Italy's airforce

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Here is my "what if" scenario.......

    Italy had not surrendered and were able to build the Reggiane Re.2005, Fiat G.55, and the Macchi C.205 in great numbers. Air superiority by the allies would have been in question and could have affected troop movement.
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Okay, I'll bite, not just because of the gorgeous looks of the Series 5 fighters :)

    The Germans have produced vast amounts of fighters in 1944, problem was the dwindling supply of trained pilots and fuel. How capable was Italy in 1943 to provide enough of trained pilots and fuel for a big fleet of fighters?
     
  3. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    So, they'd probably lasted 2 weeks longer? Wouldn't have made much difference..
     
  4. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    Italië had big fuel reserves.
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #5 oldcrowcv63, Dec 31, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
    I think this thread may have a political dimension making the outcome difficult to predict. As I understand it (largely from Reading Rick Atkinson's Day of Battle, Italy was a problem theater due to poor allied leadership; specifically Mark Clark. If there were significant ground and aerial losses associated with the change then it might have put more pressure on the supreme allied commander to change horses and install a more capable leader into the campaign. Also, a reinforced IAF, presenting more formidable opposition to the allied bombing campaign might have slowed the allied ground advance to the point where it would create a drain on allied resources. The historical timeline would seem to suggest that allied fighter resources may have been more capable of defending their own front line than protecting a vigorously opposed campaign of deep interdiction. I would assume this might have made some significant changes to the historic timeline and allied cause.
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    For Italy to have been in a better position as the war progressed, they would have needed to take better advantage of their ground and naval forces with better strategy and tactics earlier in the war.

    That being said, the fighters of the Regia Aeronautica were beautiful aircraft and some real top performers, but in most cases, lacked sufficient armament. (My all time favorite is the M.C202)
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    That is true but rather sidesteps the question of where the aircraft, engines, pilots and fuel were to come from.

    The only real possibility of significantly more engines (say, more than a hundred or so) is getting them from German factories which means fewer 109s, 110s, etc. Putting up 400 planes every other day (weather?) for a month and at 100 gallons per plane is 600,000 gallons. Do the Italians have enough fuel without drawing on German stocks?
    The Bomber campaign was just getting into it's stride in the summer/fall of 1943. If the Italians had not surrendered would a stronger effort have been made to bomb the areas of Italy still under axis control? (like factories turning out large numbers of aircraft?)

    Now some of the Italian aircraft of the "5" series may very well have been a better use of those DB 605 engines than sticking them in 109s or 110s , etc.
     
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  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Another question, that I've never saw a credible answer: to what max power rating the Italian-produced (or German-produced) DB 605 was rated in 1943? Is it 2600 rpm and 1.32 ata, or 2800 rpm an 1.42 ata - the difference is some 10-15% in horse power produced.
     
  9. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    the issues that forced italy to fall short were significant than the number and capability of its aircraft. a top notch airforce that is not used correctly will fail to become a game changer...
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. See Luftwaffe and Battle of Britain :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Luftwaffe was top notch in some areas. Conducting a long range campaign of attrition vs. the enemy whose forte was defense was not one of those areas.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i think the LW could have won the BoB airwar....but 1) they would have been seriously depleted and been unable to mass any large scale operations 2) it wouldnt have made much difference as germany didnt have the capability to actually invade the uk..air superiority or not.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Large reserves in 1943?
    Do you have a basis for that claim?
     
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  14. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Italian fighters were usually very labor intensive to produce, not rather easy/cheap build like the Bf 109. The G.55 might have been a tad better but don't expect wonders from italian production capacities. Plus many factories had more experience in mixe steel/wood/fabric construction than all-metal construction of thenewer birds so not easy to convert former bomber facs to take part in fghter construction.

    I have not heard about italian-built DB 605 to have maximum permissible power of the engine released, just the rpm incease to 2800 above FTH
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Exactly my point. As Bobbysocks said, "a top notch air force that is not used correctly will fail to be a game changer".

    The Luftwaffe in 1940 was still a top notch air force. I don't think that the Italians could have had anything approaching that in the time frame being postulated. Having some top notch fighters does not make a top notch air force.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    tomo pauk i remember i read some on the subject but if i'm not in fault the italian raf never got clearence for higher boost of DB 605, this was get later from the ANR (republican national air force, that of italian puppet state)
     
  17. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Thanks for the like MM. 8)

    We know that the Regia Marina fuel situation by 1943 was in dire straights, hard to believe the aircraft fuel situation was terrific at that point in the war....

    Oil Fuel Shortage

    Did the Italians have a refining capacity to double or triple the available Avgas?
    Where would all the training of new pilots take place?
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    In mid 1944 the allies went after the Italian oil industry. A logical reaction to increased Italian air force activity would have been to go after it sooner. By the end of the war more than 6,000 tons of bombs had been dropped on Italian oil targets.

    As Generaloberst von Vietinghoff, Army Group South West in Italy, admitted after the war:

    "Insofar as it is possible to judge from Italy, it is generally recognized that Allied air attacks [on the aircraft and fuel industries] were extremely successful. This is especially true with reference to attacks on the fuel industry, which by the end of the war proved to be the decisive factor."

    When postulating a 'what if' for one combatant it is worth considering the likely reaction of that combatant's enemies.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  19. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    #19 Elmas, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
    Here in Sardinia there are the only coal mines of Italy. My Grandad was the Chief Engineer of the local narrow gauge railway, and he told me, many years ago, this explaining story. Much less than a year after declaration of war the stockpile of Welsh anthracite of the railway obviously ended and the steam engines in Sardinia were complelled to use the brown coal of the Sardinian mines

    Carbone Sulcis

    that has more than 6% of sulphur...... This sulphur rapidly destroyed the grids of the steam engines, that after a couple of months had to be stopped because in Sardinia there was no iron to substitute the grids.........The content of sulphur in the Sardinian coal made a job that would have needed half a dozen Squadrons of P47 to be done.....

    Where huge quantities of fuel could be in Italy during 1943 I really don’t know.
     
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  20. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Me neither. Where would it have come from? Earlier in the war the Germans were supplying the Italians with oil.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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