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Events of 1943

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January – Operation Weiss (White) commences. A joint Italo-German campaign to eliminate Yugoslavian partisans.


January 2 – British frogmen sink the Italian cruiser Ulpio Traiano in Palermo with explosive charges.

January 7 – Italian destroyer Bersaglieri is sunk in Palermo by U.S. bombers.

January 8 – Conte Ciano meets with Bottai and Farinacci about possible replacements for Mussolini. Some names mentioned include Field Marshal Ugo Cavallero, Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Dino Grandi and Gottai and Farinacci themselves. Although Mussolini’s gastric problems were growing ever more serious, he kept abreast of possible overthrows of his government through informers and the OVRA, who notified him at his retreat in La Rocca della Caminate. He decides to clear out most of the members of his government with new loyalists.


January 9 – Italian destroyer Corsaro sinks off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.


January 10 – The Arditi Regiment, in teams of 9 to 10 men, parachute in various places in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria for covert warfare duties. Although not as successful as they had hoped to be, they managed to destroy or damage the bridges in Bonira, Beni Mansour and Uadi Bouduvaou.

January 12 – Italian Torpedo Boat Ardente sinks after being rammed by destoyer Grecale.

January 17 – Italian destroyer Bombardiere is sunk off the coast of Sicily by British submarine HMS United.

January 31 – Mussolini replaces armed forces Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Ugo Cavallero, with General Vittorio Ambrosio.

Italian Torpedo Boat Marcello Prestinari sinks after hitting a mine.

February 3 – Italian destroyer Saetta and Torpedo Boat Uragano sink off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a minefield.

February 5 – Mussolini fires Conte Ciano as Foreign Minister.


March -The consequences of Ultra begin pitting the Germans against the Italians. The British receive advance warning of the actions in Medenine through the deciphering of Enigma. They then begin to spread word that they learned of these plans from senior Italian officials. The same applied to Alam el Halfa battle in August 1942. Tension begins to mount between the Germans and Italians, who deny the allegations.

Considerable losses inflicted on the British 56th Division by Italian forces in Mareth.

March 1 – Italian destroyer Geniere is sunk in Palermo by U.S. bombers. Italian Torpedo Boat Monsone is sunk near Naples by U.S. bombers.

March 5 – Fiat Aeronautics plant in Turin goes on strike. This is the first strike since Mussolini enters office in 1922. Mussolini calls on his Fascists troops to stop the strike, but they refuse to make the workers stop protesting. Other strikes erupt, grounding Italy’s war making capabilities.

March 8 – Italian Torpedo Boat Ciclone sinks off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.

March 24 – Italian destroyers Lanzerotto Malocello and Ascari sink off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine field.

April 1 – Italian destroyer Lubiana (Former Yugoslav destroyer Ljubljana) runs aground off Tunisia and is considered a lost.


April 6 – Mussolini meets with Hitler in Austria. Mussolini requests that Germany and Italy attempt to make peace with Russia in order to concentrate on the weakening Axis forces in Africa. Il Duce fears an eventual invasion of Italy was possible once Africa was lost. Hitler dismisses the idea of peace with Russia and assures Mussolini of a victory in the conquest of the Soviet Union. Mussolini returns to Rome with renewed hope. General Ambrosio assigns his top aides to come up with a plan to oust Mussolini.


April 10 – Italian cruiser Trieste is sunk near La Maddalena by U.S. bombers.

April 16 – British destroyer HMS Pakenham and Italian Torpedo Boat Cigno sink after a convoy battle off the coast of Sicily.

April 19 – Italian destroyer Alpino is sunk in La Spezia by U.S. Bombers.


April 20-21 – Folgore Parachute division, dwindled to 200 men, succeed in conquering the Takrouna stronghold whose village was was placed on a hill deemed impracticable to climb. There the Folgore defended it to the end until they were finally overwhelmed by superior allied forces, resisting until they were completely annihilated.

April 28 – Italian Torpedo Boat Sagittario sinks British MTB 639 off the coast of Sicily.

Italian Torpedo Boat Climene is sunk off the coast of Sicily by British submarine HMS Unshaken.

April 29 – Considerable losses inflicted on the British 56th Division by Italian forces in Enfidaville.

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