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1st memo De Courten

  "The Italian fleet held up for over three years, alone or almost, to the prevailing air-naval power of the enemy, without ever being discouraged by the disproportion of the task or by the serious losses suffered. If she puts down her arms, she does so out of obedience to the superior needs of the country, so she must recognize the right not to be humiliated.


The winner is free to ascertain in the widest possible way the impossibility of further using the weapons, that is, of the fair execution of the armistice commitments. But this need not take place in enemy ports or in already occupied Italian ports. It is enough for the ships to gather where there is absolute certainty that the Germans cannot try to seize them. For this reason the Italian Navy proposes that all the units of the Fleet that are in the Tyrrhenian Sea gather in the estuary of La Maddalena and, the exuberant ones, in other anchorages in Sardinia. The few units of Taranto should instead remain in place, since their presence can effectively contribute to the defense of the naval base from a Germanic coup, while, on the other hand, in the wide bay of the Ma rGrande and with safety devices existing, tampering is not to be feared. The very few units of the Adriatic should reach Taranto and those of the Aegean should remain in Leros.


The proposed variants, in addition to avoiding the Italian Navy an undeserved humiliation, would facilitate, for obvious psychological reasons, any further evolution, following which it could, at a later time, be convenient for both parties to gather the entire fleet in Taranto. and in Augusta.


It is not inappropriate to point out that the Italian fleet would be an enormously important contribution to the war in the Pacific. it is enough to observe that the Anglo-Americans have in all only six battleships similar in size, power and speed to our three "Roma" and that in the meantime these ships are worth, as they are armed by those who know them thoroughly, being extremely complex organisms.


It is probably for this reason that in the last period they have been ostentatiously spared. And it is therefore on this that we must leverage. It is certain that, if forced to humiliating conditions, the ships, despite all orders to the contrary, would sink themselves.


Merchant ships should initially concentrate in the ports of the peninsula south of Livorno and Ancona, and make arrangements there for further movements on the basis of special agreements "

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