The Italian invasion of France (10–25 June 1940), also called the Battle of the Alps, was the first major Italian engagement of World War II and the last major engagement of the Battle of France. Only 115 out of 285 Italian bomber sorties during 21–24 June located their targets, dropping only 80 tonnes of bombs. The only other routes were the coast road and mule trails. Two days later, Parisians could hear distant gunfire.  Its main thrust was through the Little Saint Bernard Pass, which would have been the easiest route, had the French not destroyed the bridges. They were not prepared to assault French fortifications, and their deployment did not change prior to June 1940. The two marshals unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Mussolini that this was not a wise course of action, arguing that the Italian military was unprepared, divisions were not up to strength, troops lacked equipment, the empire was equally unprepared, and the merchant fleet was scattered across the globe. On 20 June its orders were to advance up the valley 60 km (37 mi) into French territory on the only road through the valley. , As early as 14 May, the French Ministry of the Interior had given orders to arrest Italian citizens known or suspected of being anti-French in the event of war.  During the day, Army Group West received two seemingly contradictory orders: "the hostilities against France had to be immediately suspended" and "the preparation for the previously announced [...] operations should continue at the same pace".  A period of inaction, called the Phoney War, then followed between the Allies and Germany.  The Littorio had received seventy of the new type M11/39 medium tanks shortly before the declaration of war.  Italian troops stuck in the snow were easy targets for French snipers and the winding mule trails provided plenty of opportunity for SES squads to lay ambushes. By 1940, all Italian divisions had been converted from triangular divisions into binary divisions. Three actions were planned: Operation B through the Little Saint Bernard Pass, Operation M through the Maddalena Pass and Operation R along the Riviera. , The Franco-Italian Armistice established a modest demilitarized zone 50 km (31 mi) deep on the French side of the border, thus eliminating the Alpine Line. He gave the order on 3 June and the following two nights the town was evacuated under the code name "Exécutez Mandrin". The Alpine Corps did not take its ultimate objective, Bourg-Saint-Maurice. [g] In the Fortified Sector of the Maritime Alps, the terrain was less rugged and presented the best possible invasion route for the Italians. .  It had the 52nd Motorised Division Torino of the Army of the Po in reserve.  Commenting on the declaration of war, François-Poncet called it "a dagger blow to man who has already fallen", and this occasioned United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous remark that "the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor".  Italian war aims remained geographically expansive and a programme published on 26 June set out the acquisition of Nice, Corsica, Tunisia, Malta, southern Switzerland and Cyprus as war aims, as well as replacing Britain and France in Egypt, Iraq, Somaliland, the Persian Gulf and southern Arabia. , During the late 1920s, the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini spoke with increasing urgency about imperial expansion, arguing that Italy needed an outlet for its "surplus population" and that it would therefore be in the best interests of other countries to aid in this expansion. There were designs for a protectorate over Albania and for the annexation of Dalmatia, as well as economic and military control of Yugoslavia and Greece. Schwerer Gustav. According to Ciano, "under these [mild] conditions, Mussolini is not prepared to make territorial demands ... and [will] wait for the peace conference to make all our formal demands." Their calvary wasn’t particularly impressive either, nor were their aircraft carriers. A near miss caused damage to the Italian ship's hull, but it managed to fire four torpedoes at the French force although none struck any targets. Schwerer Gustav (English: Heavy Gustaf) was a German 80-centimetre (31.5 in) railway gun. On 22 June, infantry from the SforzescaDivision penetrated into Bois de Sestriéres and B… . Under pressure from the Italian coastal artillery, the Colbert and Dupleix withdrew. The request was renewed in March 1940, but declined on 8 June. The first Italian offensive, an invasion of France launched on 17 June 1940, ended in complete failure, and only the fact that France signed an armistice with Germany on 21 June, followed by another armistice with Italy on 24 June allowed Mussolini to present it as a victory.  On 1 March, the British announced that they would block all coal exports from Rotterdam to Italy.  These were deployed defensively, mainly at the entrance to the valleys and with their artillery arranged to hit targets inside the border in the event of an invasion. The regime also sought to establish protective patron–client relationships with Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, which all lay on the outside edges of its European sphere of influence.  On 13 May, the Germans fought the Battle of Sedan and crossed the Meuse. , On 10 June, Ciano informed his ambassadors in London and Paris that a declaration of war would be handed to the British and French ambassadors in Rome at 1630 hours, local time. , During the 1930s, the French had constructed a series of fortifications—the Maginot Line—along their border with Germany.  On 26 May, Mussolini informed Marshals Pietro Badoglio, chief of the Supreme General Staff, and Italo Balbo that he intended to join the German war against Britain and France, so to be able to sit at the peace table "when the world is to be apportioned" following an Axis victory. , As early as September 1938, the Italian military had drawn up plans to invade Albania.  To explain the Italian deficiency, they wrote that the Italian superiority in numbers was betrayed by poor equipment, inferior to that of their French counterparts and that "the stormy Alpine weather was probably the best ally the French had".  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