Military Review

How Mussolini Created the "Great Roman Empire"

45
How Mussolini Created the "Great Roman Empire"

Italian Tanks M11 / 39 in position at Sidi Barrani. September 17, 1940


80 years ago, Italy conducted a strategic military operation to capture Egypt. Despite a significant advantage in forces, the Italian troops showed themselves unsatisfactory, were unable to suppress the British and capture Egypt with the Suez Canal.

Struggle for the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East


After the occupation of Holland, Belgium and the northern part of France, Hitler, following the logic of the war, had to start a struggle for domination in the Mediterranean Sea, Africa and the Middle East. This struggle was caused by the strategic, political and economic interests of the Third Reich, which claims to be the leader of Europe and the entire West. Control over these areas made it possible to receive huge profits, provide themselves with strategic raw materials, human resources and sales markets. The most important communications passed through the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and Africa, which connected the European metropolises, primarily Britain and France, with their colonies.

The Mediterranean Sea was of particular strategic importance under the conditions of the ongoing World War II. The North African coast, with naval and air force bases located on it, was a strategic foothold, using which the fleet and aviation could attack the coast of France and Italy, the Balkans and Turkey. It was not in vain that the British tried to destroy the French fleet after the fall of France and in the face of a thunderstorm the capture of French ships by the Germans and Italians. Also, areas of North Africa could be bridgeheads for the offensive of ground forces (with the support of fleet and Air Force) to the hinterland of Africa and the Middle East. Africa interested European predators as a source of raw materials and food.

The most important region was Egypt with the Suez Canal - one of the strongholds of the British colonial empire. The Middle East was the stronghold of the French and British empires. The main sea and land routes from Europe to Asia and back passed through it and Suez. The oil reserves of the region occupied a special place. By the beginning of 1937, the explored reserves of "black gold" in the Middle East accounted for over 20% of the reserves of the entire capitalist world. Oil production in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran was of vital importance to England.

Another strategic region of the Mediterranean was the Balkans. On the one hand, it was a strategic foothold for movement to the south and east. On the other hand, there was a rich raw material and food base here. Hitler understood this perfectly. Asia Minor was also important for the opposing sides. The shortest route from Europe to the Near and Middle East went through Turkey. As a result, the Balkan countries and Turkey could not stay away from the ongoing world war.


Mussolini and Hitler in 1937

Mediterranean communications were of great importance both for Britain and for Germany and Italy. The British sought to maintain control of their main bases in the Mediterranean: Gibraltar, Malta and Suez. The journey from the Middle East through Africa to Europe was more than three times longer across the Mediterranean. And from India to Europe around Africa is 8 thousand km longer than through the Suez Canal. A halt in transport across the Mediterranean would have led to a 2–4-fold drop in tonnage turnover, which would disrupt Britain's supply of strategic raw materials. It would drastically slow down the transfer of troops and reinforcements from one theater to another. That is, if Hitler had occupied Suez instead of attacking Russia, he would have given the British Empire checkmate.

Since the time of the Second Reich, Germany has laid claim to vast areas in Africa, the Near and Middle East. The Germans wanted to regain their former colonies in Africa: Cameroon, Southwest (modern Namibia) and East Africa (modern Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda). They were to become the core of a new German colonial empire in Africa, including the Belgian Congo, French Equatorial Africa, British Kenya and Rhodesia. The Union of South Africa was to become a vassal fascist state. Madagascar also passed into the sphere of influence of Germany.


Plans for "Greater Italy"


At first, Hitler wanted to become the complete master of Europe. He looked to the East. While the German divisions were to conquer the "living space" in the East, the main role in the Mediterranean and Africa was assigned to Italy. Duce was supposed to provide the rear of the Fuhrer from the Mediterranean Sea.

At the same time, Mussolini himself had his own plans in the Mediterranean basin and Africa. Even before the formal outbreak of world war in 1939, Rome began to create a "great Roman empire". The Italian fascists dreamed of the revival of the Roman Empire with a nucleus in Italy. In 1935-1936. Italians conquered Ethiopia, in 1939 - Albania. In the summer of 1940, Italy supported the German aggression against the French and grabbed a piece of southeastern France. At the same time, Rome claimed the more extensive lands of southern France, Corsica.

The Italian fascists planned to establish complete domination in the Mediterranean Sea, including access to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, to capture the most important islands and regions in the Balkans (Montenegro, Dalmatia). In addition to Libya and Ethiopia, the Italians were going to include in their empire a part of Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, British and French Somalia, Aden, Socotra Island. The Italian sphere of influence included Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Palestine and Transjordan.


Map of "Great (Greater) Italy"

Forces of the parties. Italy


By 1940, Italy had significant forces in the Mediterranean region, including the metropolis, and in Northeast Africa. The ground forces, including the colonial forces and fascist militia formations, numbered 71 divisions, over 1,1 million people. The Air Force had more than 2,1 thousand aircraft, the fleet - about 150 large ships (including 4 battleships and 22 cruisers) and 115 submarines. However, fascist Italy, despite all the efforts of the military-political leadership, which had embarked on a course of expansion, aggression and militarization back in the 20s, was ill-prepared for war. The armed forces could more or less effectively fight only with backward opponents. At the same time, a strong partisan movement fettered significant forces in Italy.

The armament of the Italian army was largely outdated (including the artillery park from the First World War). The country's military-industrial base was weak, there was a shortage of raw materials. Italy could not independently provide the armed forces with modern weapons and technology. Germany itself fought and prepared for a battle with Russia, so supplies to the allies were limited. The ground forces and the air force had little experience for conducting combat operations in Africa (lack of communications, often complete, problems with supply, drinking water supply, etc.). Low mechanization was a big problem for the Italian units.

However, despite all the problems and shortcomings, the Italian leadership was preparing for hostilities in North and East Africa. Significant contingents of troops were sent to Eritrea, Italian Somalia, Ethiopia and Libya. That is, the Italians could conduct operations to encompass British troops (British, Australian, African colonial, Indian, New Zealand and South African troops) in Egypt and Sudan from the flanks.


An Italian machine gunner sleeps in the shadows near the city of Berbera in the Italian-occupied part of British Somalia. Next to him is the Schwarzlose heavy machine gun

Allies


The Anglo-French command originally planned to defeat both enemy groupings - Libyan and Ethiopian. They were going to be taken in ticks: to hit Libya from Egypt and Tunisia, Ethiopia from Sudan and Kenya. The success of the operation lay in the fact that the Allies could cut off the Italian groups in Ethiopia and Libya from Italy with the help of the fleet and aviation. And without reinforcements, supplies, spare parts, the Italian troops in the colonies were doomed to defeat. The colonies did not have a military-industrial base. In the event of the outbreak of war, the French fleet had to take control of the western Mediterranean, the British - the eastern. After conquering dominance in the Mediterranean and defeating the enemy in Africa, the allies were going to attack Italy itself.

At the same time, when developing plans for war, the British traditionally intended to use the allies ("cannon fodder") in their own interests. First of all, the stake was placed on the French troops, large contingents of which were based in North Africa and the Middle East. They were to deliver the main blow to the Italians in Libya from French Tunisia and Algeria. The concentration of large forces of the French in Syria should have forced Turkey to side with Paris and London. This led to a change in the balance of power in favor of the allies in the Middle East and the Balkans. In Northeast Africa, the British intended to use primarily Ethiopian guerrillas against the Italians.


Italian pilots are studying a map in Egypt. September 1940

Before the fall of France, the position of the Allies in the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East was strong. The Allied fleet, which had 107 surface warships here (including 6 battleships and battle cruisers, 1 aircraft carrier, 1 aircraft, 17 cruisers and 63 submarines, controlled most of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The number of French troops in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean coast) exceeded 300 thousand people 150 thousand-strong French group was concentrated in the Libyan direction, 80 thousand people were in Syria and Lebanon. The British had about 130 thousand people in Northeast Africa and the Middle East.

The defeat of France, the orientation of the Vichy regime towards Germany and the entry of Italy into the war on Hitler's side shook the strength of Britain's position in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and Africa. The strategic situation in this area of ​​the planet has radically changed in favor of Italy and Germany. If Germany launched an active offensive in the Mediterranean, Egypt and North Africa with large forces, supporting the existing troops of Italy, then the military-political collapse of the British Empire would become a reality.

England was forced to switch to a strategic defense, hoping to protect Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Palestine, Iraq and Aden. At the same time, the British, relying on the remaining military superiority at sea, planned to maintain dominance in the Mediterranean, blocking the naval bases of Italy as much as possible. Additional forces and equipment were hastily deployed from India, Australia, New Zealand, the African colonies and even England itself to the Near and Middle East. Also, British agents tried to activate the partisan movement in Ethiopia and Italian Somalia, to win over local residents, including Arabs. The defense of Malta, Britain's main stronghold in the central Mediterranean, was strengthened. Part of the French elite and society, dissatisfied with the Vichy government, were attracted to the side of Britain. The patriots of some French colonies - French Equatorial Africa and Cameroon - spoke out against the Vichy. In the fall of 1940, they became the stronghold of the "Free France" led by de Gaulle, which continued the war on the side of England. The colonial authorities of the Belgian Congo were on the side of the British.


British Army in North Africa. Light tanks MK VIB of the 7th Armored Division on patrol in the desert. August 1940

To be continued ...
Author:
Photos used:
https://ru.wikipedia.org/, http://waralbum.ru/
45 comments
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  1. antivirus
    antivirus 10 September 2020 05: 56 New
    +4
    Italy is still a great power in sewing skirts and berets - even the UDC built, how do Egypt and Greece look at it? there is also Libya with the historical memory of the occupation
    1. BDRM 667
      BDRM 667 10 September 2020 06: 27 New
      +7
      Quote: antivirus
      there is also Libya with the historical memory of the occupation

      Yes, Mussolini has proven himself to be an unsurpassed master of adventure quest.
      In this series, of course, Ethiopia, Greece, Egypt, Libya and a separate, especially inglorious, for them and memorable for us, key moment - the USSR ...

      About Libya, historical memory, one can also note the war of Italy against Turkey with the aim of seizing Turkish possessions in Libya - Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1911-1912.
    2. Fitter65
      Fitter65 10 September 2020 13: 22 New
      +1
      Quote: antivirus
      there is also Libya

      About Libya, it was clarified.
      1. rich
        rich 10 September 2020 17: 58 New
        +2
        At the same time, Mussolini himself had his own plans in the Mediterranean basin and Africa. Even before the formal outbreak of world war in 1939, Rome began to create the "great Roman Empire" or, as it is also called "Great Italy"

        To be precise, Mussolini was not the author of this plan. Greater Italy (Italian Grande Italia), or Imperial Italy (Italia Imperiale) - an ambitious project, conceived and first announced by the Governor of the Dodecanese, Cesare-Maria de Vecchi in 1936.
        1. rich
          rich 10 September 2020 18: 04 New
          +1
          The Italian fascists planned to establish complete domination in the Mediterranean Sea, including access to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, to capture the most important islands and regions in the Balkans (Montenegro, Dalmatia). In addition to Libya and Ethiopia, the Italians were going to include in their empire a part of Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, British and French Somalia, Aden, Socotra Island. The Italian sphere of influence included Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, Palestine and Transjordan.

          Not only. Italy's appetites were bigger yes
          In preparation for the war with France, in 1940, the fascist regime "took aim" at Corsica, Nice, Savoy, Tunisia and Djibouti. And the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Count Ciano, came forward on June 10, 1940 with the idea of ​​dividing Switzerland between Germany and Italy: the cantons of Ticino, Graubünden and Valais could go to the latter
        2. Liam
          Liam 12 September 2020 00: 18 New
          0
          Quote: Rich

          To be precise, Mussolini was not the author of this plan. Greater Italy (Italian Grande Italia), or Imperial Italy (Italia Imperiale) - an ambitious project, conceived and first announced by the Governor of the Dodecanese, Cesare-Maria de Vecchi in 1936

          Do not share a link to such ambitious statement?
          1. rich
            rich 12 September 2020 01: 11 New
            0
            I will not share. I have not the slightest desire to communicate with you. So look for yourself.
            And so that you have an incentive to search, I will post a small excerpt from the book of one rather famous person hi
            1. Liam
              Liam 12 September 2020 01: 36 New
              0
              ))) Another thoughtless copying. They fell for a fake from the Russian Wikipedia in which this nonsense is written without any references to sources and decided to flash it as usual original knowledge.
              Homo sapiens (unlike Homo copipastus) at least thought about the fact that by 1935 there was already Libya, Ethiopia ... and then, unexpectedly, already in 1936, some kind of supernumerary governor of some islands announces a great imperial plan.

              Py Sy. Try to find this brilliant news in the Italian Wikipedia .. they know who made such global plans)
  2. Olgovich
    Olgovich 10 September 2020 06: 35 New
    +8
    However, fascist Italy, despite all the efforts of the military-political leadership, which had embarked on a course of expansion, aggression and militarization back in the 20s, was ill-prepared for war.

    The Finns were also poorly armed, but they fought very well.

    This is not the point: the bulk of Italians did not at all seek to lay their lives in some unknown place ...
    1. The Word of the Word
      The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 08: 26 New
      +1
      It is much easier to carry out defensive actions in highly rugged terrain based on fortifications than to conduct offensive actions. Invalid comparison.
      1. Catfish
        Catfish 10 September 2020 11: 15 New
        +4
        This is not the point, the Italians simply did not want to fight, compare their actions with the actions of Rommel's Afrika Korps, all things being equal, everything is not in favor of the Italians.
        1. The Word of the Word
          The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 12: 03 New
          0
          You ignore rational, objective factors and put the irrational, subjective factor in the first place in your assessment. Do you have any facts about the level of morale of the Italian troops at the time of the outbreak of the war?
          1. Catfish
            Catfish 10 September 2020 12: 11 New
            +6
            And what "rational and objective factors" you presented here are general words and nothing more. For the fighting spirit of the Italians, look for information about their battles with the British before the Germans arrived in Africa.
            1. The Word of the Word
              The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 12: 43 New
              +2
              General, but quite specific in contrast to your "conclusions".
              I've read enough. Bersagliers, blackshirts, tankmen, alpine mountain riflemen, pilots, sailors, Libyan divisions (from the colonists) had a fairly high fighting spirit. The infantry, especially from the natives of southern Italy, were morally weak, but these Italians were never distinguished by resilience. So you shouldn't measure everyone by the same size. The troubles of the Italians lie in poor training, weak material and technical units and weapons, and not in the desire or unwillingness to fight.
              1. Catfish
                Catfish 10 September 2020 13: 44 New
                +4
                General, but quite specific in contrast to your "conclusions".

                These are not my conclusions, but an elementary conclusion after reading a number of English, Germanic, and even our historians' sources. All of them have practically no different opinions about the "fighting spirit" of the Italians, and I see no reason to disagree with them.
                1. The Word of the Word
                  The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 15: 56 New
                  0
                  Fighting spirit, desire - not the desire to fight - these are all abstract, subjective factors and they are not the main reasons for the defeat of Italians. The quantity and quality of weapons, the level of training of personnel and officers, the level of material and technical equipment are the OBJECTIVE factors of their defeat. In the same sources, you can find quite a few examples of courage, etc. soldier.
        2. The Word of the Word
          The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 15: 38 New
          +3
          All things being equal? In the level of training of personnel and officers, the number and quality of weapons ?? There was a wide joke in the Afrika Korps - Italian soldiers are the bravest!
          -Why???
          -Because they are going into battle with the weapon they were given!
          In every joke, only a fraction of the joke.
      2. Olgovich
        Olgovich 10 September 2020 12: 13 New
        +4
        Quote: Freedom of the Word
        It is much easier to carry out defensive actions in highly rugged terrain based on fortifications than to conduct offensive actions.

        easier, but where the USSR retreated under Leningrad in 41m-look.
        1. The Word of the Word
          The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 12: 49 New
          +1
          The spacecraft attacked the Finns in the winter time and was able to win, albeit with huge problems. How did all the winter campaigns in WWII end for the Wehrmacht? Defeat at Moscow and Stalingrad. Fighting in winter and summer is a huge difference, so it is ridiculous to compare the actions of the Finnish army with the Italian army. Different theaters, different climatic conditions, different campaigns.
          1. Kronos
            Kronos 10 September 2020 14: 36 New
            +4
            And the climate also prevented the Italians from suffering defeat after defeat at sea?
            1. The Word of the Word
              The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 15: 46 New
              +2
              The reasons for the defeat of the Italians were the low level of training, the quality and quantity of weapons, and not
              unwillingness to fight ordinary Italians, as stated by the Sea Cat.
              1. Maki Avellevich
                Maki Avellevich 10 September 2020 18: 05 New
                +1
                Quote: Freedom of the Word
                The reasons for the defeat of the Italians were the low level of training, the quality and quantity of weapons, and not
                unwillingness to fight ordinary Italians, as stated by the Sea Cat.

                the main thing that prevented the Italians from fighting is ... the Italians.
                1. The Word of the Word
                  The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 20: 44 New
                  -1
                  I would see how other nations would fight with such weapons)
                  1. Alexey RA
                    Alexey RA 11 September 2020 17: 45 New
                    +1
                    Quote: Freedom of the Word
                    I would see how other nations would fight with such weapons)

                    With Italian MCTs and post-Washington LCs? We would have fought normally (especially if we had carried out a weight calibration of shells and charges).
                    The British in Mediterranean generally fought on the LC during the First World War and ship planes, not far from those times gone. smile
                    1. The Word of the Word
                      The Word of the Word 11 September 2020 20: 21 New
                      +1
                      1. Here on VO there is a series of articles dedicated to Italian cruisers (light and heavy). Read)
                      2. Ship planes? Is this an aircraft carrier's air group? So the Italians in general did not have either one or the other)
                      3. And by the way, the Italians sank two British battleships without losing their own.
                      4. You can read the article about the Italian Navy in WWII and argue with the author.
                      https://topwar.ru/83281-fakty-i-kleveta-italyanskiy-flot-vo-vtoroy-mirovoy.html
            2. Catfish
              Catfish 10 September 2020 20: 05 New
              +2
              Well noticed, not in the eyebrow, but in the eye. laughing
          2. Olgovich
            Olgovich 10 September 2020 16: 05 New
            -1
            Quote: Freedom of the Word
            The spacecraft attacked the Finns in the winter time and was able to win, albeit with huge problems.

            The Finns attacked in 41, it was easier for ours (in your opinion) to defend, but the blockade ... happened, nevertheless ...
            Quote: Freedom of the Word
            Fighting in winter and summer is a huge difference, so it is ridiculous to compare the actions of the Finnish army with the Italian army. Different theaters, different climatic conditions, different campaigns.

            Different PEOPLE, first of all.
            1. The Word of the Word
              The Word of the Word 10 September 2020 17: 04 New
              +3
              They came and quickly fizzled out. They had no more desire to attack.
              Different people) ... What prevented the Finns from repeating in 44 the perseverance and perseverance they showed in 39-40 ?? The Finns remained the same only now the spacecraft became different. Organization, training, quantity and quality of weapons. This is to play a major role in hostilities, and not the desire-unwillingness of the soldiers to fight.
              1. Olgovich
                Olgovich 11 September 2020 09: 15 New
                +2
                Quote: Freedom of the Word
                They came and quickly fizzled out. They had no more desire to attack.

                They ACHIEVED what they wanted. And they stopped.
                Quote: Freedom of the Word
                What prevented the Finns from repeating in 44 the perseverance and firmness that they showed in 39-40 ?? The Finns remained the same only now the spacecraft became different.

                they did it again. only the forces were NOT comparable.
                Quote: Freedom of the Word
                This is to play a major role in hostilities, and not the desire-unwillingness of soldiers to fight.

                without desire, everything is useless
                1. The Word of the Word
                  The Word of the Word 11 September 2020 12: 35 New
                  0
                  The forces were not comparable in 39-40, but the result is not comparable to 44.
                  Desire-not desire cannot be quantified. This is an abstract subjective factor that can be assessed very broadly (often biased) and there are no criteria for its assessment. This factor is not suitable for OBJECTIVE assessment and analysis of military operations.
                  1. Olgovich
                    Olgovich 11 September 2020 13: 42 New
                    +2
                    Quote: Freedom of the Word
                    The forces were not comparable in 39-40, but the result is not comparable to 44.

                    Do you remember YOURSELF? no :
                    Finns stayed the same only now the spacecraft has become different.
                    Quote: Freedom of the Word
                    This factor is not suitable for OBJECTIVE assessment and analysis of military operations.

                    Nonsense: the same French of 1940 as an example for you: they did NOT want to fight.
                    1. The Word of the Word
                      The Word of the Word 11 September 2020 17: 13 New
                      +1
                      I remember) the spacecraft became different and the Finns abruptly lost the desire to fight). They quickly agreed to all the conditions and without any guerrilla warfare.
                      Ridiculous argument about the French. They did not want to fight for the Poles, but on their territory they fought bravely, though completely stupid. And they, unlike the Finns, somehow partisan.
                2. Alexey RA
                  Alexey RA 11 September 2020 17: 51 New
                  +1
                  Quote: Olgovich
                  They ACHIEVED what they wanted. And they stopped.

                  Stopped - yes. But they did not achieve what they wanted.
                  Otherwise, there would have been no three-day battles for Beloostrov and Sestroretsk. After which a stop order followed. And there would be no Directive 35:
                  On the northeastern front, together with the Finnish corps advancing on the Karelian Isthmus, encircle the enemy forces operating in the Leningrad area (also capture Shlisselburg) so that no later than 15.9 a significant part of the mobile troops and formations of the 1st air fleet, especially the 8th aviation corps , free up Center for Army Group. However, first of all, it is necessary to strive for a complete encirclement of Leningrad, at least from the east, and, if weather conditions permit, conduct a major air offensive against it. It is especially important to destroy water supply stations.
                  In order to make it easier for the Finns to overcome the fortifications on the old Russian-Finnish border, as well as to reduce the line, front and deprive the enemy of the opportunity to use air bases, it is necessary to undertake an offensive in the area of ​​the r. Neva heading north. In cooperation with the Finns, using minefields and artillery fire, block Kronstadt in order to prevent the exit of enemy forces into the Baltic Sea (Hanko, Baltic Sea islands).
                  It is also necessary to isolate the area of ​​hostilities near Leningrad from the east in the area of ​​the lower reaches of the Volkhov, as soon as the forces necessary for solving this task are released. Connection with the "Karelian Army" on the river. Svir should be carried out when the destruction of the enemy in the Leningrad region is ensured.

                  We were very lucky that von Leeb leaped zealously, and instead of striking between the city and Ladoga towards the Finns, he decided to seize Leningrad without encirclement.
    2. Alexander Trebuntsev
      Alexander Trebuntsev 11 September 2020 10: 23 New
      0
      It seems like Mussolini said in his hearts about this: "I am the last Roman. Italians are a flock of sheep."
      1. Sergey Oreshin
        Sergey Oreshin 12 September 2020 15: 22 New
        +3
        Any dictator, shortly before his fall, comes to a "brilliant insight": "Oh, but my people are not the same!" Of course, he never blames himself for anything.
  3. Free wind
    Free wind 10 September 2020 09: 10 New
    0
    Wow, the French have big possessions in Africa. The Germans would have been better off fighting there. Well, today they would stand on their knees, well, if blacks were found, of course.
  4. Daniil Konovalenko
    Daniil Konovalenko 10 September 2020 11: 12 New
    0
    As a result, dreams didn’t come true. I’d .. you fool .. ugh, you duce and finished badly. I remember he still claimed Austria, its alpine regions.
  5. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov 10 September 2020 12: 01 New
    +5
    Yes, the ambitions of the Duce were very serious.
    In the summer of 1940, Italy supported the German aggression against the French and grabbed a piece of southeastern France.

    However, the Italian invasion of France was short-lived. The French signed an armistice with the Italians on June 25, three days after signing a peace treaty with Germany. Therefore, British forces were forced to fight the Italians in the Middle East alone and go on a strategic defense, hoping to protect Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Palestine, Iraq and Aden.

    British-controlled oil refineries and ports in Mandated Palestine in the Middle East were selected as the primary targets for the Italian Air Force.
    Haifa was repeatedly bombed by the Italian Air Force because of the port and oil refineries in the city.
    As a result of one of these raids, on June 24, 1940, 46 people were killed and 88 were injured.

    The July 29, 1940 issue of Time magazine reported that Haifa had been bombed by Savoia-Marchetti SM.82 aircraft a dozen times the previous week. According to Time Magazine, the Italians reported great success in their bombing raids, which the British did not deny. When the British oil pipeline from Mosul reached the seashore, "ten large Italian bombers flying at high altitude from the Dodecanese Islands dropped 50 bombs on the Haifa oil terminal and refinery."


    The fires continued for several days, and oil refining was paralyzed for about a month.

    Exactly 80 years ago - on September 9, 1940, Italian bombers reappeared over Haifa, but were met by heavy fire from British anti-aircraft gunners. Not having time to drop the bombs, the pilots turned towards the sea. At that moment, they received an order from the squadron commander to attack Tel Aviv.

    The British air defense forces covering the city were not prepared for such a development of events. Actually, these forces were very few. Italian bombers approached Tel Aviv unhindered and dropped 62 bombs on the city center.


    In total, as a result of the raid of the Italian aircraft, 137 people were killed - 130 Jews and 7 Arabs. 350 people were injured. Among the dead were women and children, including the 13-year-old violin prodigy Meir Musberg, who was promised a great future ...
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 10 September 2020 12: 26 New
      +9
      Among the dead were women and children, including 13-year-old violin prodigy Meir Musberg
      Fatal accident.
      As it happened - the Italians make violins best of all, and Jews play them better than anyone else.
    2. Maki Avellevich
      Maki Avellevich 10 September 2020 18: 29 New
      0
      Quote: A. Privalov
      Haifa was repeatedly bombed by the Italian Air Force because of the port and oil refineries in the city.

      why did the Italians bomb Tel Aviv? a gift to Hitler?
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 10 September 2020 18: 50 New
        +2
        Quote: Maki Avellevich
        why did the Italians bomb Tel Aviv?

        Italian bombers were en route to the port of Haifa and its refineries, but were intercepted by the British Air Force along the way. Forced to retreat, the Italians were ordered to bomb tel aviv port... Trying to avoid attacks by British aircraft in order to retreat faster, they dropped bombs on a residential area.
        1. Maki Avellevich
          Maki Avellevich 10 September 2020 19: 31 New
          -2
          They retreated strangely. Instead of turning to the west, we went south and targeted the bomb. Tel Aviv was then an urban-type settlement.
          It was not by chance that the bombs fell on the city but purposefully.
          Special thanks to the Italian people for this. Let's not forget.
          1. A. Privalov
            A. Privalov 10 September 2020 20: 03 New
            +3
            Quote: Maki Avellevich
            They retreated strangely. Instead of turning to the west, we went south and targeted the bomb. Tel Aviv was then an urban-type settlement.
            It was not by chance that the bombs fell on the city but purposefully.
            Special thanks to the Italian people for this. Let's not forget.

            If you look closely at the map, it is quite possible to restore the course of events.
            The Italians, naturally, came to Haifa from the sea. The port and refineries are located in the bay, not in Haifa itself. The British had an airfield at that time on Carmel. They could well drive off the Italians in such a way that they had to turn their course to the southeast over land. Accordingly, they entered the port of T-Aviv from the east through the city. The historic center was already fully built up.
            The first shells exploded at 16.12 in a small park on Tsvi Shapira Street, at a distance of several tens of meters from the current Dizengoff Center. Fortunately, it was deserted at that time: the parents had not yet had time to pick up their children from kindergartens and get to the playgrounds. However, the following bombs fell on a residential building at the intersection of Bograshov Street and Ben-Zion Boulevard. In addition to the permanent residents, there were also participants in a public meeting held in one of the apartments ... Several land mines fell near the site where the building for the theater was under construction. " Habima "(it was completed only in 1945).

            The bombs were exploded in Trumpeldor, Buki Ben-Yogli, Zvi Brook streets, as well as in the Arab village of Sumeil, which was located in the area of ​​the current Ibn Gvirol street. Police and rescuers rushed to the scene of the explosions. It was especially difficult to dismantle the rubble of a house that had become a victim of a direct hit. It was the people who were in it that made up the bulk of the dead.
            1. rich
              rich 11 September 2020 03: 00 New
              +1
              In addition to bombs, the Italians dropped leaflets in Arabic on Haifa and Tel Aviv:
              "We have come to free you. The day of the liberation of the Arab peoples is approaching by leaps and bounds."
              https://www.isrageo.com/2017/01/11/italt990/
              1. A. Privalov
                A. Privalov 11 September 2020 08: 31 New
                +2
                Quote: Rich
                In addition to bombs, the Italians dropped leaflets in Arabic on Haifa and Tel Aviv:
                "We have come to free you. The day of the liberation of the Arab peoples is approaching by leaps and bounds."
                https://www.isrageo.com/2017/01/11/italt990/

                The move is correct, but poorly thought out. An attempt to win over the Arabs is quite understandable, but the Italians did not take into account the existence of an Arab proverb at all: Aladdin walked too wide, so he tore his trousers in the most interesting place. laughing
                For the Arabs, the Italians would become the same occupiers as the British, and in the 20 years of the British mandate they have already established relations with the administration, the necessary officials have been greased, and positions of deputies have been obtained in a number of key departments, etc. In a word, it was already convenient for them. So why break what works well?