Re: Italian campaign premature?
- From: "Michele Armellini" <miarmel@don'tspamtin.it>
- Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 11:14:41 -0400
"Alan B" <three-eyes@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> ha scritto nel messaggio
On Tue, 11 Jul 2006 13:11:59 -0400, in message
<44b3dafd$0$10064$4fafbaef@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "Michele Armellini"
My source for this information is "The Battle for Rome" by Robert Katz.
The book is well researched, well written, and a very interesting read.
I haven't read it, but Mr. Katz seems to believe that partisans already
existed in September 1943. If so, he's wrong.
It's been a couple years since I've read the book, so I may have mentioned
some things out of order, in remembrance.
Mr. Katz mentions six anti-fascist groups in Rome at the time of the
Italian capitulation and Allied landings. He gives them the label of
Gappisti, from the acronym GAP (Gruppi di Azione Patriottica). They are
loosely referred to as partisans in the book, and he mentions that they
began organizing an armed resistance by October, 1943.
Well, yes. And indeed they were Communist or had links with the Communist
party. But we are talking about small cells of undercover city operatives,
lightly armed with pistols and explosives, who carried out minuscule
demonstrative operations. They were valid as a statement of will and because
of the additional burden they placed on German garrison forces. But to
expect them to secure and hold airports for the Allies in an open pitched
battle with the Germans... that's too much.
RomeThe forces that should have fought alongside the US paratroops around
andwere regular Italian army forces.
The reason why Operation Giant 2 was called off was that the Italian
generals in Rome weren't really sure that their troops would have obeyed
them when given the order to fight against their former comrades and
alongside their former enemies. Communism wasn't a concern. Fascism was;
In particular, the Italian generals that talked with Gen. Taylor in Rome
would not dare to guarantee that the Italian troops could hold five
neededaround the city. That was the nail in the operation's coffin. Taylor
ofairports to land troops, and other airports had to be secured so that no
German fighters could interfere with the operation.
Mr. Katz's opinion is that the operation was called off more as a result
foreign minister Badoglio's fears that the German buildup to reinforce the
city was too strong, and that more than just the 82d was needed. He
attributes this to a lack of will on the part of the foreign minister.
Perhaps Badoglio was unnerved by the reports from his generals, or perhaps
Katz understates Taylor's conferences with the generals.
Badoglio was the Prime Minister. Yes, the Germans had reinforced and were
reinforcing their troops in the area, and as I said, the generals' concerns
were the doubts about their own troops' ultimate loyalty and the Germans.
At the same time, three of the groups later become part of GAP: the
Communists, the Partito d'Azione, and the Partito Socialista Italiano di
Unita Proletaria, formed a military council, calling themselves the
Committee of Opposition. Promised arms by General Carboni of the Italian
Army, they agreed to fight together against the Germans to fight for
control of Rome.
As you mention, the remnants of the Italian Army and their militant
anti-fascist civilian supporters (if it is wrong to call them partisans at
Of course it's a matter of interpretation. But my own opinion is that yes,
one wouldn't call them partisans at this time. Partisans had loosely
organized units and a command structure, however loose. These were
insurgents in the worst case, a levee en masse in the best.
Remember this support was small as to size, and there was definitely no way
at all either the Italian or the US generals could count on it beforehand.
So it could not feature in any reasonable planning.
fought very well and bravely,
Bravely and creditably, yes. "Very well" is a bit optimistic, IMHO.
and Mr. Katz believes that the
support of the 82d may very well have been what they needed to assure
Well, I think it's the other way around. The key wasn't having lightly armed
paratroops scattered around the isolated fights for the accesses to the
city. The key was committing the available Italian forces to take control of
the airports, forcing the Germans away from them. Then the 82nd would have
been committed, too. The Germans would have seen that both the Italians and
the Allies were serious about taking the city, so their probes, and later
all-out attacks on the accesses to the city would not have been carried out,
even. With airports in friendly hands and air superiority over the area, the
Allies could have air-landed additional infantry, and all the various
Italian assets dispersed around the city, seeing that a stand was being
made, would have had a chance of joining in instead of melting away.
He goes further and asserts that Kesselring (the Wehrmacht
commander in the theatre), along with Hitler and Goebbels, was prepared toreinforce
abandon the city, but grew emboldened when he saw, apparently to his
amazement, that so little effort was being given by the Allies to
the resistance and take the city.
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