At the beginning of the hostilities Italy was found with
a numerous Navy, but, for type of unit and training, little it was prepared
for the war that then had to face: as operative capability was still much similar
to a typical fleet of the first World war, therefore thought for a diurnal
fight with the guns between battleships.
The greater deficiency was the lack of aircraft carriers,
and, beyond that, a serious misunderstanding with Aviation.
The main problem was, like always, the money: Italy was,
all adding, a young Country, without large economic means; consequently,
Navy was been structured on determined choices based on the war hypotheses:
the most considered was, at least until 1936, a war against France,
even supported from Greece, while it was excluded a war against England.
It was totally excluded a hypothesis of war against France and England
together. This hypothesis was seen like a case without hope. Nevertheless
the foreign politics of Mussolini and the friendship with Germany made
evident the possibility of a war in which England could be involved
in, in fact in 1938 a plan for the transport of men and supplies in
Libya, in sight of a possible conflict with the English forces, was
prepared by the Navy headquarters.
The guideline of Italian foreign politics of the time,
decidedly anti-British, would have had therefore to modify the planning
given to the shipbuilding, but it is right also to recognize that at
that point it was too much late to obtain some concrete result before
the beginning of the hostilities.
It is then necessary to add that the ships of Italian
Navy of 1940 were decidedly of optimal quality under all the aspects,
because Italy has a very good tradition of shipbuilding, appreciated
also by the foreign countries.
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