Why did the Italians fight so poorly?

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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Wolery
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Why did the Italians fight so poorly?

Post by Wolery » Sun May 27, 2007 11:54 pm

Nothing I've ever read has ever said they fought well. Some say they fought bravely as indivuals, but that carries only so much power.

Was it bad equipment? Bad leadership, low supplies or poor morale? See I'm writing an AH novel and if I include Italian forces they'll be fighting with a lot of German made equipment (long story) but if their leadership is incompetent or some such better guns and equipment won't help them.

Thanks in advance.

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Michae1
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Post by Michae1 » Mon May 28, 2007 7:17 am

I think it's mainly because of poor morals... because they don't seem to have a clear aim on what they're fighting for... and Italians tend to dislike the Germans and in favour for the Allies... so you can see how quick they surrendered
Of course, they had little supplies like oil and not enough modern planes and tanks...

thanks

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derGespenst
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Post by derGespenst » Thu May 31, 2007 9:00 am

The Italians, in general, actually fought quite well, especially when they were under German leadership (especially Halfaya Pass). the problem was their outdated equipment and, most of all, the poor quality of their officers. Not only were the officers ill-trained for their duties, but kept themselves apart from their men as aristocrats, enjoying better food and amenities rather than sharing the men's suffering. Most likely the reason one Italian garrison surrendered after running out of olive oil - killed the officers' morale, but the men probably never got any anyway!

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Post by panzermahn » Thu May 31, 2007 5:19 pm

I think that the myth of Italians bad fighting skills are due to British propagandanization during the early stage of North African campaign where numerically superior Italian soldiers surrendered to the small size British forces.

Another reason is that most of the Italian officer corps and Generals were freemasons.

In WW2, Italian junior officers and enlisted fought bravely at all fronts but many of their Generals were bad. The best Italian commander had to be Marshal Giovanni Messe, who is one of the few Italian generals that the Germans really respected.

a) Who can forget the extraordinary bravery of the Italian naval commandos of the midget submarine who disabled several British warships? (Remember lieutenant commander Lugi Durand de la Penne)

b) Who can forget that the Italians had the honor to launch the last cavalry charge in the history of warfare during a defensive battle at Don, 1942?

c) Who can forget the bravery of the Italian Fascist Youth who fought to the last man and last bullet during the Battle of Bir El Gorbi, in Africa 1942?

d) Do you know that Ettore Muti, the Italian air force, commander of the aerosiluranti units in the Aegean is the highest top-scoring torpedo ace in the Aegean?

e) Who can forget the bravery of General Gandin and the men of the Acqui Division, who resisted the Germans for a week against all overwhelming odds without any help from the Allies? (Although General Gandin and the Acqui Division, by technically, committed treason against the Germans because Marshal Badoglio placed them under the command of the German forces based in Greece)

f) Do you know that the Kriegsmarine Kleinkampfverband unit under Admiral Hellmuth Heye requested training in naval commando tactics from the Italians of the X-MAS DECIMA unit under Commander Borghese?

g) Who can forget the military bravery and tenacity of the Italian SS Division, who almost wiped out the Allied bridgehead at Salerno?


Regards
Panzermahn

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Post by Hans » Thu May 31, 2007 6:22 pm

I was going to stick my nose in, but you said it all Panzermahn. My best mate is the son of an Italien small sub specialist. Apparantly these guys remained loyal to the Axis cause to the end. Mates father was based near the Bodensee.

Another was a neighbour of ours in Germany who refused to return to Italy after the war. I remember him singing from his attic window every afternoon. Beautiful voice, but oh so sad. I could feel his misery even though I was only a little kid at the time.

I think the Italians fought as well as any one else given their circumstances.

- Hans
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Post by panzermahn » Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:21 am

Hans wrote:I was going to stick my nose in, but you said it all Panzermahn. My best mate is the son of an Italien small sub specialist. Apparantly these guys remained loyal to the Axis cause to the end. Mates father was based near the Bodensee.

Another was a neighbour of ours in Germany who refused to return to Italy after the war. I remember him singing from his attic window every afternoon. Beautiful voice, but oh so sad. I could feel his misery even though I was only a little kid at the time.

I think the Italians fought as well as any one else given their circumstances.

- Hans
Those who remained loyal to the Axis cause right to the very end is not because they are fighting for national socialism or for Hitler, but because they wanted to redeem the honor of Italy who had been besmirched by the Badoglio and his Badoglionate gang. Rightly or wrongly, these men show the world that Italians still had honor in defending her oath and paid for it with their lives and suffering.

Rgrds
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derGespenst
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Post by derGespenst » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:30 am

So I guess George Washington and Frederick the Great were poor fighters because they were Freemasons, too? Don't you realize that such language undermines everything else you post after it?

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Post by panzermahn » Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:53 am

derGespenst wrote:So I guess George Washington and Frederick the Great were poor fighters because they were Freemasons, too? Don't you realize that such language undermines everything else you post after it?
But it is a fact that quite a considerable of Italian senior officers and generals were Freemason. Because it can cause a potential conflict of interest. Between loyalty to the nation and freemasonry believe

Frederick the Great and George Washington were both patriotic men first and then freemasons.

Unlike Signor Badoglio and his cowardice who make Italy the laughing stock of the world until the men of RSI and those who stay loyal to the Axis cause redeem Italy's honor

Regards
Panzermahn

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Alessandro
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Re: Why did the Italians fight so poorly?

Post by Alessandro » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:03 pm

Wolery wrote:Nothing I've ever read has ever said they fought well. Some say they fought bravely as indivuals, but that carries only so much power.

Was it bad equipment? Bad leadership, low supplies or poor morale? See I'm writing an AH novel and if I include Italian forces they'll be fighting with a lot of German made equipment (long story) but if their leadership is incompetent or some such better guns and equipment won't help them.

Thanks in advance.
Hi Wolery, I think you can find some answers in this thread:

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7789
Alessandro

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Post by George Lepre » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:51 pm

panzermahn wrote:Another reason is that most of the Italian officer corps and Generals were freemasons.
Hi Panzermahn -

I think what derGespenst means here is whether it can actually be proved that Freemasonry somehow sabotaged the Italian war effort. Who were the leaders of Italian Freemasonry? Did they make anti-war utterances and/or encourage Italian masons in the army not to fight? What were their positions on the matter?

Best,

George

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Post by John Kilmartin » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:26 am

Hi George,
It is my understanding that Free Masonry was at least frowned upon by Fascism if not quite persecuted. I use for a reference http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com just scroll down to Holocaust Memorial Day. IMHO this would constitute a conflict of interest if in fact there was a large percentage of Italian officers that were members. It has been alleged before that a major cause of Britain's defeat in the Revolutionary War is due to the high percentage of Masons in the British officer corps who had great sympathy for their fellow Masons opposing them.
Cheers,
John K
' Strip war of the mantle of its glories and excitement, and it will disclose a gibbering ghost of pain , grief, dissappointment and despair'

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John W. Howard
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Italians

Post by John W. Howard » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:04 pm

Hello Wolery:
The Alpini and Fascist troops were considered to be very good. I am not as sure about the Paras, but I would suspect they were better than most.
It helps any soldier to have something to fight for, when they are cold, muddy, wet, under artillery fire, and being attacked by hordes of Russian infantry and good tanks. I am not sure any Italian really knew why he was on the Russian front. Most Italians had a high opinion of the Brits, and many Italians had relatives in America; why should the average Italian want to fight any of the three? It also helps a soldier to know they have at least competent officers, effective equipment, and anti-tank guns which can do the job when facing tanks. In general the Italians had none of the three. Add to this the feeling that their major ally, the Germans, had no respect for them, and you get the picture: the war did not make a whole lot of sense to the average Italian soldier. Even so Panzermahn has mentioned several examples of note, where Italian bravery and effectiveness cannot be questioned. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

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Post by panzermahn » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:11 am

George Lepre wrote:
panzermahn wrote:Another reason is that most of the Italian officer corps and Generals were freemasons.
Hi Panzermahn -

I think what derGespenst means here is whether it can actually be proved that Freemasonry somehow sabotaged the Italian war effort. Who were the leaders of Italian Freemasonry? Did they make anti-war utterances and/or encourage Italian masons in the army not to fight? What were their positions on the matter?

Best,

George
Hi George,

Exactly. The fact that we do not know the position of the freemasons on the matter of war shows that there is an aura of uncertainty regarding whether the Italian freemasons were loyal to the state or loyal to the spirit of Freemasonry.

By the way, according to David Irving in Nuremberg: The Last battle, masonic connections most likely saved the life of Hjalmar Schact because Schact was a member of the Prussian freemasonry lodge and it was his connection with the governor of the Bank of England, Montagu who was also a member of the United Lodge of Freemasonry.

regards
Panzermahn

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:58 am

Hi Panzermahn,

Loyalty to the Italian State and loyalty to Fascism were two different things. It was perfectly possible to be loyal to the Italian state, as represented by the King as head of state, and not to be an adherent of Fascism, as represented by the Duce as head of government.

As far as I am aware there is no evidence that freemasonry was influential on the course of the war anywhere in any significant way. However, its closed nature makes it a playground for conspiracy theorists.

Sid.

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:21 am

There were (and there are) two great Freemasonry societis in Italy, the Grande Oriente d'Italia and the Rito Scozzese Antico. They were fierce rivals so it's impossible to say that the freemasons followed a line during Fascism. The influence of these entities were, anyway, quite small after 1924 (the best sources are Aldo A. Mola books about the Italian Freemasonry) and I would not dare to say they had any real effect on the Italian policy and the war.

I believe it's quite impossible for an Anglosaxon to understand what was really Fascism. The party had at its highest point about 24 millions of members, but this was an inflated number as it included all the other Italian national societies like the Lega Navale (naval league) or the Automobile Club. The real kernel was formed by 4 millions of Fasci di combattimento fascist (the best performances of the Fascist Party, before and after the war were around 15% of the voters; the same per cent was recorded among the soldiers who joined the Fascist Republic after the 8 Sept. 1943 armistice and among the POWs in Allied hands who preferred to be sent to the Criminal Camps instead to collaborate with the Anglosaxons).

The Italian dicatorship was based on the consensus of the people (like democracy) and when this consensus was retired in 1943 it collapsed.
In Germany, even if there quite harshers methods were available, the principle was the same.

Bye

EC
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