phil gollin wrote: .... 1: (1a) The Axis did not send enough supplies
If the supplies that are sent aren't getting to the troops sending more supplies doesn't make much sense does it?
... (1f) insufficient harbour facilities and (1g) improvisation ( AGAIN, Italian Naval High Command problem ).
Perhaps there problem but hardly their resoponsability. The Italian army would be responsible for telling the navy how much they would need in supplies and in building the infrastructure to accept and distribute said supplies.
2: Why did the Italians not use coastal shipping/convoys to move supplies up the coast (low draft vessels, moving withing mine barrages using local harbours in high threat situations) ?
They did. But the local harbors couldn't handle all that much in the way of traffic either and of course said local traffic was subject to British interdiction efforts.
This is one of the reasons I quoted the 1938 report by the C-in-C Med where he is looking at preparing reserve ports, fuel supplies, etc... in case of war. He looked at what was coming and did something.
There is little question that the prewar planning by the British was better. However a lot of this was due to both doctrine and the British political system. Due to the limited political influences the British Military could make fairly realistic assumptions on what would happen and the various commands could then use this information for planning purposes. Furthermore they could communicate reasonably safely with high command information such as "if this happens we have a disaster on our hands". Not to say that the politcal leadership would prevent it from happening (Singapore being a rather classsic example) but they were aware of the dangers and could allocate resources as appropriate. Furthermore general competency rather than political reliability seems to have been the critieria for advancement in the RN this was not the case in Italy.
This is in contrast to the Italian High Command.
The question is what resources did the Italian navy have that they could allocate to these efforts and what guidance were they given as to likely conflicts. If Il Duce wanted a battleship rather than a filled tank farm or a decent railroad in North Africa that's what he got no matter what the Admirals or Generals said.
There is blame to be had there, not a blind eye to be turned.
Indeed but the question is who is to blame. We've already seen that Italian Naval officers were aware of at least some of the problems and had communictated them to Il Duce. What more should they be expected to do if he turns a deaf ear? Especially if he assures them (I'm not sure if he did this or not) that he won't do anything "stupid".
Whether Italy thought they would be fighting just France or France and Britain together they "should" have planned for much of the things that actually happened.
Did they plan on fighting either? If so when? Didn't Hitler tell the Wehrmacth to be ready for war in 1944 at some point in the 30's. If Italy was preping for war at that point they had time to lay in supplies in the early 40's and indeed that would make sense as some of those supplies will be perishable. There is no question that the British and for that matter American military commanders were more proactive than the Italian ones but they also had more resources and a history of such planning.