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The Italo-Ethiopian War, Adolf Hitler, and Denis Mack Smith

#21 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 11:37 AM

Generally speaking the individual weapon in 1935 ethiopian army was a fire weapon (rifle). What lacked in ethiopian army were support weapons (from MG to artillery) and, overall, the organization of a modern army.

Hemingway was a great novel writer but not exactly a great historical source. That's true also for his books.

The use of CW by italians was dued more to political factors than to real military needs.

The Osprey book is quite strange. Apart illustration (very good), the text is strangely by David Nicolle, who is an excellent Middle Ages scholar but God only knows why he had been charged to write a text on a XX century war. The italian part of the book is...completely wrong cause describes the POST 1938 italian army and not the one which fought the Ethiopian campaign. The ethiopian part seems me better but, given the other half, I got some trouble in affording completely on it...
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#22 User is offline   MarkoZ 

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 07:37 PM

According to Bill Kirks 'tanks' site the Ethiopian army acquired a Fiat 3000A in 1925 and 3 Fiat 3000B's in 1930.

They also had 21 Armoured cars/Trucks.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this equipement and if it was used against Mussolini?
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#23 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 05:38 PM

MarkoZ said:

According to Bill Kirks 'tanks' site the Ethiopian army acquired a Fiat 3000A in 1925 and 3 Fiat 3000B's in 1930.

They also had 21 Armoured cars/Trucks.

Does anyone have any knowledge of this equipement and if it was used against Mussolini?


never found in any report. Personally I believe they probably never worked....
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#24 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 05:40 PM

Gian said:

Did they have any submachine guns (e.g. Bergmann)?


they are quoted in a Ras Immirý army description but no indication about the model...
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#25 User is offline   Joseph Salemi 

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 02:12 PM

The difficulty in trying to determine who supplied arms to whom in any given war is due to the existence of a free private market in arms. This existed in 1936 as well as today. Weapons of all types and makes and origins are for sale from many different sellers, so just because a German gun turns up in the Ethiopian army, it doesn't mean that it was supplied on Hitler's order.

I recall reading in a history of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) that a German arms dealer sold rifles to the Spanish Republic, even though at that time German and Italian soldiers were dying in Spain in the fight against those leftist scum. The dealer, like all good capitalists, didn't give a damn about anything except his immediate profit on the sale.
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#26 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 02:57 PM

Yes but the "free market" is less effective as much as the technology level grows. Few rifles mean effectively nothing but a bunch of an hundred last-model AT guns (in 1936 the german 37mm was the best AT gun at world...) coming directly from Rheinmetall lines or from German Army stocks is something which is difficult could have been sent to Negus without a governative approval...in Nazi Germany overall! Perhaps ethiopians could have paid them cash, I ignore, but Hitler guys knew it for sure...
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#27 User is offline   MarkoZ 

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:01 PM

The 20mm Oerlikon gun was another piece of 'state of the art' Kit which turned up in Ethiopia in numbers,undoubtably a German connection there too.

Belgium supplied arms, wheras the Czechs blocked an artillery order on the eve of hostillities.
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#28 User is offline   Joseph Salemi 

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 03:43 PM

Is it possible that some of this weaponry was purchased by third parties, who were working for the Ethiopians? I ask this because during the American campaign to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, we supplied weapons to our contra allies by rerouting the stuff through the Israelis. It was a smart move, because this way we had complete deniability when the Nicaraguans charged us with acts of war. It was a success for us (we eventually got rid of the Sandinistas), but perhaps the same trick, if indeed it was used, did not work for the Ethiopians.
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#29 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 04:36 PM

Why doing so? In the'80s USA had some reason to negate the Iran-Contra connection but Germany had no reason to negate having helped Ethiopia in 1935. Italo-German relations were bad, Italy was under sanctions and Hitler had different ideas about "public opinion" than Reagan government...
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#30 User is offline   Joseph Salemi 

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 06:44 PM

Yes, I understand your point. In the 1980s in America we had a huge problem with left-liberal fanatics, and we had to lie through our teeth to keep them off our backs concerning the contras. The Israelis made it possible for us to arm the contras at one remove. It's true that Hitler didn't need to do this, since Germany was a dictatorship, and the Nazis didn't have to apologize to anyone about where they sent weapons.

However, I do believe that despite any political friction between Germany and Italy at that time, Hitler still had a great deal of respect and admiration for Mussolini and the Fascist revolution. After all, he had based his Nazi movement on the Italian model in some respects. For this reason, I don't think he would have wanted to do something as hostile as send German weapons to the Ethiopians. I'm not saying it didn't happen (the Byzantine welter of bureaucracy in Germany made anything possible!), but it may have been done surreptitiously.

Moreover, consider Hitler's attitude towards the South Tyrol. Despite being a rabid nationalist, Hitler never seemed to work up any sympathy for the German-speakers in that part of Italy. In fact, his posthumously published second book was largely an attempt to convince German nationalists that they should forget about the South Tyrol, and not give Mussolini any trouble about it. For someone who was willing to go to war over the Sudetenland and the Polish corridor, this is a remarkable volte-face. It shows that Hitler was very concerned to keep Mussolini's friendship, despite the differences between their two nations.

That is why I am skeptical about official German aid to the Ethiopians. On the other hand, unofficial aid from greedy German capitalists is very possible, and indeed likely.
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#31 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 06:51 PM

Quote

Is it possible that some of this weaponry was purchased by third parties, who were working for the Ethiopians?

The Ethiopians had a whole host of military advisors during the war. The weaponry might have been provided by them.
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