help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Discussion around the Second World War.
CarlL
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Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

Hi all,
This is a request to all and anyone with interest in the Italian military actions on Eastern Front.
I was searching my history books and wargames books (eg scenario type books) - I have a small library - for examples of Italian actions on Eastern Front, with a view to putting on game inspired by historical action.
And I realised how little I have or know about their actions beyond the strategical narratives that maybe tell us where they were on Front, or how they might have been targeted from or post 1942 by Russian offensives.

So the request is simple, please share title (and if possible the author or Journal title) for any books (could be a general's or soldier's memoirs, or a narrative history describing a battle or campaign, but includes tactical or grand tactical descriptions), or articles (from the learned to the esoteric wargames press) that you know about.

I think at this stage it doesn't matter what language they are in, (although I am still only fluent reader in English after all these years - careful now Granty), but Italian articles or books of Italian actions or even Russian or German articles or books would give us all an idea of range of material out there.

I suppose there may be websites and even films or documentaries that are worth including too? All ideas welcomed.
I will be making similar call about another 'minor' power on Eastern front, no offence intended to our Italian readers.
CarlL

CarlL
Posts: 878
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

I forgot to add, it would be useful if you could add your views on the value of the item you suggested, eg "writes from German perspective" or "leans heavily on Soviet sources". We may not agree about such stuff but helps develop a flavour for whats suggested.
CarlL

granty101
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Joined: 26 Mar 2015, 18:18
Location: Durham

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by granty101 »

CarlL wrote:
25 Mar 2020, 08:27

I think at this stage it doesn't matter what language they are in, (although I am still only fluent reader in English after all these years)

CarlL
Funny, I thought you were fluent in Gibberish as well!! :o

Grant
Vot is your Name? Don't tell him Pike!!!

CarlL
Posts: 878
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

True Grant!
and a bit of Scouse too.... (oh no another opening!)
CarlL

granty101
Posts: 568
Joined: 26 Mar 2015, 18:18
Location: Durham

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by granty101 »

CarlL wrote:
25 Mar 2020, 09:56
True Grant!
and a bit of Scouse too.... (oh no another opening!)
CarlL
Well Carl, I can top that...I speak four languages fluently...English, Geordie, Gibberish and Sarcasm...I also speak a little Gobbled-Gook occasionally!! :lol:

Grant
Vot is your Name? Don't tell him Pike!!!

dadlamassu
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Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 07:13
Location: Bonnie Scotland
Contact:

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by dadlamassu »

Have you asked on Commando Supremo forum? https://comandosupremo.com/

Richard B.
Posts: 766
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:54

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by Richard B. »

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sacrifice-Step ... B0051I1IPW

Is very good, I`m pretty sure I reviewed it in The Journal?
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908

CarlL
Posts: 878
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

Alan,
Thank you, this looks interesting for my other Italian interests too like their colonial wars!

Richard,
Thanks, this is an interesting book to add to the list of future reads.

CarlL
Last edited by CarlL on 26 Mar 2020, 17:40, edited 1 time in total.

CarlL
Posts: 878
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

Richard

I fiorgot to identify it for others too,

Sacrifice on the Steppe: The Italian Alpine Corps in the Stalingrad Campaign, 1942–1943; by Hope Hamilton.

CarlL

CarlL
Posts: 878
Joined: 25 Mar 2013, 20:53
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: help, suggestions please re Italian Army on Eastern Front

Post by CarlL »

well unless you can read Italian, and can access Italian bookshops orItalian army archives, it seems little is available in English (beyond war in Africa or Italy and Sicily). The following is my list to date. With a twist in the tail.
CarlL

“The Italian War on the Easyern Front, 1941 – 1943, Operations, Myths and Memories”; by Bastian Matteo Scianna, (Published by Palgrave Macmillan 2019; hardcover isbn 978-3-030-26523-6 ; (English text); available as ebook. Hbk £69.99p new.
The blurb states: The Italian Army's participation in Hitler's war against the Soviet Union has remained unrecognized and understudied. Bastian Matteo Scianna offers a wide-ranging, in-depth corrective. Mining Italian, German and Russian sources, he examines the history of the Italian campaign in the East between 1941 and 1943, as well as how the campaign was remembered and memorialized in the domestic and international arena during the Cold War. Linking operational military history with memory studies, this book revises our understanding of the Italian Army in the Second World War.
From my brief survey of the contents and chapters, it appears least weight is given to the narrative of the performance of the army, 3 chapters totally a hundred pages, in a book of some 335 pages, mainly devoted to how ‘history’ (or politics and culture) has perceived the performance of the Italian army.

Sacrifice on the Steppe: The Italian Alpine Corps in the Stalingrad Campaign, 1942–1943;
by Hope Hamilton (Author), Casemate Publishers 2011; [Not yet seen]

Mussolini's Death March: Eyewitness Accounts of Italian Soldiers on the Eastern Front by Nuto Revelli (Author), John Penuel (Translator); published by University Press of Kansas; Reprint edition (2013), ISBN-10: 0700619089; ISBN-13: 978-0700619085; 566 pages.
Blurb noted: “Nuto Revelli (1919–2004) was an Italian army officer, partisan, writer, and historian.” … “Nuto Revelli, who fought in Russia himself, interviewed forty-three other survivors of the campaign for a book that has become a classic among Italian war memoirs. First published in Italian in 1966 as La strada del davai, Revelli's account, now available in English, vividly recaptures the experiences and sobering reflections of these men. It provides a chilling look at an experience that, in English-language writing, has been overshadowed by that of the main actors on the Eastern Front.”

Italian Army At War 1940-1943, by Philip Jowett (Published by Concord in 2009).
(140 photos, 4 colour plates); pbk ISBN : 9789623611503
The blurb says:
“This new book from Concord Publications addresses a glaring gap in terms of providing photographic coverage of the Italian infantryman. Written by Philip Jowett, the comprehensive introduction outlines the relative merits and weaknesses of the Italian Army as it launched into a new war on top of its protracted campaign in Ethiopia. It must be noted that his book exclusively covers the Italian Army in Europe, so North Africa is not included.”
And
“Dmitriy Zgonnik has supplied four colour plates that occupy a central position in this book, and these are accompanied by useful notes about uniforms and equipment.”

Few Returned : Twenty-eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943, by Eugenio Corti, (translated by Peter Edward Levy); Published by University of Missouri Press, 1997. ISBN 0826211151.
Bookseller blurb says:
“In December 1942, 21-year-old Eugenio Corti, an officer in the Italian army, found himself, along with 30,000 Italians and 6,000 Germans, surrounded by Russians on Russian soil. To save themselves, they set out on a terrifying march through the desolate environment, where temperatures constantly hovered between -30 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The Italian troops were ill equipped and ill prepared for the struggle that followed. ‘Few Returned’ is Corti's diary of his experiences during the month it took the troops to break through the Russian lines to freedom. Each day brought brutal engagements with the Russians, and there was little time to sleep or eat. Many wounded, starving, frostbitten and delirious men were left to die. Corti paints a deeply moving picture of each scene as he experienced it.”

La Tragedia Italiana sul Fronte Russo (1941-1943). Immagini di un Sofferto Sacrificio con Documenti e Testimonianze. (Nuova Edizione Ampliata.) by Pier Luigi Bertinaria;
Published by Bruno Ghigi, Rimini, (Italian text, 1997)
Seller blurb notes: Italian text, scarce book, with numerous photographs and maps. [not seen this book]

The Italian Army 1940–45 (1), EUROPE 1940–43; by Author: Philip Jowett, Illustrator: Stephen Andrew; publisher Osprey / MEN-AT-ARMS 340, (2000);
ISBN: 9781855328648.
[Uniform guide; the blurb says: “In this, the first of a three-part study, Philip Jowett covers the European theatre including Russia from 1940 to Italy's armistice with the Allies in 1943. Many interesting uniforms, a number of them new to most readers, are meticulously illustrated by Stephen Andrew.” And contents described as “Introduction The Albanian adventure French farce Greece and Yugoslavia The Partisan war the war in Russia Invasion and revolution Bibliography The Plates”. So Eastern Front is just part of a broad canvas in a short booklet of 48 pages.]

Hitler's Italian Allies, Royal Armed Forces, Fascist Regime, and the War of 1940–1943
By MacGregor Knox, published by London School of Economics and Political Science, (2000), hdbk, ISBN: 9780521790475.
Blurb says:
“portrait of a military and industrial establishment largely unable to imagine modern war and of a regime that failed miserably in mobilizing the nation's resources. Above all, it explains why the armed forces, despite the distinguished performance of a few elite units, dissolved prematurely and almost without resistance-in stark contrast to the grim fight to the last cartridge of Hitler's army” [so looks to be more a top down overview than battlefield narrative and analysis]
Later republished: Hitler's Italian allies: royal armed forces, fascist regime, and the war of 1940–1943, by Professor MacGregor Knox , Cambridge University Press, (2009) ISBN 9780521747134; [same blurb].

The Italian Army in the Second World War: A Historiographical Analysis; by Simon Gonsalves Wilfred Laurier University, in The Great Lakes Journal of Undergraduate History Volume 5 Issue 1 Article 2 (10-9-2017);
This undergraduate author summarises Knox’s overview of Italian military as: “The ethos of the military and the country as a whole led to the deployment of a military thoroughly technologically backward. Knox finds plenty historical exemplars to support this. Italian Infantry were ordered to engage forces wielding vastly superior weaponry and equipment. The Italian 8th army, marching into the maw of Operation Barbarossa, was even issued boots whose soles were made out of cardboard.61 Italian tankers were sent into battle in obsolete vehicles that were outclassed in almost every way. The most effective Italian tank produced in any real quantity, the mechanically unreliable M14, could hardly dent British Grants and Crusader IIIs. A single hit by an enemy gun could prove fatal, as thin Italian tank armor “would sometimes shatter like glass.” 62 Tank crews operated without any form of radio until mid-1941, and the compensated compasses necessary for effective desert navigation were never issued.63 Air support was equally poor. The Italian SM85 dive bombers often “proved more dangerous to their crews then the enemy.”64 The fighters of the Italian air force were often underpowered, outgunned, and without electronic navigational aids.” Gonsalves continues: “The historian James Sandkovich is one of the more recent historians to attempt a re-imagining of Italy’s role in the Second World War. A fierce critic of Knox, Sandkovich argues that ‘Italy's failures have often been overstated,…’ ”
Gonsalves, continues in a vein that seems to echo Sandkovich: “Anglo-Saxon historiography not only overlooks the Italian role in the war, but Germany’s other 'minor' allies as well. The Third Reich’s survival was dependent on the immense effort made by all of the nations that fought beside it. Without the combat troops, logistical support, and occupation forces provided by her allies, Germany could not have fought for so long in as many theatres as it did. German “arrogance, indifference, and ineptitude” concerning their allies led to horrific loss of life. Forty six non-German divisions from Allied Axis Armies were wiped out at Stalingrad alone.81 Without the contributions of Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Finland, Germany’s collapse would have come much earlier. For a more accurate understanding of the Second World War, the erroneous historiographic predominance of Germany must be corrected.”
[So reflecting a debate about who is given primacy of role in arms being more a reflection of prejudice and wartime propaganda, continued by post war historians. Perhaps helping us to avoid relegating Italian arms but not describing or analysing its feats of endurance or battlefield functioning.]
from https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcon ... text=gljuh

Handbook on the Italian Army in World War II, 1940-1943; by Jack Greene (1988) (published in USA). [48 page pamphlet]
Blurb from elsewhere notes: “[Jack Greene] a native of California, has written on a wide range of naval, military and wargaming ... He has self- published two pamphlets, Handbook on the Italian Army in World War II (1988) ... The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-1943.”

Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars 1935-1943; by Patrick Cloutier; (2019); English text; ISBN-10: 1097633683, ISBN-13: 978-1097633685
Blurb says: “A history of the Italian Army's campaigns in East Africa, Spain, North Africa, Greece, Yugoslavia, Russia, and Sicily. Sources include Italian, Russian, Yugoslav, and German texts; includes translated Russian passages. Mr. Cloutier brings attention to Italian battlefield successes. He examines a few strategic situations of World War 2, and holds that Italian forces at times were a key asset, whose misuse by the Axis cost them important victories. New material on the Spanish Civil War and Russian Front. Black and white; 232 pages, 76 maps, 70 photos, 19 drawings, appendix, and photo annex; 353 footnotes.”

And a You-Tube link see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIosqmx5kmg
Not sure about its “historical worth” but may provide some “eye candy” inspiration!!

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