Regia Aeronautica if Italy Remains Neutral in WW2

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Admiral Beez

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Oct 21, 2019
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If Italy remains friendly to Hitler and firmly fascist but does not declare war on Britain or France how does the Regia Aeronautica look by 1944-45?

Presumably the biplanes are done for. We can't assume that a Berlin-friendly, yet nonbelligerent Italy will have access to DB engines.

What threats do we see Italy needing to prepare for? The US and Britain may be demanding entry into Italy to open up a southern front. There may also be pressure on Italy's North African and Indian Ocean territory, especially if the Allies think Italy is giving support to the Germans.
 
If Italy remains friendly to Hitler and firmly fascist but does not declare war on Britain or France how does the Regia Aeronautica look by 1944-45?

Presumably the biplanes are done for. We can't assume that a Berlin-friendly, yet nonbelligerent Italy will have access to DB engines.

What threats do we see Italy needing to prepare for? The US and Britain may be demanding entry into Italy to open up a southern front. There may also be pressure on Italy's North African and Indian Ocean territory, especially if the Allies think Italy is giving support to the Germans.
OK, I,ll bite.

With Italy staying neutral, GB will probably be happy to leave the Italian navy out of the war, opening another front through a facsist Italy not being worth having italy as an enemy. Come to it, a second front would probably make as much sense through Spain, and the terrain not being as daunting. anyway I don,t thiink that was seriously contemplatted.

What threats does the Italians have to prepare for? If we assume they would not attack Greece then, we are left with the Albanians. Without any real thread, or ambition to enter the global fray, Regia Aeronautica may well simmmer quitly in complecancy, we may see attempts like the Dardo still, as I do suspect you,re right that there,ll be no DB on offer, at least not the latest types. We may see both sides wooing them with quite modern aircraft, as historically happened with Turkey.

But possibly their best bet is to shop in the US, we may see them ultimately equipped with the multi purpose P-39. I,m only half joking, at least I think the US would offer them at quite reasonable rates. Come to it, several other types, which historically fought the Italians, may be sold to them instead, just not the top tier. Then again, maybe not.

Let,s face it, I,m not very good at this alternate stuff, there,s so many accumulated butterflies just a few months down the other trouserleg of time. But honestly, I don,t believe that the Italian air arm, being left in peace, will achieve great things. at least not in practical terms, though being spared the test of combat types like the Ba 88 and its hypothetical heirs may look great on paper.

I,m quite convinced the regio Aeronautica would remain quite unrenmaerkably mediocre throughout.
 
"We dont need no stinkin P-39s!":p

I would think they would have been in pretty good shape given time to build an adequate force of Fiat G.55s and Macchi C.205s for defense while keeping abreast of and developing jet engine and aircraft technology.
 
If Italy remains friendly to Hitler and firmly fascist but does not declare war on Britain or France how does the Regia Aeronautica look by 1944-45?

Presumably the biplanes are done for. We can't assume that a Berlin-friendly, yet nonbelligerent Italy will have access to DB engines.

What threats do we see Italy needing to prepare for? The US and Britain may be demanding entry into Italy to open up a southern front. There may also be pressure on Italy's North African and Indian Ocean territory, especially if the Allies think Italy is giving support to the Germans.
Sweden stayed out of WWII, and they were allowed to build DB-605s. Why shouldn't Italy?
 
If Italy remains friendly to Hitler and firmly fascist but does not declare war on Britain or France how does the Regia Aeronautica look by 1944-45?

Presumably the biplanes are done for. We can't assume that a Berlin-friendly, yet nonbelligerent Italy will have access to DB engines.

What threats do we see Italy needing to prepare for? The US and Britain may be demanding entry into Italy to open up a southern front. There may also be pressure on Italy's North African and Indian Ocean territory, especially if the Allies think Italy is giving support to the Germans.
My favourite alternate WWII scenario is that when Mussolini attacks Greece and Egypt, Hitler leaves him twisting in the wind. This all has minimal effect on aviation, but it massively affects other stuff.
  1. The Italian generals and King Victor Emmanuel told Mussolini that Italy lacked the resources to wage a big war. It almost sounds like they were okay with the planned looting and pillaging...
  2. Greece lacks the desire and the resources to invade and conquer Italy. Maybe they seize Albania. Maybe they decide even that is a bad idea.
  3. The outnumbered but mechanised British demolish the Italian army in the desert. The Italians lacked the resources to manage a war across a desert. Do the British have the resources to cross the desert and attack Italians in Libya?
  4. Just about every single British and American general in Europe in 1943-1945 was a veteran of the desert war. Both the British and the Americans learned to fight the Germans in the desert, with the Germans at the end of a long and aggressively torpedoed chain of communications. An aircraft tidbit here -- Fairey Swordfish sunk more tons of shipping than any other torpedo plane of WWII. The Americans fight on Omaha Beach the way they did at the Kasserine Pass. Patton commands a desk and a secretary somewhere.
  5. Germany stays out of the Balkans and Greece. There is no opportunity to attack Germany from the Mediterranean. The desert war was a complete disaster for the Germans.
  6. In the real war, the Americans, and British Commonwealth troops liberated Italy from the Germans. In my scenario (and yours), they invade sovereign Italy. Maybe everybody is pissed off at Mussolini! Maybe the allies write off the invasion as a bad idea. Maybe the Germans wait until the allies are halfway up the peninsula before they send in Rommel with most of the troops they did not lose in the desert. There is nothing for Fairey Swordfish to sink.
One of the problems with my scenario and yours, is that if no Germans are around, you cannot liberate Italy. The Italians fight way harder, especially in your scenario.

I dislike using the word "fascist" to describe anything other than an Italian political party. Spain was a right-wing authoritarian state that was friendly with Germany and Italy. They stayed out of WWII, and the allies did not attack them. I don't see why they would attack a neutral Italy. My points about the desert war as a training ground for both British and American troops, especially generals, applies to your case.
 
Sweden stayed out of WWII, and they were allowed to build DB-605s. Why shouldn't Italy?
When?
While the first prototype SAAB 21 flew in July of 1943 the first production aircraft (3rd or 4th airframe built) didn't fly until Dec of 1945.
They did use license built DB 605s on the SAAB 18B bomber.
640px-Saab_B18B_18172_D_red_%288292047964%29.jpg

but the first one was delivered in July of 1944. With only 245 SAAB 18s being built with production ending in 1948 one wonders how many DB 605s were built in Sweden during WW II?
Would Italy jump on the DB 605 in 1942 or would they wait while a number of early problems got sorted out?
Part of it may depend on if they were already producing DB 601s or not. How much stuff carried over?
 
When?
While the first prototype SAAB 21 flew in July of 1943 the first production aircraft (3rd or 4th airframe built) didn't fly until Dec of 1945.
I am reading the Profile on the Saab J21, by Bo Widfeldt.

It sounds like they selected the DB605 in 41/42, and they did considerable debugging on it. Sweden was not actively engaged in combat, so there was no frenzy to get into production.
 
I am reading the Profile on the Saab J21, by Bo Widfeldt.

It sounds like they selected the DB605 in 41/42, and they did considerable debugging on it. Sweden was not actively engaged in combat, so there was no frenzy to get into production.
I don't know about the last part. The Swedes were using a version of the R-1830 engine that was only good for 1050hp for take off and used a single speed supercharger. They were using it in the J22 fighter and few were used in SAAB 18 which was described as under powered, Maybe they weren't being shot at but they went a number of years hoping that they could get something besides the motley collection of near relics they were using.

Not sure were "frenzy" falls on the scale ;)

If the Swedes need several years to get the thing into production one wonders at how well the Italians would have done with it. The Swedes having the advantage of a very good bearing industry. The Swedes were suppling bearings to Britain to use in Bristol Hercules engines (among other uses). Some of the Italian designers may have been very good but a lot of times engine makers were relying on outside suppliers for things like bearings and springs and valves.
 
If the Swedes need several years to get the thing into production one wonders at how well the Italians would have done with it. The Swedes having the advantage of a very good bearing industry. The Swedes were suppling bearings to Britain to use in Bristol Hercules engines (among other uses). Some of the Italian designers may have been very good but a lot of times engine makers were relying on outside suppliers for things like bearings and springs and valves.
The Italians did manufacture DB605s. I am not aware of reliability issues.
 

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