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an italo-french trouble in 1938?

#1 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 05:18 PM

I've recently heard "voices" about an italo-french "confrontation" at Tunisinian border more or less in 1938.

Do you know anything about it?

Thanks for any hint
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#2 User is offline   Kuno 

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 11:02 AM

Never heard about it in detail only in general mentioning. However; assume that the construction of the MARETH-line was a result of such tension?
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#3 User is offline   quillin 

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 12:17 PM

Long live the French wikipedia.
The Marreth line was builded between 1936 and 1940 as an answer against itallian plans of further expansions after they took Libia.

It seems like the French thought that the Italians were sooner or later advance into Tunesia and therefore builded the Mareth Line to discourage them.

Lupo, i only have information about three things that might cause tension between Italy and France.
First, on 25 oktober 1938 the Italian government declared that Libya was an integral part of Italy.
Then on 30 November: Members of the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations demanded that the French turn over Corsica and Tunisia to Italy and conducted anti-French demonstrations. The state-controlled newspapers in Italy embraced these demands. These demonstrations marked the beginning of acute tensions between the two countries, which became worse with fascist victories in Spain.
and last thing on 17 december: The Italian government sent a diplomatic note to the French indicating that the Franco-Italian Agreement of 1935 was invalid because the two states had not exchanged ratifications. The French government rejected this position.

I think it is possible that the French and Italians sended troops to the border at the end of 1938 in case one of both sides would attempt an attack.
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#4 User is offline   Saetta 

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 01:53 AM

Plus, also remember that there was much hostilities between the French and Italians during the Ethiopian invasion(s) - French aided the Ethiopians with firearms to prevent Italy from gaining control of East Africa, so it's safe to say that tensions between Italy and France were high over the African colonies.
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#5 User is offline   Folgore 

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 10:28 AM

In fact the French didn't behave so well...because in 1935 they supported, or better didn't opposed our intention of conquering Ethiopia, and after that they supported Ethiopian army
A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.
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#6 User is offline   quillin 

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:00 AM

I never knew that the French armed the Ethiopians. And i thought their army was only made of tribesmen, armed with spears.
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#7 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 11:45 AM

quillin said:

I never knew that the French armed the Ethiopians. And i thought their army was only made of tribesmen, armed with spears.


if with "their army" you mean ethiopian one, you're wrong...
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#8 User is offline   quillin 

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 02:24 PM

Yes i meant the Ethiopian army.

Say Lupo, from where the doubt? But then again if you have read this site http://politicalhumo...taryhistory.htm then i understand the doubt :lol:
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#9 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 11:44 AM

Hello everybody!:
Evidently French built the Mareth Line in the border between Argelia,Tunez and Lybia;if French made this thing was because Frech feared one attack over hers North African colonies;is possible that in the border between Argelia,Tunez and Lybia had smalls squirmish (fightings) between French and Italian troops.Furthermore the Mareth Line was strong fortify line because Rommel used it with relativy success against the British in December 1942.
Notwithstanding I am going to see this question between my books,but I would need some time.This question is a very difficult matter,but I like to study difficults matters,it is my especiallity.
One great salute from Spain,very dear friends:
Yours,Pedro "Orlando"
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#10 User is offline   Kuno 

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:36 AM

"Mareth Line was strong fortify line because Rommel used it with relativy success against the British in December 1942."

Orlando; after the French defeat, the MARETH-line was demilitarized and this has been supervised by a Italo-German Committee in TUNISA.

When the Axis forces had to finally retreat in 1942/43 the had re-occupied the old bunkers but found that a lot of them were not of good use for modern warfare any more. However; the location of the fortification was carefully chosen by the French and therefore it was still a valuable defense. The problem was the "standart-problem" of the desert war: The southern flank was always open - and this had been sed by the 2nd. NZ.-Divison for a "left hook" (after the LRDG surveyed the easiest pass).
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#11 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 10:57 AM

Hello dear Kuno!:
Yes,effectivily in the desert War the defensive statics lines have few value because they have one or two opened flanks in the extremes,this question occurried in Sidi Barrani battle,there the thing was worse because there was a pass between two fortified camps to south of the defensive dispositive.One important factor when the commands choose one point in the front line for the construction of the defensive line is the nature of the ground,especially when the ground is montanous and it has narrow gorges and defiles as in the Keren battle in Eritrea.The ground is fundamentally for to prepare the battle.The only possibility for to destroy one "tanks force" in opened desert is to use fortified camps of square form armed with anti-tank guns and to surround the camps with minefields and barbe wire,then in this zone will create one aniquilate zone and the enemy will lose his tanks as in the battle of Bir Hakein (south of Tobruk) when the Germans tried to iniciate the assault over the Allied defensive positions.Rommel didnīt learn good the power of the defensive lines,this is the great lesson of the battle of Tobruk.
The Marshall Rodolfo Graziani knew the power of the defensive lines and he proposed to Comando Supremo led by the Duce to build a great defensive line in Tobruk afterwards Italian defeat in Sidi Barrani battle,but Mussolini insisted in to defend Bardia,Tobruk,Derna,Bengasi,ets and to disperse his force in many defensive points,this deciding was one great mistake because weaked the Italian Army in North Africa.
There are other very important factor in the desert War that is the air power;first with the fighters and after with the bombers for to ground-attack the enemy can to be destroyed easilly (easy).In the battle of Alamein Rommel hadnīt fighters and bombers,the air superiority was the Allied,the Italians and Germans could to defend in his trenches only.
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#12 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 11:01 AM

Hello again dear friends! :D :
!Sorry!,by one problem in my computer I havenīt could to say good bay with my personal stile in the former post.One very great salute from Spain,good friends:
Pedro "Orlando Lorenzini" :D
Kuno :wink:
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#13 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 06:48 PM

Hello everybody!:
The battle to south of Tobruk where the Marshall Auchinlek prepared one trap for to destroy the Afrika Korpsīs tanks was the Gazzala battle,there he ordered to build fortified camps named box because these box had square form.There Rommel lost great part of his tank force,the Afrika Korps was weaked.
One salute from Spain:
Pedro
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#14 User is offline   quillin 

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 05:45 PM

IIRC Rommel never let his tanks attack a box. The only box, AFAIR, was the box of the 150th Brigade and that was attacked by infantry that was clearing a path through the minefields in order to reach the encircled DAK at the other end of the minefield.
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#15 User is offline   Kuno 

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 07:45 PM

...not attacked with tanks? What about BIR HAKEIM?
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#16 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:34 PM

Dear Quillin!:
Hello one salute,the Marshall E. Rommel attacked great part of the British box in the battle of Gazzala to south of Tobruk and he lost the great part of his tanks force in that battle,especially the box named Bir Hakeim defended by the French Foreign Legion,of which the French soldiers were Spanish republican soldiers.The "box" was stronghold armed with anti-tanks guns.Rommel fell in a trap and he lost his tanks.With sixteen tanks ables Rommel pursuited to the British Army towards Egytp,and in Egypt the British had built a great line fortified in the point named Alemain,there The British stopped to Afrika Korps and the Italian troops.All these things occurred afterwards the fallen of Tobruk in one audax action accomplished by the German dive-bombings Junkers "Stuka".Notwithstanding is possible that Rommel in some moment of the battle he attacked the box with the infantry.But the main attack was with the tanks.
Rommel was convinced that the tanks force was one force invencible,but he was in a great mistake,because the tanks can to be invencibles when exist the whole surprise,but where there is anti-tanks guns waiting the tanks arrived not exist the surprise.Furthermore in the Alfaya pass Rommel destroyed a British tanks force with eight anti-tanks guns 88 mm. concealed in the middle of the rocks.Afterwards the British learned very good this lesson and in the Gazzala battle made to prove to Rommel the same medicine and they destroyed his own tanks.
Well dear Quillin,one very great salute from Spain,yours:
Pedro "Orlando"
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#17 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 06:33 PM

Dear Lupo!:
I am seeking information in one great Spanish Enciclopedy possibles fightings between Italian and French troops in the frontier Libya and the French colonies in the North Africain 1938-40.I hope help you in this difficult matter.One salute from Spain,dear Lupo:
Pedro "Orlando"
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#18 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 05:33 PM

Dear Lupo!:
I am seeking information about the trouble in the frontier Tunissia and Libya in 1938,is very difficult to seek some information worth of mention but notwithstanding I have found some info that perhaps it can to be useful.In January 1939 the French prime minister Daladier visited the Corcega island and after he went to Tunissia,in this travel he was accompained by one French general,the Gen. Georges Vuillemin and the Rear-Admiral Darlan,the Daladierīs travel to Tunissia and Corcega island was motived by the Italians claims through the Italian press (newspapers) of Tunissina and Corcega island.
Italy climed to France lands in Tunissia therefore in that days the French goverment decided to build one defensive fortified line in Tunissia in the same frontier for to prevent one great attack of the Italian army from Libya,notwithstanding when the outbreak the War in June 10,1940 the first idea of Marshall I. Balbo was to attack the French troops in Tunissia and to take over all French weapons for after to go to Egypt for to fight the British army,so that the Italian army in Libya had few modern weapons and lorries for to invade Egypt in the summer of 1940.
I believe that is possible that had small fightings in the frontier Tunissia-Libya between the Italian and French troops,but these facts will be in the newspapers of that time.
I shall begin seeking.One salute from Spain,Lupo,yours:
Pedro "Orlando"
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#19 User is offline   orlando lorenzini 

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 06:24 PM

Lupo hello!:
In the Cianoīs Diaries during the months November and December 1938 there are some cites over the Italian claims on Corega island,Tunissia and Jibouti.Other day I shall put one resume of this question.
During 1938 the diplomatics relations between Italy and French were very difficults.
One salute:
Pedro
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#20 User is offline   Inspecteur Clouzot 

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 02:51 PM

Some clarifications:

1. The Mareth Line covered a part of the border between Tunisia and Libya. The southern part of the border was mostly Sahara desert, and unfortified. Ditto and even more so for the border between Algeria and Libya.

2. There was a lot of bad blood between Italy and France. Long-term causes were the French annexation of Tunisia in 1882, which the colonies-starved Italians had resented (more Italians had been present in Tunisia at the time of the French annexation than there had been Frenchmen), as well as Italian demands for naval parity with France. Short-term causes were Fascist Italy's demands for French territories: Tunisia, but also Corsica and Nice.

3. In the 1930's, Italy was seen as a useful counterweight to Germany, as well as, for a fraction of French conservatives, as a regime that had the right idea about law and order, communism etc. The French under Laval then prepared to sell Ethiopia out by signing a friendship treaty with Italy. Italy then invaded Ethiopia, and Britain - which had heretofore remained soundly asleep - decided that this was intolerable and the League of Nation should act to block Italian aggression. France, tied between conflicting demands, naturally chose Britain which the Italians - justifiably - felt was a betrayal. Later on, Chamberlain pursued a consistent policy of appeasement directed at Italy, with no more results than with Germany. It lasted until he left office.

4. Despite abundant bad diplomatic blood between Italy and France, there were to my knowledge no armed incidents involving these countries' forces. In particular, both countries' regular forces were stationed well back from the border, so any clash involving those couldn't be written off as an error and would carry very serious diplomatic consequences.

5. What might possibly have taken place - though again I have found no mention of such - would have been clashes between Italian and French irregular forces, i.e. camel-mounted desert patrols, either in the Saharian portion of the desert, or in the Tibesti area (today, northern Chad) which Italy claimed, France at some point offered to sell in exchange for other concessions, then the deal didn't pan out but the Italians claimed that the place was theirs anyway (Libya's leader took up that claim in an unsuccessful bid to invade Chad in 1983).

6. Here's another hypothesis. During the Franco-Italian exchanges with the armistice commissions in 1940-42, the Italians periodically came up with accusations of French treachery, involving flagrant breaches of the armistice, etc. These accusations were invariably found to range from the ridiculously inflated to the completely mythical. It seems clear that they were being used as a deliberate diplomatic haggling tactic, but on the other hand the Germans (who were quite paranoid in their own way and also brought up imagined slights) never came up with accusations as grotesque as those of the Italian delegation. So my assumption (to reiterate: I have no proof, this is pure guesswork) is that the Italian system allowed such fantastical reports to seep all the way to the top unchecked.
If my assumption is correct, then an Italian border post being attacked by armed bandits, or Italian & French irregular patrols clashing over a geographical no man's land, would be reported as a deliberate attack by the other's forces. The French reported no such things, as far as I'm aware, and a relatively recent book about war in the Saharian confines makes no mention of such.
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