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Your thoughts on NA campaign article (linked)

#1 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 06:09 PM

I know it is late to further contribute to the discussion but I wonder if any of you read this page about the clashes in N.A. during 1940-41.
I found some points of it not convincing (e.g. performance of OTO Mod. 35 grenade and other parts relating the mass seizure of Italian personnel) but anyway I feel fair to submit the URL and wait for your comments.

http://www.magweb.co...pa/seu55daw.htm
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#2 User is offline   Jim H 

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 06:59 PM

Gian said:

I know it is late to further contribute to the discussion but I wonder if any of you read this page about the clashes in N.A. during 1940-41.
I found some points of it not convincing (e.g. performance of OTO Mod. 35 grenade and other parts relating the mass seizure of Italian personnel) but anyway I feel fair to submit the URL and wait for your comments.

http://www.magweb.co...pa/seu55daw.htm


I quit reading once I got to this part:

"Officers strutted about like gigolos, neglecting their men. Italian troops had done badly in Spain against Republicans and badly in Ethiopia against tribesmen."

You can tell by the choice of wording that this isn't going to be a good article. And how on earth did Italy perform badly in Abyssinia??

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#3 User is offline   Jeff Leser 

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 09:41 PM

Unlike Jim, I decided to suffer through the complete article. This must rank as one of the worst articles I have read on the operation. It is apparent the author lacked Italian sources, and his language doesn't support the notion that clear, reasoned analysis was used to understand the nature and the cause of the Italian defeat. His discussion of Beda Fomm is the only part that rises to the medicore-level. Unfortunately this will be the source many readers will use when discussing the events in AS during Operation Compass.

Jeff

#4 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 05:27 AM

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"Officers strutted about like gigolos, neglecting their men. Italian troops had done badly in Spain against Republicans and badly in Ethiopia against tribesmen."

Yes, I know the passage and I nearly had an emboly in reading it. Indeed it is one of the worst articles I ever read on the subject, and I would suggest sending our complaints to the webmaster and the author of the piece as a retaliation.
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#5 User is offline   Jim H 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:10 PM

Im just curious how he knows a gigolo is supposed to strut? And exactly what history book cited Italian officers as gigolo strutters?

#6 User is offline   pg 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 04:50 PM

Ive skim read it (no time to give it a full go)and from what I can tell its not all bad hes just sensationalised things to fit the stereo type......for strutting around like Gigolo I suspect he means the officers had a fairly plush standard of living compared to their troops etc. Factually its ok.........it just reinforces all the out dated ideas people have of the campaign :roll:
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#7 User is offline   Jim H 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 06:32 PM

Nah..I bet he is just upset because he thinks we are very successful womanizers :)

I sure wish I was!

#8 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 06:41 PM

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Im just curious how he knows a gigolo is supposed to strut? And exactly what history book cited Italian officers as gigolo strutters?

Maybe he was thinking about the portrait of Italian officers as featured in Captain Corelli's Mandolin!
I can't see a different reason: history books (the serious ones) don't come down in the world like that article does.
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#9 User is offline   Jim H 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 06:47 PM

Unfortunately this is getting off topic so I will split this thread. But to compare the plush standard of living of an officer, like pg stated, to a gigolo, is ridiculous. I can think of many other ways to describe the class structure of officers and enlisted. In my opinion, the word gigolo was his word of choice because what else are Italian men known for?

Ok...time to split this thread.

#10 User is offline   pg 

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 08:49 PM

Jim....you are just a stud and proud of it!!!! :lol:
As for Captain Corelli....I dont think that painted Italain officers as Gigolos....and Ive read the book and seen the (dire Hollywood) film.
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#11 User is offline   FB 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 07:55 AM

In fact "gigolo" (= male prostitute) is not the word I'd have choosen if I were to chastitize (with an overabundant lack of both tact and historical knowledge) Italian Officers. Letting aside for one minute the correct consideration that generalization is always a mistake, I'd say that the portrait brought by by Corelli's Mandolin protagonist would be that of a womanizer, not that of a gigolo.

And, to be honest, I'm still wondering where on earth a gigolo (and thousends of them for that matter) would have practiced their "profession" in 1940 Lybia... :roll:

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#12 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 03:04 PM

FB said:

In fact "gigolo" (= male prostitute) is not the word I'd have choosen if I were to chastitize (with an overabundant lack of both tact and historical knowledge) Italian Officers. Letting aside for one minute the correct consideration that generalization is always a mistake, I'd say that the portrait brought by by Corelli's Mandolin protagonist would be that of a womanizer, not that of a gigolo.

And, to be honest, I'm still wondering where on earth a gigolo (and thousends of them for that matter) would have practiced their "profession" in 1940 Lybia... :roll:

Best regards


Have you ever read this line?

"...Rome had failed to equip them for modern warfare. Eau de Cologne and Parma ham would certainly prove of little value against bloody-minded soldiers who had just spent a miserable night in cold and wet holes in the ground"

EAU DE COLOGNE AND PARMA HAM?!?! And whenever an italian unit in the desert would have received them?!?

But that what is written on Osprey Book's Operation Compass, Campaign series 73, page 78.
I suppose you (as me) have a certain respect for Osprey's work and take them for usually serious and well-documented, but...
And it's niether the only point of this sort.

it's a long way to Tipperary, sigh...
melius esse quam videri

#13 User is offline   Ennio 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 04:48 PM

Lupo wrote:

"EAU DE COLOGNE AND PARMA HAM?!?! And whenever an italian unit in the desert would have received them?!?"

Apart from being a beatiful collection of clichés, the article (I remeber another of the Ospreys on uniforms describing the "Saharan" type uniform of an Artillery Officer of the RE as being "flamboyant", no less, when all there was of flamboyant in the -very good as usual - drawing were the shoulder tabs...the rest was drawn to look realistically "desert scruffy"), but Parma ham ( and Parmesan cheese too!) there was, in abundance. Let's not forget that in their advance towards Beda Fomm, the British had overrun not only the "front line" units, but also (mostly) the rearmost Depots of an entire Army, whose two-three-and four-star Generals and infinite amount of Staff Colonels would have not been deprived of some of the staple food of their Officers' Mess. That in British eyes this exotic stuff was bordering on depraved luxury is understandable, simply because they had never tasted anything so good. But which for Italians was something as common as fish-and-chips, or at best, bacon and Stilton cheese for the British. :lol:

But reading Italian accounts of the gleeful ransacking (in due course) of captured British dumps, you'll never find anything excited about British food, but mostly about shoes.....eh, the famous "Desert boots" of a well known brand. "With those, I will not have to marry any girl, but I can pick and choose" a Bersagliere was heard saying.
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#14 User is offline   Ennio 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 05:07 PM

Another little remark on the Article, which describes the Lybian paratroopers as "paras who had never jumped out of a plane" (obviously -jumping out of a plane needs courage "per se", and therefore this courage had to be denied upfront to anybody even remotely connected with the Italians), it is tragic to think that those guys not only had jumped out of planes, but suffering far more deadly jumping accidents than their "National" counterparts without showing any fear or hesitation. Marshal Balbo attributed their uncanny courage to their Moslem faith, that held that a man's fate was known to Allah and that his death would come at the right time whatever he did.....
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#15 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 05:13 PM

Ennio said:


, but Parma ham ( and Parmesan cheese too!) there was, in abundance. Let's not forget that in their advance towards Beda Fomm, the British had overrun not only the "front line" units, but also (mostly) the rearmost Depots of an entire Army, whose two-three-and four-star Generals and infinite amount of Staff Colonels would have not been deprived of some of the staple food of their Officers' Mess. That in British eyes this exotic stuff was bordering on depraved luxury is understandable, simply because they had never tasted anything so good. But which for Italians was something as common as fish-and-chips, or at best, bacon and Stilton cheese for the British. :lol:

But reading Italian accounts of the gleeful ransacking (in due course) of captured British dumps, you'll never find anything excited about British food, but mostly about shoes.....eh, the famous "Desert boots" of a well known brand. "With those, I will not have to marry any girl, but I can pick and choose" a Bersagliere was heard saying.


ehhh, some point:

1) The book speaks as this stuff was usual between rank and troops...I suppose you have an idea of what was the italian soldiers rancio, no? :wink:

2) there's an interesting scene about mineral water between officers and soldiers in first chapter of Piscicelli Taeggi's book...have you read it?

3) About british gear is best booty than their food...no wonder! :wink: And i add: I am sure that there was less difference between british general and soldiers shoes than between italian soldiers and general meals...
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#16 User is offline   Ennio 

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 05:37 PM

Well , my Uncle (who commanded a Btn. of the "Ariete") always said that as it concerned confort the world was divided into two hemispheres: the Staff and the Others. But what made things bad in the eyes of the troops was the draconian prohibition for Officers to eat with the "common soldiers", even in the desert, even in action! So, when they stopped to eat, he ate alone on one side of the tank, his crew on the other. Both sitting in the dust, both swatting flies, both eating the same tinned meat or captured Corned Beef, but phantasies as of what the Officers had were rife.......and it was "great" in his eyes to see German Colonels and Sergeants and Privates just sit down together and eat what they had, at least in the field.
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#17 User is offline   Gian 

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 08:28 PM

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That in British eyes this exotic stuff was bordering on depraved luxury is understandable, simply because they had never tasted anything so good.

George Bernard Shaw was perfectly right in saying that if the Brits can survive their food, they can survive anything!!

Quote

Well , my Uncle (who commanded a Btn. of the "Ariete") always said that as it concerned confort the world was divided into two hemispheres: the Staff and the Others. But what made things bad in the eyes of the troops was the draconian prohibition for Officers to eat with the "common soldiers", even in the desert, even in action! So, when they stopped to eat, he ate alone on one side of the tank, his crew on the other. Both sitting in the dust, both swatting flies, both eating the same tinned meat or captured Corned Beef, but phantasies as of what the Officers had were rife.......and it was "great" in his eyes to see German Colonels and Sergeants and Privates just sit down together and eat what they had, at least in the field.

In my opinion this is one of the reasons why German-Italian relationships were always cold, never friendly. The DAK was better equipped (albeit the Tobruk "lucky hit" partly filled in our gaps) and the relationships between officers and enlisted were not very formal. Our men were instead "tied up" to hierarchy.
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#18 User is offline   Old Alpino 

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 03:39 AM

It seems that quite a bit of the latter part of the article was lifted by a book from Mooreshead(?) an Australian war correspondent in 1940.

I seem to recall the passage of an Italian soldier shooting an Australian, then surrendering etc.

Has anyone read Mooreshead(?) book?
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#19 User is offline   Ennio 

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 11:27 AM

Old Alpino wrote: "Has anyone read Mooreshead(?) book?"

I did, a long time ago. But although bringing forward a good part of the clichés found in the article, Moorehead never went as far as using terms such as "strutting gigolos", whilst for example paying homage to courage of the Italian Artillery: "their guns were obsolete, their ammunition had a very high percentage of duds, but most of the time they fought to the last man, dying on their guns...." That passage I remember well.
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