Next one (vol. 4): Betasom: Italian Submarines in the Atlantic 1940-1945 - scheduled for release in 2023!
The favourite weapon of Benito Mussolini was a bluff calculated for the intimidation of adversaries to force them to yield according to his will. This game of appearances the Italian dictator also practised in the military field. In order not to remain groundless, in 1936, General Alberto Pariani became the Secretary of the State in the Ministry of the War, and Mussolini managed the Ministry personally, and liked to stress the strength of the Italian Army in his cocky speeches, which, if necessary - according to him - would be able to deploy sixty fully equipped divisions. Reality, however, was very different, as for sixty whole divisions there was not enough weapons or even the appropriate number of officers. Thus, Pariani suggested that every infantry division will be reduced from three to two infantry regiments and in this wonderful way the Duce was still able to put a good face to bad game and claim that he had a large and well armed army.
The time of checking this view in a clash with reality, however, was approaching inexorably. On 1 September 1939, Adolf Hitler's troops attacked Poland, on 3 September, the Allies, Britain and France, supported her by declaring war on the Third Reich. A series of small conflicts and political tensions in Asia, Africa and Europe finally led to the outbreak of another war on a global scale. The Italian dictator, associated with Hitler by the Steel Pact, announced Italy as a "non-belligerent". Being aware that the country and the armed forces were exhausted by the costs of wars in Ethiopia, Spain and the invasion on Albania, he waited. He compared himself to a cat prowling for a mouse, as he must have had practically mathematical certainty that his attack would succeed and he would not be left with nothing.
The French armed forces in the interwar period had the reputation of the most powerful in the world, additionally protected by the widely-publicised Maginot Line. Moreover supported by Britain and her population and the economic potential of His Majesty's Empire, they seemed unbeatable. Therefore, it was a surprise to the world when German armoured divisions broke through the forests of the Ardennes and threatened the rear of the Anglo-French troops trying to rescue the Low Countries. After Sedan and Dunkirk, the Duce came to the conclusion that the time for his decisive leap had just arrived, after which his victim would accept any of his conditions.
On 10 June 1940, Benito Mussolini, while speaking to the nation, stated that Italy was in a state of war with the western democracies. Completely unprepared for war, the Italian Royal Army, in the dictator's intention, had to perform one serious effort so that he could then, as a victor, sit at the peace negotiations table and impose his will on the world. Italian soldiers, despite the collapse of the weather in the Western Alps, were thrown into a frontal attack on the Maginot Line. The Duce calmly calculated that a few thousand corpses would be a small price for a success that he would achieve. The Germans, whenever they undertook frontal assaults on French fortifications, were slaughtered. Could the Italians possibly fare any better?
The book is being illustrated by 8 maps and 94 photographs of the main theme of the work as well as photo album: Blitzkrieg in the Western Europe as seen in the Italian press at the time.
List of chapters:
I. Political Relations of Italy and France in the Interwar Period
II. Time For The Final Decisions
III. The Maginot Line in the Alps
IV. Opposing Forces
V. The First Fighting
VI. Operation "B" - The Battle for the Small Saint Bernard Pass
VII. Advance In the Direction of the Town of Modane
VIII. Briançon: Italian Attack On The Town-Fortress
IX. Advance Of The 1st Italian Army In The Alps
X. Battle of Menton
XI. The Armistice
XII. The Situation On The Border Of Italian And French Possessions In North Africa