Albania 1939-1945

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JClough1981
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by JClough1981 » 23 Mar 2012 21:25

Some amazing stuff here; so little is generally known of Albanian resistance so it is nice to see and read more about this fascinating subject. Many thanks for the pics also.

Malion, a most excellent paper, some amazing facts I hitherto had absolutely no knowledge of. I am currently preparing to begin a research degree on resistance/partisan movements, and would like to include some of the information I have come across while reading your paper; naturally you will receive full credit - perhaps it is something we can discuss nearer the time?

Best Regards
John Clough

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DrG
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by DrG » 24 Mar 2012 00:38

JClough1981, I am not surprised that you didn't know most of Malioni91 information, given that his paper is an excellent piece of fiction.
Guido

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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 24 Mar 2012 07:43

John, you are more than welcome to use any part of my paper. As for the "fiction" that DrG mentioned, well you can check yourself the following materials and then decide:

1) The OSS in World War II Albania by Peter Lucas http://www.amazon.com/The-OSS-World-Albania-Collaboration/dp/0786429674/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332570526&sr=8-1 {an excellent story of the last months of war in Albania]

2) Albania in the Twentieth Century, A History: Volume II: Albania in Occupation and War, 1939-1945 by Owen Pearson http://www.amazon.com/Albania-Twentieth-Century-History-Occupation/dp/1845110145/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332570711&sr=1-6

3) Albania at War, 1939-45 by Bernd Jurgen Fisher http://www.amazon.com/Albania-1939-1945-Central-European-Studies/dp/1557531412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332570942&sr=8-1

4) The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of Eagles by Roderick Bailey http://www.amazon.com/THE-WILDEST-PROVINCE-LAND-EAGLE/dp/0224079166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332571090&sr=8-1

In addition, you can check the following materials:

(Website maintained by Robert Elsie, a Canadian Albanologist)
http://www.albanianhistory.net/texts20_2/AH1944_4.html

http://www.albanianhistory.net/texts20_3/AH1945_4EN.html (This is a very interesting report compiled by the Wehrmacht after their withdrawal)
Last edited by malioni91 on 24 Mar 2012 19:08, edited 2 times in total.

malioni91
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 24 Mar 2012 07:55

In addition, here I am attaching a letter that was published in a British website a few months earlier (I have forgotten the name). The letter was written by Dusty Miller who served with the 2nd Commando. The 2nd Commando and a few other British units, in cooperation with units of the Albanian National Liberation Army, attacked and liberated the town of Sarande in October 1944. At the end of the first page, Miller mentions that he saw 34 dead Germans killed during a clash with Albanian partisans. A good piece in English about this engagement can be seen here: http://assyrianlevies.info/sarande.php
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 24 Mar 2012 08:13

Thomas Stefan was an Albanian-American and a Captain in the US Army. He was the field commander of the OSS field missions in Albania. The Albanian section of OSS, was led by Harry T. Fultz who worked as the Headmaster of the American School in Tirana prior to the start of the war in 1939. [This photo was take from the book "The OSS in World War II Albania"]

Enver Hoxha was the political leader of the Communist Party during the war, and after the war became the dictator of Albania for more than 45 years.

Omer Nishani, was an important figure in the Albanian Communist party at the time.

P.S. Why can't I attach more than 1-2 pics at a time?
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 25 Mar 2012 07:35

The following pics are screen-shots taken from the Documentary "Perjetesi" produced by Kinustudio "Shqiperia e Re" in 1974. The documentary can be watched on the website of the Albanian Film Archives (Arkivi Qendror i Filmit). Sorry for the bad quality, but it was the best I could get.
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 25 Mar 2012 08:08

The following photos were published in "Historia e Luftes Nacional-Clirimtare Vol. I" and "Historia e Luftes Nacional-Clirimtare Vol. III" Tirana, 1982.

[note: As mentioned in my paper, in Mushqeta, the partisans were supported by RAF planes.]
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 26 Mar 2012 02:27

The pics belowe have been taken from the book "Historia e Luftes Nacional Clirimtare: Vol.I", Tirane 1982.

The first pic was taken in the courtyard of the Carabinieri barracks which was located near today's Rruga e Barrikadave (Barricade Street) in Tirana. This barrack was used as a prison, as well as an interrogation building for the SIM (Servizio Informazioni Militari) the Italian version of the Abwehr.
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JClough1981
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by JClough1981 » 28 Mar 2012 20:29

thanks again for the excellent info Mallion, and I will check those books out in the course of my studies.

I gather from the poster claiming your paper to be little more than fiction infers there is some debate as to what actually happened in Albania during the period in question - again, something I am most interested in learning more about.

But thanks again, Mallion - your posts and recommended reading are most invaluable to me.

Best regards
John

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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 28 Mar 2012 23:14

This was a term paper for a WW2-related history class in college (no fiction at all). As for the controversies... well, history is full of those.

Check the Imperial War Museum if you have time. The institution has an extensive collections of photos, documents and reports from the SOE groups operating in Albania. However, there are problems with the reports as well. Because the main resistance force in the country, was lead by communists, some of the SOE officers operating in the country tried to decrease the merit of the National Liberation Army, for fear that the communists would take power after the liberation (as it eventually happened). Among the many British officers serving in Albania, was Julian Amery (son of Leo Amery) who would later become a MP for the Conservative Party. Amery wrote his war memoirs titled The Sons of the Eagle. The book is highly opinionated being that was written at a time that the US and UK were engaged in a subversive operation against the Communist government in Albania. [note: the operation in the UK was codenamed "Valuable" while in the US was codenamed "BGFIEND"] In addition, two other British officers published their memoirs about Albania. One was Peter Kemp. Kemp was a conservative who had volunteered and fought on Gen. Franco's side during the Spanish Civil War. In the book The OSS in World War II Albania, Lucas explains how Mehmet Shehu, the communist commander of the partisan 1st Shock Brigade, had a personal hatred for Kemp, because Shehu had fought with the International Brigades in Spain. So, in order to really understand what happened in Albania between 1941 and 1944, you have to get to know the little details.

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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 07 May 2012 03:22


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DrG
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by DrG » 07 May 2012 15:24

Dear JClough1981,
I had started to write a point by poit reply to Mailoni's paper, but probably it's a waste of time and so I deleted it. In short: 80% of what he wrote up to the end of 1941 is plainly false (expecially 100% of what is told by Fischer, a liar of first class, despite his "prof." title), 50% about 1942 and 25% about 1943. I can't judge for post-8 September 1943, but the number of casualties inflicted to the Germans at the end of the war quoted by Mailoni looks either inflated in a ludicrous way, either including a systematic murder of German PoWs.
Mailoni wrote a very good paper, but based on incredibly wrong sources and with a lot of, understandable, pro-Albanian bias (less understandable is the pro-communist bias).
Guido

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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 09 May 2012 20:54

DrG wrote:Dear JClough1981,
I had started to write a point by poit reply to Mailoni's paper, but probably it's a waste of time and so I deleted it. In short: 80% of what he wrote up to the end of 1941 is plainly false (expecially 100% of what is told by Fischer, a liar of first class, despite his "prof." title), 50% about 1942 and 25% about 1943. I can't judge for post-8 September 1943, but the number of casualties inflicted to the Germans at the end of the war quoted by Mailoni looks either inflated in a ludicrous way, either including a systematic murder of German PoWs.
Mailoni wrote a very good paper, but based on incredibly wrong sources and with a lot of, understandable, pro-Albanian bias (less understandable is the pro-communist bias).
Guido


I would be very interested to see your detailed comments. As for the number of German soldiers KIA or MIA in Albania during WW2 you can see this article published in the German Embassy's website: http://www.tirana.diplo.de/Vertretung/tirana/sq/06/Bilaterale__Kulturbeziehungen/Soldatenfriedhof__Seite__alb.html

The article was written after the inauguration of a German war memorial in Tirana. The speaker mentioned during his speech that Germany suffered 2400 MIA and KIA in Albania between 1943 and 1944 and that out of these 1800 are known by name. However, the number of MIA and KIA might be even higher, because the Wehrmacht in Albania used non-German units of Kazakhs, Tajiks, Georgian, etc. In addition to this, the Albanian quisling government supported most of the German operations with local troops, so to the number of dead Germans add also the considerable number of local collaborators.

Below you can see the war memorial with the names carved into the plaques:
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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by DrG » 12 May 2012 01:35

Dear Mailon,
in your paper you write "A few days later, on November 17, 1944, the partisans eliminated last pockets of resistance inside the city [Tirana]. Shehu [missing word] that 3000 Germans were killed and another 300 were captured. The partisans suffered some 120 killed and 290 wounded." (page 18) You acritically reported these absurd casualty figures, which are in contrast with the data that you are providing now.

Here I will paste the draft of comment that I had written on your paper. I didn't complete it, nor I will complete it: time is not enough. My sources are mainly Crociani, "Gli albanesi nelle Forze Armate italiane (1939-1943)", Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito; Paoletti, "Gli italiani in armi: cinque secoli di storia militare nazionale", Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito and Paoletti, "L'operazione Oltremare Tirana", Storia Militare, 23.

DrG wrote:Leaving aside the usual "Roman Empire" stories, that had nothing to do with Italian foreign policy during Fascism, I underline that the occupation of Albania had little or nothing to do with Czechoslovakian partition. The causes were mostly economic: Zog's regime had been given money for more than a decade, and yet Italian companies were not allowed to develop Albanian economy freely, mostly due to the corruption of local authorities and Zog's ambiguous relations with both UK and Germany. The need of a new export market, closed to German economic expansion, and of the development of Albanian oil fields were the main drives for Italian occupation.

Italian military advisors didn't take any active part in seizing communication posts or anything elese, given that, at best, they were indiviual officiers without the power of capturing anything by their own force.

The Italian expeditionary force was of 22,000 men, not 75,000, and only the first wave (643 officers, 12,490 NCOs and soldiers) took part to the occupation. The second and third waves arrived when Albania was already conquered. This is just the first of the series of lies provided by Fischer, an author surprisingly unreliable.
The strenghth of the Albanian Armed Forces, according to Italian sources (quite well informed, given the presence of advisors) was of 50,500 men (including 4,000 gendarmes and 1,500 frontier guards).

The Italian tankettes were 125 (including both the first and second wave), not 300. Aircrafts, including 80 transport ones, were 384. Italy never had 12 battleships, as claimed in Mailon's paper following the usual lies by Fischer. Anyway, only two battleships escorted the convoys to Albania (Cavour and Cesare).

The story of the landing in Durazzo (Dures) is fully false: no first wave was repulsed, and pratically everything told is mere fantasy. The 400 Italian casualties came directly from Fischer's imagination. Italian troops disembarked directly in Durazzo's port, starting landing operations at 5:25 am and by 9:00 the whole city had been conquered. There were only some rifle shots from the buildings near the port, promptly silenced by the Italian torpedo-boats guns.

The whole occupation was accomplished, almost without fighting (I have several photos showing masses of Albanians cheering Italian troops and Italian soldiers and politicians walking in the streets without problems), with 12 KIA and 81 wounded among Italian troops.

The development of Albanian roads and infrastructures had little or nothing to do with future military operations, also given the fact that Italy never seriously planned a true war against Greece. The Greek campaign of 1940-41 was fought only because the coup d'etat that had been planned by Italophile officers in Athens didn't take place and thus the Italian invasion force, that should have occupied Greece without fighting, got involved in a true war.

Italy never interned 5,270 Albanians in whole WW2, the source of this inflated figure is probably mere communist propaganda.
Also the representation of Albanian resistance as if it were anything more than a nuisance (at least until the end of 1942, after the defeats in North Africa and Russia the rebellion increased) comes directly from pure propaganda. Just a few hard data: between April and mid-August 1942 Albanian bandits killed 12 people (4 Italians) and wounded 8 people (one Italian). Not even distantly a large scale guerrilla, or a guerrilla at all.

No fortifications were prepared in the Vojosa (Voiussa) Valley, thus no part was played by them in stopping the Greek counteroffensive.

Vasil Laçi's attempt to King Victor Emanuel III's life has been inflated by post-WW2 Albanian propaganda. Mussolini's govern didn't bother about such a small fact (De Felice's biography of Mussolini doesn't even mention the fact). Ciano, in his diary, even mistakes the name and ethnicity of the terrorist (he calls him Mihailoff, "a Greek-Macedonian"), tells that he was a lunatic driven by futile reasons and that "The King hasn't cared of the accident and has kept very quiet. It even seems that he has said to Verlaci [Albanian prime minister], who was seating on his side: "That guy shoots really poorly"."

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Re: Albanian Resistance 1941-1944

Post by malioni91 » 12 May 2012 03:58

Thanks for the response. Here are my points based on your draft:

I just presented Shehu's view point which was the commander of the force that attacked Tirana. In addition to the German garrison, there was a considerable number of Albanian collaborators defending the city. So the number of German and quisling forces killed in Tirana could be close to the number given my Shehu. Of course like every military commander, he tried to artificially increase that number.

1. The comparison Albania-Czechoslovakia was mentioned also in the book Munich, 1938 by David Faber. And the usual "Roman Empire" stories are present in Cianno's diaries and in all of Mussolini's public speeches at the time. Fascist Italy was an imperialistic empire, the same way that Great Britain was. You can't say that the reason for Italy's attack on Albania was the unpaid loan that Albania owed to Italy. Because if this is true, than today Germany and France have to invade Greeece because of the country's public debt. :P
2. Italian advisers were indirectly involved in such actions. According to a report by Zyra Politike (Political Office) which was Zog's intel service, a group of bandits caught attacking a gendarme post just a few days before the invasion, told under interrogation that they had been paid off by the Italian military attache in Shkodra.
3. I can't argue over numbers, I used a source and that's what the source said. However, it is obvious that the Italian forces had a very big advantage over the Albanian "army" of the time. However, the number 50,000 is an army on paper. In 1939 the Royal Albanian army had only 15 battalions of infantry and frontier guards. Each battalion had a manpower of approximately 500 men so 15x500= 7500 men. Add to this number the 2000 gendarmes located all over the country, and you get 9500 men. Add to this 1000 Royal Guards and policemen it gets to 10500 full-time armed men. To the full-time force in case of war was supposed to be reinforced by a force of approx. 5000 men from the region of Mat (King Zog's hometown). In 1935, the Albanian army had only 11581 rifles, 204 machine-guns, 56 artillery pieces of various calibers and a dozen of light tankettes and Lancia armored cars (all WW1 vintage). If by 1935 Albania had only 11581 rifles, how could we have been able to have an army of 50,000 men by 1939???
4. Not trying to defend Fischer, however, he is not a military historian and by the word battleship he might have included the cruisers of various sizes and the frigates so that's the number you get.
5. The story about the landings is not false. In the Albanian archives there are a few telegrams sent by Major Abaz Kupi who commanded the rag-tag defenses of Durres. One of them basically says (I am paraphrasing): The Italians are landing in the Currila (area in north-west) and close the port. I have only three companies of gendarmes and a few volunteers. We the Italian navy is bombarding us. Tell to the commander of Shijak(a town 20km away from Durres) to reinforce the "Banja" area. We will do our duty. Long live Albania, long live the King!
6. Yes, it is true that the invasion was accomplished almost without fighting. Our beloved king showed his true colors and abandoned the country ordering his officers to not distribute weapons to the volunteers.
7. Italy interned and imprisoned many, many young Albanians. I have no idea about the true numbers, that's what Fisher used.
8. Fortifications were prepared around the Vjosa valley. The Italian army dug trenches and pillboxes all over the valley. Even today, you can see the ruins of some of them. Close to the town of Selenice, there are a few concrete pillboxes built by Italy during the Greek-Italian war. In addition, there are similiar pillboxes close to the town of Pogradec and Elbasan.
9. So Vasil Laci was a terrorist? So for you Von Stauffenberg who tried to assassinate Hitler was a mere terrorist?! And yes, the Italian authorities tried to manipulate Laci's identity for their political reasons. They tried to show him as a Greek-paid agent because they wanted to attack Greece through this, and they did so because they didn't like to propagate the idea that the Italians were viewed as invaders by the Albanian people.

As for sources, I tried to use American and British sources. If you use Italian sources to show the Italian point of view... well I don't know what to say about the objectivity.

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