Message from the Comando Supremo staff
Follow us now on Twitter!
- Active Posts:
- 1,935 (0.46 per day)
- Most Active In:
- Reenactors Forum (649 posts)
- 20-May 04
- Profile Views:
- Last Active:
- Yesterday, 03:29 PM
- Member Title:
- 61 years old
- November 12, 1954
- Leavenworth, KS
- Italian Reenacting, Italian and Ottoman military history
Topics I've Started
04 November 2015 - 02:43 PMThe following maps are from, the Hellenic Staff history of the war. These maps depict the theater of operations and the Italian offensive.
Greece Map 4.jpg (1.26MB)
Number of downloads: 17
Greece Map 5.jpg (1.19MB)
Number of downloads: 19
Operations in the Pindos
Greece Map 6.jpg (1002.77K)
Number of downloads: 12
23 October 2015 - 07:17 PMI have been involved in a recent discussion here on Comando Supremo that touched on how history is written, revisionism, and biases. What I am providing here is a discussion of my basic thoughts on the historiography of the Italy military in the 2GM and how I approach my research. Others are more than welcome to discuss what I have posted and offer their own thoughts on Italy and the history of the war.
A little background. My research in the Italy military began in the early 70s and focused primarily on the Italian Navy (RM). By the late 70s my interests expanded to include the Italian Army (RE) and I pretty much purchased any book or sources I could in English. By the early 80s it became clear that any serious research needed to be done using Italian sources. By the end of the 80s I was collecting the Italian officials, an effort that still continues to this day. Added to those basic works are books in English, German and French that touch upon wartime Italy. So what are my conclusions about the historiography of the RE’s involvement in the 2GM?
1. That at the strategic/overview level, the Italian efforts are fairly depicted. One cannot escape the realization that Italy’s wartime military effort was marginal and many of the operations/campaigns had serious flaws in planning, resourcing, and execution. Italy lacked achievable strategic goals that could be won by war.
2. That the reasons normally given for 1 above in English sources tend to be wrong, misrepresented, or overly generalized. For example, a reason given all too often for Italian failure is the lack of fighting spirit of the soldiers, when in fact a closer examination demonstrates soldiers fighting bravely with inferior equipment and/or training.
3. That Italy’s successes tend to be downplayed or omitted. This is partly due in some part to lack of significance of those successes. Ariete’s success at Bir el Gubi in November 1941 ultimately didn't affect the outcome of Crusader. Part of this is also due to Allied biases. The fact that the Battle of Bir el Gubi doesn't get a detailed tactical when other battles due is partially due to bias.
4. While the bulk of RE equipment was serviceable, too often it was overmatched by the Allies (either in capability, quantity, or both). For example, the 47/32 cc gun was a good weapon in 1940, but couldn’t counter the use of Matilda IIs employed by the UK. The authorization of the 47/32 cc in Italian units was less than the A/T gun authorizations in comparable Allied units.
5. The RE wasn’t equipped for mobile warfare. The lack of mobility of the Italian formations basically insured significant losses when the enemy prevailed.
6. Senior leadership was generally marginal to poor and didn’t improve much over the course of the war.
There are quite a few exceptions to each of these points (except #1), but never enough to change the overall understanding. Regardless of how distorted a stereotype might be, there is always a grain of truth somewhere in it.
So what can be done? We can better explain why things happened without trying to ‘wish away’ that they happened. Large numbers of Italian soldiers did surrender to Allied forces during the war. We can clear away the distortions by presenting a better understanding of why it happened.
In the discussion I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the point being debated is whether Italy ‘won’, stalemated, or ‘lost’ the Greek campaign. For me, stating Italy won ‘wishes away’ the very real failures of this campaign. After all, if you achieve victory, then the cost was worth it. But that only works if you actually gain the benefits you fought for. Stating Italy won also ‘wishes away’ the German intervention that actually secured that ‘victory’. Without that involvement, Italy might not have ‘won’. Furthermore, the German involvement needed for victory was the main reason why Italy didn’t achieve any of it pre-campaign goals.
Just some thoughts for others to ponder.
17 October 2015 - 05:48 PMI am selling a set of Mario Montanari's La campagna di grecia published in 1980. This is the definitive history of the Regio Esercito during the Greek campaign.
This is a extra set (I am keeping one set) that has been in my library for years. Books are written in Italian. The set is soft-bound (as originally published, no hardback edition were ever printed). An abridged one volume reprint (~879 pages) titled L'Esercito Italiano nella campagna di Grecia was published in 1991. As you can see, more than half the material was cut.
Tomo I - Testo (narrative) 965 pages. Detailed presentation of the campaign from prewar planning to the fall of Greece in April 1941. Crete is not covered as the Italian Army didn't truly participate.
Tomo II - Documenti (documents) 1024 pages. 336 document including orders, memorandums, transcripts of meetings, etc.
Tomo III - Schizzi e fotografie (maps and photgraphs) 266 pages. 176 maps and sketches, many of them folding. 52 pages of photographs include some aerial and panoramic photos (several of the latter are folding).
No markings or underlines, etc. in the first two volumes. The third volume has pen & ink corrections based on the errata corrige sheet from the USSME. These are the only markings in the volume. A Xerox copy of the errata will be provided. There is normal edge wear. No missing or torn pages.
Price is 210 priority shipped in CONUS. $200 plus actual postage for overseas (shipping is likely to be in the $60-70 range for Europe). Condition is as seen in the attached picture. More pictures on request.
Italian Officials Grecia 001.jpg (1.01MB)
Number of downloads: 7
02 October 2015 - 07:41 PMI have posted an OOB for the Hellenic Army under OBs on the main page. If you have any new information to share and and/or spot some errors, please post yoiur comments here. As always, please provide a cite for your information.
I am working on similar document for the Italian Army as well as OBs for April 1941.
19 September 2015 - 05:37 PMA request was made for information on the Greek Army's retreat on the Epirus and Western Macedonian Fronts. Attached are two maps from the Greek official history: An Abridged History of the Greek-Italian and Greek-German War 1940-1941 (Land Operations) published by the Hellenic Army General Staff in 1997.
Sketch Map 24 covers the WMFAS. Sketch map 26 covers the EFAS. The dates the positions marked are indicated.