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Subject: 1939 the Allies Attack, Knocking Italy out of the War
Godofgamblers    5/15/2007 1:05:38 AM
1939, Hitler's forces ravage Poland while the West looks on... but could it have gone differently? What if the French attacked Italy in the South, pushing through Torino, Milano, Verona and Venice? Italy would have been cut in two, and let's face it, Mussolini would have fallen, maybe even at the hands of his own people. Faced with this sudden aggressive action by the Allies, Hitler may have thought twice about attacking. With his Southern flank exposed in Austria, most of his armor destroyed in Poland and his forces deployed in the East, he may have given up his plans of war against the West. The West would be forced to accept the fait accompli on the Eastern Front, and Hitler would not be confident enough to attack the Allies in the west. Logically, he would turn his attentions to the East, namely to the USSR. The West would be happy since they would have averted total war with Germany and they would witness Fascism in a life and death struggle with Communism. They might even have resorted to supplying Germany to tip the balance even more in Germany's favor. All sides would be happy: Germany would have their Gotterdammerung, the West its security and USSR its confrontation with Fascism.... the only loser would be Italy, the sacrificial lamb. Your thoughts, Gentlemen?
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eldnah       5/21/2007 8:41:27 PM
My apologies for intruding upon this Godofgamblers-vs-Paul 1970 discussion. 
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Godofgamblers       5/21/2007 11:20:28 PM
No intrusion, eldnah! let's continue the discussion....!
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FT_Italy       7/8/2008 10:52:51 AM
Let's see what would have been with France in 1939 and what against:
- support of British Navy would have quickly decided the war at sea in favour of Allies, if the Royal Navy attacked with most of its forces: indeed, this option was considered in 1935 by Italian Royal Navy, and the response was to begin training of suicide pilots (later this program was abandoned in favour of the best program of training very good naval special forces, while the Japanese took this idea); otherwise, with minor British support, Italy could have standed also by sea, but always in an inferiority position (Littorio-class battleships were at sea, 2 in 1940, and 1 in 1942; Aquila-class carriers were not ready before 1943);
- better French tanks;
- large French colonial Empire;
- obsolete-trained Italian troops and officers;
- Italian Army still mainly on feet and horses.
- all armies of 1939 were not based on motorization nor mechanization (even, German Army in 1944 was still 50% relying on horses) then including French Army;
- only Germany and UK had modern mechanized corps and the culture to use them properly (above all Germany);
- anyway, Alpine fighting would have seen fast moving and armoured punches useless at all;
- French Army was no much better trained than Italian one;
- no much better armed, despite good tanks;
- Alps would have been an excellent defensive ground (the Albanian front is another thing: there, Italy tried to attack with less divisions than defending Greece, for Mussolini's stupid will);
- France was in no way able to sustain great combat losses (a political/social problem rather than military one, little difference with contemporary democracies);
- Italy had the largest Alpine combat corps of that time, well trained and armed to fight just in the mountains, and above all to defend the "Alpine wall";
- even passing the Western Alps, French troops would have had to fight over several mountain ridges or, by plain, across several rivers and channels, in marsh-lands and in hurban enviroment etc.
- there was no chance (for elementary logistics matters) to lead a large-scale landing on Italian coasts, and no great chance to defend it and advance in the inner lands.
Thus, I do not think French Army would have so easily invaded Italian soil; instead, likely Libia would have been an easier task, but not so easy too.
PS: conquering North Italy would have never "cut Italy in 2", as conquering Scotland is geographically a nonsense to cut UK in 2 parts; but, the main industrial centres were in the North, so losing them would have anyway brought Italy out of war.
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