Italy War Engagement During the Second World War Part 2

Italy War Engagement During the Second World War Part 2

To this mass of forces was added a second made up of loose elements for various assignments, well armed and trained, wedged and mixed extensively among the Italian units and especially among the coastal troops (about 150,000 men with mobility, powerful armament and gravitating on vital centers). Of considerable importance is the block located around Rome (about 29,000 men), as well as 6,000 elements of the information service and of the German political bodies.

As of 8 September, therefore, the Germanic forces deployed in Italy (see fig. 3) had risen to 17 divisions, 2 brigades and about 150,000 loose elements, in addition to 4 divisions reported on arrival. When the deployment was complete, the encapsulation of most of the Italian forces appeared complete, accompanied almost everywhere by the prevalence, in number and armament, of the German forces.

On the date of July 25, the Italian forces were meanwhile scattered over all the war chessboards, and moreover in conditions of much reduced efficiency. However, in the peninsula there were 30 divisions (2 armored, of which 1 being completed, 11 infantry of which 5 in reconstruction and 3 self-transportable, 1 motorized, 1 rapid and 4 Alpine in reconstruction, 11 coastal), 7 coastal brigades, troops to the depots and police elements. The reconstituted divisions originated from Russia and were devoid of artillery, heavy weapons and means of transport; the coastal ones mainly formed by territorial elements, the troops at the depots were not trained, the police were employed in the normal institutional services. Public order in the north absorbed 11 divisions,

On July 31, verbal instructions were given to oppose any actions of the German troops, provisions which were confirmed in writing on August 11 (order 111 of the territorial command); German units were also supervised and units were moved as far as possible, given the serious crisis in rail transport subject to continuous and intense bombing (see fig. 4).

At the same time, provisions were issued aimed at repressing acts of force (memoirs 44 and 45 of 2 and 6 September; memoirs 1 and 2 of 4 and 5 September), which perhaps appeared belated, uncertain and incomplete and excessively bound by military secrecy.

In the meantime, contacts had been made between the Italian supreme command and the allied command for the stipulation of an armistice (missions of generals G. Castellano and G. Zanussi): the offer of collaboration had been answered with the request for unconditional surrender. During the negotiations (which lasted from 19 August to 3 September, the date of the signing of the armistice) it seemed to understand that the Allies would land near Rome and that the armistice would be announced no earlier than 12 September.

Instead, 8 September arrived, and in the evening the Italians learned that the armistice had been concluded: the same government and the same military authorities were surprised. It was possible to save most of the fleet by directing it to Malta, it was possible to save a part of the already reduced air fleet, but the army suffered the full consequences of the situation which had arisen, encapsulated as it was by the German troops. The disorientation on the Italian side, also due to the uncertainty and untimeliness of the orders and the confusion of various units, was matched by the energy of the Germanic action, meticulously prepared, which soon developed violently.

At that date, in front of a huge mass of German troops, Italy could align the aforementioned groupings of forces, among which many units were in reconstitution, others traveling from France, Croatia and Sardinia, did not arrive in time..

According to COUNTRYVV.COM, the Germans ordered surrender and disarmed many units, also resorting to stratagems and intense dissolving propaganda, trying to fraternize and persuade everyone to leave their weapons. Isolated resistances and episodes of value highlighted the cohesion of some departments, but the preponderance of the Germans prevailed, favored by the indecision of many commands; by 14 September the Germans had put the Italian army out of action, they held effective control of the peninsula.

In Rome the defense of the city had been prepared against which the German armored formations were gathering, and the concurrence of allied units was also foreseen. But the direct aid of the Allies failed due to various circumstances, and the promised landing “within reach of Rome” was carried out in the Salerno region, 270 km away. from the capital. The Germans in turn immediately began the operations for the conquest of Rome and on the night of 9 September a situation arose (see fig. 5) which induced the responsible authorities not to defend Rome; the royals, the head of the government and the military leaders left for Ortona a Mare and from there to Brindisi, where they began the constitution of a new government which on 13 October declared war on Germany. The abandonment of Rome by the royals and almost all the heads of the armed forces, whatever the justification, it was not immediately comprehensible to the remaining military leaders, increasing the disorientation. There was an equivocal dribbling of responsibilities, while the departments in their place repelled the violent German attacks and gave generous contributions of blood. All was in vain, and on 10 September Rome capitulated.

Italy War Engagement During the Second World War 2

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