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Guzzoni & Cavallero


Staff member
by GLADIVM » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:44 am

Why did General Guzzoni resign from both his offices of Under-secretary for war and Vice Chief of Supreme General Staff in May 41 upon Cavallero return from Albania?

I know they had disagreements during Cavallero staying in Albania especially about the march Italian counter-offensive direction and other matters, but this does not seem enough reason for resignation especially in an army like the Regio Esercito, Guzzoni was a faithful of Badoglio but also this seems not enough of a reason six months after Badoglio own's resignations.

Also, I would appreciate an appraisal of Guzzoni leadership capability, from what I can gather he was a competent enough general in the limits of the Italian military doctrine and higher officers capabilities

Thanks for any help




by SUPERMARINA » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:36 am

Guzzoni was not a member of Badoglio clique, but of the opposite Pariani Kapelle.
He was a sound prof. and there was no space, at the top level, for two big brass like Cavallero and Guzzoni at the same time. One had to resign and it was Guzzoni.
My opinion, anyway, is both Guzzoni and Cavallero were by far the best generals available to led the Comando Supremo.
Badoglio was bad and Ambrosio much worse.




by GLADIVM » Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:18 am

Thanks, Supermarina ,

Could you pls elaborate a bit about the Pariani Kapelle, I do not know much about it and in fact thought that Pariani was more or less on Badoglio side.

About Guzzoni I assumed hed was on Badoglio side because in WWI he was in the Supreme staff after Caporetto with Diaz, Badoglo and Cavallero in the operation office and also because Ceva in his book about the Italian war direction during Cavallero tenure labeled him so.

After further readings have ascertained that you are right Cavallero would not stay together with Guzzoni in any high capacity and in mid-May 41 convinced the Duce to abolish the rank of Vice Chief of Supreme General Staff and also obtained that the Undersecretary for war to be placed under him so Guzzoni had no other options than resign as both his positions were now empty of any value. It is anyhow remarkable that an Italian general of the Regio Esercito resigned for a question of principle, something that a Badoglio or an Ambrosio would have never done.
Personally I think that Badoglio was the worst possible man for the job and Ambrosio was a close second.

It seems that Guzzoni during Cavallero's absence from Rome had a positive influence on the Duce and as Vice Chief of General Staff was a good one given the conditions in which he found himself.




by SUPERMARINA » Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:57 pm

Badoglio had his band (Piedmontese coming from artillery): Armellini - his toad - , Pintor - one of his anti-fascist link-, Trezzani, Gazzera, Pesenti, etc. He could count, anyway, on the silent support of the majority of the Italian generals as it was quite impossible to get that rank without his support or, at best, neutrality with the lone exception of the 1919-1925 season.

Graziani his own one, formed mainly by harsh old colonials: Gallina, Tracchia, Maletti, Lorenzini, Nasi etc.

Cavallero was a personal enemy of Badoglio since 1926. He had a small clique formed mainly by young officers. One of them Lt. Col. Cordero di Montezemolo, his right hand during the 1941-1943 time.

Pariani was an enemy of Badoglio too. He was able to form a reduced but loyal team of future generals who believed, like him, in modern weapons like Messe, Zingales, Gambara, Frattini, Chirieleison, etc.

Guzzoni was a lone, respected man.

Roatta too, not so respected, anyway, as his intelligence (or better, "furbizia") was rated great, but not so his abilities on the field.

We could go on for hours. As you see it's a very sad panorama.

The general class was a rotten one indeed.



Marras, being the man who had written in 1917 the secret report about Caporetto, had a fearful fame of a dangerous man and was, so, a very respected one.


by Lupo Solitario » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:18 pm

some addition to Enrico's note:

In general terms, we could tell that the Italian army was divided into pro-Badoglio and anti-Badoglio parties. The anti-Badoglio party included all generals who had had a quarrel with Badoglio (i.e. whoever had tried to debate his power, his ideas or gained an independent position in public opinion).
Being Badoglio a conservative linked to monarchy, anti-badoglio included usually supporters of modern weapons and closer to fascism.

The "geographic" note is strange but real: in the Italian army was important the original region of generals. Pro-Badoglio were usually Piedmontese. (just to tell, Graziani was from Frosinone)

Guzzoni was probably a quite alone man, notwithstanding was one of the best minds in the Italian army. He was mainly a staff officer, competent in planning and logistics, and was the best possible alternative to Cavallero as joint chief of staff. Against him, the fact of having no links; worsening, he was probably the only bolognese in high ranks and people from Emilia seems not to be considered good in art-of-war (some should have told it to Raimondo Montecuccoli


by SUPERMARINA » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:57 am

Hi Lupo,

Emilians do it better (not war only, of course).

Carlo Bergamini

Manfredo Fanti (Carpi 1808)

Emilio Giglioli (Zara siege, 1941)

Giorgio Giobbe (the blockade runner who saved Rhodes in 1941)

Ettore Bastico (winner in Spain)

Mario Roatta (many things, but not a fool)

The real problem is the same as the Communist Party. The best and smarter guys are from Emilia and they have the task to run the party machine, but power must be, for unknown reasons, a privilege of the old Kingdom of Sardinia only (with the lamentable results anyone can see in the story of that movement). Too much bad.

Give us back the Pontificie Legazioni and the Bologna's rights abolished by the Wien Congress in 1815. Curse you Metternich!



by GLADIVM » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:24 am

We must also Gambara he was from Bologna

He was not the best of the Regio Esercito generals but usually fulfilled his duties well enough and in Slovenia, he had a positive influence. Would you think that he was qualified for the position of Chief of Staff in RSI or another general would have been more suited?
Rtw would you know who choose him, Duce, Graziani or the Germans?




Staff member
by SUPERMARINA » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:28 am

He was from Imola. With the resources available he achieved very much. Barcellona in 1939 and Mentone in 1940. His Corp in Greece was among the better and was able to recover something in Albania too. In North Africa, the CAM had, with him, some of its better times during the Crusader offensive. In Slovenia to the situation was under control and during the armistice emergency, he was able to spare the towns at least the horror of the Slav invasion. He joined the RSI, but only for a short time in 1943. The German, even if they suspected him during winter 1941-1942 not to be loved by Gambara respected him and his appointment as Chief of Staff of the Army without their OK would have been impossible. Fascist didn't love him as he had remained a monarchist and, so, his experience in the Republic was a brief one.
Among the best of the bunch, anyway, and not a Badoglio gang man.



by GLADIVM » Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:23 am

Thanks, Supermarine , I thought he was from Bologna, anyhow still an Emilian

What is funny about Gambara is that just before the armistice he was appointed as commander of the new mobile army group in Slovenia to oppose expected german moves because he was considered a strong supporter of monarchy ( he was so but not as much as to oppose a hopeless resistance ) and anti-german, instead after seeing the situation he understood that his first duty was to avoid the occupation of litoral cities by partisans and acted in this way, so saving many lives.

Would you know if Gambara resigned from his position of RSI chief of staff or was substituted by higher orders?
His substitute was General Mischi on 12 March 1944 and Gamabara was placed at disposal of the ministry without having any further role in the war.




by SUPERMARINA » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:00 am

He was sacked.
The story is a curious one. Mussolini spoke about a Social republic, but he never declared it, as the late Prof. Renzo De Felice outlined in his last tome of his huge Mussolini's biography.

A strong current among the German Services and the SS supported an Aosta monarchy in Italy before and after the 8 Sept. 1943 armistice. This escamotage was considered by many (like the monarchist Foreign Secretary Mazzolini) as a useful way to reunite a day Italy after the war. Mussolini protested openly at once and again in Dec. 1943, but the idea was not dropped until Summer 1944 when the new, just born son of the Duke, Amedeo (considered by the Germans a possible, future King under Mussolini's regency), was deported with his mother, his aunt and Captain Longanesi-Cattani in Germany. Longanesi Cattani was a volunteer prisoner and had been asked by Duke Aimone, before to be taken, on 9 Sept. 1943 early morning by Adm. Nomis di Pollone, according to a direct order issued by King Victor and Adm. de Courten two days before, on a TB bound for Portoferraio. The King was, as a matter of fact, very worried, since July 1943, Lt. Cdr. Borghese's growing influence on the Duke.

Gambara was openly favorable at this solution and Mussolini not, that's all.




by GLADIVM » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:22 am

Thanks an interesting story, I did not connect the two things but it makes sense as Gambara was a monarchist and I fo not think that during his tenure as RSI CoS he made such mistakes to warrant his substitution.




Active Member
The first thing that Cavallero did upon his return to Rome from the Greek campaign on 18 May 1941 was to scold Guzzoni for the way he managed the dispatch of four divisions to Albania in January 1941 and for his directive about the defence of Scutari against Yugoslavia in April 1941. Then, on 24 May, he criticized his management of the Ministry of War and its relations with the General Staff. Plainly Cavallero could not get well along with Guzzoni (even though he later admitted that he was wrong with regards to Guzzoni's management of supplies to Albania) and the presence of a Vice-Chief of Staff meant that another general would have always been ready to replace him, if Mussolini had wished.

Cavallero, given his long leave from the Army and his work as manager, had few connections with other generals. His closest colleagues were Gen. Antonio Gandin, who later was murdered by the Germans in Cefalonia, and gen. Antonio Scuero, whom Cavallero met for the first time in Albania and then asked Mussolini to appoint as under-secretary of War.


Active Member
Returning to the matter of the circles within the generals of the Regio Esercito, they often formed during campaigns. So, there was the group of the colonials, or the group of the Spanish Civil War, etc.

Roatta's right hand was gen. Emilio Faldella, who played a key role in the campaign of Sicily along with gen. Guzzoni (who kept Faldella when he replaced Roatta at the command of the 6th Army). By the way, both Roatta and Faldella were clever and cultured men, who wrote extensively after the war (Faldella was one of the best and most prolific Italian military historians) with an excellent style.