The Kingdom of Italy (Italian: Regno d'Italia) was a state founded in 1861 when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.
Italy declared war on Austria in alliance with Prussia in 1866: despite an unsuccessful campaign, it received the region of Veneto following Bismarck's victory. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. Italy accepted Bismarck's proposal to enter in a Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882, following strong disagreements with France about the respective colonial expansions. However, even if relations with Berlin became very friendly, the alliance with Vienna remained purely formal, as the Italians were keen to acquire on Trentino and Trieste, parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire populated by Italians. So, in 1915, Italy accepted the British invitation to join the Allies in World War I because the western allies promised territorial compensation (at the expense of Austria-Hungary) for participation that were more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality.
The Great War Edit
Nominally allied with the Central Powers of the German Empire and the Empire of Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance, the Kingdom of Italy refused to join them when the war started in August 1914. Instead in May 1915, almost a year after the war's commencement, after a period of wavering and after secret negotiations with France and Great Britain in which Italy negotiated for territory if victorious, Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies.
Italy fought mostly against Austria-Hungary along the northern border, including high up in the now-Italian Alps and along the Isonzo river. The war was initially a failure for Italy despite being numerically superior to Austria-Hungary. The Italian army repeatedly attacked Austria, making little progress and suffering heavy losses, and then being routed in 1917 by a German-Austrian counteroffensive after Russia left the war allowing the Central Powers to move reinforcements to the Italian Front from the Eastern Front. In October 1918, as civil unrest increased in Austria-Hungary, the Italians attacked again. The Austrian army broke, and the Italians drove deep into Austrian territory.
Despite managing to break through most of Austria's mountain defenses, and nearly pushing into Bavaria, Italy once again managed to hit a stalemate several miles away from Vienna. Italy's supply lines were not able to keep up with rapid advances into the front line, so whenever Italy managed to push forward, their supply shortages would in the end force a retreat back to old positions. This style of warfare would continue till the end of the war.
Despite walking away with numerous gains and a full victory over the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Italy was left in a harsh state during the 20s and 30s. Italian industry had to go under the lengths of returning to civilian production, and the men and women who served had to return home and find new jobs in a market overburdened with surplus goods.
It wasn't until the 1940s that Italy's economy had begun to rise at the same rate as before the war, and even then there were recessions that would push back the progress made due to poor management. In the south, major crop failures did little and helping the large amounts of farmers who quickly found themselves out of money. Many moved to the major cities like Naples, in an attempt to find work in industries or fishing.
By 1960, Italy had fully recovered as was now a major player in Europe once again. Italian and French diplomats discussed the selling of Corsica to Italy several times of the years, yet all attempts failed, and Corsica remained French. During this time period, Italy also experienced an era of cultural pride and growth. In Sicily, it is recorded that at least two festivals happened in all major cities at least twice a year.
In 1970, however, Italy suffered it's greatest disaster since the Roman Empire. The Ottoman Empire, an old enemy long thought weak launched a massive surprise invasion into the heart of Southern Italy. Italian naval dominance of the Mediterranean allowed the Italian Army to let the southern regions be lightly defended, which allowed in some cases for the Ottomans to land troops in some ports unmolested.
Italo-Turkish War Edit
The Italo-Turkish War is widely believed to be the greatest military defeat to ever be suffered by a Great European Power since the Roman Empire. It is unknown how the Turkish were able to slip past the Italian Armada and land in the south, but the fact remains that thousands of Turkish soldiers were able to land with little to no resistance from a non-existent southern garrison. Italian Army and Navy forces were sluggish in their response, but the Regia Aeronautica were able to rapidly mobilize and very rapidly wrestled any aspect of the Ottoman Air Force out of Italy, ensuring Italian Air Superiority for the rest of the war. Regio Esercito however, failed to capitalize fully on the power of close air support and bombing of Turkish positions, and continued to lose ground.
No record of Turkish military loses was ever confirmed by either government, but they are estimated to be higher then the Italian loses due to the Regia Aeronautica's relentless air campaign.
The Regia Marina managed to destroy countless Ottoman naval vessels for little damage of their own, thanks mostly to a modern "Roma" class Battleship having been launched a year prior. It's firepower out ranged and outgunned most naval vessels of the world.
Despite victories in the air and at sea, Italy suffered horribley at land. Turkish troops were well entrenched and fought with a vigor the Italians couldn't match, and suffered heavy losses for it.
Battle of Grottaminarda Edit
The final major offensive by the Ottoman Army was the Battle of Grottaminarda, only 80km away from Naples. General Tor Kaymak launched a large offensive against the broad southern front the Italians had set up to prevent the capture of Naples, which would prevent the Regia Aeronautica from continuing it's air campaign efficiently. The head of the assault landed on the town of Grottaminarda. General Narciso Di Battista was the head of the defense of the center of the line, with Grottaminarda at the center.
The Ottomans began with a large consecutive barrage of artillery in the form of a creeping barrage to allow their infantry and light armor to advance under it's cover. Italian artillery, while fewer in number, responded with a counter-battery in an attempt to prevent the Turks from laying down additional support. It is unknown if the response was a success, but it is widely considered to have only made the Turks re-position.
The Turks reached the Italian fortified positions just after 15:00 hours and engaged, bogging up the trench line and allowing the light armored vehicles the Turks brought with them to maneuver around and flank. Only three P26/55 tanks were present at the battle, hardly enough to stop the Turkish flank.
Upon the Italians realising they had been flanked, a general retreat was ordered back to a secondary line of defense. This is when the Turkish artillery had predicted fire the area between the lines. Decimating about 65% of the Italian forces. Such a sharp loss of life made General Narciso Di Battista radio Rome and request a immediate retreat of all forces north.
The Battle of Grottaminarda is considered the most important battle of the war, and Italian historians believe it is the reason for the Spanish Intervention, and thus, the later civil war.