Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Italy by Mad Missouri
Sept. 2nd, 1946
Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting.
Field Marshal Montgomery, 1st Viscount of Alamein
Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Kirtleside
General of the Army Omar Bradley
Admiral DeWitt Clinton Ramsey
Marshal of France Leclerc de Hauteclocque
Lieutenant-General van Oyen
Rear Admiral Carrero-Blanco
Ambassador Bettino Craxi
Corps General Primieri
Polish Government in Exile Army:
German Volunteer Corps:
General Hasso von Manteuffel
Field Marshal Montgomery: Settle down gentlemen…settle down. We know that Plan Cockspur has been presented and agreed upon by all the parties that matter. I just want to make sure we are all on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings amongst the parties involved. Mr. Ambassador we are well aware of your government’s objections to this plan. But the NATO command at the highest level has agreed that this is the only possible plan that will eventually save the Italian civilization and will lessen the suffering of the greater part of the Italian populace. General please continue…
General Roberts: Thank you, Sir. As I was saying as of September 1st the United States has one division and some service troops for a total of 34,000 men in the peninsula. The British have a division, two brigade groups and some artillery formations, a total of 70,000 troops supported by 112 RAF fighters. The Italian Army now fields 90,000 men with modern equipment plus 210,000 second line troops and 50,000 lightly armed police. Those forces are supported by 600 modern aircraft; also as of last week around 20% of those were grounded for maintenance. The main striking force of the Italian Army is 2 brigades of tanks and 1 motorized brigade. The largest ships of Italian Navy were released from British control in Ismailia in mid-May and have been refitting in their home ports for the last 3 months. NATO naval inspection teams report that 75 % of its capital ships and 60 % of the smaller ships are now ready for action. Major General Riley from NATO J2 will continue with the most recent threat assessment.
Major General Riley: Thank you Sir. We will split our brief into two part the first covering the Yugoslavian forces and the second the Russian forces. Our newest estimates put the Yugoslavian military at anywhere between 350,000 to 800,000 troops at full mobilization. We believe that the numbers will be closer to the lower end of that estimate due to the Yugoslavs continuing needs for manpower for national rebuilding projects. But we must be aware that the Yugoslav Communists were able to field the higher number for at least 4 months at the end of World War 2. The current Yugoslav Army is mainly a foot/horse traction infantry army. They organized 3 brigades of horse cavalry in late 1945 which are assigned to act as their forces main reconnaissance and pursuit element. Their artillery arm is generally of good quality but rather light in weight of ordnance. It mainly relies on pre-war Royal Yugo Army guns, captured German guns, and a mix of light to medium caliber Russian/British weapons. Their tank force has around 400 tanks, of which around 300 are modern T34/85 tanks they received earlier this year. The Yugoslav Air force is organized on the Russian model. It fields 700 modern aircraft organized into 4 fighter regiment, 4 attack plane regiments, 2 light bomber regiments, and a single transport regiment. These are modern Russian designs, like the Yak-3, Il-2, and Pe-2. Also they have anywhere from 30 to 40 captured German or Italian aircraft that may or may not be flyable. The Yugoslav Navy is very small, with only 9 small armed ships, around 30 patrol boats, and 6 coastal artillery batteries. These batteries are mainly made up of captured German 88mm guns.
We have now identified 3 Yugoslav Army’s that have deployed to the border region. These armies are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The 1st Army has 3 infantry divisions, an artillery brigade and a cavalry brigade; the 2nd Army has 3 divisions, a cavalry brigade, a artillery brigade and an assault brigade, while the 3rd has 4 infantry divisions, an artillery brigade, a cavalry brigade, and a tank brigade. Based on deployment and radio traffic we believe the 3rd Army will be the main invasion force.
We have been able to identify 4 Russian rifle divisions and 1 Tank Corps of the 31st Guards Army which have advanced into southern Germany over the last few weeks. These divisions are at close to full strength and have not seen combat sense the early battles in Germany. We believe they will attempt to enter Italy via the Brenner Pass next week. In southern France near Nice there is an additional group of 8 Russian rifle divisions and 2 tank corps that we believe are staging to invade. These divisions saw heavy combat in the drive to the Spanish border. We believe that they are at best at 2/3 strength in terms of manpower and equipment. There are also parts of 4 Russian Air Armies based near Nice but we do to know if they are all to support operations in Italy or not. These units have suffered heavy losses fighting NATO aircraft in France, but still field around 900 modern aircraft. That concludes our brief for today.
General Roberts: Thank you, General. Finally we have Brigadier Blackstone with the J3 brief. Brigadier, please.
Brigadier Blackstone: Given the troop commitments of Plan Cockspur and the defenses in Pyrenees there are no available troops to reinforce the defenses in Italy. The estimates are that the Russians will be able to break through the defenses in the Alps passes in by D+5. The Yugoslav should be able to advance they a line stretching from La Spezia to Florence to Ancona by D+30. With Russian reinforcements the attack would reach Rome by D+80 and the Straits of Messina by D+100. We do not believe that a viable defense of Italy can be accomplished with the limited forces available.
But we do believe that there are alternatives to total defeat. Number one is to defend the Italian-Yugoslav border, evacuate forces from Italian west-coast ports to Sicily. Given the conditions and forces available this option has been regarded as unfeasible. The second alternative is a fighting retreat that would also relinquish the peninsula but would delay the enemy advance by as much as 5 months. The third alternative is to extricate all men and equipment intact to Sicily as rapidly as possible. As the Ambassador knows, such a rapid abandonment of the mainland would have a very negative effect on the morale of the Italian people but would spare them from further fighting over their already ravaged land. After carefully considering all the alternatives the planners have concluded that the most effective Allied course of action would be an immediate withdrawal from the Italian peninsula.
Corps General Primieri: Field Marshal, I object to this ridicules plan. I would encourage you to at once relieve all the Officers that have wasted all of our time with this pointless crap. The Italian people have spent months mining and building defenses in the Alps passes on the French and Austrian borders. It is correct that we are tired of war but we are prepared to defend our homeland to the death. There is simply no way the Russians are going to get through the 600,000 mines we have laid in the Brenner Pass in 5 days. My God, Field Marshal they can only deploy in single brigade columns in that pass. That means we only have to defend against one brigade at a time. We believe we can hold there for at least 3 months. I believe we can also hold the French border. Should we fail in the passes we will fall back to first of 5 major defensive lines we have been building for 4 months; the first lines is near Parma and the last before Rome. Those lines can be held forever given our command of the sea. But those lines will not be needed Field Marshal if only NATO we help us. We need at least 10 Infantry Divisions and 2 armored divisions to help us defeat the Yugoslavs. We need air units to defend our airspace. Why Field Marshal can NATO provide fighters to defend Sicily but there are none to defend Rome? We need the same sort of Allied lend-lease support that is being given to your nation, the Norwegians and the Spanish.
Field Marshal Montgomery: Sir, I understand your passion but the decision has been made at the highest levels. No more NATO troops will be sent to Italy. The risk is just too great
Corps General Primieri: Field Marshal, please...
Field Marshal Montgomery: General that is enough. It has been decided. General Robert please continue.
Ambassador Bettino Craxi: I have had enough of these insults. Did you really think we did not notice the words you used, “agreed upon by all the parties that matter”? Do we not matter? We have not agreed to this surrender. We have prepared a counter plan, which will work. But you refuse to listen. We have the third largest navy in NATO! We have to third largest Army in NATO! You willing to risk NATO troops by the thousands defending Franco’s fascist! But not Italy, we are too much of a risk. Well Field Marshal we refuse to accept this insult. As you know it was the Kingdom of Italy that signed the NATO treaty, that nation no longer exists. We are the Republic of Italy, and we see no value in remaining in an organization with allies that refuse to help us. I can now tell you that we have had talks through the Italian Communist Party with Moscow for the last month or so. They told us that you would refuse to live up to your end of our agreement. The Russians have offered us peace without occupation. Sure we lose half the Julian March and 2/3 of our Navy, but that is much less than losing the whole nation. I have been instructed to inform you that as of midnight London time the Republic of Italy with draws from NATO. Good day.