User talk:Romaioi/Archive 1

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Summary of Events Concerning False Sock Puppetry Accusations against User: Romaioi[edit]

On 25 June 2008, an accusation was made that User: Romaioi, a relatively new user, was a sock puppet. The bulk of the written evidence presented against User: Romaioi was manipulative and misrepresentative. The manner of some of the accusations represent ed personal attacks. Moreover, User: Romaioi was implied to be a fanatic because he chose to defend against the accusations. Defense was presented by User: Romaioi in accordance with the rules outlined to him.

On 2 July 2008, it was categorically shown (at link1 & link2) that User: Romaioi was not a sock puppet. Further, this is clear evidence that all assumptions made about User: Romaioi have been wrong! The saga has should also be a reminder for whoever wishes to raise such accusations against anyone in future to be more thorough in their examination of the evidence before stepping over that line. It certainly would not have taken much investigation to observe distinctly different patterns between User: Romaioi and the rest of the suspected socks.

No acknowledgement of his error or apology (for either the mistakes or the personal attacks) has been made by the accuser.

The extreme prejudice by the accuser against User: Romaioi has continued after the sock puppetry case. The accuser has committed acts of vandalism on edits by User: Romaioi, before, during, and after the sock puppetry case against him. These have been in the form of deletion of edits that User: Romaioi has contributed (either in part or in whole) and typically making accusations of Wikipedia:Vandalism as justification for removal - only to be undone by other users.

All content presented by User: Romaioi is verifiable, has been supported by citations from published third-party texts, and was contributed on good faith.

User: Romaioi has been criticized for making personal attacks against the accuser during his defense. These so-called personal attacks were in the form of demonstrating (and claiming) the accuser to be lying and/or to be manipulative. Yet, it should be noted that no criticism has been made of the accuser for his treatment of User: Romaioi.

Whilst the overall cause for which the accuser was working for was good, his treatment of an innocent contributor has been, in my opinion, reprehensible and devoid of good faith.

Romaioi (talk) 15:00, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

This subject should not be altered in any way. It’s purpose is to summarize events pertaining to the false accusations towards and treatment of User: Romaioi. Because the intention is brevity, additional comments will be deleted – background information can be sought in the archives and the related evidence pages. Acts of Wikipedia:Vandalism will be reported in accordance with guidelines at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents.

WQA on you[edit]

Please be aware that it has been filed here. Ncmvocalist (talk) 01:48, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Moved discussion from above to here:

OK, there are clear personal attacks here. I have attempted to explain the process, why you were highlighted and made it clear that there was nothing personal in any of it. noclador has also indicated to you there was nothing personal in any of it. I would strongly urge you to remove this from your user pages. Justin talk 15:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

This is a summary of events that have occured - there are no derogatory statements. noclador indicated nothing of the sort to me. Further, there has been repeated deletion of my edits in several locations. Romaioi (talk) 16:10, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

There is a clear personal attack here, for information I have left a wikiquette alert here, I really do suggest that you need to calm down, realise there was nothing personal in any of this and that your response is inappropriate. Justin talk 19:06, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Romaioi, I came here because of the Wikiquette alert Justin referred to. I understand that you are upset about the false accusations, and I suppose you wouldn't be human if you weren't. I can't imagine how pissed I would be if somebody falsely accused me of sockpuppetry.
However, I think the best thing you can do here is to just move on. If noclador were take a make a habit of falsely accusing people of being socks, trust me that he'd be sanctioned for it. I think it is best to view this as an isolated incident, where you kindof got a little screwed over -- but on the plus side, the evidence exonerated you and there is no reason for anyone to hold it against you any longer.
If noclador is continuing with inappropriate behavior, such as vandalizing your edits, that should be handled separately. If you would like to provide diffs of this behavior on my talk page, I would be willing to look into it. Thanks, and I hope you are able to put this behind you. Best of luck! --Jaysweet (talk) 15:45, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi Jaysweet. Thanks for your comments. If you don't mind can I refer you to my comments at the WQA page? Its not just about the sockpuppetry, its the treatment that went with it. The more I write, the more that is said against me. The above was to summarise events as an example of an ethical issue. It was meant to be my final word. Beyond that I have not continued this. I was trying to be sincere and thought it was fair to summarise given all the circumstances. It does, after all, acknowledge my own fault too. There are several negative comments about me around that I do not think are going to be removed. And there is plenty that was done to me that was not unacknowledged. If I have to remove what is above, then noclador's comments pertaining to me should go to. noclador has not done anything since my above summary was posted, so I am not interested in creating a WQA against him unless he continues. I am sorry, it was not my intention to drag all this out, and I am sorry more people are involved. Sincerely Romaioi (talk) 15:43, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi Justin. I am really sorry you feel that way. This is not about you. Its not my intention to make a personal attack on you. I am sorry but I do not agree with you concerning noclador's behaviour. Also I do not see that comments in the summary strictly fit definitions at personal attacks. Rest assured I am calm. Sincerely Romaioi (talk) 15:43, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Will likely raise this issue at the Miscellany for deletion process[edit]

As a heads-up, I believe I am going to bring this up at Miscellany for deletion, to try and get a community consensus on whether it is an appropriate use of a User talk page. --Jaysweet (talk) 14:29, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi Jaysweet. I just logged back on for the first time since last Wednesday to look at dealing with all this. Can you please give me a chance to deal with the WQA issue first? My voluntary removal of the summary depends on the outcome there. Romaioi (talk) 12:12, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
No accusations have been made, "I can only see this escalating, would someone be able to intervene please." The intention is to stop this escalating. In view of that I would appreciate it, if you would review your remarks. Justin talk 14:00, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, no problems. I don't want escalaton either. The term "accusation" has been deleted from above. I hope you do not take my response to Ncmvocalist the wrong way. I am trying to limit discussion on the matter on the WQA page. Romaioi (talk) 14:25, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, I think I'm okay with it now. To be frank, I think it makes you look bitter and defensive, and I think you could rightly take the moral high ground by removing those comments... but at this point, I don't see any policy violations and I am fine with you leaving it the way it is, if that is your choice. --Jaysweet (talk) 17:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Sockpuppetry case[edit]

Puppeter template.svg

You have been accused of sockpuppetry. Please refer to Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Giovanni Giove (2nd) for evidence. Please make sure you make yourself familiar with notes for the suspect before editing the evidence page. noclador (talk) 12:26, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Where I am supposed to defend this? What is the basis??????? Itemize your evidence. There is no evidence on Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Giovanni Giove (2nd) pertaining to my username! You can't just casually make an accusation without providing evidence, or an avenue for defence. You need to be ensure that you are correct before you make such accusations.
I am new to wikipedia so I do not really know precisely how I am supposed to deal with this right now. There should be some means of checking a user's IP patterns. Did you bother to do that? Obviously not.
a) to check on IP patterns wikipedia does a checkuser. This is currently underway and above was posted to inform you about it.
b) Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Giovanni Giove 2nd is the correct link - sorry there was a wikilink error.
c) You have been named, as some of your edits does are of the same kind/ have a similar edit comment as the useres listed at Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Giovanni Giove 2nd. To understand who of the listed users is a sock of community-banned vandal eGiovanni Giove, we created the aforementioned case and included you to make sure what you are: a legitimate editor caught up in this or yet another sock.
d) Reasons for listing you: Your interest in topics regarding Italy and its military in WWII and Istrian exodus - both areas were User:Brunodam and the above socks have for a long time tried to manipulate the content (towards fascist glorification and revisionism)
e) What can you do? Well, as the checkuser case is open now and administrators (only some of them can do this) will check the IP's of all the users listed we will soon know, if you were wrongly mixed up in this or are a sock.
f) Please refrain from re-inserting the paragraph I deleted at Military history of Italy during World War II. It was written by the aforementioned socks with the stated intent to glorify the Italian Army in WWII. It's not neutral and it uses various fascist claims/statement as sources and that is unacceptable for an encyclopedia.
--noclador (talk) 08:33, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
I will be expecting an unreserved apology from you.
Yes, I am have recently made contributions on Italy and its military in WWII and Istrian exodus etc because they are topics that are not covered very well in English texts - which is my (mother) language (and what is covered is usually in disparaging/dismissive tones and not based on facts, but rather, heresay). My interest is in the plight of the soldiers and civilians, who I see (the majority of) as victims of the regime(s) more than any other perpetrator. The administrators may well inform you that my IP originates from Australia. I have not been around long enough to make many contributions elsewhere yet - I do after all have a day job and a family. Hence, my contributions have so far been skewed to those topics due to time constraints more than anything else.
If you really want to do your homework check the citations that I have added. They are all from English (& Swiss) texts. Do not associate me with fascists. Furthermore, I have backed up everything I have contributed with citations. Do your homework.
Ask the administrators to contact me privately. I will disclose to them who I am and what my qualifications are.
Further, my only contribution to the Istrian exodus article was to provide to English language news articles. Where is the crime in that?
Regarding f). I will be reinserting the section you deleted at Military history of Italy during World War II. Most of that articles' current form was due to my work. I expanded it from a largely uncited version that I found under Italian Army some time ago (I copied it to its current location due to greater relevance and did not delete the original because I did not want to annoy the originator) and included citations and quotes from English texts. It is a topic that requires addressing because of the long legacy of English texts to have a largely dismissive, non-factual, non-"NPOV" towards Italian soldiers. Use some of that good faith that you mentioned. Open a discussion page. Help me improve it instead of “vandalizing” my contribution. I have more to add when I get the rest of my sources out of storage. I cannot vouch for the radio Berlin links. I did not inlcude them. However, if you have an issue with them, as I said, put it on a discussion page.
My version was hardly biased. It’s objective was to point out that Italian soldiers of the era were not cowards, as depicted in too many English texts. I am simply reporting sources that say different (most of the sources originate from the British military).
Fascist sources you imply? I quoted, for example, General Alexander (a leading British figure of the war). I was not aware that he was fascist!!?
As a scientist, I believe I am qualified to comment on bias. And, I dare say that you will find far greater bias (even in sanctioned texts) elsewhere.
Below are the main sources that I have been working from so far:
  • Bierman, John (2003). War without hate : the desert campaign of 1940-1943 (New edition ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0142003947.  Unknown parameter |origdate= ignored (|orig-year= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  • Walker, Ian W. (2003). Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts; Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-646-4. 
  • Keegan, John (2005). The Second World War. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-303573-8. 
  • Bauer, Eddy (2000). The History of World War II (Revised edition ed.). London, UK: Orbis Publishing. ISBN 1-85605-552-3.  Unknown parameter |origdate= ignored (|orig-year= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
I also have on hand Chester Wlimot's "Tobruk" & Peter Fitsimons "Tobruk", in reference to North Africa, which I have yet to cite.
--Romaioi (talk) 11:14, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm not gonna discuss with you any further - above posts by you have massively reinforced the suspicion that you are in fact a sock of User:Generalmesse. Lets just wait for the checkuser results. --noclador (talk) 12:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Your moral and intuitive compass is upside down.
Make sure the administrators read this conversation.
--Romaioi (talk) 13:27, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
The checkuser came back negative. You seem obviously caught up in the edits of an editor who has created a veritiable plethora of sock puppets with the aim of a POV campaign. As it happens the overwhelming majority of the accounts identified were the sock puppets of a single user. The idea of a checkuser is simply to identify whether your account was used in this way, it was not an accusation of wrong doing. I would also point out that defending yourself through personal attacks (for example accusing noclador of "lying") did not help your case and merely heightened suspicions about you. In future, please have a little faith in the process. Regards, Justin talk 11:14, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I really do appreciate your comments Justin and the purpose of checkuser. Please do not think otherwise when you read what I write next. I believe the personal attacks were against me. Whilst my initial comments to noclador were terse in nature I am sure it can be appreciated how someone who always cites his work and has been wrongly implicated of acts that he abhors would react in that way. When I opened up and highlighted some of my background, he immediately manipulated it and used it against me. This is indicative of someone who made up his mind to target me without conclusive evidence. Moreover, he did not do his homework and investigate who actually contributed what, nor examine the content of my own contributions and their verifiability. The information history was all there for all to see, yet it was being presented differently. He also in the process, deleted a section of work that I spent a lot of time validating with citations, simply because he believed me to be Generalmesse or whoever else. I have presented copious amounts of information at Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Giovanni Giove 2nd that, although emotive in some passages, demonstrate that noclador's assertions and evidence concerning me were full of holes. The inconsistencies of his "evidence", the manner in which he manipulated my disclosures, and selectively presented my previous discussions with others from here and User talk:, indicated to me that he was happy "misinform or bend the truth" just to see me implicated. He also tried to rally support from colleagues in support against me, using frivolous arguments, such as the length of time I was online yesterday (see link). This was all, in my opinion, a personal attack against me and it was defamation. To me, it all reeked of a witch hunt. Whilst I am relieved that I have now been exonerated, I am also somewhat surprised, as I was quite certain that I was going to be banned regardless, given the manner in which the arguments were being presented and that he had colleagues who clearly believed him, in spite of my defense (see link).
I am curious, where is Generalmesse's IP(s) from? I believe I deserve to know.
Romaioi (talk) 12:24, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
PS. I will try to have more faith next time.
PPS, is from Perth Australia. (I've been stating my location repeatedly.) Its a account. The fact that it is 4000km away from the others, as per the link, indicates that they are in Sydney or thereabouts.
I believe it comes out to be Australia for the cases I checked, i.e. where we could link an IP with Generalmesse. Editors can't access IP only an admin with Checkuser access can do that. The IP came to be from Telstra so the actual geolocation within Australia cannot be reliably established, the other IP is possibly an Internet Cafe.
With respect I think you over-reacted, there wasn't a personal attack made against you and there was no intention to judge you on the basis of the sockpuppet report. The purpose of the sockpuppet report is simply to show that there is enough circumstantial evidence to justify a checkuser report. It isn't definitive evidence, only the checkuser report can provide the basis for a ban.
Both noclador, I and other editors were looking for edits of a certain profile and your edits fitted that profile. The link was made when you restored an edit made by Generalmesse, had I come across that first I have to say that I would very likely have linked you as a possible sockpuppet myself. There was a slight hiccup with the link to the sockpuppet report but I would also point out that I've been keeping an eye on Generalmesse for weeks and even I didn't notice noclador had typed in the wrong wikilink. You have to understand that this guy had a prolific number of sockpuppets and was creating merry havoc with a number of articles.
Part of your problem, which heightened the suspicion was the reams of argument, this was exacerbated with the personal attack upon noclador, who I will remind you informed you the reason for the checkuser was to "make sure what you are: a legitimate editor caught up in this or yet another sock.". When I saw that I must admit that I also assumed that you were a likely candidate, since that itself fitted the profile with this user.
I would suggest that you put this behind you and see it for what it was, a group of editors trying to stop an individual disprupting the good work of others. It was neither a personal attack or defamation and to be honest you do yourself no favours by continuing with such accusations. Regards, Justin talk 13:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


Justin, I appreciate that you were after a serial disruptor, I have seen the types of vandalism that has occurred (the several classical history topics see no end of it) and agree that these pests must be sought out. I am all for it. And of the type of pests you were seeking out in this case, I meet that kind regularly, from all kinds of backgrounds, promoting all kinds of uninfomred bias. I think it would be a good idea that, in the case of some topics at least, that edits are not to become immediately viewable on the public pages, but rather go through a review to ensure the material is not spam or vandalism and is verifiable content. This will give greater control over the integrity of material published, and will go some way in mitigating the effects of socks. This would represent a move, to some extent only, to the review format of a scientific journal, like JACS. Obviously its not fool proof as the review process in journals also allows some questionable content through. It also reduces flexibility, but the advantage is greater control over spam.

I admit that I may have over reacted to some degree. Whilst it will be of no consequence to you I currently have the flu (a real flu - 2nd time ever for me). So my state of mind was not at its best. However, reams of defence was put forward in an attempt to be thorough, something which the evidence against me was not. The circumstantial evidence that was put forward looked manipulative and it is evident to me that a conclusion was reached as to my identity, with no concern for my good faith or sincerity. Being that, in the words of noclador at the top of this section, I was accused of sockpuppetry, and given the manner in which I was accused then I should be allowed to rebuff.

What I put forward in my defence, and above stands. There were major discprecencies between the evidence presented and the tone of content that I wrote. Whether intended or not, the evidence was twisted to make it look as though I was being deceptive, and untruthful jibes were made about me claiming to want to be a published author were made. I don’t recall typing that ever. A claim was made that the composite passages of writing from my talk page was 1:1 Generalmesse, yet no equivalent passage of Generalmesse’s was presented to demonstrate the supposed similarity. To me, AT THE TIME, this all signified "malicious" intent. Yet you are focussing solely on me calling him a liar. (I am more than reasonable and know that I should not have declared that outright; If there is a next time I will do it by academic means and only present the evidence.) However, noclador has not been taken up on his slights and jibes. He has also yet to acknowledge that he was at fault in regards to me.

On top of all this my defence was being referred to as fanatical (at Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/Giovanni Giove), because I put forward a defence? (That's more of a personal attack than calling someone a liar.) Yet the rules state that: If the accuser has listed evidence against you, you should respond to the allegations, unless they are obviously frivolous. You are allowed to respond to each and every accusation on the evidence page but are not allowed to remove accusations. This is what I did - and I tried to cover everything, every aspect possible (from simply not being the culprit, to the implications of pro-fascism). After all, it only took the slightest amount of suspicion for it to be believed that I was someone else. Being that I have the flu, it took a lot of edits to put it together and obviously was more emotive than if could be. Yet, with respect, this is the first time that I have heard that putting forward a lot of defence makes someone look guilty - I tend to think the opposite. Feels like a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. Rhetorical question: Did anyone actually read and examined the content of my evidence before the definitive results from checkuser? And why do I have to defend defending myself?

Enough semantics and onto my main points:

I appreciate how a SUPERFICIAL link can be made between Generalmesse and myself by virtue of the fact that we contributed to some of the same topics (and most of my contributions have, so far, been on these subjects). I have not read comments or contributions from Generalmesse and his socks so I cannot assess them (I assumed, as a novice here, that most contributions were being made on good faith). However, given that my style is to cite just about everything I put forward from non-biased/third-party authors/sources, and from what I can infer about this Generalmesse clown his style is extremely biased and not supported by citations of merit. So I strongly doubt that my profile closely fits his. There were several patterns in the usernames and main pages alone which did not fit. My opinions, are presented as just that on my talk page and they are not illegal, but they have sound factual basis - I can back everything I say up from a third party source, except where I state speculation.

I also firmly believe that had my contributions and their chronology been examined thoroughly, as presented in my defence, then suspicions concerning my identity would have been alleviated. Yet it the insinuation I am a fanatic because I went to the trouble of defending myself is rather perplexing me.

Finally, the fact that checkuser has shown me to not be Generalmesse is clear evidence that all assumptions made about me have been wrong! So I hope that all conjecture regarding my motivation will now cease.

I would hope that in future, whoever wishes to raise such suspicions against anyone should be more thorough in their examination of the evidence before stepping over that line.

Nolcor has not even managed to acknowledge that he made a mistake. Doing so is a key attribute of integrity. It would also improve his credibility with me. Particularly given that I do not appreciate my sincerity being abused. Full stop!

Facts and integrity are more important than favours.

I am going to leave this up here to marinate for a few weeks before I delete this section.

Kind regards,

Romaioi (talk) 14:42, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what to say, other than to repeat myself which is clearly not going to do much good. If you feel slighted, then you can resort to Wikipedia:Wikiquette alerts to air a grievance. However, before you do I would suggest you have a thought about the personal attacks you made against another editor. Your statement above clearly includes a further personal attack. Justin talk 16:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
The above was meant to be my last post on the matter - I was hoping to leave it there and with some closure statements at noclador.
Yes, well it appears that we at an impass. You do not need to repeat yourself. I took in what you said. Yes I do feel slighted. I feel that I would not have been supected as strongly had a little more investigation been conducted. And I feel that what he has done to me, personally (inspite of the good cause), has been brushed aside, and I am being asked to back down.
I am not sure who this other editor is you refer too. But it was not my intention to attack anyone else of note, and if it has come across that way then I sincerely apologise.
In regards to nocaldor, seeing that he has made no acknowledgment or apology for his mistake and his personal attacks, which I feel are more numerous and more vicious than my calling him a liar, then I do not feel inclined to retract any of my comments against him. Given that he has also has deleted my comments at User talk:Noclador and claimed them to be vandalism – only to be undone by another contributor. For me, this reaffirms my comments pertaining to integrity. I am happy to leave it at that – I can’t really be bothered pursuing it further, as much as I think he should be made aware of the significance of what he did. Otherwise, that type of behaviour is condoned.
In light of this if you feel that my comments are of too great a detriment, then by all means, request for my banning. I am sure that would delight noclador. I have been rather put off by all of this any way. My objective 1 month ago was to merely contribute.
Thank you for the link. And I appreciate your time.
Kind Regards
Romaioi (talk) 17:29, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Julia's strength[edit]

Hello! Could you please cite the exact reference you gave for Julia having only 6,000 men? Because I am really doubtful of it. Greek sources universally give 10,800 men, which is a logical number, while 6,000 is way too low. A binary division means a division with two infantry regiments plus support services (artillery regiment etc), which is way more than 6,000 men, at least at the beginning of a campaign. If you check out the numbers on the 4 Alpine Division Cuneense, you'll see what I mean. If one Alpini Regiment had 5,206 men (taken from here), even if we suppose it was understrength, there is no way that a whole division could have numbered 6,000. Thank you. Constantine 09:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Oh, I looked up an old Osprey book on the Italian Army, and it clearly says: establishment strength for an Alpine division: 13,000 men. Constantine 10:01, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Hello Konstantinos! Thanks for the message. This is a much better medium - more room. I have been scouring my library for an exact reference that states the Julia's numbers (this one actually states 7000) all afternoon and am still looking. I will have to keep looking (thats why I said "reference tba" in the summary of my original modification). The other references that I have been included so far are there to point illustrate that Italian divisions were binary. I stated ca. 6000 because, as a result of the binary policy, Italian divsions had between 5000 - 7000 troops - I can cite half a dozen references that state this (Bierman and Smith's Alemain book (2002) is one example off the top of my head). But as I later found that the "binary" concept was briefly mentioned earlier, they seem to have become moot. It was Mussolini's "trick" to make it appear that the Italian army was much larger than it was.
I saw the Cuneese numbers in my search and was suprised and remain somewhat skeptical. I would love to know where those numbers came from - I tried to establish it but had no luck. My skeptisim comes from the tendency of authors of English texts (particularly the older ones) not have done their homework regarding the Itatalian contributions and other minor powers, literally. Further, they tend to be almost always grossly and unfairly dismissive of Italian involvement. Another characteristic of the English texts is to ignore the binary nature of the Italian divisions, with the result being that they overstate the numbers. This has been addressed thoroughly in the Walker reference that I included (I may have to move that the section in question now). (Refreshingly, there seams to be a change in attitude in some of the more recent texts as there are now some authors who are doing their homework on the Italians and others. (The same goes for all the other minor powers, such as Greece, Romania, Slovakia, etc - they all get ignored too often). So please forgive my cinicism regarding the numbers from the Osprey book - I do not rate it for statistics regarding the Italians, with justification. Romaioi (talk) 15:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for my verboseness. This is a subject that I can go on about. I started out many years ago trying to learn about the involvement of the other powers and it took a most of that time just to piece together the Italian story. Finally, a few books like Walker's have come out that have been able to sum it up nicely.
But I do note from the Commando Supremo reference the mention of 3 regiments, so I guess the Alpini could be different (and my citation indicating 7000 may be incorrect - but it may be right as per my example in th P.S. below). I would still be surprised by this seeing that other special units tended to have less men, not more. The Folgore, for example, had 5000 men at Alamein. The armoured divsions had less than 8,000 men each and were acknowledged to be the equivalenmt to an English reginement.
Getting back to our problem. Can you please do me a favour and cite one of your Greek texts on the numbers in the Julia division? I would be happy with that (and happy to have it changed back to 11,000 and my citations pulled). When I eventually find my reference that says otherwise I will add that number beside your referenced number and then look into it further.
By the way, could you please provide me with a link to a list of established userboxes? I like what you and others have put on your pages and would like to do similar, but so far have not had luck finding the link. Sorry, I am new.
Romaioi (talk) 14:41, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
P.S. I have just done a serach and have found plenty of websites that mention 10800 for the Julia. But on the very same pages they are getting the total troop involvement on both sides wrong. Also, on a nother page, for the Centauro division there is the indication that it is coposed of 3 regiments (1 armoured, 1 artillery, 1 Bersaglieri and several mortorcycle battalions - standard for an Italian armoured divsion), the the divsions was only composed of "4,037 men & 24 guns + 163 light tanks (90 serviceable)" [1]. 3 regiments, yet less than 5000 men!!!! This is covered in the Walker book. Consistency is lacking. Like I said if you can provide a sound citation for the 10800, I would be satisfied... and I will continue searching for my citation.Romaioi (talk) 15:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Hello again! I agree with you on numerous issues you raised: the persistent underestimation of the Italians, the lack of attention paid to minor powers, etc. However, as I said, 6,000 is simply not believable for a division. It may be a division after it has suffered losses in campaign (e.g. the Alamein case), but not a peacetime establishment, even for a binary division. Indeed, after the Battle of Pindus, "Julia" may have numbered ca. 6-7 thousand men, as it suffered some 5,000 casualties. Especially considering that "Julia" was supposed to act as an independent operational command, 6,000 men would be suicidal. (Of course, attacking with 6 understrength divisions in impossible terrain in late October is also suicidal, but...) As for the Cuneese numbers, since they come from a website set up by the division's veterans, I think they ought to be reliable (indeed they are: Dati ufficiali provenienti da un documento dell'Archivio Storico Militare di Roma, firmato dal Colonnello Capo di Stato Maggiore, Lorenzo Navone.). Doubtless, the numbers represent establishment strength, possibly reinforced for the Russian campaign, but still a far cry from 6,000. Now, I didn't get the 11,000 number from the web (notoriously unreliable, except if it can be corroborated in multiple sites), but from a book, which, alas, is now about 300 km away, stored in a box in a basement... So give me some time on this... PS, if you can provide some more insight on how the Italians viewed the whole conflict, I'd be grateful (the Greco-Italian War article is what got me writing here, so it's kind of a pet project). Cheers, Constantine
PS: The 7,000 division could refer to the type AS 42 infantry division, but this did not apply to 1940.

Hello! I am glad we are talking in this manner. You’ve got me thinking that the make up of the Alpini may not have been affected by the binary policy, for various reasons. I can relate to having the appropriate book locked away in storage. I fear the same thing for my reference. I will switch it back to 10,800 and mention that a citation is needed.

But in light of the fact that the policy was for a binary make up, that, for example, a full strength Folgore division had a compliment of 5000 (and numbers like this are quoted for various Italian divisions in various texts), why its 6000 for an Italian division not a believable? Further, Mussolini, boasted that he had 73(?) divisions, but the reality was that at the start of the war they had only enough men for 20 odd divisions (the number quoted was 200,000 men in Bauer’s book) and they were not able to fully equip them. All this has been confused by English exaggerations of Italian numbers. I can relate to you having difficulty picturing it – it took me a long time also!

P.S. I could not find that number on the Cuneese website. I’ll look further. I am starting to doubt it less and less.

On the Italian perspective on the conflict (I assume you mean Greco-Italian campaign). Well, generally speaking, Italians were against the war in general – Greco-Italian campaign no exception. Amongst the Italian public there was strong anti-German feeling well before the war, whilst Britain (and Greece also, but not Yugoslavia) was seen, by both the public and the Royalists, as a natural ally. I cannot stress this point enough. Italo Balbo was the one person of note in the Fascist camp who was vocally anti-German and pro-British, but he was shot down by friendly fire when the war started. (That being said, hypocritical British policy against the Italians pushed Mussolini towards Germany). He (Balbo) claimed that they would end up licking the German boots and was right.

Whilst Mussolini did not enjoy anywhere near the same total support as Hitler did, he was able to silence any opposition by various means, typically through thuggery, but also often by false accusation and incarceration. So he was able to do things with free hand, but only so long as he produced enough results.

The public were aware of the strain of previous wars on the economy. The Ethiopian invasion is well known to have cost far more than predicted and place enormous strain on the economy. However, the Spanish civil war, in which Italian involvement to not finish until 1939, cost even more, amounting to around 14% of the GDP. Unlike the Germans, who ensured that they received payment from Franco for their services, Mussolini gave Italian aid for free (only later presenting a bill that was never paid). The economic impact of these wars is discussed by Walker (yet again) and in Anton Beevor’s Spanish Civil War.

Even Mussolini was aware that the country needed to consolidate – they had actually made good plans to do so. He actually informed the Germans that Italy would not be ready for any conflict until 1943. And Hitler promised no wars until then. This “deceipt” by Hitler is partly what catalysed Mussolini’s motivation to jump in. But mainly, Mussolini was merely being opportunistic and thought the war would be over in months. He went in knowing full well that Italy was not prepared and he was aware that the military was not sufficiently modernised, equipped or coordinated – he has never been forgiven. (He was even so silly as to declare war when half the merchant fleet was at foreign ports – all lost overnight.) It was also an opportunity for him to distract the public from the growing economic troubles at home (standard political practice really).

The decision to invade Greece (which obviously came later) was solely Mussolini's (I have read conflicting stories on what Cianno wanted – all I know is he wanted an expansionist policy but I am not sure how Greece fared in his mind), yet the the rest of the high command, Bodaglio included, irrespective of how much they may have dissagreed, were incompetently complacent. So they are equally to blame. There are plenty of texts about all this (most only talk about it in patches though), but I can’t list all of them off the top of my head. (You know of Bauer, Walker and now Beevor. But also Bierman and Smith’s book on Alamein talks about it. The two books by Eugenio Corti also talk about the soldiers perspective in general. That’s what I can remember off the top of my head.)

Whilst the public could not do much to stop the war from occurring there was a great deal of sabotage of the War effort “from home”. Munition supply cases were often sent to the fronts full of sand, for example. This happened a great deal and I am surprised there isn’t much written in English texts (actually I am not surprised). My grandfather, spoke of this frequently. He was an arditi who served in Yugoslavia and North Africa. And won a silver medal for bravery for successfully diverting an enemy attack, that otherwise would have taken his unit by surprise, onto himself (or his general direction). Prior to that he was shot in the neck (a superficial wound), but refused to be left to wait for medical aid (as it usually never arrived and it meant death or capture), so he continued on.

Being of Italian descent and having spoken to plenty of people (mainly southern Italians) who lived through the war, my father included, I always received the same message: Italians did not want the war. Most of the evidence suggests this to be genuine.

From a personal perspective I do not see why the Italians did not attempt to align themselves with Greece and Yugoslavia in the form of a genuine economic/military alliance. To me it seams obvious. I believe that is would have been win-win, both defensively, economically and regional stability. But of course, this is all from the luxury of my own arm chair.

My own pet interest in the war is the plight of the common soldier on both sides, who was always sent in to do the dirty work and die for the political cronies who sent them to fight, almost always for the wrong reasons. Equally, I am interested in the fate of civilians. And I enjoy learning of the lesser known stories.

Sorry, I have written a lot.


Romaioi (talk) 03:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I fully understand the passion with which you write. It was a stupid, needless war, on which both sides suffered. As you can imagine, I too had family members in the front (my grandmother's brother was actually killed during the first days of the war in Pindus), so I too grew up with tales of it. My own grandfather was very reluctant to go, so his tales were always a bit more realistic and gritty than what one heard on TV or read in books. I don't think that we, today, could endure as much as they did. But here in Greece, the repulsion of the invasion is (justifiably) a major source of pride, with the result that public perception of it is neither very critical nor objective (it often reminds one of the Soviet/Russian stance on the "Great Patriotic War").
The attitude towards the Italians is ambivalent: on the one hand, they are looked down upon for having been defeated and then claiming victory by clinging to the heels of the Wehrmacht (which often leads many to underestimate their valour as individual soldiers). In turn, as a people they are well liked - there is the saying "una fazza, una razza" - and their relatively humane and un-warlike comportment as occupiers makes them more sympathetic in tales. But still, to many Greeks, even today, as far as WW2 is concerned, they were invaders and occupiers, and only that. I remember that about 15 years ago, some family friends, who had been born a few years after WW2, visited Italy, around the Festa della Liberazione. They were outraged that the Italians had the temerity to celebrate Resistance against the Germans. Very few people here know or bother to know anything of what happened in Italy after 1943, and the Occupation was a traumatic event for Greece...
As for the Italian army, the only book I've read that covers the Italian war effort as a whole is "Hitler's Italian Allies" by MacGregor Knox. As is evident from the title alone, he doesn't take a sympathetic point of view, but still, the data he presents are both shocking and overwhelming in quantity and their implications. Even taking account for some bias, they show a military machine that is outdated, totally unprepared, with serious deficiencies in the command echelons and the strategic level, not to speak of the armaments industry and the national economy. To go to war, even as opportunistically as Mussolini did, with such a military, was simply a crime, tantamount to treason.
However I don't think that Mussolini or the Royalist elite would have even thought of the alliance you proposed with Greece or Yugoslavia. Their minds, already since the 1910s, had been set on a "Mediterranean Empire" which involved the subordination of these countries. Bear in mind that Italy occupied the Dodecanese in 1912, promised freedom to the islands' population and to Greece, even signed a treaty to this effect in 1919, and then unilaterally withdrew. In 1920, during the war in Anatolia, they offered shelter to Kemal's irregulars in their occupation zone, and after they withdrew, they supplied the Turks with weapons. Then they applied pressure in favour of Albania on the Northern Epiruys issue, and then there was the Corfu episode. So there was a lot of bad blood between Greece and Italy, even before Mussolini came to power. Ironically, in the early 1930s, Venizelos steered Greece away from Britain and towards Italy. If Mussolini had been a more far-sighted man, that could have been the beginning of a close relationship. Of course, given the internal political turmoil in Greece at the time, making such predictions is tricky, and either way, whether this "alliance" would have succeeded in remaining neutral during or after WW2, is questionable. Cheers, Constantine 11:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I completely understand the Greek perspective. It is to be expected. In the same fashion, Italians could justifiably have the same attitude towards the French and Austrians, in so much they are invader/occupiers - but for some reason they do not. Instead they have these attitudes against each other. And I certainly applaud the achievements of the Greeks in defending their homeland. No invasion with that kind of motivation is justified, benevolent rulers or not. But Mussolini was an irrational megalomaniac; his mindset being akin to that of the British and French 40+ years prior. So he and his cohorts sought expansion in the same fashion. Treason is precisely the right word for what Mussolini etc did, particularly in light of the fact that they were aware of the issues and actually had a timeline in place to modernize etc.
Whilst I can understand the perspective of your friends, it does highlight that progress come comes from understanding all perspectives. Going back to the Italian perspective as an example, it is important to realize that the situation in Italy was rather complicated. For Italians, beyond their immediate poverty, their main concerns were the oppression they experienced under Mussolini’s Fascism, their brothers, fathers and sons being sent to foreign lands to be slaughtered for causes they did not believe in, and their suffering under the Nazi’s (which was rather immense). From this perspective, they have every right to celebrate their liberation. I would hope that your friends would appreciate this and the fact that post-WWII Italy was governed by the very people who fought against the fascists and the Nazi’s (they fought against them in Spain also).
The hardships were no less severe than in any other place. My grandfather, after returning from his ordeals (the chap spent three days in the morgue because he was believed dead from his wounds after his drawing of the enemy attack I spoke of) had to then hide and defend his family from the General Juin-sanctioned rapes and murders that were occurring around Monte Cassino. My wife’s grandfather, a Bersiglieri, survived 2 years in a Nazi concentration camp (extra special treatment was reserved for Italians as a result of their perceived betrayal). A family friend’s father, who served at Tobruk, does not so much begrudge the Germans as he does feel that the Italian betrayal of the Germans was shocking (though he does not appear to be fully aware of the Germans provocation) – but I understand where he is coming from. Another family member, a priest, was shot for hiding Jews during the German occupation. I am sure you could draw many parallels.
To my knowledge Italy has apologized for her wrong doings (with the possible exception of some atrocities in Africa). Though it will be no consolation to Greece, Italy certainly received more punishment that she gave. In the end, my opinion does not matter. There is nothing I can do. But all I know is that if all nations refuse to understand events from all perspectives then we will never move forward. Moreover, those who chose to slant history, or chose to ignore the facts, are almost as guilty as those who committed the crimes. Many historians are guilty of this. Reconciliation is always possible, Australia and Turkey are an example of this. Unfortunately, Turkey and Armenia are an example of the opposite.
Yet, same theme continually re-emerges: the politics of the few always destroys the prospects and relationships of the many.
On another note, you may not be aware of it but there were Royalists that were pro-Greece. Given that Italy’s queen was from Montenegro, it also stands to reason that pro-Yugoslav factions were present. The Corfu incident was Mussolini (taking advantage of the death of one of his Generals), Albania was considered by the Italians as within their sphere of influence in accordance with the 1915 Treaty of London (it was not an anti-Greek affair, the motivation was the protection her interests) and the Dodecanese was to be returned to Greece in exchange for land in Anatolia, which did not occur as a result of the Greco-Turkish war. I am also sure that the Greek occupation, by force, of Turkish territory that was designated to Italy under the 1917 Agreement of St.-Jean-de-Maurienne did not help things. So as we can see, those events were not as simple as suggested in your text (I am not critcising, I am merely highlighting that there is probably much more to it than either of us understand). I have never come across a source that discusses the Italians giving aid to Kemal’s troops in that manner, so I cannot comment. I do find it surprising, however, given that the two countries were extremely antagonistic towards each other since prior to the Italo-Turkish war – there was greater animosity between Italy and Turkey than Italy and Greece.
My suggestion of a Greco-Italo-Yugoslav alliance was not based on any historical precedent – it just seams logical to me. I was aware of Venizelos’s motives towards Italy and have always found Mussolini’s decision to invade Greece all the more outrageous for it. Una fazza, una razza is so very true, which made it all the more a shame for what occurred. Most Sincerely Romaioi (talk) 17:39, 7 June 2008 (UTC).