A wrong strategy?

#1
In the Italian East Africa the commander of the italian forces, duke Amedeo D'Aosta he wanted to set up the strategy of war on a offensive way, he's idea was to make a big offensive towards the north and reach the Egypt. A very difficult plan, maybe impossibile with the forces in his command, the road to Egypt was over 2.500 Km.
From the high command in Rome they ordered to stand in a difensive position, but the duke still intend to try the offensive plan.

The italian forces in east africa were about 340.000 they were in numeric superiority and a real difensive strategy in a rough place like east africa would be a real match for the british army. With the italian forces in a difensive positions i think the war in east africa could be much longer than it was.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
#2
It is difficult to say whether a different strategy would work. A.O.I. was isolated and lacked the ability to sustain war fighting for any period of time. The advantage of an offensive strategy is if the defender can remove the easy points of access to the defender's territory, they can survive longer, as the attacker will need to build-up resources to launch as offensive. For example, defending Germany in 1944 would have been easier if the Allies were already on the continent. Because they weren't, they needed to build-up resources (landing craft, naval support, etc) before they could land in France. Also note that the Duke's offensive, as pie in the sky as they were, was an attempt to create a link for reinforcements and supplies. Without these, the A.O.I. was doomed. No defensive stance would change the.

I don't believe that the Duke's offensive operations compromised his defense. The UK was able to choose the time/place of their offensive, and were able to built up their forces. The UK had too many options and had the resources to use them. The multi-prong approach and the lack of operational mobility on the part of the Italians prevented the Duke from using interior lines and massing against one threat at a time.

I am not sure what time would be gained by a different defense. A different defense likely would require concentrating the defense, which means abandoning the outer areas. This would allow the UK to advance quicker than they did historically.

Pista! Jeff
 
#3
Considering the position of the Italian forces in Eastern Africa, I would say that an attempt to strike north against Egypt and the Suez Canal was the ONLY viable strategy. d'Aosta, on site and feeling the crunch, probably understood this better than the Italian leadership in Rome. Of course, the ultimate solution would have been a coordination with a successful first Italian advance in the desert, against the Canal, in September 1940. As we know, that bogged down before reaching its target. As I have indicated in a recent posting here, this might have turned out differently if Mussolini hadn't wasted transport and fighting resources trying to conquer Greece at the same time. He had already secured Albania and reaching the Canal would probably have secured Greece and the Dodecanese, as well. Just my opinion.

Fred
 
#4
I don't think there were enough logistics for a northern offensive with any chance of connecting with Libyan forces. i could imagine a truck mounted brigade or regiment at most. And that probably needed triple the trucks for such distance.
 
#5
I agree with Dili here. The amount of supplies ( fuel, transportation,etc) needed to pull off a successful campaign of that nature, over that terrain seems highly improbable. I have never seen anything documented about any serious planning done here. The Duke’s plan to fight a defensive battle and hope for other factors in other theaters to influence the war in Italys favor seems to me at least to be the best option.
 
#6
I agree with Dili here. The amount of supplies ( fuel, transportation,etc) needed to pull off a successful campaign of that nature, over that terrain seems highly improbable. I have never seen anything documented about any serious planning done here. The Duke’s plan to fight a defensive battle and hope for other factors in other theaters to influence the war in Italys favor seems to me at least to be the best option.
Well the problem is this. The duke didnt wanted to adopt a defensive position, and when he finally understand who the only way to survive was to stand in a defensive position it was too late.
 
#7
Well the problem is this. The duke didnt wanted to adopt a defensive position, and when he finally understand who the only way to survive was to stand in a defensive position it was too late.
The endgame I think was determined more by math than a delayed decision to fight a defensive strategy. Better control of the seas meant the U.K. could bring more supplies, more men, more of what they would need than the Italians could. The Duke for the most part had what he had. The side that can replace losses more readily in a conflict of the nature will usually prevail.
 
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