Eighty years on. 28th August 1940


With fine weather the Germans mounted four raids of 60-100 aircraft, bombing RAF airfields in Southern England throughout the daylight hours.  Most raids were turned back by RAF fighters and little damage was done to airfields.  The Germans lost 19 Bf109 fighters, 8 bombers and a WWI-era Gotha biplane bomber which crash landed on Lewes racecourse.  The RAF lost 20 fighters, including 3 Defiants. Overnight, there is the first concerted heavy bombing of industrial centres in the Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Sheffield, Manchester and South Yorkshire).  Liverpool was bombed for the first time.

200 miles north-west of Ireland, U-101 hit the Finnish steamer Elle with 1 torpedo.  27 crew were picked up by sloop HMS Leith which scuttles Elle with 2 shells.   U-28 later sank the British steamer Kyno in the same area.

The colonies of French Congo and Ubangi-Shari joined the Free French. The small colony of Gabon was the last French possession in the region to remain pro-Vichy.  The Vichy Government in France broke off all diplomatic relations with European governments in exile.

Game day 363. Week 52.  Italian economy and military forces.

Italy was reworked to the new game system.  I have details of the Italian forces available in 1940, down to division/squadron/warship level, and of the divisions involved in the North African campaign, which made things easier.  I will need to return to the forces on the Libyan/Egyptian border to make adjustments for past battles.

As for other land, air and naval units, I randomised their placement around the cities and ports of Italy and the colonies, including the newly taken ex-British port of Berbera.  The Italians have 261 military units (air, land and sea) and 1,370 merchant ships.

As to the economy, the Italians have over three times the food they need.  The home country is self-sufficient and the colonies produce far more than required.  Italy also has steel production capacity of 40,000 tons per week, but no natural supply of coal or iron, which will need to be imported.  Neither does Italy have any natural oil reserves, so that too must be imported.

My trusty 1938 atlas informs me that Genoa exports cotton products, silk and wine and imports cotton and wheat.  Naples exports macaroni, cheese, hemp and wine and imports wheat, coal and raw cotton.  Trieste, strangely, is importing wine, along with grain, oil, wool, cotton, tobacco and coffee.  Tripoli exports phosphates, grain, flour, and wine and imports cotton products, sugar, iron and steel.

So it would appear that historically Italy was surviving on exports of cheese, wine, pasta produced from imported wheat and woven items produced from imported raw cotton and local silk.  For game purposes, oil is coming in through Trieste and food exported through Naples.  I am guessing that coal and steel were sourced from continental European nations.

Historically I need to move some submarines to the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.  Submarine speed is around 20mph on the surface with a range of about 6,000 miles.   Allowing for operational issues I allowed 400 miles per day (8 map squares).

For week 52, to keep the steel works running the Italians need to buy in 40,000 tons of pig iron and 40,000 tons of coal, along with the same quantity for the next week. The closest sources are Czechoslovakia for the coal and Germany for the smelted pig iron. 

Italy takes two week’s supply of coal from Czechoslovakia (80,000 tons).  The pig iron was sourced from Germany (80,000 tons).  With this Italy produces 40,000 tons of steel, available for building and armaments production.

Italy has over 2,000,000 tons of surplus food to trade, mainly from Libya.

Published by

General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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