Albania 1939

Italian invasion of Albania

The Italian invasion of Albania (April 7 – April 12, 1939) was a brief military campaign by the Kingdom of Italy against the Albanian Kingdom. The conflict was a result of the imperialist policies of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Albania was rapidly overrun, its ruler, King Zog I, forced into exile, and the country made part of the Italian Empire as a separate kingdom in personal union with the Italian crown.

The original Italian plans for the invasion called for up to 50,000 men supported by 137 naval units and 400 airplanes. Ultimately the invasion force grew to 100,000 men supported by 600 airplanes. On April 7 Mussolini’s troops, led by General Alfredo Guzzoni, invaded Albania, attacking all Albanian ports simultaneously. There were 65 units in Saranda, 40 at Vlorë, 38 in Durrës, 28 at Shëngjin and 8 more at Bishti i Pallës.

On the other side the regular Albanian army had 15,000 poorly equipped troops who had been instructed by Italian officers. King Zog’s plan was to mount a resistance in the mountains, leaving the ports and main cities undefended, but Italian agents placed in Albania as military instructors sabotaged this plan. The Albanians discovered that artillery pieces had been disabled and there was no ammunition.

As a consequence, the main resistance was offered by gendarmes and small groups of patriots.

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