Mussolini's Defeat at Hill 731, March 1941

How the Greeks Halted Italy's Albanian Offensive

John Carr

Date Published :
December 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
20 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526765031
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Hill 731 was the scene of the most ferocious battle of the Greek-Italian War in Albania. Watched by Mussolini himself, on 9 March 1941 the Italians launched their Spring Offensive, designed to stem four months of humiliating reverses. The objective was a pair of parallel valleys dominated by the Greek-held Hill 731 that had to be taken at all costs.

The Italian Eighth Corps, part of Geloso's 11th Army, had the task of seizing the heights, spearheaded by 38 (Puglie) Division. Holding the position was the Greek 1 Division of II Corps, with 4 and 6 Division on the flanks.

For 17 days, after a massive artillery barrage (which reduced the hill’s height by 6 metros), the Italians threw themselves with great courage against the Evzones on the hill, to be repeatedly smashed with appalling losses. It was an Iwo Jima-type merciless fight at close quarters, where bayonets held the place of honor but the battered Greeks held.

Mussolini had wanted a spring victory to impress the Führer. Instead, the bloody debacle of Hill 731 could well have contributed to Hitler’s decision to postpone his invasion of Russia by at least four weeks, a costly delay.

About The Author

John Carr has enjoyed a career as a journalist, correspondent and broadcaster (The Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Vatican Radio), mainly in the Mediterranean and particularly Greece, where he now resides. He is the author of 'On Spartan Wings: The Royal Hellenic Air Force in World War II'; 'Spartas Kings'; 'The Defence and Fall of Greece 1940-41'; 'RHNS Averof' and 'Fighting Emperors of Byzantium', all published by Pen & Sword.


"...a beautifully written account of the bravery and sacrifice of the Greek army as well as that of the Italians set against it."

- WWII History Magazine

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