Italians in Stalingrad

Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Italians in Stalingrad

Post by GLADIVM » 18 Dec 2002 06:55

In a previous thread , that cannot find out now , was mentioned the possibility that some Italian soldiers were also caught in the pocket , I also contributed with a post that cited the book Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor as source for such a statement , but there was some skepticism and other members voiced the opinion this to be only a legend as in fact the Italian 8th Army was quite far away from Stalingrad .

Now in another book also entitled STALINGRAD by Joachim Wieder , who was a staff officer in the pocket , there is his witness statement of an encounter with some Italians stranded in the pocket and he says at page 121 that just few days before surrender he remebered an encounter which took pace may be one week or ten days before final surrender of the North pcket :
QUOTE " Only a few days before i had been there and , surrounded by an helpless horde of overjoyed Italians , had delivered a wounded lieutenant who was the leader of their group .On this occcasion I had once again to look deeply into the misery of the overflowing dressing stations and hospitals . Having been denied entry at every door we had unsuccesfully gone on from place to place with our sad burden until finally a merciful doctor had taken pity on the wounded man and made the virtually impossible happen .
Incidentallly there had been about thirty Italians with a large convoy of vehicles sent to Stalingrad in november to forage for wood for their army in the bend of the Don . Fate had caught up with them there . In the hell of ice and snow I felt a secial pity for these sons of the sunny south . Trapped in the battle far from their unit , they had probably to suffer additional misery . They could hardly make themselves understood and no one really wanted to feel responsible for them at a time of extreme need when it was every man for himself " UNQUOTE

So it seems some Italins were really in Stalingrad , only one thing strikes me as odd , if it was a large convoy of trucks it should have been at least few hundred soldiers (Beevor mentions up to 300 ) giving two men for truck
. so possibly a lot of them already died at time of the encounter and probably also the these 30 men did not survive russian gulag . It stands to reason that the leader of such a convoy was a lietenant . Or might be they were part of a larger of mixed axis troops and therefore only a few italians were there.
To which unit did they belong? I think not to the Alpini but probably to the divion nearest to the Rumanians . At the moment I do not have an operational map of the sector so cannot identify any unit , may be some member could help .
Another thing the mention that the Italians were overjoyed might mean that Wieder was able to speak italian and therefore they found somebody who could understand and help them .

Yours

GLADIVM

User avatar
Napoli
Member
Posts: 224
Joined: 02 Oct 2002 13:23
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Post by Napoli » 18 Dec 2002 08:19

Possibly happy to see their officer returned maybe, that maybe what he was trying to say?
The thread you were talking about may have been under the banned "Croat legion in Stalingrad".

FB
Member
Posts: 371
Joined: 13 Sep 2002 13:43
Location: Italy

Post by FB » 18 Dec 2002 09:07

Dear GLADIVM,

I too have read about a small contingent of Italians being trapped in Stalingrad. I've only read about this fact in the following book:

Author: Alessandro Massignani

Title: Alpini e tedeschi sul Don.
Documenti e testimonianze sulla ritirata del Corpo d'armata alpino e del XXIV Panzerkorps germanico in Russia nel gennaio 1943.

Publisher:Rossato, 1991 (2nd edition)

I do not have the book at hand right now (btw I consider it to be an excellent source of info and primary sources) but i remeber that this author wrote that an Italian convoy was sent to Stalingrad in order to ship there materials for the Germans and was cought there. It is not a long paragraph (shorter then the one you quoted) and does not give info about which unit it was.

This capture of Italians in Stalingrad is brought as an example in the book in order to demonstrate that the common knowledge of Italians almost completely lacking of motorized means of transportation, as usually stateded by front lines units reports, was not due to the actual lack of them, rather by other factors:

- lack of fuel (which, according to the Italo German agreement about the ARMIR being sent to Russia, was to be provided from the Germans) that prevented a full scale utilizatin of the Italian trucks (they were diesel fueled, while 1st priority for Germans, comprehesively enough, was gas for their Panzers)

- breakages of the trucks; not all of them were perfectly suited for Russia

- Ample utilization by the Germans of Italian available transportation means, leaving the Italians without them (and as an example of this Massignani gives the Italians cought in Stalingrad)

In any case I really do advice anyone interested on the final months of ARMIR and XXIV Pzkps in the Don Area to read this book: i have rarely seen something so full of info. It also gives, in original, an OoB of the "Fegelein" Group.

As far as wich unit the column cought in Stalingrad might be, when I read the book, I came up with the suspition that it could (and I stress "could") have been an Army (ARMIR) level asset and not one of the front line division transport units. Also: behind the lines of the Alpini Corps (north of the Italian kept front) there were several areas of woods: why then go south for hunderds of Km in order to take it? I think that probably Massignani is correct when he wrote that the unit was sent there to deliver materials for the Germans ant that the column was ordered to bring back wood so to make the return an "economic" one.

Regards

FB
Member
Posts: 371
Joined: 13 Sep 2002 13:43
Location: Italy

Post by FB » 18 Dec 2002 18:05

This morning I forgot to add an answer to one of your questions, sorry.

The Italian Units nearest to the Romenian Army were: "Sforzesca" (the nearest) and "Celere".

Regards

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 19 Dec 2002 03:58

Dear FB ,

it would have made sense if they were Alpini and delivering some goods to the Germans to carry wood or other material in order not to return with empty trucks .

But as the alpini were very cospicuos with their headgear , i think the author would have mentioned that as it seems he was familiar with italians and might be even able to speak italian .

My guess is that they would be from Celere , which should have had a larger than usual , for italian forces , allocation of vehicles or as you say for services or rear echelons .
I have the book the " L' Armata Scomparsa " , about the odissey of the Italians in Russia ,
by Petacco but there is no mention of any unit stranded in stalingrad .

Do you think it would be possible to find some sources which might shed light on this episode ?

Yours
GLADIVM

FB
Member
Posts: 371
Joined: 13 Sep 2002 13:43
Location: Italy

Post by FB » 19 Dec 2002 09:18

GLADIVM wrote:Dear FB ,

it would have made sense if they were Alpini and delivering some goods to the Germans to carry wood or other material in order not to return with empty trucks .

But as the alpini were very cospicuos with their headgear , i think the author would have mentioned that as it seems he was familiar with italians and might be even able to speak italian .

My guess is that they would be from Celere , which should have had a larger than usual , for italian forces , allocation of vehicles or as you say for services or rear echelons .
I have the book the " L' Armata Scomparsa " , about the odissey of the Italians in Russia ,
by Petacco but there is no mention of any unit stranded in stalingrad .

Do you think it would be possible to find some sources which might shed light on this episode ?

Yours
GLADIVM


I hope that it is possible to find out something but, to be honest, I think it is going to be quite difficult.

Being somehow familiar with the Alpini Corps "adventure" in Russia I'd be rather sure that this truck convoy was not part of this Corps.

In my previous post i was not saying that they were Alpini, I was only saying that it is strange that an italian truck convoy was sent to Stalingrad to collect wood when nearby the Italian front line there were wooded areas; then again we are talking about military and we should know that sometimes the strangest things might happen in this kind of organization :)

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 07 Jan 2003 07:01

Dear FB ,

You are right military can do the strangest things and therefore might have sent alpini to Stalingrad , possibly will never know who were the unfortunate italians caught there .

I will try to get some definite infos , unfortnately cannot wrte to mr Wieder who met them in Stalingrad , since he passed away in 1992 .
But sent a message to Penguin books which are the editor of Beevor book "Stalingrad" , he might know something more specific . I do not know if he will ever recieve my enquiry or if he will answer but is worth a try .

Would it be possible for you to try to contact Massignani or his editor ?

Yours

GLADIVM

FB
Member
Posts: 371
Joined: 13 Sep 2002 13:43
Location: Italy

Post by FB » 07 Jan 2003 10:52

Hi GLADVM,

I wouldn't know how to contact the editor or Mr. Massignani... I do not have any adress (e-mail i mean... maybe I can try with snail mail).

What i did is that I tried to contact UNIRR that is the association of the Italian Veternas who have been in Russian captivity during the war but I'm still waiting for an answer.

Regards

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 08 Jan 2003 05:53

Dear FB ,

Thanks for keeping the research , writing to UNIRR was a good idea , pls keep me posted if any news .

Yours

GLADIVM

User avatar
Lupo Solitario
Member
Posts: 1118
Joined: 21 Mar 2002 18:39
Location: Italy, country of sun, wine and morons

Post by Lupo Solitario » 11 Jan 2003 20:16

I think having finally found the answer to this question....an italian army historical office book reports that after November 19th, 1942 a detachment of 8° Autoraggruppamento d'Armata formed by 2 officers, 72 soldiers and 50 trucks rested blocked in Stalingrad.
Interesting the same source reports it was the last of an entire series of logistic support for Stalingrad started in September and employing italian army support units until 400 trucks at a time.
This leads me to two consideration:

- that we forget too much often that people in uniform don't belong only to fighting units, an army as ARMIR had thousand of people in logistic and support roles with a thier story to be told
- that I'd like to know how much support for italian troops had been cut off to substain germans....

Ah, I add:
the source was "I Servizi Logistici delle Unità Italiane al fronte russo"
the 8th Autoraggruppamento d'Armata was formed by LVII and LVIII Autogruppo pesante on four autocentri pesanti each

ciao
Lupo

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 19 Feb 2003 05:57

Caro Lupo ,

Sorry if did not thank you early for yr wondeful research work .

Btw where do you find pubblications such as " I Servizi logistici delle Unita' Italiane sul fronte Russo " , are they edited by il Ministero della Difesa ?
and where is possible to buy them ?

thanks

yours

GLADIVM

User avatar
Lupo Solitario
Member
Posts: 1118
Joined: 21 Mar 2002 18:39
Location: Italy, country of sun, wine and morons

Post by Lupo Solitario » 19 Feb 2003 20:28

The book had been published by Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore Esercito in 1977 IIRC and, as quite all USSME publication, is almost unfindable in common bookshops. I know only two shop in a 100 kms range by my home which had those books...Anyway, living in un universitary city, I can afford on many well equipped public libraries

bye
Lupo

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 29 Aug 2006 21:36

I revive this more than three years old thread to inform , all those interested , that have found which italian units were left stranded in Stalingrad , the source of information is the interesting book " Tutti i Vivi all' Assalto " by Alfio Caruso and states that when Stalingrad was surrounded , inside the besieged ring there were , detached for duty with the german services :
- 127th Autieri Group (drivers) at the orders of Under Lieutenant Walter Poli
- 248th Autieri " " " " " " " Giusberti
for a total of around 50 soldiers

Also caught in Stalingrad was the italian medical unit , also detached with Germans , of Dr.Cattaneo ( an eyes specilaist) with some male nurses and medical assistants . This unit was located in a village (unamed ) outside the city .

Fate of all these italian soldiers is unkown as not one of them returned home after the war .

Yours

GLADIVM

User avatar
GLADIVM
Member
Posts: 334
Joined: 08 Aug 2002 04:17
Location: Italy and Asia

Post by GLADIVM » 13 Mar 2007 14:47

I must correct my previous post , two of the italians surrounded at Stalingrad returned home after the war .

Under Lieutenant Poli from 127th group
Soldier driver Furini from the 248th

and the officer taken to hospital was under Lt Giusberti who died when hospital was destroyed in the last days of fighting .

Their story is told in a brilliant book " Noi Moriamo a Stalingrado " by Alfio Caruso , author also of " Tutti i Vivi all' assalto " .

Yours

GLADIVM

User avatar
FRANCY RITTER
Member
Posts: 3031
Joined: 02 Dec 2004 18:12
Location: PARMA City of European Food Safety Authority ITALY

Post by FRANCY RITTER » 13 Mar 2007 14:55

Grazie mille GLADIUM :wink: thank you very much for these Info. :)

Return to “Italy under Fascism 1922-1945”