Italo-Greek War of 1940–41

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Italo-Greek War of 1940–41

 

military operations by fascist Italy against Greece during World War II. On Oct. 28, 1940, Mussolini’s fascist Italian government, seeking to establish its dominance in the Mediterranean, declared war on Greece. The Italian Ninth Army (eight divisions, including one tank division; up to 200, 000 men; and 250 tanks, 700 guns, and 400 airplanes) under the command of General Visconti Prasca was dispatched against Greece from Albania, which Italy had occupied in 1939. In addition to border units, Greece had on its frontier two infantry divisions and two infantry brigades of the Epirus Army of General Papagos, which consisted of 27, 000 men, 20 tanks, 70 guns, and 36 airplanes.

The Italian command, confident of a swift defeat of the Greek Army, launched an offensive against Kastoria and Fiorina, planning to capture Epirus and occupy all of Greece. However, the Greek Army, skillfully taking advantage of the mountainous terrain, put up stiff resistance, stopped the Italian offensive on November 14, and subsequently, increasing its forces to 12 infantry divisions, two cavalry divisions, and three infantry brigades, went over to a counteroffensive. On November 21, Greek troops, pursuing the retreating enemy, entered Albanian territory, where they were supported by Albanian partisans. The Italian command hastily brought in reinforcements and created the Eleventh Army, which was united with the Ninth Army to form the Albania Group of Armies (27 divisions commanded by General Soddu). Despite the enemy’s superiority in forces, Greek troops advanced 25–60 km into Albanian territory, after which the struggle took on a positional character. Only after fascist German troops entered the war in April 1941 was the Greek Army defeated. On April 23, 1941, in Thessalonika General Tsolakoglu signed an act of surrender and armistice with Germany and Italy.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1941–1945, vol. 1. Moscow, 1963.
Kaval’ero, U. Zapiski o voine. Moscow, 1968.
Kir’iakidis, G. D. Gretsiia vo vtoroi mirovoi voine. Moscow, 1967.

N. M. CHEREPANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.