Military Review

Operation Compass. Catastrophe of the Italian army in North Africa

39
Operation Compass. Catastrophe of the Italian army in North Africa
Tank "Matilda" of the 7th tank regiment on the march. December 19, 1940


80 years ago, the first British offensive in Africa began - the Libyan operation. The British cleared the previously lost territory of Egypt from the enemy. They occupied Cyrenaica (Libya), and in January 1941 - Tobruk. In February we went to the El-Ageila area. Most of the Italian army surrendered. The remaining troops lost their combat effectiveness.

Italian offensive


In September 1940, the Italian army, located in Libya, began the Egyptian operation ("How Mussolini Created the" Great Roman Empire "; H. 2). The Italian high command planned, using the difficulties of Britain after the start of the war with Germany and the weakness of the British forces in the region, to capture Egypt.

The Italians needed to occupy Suez to reestablish contact with their colonies in East Africa. However, despite the greater superiority in forces (over 200 thousand people against 35 thousand), the Italian army was unable to achieve serious success. The Italians have advanced 80-90 km. The British retreated, avoiding defeat.

A "no-man's" buffer zone of 130 km was formed.

The stoppage of the offensive of the Italian army was associated with several reasons: low combat and technical readiness of the Italian troops, poor organization of supplies (in particular, lack of drinking water), unsatisfactory communications.

The Italians were unable to achieve dominance in the Mediterranean. This put the communications of their North African group at risk. Also, Italy was preparing to seize Greece, which became a priority task.

Therefore, the Italian commander, Marshal Graziani, suspended hostilities in anticipation of developments in the Balkans ("How the mediocre Italian blitzkrieg failed in Greece"). He believed that the British would be distracted by events in Greece, which would allow his troops to resume the offensive against Suez.

The front has stabilized. There was a lull for about three months.

The main reason for stopping the Italian army was due to its weakness. Graziani knew well the state of the army and did not believe that the Italians could defeat the British on their own. At first, Rome was waiting for the landing of the German army in the British Isles, which should have demoralized and left the British troops in Africa without support.

In October 1940, it became clear to Mussolini that the Third Reich had abandoned the landing operation against England and was preparing an attack on Russia. Rome decided that it was time to expand its possessions on the Balkan Peninsula, to capture Greece. However, the Greeks gave the Italians a decisive rebuff and almost drove them out of the Balkans. Mussolini was forced to ask Hitler for help.


Italian bomber SM.79 taxiing at an airfield in North Africa.

Germany plans


Berlin decided to use the situation to invade the Mediterranean basin, which Rome considered to be its sphere of influence. On November 20, 1940, Hitler invited Mussolini to send a large aviation group. But with the condition of creating two operational regions: the Italian zone - Italy, Albania and North Africa, the German - the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

That is, the Fuhrer delineated the spheres of influence of Germany and Italy in the Mediterranean. Mussolini had to agree. Italy began to lose its strategic and operational independence from the Reich. And there was a time when Mussolini believed that

"Greater Italy" is Germany's "elder brother".

Hitler had his own plans for the eastern Mediterranean. The path to Persia and India went through the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East. Ribbentrop's solemn promises, which he made in 1939 (that the Mediterranean was not interested in the Third Reich), were immediately forgotten.

Of the ground forces, the German command planned to transfer only one to North Africa in the fall of 1940. tank division. Hitler did not dare to deploy a large contingent in Africa, concentrating all his forces for a "lightning war" with the Russians.

Although if he refused to war with Russia, the Reich could easily transfer an entire army to Libya, occupy Suez, Palestine, and then go to Persia and India. That is, to check and checkmate India. However, the Fuhrer was not going to really fight with England ("Why did Hitler not finish off Britain?"). He aimed at Russia.

In October 1940, a German military mission led by General Thoma arrived in Rome to negotiate the dispatch of German troops to Libya. Now the Italian command hoped that their army in Libya would be reinforced with German tanks, which would allow them to reach Suez. Without German reinforcements, Graziani did not try to advance further east, especially after the failure of the Italian aggression in Greece.

With great difficulty, the Italians bargained for 200 tanks and armored vehicles from the Germans. Hitler was preparing for aggression against the USSR and did not want to dissipate his forces. The Mediterranean was still a secondary theater for the Fuhrer.

At the same time, Hitler demanded the return of the tanks and soldiers by May 1941. That is, the division was transferred to Italy for a very limited period. And in December 1940, Hitler already demanded that the division be returned before February 1941.


The situation at the front. British plans


British troops were in the area of ​​the city of Mersa Matruh, leaving only patrols 30-40 km west of it. The opponents did not have direct contact.

The Italians first expected victory in Greece. Then - reinforcements from the Germans. At this time, on the occupied territory, the Italians erected 5 fortified camps, which formed a large arc from the coast inland up to 70 km. The camp fortifications were primitive, just walls. They had no fire and tactical communication with each other, the space between them was not guarded.

Around Sidi Barrani, the Italians erected two lines of field fortifications. The main forces of the Italian army were based on the coast, where ports, airfields and relatively good roads were located. There were separate fortified points in the desert to protect the flanks from unexpected envelopment and detour from the south.

By December 1940, a favorable military-political situation had developed for Britain. It was obvious that Hitler refused to strike at England and concentrated all his attention and strength on the Russians. The Italian blitzkrieg in Greece failed, revealing the weakness of the Italian war machine.

London was given the opportunity to strike back at Italy. The British commander in Egypt, Archibald Wavell, decided to carry out a limited operation to drive the enemy out of Egyptian territory and restore the situation that was before the Italian offensive on September 13, 1940. If successful at the first stage of the operation, the British were going to develop an offensive to El Sallum and beyond. But they didn’t believe that at Wavel's headquarters. The Italians still had great superiority in manpower and equipment. That is, it was a private operation, not a strategic one.

The British armored forces were to pass through the unprotected space between the two enemy camps, Nibeyva and Bir Safafi, turn sharply north and strike from the rear at the Italian camps. Then reach the coast in the Bugbug area (between Es-Sallum and Sidi Barrani), trying to cut off the enemy's escape routes in Sidi Barrani.

The armored division was followed by the infantry. Small forces pinned down the enemy on the flanks. The Air Force was tasked with bombing Italian airfields within two days. Navy - shelling Maktila forward camp on the coast.


Rodolfo Graziani, Governor General of Libya, Commander-in-Chief of Italian Forces in North Africa.


Archibald Wavell, British commander-in-chief for the Middle East, and Richard O'Connor, commander of the Nile Army, during the assault on Bardia.

The forces of the parties


The balance of power remained virtually unchanged by December 1940. The Italian army retained the advantage: 5 corps of the 10th army (10 divisions and a mechanized group), a total of 150 thousand people, 1600 guns, 600 tanks and 331 aircraft (5th squadron of General Porro).

In the first echelon there were 6 divisions (up to 100 thousand soldiers and officers) and many engineering and technical units that were engaged in the construction of roads and a water supply system. At the key points - Tobruk, Derna, Benghazi and others, there were strong garrisons with a force no less than a division.

The Italians were armed with light tanks L3 / 35 and medium tanks - M11 / 39. They were inferior to British tanks in power and armor. So, the medium tanks M11 / 39, due to an unsuccessful device, had a limited range of the gun, weak armor and an insufficiently powerful obsolete 37-mm gun. A special headache for the Italian tank crews was brought about by the lack of radio communications, the tanks were not equipped with radio stations.

The British Army Neil, under General Richard O'Connor, included the 7th Armored Division, two infantry divisions and a tank regiment. A total of about 35 thousand soldiers, 120 guns, 275 tanks and 142 aircraft (202nd Royal Air Force Group). But only the 7th Armored Division, the 4th Indian Infantry Division, the Panzer Regiment and the Mersa Matruha garrison took part in the offensive.

In the first echelon there were only about 15 thousand people.

The British tank units consisted of cruising, light tanks (Mk I, Mk II and Mk III). The 7th separate tank regiment was armed with 50 medium tanks Mk.II "Matilda", against which both Italian tanks and their anti-tank guns were powerless.


Italian prisoners of war under escort. North Africa. December 1940

Operation Compass


It seemed that with such a balance of forces, the Italians should have simply crushed the British. However, the Italians showed their usual carelessness.

Not only did they not prepare the defense in the available time, they also did not organize observation and reconnaissance of the enemy. As a result, the enemy attack became sudden for the Italian army.

On December 9, 1940, the British launched Operation Compass. A small force attacked from the front and distracted the attention of Nibeywa's garrison. Meanwhile, British tanks passed between the two enemy camps and attacked Nibave's camp from the rear. This took the enemy by surprise. The Italians were unable to oppose anything to the enemy. The camp fell.

Then the 7th Panzer Division was divided into three groups. The first moved through the desert to the Bir Safafi camp, the second to the coast, the third to Sidi Barrani.

The Italian army was completely demoralized by the enemy blow from the rear. The Sidi Barrani garrison surrendered on December 10 without a fight. General Gallini's 80-strong group with 125 tanks surrendered.

30 thousand Englishmen were celebrating a victory that they did not expect.

The camp at Maktila (on the coast) was abandoned after shelling by British ships. The remaining 500 Italian soldiers left behind weapon after two machine-gun bursts. The 64th Catanzaro Infantry Division, which had been intercepted while fleeing, surrendered without a fight. The garrison of the Bir-Safafi camp, without waiting for the approach of an insignificant British detachment, went to Bardia without a fight.

On December 16, the Italian troops left Es-Sallum, Halfaya, Capuzzo, Sidi Omar without a fight. They abandoned the entire system of forts and fortifications they had built on the border of the Libyan plateau.

Thus, from one successful attack by the British, the entire defense system and the Italian army itself fell apart. The British thwarted the enemy's preparations for a future offensive in the Nile Delta and created the possibility of developing an offensive in Cyrenaica.

Graziani lost contact with the remaining troops. And on December 13, he sent a panicky telegram to Rome, in which he offered to take the remaining parts to Tripoli.


The crew of the British armored personnel carrier Universal Carrier examines the memorial sign erected by the Italians in honor of the capture of Sidi Barrani a few months earlier. December 16, 1940


Battery of Italian Cannone da 149/35 and 120/25 guns captured by the British.

"Battles" for Bardiya and Tobruk


On December 16, 1940, British troops reached Bardia, where the remnants of the Italian 10th Army took refuge. But they did not dare to attack on the move. The enemy still had an advantage in strength. There were no reserves for the development of the first success.

The British command failed to assess the significance of the first stage of the operation in time. In fact, the 10th Italian army was defeated, tens of thousands of soldiers surrendered. The remaining parts were completely demoralized. The Italian commander went into hiding to save himself. The troops were left without control. It remains to finish off the enemy and establish full control over Libya.

In fact, the British simply did not realize the seriousness of their victory. The enemy just fell from one poke. Wewell was redeploying forces: the 4th Indian Division was transferred to Sudan. She was replaced by the 6th Australian Infantry Division. The 4th Division was withdrawn immediately after the capture of Sidi Barrani, although it could have been left and the Australian Division used as reinforcements.

On January 1, 1941, the Nile Army was reorganized into the 13th Corps. As a result, an amazing situation developed: while the defeated Italians fled in panic to the west, a significant part of the British strike force turned east. Only three weeks later, when the new division arrived, the British were able to resume their attack.

The British had poorly organized their military intelligence and only on January 1 discovered that the Italians were leaving Bardia. On January 3, the assault began, there was practically no resistance. The Italians, who did not have time to escape and did not want to fight anymore, hid in the caves. When the British entered the fort they threw out the white flag.

On January 5, British troops occupied Bardia. Thousands of Italians laid down their arms. The British moved along the seaside road to Tobruk, where there were over 20 thousand Italian soldiers. The line of the outer fortifications of Tobruk stretched for 48 km, the inner ones for 30 km. Tobruk Bay was the best port between Alexandria and Benghazi. Italian ships were stationed here.

On January 7, 1941, British tanks were at Tobruk. January 9 - the city was blocked. But the British were able to start the assault only on January 20, when they pulled up the infantry and rear.

And here the Italians could not offer any resistance. And on January 22nd they threw out the white flag. The Italian commanders were so helpful that they themselves showed all the traps, warehouses and handed over over 200 guns and 20 tanks intact.

It is clear that with such "resistance" of the Italian army, the losses of the British were insignificant - over 500 killed and wounded (over 1900 people for the entire operation).


The crew of the British cruiser tank A10 (Cruiser tank Mark II) at lunch in the area of ​​Fort Bardia.


British artillery fire at Bardia. December 31, 1940


British soldiers in trenches in Libya near the port of Bardia. Armed with 1904 Lee-Enfield rifles, dressed in winter uniforms. January 5, 1941


Burning Italian cruiser "San Giorgio" in the harbor of Tobruk. The picture was taken from an English plane. The cruiser was used in the defense of Tobruk as a floating battery. On January 21, 1941, the ship at anchor in the port was attacked by British bombers. Having received several hits from aerial bombs, the cruiser sank to the bottom. The San Giorgio was sunk in Tobruk on January 22, 1941, before the city was abandoned.


A missed opportunity to finish off the enemy


The remnants of the Italian troops fled to Benghazi.

After the surrender of Tobruk, the British consolidated their position in the Mediterranean. Tobruk linked Malta and Alexandria, Malta and Crete, British forces in Egypt with Gibraltar. The British moved relatively slowly and methodically from Tobruk to Benghazi. The Italians did not offer any resistance, they did not even come into contact with the enemy.

The British fleet could hasten the collapse of Italy in North Africa with its strikes and landings, but did nothing. The British Admiralty stuck to the line that the fleet was itself. The ground forces are solving their tasks.

At the headquarters of the British army, the civil administration had already arrived from Benghazi for negotiations on surrender. On February 10, 1941, the calm movement of British troops stopped at El Ageila on the orders of Churchill.

Rather than occupying Libya entirely (and without much difficulty), London decided to focus on Greece. This allowed Italy to avoid a complete collapse in Libya and keep Tripolitania. Wavell was ordered to leave a minimum of forces in Libya and prepare the main troops to be sent to the Balkans.

During the Libyan operation, the Italian army lost about 130 thousand people (of which 115 thousand were captured), 400 tanks (120 were captured by the British), about 1300 guns, about 250 aircraft. It was a complete rout.

The Italians were driven out of Egypt and lost a significant part of Cyrenaica.

The disaster of the Italian army was caused by the poor quality of its troops. The command showed complete carelessness and relaxation. The defense was not prepared, although there was time. The reconnaissance was not organized.

The enemy strike came as a complete surprise. Unsatisfactory level of training of commanders. Low troop motivation. They fled at the first threat. No "Brests" and "Stalingrad".

Hordes of Italians surrendered to small units of the enemy. Although many units had experience in fighting in Ethiopia and Spain. The soldiers were already tired of the war and felt their helplessness compared to the British or the Germans. Poor material and technical condition of the troops. The colonial troops did not have modern weapons, and the Italian divisions themselves were inferior to the enemy in weapons.

The troops lacked modern tanks (and the new tanks had a lot of shortcomings), anti-tank, anti-aircraft and field artillery, vehicles (low mechanization of troops). The Air Force was mainly armed with aircraft of obsolete types. Disadvantages of communications and command and control. Orders, as in the old days, were passed by liaison officers. Poor supply.

Italy's total failure in North Africa raised concerns among Hitler. He feared that England would get the opportunity

"Put a gun to the heart of Italy"

which will cause psychological shock in the country. Rome capitulates. Germany will lose an ally in the Mediterranean. British forces in the Mediterranean will have freedom of action, they will threaten Southern France. Britain will free ten divisions for the war against the Reich.

Therefore, Berlin decided to urgently help the ally. The German Air Force was supposed to take under guard the convoys of Italians, to strike at the sea routes of the British.

The ground forces were given the task of sending a tank division to Africa.


A column of Italian prisoners of war from Fort Bardia goes to the gathering place. January 6, 1941


Italian prisoners of war captured during the Libyan operation.
Author:
Photos used:
https://ru.wikipedia.org/, http://waralbum.ru/
39 comments
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  1. Far B
    Far B 17 December 2020 05: 12
    +14
    A strong conviction has long been formed: the Italians in that war were some kind of clowns to fight. And on land and at sea - who just beat them! Even Ethiopians with spears checked in. Y-yes. But Mussolini was full of pathos!
    1. Lech from Android.
      Lech from Android. 17 December 2020 05: 28
      +8
      The Italian units of the fascists fought well, but they did not make the weather, the bulk of Italians did not want to fight for no reason and in the name of alien ideas. Therefore, the combat capability and motivation of the Italian army was generally low.
      1. Crowe
        Crowe 17 December 2020 05: 50
        +25
        The famous words of General Moltke are recalled, spoken by him to the Kaiser at the beginning of the First World War, when Rome hesitated for a long time on which side to fight:
        "If the Italians are against us, we will need ten divisions to defeat them, and if for us - the same ten divisions to help them."
        1. Aerodrome
          Aerodrome 17 December 2020 05: 57
          +8
          Quote: Crowe
          The famous words of General Moltke are recalled, spoken by him to the Kaiser at the beginning of the First World War, when Rome hesitated for a long time on which side to fight:
          "If the Italians are against us, we will need ten divisions to defeat them, and if for us - the same ten divisions to help them."

        2. vladcub
          vladcub 17 December 2020 16: 27
          +10
          I met this expression in a different version: "if Romania is against us, we will need 10 divisions to defeat, and if for us - the same 10 divisions to protect them"
          From the fact that instead of Italy will be Romania or vice versa. The essence does not change. Both Italians and Romanians proved to be insignificant warriors.
          1. Stanislav Khatuntsev
            Stanislav Khatuntsev 23 January 2021 19: 36
            -1
            But even Romania in World War I made peace with the countries of the Central Bloc on better terms than the Bolsheviks in Brest. And they fought in time - they again declared war on the Germans the day before the armistice was signed in Compiegne and received Bessarabia, Bukovina, Maramures, Transylvania and Banat.
        3. Stanislav Khatuntsev
          Stanislav Khatuntsev 23 January 2021 19: 32
          +1
          Nevertheless, in the 1st World, in comparison with the 2nd, the Italians fought well. Even after the Bolsheviks withdrew from the 1st World Russia, the countries of the Quadruple Alliance did not defeat Italy and did not force it to capitulate.
      2. Blacksmith 55
        Blacksmith 55 17 December 2020 09: 01
        +9
        I remembered an anecdote.
        Previously, the worst army was the Austrian.
        They asked God to help them, and made the army strong. And then God created the army of Italy.

        Italians could never fight well, like the Italians in the USSR in the Second World War.
        Yes, the Germans put them on secondary sites.
        1. irontom
          irontom 22 December 2020 00: 39
          +1
          In WWI in the Alps there was a serious mountain war with Austrian and German rangers, the famous Edelweiss was just born there, the massacre was serious with varying success. Alpini Italian mountain shooters proved to be a serious adversary.
          1. 89268170588
            89268170588 12 February 2021 17: 20
            0
            The company under the command of Rommel captured about 80 Italian guns and 15000 prisoners on the offensive. The Italians would have fled to Rome if not for the French and British. They saved Italy and stopped the Germans and Austrians.
    2. 210ox
      210ox 17 December 2020 09: 24
      +7
      It is not for them to fight the Ethiopians .. Even at sea, having good equipment, the Italians suffered defeats.
    3. vladcub
      vladcub 17 December 2020 16: 16
      +3
      That the pasta, that the paddling pool has always been in abundance. Ambition always interferes with thinking
    4. polar fox
      polar fox 18 December 2020 09: 12
      0
      Quote: Dalny V
      A strong conviction has long been formed: the Italians in that war were some kind of clowns to fight. And on land and at sea - who just beat them! Even Ethiopians with spears checked in. Y-yes. But Mussolini was full of pathos!

      but according to the official history, the Italians bent everyone ... as it does not fit.
  2. Cure72
    Cure72 17 December 2020 07: 26
    +5
    Quote: Crowe
    The famous words of General Moltke were recalled, spoken by him to the Kaiser

    Well, the same bike goes with regard to the Romanians. But was it, or is it just another historical anecdote ...
  3. Olgovich
    Olgovich 17 December 2020 08: 14
    +10
    The enemy just fell from one poke.
    The Italian elite had ambitious plans of conquest, but ordinary Italians did not need it.

    That is, they did not mind getting everything for free, but they categorically did not want to die for this.
  4. stoqn477
    stoqn477 17 December 2020 10: 08
    +5
    Captain Bertorelli from Alo, Alo. According to him, the Italian war hero.
    1. Lech from Android.
      Lech from Android. 17 December 2020 10: 13
      +3
      How many orders ... on what fronts did you fight? smile
      1. Alf
        Alf 17 December 2020 19: 34
        +11
        Quote: Lech from Android.
        How many orders ... on what fronts did you fight? smile

        On the same as these.


    2. vladcub
      vladcub 17 December 2020 16: 30
      +3
      Key definition: "by HIS words"
  5. BAI
    BAI 17 December 2020 10: 11
    +2
    And nevertheless, the Italians reached Stalingrad and Voronezh. After all, there were no German troops on the front occupied by the Italian armies, the Germans were nearby, i.e. the Italians advanced on their own, and did not follow.
    1. Lech from Android.
      Lech from Android. 17 December 2020 10: 16
      +3
      There is a good film about the Italian troops' campaign in Russia ... they started well, but at Stalingrad it all ended in complete defeat for them ... rightly so.
      They walked east.
      1. Alf
        Alf 17 December 2020 19: 36
        +3
        Quote: Lech from Android.
        but at Stalingrad it all ended in complete defeat for them ... rightly so.

        I heard such information that when the Italians passed through the villages to Stalingrad, the locals brought them out to eat, they looked so pitiful, ragged and hungry.
    2. RUSS
      RUSS 18 December 2020 17: 09
      0
      Quote: BAI
      And nevertheless, the Italians reached Stalingrad and Voronezh. After all, there were no German troops on the front occupied by the Italian armies, the Germans were nearby, i.e. the Italians advanced on their own, and did not follow.

      I remembered a successful episode of the Italian cavalry attack - the battle near Izbushensky farm
  6. stoqn477
    stoqn477 17 December 2020 10: 28
    +3
    Quote: Lech from Android.
    How many orders ... on what fronts did you fight? smile

    The show was a comedy. He mostly fought girls in a restaurant. Well, he didn't get much. laughing
  7. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov 17 December 2020 10: 49
    +9
    In October 1940, it became clear to Mussolini that the Third Reich ... was preparing an attack on Russia.

    Look how perspicacious!
    Hitler has not even signed directive number 21 - on the conduct of Operation Barbarossa, and will do it only on December 18, 1940. But Mussolini already knows everything. Just some kind of grandmother Wang. lol

    Hitler had his own plans for the eastern Mediterranean. The path to Persia and India went through the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East.


    That's right! good
    By November 1940, the Wehrmacht was already in Poland, France, Greece, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark. In mainland Europe, Germany no longer had opponents, and on November 12, 1940, Hitler suggested that Stalin "take under his wing" Iran, Iraq and India, and with them "direct access to the warm seas."
    This was a direct proposal for the USSR to join the Triple Pact of the Axis countries - Germany, Italy and Japan - a natural step, in Germany's opinion, to continue fruitful cooperation after the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union of August 23, 1939.
    However, Joseph Vissarionovich still had plenty of business in the Baltic states, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, he had his own view of the development of further events.
    Even seeing that the war in Europe was not, as he expected, difficult and protracted for Germany, he nevertheless decided to insist on the withdrawal of German troops from Finland and Romania. In addition, as a condition for joining the Triple Pact, he demanded the expansion of his sphere of influence to Bulgaria and the creation of Soviet naval bases in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.
    Then, alas, everything went wrong, but that's a completely different story ... hi
    1. albert
      albert 17 December 2020 20: 26
      +4
      Quote: A. Privalov
      natural step, according to Germany

      Wow. So Hitler suddenly stopped counting on "living space in the east" and forgot about the "threat of communism"?
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 17 December 2020 21: 29
        +3
        Quote: albert
        Quote: A. Privalov
        natural step, according to Germany

        Wow. So Hitler suddenly stopped counting on "living space in the east" and forgot about the "threat of communism"?

        In those days, quite equal and real partners were sitting at the negotiating table.
        And the "living space in the east" and the "threat of communism" are just figures of speech. Actually, like all the epithets that in just seven months will use agitprop against Germany, Hitler and other leaders of the Reich. The time will come for such rhetoric. hi
    2. Ryazan87
      Ryazan87 18 December 2020 00: 29
      +3
      By November 1940, the Wehrmacht was already in Poland, France, Greece, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark.

      In Greece, no. Operation "Marita" - April 1941, like the entire Balkan campaign of the Wehrmacht - the spring of 41. Crete is even the beginning of summer.
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 18 December 2020 01: 01
        +2
        Quote: Ryazanets87
        By November 1940, the Wehrmacht was already in Poland, France, Greece, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark.

        In Greece, no. Operation "Marita" - April 1941, like the entire Balkan campaign of the Wehrmacht - the spring of 41. Crete is even the beginning of summer.

        You're right. Greece should be removed from this list. But I can't fix it anymore, alas ...
    3. mpr200
      mpr200 6 February 2021 03: 27
      0
      The meeting at which the preparations for war with the USSR were announced was held in the summer of 1940.
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 6 February 2021 08: 17
        0
        Quote: mpr200
        The meeting at which the preparations for war with the USSR were announced was held in the summer of 1940.

        I am ready to accept your comment. However, the Germans worked under protocol. Please specify at least the date of this meeting. hi
  8. Engineer
    Engineer 17 December 2020 11: 42
    +11
    Fun days for the British in Africa.
    The Australians went on the attack, kicking a soccer ball in front of them.
    New Zealanders "borrowed" a piper for their attack

    When the Germans arrived, everything changed.
    By a special order of the 8th Army, it was forbidden to attack with pipers in battle formations. For too often they are torn to pieces with the instrument, and the War Department cannot afford to pay 50 pounds each time for a bagpipe.

    However, I will repeat once again, the Italians had compounds capable of delivering a headache to anyone. Centauro, Folgore, Ariete, Imperiali Bersaglier divisions. We must not forget about it.
  9. Ryaruav
    Ryaruav 17 December 2020 12: 33
    +6
    the Italian guns in the photo strongly resemble the guns of the Russo-Japanese War
  10. Fan-fan
    Fan-fan 17 December 2020 18: 28
    +5
    The mentality of Italians is very different from the German one. They are more humane, more pious, but they are also kind of weak.
    1. Alf
      Alf 17 December 2020 19: 38
      +5
      Quote: Fan-Fan
      some bezlaberny.

      Tell me straight-ras ... gouge.
  11. Sergey Oreshin
    Sergey Oreshin 18 December 2020 19: 08
    +2
    The idea of ​​an offensive from Libya to India was pure absurdity and, as far as I know, was never seriously considered in OKW and OKH
  12. Nastia makarova
    Nastia makarova 23 December 2020 13: 08
    0
    very interesting
  13. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 25 February 2021 17: 32
    0
    Most of the Italian troops in Libya in 1940 are local people who did not want to fight for the colonialists. But they fulfilled their old-fashioned task - they diverted the main forces of the British from Greece and saved the Italians from defeat in Greece and Albania back in 1940.
  14. YOUR.
    YOUR. Yesterday, 20: 41
    0
    "There is no land in the world that would be so dotted with fortresses as Italy. And there is no land that would be conquered so often."
    AV Suvorov.