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Looking for a book on Beda Fomm

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Does anyone here know of a detailed book on Beda Fomm? I am not looking for a popular history, but a book that offers in-depth research (footnotes and cites) on the Italian side of the battle. Book can be in English or Italian.

The most detailed account I have found is La prima offensive britannica in A.S. I would like to know if there is something better.

Grazie! Jeff
 

DrG

Member
In Italian, nothing. Practically, tactical matters about the war in North Africa are described only in the volumes by the Historical office of the Army (USSME).
Maybe you can find a good comparison of different sources, Italian and British, in Lucio Ceva, "Africa Settentrionale 1940-1943 negli studi e nella letteratura", Bonacci, 1982. I haven't read it, but Ceva was very precise and had a critical attitude (both in the good meaning, i.e. he didn't take sources at face value, and the bad meaning, i.e. he was too prone to criticism). Yet, given the wide scope of this book, I fear that the pages about Beda Fomm are really a few.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks DrG. I have those books.
 

DrG

Member
What is your opinion about Ceva's one, please?
 

1089maul

Member
Jeff,

This is an old book and I am not sure that it will be detailed enough for your purposes.

Regards,

Bob
 

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jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
DrG

What is your opinion about Ceva's one, please?
I misspoke, I don't have Ceva, I have the others.

Bob
This is an old book and I am not sure that it will be detailed enough for your purposes.
I have that book. In fact, I posted this thread after looking at it and realizing it offered very little.
 
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1089maul

Member
Dr G,
I agree with your comments. I only mention it as I am not sure if Jeff is after all available information.
Regards,
Bob
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
I have found that the Italians during the early period in A.S. are not well served in literature. While the 10ª Armata in the east initially has some solid history, the actions after Tobruk in Jan 41 are described in only general terms. At the same time, the 5ª Armata is virtually ignored.
 

DrG

Member
Jeff, the situation of research about the battles of the Italian Army in WW2 is terrible. In practice, besides the books by the Army (USSME) itself, there is very little and this little is usually about very specific topics (the Sicilian campaign is the best exception, with several recent books covering it, for example: http://www.lambadoria.it/stampa/libri associazione/index1.htm).

About Beda Fomm, and Compass in general, I have checked the list of articles of "Storia Militare" and of the "Memorie Storico-Militari" then "Studi Storico-Militari", of the "Rivista Militare", and I found nothing useful for you. The problem is that, besides the USSME, only a handful of Army officers spent their spare time writing about military history after WW2 (the only notable exceptions were marshal Messe, who wrote about his own campaigns, and gen. Faldella, who was probably the only Italian military historian who was also an officer, but during his life most of the documents were still classified), and those writers without a military background often do not even try to touch tactical matters or, when they do it, make up a mess.

I am asking myself, by the way, why Graziani's "Africa settentrionale, 1940-1941", Danesi, 1948, is seldom (if ever) mentioned as a soruce. Clearly it had an apologetic aim, but after all every general did this in his memoirs. I have not it and it's very expensive today, so I cannot tell you wether it contains any useful information.

I have noticed, reading Ceva's review of the first series of books by the USSME about the North African campaign https://www.reteparri.it/wp-content/uploads/ic/RAV0053532_1975_118-121_16.pdf, that he often mentions Liddell Hart's "The Tanks" as a source about the battles fought during Compass. Maybe you should check it.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
DrG

What an interesting review by Ceva. Thank you for posting it. It would be interesting to read a review by him on the Montanari volumes, but I don't know if he ever did such a review.

I agree with him about the lack of any detailed discussion of the prewar plans in La preparazione del conflitto. I especially wanted to read Balbo's plans articulated in 1939-41. The was something I was seeking for my research. Montanari's L'Esercito Italiano alla vigilia della seconda mondiale also doesn't offer any detailed discussion of the prewar plans.

Pista! Jeff

 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
DrG

Thanks, I have that article. I also have Ferrari's 'Il piano segreto di Balbo' from Studi Storica-Militari.

Pista! Jeff
 
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