Why did the Italians fight so poorly?

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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sid guttridge
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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:29 am

Hi Enrico,

Democracy has its consensus checked every few years by open elections.

Fascism's elections were rather less than open.

There is no denying that at times Fascism had massive popular support, but it was not what I would understand as "democratic".

Sid

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:39 pm

Hello Sid,

you are right, of course, and you know too that I have got an high opinion of democracy as the most effective political system at war; I would dare to add that when the fight is harder ther's a tendency to return to democracy even in the most dictatorial regimes.

In Italy the June 1943 Union elections with secret vote were an interesting episode as more than a third of the elected people were declared socialists who were chosen individually.
The same last Great Council of Fascism on 24/25 July 1943 night was a democratic exercise.

In Japan too, after Gen. Tojo had been dismissed by the Emperor the system was a liberal one (Tojo's too had top accept these rules).

Comrade Stalin had to accept, after the June 1941 surprise and his long week of silence, to divide his power with the Politburo who were able to control the dictator who, until, his death, had no mor ethe absolute power he had enjoied since 1938 until 1941 after the many plots and th elong march to the role of new Gengis Kahn of the Civil War, the Terror and the Great Terror.

Hitler only seemed able to avoid such an evolution, in spite of the endeavours made by the generals, the SS and the establishment in 1943 to persuade him to sign an armistice with USSR and to win, this way, the war in a single gulp.

Now the problem is: why?

Bye

EC
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Post by panzermahn » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:18 pm

sid guttridge wrote:Hi Enrico,

Democracy has its consensus checked every few years by open elections.

Fascism's elections were rather less than open.

There is no denying that at times Fascism had massive popular support, but it was not what I would understand as "democratic".

Sid
Hi Sid,

I believed there is no "true" democracy anywhere in this universe.

Even the kingdom of heaven is not a democracy (you don't have a election to elect a new "God", right?)

Regards
Panzermahn

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Post by sid guttridge » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:30 am

Hi Panzermahn,

I tend to agree. On practical grounds alone it is impossible for everybody to be consulted on every issue all the time. Practical Democracy is therefore necessarily partial.

However, this shouldn't deter us from pursuing it. It is important that the wider population be seen as the source of governmental authority and that it should periodically be consulted about the composition of that government.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:36 am

Hello Gentlemen,

as I worte before it seems there was tendency to democracy by any regime duritng world was two. It this was a God's sign or simply because under stress condictions nature has a tendency to chose automatically the most effective (and in this case lethal and merciless) system is something beyond my capacity.

The problem, anyway, is always the same. We had this phenomenon in USSR, Italy and Japan while in Germany it stopped in 1943 (even Hitler toyed with a Senate idea in 1942 according his table talks). Why?

EC :?
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:27 am

I couldn't give two shits about democracy. Democracy with stunning precision, fails to protect essential liberties and more often than not puts pretty boys and incompetents in power. I'm all for good government, whether it comes from a President, and Emperor or a Duce I care not.

That said, would the Italians have greatly benefited from having German mad semi-auto rifles and as many panzerfausts as needed? Would this have imporved Italian fighting capacity considerably?

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:03 am

Not.

The Italian Fascist Republic troops had semi automatic German rifles and Panzerfaust in 1944-1945 and their performances on the Italian, French (Alpine) and Eastern Front, facing the Yugoslavia partisans in Istria in 1945, were good and not different from the German ones; the Italian troops were not a weak point of that front then.
These troops, however, and their cadres had had German training in the Reich while the Corps level was in German hands.
The real problem of the 1940-1943 time were the Italian commands; as Napoleon said the Italian soldier is good, but the cadres were able, at best, to die honourably, but not to fight. They did not cure training and were unable to use at best their men. Human waves was everything you could ask them. Artillery was much more professional, but the infantry commands were beyond any effort.

EC
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:10 am

I see.

Well I figured the Italians would do better with German training. In my AH, the invasion of Selarno (Avalache) was crushed by my hero, Becker, so the whole of Italy (he liberates Sicily too) remains in the Axis camp. Could the entire Italian army have benefitted from this training or would it have been beyond German capacities?

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:16 am

Hi Wolery,

There is a recent book on the subject of the limitations of German military training missions to its allies, half of which concerns Italy. I think it is by Di Nardo. I will check.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:21 am

REVIEW: Richard L. DiNardo, Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse
H-NET BOOK REVIEW
Published by: H-German (July, 2006)
Richard L. DiNardo, Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005. 282 pp. Index, bibliography. $34.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-7006-1412-5.

Reviewed by:Michael Anklin, Department of History, Indiana University.

Why the Axis Lost

Richard L. DiNardo's book will be of great interest to military and other historians, as well as the general public. Interest in World War II and especially Nazi Germany's war conduct remains at an all-time high. Some consensus on why the Allies won and the Axis lost has been reached in the wake of an innumerable quantity of studies. It is clear, for example, that the United States simply outproduced the Axis and that the sacrifice of the Red Army contributed significantly to the Allied victory.[1] However, numerous details and questions remain open to debate. DiNardo addresses such an issue: Nazi Germany's method of conducting coalition warfare. DiNardo skillfully dissects the structure of the Axis coalition forces during World War II and presents a detailed analysis of Germany's flawed relationship with its European military allies.

DiNardo agrees with Jürgen Förster that the Axis was "hardly a coalition at all," but comes to what he calls "a slightly more nuanced conclusion" (p. 192). The main reason for the failure of Axis strategy, according to DiNardo, was "that each service conducted coalition warfare a little differently from its sister service" (p. 192). The Luftwaffe, the German army and the navy all operated along different lines. In DiNardo's view, the navy was the most successful and the army failed most miserably in their conduct of coalition warfare (p. 192). Among the problems preventing the successful execution of Axis coalition warfare were unnecessarily complex command structures, the often arrogant attitude (with some exceptions) of Germans toward their allies and the failure of Germany to share military technology appropriately with partners. The outcome was often the fighting of "parallel wars," which severely weakened the overall war effort ...

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:53 pm

Quite a modest discovery indeed, it's a self-evident truth, I think.

EC
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Re: Italians

Post by HeinrichFrey » Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:41 am

John W. Howard wrote:Hello Wolery:
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? Best wishes.
I´m confused. Now tell me we the Germans did! And remember please, that is was the voice of the old british officer George Washington, which makes us talking in (me a kind of :wink: ) English. He was too bad or lazy in school. This circumstance decided history over 150 years later!
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Matt
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Matthias

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John W. Howard
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Fighting

Post by John W. Howard » Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:47 pm

Hello Heinrich:
I think the Germans had issues with the Brits and US from WWI, something the Italians did not, but I see your point!! Best wishes to Deutschland!!
John W. Howard

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Post by Mike36 » Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:56 pm

My two cents worth,

Does not matter where the material comes from.All soldiers from anywhere are the same.Provide the right training,leadership and equipment and you will get the same results.

Mike

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Back to the question which started the topic

Post by Florin » Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:04 am

Back to the question which started the topic:

At least in the first years of the war with USSR, the Italians sent to Russia had clothing not proper for winter, and as they were born in a warm climate, they suffered terrible during winter. Arguably, it was worse than what the Germans or the Romanians suffered. So, as a conclusion, we may call it "the winter excuse".

However, it seems any of the previous posts under this topic did not touch the subject of the British campaign in Abisinia in 1940. There was no "winter excuse" for the Italians there. Usually the fell of Italian Abisinia is neglected in the WWII great picture, but I think it was very, very important for the whole war. It was not a "turning point". However:

- the British were able to defend Egypt just on one front
- a "pincers" opportunity was lost regarding the conquering of Egypt and the Suez Channel
- Abisinia was lost as aerial base for the long range German and Italian planes
- the war in Africa, instead of ending in 1940...1941, kept lingering, draining resources who could be better used in Russia

To end, I cannot understand how Graziani was so stupid in the summer of 1940, when he stopped his advance in Egypt close to the end of the local railroad, instead of trying a "push" to reach the railroad and transport his troops toward Cairo by train.

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