An armed contingent of French forces attempted to invade the Isle of Wight on this day in British history, 21 July 1545. The French invasion was repelled at heavy cost to the British militia raised to defend the island. This occasion was the last time that France attempted to attack the Isle of Wight.
U.S. Army soldiers of the 10th Mountain (Light Infantry) Division cautiously approach buildings in Northern Italy which may house enemy German soldiers. The division entered combat near the town of Cutigliano on 16 February. Preliminary defensive actions in mid-February were followed by Encore Operation, a series of attacks in conjunction with Allied troops of the 1st Brazilian Infantry Division, to dislodge the Germans from their artillery positions in the Northern Apennines on the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna regions, in order to make possible the Allied advance over the Po Valley. In early March, the division fought its way north of Canelli and moving to within 15 miles (24 km) of Bologna and maintained defensive positions in this area for three weeks, anticipating a counteroffensive by the Germans. Between Sassomolare and Castel d'Aiano, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. 4 March 1945.
“An Italian flying boat burning of the water off the coast of Tripoli, on August 18, 1941 after an encounter with a royal air force fighter patrol. Just above the tip of the port wing, the body of an Italian airman can be seen floating.”
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars or the Renaissance Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western Europe (France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, England, and Scotland) as well as the Ottoman Empire. Originally arising from dynastic disputes over the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples, the wars rapidly became a general struggle for power and territory among their various participants, and were marked with an increasing number of alliances, counter-alliances, and betrayals.
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.
A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy (and working in conjunction with the garrison of Pavia, commanded by Antonio de Leyva) attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve of Mirabello outside the city walls. In the four-hour battle, the French army was split and defeated in detail. The French suffered massive casualties, including many of the chief nobles of France; Francis himself, captured by the Spanish troops, was imprisoned by Charles V and forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Madrid, surrendering significant territory to his captor. The outcome of the battle cemented Spanish Habsburg ascendancy in Italy.
Mussolini (center) being arrested in April 1915 at a pro-war rally.
August 31 1915, Brescia–Before the war, most of the socialist parties of Europe had generally taken an anti-war stance. Despite some abortive efforts on the eve of war, however, these parties supported their respective governments’ war efforts after mobilization. One major exception was in Italy, which would not enter the war for at least ten months. A leading anti-war voice in the Socialist Party before the war had been Benito Mussolini, who had been jailed for five months in 1911 for inciting violence against Italy’s war effort versus Turkey. Since then he had been the chief editor of Avanti!, the leading socialist newspaper. A few months after the outbreak of war, however, he apparently changed his mind and began to advocate for Italian entry into the war. In mid-November 1914 he left Avanti! and started his own newspaper, Il Popolo d'Italia (with financial backing from France and Belgium), and was expelled from the Socialist Party soon after. He claimed that his support for the war was part of his consistent effort to oppose imperialism, but a comrade of his was closer to the mark when he said
[Mussolini’s] only use for ideas was to enable him to dispense with ideas…Only action counted, and on the plane of action betrayal did not exist, only victory or defeat.
After Italian entry into the war in May, Mussolini immediately volunteered. The Army, however, remembering his efforts in the last war, rejected him as a rabble-rouser, saying he would need to wait for his class of reservists to be called up normally. On August 31, he was at last called up, along with many of his fellow 32-year-olds. He declined to attend officer candidate school, preferring to get into action as quickly as possible. After two weeks of training, he was on his way to the front.