Letter to Online Defense: the unpreparedness of the Italian armed forces in the Second World War


I am a recent reader of yours. Scrolling through some of your articles I couldn't help but notice the constant references to the unpreparedness of our armed forces in the Second World War.

Among the causes of the phenomenon, factors such as the unpreparedness of the ruling class of the time, or the alleged or real episodes of betrayal, as well as the various plots intended to favor the military defeat of the nation, in order to favor the fall of the fascist regime, are too often evaluated. But what is often not taken into account is what our country was then: a nation with an agricultural economy, conditioned by the persistence of the manually managed large estates, with an industry limited only to the northern areas of the country, an industry conditioned by the scarcity of raw materials and energy sources such as coal, which influenced both the development of the steel industry and that of the railways, another indispensable factor in the war economy.

If we add to this the poor quality of commercial and communication services, as well as widespread illiteracy, especially in the southern regions, we can understand the poor preparation of our armed forces, a reflection of the economic condition of the country.

PS We had theorists like Giulio Douhet, theorist of strategic bombing, as well as Amedeo Mecozzi, supporter of assault aviation, but our chief of staff General Pietro Badoglio supported the policy of the man, the mule, the rifle and the cannon, a nineteenth-century scenario, when in the XNUMXs in Kazan Russians and Weimar Germans experimented with armored warfare.



Dear reader, these are all excellent observations, not always argued by us, which I agree with.

The questions could now be: "do we take into account what it is today our country?" and "has the rhetoric really changed after twenty years?"

We grew up hearing the chorus of: "product envied all over the world", "example of national capacity", "Italian success...". Was it really like that?

Should we not therefore add to illiteracy the chronic "provincialism" that does not allow us to see beyond our own backyard?

In 2023, Italy still generates many "Douhet" and "Mecozzi", but unfortunately also too many (too many!) "Badoglio". The former - disgusted - emigrate, the latter...

The real difference between our people and other nations is the strategic horizon: elsewhere it lasts ten years, ours is six-monthly. Meanwhile (for 162 years) governments change on average every 1,2 years.

In Europe, healthy state structures and systems they also work in the presence of Badoglio passing by, in Italy they do not exist and we hope (deludedly) in the electoral victory of new - self-styled - Douhet and Mecozzi...

Will we have to do something for the love of this country?

Andrea Cucco