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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II

Part 21

By

Vincent Longobardi

 

 

March 15th 1952

Heavy artillery bombardment against Skikda commences as the Army of Africa prepares for an assault to take the city.

March 20th 1952

Across the Italo-Franco border troops are amassed staring each other down and waiting. No side is willing to take the first step towards escalation of the conflict but it is clear that eventually war will wrack the European continent.

March 25th 1952

France announces that it is pulling all troops out of Indochina and will open negotiations with the Viet Minh. The soldiers will be redeployed to Africa to repel the Fascist invaders.

March 27th 1952

Two Italian divisions sweep south of Skikda in an attempt to encircle the city prior to the main invasion. They face fierce resistance from the defending French forces and are unable to make any significant gains.

March 29th 1952

Italian forces continue to press themselves against the French advancing several miles in the past two days while sustaining heavy casualties.

April 3rd 1952

The French army launches its own offensive against the main Italian force. The French outnumber the Army of Africa by 30 thousand and possess a sizeable number of tanks enough to neutralize the technical advantage held by the Italian P. 46.

Following the assault, the two division encircling the force to the south is ordered to halt the offensive, abandon their minute gains and join the main battle.

April 5th 1952

The Army of Africa is slowly pushed back across the desert by the French Army. While not the decisive victory the French were hoping for like those seen in the early war it gives France some valuable breathing room and removes direct pressure against their nearest point of supply.

April 6th 1952

A MI6 operative serving in Libya sends a high priority message to Malta which is relied directly to London. The message is brief and terrifying: "ITALY WILL BECOME A ATOMIC POWER WITHIN SIX MONTHS. PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR ATOMIC TESTING IN LIBYAN DESERT BY YEARS END."

April 7th 1952

Churchillís hands visibly shook as he read the emergency dispatch presented to him. His assembled advisors shifted nervously as they awaited his reaction. They had no additional information to give, they could not validate the reports accuracy. The only information that could be offered is what was already known, and that was, it was known Italy has had a nuclear program since the earliest days of World War II.

The British program would have to be accelerated so they could be sure to beat the Italians.

April 10th 1952

Italian positions in Algeria have been knocked back over 40 miles. The French offensive was forced to momentarily halt in order to catch its breath and the Italians capitalized on the temporary lull and prepared defensive positions once again returning the war to a near stalemate.

April 12th 1952

The Geneva Accords begin to come to an official end to the war in Indochina.

April 15th 1952

Half a dozen rockets rain down on Skikda as Italy demonstrates the use of its R-1 for the first time. Damage is minor as the missile has a large circle of error but the psychological effect can not begin to be measured.

April 25th 1952

Both sides in the desert hunker down and wait for reinforcements to arrive before renewing offensive operations.

May 5th 1952

2:00 AM Local Time

From an airbase near Tunis a division of paratroopers lifts off headed for a drop behind enemy lines.

5:00 AM Local Time

Flying a long route over the sea, the flight of transports loops back overland and conducts its airborne assault dropping the paratroopers behind Franceís main force.

5:30 AM Local Time

The paratroopers enter an engagement with the Algerian troops guarding the French rear and conduct attacks against supply depots.

6:00 AM Local Time

The Army of Africa launches its own pincer attack against the main French Army.

12:00 PM Local Time

The French line is pierced in two separate locations and the bulk of the French Army is in a rout. Fifteen thousand French soldiers are pocketed between the main Italian assaults.

May 6th 1952

The paratroopers conduct hit and run raids against the withdrawing French forces as they attempt to deny them access to rear supply dumps. When the dumps can not be held, the Italians attempt to destroy them.

A newly assembling army in Skikda is ordered to depart immediately to relieve the besieged French forces to the East.

May 10th 1952

The French pocket while suffering high losses keeps the pocket stable and holds off the near constant attacks. The French air force is able to keep the troops supplied with the bare minium of supplies despite a heavy Italian air presence.

May 12th 1952

Lead elements of the Army of Africa encounter a massive French force consisting of over 100 thousand men(from the army in Indochina) converging on their positions. By midday the two armies clash head on and the battle quickly turns in Franceís favor.

May 14th 1952

The experienced French troops continue fighting with the Army of Africa slowly driving them back.

May 16th 1952

The original French army now reorganized joins in the attack against the Army of Africa.

May 17th 1952

The pocket of French troops is liberated. As Italy is forced to abandon all positions in Algeria. Of the original 15,000 only 7,000 remain.

May 20th 1952

Following the heaviest fighting seen since the first days of the Yugoslav war, Italy has lost over 100 tanks and has been completely pushed out of Algeria. They are now facing a French army of nearly 200 thousand.

May 22nd 1952

Ground is continually lost in Tunisia as the Italians fight tooth and nail to put an end to the French attack.

May 25th 1952

The Army of Africa makes it stand around the Tunisian city of Le Kef and repels the first French assault against the city.

June 1st 1952

After two failed offensives against the city, the French Army orders a halt to the offensive and begins drawing up plans for a new operation to remove the Italians from Tunisia and possibly all of North Africa.

June 3rd 1952

The Comando Supremo informs Mussolini that the New Roman Empire is losing this war and will continue to do so unless they are allowed to operate freely and without restrictions. If they are allowed to fight the war the way it should be fought they guarantee that the Empire will be victorious within a month. After reviewing the strategic situation Mussolini agrees to the requests of the Comando Supremo.

June 4th 1952

Large scale mobilizations are called across the Empire. Twenty divisions(200,000) men are to be readied for war with ten divisions of Italian troops and the remaining ten being colonial forces from across the Empire. These divisions will become available by mid July and will transform the Army of Africa into Army Group Africa.

June 6th 1952

The entirety of the Italian Navy departs from port with the simple orders of: Sink all ships belonging to the French fleet and any French merchants entering Algerian waters.

June 10th 1952

Attack aircraft from the Imperator pounce on a lone French destroyer off the coast of Sardinia. Though clearly possessing a significant advantage the Italian flyers have difficulty in sinking the destroyer. Weight of numbers eventually win the day with the Destroyer being sent to the bottom with many bombs and torpedoes wasted.

*Note: The Italian crews have had significant training in dive bombing and conducting torpedo runs but no practical experience in combat making for a rough first encounter.*

June 11th 1952

Noting that the situation has taken a turn for the worse, France approaches Great Britain for aid in the conflict against Italy.

The British government informs France that Britain will need four months to ready its fleet and military before any military action can be taken. This is however merely a cover story Britain does not want to get involved in a conflict against a nation that can become an atomic power by years end unless Britain also has her own atomic weaponry. The British program estimates they will be able to test a bomb by the end of July and have a small stockpile established by December, enough to serve as a deterrent to a nuclear armed Italy.

June 12th 1952

Not being able to match the numbers of the Italian fleet with its own Mediterranean fleet, France calls home its entire fleet in a bid to match the numbers of the Italian.

June 16th 1952

Off the coast of Algeria a unarmed French merchant ship is sunk by an Italian submarine while entering Algerian waters. French authorities claim that the ship was not carrying any military supplies and that the Italians violated International Law by sinking it.

End of Part 21.

 

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