Italian invasion of France in June 1940 was a small scale invasion that started near the end of the Battle of France. The goal of the Italian offensive was to take control of the Alps mountain range and the region around Nice. The offensive was a failure, as the Italian forces did not advance far but sustained heavy casualties.
However, Italy was not prepared for war and Italy's armed forces made little impact during the last few days of the Battle of France. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was well aware of Italy's limited military potential and yet he still sought to profit from Germany's successes. But German dictator Adolf Hitler demanded that the Italians participate more if they wanted to share in the spoils.
Of Italy's declaration of war, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, said: "On this tenth day of June 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor."
On 21 June, troops of the Italian Royal Army crossed the French border in three places. The Italian army attacked in two directions. The Italians attacked through the Alps and they attacked on the Mediterranean sealine towards Nice. Initially, the Italian offensive enjoyed a limited level of success. The French defensive lines on the Italian border were weakened due to French High Command shuffling forces to fight the Germans. Some French mountain units were sent to Norway. However, the Italian offensive soon stalled at the fortified Alpine Line in the Alps region and at the southern end of the Maginot Line in the Mediterranean region. The attack through the Little Saint Bernard Pass in the Alps had to stop due to a massive snow storm. The Italian forces attacking through the French Riviera advanced only about 5 miles and were stopped in the vicinity of the town of Menton.
During the invasion, Italian casualties were 1,247 men dead or missing and 2,631 wounded. A further 2,151 Italians were hospitalized due to frostbite. The French lost eight men.
Overall, the Italian forces numbered about 700,000 troops. However, they had inadequate artillery and transport, nor were they equipped for cold Alpine environment.
Overall, French forces in the region numbered about 35 000 soldiers.