WI: Free Italy - a.k.a. Kingdom of Italy in exile as an Allied nation

Italy is in a better place than OTL in terms of weapons, reserves, training, general staff and planning, but it's still Fascist Italy. They lost their easternmost provinces in a buff, suffered tremendous casualties and had their troops continuously outmaneuvered and their commanders outsmarted by the Germans. Indeed morale is underground after the general retreat, on the very same day of Vittorio Veneto's victory...

And honestly for me this is the biggest problem, frankly in this scenario Italy is playing on all his strenght and hold all the advantage (plus it's specifically what the army had trained his men for the past couple of decades, so the eternal german outsmarting and outmanovering come out more as an author fiat than something realistic) and a lot of his problem are magically resolved, while the German and co. are fighting an uphill battle where their usual strenght are instead a liability; the Axis will succeed? Very probably but not with such light loss after 3 months of campaign especially with Barbarossa going on and so devouring all the best unit and having the priority in everything (except the mountain troops all the rest will be second rate troops as everything else is destinated to Russia...and i'm very dubious that even Adolf will have launched Barbarossa before having dealt with Italy and rebuild his force)
Basically, sure the Germans will have in the end the victory...but it will be a victory that close resemble a defeat due to so much blood has been spent, frankly you need to at least double the German causalities (the Yugoslavian army is finished as an offensive force, they probably have barely the capacity to be an occupation force and any French force that try to attack the alps are basically DOA and they know it)
 
And honestly for me this is the biggest problem, frankly in this scenario Italy is playing on all his strenght and hold all the advantage (plus it's specifically what the army had trained his men for the past couple of decades, so the eternal german outsmarting and outmanovering come out more as an author fiat than something realistic) and a lot of his problem are magically resolved, while the German and co. are fighting an uphill battle where their usual strenght are instead a liability; the Axis will succeed? Very probably but not with such light loss after 3 months of campaign especially with Barbarossa going on and so devouring all the best unit and having the priority in everything (except the mountain troops all the rest will be second rate troops as everything else is destinated to Russia...and i'm very dubious that even Adolf will have launched Barbarossa before having dealt with Italy and rebuild his force)
I got your point. I'm currently simulating some things with a basic model in Python I've made during Christmas holidays that takes into account manpower, type of division and terrain, supply status and morale plus travel distances (quite a pain in the a.s using ArcGIS indeed) with loss ratio calculated accordingly... the numbers I get are the ones I put into the TL. Consider that is homemade and may be obviously flawed.

On the outmaneuver and outsmart: yep we were preparing for an alpine war but not simultaneously on all the front against France, Germany and Yugoslavia. Moreover, our leadership still sucks. Remember that our friends Badoglio and Cavallero are still around... I agree thus that there's some German plot armor to turn the TL towards the ends I've in my mind...

For the newcomers, here's also a short video I made about the first chapter of the timeline. I've planned to create one for each chapter/set of chapter as a resume to be then published on my YouTube channel...


hope you will enjoy !
 
I got your point. I'm currently simulating some things with a basic model in Python I've made during Christmas holidays that takes into account manpower, type of division and terrain, supply status and morale plus travel distances (quite a pain in the a.s using ArcGIS indeed) with loss ratio calculated accordingly... the numbers I get are the ones I put into the TL. Consider that is homemade and may be obviously flawed.

On the outmaneuver and outsmart: yep we were preparing for an alpine war but not simultaneously on all the front against France, Germany and Yugoslavia. Moreover, our leadership still sucks. Remember that our friends Badoglio and Cavallero are still around... I agree thus that there's some German plot armor to turn the TL towards the ends I've in my mind...

For the newcomers, here's also a short video I made about the first chapter of the timeline. I've planned to create one for each chapter/set of chapter as a resume to be then published on my YouTube channel...


hope you will enjoy !

Well i understand and things as morale are difficult to quantify, frankly Italy is the invaded party and it's a defensive war against Germans so morale and determination will be high on the other hand the Jugoslavian are neither suited, equipped or extensively trained for this type of offensive war and have serious ethnic problem, her offensive will be something similar to the italian offensive on the Isonzo that made a lot of good to morale; plus IMVHO even if Italy is surrounded 2 of the 3 enemy really don't count as neither the French and the Jugoslavian have the capacity to pose a serious danger to the alpine line (normally the French were a dangerous enemy but they are rebuilding their armed forces and lack a lot of heavy equipment, not considering what was sent in ME and NA).
Better take in consideration even the type of equipment, the Jugoslavian have in general even worse equipment than OTL Italy even if there are some little bright spot but too little to make really a difference and the French are basically a little soused up Italian cobelligerant army at the moment
Finally, the Axis big problem is supply, betweem ME, NA and Italy it's hard to see Germany having a lot to spare to launch Barbarossa, sure knowing Adolf he will launch it nevertheless, just that instead of the mighty blitzgrieg of OTL it will be something less (the only way that i see this happening is to leave NA as a French only thing)

Really good work with the video, please continue

PS: honestly i don't see why Regia Marina had not attempted to launch the italian version of Dunkirk, they possess total control of the sea and the air force can contest the air over the zone and Trieste had the facilities to manage enough ship...sure as the British version all heavy equipment go but at least you save troops. Yes is a risky move it can fail, but at least they will have attempted as not even try to save the pocket in Trieste is a too big blow
 
07 - Levant and Italo-British alliance evolution - Light Update New
British commitment in Italy and Levant Campaign (Q4 1941)
Considering that the Mediterranean is de facto an Italo-British lake, the next obvious move for the Empire is to provide substantial manpower to support their Italian ally, which is struggling madly to keep the front stable in Northeastern Italy.

An Army Corps at the command of General Harold Alexander embarks in Alexandria, chiefly composed by ANZAC troops in the very last days of October, landing in Naples on November 6th. The British Army Corps is a token manpower symbol for the Italians, who are indeed now also supplied by the Americans through the extension of the Lend-Lease agreement on November 24th.

The battle in Syria is chiefly led by General Montgomery, now sided by Duke Amedeo and his own metropolitan and colonial troops. The overwhelming superiority in terms of manpower and materials convinces Montgomery to finally attack en masse. Starting from the positions in Galilee and from the stage points of Haifa and Safed, Montgomery and the Duke of Aosta envision a two prongs approach: British and Commonwealth troops will storm the coast of Lebanon, with the strategic objective of Beirut, while the Italians would have to march through the Golan Heights and breakthrough on Damascus.

The clashes started with the Commonwealth forces marching on Tyre on November 15th, being opposed immediately by the French troops and their Arab auxiliaries at Mansouri. Montgomery rallies and marshals his troops after that the preliminary armored spikes were repulsed with makeshift anti-tank bombs by the brave French troopers. After new preparatory artillery strikes, the new attack managed to rout the French, who had to abandon Tyre on November 17th and are pursued until the very gates of Sidon on the 20th, where another clash finally dissolves the Franco-Arab resistance on the Coast.

Duke of Aosta, supported by aerial assets from RAF and Regia Aeronautica commences his move towards the Golan Heights, where the French, directly led by General Dentz, had created a significant defensive line, equipped with several barbed wire and trench lines reinforced by minefields and booby traps. The loyal Ascari battalions encounter in their first furious assault a stiff resistance on November 18th and manage only to capture few French advanced positions. Two days after, following strong air and artillery strikes, the Duke commits his élite infantry units of Bersaglieri and Uork Amba Alpine Battalion on Al-Qunaitra, the central French stronghold in the area. In the creepy battle that ensues, fought often with bayonets charge, the Italians manage to take the town with several losses. In the meanwhile, the few motorized troops penetrated in deep behind the French lines capturing many prisoners. The advance is stopped only at Artoz on November 25th by the sacrifice of the 7th African Chasseurs Regiment, at only 20 km from Damascus.

Furtherly reinforced by the inflow of Indian regiments landing in Alexandria and a new logistical train, Montgomery feels safe to relaunch the action to not spoil the initiative on December 2nd, attacking Sidon with massive artillery and aerial bombing. As a token force, the Free French Light Regiment, commanded by General Leclerc, enters the city on December 4th. Moreover, surgical but effective airstrikes are executed on Beirut, Latakia, and Tartus to cripple the French stockpiles. Montgomery marches unopposed on Beirut, abandoned by the remaining French troops in Lebanon on December 12th, and pushes deep, with the logistics taking care of repairing the docks to feed the oil and ammunition required to keep the pace of the advance.

Duke of Aosta, after having rotated his troops and allowed time to rest and re-equip them, begins the encirclement of Damascus on December 10th. General Dentz is fully aware of the small chances to survive the assault and liberates the troops from the oath of allegiance. Many colonial troops defect, especially the Senegalese Tirailleurs, while the metropolitan troops stay all in their place. On December 13th, the Italians have completed their encirclement, with the Bersaglieri taking the Qaboun neighborhood on eastern Damascus. On the 14th, with the Italians supported by continuous air raids from the Cyprus and Egypt airbases, General Henri Dentz orders his troops to try a sortie: his 10,000 men try to breach the Italian strongholds of Jobar and Qaboun, with bayonet charges. Last time General Dentz was seen, he was charging at the command of his loyal troops screaming: “pour l’honneur de la France! Allez mon soldats !”. The Battle for Damascus is closed on December 16th.

In a matter of weeks, the motorized British columns overtake Tartus and Latakia, moving then towards the inland. The less motorized Italians are partially substituted by more mobile Commonwealth units, but the incredible adventures of Colonel Amedeo Guillet and his own Bande Amhara Ethiopic light cavalry, managed to capture the loyalty of local Arabs in crushing the last French pockets in the Syrian desert.
 
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Well i understand and things as morale are difficult to quantify, frankly Italy is the invaded party and it's a defensive war against Germans so morale and determination will be high on the other hand the Jugoslavian are neither suited, equipped or extensively trained for this type of offensive war and have serious ethnic problem, her offensive will be something similar to the italian offensive on the Isonzo that made a lot of good to morale; plus IMVHO even if Italy is surrounded 2 of the 3 enemy really don't count as neither the French and the Jugoslavian have the capacity to pose a serious danger to the alpine line (normally the French were a dangerous enemy but they are rebuilding their armed forces and lack a lot of heavy equipment, not considering what was sent in ME and NA).
Better take in consideration even the type of equipment, the Jugoslavian have in general even worse equipment than OTL Italy even if there are some little bright spot but too little to make really a difference and the French are basically a little soused up Italian cobelligerant army at the moment
Finally, the Axis big problem is supply, betweem ME, NA and Italy it's hard to see Germany having a lot to spare to launch Barbarossa, sure knowing Adolf he will launch it nevertheless, just that instead of the mighty blitzgrieg of OTL it will be something less (the only way that i see this happening is to leave NA as a French only thing)

Really good work with the video, please continue

PS: honestly i don't see why Regia Marina had not attempted to launch the italian version of Dunkirk, they possess total control of the sea and the air force can contest the air over the zone and Trieste had the facilities to manage enough ship...sure as the British version all heavy equipment go but at least you save troops. Yes is a risky move it can fail, but at least they will have attempted as not even try to save the pocket in Trieste is a too big blow

Thank you for both the compliments on the video and for the exchange. I hope to run additional simulations on my model this late afternoon and take more into account terrain and, let's say, underpower the Yugoslavs and see what happens.

Concerning "Dunkirk" scenario for Trieste, I've never thought about that, it would have been nice, but the erasing of Trieste pocket is crucial in the TL to prepare the following events in terms of morale in Italy... Expect something bad, very bad.
 
Thank you for both the compliments on the video and for the exchange. I hope to run additional simulations on my model this late afternoon and take more into account terrain and, let's say, underpower the Yugoslavs and see what happens.
Count that on paper the Jugoslavian army had a lot of artillery but on the con side it was an hodge podge mix of many different types and of very different origin making maintenance and keeping reliably a very serious problem and in OTL the army had the moment of the invasion just recently received 1000 american truks to help his motorization but the nation increasing tie with Germany will put the order in doubt.

Looking more closely at what the French army can field, well in OTL Germany offered between 350 and 500 R35 that were captured during the battle of France*, Germany can give them back to the French (even put some radio in them as they have done with the one that had put in their service); same for the S35 and Char B1...but for that sometime will be needed, even to rebuild phisically the division and enstablish a new command and officers group (i frankly expect that there will be a close political evaluation of the returning prisoner)
The French can also resume production of the R40 and try to upgrade what left/given to them but it will come down to how much resources they have and the lack of expert worker due to this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_du_travail_obligatoire (the invasion of Italy and the previous cooling of the diplomatic relations will have also deprived Germany of the italian workers, around 100.000) on the other hand, with France as an ally Germany can't plunder the place as OTL.
In OTL Germany give to the italian air force around 500 aircraft, more or less 159 Stukas before 1942 and the rest between 1942 and the italian surrender, but always with a lot of reluctance as they need them

*https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOMUA_S35 here a generic list of what given to Italy from the loot of the French Army
 
08 - War becomes worldwide and a sudden tragedy New
The Desert Fox and the Tragedy of Ben Gardane (Q4 1941)
The Italo-British force facing the Mareth Line was still preparing for offensive operations, but the disagreements between the two leading generals, Graziani and Auchinleck (who substituted Wavell, now in charge of India Command), created some confusion in terms of troops positioning war plans and resources allocation. The >200k strong Italo-British army was losing a lot of time in September and October, that the French and the DAK, at the unified command of General Erwin Rommel took to their advantage.

November 22nd, Rommel launches, together with the French, a sneak attack on the Italians at Beni Kheddache, leveraging on all the armor he could rally. The surprise effect is crucial and the DAK manages to break through deep behind the Italian lines, busy in preparing the placement of artillery and reserves and in a pure offensive posture. One by one the Italian strongholds are picked out and the DAK, followed by units of the Légion Etrangére create a sickle behind the front lines. General Auchinleck leads the Commonwealth armor against the advancing Germans to relieve the dangerous pocket that is being created and engages in a tank battle with the DAK on November 24th.

The clash results in a stalemate, but Auchinleck is forced to retire when some advanced patrols from the French have already occupied Tataouine, cutting some of the paths of retreat. Commonwealth forces pack up and begin their retreat, covered by aerial assets from Malta, Lybia, and Sicily. The Italians, partially freed by the danger of the pocket in Medinine, begin their retreat, mainly by foot. Plenty of them is encircled by the German motorized troops and many high officers surrender in these occurrences.

Unfortunately for the Italians, Prince Umberto, acting Viceroy of Lybia and having finally obtained a military command, is at the head of the 101st Motorized Division Trieste and is killed in action at Ben Gardane, on November 29th, while commanding the 8th Armored Bersaglieri Regiment, in charge of covering the retreat of the main bulk of the infantry and to delay the Franco-German advance. The blow of the Prince’s death strongly hits the King and Emperor Victor Emmanuel III, and consequently the Italian public opinion morale.

In two weeks, the Franco-Germans are back at the Lybian frontier, having suffered around 15k casualties vs the 30k casualties (of whom 20k pow) of the Anglo-Italians. Rommel and DAK enter Zuara on December 2nd, being stopped just by the lack of oil: the Desert Fox myth is born.

Soviets resist and fight back (Q4 1941)
The German attempt to take Moscow is thwarted on December 2nd in Khimki. At that moment, the Germans were trying a desperate pincer movement from both the north and south outskirts of the city, being suddenly crushed by an unexpected frontal assault of Soviet fresh troops in their center at Naro-Fominsk, with the first Soviet successful counterattack from the start of Barbarossa operation.

The Battle for Moscow is lost, and the Germans begin to struggle to delay the tide of the emboldened Red Army, with several costly clashes to disengage from the City. Town by the town, the Soviets of the Kalinin, Western and Southwestern front, invested the German troops taking advantage of the movement of massive forces from Siberia under Stalin’s orders in the previous weeks. In Klin, the Kalinin Front commander, General Konev, almost closed the Germans in a dangerous pocket on December 7th. Zhukov, commanding the Western Front, immediately realizes the chance of a massive encirclement and directs there some reinforcements from the 1st Shock Army (General Kuznetsov). The pocket is closed on December 9th, trapping the entire 3rd Panzer Army at the command of Generaloberst Reinhardt. A similar attempt was made more north, in the Rzhev area, but General Model attained to stall the Soviets for enough time to orchestrate a proper retreat.

Hitler is incensed because his generals had started their retreat before the actual permission was given. Moreover, Moscow is not fallen, and the Soviets have both gained the initiative and almost knocked out an entire Panzer Army in Klin. Leningrad siege seems far to meet its expected end in a Finno-German victory and the Army Group South is still struggling around Kharkiv. The most important thing is that indeed, the Italian campaign, is draining more manpower and resources than expected, and the required effort on Barbarossa was partially undermined by the engagement against Italy.

Hitler urges Petain for a meeting in Strassburg/Strasbourg before Christmas 1941, asking him to mobilize more troops against Italy, but more importantly, to provide an entire Army's worth of forces to serve against the Soviet Union. Petain tries to reason with Hitler, but the Fuhrer becomes menacing about removing some of the privileges given to the French, and Petain is obliged to comply. The Armeé Française en Russie reaches its peak of force starting from February 1942, with more than 15 divisions at the command of Weygand, being committed on the Southern theatre, freeing German forces that are meant to push back the advancing Soviets in the Central theatre.

Japanese sneak attacks in the Pacific (Q4 1941)

After having rebuffed American attempts to compromise to keep the peace, the Japanese attack the entire American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7th after having already deployed their forces to strike quickly the lightly manned American and British holdouts. The attack is shocking and devastating, de facto eliminating any American chance to counter the following operations.

In a matter of days, the Japanese invade British Malaya and Thailand, while strong aerial assaults invest the Philippines, Guam, Hong Kong, and Wake Island. The United States, Commonwealth, and the Netherlands declared war on the Empire of Japan on December 8th. The Battle for the Pacific has begun.

In the following weeks, the Japanese launches offensive deep into British Malaya, make landfalls on the southern Philippines, and storm Hong Kong. The British have several valuable assets in the area, especially in terms of Royal Navy presence and trained troops and offer serious resistance without yielding too much territory to the Japanese.

The Americans instead, suffer heavy losses and quickly lose the Gilbert Islands and are mauled by the Japanese in the Philippines, who land also in the northern islands. Despite a stark resistance, Hong Kong falls to the Japanese on Christmas 1941.

By the Pact that Germany signed with Japan, the Third Reich declares war on the United States, followed by all his puppets, included France, between the 11th and the 13th of December. The War has become a World War.
 
Now that's more liked
Thank you, which is the part you've liked more ?

Any additional feedbacks ? I've got a couple updates incoming and expect some retcons on German Attack in Italy, before publishing I'd like to know what you all think
 
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Just few quick notes:

French campaign in North Africa: I don't understand how the french are supporting the northafrican theatre. Their supply chain is horribly exposed to the Regia Marina and what of Regia Aereonautica can be spared from the northen theatre. The run from south France to Algeria or Tunis is also quite longer than the italian one OTL.
Without a french marine to defend convoys (if I got it right, most of the french ships are on the bottom of the sea) from italian submarines, Rommel and co. should be out of fuel, ammo, spare parts...

Umberto's Death: Not really plausible. No one is letting the heir apparent near the frontline. They would have kept him in Tripoli to "coordinate" Graziani and Wavell (translation: trying to beat some sense into their heads)

Mussolini's "resignation": Too blatant. Better steal a page from the soviet book and claim the the Duce got really ill and had to temporaneally resign to receive proper care. Also don't intern him in Lampedusa, but in Nocra, near Massawa.

Transition from fascism to a free society: Too quick and too early. Most of the upper echelon of society gained from the fascism and don't have a lot of reasons to prefer democracy. A slower transition would be more plausible.

Barbarossa: OTL Rasputiza determined the operation's begin, not the campaign of Greece. I don't think that should be any different ITTL

Crete: As others have noted, without a fleet to support partroppers and reinforce them, operation merkur would have been a bloody failure and the british would have retained the island.
 
Hello Cornelius,

thank you for your precious feedback, I reply below to your points:

Just few quick notes:

French campaign in North Africa: I don't understand how the french are supporting the northafrican theatre. Their supply chain is horribly exposed to the Regia Marina and what of Regia Aereonautica can be spared from the northen theatre. The run from south France to Algeria or Tunis is also quite longer than the italian one OTL.
Without a french marine to defend convoys (if I got it right, most of the french ships are on the bottom of the sea) from italian submarines, Rommel and co. should be out of fuel, ammo, spare parts...
Indeed it's all true what you're saying. The gamble that Rommel has done in the last update is to capture Tripoli and seize Italian stockpiles... it's the last resort, let's say the swan song of the French ambitions to retain North Africa.

Umberto's Death: Not really plausible. No one is letting the heir apparent near the frontline. They would have kept him in Tripoli to "coordinate" Graziani and Wavell (translation: trying to beat some sense into their heads)

yep, i know I've forced the thing. In the TL, Umberto dies anyway in Africa, it's crucial to some post-war events ... I'll probably retcon somehow but the result will be the same.

Mussolini's "resignation": Too blatant. Better steal a page from the soviet book and claim the the Duce got really ill and had to temporaneally resign to receive proper care. Also don't intern him in Lampedusa, but in Nocra, near Massawa.

In this case, I agree with you, some minor fixes will be performed on the previous chapters. At the moment there's only a limited rumor about Duce's health that was feeded by Ciano to the Germans. Concerning the internment, Massaua would be very good, but Lampedusa.... ;)

Transition from fascism to a free society: Too quick and too early. Most of the upper echelon of society gained from the fascism and don't have a lot of reasons to prefer democracy. A slower transition would be more plausible.

Barbarossa: OTL Rasputiza determined the operation's begin, not the campaign of Greece. I don't think that should be any different ITTL

Crete: As others have noted, without a fleet to support partroppers and reinforce them, operation merkur would have been a bloody failure and the british would have retained the island.

On the transition, edits will be performed. Remember, democracy is still not a thing, the Country is run by Balbo and the military. Perfectly agree on Barbarossa. On Crete, I agree too, i know that this wouldn't pass a historical reliability check, but for the sake of the narration I'll retain it

Thank you !
 
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