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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 11:06:48 AM
This sadly has been a much overlooked campaign. I know something about it, but not a lot; but it is a fascinating story .It looks somewhat old fashioned : more in keeping with of the Imperial campaigns of the Nineteenth century than mid Twentieth century warfare.The balloon went up in WW2 when Italy took control of British Somaliland due to delay in preparing an attacking force

The Italians had a special interest in the region- in as much as they wanted control of the Suez Canal-GB's gateway to the east.However they had suffered a catastrophic and humiliating defeat at the hands of the natives at Adowa in the late nineteenth century.Il Duce sought to retrieve prestige for Italy. It backfired disastrously.

There were interesting personalities involved : Wavelll and Orde Wingate, to name but two.In the long run the Italians suffered a humiliating defeat ; but they did demonstrate tough resistance at a place called Keren in Eritrea- where they met their Waterloo at the hands of the 5th Indian Division

The Ethiopians were keen to assist the British. Italian rule had been extremely harsh, and actually atrocious.Many Indian troops fought there, 4th and 5th Indian Division being the principal units.

I would ask other members to express their opinions and so invite discussion. We can build this thread as we go along.Thank you.

MAP
[Read More]



Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 11:46:55 AM
An excellent choice, Jim.

An old family friend of ours fought there as a British officer.

He told me that he had to wear putteees at some point in his service : it does indeed sound like warfare from an earlier era.

He also told me that he witnessed Italian troops being taken prisoner by men of one of the Indian divisions.

He said that the smell of shit was intense, because the prisoners were so terrified that they were going to be mutilated by their captors : apparently, after Adowa, the Italian soldiers who had been captured there were castrated.

This gentleman - long since passed, I regret to say - was later to be desperately wounded at El Alamein when his armoured car ran over a mine. His feet were so badly mangled that he was damaged for life. But he told me that the worst pain he ever endured on active service was when he put on his shoe without shaking it first, only to be bitten by a scorpion that had taken residence in his shoe !

That North East Africa business must have been very hazardous in respect of diseases and accidents.

I remember reading an account of another British officer who had fought at Keren and later on at Monte Casino : he stated unequivocally that, of the two, Keren had been the tougher fight. Presumably, he had been in the 4th Indian Division.

The much derided Italians could certainly put up a good fight when they were so disposed...and I suppose the prospect of losing your family jewels is enough to motivate you to resist.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Posts: 5801
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 12:18:50 PM
The Italian conquest of British Somaliland had been ludicrously easy, but their the celebration ended-they had advanced out of Ethiopia into the British territory; but they were now far from home and completely isolated.
Ethiopia had little economy and resources to meet Italian needs to prolong their campaign and reorganisation had to be put into place as where to where they were going to go -as the British were now on their way to meet them-from Kenya.The Italians chose Eritrea-but I am getting ahead of myself
it is after all my own text.


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 2:39:07 PM
Somalia, Abyssinia , Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya .....it's quite hard to get to grips with the magnitude of the theatre of operations, with its diverse geography and elaborate racial and religious mix. I'm sure that the names and boundaries have moved around. I associate that campaign with puttees and pith helmets, biplanes and askaris....very much at odds with images we tend to bring to mind when we think of WW2.

I think I'd better give myself a bit of a geography lesson.

In the meantime, I'll seek out some anecdotes and see if I can add something to this thread.

Regards, Phil








---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 3:16:48 PM
(from an earlier post in a different thread)

The Africans -- Force Publique


Quote:
Since the invasion of Belgium on May 10, 1940, the Belgian Congo has had but one object in life. All its problems have been rolled into one: how to contribute most effectively to the common allied victory. -- Pierre Ryckmans, Governor of the Belgian Congo


In 1940, the colonial governor of the Belgian Congo decided the colony would continue to fight on the side of the Allies. To this end, he made elements of the colony's paramilitary force, the Force Publique, available to the Allied war effort.

In support of operations in East Africa, the 3rd Brigade of the FP took part in a grueling overland march through Sudan to Abyssinia. Under the command of General Gilliaert, the FP troops cut off a large number of Italian and native troops, accepting the surrender of over 5,000, including nine Italian generals in July 1941. The total of Italian and native surrenders thereafter grew to over 15,000. FP losses were some 500 men.

In 1942-43, some 13,000 men of the FP served on garrison and security duties in Nigeria, Egypt, and Palestine.

The Belgian Congo also provided a medical unit that saw service with British forces in Africa and India.

[Read More]
[Read More]

Image: Belgian "African War Medal 1940-1945"


Photo: FP soldier in the Middle East, 1944 (Philippe Jacquij)


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 4:14:10 PM
Thanks Bill....an evocation of Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Il Duce made sure that his nation bit off more than it could chew, didn't he ?

Has ever a nation in modern times been so ubiquitously - and so quickly - punished for imprudent entry into war ?

I suppose the Arab Israeli conflicts come to mind in this respect.

And maybe the Falklands conflict of 1982.....and there were plenty of Italian influences in the Argentine leadership then, too !

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 5:14:48 PM
And going back to WWI remember this guy in East Africa!?

[Read More]
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/25/2017 7:41:41 PM

Quote:
Il Duce made sure that his nation bit off more than it could chew, didn't he ?

Has ever a nation in modern times been so ubiquitously - and so quickly - punished for imprudent entry into war ?

I suppose the Arab Israeli conflicts come to mind in this respect.

And maybe the Falklands conflict of 1982.....and there were plenty of Italian influences in the Argentine leadership then, too !


Phil, I have mixed sentiments about Italy's war – so mixed, I'm not even sure they are coherent.

We tend to forget that Italy was considered a major European power after WW1. We tend to forget that Italy had relatively extensive colonial influence over large sections of North and East Africa. We tend to forget the deference paid to Italy by both France and GB throughout the 30s. And I believe we tend to forget that Mussolini provided greater aid to Spain that Germany during the Spanish Civil War. Italy was a major force in the Med, and had as much right as Britain (with holdings at Gib, Malta and Alexandria) to consider the Med their own lake (Mare Nostrum?).

Italy was at war earlier than most (e.g., Ethiopia in 1935-6). At the same time, Italy was one of the last major European powers to enter the European conflict begun in September, 1939. They entered in June, 1940, after the fall of Scandinavia and the virtual fall of France and the Benelux countries was a fait accompli.

As of June, 1940, Italy had a relatively large army – some of it more than capable. They had an aging but soundly built air force, though it was lagging behind developments in the UK and Germany. They had a navy whose ships were fleet but lightly armoured, and a potential force to be reckoned with in the Med. And it appears that they had little defensive disposition.

What they didn't seem to have is a national desire to engage in serious warfare. This is where I think Duce's Fascisti got it wrong. I think Duce was grabbing while things looked good in East Africa (in 1935). And I think he was extending Italy's influence by supporting Franco in the SCW (1938). I think his army's activities in North Africa were designed to demonstrate expansive Italian influence. I think the decision of June 1940 to enter the war on the side of Germany was a calculated risk that blew up in Il Duce's face, simply because he chose the wrong side.

Italians aren't bad fighters per se, IMHO. I just don't believe they were prepared to, or were interested in, getting swept into a war outside their accepted fiefdom. That is not the same as saying they were bad fighters. It's more like saying they wanted to pick their fights, and that Il Duce's fights were not theirs.

I've always thought that the Fascist symbol (the bound bundle of sticks) was, like the Soviet hammer and sickle, an appealing icon with some meaning. I think the sad thing for Italy is that someone forgot to bind the bale together. Italy's leaders were spoiling for a fight; Italy's people weren't onside for the conflict.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 2:55:54 AM
Brian,

Brilliant post, thank you !

It's made me reconsider.....and that's what I like to think is a major attribute of successful posting on MHO.

You didn't mention the foray into Albania, which I suppose might be significant in terms of Italian aspiration : although, as you suggest, we ought to differentiate between Il Duce and the population of Italy in that respect.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

James W.
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 3:06:11 AM
For sure, it seems hypocritical that being redefined as 'co-belligerents' - the various 'war criminal' Italians escaped Allied 'justice'.

Talk about giving a dog a bad name... General Badoglio earned his...

They'd got up to some real nasty stuff in the Balkans, let alone Africa..

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 4:09:42 AM
To return to the campaign in East Africa-IIRC the 23rd Nigerian Brigade which had come from Kenya was given the task of pursuing the retreating Italians from Italian Somaliland. Shelled from the sea by the Royal Navy and under air attack from the RAF-the retreat became a rout;their ailing transports breaking down "ad nauseam" only worsened their plight.

The Nigerians were able to cover the 250 miles to the Italian occupied city of Mogadishu in three days.No defence of Mogadishu was even attempted.Thus the nigerians were able to enter Mogadishu unopposed and found vas quantities of petrol,aviation fuel and other valuable stores abandoned.However the harbour had been badly damaged.The mopping up of Italian Somaliland was left to 21st East African and 24th Gold Coast Brigades.

General Wavell in Cairo agreed that Genaral Cunningham be relieved of retaking British Somaliland- in order that the drive into Ethiopia was not delayed.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 6:59:22 AM
Don't these place names have an uncomfortably topical ring to them ?

Take a look at the present day sector of MHO and view the footage of the Al Shabaab attack on the Kenyan soldiers that Kai posted.

Is the provenance of these horrors to some degree attributable to the struggles that we're discussing in this thread ?

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 8:58:42 AM
The Italians in East Africa numbered some 370,000 troops-mostly raw recruits under the leadership of the Duke of Aosta. Amalgamated British force under Lt Gen,Cunningham was about the same at 380,000 at the same time.

The Italian equipment included 525 guns of various calibres,24X 20mm AA guns,70X 81mm mortars, 3315 heavy m/c guns,5300 light m/c guns,24 medium tanks,30 light tanks,125 armoured cars ans surplus of rifles.I do not have an itinerary of British equipment-perhaps someone else might know.

As in Somaliland- each side overestimated each others forces-yet the intensity of the fighting in Ethiopia was quite fierce; and any victory over the Italians was to be no pushover.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/26/2017 5:09:08 PM
And Jim, just what was the weapons arsenal of the Ethiopians??
---------------
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Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 3:19:51 AM
Have we mentioned Haile Selassie ?

If not, it's a bit like staging Hamlet without the Prince .

This campaign has literally biblical evocations.

Orde Wingate - himself a product of The Plymouth Brethren - operated his dramatically named Gideon Force to help the exiled Emperor Selassie win back his domain.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 4:00:15 AM
Following the complex recapture of Ethiopia.The 4th and 5th Indian divisions advanced eastwards from Agordat in March 1941- into the rolling countryside of Eritrea, but which slowly increased in elevation towards the Keren Plateau, through the Ascidira Valley.

On the left of them there was an escarpmrnt and a spur rising to 6,000 ft (1,800 m) on the right of the road. The Italians had dug in on these heights which dominated the massifs, ravines and mountains, and had been selected before the war as the main defensive position to guard Asmara.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 7:48:21 AM
This conflict in that part of the world was - rather like the Sino Japanese war - a fight that was already raging and was subsumed into the wider world war.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 8:00:12 AM
After several days of bombing, the 4th Indian Division attacked on the north and west side of the road, to capture ground on the left flank, ready for the 5th Indian Division to attack on the east side.

The 4th Indian Division met a determined defence and made limited progress but during the night, the 5th Indian Division captured Fort Dologorodoc, 1,475 ft (450 m) above the valley.The Italians counter-attacked Fort Dologorodoc seven times from 18–22 March, each attack being a costly failure.

Wavell flew to Keren to assess the situation and on 15 March, as the Indians attacked again, watched with Platt as the attackers went up the road, ignoring the high ground either side and broke through.

Early on 27 March 1941, Keren was captured after 53 days, for a loss of 536 men killed, 3,229 wounded mostly 4th IID.

4th Indian Division were withdrawn from the area.

NB.1st Btn the Welsh Ragt were at Keren with 4th Indian Division



[Read More]


Regards

Jim
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Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 9:11:08 AM
Hi Jim,

Much less narrative and a heck of a lot more commentary, please. It's hard to follow a discussion when several interesting posts are interspersed with posts comprising lifted text that merely describe the chronology of the campaign.

We generally know (or can easily find out) what the official history, Wikipedia and leading historians have to say - let us hear what Jim's views are. Your posts are all the better for it.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 9:12:23 AM
Hi Jim,

Nice site with great maps on the Battle of Keren!

Thank's & regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 9:37:19 AM
You are very welcome MD-you can come again

Best Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 11:03:17 AM
Looking back over what I have posted so far-my first impression is "What a sprawling mess" and how did that happen ?Well for starters-I knew little about the task in hand-there was so much going on; but how to discuss what was "not written"- was "quite impossible" for me- I have to confess- as opposed to those that I carry in my head.

However I now see what a monumental task it was to undo what Mussolini had been up up to- with so little resources to hand.Slowly but surely- British and Commonwealth regular forces have ground out results-some in impossible terrain and suffocating heat. All Hail to them!!

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 2:45:23 PM
...there was so much going on .

Jeepers Creepers, yes !

How right you are, Jim,

So many active theatres of war to contend with ; and the Lutwaffe killing more British people at home than were being knocked over on the battlefield .

This East Africa affair merits some reflection.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 3:21:00 PM

Quote:
...there was so much going on .

Jeepers Creepers, yes !

How right you are, Jim,

So many active theatres of war to contend with ; and the Lutwaffe killing more British people at home than were being knocked over on the battlefield .

This East Africa affair merits some reflection.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Phil,

 "merits ... reflection" IMO because it was a very Allied operation ... a harbinger of the way things would be done to win the war. Offhand, I can think of British, Rhodesian, South African, East African, Belgian Congolese, and Somali (Camel Corps) troops involved in the effort to oust Italy from this part of Africa (a very strategic gain indeed -- the ultimate SE flank secured).

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 5:27:47 PM
Do you know what, folks ?

We've come across a real gem here.

This campaign must surely be one of the most fascinating and instructive subjects of study in the military lexicon.

Consider the varying dimensions : imperial, racial, religious...all redolent of conflict through different eras. It's almost a bizarre caricature of antiquity imposed onto a modern scenario.

It has the colourful cast list, along with strikingly dramatic locations.

It's admittedly a bit bewildering, but I for one have been inspired to find out more about it....more especially in view of a personal connection with one who fought in it.

I seek a good book...there must be one or two out there.

How remarkable that so little is mentioned of it.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 8:08:52 PM
Phil, I suspect that this campaign is so little known due to the perception that it was a form of 'colonial' conflict,
& compounded by views of Italian military of that period having an overall reputation as 3rd rate 'easy-beats'..

The figures given by Jim, of several hundred thousand troops fielded by each side seem astounding - if correct,
the logistics alone must have been a feat of organisation, esp' in that region.

General Wavell is also under-rated IMO, he had to 'carry-the-can' for quite a number of British 'shows' at long odds..
& Churchill's often unrealistically difficult demands - were yet another burden for him to contend with.

brian grafton
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/27/2017 8:48:11 PM
James, I have a soft spot for Wavell as well, and think he was somewhat ill-treated by WSC because of his inability to meet Winnie's rather poorly considered military actions in the Med. Auchinleck, who replaced him in the Med, was not unhappy with the organization or capability of the the forces he inherited from Wavell.

I'll give him extra points for his Other Men's Flowers, an anthology of his favourite poems published in 1944. I had a copy of it at one time, and thought the choice of poems eclectic but respectable. Why does it earn him extra points: because at a time when he was facing not just Japanese presence in Burma but also the growing "Independent India" movement sponsored by Gandhi, he was sufficiently outside the moment to reflect on values far beyond those expected in a career such as his.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 4:04:13 AM
Although Addis Ababa had been taken,a large Italian army still existed in East Africa-this is just what the Duke of Aosta intended; but for some reason or other; he did not include a defence of Somaliland or it's capital-Mogadishu- perhaps he saw that as a very lost cause.There has never been a satisfactory explanation.

At this stage the Italian air force was still capable of playing an important role-it never did. Another unanswered riddle.How ever splintered Wavell was deternined to winkle the remaining Italians out-wherever they may be and this required the efforts of many nation forces.

One such force Gideon Force of Ethiopian levies under Maj/Lt Col Wingate gave the Italians such a torrid time- that they fled in panic- as they closed on their opponents.They none the less took 2000 prisoners-God kelp them!!

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 6:31:03 AM
Wavell was in his element here....what a fitting area of battle for a man with a poetic soul ! It makes me think of the British officers who fought at Gallipoli, and reflected on the stories of antiquity : Troy was almost literally underfoot.

There are very special associations with the origins of our species in this part of the world. This is the place where human beings first drew breath, according to scholastic tradition.

The name Olduvai Gorge comes to mind. And how poignant that one of the VCs awarded in this campaign was won - posthumously - by Sgt Nigel Leakey, killed in the Southern sector of this front. He was the cousin of Louis Leakey, the greatest paleoanthropologist and one of my heroes.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 10:02:01 AM
Casualties and losses

Allied military operations to April 1941: 75,704
1,154 killed
sickness/accident: 74,550
(dysentery: 10,000
malaria: 10,000, fatal: 744)
Belgian: 462 dead
aircraft: 138
subsequent operations: Gondar, 32 killed, 182 wounded, 6 missing
15 aircraft.

Italian military operations to April 1941: 61,326
16,966 killed
25,098 wounded
19,262 POW
aircraft: 250
surrender: 230,000 POW
AOI casualties exclude Giuba and the eastern front

Regards

jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 11:27:11 AM
Jim,

Look at the small number of deaths from disease : 744 from ten thousand malaria and ten thousand dysentery cases.

A testimony to decent medical care and evacuation.

Only forty years before thirteen thousand British troops had died from disease in the Boer War : lessons had been learnt.

I wonder if the Italians took their mobile brothels into this region.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Posts: 5801
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Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 12:11:36 PM

Quote:
I wonder if the Italians took their mobile brothels into this region.


It would appear not -no evidence found.

Casualties
On 16 April 1941, the authorities in the AOI signalled to Rome that 426 officers had been killed, 703 wounded and 315 captured, during military operations before the surrender. Casualties among NCOs and other ranks were 4,785 killed, 6,244 wounded and 15,871 captured (inclusive).

Casualties among locally recruited soldiers were 11,755 dead, 18,151 wounded and 3,076 captured before the surrender; the Truppi coloniale figures did not include forces on the Giuba and eastern fronts.[135] By May 1941, of the c. 350,000 men in the AOI available for military operations in June 1940, only the c. 80,000 men in the garrisons near Gondar and the seven colonial divisions in Galla-Sidamo remained to be taken prisoner.

More casualties among the Italian and colonial troops occurred after April 1941, in the operations against Amba Alagi (3,500 casualties), Kulkaber/Culqualber (1,003 killed and 804 wounded) and Gondar (4,000 killed and 8,400 sick and wounded).

In 1954, I. S. O. Playfair, the British official historian, recorded that from June 1940 to May 1941, the East African Force had 1,154 battle casualties and 74,550 cases of sickness or accident, of which 10,000 were of dysentery and 10,000 were of malaria, from which 744 men died. The RAF lost 138 aircraft and the Regia Aeronautica lost 250 of the 325 aeroplanes in the AOI when the war began and of the 75 flown to the region during the campaign. The Belgian Force Publique suffered 462 deaths from all causes.

The following is a list of recipients of the Victoria Cross during this campaign:

Eric Charles Twelves Wilson (captain, Somaliland Camel Corps) – Received during the Italian invasion of British Somaliland.[145]

Premindra Singh Bhagat (second lieutenant, Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners) – Received during fighting on the Northern Front.[80]

Richhpal Ram (Subedar in 6th Rajputana Rifles) – Received posthumously during fighting on the Northern Front.[146]

Nigel Leakey (sergeant in the 1/6 Battalion King's African Rifles and cousin of the paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey) – Received posthumously during fighting on the Southern Front


Extracted from Wikipedia

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
London, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
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Posts: 2403

Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 12:42:29 PM
Judging by those figures, these Italian losses, taken together with the punishment they took in Albania, and the beating they suffered in Egypt and Libya, were pretty catastrophic.

It's a wonder that the Italian soldiers were willing to participate in further action after such a series of humiliating defeats.

I often wonder how the peoples of Eritrea and elsewhere in that region of Africa feel about the Italians to this day.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5801
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 1:02:02 PM
The Italian soldier showed a poor fist in his Libyan encounters with the British in North Africa 1940/41-surrendering in their tens of thousands-all too pleased to be out of the war.


Quote:
I often wonder how the peoples of Eritrea and elsewhere in that region of Africa feel about the Italians to this day.


Italy has not yet confronted its colonial past, and issues of racism and anti-Semitism are not commonly discussed and analyzed in the country. Italian colonialism in Africa, motivated largely by the desire to enhance the historic glory of Italy and to help Italy find its “place in the sun” along with other colonial powers, forced Italians to think about racial difference, and many Italians came to accept racial difference to some degree, even though they may have treated their colonial subjects well.

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Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2640

Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 1:10:24 PM
A couple of videos on the subject!

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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5801
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 2/28/2017 1:15:32 PM
Many thanks Dave-great piece about the Battle of Keren-it showed Italians of a very different mettle to his counterpart in North Africa.The men at Keren were the "creme de la creme" on both sides

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 674

Re: The East African Campaign 1936--41
Posted on: 3/2/2017 4:18:49 AM
Yes, Jim, I expect they were led by a core of hard-asked Fascist veterans of fighting in Spain, & local cadres - who hoped to defend their colonies..

As a fan of 1930s 'Art Deco', I do give the Italians credit for those lovely curvaceous, durable (& still extant in many parts ) civilian constructions there..

Per 'anti-Semitic' attitudes, perceiving Jews as 'other', well, to be sure, there is a ~20 century long history of that in Italy..
..& not least due to the natural antipathy that derives from disputes/claims between which god/s/observance of said's apparent values, is 'Established'..

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