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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II

 

Part 10

 

By

 

Vincent Longobardi

 

 

December 12th 1942

The Soviets conduct the first phase of Operation Saturn. Two soviet armies smash into the German flanks outside Moscow in a bid to drive them back and encircle the Germans in Moscow. This winter, the Germans are better prepared but can not hold out against the Soviet assault. Ground is steadily lost by the Germans.

December 14th 1942

Hitlerís generals request that they be allowed to abandon Moscow, Hitler refuses.

Secondo Campini and other Italian aeronautical and rocketry engineers begin a two week tour of German jet and rocketry facilities.

December 16th 1942

The soviets close the pincers around Moscow and trap 250,000 Germans in the city. German forces outside the city fight valiantly to reestablish contact with the city.

Hitler orders the men inside the pocket not to surrender, and has the Luftwaffe commence an airlift to keep the city supplied.

December 18th 1942

The first nuclear reactor ever to be constructed goes active in Chicago. Chicago Pile 1 sustains a chain reaction. This is a needed step in the creation of nuclear weapons, especially plutonium based bombs, which require a reactor to produce the plutonium needed for a bomb.

The Italian project is far behind that of the American project. The research team believes given the proper materials and resources they would be able to construct a reactor in short order but those materials and the industrial and electrical production needed for it are currently not available. Nor is there the necessary equipment to begin enriching the tiny stocks of uranium currently in hand. For now they continue to work on formulas and the mathematics behind the bomb as teams scour the Empire for suitable sources of uranium for enriching.

Italy is looking at another 2 years before they can start enriching uranium and for the completion of the project 8 years. The Italian project is also concentrating almost exclusively at this time on producing a uranium bomb. Minor side research is conducted with Plutonium, but there is not enough funding for two separate paths to be researched at once at this time.

*Note: The Manhattan Project is a few weeks behind in this timeline because of the lack of Fermi. But I do not think it would significantly delay the project, it would just require more money to be thrown at the project and additional researchers.*

December 20th 1942

The transports attempting to supply the Moscow pocket take a beating from concentrated AA defense throughout the city. For the most part they are able accomplish their task, but at this rate, they wonít have any aircraft left to continue the airlift for any extended amount of time.

December 25th 1942

In a Christmas Miracle, Rommelís troops secure a narrow corridor into Moscow. Contrary to orders, thousands of men flee the city.

Later in the day the corridor comes under intense attack from the Soviets. The Germans are able to hold their ground but it is apparent the area will not be a permanent gain.

December 26th 1942

Furious that his orders were disregarded, Hitler orders the Army back into the breach. He tells his generals to fight to the last man and destroy the city. The orders are ignored at the front.

December 27th 1942

Rommelís divisions are forced to give up the corridor after two days of constant battle. They managed to secure the rescue of over 120,000 soldiers. The ones still trapped in the city are a mix of those who could not make it to the passage and the most fanatical Nazis.

December 28th 1942

A trapped artillery battery on the outskirts of the city takes Hitlerís orders to heart and sight their guns on the Kremlin. Stalin and his staff narrowly avoid death when a meeting room they were in moments before takes a hit from an artillery shell.

December 30th 1942

Campiniís team returns to Italy. He reports that Germany is far ahead of Italy in rocketry and jet engine research. But he believes, Italy could catch up by 1945-46 with the notes he has taken from the German designs.

January 1st 1943

The new year brings defeat for the Third Reich, as its army is pushed back slowly but surely from Moscow.

January 10th 1943

The Italian Volunteer Divisions are ready for combat and assigned to assist Army Group Center. They should be at the front by the end of January.

January 14th 1943

The leaders of the free world meet in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Present are Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle. Stalin was invited, but because of the current situation in Russia he was forced to decline the invitation. Henri Giraud is also present as another representative of the Free French.

They agreed to the following conditions by the end of the conference:

1. The Allies will demand the Unconditional Surrender of Germany

2. Agreed to aid the Soviet Union

3. Agreed to begin applying pressure to those "neutral" nations which support Germany. They will concentrate first on Vichy France with an invasion of French North Africa

4. Joint leadership of the Free French by De Gaulle and Giraud.

January 20th 1943

A intensive systematic anti partisan campaign begins in Yugoslavia. It is estimated that over 100,000 partisans are operating in Yugoslavia. In two sweeps, one from the North and the other from the South the comando supremo is hoping to force the Partisans to go on the run and trap them in isolated parts of the countryside.

January 28th 1943

The German lines are pushed back over 150 miles from the Soviet assault. It has also become nearly impossible to supply the Moscow pocket by air.

Divisions from the other army groups are rushed to Army Group Center to prepare for an emergency offensive. The first units of the Italian volunteers arrive on the front.

February 2nd 1943

The pocketed 70,000 soldiers of the German army in Moscow surrender. After a month of being cut off from land supply it became apparent to the men that they would not be relieved.

February 20th 1943

Army Group Center launches a counter offensive. Hitler hopes they will be able to break the Soviet lines and reenter Moscow. His generals are not as optimistic though, their belief is the best they can hope for is to put a halt to the Soviet advance and gain some ground back.

February 22nd 1943

Italian troops are trying to dislodge Yugoslavian partisans from their mountain strongholds. Progress has been slow as the partisans largely choose to fight rather than flee.

February 24th 1943

On the Eastern Front progress is slow but the Germans are advancing. Typical Bliztkrieg tactics have seemed to fail but the Germans have still managed to secure an upper hand in the battle.

The Italian Volunteer Divisions fight admirably and are mostly comparable to their German counterparts. Against concentrations of infantry the Italians are able to maneuver around them using armor and infantry to eliminate opposition. Too the veterans of the Balkans War, these operations are exactly like the ones conducted against the nearly all infantry based armies they faced. Against armor, however, the Italians fair poorly, encountering nearly no tanks in the Balkans except for a few obsolete World War I models, the Italians do not know how to neutralize an armored threat.

March 1st 1943

The first "class" of the reeducation program is released from their P.O.W. Camps. These men will be returned to their former communities and placed into local government, security or even needed positions within industry and trade.

Meanwhile, Mussolini and the Grand Council work on a program designed to Italianize all of the conquered peoples.

March 6th 1943

General Patton is made commander of all American forces in Norway. He brings iron discipline to the men and tries to rebuild unit cohesion and training before spring allows for a new offensive.

March 20th 1943

The German offensive is halted about 20 miles away from the city of Mozhaysk. The offensive is halted between a combination of Soviet defenses and the ground turning to mud.

German planners draw up plans for an offensive in early July to retake Moscow.

April 6th 1943

American and British forces crack the German lines in Norway and push southwards. German commanders organize new defensive lines parallel with Molde and across the mountains to halt the allied advance.

April 10th 1943

The Soviet Union establishes a network of defenses around Mozhaysk, guessing correctly that the Germans will once again attempt a drive towards Moscow. The defenses will be kept as secret as possible during construction.

April 19th 1943

The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto rise up against the Germans. Minor uprisings in the Ghetto have been occurring for months but here it turns into an all out war. German troops, most of them Waffen SS are set loose in the Ghetto and thousands are killed and vast portions of the Ghetto are burnt to the ground.

May 5th 1943

Fighting intensifies in Yugoslavia to levels comparable to the opening days of the invasion. Urban centers and the coastline are considered secure sectors, but the interior of the nation especially the mountains are contested. Additional detachments of MVSN and OVRA (secret police) are sent to join the army in putting an end to the revolts.

May 16th 1943

The Warsaw Ghetto is officially considered "pacified" despite sporadic resistance throughout the area.

May 20th 1943

Anglo-American forces hit the Molde line and face stiff German defenses as the terrain once again turns against the attackers. Molde will be a tough nut to crack, but Patton is certain his troops will be able to do it and beat the British to Oslo.

June 1943

June is a month of planning for the world. The United States and Britain plan for Operation Torch, an invasion of French North Africa to apply pressure to the neutral Vichy government to cease their support of the Nazi regime. They also want to send a message to Italy, that the allies will intervene in the affairs of neutral states if they provide support to the Nazis.

Germany is planning for another nearly million man offensive to take Moscow and to knock the Soviets out of the war. Unknowingly to the Germans, the Russians having already established themselves to repel any assault towards Moscow and have brought in over a million troops.

The Italian plan for Italianizing its Empire is nearly finished and should be implemented in 1944. For now the main goals are eliminating the rebels in Yugoslavia and bringing the infrastructure of those regions online.

End of Part 10.

 

 

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