Accession Number:



The Italian Invasion of Greece in 1940: When Operational Art Does Not Close the Gap between Tactical Engagements and Strategic Objectives

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019

Corporate Author:

US Army School of Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This monograph investigates the Italian invasion of Greece in October 1940 from an operational perspective. It seeks to identify those factors relevant for modern practitioner of operational art that caused the stalemate of Italian forces by December 1940 and the ensuing intervention of the German army to secure the southern border of the alliance. The work addresses the Italian invasions operational approach while accounting for the relevant elements of the strategic context that influenced the events. Namely, it sheds light on the sentiments of rivalry and competition that animated Mussolinis decision to invade Greece. Additionally, the research illustrates the shortfalls and misplaced optimism of the Italian generals in terms of the employment of operational art. Thus, it uses the case study of the Alpine division Julia to examine how the actual campaign overlooked fundamental intuitions in terms of operational reach, basing, and operational tempo. Lack of resources and the absence of an effective centralized coordination added chaos to complexity resulting in a general withdrawal and the necessity to receive support from Germany. Hence, the conclusion of the monograph uses the dimensions of strategy to depict several lessons for current and future operational planners. The latter have to be ready to frame the operational environment while considering the intangibles involved in the conflict, and leaving space for a large degree of flexibility to adjust the plan as the operation unfolds.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement: