In the Mediterranean. Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940, with an army of 1,500,000, a modern navy, and a highly rated air force. The first naval action in the Mediterranean came on July 20. It resulted in the sinking of the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleone by the Australian cruiser Sydney. Italy attacked Greece on October 28, and the British, in an effort to secure the eastern Mediterranean, sent troops to the Greek island of Crete. The British struck at the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11-12. In this action, planes from the carrier Illustrious damaged three battleships and a cruiser, crippling the Italian fleet.
The Russian Army repelling Hitler's forces put an end to the bloodiest battle in history. The German surrender came on February 2, 1943. Over 91,000 Axis soldiers were taken prisoner by Russian forces. Learn about it and other World War II events of this period.
This World War II timeline highlights important dates from February to June 1943. During this time, victory in northern Africa set the stage for the Allies to begin bombing of Italy. Follow the events of World War II and the Axis and Allied campaigns.