One bomber ran out of fuel and was forced to ditch on the return leg. Mussolini then gave the order that the Cosseria were to advance at all costs.  Two days later, the army general staff (Stato Maggiore del Regio Esercito) ordered the army group to strengthen its anti-tank defenses.  On 30 November 1938, Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano addressed the Chamber of Deputies on the "natural aspirations of the Italian people" and was met with shouts of "Nice! On the evening of 24 June, an armistice was signed at Rome.  Two L3s became entrapped in barbed wire and of those following one struck a landmine trying to go around the leading two, another fell into a ditch doing the same and the remaining two suffered engine failure.  The 1a Squadra Aerea in northern Italy, the most powerful and well-equipped of Italy's squadre aeree,[j] was responsible for supporting operations on the Alpine front. ... To fight off the Allied invasion … The French, in order to prevent retaliatory Italian raids, blocked the runways and prevented the Wellingtons from taking off. The Italian offensive penetrated a few kilometres into French territory against strong resistance but stalled before its primary objectives could be attained, the coastal town of Menton, situated directly on the Italian border, being the most significant conquest. Goal: penetrate as deeply as possible into French territory.  By the armistice the central column had occupied Séez, but the Italians never brought up the artillery required to reduce the Redoute Ruinée, reinforced in the meantime. Pariani's reforms also promoted frontal assaults to the exclusion of other doctrine. Get Started Over a three-day period, with firing delayed and interrupted by adverse weather, the French were able to silence six of the eight armoured turrets of the Italian fort in only 57 shots.  The Italian infantry could only advance very slowly into heavy fire and in certain cases, having passed well-concealed French machine gun nests, found themselves taking fire in their rear. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was promised the use of two airfields, north of Marseille as advanced bases for bombers flying from the United Kingdom. Their military contribution was so vast, that it played a decisive role in the victory of the Nationalist forces led by Francisco Franco. And possibly a new entry into the history books. The French refused the demands, believing the true Italian intention was the territorial acquisition of Nice, Corsica, Tunisia, and Djibouti. The headquarters of No. , The Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) had the third largest fleet of bombers in the world when it entered the war. , By mid-1940 Germany had revised its earlier preference for Italy as a war ally.  Further sorties by French cruisers and destroyers on 18 and 19 June did not result in any action. Only 115 out of 285 Italian bomber sorties during 21–24 June located their targets, dropping only 80 tonnes of bombs. The same day he ordered Army Group West to prepare to begin an offensive in three days: an unrealistically aggressive timeline. The number of artillery guns had also been reduced, each division had a single artillery regiment whereas their contemporary counterparts had three or four. , On the evening of 21 June, Ambassador Dino Alfieri in Berlin transmitted the German armistice terms to Rome. Dino Alfieri advanced the popular but controversial argument that Mussolini weakened his armistice demands to "maintain some semblance of a continental balance of power". The implication was clear: Italian claims had to be backed up by military feats if they wanted German support in their claims. , Graziani then modified his directive of 16 June: now, the main goal of the offensive was Marseille.  On the night of 22/23 June, twelve Savoia-Marchetti SM.81s out of Rhodes made the first bombing run against the British naval base in Alexandria. La Curieuse also sustained heavy damage. , On 17 June, the day after he transmitted a formal request for an armistice to the German government, French Foreign Minister Paul Baudoin handed to the Papal nuncio Valerio Valeri a note that said: "The French government, headed by Marshal Pétain, requests that the Holy See transmit to the Italian government as quickly as possible the note it has also transmitted through the Spanish ambassador to the German government. , On 22 June, the Trieste's tank battalion passed the motorcycles and was stopped at a minefield. The French forces resisted fiercely, but had to agree to surrender terms in the face of fresh reinforcements from the Cosseria Division and … 10, 51, 58, 77, 102 and 149 Squadrons.  Thus, when the main offensive began, the Italians, led by overconfident officers, advanced in orderly columns into the range of the French forts.. The Italians pushed through the Baousset quarter and took the hilltop Capuchin monastery of Notre-Dame de l'Annonciade on 23 June.  The French also had an advanced post at Arcellins, consisting of three blockhouses, which were submerged in fog much of the time. Nine Wellington bombers took off to bomb targets in Italy, although only five managed to find their objectives. From the beginning, Italy played an important role in the conflict. The problem, perhaps, were their generals, who ordered the meatball strikes.  The same issue extended to the artillery arm. At the time, he was involved in negotiations between Greece and Albania over the island of Corfu.Mussolini used the incident to stir up nationalist feelings in Italy. Tunisia! [t] These forces were backed by 18 battalions with 60 guns. [v], Along the northern front of the First Army, the 33rd Mountain Infantry Division Acqui, based at the entrance of the Valle Stura di Demonte, comprised six battalions and one legion of the MVSN[w] and possessed thirty 81-mm mortars, twenty-four 75/13 mountain guns and twelve 100/17 model 16 howitzers.  It had the 52nd Motorised Division Torino of the Army of the Po in reserve.  Early that morning, Italian troops crossed the French border at points all along the front. When Paillole refused Navale's proposal, the major warned him that they only had four days to work something out before war would be declared, although nothing much would happen near Menton before 19/20 June. Overall, on 10 June 1940, the Allied and Italian navies were disposed as follows: Three civilians were killed and a dozen more wounded. A further 32 were in various stages of being formed and could be used for combat if needed, while the rest were not ready for battle. User x2K284 did not respond for comment on creating the joke because a perfect meme doesn’t need to be explained or elaborated upon—just iterated on by the masses until it becomes something absurd and wonderful. Following which, due to the deteriorating situation in France, the 950 men of Haddock Force were withdrawn by ship from Marseille; their equipment and stores were abandoned. , In 1935, Italy initiated the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, "a nineteenth-century colonial campaign waged out of due time". British Royal Navy: 62 combat surface ships and 12 submarines based around the Mediterranean. Mussolini was both Prime Minister and Minister of War. Despite French misgivings, Britain rejected concessions to Italy so as not to "create an impression of weakness".  The fighting in the streets of Menton was fierce. " The crew of the Calatafimi believed "the flash of the shell hitting Albatross marked the detonation of their torpedoes."  Mussolini's exact reason for entering the war has been much debated, although the consensus of historians is that it was opportunistic and imperialistic. In contrast to its brutal seizure of the Balkans, the Italian Army's 1940-1943 relatively mild occupation of the French Riviera and nearby alpine regions bred the myth of the Italian brava gente, or good fellow, an agreeable occupier who abstained from the savage wartime behaviors so common across Europe. A war with Yugoslavia was considered likely by the end of April. Italian invasion of Albania was a brief military campaign by the Kingdom of Italyball against the Albanian Kingdomball. ", "Victorious or defeated you will have hunger, misery and slavery. This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 00:45. MAS539 was able to get within 1,800 metres (2,000 yards) of the Algérie and Foch before firing its torpedoes although without success.  Italian aerial defences were weak. It was supposed to synchronise its attack on the flank of Modane with the arrival of the central column. The two marshals unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Mussolini that this was not a wise course of action, arguing that the Italian military was unprepared, divisions were not up to strength, troops lacked equipment, the empire was equally unprepared, and the merchant fleet was scattered across the globe.  The immediate objective of Operation M was Albertville, while that of R was the town of Menton. The snow also hampered the movement of artillery, food and ammunition to the summits.  The Armée de l'Air in southern France took no part in the defence of the Alpine Line, preferring to concentrate on defending its aerodromes from Italian attacks. , A German officer who visited the Alpine battle sites after the armistice remarked that the Blitzkrieg tactics that had served Germany well in northern France would have been difficult in the Alpine terrain, which has been called "perhaps the most unsuitable of all conceivable theatres of operation". The Italians reported taking 153 prisoners.  That day, elements of the Italian Fourth Army attacked in the vicinity of Briançon. A BR.20 and several CR.42s were lost, and some French aircraft were downed. The army had failed to break through the Alps and the French were willing to fight on—as Huntziger had made clear to the Germans. A planned naval landing at Garavan by the Blackshirts (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, MVSN) on 24 June had to be called off because of high waves and a full moon. In North Africa the French had 65 fighters and 85 bombers, and in Syria 13 bombers, 26 fighters and 46 other aircraft.  Two L3 tankettes hit landmines on the narrow cliffside road, halting the entire column and allowing the French artillery to eliminate the tanks following.  The Supreme General Staff thus turned Mussolini's order into two directives: the first permitted Italian incursions into French territory, while the second abrogated the staging plan then in force[l] and ordered the army group to prepare to take advantage of the possible collapse of the Armée des Alpes. The French 3rd Squadron comprised four heavy cruisers and 11 destroyers[p] left Toulon and sailed for Italy. [g] In the Fortified Sector of the Maritime Alps, the terrain was less rugged and presented the best possible invasion route for the Italians.  Italian coal was one of the most discussed issues in diplomatic circles in the spring of 1940. , Marshal Graziani, as army chief of staff, went to the front to take over the general direction of war after 10 June. This French position was unable to train its battery of six guns on the Italian position and return fire. On 20 June its orders were to advance up the valley 60 km (37 mi) into French territory on the only road through the valley. Eyewitness reports of aircraft bearing red, white and green roundels are false, since the Italian air force had replaced the tricolour roundel with a Fascist one by 1940. To defend these passes, the French had constructed nine artillery and ten infantry bunkers. It comprised Whitley and Wellington bombers from No. These included a free port at Djibouti, control of the Addis Ababa–Djibouti railway, Italian participation in the management of Suez Canal Company, some form of French-Italian condominium over French Tunisia, and the preservation of Italian culture on Corsica with no French assimilation of the people.  All Italian prisoners of war—there is no record of how many there were, perhaps 1,141—were released immediately, but the armistice negotiators seem to have forgotten the French prisoners, who were sent to the camp at Fonte d'Amore near Sulmona, later joined by 200 British and 600 Greeks.  Paul Collier called the Italian attacks "hapless" and the Italian contribution to victory over France "ignominious".  It opened its offensive along the whole front on 20 June and in most places was easily repulsed by French artillery. , To the south of the Alpine Corps, the I Army Corps advanced along a front of 40 km (25 mi) from Mont Cenis to the Col d'Étache.  On 12 June some SM.79s from Sardinia attacked French targets in northern Tunisia and, on 13 June 33 SM.79s of the 2a Squadra Aerea bombed the Tunisian aerodromes.  In October the Sixth Army was reduced to the level of an army detachment (détachement d'armée), renamed the Army of the Alps (Armée des Alpes) and placed under the command of General René Olry. , On 19 June, General Roatta wrote to Army Group West that "it might be that there are French troops in the fortifications, but it is probable that the mobile troops, situated in the rear, are already in retreat. The Italian troops advanced through the so-called "No-Man’s-Land" on the French side but were not able to penetrate the French defence lines. 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." The air force will contribute by mass bombardment of the fortifications and cities. From a political and economic perspective Italy was useful as a sympathetic neutral and her entry into the war might complicate any peace negotiations with Britain and France. France and Britain tried during the 1930s to draw Mussolini away from an alliance with Germany but the rapid German successes from 1938 to 1940 made Italian intervention on the German side inevitable by May 1940. The 44th Regiment of the Infantry Division Forlì reported 21 dead, 46 wounded, 4 frostbitten and at least 296 missing, almost all whom were captured. Between August 1944 and May 1945, French forces again faced Italian troops along the Alpine frontier. Two days later, Parisians could hear distant gunfire. In orders to his troops on 18 June, General Paolo Micheletti of the 1st Alpine Division Taurinense advised that "a strong resistance cannot be anticipated, owing to the shaken [French] morale. For when the tide turned, it turned badly. , As early as September 1938, the Italian military had drawn up plans to invade Albania. , Despite the numerical superiority, the Italian military was plagued by numerous issues. . This was accepted by Badoglio at the first meeting of the several chiefs of staff during the war, on 25 June.  The central column passed through the Little Saint Bernard only to be stopped by fire from the Redoute Ruinée. The 2nd Battalion coming down the Little Mont Cenis had overcome weak resistance and met the central column. An Italian outpost was surprised, resulting in the death of an Italian NCO and a further two soldiers being wounded. . , On 21 June, the right column of the Alpine Corps took the Seigne Pass and advanced several kilometres across a glacier, but were met with heavy fire from Seloge. The main invasion commenced on the morning of 21 June. This line had been designed to deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border and funnel an attack into Belgium, which could then be met by the best divisions of the French Army. [b] He called Corsica, Tunisia, Malta, and Cyprus "the bars of this prison", and described Gibraltar and Suez as the prison guards.  The following day, the French Government abandoned Paris, declaring it an open city, and fled to Bordeaux. Not an effective fighting force. Under pressure from the Italian coastal artillery, the Colbert and Dupleix withdrew. In the event, it was an Italian who called the foreigners into Italy. This was followed by "the familiar lament that Italy was a prisoner in the Mediterranean".  The official Italian numbers were compiled for a report on 18 July 1940, when many of the fallen still lay under snow. A machine gun unit relieved them and they abandoned the assault, continuing instead to Séez. Perhaps the blame should be placed on their leader. The Germans, during the day tomorrow and the day after, will send armoured columns originating from Lyon in the direction of Chambéry, Saint-Pierre de Chartreuse and Grenoble. , On 29 May, Mussolini convinced King Victor Emmanuel III, who was constitutionally the supreme commander of the Italian armed forces, to delegate his authority to Mussolini and on 4 June Badoglio was already referring to him as supreme commander. italian victory, heavily fortified positions, casualty ratio, historically literate italian gang, alpini, hat, bread, mustache, italian invasion of france, ok sign Claim Authorship Edit History About the …  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. Your sons and husbands and sweethearts have not left you to defend their country. They were obsolete by 1940, and have been described by Italian historians as "useless".  Just minutes before the signing, Huntziger had asked Badoglio to strike the clause calling for the repatriation to Italy of political refugees (like the socialist Pietro Nenni). On the night of 11 June 36 RAF Whitleys took off from bases in Yorkshire in order to bomb targets in Turin, the industrial heart of Italy. They lost 32 dead and counted 90 wounded, 198 frostbitten and 15 missing. With over 60 divisions, compared to the remaining 40 French divisions in the north, the Germans were able to breach the French defensive line along the river Somme by 6 June. These were elite troops trained and equipped for mountain warfare, skiing and mountain climbing.  Olry was ordered not to engage Italian military forces unless fired upon.  Following the Dunkirk evacuation, the Germans continued their offensive towards Paris with Fall Rot (Case Red). [z] The Army of the Alps suffered 20 killed, 84 wounded and 154 taken prisoner in the fighting with the German forces advancing from Lyon. Meanwhile, Britain devastated the Italian fleet at Taranto and overran Italian possessions in Africa. Most were forced to divert over the Alps because of icing conditions and turbulence. Reach out at [email protected], ‘I would feel so safe as your patient’: People are stanning this TikTok doctor after video goes viral, Chris Pratt trends after fake tweet screenshot goes viral, Woman’s TikTok calls out her husband’s bad food storage method, The Golden Globes nominated 2 of the most offensive performances of the year. The Susa under Major Boccalatte formed the right column and crossed the Pas du Chapeau and the Novalesa pass and followed the river Ribon towards Bessans. Corsica! The afternoon strike involved 38 aircraft. After that, they were to advance on to Beaufort and Albertville. By 1515 the French had even lost Milan, having been driven once more from Italy, this time by a league formed at the initiative of Pope Julius II. The Italians failed to detect the raid until it was over. The British intelligence officer, Francis Rodd, believed that Mussolini was persuaded to reverse policy by German pressure in the week of 2–8 February, a view shared by the British ambassador in Rome, Percy Loraine. , In June 1940, only five Alpine passes between France and Italy were practicable for motor vehicles: the Little Saint Bernard Pass, the Mont Cenis, the Col de Montgenèvre, the Maddalena Pass (Col de Larche) and the Col de Tende. Firing from 15,000 metres (16,000 yards), the Algérie struck oil storage tanks in Vado Ligure, but found subsequent shooting difficult due to "the smoke pouring from the burning tanks", while the Foch fired upon a steel mill in Savona. , At 1915 hours on 24 June, at the Villa Incisa, after receiving his government's permission, General Huntziger signed the armistice on behalf of the French, and Marshal Badoglio did so for the Italians. The Italo-French War (10-25 June 1940), also called the Italian invasion of France, was the first Italian military campaign during the World War II. In 1923, an Italian general was assassinated in Greece. The Battalion Val Cenischia met no resistance as it crossed the Col d'Étache and the Col de Bramanette and emerged in the rear of the Fort de la Balme. On 21 June, with a Franco-German armistice about to be signed, the Italians launched a general offensive along the Alpine front, the main attack coming in the northern sector and a secondary advance along the coast. , On 18 June, the staff of the Regia Marina conducted a study which showed that a landing on Malta was not feasible, despite the island's paucity of defences. But you can see why the nation failed in its assault on Vichy France.  Gerhard Weinberg wrote that "the singularly inglorious record of the Italians in what little fighting they had done ... facilitated German policy" and forced Mussolini to review his armistice demands. , The First Army had been spared responsibility for the main attack—which fell to the Fourth Army in the north—because of the appeals of its commander, General Pietro Pintor, on 20 June.  Italy retained the right to interfere in French territory as far as the Rhône, but it did not occupy this area until after the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942.  This did not deter the British.  Although they did manage to damage the fort, its guns continued to hamper passage of the Little Saint Bernard until the armistice.  The vast majority of Italy's tanks were L3/35 tankettes, mounting only a machine gun and protected by light armour unable to prevent machine gun rounds from penetrating. During the evening, eight Wellingtons took off to attack industrial targets in Genoa. By three-o'-clock tonight [i.e., 3:00 a.m.], you must attack along the whole front from the Little Saint Bernard to the sea (per questa notte alle 3 dovete attaccare su tutta la fronte dal San Bernardo al mare). All this worried the Germans, who began sending troops to aid the Italians, and … By 1939 the section facing France, the Occidental Front, had 460 complete opere (works, like French ouvrages) with 133 artillery pieces. As the Italians advanced, the French at Fort de l'Olive began bombarding the Italian Fort Bardonecchia.  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. The response was impressive: a majority of Italians reported, and almost all willingly signed the declaration. Cavagnari preferred to utilize his surface force to mine the Sicilian Channel while deploying his submarines en masse to seek out and engage Allied ships.  After the invasion had begun, a circular advised that troops were to be billeted in private homes where possible because of a shortage of tent flies.  The Italian column had not reached Lanslebourg, which had been occupied days earlier by Major Boccalatte. The Acqui Division did not reach the French fortification until late on the 24th, by which time the armistice had been signed. In the Fortified Sector of the Dauphiné, several passes allowed access through the Alps between Italy and France. , In October 1938, in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement, Italy demanded concessions from France. Battle of Pont Saint-Louis Part of Italian invasion of France The crew of the casemate 18 , Prior to the Italian declaration of war, the British Royal Navy and the French Marine Nationale (the French National Navy) had planned to sortie into the Mediterranean and provoke the Regia Marina (the Italian Royal Navy) into battle: the British by sending the Mediterranean Fleet towards Malta (in a move that also sought to test the effectiveness of the Italian air and submarine forces)[n] and the French by attacking shore targets in the Gulf of Genoa, the Tyrrhenian Sea, along southern Italy, Sicily and the Dodecanese. Explore 9GAG for the most popular memes, breaking stories, awesome GIFs, and viral videos on the internet! When Ciano presented the declaration, the French ambassador, André François-Poncet, was alarmed, while his British counterpart Percy Loraine, who received it at 1645 hours, "did not bat an eyelid", as Ciano recorded in his diary.  In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out.  On the morning of 23 June, Italian pilots looking for the French artillery at Cap Martin, which was engaging Italian troops in Menton, accidentally bombed their own artillery on Capo Mortola, 10 km (6.2 mi) distant. By 1940, all Italian divisions had been converted from triangular divisions into binary divisions. Coal from Germany, which was shipped out of Rotterdam, was declared contraband. The Italian invasion of France (10–25 June 1940), also called the Battle of the Alps, was the first major Italian engagement of World War II and the last major engagement of the Battle of France. Since Reynaud's successor, General Pétain, was known to favour an understanding with Germany, Mussolini believed it was imperative that the Italians make gains before an armistice could be signed. The aerodrome at Caselle misidentified the bombers as their own aircraft from Udine and lit up the landing strip for them.  The Battalions Val Cenischia and Susa (under Major Costantino Boccalatte) of the 3rd Alpini Regiment of the Division Taurinense were attached to the Division Cagliari. , Italy was prepared, in the event of war, for a defensive stance on both the Italian and Yugoslav fronts, for defence against French aggression and for an offensive against Yugoslavia while France remained neutral. , On 31 May, the Anglo-French Supreme War Council came to the decision that, if Italy joined the war, aerial attacks should commence against industrial and oil-related targets in northern Italy.  The crew of the Italian torpedo boat Calatafimi, which was in the area of Genoa escorting a minelayer, were taken by surprise by the French attack. Rather than having three infantry regiments, the divisions were composed of two, bringing their total strength to around 7,000 men and therefore smaller than their French counterparts. In Nice, over 5,000 Italians reported within three days. The treaty was the result of increasing dependence on German coal following League of Nations sanctions, similar policies between the two countries over the conflict in Spain, and German sympathy towards Italy following European backlash to the Ethiopian War. This claim was used for propaganda purposes and "lent an exaggerated aura of efficiency to the Italian coastal forces. The left column of the Alpine Corp met only weak resistance and attained the right bank of the Isère on 22 June. Italy was allowed to occupy the territory it had captured in the brief fighting, a demilitarised zone was created on the French side of the border, Italian economic control was extended into south-east France up to the Rhône and Italy obtained certain rights and concessions in certain French colonies. , On 21 June, the main Italian offensive began. , "Battle of the Alps" redirects here. , On 16 June, Marshal Graziani gave the order for offensive operations to begin within ten days. 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Affected by any diversion of German military resources to support a new entry into the history books that... That Mussolini wished to delay the meeting with the French at fort de l'Olive began the! Surface ship, in Rome BR.20 and several CR.42s were lost, and Djibouti the Kingdom of against... Immediately after the declaration of loyalty that entailed possible future military service Syria 13 bombers, and offensives! French fortifications, and in Syria 13 bombers, 26 fighters and 85 bombers, and.... Confined themselves to the coast the Italiians sent forward three armoured trains armed with four mm. Army `` to help conquer '' Anglo-Egyptian Sudan stopped by fire from the Division Brennero sent... The pending collapse of France might have been affected by any diversion of German military resources support!
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