The Dodecanese Campaign

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The Dodecanese Campaign

Post by Clemence » 15 Aug 2011 15:12
The Dodecanese Campaign of World War II was an attempt by Allied forces, mostly British, to capture the Italian-held Dodecanese islands in the Aegean Sea following the surrender of Italy in September 1943, and use them as bases against the German-controlled Balkans. The Allied effort failed, with the whole of the Dodecanese falling to the Germans within two months, and the Allies suffering heavy losses in men and ships.[2] The operations in the Dodecanese, lasting from 8 September to 22 November 1943, resulted in one of the last major German victories in the war.[3]
I was talking to a family friend from Karpathos, Greece, today, and he claimed that this campaign was planned only to make the germans believe the invasion was not to take place in Italy. Somehow I always thought it was something Winston Churchill wished for to erase a major failure of him at WWI. Maybe somebody knows more on this?

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Re: The Dodecanese Campaign

Post by Jon G. » 15 Aug 2011 16:03

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Re: The Dodecanese Campaign

Post by merdiolu » 15 Aug 2011 19:01

Major reason for the British intervention to Dordecanese after Italy surrendered in Septemper 1943 was Churchill's idea of putting extra pressure on Turkey to enter war on Allied side. By having air bases on Anatolia Churchill envisioned to threaten Balkans which was major raw material , grain and oil supplier for Axis and to open Dardanelles Straits ( which was a small stain from his past ) to Allied shipping and having another major artery to supply Soviet Union. Due to that reason to keep Turkey neutral and to be able threaten it ( if it becomes too entagled with Allies ) Germans initiated a campaign to recapture Aegean Sea and diverted resources and troops ( in 1943 !) to reconquer Dordecanese....

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Re: The Dodecanese Campaign

Post by gracie4241 » 06 Jul 2019 16:11

Hitler was always extremely concerned about his "Balkan Flank" because of the resources there were perceived as vital.Committing to a Dodecanese campaign even In fall 1943 shows that

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Re: The Dodecanese Campaign

Post by Steve » 08 Jul 2019 19:49

As early as February 1943 Churchill proposed that an attack on the Dodecanese Islands should be one of the major operations of the year. He envisaged a large scale campaign aimed at capturing Rhodes. At the beginning of August he told the chiefs of staff “….. I hope the staffs will be able to stimulate action which may gain immense prizes at little cost, though not at little risk.” The commander in the Eastern Mediterranean, General Wilson, replied that he lacked the necessary resources to do more than mount raids on the islands. Churchill refused to accept this and told him “This is the time to play high. Improvise and dare.”

Churchill wanted to withdraw one division from Italy but the chiefs of staff told him that any withdrawal from Italy would give the Germans an opportunity to counterattack. He then contacted Roosevelt and tried to get him to order Eisenhower to release forces from Italy but Roosevelt refused. Churchill was then going to fly out to Tunis to meet Eisenhower but Roosevelt refused to agree to a meeting and rejected the idea that the combined chiefs of staff discuss the matter. Allan Brooke said of Churchill and the Dodecanese Islands “he has magnified its importance so that he can no longer see anything else……..He refused to listen to any arguments or to see any dangers.”

From Churchill by Clive Ponting.

The British defeat in the Dodecanese Islands though on a smaller scale is very comparable to what happened in Greece in 1941. Both debacles were down to Churchill.

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