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Alt Italy

zen

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So in the vein of UK75's AH scenarios, how different could Italy and it's successful military projects have been ?
 

uk 75

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Italy is a significant partner and customer for many key projects.
It nearly developed its own nuclear weapons and nuclear powered submarines.
Politically, alternatives range from changing sides to the Soviet Bloc or non-alignment like Yugoslavia to the emergence of an Italian De Gaulle who could make Italy as successful as France or Germany. Italy is never boring.
Italian warships were among the best designs in NATO. An aircraft carrier was well within the capability of its industry.
Fiat produced the G91 which equipped the
close support squadrons of the West German Air Force. The G222 was a far more successful light transport than Britain's Andover or France's Breguet 941.
The Italians fielded their own 120mm gun tank and MICV as well as a wheeled tank destroyer.
Lots of good ideas here.
 

Archibald

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Politically, post-1945 Italy is a very complex and sometimes ugly land. All the way from the King departure to Aldo Moro butchering, Gladio, Bologne carnage, and Berlusconi (better not going political here).

How could Italy get better politics post-1945, I have no idea.

On strictly aerospace grounds what the country achieved OTL is already quite impressive: Alfa missile, Scout rockets, Spacelab modules, helicopters, combat aircraft (F-104S were the best of the lot), the navy had fine and impressive ships... lot of cool stuff, lot of whatif potential.
 

Hood

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Yes, arguably Italy did very well in all military production spheres and continues to do so.
Additions to uk75 and Archibald's lists includes homing torpedoes, Apside, Dardo mounts, OTO Melara guns (land and sea), Otomat, Sea Killer, Breda AFVs, AMX, Bell and Sikorsky licence-builds, radar systems of all types.
They were never afraid to take NATO-compatibility and run with it, improving on it and often exporting with success due to commonality and good prices.

They exported well and many of the companies are still in existence and going strong.
While Westland might have thought of Agusta as being a junior partner on EH101 at the start, they ended up buying all of Westland!

Any what-if's are simply icing on the cake, I can't think of much that Italy really lacked - maybe the G.91Y would have been better as true supersonic multi-role type, maybe a next-step Apside successor would have been worthwhile, but really I'm at a loss for ideas to improve the kit fielded in the post-war era. In some aspects they matched what nations like Britain and France achieved and outmatched them in some areas. Arguably some kit, like Otomat, deserved greater sales success.
 

Archibald

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Funnily enough otomat sounds like "aux tomates" - "with tomato" - my pasta, please. In french robots are automates and my pasta too - aux tomates.
I get my coat...

G222 was a nice little transport. And AMX is cute and efficient jet.
 

archipeppe

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My 2 cents:

1. Ambrosini Leone enters is service in early 60's no need for F-104 as interceptor maybe only as bomber...
2. Agusta A-101G helicopter into production and service, great deal of service and clients
3. First Trieste half carrier launched and commissioned by Italian Navy with specific version of G-95-4 VTOL fighter
4. Guglielmo Marconi SLBM enter in service with Alfa missiles during 70's
5. FIAT G-91YS for Switzerland enters in service to replace all the Venoms
6. MB 339K enters in service and fires up the AMX project
7. Agusta Tonal helicopter replace Mangustas into the half 90's
8. San Marco Scout rocket become operational at the end of 90's
 

Lascaris

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I actually wondered, how do you get an Italian Ouragan/Mystere? One is arguably needed if you are to get a more independent Italian line of fighters. Gabrielli's G.80 looks promising as a basis... if you move it two years early and make it a fighter. So ow do you speed Italian rearmament post WW2 to achieve any of this?

More twisted line of thought. Italy (and Germany) get Mirage III instead of F-104. By 1968 the Italians are playing with a new version using a Spey engine. By arount 1980 the ultimate derivative with F100/P1120/F404/RB199 shows up... and that's how you got Italian designed Mirage 2000s...
 

isayyo2

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1. Much stronger nuclear industry, 60% + of energy from reactors (like France)
2. Mirage IVK Spey powered Heavy-Fighter with recesses for Skyflash/Aspide
3. Aerial refueling capabilities, KC-97 turboprops?
4. SSNs/SSBNs for the Med
5. Land based Polaris/Alfa silos?
6. Supersonic AMX Fighter-Bomber to compete/replace Jaguar
7. PA75 collaboration with France
8. CG/CGN program

Land based Buccaneers for anti-shipping duty?
 

Hood

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I had forgotten Tonal! That is one good what-if that could have made a difference.
I think it is a shame Italy never had the chance to develop its own supersonic fighter after the G.91 series to replace the F-104S in the 1970s/80s. It would probably have needed another partner nation to share the R&D costs, although something like the Orao/Novi Avion programmes might have been possible using reheated Speys.
 

uk 75

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A scenario where Fiat and Dassault team up after Italy buys Mirage instead of F104 opens up some interesting possibilities, especially in VSTOL.
Instead of Tornado Italy joins France on Mirage G or 4000
 

Archibald

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3. Aerial refueling capabilities, KC-97 turboprops?
Interestingly enough, one of the very few country bar the USA (and Israel !) which bought KC-97s was Spain, in the 70's they were passed half a dozen for aerial refueling of their diverse fast jet fleet, Phantom included.

Spain also had a handful of AH-1G for its navy out of the Dedalo small carrier !
 

archipeppe

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At the end of 40's US Govern proposed to Italian Navy the acquisition of 2-3 small aircraft carrier (a couple of Casablanca class and one Independace, maybe the same Cabot that later become the Spanish Dedalo).
Those talks lead to the acquisition of 40 Curtiss Helldiver by Italian Naval Aviation that lead to a face to face conflict with Italian Air Force (and caused an infamous episode in Naples NAS).
In the end the Italian Govern withdraw the accord and Italian Navy was left w/o any carrier up to the actual Garibaldi.

If successfull maybe there were also Italian F-4U Corsair and early jets like Panther and Cougar all onboad Italian carriers.
 

Archibald

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Would be fun to have Dedalo, Lafayette and that italian carrier sailing side by side: all three were Independance class. France also had a fourth one, Bois Belleau / Belleau wood.

There were nine Independence class: one was lost at Samar (Taffy 3 heroic stand) another got nuked in 1946.


Of the seven left France got two, Spain got one only much later (the French ones were gone by 1964, Dedalo come in 1967). So Italy would have five left to chose between, as did Spain.

The British had sixteen Colossus / Majestic, the USN had seven Independence left and also Wright and Saipan. On paper at least that's 25 fast CVL / escort available post WWII. Plus some hundred slow and small "jeep carriers": Sangamon, Casablanca...
 
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isayyo2

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Would be fun to have Dedalo, Lafayette and that italian carrier sailing side by side: all three were Independance class. France also had a fourth one, Bois Belleau / Belleau wood.

There were nine Independence class: one was lost at Samar (Taffy 3 heroic stand) another got nuked in 1946.


Of the seven left France got two, Spain got one only much later (the French ones were gone by 1964, Dedalo come in 1967). So Italy would have five left to chose between, as did Spain.

The British had sixteen Colossus / Majestic, the USN had seven Independence left and also Wright and Saipan. On paper at least that's 25 fast CVL / escort available post WWII. Plus some hundred slow and small "jeep carriers": Sangamon, Casablanca...
I wonder if there were enough reserve buoyancy for a small angled deck on the CVLs? Or perhaps it’d be cheaper for Italy to complete the third Clemenceau?
 

Elan Vital

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It appears that the economy and unstable governments are what should have changed. To give an example, the Italians were looking at every option for a new tank after the M47, becoming an observer in the AMX-30/Leo 1 competition. However when the Leo 1 won and the Army wanted it a lot the budget was not large enough to buy it and the Leo 1 was the most expensive tank at the time.
So instead an agreement to build the M60A1 was made and some 200 were built by OTO Melara, but the government yet again didn't approve the funding to make 1000 as intended so production stopped. A new tank was still needed so the Italians WENT BACK to the Leopard (with a 2-year gap), but obviously without the favourable status of when they were observers in the Europanzer program. It still costed the same as when Leo 1 was refused in 1963.

So Italy delayed the introduction of a large number of new tanks by several years, made a small run of one tank and a large one of another, got a mixed fleet and bought two different production lines all because the government kept changing so much it couldn't just pick one and approve the funding even when the money actually was spent anyway. Purchasing only the M60A1 or the Leopard 1 would have wasted less money and modernized the army more quickly.

Personally, I think the Leopard 1 would have been the best choice anyway in spite of its high unit cost. It was more reliable than the pre-RISE M60A1 and more importantly purchasing it while Italy was still in the Europanzer program would have put them in a much more equal position to consider a joint export agreement instead of jointly designing the Leone and then getting screwed over by Germany. Similarly I think that in hindsight joining the Leopard 2 program like the Netherlands would have been much better than developping the Ariete alone, as the latter was worse and actually over 15% more expensive than the Leo 2 (confirmed in Italian hearings). Italy would still have been able to put its own components when useful in any case.

Had Italy not been so cheap, it could also have introduced domestic stabilizers and night vision (better than the German one) to the Leopard 1 in the 1970s, a significant improvement over the IRL Italian Leo 1 which kept German NV and lacked stabs.
 

Archibald

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The above reminds me of 3rd Republic France also affected by maddening political instability.
This had consequences at every level including the military, before 1914. How many times was a decent defense minister swept away by a government collapse and replaced by a new one that happened to be a perfect idiot ?

From the top of my head - one example was related to the early years of the submarine force.

To make a long story short, the Jeune école cataclysm luckily did not touched submarines, and circa 1900 France was really a leader in the field, partly thanks to a passable Navy minister. And then... the government fell, a new one come including a very dumb navy minister, and by bad luck it lasted three years... and the nascent submarine fleet was crippled with ill-suited designs (Mariotte, nicknamed: "the tooth brush" thanks to its wrong shape.)
 

Elan Vital

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The above reminds me of 3rd Republic France also affected by maddening political instability.
This had consequences at every level including the military, before 1914. How many times was a decent defense minister swept away by a government collapse and replaced by a new one that happened to be a perfect idiot ?

From the top of my head - one example was related to the early years of the submarine force.

To make a long story short, the Jeune école cataclysm luckily did not touched submarines, and circa 1900 France was really a leader in the field, partly thanks to a passable Navy minister. And then... the government fell, a new one come including a very dumb navy minister, and by bad luck it lasted three years... and the nascent submarine fleet was crippled with ill-suited designs (Mariotte, nicknamed: "the tooth brush" thanks to its wrong shape.)
Same goes for the airforce occasionally. 1933-36's Denain was a former advisor in Poland so he never witnessed French airforce developments, so he was quite incompetent. He was also following Douhet's ideas without really understanding them and only chose sycophants. The whole BCR debacle would probably not have been as disastrous with someone else.
The specs for a high speed fighter (that led to the D520) were also unveiled over a year after they were already ready because a government change made everyone too busy to think about them.
 
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