How Much ammunition Did the Albanian's have?

When the communist government of Albania collapsed, the new leaders found that the former regime had squandered billions of dollars on weapons and small-arms ammunition. There was so much ammunition in the arsenals that nobody knew what to do with it. Part of the stock was sold to international arms dealers (and that guy and his son in Miami got hold of some of it, which they resold to iraq).
Anyway, there is a US Government project to locate and destroy this horde. my question: why on earth did the commies feel they needed so much ammo? Were they afraid of an invasion from Greece?:smack:

Why does that strike you as far-fetched? Every country in the Balkans has irredentist designs on almost every other country. Greeks, in particular, have long regarded southern Albania as Northern Epirus, a region with a substantial ethnic-Greek population which Greeks feel ought to belong to Greece. Italy actually did invade Albania in the 1930’s, and Italy and Greece were NATO allies. As a xenophobic anti-Soviet Stalinist dictatorship, Albania couldn’t expect a lot of help in case of invasion.

Hoxha was a ruthless psychotic paranoid nutjob, but like many paranoiacs, he really did have enemies.

Albania used to be comparable to North Korea for it’s absolutist ultra-hard line version of communism. Unless I’m thinking of another country, they also dotted the countryside with thousands of concrete pillbox bunkers to help repel invasion.

In at least one case, some of the ammo ended up in my closet. It’s not the best quality though.

You can never trust those Greeks.

Hoxha the Dodger was paranoid about pretty much everybody. He run out of friends, even China, by the end

Albania also lays claim to the Greatest Cigarette Smoker of All Time.

Well, if you’re afraid of being invaded, and you’re not big enough to hold a front line with a working supply network behind it, you’re going to need big stockpiles of ammo scattered about. Modern armies (even backward ones like Albanias) use prodigious amounts of ammunition, and without it they are utterly utterly fucked.
Work out how much a soldier might use in, say, two weeks fighting, add a safety margin, triple it on the basis that 2/3s of stocks might be unreachable, captured or destroyed, multiply that by every able-bodied male in the country, and before you know what’s going on you’re sitting on a mountain of 7.62x39, giggling madly.

I don’t quite get the connection here. Italy invaded Albania in 1939, under Mussolini as part of WW2. They were then vigorously opposed by the Greeks who whipped the Italians arses.

I don’t see that Italy and Greece subsequently both being in Nato makes a joint invasion therefore more likely. Or is this not what you’re saying?

Turkey was also a Nato member, but this didn’t make joint action with Greece very likely.

You are correct to emphasize the complicated ethnic nature of the Balkans, however. They have more history than they can consume locally, to paraphrase someone famous (Churchill?).

On a complete side note: slaphead, how’s Streatham Common these days? I grew up on the Southside.

Hoxha was most afraid of territorial claims from Tito’s Yugoslavia - and given the way recent history has gone, that wasn’t such an unreasonable fear.

From the Albanian standpoint, two countries with historic designs on her territory, which had in fact occupied part of her territory during World War II (Italy 1939-40 and 1941-44; Greece 1940-41), but had been enemies, were now (post-WWII) allies. That cannot have made a paranoid dictator like Hoxha feel good.

Mind you, I’m not saying there was any real danger of a post-WWII invasion. Italy and Greece had enough problems of their own, and Greece’s expansionist aims were redirected toward Cyprus. I’m just saying that the concept of cross-border warfare in the Balkans was not as far-fetched as the OP seemed to believe.

True enough.

Although saying Greece occupied Albania 1940-41 is a bit like saying the UK and US occupied France after D-Day.

But I may be a bit biased.

200 cigs a day smoked by ex King Zog.

That’s 8.33 per hour, wtf was he doing, eating them?

I dunno. In Greece, the road signs pointing to Istanbul all say ‘Konstantinopoli’ – they’re probably just biding their time to spring on the Turks and take that shit back.


Hoxha was, of course, a paranoid maniac, and a really, really, really bad guy in general. How paranoid was Hoxha? He covered Albania with approximately 700,000 little igloo-shaped, practically indestructible bunkers. Here’s a picture of the view from the bus while waiting in line at the MK-AL border.

A random field outside Tirana, with bunkers.

Bunkers in a GARDEN. That’s gotta suck.

More pictoral evidence of the crazitude of Enver Hoxha.

And yet, I just talked to an Albanian last week who told me that things were better under communism because “you could walk around at 2 am”. Yeah, you couldn’t have any contact with the outside world, own a car, practice religion, or exercise free speech, but you could walk around at 2 am! It was like paradise.

ETA: Oh, I forgot to say, there are actually two kinds of bunkers. The regular ones and the “command bunkers”, which are larger and which were permanently manned during the communist era, guarding Albanians against the Yugoslavs. The dude who designed the bunkers had to then prove their worth by being inside one while it was attacked by a tank. This is why they’re still so ubiquitous, even after all of these years - they’re pretty much impossible to destroy.

That is going some. But I know an old guy who used to smoke well over a 100 back when cigs were rollies (so smaller and quicker). And I know people now who smoke 60-80 normal cigs. Basically they never not have a lit one whilst awake.

Are you sure? It’s still sometimes called that in conversation, especially with the older generation, but I doubt it’s on signage. However I live in the south of Greece so can’t easily check. (I’m English, just to clarify).

Pics don’t work without a Facebook registration.

Hold a moment.

Okay. This’ll probably be anticlimactic after all of that.

View of the border.

Field full of bunkers.

Garden full of bunkers.

I kept saying I wanted to try this myself until I got up close and realize how high the building was, and chickened out.

I’m not saying that Hoxha was reasonable or that he didn’t have a generalized fear of invasion from the West, but he had a special paranoia toward Yugoslavia. He purged close associates in the 1950s for being “pro-Tito” - whether they were or not, they disappeared anyway.

Anyway, the Kosovo and Macedonia issue has shown this to be a particular problem - one that predated Tito and Hoxha both, and came to a vicious head after both were safely dead.

There sure were some saying ‘Konstantinopli ->’ as of a couple of years ago when Agent Foxtrot and I visited Athens.