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Mussolini's Eastern Crusade, by Marek Sobski

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Oct 27, 2022.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Length: 208 pages

    This is the second in Mr. Sobski's series on the Italian Army in WWII. This volume is about the first few months of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia. We start with Italy's relations with the USSR, and the love/hate between them with both trade and foreign policy. We are then told how Hitler informed Mussolini of his intension to invade in 1941. Mussolini couldn't let it go by, and formed his corps of 3 divisions and an air force. They were moved with some difficulty to Romania in July, 1941.

    We next read about their combat action in Ukraine. They help take Voroshilovgrad, now called Luhansk, and Stalino, now called Donetsk, and push to the Dnieper River. The supply problems, with the depots far in their rear, make the going tough. There is then the description of the Winter battles, with hills and towns changing hands many times between the Russians and Italians.

    Sobski also talks about the relations between Italians and Ukrainians. The Italians don't try to brutalize the locals unlike the Germans and their race war.

    He finishes with the Corps being reinforced in Spring, 1942, to create the Italian 8th Army to continue the war in Army Group South. There is then a chapter on the Italian Air Force component, with open cockpit fighters operating in the Russian Winter, as well as bomber and transport operations.

    The appendices include biographies for some key officers, the composition of the Corps itself, with Corps troops and the 3 divisions orders of battle. There are some black and white maps and pictures.

    As with the other work Sobski did before, the translation is a bit clumsy, and things may need to be read more than once to be understood.

    Otherwise, this does help with giving us a picture of the Italian contribution in the Eastern Front. I give this 3 stars out of 5.

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