Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II
January 4th 1942
The Russian Baltic Fleet departs from Leningrad steaming south trying to catch the Kriegsmarine in port.
The German lines in Russia are knocked back 20-30 miles before the front can be salvaged and a defense organized.
*Note: The Germans in this timeline have made more progress and have more troops in Russia then they did historically, even though they suffer greatly from the winter offensive it is not as damaging as it was in OTL*
January 5th 1942
A German search plane over the Baltic spots a column of capital ships steaming southwards. The pilot informs his command and the German Fleet is alerted and ordered to leave port immediately. Many of the ships are patched up but still damaged. Admiral Raeder plans to meet the Soviets on his own terms and requests Goring devote a large contingent of aircraft to the operation.
Italy begins funneling money and supplies to Fascist groups and Fascist sympathizers in the Greek government.
January 6th 1942
Hitler forces Goring’s hand and demands that the Luftwaffe assist in the attacks against the Soviet Navy.
January 7th 1942
The Kriegsmarine pounces on the unsuspecting Soviet fleet as the Luftwaffe provides close air support. Though the Luftwaffe often has little success in attacks against ships, the Luftwaffe manages to play a decisive role in the battle, not because of skill but because of the number of aircraft committed to the operation.
By day’s end the battered Russian fleet withdraws from the battle and heads back to Leningrad, probably never to be used again.
The Germans did not come out of the battle unscathed though, they lost a handful of capital ships that were already damaged in the battle against the British and sustained damage to their previously operational ships.
January 14th 1942
Seeing the success of carrier based aircraft in other theaters has prompted Mussolini to form a commission to design an aircraft carrier.
February is a relatively quiet period for most of Europe. The Norwegian front sees no combat operations. The Eastern Front sees constant pushing back and forth along the front but no major engagements.
Italian positions along the Nis begin receiving a vast amount of supplies as spring is quick approaching. Marines and Paratroopers are called back to Italy to train new units and conduct additional training themselves.
In Greece, partisans commence a series of hit and run attacks against Turkish supply trains. Turkey brings in more troops to police the occupied zone and allow the original assaulting forces to begin a new offensive.
March 10th 1942
Turkey launches two offensives out of occupied Greece, the first and largest offensive is eastwards into the cut off territories still under Greek control. The second attack is southwards towards the heart of Greece.
March 14th 1942
The eastern offensive from Turkey meets with great success against Greek troops that have been largely cut off from supply and under siege for the past months. All of eastern Greece should be in Turkish hands within ten days.
The southern offensive is gaining ground but very slow and very bloodily. The Greeks fight tooth and nail for every foot.
Despite being supplied by the British the Greeks do not have enough men to fight a long term war with Turkey. Generals and high ranking officials begin pressuring Koryzis to enter into negotiations with Italy for intervention. Koryzis rebukes the idea saying that if Italy had not already offered support against its enemy then it is only looking to exploit Greece at a later date.
Many officials are satisfied and agree with Koryzis stance but a small group are displeased. This group(some of whom who have already been contacted by Italian agents,) have agreed to take matters into their own hands should no victory be gained by summer or if Greece’s position becomes truly desperate.
April 3rd 1942
Hundreds of aircraft and guns pound Bulgarian defenders along the Nis. Tens of thousands stream across the river across bridges, engineers construct pontoon bridges for others, other men are ferried across by speedboat and barge to assault the Bulgarians in unexpected sectors. Across the most heavily defended bridges P.40 tanks lead the way destroying bunkers and pillboxes. The Bulgarians are in disarray many of their units are under supplied and cut off from communication after the bombing raids.
At first the Bulgarian Generals attempted to reroute troops to the points of attack but this only resulted in either the now undefended area being a new attack area for the Italians or having the now exposed troops would come under bombing and strafing runs.
April 4th 1942
Following Italy’s first successful Bliztkrieg thousands of Bulgarians lie dead or wounded and thousands more are captured. The Bulgarians who could escape are in a blind retreat having abandoned any semblance of order, commanders are unable to rally troops and the army is experiencing a complete breakdown of command, control and communication.
The Italian army breaks into smaller attack forces spreading out in all directions gobbling up the now unoccupied territories of Yugoslavia. The only organized resisters to oppose them are the men of the Free Yugoslav Companies. They fight fiercely not wanting to give up their country again, they even cause the Italian advance to be halted in some sectors!
The Bulgarian Ambassador begs Italy to accept a new peace deal granting all of Yugoslavia to Italy and offers war reparations. His pleas for an audience with either Mussolini or the Grand Council go ignored.
In Bulgaria a massive forced draft is initiated, every Bulgarian male between 16 and 60 is ordered to report to a muster station with rifle if possible, if not they will be given whatever is on hand. With Italians less than five miles from the border everyone will be needed to defend the motherland.
April 5th 1942
Lead elements of the Italian army enter into Bulgaria along the southern axis of advance, they encounter a mob of soldiers and peasants with rifles, they fight for their homes with the ferocity of a cornered animal but they are no match for a professional army.
In Macedonia the Bulgarians abandon their positions in a dash east to defend their homes and families. The Turkish men serving alongside them see this as a betrayal and firefights break out between withdrawing Bulgarians and Turks.
April 7th 1942
All of Yugoslavia is nominally in Italian hands. Partisan attacks from Free Yugoslav forces and trapped Bulgarians force the Italians to leave 25 thousand soldiers behind in the newly captured lands to deal with these men. The remaining 225 thousand men are directed eastwards into Bulgaria.
Most of the Bulgarian army manages to regroup and assist in defense of their territories. Thousands are rushed into Sofia which is in imminent danger. Filov boldly states that Sofia will repel the Italian invaders or fight to the last man as he secretly makes plans to flee the city.
All of Eastern Greece has fallen to Turkey. The Turkish government is extremely worried about Italian gains to the north and orders the men in the east to assemble across the Bulgarian border. The divisions in the southern offensive are ordered to swing around and head west with all haste for Albania.
April 12th 1942
The offensive slows as the defenders become more organized and thick. The Italians still possess the advantage of better training, better equipment and the existence of air support but they are now always outnumbered.
April 14th 1942
The British launch an offensive against the German trenches in Norway. The Brits are cut down and suffer tremendous casualties. Sensing weakness in their enemies the Germans launch their own counterattack later in the day but are repulsed after enduring horrendous losses themselves. Both sides come to the same terrifying realization, it is 1914 again.
April 16th 1942
Both sides in Norway launch numerous attacks trying to break the stalemate on this front. They all fail to varying degrees. The area is not conductive to a mobile war and both sides settle down for a war of attrition.
A train races out of Sofia, the government and the military brass of Bulgaria are aboard. They were forced to flee the city as Italians reached the outskirts of the city.
April 17th 1942
Sofia is surrounded by the Italian army, rather than assault the city which has several thousand defenders trapped inside it is being bypassed by the main army which continues driving eastwards. One division is left behind to keep siege against the city.
April 24th 1942
Half of Bulgaria is now in Italian hands as the offensive is forced to slow down. The army has outran its supply lines and the rear areas are constantly under attack from Bulgarian partisans who were left behind in the Blitz. Mussolini orders an assault on Sofia to "liberate" the railways present in the city. General Messe agrees to launch the assault within a weeks time to make sure that the city is truly suffering from lack of food and other needed supplies.
May 1st 1942
The provinces of Kozani, Grevena and half of Florina fall to Turkish assault. In some areas they are only a day or two march from Albania.
May 3rd 1942
Five divisions cross over into Greece from Albania. Along the nearly undefended border some Greeks welcome the Italians as allies, others fight back at what they see to be a new set of invaders.
To the group of conspirators in Athens it is clear that the time for action has come. They make contact with Italian agents who inform them they have Rome’s full support.
May 4th 1942
2:00 AM Local Time
A collaboration of Greek fascists and nationalists seize control of the government in Athens raiding offices, homes and communications sites. King George and Prime Minister Koryzis are placed under house arrest.
4:00 AM Local Time
Koryzis is brought a document and a pistol by leading conspirators. He is told to either sign or kill himself. The document states that he will retain the power of Prime Minister but will be forced to establish a council of nationalists who will have veto power over his actions, Greece will also be forced to enter into a full alliance(including military access,) with the Kingdom of Italy. Koryzis takes the time allotted to him to write some letters to loved ones, he hopes these letters will somehow find their way to them and not just be destroyed. Choosing death before dishonor he swallows the pistol and a single gunshot rings out.
4:30 AM Local Time
The silence is ended. Communication from Athens begins again, orders are sent to all border troops not to fire on their Italian allies who are coming to assist them in their hour of need.
6:00 AM Local Time
Greek radio broadcasts the death of the Prime Minister at the hands of a Turkish assassin. The government and the army have announced the formation of the Hellenic Council to rule the kingdom in this time of great struggle. The alliance with Italy is also broadcasted and all Greek citizens are told to support the Italians where ever and whenever possible.
8:00 AM Local Time
Mussolini announces that he welcomes the Greeks as "equal partners," with Italy and hopes to have many years of friendship and cooperation with Greece.
9:00 AM Local Time
The British government breaks all ties with the new Greek government calling them the "puppets of Italians." British and commonwealth ships in Greek ports depart with their goods still on board depriving the Greeks of much needed military supplies.
May 5th 1942
Turkish troops encounter a combined Italo-Greco force 10 miles from the Albanian border.
Saydam and his cabinet are becoming very nervous about the war. The Bulgarians are breaking apart and the war in Greece has just taken a turn for the worse. They agree to abandon the front in Macedonia as it is dangerously close to being encircled and possibly even abandon Greece and concentrate solely on defending Turkish land.
End of Part 6.
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