#OTD in 1941 General Bortolo Zambon handed over command of the Brescia infantry division, Italian XXI Army Corps, on the siege lines of Tobruk. He had been a veteran of the first drive across the desert in Apr 41 @ITM_archives @KarlJames_1945 @robert_lyman crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/d-a…
While all the sources I can see agree on him leaving command on this date, he seems to have hung around, maybe as alternate to General Gioda, since he was subsequently decorated with the Silver Medal for Military valor for Operation CRUSADER performance.
After his return to Italy he entered the reserve. On the armistice he remained loyal to the king and the legitimate government, even though he was in the north. He joined the #resistance #partigiani in a leading function in Milano. In May 1944 he was betrayed and arrested.
He managed to escape with Indro #Montanelli and some other leading figures including also the American Dorothy Gibson and saw the end of the fighting in Italy in Switzerland, returning to Milano on 6 May 1945. He died in 1967.
In 1941/42 Zambon was 62 years old (!), and had been highly decorated for actions in the Italo-Turkish war in Libya in 1912, the Vlora War in 1920, the Abyssinian War, and then the Second World War in North Africa.
The Brescia Division was the first element of encirclement of Tobruk in April 1941 and throughout the siege held the western sector astride the Derna Road, from September opposite the Polish Brigade.

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More from @crusaderproject

13 Oct
#OTD in 1941 Air Marshal Tedder issued an appreciation to Portal in London in which he set out his high-level views on constraints in relation to Operation CRUSADER. 1/ @FPComd @AirPowerHistory @tac_air_power @mike_bechthold @AlexFitzBlack @CedricMas @robert_lyman @AeroGremlin Image
A key concern was the expectation that the Empire air force would be numerically inferior, an expectation that was not borne out in the end. Neither the Luftwaffe nor the Regia Aeronautica reached the numbers of planes he feared 2/ @ITM_archives @NavalAirHistory @Balloons2Drones
What is interesting however is that there were real constraints on the soft aspects of air power, crews and mobility. A lack of trained pilots is probably surprising, as is a lack of vehicles to make squadrons mobile. 3/ @Airminded @aerohistorian @Luke_Truxal @smooreBofB1940
Read 13 tweets
11 Oct
#OTD in 1941 the #Luftwaffe in North Africa reported 123 out of 200 planes serviceable, amongst which the first Bf109F-4. 56 Stukas and 30 Bf109 (E and F) were serviceable. #airwar @mike_bechthold @AlexFitzBlack @benkite1 @Balloons2Drones @KarlJames_1945 crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/the…
The serviceability rate was low, as was the rate of available crews. Most of the planes on strength were Stukas (70) Bf109 (59) and Ju 88 (31).
Thanks to ULTRA @bletchleypark London had a much better picture of German air than tank strength. What they did not know was how quickly North Africa could be reinforced. @spy_historian @interwarintell @spyhistory @mi_intel
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
#OTD in #1941 No.107 Sqdrn @RoyalAirForce suffered another heavy loss when two of six #Blenheims were shot down attacking a coastal convoy off Libya. @mike_bechthold @NavalHistWar @benkite1 @FPComd @AlexFitzBlack @Balloons2Drones @tac_air_power @Airminded crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/a-c…
The strike was considered easy, against a lightly defended target, so the loss came as a bad surprise, shortly after losing two planes off Sicily. All crew members were killed. They were F/O Greenhill, Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Whidden & Sgt. Routh, Sgt. Parker, Sgt. McLeod @RCAF_ARC
F/O Greenhill, Sgts. Smith and McLeod are remembered on the Malta memorial, while Sgts. Routh and Parker are remembered on the Alamein memorial.
Read 8 tweets
10 Oct
Well Peoples, the votes are in and they don't lie. The PIAT GIF wins by a wide margin, showing us that the PIAT is the best British weapon. A distant second is the Valentine.
While everyone agrees that the Blenheim was just a bit sh&t.
Read 4 tweets
10 Oct
Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the WW2 edition. A book screaming to be written.
Once upon a time there was a general, and he was a nice man who doted on his children, and he took his regiment into the forest north of Pripyet and fought a big battle with the nasty partisans. And after a day and a night and another day he emerged victoriously.
He was a good general so he did not lose a single soldier, but they killed 2,000 partisans or more, all of them armed to the teeth and vicious, men, women, children, babies and the elderly. Because those partisans don’t know what’s good for them and never give up.
Read 5 tweets

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