Military History Of Italy During World War II
World War II started in 1939 when Germany attacked Poland. Despite being one in the Axis Powers, Italy decided to stay neutral. This was not as per the Pact of Steel, which prohibited war attacks by either party without the other till 1943. The military history of Italy during World War II is really interesting. It gives a view of how Italy initially stayed away from the battlefield and then forged ahead to join the war even though it had outdated military weapons and equipment.
Compared to other European nations, industrial sector in Italy was weak. This made it difficult to raise a mechanized military force. The economy was agriculture based and the demographics were close to that of any developing nation. Even with regard to strategic materials like steel, crude oil and coal, Italy was way behind many other European countries. Most of these materials were available by imports and little effort was made to stock them before entering the war.
With the decision of entering the war without notice, many merchant ships at foreign ports got impounded. They were short on military supplies since weapons were given to Spain apart from deployment of peace keeping forces during their civil war. This cost the exchequer heavily and added to the already existing debt.
At the start of WW II, the Italian army was weak and depleted. They had few radios and poor quality tanks. Most of their military equipment was WW I models. These were obsolete compared to those of other nations. The navy had battleships but not a single aircraft carrier.
Weak economy, insufficient raw materials and lack of ability to produce weapons in sufficient numbers led to the military failure of Italian forces. The men were inducted for war with insufficient training. The air force was not trained to operate alongside navy. The navy fleets were put for use as convoy protection forces in WW II, while they were originally built for fleet action. Critical fuel supplies minimized navy effort.
Mussolini entered the war for personal pride. He did not decentralize control of the 3 services. The forces operated independently without inter-service cooperation. The leadership had no consistency in planning, and the enemies and objectives were changed often regardless of the consequences.
More Articles :
Wikipedia: Military History Of Italy During World War II