Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II
May 6th 1942
Tanks and Infantry advance into Sofia and though many of the inhabitants are on the brink of starvation the defense mounted is strong. The first assaults against the city are knocked back, leading to the order that every building that is believed to hide a resister leveled.
May 7th 1942
Two squadrons of Lupine and Lynx dive bombers are put on station over Sofia to turn the city to rubble. Italians make inroads into the city as the Bulgarians defenders fall back, critically low on ammunition and nearly every other resource.
Germany begins reinforcing its Army Groups in Russia for a large scale summer offensive planned.
Throughout the night Turkey pulls its soldiers off the Macedon front.
May 8th 1942
Along the Macedonian front the Italians awaken to see the lines of the enemy abandoned. In the South 2nd corp advances cautiously on guard for ambushes. In Northern Macedonia the men there with assistance from 1st corp(still stationed in Kosovo) cross the Macedonian-Bulgarian border to join the main assault.
May 10th 1942
Most of Sofia falls into Italian hands as the Bulgarians run out of ammo and are forced to surrender. Small pockets of resistance hold out throughout the city but their effect is small and they are being neutralized by patrols. The surviving rail junctions are quickly put into service to bring supplies to the front.
Despite the quick fall of Sofia the Italian division responsible for the assault suffered high casualties.
May 11th 1942
All of Macedonia is now in Italian hands and the men ready for a push into Greece with a simultaneous push further East to pocket the Turkish defenders.
The Turks see this attempt and have their men disengage from combat and race towards Turkey.
May 12th 1942
The offensives in northern and central Bulgaria pick up speed as the Bulgarian defenders begin cracking from constant assaults and lack of reinforcements and logistical support.
Six divisions in the south hook south and head for the Greek border.
May 14th 1942
The Italians smash into the Turkish lines across multiple fronts from Bulgaria and Macedonia. The Turk defenders are pushed back slowly but allow for their comrades to continue escaping through the coastal slot.
May 20th 1942
Near Xanthi the Italians reach the sea and pocket over 200 thousand Turkish soldiers in Greece. Over 150 thousand in the past week managed to escape eastwards into Turkey. Offensives into Greece have been halted and both Greek and Italian troops are now just waiting out the pocketed defenders.
Ciano meets with Ribbentrop in Innsbruck to discuss how best to improve Italo-German relations. Ribbentrop informs him that a commitment of an Italian division of "volunteers" on the Eastern Front would be ideal. Ciano agrees that this is a possibility as soon as Bulgaria is dealt with.
May 27th 1942
75% of Bulgaria is now under Italian control with most of the Bulgarian army decimated or completely isolated. Filov with his government now based in Burgas requests that Turkey allow him to flee into their lands and establish a government in exile. Saydam refuses, he is disgusted with Filov and sees him and his false promises as the reason Turkey is now caught up in a losing war. Whatever fate Filov receives will be too good for him.
May 28th 1942
The Turkish Army trapped within the Greek pocket attempts a breakout against the Italians. Like waves against rocks, each successive assault is broken.
June 1st 1942
The Naval Commission for the construction of an aircraft carrier announce that the navy will convert 3 ships into carriers over the next year with the first being the Aquila. Naval versions of the Re. 2001 Ariete and Breda Ba. 90 Lupine are to be produced and pilots to be trained for carrier take offs and landings.
June 8th 1942
Lead elements of Italian armor reach the Black Sea. Mass surrender becomes common place as the Bulgarians lose the will to fight nor have the equipment to even fight, most of whom are teenage boys and old men.
The Italian fleet departs port to rendevous off Rhodes.
June 12th 1942
The Italian fleet off the coast of Rhodes heads north into the Aegean with orders to cut off European Turkey from Asia.
June 14th 1942
Burgas is surrounded by Italian forces. Small pockets of resistance exist throughout Bulgaria but are constantly being squeezed by Italian forces.
The entrapped Turkish defenders in Greece launch one last desperate breakout attempt before surrendering as a whole. Most Turkish soldiers go out of their way to surrender to Italian units fearing Greek reprisal.
June 15th 1942
An around the clock bombing campaign begins against Burgas. Mussolini wants the city in Italian hands by the end of the week and orders all available resources to be committed to capturing the city.
In the same meeting with the Comando Supremo, Mussolini is informed that Italian industry can only support the war for another two months, three at the most. If the war goes on any longer they can not guarantee the integrity of the military.
June 16th 1942
The Italian fleet engages the tiny Turkish navy off the coast of Istanbul. The Turkish fleet is put into a rout within a few hours and withdraws through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. The Italians are able to blockade Turkey’s European coast and while not gaining control of the Bosphorus are able to restrict movement through it.
June 17th 1942
A joint Greco-Italo force moves across Greece to the Turkish border to take part in an invasion of Turkey which is currently being drafted. The Greeks are given the honor of being the first men to cross across the border to gain vengeance. Though more practically for the Italians they are being used as shields.
June 20th 1942
The assault on Burgas begins. Two divisions are given the task of clearing out the city of resisters and rounding up all government officials. The most fanatical defenders are holed up in the city.
June 24th 1942
The defense in Burgas begins to buckle as an armored division joins the attack against the city.
The rest of Bulgaria is now under Italian occupation.
June 28th 1942
The Germans restart offensives in Russia. Army Group Central makes another thrust for Moscow and Army Group South drives towards Stalingrad. The Soviet Army is pushed back and the German offensive gets off to a good start.
July 1st 1942
The German offensive seems unstoppable and the belief is that German troops will once again be in Moscow in only a few weeks.
July 3rd 1942
Victory of Italian Arms! Burgas falls! In one of the few instances of brutality present in the war, 5,000 government officials, soldiers and officers are massacred. Filov is captured as he tries to flee the city. He is summarily executed.
Tsar Boris III surrenders to officers of the MVSN(Blackshirts.) Boris claims to of had no part in the decision to go to war with Italy and was pushed aside by Filov. Because of his relation to the Italian crown(he is married to an Italian princess,) he is allowed to go free upon signing surrender documents and abdication of his throne. As a sign of goodwill(both towards him and Victor Emanuel III) he will be able to keep all royal land and wealth.
July 4th 1942
Plastered across every Italian newspaper is a picture of the corpse of Filov propped up against a wall surrounded by Blackshirts smoking cigarettes.
Despite the victory it is no time to rest. Leaving behind an occupation force the army is ordered south to the Turkish border.
Stalin demands that the allies open up a new front against the Nazis. He claims that they are letting the Soviet Union fight the Germans alone, while they sit back and wait. The United States and Britain assure Stalin they have something in the works which will be ready to go in a few months.
July 8th 1942
German troops force themselves into the streets of Moscow and engage Russian troops in vicious house to house fighting. About 50% of the city is surrounded and Hitler is jubilant believing the war will be over in a matter of days.
July 10th 1942
50 thousand Greek soldiers toss themselves against the Turks. Wave after wave charge at the Turks with fanatical courage at their most hated enemy. Behind them wait the Italians ready to launch their own assault once the Turks have been significantly weakened.
The Turkish ambassador to Italy submits a request for a white peace(return to the status quo.) Though told by his advisors to agree, Mussolini refuses, he will accept no peace until he reunites the Western and Eastern Empires.
July 11th 1942
From Bulgaria two armies strike across the Turkish border. The new blitzkrieg succeeds partially with breakthroughs in some but not all attacks. From Greece, the Italians join in the offensive with the Greeks, battering the exhausted Turks.
Divisions of marines and paratroopers are redeployed to Greece.
July 12th 1942
In a propaganda windfall, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Kremlin comes crashing down after becoming the target of German artillery. Rather than be the crushing morale blow to the Soviets as expected it sparks a chord of anger within the defenders who fight even harder to avenge the offense.
In a radio address, Stalin defiantly states that, "We will rebuild it!" Despite the massive rationing of construction material, repair operations on the tower begin only hours after it was felled.
July 14th 1942
From an airfield in the Aegean islands the first operational squadron of P. 108 heavy bombers takes off with orders to bomb Istanbul. Flying a route over the Aegean to avoid Turkish patrols. At midday they pass over Istanbul and drop their payloads over the center of the city causing minimal damage. Dodging flak they loop back around crossing over the Aegean (using a new flight path,) back to their base.
Note: The Piaggio P.108 is relatively equivalent to the B-17.
End of Part 7.
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