Along with the intervention in the Spanish Civil War and the invasion of Abyssinia, the invasion of Albania was part of the Italian contribution to the disintegration of the collective security the League of Nations instituted after World War I. A supporting attack was made from Kenya by the South African 1st Division, the 11th African Division, and the 12th African Division. From December 1942, Italian military government of French departments east of the Rhône River was established, and continued until September 1943, when Italy quit the war. [75], Graziani and his staff lacked faith in the strength of the Italian military. A new Italian government, led by General Pietro Badoglio and Victor Emmanuel III, took over in Italy. The Italian soldier is sadly the forgotten soldier of WWII which was the most oppressive period of Italian history. The Italian Army are the armed branch of the Kingdom of Italy, founded in 1860 when Italy was unified. [33][34] In addition to weapons, the Corpo Truppe Volontarie ("Corps of Volunteer Troops") had also been dispatched to fight for Franco. Initial Italian attacks in East Africa took two different directions, one into Sudan and the other into Kenya. [citation needed], Historians have long debated why Italy's military and its Fascist regime were so remarkably ineffective at an activity - war - that was central to their identity. The campaign gave rise to optimistic talk on raising a native Ethiopian army "to help conquer" Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Citing:' SME/US, Grecia, I, 943'. The initial Italian offensive was quickly contained, and the invasion soon ended in an embarrassing stalemate. Part of the Axis Order of Battle Series by John Mulholland. At the end of May, Rommel launched the Battle of Gazala where the British armoured divisions were soundly defeated. The Allies completed the defeat of the Axis armies in North Africa in May 1943. Djibouti! The Italian invasion of British Somaliland was one of the few successful Italian campaigns of World War II accomplished without German support. On 31 March, Mussolini stated that "Italy will not truly be an independent nation so long as she has Corsica, Bizerta, Malta as the bars of her Mediterranean prison and Gibraltar and Suez as the walls." By February, the Axis forces in Tunisia were joined by Rommel's forces, after their long withdrawal from El Alamein, which were re-designated the Italian First Army (under Giovanni Messe) when Rommel left to command the Axis forces to the north at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. On 10 June 1940, as the French government fled to Bordeaux during the German invasion, declaring Paris an open city, Mussolini felt the conflict would soon end and declared war on Britain and France. The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa also fell in April 1941. James Sadkovich, Peter Haining, Vincent O'Hara, Ian Walker and others have attempted to reassess the performance of the Italian forces. In WW2, an Italian Army unit of misfits occupies an isolated non-strategic Greek island for the duration of the war. A friendly military nationalist regime had been installed in Spain,[2] and a puppet regime installed in Croatia following the German-Italian Invasion of Yugoslavia. Stockings, Craig; Hancock, Eleanor (2013). In Sudan and Kenya, Italy captured small territories around several border villages, after which the Italian Royal Army in East Africa adopted a defensive posture in preparation for expected British counterattacks. Unit Histories - : Detail Histories + … Libya had been pacified under the fascists and was undergoing Italian settlement. The aftermath of the treaty saw the increasing ties between Italy and Germany, and Mussolini falling under Adolf Hitler's influence from which "he never escaped". At this time, the British had only 36,000 troops available (out of about 100,000 under Middle Eastern command) to defend Egypt, against 236,000 Italian troops. There are a total of [ 52 ] WW2 Italian Guns (1939-1945) entries in the Military Factory. ARMIR was also known as the 8th Army. [41] Irrespective of the attempts to modernize, the majority of Italian army personnel were lightly armed infantry lacking sufficient motor transport. Hitler, Adolf, Speech to the Reichstag on 4 May 1941, CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (, Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito. Pages 45, 87-88. They also usually include information about his age, birthplace, residence, occupation, physical description, and family members. [37] On 1 March, the British announced that they would block all coal exports from Rotterdam to Italy. [6] Although it was not among his publicly proclaimed aims, Mussolini wished to challenge the supremacy of Britain and France in the Mediterranean Sea, which was considered strategically vital, since the Mediterranean was Italy's only conduit to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Hitler, Adolf, Speech to the Reichstag on 4 May 1941. The Italian Army of World War II was a "Royal" army. THE ROYAL ITALIAN ARMY CO: Maresciallo d’Italia Rudolfo Graziani UNDER DIRECT CONTROL Distinctive Branches, or Specialties 6-11 5 II. The XMAS used a particular kind of torpedo, the SLC (Siluro a Lenta Corsa), whose crew was composed of two frogmen, and motorboats packed with explosives, called MTM (Motoscafo da Turismo Modificato). Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, marked the beginning of World War II. 1969, O'Hara & Cernuschi (2009), pp.52–55; O'Hara (2009), pp.XV,91–98,136–137; Bierman & Smith (2002), p.14; Johnston (2000), p.13; Steinberg (1990), p.208; Zabecki (1999), p. 1578; Wilmot (1944), p.8,46; Rommel & Pimlott (1994), p. 128, Jon E. Lewis (1999), The Mammoth Book of True War Stories, p. 318, Weinberg, 2011, Some Myths of World War II, p.707. The Italians assumed control of most of Greece with their 11th Army, while the Bulgarians occupied the northern provinces and the Germans the strategically most important areas. [34] Adding to these problems was Italy's extreme debt position. Almost all the New Zealanders who served in Italy did so as members of the 2nd New Zealand Division – a highly competent fighting force affectionately known as the 'Div'. [132][133] Alan J.Levine, an author who has also extensively worked with Italian sources, points out that while Allied efforts to choke off Rommel's supply lines were eventually successful and played the decisive role in the Allied victory in Africa, the Italians who defended it, especially navy commanders, were not feeble-minded or incompetent at all. Italian Records: WWII POWs: Archived military records (usually for those born in or before 1912) are in the provincial archives of their birth town. The Italian Navy established a submarine base at Bordeaux, code named BETASOM, and thirty two Italian submarines participated in the Battle of the Atlantic. Following the attacks on these two battleships, an Italian-dominated Mediterranean Sea appeared much more possible to achieve. Late in the Battle of Britain, Italy contributed an expeditionary force, the Corpo Aereo Italiano, which took part in the Blitz from October 1940 until April 1941, at which time the last elements of the force were withdrawn. The French refused the demands, believing the true Italian intention was the territorial acquisition of Nice, Corsica, Tunisia, and Djibouti. [nb 7] There was insufficient budget to train the men in the services, such that the bulk of personnel received much of their training at the front, when it was too late to be of use. Taking advantage of Bulgaria's decision to remain neutral, the Greek Commander-in-Chief, Lt Gen Alexandros Papagos, was able to establish numerical superiority by mid-November,[nb 10] prior to launching a counter-offensive that drove the Italians back into Albania. German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop complained to Mussolini that "Italian military circles... lack a proper understanding of the Jewish question."[72]. Italian forces invaded Albania on 7 April 1939 and swiftly took control of the small country. They were divided between the 5th army in the west and the 10th army in the east and thus spread out from the Tunisian border in western Libya to Sidi Barrani in Egypt. [92] A Supermarina (Italian Naval Command) broadcast led the Italians to initially believe this attack was carried out by the British.[93]. These were Albania; Tunisia; Corsica, an integral part of France; the Ticino, a canton of Switzerland; and all "French territory east of the River Var", including Nice, but not Savoy. A variant developed in 1930, armed with the Vickers-Termi 37 mm (1.46 in) gun, named FIAT 3000B. After Italy entered the war, pressure from Nazi Germany led to the internment in the Campagna concentration camp of some of Italy's Jewish refugees. The Germans invaded on 6 April 1941, smashing through the skeleton garrisons opposing them with little resistance while the Italians continued a slow advance in Albania and Epirus as the Greeks withdrew, with the country falling to the Axis by the end of the month. Despite being an Axis power, Italy remained non-belligerent until June 1940. [11][12][13], In October 1938, in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement, Italy demanded concessions from France. The bulk of Italian artillery dated to World War I. [96][97][98] Calling Italy the "soft underbelly" of the Axis, Churchill had therefore advocated this invasion instead of a cross-channel invasion of occupied France. If he cannot make a graceful dive, he will at least have to jump in somehow; he can hardly put on his dressing-gown and walk down the stairs again."[64]. The primary fighter of the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) was the Fiat CR.42, which, though an advanced biplane with excellent performance, was technically outclassed by monoplane fighters of other nations. [26] However, despite the Italian impression, the pact made no reference to such a period of peace and the Germans proceeded with their plans to invade Poland. Italian Army of WW2. However, in reality, most of the King's military responsibilities were assumed by the Italian Pri… About 94,000 Italians accepted and the remaining 710,000 were designated Italian military internees and were transported as forced labour to Germany. Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on 28 April 1945. Edition of 1999. Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last War. [89] On 3 September, a secret armistice was signed with the Allies at Fairfield Camp in Sicily. [4], In 1935, Italy initiated the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, "a nineteenth-century colonial campaign waged out of due time". The Italians in East Africa made a final stand around the town of Gondar in November 1941. A complicated four-way conflict between the puppet Montenegro regime, Montenegrin nationalists, Royalist remnants of the Yugoslav government, and Communist Partisans continued from 1941 –1945. Other and unknown 6,844 (3,695 post armistice). [27], Mussolini's Under-Secretary for War Production, Carlo Favagrossa, had estimated that Italy could not possibly be prepared for major military operations until at least October 1942. Mussolini announced in 1934 that he can mobilize 6 Million soldiers, in 1936 he increased the number to 8 million and in 1939 to 12 million. Two more Allied landings took place on 9 September at Salerno (Operation Avalanche) and at Taranto (Operation Slapstick). It is estimated that 7,500 Italian Jews became victims of the Holocaust.[72]. [7][8] In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. After the Operation Torch landings in the Vichy French territories of Morocco and Algeria (November 1942) British, American and French forces advanced east to engage the German-Italian forces in the Tunisia Campaign. Conscription of all males at the age of eighteen was instituted in 1865. If the Italian military was good in WW2 the world would be different. Though subordinate to the Italians, under Rommel's direction the Axis troops pushed the British and Commonwealth troops back into Egypt but were unable to complete the task because of the exhaustion and their extended supply lines which were under threat from the Allied enclave at Tobruk, which they failed to capture.

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