Italian Navy in WWII

Gamers can also use this forum to chat about any game related subject, news, rumours etc.

Moderator: maddog986

User avatar
sprior
Posts: 8292
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:38 pm
Location: Portsmouth, UK

Italian Navy in WWII

Post by sprior »

Does anyone know of any good books (in English please) about the Italian Navy's lead up to and involvement in WWII? I was looking through the scenario booklet for Avalanche Games' Bomb Alley and was surprised (a function of my ignorance not any doubt about the Regia Marina's willing to fight) about how much they actually did.

Edited for ignorance.
"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.

Image
User avatar
HansBolter
Posts: 7191
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:30 pm
Location: United States

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by HansBolter »

I beleive the single biggest battle they took part in was the Battle of Cape Matapan in which they suffered a decisive defeat:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cape_Matapan

After that their desire for battle was much reduced and I cannot think of any battles of significance they participated in after that.

Some one else will have to fill you in on the details of any minor actions they might have been involved in after Matapan.
Hans

User avatar
sprior
Posts: 8292
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:38 pm
Location: Portsmouth, UK

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by sprior »

Yes, I know about Matapan and the Sirte Gulf actions and Taranto but what's missing is the sorties the Italian fleet made that came to nought, plus those fierce little convoy actions, both allied and axis, that are hard to track down.
"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.

Image
User avatar
Terminus
Posts: 39782
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Denmark

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Terminus »

Cape Spartivento (which came before Matapan) actually got the RN with battleship to battleship range of the RM, if I remember correctly. Only time that happened.
We are all dreams of the Giant Space Butterfly.
User avatar
Nikademus
Posts: 22517
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 8:00 am
Location: Alien spacecraft

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Nikademus »

ORIGINAL: sprior

Yes, I know about Matapan and the Sirte Gulf actions and Taranto but what's missing is the sorties the Italian fleet made that came to nought, plus those fierce little convoy actions, both allied and axis, that are hard to track down.

Try: The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-43 by Jack Greene & Alessandro Massignani. Covers those little convoy battles you mentioned. Also check out Christopher Shores' Malta: The Hurricane Years 1940-41 and Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942. While the latter two sources focus primarily on day to day air actions, they also contain a sizable # of entries on the small convoy actions and document all of the British resupply efforts to Malta.

For a broader paintbrush, if interested which touches on the impact of said battles in relation to North Africa, try; The Path to Victory by Douglas Porch.
User avatar
sprior
Posts: 8292
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:38 pm
Location: Portsmouth, UK

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by sprior »

Thanks Nik
"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.

Image
Big B
Posts: 4613
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Old Los Angeles pre-1960
Contact:

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Big B »

ORIGINAL: sprior

Does anyone know of any good books (in English please) about the Italian Navy's lead up to and involvement in WWII? I was looking through the scenario booklet for Avalanche Games' Bomb Alley and was surprised (a function of my ignorance not any doubt about the Regia Marina's willing to fight) about how much they actually did.

Edited for ignorance.
The best book on the subject (available in english) is The Italian Navy In WWII by Bragadin C_1957, Naval Institute Press.

It is a bit apologetic in tone (here and there), but its probably the only in-depth coverage from the Italian perspective - a very good read if you are interested in the subject.
You'll have to go to a used book store or a used book finder to get it.

Oh, and yes - the Italian Navy fought a good fight during WWII - they had nothing to be ashamed of.

B
User avatar
sprior
Posts: 8292
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:38 pm
Location: Portsmouth, UK

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by sprior »

Thanks, Big B, I found it on Amazon for $19.95. I also ordered The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-43 by Jack Greene & Alessandro Massignani as recommended by Nik too.
"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.

Image
Big B
Posts: 4613
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Old Los Angeles pre-1960
Contact:

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Big B »

ORIGINAL: sprior

Thanks, Big B, I found it on Amazon for $19.95. I also ordered The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-43 by Jack Greene & Alessandro Massignani as recommended by Nik too.
Funny, I was just going to post you an internet link to where you buy the book - when I saw you just ordered it!

When I got my copy years ago - I had to physically drive all over town to find it. Gotta' love e-shopping! [:)]

B

EDIT: By the way - I just got Bomb Alley as well for X-Mas, you should pick up Supermarina I as well http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/11428
- it's combat is better...but lacks Bomb Alley's maps, etc.[;)] The two can be used together with very little effort.

Image
Attachments
pic99100.jpg
pic99100.jpg (191.43 KiB) Viewed 16 times
User avatar
wesy
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2002 10:00 am
Location: Berkeley, CA

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by wesy »

I think I read that book in the 8th grade after playing AH "War at Sea". Damn - they loved fast destroyers and cruisers.
"I ran into Isosceles. He had a great idea for a new triangle!"...Woody Allen
User avatar
Gen.Hoepner
Posts: 3636
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2001 8:00 am
Location: italy

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Gen.Hoepner »

Our Navy had very much of be ashamed of and i'm pretty sorry to say that.
If you know the story of our Navy you understand how many chances we did have to fight, if not at the same table, but at least with som pride against the RN...while we through everything away with our typical italian idiocy[:(]..
 
However Capo Matapan was just the final note of a tragic history, ended with the shame of the 8th sept 43 when we simply give to the brits at Malta our entire navy...[:o]
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9226/ww2.html   This is a good site imho.
However, a very good book on the Italian Navy is "fucilate gli ammiragli" by G. Rocca, which is afaik not translated in english...however this book http://www.amazon.com/Italian-World-Contributions-Military-Studies/dp/031328797X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197016894&sr=8-3 took a lot from it and should be as good
Image
User avatar
sprior
Posts: 8292
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:38 pm
Location: Portsmouth, UK

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by sprior »

ORIGINAL: Gen.Hoepner

Our Navy had very much of be ashamed of and i'm pretty sorry to say that.
If you know the story of our Navy you understand how many chances we did have to fight, if not at the same table, but at least with som pride against the RN...while we through everything away with our typical italian idiocy[:(]..

However Capo Matapan was just the final note of a tragic history, ended with the shame of the 8th sept 43 when we simply give to the brits at Malta our entire navy...[:o]
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9226/ww2.html   This is a good site imho.
However, a very good book on the Italian Navy is "fucilate gli ammiragli" by G. Rocca, which is afaik not translated in english...however this book http://www.amazon.com/Italian-World-Contributions-Military-Studies/dp/031328797X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197016894&sr=8-3 took a lot from it and should be as good


I nearly bought that but the $120 price tag has kind of put a crimp in it.
"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.

Image
Big B
Posts: 4613
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Old Los Angeles pre-1960
Contact:

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Big B »

ORIGINAL: Gen.Hoepner

Our Navy had very much of be ashamed of and i'm pretty sorry to say that.
If you know the story of our Navy you understand how many chances we did have to fight, if not at the same table, but at least with som pride against the RN...while we through everything away with our typical italian idiocy[:(]..

However Capo Matapan was just the final note of a tragic history, ended with the shame of the 8th sept 43 when we simply give to the brits at Malta our entire navy...[:o]
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9226/ww2.html This is a good site imho.
However, a very good book on the Italian Navy is "fucilate gli ammiragli" by G. Rocca, which is afaik not translated in english...however this book http://www.amazon.com/Italian-World-Contributions-Military-Studies/dp/031328797X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197016894&sr=8-3 took a lot from it and should be as good
General, I would have to disagree with you in a way. I don't argue that Supermarina made some poor decisions and was at times too timid. I wouldn't argue that sea-air cooperation was dismal. Nor would I suggest that the Italian Navy did not operate under a tremendous handicap fighting the British without Radar.

But as for the fighting spirit and qualities of the men and ships, their willingness to undertake any danger - I believe they have nothing to hang their heads over. Had the Italian Navy had enough fuel to properly sortie all the units they needed on any given occasion (as the Allies did) they would have been much more effective.
There was a British wartime taunt that ran something like: " the British Navy likes it's rum, while the US Navy likes whiskey - the Italian Navy sticks mainly to port". It was meant, of course, as a jab at their valor - but what it really highlighted was their abysmal lack of fuel.

I would further point out that after their lowest ebb after Matapan in March 1941, when fuel stocks finally rose by by late 41- early 42, the Italian Navy was able to dominate the central Mediterranean again for some months. A look at the period of successes for Rommel's Afrika Korps is also synonymous with success for the Italian Navy - which allowed the supplies to get through to make Rommel effective.

So overall, I still don't think the Italian Navy has anything to hang it's head over - given their situation.

B
User avatar
wesy
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2002 10:00 am
Location: Berkeley, CA

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by wesy »

I'm not so sure...just my .02 cents (i'm not very knowledgeable about the Regiamarina):

I think it in part goes to doctrine/technology as well. Sure the Italians didn't have radar, but neither did the IJN, but they were able to win the vast majority of surface engagements against the ABD powers through late 1942. Japan was always handicapped by the lack of fuel. That's one of the reasons the Yamato stayed moored at Truk for much of the war. Sure the Med is different compared to SE Asia and the SW Pacific, but I think the Japanese had better doctrine in regards to rigor of training in general and night surfance engagements in particular, technical advantages over Italy (optics, fire control, torpedoes) as well. I'm not sure if Italy had a huge naval tradition like the British and the IJN (which is modeled after the RN). One thing that you should check out if you haven't already is the combinedfleet site's "Who the Baddest BB of them All"

Here's the link:

Baddest BB of them all

"I ran into Isosceles. He had a great idea for a new triangle!"...Woody Allen
Big B
Posts: 4613
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Old Los Angeles pre-1960
Contact:

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Big B »

ORIGINAL: wesy

I'm not so sure...just my .02 cents (i'm not very knowledgeable about the Regiamarina):

I think it in part goes to doctrine/technology as well. Sure the Italians didn't have radar, but neither did the IJN, but they were able to win the vast majority of surface engagements against the ABD powers through late 1942. Japan was always handicapped by the lack of fuel. That's one of the reasons the Yamato stayed moored at Truk for much of the war. Sure the Med is different compared to SE Asia and the SW Pacific, but I think the Japanese had better doctrine in regards to rigor of training in general and night surfance engagements in particular, technical advantages over Italy (optics, fire control, torpedoes) as well. I'm not sure if Italy had a huge naval tradition like the British and the IJN (which is modeled after the RN). One thing that you should check out if you haven't already is the combinedfleet site's "Who the Baddest BB of them All"
Here's the link:
Baddest BB of them all
Hi,
There were many differences in circumstances between the Italian Navy and the IJN.
First, Japan was never handicapped by lack of fuel to the extent that Italy was (at least until late in the war).
The Japanese Navy's "victories" in 1942 were a product of good training and optics - yes; but they were also predominately a product of indispensable air superiority, and superior force to what the Allies had available at the time. You may also be surprised to read that in the DEI campaign's naval battles, the Japanese were often enough "surprised" at night as well.
The major difference in the fortunes of the two navies were the extent of successful maritime air power...the Japanese were proficient, whereas the Italians never developed the same degree of proficiency and most importantly - never operated under conditions of Undisputed Air Superiority (as the Japanese established for themselves in the first months of the war).

B
User avatar
Zap
Posts: 3632
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:13 am
Location: LAS VEGAS TAKE A CHANCE

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Zap »

WESY
"I think it in part goes to doctrine/technology as well. Sure the Italians didn't have radar, but neither did the IJN, but they were able to win the vast majority of surface engagements against the ABD powers through late 1942. Japan was always handicapped by the lack of fuel"

Yes I agree., I believe the Italians had the ability to have made a greater impact in the war in the mediterranian. It must have been their naval doctrine.
User avatar
Brady
Posts: 6002
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 12:48 pm
Location: Oregon,USA

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Brady »

A great book is also:Sea Devals, by Borgese, tells the story of the Italian Navy Comandos and thier exploits with the Chariots and other activaties.
[center]Image[/center]



Beta Team Member for:

WPO
PC
CF
AE
WiTE

Obi-wan Kenobi said it best: A lot of the reality we perceive depend on our point of view
Alfred
Posts: 6683
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:56 am

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Alfred »

To back up Big B's comments, one should note the actual performance of the Italian submarines operating out of Bordeaux.  Usually one only finds derogatory remarks about Italian submarines made by people who obviously are not aware of the amount of Allied tonnage sunk out of Bordeaux.  Nor of (1) the Italian submarine operations out of Malaya or (2) the long distance sub cargo trips to/from Japan.
 
Alfred
Alfred
Posts: 6683
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:56 am

RE: Italian Navy in WWII

Post by Alfred »

There was also a book, written from the Luftwaffe perspective about the lead up to the Stalingrad operation, titled IIRC "Stopped at Stalingrad", which commented very favourably on, and detailed the indispensable support provided by the Italian navy in blocking off Soviet resupply to Sevastapol,  which greatly assisted Manstein to capture the Crimea.
 
Alfred
Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”