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Italians in WWII

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Post 04 Feb 2007, 16:07
One doesnt have to go back very far in history to see Italians as some of the most prodigious warriors in the world, in fact, their martial history is probably more splendid over time than any other nation on earth (Roman Empire, city states of Milan, Genoa and Venice and so on). For centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire Italians were the most sought after mercenaries in the medieval world and individual Italian city states took on entire countries and won.
Post 04 Feb 2007, 16:31
So what do you think went wrong? Because clearly something did go wrong with the Italians as a martial race in the modern era. Any thoughts?
Post 04 Feb 2007, 16:41
I'd say it was the Roman Catholic Church's fault. Being based in Rome prevented any sort of centralization from occuring.

For centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire Italians were the most sought after mercenaries in the medieval world

Machiavelli wrote about that in The Prince. He stated that having mercenaries was part of a ruler's downfall because the could not be trusted.
Post 18 Sep 2008, 19:55
Carius wrote:
Interestingly, Lee Harvey Oswald used Carcano carbine to assassinate American President Kennedy.

First of all, Oswald did NOT assassinate Kennedy or the police officer J.D. Tippit.
Secondly, the weapon used for the job wasn't a Carcano rifle.
Post 19 Jan 2009, 22:12
well you have to realize that the Italians in Russia were rottenly equipped..
they didn't have proper clothing.
It was made with "Autharichic Wool", they didn't have anti freeze oil for their guns and they had shoes made with cardboard...

The ARMIR (Italian Army in Russia) managed to pull out from the disaster, but at a terrible price.

I rememberr a story that a veteran from that campaign told me..
He was a seargent in the Tridentina Division and his regiment was preparing to go to Poland and he had to collect equipment for his unit, spare uniforms and so...
He saw that the equipment was of poor quality and refused to sign the acquisition form.
The comander of the logistic block simply went apeshit with him, he thretened him to courtmartial him, but this stubborn seargent refused to collect the items.
In the end a captain that surveid the scene told him.. "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I'll have to punish you..
you were right but I'm forced to punish you" and he gave him three days of C.P.R. (Cella di Punizione di Rigore = Rigorous Punishment Cell). Theese three days of jail saved the seargent from going to USSR and saved his life, because the regiment in which he served, which was a mountain artillery regiment was annhilated in during the battle for Stalingrad.
Post 23 Jan 2009, 09:01
they didn't have proper clothing.
They did have clothing that was sufficient to begin with, especially the mountain troops, who were originally designed for going to Caucasus Mountains.
they didn't have anti freeze oil for their guns
Generalization; they did. Only after things took a torn for worse at Stalingrad front did the supply decrease.
they had shoes made with cardboard...
Only after things took a turn for worse.

annhilated in during the battle for Stalingrad.

The Italian forces stationed around Stalingrad were the last to retreat. Radio Moscow reported that the only enemy still undefeated around Stalingrad was the Italian army. They held their ground long after many stereotypes would have seen them retreating and surrendering in masses.
Post 22 Mar 2009, 15:26


Read the forum rules! A wiki link is not welcome, especially when it's just put there without at least some explanatory comments. sptnz
Post 13 Aug 2009, 07:37
The Italians in WWII were a pretty good force, Some of their battles are noteable. I guess though because a lot of the world in most eyes had focussed on other The five major powers, The USSR, The UK, U.S.A, Japan, and Germany. Because a lot of the war seems to be europe in big famous battles as D-Day, The battle of britain, Stalingrad, and ofcourse the Fall of berlin, Im not sure if its because Italy wasnt famous for the holocaust like germany or they didnt fight in enourmous battles in europe, but people ( mostly the ones i talk to ) focus world war II on the the pacific and european fronts, not really the Italian and African fronts so much.
Post 13 Aug 2009, 15:21
I've noticed that too. But it should be worth noting that the Italians couldn't even capture Ethiopia without help from Nazi Germany.
Post 13 Aug 2009, 16:39
italy is not famous for the holocaust because they rehabilitated the old regime to prevent communist takeover. in the territories controlled by them there were still mass killings and concentration camps. in some cases their atrocities were higher than german in occupied territories. and their armies were one of the worst ones, morale and equipment wise.
Post 08 Nov 2009, 21:17
Brave Italians? The imperialist policies are a shame to the Italians, as almost everything Carius says to celebrate Italy is.
Moris is right about the holocaust.
As to the Romans being the ancestors of all modern Italians, it is clearly a myth. Italy was inhabitated by lots of other peoples when it was conquered by the Romans: Osco-Umbrians, Greeks, Sardinians, Sycanians, Messapians, Etruscans, Celts, Venetians, Raetians... The Romans did not obviously exterminate all those peoples, though cases of deportation happened, and the sole descendants of Rome's people could not reasonably outnumber the indigenous peoples. Then other peoples came: Goths, Huns, Longobards, Byzantine Greeks, Arabs etc. everyone necessarily leaving descendants, though I should disagree with comrade Konev because I think they cannot have outnumbered the Roman or indigenous peoples... We are not so Germanic in appearance...
Post 08 Nov 2009, 22:04
in my opinion us slovenians are actually closer to romans than italians are (citizens of city of rome could be excepted from this since i was told that they avoided migrations of longobards and goths). when slavs moved to the present territory of slovenia we pretty much enslaved every christian we could find and we were exempted from migrations of the people unlike the rest of the areas around the former empire and through out the history our territory was pretty much ethnically clean (after we joined frankish empire which eventually became the holy roman empire and later under habsbourg crown, our territory was not conquered by any other occupational force until world war 1) and in majority consisted of descendants of those slavs and romans.
Post 08 Nov 2009, 22:09
Depending on how you define "Roman", Greeks are pretty close to that as well. We've pretty much remained ethnically unchanged since Byzantine.
Post 21 Aug 2011, 18:36
As Italian i just would like to points some things among some true "rubbish" told by different people (probably caused by prejudicies (good or bad) or not much knowledge).

The Italian Army went in war TOTALLY unprepared and ready to face the Allied Forces, the Army had levels of training and equipment of WWI-era, the air force had very nice airplanes but produced one-by-one (and not in series) with serious errors of consideration (biplanes as main fighters).
The only "strong" force was possibly the Navy with some very good projects and large units that could match with the British ones.

The main defect of the Italian Army was however the poor convinction of the soldiers. The Army WASN't fascist, but mainly Monarchists and monarchist officers were in contrast with the fascist hierarchy.
The "common soldier" wasn't neither a fascist neither really interested to fight .. still there was a great courage and strength of despair in many difficult moment.

As Italian i openly admit the terrible massacres commited by our army, the ones in Libya and Ethiopia were directly planned by the Fascist hierarchs as the ones in the Balcans.

The common officer or soldier usually had only suspicion and bewilderment for the Nazis and the German soldiers.. not "all happy allied against the Allied forces".

In Battles, the Italian Army proved to could not resist at the impact and at the tactics of the British (Africa) and Soviet (Ussr) armies.. and often the only grounds for pride were single acts of single individuals.

That's the exact comment also for the Navy theatre. The Italian Navy had wonderful ships (the Vittorio Veneto class battleships or the Zara class heavy cruisers) but had lack of experience and strategy.
Still the most amazing actions were realized by little teams of commandos and frog-men. (some of fascist origin, some not..)

As Italian i can tribute to the common italian soldier, betrayed by our fascist leaders, left alone by the Germans (escaping on trucks) to walk and die in the african desert or in the russian snow during the retreats.
Returned at home and facing only the silence of shame..

Then.. the awareness of being exploited by the criminal Nazi-fascist war-machine... and finally the decision to take the rifle and walking on the mountains, joining the partisan brigades of liberation to free the Italy from the obscurantist fascism.
Post 24 Dec 2011, 14:02
I agree with 1RedItalian. Alot of the things that are circulating on this post are rumours. While I cannot deny that my country did not commit atrocities, I would not consider them to be above Nazi atrocities. Another thing to remember is that Mussolini was Hitler's plaything. On 24th July 1943, the Fascist council was summoned by Mussolini. In that same session, many of the council members, including his son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano, voted to remove Mussolini from power. Although, the motion was passed, Mussolini fled and set up a shadow government called the R.S.I Ciano was dismissed from Foreign Minister under the new government. However, under Fascist and German pressure, Ciano and others were arrested. Hitler attempted to convince Mussolini to have Ciano and the others shot. Mussolini resisted and Hitler began sending threats. Eventually, Mussolini was forced to have them shot.

As for the invasion of Ethiopia, it took place in 1935. Historians will know that this was the time of the Economic Depression. Countries across the world were suffering from food shortages, lack of resources amongst other things. Mussolini's invasion was an attempt to help improve conditions in Italy.

Make no mistake, I am not trying to defend Mussolini. I believe, however, that it was Hitler's doctrines of Ruthlessness that began to ware off on Mussolini. After a while, he probably just became a machine that ordered any sort of attack at any opportunity on any target without considering loss of life.
Post 24 Dec 2011, 14:08
Mussolini's invasion was an attempt to help improve conditions in Italy.

How exactly would invading (desert) Ethiopia and having to ship food (etc.) to 200+ thousand soldiers 2000 km from home improve conditions in Italy?
Post 31 Dec 2011, 13:17
It wasn't just food. All countries at that time were suffering from the depression: America, Germany, Italy...etc so it is likely that they were hoping to find natural resources or something to trade.
Post 28 Feb 2012, 16:40
Comrade Whiggon wrote:
It wasn't just food. All countries at that time were suffering from the depression: America, Germany, Italy...etc so it is likely that they were hoping to find natural resources or something to trade.

There was also an huge need for internal propaganda reason. The country needed a "bloody adventure", i've the great opportunity to speak with my grandma (still alive) that was a teen during the WWII, there was a large exaltation about the AOI (eritrea+ethiopia+somalia) in an absurd idea to re-build the Roman Empire.
I'm lucky enaugh to have a book for schools for young fascists of the time and it's simply ridiculous.
Post 18 Feb 2013, 19:39
Please refrain from insulting your fellow posters. If you have a specific point or question to make you are free to do so in a polite and respectful manner, but your post as it stands adds nothing but animosity to the discussion.
Last edited by Shigalyov on 19 Feb 2013, 15:37, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: insults removed
Post 08 Mar 2013, 21:33
Owing to the nature of comments in here I am going to temporarily lock this topic. If anybody has any serious additions to make to the discussion simply pm me and it can be unlocked.
I am unlocking this topic now, but would like to insist that people make a special effort to avoid posting racially offensive material. That sort of thing has no place in a forum like SE.
Last edited by Shigalyov on 30 Mar 2013, 13:08, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: topic unlocked
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