From Sidi el Barrani to Beda Fomm 1940-1941 – Mussolini’s Caporetto: an Italian perspective
But what is wrong with this army if five divisions manage to be pulverized in two days?
(Galeazzo Ciano, Diary, 11 December 1940).
Fox killed in the open.
(Telegram from Gen. Richard O’Connor, commander of the XIII Army Corps, to Gen. Archibal Wavell commander of the British FFAA in the Middle East, February 8, 1941)
The defeat suffered in Egypt and Cyrenaica by the army of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani by the Western Desert Force, which culminated in the annihilation of the 10th Army in Beda Fomm in February 1941, constitutes the most serious defeat of the Italian army in the course of its history even worse than that which occurred on October 24, 1917 in the battle of Caporetto: an army of 150,000 men left in the hands of an enemy only 36,000 strong 133,298 prisoners, 420 tanks, 845 guns and 564 airplanes in the space of exactly two months , from 9 December 1940 to 9 February 1941, undergoing its strategic initiative and moral superiority.
For Italy, the defeat in Cyrenaica was a severe downsizing and the end of the guerra parallela, with strategic subordination to the German Reich.
But as for Caporetto, the Royal Army, far from being defeated, recovered immediately also and above all thanks to the help of the Third Reich and to the example provided by the Deutsches Afrika Korps units.
The volume analyzes the forces on the field, the political pressures made by Rome on Graziani to push him to attack, and the military operations, from the Italian invasion of Egypt until the decisive battles of Bardia, Tobruk, el Mechili and Beda Fomm.
From Sidi el Barrani to Beda Fomm has the objective to present a wiew of Wawell’s whirlwind victory from the other side of the hill. The Italian perspective.
By Pierluigi Romeo di Colloredo Mels, 142 pages