World War 2 Events by Country - Italy

Listing of all day-by-day events of the Second World War related to the nation of Italy.

World War 2 spanned across language barriers, cultures, and borders as it wreaked havoc around the globe. The conflict was made up of several major theaters - spanning nearly all oceans and continents - which contained many individual campaigns and, within these, key battles and events on both the military and political spectrums. The war was fought with equal fervor and verocity across the land, on the sea (and under it), and in the air as millions of men and women answered the call of their respective flags - or happened to find themselves in the war's path with no option but to fight. In the end, the fractured world opened its eyes to a new order - one that would usher in a whole new trial in the Cold War and lead to the establishment of dozens of independent countries heading towards the end of the century.

There are a total of (166) World War 2 Events by Country - Italy events in the database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last). Other leading and trailing events may also be included for perspective.
Day-by-Day Timeline of Events

Monday, June 10th, 1940

Canada declares war on Italy.

Tuesday, June 11th, 1940

Australia declares war on Italy.

Tuesday, June 11th, 1940

New Zealand declares war on Italy.

Tuesday, June 11th, 1940

South Africa declares war on Italy.

Saturday, August 3rd, 1940

Italian Army elements attack a small British force stationed in British Somaliland from positions in Ethiopia.

Friday, September 27th, 1940

The Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan strengthen their ties through the Tripartite Act which makes an enemy of an ally an enemy to all.

Tuesday, October 15th, 1940

Unknown to the Germans, the Italians decide on an operation to invade Greece.

Monday, October 28th, 1940

The Italian government issues an ultimatum to Greece to accept occupation or war.

Sunday, September 1st - September 30th, 1940

Italian forces, led by Marshal Graziani invade Egypt. During the month, the Italian army sets up a series of six defensive positions south of occupied Sidi Barrani known simply as Nibeiwa, Tummar East, Tummar West, North Sofafi, East Sofafi and West Sofafi.

Sunday, November 10th, 1940

Italian General Ubaldo Soddu succeeds General Sabasiano Viscounti-Prasca as Commander-in-Chief over operations from Albania into Greece.

Monday, October 21st, 1940

Operation Judgement - the Allied attack on the Italian naval base at Taranto - is postponed due to mechanical issues aboard the carrier HMS Eagle and a fire aboard the carrier HMS Illustrious.

Monday, October 28th, 1940

An Italian force of 70,000 soldiers invades Greece.

Monday, October 28th, 1940

Italian forces begin launching attacks into Greece from positions in Albania.

Saturday, November 9th, 1940

The HMS Illustrious moves on Taranto.

Saturday, November 9th, 1940

A Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber is lost to engine failure.

Sunday, November 10th, 1940

Another Swordfish torpedo bomber is lost to mechnical failure.

Sunday, November 10th, 1940

The British naval force moving against Taranto comes under attack from Italian aircraft near Malta.

Sunday, November 10th, 1940

An Italian bomber is downed in the fighting near Malta.

Sunday, November 10th, 1940

The Italian invasion force is in full retreat, repelled by a combined Greek resistance and RAF effort after just two weeks.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

A third Royal Navy Swordfish aircraft is lost to engine malfunction. A bad batch of gasoline is centered on as the source of the Swordfish issues.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

At 10:00 PM, the first wave of Swordfish bombers is launched from HMS Illustrious, now stationed off of Cephalonia.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

At 10:58 PM, signal aircraft lead the first wave over Taranto, marking torpedo targets as they pass.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

At 11:14 PM, the Italian battleship Cavour is struck by a Royal Navy torpedo delivered via Swordfish L4A. L4A is later downed by anti-aircraft fire, though both crewmembers survive.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

At 11:15 PM, the Italian vessel Doria is struck twice by torpedoes in her forward section.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

The Italian ship Littorio is struck by a torpedo along her starboard side. Swordfish L4M follows with another strike to the same side.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

A Swordfish torpedo meant for the Vittorio Veneto fails to reach its mark, exploding harmlessly on the sea floor.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

The Libeccio is hit by a Royal Navy torpedo but the munition fails to explode.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

At 11:35 PM, the second wave of Royal Navy torpedo-laden aircraft moves into position.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

Once again, the bombing wave is led by signal aircraft marking targets with flares.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

Two signal aircraft attack the oil depot at Taranto but fail to produce much damage.

Monday, November 11th, 1940

The Italian battleship Caio Duilio is struck at her bow by a Royal Navy torpedo.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

At 1:01 AM, The sinking Littorio is struck by another torpedo.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

Swordfish E4H is downed by enemy anti-aircraft fire, killing her co-pilot.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

Swordfish E5H misses her mark against the Vittorio Veneto.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

Swordfish L5F scored a direct hit via bomb on the Trento.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

By 1:22 AM, the attack on Taranto harbor is officially over.

Tuesday, November 12th, 1940

By 3:30 AM, all but two Swordfish aircraft are accounted for.

Thursday, November 14th - November 22nd, 1940

A combined British-Greek force begins an offensive against the Italians in Greece, forcing the invaders into retreat.

Wednesday, November 20th, 1940

The Hungarian government formally allys with the Axis powers.

Saturday, November 23rd, 1940

The Romanian government formally allys with the Acis powers.

Friday, December 6th - December 8th, 1940

The Western Desert Force in Egypt, under the command of Major-General Richard O'Connor, set up pre-assault positions. The force includes 36,000 total men from the 7th Armored Division, 4th Indian Division and the New Zealand Division. They set up their initial position southeast of the Italian fort at Nibeiwa.

Friday, December 6th, 1940

Italian Commander-in-Chief Marshal Pietro Badoglio tenders his resignation.

Sunday, December 8th - December 9th, 1940

Aircraft of the Royal Navy are put into action against Italian forces dug in at Maktila and Barrani. Bombers are sent in to soften targets for the initial ground assault.

Monday, December 9th, 1940

Operation Compass is officially launched.

Monday, December 9th, 1940

The British 7th Armored Division launches attacks on the Italian camps positioned near Sofafi and Rabia and makes its way toward the critical ocean-side road near Buqbug.

Monday, December 9th, 1940

The British 7th Tank Regiment, along with the 4th Indian Division, attack Italian positions at Tummar West and Nibeiwa.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

The Italian camps at Tummar East fall to the Allies.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

Italian forces stationed at Sidi Barrani are all but surrounded by the Allies.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

Selby Force has removed the Italian 1st Libyan Division out of Maktila.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

Selby Force sets its eyes on Sidi Barrani.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

The Italian XXI Corps is in full retreat.

Tuesday, December 10th, 1940

Some 38,000 Italian soldiers are taken prisoner by the Allies.

Wednesday, December 11th, 1940

Royal Navy bombers begin attacks on Italian-held Sollum.

Wednesday, December 11th, 1940

The Italian Catanzaro Division is captured, delivering another 30,000 Italian prisoners of war.

Wednesday, January 15th, 1941

The Australian Army begins actions against the Italians in Libya.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 1941

The Allies take Tobruk, a key port city vital to North Africa operations.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 1941

Operation Compass is effectively over, netting some 130,000 total Italian prisoners.

Wednesday, January 29th, 1941

British forces take on Italian positions in Kenya.

Friday, February 14th, 1941

Event person portrait
Erwin Rommel's Afrika Corps arrives in Tripoli to bolster the wavering Italian forces in North Africa.

Sunday, March 9th, 1941

The Italians launch a new offensive in Greece to recover lost ground.

Tuesday, March 25th, 1941

The Yugoslavian government formally signs support for the Axis powers.

Thursday, March 27th, 1941

The Italians are forced by the British to retreat during the Battle of Keren in Eritrea.

Sunday, March 30th, 1941

United States vessels capture some sixty-five ships aligned with the Axis powers.

Tuesday, April 1st, 1941

Italian-held Asmara falls to the British.

Saturday, April 12th, 1941

German forces launching from Romania, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria along with an Italian contigent from Albania capture and secure the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade.

Sunday, April 20th, 1941

The Greek Army surrenders to the Germans and Italians.

Sunday, April 27th, 1941

Axis forces officially occupy Athens, effectively signaling the end of Greek resistance.

Thursday, December 11th, 1941

As expected, Germany and Italy side with Japan and officially declare war on the United States

Tuesday, May 26th, 1942

Group Cruewell, made up of the Italian X and XI Corps, launches an assault on the northern portion of the Gazala Line in an attempt to divert Allied forces from the real attack coming from the south.

Tuesday, May 26th, 1942

Rommel begins his offense against the Gazala Line, made up of some 50 miles of British defenses.

Tuesday, May 26th, 1942

Beginning at 7:00PM, the German 90th Infantry Division, the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions and the Italian XX Corps under Rommel launch their offensive along the southern portion of the Gazala Line.

Monday, June 1st, 1942

Nearly 30% of German tanks have been lost in Rommel's offensive.

Wednesday, July 1st - July 22nd, 1942

The First Battle of El Alamein takes place with Erwin Rommel hoping to put a dent in the Allied defense near El Alamain. Rommel's forces consist of his Afrika Corps and three Italian troop corps.

Wednesday, July 1st, 1942

German General Erwin Rommel attempts to break through the Allied defensive perimeter at El Alamein.

Friday, July 3rd, 1942

The Allies put up a stubborn defense, repelling Rommel's offensive.

Saturday, August 1st - August 30th, 1942

German forces are strengthened by the arrival of another Italian division, a German parachute brigade and more tanks.

Sunday, August 30th, 1942

Rommel begins a new offensive starting from Bab el Qattara that becomes the Battle of Alam Halfa near El Alamein. The objective is the high ridge at Alam Halfa some 13 miles through the Allied defensive perimeter in the south.

Friday, October 23rd, 1942

At 10:00PM, British XIII Corps hits the German 21st Panzer Division and Italian Brescia and Folgore Divisions in the south of the German defensive wall as a diversion to its north-bound actions.

Friday, October 23rd, 1942

XXX and X Corps begin their assault on Axis nothern positions.

Sunday, October 25th, 1942

Montgomery enacts Operation Supercharge and pulls some diversionary forces from his southern attacks to reinforce the north where losses continue to mount.

Sunday, October 25th, 1942

Four Allied brigades have managed to break through the German defensive lines.

Sunday, October 25th, 1942

Allied mine-clearing operations begin while combat continues

Monday, November 2nd, 1942

As more and more Allied armor crosses through the German perimeter, Rommel orders his battle-weary forces on an eastward retreat, keeping his forces within easy access to the North African coast.

Wednesday, November 4th, 1942

British X Corps makes a substantial gain in capturing Tel el Aqqaqir, running straight through the beleagured Axis lines, effectively ending the Battle of El Alamain in favor of the Allies. The victory is a major one for the Germans are in full retreat throughout North Africa. The action officially ends all Axis presence on the continent.

Wednesday, December 16th, 1942

The Italian Army goes into full retreat from the Soviet advance.

Friday, July 9th, 1943

The Allied invasion fleets sail out to Sicily.

Saturday, July 10th, 1943

Operation Husky begins. Target - German-held Sicily. Some 2,590 naval vessels take part in the invasion which encompasses two army groups of American and British forces invading at two different coasts of the island.

Saturday, July 10th, 1943

US 82nd Airborne Division and British 1st Airborne Division paratroopers land at strategic locations across Sicily prior to the invasion force's arrival.

Saturday, July 10th, 1943

15th Army Group begins their initial assault to the south.

Saturday, July 10th, 1943

The British 5th Division takes Cassibile.

Sunday, July 11th, 1943

The Hermann Goring Panzer Division engages the US 1st Infantry Division at Gela. US forces are assited by offshore bombardment from Royal Navy ships and repel the German attack.

Tuesday, July 13th, 1943

Allied airborne elements parachute into Sicily and capture key bridges. However, a German counter-attack drives back any gains of the day.

Tuesday, July 13th, 1943

By this date, some 478,000 Allied troops have landed on Sicily.

Wednesday, July 14th, 1943

German Paratroopers repel Allied forces from the Primasole bridge.

Wednesday, July 14th, 1943

British and American forces finally meet at Comiso and Ragusa.

Wednesday, July 14th, 1943

The Allies control key airfields across the island, allowing air support more resources from which to work with.

Saturday, July 17th, 1943

The Primsole bridge is recaptured from the Germans.

Thursday, July 22nd, 1943

US General George C. Patton and his fabled 7th Army move along the west of the island at speed, claiming the Sicilian capital of Palermo in the process.

Sunday, July 25th, 1943

With Mussolini deposed back in Rome, Hitler has few options but to plan a retreat for his overwhelmed forces in Sicily. As such, he orders an official withdrawel.

Thursday, August 5th, 1943

After some time, the British finally capture the port at Catania. Though a vital and strategic victory, their advance delays the operation some.

Sunday, August 8th, 1943

In an attempt to cut off the retreating Germans, the US 7th Army conducts a flanking amphibious attack.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1943

The US 7th Army undertakes another amphibious jump to head off the German retreat.

Wednesday, August 11th, 1943

The evacuation of Axis forces from Sicily begins.

Thursday, August 12th, 1943

Some 100,000 Axis soldiers are successfully rescued from Sicily. The rest are captured by advancing Allied forces.

Sunday, August 15th, 1943

One last amphibious assault by the 7th Army is conducted. The Germans now in full retreat to the northern tip of Sicily.

Tuesday, August 17th, 1943

The US 3rd Division gives the official "all clear" from their position in Messina. Operation Husky is a success and Sicily is firmly in Allied hands.

Friday, August 11th, 1944

Sensing complete destruction of Warsaw and its people, the Pope himself appeals to the Allies for help.

Tuesday, January 11th, 1944

French Expeditionary Corps assail the outer defences at Cassino, achieving modest gains.

Tuesday, January 11th, 1944

The first major Allied offensive to take Cassino is launched.

Sunday, January 16th, 1944

The US IC Corps and the French Expeditionary Corps arrive at Rapido River.

Monday, January 17th, 1944

The US is involved in their first major assault on Cassino.

Tuesday, January 18th - February 9th, 1944

US forces begin making headway through the Liri Valley, capturing ground at Monte Calvario.

Friday, January 21st, 1944

In the afternoon hours, an Allied convoy of 243 ships sets sail from the Bay of Naples for the beaches at Anzio and nearby Nettuno.

Saturday, January 22nd, 1944

Operation Shingle, the amphibious landings at Anzio, is enacted by the Allied. In lead is the US VI Corps under Major-General John Lucas.

Saturday, January 22nd, 1944

By 12AM midnight, some 45,000 Allied troops and 3,000 vehicles are on the beaches.

Saturday, January 22nd, 1944

British forces hold the line at River Moletta.

Saturday, January 22nd, 1944

American forces hold the line at Mussolini Canal.

Sunday, January 23rd, 1944

The Anzio beachhead is consolidated into a concentrated pocket on the orders of Lucas.

Sunday, January 23rd, 1944

German Colonel-General von Mackensen takes control of the new 14th Army headquartered 30 miles west of Rome.

Sunday, January 23rd, 1944

The German Luftwaffe begins heavy strafing attacks and bombardment of Allied forces.

Tuesday, January 25th, 1944

The Anzio beachhead continues to grow with Allied troops and equipment, making it a prime target for the regrouping Germans.

Friday, January 28th, 1944

The US 1st Armored Division captures the town of Aprilia.

Friday, January 28th, 1944

Von Mackensen moves six divisions to Anzio, some ten miles of the Allied beachhead.

Friday, January 28th, 1944

The Germans are driven back at Cisterna.

Friday, January 28th, 1944

Hitler delivers an ultimatum to supreme commander-in-chief over Italy operations, Field Marshall Kesselring, to fight to the death and drive the invading Allied forces into the sea.

Friday, January 28th, 1944

By this date, some 70,000 men, 27,000 tons of goods, 508 artillery guns and 237 tanks are ashore on the beachhead.

Sunday, January 30th, 1944

The Allies suffer some 5,000 casualties in the Anzio action by this date.

Monday, January 31st, 1944

Von Mackensen's forces now number some eight divisions in strength.

Friday, February 11th, 1944

US and Indian losses mount in the offensives against German positions in Calvario, the town of Cassino and Monte Cassino itself.

Friday, February 11th, 1944

The entire US 142nd Regiment is destroyed.

Friday, February 11th, 1944

The 4th Indian Division reports unacceptably high casualties when coming up against the stout German defenders.

Friday, February 11th, 1944

The 34th and 36th US Divisions both report a high number of casualties from the ensuing offensives.

Friday, February 11th, 1944

A blanket retreat is enacted by the Allies in an attempt to regroup and plan a new strategy to take Cassino.

Saturday, February 12th, 1944

Winston Churchill pens a critical letter to supreme commander-in-chief of Allied operations in Italy. In his writings he claims he expected to see "a wild cat roaring" and has seen nothing but a "whale wallowing on the beaches".

Tuesday, February 15th, 1944

In an effort to destroy the believed German defensive positions atop Monte Cassino, Allied bombers numbering 229 strong, lay waste to the monestary.

Tuesday, February 15th, 1944

German forces, having never held a defensive position in the monestary proper, move into the resulting debris from the surrounding mountain slopes and set up solid defensive positions within the rubble.

Tuesday, February 15th, 1944

Following the Allied aerial bombardment, the second major Allied offensive to take Cassino is launched.

Tuesday, February 15th - February 18th, 1944

The 2nd New Zealand Division is charged with taking the railway station at Cassino.

Tuesday, February 15th - February 18th, 1944

The 4th Indian Division is charged with taking both Monte Calvario and Monastary Hill.

Wednesday, February 16th, 1944

Kesselring launches a large counterattack against the invading Allied forces.

Thursday, February 17th, 1944

The Allies lose some four miles of territory but stand fast outside of Anzio.

Saturday, February 19th - March 13th, 1944

The Italian winter makes its arrival and postpones any further Allied offensives for the next month.

Sunday, February 20th, 1944

The German attack is more or less repelled, at the cost of 5,500 German casualties.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 1944

American bomber groups begin medium bombing operations against German targets from bases within Italy.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 1944

The Allies replace the ineffective Major-General Lucas with Major-General Lucius Truscott.

Tuesday, February 29th, 1944

Von Mackensen cancels the German offensive amidst mounting casualties and little gain.

Wednesday, March 1st - May 22nd, 1944

The Anzio engagement is limited to minor activity for the time being, with the Allies dug in and the Germans trying to dislodge the invaders by limited means.

Wednesday, March 15th, 1944

A third major Allied offensive is put into action.

Wednesday, March 15th, 1944

Artillery guns open up on Cassino while 600-plus Allied bombers attempt to shake the German defenders.

Wednesday, March 15th - March 21st, 1944

Against mounting casualties but with tank support, the 4th Indian Division gains ground.

Wednesday, March 15th - March 21st, 1944

The 2nd New Zealand Division captures German-held position with the help of Allied armor support.

Wednesday, March 15th - March 21st, 1944

The 78th British Division makes headway thanks to the support of Allied armor.

Wednesday, March 15th - March 21st, 1944

Positions on Monte Cassino are officially in Allied hands.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 1944

With mounting losses in both manpower and tanks, further Allied thrusts are called off.

Thursday, March 23rd - May 10th, 1944

A lengthy six-week period allows the Allies to rebuild their forces - though this period allows the Germans to increase their defensive foothold.

Thursday, May 11th, 1944

The fourth offensive to take Cassino is put into action.

Thursday, May 11th, 1944

Approximately 2,000 Allied artillery guns open up on Cassino.

Thursday, May 11th, 1944

A combined British, Polish and American assault converge on Cassino involving the British 13th Corps, the Polish II Corps and the US 5th Army.

Saturday, May 13th, 1944

German paratrooper forces defending Cassino being their evacuation.

Wednesday, May 17th, 1944

German paratrooper forces exit the Cassino region.

Thursday, May 18th, 1944

The British take the town of Cassino.

Thursday, May 18th, 1944

The Poles take Monte Calvario.

Thursday, May 18th, 1944

Monte Cassino falls to the Allies, costing some 50,000 casualties along both sides of the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 23rd, 1944

The US VI Corps breaks out of the Anzio perimeter and takes ground well into the Alban Hills.

Thursday, May 25th, 1944

The US VI Corps continues its gains and eventually combines with the arriving UU Corps. The road to Rome is now in the hands of the US Army and steps are taken for the final assault on the capital.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 1945

The war in Europe officially comes to a close.

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