Greek - Italian War - Part 1

In 1928, the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos moved to normalize Italian-Greek relations. This culminated with the signing of friendship between the two countries on 23 September 1928. Mussolini exploited this treaty, as it aided in his efforts to diplomatically isolate Yugoslavia from potential Balkan allies. He personally offered "to guarantee Greek sovereignty" from an external attack on Thessaloniki by Yugoslavia. 

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Mussolini sought to diplomatically create "an Italian-dominated Balkan bloc that would link Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary".
These moves were frustrated by Venizelos who engineered diplomatic agreements with Greek neighbours and established an "annual Balkan conference ... to study questions of common interest, particularly of an economic nature, with the ultimate aim of establishing some kind of regional union". This move, on the whole, increased diplomatic relations and by 1934 was resistant to "all forms of territorial revisionism". 

On 4 February 1939, Mussolini addressed the Fascist Grand Council about foreign policy. The speech outlined Mussolini's belief of Italy being imprisoned by France and the United Kingdom, and what territory would need to be seized to destroy the prison. During this speech, Mussolini declared Greece to be a "vital (enemy) of Italy and its expansion." 
Following the Italian annexation of Albania in April, relations between Italy and Greece deteriorated. While the Greeks began defensive preparations in case of an Italian attack, the Italians began improve the infrastructure within Albania to facilitate troop movements. On 11 September, Mussolini told his representative in Athens, Emanuele Grazzi , that "Greece does not lie on our path, and we want nothing from her". Consequently, Italian troops, based in Albania, were pulled back about 12 miles (19 km) from the Greek border.
Despite these reassurances, throughout the summer the Italian press had "launched a war of anti-Greek propaganda ". Italian military forces harassed their Greek counterparts, with air attacks made on Greek naval vessels at sea. 
On 15 August 1940 (Dormition of the Theotokos, a Greek national religious holiday), the Greek light cruiser Elli was sunk by the submarine Delfino in Tinos harbor. 

Despite evidence of Italian responsibility, the Greek government announced that the attack had been carried out by a submarine of unknown nationality. During the summer of 1940, the Italian army made plans to invade Corfu and Greece. 
On 7 October, German troops entered Romania, in preparation for Operation Barbarossa and to guard the Ploiești oil fields. Mussolini was not informed in advance, regarded it as an encroachment on the Italian sphere of influence and advanced plans for an invasion of Greece
Vuonna 1923 Kreikan ja Albanian välinen rajankäynti oli tekemättä. Tuntemattomat murhasivat kenraali Tellinin ja neljä hänen esikuntansa upseeria. Vuotta myöhemmin valtaan noussut Benito Mussolini vaati Kreikalta virallista anteeksipyyntöä, Kreikan laivaston tervehdystä Italian lipulle, oikeudenkäyntiä murhasta sekä 50 miljoonan Italian liiran korvauksia. Kaikki toimet piti tehdä viidessä vuorokaudessa. Kreikan hallitus kuitenkin torjui vaateet kahta ensimmäistä lukuun ottamatta. 
Mussolini määräsi Italian laivaston tulittamaan Korfua, jolloin kuusitoista asukasta sai surmansa ja lukuisia haavoittui. Italian joukot nousivat tulituksen jälkeen maihin miehittäen saaren.

Viisi Italian laivaston alusta tulitti Durazzoa ja ilmavoimien lentokoneet tiputtivat Tiranaan lentolehtisiä, joissa pyydettiin kansan olevan tarttumatta aseisiin miehittäviä Italian joukkoja vastaan. Italian joukot valtasivat Albanian 7. huhtikuuta 1939. Kuningas Victor Emmanuel vastaanotti Albanian kruunun 16. huhtikuuta. Tämän seurauksena Iso-Britannia ja Ranska lupasivat taata Kreikan koskemattomuuden. 

Kehitys Länsi-Euroopan sotanäyttämöllä kuitenkin keskeytti Italian hyökkäyksen varalle tehdyt suunnitelmat. Sodan laajentuessa Euroopassa Kreikan diktaattori Ioannis Metaxas yritti pitää Kreikan erossa konfliktista, mutta hän tuli samalla lisänneeksi Kreikan riippuvuutta Isosta-Britanniasta. Metaxas oli myös Saksan ihailija, ja hän oli rakentanut vahvat taloudelliset suhteet Adolf Hitlerin Saksan kanssa.

Vuoden 1940 puoleenväliin mennessä Italian diktaattori Benito Mussolini oli seurannut kateellisena Hitlerin valloituksia. Mussolini halusi todistaa, että hän voisi johtaa Italian samanlaiseen sotilaalliseen menestykseen kuin Saksa. Samaan aikaan Mussolini halusi vahvistaa Italian asemaa Balkanilla. Italialaiset olivat vuonna Albanian valtauksen ohella hyökänneet Brittiläiseen Somalimaahan kesällä 1940.
Italian–Kreikan sota oli toisessa maailmansodassa Italian epäonnistunut yritys valloittaa Kreikka. Sotaa käytiin 28. lokakuuta 1940 – 23. huhtikuuta 1941. Italian hyökkäys Kreikkaan aloitti Balkanin sotatoimet toisessa maailmansodassa. Torjuessaan Italian hyökkäyksen Kreikka oli ensimmäinen liittoutuneiden puolella sotinut valtio, joka onnistui puolustautumaan menestyksekkäästi akselivaltoja vastaanselvennä. Kreikka kuitenkin kukistui, kun Natsi-Saksa tuli Italian avuksi ja hyökkäsi Kreikkaan 6. huhtikuuta 1941.
28. lokakuuta 1940 Kreikan diktaattori Ioannis Metaxas hylkäsi Italian uhkavaatimuksen vaatia miehitystä Kreikan alueella. Italian hyökkäys Kreikkaan alkoi varhain aamulla 28. lokakuuta kohti Elaita Kalpakissa. 
Kreikan armeija puolustautui ja pakotti italialaiset perääntymään. Joulukuun puoleen väliin mennessä, kreikkalaisten käytössä oli lähes neljännes Albaniaa, joka sitoi lähes 530 000 sotilasta Italian joukoista. Maaliskuussa 1941 Italian suurin vastahyökkäys epäonnistui.
"Hitler always faces me with a fait accompli. This time I am going to pay him back in his own coin. He will find out from the papers that I have occupied Greece.
- Benito Mussolini, speaking to Count Ciano 

At the outbreak of World War II, Ioannis Metaxas —the fascist-style dictator of Greece and former general —sought to maintain a position of neutrality . However, Greece was subject to increasing pressure from Italy, culminating when the Italian submarine Delfino sank the cruiser Elli on 15 August 1940. Italian leader Benito Mussolini was irritated that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had not consulted him on his war policy and wished to establish his independence. He hoped to match the Germans' military success by taking Greece, which he regarded as an easy opponent.

On 15 October 1940, Mussolini and his closest advisers finalised their decision. 
 In the early hours of 28 October, Italian Ambassador Emanuele Grazzi presented Metaxas with a three-hour ultimatum, demanding free passage for troops to occupy unspecified "strategic sites" within Greek territory. Metaxas rejected the ultimatum (the refusal is commemorated as Greek national holiday Ohi Day), but even before its expiration, Italian troops had invaded Greece through Albania. 
The principal Italian thrust was directed toward Epirus. The first conflict with the Greek army was at the Battle of Elaia–Kalamas, where they failed to break the defensive line and were forced to halt. Within three weeks, the Greek army launched a successful counter-offensive, during which it marched into Albanian territory, capturing significant cities such as Korytsa and Agioi Saranta. Neither a change in Italian command nor the arrival of substantial reinforcements improved the position of the Italian army.  
On 13 February, General Papagos, the Commander-in-Chief of the Greek army, opened a new offensive, aiming to take Tepelenë and the port of Vlorë with British air support, but the Greek divisions encountered stiff resistance, stalling the offensive that practically destroyed the Cretan 5th Division. 
After weeks of inconclusive winter warfare, the Italians launched a large-scale counter-offensive across the centre of the front on 9 March 1941, which failed, despite the Italians' superior forces. After one week and 12,000 casualties, Mussolini called off the counter-offensive and left Albania twelve days later. 

Modern analysts believe that the Italian campaign failed because Mussolini and his generals initially allocated insufficient resources to the campaign (an expeditionary force of 55,000 men), failed to reckon with the autumn weather, attacked without the advantage of surprise and without Bulgarian support. Elementary precautions such as issuing winter clothing had not been taken. Nor had Mussolini considered the warnings of the Italian Commission of War Production, that Italy would not be able to sustain a full year of continuous warfare until 1949. 
During the six-month fight against Italy, the Hellenic army made territorial gains by eliminating Italian salients. Greece did not have a substantial armaments industry and its equipment and ammunition supplies increasingly relied on stocks captured by British forces from defeated Italian armies in North Africa. In order to man the Albanian battlefront, the Greek command was forced to withdraw forces from Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace , because Greek forces could not protect Greece's entire border. The Greek command decided to support its success in Albania, regardless of the risk of a German attack from the Bulgarian border.

6 kommenttia:

  1. A very interesting period to describe in this area, well explained and well illustrated, the 'three-hour ultimatum' is stunning! Great post sir...

    1. Hi, Phil
      Thanks you for the kind comment
      I am a little war-freak (like maybe a scale model enthusiasts all) and I have been up to the child, because it was exciting, like the wild-west comic books and westerns

      I have a couple of WW-II book serie, the other is Eddy Bauer text-based, 6 part.
      (I bought 1969 when Finland published, and very expensive too)

      Now, the same text, and also pictures, are also available on the Internet, and this is good, because I can speak English, or any other language, only Finnish.

  2. The poor Italian forces got their ass kicked on all fronts in WW2, I think the army did not want war or at least the common soldiers heart was not in it

    1. Yes, this is true. Almost all despise italian warfare skill and desire.
      Battle wishing they did not have much. All the heavy equipment was also poor.

      Hot air, beautiful sea, good food, music, women, whatever else a man could wish for.
      No internet or TV at that time.

      The Greek war was to them a little bit like a holiday trip or a summer vacation.
      But the Italian Alpinieri troops fought well against the French soldiers in the mountains.

  3. I would like to see you do a post on the Romanian and Italian and Hungarian forces during operation Barbarossa, if that is possible

    1. It is possible to find something in Romanian and Hungarian troops.
      Romanians role is very little, just a couple of pages, with an indication that the troops are ground, and soviet troops crush to pieces, Hungary, maybe a little more.


Any explosive ammunition or empty cores, you can put in this.