20 DECEMBER 1940, Page 1

Progress in Albania

The Italians in Albania are making desperate efforts to stand on strong positions to which they have retired, and they have been throwing in reinforcements which have counter- attacked and been repulsed with heavy losses. The Greek advance, though it steadily continues, has been slowed up, for more reasons than one. The weather conditions, both in me valley and on the mountain-tops, are highly unfavourable to offensive action, and the lengthened communications of the Greeks over bad roads—where there are roads at all—increase the difficulties of supply. But that is not all. In the centre, where the hardest fighting is taking place, the Greeks are pressing forward towards the naturally strong positions around the towns of Tepeleni and Klissura—key towns which com- mand the approaches to Valona to the north-west and towards Berat and Durazzo towards the north. The Greeks, continually if slowly moving, are working their way to heights which com- mand these towns, just as they did in the cases of Koritza and Argyrokastro, and when their operations are complete the towns themselves will fall into their hands. Dislodged from these positions, it is likely that the Italians will be compelled to retire more precipitately. The strain which the Greeks are imposing on the Italians in Albania is, of course, as helpful to our operations in Africa as those operations are to the Greeks. In both spheres the R.A.F. are rendering indispensable services.