Mussolini's Italian Military Chronology in WW2

History.     In 1911 Italian troops invaded the Turkish province of Libya to become an Italian colony.


October 3, 1935, Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italy attacked Ethiopia from Italian Somalia until 5 May 1936 when the capital, Addis Ababa, was taken. [The First Italo-Ethiopian War (1895-1896) was won by Ethiopia.]


May 9, 1936 Ethiopia was consolidated with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland into Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa).
Spanish Civil War -- Who is who?
Nationalists were, Franco an alliance of Falangists, monarchists, conservatives and Catholics, supported by Germany, Italy, Vatican, ... Anti-cleric.
    1K internationals from Spanish Guinea, The Philippines, the US, Brazil, Norway, Belgium, the UK, and Australia fought in the Nationalist ranks.
Republicans, loyalists or Rojos (reds), supported by USSR, Poland, France, Mexico, International Brigades (32K) incliding American Lincoln Battalion, Jews, ...
Irish on both sides.
July 27, 1936 the first squadron of Italian airplanes sent to support Franco in the Spanish Civil War.


Italy fighting for the Nationalists had sent 50,000 troops in 1937.


Probably a total of 75,000 Italians fought in Spain for the Nationalists.
Italian pilots flew 135,265 hours during the war, partook in 5,318 air raids, hit 224 Republican and other ships, engaged in 266 aerial combats, and reported to have shot down 903 Republican and allied planes, and lost around 180 pilots and aircrew killed in action.


April 1, 1939 is official ending of the Spanish Civil War with Franco ruling until his death in 20 Nov'75.
6,000 Italians are estimated to have died in the conflict.
On April 7, 1939, Mussolini's troops invaded Albania, they having been a protectorate on and off for generations.


June 10, 1940 Italy joins attack on France. June 21 armistice signed.
June 13, 1940 Italian air raid in Kenya.
June 1940 Italy assembled a force to capture Djibouti in French Somaliland and did so after the fall of France.
July 4, 1940 Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was invaded from Eritrea.
Beginning July 1940, Italian SM82 tri-motor bombers flew from bases in Dodecanese Islands off the SW coast of Turkey to bomb the British Mandate of Palestine, primarily centered on the refinery port of Haifa forcing diversion of already limited British forces to a remote area. Also other coastal towns such as Tel Aviv, Acre and Jaffa suffered with raids as well as Bahrain and Dhahra.
August 1940 Italy invaded British Somaliland. British recaptured in March 1941.
September 13, 1940. Italy invades Egypt from Libya to link with Italian East Africa (Ethiopia, Somoliland, Eritrea).
September 16, 1940. Stopped after three days and 60 miles to build a water line to support the advance.
October 28, 1940. Greco-Italian War. Italy attacked thru Albania. Greek wins in the hills, but has no tanks for the plains.
Nov 11, 1940. Taranto harbor attacked by British aircraft carrier torpedo bombers, sinking or disabling half the Italian battle fleet.
Dec 9, 1940 to Feb 10 British counter attack into Libya to take 350 miles to Bengiaze and take 130K Italian POWs


February 6, 1941 Mussolini sends Italian reinforcements to Libya.
Hitler sends Afrika Korp arriving March 1941.
Greece rejects token British aid.
On April 6, 1941 Germans invaded neutral Yugoslavia on its way to rescue Italians in Greece that was swiftly conquered and partitioned between Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria.
First days of April Greece received help from British Commonwealth troops drawn from Libya.
German took control of the heartland of Serbia (Yugoslavia).
Mussolini's Italy gained the Adriatic Coast including parts of Slovenia, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, Dalmatia, the Adriatic islands.
Commonwealth expeditionary force in Greece withdrawn through Crete.
April 8, 1941 Italians surrender to Indian troops in East Africa in start of collapse.
May 20, 1941. Invasion and capture of Crete defeating retreating Commonwealth forces.
June 1941. Greece was occupied and divided between Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.
June 1941. The last Italian bombing on the territories of the British Mandate of Palestine occurred.
June 22, 1941 Operation Barbarossa, the largest military operation in history, was planned for 15 May 1941, finally began on Sunday, June 22.
July 27, 1941 Italy contributes 3 divisions to Barbarosa, CSIR (fast divisions) to the Russian campaign.
November 27, 1941. End of Italian East Africa campaign, first Allied victory.
December 11, 1941. Italy declared war on the USA in support of Japan.


26 May 1942 to 21 June Africa Korp wins Battle at Gazala in Libya.
CSIR grows into the Italian 8th Army in Russia.
30 July 1942 Afrika Korp stops their push at El Alamein 66 mi from Alexandria, Egypt.
23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943. Italian corp fought in the Battle of Stalingrad with heavy losses.
08 November 1942. (Operation Torch) Allied invasion of Morroco (US 30K men), Oran (US 39K) and Algers (Br 23K, US 10K)
German and Italy take French Tunisia and Corsica along with Vichy France.
19 November 1942, Africa Korp adds the XC Army Corps in Tunisia,
08 December 1942, then adds 5th Panzer Army onto Afrika Korp.


February 1943, Remains of Italian 8th Army brought home from Russia.
May 13, 1943 Afrika Korp surrenders in Tunisia.
July 10, 1943, to May 2, 1945 Italian Campaign by Allies.
July 10, 1943, Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.
July 25, 1943. Mussolini was arrested by order of King Victor Emmanuel
August 17, 1943 Allies marched into Messina completing the Sicily campaign.
September 3, 1943. Italy surrendered to the Allies it's occupied and annexed territories falling under German control.
September 9, 1943. U.S. army leapfrog to Salerno.
September 12, 1943. Mussolini was rescued by German troops from his prison in Campo Imperatore.
September 23, 1943. Mussolini put in charge of a puppet regime in northern Italy, the Repubblica Sociale Italiana, RSI (Italian Social Republic), commonly Salò Republic.


January 22, 1944 Battle of Anzio begins with the Allied amphibious landing
June 4, 1944 Fifth U.S. Army moves into Rome (also D-Day at Normandy)


April 28, 1945 Mussolini is captured trying to escape and killed by the Italian resistance.
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    These are some topics of possible help in understanding the period.
Created Nov 5, 2019
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