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zraver
15 Apr 15,, 06:04
We are just over a month out from Italy declaring war on the Central Powers. This could be a very interesting what-if.

1. Italy entering the war forced the AH Armies to fight a two front war which fatally weakened them against the Russians. A stronger AH might have beaten back the Russians and maintained enough political stability to survive the war, and relieve the need for the eventual German occupation of Russia to be solely German meaning more troops for the Western Front.

2. An allied fleet of 10 A-H/ Italian dreadnoughts would have outnumbered the French and may have forced the British to divert part of the Grand fleet.

3. Possible small alpine front with France would have diverted at least some French troops and that could have impacted operations on the Western Front.

4. 3 million Italian-American voices added to German-American and general isolationist voices might have been enough pressure to keep the US out of the war and this would have profound repercussions on global history.

5. British need to reduce Italian colonies would impact troop strength in either the Levant or Western Front or both.

Cactus
25 Apr 15,, 15:56
4. 3 million Italian-American voices added to German-American and general isolationist voices might have been enough pressure to keep the US out of the war and this would have profound repercussions on global history.

A question tangentially related to this point. The Economist claims:


“Germans were not part of the colonial aristocracy,” says Rüdiger Lentz, director of the Aspen Institute Germany. Many Italian and Polish immigrants were middle-class, and they quickly became politically active. German immigrants tended to be poor farmers, which is why they headed for the vast fertile spaces of the Midwest. “The Italians stormed the city halls; the Germans stormed the beer halls,” went the saying.
Ref: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21642222-americas-largest-ethnic-group-has-assimilated-so-well-people-barely-notice-it?fsrc=scn/fb/te/pe/thesilentminority

Is this claim correct?

I always thought that the Germans had a normal distribution of immigrants -- many poor peasants, but also a good number of middle-class farmers, craftsmen and businessmen, and a even a few rich bankers and industrialists. And 18th C Pennsylvania Dutch and Germans had trail-blazed the European settlements into the Ohio Valley, and movement into the Mid-West was a natural progression as more immigrants came from NW Europe. In contrast middle-classes were almost non-existent in Poland and Italy, and most immigrants were from the peasantry. Also the South and Eastern Europeans (and Irish Catholics) had no pre-blazed routes of movement and faced significant anti-Catholic sentiments, and hence clumped around cities longer.

And getting back on topic, since German and Italian unifications had happened relatively recently back in their home countries - and without much democratic participation, did the immigrants even feel any strong political connections to the nationalist passions that consumed Europe just before WW-I?

kato
25 Apr 15,, 18:50
Depends on at which time. The early 18th century saw pretty much only richer people emigrating to the USA, while in the 1850s to 1880s there was a mass emigration "of all kinds" - but mostly poorer people; in the 1880s, i.e. the mass emigration generation that by WW1 was the last to have been born in Germany, it was mostly industrial workers (fleeing from the Bismarckian anti-socialist laws).

The Great Plains were mostly settled by German-Russian farmers who were evicted from Russia starting in 1872, but those, while speaking German, hadn't had any connection with the German Empire for about a century.

zraver
26 Apr 15,, 03:36
The German community in America was very much pro-Kaiser in the war, but they were vastly outnumbered by WASPs.

Ironduke
09 Dec 17,, 19:42
The Great Plains were mostly settled by German-Russian farmers who were evicted from Russia starting in 1872, but those, while speaking German, hadn't had any connection with the German Empire for about a century.
I've heard of German-Russians in substantial numbers in one or two of the Canadian provinces, but it's not the case for the Midwest. Virtually all German immigrants were from Germany proper.

kato
09 Dec 17,, 20:34
The immigration from "German proper" (well, not quite) was a result of freeing the slaves... err, serfs in the 1840s and the resulting overpopulation in the 1860s. Most of these were from the rural fringes of Prussia, i.e. either from outside the Old Empire (from Posen or Pommern, the parts that would later become Polish) or from Frisia (not ethnic German, currently a recognized ethnic minority). Minnesota for example was mostly settled by Frisians.

The same overpopulation at the same time also was how Prussia came to attack, overcome and since 1867 occupy Germany itself.

Ironduke
09 Dec 17,, 21:55
The immigration from "German proper" (well, not quite) was a result of freeing the slaves... err, serfs in the 1840s and the resulting overpopulation in the 1860s. Most of these were from the rural fringes of Prussia, i.e. either from outside the Old Empire (from Posen or Pommern, the parts that would later become Polish) or from Frisia (not ethnic German, currently a recognized ethnic minority). Minnesota for example was mostly settled by Frisians.

The same overpopulation at the same time also was how Prussia came to attack, overcome and since 1867 occupy Germany itself.
I've never heard of Frisians in Minnesota. I'm curious as to where you're getting your information.

Monash
10 Dec 17,, 11:46
My novice opinion as follows:

'The entry of Italy into the war on the side of the Central Powers would have been a blow to the Allied cause and would have complicated/delayed the result but in the end that result would have been the same. Italy's border with France is too narrow to be conducive to a major advance into southern France and Italy can't easily get troops to Egypt, the Lebanon or Libya to assist Turkey which is their next best option. It's true that with no Italian front Austria would have had resources freed up for use elsewhere but that 'elsewhere ' is the Eastern front not the Western front and given the less than brilliant performance of the Hapsburg armies in the field (I know there were exceptions) the result at best is Russia being knocked out of the war sooner - but not that much sooner.

From France and Britain's perspective there is no Gallipoli campaign (probably for the best) and also no Greek/Balkan expedition (also probably for the best). Instead their efforts (if any) would be directed towards a potential sea born invasion of Italy. And the prospect of such an invasion (successful or not) would have gone a long way towards limiting Italy's ability to release forces for use elsewhere.

End result a longer and bloodier war with the same outcome once the US enters - given the fact that historically the political and social momentum (in the US) was for that country to enter the war on the side of the Allies rather than Germany. So assuming all factors other than Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers remain the same the end result is largely the same, albeit after a longer and bloodier struggle.

zraver
11 Dec 17,, 01:46
My novice opinion as follows:

'The entry of Italy into the war on the side of the Central Powers would have been a blow to the Allied cause and would have complicated/delayed the result but in the end that result would have been the same. Italy's border with France is too narrow to be conducive to a major advance into southern France and Italy can't easily get troops to Egypt, the Lebanon or Libya to assist Turkey which is their next best option. It's true that with no Italian front Austria would have had resources freed up for use elsewhere but that 'elsewhere ' is the Eastern front not the Western front and given the less than brilliant performance of the Hapsburg armies in the field (I know there were exceptions) the result at best is Russia being knocked out of the war sooner - but not that much sooner.

From France and Britain's perspective there is no Gallipoli campaign (probably for the best) and also no Greek/Balkan expedition (also probably for the best). Instead their efforts (if any) would be directed towards a potential sea born invasion of Italy. And the prospect of such an invasion (successful or not) would have gone a long way towards limiting Italy's ability to release forces for use elsewhere.

End result a longer and bloodier war with the same outcome once the US enters - given the fact that historically the political and social momentum (in the US) was for that country to enter the war on the side of the Allies rather than Germany. So assuming all factors other than Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers remain the same the end result is largely the same, albeit after a longer and bloodier struggle.

Pro-CP

With Italy joining the CP, German and Austrian U-boats have much better access to the med. Several French divisions have to be withdrawn from the Western Front to secure the Franco-Italian border from repeated assaults by Cardona. The combined threat of Austrian and Italian dreadnoughts would over-match the French fleet and force the RN to detail a battleship division or 2 to the Med. This wont weaken the Grand Fleet, I doubt they would send dreadnaughts, but would hurt the Channel Fleet or delay the decommissioning of old battleships to provide crews for ASW escorts. If there is no Gallipolli campaign, the Ottomans have a lot more troops to add to the defense of the Levant and war in Russia. Attaturk may never come to prominence and this may ultimately preserve the Ottoman Empire. In Russia the combination of more Austrian and Turkish troops and increased allied pressure to help take pressure off the Western Front may well speed up the collapse of the Romanov's, or at least tempt the Czar too seek a separate peace. Bulgaria, Greece and Romania have a lot less reason to jump in. The combination of the early departure of Russia and peace in the Balkans would mean Germany has new sources of grain and less pressure to resume unrestricted submarine warfare delaying American entry into the war.

Pro-Allied

The UK and France would not have to send Italy mountains of supplies, guns, planes and eventually troops. With no Gallipolli or Greece, over all the allies end up with more troops on the Western Front. With a shortage of escort crews caused by the retention of old battleships, the convoy system may get adopted quicker. Vera Brittain's brother Victor may survive (though that would deny the World the Testament of Youth).

Overall without Italy as an allied power the war is likely to last longer and be a much harder slog for an allied victory that is not at all a foregone conclusion.

astralis
11 Dec 17,, 16:31
basically in OTL Italy served as nothing more than a big sponge of casualties from Austro-Hungary. given the performance of both the Italians and the AH, this would likely be a wash. no Gallipoli would probably have been a bigger contributor to Entente fortunes than the loss of Italian troops/gaining of AH troops for the Central Powers.

especially as Italy probably would have soaked resources from the Central Powers too.

besides, as the Entente is on the defensive, the resources saved from an offensive operation would be able to allow them better defense/reserve in case things go south on the Western Front.

OE probably comes out of the war in a better fashion, and Italy will probably get stripped of all colonies.

zraver
12 Dec 17,, 02:14
basically in OTL Italy served as nothing more than a big sponge of casualties from Austro-Hungary. given the performance of both the Italians and the AH, this would likely be a wash. no Gallipoli would probably have been a bigger contributor to Entente fortunes than the loss of Italian troops/gaining of AH troops for the Central Powers.

especially as Italy probably would have soaked resources from the Central Powers too.

besides, as the Entente is on the defensive, the resources saved from an offensive operation would be able to allow them better defense/reserve in case things go south on the Western Front.

OE probably comes out of the war in a better fashion, and Italy will probably get stripped of all colonies.

I think the need to keep old battleships in service will be the biggest impact. The lack of crews for escorts will force the convoy system earlier and this might delay US involvement by as much as 2 years. The second biggest impact is an intact grain trade in Eastern Europe that helps Germany meet its caloric needs. The combination of less moral outrage forcing Wilson to jump in combined with a radically less effective blockade may well lead to a situation where the Entente is more willing too cede some lands to Germany. France may well agree to the formation of the Kingdom of Poland and the occupation of Belgium to get the occupied areas back.

Monash
13 Dec 17,, 11:43
As I see it the timing is the key issue. If the British and French can mount a naval expedition against Italy and Austria before those those two powers manage to co-ordinate and organize their fleets for joint campaign then the central powers will be at a distinct disadvantage in the Mediterranean (and my money is on the Anglo-French being in a position take the initiative sooner than the their opponents.

For a start I have had a look at one source which listed the forces available to both sides as follows (excluding British Dreadnoughts and Battlecruisers) I assume they are not deployed to the Mediterranean given the pressing need to contain the German High Seas Fleet, I also assume most if not all of the combatants listed are available for immediate deployment);


The Allies

Dreadnoughts: 4 (France)

Pre-dreadnaughts: 60

Armored Cruisers: 53

Protected Cruisers: 61

Light Cruisers 20 (all British)

Italy and Germany

Dreadnoughts 6 (three each)

Pre-dreadnoughts 14

Armored cruisers 9

Protected Cruisers 14

Light cruisers 5

Now I don't for a minute presuppose that Britain is in a position to release more than a fraction of the lighter units listed here given its global responsibilities at the time but the point is it doesn't really have to. With the exception of Dreadnoughts Italy and Austria are badly outnumbered terms of ligher combatants. France alone had some 28 protected and armored cruisers available as opposed to 23 on the part of the two Central Power combatants. And France would feel a much greater urgency to commit forces to the Mediterranean front than the English.

Then geography comes into play. British and French forces sortieing from ports on the French Coast can reach the exposed coast of Western Italy before Italian and Austrian forces in the Adriatic can respond. The Allies are in a position therefore (if they move quickly) to attack Italian Naval Bases on the West Coast of Italy before Italy can respond. If they get in first they can inflict severe damage on any Italian forces on the West coast before help can arrive and even if they don't succeed in attacking before the Italians and Austrians can combine anything even approaching a '50:50' loss rate will result in both sides having to withdraw their capital ships for reequipping and repair. And that is the key differenc, the allies have such a large advantage in lighter units (cruisers and destroyers) that even should their capital ships not be immediately available for support they are still in a position to launch raids in force against every port on the Italian west coast from Portofino in the North to Sicily - and the Central powers can't stop them.

U boats aren't a real issue at the start of the war either because Austria only had a small number available and those had only limited success against allied vessels blockading Austrian Ports in the Adriatic, they had little or no impact in the Mediterranean proper. As for Germany it only started to deploy U-boats to the Med later in 1915.

The Allies can also 'threaten' to launch a seaborne invasion of the Italian peninsula once their campaign against the West Coast has started. Play it smart, offer generous terms for their withdrawal from the war on the side of the Germany and Austria (including no loss of overseas territory) and the Italians would probably opt to accept an armistice given the alternative which is the bombardment of every port, city and town along the West coast with no real prospect of preventing it from occurring.

I also believe this is a likely to succeed because Italy's commitment to the Allied war effort was historically somewhat reluctant from the beginning. (And I say that not-withstanding the terrible price they paid in blood on the Austrian front - regardless of what side you were on in WW1 everyone paid the price.) I simply think that assuming Italy did enter the war on the side of the Axis powers there is no more reason to think their commitment to that cause would be any more resolute than it was to the Allies cause. Which means given a viable out they would probably take it asap. The end result is I think, as I described above, a slightly longer and bloodier war with the same outcome.

Toby
13 Dec 17,, 19:58
Found this to help your figures Monash

45026

Monash
13 Dec 17,, 21:33
Thanks, that was the table I used, Good website to.

Toby
14 Dec 17,, 00:16
Thanks, that was the table I used, Good website to.Are you sure? You seem to have the French playing a far more important role than they did...Just trying to help ;-)

zraver
14 Dec 17,, 03:39
The French fleet comprised 6 "modern" pre-dreadnoughts, they had 11 other semi-modern pre-dreadnoughts. They also had 2 turret ships still active but nearing the end of their lives and not fit for the line. The rest of the French pre-dreadnought fleet was mostly laid up or stricken by 1913.

Austrian had 3 modern battleships, 6 semi-battleships that had lighter throw weight but more speed. Italy had 8 battleships in service. Italian and Austrian ships tended to be faster than the French ships.

So the actual battle line was France 17, and the Central Powers 17. The CP also had mass. The French fleet was split between Mainland and Metropolitan France. Armored cruisers saw some action in European waters, but protected cruisers were almost universally colonial service ships. Importantly, France had none of the new light cruiser/destroyer leader ships. The French lead in destroyers is more than offset by the huge lead in ocean going torpedo boats. France can raid Italy, and generate the same bad press that the German's got when they hit the British coast, or they can stay massed and await the threat of a CP sortie into the Med. This threat is why the RN would detail off some older battleships to protect Africa and not have the crews for more escorts.

Monash
14 Dec 17,, 11:09
45026

Toby, I think my figures are right. If you look at the table above the combined total 'pre-dreadnought' strength of the Anglo-French allies is 60 ships. Likewise the figures quoted for the other classes is their combined total. Some of those pre-dreadnoughts were no doubt real clunkers,well past their prime and ready for the breakers yard. But a lot weren't, especially those build post 1898-1900 up to just before or after the launch of the Dreadnought in 1906.

You are right though, the scenario I outlined would be one where the French were predominant because as noted previously the British Dreadnoughts and BCs were needed in the North Sea so the scenario I outlined would be one where the French were willing to commit their 4 Dreadnoughts to a swift campaigning in the Med as discussed with GB backing them up with the pick of their best pre-Dreadnought ships (as many as they could afford to release) and as many of their cruisers as they can spare to comfortably shift the balance of firepower their way.

Z, in right too. The campaign would have the committed to as fast as was practicable, the Allies would have to be aggressive and take the initiative. As he pointed out the crews of those older battleships were going to be desperately needed elsewhere by early 15 at the latest so the Allies have less than six months to cripple or otherwise neutralize the Austro-Italian battle line - thereby exposing the west Italian coast to attack by the superior numbers of the allied cruiser and destroyer squadrons. They can't afford to wait out the enemy the way Britain did in the North Sea. And I think that the biggest impediment to my plan, I'm pretty sure the French and British could get organized faster than the Italians and Austrians plus geography is on their side. The question is would they have the 'cojones' to carry it out or do they wimp out, sit and wait?

Toby
17 Dec 17,, 15:49
Toby, I think my figures are right. If you look at the table above the combined total 'pre-dreadnought' strength of the Anglo-French allies is 60 ships. Likewise the figures quoted for the other classes is their combined total. Some of those pre-dreadnoughts were no doubt real clunkers,well past their prime and ready for the breakers yard. But a lot weren't, especially those build post 1898-1900 up to just before or after the launch of the Dreadnought in 1906.

You are right though, the scenario I outlined would be one where the French were predominant because as noted previously the British Dreadnoughts and BCs were needed in the North Sea so the scenario I outlined would be one where the French were willing to commit their 4 Dreadnoughts to a swift campaigning in the Med as discussed with GB backing them up with the pick of their best pre-Dreadnought ships (as many as they could afford to release) and as many of their cruisers as they can spare to comfortably shift the balance of firepower their way.

Z, in right too. The campaign would have the committed to as fast as was practicable, the Allies would have to be aggressive and take the initiative. As he pointed out the crews of those older battleships were going to be desperately needed elsewhere by early 15 at the latest so the Allies have less than six months to cripple or otherwise neutralize the Austro-Italian battle line - thereby exposing the west Italian coast to attack by the superior numbers of the allied cruiser and destroyer squadrons. They can't afford to wait out the enemy the way Britain did in the North Sea. And I think that the biggest impediment to my plan, I'm pretty sure the French and British could get organized faster than the Italians and Austrians plus geography is on their side. The question is would they have the 'cojones' to carry it out or do they wimp out, sit and wait?
Ah right, I see where you coming from.

Toby
17 Dec 17,, 15:54
Just rereading the title of the thread and I would say technically speaking that Italy didn't betray its allies. As it only counted if one of the triple alliance powers was attacked and didn't count if one of the triple alliance was the attacker.

zraver
17 Dec 17,, 16:38
Z, in right too. The campaign would have the committed to as fast as was practicable, the Allies would have to be aggressive and take the initiative. As he pointed out the crews of those older battleships were going to be desperately needed elsewhere by early 15 at the latest so the Allies have less than six months to cripple or otherwise neutralize the Austro-Italian battle line - thereby exposing the west Italian coast to attack by the superior numbers of the allied cruiser and destroyer squadrons. They can't afford to wait out the enemy the way Britain did in the North Sea. And I think that the biggest impediment to my plan, I'm pretty sure the French and British could get organized faster than the Italians and Austrians plus geography is on their side. The question is would they have the 'cojones' to carry it out or do they wimp out, sit and wait?

Through early 15 the bulk of the French fleet was on escort duty bringing in colonial/ foreign service troops from Metropolitan France and its colonies. The risk of a combined CP sortie into the med will probably keep the French ships west of Sicily. Raiding the Italian coast.... bad press. though Gallipolli may be fought at Anzio instead. Italian coast defenses are almost non-existent in 1914/15.

astralis
18 Dec 17,, 16:57
can't see any strategic advantage for Anzio. the point of Gallipoli was because Churchill thought he could easily smash his way in and open up a supply route to the Russians, and also threaten the German southern flank.

also in the context of 1915, the lack of coast defenses doesn't mean too much as long as the area in question could be easily reinforced. there wasn't much in the way of defenses in the Dardanelles, either, and of course the infamous trench system in Western Europe almost popped up overnight in fall 1914.

zraver
19 Dec 17,, 06:25
can't see any strategic advantage for Anzio. the point of Gallipoli was because Churchill thought he could easily smash his way in and open up a supply route to the Russians, and also threaten the German southern flank.

also in the context of 1915, the lack of coast defenses doesn't mean too much as long as the area in question could be easily reinforced. there wasn't much in the way of defenses in the Dardanelles, either, and of course the infamous trench system in Western Europe almost popped up overnight in fall 1914.

Maybe a march on Rome, Italy had the only capitol within reach of the sea other than the Ottomans. Plus Churchill... Ottoman defenses of the Dardanelles were not up to American standards, we were world leaders in coast defense forts, but they proved good enough. Mines, torpedoes and field artillery in a tight straight sent several allied battleships to the bottom. The whole point of Gallipolli was to clear those defenses so the straights could be passed safely after several ships were lost. The UK lost 5 battleships, 1 destroyer and 4 submarines sunk and 1 battlecruiser damaged. The French lost 1 battleship and 5 submarines with another old battleship scuttled as a block ship when it became clear the battle was lost. The sinking of 6 battleships is double what the HSF managed.

astralis
19 Dec 17,, 15:12
i think what Gallipoli demonstrated was that even a half-assed defense with 1915 technology would create a significant butcher's bill for the attacker. the Italians weren't exactly the hardest fighters ever in WWI, but I'd guess that a march on Rome would mobilize them like never before.

to the extent that the Italians going CP would have helped in WWI, it probably would have forced the UK to expend more resources in securing the Mediterranean/Suez-- but again, these would be resources that weren't blown fighting in Gallipoli, so it'd be a wash.

hmm. biggest change would probably be with the Ottomans. if they sit out the war, then they wouldn't melt down afterwards...which means an entirely different ME.

second would be Italy, if they are beaten but without much loss, would they go fascist? no feeling of Allied betrayal after all. which has a bunch of other add-on effects, would there be a Spanish Civil War?

this is actually a more difficult long-term scenario to envision than it is at first glance.

zraver
19 Dec 17,, 17:30
Atsy, I still think Germany's full access to the grain harvest of Eastern Europe and freed up troops of AH will have a bigger impact. The Ottomans are jumping in regardless, they want a chance at Russia. They were gonna get mauled, but they didn't think so when they jumped in.

Though I agree a march on Rome would be a butchers bill. Though that never stopped British commanders in WWI.
However, without a Italy joining the entente, would the UK and Ottomans have tangled in Arabia and Egypt?

Monash
19 Dec 17,, 22:49
A couple of points:

Firstly as I see it (assuming a superior allied force is assembled) the Central Powers don't have many palatable options. By 'immediately' threatening the West Coast of Italy they force the Italians to either:

1) withdraw their fleet elements on the west coast to the Adriatic - there to combine with Austrian units before a sortie.
2) leave them in place (or even reinforce them) and risk defeat in detail before the Austrians arrive. (And I think the Austrians would insist on home basing for their major fleet elements if only because (logistical issues aside) they would not want to leave their Adriatic coast exposed.
3) Having sortied and lost (via attrition?) a naval battle in the Western Med - permanent retreat to the Adriatic for the rest of the war.

Next assuming they have driven their opponents out of the Western Med I don't think 'bad press' is necessarily an issue re; any raids on the Italian coast. This is because these attacks (unlike the German raids on England) would be classed (& sold to the World) as precursors to an actual invasion. Given the even temporary absence of the enemy naval forces (while repairs etc are made) the attacks would not be 'hit and run' either, Allied naval forces could sortie and spend a couple days if necessary systematically destroying military infrastructure at any place of their choosing as a precursor to invasion proper (regardless of whether or not said invasion was still only in the planning stages). That kind of attack was simply never an option for the Germans, if they weren't on their way back to home port by first daylight they knew they would be intercepted and probably destroyed.

Also when comparing a proposed landing on the Italian Coast to Gallipoli I would note that fixed naval defenses are not a real issue -asside from major ports. At Gallipoli the Allied navies were trying to force the Bosporus -arguably the most enclosed and defensible seaway in the world. Clearly this is not a problem in the scenario we are talking about. Then the landing sites at Gallipoli were only a short distance from the Turkish capital and therefore (once the Turks got organized) comparatively easy to reinforce and supply. Also away from the coast Allied maps of the terrain at Gallipoli were completely unreliable -allied soldiers literally had no idea of the terrain behind their immediate landing points and, as is so often the case that terrain when encountered strongly favored the defenders.

Again these issues do not necessary apply in any proposed Italian landing, you have plenty of choices as to location (i.e you are not confined to difficult terrain on a narrow peninsula) and you will have detailed maps. Nor do you have to land near Rome unless you really want to. For example a landing near Genoa opens up all sorts of possibilities for threatening the rear of Italian forces on the French 'front' or indeed Italy's connections to their Austrian Allies in the North. In short a lot of the problems that plagued the Allies at Gallipoli are not relevant. That said the Allies still have plenty of opportunities to stuff things up e.g, failure to exploit initial surprise due to over caution, inertia or logistical issues etc. command rivalries, over optimistic or under optimistic timetables and schedules. The usual stuff ups that plagued armies during the WW1 - and later.

I suspect however that assuming the Allies win anything like a major victory at sea and then follow that up that victory with overt preparations for invasion then Italy might well take the opportunity to request an armistice asap - provided the terms were not onerous. (And lets face it at this early stage of the war the Allies would be foolish not to accept a request for peace from the Italians. Italy was never the main game.

Finally I do note however that should the Allies suffer a serious naval defeat against the Austrians & Italians then obviously all of the above goes out the window. Assuming American intervention on the side of the Allies goes ahead as was reality I still think the Allies would win - the war war would just be longer, bloodier and more destructive.

zraver
24 Dec 17,, 23:39
I suspect however that assuming the Allies win anything like a major victory at sea and then follow that up that victory with overt preparations for invasion then Italy might well take the opportunity to request an armistice asap - provided the terms were not onerous. (And lets face it at this early stage of the war the Allies would be foolish not to accept a request for peace from the Italians. Italy was never the main game.

Finally I do note however that should the Allies suffer a serious naval defeat against the Austrians & Italians then obviously all of the above goes out the window. Assuming American intervention on the side of the Allies goes ahead as was reality I still think the Allies would win - the war war would just be longer, bloodier and more destructive.

Italy on the sidelines helps the Central Powers. It frees up huge number of troops on the AH/Italian front for use against Russia and gives AH the reserves to absorb the Brusilov Offensive. Plus it preserves the grain market. It takes a mortally wounded AH for Romania to jump in. Plus noItaly means no barrage of the Adriatic, but it was mostly ineffective anyway. On the allied side, with no need to supply Italy several thousand guns and a mountain of shells get added to the Western Front meat grinder.

Toby
24 Dec 17,, 23:52
Italy on the sidelines helps the Central Powers. It frees up huge number of troops on the AH/Italian front for use against Russia a.Italy wasn't on the sidelines though and got bogged down in a static war with Austria/Hungary

zraver
27 Dec 17,, 03:11
Italy wasn't on the sidelines though and got bogged down in a static war with Austria/Hungary

This is a what if discussion. Italy as a CP or a neutral helps the CP far more than it helps the allies. Germany had 2 major handicaps in WWI. First, she could not produce enough nitrates for fertlizer and explosives nor provide enough manpower for farms and front lines. Forced labor from Poland and the grain trade in Eastern Europe until Romania jumped in offset this to a certain amount. But once Romania jumped in Germany's food situation went from merely bad, where the biggest problem was distribution to worse when food actually became scarce. Second, her population was not big enough to fight a two front war. Germany began calling up classes before they turned 18 in 1915 when the class of 1916 was called up. By 1918 Germany was conscripting 16 year olds and accepting younger volunteers and the use of child soldiers became widespread.

In this discussion, either Italy as a member of the CPO, or sitting the war out means the grain trade is going to be secure. Romania wont jump in if the AH are doing at least OK in the war. Without the Italian front the AH are fighting a one front war against Russia who is fighting the AH, Germans and Turks. Also not needing to provide troops to the AH means Germany has more troops to use in the East (Early defeat of Russia?) or West.

Monash
27 Dec 17,, 05:33
Z, in the scenarios we are looking at Italy is already on the side of the Central Powers so they automatically receive whatever benefits derive from that decision (particularly in terms of Austria's ability to redeploy troops) from day one of the war.

A swift allied victory in the Med followed by Italy's withdrawal from the war is still an adverse outcome for the Central Powers because at least some of the troops that were in the process of being transferred to the Russian campaign front will have to be kept in place guarding the Italian frontier.

This is especially the case because Austria can't know the exact terms of the Italian armistice until it is signed. After all for all they know it could entail not just a withdrawal from the war but rather a change of allegiance to the Allied side. Which strategically puts us back where we were in the real world.

This is mainly why I reckon on a swift Allied response to Italy's entry into the war on the side of the CPs. The sooner they get in and change this the less impact it will have on the outcome of the war. Italy is about the only continental power that can be knocked out of the war quickly if bold action is taken. All the others required a campaign of attrition.

kato
27 Dec 17,, 11:29
Germany began calling up classes before they turned 18 in 1915 when the class of 1916 was called up. By 1918 Germany was conscripting 16 year olds and accepting younger volunteers and the use of child soldiers became widespread.
Conscription in the Northern Federation was always age 17 to 45 in wartime - and they were highly precise in that. The Landsturm general mobilization on August 2nd 1914 called up everyone born between Aug 2nd 1869 and Aug 2nd 1897 (i.e. between 17 and 45), with successive years moving that frame. With demobilization in 1918 the overall frame of those drafted shifted to all born before Nov 11th 1901.

The birth years 1901 to 1913 were later colloquially known as the "White Years", i.e. containing those who did not serve in the Reichswehr and were also too old to be called up for the Wehrmacht; there was, beginning 1935, a formal programme basically giving the White Years only basic training and then directly moving them to the reserves for WW2.

The minimum age of "16" for volunteers in WWI mostly stemmed from the recruiting age of cadet schools (army and navy), where you could join up at age 14 - to be precise at the end of the school year in the calendar year in which you had already been 14 on March 31st - but were not considered a soldier until completing initial training after the first two years and thus being 16. There were children beyond that serving here and there, but much like in other armies these had faked being older on volunteering.

Generating enlisted soldiers wasn't that much of a problem either, the main problem was finding NCOs and officers throughout the war. The Army already complained in early 1915 after the regular troops and reserves had shipped out that the captains in the replacement troops were in their 50s; the recruitment of older NCOs above 45 as volunteers was limited to those who had served at least 8 years and to the complaint of the army most of these NCOs had never seen a G98 rifle before as they had served before its introduction.

Toby
27 Dec 17,, 16:46
This is a what if discussion.
Hmmmm, a bit like one of those Hollywood movies then, where they get to rewrite history ;-)

But once Romania jumped in Germany's food situation went from merely bad, where the biggest problem was distribution to worse when food actually became scarce
So Germany and AH virtually Annexing the Ukraine didn't alleviate food supplies either???

zraver
28 Dec 17,, 04:51
Hmmmm, a bit like one of those Hollywood movies then, where they get to rewrite history ;-)

So Germany and AH virtually Annexing the Ukraine didn't alleviate food supplies either???

Don't think Ukraine had much to give. Czarist authorities drafted the men and appropriated the as much as 68% of the harvest in 1917 so there was little labor to work the farms and little incentive to work where there was labor. Plus the transport nets lead to the interior, not to Germany, there was a shortage of horses etc. The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor. In 1917 this dried up and Germany had already used up its reserves by the Turnip Winter and her harvest of potatoes and cereals had collpased. Add in poor distribution and an Allied blockade that had already cut food imports by 50%. It was more than Germany could bear. It was even worse in AH outside of Hungary. The Hungarians refused to export to the rest of the empire. Famine was widespread in the major cities of the empire.

The lack of food in the CP is a primary reason for their eventual defeat. They did not have an America to supplement up to 80% of their calorie requirements. In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.

Toby
28 Dec 17,, 10:56
Don't think Ukraine had much to give. Czarist authorities drafted the men and appropriated the as much as 68% of the harvest in 1917 so there was little labor to work the farms and little incentive to work where there was labor. Plus the transport nets lead to the interior, not to Germany, there was a shortage of horses etc. The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor. In 1917 this dried up and Germany had already used up its reserves by the Turnip Winter and her harvest of potatoes and cereals had collpased. Add in poor distribution and an Allied blockade that had already cut food imports by 50%. It was more than Germany could bear. It was even worse in AH outside of Hungary. The Hungarians refused to export to the rest of the empire. Famine was widespread in the major cities of the empire.

The lack of food in the CP is a primary reason for their eventual defeat. They did not have an America to supplement up to 80% of their calorie requirements. In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.So had they had more time, new infrastructure could have cured Germany's problem eventually. Are there figures for the 1918 harvest or was the situation too bleak to co-ordinate them?

kato
28 Dec 17,, 14:33
The Ukraine never fullfilled its obligations in the Treaty of Brest. Romania exported 2.6 million metric tons of grain to the CP in 1916. Which is almost as much as the Ukraine shipped to the Soviets per year before the Holodomor.
Just for scale in comparison to those figures, the "bread peace" (as it was apparently colloquially called in Austria) obligated Ukraine to export 982,000 tons of grain, 50,000 tons of cattle and 400 million eggs to the CP until July 31st 1918. They delivered 147,000 tons of grain until that date and another 120,000 tons until November 1918.


In 1917 an average German on the Home front got just 1000c a day, less than half the pre-war total. You can't win a war if you are starving.
The primary problem was the bad potato harvest of autumn 1916, caused by bad weather; it was about half the usual. The government confiscated the entire potato and turnip harvest in December 1916 and distributed them on ration cards - the rationing in early 1917 cut your potato ration in half compared to 1916. Turnips were previously only used for animal feed and now used as surrogate food to stretch out meals. Since the potato harvest of autumn 1917 wasn't really any better for other reasons this did also continue.

While this was ridiculed in the population - calling it the "Turnip Winter" (applied to 16/17, 17/18, 18/19...) and the turnip the "Hindenburg Tuber" - realistically it wasn't quite starving at that point - and when people pulled the turnip-based recipes back out in WW2 and after WW2 for the same situation, they had to add in further surrogates such as sawdust for some other stuff in the recipes.

The 1000kcal figure is just for what you got on ration cards btw, and were just an average figure. The actual rations depended heavily on where you lived since the municipalities did the final distribution; typical for early 1917 as rations per week were around 3-4 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of turnips, 3-4 pounds of bread and half a pound of meat for the main staples. Other vegetables were virtually unavailable to the general population for cost reason. Quite often the municipalities would buy e.g. meat in large quantities though for resale to their population, and quite often this was precisely what the CP-allied nations delivered. This came on top of the ration cards at the time.

zraver
30 Dec 17,, 17:14
The primary problem was the bad potato harvest of autumn 1916, caused by bad weather; it was about half the usual.

That was the straw that broke the camels back. In 1913 Germany imported 40% of her food. The war cut much of this off and at least until 1916 she actually had more mouths too feed; POW labor added minus battlefield dead. By Nov 1918, Germany's overall population requiring feeding had dropped by 1.6 million. The loss of imports from blockade, horses and fertilizer from farms and a piss poor distribution system undermined the political stability of the Reich. Add in the failure of the Spring Offensive and then the crushing allied 100 days offensive and the writing was clear. Regimes can rarely survive food insecurity. Add in an unstoppable impending invasion and no one can survive as leader.