Famous Italian Battles of the 20th Century

MatthewA By MatthewA, 23rd Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

The Italian Empire, whilst small compared to the other European empires, gradually expanded in the early 20th century. Italy added additional territory to the empire in Africa, most notably Libya, and later defeated Albania in the Balkans. The most famous Italian battles came in the larger wars.

Battle of Vittorio Veneto

In WWI Italy joined the Entente in 1915. Whilst British and French armies held the front with Germany, Italy was left to defeat Austria-Hungary. The Italian Campaign began in 1915 and lasted until 1918. After the rout of Caporetto where hundreds of thousands of Italians surrendered, it seemed that the campaign might end with Austria-Hungary victorious.

However, the war was not over; and in 1918 Italy could count on further reinforcements from Britain and France for a new advance from Vittorio Veneto. Most divisions at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto were Italian troops, and in this battle they came up against the Austro-Hungarian army that had no additional German reinforcements. At this battle the Eighth Italian Army took Veneto, and maintained its advances into early November. During this period, hundreds of thousands of Austro-Hungarian troops surrendered. As such, this battle effectively won the Italian Campaign for Italy as an armistice duly followed. The postwar treaties dissolved Austria-Hungary, but the Italian Empire was not greatly expanded.

Battle of Taranto

In the early 1940s the Italy advanced into Egypt, ensuring war with the British Empire. Among the more famous naval battles in the Mediterranean was the Battle of Taranto. To retain a greater advantage in the Mediterranean Sea, the Royal Navy planned an aircraft carrier raid at the naval base of Taranto.

It was here that a group of Royal Navy torpedo-bombers bombed Italian battleships in port at Taranto. The airstrike ravaged three battleships stationed at the port. Italy had not expected it as Taranto was a shallow-water port where it was doubted that torpedo bombs could be effective. But somehow the Royal Navy pulled it off.

Battle of Cape Matapan

The Italian navy gradually recovered from Taranto, and in 1941 sent out a fleet to intercept Allied convoys. A Royal Navy fleet intercepted these ships off the coast of Cape Matapan. The Battle of Matapan was another defeat for Italy's navy as they lost three cruisers and a couple of destroyers. Italy salvaged the battleship Vittorio Veneto, but it required further repairs when it returned to port.

Battle of El Alamein

Although recalled as a British/German battle in North Africa, the Battle of El Alamein included a more diverse range of troops. The British Eighth Army had a number of Commonwealth divisions, whilst the Afrika Korps combined Italian and German divisions. It was the largest battle in North Africa with hundreds of thousands of troops included.

After its earlier victories the Afrika Korps advanced, but at El Alamein any remaining chance of victory evaporated. The British and Commonwealth troops outnumbered the Afrika Korps and had twice the number of tanks at their disposal. In this battle their larger number of tanks ensured victory as the Afrika Korps retreated. With greater Allied reinforcements arriving, the remaining troops of the Korps surrendered in 1943. The Italian Empire was on the brink of defeat as the Allied armies set sail for Sicily.

Those were a few of the more famous Italian battles. The battle at El Alamein ensured the defeat of Italy's empire. Once the Allies had taken Sicily, Italy ended the war with the Allies; and postwar treaties dissolved the empire.


Battle Of El Alamein, Italian Empire, Italy

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at http://battlesofthepacificwar.blogspot.co.uk/.

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author avatar brendamarie
23rd Sep 2015 (#)

I love reading about history. Great article

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