Axis Denied: Mussolini Tried and Failed to Invade Greece. Hitler Had to Bail Him Out.
By Warfare History Network
There was little profit for Cavallero in his new position. Reinforcements poured in by boat across the Adriatic Sea, but there was no room left for them to maneuver, and the net effect was a further reduction in the army’s already scant rations. The Greeks fared somewhat better.
Frontline units were transferred regularly to the rear, and Greek civilians in the region provided additional food and shelter. There was also a notable difference in the men’s morale. The Greek forces were jubilant; they continued localized attacks—described by Cavallero as “frenzied”—and on January 9, they captured the key crossroads village of Klisura, decimating the famous Lupi di Toscana (Wolves of Tuscany) Division in a driving snowstorm. After the defeat, cynics renamed them the Lepri di Toscana, or Hares of Tuscany.
Not even the death in January of Prime Minister John Metaxas, who succumbed unexpectedly after a botched operation on his throat, dimmed the Greeks’ esprit de corps. Conversely, the Italian soldiers at the front grumbled loudly about their empty stomachs, threadbare uniforms, and flapping boots; and back in Italy the number of new enlistments dropped significantly. Even more troubling to Mussolini personally was the stone-faced silence that greeted his appearances in movie newsreels and his radio broadcasts.