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1913 - Spain and Italy vs France

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Who would win?

Spain + Italy would win all rounds
0
No votes
Spain + Italy would win more than half of the rounds (specify)
2
11%
Spain + Italy would only win half of the rounds (specify)
1
5%
Spain + Italy would lose all rounds
16
84%
 
Total votes : 19

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Infected Mushroom
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1913 - Spain and Italy vs France

Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:13 am

Please consider the following hypothetical (inspired by a game of modded Axis and Allies):

Let's say it's 1914, Spain and Italy were to form an alliance and coordinate an invasion of France. France is aware that this is coming. Could they win?

Four rounds:

Round 1: Spain and Italy vs France. Just like IRL, the Spanish Empire is by now nearly non-existent. No other country can fight or send aid.

Round 2: Spain and Italy vs France. However, Spain never lost its colonial empire (they retain all of the Philippines, Central American, South American, and Caribbean colonies etc). Assume that all Spanish colonies are on the whole loyal to Spain and would back the war effort. No other country can fight or send aid.

Round 3: Same as round 1 except based mainly on self-interest (and assuming Spain and Italy came up with a decently palatable excuse for the invasion), all countries in the world can join on either side of the war.

Round 4: Same as Round 2 except based mainly on self-interest (and assuming Spain and Italy came up with a decently palatable excuse for the invasion), all countries in the world can join on either side of the war.


Please speculate on which side would win which rounds, the how and the why. Discuss.

Here are my predictions.

Round 1: France would win after a war of medium difficulty. France was a Tier 1 Power and it would have superior equipment and tactics and the bigger economy. If the war dragged on and it likely would, France can call up additional troops from its vast colonial empire.

Round 2: After a very long war, Spain would prevail. In this alternate universe, Spain with its colonial empire could force a win if Italy created enough distractions.

Round 3: This would ignite WWI. I expect that it would largely be the same alliances except the Spain and Italy team would fight on the side of the Central Powers. The CPs would win the war because France would have to deal with three fronts. Europe would be re-partitioned with France becoming heavily weakened, Germany becoming huge and Spain + Italy gaining additional lands. The UK would get out of it without losing anything. Spain would be enlarged by gaining French Guinea and large chunks of the French colonial empire in West Africa in addition to gains on the French mainland.

Round 4: The outcome would be the same Round 3 (Spanish victory). Except with colonies to use, France would be in even more trouble. In this alternate scenario, the RN and a larger Spanish fleet could potentially duke it out in a rematch of the Spanish Armada fight in the pre-Industrial Age. Maybe the Spanish could coordinate with the German Baltic fleet and its submarine forces. They could deal severe damage to the RN however I think the RN commanders are simply too crafty and they Brits could once again scrap up a win in this Atlantic sea battle. However, the overarching outcome would still be a Central Power victory because of what goes down in France. Spain would be enlarged by gaining French Guinea and large chunks of the French colonial empire in West Africa in addition to gains on the French mainland.
Last edited by Infected Mushroom on Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Washington Resistance Army
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Postby Washington Resistance Army » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:22 am

Spain and Italy probably lose all scenarios. The borders France shares with each nation respectively are quite defensible and especially with the technology of the era they'd have a hellishly hard time trying to invade. If Germany couldn't knock France out then I really don't think these two stand a chance.
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FNU
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Postby FNU » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:28 am

While I don't deny the capability of the Italians, I do question the ability of the Spanish, and more so ask "Why would they even bother" I can't think of a situation where they break their neutrality in the Great War, but regardless, France would be more then capable of repelling the alliance. Not even the Imperial war machine could break them, so I doubt that Italy and Spain could.
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The Huskar Social Union
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Postby The Huskar Social Union » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:30 am

France wins, quite comfortably imo especially in the first two scenarios. The two fronts are going to be primarily fought in mountains and hills and would be pretty easy for the French to defend, particularly against the Spanish who were in a pretty bad state at this point when it comes to their Military. They have not yet fully recovered from the Spanish American war, their military cost a lot and was not properly run and iirc they had far more officers than they needed who tended to pocket a lot of the money instead of investing it in new modern equipment, particularly for the Army.

Italy, whilst in a much better state got bogged down in brutal river and mountain warfare for most of ww1 and that was against Austria Hungary who was easily the weakest of the major powers in WW1 imo, though they had to be propped up more and more by the Germans as the war went on and the Italians had some... "special" commanders which contributed to how many men they lost against the armies of A-H.

They are gona now go up against a better equipped and trained army, who has better generals (well mostly i guess some French generals in ww1 were also.... "special") but France is also far more industrialised too and most of the lifting on the Spanish-Italian side will fall to the Italians and i just cant see them doing it. I dont even think the Spanish empire being in tact is gona help that much as i imagine the French navy could comfortably harass supply lines and deny reinforcements to Spain, who again have to fight through mountains which isnt something you really want to be doing.

Now if other countries join i guess it depends on who joins. If the alliance is still intact we could see Russia joining France and scores of Russian troops being ferried to France and the Russian navy acting as support nd maybe even Britain too on the French Side. However if say Germany joins against France then i dont think France could last but that is the only realistic way i can see France losing this.
Last edited by The Huskar Social Union on Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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CCCPC
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Postby CCCPC » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:44 am

probably in every possible scenario the Spanish-Italic alliance would be defeated. on the Italian side, in 1913, the military situation was particularly difficult. considering that Italy as a nation was officially formed in 1861, the situation of the armed forces was at least confusing. since Italy was born from the more or less forced union of various sub-nations, which each had their own regular army, in 1913 the Italian army was still composed of various territorial departments on average backward. The unification of equipment and armaments was delayed due to the scarce Italian military and civilian industry. For example, the Italian order rifle, the Carcano 91, was still not very widespread in the army and many still used the old vetterli / vitali rifle produced prior to 1900. The same uniforms were still totally in development, as well as the equipment to be used. campo (in fact the modernization operation ended around 1915/1916). moreover, armaments such as mortars, machine guns and the like were backward and were mainly based on old cannons and bombards of the late 1800s. as if that were not enough, the military command class was still stuck in backward strategies such as ancient pitched battles and completely unsuitable for modern combat

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Postby Antipatros » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:17 am

Pushing into France overland would be incredibly difficult, due to the mountainous terrain in the Pyrenees and Alps. France has a clear upper hand in naval strength as well.

I don't see an attempted invasion going well for Spain and Italy.

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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:50 am

Antipatros wrote:Pushing into France overland would be incredibly difficult, due to the mountainous terrain in the Pyrenees and Alps. France has a clear upper hand in naval strength as well.

I don't see an attempted invasion going well for Spain and Italy.


Does it go both ways though? Can they bait France into attacking and losing soldiers on two fronts; make France attack at the mountains?

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Postby Antipatros » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:12 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:Pushing into France overland would be incredibly difficult, due to the mountainous terrain in the Pyrenees and Alps. France has a clear upper hand in naval strength as well.

I don't see an attempted invasion going well for Spain and Italy.


Does it go both ways though? Can they bait France into attacking and losing soldiers on two fronts; make France attack at the mountains?

I could see France attempting to make breakthroughs in Navarre in order to knock Spain out of the war, while they take a defensive posture on the Italian border.
Last edited by Antipatros on Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:15 am

Antipatros wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:
Does it go both ways though? Can they bait France into attacking and losing soldiers on two fronts; make France attack at the mountains?

I could see France attempting to make breakthroughs in Navarre in order to knock Spain out of the war, while they take a defensive posture on the Italian border.


And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

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Postby The Huskar Social Union » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:17 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:I could see France attempting to make breakthroughs in Navarre in order to knock Spain out of the war, while they take a defensive posture on the Italian border.


And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

Given the state their military would be id actually say probably not, they might last longer on the defensive but i think if the French pulled off the right offensive they could collapse the Spanish army, especially if the Spanish attack first and suffer heavy losses.

edit: Spain is just not prepared for war during this time period, France is.
Last edited by The Huskar Social Union on Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:21 am

The Huskar Social Union wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:
And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

Given the state their military would be id actually say probably not, they might last longer on the defensive but i think if the French pulled off the right offensive they could collapse the Spanish army, especially if the Spanish attack first and suffer heavy losses.

edit: Spain is just not prepared for war during this time period, France is.


but France would be outnumbered, and they would have to fight two countries on two fronts

Or does France have numbers advantage too?

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Postby Antipatros » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:22 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:I could see France attempting to make breakthroughs in Navarre in order to knock Spain out of the war, while they take a defensive posture on the Italian border.


And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

I'm not sure. The Spanish Army was small, poorly run, and lacking modern equipment during this time, but the terrain is favorable towards defense.

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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:36 am

Antipatros wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:
And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

I'm not sure. The Spanish Army was small, poorly run, and lacking modern equipment during this time, but the terrain is favorable towards defense.


Their infantry actually did pretty well in the Spanish American War right? It was mostly that their navy was really obsolete.

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Postby The Huskar Social Union » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:39 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
The Huskar Social Union wrote:Given the state their military would be id actually say probably not, they might last longer on the defensive but i think if the French pulled off the right offensive they could collapse the Spanish army, especially if the Spanish attack first and suffer heavy losses.

edit: Spain is just not prepared for war during this time period, France is.


but France would be outnumbered, and they would have to fight two countries on two fronts

Or does France have numbers advantage too?

Well according to Spartacus Education the total number of French soldiers, including reserves (which iirc was about three million men) was 4,017,000 by August of 1914.

Italy had 1,251,000 men at the same time. Spain would more than likely field a decent amount less than that as according to this PDF titled "Military and Strategy (Spain)" by the International Encyclopaedia of the First World War, the Spanish Army of November 1915 totalled 140k men and cost over 300 million Pesetas. Most of said budget was pocketed by officers for personal reasons.

. As Álvaro de Figueroa, Count of Romanones (1863-1950) put it during a Congress session in November 1915: the Spanish military budget was the least efficient of all budgets known. Maintaining an army of 140,000 men cost the state the amount of 300 million pesetas. However, this money was not spent in equipment or military actions; it was mostly spent in the generals’ and officers’ salaries, as well as in “luxurious” military bureaucracy.[4] The war situation in Morocco only aggravated this defect, because in this battleground officers were able to rapidly obtain promotions based on war merits, regardless of their true abilities for command. In turn, in the peninsula, rank promotions based on seniority did not mean better professional competence. Furthermore, the social structure of the army was highly hierarchical: generals received a basic annual pay which was between ten and thirty times bigger than that of the lower-ranked officers


The French army is gona be larger, better equipped and better trained and more than likely better led than both the Italian and Spanish Armies. Also again France has a larger Industrial base and Economy, more than enough to supply its own war machine.
Last edited by The Huskar Social Union on Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Janpia » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:40 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:I'm not sure. The Spanish Army was small, poorly run, and lacking modern equipment during this time, but the terrain is favorable towards defense.


Their infantry actually did pretty well in the Spanish American War right? It was mostly that their navy was really obsolete.



Wasn't the spanish infantry steamrolled by the americans during the war?

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Postby Coradortodos » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:40 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:I'm not sure. The Spanish Army was small, poorly run, and lacking modern equipment during this time, but the terrain is favorable towards defense.


Their infantry actually did pretty well in the Spanish American War right? It was mostly that their navy was really obsolete.

Yea, but Admiral Dewey owned their navy
Besides, France's navy is also better than the Marina Militaire
(The naval forces of Italy)

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Postby Coradortodos » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:42 am

Janpia wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:
Their infantry actually did pretty well in the Spanish American War right? It was mostly that their navy was really obsolete.



Wasn't the spanish infantry steamrolled by the americans during the war?

Example: Roosevelt's Rough Riders
They did a lot if not a ton of damage to the Spanish Infantry

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Postby Free Ravensburg » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:45 am

I dont see the option of Italy switching sides
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Postby The Huskar Social Union » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:45 am

And if we look at the naval aspects of this war the French have a comfortable advantage too in terms of numbers but i would also wager modern technology and training :

the French Navy of 1914 consisted of:
-19 battleships
-32 cruisers
-86 destroyers
-34 submarines
-115 torpedo boats.

The Italian Navy of 1915 consisted of:
-5 Dreadnoughts
-9 Pre-Dreadnoughts
-8 Armoured Cruisers
-35 Destroyers
-18 Submarines

And the Spanish Navy:
-2 Dreadnoughts
-1 Pre-Dreadnought
-11 Cruisers
-11 Destroyers
-9 Torpedo Boats
-17 Miscellaneous ships

French Navy: 286 ships
Italian-Spanish Navy: 126 ships
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Postby Antipatros » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:52 am

There will also be some fighting overseas in such a war, for example in North and East Africa.

If the Spanish Empire is still around, you'll see fighting in the Caribbean as well.

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Postby Ifreann » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:04 am

Janpia wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:
Their infantry actually did pretty well in the Spanish American War right? It was mostly that their navy was really obsolete.



Wasn't the spanish infantry steamrolled by the americans during the war?

I believe that, while America won the war, they found that the weaponry which had served them well in slaughtering the natives was not up to the task of fighting a modern European military.
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:00 am

Ifreann wrote:
Janpia wrote:

Wasn't the spanish infantry steamrolled by the americans during the war?

I believe that, while America won the war, they found that the weaponry which had served them well in slaughtering the natives was not up to the task of fighting a modern European military.


Yeah I heard the Spanish had good rifles.

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Postby Infected Mushroom » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:01 am

The Huskar Social Union wrote:And if we look at the naval aspects of this war the French have a comfortable advantage too in terms of numbers but i would also wager modern technology and training :

the French Navy of 1914 consisted of:
-19 battleships
-32 cruisers
-86 destroyers
-34 submarines
-115 torpedo boats.

The Italian Navy of 1915 consisted of:
-5 Dreadnoughts
-9 Pre-Dreadnoughts
-8 Armoured Cruisers
-35 Destroyers
-18 Submarines

And the Spanish Navy:
-2 Dreadnoughts
-1 Pre-Dreadnought
-11 Cruisers
-11 Destroyers
-9 Torpedo Boats
-17 Miscellaneous ships

French Navy: 286 ships
Italian-Spanish Navy: 126 ships


This doesn't look so good for Spain. I don't really like this.

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Postby Heloin » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:08 am

The strongest Army in the world and a navy that vastly outmatches anything Italy or Spain could hope to achieve. Spain had been crushed a decade prior and had little of their overseas empire left, Italy has faced a humiliating defeat in Ethiopia at around the same time. There is no scenario that you can look at this that doesn’t end in French victory.
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Postby Heloin » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:10 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Antipatros wrote:I could see France attempting to make breakthroughs in Navarre in order to knock Spain out of the war, while they take a defensive posture on the Italian border.


And would Spain be able to hold on these mountains? If they played it smart?

No.

Ifreann wrote:
Janpia wrote:

Wasn't the spanish infantry steamrolled by the americans during the war?

I believe that, while America won the war, they found that the weaponry which had served them well in slaughtering the natives was not up to the task of fighting a modern European military.

The American Army in 1898 is a small defense force meant to be supplemented by the national guard, which was mostly a joke at the time. And the Americans never really had a chance of losing to Spain. The Americans had worse guns, awful logistic networks, comically inept commanders, and aside from the gun situation Spain had that but somehow worse.
Last edited by Heloin on Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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