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  #1  
Old 11-09-2015, 00:31
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sons of anzac sons of anzac is offline
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Default Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

How do people rate the Italian Navy's performance 1940- 43? On an whole despite mediocre leadership from the admirals and rotten inter-service co-operation I'd rate the performance at flotilla and individual ship level to be pretty good.

Plenty of examples of escorts- destroyer and torpedo boat- doing sterling service in protecting, or trying to protect the merchant ships in their charge. The cruisers were generally adventuresome as long as they weren't chained to the battleships. The coastal forces too- minesweepers, MAS boats and submersible chariots all performed well too.

I'd say the submarine arm performed poorly but I'm not sure if that was the designs themselves rather than the crews and the battleships were not fully utilised both through lack of energy and drive and later lack of fuel.

The RM was competing against the premier navy (RN), with centuries of tradition and drive, with competent ship designs, plenty of fuel and reasonable to good air arm and air force and submarine service to also strike at Italian sorties. The RM didnt do too bad.
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Ataturk 1934: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
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Old 11-09-2015, 18:08
johnny07 johnny07 is offline
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

I think that one of the most important contributions of the Italians was in underwater warfare. I think the RN learned a lot from them.
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Old 13-09-2015, 15:19
M. A. Rozon M. A. Rozon is offline
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

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Originally Posted by sons of anzac View Post
How do people rate the Italian Navy's performance 1940- 43? On an whole despite mediocre leadership from the admirals and rotten inter-service co-operation I'd rate the performance at flotilla and individual ship level to be pretty good.
I would agree in that the Italian Navy did much better than many histories would indicate.

I strongly recommend the following book:

"On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War" by Vincent P. O'Hara, W. David Dickson and Richard Worth, published in 2010.

The book is a concise and very informative analysis of what each of the big navies did right and what they got wrong at all levels of operations. It is also done in a way that you can compare the navies. I think this book and it's WWI companion, "To Crown the Waves" is a "must read".

Hope this helps.

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Old 13-09-2015, 16:20
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

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"On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War" by Vincent P. O'Hara, W. David Dickson and Richard Worth, published in 2010.
And his other book "Struggle for the Middle Sea".
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Old 13-09-2015, 18:36
M. A. Rozon M. A. Rozon is offline
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

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And his other book "Struggle for the Middle Sea".
I haven't read that one, yet. I am assuming you highly recommend it.

Are there any others covering the naval campaigns in the Mediterranean that you would recommend?

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Old 13-09-2015, 19:46
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

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Are there any others covering the naval campaigns in the Mediterranean that you would recommend?
From the British perspective, there is Admiral Cunningham's autobiography "A Sailor's Odyssy" which covers his time in the Med, including the Matapan battle among others.
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Old 14-09-2015, 00:49
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

Thanks. I shall look for them.
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Ataturk 1934: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
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Old 14-09-2015, 06:39
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

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Originally Posted by M. A. Rozon View Post
I haven't read that one, yet. I am assuming you highly recommend it.

Are there any others covering the naval campaigns in the Mediterranean that you would recommend?

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IMHO the best account is:

Greene & Massignani - "The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-1943" (Revised Edition), Frontline Press, 2011.
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Old 14-09-2015, 18:50
M. A. Rozon M. A. Rozon is offline
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

Thanks!

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Old 16-09-2015, 06:04
Vince O'Hara Vince O'Hara is offline
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Default Re: Rating the Italian Navy in 1940-43.

Bill (emason), and M. A. Rozon, thanks for the endorsements. I appreciate them. One of the areas where the Italians did well was in intelligence. I co-authored an article that appeared in Naval War College Review two years ago that shows how Italian naval intelligence went head-to-head with ULTRA during July and August 1942. Anyone who is interested in this little known subject can read the article via this link.

https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/...the-Battl.aspx

Johnny07 mentions underwater warfare. A more recent article, also published in NWCR covers the attack on Alexandria

https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/...ck-on-Ale.aspx

My book, In Passage Perilous (Indiana University Press, 2013) covers what I consider one of the more successful Italian navy operations, the mid-June 1942 Malta convoys, in some depth.

As Patroclus points out Jack Greene’s book Naval War in the Mediterranean is very good. Richard Woodman’s Malta Convoys (John Murray, 2000) packs a lot of information. I think Douglas Austin’s two books about Malta are some of the best of the vast Malta literature. Finally, Raymond de Belot’s old book The Struggle for the Mediterranean (Princeton Univ Press, 1951) is nice because the author was a French admiral and he’s a more dispassionate than writers like Cunningham or Bragadin.

Vince
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