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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-02 07:43pm
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Thanas wrote:
lord Martiya wrote:
The Army surrenders to Germany. The government, being basically an Italian puppet


How so? How was Austria an Italian puppet?

more like an imitation.
After the Austro-German Agreement in 1936 it would slowly start to become a German puppet.
if Mussolini were to theoretically attempt something it would probably have been no later than 1934.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 01:57pm
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Thanas wrote:
How so? How was Austria an Italian puppet?

Engelbert Dolfuss' takeover of Austria had been supported by Italy, and his successor Kurt Schushnigg (who went in power after Dolfuss' assassination at the hands of Nazi agents in 1934, when the Germans first tried to annex Austria but backed down when Mussolini threatened war), in an effort to protect the Austrofascist regime and independence, had basically become a puppet of Italy and Hungary.
Thanas wrote:
Oh, you just magically assume the Austrian Army will just stop defending the mountain passes. That is just....odd.

Nope. I just assume that Schushnigg will move the troops supposed to defend them and send them to stop the German 'invasion'.
Thanas wrote:
As to your tank answer, maybe I should have phrased it better. Like "how will Italy get the tanks and artillery in position".

From the unguarded passes. If the Austrians leave any troop the tanks and artillery would be easily blocked (the one reason Italy and Germany didn't try and invade Switzerland: too many checkpoints easily blocked), but Schushnigg would send them North.
Thanas wrote:
You assume the Italians will just somehow be able to roll over the Austrians and take the mountains. That is not supported by any evidence, nor do you present any that the local commanders were in bed with the Italians.

I assume that Schushnigg will move the troops north to try and stop the Germans, and when they return the Italians won't let them return on the mountains.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
It’s interesting how you cite the aftermath of Caporeto, and ignore how during the battle numerous fortified Italian mountains already fell.

I cite the defense of the Grappa because, differently from the mountain positions that fell during the battle, there was no way to block the supplies. The fortified mountains fell when the Austro-Germans cut their supplies from the plains (at which point the Italians either ran or surrendered, depending on how fast they realized there wouldn't be any new ammo supply), but the Grappa had the Strada Cadorna (Cadorna Road) built specifically to supply the artillery there (and completed just days before Caporetto), and as long as the Piave line held and defended the Strada Cadorna (among other things) the Grappa would hold.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Grappa and the Paive river line held because heavy snow was falling, the attacking Astrogoths were exhausted and suffering from the Spanish flu, and the Italians finally had motivation to fight because they realized that loss of this line would mean the loss of northern Italian and probably Italian participation in the war.

The average Italian soldier wasn't interested in taking part in the war, it's just that the civilians had bought in the propaganda depicting the Austro-Germans as savages and seeing them running from the invaders the retreating soldiers bought it too and stopped retreating at the Piave river. Apart that, I agree on why the Piave line held (denying would just ignore facts), but not on the Grappa: as long as it was supplied it could be taken only with enormous human losses, losses that the Austrians couldn't afford.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
The will to fight in the high mountains of Austria will be much much weaker. I doubt the Italians would put up all that effective fight before they fall back to the fortifications on the Italian side of the border. All the more so because Mussolini would almost certainly put his blackshirt units in the vanguard, and once they get torn apart the streams of shattered retreating men will demoralize and disorganize the regular army coming up behind them.

No denying it for the regular units. It's the Alpini that would resist in the mountains, and the regulars would reform behind them.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 02:23pm
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lord Martiya wrote:
Thanas wrote:
How so? How was Austria an Italian puppet?

Engelbert Dolfuss' takeover of Austria had been supported by Italy, and his successor Kurt Schushnigg (who went in power after Dolfuss' assassination at the hands of Nazi agents in 1934, when the Germans first tried to annex Austria but backed down when Mussolini threatened war), in an effort to protect the Austrofascist regime and independence, had basically become a puppet of Italy and Hungary.


That is a rather curious interpretation.


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Nope. I just assume that Schushnigg will move the troops supposed to defend them and send them to stop the German 'invasion'.


All of them? That flies in the face of any historical deployment of armies.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 03:17pm
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Question for Thanas...was there ANY point in the 30's that Italy could have taken over Austria in your opinion? I'm genuinely interested in knowing, since you probably (read: most likely) know more about the time period than I do.



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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 03:46pm
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Thanas wrote:
That is a rather curious interpretation.

This is how I studied it at school, and for once search for evidence on less biased sources confirmed it.
Thanas wrote:
All of them? That flies in the face of any historical deployment of armies.

Just logic. For the government the Italians are allies, and supposed to enter the country and help fighting back against the German invaders. Keeping troops on the Czechoslovakian, Yugoslav and possibly Swiss borders would make sense (not sure about Switzerland. I don't think they'd need troops there, but I have little data on that), and maybe the Hungarian one, but the Italian border could be well left unguarded, and its troops deployed to the front or used to reinforce other borders.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 03:55pm
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Skywalker_T-65 wrote:
Question for Thanas...was there ANY point in the 30's that Italy could have taken over Austria in your opinion? I'm genuinely interested in knowing, since you probably (read: most likely) know more about the time period than I do.


You should probably ask Sea Skimmer about that, but from my point of view there is little chance of that happening.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 09:29pm
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lord Martiya wrote:
I cite the defense of the Grappa because, differently from the mountain positions that fell during the battle, there was no way to block the supplies. The fortified mountains fell when the Austro-Germans cut their supplies from the plains (at which point the Italians either ran or surrendered, depending on how fast they realized there wouldn't be any new ammo supply),


The initial attacks say otherwise, German and Austrian forces had to go right through numerous peaks, and in any event, the penetration of all the forward defenses was so general that claiming anything fell from lack of supplies is completely missing the point. This was you know an attack on a ~15 division front and every sector broke through. As well a number of mountains fell in the Austrians abortive 1916 offensive.

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but the Grappa had the Strada Cadorna (Cadorna Road) built specifically to supply the artillery there (and completed just days before Caporetto), and as long as the Piave line held and defended the Strada Cadorna (among other things) the Grappa would hold.


Doubtful, precious few positions in history have been truly storm proof. It just ceases to make sense in many cases when you can attack many other positions, and supple lines were better and the snow shallower for attacks further south on the Piave.

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The average Italian soldier wasn't interested in taking part in the war, it's just that the civilians had bought in the propaganda depicting the Austro-Germans as savages and seeing them running from the invaders the retreating soldiers bought it too and stopped retreating at the Piave river. Apart that, I agree on why the Piave line held (denying would just ignore facts), but not on the Grappa: as long as it was supplied it could be taken only with enormous human losses, losses that the Austrians couldn't afford.


Taken with enormous human losses sounds like an awful lot of positions in WW1. Glad to see you realize that such a position could in fact be captured though. Battle of attrition between Germany and Italy is certain German victory. The Germans will become more and more superior in every class of war material as well as shear manpower.

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No denying it for the regular units. It's the Alpini that would resist in the mountains, and the regulars would reform behind them.


They total all of six divisions in WW2, which is not enough to hold the required front of some ~120 miles, let alone with any reserves to spare. Also doesn't solve the problem of Mussolini historical insistence that his blackshirts take the lead in every operation. Though I tend to think this war would be such a disaster that Mussolini would be kicked out of power after the Germans start bombing Rome on a regular basis.



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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 10:12pm
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Sea Skimmer, can you elaborate a bit on why Germany would grow stronger by the war? From my albeit limited understanding the German economy was run on a shoesstring and the equipment cycle was unfavorable by then. My idea of the war would be a stalemate with Germany holding the alps and then doing nothing.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 11:34pm
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For every shoestring problem Germany had, Italy was already much worse since it had already pushed itself much higher up the curve of mobilization, and had almost no domestic coal or iron ore reserves of note, while having expended large amounts of resources in Ethiopia (a continuing drain in 1938) and in Spain far more so then Germany ever did. End result was Italy peaked earlier then Germany, by most of a decade, and in 1938 its already heading downhill. This is after all the nation that funded a war of conquest by asking for public donations of gold. The Germans were seizing peoples gold over time too, but it wasn't such an overt joke.

I don't think Germany would have a strong incentive to attack past the Alps simply because Hitler would have little desire to waste men capturing territory he doesn't intended to keep, but the air war is going to go further and further into the Nazi favor. Also in this situation Germany isn't blockaded, so its actually plausible that war production would be cut back in unimportant fields in ordered to generate more export revenue. Plus, Hitler just doesn't need the military he wanted to fight Russian and France to deal with Italy.

Meanwhile just about all Italian industry is in the north, and a good chunk of it is within range of Bf 109 escorted raids, all of it within range of Bf 110 escorted raids. The best Italian fighter in 1938 is the CR.32 biplane capable of 225mph, basically the same speed of German twin engine bombers. We know the Germans can churn out several thousand of the latest aircraft within a year, because they did, while Italy struggled badly to reequip with anything. Italy had a good 1930s air force anyway but time was not helping it, and German industrial centers are much further away and will be well enough defended that sustained daylight raids aren't going to be possible. Meanwhile the Germans can actually launch unescorted daylight raids and have good chances of success. This is going to turn into a lot of Italian cities being burned down. The Luftwaffe like targeting transport links, bombing the top rail centers and Po river bridges for months on end is going to slowly bring the Italian industrial economy to a halt. Italy meanwhile can do about nothing to stop this, since by the time improved Italian fighters show up the Bf 110 and 109 will have greatly improved in turn, and all the really good Italian fighters of WW2 were using variants or direct imports of German DB 601+ engines.

The only place Italy does well is at sea, and even that isn't going to get them very far.



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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-03 11:47pm
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Thanks, that makes sense.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-04 05:29pm
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I wonder if a costly battle might have actually strengthen Hitler. First it would have been good training for the Wehrmacht. Also, wouldn't it be possible that France and Britain would have lowered their guard? They might have looked at this as gift since the two fascist powers fought it out against each other and weakened themselves, so they might have put less resources in their own defence.
Also, before late 1939 Germany and Soviet Russia were enemies. So with a distracted Germany Stalin might have moved earlier and attacked Poland by himself, drawing more attention from the western powers. At the end a perceived weakened Hitler might have gotten a free ticket to attack Russia to waste more resources.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-04 06:03pm
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Its doubtful Stalin would attack Poland alone in my opinion, at least not in 1938-1940, precisely because of the risk of involving the French, British and even Germans against him would be considerable, and Poland had a rather large military. Certainly all of these powers would be likely to provide military aid if not armed support against a Soviet attack, and the geography for a Soviet attack on Poland is much less favorable then what Germany enjoyed in 1939, being able to hit them from three directions at once. From 1941 onward hard to know either way. Speculation on Stalin's long term intentions is well, its all speculation. Secret files might exist that could shed light on it, stuff openly know with reliability does not. He could after all just decide to go make Manchuria a Soviet instead of Japanese puppet and forget about Europe for another five years.

I can't see Hitler being strengthened by a costly battle, at least not the way I think you mean?. Sure combat experience is nice, but huge amounts of war material would be expended and the expansion of the military completely disrupted. What it would do I think, its force Hitler to be the man so many people wanted to think he was. A devote German simply trying to put right the 'wrongs' of the end of WW1 and restore the honor of Germany. The whole roll of the dice mad dash for Nazi world conquest thing would have to go on the back burner for a while, maybe forever. That does make Hitler stronger in terms of 'gets to rule Germany longer' since he was likely to die in his own bed of old age like Franco if he DIDN'T launch a world war, but its not stronger in overt ability to conquer people terms if that is what you meant.

However even a 'honor restored' Germany was still a threat, and since the British and French had let themselves sink so low in military power in the 1920s and 30s, and already mobilized slower then Germany its questionable that they would slow down more. They might set lower 'final' goals for deployed forces, but such goals were only supposed to be reached around 1942 anyway. Also keep in mind, both the European powers did see Italy and Japan as a threat in the 1930s, as well as the USSR, and they had very extensive Empires to defend so in general the incentive to modernize and mobilize is still strong. Its telling in fact just how much say, France was spending on its navy right up until May 1940, when such naval power certainly wasn't of top importance against Germany. Indeed many of the ships were being built specifically for colonial service with very high cruising range and no doubt extra deep wine tanks ect..



"This cult of special forces is as sensible as to form a Royal Corps of Tree Climbers and say that no soldier who does not wear its green hat with a bunch of oak leaves stuck in it should be expected to climb a tree"
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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-06 05:27am
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
The initial attacks say otherwise, German and Austrian forces had to go right through numerous peaks, and in any event, the penetration of all the forward defenses was so general that claiming anything fell from lack of supplies is completely missing the point. This was you know an attack on a ~15 division front and every sector broke through. As well a number of mountains fell in the Austrians abortive 1916 offensive.

As far as I recall, the initial attack was so successful due a number of factors:
1)Italian high command had determinated that you couldn't use poison gas in mountain, resulting in one case of an Italian unit being completely wiped out with gas so fast that nobody realized it (it was initially thought the unit had deserted en-masse, at least until, during the Fascist regime, the corpses were found) and other units suffering losses due the lack of any gas mask;
2)Italian troops were well-trained for the old-style attack but had little knowledge of the use of stormtroopers (mainly concentrated in the Arditi, the Italian version of the stormtroopers) and none of the infiltration tactics, with the officer corps unable and/or unwilling to adapt;
3)the morale of Italian soldiers and noncoms was crap. They were fighting a war they didn't care for, didn't know they were about to win the war by attrition, the discipline was hard and hellish (partly as result of Cadorna, a stern disciplinarian, being the commander in chief) and enforced by continuous punishments and the presence of military police, the armament was inferior, for number and quality, to what the Austrians had (this in spite of Cadorna's efforts to correct the mess left to him by his predecessors), supplies were scarce, training was almost non-existent outside the Bersaglieri (assault troops), Alpini (mountain troops), Carabinieri (military police) and Arditi (stormtroopers raised from the line troops, that joined the Arditi to leave the trench), and the Austrians were perceived as perfects shots ('cecchino', the Italian word for 'sniper', started as nickname for the Austrian troops). While the Third Army had excellent morale due the quality and brains of its commander and his political connections (Emanuele Filiberto, the Duke of Aosta, was second in the line of succession to the throne, and enjoyed a freedom of treatment of the troops and priority in supplies the other generals didn't even dream), the rest of the army was on the verge of collapse, and when they started seeing the Austro-Germans were they weren't supposed to be they only checked if the Carabinieri were still behind them before routing (it was at this point that the Second Army dissolved and the Duke of Aosta retreated the Third);
4)the Italian artillery, while enormous, was badly used, partly due insufficient training and partly because the communication lines were all phone-based and left overground, and interrupted by the initial shelling;
5)the majority of the officer corps were morons, who got their rank for political connections and corruption (the Duke of Aosta himself got his rank and job due his connections, as his ability as general was still unknown), and the higher the rank, the higher the chance they were idiots. While Cadorna wasn't stupider than the average early war commander in chief (and arguably smarter, as he had understood the need for superior firepower even before the war showed it to him), he was hard-headed and liable to sack anyone who tried to tell him he was wrong, and what little precaution he took when he realized the Austrians were about to receive reinforcements from the Russian border was wasted by the incompetence of the generals under him (mainly Capello, who disobeyed orders to assume a defensive posture due his personal preference for offensive, and Badoglio, who actually anticipated the breakthrough and had prepared a killing zone in a place where the Austrians had to pass, but wasted it due his unwillingness to stay with the guns and the Austrian shelling having interrupted the phone lines).
It was after the initial breakthrough and the Second Army collapse that the fortified positions in high mountain started falling due lack of supplies, with the fate of their garrisons depending on how fast they noticed there wouldn't be any more supply.
About the fate of the mountains fallen during the Battle of the Plateaux of 1916, it achieved that limited success due a combination of Italian incompetence and refusal of accepting the Austrians would attack there (Cadorna could consider an attack on the Isonzo front but considered the Trentino impassable) and the fact it was fought on plateaux, with the mountains not much higher than the surrounding grounds. The Grappa, on the other hand, was on a forced passage and there was no plateau near it. It was a well-chosen position, and the Austrians simply lacked the manpower to take on in.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Doubtful, precious few positions in history have been truly storm proof. It just ceases to make sense in many cases when you can attack many other positions, and supple lines were better and the snow shallower for attacks further south on the Piave.

The thing is, the Grappa was attacked when the Piave line held, if only because attacking from North had already worked once and passing that position meant occupying the Val Trompia area, where the vast majority of Italian weapon factories were (you conquered it and Italy was virtually out of the war, and everyone knew it).
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Taken with enormous human losses sounds like an awful lot of positions in WW1. Glad to see you realize that such a position could in fact be captured though.

Denial of such fact would mean I'm an idiot. And the one reason the Austrians couldn't apply that tactic during WWI was that they lacked the sheer numbers: early on they were outnumbered by the Russians on the Eastern Front, later the Russian presence meant they couldn't concentrate enough troops on the Italian front to prevent Cadorna from enforcing an attrition war on his favor, and when they could finally move the eastern troops on the Italian front the losses in the previous two years had been so great that they didn't have enough troops (the Italians had to extend conscription to the seventeens, but they still matched the Austro-Hungarians in terms of numbers, and actually enjoyed numerical superiority again after being reinforced by six allied divisions). That, and even after Caporetto the Italian artillery remained superior in terms of numbers and firepower, and was starting being used well.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Battle of attrition between Germany and Italy is certain German victory. The Germans will become more and more superior in every class of war material as well as shear manpower.

Debatable: not taking in account the navies (the Italian navy was superior, but there was no way to use it in this war) if the Italians start shelling from high mountain they can compensate the higher German numbers, and if Britain start supplying the Italians with raw materials (they had already started realizing the danger posed by Hitler, and making Italian economy dependent on them neutralized a potential threat) they can replace the losses and, once the Bf 109 start showing the Italians why the biplane was antiquated as a fighter airplane, actually end stronger (before that they would see no reason, as the CR.32 then in service was superior to the Ar 64 and He 51).
Sea Skimmer wrote:
They total all of six divisions in WW2, which is not enough to hold the required front of some ~120 miles, let alone with any reserves to spare.

There's no need to hold the whole 120 miles. It's the passes that count: without those chokepoints the Alpini would be overran faster than they could ask for a whiskey, but with those they can resist.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Also doesn't solve the problem of Mussolini historical insistence that his blackshirts take the lead in every operation.

Actually, it would solve it nicely by wiping them out in the counterattack for Vienna. I seriously doubt they'd stop thinking long enough to realize they have to retreat, and after that disaster the Blackshirts would have to be either disbanded (improbable), retreated from the front for retraining and reorganization to be used as shock troops (what was done after their defeat in the Spanish Civil War: apart three divisions wiped out in Africa, most Blackshirts were in battalions attached to divisions and used as shock troops to weaken the enemy before the attack of the regular army or the Bersaglieri, with the ones that didn't get the crap beaten out of them being reinforced in actual elite troops), or used to keep order in the occupied territory.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-06 05:54am
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I see you are still keeping up that fairytale that the Austrians will not simply contest their side of the passes.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-07 04:03am
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I am keeping that the government will send the troops assigned to do so to face the Germans. The Italians, for the government, are allies, why keeping troops there when they'd be useful somewhere else?

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-17 04:40pm
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People always kept troops on the borders, why wouldn't they?

Also, Italy was not an ally.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:37am
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For the government, it was officially an ally, and unofficially the master. Mussolini had paid good money to put the Austrofascist in power, and Italian troops at the border were the one thing that kept them in power and Austria 'indipendent' after Dolfuss' assassination.

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:56am
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None of that would result in them just deciding to pull all troops and give Italy an open invitation to invade them. None, considering the Tyrol issue.



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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Facsist Italy verses Nazi Germany (RAR!) PostPosted: 2012-10-19 03:48pm
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There was no more territorial dispute between Italy and Austria: Italy had what it wanted (Alto Adige, as South Tyrol is known in Italy, and Trentino), the Austrian government didn't want it back, and the Germans of both Germany and South Tyrol (plus the Italians of South Tyrol and Trentino) had to chew on that and the policy of forced Italianization.

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