Italian Offensives

World War II: Blitzkrieg

Europe 1940.1103

Italian Offensives

World War II in Europe from the fall of Poland to Stalingrad (3 November 1940)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

In an attempt to match Hitler's victories, Mussolini ordered invasions of Egypt and Greece. But the Italian army was not ready for war, and both offensives quickly ran out of steam.

Main Events

Italian invasion of Egypt

Italian Army Marshal Rudolfo Graziani ordered his troops in Libya to cross into Egypt, with the invasion force spearheaded by the Italian 10th Army under General Mario Berti and focused on capturing the Suez Canal. At dusk on 16 September they took Sidi Barrani, 90km from the border, where their advance came to a halt due to supply problems.

Tripartite Pact

Joachim von Ribbentrop of Nazi Germany, Galeazzo Ciano of the Kingdom of Italy, and Saburō Kurusu of the Empire of Japan sign the Tripartite Pact in Berlin, capital of Germany. The 10 year Pact recognizes the right of Germany and Italy to establish a new order in Europe while Japan does so in Greater East Asia; it also compels the contracting Powers to come to the aid of any one of them that is attacked by a Power not presently involved in either World War II in Europe or the Sino-Japanese War.

Italian invasion of Greece

After Greek Prime Minister and dictator Ioannis Metaxas rejected Italy's ultimatum to be allowed to station troops in his country, 85,000 Italian troops crossed the border from Albania into Greece. The invasion force was met by the 30,000-strong Greek army and a pledge of support from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Despite their numerical advantage, the Italians were slowed in the Pindus and Epirus Mountains and soon forced to pull back after Greek counterattacks.

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