Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II
July 4th 1943
Operation Citadel begins with Army Group Center advancing toward Mozhaysk. The Germans have committed over 900 thousand men and 3,000 tanks to the success of this operation. The Soviets have over 1.3 million men and nearly 4,000 tanks.
The Italian Volunteer Division is participating in the assault and is assigned to Army Group Centerís right flank.
*Note: The Battle of Mozhaysk is the equivalent of OTLís Battle of Kursk.*
July 5th 1943
The Germans fall short of accomplishing their objectives. Soviet positions are extremely strong and the German effort is divided among multiple axises of advance.
July 10th 1943
The Allies commence Operation Torch and land one British and one American division across French North Africa. They encounter only token resistance from the Vichy defenders. Most Vichy positions are overtaken by members of the French Resistance.
July 11th 1943
Italian troops are put on alert in Tunisia and ready defenses along the border with French North Africa.
Allied troops advance quickly through French North Africa with almost no resistance.
July 12th 1943
French North Africa fully falls to the Allies.
Fearing that the Vichy government will betray him, Hitler authorizes Case Anton, the occupation of Vichy France.
July 15th 1943
After failing to achieve any decisive gains in Mozhaysk the offensive is ordered and advance units are told to withdraw back to defensible lines. The Germans have achieved some tactical victories but could not implement a blitzkrieg.
German troops occupy Vichy France facing no resistance. The Vichy army in accordance with German demands disbands. Resistance is limited to radio broadcasts voicing objections to the violation of the armistice signed in 1940.
July 20th 1943
A soviet counter attack is launched against the Germans around Mozhaysk. The battle is extremely hard fought but the soviets gain a slight upper hand from the beginning.
July 22nd 1943
The going has been slow in mountainous southern Norway, but the allies have managed to secure Alesund.
July 24th 1943
American and British diplomats approach the Italian government and demand Italy ceases and desists all trade with Germany or extreme measures may have to be taken to put an end to the trade.
Upon examining the current situation Mussolini realizes the only sound choice is to give in to the Allies demands. Germany has increasingly been unable to pay for shipments in precious metals and the reserve of useable technology has nearly dried up. Many shipments had to be returned to supply depots after the Nazi liaison officer was unable to offer anything in return. These supplies could serve a better use in the east building the Roman Empire.
July 26th 1943
Trade between Italy and Germany is cut by more than 90% and any remaining trade is only to be conducted in the most eastern provinces and even then on an extremely limited scale.
Hitler furious over this betrayal demands that General Keitel and the OKW immediately ready the army for an invasion of Italy. Keitel being the lackey he is starts work on the operation but secretly hopes that the other generals and members of the Nazi party will be able to talk some sense into Hitler.
August 1st 1943
Hitler is calmed down enough to indefinitely postpone the invasion of Italy. His staff convinces him that it is only a matter of months until the Soviet Union falls but they will need all the manpower available to them until then. After Russia is defeated, they can then direct their attention against Italy.
August 5th 1943
Russia launches offensives on all fronts pushing the depleted German lines back. The battle at Mozhaysk continues with mounting casualties and drains Germany of all its reinforcements and supplies on the front.
August 6th 1943
While visiting a field hospital, General Patton slaps two soldiers suffering from shell shock and calls them cowards.
August 16th 1943
Despite spectacular service in Norway, Patton is relieved of his command when the "slapping incidents" are made public.
August 23rd 1943
The largest tank battle in history comes to an end at Mozhaysk as both sides have been torn apart and can no longer continue the battle. Both Russia and the Germans have suffered over 500 thousand casualties and lost more than a thousand tanks. The Russians lost more but they could more easily replace their loses.
The Italian volunteers fought bravely throughout the battle helping to defend the German flank. The Italians percentage wise did not lose as many men as did the Germans but lost a lot of their heavy equipment.
Rodolfo Graziani, commander of the Italian Volunteers writes to Mussolini informing Il Duce that he believes the war is lost and that Italian troops should be pulled from the front as soon as possible so as not to bring about hostilities from Russia or lose the now highly experienced men to enemy action.
August 25th 1943
German forces are pushed out of Stalingrad and start losing a significant amount of ground in the south.
August 29th 1943
Germany disbands the Danish government and fully occupies the nations. The Danish government had refused to enact certain laws the Germans had "requested."
September 1st 1943
The anti partisan sweep in Yugoslavia ends. The operation has failed to force the partisansí hand and a new strategy has to be implemented. The army will now engage partisans where they are found and use anti-partisan forces and loyal militias to help root them out.
Industrialization continues on pace throughout most of the Empire with some slowdowns in the more contested areas(mostly Yugoslavia.) With the influx of supplies that were previously destined for Germany, some construction is now even proceeding slightly ahead of schedule.
September 3rd 1943
The offensive in Norway has once again been bogged down through German resistance and mountains along the path of advance.
September 15th 1943
Sea trials start for Aquila, the Italian aircraft carrier. If all goes well, Aquila will be operational by the end of the year. The other two ships currently being converted are about six months away from completion.
On October 10th, Spain pulls their volunteer Blue division out of Russia after being pressured by the Allies to do so. Five days later on the 15th, Italy follows suit and orders the Italian Volunteer Divisions back to Italy.
German forces are losing ground across the southern and central fronts in Russia, with loses in the south approaching 200 miles. Army Group North keeps a shaky hold on their gains, but the pressure is rising.
Local commanders throughout the Roman Empire are told to prepare for outbreaks of violence when the Italianization program is announced.
Development begins in earnest on the Re. 2007 fighter, Italyís first true jet aircraft. The prototype is expected to fly by mid 1944.
*Note: I say first true jet aircraft because Italy flew a jet aircraft in August 1940. It was the Campini Caproni C.C. 2. It was not a true jet aircraft though, since it used a thermojet design which is not as powerful as a turbojet. The Re. 2007 is using the turbojet model.*
November 1st 1943
The program for Italianization is announced throughout the Empire. The details of this program are as follows:
1. All contracts must be written in Italian, they may have a copy written in a local language but the filed contract must be in Italian.
2. All signs must be written in Italian, with the Italian lettering equal in size or larger than the local language.
3. 75% of all radio broadcasts are to be broadcasted in Italian. The only exemption to this is in the case of an emergency, then equal time will be given to both Italian and the local language to inform the populace.
4. Italian will be taught as the primary language in all schools.
5. Those who speak Italian and swear allegiance to the Emperor and the Fascist Party will be granted Colonial Citizenship, which allows them to work within the local government and colonial military. Colonial Citizenship however only applies to the colony it was issued in as to prevent mass migrations.
6. Roman Catholicism is the official religion of the Empire. While it is not required to convert, it is highly encouraged and will be looked favorably upon for anyone seeking government or military positions. Anyone who does convert will be given a tax break.
Additional measures have also been suggested such as declaring certain groups to be "Honorary Italians" and granted all the rights of Italian citizens. It was suggested that, that title be granted to the Greeks currently in Thrace. The issue is left undecided at this time and a decision will be made after the basic program has been put in place.
Any P.O.W.ís who have graduated(or will graduate) from reeducation are automatically granted Colonial Citizenship.
The program will be phased in over the next two months and will enter into full force in 1944.
As expected riots and protests flare throughout the Empire. Soldiers and police are on hand to quell the uprisings and keep order in the streets.
November 8th 1943
The rioting is mostly quelled but a spike in partisan activity has been reported.
November 28th 1943
Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin meet in Tehran to discuss the course of the war and recognize Iranís independence. The conference brings about the following agreements:
1. That Operation Overlord will take place in spring of 1944 and open up a new European front which Stalin has been requesting for some time.
2. Roosevelt and Churchill reluctantly agree to post war adjustments of the Polish border. The new border would be based on the Oder and Neisse rivers.
3. The Allies will also offer aid to Turkey for the reconstruction of their military and to make sure Mussolini does not want to expand his Roman Empire again.
Stalin recommends that they execute the German officer staff after the war, Churchill refuses to hear the idea and says that those who committed crimes should be tried and convicted by a court and that there should be no executions for political purposes.
December 1st 1943
The Italian Navy receives authorization for construction of the Black Sea Squadron. This squadron will consist of a few cruisers and a larger number of destroyers to serve as a front line force against possible Soviet aggression in the area. The ships will be constructed in Constantinople and Bulgarian shipyards to revitalize those economies.
December 10th 1943
Mussolini announces the formation of the Lira Block a trade and economic consortium. Its goals are the economic stability of nations bordering the Mediterranean or with significant Mediterranean or Roman culture and history. Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, and Spain are invited to join.
December 11th 1943
Greece joins the Lira Block with a unanimous vote of the Hellenic council. Switzerland declines the invitation.
December 12th 1943
Spain agrees to join the Lira Block. Franco sees this as a way to repay the Italians for the aid given during the Spanish Civil War and the reduced trade barriers will help with the reconstruction of his nation.
December 15th 1943
President Salazar of Portugal seesaws on whether or not to join the Lira Block. He does not want to step on Allies toes but nor does he want to be put on bad terms with Spain or the other Fascist nations. Salazar politely refuses the offer at this time, but adds that he would consider having Portugal join at a later date.
December 24th 1943
Dwight D. Eisenhower is made Supreme Allied Commander.
January 1st 1943
As the new year comes about Germany finds itself in a losing proposition as it continues to lose ground in central and southern Russia. The German hold in the north is losing its hold and the siege around Leningrad is weakening and appears that it may soon be broken.
End of Part 11.
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