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Italy 1936 - An alternate Italian history of World War II

 

Part 9

 

By

 

Vincent Longobardi

 

 

September 10th 1942

A rebuilding and industrialization campaign is authorized in the newly acquired territories. The first priorities are the construction of roads, railways and the electric grid. Construction will be handled by a mix of Italian workers, local workers and POWS.

September 15th 1942

The Soldiers Appreciation Act is signed into law. The act gives all Italian soldiers who are discharged from the military the right to government assistance in going to institutes of higher learning, opening businesses, and purchasing homes and automobiles.

September 17th 1942

Recruiting for an all volunteer force to be sent to the Russian front begins in Italy. The men who enlist will have to resign from there positions in the army and the Fascist party but are guaranteed a right to return to their former positions upon their return.

Fearing the Soviets will view Italian troops as an act of war, Mussolini orders the construction of coastal defenses from Bulgaria down to Istanbul. The fortifications through the Bosphorus will be the strongest featuring over a dozen gun emplacement containing batteries of 16 inch guns or more.

September 20th 1942

Refik Saydam steps down as Prime Minister of Turkey and is replaced by Sukru Saracoglu.

September 25th 1942

American divisions are being transported to England and Norway in preparation of a operation to be conducted in November. The American orchestrated "Plan Red" will be a two phased operation. The first part of the operation involves adding American divisions to the British divisions already in Norway and assisting them in the offensive. At the same time the second phase of operation will begin, with a amphibious invasion further south designed to cut off the main German Army.

The British offer opposition to the second phase of Plan Red stating that, since 1941 the situation has changed and Norway is no longer suitable for forced landings. The American Command disagrees and believes the Germans wonít be expecting another landing, especially as winter is fast approaching.

September 30th 1942

On the Eastern Front, both sides are taking a pounding and neither can secure any real advantage. Both Moscow and Stalingrad are hotly contested with casualties mounting, both sides already suffering in the hundreds of thousands. Hitler is constantly prodding his generals to just take the Kremlin. No attempt has come close to the seat of Soviet power and the commanders are growing tired of wasting valuable men and equipment in trying to take the complex.

October 5th 1942

Over 30,000 Italians have signed up for service with Germany to fight on the Eastern Front. These men will be transported to Germany for training with German equipment before being sent to the front. Since these men have renounced their ties to the Italian military and the Fascist party and are using German equipment Mussolini will have plausible deniability if their actions become public knowledge.

October 15th 1942

The first American divisions begin arriving in England and Norway. The amphibious force(1 division of about 20,000) is based in England and 50 thousand men are being deployed to Norway.

October 27th 1942

In a recreation of a Roman Triumph Parade, Mussolini leads a parade into Rome while riding a Chariot. In the procession are over 50,000 soldiers and Blackshirts, 200 tanks and hundreds of other military vehicles. They proceed to the Palazzo del Quirinale(the Royal Palace,) where in a grand ceremony he presents King Victor Emmanuel III his Imperial Crown of the Eastern and Western Empires. He is crowned as both, Emperor of Constantinople and Rome.

Mussolini declares, that as of today Italy has regained its rightful honor and has recreated the glory of ancient Rome, no longer will it be the Kingdom of Italy, but the New Roman Empire.

October 28th 1942

Only Germany and Spain recognize the new title for Victor Emmanuel and official name for the Italian Empire. The rest of the western world refuses to acknowledge the claim as legitimate. Churchill sends a personal telegraph to the British Embassy in Rome informing the staff, that if anyone refers to Victor Emmanuel as Emperor of Rome(or Constantinople) in any type of correspondence or even in an audience they will be immediately recalled.

November 5th 1942

Transport ships depart from England for the Norwegian coast.

November 8th 1942

Plan Red is green lighted. American forces attempt to make a landing around Molde. They are decimated as they hit the beach. Of the 20,000 over 15,000 are captured, killed or injured. The German coastal defense was just too strong for the landing to have any chance of success.

North of them, the ground assault engages in a pitched battle with the Germans. The addition of the newly arrived Americans manage to tip the scale in the favor of the allies. Though this advantage is purely in numbers and on average the Americans are performing worse then their British counterparts.

November 10th 1942

The Norwegian Front has stabilized once again after only minor gains have been made by the Allies.

The American Army begins reconsidering their operations in Europe after the fiasco in Norway.

November 14th 1942

Three divisions of Italian troops mobilize across the French-Italian border. Askari troops in Africa mobilize against both Tunisia and French Djibouti.

November 16th 1942

Mussolini demands that the Vichy government sells Corsica, Savoy, Nice, Tunisia and Djibouti to Italy. Petain refuses to hear the request.

November 17th 1942

Instead of forcing the issue through military might, Mussolini petitions the issue to Hitler. Mussolini offers Hitler the equivalent in gold of 20% of the purchasing price. Of course that money will eventually just make its way back to Italy.

Hitler wanting to stem the loss of money being incurred and also trying to convince Italy to join the war agrees with the proposal.

November 18th 1942

Petainís hands are tied in the matter and he is forced to agree to Italian demands. Italian soldiers cross the border and proceed to take control of the territories. Transports are en route to Corsica to secure the island.

November 19th 1942

The United States and Britain condemn Italyís occupation of French land and demand their return. The depleted Mediterranean Fleet is dispatched to blockade Sicily.

November 20th 1942

The Italian surface fleet is sent to counter the British fleet. Submarine groups are ordered to patrol the Egyptian coast and cut off the Suez should war be declared.

November 22nd 1942

The Italian and British fleets are within sight of each other and circling about trying not to present a sitting target. Tensions are high on both sides and one mistake could spark a war.

Britain is shocked by the Italian reaction, believing that Italy would back down after a show of force, but apparently Italyís recent victories have made her daring.

November 23rd 1942

Mussolini requests that Count Ciano be given an audience with Churchill. He agrees to the request.

Charles De Gaulle, leader of the Free French is snubbed by both the British and Italians and not invited to the meeting.

November 24th 1942

Churchill meets with his cabinet to decide upon a course of action for the Italian crisis. They are weary of the prospect of war with Italy. Britainís military assets in the Mediterranean and the Mideast are stretched thin. The Italian soldier is experienced, battle hardened and accustomed to victory making them a dangerous foe for the British to fight, though they are confident that man for man the British soldier is still better trained and equipped. Finally, they realize that if Britain gets involved in another war and does not obtain victory the British people who are already disgusted with the war will be demanding a negotiated peace.

Churchill is also informed that no matter what course of action is chosen there is a distinct possibility the opposition will call for a vote of no confidence.

After the sobering effect of the failure of Plan Red, the United States is also in favor of a negotiated solution for this situation but leaves the final decision up to Britain.

November 25th 1942

Ciano flies to first Spain and then on to England. He is ordered to either find a peaceful solution in which Italy keeps the territories or buy time for the military to ready itself.

At an estate outside of London, Churchill meets with Ciano in the late afternoon. Ciano informs Churchill that the land was taken to safeguard Italians and Italian property present within the territories. Not really believing Ciano, Churchill goes along with him for now to find a peaceful resolution.

November 27th 1942

After two days of negotiations a compromise is reached. It is agreed that, the disputed land will remain in Italian hands until the rightful(according to the British) French government is restored and then the lands will be returned. If, however, the rightful French government is never restored, Italy will be able to continue administering the lands.

Believing the issue settled for now, Ciano returns to Italy.

Publically, Mussolini agrees with the resolution, privately, he has no intention of ever returning the land and will use every resource available to keep it.

November 28th 1942

The U.S. Military has ordered additional divisions deployed to Norway for renewed offensives against the Germans.

December 1st 1942

Military production is rolled back in Italy as the there is no longer any threat of war. Production for consumers and the rebuilding campaign in the East begins to rise. Tank production stays relatively high as the army continues to replace its loses from the war and replace all outdated tanks with the P.40 but production of trucks and cars are rising.

Aircraft production for the military remains high as Italy attempts to completely modernize the Air Force. More funding is given to development of jet aircraft and negotiations are underway with Germany for a technology exchange.

December 4th 1942

The Soviets prepare for Operation Saturn a new offensive designed to knock the Germans out of Moscow.

End of Part 9.

 

 

 

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