13 DECEMBER 1940, Page 2


ITALY continues to receive heavy blows in all quarters. The capture of Sidi Barrani, with a large number of prisoners in addition to the 6,000 already reported, and an unspecified quantity of material, shows that the operation initiated by General Wavell is widening in scope. This debacle, combined with continuing disaster in Greece, cannot fail to have disturbing effects on the impressionable Italian people. There is, it is true, some sign of a stiffening of resistance in Greece, but nowhere is the Greek pressure relaxed. Everywhere Greek detachments move on, preceded to right and left by skirmishers who drive the enemy over the mountains at the point of the bayonet, followed by guns which enfilade the positions of the enemy in the valleys. In the north the Greeks are reaching the extreme north-west of Lake Ochrida and are moving west along two roads in the direction of Elbasan. In the centre and west-centre they are approaching the critical road junction at Klisura and the town of Tepeleni. Along the coast they are progressing towards Chimara in the direction of the port of Valona. Wherever the Italians propose to stand there is always danger that the Greek tactics will end in their being outflanked. Whilst the campaign thus continues to go well in Albania the British command of the Aegean, with Crete as an invaluable base, threatens the Italians in the Dodecanese islands. There they are in effect beleaguered.