Vittorio Veneto in the Atlantic

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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RF
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Vittorio Veneto in the Atlantic

Post by RF » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:13 am

Can I raise a scenario I don't think has been raised before - what could have happened if the Vittorio Veneto had escaped into the Atlantic during 1940?

There are of course a number of problems with this, being first one being how does the VV get through the Straits of Gibraltar unscathed and the other being the Italians critical fuel situation.

However suppose Mussolini decided in June 1940 to delay declaring war until the summer of 1940, by secretly agreeing with the Germans that Italian claims on France would proceed once Italy was in the war. The Italians stockpile fuel and in July 1940 the VV, with Italy still neutral, sails from Italy into the Atlantic, refuels using Spanish and Portuguese ports before arriving in St Nazaire. A motive for the Italians doing this would be to boost the Duce's prestige by Italy providing naval support for Operation Sea Lion.

Sea Lion, as in reality, doesn't take place, Italy declares war so VV is now ready for Atlantic operations. How well would VV fit in with KM surface ship commerce raiding operations?
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paul.mercer
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Re: Vittorio Veneto in the Atlantic

Post by paul.mercer » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:55 am

An interesting situation indeed,
Hitler was very nervous of sending out his own ships, but would probably be quite prepared to assist the Italians if they wanted to go out into the Atlantic on raids. I'm not sure if the Kreigsmarine actually thought very much about the fighting capabilities of the Italian navy and it is possibly a matter of conjecture whether or not they would have been willing to provide the sort of backup (oilers etc) that a large battleship needs as it is unlikely any Italian backup ships would get out after her.
Had VV proceeded out on her own it was probably only a matter of time before the RN caught up and sank her.

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RF
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Re: Vittorio Veneto in the Atlantic

Post by RF » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:39 pm

It would be an interesting scenario if VV was available for Operation Berlin, assuming the Regia Marina was prepared to have the ship under Lutjens command.
The threat of a 15 inch gun battleship loose in the Atlantic - even if Italian - would have to be taken seriously by the RN, particulary if it was under German command. The later experience in the North African desert showed that Italian units working with the Germans performed better than on their own, a reflection perhaps of better quality leadership. Neither should it be forgotten that there were instances of Italian forces being effective on their own anyway which tend to be overlooked against the background of mass surrenders and retreat evidenced October - December 1940 in North Africa and Greece.
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dunmunro
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Re: Vittorio Veneto in the Atlantic

Post by dunmunro » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:19 pm

RF wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:13 am
Can I raise a scenario I don't think has been raised before - what could have happened if the Vittorio Veneto had escaped into the Atlantic during 1940?

There are of course a number of problems with this, being first one being how does the VV get through the Straits of Gibraltar unscathed and the other being the Italians critical fuel situation.

However suppose Mussolini decided in June 1940 to delay declaring war until the summer of 1940, by secretly agreeing with the Germans that Italian claims on France would proceed once Italy was in the war. The Italians stockpile fuel and in July 1940 the VV, with Italy still neutral, sails from Italy into the Atlantic, refuels using Spanish and Portuguese ports before arriving in St Nazaire. A motive for the Italians doing this would be to boost the Duce's prestige by Italy providing naval support for Operation Sea Lion.

Sea Lion, as in reality, doesn't take place, Italy declares war so VV is now ready for Atlantic operations. How well would VV fit in with KM surface ship commerce raiding operations?
The Littorio class were terrible seaboats and quite unsuited to Atlantic conditions and they guzzled fuel with a subsequent short range.

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