The Brits Will Walk 500 Miles, and They Will Walk 500 More - WW2 - 078 - February 22, 1941

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The Brits Will Walk 500 Miles, and They Will Walk 500 More - WW2 - 078 - February 22, 1941 5
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As the British make spectacular advances in East-Africa, with even more spectacular advances on the horizon, South-Eastern Europe is getting increasingly tense.




Written and Hosted by: Indy Neidell
Produced and Directed by: Spartacus Olsson and Astrid Deinhard
Executive Producers: Bodo Rittenauer, Astrid Deinhard, Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson
Creative Producer: Joram Appel
Post-Production Director: Wieke Kapteijns
Research by: Indy Neidell
Edited by: Iryna Dulka

Colorizations by:
- Daniel Weiss

Sources:
- Bundesarchiv
- Library of Congress
- IWM: E 6661
- National Library of Australia
- National Portrait Gallery
- Letter by Mochammad Kafi, post icon by Bonegolemfrom, from the Noun Project
- Photot of Goethe Medal by Mondfreund from Wikimedia Commons
- Eirik Sundvor, The Municipal Archives of Trondheim


A TimeGhost chronological documentary produced by OnLion Entertainment GmbH.

💬 Comments
Author

This episode foreshadows a lot of things that might (or might not) happen in 1941. We don't want to miss the opportunity to show you all the battlefields or otherwise important locations where the events of this war took place. This is why we plan to visit Hawaii and maybe also Russia in the coming summer. We need quite a substantial boost of Patreon income to make this work. Therefore we have reworked our Patreon page, which now includes a '1941' tier as well - with 1941 specific rewards as well! Check it out at

Cheers,
Joram

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Author — World War Two

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Given how Italian resistance has fared so far in Africa, this could be the quickest 500 miles driven anywhere except Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Author — David Beach

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The bits about Somalialand, Bulgaria and Turkey, why I like this channel. Never hear about these parts of the war anywhere else.

Author — Random Dude

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"what are we going to name our son?" "Husband Kimmel"

Author — Monsignor

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See this is why these week by week episodes are so good. They show how interconnected all these events are and breakdown the sequential order of cause and effect in a way that all of these small steps can lead to something bigger. Personally I always wondered why Germany invaded Yugoslavia, seems like a waste of time and energy. Now the reason is abundantly clear why it was considered a good idea (Italy attacks greece -> Greece invites military support from Britain -> Britain threatens Romanian oil fields -> Germany needs a strong invasion of Greece to prevent this -> Germany demands use of Yugoslavia railway).

It's also fascinating to see how all the events of WW1 have impacted the way Generals thought of the conflict of WW2, especially with all the context of your magnificent The Great War series. The week by week breakdowns really help one understand the human element of why people thought X or Y was necessary *to avoid* some problem their country had in the last war. We've seen it time and time again in other areas, and now the spectre of the Salonika front rises like a ghost from the past to haunt Germany.

Author — CommandoDude

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“Just to be the nation who walks a thousand miles to defeat the afrika corps”

Author — Xavier Saavedra

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Everyone is interested with this so called Operation Barbarossa and this possible Pearl Harbor attack, but all I want to see is what will happen to Yugoslavia!

Author — TheBreadBaron

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When italian high command starts speaking german
British: sweats

Author — ACCB 1998

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It may be 455 am, but it's worth it for Timeghost

Author — Dennis Nedry

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I would drive 500 miles, and I would drive 500 more!

Author — SenseiHippo

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We need a new intro when Barbarossa starts!

Author — TheBreadBaron

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That's 805 kilometers for the 97 percent of the World who use the metric system (whooosh)

Author — Yours Truly

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The way this title is... proclaimed is just brilliant.

Author — Matthew Wallack

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I love the Cunningham "blooper" at the beginning, absolutely did not expect it, as I was sure that Indy can quote any phrase of any person at any point in time.

Author — Perfectly Fine

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"Wheels within wheels, it's all interconnected. THAT is modern war!"


I feel like Indy was subtly dissing German late war tank suspension design here honestly. Seriously, who thought that having to take off four wheels just to get to one was a good idea!

Author — MRPolo

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This week in the Greco-Italian War:

On February 17, the Tepelenë Offensive reached its peak (no pun intended) with the capture of the 1, 805-metre (5, 921 ft) northern summit of Mali i Shëndëllisë. With typical Cretan grit, the V 'Cretan' Division (Col. Dionysius Papadongonas) advanced against the prepared positions of the Italian 2nd Infantry Division 'Sforzesca' (Div. Gen. A. Ollearo) and took the mountain after a pitched and costly battle. Sporadic fighting in the sector would not cease until February 28, with each side launching fierce local attacks and counter-attacks that often culminated into savage hand-to-hand combat, which resulted in trenches lost and re-captured several times.
The Cretans and the Evzones of 39th Evzone Rgt were by now just 7.5 km (4.5 mi) away from the NE entrance of Tepelenë, while at the same time the Greek II Infantry Division (Maj. Gen. Georgios Lavdas) was closing in from SE, took Peshtan at the point of the bayonet, and reached too, 7.5 km (4.5 mi) from the town.

Yet, due to a combination of Italy gaining numerical superiority, increased Italian resistance, Greek poor logistics, and atrocious weather conditions, the Greek advance finally came to a halt. The stalemate would continue, despite local actions, as both opponents were not strong enough to launch a major attack, until March 9, 1941, when the major Italian Spring Offensive would open. By February 17, the Greeks had repulsed no less than 46 main Italian efforts aimed to dislodge the Greek line. Frostbite ravaged both sides, as both the Italians and the Greeks were unaccustomed to such weather conditions, but the Greeks in February reported 60-80 lost troops to frostbite per day.

The hastily prepared and with limited planning push on Trebeshinë & Tepelenë, proved costly for the Greek V 'Cretan' Division, and to a lesser extent for XV division.

The Cretans, who traditionally possessed great fighting spirit, were unprepared for mountain warfare, were badly mauled, and lost 6, 154 all ranks overall (more than 1/3 of their number): 1, 141 KIA, 2, 459 WIA, 2, 553 frostbite victims (hundreds of frostbitten were permanently mutilated). After Trebeshinë and Tepelenë, and for the remainder of the war the Cretan division would cease to exist as a combat-worthy formation. The remains of the division were transferred to Punta Nord. In the Italian Spring offensive in March, the division would see limited action.

XV division's 33rd and 90th infantry regiments also took over the burden of the offensive and suffered 1, 840 casualties.
The heavily battered 33rd regiment, almost at the point of exhaustion, would be transferred to Qafa e Sofiut to rest. In the Italian Spring offensive, the reorganized 33rd Infantry Regiment under new command (Col. Panteleimon Griveas) would act as reserve force.
The badly hit 90th regiment would be relieved and replaced by the 13th Infantry Regiment (Col. Vassilios Kampanis) from XI division in late February. It would then be transferred to Hill 960 for regrouping and restructuring. In the Italian Spring offensive, the reorganized 90th Infantry Regiment (Col. Christos Gherakinis) would defend the Bubës sector and suffer ~200 casualties.
XV division's 28th regiment (Col. Nikolaos Papadopoulos) suffered 251 casualties during the operations. In the Italian Spring offensive the unit would lose its CO (Col. Papadopoulos would be seriously wounded in an Italian air raid), and under new command (Lt. Col. Theophilus Kontis) would act as reserve force.

On February 20, nineteen Greek fighter aircraft of 21, 22, 23 & 24 Fighter Squadrons, escorting Potez 633 B2 Grec light level bombers heading towards the area of Shëndëlli in a bombing mission, were sighted by Italian Meridionali Ro.37 reconnaissance planes. Some time later fifteen Italian Fiat G.50bis fighters from 154th Gruppo scrambled from Berat, attacked the Greek force. Seven Greek PZL P.24 fighters of 22 Fighter Squadron lost contact with the formation due to radio malfunction and engaged the Italian force alone. Flight Lt Andreas Antoniou's fighter was badly shot up but he managed after shooting down one Italian fighter, to crash-land his plane at Përmet. He was miraculously unharmed. Flying Officer Alexios Michalitsianos was credited with one airial victory, as were Flight Lt Gregorios Fanourgakis, and Flight Sgt Epaminondas Dagoulas.

Also on February 20, in the afternoon, eight Bristol Blenheim aircraft of No. 84 Squadron RAF, six Bristol Blenheim aircraft of No. 211 Squadron RAF, and three Bristol Blenheim aircraft of No. 30 Squadron RAF escorted by six Hawker Hurricane fighters, heading towards the Albanian town of Berat in a bombing mission, were spotted and intercepted by Italian Fiat G.50bis fighters of 361 & 395 Fighter Squadrons, 154th Gruppo. Bristol Blenheim L8542 of No. 211 Squadron RAF, was badly shot up, while Sq. Ldr Marmaduke Pattle, flying a Hawker Hurricane shot down one Fiat G.50bis, and three probables.

An emergency meeting of British and Greek political leaders and military services chiefs, was convened in the Greek capital, Athens, on Saturday, February 22, to address the military situation shortly before the imminent Italian offensive and the approaching German invasion.
The meeting was presided over by the Greek King George II, and was attended by the Greek Premier Alexandros Koryzis, General Alexandros Papagos (Greek C-in-C of the Land Army and Director of the Operations Staff), Colonel Stylianus Kitrilakis (Director of the Hellenic Army's 3rd Staff Office-Current Operations), Anthony Eden (British Foreign Secretary), General Sir John Greer Dill (Vice Chief of the British Imperial General Staff), General Sir Archibald Wavell (British C-in-C Middle East Command), Air Chief Marshal Arthur Longmore (British Air OC in the Middle East), Air Marshal Sir John D'Albiac (Air OC British Forces in Greece), and Sir Michael Palairet (Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Athens).
The British questioned Yugoslavia's support in denying the Germans from outflanking the allied forces in Greece, and proposed withdrawals of Greek fighting units from Albania, and the Greek regions of Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace, in order to concentrate troops along a new line of defence to a shorter position known as 'The Haliacmon Line', from the name of the eponymous river which formed part of it, that would allow Greek and Commonwealth forces to more effectively counter the Nazi offensive.
The proposal however, was rejected by General Papagos as it ceded too much territory to the invaders. In fact, Papagos was embittered by the British earnest desire that the Greeks should abandon hard-won positions in Albania. Therefore the bulk of the Greek Army would remain in Albania, in anticipation of the Italian offensive, while the German attack approached. General Papagos and the British military leaders, agreed that the Yugoslav forces would be able to impose at least a long delay on any German movement, based on memories of the Serbian resistance in the Great War.
In the end, Eden promised the despatch of 100, 000 British troops, over 600 Field, AT and AA artillery guns, and 140 tanks. As he later revealed, 'this was an exaggeration of British strength designed to hearten the Greeks' (sic)

Τrivia: After the push to Trebeshinë & Tepelenë, large scale demonstrations and violent protests directed against the Greek government began on the island of Crete as there were rumours that the Cretans were thrown into action in Albania without the consideration of casualties, because the majority of them were 'Venizelists' who opposed the right-wing dictatorial regime of Ioannis Metaxas. In a tragic twist of history, shortly after the former CO of the division Gen. Papasterghiou, returned to the island, he was assassinated on April 29 by a Cretan who had lost two of his sons in the offensive, as the general was reputed (falsely) to be the mastermind behind this ill-prepared operation.

Author — Αποστόλης Μ.

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Indy mentioning "Modern War" during an episode gives me goosebumps every time.

Author — Kostas Kallianiotis

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A quick recap of the past actions from the Free French in Libya so far :

Soon after the French Equatorial Africa fell under Free French control, De Gaulle ordered to gather forces in Tchad and use the country as a forward operation base to invade Libya.
With help from the British LRDG (Long Range Desert Group), a reconnaissance and raiding unit expert in desert navigation formed to operate behind the Italian lines and lead by Major Pat Clayton, the French succesfully raided the Italian airfield at Murzuk on 11 January.
Conforted by this success, De Gaulle ordered Colonel Philippe Leclerc to lead an offensive on the Italian held Oasis of Kufra.


Leclerc asked the LRDG to deal with the Compagnia Sahariana di Cufra, a 120-men strong mixed force of motorised infantry with well-armed (20mm cannons) cross-country vehicles based in El-Tag fort in the Kufra oasis.
Unfortunately the LRDG was detected by a radio intercept unit and the Italians organised a mobile column to intercept them. On 31 January, the British patrol was spotted by an Italian plane in the morning and attacked by the Italian column. The Patrol was driven off, losing four trucks and Major Clayton, who was captured with several others and a copy of the French attack plan on Kufra as well. The remaining LRDG force withdrew to Egypt for refitting.
Despite this, Leclerc decided to press on with the attack leading an ad-hoc column included about 400 men (295 Africans and 101 Europeans) in sixty trucks, two scout cars, four cross country personnel carriers and two 75 mm mountain guns. This force was nicknamed the "colonne Leclerc" or "Force L".


A French light recon patrol reached Kufra the 7 February 1941 and reported their observations to the rest of the column : the previous bombardments from the French aviation (12 Lysander and 6 Blenheim) on Kufra didn't have much results.
After a succesful raid on the nearby Italian airfield, the recon patrol regrouped with the main column on 10 February and, convinced that the capture of fort El-Tag was possible, Leclerc decided to go on with the attack. But at this point, the French force already lost several trucks due to breakdowns during the trip through the desert and was forced to abandon some armored cars and one of the 75mm gun.

Now for the events happening this week :

On 16 February, the "Force L" clashed with the Compagnia Sahariana di Cufra north of Kufra. Despite losing several trucks to the Italian 20mm cannons, the French drove back the Compagnia Sahariana and after a last counter-attack on 19 February finally defeated them forcing the Italian motorized company to retreat north-west.
The nearly 300 men strong Garrison of fort El-Tag could only count on itself now. On 20 February, The siege begin.


Picture of Leclerc receiving the flag of the Compagnia Sahariana di Cufra at Kufra :

Author — oOkenzoOo

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At least we know the Brits are good at walking

Author — Jakob Abrahamson

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Germany promising never to do something, while planning to do just that? No way, doesn't sound like them at all

Author — Arbiter099