Would CP have been better with Italy instead of the Ottomans?

Italy > Ottomans as an ally?

  • Absolutely

    Votes: 52 41.9%
  • About the same

    Votes: 29 23.4%
  • Not at all

    Votes: 29 23.4%
  • Hard to say

    Votes: 14 11.3%

  • Total voters
    124
A random thought occurred to me when I saw a HoI4 YouTuber play as Italy in the Great War mod: would the Central Powers have been better off with Italy joining in instead of the Ottomans?

The Italians tied down a lot of A-H troops that would otherwise have been freed up for fighting the Serbs and Russians. The French would have had to divert troops to the south to contain any attempted advance there. Despite the mountainous terrain, France needed all the men they could get holding the line against Germany. Not having the Ottoman Empire on the CP side might also change Bulgaria’s entry to the war, if at all.

The Ottomans were still the “Sick Man of Europe” and faced internal problems spurred on by the Entente into a full-fledged rebellion. Still, they managed to tie down many Commonwealth troops that could have been utilized in Europe otherwise.

I am aware that the usual response to Italy in the CP is to list all the reasons they wouldn’t, but this is more of a question of, “If they did.” For the purpose of discussion I propose two timeframes, the first being if Italy joins at the outset of the conflict, and the other being when the Ottoman’s joined in a few months in, when French troops would have already been deployed north.

EDIT: To clarify, this isn’t to say what the Ottoman Empire decides to do as, for a time, they seemed to be playing both sides before hostilities really kicked in. Feel free to discuss the OE staying neutral or joining either side in such a scenario.
 
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Friendly OE probably allows supplies to get to Russia through the Straits. OTOH Italy is much stronger, but also largely dependent on exports.
 
Between Gallipoli and the subsequent British campaigns in the Middle East, far more Entente troops were tied down fighting the Ottomans than would be needed to hold against Italy in the Alps. I'd say the only theater where they could be productive would be the Balkans fighting Serbia, but they would butt heads against the Austrians over Albania and such even in this scenario, and probably be balanced out by Bulgaria likely not participating due to having Entente members all around it.

I actually think Italy might have been more valuable to the Central Powers as a friendly neutral than as a co-belligerent, since they could import goods to send on to Germany, and they're just strong enough militarily that the British would feel uneasy about applying blockade rules to them.
 
No, Italy relied to much from British Coal and barely was able to do anything against A-H when that one was far busier that France, a CP Italy is going to get Gallipolli Hard and far easily that Husky
 
The Ottomans are noticeably weaker than Italy, but geography make the Ottomans a huge pain for the Entente while Italy is undermined by geography.

Still, I think we need to ask: Does this question ask us about CP Italy + neutral Ottoman Empire vs CP Ottoman Empire and Entente Italy (OTL scenario) vs CP Italy and Entente Ottoman Empire?

Italy on your side and the Ottomans neutral is probably the best of the three scenarios.
 
The big question about CP Italy and ww1 is the fleet.

Or to be precise can Italy and Austria manage to form a combined fleet and operate offensively taking risks.

It would be entirely possible for them to maul the French Mediterranean fleet or a section of predreadnoughts from the British fleet.

Italy and Austria need to do damage and keep doing damage before the Royal and French navies manage to concentrate force and bring reinforcements. If they do enough damage they can maintain parity in the Mediterranean Sea (or divert active dreadnought battleships from the grand fleet) If they don't manage that a combined allied fleet will keep the central powers in check. Even if it's mainly a French fleet it has 30 British PDN added on.

I suspect the Italians and Austrians would spend 6 months arguing about supreme naval command while France and UK concentrate.
 
The Ottomans are noticeably weaker than Italy, but geography make the Ottomans a huge pain for the Entente while Italy is undermined by geography.

Still, I think we need to ask: Does this question ask us about CP Italy + neutral Ottoman Empire vs CP Ottoman Empire and Entente Italy (OTL scenario) vs CP Italy and Entente Ottoman Empire?

Italy on your side and the Ottomans neutral is probably the best of the three scenarios.
My thought process was Italy joining the CP and the Ottoman Empire staying neutral. That said, I won’t dissuade anyone from speculating :)

I can see the Ottoman’s being wooed by the Entente if it meant getting financial support and perhaps Libya back in exchange for opening the Dardanelles, supporting Serbia, and making Bulgaria second guess anything.
 
I’m quite surprised that the poll results so far reflect Italy as being a better ally than the Ottoman’s despite the comments thus far casting major doubt on that idea.
 
How good were the Italian mountain troops at this time? (Alpini?) France is already hard put, but those mountain fights aren't...fun.

If the fleets CAN combine and work together, France is in trouble. By mid-1915, there are 5 Italian Dreadnoughts, 3 A-H, and we'll also count Goeben. There are 4 French BB at that time, plus 6 semi-dreadnoughts. Most of the French pre-dreadnoughts are a bad joke.
 
I’m quite surprised that the poll results so far reflect Italy as being a better ally than the Ottoman’s despite the comments thus far casting major doubt on that idea.
The thing is Italy was undoubtedly the stronger power.

It's just hard to see France collapsing. If Italy is successfully bottled up on the border then the entente as a whole can keep them bottled up a lot easier than they could the Ottomans due to the nature of the border.
If the fleets CAN combine and work together, France is in trouble. By mid-1915, there are 5 Italian Dreadnoughts, 3 A-H, and we'll also count Goeben. There are 4 French BB at that time, plus 6 semi-dreadnoughts. Most of the French pre-dreadnoughts are a bad joke.
Agreed. If Italy and Austria can do damage before a pdn swarm from the Royal Navy arrives there will be naval problems for the entente.

I can see a situation where 15 British predreadnoughts supplement the French fleet for a battle with a combined central powers fleet with an attitude of we will take losses but if we keep together with the French we will get by.

If that happens the Entente is superior at sea.

If the central powers sink ships before that happens then it becomes very difficult.
 
If the central powers sink ships before that happens then it becomes very difficult.
Don't even need to sink ships. Badly damaging the 4 French DN will see them in dock for a long time. A single torpedo in the wine cellar put Jean Bart out of action for about 4 months. It was not a terribly bad hit and it did that.

I can see a situation where 15 British predreadnoughts supplement the French fleet for a battle with a combined central powers fleet with an attitude of we will take losses but if we keep together with the French we will get by.

Easily. As long as things are fine at home, at any rate. That said, those pre-dreadnoughts are deathtraps. Even the Italians and AH should triumph with 8 dn and a BC against 15 pre-dreadnoughts.
 
Don't even need to sink ships. Badly damaging the 4 French DN will see them in dock for a long time. A single torpedo in the wine cellar put Jean Bart out of action for about 4 months. It was not a terribly bad hit and it did that.
True. You don't need to sink ships but if you don't you risk them coming back.

Easily. As long as things are fine at home, at any rate. That said, those pre-dreadnoughts are deathtraps. Even the Italians and AH should triumph with 8 dn and a BC against 15 pre-dreadnoughts.
The 15 pdn comment was attached to the French fleet. They obviously can't face the combined Italian and Austrian fleet alone.

First 3 months is crucial at sea. They need to do damage (whether sinking or damaging) French ships or the limited Mediterranean fleet of Royal Navy before reinforcements can arrive.
 
France is already hard put, but those mountain fights aren't...fun.
Can't France and Entente redirect the troops that were in OTL used for campaigning against Ottomans to reinforce the front against Italy? And would Luigi be the one commanding the front against France?

The one thing about the naval battle is I think the ships back then ran on coal. Italy imported most of its coal from Britain which would be absent in this scenario. So I think how much coal Germans can export to Italy over the alps significantly impacts the naval battles in Mediterranean, no?
 
Can't France and Entente redirect the troops that were in OTL used for campaigning against Ottomans to reinforce the front against Italy?
This is one of the main things that got me thinking about this question to begin with. A lot of ANZAC and Indian troops were used in fighting the Ottoman Empire that are no longer tied down. Same for troops guarding Egypt. The trade-off is that Italy is right next to France already and it would take longer to redirect troops all the way to Europe.
The one thing about the naval battle is I think the ships back then ran on coal. Italy imported most of its coal from Britain which would be absent in this scenario. So I think how much coal Germans can export to Italy over the alps significantly impacts the naval battles in Mediterranean, no?
Which kind of goes along with what has been discussed regarding naval battles so far. Italy and A-H would have to work together to strike hard and fast to crush the French fleet. If the French get smashed early, before Italian coal supplies run low, then they just bought a lot of time for their armies to do their part before any blockade can kick in.
 
I’m quite surprised that the poll results so far reflect Italy as being a better ally than the Ottoman’s despite the comments thus far casting major doubt on that idea.
There some bias on the poll, guess why, plus those who vote rarely comment to begin with
 
This is one of the main things that got me thinking about this question to begin with. A lot of ANZAC and Indian troops were used in fighting the Ottoman Empire that are no longer tied down. Same for troops guarding Egypt. The trade-off is that Italy is right next to France already and it would take longer to redirect troops all the way to Europe.

Especially since the Suez canal would be too dangerous. With that much of a fleet running around, it HAS to be neutralized. Which is incidentally, also problematic for British oil.

Which kind of goes along with what has been discussed regarding naval battles so far. Italy and A-H would have to work together to strike hard and fast to crush the French fleet. If the French get smashed early, before Italian coal supplies run low, then they just bought a lot of time for their armies to do their part before any blockade can kick in.
Was coal an absolute contraband? If not, then the US would probably be very pleased to pick up the slack. And harassing US ships too much is of course, problematic.
 
Was coal an absolute contraband? If not, then the US would probably be very pleased to pick up the slack. And harassing US ships too much is of course, problematic.
Pretty sure it was.

The one thing about the naval battle is I think the ships back then ran on coal. Italy imported most of its coal from Britain which would be absent in this scenario. So I think how much coal Germans can export to Italy over the alps significantly impacts the naval battles in Mediterranean, no?
The thing about coal is its all about willingness. How many thousand Germans go without a fire at winter to keep the Italian fleet in the game. I know it's poor quality coal and extra yard time but it's there.
Can't France and Entente redirect the troops that were in OTL used for campaigning against Ottomans to reinforce the front against Italy? And would Luigi be the one commanding the front against France?
It depends. Does Britain want Indians in Europe. Historically they got around the question by using them against the Ottomans.

Also there is a question of if Spain joins the war. Historically in 1911 after the second Morocco crisis I believe they lightly suggested that they would join a war with UK and France against Germany Italy and Austria.

The fact that Italy didn't join was used as excuse not to join historically.
 
depends. Does Britain want Indians in Europe. Historically they got around the question by using them against the Ottomans.
I mean if push comes to the shove. They probably will.
Which kind of goes along with what has been discussed regarding naval battles so far. Italy and A-H would have to work together to strike hard and fast to crush the French fleet. If the French get smashed early, before Italian coal supplies run low, then they just bought a lot of time for their armies to do their part before any blockade can kick in.
What about Russian ships? How is their quality? If Entente can persuade to allow Russian ships to pass through the Bosphorous staits.

And on the matter of land warfare. Bulgaria will be significantly rethinking if they want to end the war. I think I remember seeing it on AH somewhere that Bulgaria would only enter the war if Ottomans did because they didn't want to leave one of their flanks exposed (something about learning lessons from second Balkan war). Without Bulgaria, it becomes tougher for Austria to take down AH.
There is also the thing that Russia will now be supplied by entente so their position is also vastly improved.
 
Italian plan was to send armies to fight with Germans and not do main attacks through alps. However Ottomans were crucial in closing the straits which would be needed to achieve a late victory. However it is claimed by many here that extra Italian army can lead to an early victory.
 
If Luigi Cadorna thinks attacking second rate Austrians 11 times at the Isnozo was fun just watch him try to attack the French through the Alps :)

On a serious note a neutral OE helps the Russians two ways - frees up hundreds of thousands of men from the Caucasian front and opens the straits to trade.
 
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