It is unfortunate that war ever broke out between Italy and Greece. The two countries share a great deal of history between them. In ancient times, Greece was part of the Roman Empire and many prominent Romans in the time of the republic and many Roman Emperors were greatly attracted to Greek culture and Greek scholars played a significant role in making Imperial Rome as great and advanced as it was. During the era of the Byzantine Empire, Italians were allies as well as antagonists. In the last days of the empire, during the siege of Constantinople, many of those defending the city from the Ottoman Turks were Italian mercenaries from the great city-states. During the Greek War for Independence, many Italians volunteered to fight alongside the Greeks. At one time, King Vittorio Emanuele II hoped that his younger son, the Duke of Aosta, might become the King of Greece to further cement Greco-Italian ties. During the struggle for Crete many Italians volunteered to fight with the Greeks even before all of Italy had been liberated from foreign control. Giuseppe Garibaldi II was only one of the many Italians who fought for Greece in the 1897 war with Turkey over Crete.
|Metaxas regime in Greece|
Nonetheless, the Italians were tenacious fighters as well and their performance during the Greek War is one of the most unfair mischaracterizations in history. Italian troops advanced 40 km into Greece along the coast while battle-groups detached from the Julia Alpini Division overcame rugged terrain and heavy Greek resistance to secure the Metsovon pass while the Littoral Group and Aosta Lancers established a bridgehead across the Kalamas River, enabling the Julia Alpini to fend off heavy Greek counter-attacks by General Papagos who was trying to surround them, holding out until the Bersaglieri arrived to break the Greek ring of fire. Italian forces dug in and waited for re-supply and reinforcements but were slowly pushed back by heavy Greek attacks. Those forces along the coast also came under overwhelming attack and were pushed back, giving ground grudgingly but taking heavy casualties until some Greek forces pushed beyond the border into southern Albania.
|MVSN troops on the Albanian front|
|Carabinieri on guard in Greece|
|Alpini at the Parthenon|