1⃣ Operation Abstention, #Καστελοριζο 25-28 FEB 1941

A thread about the history of #Kastellorizo
2⃣ Operation Abstention was a code name given to a #British🇬🇧 invasion at the #Hellenic 🇬🇷 island of #Kastellorizo (Castellorizo) off the #Turkish🇹🇷 Aegean coast, during the Second World War, in late February 1941.

At the time #Kastellorizo was occupied by the Fascist #Italy 🇮🇹
3⃣ The goal was to establish a torpedo-boat base to challenge Italian naval and air supremacy on the Hellenic Dodecanese islands.

The British landings were challenged by Italian land, air and naval forces
4⃣ which forced the British troops to re-embark amidst some confusion and led to recriminations between the British commanders for underestimating the Italians.

After the attack on Taranto and the success of Operation Compass, an offensive in Cyrenaica, Libya from December 1940
5⃣ to February 1941, the British conducted operations to neutralize Italian forces in the Dodecanese islands.

Admiral Andrew Cunningham, the commander of the Mediterranean Fleet planned to occupy Kastelorizo, the easternmost Greek island in the chain just off the Turkish coast
6⃣ about 80 mi (70 nmi; 130 km) from Rhodes to establish a motor torpedo boat base at a time when Axis air attacks on Malta had led to the last flying boat being withdrawn to Alexandria.

The operation was intended as a first step towards the control of the Aegean Sea
7⃣ Despite isolation, #Italian🇮🇹 naval and air forces in the area were still capable of carrying out hit-and-run attacks on Allied shipping between #Egypt🇪🇬 and #Hellas 🇬🇷
The #British 🇬🇧 planned to land a force of about 200 men of No. 50 Commando, assisted by a 24-man detachment of Royal Marines to establish a beachhead on the island, to be followed 24-hours later by an army unit to consolidate the British position

Color by yours truly...
9⃣ On 24 February the commandos, transported by the destroyers HMS Decoy and Hereward and the marines, on the gunboat HMS Ladybird, sailed from Suda Bay.
The second force, a company of Sherwood Foresters on board the armed yacht HMS Rosaura
1⃣0⃣ escorted by the light cruisers HMAS Perth and HMS Bonaventure, awaited developments in #Cyprus🇨🇾

Before dawn of February 25th , 50 of the commandos landed from ten whaleboats on Nifti Point, south of the settlement, while the Royal Marines occupied the harbour.
1⃣1⃣ The landings were supported by the submarine HMS Parthian, which had previously made a reconnaissance of the landing points and acted as a beacon for the incoming ships
The Italian garrison on Kastelorizo consisted of 35 soldiers and agents of the Guardia di Finanza
1⃣2⃣ in charge of a wireless station.
The commandos ambushed an Italian patrol on the truck between Nifti Point and the port, killing two soldiers and wounding one.
The British surprised the garrison, seized the radio outpost and inflicted 13 casualties
1⃣3⃣ including twelve prisoners, the rest of the commandos coming ashore during the action.

Before being overrun, the Italians had managed to send a message to Rhodes, the main Italian air and naval base in the Dodecanese.
Vice Admiral Luigi Biancheri, commander of the #Italian🇮🇹 naval forces in the Aegean Sea reacted swiftly.
From 08:00 and 09:30, aircraft of the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) raided the harbour castle and the main hills of the island, where the commandos were dug in
1⃣5⃣ Ladybird was struck by a bomb and three sailors were wounded
Short of fuel re-embarked the Royal Marines and made for Haifa which cut the radio link of the commandos with Alexandria
After communications breakdowns the follow-up force from #Cyprus🇨🇾 was diverted to Alexandria
1⃣6⃣ The Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy) counter-attack began after sunset on 26 February, when the torpedo boats Lupo and Lince landed about 240 soldiers north of the port and used their 3.9 in (99 mm) guns to bombard British positions at the docks and the Governor's palace,
1⃣7⃣ killing three and wounding seven commandos. The Italian warships evacuated a number of Italian civilians who had gathered at harbour after learning of their presence in the port

Biancheri, with Lupo, Lince, MAS 546 and MAS 561, landed troops on the morning of 27 February
1⃣8⃣ the operation having been delayed by high seas. Italian forces already ashore harassed the exhausted and isolated British commandos, who were equipped only for a 24-hour operation.

The destroyers Crispi and Sella arrived later in the day with more ground forces
1⃣9⃣ Overall the operation was a disaster for the #British 🇬🇧
Cunningham described the operation as "a rotten business and reflected little credit to everyone" and laid blame on Renouf.
A Board of Inquiry found that Hereward's commander made a misjudgement by rejoining Decoy
2⃣0⃣ Perhaps an additional reason for Operation Abstention lack of notoriety is the fact that the Italians won a quick and clean victory at the very onset of the operation, in effect dashing the British’s plans to expand their Dodecanese campaign into something more illustrious.
2⃣1⃣ It was over before it began, and the entire endeavor was limited to this relatively small encounter when compared to some of the massive clashes during the war

Source :comandosupremo.com/operation-abst…

/End thread

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