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Explain how Italian military weakness in the period 1940-43 contributed to Italy's failure in the Second World War.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐EXPLAIN HOW ITALIAN MILITARY WEAKNESS IN THE PERIOD 1940-43 CONTRIBUTED TO ITALY'S FAILURE IN THE 2WW. (8) There is no doubt in the fact that Italy?s military were woefully underprepared for the realities of war. Mussolini?s poor decisions as Commander-in-Chief were an example of weakness such as sending 300 inadequate aircraft to take part in the invasion of Britain when they could have been used far more effectively in the Mediterranean theatre of war. Italy?s armed forces were inadequate to the demands placed on them by Mussolini. There were insufficient men in the army ? the Italian army of 1940 was nearer to 3 million rather than the 8 million Mussolini boosted to achieving; there were only 1.2 million rifles, many of them dating back to 1891; there were only 1500 tanks and many of these were light! ...read more.

Middle

The Italian army was badly led: the 600 generals were steeped in the defensive tactics of the First World War. It was Mussolini?s fault that they were so incompetent: he had concentrated power in his own hands, promoting officers more for their obedience and powers of flattery than for their military expertise. There was virtually no co-operation with either the German government or the German High command. This contrasted with the joint planning undertaken by the western Allies in their conquest of North Africa. Of the other 2 services, the NAVY was better equipped. However, it was reluctant to risk its battleships against the vulnerable British Med Fleet; Italian warships were designed essentially for speed, which meant that their fuel consumption was excessive; there were NO aircraft carriers. ...read more.

Conclusion

The quality of the Fiat CR42 was suspect ? the RAF had little difficulty in knocking out these slow, under-armed biplanes. Moreover, they had to be grounded in large numbers in North Africa as they lacked essential sand-filters. Plus, the airforce leadership refused to co-ordinate its plans with the other services. The Italian airforce always demanded, and received special autonomy. The three armed services were fighting virtually separate wars. Mussolini had retained the traditional structures of the armed services (not modernised!); each branch was acutely jealous of the others. There were fundamental weaknesses in the Italian military strategy, as there was no clear overall plan and Mussolini thought that all his campaigns would be won quickly. The failed invasion of Greece or the rout of the Italian army in Libya are key examples of Italian military weakness. This all led to the failure of Italy in the Second World War. ...read more.

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