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How NOT to write a military article. The curious case of Dr Emanuele Sica.

How NOT to write a military article. The case of Dr Emanuele Sica.

Sica, Emanuele, The Italian Army and the Battle of the Alps,

Canadian Journal of History; 47:2, Autumn 2012.

A critical review.

Sica has written what amounts to a misleading account of the June 1940 Italian incursion into France. It is a sad piece of writing from someone who should know better. His examination of the Italian attack along the French Alpine “Little Maginot” Line is so riddled with inaccuracy and non-starters one hardly knows where to begin.

As I cannot reprint the entire text due to copyright restrictions, I will reveal its main contentions. Like most misguided writers writing about the Italian military effort in the Second World War, Sica is interested not so much in truth but on winning an argument. Like them, he starts with a premise, a common one that is firmly grounded in the historiography of the Second World War: that the Italian military forces were inept, incompetent, out of their depth, lacking in resources, leadership, morale and even, common sense. The only charge I would agree with is the charge of lacking resources. This is true, especially when one considers that Italian industrial output was as little as one sixth that of Germany or the UK. Losses were difficult to make up for, which explains why the Italians had to choose their fights carefully.

Now, for his article. This is a young man who has lectured briefly at the modest  University of Waterloo (Ontario) and received his PhD there. His only publication to date is this article in question. He managed to secure a lecturing position at the Royal Canadian Military Academy, but how is anyone’s guess.

In his abstract, which contains, or should contain what he is about to prove, he maintains that the Italian campaign was:

a)      hindered by poor strategy

b)      ineffective tactics

c)      an outdated military doctrine

d)     inadequate material due to the erosion of Italy’s industrial base in the 1930s.

However, none of the above does he actually prove. What he does prove is how easy it is for an armchair military writer to get it so wrong.

First of all, he goes into a long winded account of the 18th century military thinker, Carl von Clausewitz (1780 –1831) and extracts a few quotes from him. We can see what’s coming already. An armchair intellectual, indeed one still wet behind the ears, is using an 18th century thinker to assist him in explaining a modern-day battle. It’s a worry, but still, let’s give this young man the benefit of the doubt. He proceeds to highlight the differences between the Prussian Junker military tradition with the Italian and specifically with the Piedmontese tradition. Why he would, he doesn’t explain, but his conclusion is predictable: “Unfortunately, the Piedmontese army and its Italian counterpart could not stand up to the comparison.” All very interesting, but hardly relevant, even if true.  Sadkovich was right when he maintains that it is almost a universal tendency to view the Italian military through the prism of the German paradigm. Sica does it so well, and even goes one step better, by digging back into 18th century history!

The more I read this exemplar of a scholastic article, the more my heart sank. It could only get worse, and sure enough, it did, for in the next section, he denigrates the Italian high command for being stagnant, careerist, stifling of criticism, monopolistic, and weighed down to a military theory “tied to anachronistic trench warfare” which is odd because in the preceding statement, he pointed out the doctrine of guerra de rapido corso or “war of rapid decision” was a doctrine the Italian military planners were attempting to implement. Never mind that the primary reason for the fall of France was precisely that the French and the English were expecting the same kind of warfare – static trench warfare (and even in the same area) – which led to their defeat in May 1940. Sica’s contradiction is only one of many to come in this poorly thought-out monograph. For example, he  proceeds to scold and berate the Italian military, wailing about how corrupt and inefficient it was and how it functioned more through patronage than merit, as if these were problems only the Italian military faced. And yet, evidence for these accusations is sparse indeed. His paper lacks adequate sources to back up many of his claims. For example, he complains that Italian aircraft were poorly designed – “the airplanes proved unreliable.” He gets this gem of wisdom from another knuckle-headed historian, MacGregor Knox who Sica quoted referring to Italian planes which “were more deadly to their crews than to the enemy”. And yet, many authors have affirmed the quality of Italian fighter planes as being as good as or comparable to any the British could produce. Again, Sica does not provide much in the way of evidence or in depth analysis to back his claims.

His article then veers into weird directions, as when he quotes Ciano who overheard Mussolini discussing the reforestation of the Apennines in order to lower the average temperature in Italy to toughen up the Italians! It is not the absurdity of this statement but Sica’s use of it, that plunges his monograph into new depths of banality, this is apart from the fact that the Ciano diaries have been worked over by British Intelligence and therefore, compromised and unreliable.

He castigates the binary division scheme in 1938 as contributing to “the woeful unpreparedness of the Italian army” and yet gives no reasons how it contributed to its “woefulness”. Or when he does give reasons they are superficial and more descriptive than explanatory.

Sica peppers his disastrous article with unhelpful emotive words and phrases like “appalling”, “disastrous”, “woeful”,   “absurd”  “obviously”,   “Mussolini’s tirades” and “harangues”  “make matters worse”,  “glaringly apparent”  “flabbergasted”  “massive unpredictability” “the Italian troops were heading towards certain doom”, “bewildered Italian troops”, “it is truly remarkable”, all colorful language that would better suit a courtroom lawyer trying desperately to win an argument than a balanced historian confident in his material. In fact, I suspect Sica is trying to extend his English vocabulary in an awkward, self-conscious way, to sound more “English” than the English. Again, I come back to my point that Sica’s analysis is so puerile, that what he has left to fall back on are expressions like these that highlight and achieve nothing except to undermine his arguments. I further suspect he is trying to impress a particular audience, perhaps to line up a job with some academy or college. Certainly no serious university would ever stoop to employ him with the triteness he has written here.

Sica goes into a harangue of the Italian military from top to bottom, accusing it of incompetence, corruption, cronyism and half a dozen other “sins” as if other armies did not suffer similar malaise and pitfalls. Indeed, so earnest is Sica in downgrading and downplaying the Italian military that it makes one wonder how it even succeeded in functioning at all, let alone the three years of combat ahead of it.

In a monograph of a few thousand words, this boy-wonder attempts to scrutinize the entire Italian military/political establishment starting from the 18th century. Even the horses used to pull the equipment and artillery up the narrow mountain roads and passes were the wrong ones because evidently, they came from southern Italy and were not used to colder conditions in the Alps! By extension, was it a grave mistake on the part of the Italian high command to send southern Italian soldiers to the Alps too? The argument is absurd. Even Cavour and Vittorio Emanuele II in 1860 come in for some criticism when he writes that they could not have foreseen that their decision to hand over Savoy and the County of Nice “would have such grave strategic consequences 80 years later” writes the boy-wonder with smug hindsight.

Examples of Sica’s habit of exuberant indulgence and needless hyperbole, are many. For example, he writes “forward units, cut off from their supply lines, were literally starving!”  What! In just three days, the men were already starving to death? An example of his blatant bias is when he admits that in the southern sector of the fighting, Italian troops did “score some minor successes” but then needlessly qualifies it with “but they were hardly a promenade”. Oh how I wish I could have tied this boy-wonder naked to a mule and promenaded him through the mountain passes for mine-clearing duties with the Italian troops laughing behind!

Finally, towards the end of his excruciatingly boring and trite piece, Sica asks the predictable question: “Why did the Italian army fare so poorly in the battle of the Alps?” This is a loaded question because it has at its core, the assumption that the Italian Army did in fact, fare poorly. The question: “How did the Italians manage to achieve what they did in so little time?” would be a more positive and rewarding question that would allow more scope in response. But getting back to the boy-wonder’s “insightful” question, he responds thus:

Daunting terrains and climate. TRUE.

Blizzard and fog. TRUE

Lack of heavy tanks. QUESTIONABLE.

Again Sica doesn’t adequately explain why for example, the L3 light tanks were unsuitable for the terrain and the conditions. He just assumes they were by citing an example of one  L3 tank  hitting a landmine thus halting the column behind it. It therefore begs the question: Would a heavier tank been able to resist the impact of the mine?  Sica provides no explanation. One tank ended up in a ditch, two became entangled in wire and two suffered engine failure. Does Sica, in all his military wisdom, really believe that heavier tanks would not have had their own problems climbing up the narrow and precarious mountain paths? But nothing is too trivial for Sica to criticize. For example, he criticizes the quality of the rifles for jamming up in the cold (as if German rifles in Russia did not); the type of uniform the soldiers wore which was a quality of wool that he claimed, easily wears out (what in 4 days!); that some soldiers lacked socks and even waterproof boots. However, soldiers in any army, make do with what they have. If a soldier lacked socks, he would find a way to remedy it quick enough. If  another lacked waterproof boots, well there would be enough dead comrades lying around to remedy that little problem too. We must remember that Sica is making a case, pushing an argument, because his premise from the very first, is “Why did the Italian army fare so poorly?” So he isn’t interested in its successes which he barely and almost grudgingly mentions, or evidence to the contrary, or how it managed in just a few days of fighting, to make the progress it did. No, Sica belongs to that species of historical-advocates intent on convincing his audience of the rightness of his case.

Further on he mentions that old favorite of such writers, the specious argument of the poor morale of the Italian soldier. Without providing a stitch of evidence for this, he rambles on about how a “peace mentality” reduced discipline amongst the ranks of the Regio Esercito. And then a real whopper: “the prospect of fighting their neighbors in a war that many Alpini considered of dubious merit, left Italian soldiers appalled.” Again – a statement written as fact with little to back it up. What he’s trying to establish is that because there existed cross-border familial and cultural connections, it was really heart-breaking and demoralizing for the Italian soldier to go and fight people they were practically related to. So, did 300,000 men all suddenly have relatives across the border and were therefore unwilling to fight? One hardly thinks so. More likely, the Italian soldier saw himself as a liberator, bringing the Italian border minorities back into the fold of a greater Italian homeland, much as the Germans saw themselves as “saving” the Sudeten Germans from Czech repression.

The final few paragraphs to this “appalling” analysis of  the Battle of the Alps dribbles on with further denunciations of “appalling” and “disaster” from top to bottom.  Sica is now winding up his argument, so the adjectives are coming out thick and fast. While acknowledging the difficulty of the mountainous terrain, the weather and the strong French fortifications, Sica can’t help himself by comparing what the Germans achieved in their blitzkrieg war in the north of France with the little the Italians achieved. He seems oblivious to the fact that mountain warfare does not allow blitzkrieg tactics, that even the Germans with all their heavy armor, would have found it tough going, and that while the Germans had space and time on their hands, the Italians had only three or at most, four days of fighting. But to this boy-wonder, terrain, time, fortifications, weather and tactics, largely go over his head. No this boy-wonder superficially and unfairly compares what the Germans achieved to what the Italians achieved and then harshly criticizes the Italians for not having achieved as much. The comparison is so childish and puerile, one has to wonder if Sica is really serious or just pulling our leg.

Finally, he ends his descant with a casual quote from an unnamed Italian veteran.

“The Italian army only entered the war gradually, like someone whose clothes became entangled in a machine tool so that eventually he is swallowed by it.”

I am really scratching my head why Sica saw fit to include this quote.  Mussolini was champing at the bit to get Italy involved in a war.  While the Germans were unsure what to do next after the fall of France, the Italians were busy fighting the British in North Africa and the the Mediterranean, the only real war that was happening for five months.

Emanuelle Sica, the boy-wonder, has a lot of growing up to do. If he ever hopes to land a professorship in a reputable university, he has to produce much better output than this. Still, what he has written is an excellent example of how not to write military articles.



1st October, 2014


  1. I find it a bit much that you start of this article with the line “Sica is interested not so much in truth, but on winning an argument.” It seems to apply well to your response. You attack his university (which is ranked quite highly on the QS World University Rankings (, his age by sarcastically calling him a boy wonder, and basically call him unworthy of being a scholar.

    Why is this? Pretty clearly because he presents a point of view you don’t like. I agree that there is a lot of anti-Italian bias in the Anglo-American historiography of WW2 (though Sica was born in Italy and attended the Università la Sapienza), but your reaction is just as hysterical. You criticize him for using unhelpful emotive words and then call him childish and puerile, a wet behind the ears armchair general.

    Have you seen the sources in his PhD? Regardless of whether or not you agree with him, he is a legitimate scholar who has been to the archives and studied his materials in depth.

    You don’t help your point when you suggest that Sica should have been stripped naked, tied to a mule, and sent on mine clearing duty. Stick to arguing the facts and stop the personal attacks.

    • jdico, the only thing I agree with, is when you state quite correctly that there “is a lot of anti-Italian bias in the Anglo-American historiography of WW2”, and Sica had helped to pile it on too. So rather than reduce or correct this anti-Italian bias, the duffer has added to it. This is not scholarship, but more like jumping on the Anglo-American misinformation bandwagon with cheap swipes at the Italian military in order to further his own academic career. Obviously the Mounties liked his Italian bashing so much (perhaps because it fitted in and confirmed their own Anglocentric biases), they hired him!

      Sica appears to be Italian (though I have my doubts even here too) and yes, I have seen his sources in his PhD, in which his article was a re-worked chapter. However, sources can be cherry-picked and used in an unbalanced, partisan way, as is proven so well by the many Wikipedia articles dealing with WW2 and Italy’s participation in it by partisan, non-neutral, Anglo contributors.

      However, I suspect him because he received his doctorate from the highly Anglophonic University of Waterloo and then, soon afterwards, is hired by the Royal Military College of Canada, a bastion of Anglophilia if ever there was one. Besides, the University of Waterloo where he completed his PhD theses, does not rank all that highly either, unless you think a world ranking of 240 is high.

      I am a university lecturer myself and believe me, just because someone has the three golden letters “P-h-D” after his name, doesn’t impress me. Unfortunately, for many outside of academia, it does.

      Emanuele Sica may be a “legitimate scholar”, but based on what he has produced to date, he is, in my honest opinion, only a mediocre one at best. He has not produced anything original, trotting out only the old anti-Italian biases from within the sad and misleading Anglo-American historiography of WW2, 70% of which is rubbish anyway when dealing with Italy’s involvement.

      As for my references to him as that “boy wonder”, well there is a saying: those who try to promote themselves through an array of social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Tweeter, etc,. may gain instant fame, but unless they can produce the goods, that cheap publicity can produce instant notoriety as well.

      In memory of all the Italian soldiers who died bravely and without complaint on the frozen slopes of the Alps, if they knew the nonsense Sica had written and if we could somehow transport him back to June 1940 in a time machine, they themselves would have tied Sica backwards and naked to a mule for mine clearing duties.

      Perhaps we still can.

      • I think a good point was raised in the forums:
        “As the great Latin historian Tacitus said, history should really be really be written “Sine Ira et Studio” (without hostility or fondness)!” (from:

        Your follow up seems to be full of both. Do you have any proof that Sica isn’t Italian? This seems to be a very personal issue for you.

        Your comment that Italian soldiers would, like you, wish to see the author dead doesn’t really hold true either. Sica’s article in no way denigrates the Italian soldier. In fact, he highlights their “heroic” successes and salutes their dedication. He even supports this with a quote from another author who states that Italian soldiers were certainly the equal of their opponents. He clearly states that Italian failures were more due to poor political leadership, incomplete preparation, lack of inter-service co-ordination and low industrial production. The Italian rank and file would no doubt agree that they had been poorly treated by generals and politicians.

        As for the school rankings, what about Macgregor Knox? His degrees are from schools in the world’s top 10 and he works at one too. I don’t get the feeling that you think highly of him either. You mention that you are also a university professor. I assume you have your three golden letters. How does your school rank? School ratings (Waterloo is 169th in 2014, not 240) are highly subjective anyways. My point is that you should be careful when you start throwing insults.

        Better to stick to facts and arguments.

        • According to the Times (, Waterloo is ranked between 226-250.

          No I don’t have any personal animosity to Sica at all. If I met him I would probably like him. I just don’t like his way of writing and approach and disagree with many of the conclusions he has drawn.

          MacGregor Knox is a very good historian, but again, he is prone like the rest of them, to diminish and dismiss the Italian war effort too quickly. He criticizes the Italians even when there is no need to, and like many Anglo authors, applies different rules and expectations upon them, often stringent ones.

          Again, it is a truism to say that history is 10% fact and 90% interpretation of those facts. Indeed, many historians would even go as far as to state that history is mostly myth, and there are no greater myth-makers like the English. They especially seem to have a penchant and talent for mythologizing themselves while denigrating and belittling others.

          If I no longer believe 70% of what is written by them, there must be a good reason. Once you begin to read critically and skeptically, and discover one lie and half-truth after another and another and another, how could one retain any respect for such people.

          Military history is a field especially prone to this type of bravado and falsification due to self-interested patriotism.

          The Italian military services were no more incompetent than any other. What is mistaken for “incompetence” was really a lack of mobility, maneuverability and resources. Italy could not match the industrial output of the Allies and suffered for it in the long run. The only deficiency was its much lower industrial output. The quality of its leadership, generals, and men, were on a par with everyone else. It’s ridiculous to believe that Rommel was a military genius. He wasn’t. How far would he had got without Italian troops and materials which formed the bulk of his forces. He may have been a good commander, but without men and equipment, how far do you think he would have got?

  2. While I like your article, Annales, I do feel that the use of the insult “boy wonder” is repetitive and unnecessary. It reflects poorly on your article and makes you out to be petty, when you are bringing important facts to the table. That being said, this was a great article, and I feel the author of the paper you are discussing either had an agenda or simply didn’t care enough about deeper research (or possibly both).

    I do find it amusing that he criticizes the Italians for not having heavy tanks, when the main reason the Italians used the L3, besides cost, was that it was small, mobile, and could manage through the passes. It was the best tank for the job at the time. I find this particularly tiring because I have usually found people to be ignorant of Italian tanks and insult them the first minute they hear them mentioned.

    • Hi Vulpes,

      I take your point but his article both saddened and annoyed me. If you visit his site,

      you will see how young he appears. His appearance is that of a “boy” who graduated recently from the University of Waterloo with a PhD in history and thinks rather highly of himself. His “article” on the Italian invasion of France June 1940, was merely adapted from a chapter of his PhD thesis.

      He also likes to promote himself a lot, a little too much for his modest output. He hasn’t even published a reputable book yet, and yet he struts about the place (web) acting like a hot-shot academic know-it-all with Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and a few others.

      Sorry, but if his article (lifted from a chapter of his thesis) is anything to go on, he still has a lot to learn and a long way to go before anyone can take him seriously.

  3. vato_loco says:

    Annales, another excellent piece but marred somewhat by name calling. Using “boy-wonder” over & over again only serves to detract from your main points and makes your critique of Sica’s scholarly article — if it can in fact be called “scholarly” — seem a bit angry. Otherwise, good job.

  4. Annales is right on the majority of his points of criticism. Italy had good planes and morale. The binary division was of no military consequence in the offensive other than to make Italy look even worse afterwards through overstatement of numbers, in that the 32 divisions involved would have been 20 divisions previously and the 19 that actually attacked; 12. And there wasn’t a tactical problem in the Italian Army as it was through infiltration tactics that they reached Menton and they had adopted Mountain (Alpine) divisions. And comparing the Italian offensive to the German one cannot be done for the reasons Annales states. Sica launched his own offensive smear campaign against the Italian Army by greatly overstating his case to the point of fiction and assumed his readership to be so gullible as to believe it. Annales rightfully has spared us buying, reading, and believing, a worthless book.

    But, if we go back at what Annales identifies as Sica’s four points of Italy’s failures, they were of 1) Strategy 2) Tactics 3) Doctrine and 4) Materials. Annales concedes #4 by admitting Italy had a “production” problem. The material point here being that the Italians lacked the material weapons required to break through concrete mountain fortifications. Their “equipment was not adequate for the job” as Greece would prove four months later. But did Italy have a well thought out military doctrine? If their doctrine included 800+ frostbite cases a day and Italian soldiers asking the French who had just surrendered to them for food is sound military doctrine and with both these occurring on their very own border, then Italy was a master of military doctrine. Otherwise, not. As for the issue of tactics, Annales is right and Sica wrong as previously mentioned. So, of his last three points, Sica appears to be wrong on one (tactics) and right on two (doctrine and material). By my logic Annales has the same score too, wrong on one (doctrine) and right on two (tactics and material).

    Which brings us to the first point: Strategy. Annales argues that three days is not enough time to judge the performance of the Italian Army strategy. At the same time he concedes “geography and terrain” were against them.

    To answer that question one needs to look at who had the better strategy, the Italians or the French? The French used the terrain to their advantage. The Italian forces were confined to narrow roads. By taking out a single L3 tank on a narrow road at the head of a column, it stopped all the other L3 tanks behind. A single MG could cover an entire road of troops. To keep the MG from being knocked out by the attacking infantry, it was protected by a concrete pillbox no light Italian infantry could destroy. To knock out the pillboxes, the Italians had to bring up artillery in direct fire support mode (probably a 65mm). If they did that, the French would fire back with their famous “French 75’s” from behind case mate protection the Italians could not penetrate. The unprotected Italian guns in direct fire mode would be eliminated. The standard gun for counter battery fire (Hitting the other guy’s artillery) was the 150 mm gun which would have had to be used in indirect fire (i.e. misses) and were intended for use against opposing artillery in the open and not case mated. In addition, should the Italians threaten to break through anywhere, the French had a “B” division in reserve to call up. This was the French strategy. The French had such confidence in it that they maintained very few reserve troops behind the Maginot Line. They fully expected the Germans to go around it (and the Germans did) and so the majority of their army was poised to race north into Belgium and defend the “Dyle line”.

    So what was the Italian strategy to counter the French strategy? Well! Unless there’s evidence to the contrary, the Italians planned to overcome the French strategy by SHEER NUMBERS. If so, the problem of sheer numbers was, again, terrain and geography. Of their 32 divisions, 19 advanced. There were so many men the Italians could not squeeze them all into the limited area and terrain. The largest force the French encountered was of 12 battalions (2 divisions). I’ve never seen any battlefield maps of the area but, if the largest attacking force was two divisions, then the entire attacking Italian front was probably only four divisions, leaving the other 15 divisions stacked up on the road behind them. If so, then the Italian strategy was not a successful one. In fact, I would call it a pretty stupid one. Can the Italians eventually pound their way through? Yes. But I would say it would at least 15 days and maybe 30. This is more than enough time for the French to send reinforcements to contain the Italian breakthrough and the number of French divisions needed to do so would be very small (Initially, I’m guessing just three divisions.). So I would give the Italian military strategy the lowest possible rating. I would say the only actual strategy to sending 32 divisions where only 19 could deploy was to be able to keep reinforcing the 19 long enough for Hitler to reach Paris and allow Mussolini a place at the peace talks.

    Overall, Annales wrote a positive contribution to history and I hope its read as widely as Sica’s. It is extremely unfair to present Italy’s military as incompetent cowards. Both the Army and the Navy were designed to defend the homeland and her colonies of which they could do both very well.

    (Last sentence deleted due to its derogatory nature towards the Italian military).

    • Some very good points there Wargames. You sound like you have a good grasp of weaponry and strategy.

      3 points:

      As far as I know, Sica has never written a book. His article ‘The Italian Army and the Battle of the Alps’ was a reworking of a chapter from his PhD thesis submission dealing with the Italian occupation of France.

      Secondly, if Italian strategy and doctrine were unsound and based simply on overwhelming the French fortified positions with numbers, what alternative did they have? In another post you mentioned gliders to get behind the French lines, or an amphibious landing somewhere on the French riviera, but could they have worked? We have to assume that the Italian high command were intelligent men who had put a lot of thought into the alternatives and were left with precious few to chose from given the restraints of time, resources and terrain.

      Furthermore, you mentioned a very interesting point and one which I touched on: that Mussolini knew that the French were virtually defeated and that the Germans would reach Paris in days, not weeks. So the whole Italian strategy was based on a quick German victory and that they only had to keep up the pressure on the French so as to sit at the victor’s table. Not a noble strategy I know (kick a man when he’s down), but it was the only card the Italians could play and hope to receive some concessions like the return of former Italian lands like Savoy, Corsica, as well as controlling French colonies like Tunisia and French Somalia.

  5. I think this article identifies Sica’s mindset but I’m unsure of Annales over all objective. My own research points out that the Italian offensive failed because it not only didn’t work but couldn’t work. The problems are not much different than what Italy would face just a few month later in Greece only now add concrete to the French advantage. France had built a defense against World War I armies and Italy attacked with a World War I army. Even the Germans went around the Maginot line, an option denied the Italians. The first mined road the Italians came up against, how were they supposed to get past it? The first concrete bunker they came up against, how were they supposed to get past it? They were marching a huge army into a narrow roadblock.

    I think the Italian High Command position was “It won’t work but we’ll do it anyway.” And they didn’t just apply this thinking here but everywhere. It allows Sica to justify almost criticism and he likely didn’t expect Annales to cal him out on his sloppiness. But how does that change the conclusions?

    Italy needed a way to either go over (gliders and paratroops) or around (marine landings) the French defense or a means to blast through it (anti-concrete artillery) and they had no such ability. Italy’s offensive capabilities were limited to attacking barbed wire.

    So we have two articles written and where are we at?

    • War is not only about fighting, but is also a political activity. Mussolini needed a few thousand casualties to sit with the victors at the negotiating table, and he achieved that to some extent.

      Perhaps the Italian high command knew that France was finished and so, did not expect to be fighting weeks, but rather, days.

      How can you decide that a few days of fighting (3 days) is sufficient time to gauge whether the Italian strategy would succeed or fail? It’s like deciding the winner only after 3 rounds in a 10 round fight. No sooner had the Italians started to bombard and attack French positions, than it was all over in a day or two?

      Why judge the Italian attack a failure before it had actually begun?

      As far as I know, the Italians did succeed in breaking through in several places, or just went around the fortified French positions. Weren’t they on the outskirts of Menton?

      I don’t think the Italian army was a replica of a world war 1 army. Their equipment was good and adequate for the job. Geography and terrain was against them.

      The fact is that the Italians did manage to overcome some bunkers and avoid others; they did get through roads that were mined; they did push forward against the odds; that somehow they were making progress in those few days against all the odds. So where exactly did they fail?

      It is also true that the casualties were high; that thousands suffered from frostbite. In this one respect, I would say that the Italian High Command “failed” their men and failed in its duty of care.

      There is much more we need to know about the actual strategy, plan and aims of the attack the Italian High Command had in mind, before we jump to conclusions.

      What worries me the most is that we automatically think the Italian Army is defeated before it has even started. This is due to decades of propaganda and brainwashing put out by Anglo-American writers. We somehow need to overcome this, and begin to think clearly and objectively again, and to reevaluate the performance of the Italian military with clear thinking and solid evidence.

      It’s when I read nonsense from people like Sica who claimed that the Italian soldier was reluctant to fight because some of them had relatives on the French side of border, or that the horses were unused to the alpine cold because they came from southern Italy, that I either want to laugh or cry.

  6. ParadiseLost says:

    This comment has been deleted due to nonsensical, gratuitous and puerile argumentation and bad faith.

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