Greece 1940-1945

Italy was at once awed and jealous of the German successes in 1940, and Mussolini declared war on Britain and France on June 10. Stagnated in France until the German victory, the Italians looked to the Southeast for something they could claim as their own prize.

200,000 Italian soldiers attacked Greece from Italian Albania on October 28, 1940. The Greek Army proved much tougher than Mussolini or his generals expected. Not only was the Italian advance smashed, the Italians were expelled from Greece and driven back to Albania.

Crete April 27 - May 31, 1941

The collapse of Greek resistance on the mainland and the evacuation of British Commonwealth forces left Cretan Commander New Zealand General Bernard C. Freyberg with the knowledge that the island would be the next logical strategic target. Crete’s geographic location put its three airfields within striking distance of the Rumanian oil fields, cut the Aegean off from the Mediterranean, and provided a base to strike at Italy, North Africa, and Greece.

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