German heavy ships

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RF
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:34 pm

Yet another complete misrepresentation of my posts and views.

I have made my views as clear as I can. You ignore them and rewriie them to your own WRONG interpretation.

Try re-reading my posts from the start. That will save me from wasting my time any further arguing with a brick wall. What were the Italian High Command, as you put it, doing? Quite a lot actually, as is evident in my above posts.
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby phil gollin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:33 am

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No, you are trying to hide the Italian Naval High Command behind a smokescreen. As far as you are concerned they were the only people in the whole of Europe not to understand what Italy was doing and where they and their ally were going, especially after Munich.

Or do you think that the C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet was just having some sort of vision when he did what he did in 1938 ?

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:52 am

phil gollin wrote:.
No, you are trying to hide the Italian Naval High Command behind a smokescreen. As far as you are concerned they were the only people in the whole of Europe not to understand what Italy was doing and where they and their ally were going, especially after Munich..


WRONG. These points have already been dealt with. What you outline are NOT my views but your own smokescreen interpretation of them.

Italy as Germanys' ally? The Italian service chiefs knew exactly what that mean't and made their views on it pretty clear to both Ciano and Mussolini. Ciano agreed with them, Mussolini ignored them. After all the Pact of Steel was his idea. Without consulting any of the service chiefs.
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:59 am

phil gollin wrote:.
Or do you think that the C-in-C Mediterranean Fleet was just having some sort of vision when he did what he did in 1938 ?
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He was operating under a totally different political regime, had freedom of thought and expression unlike his counterparts under Italian fascism, had full freedom of action which again his Italian counterparts didn't have, and was fully supported by a British Government that by that time was serious about re-armament.

And the Italian service staffs were well aware of the British position, even if Mussolini and Hitler weren't. So much so that they substantially oversestimated actual British military strength in the Med and in Africa. Another reason for the defensive posture taken once Mussolini declared war.
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby lwd » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:50 pm

The whole point of Bureaucracies is that subordinates are given duties and responsiblities to execute so that their superiors can deal with other things. In a well running one all levels can execute their duties with minimal interference and a reasonable level of guidance from above. Dictatorships are often not well running bureaucracies the combination of corruption and paranoia lead to the dictator interfereing too much in the duties of his subordinates and basing his decision on how he views things affecting him personally or how they conform to his world view rather than the good of the country or even logical and rational evaluations. RF has supplied evidence that the Italian high command tried to provide the guidance you suggest. It was not accepted and one can only push so hard in a dictarorship such as Fascist Italy before one is at best replaced. Furthermore there is a very good chance that the replacement will be a yes man or one chosen for his political connections or views rather than his command of military matters. The problem was very much the system.

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby alecsandros » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:54 pm

:ok: :ok: :ok:

phil gollin
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby phil gollin » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:46 am

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RF

You are squirming. You claim that the Italian Naval High Command could not do any better and yet the RN's local Fleet Commander did do better. There is NO evidence that Il Duce stopped the Naval High Command from thinking.

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LWD -

No, no evidence has been presented, other than the most general. Nothing regarding the general running of the navy or organisation and spending on anything below major ship level. PLEASE show me where any such claimed evidence is.

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:21 am

phil gollin wrote:RF
You are squirming. You claim that the Italian Naval High Command could not do any better and yet the RN's local Fleet Commander did do better. There is NO evidence that Il Duce stopped the Naval High Command from thinking.

LWD -

No, no evidence has been presented, other than the most general. Nothing regarding the general running of the navy or organisation and spending on anything below major ship level. PLEASE show me where any such claimed evidence is.
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These points have already been explained several times previously in above posts. You ignore these posts to interpose your own assumptions and assertions and in so doing expose the fact that you don't understand the workings of Fascist Italy and how it compares with the British command structure. Neither will trying to turn the parameters of discussion to ''below major ship level'' alter anything.

And I certainly never said that Supermarina couldn't think. It most certainly did.
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby lwd » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:20 pm

phil gollin wrote:...
No, no evidence has been presented, other than the most general. ....

Evidence has been presented. That you can't see it or don't understand it is your problem. I note that you have yet to support your position with much in the way of evidence either.

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby phil gollin » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:50 am

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RF and LWD,

Having been asked for where this evidence is both of you have avoided the question (as there has been no evidence produced).

Why not just answer ?

( N.B. - vague claims, without substantiation are NOT evidence. )

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:29 am

We already have, as we have already said.
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby mike1880 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:32 am

I can't say this is the most edifying debate I've ever seen, it seems to consist entirely of "Yes they did" and "No they didn't".

An Italian naval staff doing its job would as a minimum have plans in place for war against (a) Britain and France (b) France alone (c) Britain alone, unless instructed not to plan for a given event (e.g. as in Britain ruling out planning for war with the US). If those plans, or those instructions, existed then they were doing their job (whether or not they were GOOD plans), if they didn't they weren't. The internal politics of dictatorships don't really come into it at that level (but may well affect the quality of the plans, or the quality of decision making about whether and how to implement them). So it's a simple question: did those plans or instructions exist?

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby lwd » Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:15 pm

mike1880 wrote:I can't say this is the most edifying debate I've ever seen, it seems to consist entirely of "Yes they did" and "No they didn't".

Unfortunatly you are correct. As I have stated I think RF in particular has produced some evidence to support the position we have taken and I have challenged the logic of our opponents position but things have not advanced past that.
An Italian naval staff doing its job would as a minimum have plans in place for war against (a) Britain and France (b) France alone (c) Britain alone, unless instructed not to plan for a given event (e.g. as in Britain ruling out planning for war with the US).

I'm not sure I completely agree with that. For one thing if it is clear that a situation is untenable why spend significant effort on planing for it when you can plan for situations where it will make a difference? There's also considerations of time frames and details. Some of the US color plans were pretty far out there and lacked a lot of detail indeed they were more training exercises than plans. So how much import do plans of this nature have?
If those plans, or those instructions, existed then they were doing their job (whether or not they were GOOD plans), if they didn't they weren't.

Well the Italians seem to have conducted thier naval operations pretty well considering thier resources. That would imply some sort of plan of course when it was developed and how detailed is a matter of conjecture. RF did present evidence that the Italian admiralty had considered at least some of the ramifications of a war with Britain, enough to suggest that it be avoided. There's also the question of any plan rather than a good plan. IMO coming up with a plan that will almost assuredly end in disaster doesn't qualify as doing your job.
The internal politics of dictatorships don't really come into it at that level (but may well affect the quality of the plans, or the quality of decision making about whether and how to implement them).

Well it can also affect what is possible. A plan that relied on unlimited fuel for the Italian navy certainly wouldn't have been realistic but how do you plan for operations when you are dependent on the whim of an ally for fuel? There's also the situation where higher HQ suggest that the war will start in say 44. If you plan for that and it starts in 40 you may not have a plan. Is this the fault of the naval command or not? I would argue not or at least not completely.
So it's a simple question: did those plans or instructions exist?

That is indeed a very good question. If we had the answer to that we could move on in some direction. Of course how much would be committed to paper is another matter to consider as well.

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Re: German heavy ships

Postby RF » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:21 pm

My understanding is that there were Italian staff war plans for a number of operations which were prepared by the military staffs either on their own initiative or at the behest of King Victor Emmanuel who as head of state was the actual but titular commander in chief. These plans included a possible invasion of Yugoslavia from two directions, Venetia/Istria and Albania, which did form the basis for the Italian advances along the coast of Dalmatia in April 1941. They considered both Britain and France with a realistic view that war with one mean't war with the other. Italy was clearly hemmed in by both Britain and France combined so the plans were aimed at maintaining Italian territorial integrity. They recognised that a long war without access to the Red Sea from Italy would mean the eventual loss of East Africa, particulary as up to 300,000 troops there had a heavy burden on outside logistics. Overall they had a very pessimistic view of what Italy could achieve, so they could only plan for defence. They saw little scope for any attacking moves. For that reason there was no plan to assault Malta.

Mussolini is at fault on three counts. Firstly he didn't involve his staff in any detailed consideration of his attainable military objectives. The staff were largely left in the dark, knowing there was a risk of war, for which Italy was unprepared. As I have said above, the service chiefs made it clear to Mussolini in May 1940 that Italy was not prepared for a major European war.
Secondly Mussolini did not take the lead in ensuring that Italy was properly mobilising for total war from 1936 onwards. He did not lead, he didn't provide the money or organise the materials and resources that would be necessary for the prosecution of such a war. It was crystal clear that armaments production, particulary in heavy artillery, and the development of tanks and armoured formations, was totally inadequate. The Spanish Civil War exposed severe weaknesses in the Army and Air Force. This was clear to the staffs but Mussolini was completely blind. Indeed the invasion of Abyssinia exposed problems which Mussolini wouldn't accept, including the vulnerability of the armoured cars and tankettes to musket fire, spears and even rocks thrown at them.
Thirdly Mussolini is at fault for going to war on a gamble on 10 June 1940 having been told that Italy was unready. He gambled and the bluff was called.
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phil gollin
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Re: German heavy ships

Postby phil gollin » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:47 am

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Mike,

It is not just "plans and instructions" that the Italian Naval High Command had to prepare, it is the turning of those into organisation, infrastructure, ships, equipment, training, strategy and tactics. They failed.

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lwd,

Still no details.

As far as not bothering to plan if one is likely to be defeated, that is NOT very professional, it is defeatist. It also assumes that "your" view of the situation is the same as your "enemy's".

One of the things the Italian Navy (and other armed forces) should have done is planned for interdicted fuel supplies. (The RN did).

I am amazed, but gratified, to see you write that there is so little on the pre-war situation that actually started this bit of the thread. It is quite amazing that so much have been claimed by modern historians with such little information SEEMINGLY available.

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RF,

"Defensive war" does not cover Italian policies and actions through the mid- to late-30s (let alone WW2).

"Defensive war" does NOT preclude offensive actions.

"Defensive war" would have included dealing with interdicted supplies and having to supply North Africa, let alone attacks on Italian targets.

Il Duce is NOT the only one at fault, all three armed services had responsibilities at which they failed.

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