Ettore Bastico was born in Bologna on April 9, 1876. He fought in WW1 and became a General in 1928. He held high commands both in the War against Abyssinia and in the Spanish Civil war, where he commanded the Italian “volunteer” contingent in 1937. On July 19, 1941, he was named governor of Libya and commander of all troops on the North African Theater. He also had nominal command over Rommel’s troops. As Rommel was the “de facto” commander of the Axis forces in Africa, this was changed in 1942, and Bastico only retained control over the Italian troops stationed in Libya (this excluded the Italian troops fighting in Egypt and later in Tunisia).
Nevertheless, he was promoted Marshal on August 12, 1942. Relieved of his command after the loss of Libya, he spent the remainder of the war awaiting orders. After the war, he devoted himself to the study of military history and died in Rome on December 2, 1972.
Written By: Stefan Schlemmer