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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II

Part 17

By

Vincent Longobardi

 

 

December 28th 1947

Emperor Victor Emanuel III passes away. His son Umberto is set to succeed him and become Emperor Umberto II.

The conspirators against Mussolini believe that the death of the Emperor can prompt them to convince Mussolini to back down against the British

December 30th 1947

Hours before Prince Umberto is set to be coronated Emperor of the Rome, Mussolini sits down with the Grand Council and the Comando Supremo and is informed in not so pleasant terms that the Fascist party and the military do not support his actions and that he should use the memory of the late Emperor to seek a peaceful resolution. In restoring the Roman Empire, Mussolini incidentally and unknowingly restored the ancient practice of Praetorianism.

At the coronation of Umberto II, Mussolini declares that in memory of Victor Emanuel III he will seek peace with Britain and not resort to the debased measures and dishonorable actions of the British. Despite the treaty, and despite the claims to throne of Jerusalem, the New Roman Empire will seek peace and a Second Pax Romana.

*Note: One of the reasons the conspirators donít go through with their initial plan of completely removing Mussolini from power is because he is still extremely popular with the Italian people. The conspirators could not guarantee they would be able to keep the country together if they just removed Mussolini. Instead they have increased the power and influence of the Grand Council which will allow them a much larger say in the ruling process.

The King of Italy, like many monarchs in Europe holds latent claims to the title King of Jerusalem.*

January 1st 1948

The three Italian fleets dispersed throughout the Mediterranean (Gibraltar, Malta, and Egypt by the Suez canal) are set to return home. Elements of the Royal Navy "escort" the Italian ships away from British territorial waters. Aboard the Aquila the crew lines up on the flight deck facing an extremely close British destroyer and throw their arms up in a Roman salute and give a shout of "Il Duce."

March 1948

Construction on Mussoliniís Wall is largely completed establishing Italyís "Armed Frontier" against Soviet aggression. The completion of this project frees up a large portion of the budget and a massive amount of resources.

April 1948

Truman signs the Marshall plan into law, promising billions of dollars in aid to 14 countries in Europe over the next three years. The Marshall plan is designed to prevent these nations from falling to Communism or Fascist elements.

The two Italian submarines based off the German U-boat design are finished and prepare to enter service. Over the next 5 years an additional 20 are planned to be constructed to keep the Italian submarine service current and modern.

May 14th 1948

The state of Israel is established in the Mideast.

The United States, Soviet Union and most of the non-arab world recognizes the state of Israel, Italy does not.

May 15th 1948

Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria. Saudi Arabia and Iraq declare war on Israel starting the first Arab-Israeli war.

May 16th 1948

Mussolini in a speech once against declares himself "Protector of Islam" and offers his full moral support to the Arab states.

*Note: Throughout the 1930's Mussolini claimed to be the "Protector of Islam" trying to gain favor with the nationalistic arab movements in the Mideast.*

May 18th 1948

Italy enters into talks with the Arab world to provide them with weapons and support in their war against Israel in exchange for joining the Lira Block.

May 25th 1948

The Arab nations in negotiations with Italy that originally agreed to join the U.N. trade embargo back out of the embargo and reestablish trade relations.

May 29th 1948

Egypt, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq all agree to join the Lira Block. Saudi Arabia while expressing interest in joining can not join at this time because of relations with American corporations.

June 2nd 1948

ODESSA independent of the Italian government sends advisors to the Mideast to aid the Arab militaries in their war.

June 10th 1948

The first shipment of Italian arms is received by the Arab nations in the Arab Israeli conflict. Most of the weapons are outdated and were scheduled to be scrapped before the agreement was reached.

June 24th 1948

The Soviet Union closes off access to Berlin initiating the Berlin Blockade on the western half of the city.

June 27th 1948

The Berlin airlift is authorized to bring much needed supplies into West Berlin.

July 1st 1948

Italy offers the use of a squadron of P.108's to assist in the airlift. The offer is refused.

July 5th 1948

Italian advisors arrive in the Arab states.

August 1948

Roads, railroads and electricity are largely repaired in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. While not completely up to the requirements that are needed this milestone still provides a large boost to the local economies and opens up access for more resources to be acquired.

Israel protests the appearance of Italian advisors in the Arab ranks. Most of the world preoccupied with the ongoing Berlin crisis ignores the situation or offers weak opposition to Italy.

September 10th 1948

Two ODESSA agents serving with the Lebanese army are captured by the Israelis and paraded before the media.

September 15th 1948

The ODESSA agents are executed as spies.

September 17th 1948

In a letter to Heinrich Himmler, Mussolini orders that anyone under his command be immediately removed from the Mideast before they ruin Italian efforts in the area. He reminds the SS leader of Italyís previous good relations and favor bestowed upon the remnants of the Nazi regime and hopes those relations will stay good, but only if Mussoliniís request is agreed upon.

September 25th 1948

Giving into Mussoliniís demands, ODESSA ends all involvement in the Arab Israeli conflict.

September 27th 1948

An Italian rocket launched from Sardinia crashes down in the Tyrrhenian Sea after only 5 miles of flight. Despite the failure of the rocket to travel the distance to the desired target, the test marks the first successful flight for an Italian built rocket.

The team consists largely of Italians and a few German refugees who claimed to have worked on the German rocket program or worked in the factories producing the V1 and V2.

October 1948

Demand for the Vespa outpaces production as hundreds of thousands of Italians look for affordable transportation. The other automobile companies in Italy in an attempt to stay competitive respond by announcing production of their own affordable vehicles.

The Comando Supremo commissions a team to create a scenario for a war against the Soviet Union. It will evaluate both an offensive strike against the Russians but will focus heavily on the more likely possibility of a defensive war.

December 1948

Massive setbacks by the Arab armies prompt Italy to pull its field advisors from the Mideast. Advisors are kept in place in Arab capitals working with the governments and generals.

January 1949

The Italian Air Force test flies the P. 112 a larger body version of the P. 108. The P. 112 is larger, more heavily armed and has more engine power than the P. 108, it has been designed to carry Italyís future nuclear capability.

February 1949

The Arab-Israeli war starts to come to a close with Egypt signing an armistice with Israel.

March 1949

Lebanon signs a armistice with Israel.

The planning committee for a war against the Soviet Union submits its report to the Comando Supremo. Like most scenarios it presents a worst case situation and in some places grossly overestimates Soviet ability.

For an offensive war the report highly discourages any offensive action against the Soviet Union until the Roman Eastern Provinces are fully repaired and an army can be raised from these colonies. It also suggests that no offensive action be taken until the Army is modernized(more on this later.) If however the Soviet Union enters into a war with the western allies, the Empire should launch a surprise offensive into Eastern Europe in a bid to pocket the Soviet Armies advancing westwards. That is, if the Russians donít also attack the Empire at the same time.

Defensively, the outlook is grim. The Armed Frontier without any support from a highly motorized or mechanized force supporting it is expected only to provide a delaying action against the Soviet juggernaut. Even with these forces available, they will most likely not be able to hold the line. Bulgaria is written off as a total loss. The planners are hoping to stop the Russians somewhere in central Yugoslavia around the mountain ranges and on the Thracian-Bulgarian border but admit that realistically that the Russians will be able to reach the coast and will not be stopped until they hit the Alps. Only a few coastal enclaves such as Istria, Montenegro and Albania are expected to be able to survive. It is believed Constantinople can be supplied by sea and will remain in Italian hands denying the Soviet fleet access to the Mediterranean.

Following that, Italy would have a long offensive to fight back across the Balkans and into the Soviet Union. Some of the planners are veterans of the Russian Campaign and not wanting to repeat that death march suggest that following the reconquest of the Empire or most of its land or after token inroads into Russia offers of peace be made. This offensive would not be possible without a significantly large mechanized force to orchestrate a speedy assault.

It is noted that the West will most likely enter the war to stop Soviet aggression, though only after Italy is significantly weakened. This would allow a total victory for Italy and the possible acquisition of new territories.

Finally, the report ends with that since Italy is close to acquiring nuclear weapons before or during the war it will dramatically change the Italian strategic position. Since the planners do not believe they can pierce Soviet air defense the nuclear weapons would primarily be used in a tactical role except against Russian cities along the coast of the Black Sea.

April 1949

Transjordan signs an armistice with Israel leaving Syria as the only nation still at war with Israel.

The Italian army approves plans for a modernization and mechanization program to conform with the recommendations of the planning committee. 25-40% of all Italian forces should be mechanized within 3-5 years.

End of Part 17.

 

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