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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of 

World War II

 

Part 5

 

By

 

Vincent Longobardi

Preliminary Notes: I have received some questions on how the British pulled off their invasion of Norway in the last part and I would like to clarify on how the invasion was pulled off. Though heavily reinforced the Germans were very spread out through the country. Also with this being early in the war the fortifications around Norway are not at full strength as they would of been in OTL come 42 or later. On the eve of the invasion we also had a large number of uprisings from Partisans throughout the country. Though these uprisings were largely crushed brutally they managed to also aid in delaying the German response. The only uprisings to meet with success were the ones around Narvik and further North. To the North the Germans were much more concerned with attempting to relink with the South.

No Free Norway Forces were present in the initial landings in any large numbers. Only a few advisors who knew the lay of the land were assigned with the initial landing forces.

 

November 1st 1941

Great Britain condemns the invasion of Greece and offers itís assistance to Greece in repelling the Turkish invaders.

The Saydam government is shocked by this British response. They believed the British government to be impotent and would not attempt to interfere in any Balkans affairs.

*Note: Said assistance is not in the form of a declaration of war but through the supply of weapons.*

November 3rd 1941

50 thousand Italian troops are ordered into Albania along the Greek border. Mussolini is watching the situation in Greece very carefully. He wants to help them expel the Turks but only under his terms. If he aids them now they will be partners in the war, Mussolini wants them to be clients to his Roman Empire. He knows that time and numbers are against the Greeks and eventually they will need his aid.

*Note: These men are coming from Italy and represent a sizeable portion of the reserves available to the Army.*

November 8th 1941

British codebreakers crack a Kriegsmarine Enigma message that is ordering German naval assets to prepare for a major operation in the North Sea within a months time.

The Home Fleet is ordered on alert and the Admiralty starts pulling assets from other fronts to converge in the North Sea. The Mediterranean Fleet is stripped bare with most of her capital ships sent out into the Atlantic.

November 10th 1941

The Turkish offensive gets bogged down in Greece with attacks from Partisans and the Greek army becoming more coordinated and deadly. The first British supplies arrive in Greece providing the nation with a much needed source of small arms and ammunition.

November 15th 1941

Britain begins reinforcing their positions in Norway with more troops, supplies and heavy equipment. They are outnumbered but possess the high ground.

The Turkish now have control of the following areas of Greece: Kilkis, Serras, Drama, Pella, and Thessalonki. But the Greeks launch a counterattack out of Emathia and Florina seriously threatening the Turkish gains in the area.

November 28th 1941

Lead elements of the German Heer enter into the outskirts of Moscow. Goebbels the Nazi Propaganda minister praises the bravery and success of the brave German soldiers and their General Erwin Rommel who are taking part in the fall of Moscow. The Naziís claim of the "Fall of Moscow" can not be any further from the truth. The Germans meet the hardest resistance they have ever met and are fighting tooth and nail for every inch.

The weather in Russia is also taking a dramatic turn for the worse, German advances begin grinding to a halt as the cold sets in and equipment begins to fail.

*Note: Rommel is only commanding the divisions in the assault on Moscow and not the entire offensive.*

December 1st 1941

A large detachment of the German surface fleet and Submarine fleet leave port and steam out into the North Sea. A small detachment is left in the Baltic to ward off a Soviet attack.

December 4th 1941

Despite the cold and falling snows Germany conducts a massive offensive against British forces in Norway. The Brits are outnumbered but have the tactical advantage. The Royal Navy is brought in close to the coast to provide the boots with naval support.

December 5th 1941

The Kriegsmarine attacks the Royal Navy off the coast of Norway and initiates a massive combined sea and air battle between the forces. At the start of the battle the Germans take the upper hand but the balance of power evens out as the British fleet becomes more organized in defense.

10% of Moscow is in German hands as the Russians orchestrate a counteroffensive with fresh troops from Siberia. The Germans are knocked back from the initial assault and Hitler demands that his Generals not abandon Moscow to the Soviets. The German army was not prepared for this battle and in the past few days the temperature dropped drastically freezing man and machine alike making the front untenable.

December 7th 1941

The Japanese launch a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor sinking much of the United States Pacific Fleet.

The Japanese launch additional attacks throughout the Pacific aimed at American and British outposts.

Hitler is at first delighted by this attack but soon rants and raves when none of his aides can tell him where Pearl Harbor is.

December 8th 1941

The British supply train into Norway is disrupted as the Battle of the North Sea rages on. The Royal Navy has obtained the advantage but the battle is still hard fought.

President Roosevelt delivers his "A date which will live in infamy" speech and Congress declares war on the Japanese Empire.

*Note: Unless otherwise noted the war in the Pacific will proceed as it historically proceeded.*

December 10th 1941

In an ending similar to Jutland the British emerge victorious in the North Sea but lose more ships and men than the Germans. British numbers were able to win the day against in some cases superior German naval assets. Germany though suffering less losses totally has lost more ships then they can hope to recover compared to the larger British fleet, but they dealt an important blow to the Royal Navy and seriously disrupted land operations in Norway. The German fleet retreats back to the Baltic Sea.

The British Army is in a rout, critically low on supplies the front line was not able to resist the German charge.

December 11th 1941

Germany declares war on the United States. Hitler believes that his declaration will bring the Japanese into the war against the Soviets. The Japanese do not see it the same way.

December 13th 1941

In Norway the British lines were knocked back 20 miles before the Germans could be halted. The cold and the reestablishment of British supply train help to save this front from being completely overrun.

December 14th 1941

Generals along the Eastern Front order the withdrawal of front line units to prevent them from being overrun by fresh Soviet troops. Hitler angered by this but impossible to stop the movements relays an order to the front telling all units still within Moscow (a very tiny portion,) to set fire to the city and kill everyone they find. General Rommel (the only general to still have troops in the city,) refuses to issue the command further angering Hitler.

December 18th 1941

After retaking 40% of the Turkish gains the Greek offensive runs out of steam. Both sides are physically exhausted but Turkey maintains the upper hand in manpower and continues sending fresh troops into the area.

December 20th 1941

Italian divisions along the Nis river begin rotating out for rest and training. In the next three months every division along this front will be sent to the rear for a period of rest and intensive training before returning to the front. Engineer units receive the heaviest training regime in construction of temporary bridges across rivers.

After the initial withdraw of German troops in the Russia Hitler orders the armies to dig in and give up no more land.

December 25th 1941

Sofia, Bulgaria:

Tens of thousands of Bulgarians celebrate the birth of Christ. The Churches are filled with mostly old men, women and children with most of the working age men either in the military or working in wartime industries. They pray for the safety of their boys and for a quick end to the war. The singing of the choirs are interrupted by the Air Raid Sirens. It was the first time in two weeks that the city had been attacked. Some rushed from the churches for shelters or basements, many stayed within the Churches either believing God would protect them or more practically believe they are the strongest structures being made out of thick stone, the brave went out and turned their gaze skywards to see the largest bombing raid ever assembled against either the city or nation.

250 Italian bombers and over 50 escort fighters flew overhead preparing to put an end to the "Day of Celebration." Among them were the first 4 Breda Ba. 90 Lupines, they were rushed into service just for this operation and have a special target. Flying through the clouds of Flak the flight leader scoured the cityscape looking for his target, he quickly spotted it, one of the largest structures in the city. Signalling to his wingmen the aircraft pulls up and prepares to dive...

Inside the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral the seat of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church thousands of worshipers huddled as priests attempted to keep them calm...

In a steep dive the wing commander releases his payload and pulls up, this is followed by three more aircraft...

People scream and cry out as the walls of the Cathedral shake and the bombs can be heard exploding off the central dome, cracking it, then nothing. The building goes quiet as they listen to the continuing sound of aircraft and guns outside...moments pass...the stress brought upon by the explosions of the cracking of the dome becomes too much for the structure to stand, a loud cracking noise reverberates through the Cathedral as the people look up in horror. The central dome shifts and cracks before shattering, sending tons of marble crashing down on screaming men, women and children.

Outside the building an American journalist team assigned to Sofia to report on the Balkans War films the attack against the Cathedral from start to finish.

The rest of the day featured round the clock air raids against Bulgaria with a heavy emphasis on bombing the capital. Despite the considerable resources used to orchestrate the event Mussolini is pleased with the results, a reminder to the Bulgarians that they are losing the war. He only wished that he could bring the same terror to the Turks whose homeland still remains untouched by the war.

December 26th 1941

"The Christmas Raids" are on the cover of every major newspaper in the world drawing massive attention to a war that normally is half a dozen pages into the paper. Though pictures (except for the ones in the Italian papers,) are largely unavailable the words speak just as loudly. While the Italian papers praise the attack as a profound victory against the Bulgarian Barbarians, the western world reacts with disdain and disgust to the calculated attacks against Churches on one of the holiest days of year.

December 27th 1941

A series of trenches stretch across Norway as the British and Germans dig in. Minor offensives launched in the past few days by both sides have proven completely ineffectual from a combination of cold and the number of troops concentrated in a small area. Both sides know that no new offensives will be launched until Spring. Over the next two months Britain is transporting an additional 100 thousand men to Norway to reach a force parity with the Germans.

Fascist Propaganda strikes back against the westís image of the suffering Bulgarian by citing that Italian airmen forced to bail out on Christmas were set upon by mobs and beaten to death.

The Lupine airmen meet with Il Duce and the King and are entered in the Military Order of Savoy as Knights for their valor and service to the Italian Crown in the fight against the Barbarians.

The two synthetic oil plants under construction in Italy come online and begin their initial production runs. Half the oil produced at these plants will be sold to Germany.

December 28th 1941

The first pictures and videos of the Christmas Raids reach the free world and the video of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral becomes the iconic symbol of the Balkans war. More importantly to British intelligence is what appears to be a Stuka Dive Bomber participating in the raid. Churchill summons the Italian Ambassador and demands to know why a German plane was present in the attacks when Italy is supposed to have cut all relations with Germany. The Ambassador answers quite honestly that he does not know and they must of been purchased pre war because Italy has no current ties with Germany.

With no evidence supporting the claims of Italian-German cooperation and a good excuse to the presence of the planes Churchill has no grounding in considering the treaty void (which he very much wants to do,) but does order for Intelligence to more closely monitor the Balkans and Italy.

December 31st 1941

A Nazi official meets with his Fascist counterpart along the Italian-German border for one of the now near daily shipments of supplies. The Nazi brings with him a request for additional shipments in the next weeks and months in light of the new situation on the Eastern front. The Fascist brings a statement of his own that trade in the next few months will be cut to the bare minimal of treaty obligations in preparation for Italian actions in the upcoming months.

Upon being informed Hitler is not pleased with the current situation believing he is being taken advantage of in his time of need.

January 1st 1942

The new year is brought in not with celebration but with war. Sadness hangs over most of the world as many realize that there is no end to the war in sight and many more will suffer.

End of Part 5.

Please visit my forum for discussion and access to new parts as they become available.

http://z11.invisionfree.com/LongVinsWritingDen/index.php?

 

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