:10 PM

Still hunting for details regarding RMI training ...

In Greene & Massignani, "The Naval War in the Mediterranean", Chatham:London, 1998, p314.

... the last paragraph in the book, we read,

"...the one thing ... that we want the reader to take away after setting this book down can be summed up in one word: training."

So, what happened to the detailed chapter on training!!! :D
Actually, other than an isolated sentence or two, there is no discussion in the book about RMI training - and yet I really like the conclusion - we just need to find the supporting data now!

I've also looked in Sadkovich's "The Italian Navy in World War II" where we have about 5 sentences, mostly in the footnotes on RMI training.

Have several Italian sources heading towards me!

Looking for data during the interwar period like:

01 - Enlistment periods.
02 - Percentage of shore training as compared to sea training.
03 - Breakdown of time spent on individual training, unit (ship) training and group (flottila, division, fleet) training.
04 - Specific examples of fleet sea training, including activities and lessons learned.

This will enable this information to be folded in to an analysis of overall RMI capabilities which can then include both the "hardware" and the "humanware".

#104 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 07:23 PM

The best source for this sort of data would be the Ufficio Storico, (historical section of the navy) they have a site at http://www.marina.difesa.it/storia/UfficioStorico/Ufficio001.asp

Did a quick browse of their catalog and they have some books on the subject, (all in Italian though) one is
LE SCUOLE SOTTUFFICIALI DELLA MARINA MILITARE (G. GALUPPINI) - ed. 1996 - 157 p. - 91 ill. e dis.
That should be the story of the sottufficiali (NCO) schools.

Another interestig site/link I found was
Gradi
that gives ranks equivalence for RN, RM and USN, (the fourth column looks like to be the "brown jackets"), and is an essential starting point for comparisons.

They also seem to have a requests form
http://www.regiamari...p?nid=265&lid=1

#105 Gromit801

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 06:04 PM

I'd like to tack onto the end of this discussion, some recommended reading: Struggle for the Middle Sea by Vincent O'Hare. Very well written and researched.
"I love deadlines. I love the 'Whooshing' noise they make when they go by." - Doug Adams

#106 CTBurke

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 04:25 PM

"Hurting Truth"-- I find it hard to believe that ANYONE could think that Italy had naval "victories" over the British in the Med in WW II (the notable exception is the Maiale attack on Alexandria). That is, "standard" terms of who is "victorious" in seapower lay in...who retained the battlefield (and who left it), what damage was done, what operations were curtailed by enemy action. By ALL those standards, the Italian Navy comes off looking pretty feeble. How many British ships of heavy cruiser or larger (including aircraft carriers) did the Italian Navy sink (taking out of the war entirely)? NONE. Zip. Nada. (The British SANK a battleship and three heavy cruisers.) Most of the British operations against the Italians in the Med were carried out IN SPITE OF Italian resistance, whereas most of the Axis operations were aborted BECAUSE of British resistance. Only the delusional could think otherwise.

Lack of fuel and radar were contributing factors, but so much of the Italian operational failures were through poor co-operation with its components (air reconnaisance and communications) and poor strategic vision (lots of wishful thinking without considering resources).

#107 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

The Italians managed to get around 80% of sent materials to NA despite all the RN and RAF could do, the RN did a few "all out efforts" to resupply Malta and one large equipment convoy (tiger) in the Med with a not very different success rate. a few Malta convoys were either turned back or were aborted when the last merchantman was unable to continue. If you look at warship losses in the Med the difference is not that striking, the RN lost one BB (plus two sunk in harbour and later recovered) and two carriers vs 3 BBs sunk in harbour of which one was never recommissioned as it was decided to convert her but other ships had a higher priority, cruiser lossses were not that different either (RM lost 14 including Bari and San Giorgio and RN lost 14 plus HMS Terror). The only area where the RM suffered markedly worse than the RN was light forces that suffered large losses in the struggle to resuppply NA.

Edited by TiredOldSoldier, 07 May 2012 - 06:13 AM.
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#108 Volga Boatman

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:57 AM

Italian light forces can hold their heads up high, something the big ship admirals cannot.

Courage and tenacity were bywords, and many an English escort officer, fed on tales of Italian cowardice and recalcitrance, were surprised by the bulldog performance of their Italian counterparts.

Rommel was very two-faced in his dealing with the Italians, and blaming the failure of the North African campaign on anything but his pechant for outrunning his supplies and taking stupid risks is illogical. Rommel found a very convenient scapegoat with the Italian military, and the Regia Marina in particular.

All I can say is to take a line from Churchill...."Give the Italians the right tools, and they most certainly would have finished the job!"

Viva Italia!
Llamas are bigger than frogs.:cool:




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