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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II

Part 38

By

Vincent Longobardi

 

 

December 27th 1962

The first Imperial divisions begin arriving in Egypt. General Amedeo Guillet is called from Italian East Africa promoted to Field Marshall and will serve as Supreme Commander of the operation. Forty thousand men, 4 divisions, one of which is armored are being deployed to the Sinai. An additional division is being deployed to Lebanon.

December 28th 1962

Jewish organizations in the United States begin raising money for the defense of Israel, the amount quickly reaches into the millions with no sign of stopping. Thousands of Jewish men volunteer to join the Israeli Defense Force. Even men into their fifties are accepted. Given office jobs they free up a young man who can be sent to the front.

January 3rd 1963

A Security Council resolution condemning Italyís actions as illegal and promising a U.N. intervention is vetoed by the Soviet Union on the grounds that Israel brought this upon themselves by sanctioning assassinations and illegal invasions of bordering nations.

*Note: By this time, the Soviet Union has moved to a position of trying to use the NRE as a wedge between the western powers and causing internal strife with NATO.*

January 4th 1963

Britain informs Israel that they will not be able to render aid in this conflict.

The old guard of the Admiralty give an "I told you so," to the bean counters and politicians. The depleted Royal Navy can not stand up to the Italian fleet in a stand up fight and Britain is not willing to have a nuclear exchange for the sake of Israel.

January 6th 1963

Bickering between France and Israel leads to France pulling their support in the conflict. France was willing to aid in the war effort but refused to deploy soldiers to the Holy Land as their transports and warships would have to run a gauntlet past the Italians and they had no lifeline available to them if they needed to withdraw. The French military believes it was the utmost priority to fight a war closer to home and serve as a harassing force against the Italians protecting France and Algeria while keeping the fleet close to home.

*Note: Remember, just ten years before the French navy was dealt a devastating fleet by Italy. Many of the current French Admirals served as captains in that battle, and some had their ships sunk. Despite boasting about their rebuilt fleet, and public claims of wanting a rematch with the Italians a lot of them donít really want to tangle with them again.*

January 7th 1963

The United States informs Israel that it will intervene if the NRE uses nuclear weapons but until then it will have to stay out of the conflict. The U.S. canít risk its positive relations with the few pro western Arab nations and the population at large is not willing to fight a war for Israel.

*Note: Kennedy is in a difficult situation here. His last two forays into foreign affairs have left him the loser, Cuba and the Berlin Wall. If he intervenes here and fails, any credibility or power he has overseas will be lost. The United States would also be in danger of losing their allies who are sitting on the fence.*

January 15th 1963

Deployments to the region are nearly complete for the Empire. Lira Block nations are still mobilizing. Egypt is fielding a quarter million men, the combined might of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan will contribute another 300,000. Spain will be deploying 2,000 men, Greece an additional 1,000 and tiny San Marino will contribute a platoonís worth.

ODESSA requests to Rome that a regiment of privately raised ODESSA members be allowed to participate as a last hooray of the World War II generation against their eternal foe. The Comando Supremo refuses the request trying not to associate the current conflict with the Nazi campaign against the Jews. When the same request is made to Syria, the Syrian government agrees and a regiment of 500 is sent.

January 17th 1963

Italyís first nuclear submarine, the "Neptune," is launched. Sea trials are to begin immediately.

January 20th 1963

Israel threatens that it will use nuclear if the Lira Block advances on Jerusalem. Rome counters that Israel only has the power to destroy armies while the Empire can destroy every population center in Israel within an hour and will do so if any nuclear weapons are deployed against any Lira Block force or city.

Plans are drawn up by the Comando Supremo on how to retaliate against an Israeli nuclear attack. Before being officially submitted to Mussolini and the Council, Jerusalem and Bethlehem are both removed from the list of targeted cities.

February 3rd 1963

The Garigliano nuclear power plant begins producing electricity and becomes the Empireís first energy producing nuclear reactor.

Three more nuclear reactors are planned to be completed within the next 2 years.

February 10th 1963

The Arab nations of the Lira Block begin pushing for an immediate offensive against Israel. Field Marshall Guillet instead orders all forces to hold their positions. The Block has the advantage of time, Israel will not be able to keep its armed forces mobilized for long without serious repercussions to their economy and infrastructure.

March 10th 1963

The stand off continues in the desert. The IDF is forced to slowly demobilize reserve forces as the strain on the infrastructure increasingly becomes more and more difficult to bear.

Guillet notes the breakdown of order in the ranks of the Arab allies. "Despite Italian training, arms and equipment they are still a rabble. Possessing a tribal mentality, they have no cohesion with the officers being the worst offenders. They often descend into fist fights over strategic planning and can not be trusted to implement orders given. Unless supported by Italian forces they will not secure any victory and will rout."

April 3rd 1963

In the American Civil Rights Movement, the Birmingham campaign kicks off with sit-ins at segregated cafeteria counters.

April 5th 1963

Fascist counter-protesters begin streaming into Birmingham from the surrounding areas.

April 8th 1963

The start of Holy Week. The Italian Propaganda machine begins to describe the coming conflict as a religious struggle to make the Holy Land free once again. "Christ died for our sins, free his birthplace from the descendants of those who killed him."

On the other side of the conflict, the Israeli government uses upcoming Passover as a rallying point. The Israeliís broke the bonds of Egyptian slavery and they will not allow themselves to be bound by Italian chains.

April 9th 1963

Passover begins. Using Synagogues as muster stations the word is silently passed to able bodied men to ready their gear and report to their units.

The Israeli government has decided that another preemptive strike is necessary to win the coming war. They can not afford to wait the Italians out.

April 10th 1963

Sheriff Theophilus Eugene "Bull" Conner orders that all protestors be arrested and bail amount to be raised to keep them in jail. He informs his officers that Fascist counter-protestors are not to be harassed or arrested.

April 12th 1963

Martin Luther King is one of the first arrested in Birmingham.

April 14th 1963

5:00 AM Local Time

Easter Sunday.

While their enemies believed they were hiding away in their temples praying to their God, they had assembled themselves along the border. The Italians were still small in number and many miles behind the Egyptian line. They would give the Egyptians a thrashing and put them in a rout, that would show the Italians they canít win here.

At this predawn hour, over 150,000 Israelis struck the Egyptian line. And, just like Guillet predicted, the 200,000 man Egyptian army broke rank and fled. Their Italian made weapons counted for nothing as morale evaporated.

5:30 AM Local Time

Many miles behind the rapidly approaching front line, the Imperial Army readies itself. Loudspeakers in the camps lambast the Israeliís for defiling the holiest day of the year. Guillet orders that army chaplains say Mass over the loudspeakers as there will be no time to stop in the coming offensive to celebrate. The war has become a holy struggle, a new crusade.

7:00 AM Local Time

The Egyptians continue their chaotic retreat abandoning all reason and order while throwing whatever equipment is slowing them down to the side. Even the appearance of Italian jets overhead does not prompt them to pause.

Far to the west, most American newspapers on the East Coast believe victory for the Israelis is a foregone conclusion and publish the dayís papers reporting on the victory. The executives at the New York Times decide not to commit to a cover story until the last moment possible.

7:30 AM Local Time

From the dust of the fleeing Egyptians, emerge the silhouettes of the heavy P.60 tanks spearheading the Italian counter assault. The Italian tanks tear through the best the IDF has to offer and blunt their assault which up to know has known nothing but victory. Even some of the running Egyptians regroup, energized by their Italian comrades they turn about to face the enemy.

1:45 AM Eastern Standard Time

There is no time left to waste, the paper has to go to press now, or there will be no Sunday edition of the Times. Just as they are ready to set the paper to print, the news come in across the wire that the Italians have counterattacked and are winning. There are no solid details to report just yet, but this is the latest information that can be reported on while every other paper will have outdated information, choosing a sensationalist headline, New Yorkers will wake up to find "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!" emblazoned across their morning paper.

End of Part 38.

 

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