Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by Urmel » 03 Dec 2015 09:45

carlodinechi wrote:P.S., Urmel your comments about the Allied 'OOB', 'Semovente', 'effetto pronto', 'Sherman' and 'Grant' tanks have nothing to do with me or my summary of events of 1942 for they appear in the book extract's I've included as sources for skeptics that might whinge that I have no footnotes and people wanting to find out more. If you have a problem with them, you should direct them to the respective authors. Thanks for your observations, I've fixed the date to do with the fall of Benghazi.
You post it, you own it, it's your responsibility, and I am just correcting it and will continue to do so. You don't like it, then fact-check before posting Trippa.

If you don't like being corrected, maybe find yourself another forum where historical accuracy doesn't matter. You'll probably find it more to your liking.

Otherwise I recommend reading the forum rules about sourcing.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by Urmel » 03 Dec 2015 09:48


General word of warning to readers of this thread. I have found numerous errors in the posts by carlodinechi, which he is unwilling to correct even after they are being pointed out. Given that my expertise is for a small slice of the desert war, and I am not checking the remainder of his input, I would advise anyone reading this to treat it with extreme caution. carlodinechi is clearly not interested in historical accuracy.

I have also raised this with forum moderators, who unfortunately also do no longer seem to be interested in maintaining some standards around here.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 10 Dec 2015 11:42

E V E N T S O F 1 9 4 3 (First half of 1943)

"The Italians supplied the bulk of the Axis troops fighting in North Africa, and too often the German Army unfairly ridiculed Italian military effectiveness either due to its own arrogance or to conceal its own mistakes and failures. In reality, a significant number of Italian units fought skilfully in North Africa, and many "German" victories were the result of Italian skill-at-arms and a combined Axis effort."
The Wehrmacht: The German Army in World War II, 1939-1945, Tim Ripley, p. 136, Routledge, 2014)


20 January - 17 February - Operation 'Weiss' (White) is fought. A joint Italo-German campaign to eliminate Yugoslavian partisans.


3 January - British frogmen sink the Italian Cruiser 'Ulpio Traiano' in Palermo with explosive charges.

7 January - Italian Destroyer 'Bersagliere' is sunk in Palermo by US bombers.

8 January - Conte Ciano meets with two Fascist government ministers, Giuseppe Bottai and Roberto Farinacci, about possible replacements for Mussolini. Some names mentioned include Field Marshal Ugo Cavallero, Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Dino Grandi, Minister of Justice and Gottai and Farinacci themselves. Athough Mussolini's gastric problems were growing ever more serious, he keeps abreast of possible overthrows of his government through informers and the OVRA (Mussolini's secret police), who inform him at his retreat in La Rocca della Caminate. He decides to clear out most of the members of his government with new

31 January - Mussolini replaces Italian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Field Marshal Ugo Cavallero, with General Vittorio Ambrosio.


9 January - Italian Destroyer 'Corsaro' sinks off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.

12 January - Ciclone-Class Destroyer Escort 'Ardente' sinks after being rammed by the Italian Destoyer 'Grecale'.

17 January - Italian Destroyer 'Bombardiere' is sunk off the coast of Sicily by British Submarine HMS 'United'.

29 January - Italian bombers damage beyond repair the British Anti-Aircraft Cruiser 'HMS Pozarica'. (Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Torpedo-Bomber Units, Marco Mattioli, Mark Postlethwaite, Appendix B)

31 January - Italian Destroyer Escort 'Marcello Prestinari' sinks after hitting a mine.


22 January - The 'San Marcos' Marines Regiment overruns part of the 1st French Army and and captures 200 French soldiers. ("While the 'Bafile Bn was deployed for coastal defence, the 'Grado' was ordered on 22 January 1943 to mount a counterattack on the Djebel Bou Dabouss massif; it retook this feature, capturing 200 prisoners at the cost of 24 killed and 65 wounded." Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940-45, Piero Crociani, Pier Paolo Battistelli, p. 31, Osprey Publishing, 2013) ("But French resistance was overwhelmed; the enemy reached Roboa and Ousseltia on the 20th... I had in the meantime ordered 5 Corps to send 36 Infantry Brigade Group to send a Combat Commando of United States 1 Armoured Division to the Ousseltia area ... These reinforcements stabilised the situation..." ... /37779.pdf

24 January - Despite coming under heavy anti-aircraft fire, the Italians dug-in near Djebel Rihana refuse to vacate their positions when the US 26th Regimental Combat Team and 443rd Anti-Aircraft Battalion attack. ("The 26th Infantry Combat Team drew orders to move to the vicinity of Ousseltia, north of Faid and northeast of Kasserine in the Western Dorsal. They were to report to headquarters for the 1st Armored Division's Combat Command B. Colonel Alec Stark, the 26th's CO, and staff members from other units personally reconnoitred the area around Djebel Rihana leading to the Ousseltia-Kairouan Pass, which they would need to control to forestall an enemy attack. On 25 January, a combined force of infantrymen and artillery, and detachments of engineers, medics, anti-aircraft crews, and tank destroyers, as well as an armored reconnaissance troop, advanced on their objectives. Their coordinated attack, supported by artillery, drove off the defenders—a battalion of Italian soldiers—sixty of whom were taken prisoners.") Terrible Terry Allen: Combat General of World War II - The Life of an American Soldier, Gerald Astor, p. 139, Random House, 2008 ( ... /44317.htm 443rd AAA Bn)

On 8 April 1943, British war correspondent Harold V. Boyle reveals that a second attack was required using grenades and bayonets to dislodge the Italian battalion:
"Artillery and aircraft may harass but cannot dislodge him. Only bullets and bayonets of rival riflemen can do that. This was well illustrated in the Ousseltia Valley campaign in January when tanks and artillery laid down one of the finest barrages of the campaign but couldn't rout Italians dug in like moles in the hills bordering the road to Kairouan. The artillery was beautiful to see but they couldn't do the job alone. Finally American infantry swarmed up the hills at night and flushed the Italians out in droves with hand grenades and the pointed persuasion of their bayonets."
( ... 8391&hl=en Importance of Good Infantry Shown in Tunisan Fighting, The Milwaukee Journal, 8 April 1943 )


3 February - Italian Destroyer 'Saetta' and Destroyer Escort 'Uragano' sink off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a minefield.


2 February - The Italian 'Centauro' Division in Tunisia overruns the US 1st Armoured Division. ("In Tunisia combats still are in progress in the areas reached by Axis troops during previous days. About 100 prisoners were taken and twelve tanks were put out of action." The New York Times, 2 February 1943) ("A second attack group, consisting of the Centauro Armored Division and German elements provided from the two German armored divisions, attacked through Maknassy in the direction of Gafsa. That attack came as a complete surprise to the U.S.Corps. The U.S. 1st Armored Division, which had established itself in the saddle of the Faid Pass, was ejected. Gafsa was evacuated." Das Afrika Korps: Erwin Rommel and the Germans in Africa, 1941-43, Franz Kurowski, p. 213, Stackpole Books, 2010)


5 February - Mussolini fires Conte Ciano as Foreign Minister.


19-20 February - While General Karl Bülowius's DAK Battlegroup and Colonel Hans-Georg Hildebrandt's 21st Panzer Division fail in their attacks at Sbiba and Kasserine Pass, the 'Centauro' Armoured Division saves the day for the much frustrated Rommel, overrunning the US 19th Combat Engineers Regiment (under Colonel Anderson Moore), US 168th Regimental Combat Team (under Colonel Thomas Drake) and 51 Sherman tanks and 12 Fargo tank destroyers from the US 2/1st Armored Regiment (under Lieutenant Colonel Louis Hightower), capturing 2,450 Americans. The American casualties in killed, wounded and captured numbered over 5000. The shocked Americans would maintain throughout their lives that German Panzergrenadiers and Tiger tanks had beaten them. ("Rommel returned to the railway station at Kasserine which briefly served as the combined command post of the German Africa Corps and the 10th Panzer Division, and ordered these two formations to take the Kasserine Pass. In the evening dusk Rommel observed, as he dictated for his diary, 'the exciting scene of the tank battle north of the pass'. He had special praise for the 7th Bersaglieri, who attacked fiercely and whose commander fell during the attack; they threw the American, British and French forces out of the pass ... " Stauffenberg: A Family History, 1905-1944, Peter Hoffman, p.171, McGill-Queen's Press, 2008) ("With the available German troops exhausted and still waiting for German reinforcements to arrive, Rommel now ordered the two battalions of the 5th Bersaglieri Regiment (XIV & XXII Battalions, +-1,000 Infantry) forward to the attack. The Italians dismounted from their trucks and backed up by their mortars and the available artillery made a frontal assault on the surrounding ridges. The regimental assault companies and the heavy weapons platoons were sent forward, attacking at several suspected weak points in the Allied defensive lines. A successful breach was made about noon in the frontline minefields and defensive positions and some 800 Bersaglieri infantry stormed forward through the captured frontline strong points." 5th Bersaglieri Regiment CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL GROUP) ("The new commander of DAK Assault Group, General Bulowius, complimented them on their élan, which contributed significantly to Axis success. The Italian action was instrumental in breaking through the US positions and in opening up the road to Thala and Tebessa." Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts: Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa, Ian Walker, p.?, Crowood Press, 2006) ("At 4:30 P.M., 20 February, Axis troops rolled through Kasserine Pass. A battalion of the Centauro Division headed west on the road to Tebessa ... The battlegroup from the 10th Panzer Division under Fritz von Broich followed the Centauro battalion into the pass but headed north following the branch road toward Thala." Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942-43, Bruce Watson, p. 102, Stackpole Books, 2006) ("Axis forces also made a breakthrough on Highway 13, where the Italians of the Centauro Division spearheaded the attack. In the early morning hours, the Italians pressed their offensive, broke through the remains of the American line, and continued up Highway 13." ... thefox.htm Facing The Fox, Brian John Murphy, America in WWII, April 2006) ("("The American collapse began in earnest by late morning. At 11:22 the 19th Engineers' commander, Colonel A.T.W. Moore, warned Stark by radio that enemy infantry and tanks were forcing the pass along Highway 13. An engineer major bellowed: "Forget about our equipment and just save your life." Artillery observers fled, explaining plausibly if ingloriously: "This place is too hot." Companies disintegrated into platoons, platoons into squads, squads into solitary foot soldiers chased to the rear by screaming meemies. Half an hour later, Moore radioed, "Enemy overrunning our C.P.," and bolted for high ground. He soon arrived at Stark's tent to announce that the 19th Engineers no longer existed." An Army At Dawn: The War in North Africa, Rick Atkinson, p.?, Henry Holt and Company, 2007) (Rommel, wanting an even heftier punch, ordered Kampfgruppe Gerhardt of the 10th Panzer Division, re-forming at Sbeitla, to Kasserine. Rommel especially wanted the battlegroup's motorcycle battalion for what seemed another race through the pass. He met the division's new commander, Major General Fritz von Broich, at 7 A.M. at DAK headquarters in Kasserine village. Von Broich immediately angered Rommel by telling him that he did not order the motorcycle battalion to the front. Instead, he wanted to save it for the pursuit after the breakthrough. Rommel barked back that he wanted the cyclists immediately. And Rommel was furious because von Arnim, in another display of petulance, decided to keep half of the 10th in the north, including the MK VI Tiger tank detachment, "for his own purposes." Yet, Rommel's new plan to penetrate the pass was a contrast to both the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion's first attempt to force a breakthrough at Kasserine and Hildebradt's failed attack at Sbiba Pass." Exit Rommel: The Tunisian Campaign, 1942-43, Bruce Watson, p. 90, Stackpole Books, 2006) ("... 2450 prigionieri validi contro 192: gli americani dimostrano che il loro ardore combattivo lascia a desiderare." DA TOBRUK AL EL ALAMEIN

24 February - US war correspondent Harold Boyle reports that Rommel has abandoned the 5th Bersaglieri Regiment to cover the German withdrawal. ("The German material was scarcer because the Nazis pulled out when they saw the couldn't slug their way through the joint American and British defense and left the Italians to bear the full weight of the counterattack alone." ... 7008&hl=en Yanks Get Plenty of Trophies in Sweep on Kasserine Pass The Milwaukee Journal, 26 February, 1943)


2 March - The Italian Supreme Command reports 556 casualties in Allied air raids over Naples, Palermo, etc. The military communique admits the loss of six Axis planes in the raid, but claims that three Allied planes were shot down by fighters and that two were shot down by anti-aircraft guns while two more Allied planes crashed in Sicily. ( ... 9296&hl=en Italian Cities Hit Hard, The Milwaukee Journal, 2 March 1943)

5 March - Fiat workers in Turin go on strike. This is the first strike since the Fascists come to power in 1922. Mussolini calls on his Fascists troops, but they refuse to break up the strike. Other strikes erupt, throwing a spanner in the works of Italy's war industry. (Note: In 1921, workers had seized Fiat's plants and hoisted Communist flags)


1 March - Italian Destroyer 'Geniere' is sunk in Palermo by US bombers. Italian Ciclone-Class Destroyer Escort 'Monsone' is sunk near Naples by US bombers.

8 March - Destroyer Escort RM 'Ciclone' sinks off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine.

24 March - Italian Destroyers 'Lanzerotto Malocello' and 'Ascari' sink off the coast of Tunisia after hitting a mine field.

1 April - Italian Destroyer 'Lubiana' runs aground off Tunisia and is lost.

"Fought in the rugged region south of Gafsa, the Battle of El Guettar was a bona fide victory that did show American mettle ... Infantrymen of the 9th Infantry Division were in the thick of the action in the mountainous region. Italians accounted for most of the enemy forces."
(I Was with Patton, D. A. Lande, p.50, Turner Zenith Imprint, 2002)

23 March - The 10th Panzer Division and supporting 7th Bersaglieri Regiment attack Lieutenant-Colonel Robert H. York's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, US 1st Infantry Division, and the Panzers penetrate the valley between the US 1st and 3rd Battalions, reaching a position about six miles behind the 1st Battalion. ("On March 23, Lieutenant Colonel Robert H. York commanded the 1st Battalion of an Infantry Regiment of the First Division, which was in position on the northeastern slopes of Djebel Berda, generally facing Hill 369, about seven miles east of El Guettar. At dawn that day, the German 10th Panzer Division and elements of the Italian 7th Bersaglieri Regiment attacked the 1st Division with at least two hundred vehicles. Colonel York's regiment, owing to its position, bore the brunt of the attack. The enemy tanks succeeded in penetrating the valley between the 3d and 1st Battalions which held the high ground on either side and some of the enemy tanks reached a position about six miles to the rear of the 1st Battalion before the attack was finally broken down." Infantry Journal, Volumes 54-55, p. 42, United States Infantry Association, 1944)

The Panzer Division with the help of the Bersaglieri riding in half-tracks, trucks and motorcycles overrun the US 32nd Field Artillery Battalion and part of the US 5th Field Artillery Battalion, with the Italian Supreme Command reporting that 170 Allied troops had been captured in the counterattack. ("The Italian High Command said today that 40 Allied tanks had been destroyed in fierce fighting, which was continuing in central and southern Tunisia, and said 170 Allied prisoners had been taken." ... 7893&hl=en Yankee Units Within Hour's Drive of Sea; Blast 30 Nazi Tanks, Reading Eagle, 24 March 1943)

30 March - Colonel Edwin H. Randle's 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, US 9th Infantry Division, attacks the Italian strongpoints, but lose a rifle company that is forced to surrender. ("At H-Hour, 6 A.M. March 28th, the 47th was in position to take the day's objective, Hill 369. It fell quickly, but the darkness and poor maps had led the 47th astray to El Hamra Ridge ... The 2nd Battalion 47th had been sent on a flanking movement that might have done the job. But it was caught in a murderous crossfire decimating Company E. The Battalion C.O. and the Communications Officer were captured as were the commander of Company E and 175 of his men." The 9th Infantry Division: Old Reliables, John Sperry, p.11, Turner Publishing Company, 2000)

1 April - General George Patton drives up to Colonel Randle's command post, fuming that the 47th Regiment had failed to dislodge the Italians on three consecutive nights. ("Patton was in a huffy mood and stormed over to see Colonel Randle in his Jeep. It was obvious he wasn't pleased with the initial results of the night attack. I'll never forget Colonel Randle's instructions as they moved into El Guettar: "Where we're going you won't need a physic." 9th Division Veterans/Emil J. Dedonato)

2-3 April - Lieutenant-Colonel Aldo Ramondi's 5th Bersaglieri Regiment, although outnumbered, fights a successful delaying action with rifles, hand grenades, and machine guns. ("The Centauro Armored Division fought bravely at Guettar against a two-fold superiority." Das Afrika Korps: Erwin Rommel and the Germans in Africa, 1941-43, Franz Kurowski, p. 228, Stackpole Books, 2010)


25 April - American bombers bomb Turin


3 March - An Italian infantry battalion, supported by 30 tanks attempts to repeat the Italian success at Kasserine Pass and push back the British 8th Army, but loses half its strength killed to machine-gun fire. US war correspondent Don Whitehead reported the carnage:
"Last night three companies of Italians followed by 30 tanks and lorried infantry attacked the Highlander's advance screen. The Jocks “mowed 'em down”—and didn't lose a man. The tanks and infantry scurried back to the safety of the hills. Half the Italians were killed."
(Combat Reporter: Don Whitehead's World War II Diary and Memoirs, p. 125, Fordham University Press, 2006)

9 March - Rommel sufferring from severe depression, leaves North Africa and is replaced at the head of the Afrika Korps by General Jürgen von Arnim.("On 9 March, he handed over Army Group Afrika to von Amim and returned to Germany, a sick, disillusioned man ... Rommel's 'mood of depression' had by now become 'acute' and his pessimistic outlook can hardly have had a beneficial effect on morale." Eighth Army's Greatest Victories, Adrian Turner, p. 160, Pen and Sword, 1999)

26-28 March - Italian troops successfully defend El Hamma Ridge, but the strongpoint falls soon after German reinforcements from the Eastern Front take over the Italian defences. A French war correspondent points out that:
"The enemy positions seemed impregnable, and, in fact, the Italians manning them held out for three days. Next morning Rommel ... replaced the Italians with crack German troops ... but the enemy, finally fellback into the ravine...the morale of 20-year-old prisoners fresh from the Russian front was low, they made no attempt to hide their satisfaction at being out of the war."
( ... 0439&hl=en Fighting French Troops' Part Advance in Advance on Gabes, The Glasgow Herald, 1 April 1943)


6 April - Mussolini meets with Hitler in Austria. Mussolini requests that Germany and Italy attempt to make peace with Russia in order to concentrate on the weakening Axis forces in Africa. Il Duce fears an eventual invasion of Italy was possible once Africa was lost. Hitler dismisses the idea of peace with Russia and assures Mussolini of a victory in the conquest of the Soviet Union. Mussolini returns to Rome with renewed hope. The Italian Army Chief-of-Staff, General Vittorio Ambrosio, fearing an Italian Communist uprising, assigns his top aides to come up with a plan to oust Mussolini. ("The Italian army chief of staff made no move to discourage plotting against the Mussolini government by officers favoring a separate peace because he “feared that bombing, followed perhaps by fighting in Italy itself, might lead to a popular revolt, of which communists would take command"." Operations Against Enemy Leaders, Stephen T. Hosmer, p. 98, Rand Corporation, 2001)


6-7 April - The Italian San Marcos Regiment, well dug in at Wadi Akarit and plentifully supplied with automatic weapons and grenades, fights to the death, with the British 6th Green Howards suffering crippling losses. ("Also at this time we were informed of the casualties suffered by our Battalion at Wadi Akarit, they were two senior officers killed, six senior N.C.O's and junior officers and one hundred and eighteen other ranks." ... eall12.htm The War of a Green Howard, 1939 - 1945. Bill Cheall's Story)

General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim would later admit that the San Marco Marines were "the best soldiers I ever commanded." ( Italy's Marines) ( ... arcoq.html Il percorso dei "Leoni di San Marco" )


10 April - Italian Cruiser 'Trieste' is sunk near La Maddalena by US bombers.

16 April - British Destroyer HMS 'Pakenham' sinks in a battle with Italian Destroyer Escorts 'Cigno' and 'Cassiopea', and the 'Cigno' is also lost.

19 April - Italian Destroyer 'Alpino' is sunk in La Spezia by US Bombers.


19/20 April - 'During the Battle of Takrouna, the 'Folgore' and 'Trieste' again distinguish themselves. An Allied war correspondent reports that only 326 defenders were captured and that the Italians had fought very hard:
"The fight atop the 600-foot peak finally ended at 8 p.m. last night. At that hour the first real Italian defenders the British had met surrendered in a body, 326 of them. They gave up only because their ammunition gave out. These Italians were tough, trained killers who didn't feel faint when stout British troopers flung their comrades over the cliffs to clear the road up the side of the steep peak and reach the village atop it. They stood, fired and fought back and when they gave up they said the allies wouldn't get to Tunis. They holed up in caves and crevices of the slopes and had to be dragged out before their machine guns and mortars were silenced."
( ... 5462&hl=en British and Italians Battle To Death on Top Bloody Peak, The Bend Bulletin, Oregon, 24 April 1943)

20-22 April - During the Battle for Enfidaville, the 'Pistoia' Division carries out several counterattacks over a 3-day period. ("This part of the front was defended by the Italian Pistoia Division, which made several counterattacks during the ensuing day. These were continued on the 21st and 22nd, but the British held the village." ... DITION.pdf The Field Artillery Journal, Tunisia, July 1943)


28 April- Spica-Class Destroyer Escort 'Climene' is sunk off the coast of Sicily by British submarine HMS 'Unshaken'.

30 April - Italian Destroyers 'Lampo' and 'Leone Pancaldo' are sunk off the coast of Tunisia by US bombers.

4 May- Italian Destroyer Escort 'Perseo' is sunk off the coast of Tunisia by British Destroyers.

5 May- Italian Destroyer Escort 'Tifone' is scuttled off Tunisia.


General von Arnim enters into secret surrender negotiations in the first week of May, while the DAK generals go on leave and 130,000 Germans (in a defeat comparable to Dunkirk in April/May 1940 and Operation Compass in January 1941) quit fighting and surrender en masse, despite having 1,000 artillery guns, 250 tanks, transport and fuel to go on fighting. ("On one pretext or another, Arnim sent back to Europe any of his senior officers who wished to leave. Weber departed, as did Hans-George Hildebrandt (now a major general). Manteuffel was wounded and sent off, and Bayerlein also left. General Ziegler, who had proven to be no great asset, did not hesistate to accept a new appointment in Europe, and Arnim himselft sent Gause back to Italy on May 4 on the pretext that he was needed at a conference. Luftwaffe Maj. Gen. "Beppo" Schmid of the Herman Goerring Division was ordered to fly out of the pocket by Goering, a personal friend, on May 9. Maj. Gen. Kurt Thomas, the commander of the 999th Afrika Division, tried to fly out on May 5, but his airplane was shot down and crashed into the Mediterranean, killing him instantly." Blitzkrieg No Longer, Samuel Mitcham, pp. 83-84, Pen and Sword, 2010) (12 May 1943. The end is very near. Von Arnim has been captured, and prisoners will most likely be over 150,000. All organised resistance has collapsed, and only pockets of enemy are still holding out. It appears that we have taken over 1,000 guns, of which 180 are 88-mm, 250 tanks, and many thousands of motor vehicles, many of which are serviceable. German prisoners driving their own vehicles formed a dense column on the road from Grombalia to Medjez el Bab all day today... It was an astonishing sight to see long lines of Germans driving themselves in their own transport or in commandeered horse-cars westwards in search of prisoner-of-war cages." The Hinge of Fate By Winston Churchil, p. 697, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1986)

6 May - General Lucian King Truscott, commander of the US 3rd Infantry Division and General Ernest Nason Harmon, commander of the US 1st Armored Division, reports that the Germans have quit fighting. ("Maj. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, commanding II Corps, had originally planned to have Truscott's 3d Division relieve the battle-weary 1st ID. However, as Truscott was moving his division forward to effect that relief, Bradley contacted him on the night of the fifth and told him that General Harmon had requested additional infantry to support his division's attack on a strongly defended German position on the peninsula east of Bizerte, and directed that Truscott send an infantry regiment to the Ferryville area for attachment to the 1st AD. Bradley had also ordered that an infantry regiment from the 9th ID and additional field artillery and antiaircraft join Harmon's division for the attack. Truscott's regiment was to attack the following morning. Truscott joined Harmon at his commando post southeast of Ferryville early the next morning, and after breakfast the two set out on a reconnaissance mission to ascertain how far forward Truscott's force could assemble for the attack. As they traveled they found that Harmon's troopers and their tanks were already in possession of the entire peninsula excepting the high ridge overlooking the Mediterranean, from which there came no sounds of enemy fire. It was obvious to Harmon and Truscott that "the battle in Tunisia was all but done and that no large force would be required to clear the ridge." Dogface Soldier: The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr, By Wilson A., Heefner, p. 101, University of Missouri Press, 2010)

9 May- General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim surrenders without previous consultation with General Giovanni Messe. ("At 11 a.m. yesterday Major General Krause, commanding artillery of the Africa corps sent an emissary to Maj. Gen. Omar N. Bradley and requested an armistice so the surrender might be negotiated ... The wholescale surrender of the enemy battalions began and by early afternoon all the northern region where the enemy had been cut off by the wedge the British First Army drove through was cleaned up. The bulk of the German armor was there and the total of prisoners was over 25,000, in addition to another 25,000 taken by the British. Five other generals were among those who surrendered wit Krause. They were Major General Borowitz, commander of the 15th armored division; Major General Neuffer, commander of the air force artillery division; Lieutenant General Bülowius commander of the Mannteuffel division; Major General Von Vaerst, commander of the Fifth Armored Army; and Major General Baumsenge, commander of the Bizerte Air Forces." ... 8195&hl=en Generals Captured In North Africa, The Deseret News, 10 May 1943)

13 May - The Italian 1st Army under Giovanni Messe (promotoed overnight to Field Marshal), having bravely resisted the British 8th Army, RAF and USAAF opposite Enfidaville, finally lays down its arms.("The Italian units were the last to lay down their arms under the command of General Messe, who had led them with great skill. General Messe had sent the following message to the Italian high command on May 12: "The First Army, which has had the privilege of being the last and final defender of our flag on African soil, will continue to fight to the end. The enemy is now closing in from all sides. The enormous disproportion of the forces in the field and the steady drop in supplies and artillery ammunition lead us to conclude that resistance cannot continue for very long." At 7:55 that evening Mussolini showing a different sense of ethics and humanity than Hitler toward the defenders of Stalingrad, cabled Messe: "Stop the fighting. You are promoted to marshal of Italy. Honor goes to you and your brave men.""Hitler & Mussolini: The Secret Meetings, Santi Corvaja, pp. 226-227, Enigma Books, 2013)

On 22 June, New Zealand General Bernard Freyberg reports that the Italians had fought better than the Germans in Tunisia:
"Though about 247,000 prisoners were taken, the enemy's battle casualties in the last stages were between 1,000 and 2,000 ... But in the last phase the Italians fought because they were defending their homes. They regarded Tunisia as an outpost of their own country, but ever since El Alamein the Germans wanted to get out of Africa altogether. They saw no chance of getting away. They were being heavily bombed and attacked from the front, and the sea was locked behind them. Therefore they surrendered."
( ... 3324&hl=en Nazis Had No Stomach for Fight At End in Tunisia, Freyberg Says, The Montreal Gazette, 22 June 1943)

General Harold Alexander in a telegram to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also reports that in the last battles of the Tunisan Campaign "the Italians fought particularly well, outdoing the Germans in line with them." (Decisive Campaigns of the Second World War, John Gooch, p. 95, Routledge, 2012)


25 May- Italian Destroyer Escort 'Groppo' is sunk in Messina by US bombers.

28 May- Italian Destroyer Escorts 'Anatares' and 'Angelo Bassini' are sunk in Livorno by US bombers.

2 June- Italian Destroyer 'Castore' is sunk off the coast of Greece by British Destroyers.

12 June- Allied invasion force enters the heavily bombed island of Pantelleria and Lampedusa, encountering 12,000 Italian soldiers who surrender. This invasion makes the Fascist Government of Italy certain of an eventual invasion of Italy.


30 May- More than 150 US bombers bombard Naples and Foggia. The Allies claim 14 Axis fighters shot down while losing one aicraft. ( ... 1977&hl=en Fortresses Bomb Isles At Will; Naples And Foggia Again Targets On Italian Mainland, The Tuscaloosa News, 31 May 1943)

28 June - Italian Cruiser 'Bari' is sunk at Livorno by U.S. bombers.

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 10 Dec 2015 12:44

E V E N T S O F 1 9 4 3 (July - December)


Allied firepower proved decisive in the invasion of Sicily, with one Allied war correspondent reporting that:
"Large numbers of Italians fought hard and well. The road on which I rode across to Syracuse and beyond proves that. The road to Syracuse was strewn with bodies and shattered pillboxes. Our troops are not winning because of an Italian collapse but because the Allied soldiers are fighting better, with better and more equipment. They are fighting smoothly and efficiently mile by mile — not walking in unopposed."
(The Western Australian, 15 July 1943)

The Axis forces defending Sicily, under the command of General Alfredo Guzzoni, consisted of approximately 200,000 Italians and 60,000 Germans; these latter included elite Panzer units such the 1st 'Hermann Göring' Panzer Division and the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division. ("At first glance, the command—numbering some 200,000 Italian troops backed up by another 32,000 German soldiers and 30,000 German Luftwaffe ground crews—should have been impressive." Operation Husky: The Canadian Invasion of Sicily, July 10 - August 7, 1943, Mark Zuehlke, p. 67, D & M Publishers, 2009) ("Alfredo Guzzoni's Italian Sixth Army, a collection of 200,000 Italian soldiers backed by 50,000 Germans..." Men on Iron Ponies: The Death and Rebirth of the Modern U.S. Cavalry, Matthew Darlington Morton, p. 131, Northern Illinois University Press, 2009)

9 July- American and British paratroopers land on Sicily followed by mass invasion by landing crafts. A company of the British 1st Airborne Division captures Ponte Grande but the Italian 385th Coastal Battalion and Colonel Francesco Ronco's 75th Regiment from General Giulio Porcinari's 'Napoli' Division counterattack and force the British "Red Devils" to surrender, with only a small number escaping when reinforements arrive. The astounded British later claim that crack German troops had overwhelmed them. ("Lt. Withers led a small force across the river to attack the far end of the Ponte Grande; they succeeded, and, as stragglers gathered around them, they began a desperate defence of the bridge against enemy counter-attacks. With never more than 90 men, they held out until about 1500 hrs, on the afternoon of the 10th, when the last 15 or so men were overrun by the Germans." The Paras, 1940-1984, Gregor Ferguson, Kevin Lyles, p. 12, Osprey Publishing, 1984) ("Two companies of sailors attacked first but were beaten back. Gradually they were reinforced as the Italians shelled the bridge with mortars and, finally, field guns. The Italian 385th Coastal Battalion joined the battle, and at about 11:30 A.M., the 1st Battalion of the Italian 75th (Napoli) Infantry Regiment came up ... The Red Devils held on, but by 2:45 P.M. there were fifteen unwounded survivors, although several of the wounded continued to fight. Finally, at 3:30 P.M., the end came when the ammunition ran out." The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich von Stauffenberg, p. 76, Stackpole Books, 2007)

Italian Stukas sink the destroyer USS 'Maddox' and the HM hospital ship Talamba, and in the following days Axis aircraft damage or sink several more warships, transport vessels and landing craft. (Junkers Ju87 over the Mediterranean, John A Weal, p. 53, Delprado Publishers, 1996) (WITNESS DESCRIBES HOSPITAL SHIP LOSS; Injured Paratrooper Relates How Italian Plane Bombed Fully Lighted Talamba, The New York Time, 19 July 1943)

Several Italian coastal units fight well, with Major Marco Rubellino's 429th Coastal Battalion defending Gela, losing 45 percent of its men killed or wounded, and the attacking US Ranger Battalion losing several men to mines, machinegun and cannon fire. ("The 429th suffered 45 percent combat casualties, including 5 officers killed and 4 wounded and 185 enlisted men killed or wounded." The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich von Stauffenberg, p. ?, Stackpole Books, 2007) ("The 1st and 4th Ranger Battalions hit the beach at 3:00 A.M. and antipersonnel mines and rifle fire took a heavy toll. D Company of the 4th Battalion, for example, lost all of its officers. After moving off the beach and destroying several pillboxes, the Rangers entered Gela. Fighting was house-to-house, but by midmorning the Rangers had the town. The victory was interrupted around 10:30 A.M., when the seasoned Italian Livorno Division counterattacked and nine Italian light tanks broke the Rangers' outer defensive positions." Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, Patrick K. O'Donnell, p. 38, Simon and Schuster, 2001)

10 July - On Highways 115 and 117, the Italian "Niscemi" Armoured Combat Group supported by infantry from General Domenico Chirieleison's 'Livorno' Divison and 155th Bersaglieri Motorcycle Company (under Lieutenant Franco Girasoli) counterattack the Gela beachhead, overruning the forward Rangers and nearly capturing US General George Patton at Gela, but gunfire from the destroyer USS 'Shubrick' and cruiser USS 'Boise' destroy several tanks and halt the attacking Italian infantry battalion. ("Fighting was house-to-house, but by midmorning the Rangers had the town. The victory was interrupted around 10:30 A.M., when the seasoned Italian Livorno Division counterattacked and nine Italian light tanks broke the Rangers' outer defensive positions." Beyond Valor: World War II's Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, Patrick K. O'Donnell, p. 38, Simon and Schuster, 2001) ("Chirieleison's troops nearly reached Patton, who had joined a group of Rangers on the 1st Infantry Division front. Little did the Italians know that Patton was watching them from a house on the edge of Gela." (Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies, Harry Yeide, p. 202)

The Italian counterattack is reported in the major US newspapers:
"Supported by no less than forty-five tanks, a considerable force of infantry of the Livorno Division attacked the American troops around Gela. The American division beat them back with severe casualties. This was the heaviest response to the Allied advance."
(The New York Times, 13 July, 1943)

By the morning of 10 July the Allies had captured the port of Licata, at the cost of nearly 100 killed and wounded in the American 3rd Infantry Division, with the division having to beat a counterattack from the 538th Coastal Defence Battalion.

That same day, a battalion of 18 Renault R35 tanks from Lieutenant-Colonel Massimo D'Andretta's Gruppo Mobile 'D' along with supporting infantry from the 'Napoli' Division, break through the forward positions held by the 6th Battalion 'Durham Light Infantry', and are only stopped by anti-tank fire, with 5 tanks penetrating the Priolo and Floridia suburbs of Syracuse. ("In the event, he saw very little of them, but had one report that a group of eighteen Italian tanks, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Massimo d'Andretta, fought very bravely on their right flank." Sicily, Hugh Pond, p. 117, Kimber, 1962) ("The 6th Battalion, however, was counterattacked by the Italian Napoli Division, first with tanks and then with infantry. The tanks - some five in all careered down the road from Palazzola as the Battalion was moving forward: four where knocked out but one reached Floridia, shooting up Colonel Watson's jeep and wounding the medical officer on the way ... The infantry attack was launched after the Battalion had moved into its new positions and it was stopped by artillery fire." The D.L.I. at War: The History of the Durham Light Infantry 1939-1945, David Rissik, p. 123, Andrews UK Limited, 2012) ("By midday, the Brigade had captured most of its objectives but the Dorsets, who had been delayed, were soon subjected to a spirited counterattack by the Italians in French M35 tanks. This attack had been anticipated and the Italians were met by Sherman tanks and 17-pounder anti-tank guns which succeeded in beating them off." The Battle for Sicily: Stepping Stone to Victory, Ian Blackwell, p. 91, Pen & Sword Military, 2008)

10/11 July - The British attempt to capture Augusta, but gunners of the 246th Coastal Battalion repel the British landing force that was supported by three Royal Navy and Greek destroyers. ("12 July saw the firmly-established Americans expanding from their beachheads, as the flow of supplies and reinforcements increased: the British consolidated their gains south of Syracuse, and prepared for offensive action toward the ports of Augusta and Catania. The latter had attempted to get a landing force past the harbor defences of Augusta on the night of 11/12 July, but those members of the 246th Coastal Battalion who remained at their guns turned back the effort, which was made by one Greek and two British destroyers ... the shore batteries delayed a British takeover of Augusta by two days. " Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 191, Lulu Press, 2013)

11 July- With supporting Tiger tanks from General Paul Conrath's 1st 'Hermann Göring' Panzer Division failing to show up, Colonel Dante Ugo Leonardi's 3rd Battalion, 34th Regiment of the 'Livorno', pushes on regardless and counterattacks the Gela beachhead, overruning the US forward screen. ( "Lt. La Torre, with a handful of riflemen, attacked the outpost with hand grenades. The Americans were captured. Sergeants E. Caponi and Q. Ghioni, 9th Company, proved their valor in the face of death, Ghioni being wounded twice, but going on leading his squad to seize an enemy automatic weapons post. He was eventually killed. At around 8:00 am, the Battalion reached its first objective line. The US infantry encountered was not solidly entrenched and made no further attempts to stand; it swiftly fell back, leaving several prisoners and weapons in Italian hands." ... Flesh.html Flesh vs. Iron COMANDO SUPREMO/ITALY AT WAR) (Chirieleison, having waited for an hour, launched 3rd Battalion 34th Livorno Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Dante Ugo Leonardi, without tank support at 0630 hours on 11th July, Sicily, Hugh Pond, p. 93, Kimber, 1962)

The Livorno Division again makes headlines in the major US newspapers:
"The heaviest of seven Italian counter-attacks was met and beaten back by American troops in the Gela area. The attack was launched by the Italian's Fourth Livorno Division with 45 tanks in support."
( ... 4843&hl=en Allies' Mighty Invasion Force Beats Back Seven Italian Counter Attacks, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 12 July 1943)

That same day, General Enrico Francisci of General Guzzoni's Headquarters is killed leading an Italian tank (Semoventes from Colonel Alessandro Venturi Gruppo Tattico 'Venturi') attack against the US 3rd Infantry Division and is posthumously decorated with the Gold Medal for Military Valour. ("Rome Radio says Lieutenant-General Enrico Francisci, of the Fascist Militia, commander of the 13th zone of Blackshirts and general liaison officer to the Sicilian Command, has been killed in action." ... 6694&hl=en "BATTLE IS GETTING FIERCER," SAYS ALGIERS, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July 1943) ("Ufficiale generale valorosissimo, riuscito ad ottenere in situazione estremamente critica il comando di truppe operanti in settore delicato contro soverchianti forze nemiche, raggiunse nottetempo le posizioni più avanzate. Preso personalmente contatto coi reparti in prima linea impartì gli ordini per l’azione. Alle prime luci dell’alba, accesosi il combattimento fra carri armati nemici ed alcuni semoventi italiani, si portò al lato del semovente più avanzato e, mentre, in piedi seguiva le mosse dell’avversario fu colpito in pieno da una granata sparata da brevissima distanza. Animati dal sublime esempio bersaglieri ed artiglieri, testimoni della gloriosa sua morte, si accanirono nella resistenza emulando il loro eroico comandante. — Favarotta-Campobello di Licata, 11luglio 1943." ... rato=45467 Enrico Francisci Medaglia D'oro al Valor Militare)

12 July - Semoventes, the 246th Coastal Brigade and 'Napoli' and 'Livorno' Divisons take up rearguard positions and successfully cover the withdrawal of the German 'Schmalz' Battle Group and 'Hermann Göring' Division. ("On 12 July, an Axis retreat began all along the line, with the Allies advancing close behind. The U.S. advance toward Cancinatii was temporarily held up by a group of Semovente da 90/53. Group Schmalz retreated toward Catania. The 246th Coastal Brigade, which had been holding off British tanks, was ordered to retreat to strongpoints at Cozzo Telegrafo and Acquedolci. The Napoli Division's 76th Regiment covered the left flank of Schmalz's Germans, who were withdrawing toward Lentini; soon the reunited battalions of Napoli's 76th Regiment were ordered to withdraw to Palermo ... The Hermann Göring Division was tardily withdrawing from the Piano Lupo area toward Caltagirone, and the Livorno Division was refusing its right flank in a withdrawal toward Piazza Armerina, in a move meant to cover the Hermann Göring Division." Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 193, Lulu Press, 2013)

The 1st Canadian Division with the help of tanks dislodges the 122nd Coastal Infantry Regiment and captures the heavily bombed Pachino airfield. ("In the mean­time “D” Coy had pushed on to the north east and ran into some rather deter­mined enemy who were pinned down by “D” Coy and finally taken care of by tanks which had landed and come up to get into the alleged bat­tle." ... -july-1943 The Royal Canadian Regiment) ("While darkness cloaked the Canadian ships, Sicily burned. Ninety minutes before the convoy had reached the release point, flights of medium bombers had started raining bombs on the defences immediately inland. Pachino, Maucini, and Ispica all were badly bombed. Pachino airfield and its defensive works were struck." Operation Husky: The Canadian Invasion of Sicily, July 10 - August 7, 1943, Mark Zuehlke, p. 106, D & M Publishers, 2009)

Canadian war correspondent Ross Munro reports that the Italian 122nd Coastal Infantry Regiment fought well:
"Stubborn resistance has been put up by the Italians north and west of Pachino, and along other sectors of the front there were heated engagements. Big battles will probably come before long, but meanwhile large numbers of prisoners are being captured."
(The Toronto Globe & Mail, 12 July 1943)

General Achille D'Havet's 206th Coastal Division counterattacks Brigadier Robert Edward Laycock's Special Service Brigade and the participating Blackshirts (supported by Italian mortar and anti-tank units) threatens to outflank the British Commandos and spill into the Canadian beachhead. Fortunately for the British, an alert Canadian heavy mortar unit nearby responds and breaks up the Italian attack. ("Only in the area assaulted by the Special Service Brigade did the enemy react strongly. There a Blackshirt unit put in a spirited counter-attack that threatened to penetrate to the beaches. But a heavy concentration of Canadian mortar fire quickly turned the scales." Official History of the Canadian Medical Services, 1939-1945, Volume 1, Canada. Dept. of National Defence, p. 135, Edmond Cloutier, 1953) ("Here the Blackshirt unit of the 206th Coastal Defence Division launched a counterattack, supported by heavy mortar and antitank fire. The fanatical Fascists halted the lightly armed Commandos and threatened to separate them from the Canadian 2nd Brigade. Fortunately for the invaders, there was a Canadian heavy mortar unit nearby. It bombarded the Italians with what Laycock called "devastating accuracy". The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich von Stauffenberg, p. ?, Stackpole Books, 2007)

13 July- A battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel John Durnford-Slater's 3 Commando Brigade captures Malati Bridge, but lose possession of the bridge when Semoventes from Lieutenant-Colonel Francesco Tropea's 4th Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion, and supporting infantry from the 372nd Coastal Defence Battalion and Italian 53rd Motorcycle Company counterattack. The British attackers lose 28 killed, 66 wounded and 59 captured in the Italian counterattack. Lieutenant-Colonel Tropea is killed leading the tank (Semovente) attack and is posthumously awarded the Silver Medal for Military Valour. The astounded British commandos would later claim they were defeated by the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Battalion and 504th Heavy Tiger Tank Battalion of the 1st 'Hermann Göring' Panzer Division. ("Fra Primosole e Codadivolpe (lato sud del Simeto) le forze inglesi vennero attaccate con energica decisione ancora dal gruppo tattico Tropea, rinforzato da sparuti elementi del 372° Btg. Costiero." Sicilia senza Italia, Luglio-Agosto 1943, Sandro Attanasio, p. 154, Mursia, 1976) (" It had been thought that the only resistance would be from scattered Italian defenders, but straight away the commandos ran into the 3rd Battalion of the Hermann Goering Regiment." ... 6178.shtml Punta dei Malati - 3 Commando Bridge. July 14th/15th 1943)

That same day, the British 8th Army captures Augusta, but losses ground when a battalion from the 'Napoli' Division counterattacks and recaptures the Augusta Naval Base. The British 50th Division pushes up Route 114 toward Lentini—15 miles (24 km) northwest of Augusta—but meets increasingly determined resistance from R 35 tanks and infantry from the 'Napoli' Division. The Canadian Official History of the war later claimed that the participating Italian tanks were heavy Tiger tanks from the 'Hermann Göring' Division. The British 4th Armoured Brigade overruns the command post of the 'Napoli' and General Giulio Porcinari and his staff officers are captured near Vizzini. At 6:45 PM on 14 July, Lentini is finally cleared of obstructions and stay-behind Italian snipers and the British advance resumes ("On July 13 a battalion-sized detachment of Italians caused further delay to the British. It launched a surprise counterattack, broke through British lines, and briefly reoccupied the Italian seaplane base at Augusta. The following morning more British units came up and forced it to retire." The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich von Stauffenberg, p. ?, Stackpole Books, 2007) ("During the following day, 13 July, the commander and staff of the Italian 54th 'Napoli' Division surrendered but enemy resistance began to stiffen in the area of Carlentini and Lentini, in the path of the 50th Division." The Allied forces in Italy 1943-45, Guido Rosignoli, p. 35, Ermanno Albertelli Editore, 1989) ("A further attempt to advance met strong opposition towards last light. After dark the advance was called off and the squadron withdrawn to Cancattini Bagni ... The leading tank was fired on by ten R 35 s and in reply knocked out two R 35s, 4 cars and 3 lorries. This blocked the road completely ... Further on they met and destroyed 12 vehicles, 3 R 35 s and a motor-cycle, bringing their total for the day to 8 tanks, 6 guns, 29 assorted vehicles and 3 motor-cycles ..." The History of the 4th Armoured Brigade, pp. 41-42, Merriam Press, 1997)

The 35th Bersaglieri under Major Guido Moccia also counterattacks the US Army Rangers near Castrofilippo, and suffers 200 casualties in the process, including Major Moccia (killed in the action and posthumously awarded the God Medal for Military Valour). The 73rd Bersaglieri Regiment, with the help of the 35th and 160 Coastal Artillery Battalions, halt the American advance near Naro River.

14 July - The British 1st Parachute Brigade in the form of 300 "Red Devils" captures Primasole Bridge, but the British are forced to retreat when Major Vito Marcianò's 2nd Battalion of the Italian 10th Arditi Paratroop Regiment arrives with machineguns and mortars and the Italian Paratroopers and Italian 29th Artillery Group (Battalion) fight all day long, allowing the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division to join the battle in strong numbers that spills over the next four days. That night, an Italian armoured car unit arrives and nearly overruns the Battalion Headquarters of the British 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry. Although Italian units continue to fight and die alongside the Fallschirmjägers, their role is practically ignored in the British books and documentaries of the battle. (Ma mentre tutti conoscono questi eventi, non tutti sono a conoscenza del ruolo che ebbero in quei giorni gli Arditi del II° Btg del X° Rgt con 3 compagnie di stanza ad Acireale che passeranno alla storia per la resistenza opposta la notte del 14 luglio 1943." ... imeto-3315 Catania, commemorazione a 70 anni della battaglia del Simeto) ("The British proceeded to the Primasole Bridge, but they would not capture the bridge until 17 July. Determined German and Italian resistance (the elite Arditi Battalion fought alongside the German paratroopers), repeatedly foiled British efforts to capture the Primasole Bridge..." Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 193, Lulu Press, 2013) ("On the other hand, the Arditi Battalion mounted a few small-scale attacks, but it lacked heavy weapons and did not represent much of a threat by itself" The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich Von Stauffenberg, p.263, Stackpole Books) ("Poi la stessa sera il II/10° Rgt. Arditi del maggiore Vito Marciano e i paracadutisti germanici effettuarono un attacco contro la testa di ponte a Nord del fiume. Italiani e tedeschi si buttarono contro le linee avversarie..." Sicilia senza Italia, Luglio-Agosto 1943, Sandro Attanasio, p.156, Mursia, 1976) ("Both the 8th and 9th Battalions tried to snatch a few hours rest during the night. The 6th Battalion was still some way behind, after clearing up at Solarino, and did not arrive till later on the 15th. But at 4 a.m. the 9th Battalion was attacked by some Italian armoured cars which penetrated as far as Battalion Headquarters before being halted." The D.L.I. at War: The History of the Durham Light Infantry 1939-1945, David Rissik, p. 123, Andrews UK Limited, 2012) ("...a ponte di Primosole e fece schierare il XXIX Gruppo da 105 in modo che potesse intervenire col suo fuoco a protezione della linea del Simeto." L' Invasione della Sicilia 1943: Avvenimenti Militari e Responsabilità Politiche, Gaetano Zingali, p. 298, G. Crisafulli, 1962) ("Under cover of this bombardment, the enemy established themselves extremely close to the British defences in preparation for an attack which, when it came at 16:00, was duly thrown back, but only just. The shelling started afresh whilst German infantry applied increasing pressure to the defensive pocket ... At 18:30, German troops were seen to be crossing the River Simeto some 400 yards to the east, and as the British neither had the manpower nor the ammunition to resist a determined attack from this direction, it was clear to all that the bridge could no longer be held. At 19:15, with their ammunition almost exhausted and enemy troops crossing the river in ever increasing numbers, Brigadier Lathbury ordered the bridge to be abandoned, with the men proceeding in small groups to the 2nd Battalion's positions in the hills to the south."

On 15 July, British war correspondent Evelyn Aubrey Montague reports that Italians units had indeed fought hard in the Battle for Primasole Bridge:
"While some dropped behind enemy lines and rounded up a large number of Italian prisoners ... the main body captured the bridge and held it all yesterday against tremendous odds. For nearly 24 hours, they were shelled, under mortar fire, strafed from the air, and attacked on the ground by seven Italian battalions. There were less than 200 of them to resist this continuous onslaught, but they held out stubbornly, knowing that behind them our infantry were fighting, furiously to come to their aid."
( ... 7583&hl=en Stern Fight for a Bridge on Catania Plain, The Glasgow Herald, 19 July 1943)

16 July- The Regia Aeronautica orders the evacuation of all surviving Italian aircraft at airfields in Calabria and Puglia. About 160 Italian aircraft had been lost in the first week of the invasion, 57 of which were lost to Allied fighters and anti-aircraft fire from 10–12 July alone. In a parting shot on the 16th, the British Aircraft Carrier HMS 'Indomitable' is crippled in an Italian torpedo bomber attack and the the Italian Submarine 'Dandolo' penetrates the Allied anti-submarine screens and cripples the British Cruiser HMS 'Cleopatra'. (Italian Aces of World War 2, Giorgio Apostolo, p. 25, Osprey Publishing, 2000) ( AIRCRAFT CARRIER WARFARE) (Submarines of World War II, John Ward, p. 50, Zenith Imprint, 2001)

17 July- The American advance stalls outside Agrigento, due to fierce resistance from Colonel Augusto De Laurentis' 207th Coastal Defence Division. The 10th Bersaglieri Regiment under Colonel Fabrizio Storti forces Colonel William Darby's 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions to fight their way into Agrigento, a city of 34,000. Resistance is stiff enough to require house-to-house combat fighting, but late the next day, the city is in American hands. According to US historian Samuel Eliot Morison,
"The Italians fought manfully for Agrigento"
. ("The 207th Coastal Defence Division, under Colonel de Laurentis, which now consisted mostly of Tactical Group Chiusa-Sciafani and a Blackshirt unit, stalled the American advance to Agrigento." Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 194, Lulu Press, 2013) ("The Italian defenders under Colonel de Laurentis had by now withdrawn to Agrigento, rallying around Col. Fabrizio Stortils Tenth Bersaglieri Regiment in defense of the city. They forced the First Battalion, U.S. Seventh Infantry to fight its way into Agrigento, pinning them down on the high ground above the city until the Third Battalion was brought out of reserve to reinforce them ... The combination of navy fire support and army artillery produced the desired result before Agrigento and Porto Empedocle. By late afternoon on July 16 the enemy's artillery had fallen silent and troops of the Seventh Infantry had battled their way into Agrigento from the southeast. "After some street fighting Agrigento surrendered," General Truscott recalled." History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol. 9: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943 – June 1944, Samuel Eliot Morison, pp.206-207, University of Illinois Press, 2002) (Nevertheless in a bold enveloping movement executed by the 7th Regiment and 3rd Rangers, carried out with speed, skill and energy and supported by naval gunfire, both Porto Empedocle and Agrigento were captured ... The Italians fought manfully for Agrigento." History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol. 9: Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, January 1943 – June 1944, Samuel Eliot Morison, p.176, University of Illinois Press, 2002)

On the night of 17 July, the Italian Cruiser 'Scipione Africano' clears the Messina Straits of hidden British Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), sinking MTB 316 and badly damaging MTB 313.

18 July- The morale of the Herman Göring Panzer Division is reported to be very low, according to a captured order signed by General Paul Conrath. The orders says:
"I had the bitter experience to watch scenes during the last days which are not worthy of a German soldier, particularly not soldiers of the panzer division of Herman Goering. Persons came running to the rear hysterically crying because they had heard the detonation of a single shot fire somewhere on the landsape. Others, believing in false rumors, moved a whole column to the rear. In one instance supplies were senselessly distributed to soldiers and civilians by a supply unit that had fallen victim to a rumor.

I want to state in these instances that these facts were committed not only by the youngest soldiers but also by CO's and warrant officers. Fear and the spreading of rumors are to be eliminated by the severest measures. Withdrawal without orders and cowardice are to be punished on the spot and, if necessary, by the use of weapons. I shall apply the severest measures of court martial against such saboteurs of the fight for the freedom of our nation and shall not hesitate to give the death sentence in serious cases. I expect all officers will use their influence to suppress such an undignified attitude in the panzer division of Herman Goering."
( ... 2046&hl=en German General Is Disgusted at Panic in His Own Ranks, The Milwaukee Journal, 22 July 1943)

19 July - General George Patton reports that a week-and-a-half into the invasion the Italians are still fighting hard. ("My policy of continuous attack is correct. The farther we press, the more stuff we find abandoned that should not be abandoned.
The Italians are fighting very well in face of certain defeat. They must crack soon.
" The Patton Papers: 1940-1945, Martin Blumenson, p. ?, Da Capo Press, 2009)

21 July - The US 2nd Armored and 2nd Infantry Divisions overrun the Italian Ragruppamento 'Schreiber', 1st Bersaglieri anti-tank Battalion, several Semovente squadrons and battalions of the 'Aosta' and 'Assietta' Divisions covering the Axis withdrawal, but suffer heavy casualties in the process. ("One by one, the small Italian mobile groups were overwhelmed. Group Schreiber was overrun and destroyed by American tanks near Alimena on July 21, and Patton's spearheads barrelled into the rear of the retreating Assietta and Aosta Divisions, destroying the Aosta's mortar battalion and overrunning several battalions of infantry. The 48th (Assietta) Artillery Regiment escaped with only one gun." Blitzkrieg No Longer, Samuel Mitcham, p. 185, Pen and Sword, 2010) ("Patton's men moved away from their landing areas and toward their interim objective of Palermo. Patton turned to a trusted subordinate general, Geoffrey Keyes, whom he appointed his deputy Seventh Army commander. He assigned Keyes to lead both 2nd Infantry and 2nd Armored Divisions on a very fast ride of 100 miles in only a few days. The result was 300 American casualties and enemy casualties numbering 6,000." I Was With Patton, D. A. Lande, p. 81, Zenith Imprint, 2002)


22 July- Italians soldiers and supporting artillery ambush Lieutenant-Colonel William P. Yarborough's 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment near Sciacca, causing concern in the US 82nd Airborne Division. According to the shocked American survivors, German Panzergrenadiers had ambushed the "Screaming Eagles" that saw Lieutenant-Colonel Yarborough relieved of command, de-ranked to Major and given a desk job. ("We cleared Sciacca, then headed for Marsala. In an area called "Tuminello Pass," we were forced to make a frontal assault when a strong German force caught us by surprise and opened fire on our column. This turned into a long, hard fire fight, with a number of casualties on both sides, before the Germans were driven off." I Was With Patton, D. A. Lande, p. 78, Zenith Imprint, 2002) ("On July 21, with Lieutenant Sims and Company F, 504th, once again in the lead, Italian infantry supported by a battery of 75mm guns and two 90mm guns ambushed the paratroopers." All American, All the Way: A Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II: From Sicily to Normandy, Phil Nordyke, p. 92, Zenith Press, 2009)

31 July- The US 1st and 9th Divisions attack the 15th Panzer Division and Italian 'Aosta' Division (and the hand-picked small battalion of the 'Livorno' Division formed to help the 'Aosta' Division) defending Troina. For six days, the Germans and Italians hold their ground. During the battle, the Axis defenders launch numerous battalion, company and platoon-sized counterattacks, with Lieutenant-Colonel Giuseppe Gianquinto's 1st Battalion, 5th 'Aosta' Regiment overrunning an attacking battalion and capturing 40 American soldiers. ("Four battalions from the Aosta's 5th and 6th Regiments were on hand to support the German defence of Troina." Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 200, Lulu Press, 2013) ("The Germans were assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Gianquinto's 1st battalion of the 5th (Aosta) Infantry Regiment ...The 1st even managed to take forty American prisoners in one successful counterattack." The Battle of Sicily: How the Allies Lost Their Chance for Total Victory, Samuel W. Mitcham, Friedrich Von Stauffenberg, p.263, Stackpole Books )

2-8 August - The US 3rd Division's advance stalls in the face of determined resistance from the 29th Panzergrenadier Division and 26th 'Assieta' Division defending San Fratello Ridge, with the Italians given "the most exposed" line of the position. ("Defending the collapsing bridgehead became a nightmare to the German command which, following the pattern of the North African campaign, had stationed an Italian division in the most exposed section of the line. This division, the Italian 26th division, was on the western approaches to Mount Etna." ... &dq=&hl=en Ring of Steel Thrown Around Foe In Sicily, St Petersburg Times, 4 August 1943)

The Axis San Fratello Ridge defenders hold out for six days thanks in large part to the 25th Artillery Regiment of the 'Assietta'. ("The Axis units held their positions through several days of attack, much thanks due to Italian artillery support." The Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 202, Lulu Press, 2013)

3-6 August- The Italian commanders at Messina, Admiral Pietro Barone and General Ettore Monacci, evacuate 62,182 Italian defenders, 41 guns, 227 vehicles under the cover of 150 Italian and 168 German anti-aircraft guns, and thanks to the Cruiser 'Scipione Africano' that had earlier on cleared the Straits of Messina and the Allied Admiral fears that the Italian Navy was preparing to intervene and clear the Straits of Messina in a suicide run. ("Lining either side of the Messina Straits were some 150 Italian anti-aircraft guns, and an estimated 168 of the Germans ... Some estimates put the total number of anti-aircraft guns closer to 500, and some pilots claimed the intensity of the flak was worse than that confronted by Bomber Command in raids on Germany's Ruhr region." The Decisive Campaigns of the Desert Air Force 1942-1945, Bryn Evans, p. 104, Pen and Sword, 2014) ("Word spread that the redoutable Littorio and Roma Battleships, accompanied by the Scipione, together with every other surviving Italian warship, were on their way to clear the Messina Channel in a suicide run." Mussolini's War: Fascist Italy's Military Struggles from Africa and Western Europe to the Mediterranean and Soviet Union 1935-45, Frank Joseph, p. 176, Casemate Publishers, 2010)

6/7 August -The Germans abandon San Fratello Ridge without informing the 'Assietta' Division that continues fighting. ("At San Fratello ridge the Germans pulled out in the night without informing the Italians on their flank, who continued to fight for another day." The Forgotten Axis: Germany's Partners and Foreign Volunteers in World War II, J. Lee Ready, p. 333, McFarland, 1987)

15/16 August- In the last last hoorah for the Italians, Italian topredo-bombers from 132° Gruppo attack Allied shipping bringing invasion forces to Sicily and sink the British Tank Landing Ship LST-414. ("Over the nights of 15 and 16th August the Sardinian-based trimotors sank near Cani Island (Bizerte), the British 2750-ton Tank Landing Ship LST-414 (credited to Capitano Carlo Faggioni) and ten miles off Cape Bougaroun, the 2700-ton steamer Empiore Kestrel (attacked by Capitano Giuseppe Cimicchi). Also on the night of 16 August, the US 7126-ton freighter Benjamin Contee, sailing from Bone harbour for Oran ... was torpedoed and damaged by Tenente Vezio Terzi 16 miles north of Cape de Garde." Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Torpedo-Bomber Units, Marco Mattioli, Mark Postlethwaite p. 75-76, Osprey Publishing, 2014)


12 July - British bombers bomb Turin, killing causing 792 casualties.

13 July - British bombers again bomb Turin, causing 400 casualties.

17 July- American bombers bomb Naples.

19 July- American bombers bomb Rome. Romans are shocked at the first of a series of Allied bombings of the Eternal City. Pope Pius XII, gives hte Last Rites to many of the victims.

21 July - Mussolini learns of Dino Grandi's plan to oust him and restore total authority back to the Grand Council.

24 July- Grand Council convenes. Grandi, with a hand grenade hidden by his thigh for possible suicide rather than an arrest, is criticized by Mussolini for wanting to strip him of his powers. Mussolini agrees on a roll call vote in which a majority was not achieved to oust him.

25 July – Mussolini meets with King Victor Emanuele III. The King expresses to Mussolini that Italy no longer wants war and that he is the most hated man in Italy. Caught off guard, Mussolini responds with an offer of resignation which is accepted by the King. The King then offers Mussolini an armed escort which he accepts. Mussolini did not know that this was actually an arrest. Pietro Badoglio is soon proclaimed the new Prime Minister.

After news of Mussolini's arrest, many fellow Fascist leaders flee Rome. Italians and Germans alike remain silent as the new Badoglio Government proclaims that the war will continue. Even with this proclamation, many Italians tired of Italy being at war since 1923 (in either East Africa or Spain) begin to cheer the ousting of Mussolini. A not-insignificant
number of Italians are disgusted and the stage is set for a civil war in Italy. Hundreds of people in Rome are ordered shot as Field Marshal Badoglio attempts to gain order.


15 August- On 15 August General Giuseppe Castellano of the Italian Supreme Command arrives incognito in Madrid, and presents the British ambassador with a letter from Marshal Pietro Badoglio indicating his willingness to surrender.

The new Italian government offers to assist in the war against Germany, but need the US 82nd Airborne Division dropped in Rome before the declaration of war against Germany is delivered. The Allies feel uncomfortable with this offer, because the nature of war calls for a unconditional surrender of the enemy before any real negotiations could be accomplished. To show Italy's good faith, Castellano offers the Allies the German troop placements in Italy along with strengths and weaknesses of key areas.

After many trips to and from Portugal, the Allies offer Italy a 2-part surrender agreement. These were known as the 'Short Terms' and the 'Long Terms'. These terms include the cessation of hostilities, returning of allied prisoners, surrender of the military arsenal and the establishment of an Allied Military Government.


5 August- Italian Destroyer Escort 'Pallade' is sunk in Naples by US bombers.

8 August- Italian Destroyer 'Freccia' is sunk in Genova by US bombers.

9 August- Italian Destroyer 'Vincenzo Gioberti' is sunk off La Spezia by the British Submarine HMS 'Simoon'.

28 August- Italian Destroyer Escort 'Lince' is sunk in Taranto by the British Submarine HMS 'Ultor'.

31 August- Allies offer to give Italy 48 hours to officially surrender and then they would drop the US 82nd Airborne Divison in Rome's immediate outskirts to help General Giacomo Carboni defend the capital against the Germans. Italy wants more time to prepare to fight the Germans, but the Allies refuse the wait.


3 September - The British 5th and Canadian 1st divisions establish a beachhead at Reggio Di Calabria under the cover of 600 naval guns that pins down the Italian defenders. Nevertheless, the British elite vanguard (40 Commando and 41 Commando) is forced to fight and pay a price. The Canadians in the second wave also come under heavy Italian mortar fire. ("We boarded our landing craft and cast off at 1900. At 0335 on 3 September 1943 — the fourth anniversary of the start of the war — the night exploded with an ‘Alamein barrage’, a ferocious 600-gun bombardment." ... n-of-italy Operation Baytown) ("Opposition was light and so were the casualties, with nine killed and thirty-seven wounded between both units ... By nine in the morning, the Canadians were well ashore, and the Commandos dug in about two miles inland, to await a counterattack, which failed to materialize, although they were heavily mortared during the day." By Land and By Sea: The Story of the Royal Marine Commandos, Robin Neillands, p. 86, Pen and Sword, 2004)

Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio radios General Giuseppe Castellano the authorization to sign the surrender terms negotiated in Sicily. ("On 3 September General Castellano signed a secret 'short armistice' (i.e. military only, without political or economic clauses) at Cassibile, near Syracuse in Sicily." Modern Italy, 1871 to the Present, Martin Clark, p. 364, Routledge, 2014)

4 September - Italian Fighters from 5th Stormo sink four US tank landing ships off Reggio Di Calabria.

8 September - US General Dwight Eisenhower and Badoglio announce the surrender of Italy.

"Carboni's troops, supported by the partisans, though they fought with no hope of victory, had managed to hold down some 50,000 first-rate German troops; by their attempt to salvage the honor of Italian armys, they may well have been responsible for salvaging the Allied beachhead so tenuously taken at Salerno."
(Italy Betrayed, Peter Tompkins, p. 207, Simon and Schuster, 1966)

9 September - The Allied main force come ashore at Taranto and Salerno.

On this day, in a German Parachute attack at Monterotondo, northeast of Rome, the 6th Fallschirmjager Regiment suffers heavy casualties and fails to capture the Italian Generals at the Italian Supreme Command in Orsini Castle. ("During the ensuing fight II/FJR 6 captured no fewer than 2,500 soldiers at the cost of 33 dead and 88 wounded." German Airborne Divisions: Mediterranean Theatre 1942-45, Bruce Quarrie, p. 36, Osprey Publishing, 2013)

On 9 September, the Italian Cruiser 'Taranto', Destroyers 'Maestrale', 'Corazziere', 'Nicole Zeno' and FR 21 (Former French Destroyer 'Lion') and Destroyer Escorts 'Antonio Cascino' and 'Procione' are scuttled in various ports to prevent Alled and German capture.

The Italian Destroyer 'Antonio Da Noli' is sunk off Corsica after hitting a mine on 9 September.

Also on the 9th, King Victor Emmanuelle and Prime Minister Badoglio flee Rome and set up a Government in Brindisi. The Italian Armed Forces become confused and leaderless. They do not know whether to fight the Germans or not.

German troops try to occupy Bari harbor. General Nicola Bellomo, commander of the XII MVSN Zone, forms a group of Italian forces and counter-attacks the Germans, with himself personally leading the action. Bellomo joins men of 151st Militia Legion, 9th Engineer Regiment and some sailors, Guardie Di Finanza and Carabinieri. At least 100 men, more or less, with few support weapons comprise this emergency Italian force. After two hours of fighting, The Germans abandon Bari. General Bellomo is wounded more than one time in the action.

9-10 September - The 'Granatieri Di Sardegna' Division holds the German Army at bay for two days, preventing the Germans from taking part in the Battle of Salerno and throwing the struggling Allies back into the sea. ("After the Salerno landing the Germans had to fight the "Granatieri di Sardegna" division and other units for two days before taking control of Rome." That kept German units occupied around Rome who otherwise might have been at the Salerno beachhead during the critical first days after the landing." Forgotten Battles: Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945, Charles Messenger, p. 90, Lexington Books, 2001)


12 September - Waffen SS Commandos under Captain Otto Skorzeny board a glider that takes them to Gran Sasso to rescue Benito Mussolini. Mussolini is freed and flown to Hitler's Headquarters in Rastenburg.

12 September- Mussolini is flown back to Northern Italy in his resort at La Rocca Delle Caminate and proclaimed Head of State of the Italian Socialist Republic, the Salò Republic (Italian Socialist Republic RSI) with the capital as Salò. Mussolini continues to promote the Fascist cause. Mussolini orders the Italian Axis military forces to be rebuilt with new units, including the Republic National Guard, Police and Naval Commandos.

The 172,000-strong Italian Air Force remains a steadfast Axis ally with less than 200 men joining the Allied invaders. ("Less than 200 men out of the Regia Aeronautica's 12,000 officers and 160,000 NCOs flew for Marshal Badoglio's puppet Co-Belligrent Air Force the Aeronautica Cobelligerante del Sud operating at the behest of the Western Allies." The Axis Air Forces: Flying in Support of the German Luftwaffe, Frank Joseph, p. 40, ABC-CLIO, 2011)


The Italian Battleships 'Vittorio Veneto', 'Littorio' and 'Roma' (under Admiral Carlo Bergamini) , together with the Cruisers 'Eugenio Di Savoia', ''Montecuccoli' and 'Regolo' and eight Destroyers sail to Malta as part of the 'Short Terms', but several officers protest at the decision and many commit suicide aboard the warships rather than join the Allies. The Italian Battleship 'Roma' is the only casualty; sunk by a German guided bomb that results in the death of Admiral Bergamini and 1,351 tripulants . ("...a rash of suicides broket out on all the ships. Some officers urged Admiral Bergamini to make for neutral, Axis-friendly Spain, which he appeared to do when he led the ships through the Bocche di Bonifacto, a strait between Corsica and Sardinia, turning away from the course to Malta laid out for him by Admiral Cunningham." Mussolini's War: Fascist Italy's Military Struggles from Africa and Western Europe to the Mediterranean and Soviet Union 1935-45, Frank Joseph, p. 184, Casemate Publishers, 2010)

11 September - Italian Destroyer Escort 'T6' is scuttled off Cesenatico. Italian Destroyer Escort 'T8' is sunk in Punta Oliva by German bombers.

German forces in Naples scuttle the RM Destroyer 'Giuseppe La Masa' and Destroyer Escort 'Partenope'.

Indomito-Class Destroyer 'Impetuoso' and Destroyer Escort 'Pegaso' sink in a collision after a recue mission.

Italian Destroyer 'Quintino Sella' is sunk by a German S-Boot in the Adriatic.

14 September - German aircraft damage beyond repair the Destroyer Escort 'Giuseppe Sirtori' off Corfu, Greece.

24 September - The Italian Destroyer Escort 'Francesco Stocco' is sunk off Corfu by German aircraft.

27 September - Italian Destroyer Escort 'Enrico Cosenz' is damaged beyond repair by the German Luftwaffe and scuttled.

Despite the naval losses, the Italian Navy in September rescues 25,000 Italian troops from the Balkans (without air support) and sinks eight large Geman large landing craft (Marinefährprahm or MFP) and seven smaller crafts.


9 - 12 September - The Italian 'Friuli' Division in Bastia counterattacks and defeats the initial German attack. ("Elsewhere, fighting between the erstwhile allies had already erupted. At Bastia, in Corsica, German navy troops seized the harbor at midnight ... Italian troops counterattacked early that morning and drove the Germans from their positions." (Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945, Vincent O'Hara, p. 220, Naval Institute Press, 2009)

The Battle of Corsica lasts from 9 September to 4 October 1943, and the 'Friuli' and 'Cremona' Divisions and the Ciclone-Class Destroyer Escort 'Aliseo' and a number of supporting corvettes successfuly resist the German invasion, eventually forcing the German 90th and 91st Panzergrenadier Divisions to abandon Corsica and Sardinia. ("Only one hundred French troops landed on Corsica on September 12th, three days after fighting began at midnight on September 9th between the Germans and Italians when the Germans attacked Bastia ... The Italians had 74,000 men in Corsica including the "Cremona" and "Friuli" divisions. However, most of the troops were in coastal defense and support units ... When the Germans attacked Bastia on September 9th, the Italians fought the Germans alone ... the Italians ... deserve every credit for their part in the battle. The Italians on Corsica kept their arms ... The Italian units on Corsica moved to Sardinia and ... became "Gruppi di Combattimento" or Combat Groups and fought alongside the Allies. The Anglo-American version of events in Corsica, as well as those of the French, are examples of how official histories reinforced other mistaken accounts of what happened in the Italian Campaign." Forgotten Battles: Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945, Charles T. O'Reilly, p. 92, Lexington Books, 2001) (The more the fight intensified, the more their determination to defeat the Germans and drive them out of the island increased. The Italians knew the territory well, so as each German group tried to enter the main roads where the Italians had established positions, the Germans suffered great losses. In many cases, in order to expedite their exodus to Bastia to join the other Germans, they rendered inoperable or even destroyed large amounts of their own equipment and abandoned it. They also abandoned eight hundred of their men, who were promptly taken prisoner." The Ibex Trophy, John Cammalleri; Salvatore Cammalleri, p. 124, iUniverse, 2011 ) ("The Nazis were eventually chased to their bridgehead at Bastia, where, with air support and far superior numbers, they were able to embark for Italy. In total, the liberation of Corsica left 75 French soldiers dead, 245 Italians and around 1,000 Germans." The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis, Matthew Cobb, p. 193, Simon and Schuster, 2009) ("After the Armistice many small unit surface actions occurred in the western Mediterranean beginning on the morning of 9 September 1943. The German navy launched a surprise attack to capture the port of Bastia in northern Corsica. When this failed, a small flotilla consisting of UJ2203, UJ22119, five MFPs, and a rescue launch fled the harbor. The Italian torpedo boat Aliseo engaged them and sank all eight (with belated help from shore batteries and a corvette). Italian corvettes had several other skirmishes with German coastal craft and shore batteries at Piombino sank TA11 before the Italian navy withdrew south in accordance with the terms of the armistice." (The German Fleet at War, 1939-1945, Vincent O'Hara, p. ?, Naval Institute Press, 2013)


13-22 September - The 'Aqui' Division under General Antonio Gandin (veteran of the Eastern Front and winner of the Iron Cross) refuses to surrender, sinking 2 German landing crafts, downing 1 German dive-bomber and capturing 400 crack Gebirgsjaeger (German Mountain Troops) and Grenadiers from Colonel Harald von Hirschfeld's 1st Alpine Division and Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Burge's 966th Grenadier Regiment, before finally surrendering on 22 September, only to see half their number (4,750, including recruits, combat surgeons and combat medics) shot dead in cold blood by the Germans. ("Intense fighting raged until September 22 with
the Italians managing to capture 400 German troops
. However, they ran through their ammunition. Without reinforcements and sustaining more than 1,300 casualties, the Italians were forced to surrenders." Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History, David T. Zabecki, p. 242, ABC-CLIO, 2014)

About 1,200 Italians, led by Captain Renzo Appollonio, escape and join the partisans in seek of revenge.


27 September - Two Bersaglieri battalions of the 'Emilia' Division join the Germans while the remainder of the division join the partisans. ("Two Bersaglieri battalions of the "Emilia" joined the Partisans and two others joined the Germans..." Forgotten Battles: Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945, Charles T. O'Reilly, p. 96, Lexington Books, 2001)

1 October - Regia Marina Destroyer 'Euro' is sunk in Leros by German Stukas.

13 October - Under pressure from the Allied command, King Victor Emmanuelle III declares war on Germany.

16 October - The Germans surround the Jewish quarter in Rome and arrest 1,000 Jews.


In November the Italian SS Division is created after more than 15,000 Italians volunteer to join the Germans. Many of the Italian SS members have served in the 'Fortunato' Bersaglieri unit which had fought on the Eastern Front. ( ... ianOrg.htm Italian Military Organizations 1943-45)



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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 13 Dec 2015 02:23

EVENTS OF 1944-1945

US War Correspondent Herny Tilton Gorrell reporting on the Liberation of Naples:
"Until the Allies arrived there has been havoc and the city is wrecked as a result of Allied bombing, German demolitions and the pitched battles which Italian regular army Bersaglieri regiments loyal to the King have been fighting with the Germans. When we arrived, there was shooting everywhere. Even six and eight year old boys were shooting, firing abandoned weapons into the air in play. Disregarding the fighting, civilians turned out all over the city to give the Americans and British a thunderous ovation. The German rearguards, caught by the speed of the Allied advance from Torre Annunziata, had seized scores of Italians youths, old men and women as hostages and retreated with them into public buildings to fight the Bersaglieri. Civilians took courage from the Bersaglieri, and commandeered all available vehicles which they raced along the streets firing at every German at every German in sight."
(Yanks Busy With Clearing of Naples, Valley Morning Star, 3 October 1943)

26 July 1943 - The Italian Fascists are no longer in power and it becomes obvious to the future partisan commanders that a confrontation with Germany is inevitable and to some that the time is ripe for a Communist Revolution. Tancredi Galimberti, a member of the banned Leftist Action Party, shouts from a balcony in Cuneo, "The war goes on, but against Germany. For this war there is one means - popular insurrection." The crowd stands silent. No one has the desire for war anymore. They had hoped that Italy would just be left alone, but they know that will not happen. Nobody takes Galimberti's call for arms seriously, and it isn't until Germany starts treating Italy as Occupied Territory and rounding up young men of military age for Slave Labour Camps in Germany, do they start joining the Communist Partisans and Marshal Pietro Badoglio's Italian Co-belligerent Army.

28 September 1943 - Naples makes the world headlines when units of the Bersaglieri Corps that had escaped from the Rome fighting take on the German SS Garrison. Within a few hours, hundreds or thousands of civilians join the battle and the Germans concede defeat and abandon Naples. ("On the morning of September 28, Allied ships were spotted off Capri and the Neapolitans believed a landing was imminent. Attacks on the Germans resumed, particularly in the Vomero district on the west side of the city. Spontaneous uprisings began all over Naples. People seized weapons from the arsenals of the disbanded Italian armed forces, which had been left unguarded by the Germans, and by the afternoon of the next day the Germans were under attack. Bands of gunmen darted out of hiding places to strike at the Germans, then disappeared into the maze of alleys and side streets that honeycomb Naples. The first impulse of Colonel Scholl was to leave the city, but Hitler ordered Naples reduced to "mud and ashes." Scholl threatened to kill 100 civilians for every German soldier wounded or killed. The Germans destroyed scores of houses and businesses, cut of water supplies and left port facilities in ruins. They planned to blow up aqueducts and power plants before they departed. On September 29, the Germans sent a long line of tanks toward the city center. But partisan units destroyed several tanks with cannon fire, immobilized the rest and blew them up with mines." Mussolini: The Last 600 Days of Il Duce, Ray Moseley, p. 35, Taylor Trade Publications, 2004)

13 October 1943 - The Badoglio Government declares war on Germany. The 'Nembo' Paratroop Division remains loyal to the Germans and joins the Fallschirmjäger Korps deployed outside Rome. The Communists form Garibaldi Units in Northern Italy to fight both the Germans and the RSI. ("A significant part of the Italian 184th (Nembo) Parachute Division went over to the German side and served actively with the Germans." The Mediterranean Theater of Operations: Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, Lieutenant Colonel Albert N. Garland, p. 535, UNITED STATES ARMY,1993)

8 December 1943 - The 67th 'Palermo' Infantry Regiment and the 51st Bersaglieri Battalion from General Vincenzo Dapino's 1st Italian Motorized Brigade take on the 15th Panzer Grenadier Regiment defending Monte Lungo on the Bernhardt Line. They overrun the forward German defences, but the Panzergrenadiers regroup and force the Italians back with a counterattack, with General Dapino's 1st Brigade losing 47 killed, 102 wounded and 131 captured in the battle. ("WITH THE ITALIAN FORCES IN ACTION, Dec. 8. (UP) A reborn Italian army went into action at 6:20 a.m. today beside its American and British allies of Gen. Mark W. Clark's Fifth Army on the long, hard parth to its Eternal City, Rome. Formed around a nucleus of tough, Africa-seasoned regulars and Bersaglieri and Alpini shock troops, proud to be treated as full allies, the Italians went into battle in a shroud-like dawn fog under a deafening barrage by Italian, American and British guns ... They reached the heights of the first hill before them, a hill which was like a step upward to a second hill. At 9:33 a.m. the Germans came back, with the bayonet and hand grenade, in a counter-attack. They knew whom they were facing and we who watched knew it was white hate against white hate. The Italians were outnumbered and they withdrew slowly and stubbornly, as the Germans threw more men into the light. The Germans were firing ahead of their men, putting down a crisscross of fire against the hill up which the Italians had been moving. "We are losing good men," the commanding general said as he stood beside Prince Humbert, "but we want the world to know that Italy is again on the side of America, Britain and France. Our losses will be worthwhile." The Germans cracked like a hammer against the Italian left flank. The Bersaglieri, though pressed in the center, sent men over and took the brunt of the attack. Then the Italian, American and British guns opened against the Germans, and the Germans in their turn went back. The fire became hotter as the morning passed and a bright afternoon sun drove the fog away. I watched the Italian wounded as they started back, some limping, some on stretchers. From our observation post I could see the Germans carrying off Italian dead, apparently in an attempt to identify their units and get other information. Our mortar fire killed some of them." White Hate Flares As Italian Troops Face Germans, Nevada State Journal, 12 December 1943)

The failed attack seemed to confirm at the time the Allied Propaganda that the Italians could not fight, with the US Official History considering it a disaster right from the word go. ("The US Official History writes off the attack as a disaster from the world go. The Italian Official History is nearly as disparaging. They make no mention of the 1st Battalion, 67th Regiment's remarkable breakthrough. Clearly Brigadier Dapino, who must have heard about it from the surviving officers of the leading companies, did not see fit to make it part of official records." Forgotten Battles: Italy's War of Liberation, 1943-1945, Charles T. O'Reilly, p. 147, Lexington Books, 2001)

However, Major Ernst-Georg Baron von Heyking, commander of the Monte Lungo defences would confirm that that the Italians had fought well:
"The Italian battalion had come to within breakthrough distance. Its attack stalled in the face of hand grenades and MG-42, machine pistol and pistol fire, but more soldiers came on behind them. Within a few minutes our weak positions ... had been overrun. The majority of our soldiers had been killed, and the enemy poured on, certain of victory. Nothing seemed to be able to stop him anymore. But there was one last machine-gun crew ... Scherling's."
(Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell, Peter Caddick-Adams, p. 46, Oxford University Press, 2013 )

Between December 1943 and February 1944, 333 Italian RSI combatants are killed and 1,840 wounded fighting the Partisans.

In 1944, with the gradual withdrawal of all Luftwaffe Fighter Units in the attempt to stop the increased Allied offensive on Germany, the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) Fighter Groups takes over the defence of Northern Italy and the ANR pilots reportedly shoot down 262 Allied aircraft and lose 158 in the Italian Campaign.

March 1944 - The 2nd Italian SS 'Vendetta' Battalion and 29th Italian SS Rifle Battalion join the RSI 'Nembo" Parachute Battalion and Decima Flottiglias MAS 'Barbarigo' Battalion fighting the Anglo-American forces at Anzio. The nearby German Battalion Commanders give the Italian battalions favourable reports. Members of the 'Vendetta' under Blackshirt Lieutenant-Colonel Degli Oddi distinguish themselves in defeating a determined effort by the US 3rd Infantry Division to break through the Italian lines, capturing several American soldiers in the process. Because of their courage and loyalty the volunteers of the Italian SS Battalions are officially recognized as units of the Waffen-SS, with all the duties and privileges that it entails.

24 May 1944 - The 'Barbarigo' Battalion that receives much RSI press coverage for their youth and valour in combat, withdraws to Rome for a much earned rest, having suffered 338 killed, wounded and captured in the Battle of Anzio. ("Large numbers of Italian wounded have come into Rome from the Anzio sector, where the much advertised Barbarigo Battalion was placed in the front line by its German masters. From the propaganda photographs in the press and on posters, it seemed to be composed of little boys of 16 and 17." Inside Rome With The Germans, Jane Scrivener, p. ?, Read Books Ltd, 2013)

19-28 September 1944 - During Operation Piave in the mountainous Grappa area, the Germans in conjuction with the RSI Blackshirt 'Tagliamento' Legion, Brigate Nere and Guardia Nazionale Republicana (GNR), conduct a sucessful Anti-Partisan sweep, overrunning the 'Italia Libera', 'Matteotti' and 'Gramisci' Partisan Brigades, resulting in the loss of 351 Partisans and 34 supporting SOE members.

26-31 December 1944 - As part of the Axis Winter Storm Counteroffensive, the RSI 'Monte Rosa' and 'San Marco' Divisions under General Mario Carloni take on and overrun the US 92nd 'Buffalo' Infantry Division, commanded by General Edward Almond. The Italians reach the outskirts of Bagni Di Lucca, and successfully defend their forward positions for several months. ("Nothing could dislodge the gains made by Operation Winsterstorm. These comprised a conquered wedge twenty kilometres wide and nine kilometres deep which stood largely intact throughout the rest of the war. In fact, its defenders continued fighting for days after Mussolini's death the following year." Mussolini's War, Frank Joseph, p. 198, Casemate Publishers, 2010) ("Still not routed, the Germans and their RSI allies thereafter successfully defended the 'Gothic line', running from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic Sea south of Bologna and the other gateways to the Po valley. That richest part of Italy was not liberated until the last days of the war in April 1945." Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Dictatorship, 1915-1945, R J B Bosworth,p. ?, Penguin, 2006)

25 April 1945 - Mussolini along with his mistress, Claretta Petacci, join a strong Waffen SS Motorized Detachment heading for the Brenner Pass but are halted near the town of Dongo. Mussolini is discovered and executed along with his girlfriend and twelve other Fascists on the orders of the Communist Partisans.

28 April 1945 - 2,000 Partisans enter Milan and Piacenza in captured trucks. armoured cars and tanks. ("On 28 April, after neutralizing several thousand Germans, Moscatelli reached Milan at the head of 2,000 well-armed troops, riding in captured trucks and protected by captured tanks and armored cars." ... 8/OSS.html The OSS and Italian Partisans in World War II)

4 May 1945 - The war ends in Italy, but with over 35,000 Partisans killed, the Communist Partisans continue to seek out and kill RSI leaders and ex-combatants.

P.S., Work Still In Progress

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Joined: 15 Sep 2008 07:55

Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 15 Dec 2015 13:39

Image (Soldiers of the French Rearguard captured in the French Riviera Town of Meltone on their way to Italian POW camps Cinegiornali di Guerra 3/27 L'IIintervento e le Prime Operazioni Giu 1940)

Image (Wounded Italian Army officer in the house-to-house fighting with the French Rearguard, gives the military salute to Italian War Correspondents filming in Meltone Cinegiornali di Guerra 3/27 L'IIintervento e le Prime Operazioni Giu 1940)

Image Italian Bombers carpet bombing the British Mersa Matruh Garrison in 1940 ( Cinegiornali di guerra 4/27 Lo Scontro di Punta Stilo Lug Ago 1940)

Image Sparviero Bombers under heavy fire from British Warships in the Mediterranean in 1940 ( Cinegiornali di guerra 4/27 Lo Scontro di Punta Stilo Lug Ago 1940)

Image Bellas from the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture arrive to entertain the troops in 1940 ( Cinegiornali di guerra 4/27 Lo Scontro di Punta Stilo Lug Ago 1940)

Image Italian Alpini from the Greek Front on R&R watching Italian Ministry of Popular Culture entertainers put on a show for them in 1940 ( Cinegiornali Di Guerra 5/27 L'offensiva In Africa E L'attacco Alla Grecia Sett Ott1940)

Image (Italian Stuka about to deliver a low level attack on a column of Greek trucks during the Greek Army retreat in Albania in April 1941 La Guerra nei Balcani: Fronte Greco)

Image (Greek truck hidden between two buildings comes under Italian Stuka cannon fire at tree top height during the Greek Army retreat in Albania in April 1941 La Guerra nei Balcani: Fronte Greco)

Image (Greek Army trucks or armoured cars caught out in the open coming under Italian Stuka cannon fire at tree top height during the Greek Army retreat in Albania in April 1941 La Guerra nei Balcani: Fronte Greco)

Image (Italian Guastatori Combat Sappers with flamethrower outside Tobruk during Operation Crusader in late 1941 Seconda Guerra Mondiale: l'inizio della Battaglia della Marmarica)

Image (Italian soldiers on leave having fun at an Amusement Park in Rome in 1942 Cinegiornali di Duerra 15/27 L'Avanzata Fino ad El Alamein Mag Giu1942)

Image (Alpini machine-gun team advances under the cover of an artillery bombardment on the Eastern Front Cinegiornali di Duerra 15/27 L'Avanzata Fino ad El Alamein Mag Giu1942)

Image (Italian 'San Marco' Marines firing their coastal defence gun at British warships during Operation Agreement in September 1942 Cinegiornali di Guerra 17/27 Stalingrado e la battaglia di El Alamein Sett Ott1942

Image (Italian 'San Marco' Marines stand to attention when Rommel arrives to congratulate them soon after Operation Agreement in September 1942 Cinegiornali di Guerra 17/27 Stalingrado e la battaglia di El Alamein Sett Ott1942

Image (91a Squadriglia fighter pilots celebrates their 100th Aerial Victory over the Alemein Front in 1942 Cinegiornali di Duerra 15/27 L'Avanzata Fino ad El Alamein Mag Giu1942 )

Image Signora Gabriella Gatti with orchestra sings to the Italian troops on all fronts thanks Radio del Combattenti in Italy Cinegiornali di Duerra 15/27 L'Avanzata Fino ad El Alamein Mag Giu1942 )

Image (Bersaglieri motorcycle column in Italian occupied France in late 1942 Cinegiornali di guerra 19/27 La perdita di Tripoli Gen Feb1943)

(Image Italian Bersaglieri officer with his troops in early 1943 Cinegiornali di guerra 19/27 La perdita di Tripoli Gen Feb1943)

Image (Italian hilltop anti-tank gun emplacement in action during Tunisia Campaign Fronte Tunisino. Nell'aspra Battaglia di Tunisia i Soldati Italiani e Germanici si Battono)

Image (Italian Army officers help direct the Axis defence during the Tunisia Campaign Fronte Tunisino. Nell'aspra Battaglia di Tunisia i Soldati Italiani e Germanici si Battono)

Image (Italian Semovente self-propelled guns under heavy shellfire during the Tunisia Campaign Fronte Tunisino. Nell'aspra Battaglia di Tunisia i Soldati Italiani e Germanici si Battono)

Image Renault R35 tanks (probably from from Lieutenant-Colonel Massimo D'Andretta's Gruppo Mobile 'D') knocked out in street fighting with the British in Sicily Forging Ahead In Sicily 1943 British Pathé Newsreel))

Image Apprehensive Italian soldiers surrender to the British in Sicily Forging Ahead In Sicily 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image British soldier hands out a chocolate bar to young Sicilian mother Forging Ahead In Sicily 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image Troops from the 'Hermann Göring' Division captured in Sicily on their way to POW camps in North Africa Allies Enter Naples 1943 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image (Bersaglieri with two young apprehensive Germans captured in The Liberation of Naples Allies Enter Naples 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image Italian Marine poses with the two German youngsters captured in The Liberation of Naples Allies Enter Naples 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image An American soldier steals a kiss from a Napolitana Allies Enter Naples 1943 British Pathé Newsreel)

Image (RSI 'Barbarigo' Marine Battalion fully assembled with child mascot in Rome in March 1944 RSI- DECIMA MAS-IL BARBARIGO)

Image (Young women from Rome rush to keep up with the 'Barbarigo' Battalion as it marches off to counter the Anglo-American Anzio Landings RSI- DECIMA MAS-IL BARBARIGO)

Image (RSI Bersaglieri , probably from the 'Emilia' Division, on R&R dance with Slovenian women in Slovenia in 1944 Slovenia - La Lotta dei Bersaglieri contro i Partigiani)

Image (RSI Bersaglieri , probably from the 'Emilia' Division, on R&R smoke and drink while a German plays the accordion and a Slovenian woman sings in 1944 Slovenia - La Lotta dei Bersaglieri contro i Partigiani)

Image (RSI Bersaglieri, probably from the 'Emilia' Division, avance behind the cover of a Semovente self-propelled gun advance against Slovenian Partisans in 1944 Slovenia - La Lotta dei Bersaglieri contro i Partigiani)

Posts: 122
Joined: 15 Sep 2008 07:55

Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 22 Dec 2015 08:05

"ROME. June-25 italian troops massed today to march triumphantly into conquered France to occupy Nice and Savoy, as Italy's 14th communique of the war, announcing cessation of Franco-Italian hostilities, said that the "war continues against Britain and will continue until victory" ... an earlier dispatch by the official news agency Stefani said that before the cease fire order Italian Alpine detachments had passed La Biachere and were marching on the Riviera road. Stefani said that Italian forces had penetrated into French valleys after breaking through French lines at three points ... The end of hostilities found the Italian army ready to take positions in the territory of the vanquished."
( ... 6962&hl=en Italy To Take Over Nice And Savoy As War With France Ceases, The Pittsburgh Press, 25 June 1940)

March - Mussolini meets Hitler near the Brenner Pass. Hitler uses this meeting to convince Mussolini to join the war. He reminds Mussolini that if he wants Italy to emerge a major world power then he must join Germany in the war against France and Britain. Mussolini agrees and promises to declare war only if Germany's attack on France is successful. He informs Hitler that Italy is not fully prepared to fight a major war that could last 3 to 4 years

9 April - Mussolini receives word from the German ambassador that Germany has invaded Norway and Denmark. Although Mussolini welcomes the news, he is resentful that he was kept in the dark. Nevertheless, he gives a speech applauding the German triumphs.


10 May - The German Army conquers Belgium and Holland en route to France. Mussolini realizes that the time has come for him to act as promised in support of Germany and the Pact of Steel.

10 June - Italy declares war on France and Britain. Mussolini foresees France's imminent surrender and decides to reap some of the spoils of France. In order to do this, he needs to conquer as much French territory as possible. Mussolini has interest in obtaining Nice, Mentone, Sardinia, Corsica, French Somaliland, Tunisia and Algeria. Italy masses 32 divisions on the French border and attacks. Italian 'Alpini' Divisions attack through the Little Saint Bernard Pass in the French Alps and encounter stiff resistance. The Italians prevail and in the last battles, the Blackshirt Spearhead captures Menton and Briançon in house-to-house combat, capturing the French Rearguard and march past Lablachère on the Riviera Road having broken through the French Defences at three points on the Isère Valley. ("The group of two armies ... scored only some minor local successes in the Isere valley, near Uodane, and Briancon and Mentone on the Riviera was taken after heavy fighting." World War II German Military Studies: Introduction & Guide, Donald S. Detwiler, Charles Burton Burdick, Jürgen Rohwer, p. 19, Garland Publications, 1979)

12/13 June - The Italian 'Alpini' Spearhead crosses the Alpine Border and takes up positions on a number of strategic peaks in the Nice-Chambray area. ( ... 9769&hl=en ITALIANS REPORT ADVANCE ON NICE The Bulletin, 14 June 1940)

14 June - Italian mountain troops defeat a French counterattack to drive them out of Galisia Hill. ( ... 6371&hl=en Attack By French Repelled, Rome Says, Toledo Blade, 14 June 1940)

23/24 June - Mentone, Briançon, Lablachère and the French Rearguard fall into Italian hands after fierce house-to-house fighting.


11/12 June - British bombers bomb Turin and Genoa

14 June - The French Navy in the form of four Cruisers and 11 Destroyers bombards Genoa, Savona and Vado Ligure. Italian shore batteries return fire and hit the French Destroyer 'Albatros', killing 12 sailors.

16/17 June - British bombers drop leaflets in Rome saying:

"France has nothing against you. Drop your arms and France will do the same ... Your sons and husbands and sweethearts have not left you to defend their country. They suffer death to satisfy the pride of one man. Victorious or defeated you will have hunger, misery and slavery." ( ... 2625&hl=en ITALY ADVANCES IN FRENCH ALPS, ROME ASSERTS, The Pittsburgh Press, 16 June 1940)

22 June - The Armée De L'Air bombs Cagliari and Trapani.

23 June - The Armée De L'Air bombs Palermo.


12 June - Italian Submarine 'Bagnolini' sinks British Cruiser 'Calypso' with the British only admitting the loss on 15 June. ( ... 2595&hl=en CRUISER SUNK BY ITALIAN SUB, Toledo Blade, 15 June 1940)

13 June - The Italian Navy (Regia Marina or RM) Destroyers 'Strale' and 'Baleno' sink the British submarine HMS 'Odin' off Taranto.

16 June - British submarine HMS 'Grampus' is sunk by Italian Destroyers.

21 June - The French Battleship 'Lorraine', accompanied by the British Cruisers HMS 'Orion' and HMS 'Neptune', the Australian Cruiser HMAS 'Sydney', and supported by four British Destroyers, open fire on the Town of Bardia in Libya.


12 June - The British attack Tobruk. The British naval force involved, including the cruisers HMS 'Liverpool' and HMS 'Gloucester' bombard Tobruk and exchange fire with the Italian Cruiser 'San Giorgio'. Royal Air Force Blenheim Bombers from Squadrons No. 45, No. 55, and No. 211 score a direct hit on the 'San Giorgio' with a bomb.

12/13 June - The Regia Aeronautica in the form of 33 SM.79s from the 2a Squadra Aerea bombs the French Toulon and Bizerta naval bases, putting out of action nine aircraft on the ground. ( ... 2172&hl=en ITALIANS BOMB FRENCH BASES, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 13 June 1940)

14 June - The British 7th and 11th Hussars, supported by a company of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, successfully attack and capture the Italian Capuzzo and Maddalena Forts.

19 June - In the first dogfights over North Africa, five CR.42s from 84a Squadriglia of the Tobruk-based 10° Gruppo escorting Breda Ba.65 Bombers, encounter four Gladiators from No. 33 Squadron and a Hurricane from No. 80 Squadron. In the fight that takes place, Sergeant Giuseppe Scaglione shoots down the Gladiator piloted by Sergeant Roy Leslie (lost in the action), but the Italians lost two CR.42s and their pilots, Lieutenant-Colonel Armando Piragino and Sergeant-Major Ugo Corsi. (""Scaglione had downed the Gladiator of Sgt Green, while both the CR.42s lost in this first encounter fell to the Hurricane." Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2, Hëkan Gustavsson, Richard Caruana, Ludovico Slongo, p. 14, Osprey Publishing, 2013)

That day, the British Submarine HMS 'Parthian' fires two torpedoes at 'San Giorgio', but misses. The Italian Cruiser's main role was then to support the local anti-aircraft units, that claim to shoot down or damage 47 British aircraft in defence of Tobruk.

22 June - The Italian Air Force carpet bombs the British Mersa Matruh Fortress.

28 June - The 'San Giorgio' shoots down in error the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Bomber carrying the young General Italo Balbo, the Governor-General of Libya and Commander-in-Chief of Italian forces in North Africa. The Italian Bomber flies low over Tobruk and is hit shortly after an attack by British Bombers, killing all aboard.

In the last week of June, the pilots of 2° Stormo from the Aeronautica Della Libia claim to shoot down six Royal Air Force Blenheim Bombers, losing one CR.42 when Second Lieutenant Gianmario Zuccarini is forced to make a crash landing due to battle damage. The British admit the loss of two Blenheims near Tobruk, L5850 and L8522, lost on 21 and 29 June along with their crews Sergeant B. T. M. Baker, Corporal W. C. Royle, Leading Aircraftman A. F. Crohill and Flight Lieutenant J. B. W. Smith in the first aircraft and Sergeant R. H. Knott, Sergeant J. D. Barber and Leading Aircraftman J. P. Toner in the second aircraft.


23 June - British Destroyer HMS 'Khartoum' is sunk off Eritrea by the Italian Submarine 'Torricelli'.


24 June - France surrenders to Germany. Mussolini insists that a surrender also be given to Italy or the Italian attacks will resume. Hitler and France oblige. The Italian Army (Regio Esercito or RE) has made good progress in the final actions, with the Alpini and supporting Blackshirts overruning the French Rearguard and capturing Mentone. The Regia Aeronautica also does its bit, penetrating French airspace and bombing Orléans and Marseille, causing much chaos. ( ... 7233&hl=en "Fatal Hour" for Englahd Near, Rome Paper Asserts, St Petersburg Times, 23 June 1940) ("The Luftwaffe also attacke the Citroën works on the Quai Javel in Paris and targets as far away as Cherbourg and the Loire valley, while the Italian Air Force hits Orleans and Marseille." Forgotten Blitzes: France and Italy under Allied Air Attack, 1940-1945, Claudia Baldoli, Andrew Knapp, p. 7, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012)


4 July - General Guglielmo Nasi strkes westward from Ethiopia into Sudan. The Italian Army captures several towns and arrives within 300 miles of Khartoum. Within 6 weeks, Nasi conquers British Somaliland, forcing the British Army to evacuate five Elite Infantry Battalions from the last stronghold at Berbera and regroup in Aden.


28 June - Italian Turbine-Class Destroyer 'Espero' is sunk off Bengasi by the Australian Cruiser HMAS 'Sydney'.


July - The RAF loses another three Blenheims in missions against Tobruk, L8529 (Flight Lieutenant A. M. Bentley injured, Sergeant J. F. Taylor lost) on 5 July, L1491 (Pilot Officer E. Garrad-Cole, Leading Aircraftman W. B. Smith and Aircraftman 2nd Class E. P. Doolin, all captured) on 15 July and L6661 (Sergeant G. B. Smith, Sergeant R. A. Steele and Sergeant G. A. Sewell, all lost) on 23 July.

5 July - British aircraft sink the Italian Turbine-Class Destroyer 'Zeffiro' near Tobruk.

8 July - Reggia Aeronautica bombers attack the British Cruiser HMS 'Gloucester', scoring a direct hit resulting in the loss of her captain and 17 crewmen. 'Gloucester' survives, but with a crippled steering gear. The British Destroyer HMS 'Escort' is torpedoed off Gibraltar by the Italian Submarine 'Guglielmo Marconi', sinking on 11 July while under tow to repair facilities.

9 July - The Battle of Punto Stilo ends indecisively. The RM Battleship 'Giulio Cesare' is damaged by British Battleship HMS 'Warspite'.

19 July -Italian Cruisers 'Giovanni Delle Bande Nere' and 'Bartolomeo Colleoni' patrollling near Crete take on 4 British Destroyers. After a 2 hour confrontation, the Australian Cruiser HMAS 'Sydney' and British Destroyer HMS 'Havock' appear off the horizon. The Italian warships realize they are outnumbered 3-1 and decide to retreat, but a shell from the Australian cruiser hits the ''Bartolomeo Colleoni', leaving her dead in the water. Within minutes the Italian Cruiser is torpedoed and sunk. As the British attempt to rescue the Italian survivors, Italian bombers arrive and begin attacking the British warships, forcing them to abandon the rescue. Hundreds of Italian sailors perish. The defeat proves to the Italian Admirals that the Royal Navy has the technological advantage that would prove to be the British radar and the 'Enigma Code, but the Italian Navy will still remain a danger'.

20 July - Italian Destroyers 'Nembo' and 'Ostro' are sunk off Tobruk by Royal Navy Swordfish torpedo-bombers

1 August - Italian Destroyer 'Ugolino Vivaldi' sinks the British Submarine HMS 'Oswald' off Cape Spartivento.


13 September - The Italian attack on the British Army in Egypt is planned to coincide with Operation 'Sealion' (The invasion of England by Germany). When it becames apparent to Mussolini that this was postponed indefinitely, he orders Marshal Rodolfo Graziani's 10th Army to proceed as planned. The British retreat, abandoning Sollum, Fort Capuzzo, Fort Maddalena, Sidi Barrani and Maktila.

18 September - The Italian Supreme Command reports that the Italians have advanced 60 miles under the cover of a desert sandstorm that surprises the British Garrison at Sidi Barrini that falls back, and that the British Rearguards have been "crushed everywhere." ( ... 2207&hl=en ITALIANS REPORT SUCCESS IN DESERT, Ludlington Daily News, 18 September 1940)


16 September - Italian Destroyers 'Aquilone' and 'Borea' are sunk off Bengasi by British Bombers.

22 September - The Italian Destroyer Escort 'Palestro' is sunk off the coast of Albania by the British Submarine HMS 'Osiris'.


27 September - Tripartite Alliance is formed between Germany, Italy and Japan.


12 October - Italian Destroyer 'Artigliere' and Destroyer Escorts 'Airone' and 'Ariel' are sunk off Tunisia by British Cruisers.


21 October - Italian Destroyer 'Francesco Nullo' is sunk off Eritrea by British Bombers.


25 October - Mussolini sends some 200 aircraft including 73 Fiat BR.20 Stork Bombers to Belgium to conduct bombing runs over Britain. Little success is obtained in the dogfights due to obsolete Italian Biplanes taking on modern British Spitfires and Hurricanes and the cutting edge the RAF Squadrons has with radar. Italian Bombers have to attack under the cover of darkness. The Regia Aeronautica loses 9 aircraft, but destroys part of the Royal Marines Depot at Ramsgate, divert Fighters and Anti-Aircraft Units to the Italian Sector and (according to accompanying German fighter pilots) reportedly shoot down two British Hurricanes on 11 November and badly damage another (piloted by RAF Flight Lieutenant Howard Peter Blatchford) in a collision. ( ... 8950&hl=en Enemy Communiques, Ottawa Citizen, 13 November 1940)


28 October - After only 2 weeks of preparation, the Italian Army receives orders to cross the Albanian-Greek Border. Mussolini choses to attack Greece in response to the Germany Army entering Romania. Seven divisions of the 9th and 11th Armies attack under General Sebastiano Visconti Prasca. The Italian Supreme Command underestimates the Greeks and unlike Southern Yugoslavia in April 1941, the Italian Air Force, Navy, Marines and Paratroopers are robbed of the chance of delivering the knock-out blow. The invasion coincides with the Greek rainy season when the weather drops below freezing and like the German Army in Operation 'Barbarossa', many Italian soldiers do not have winter clothing.

The Italian Divisions make good progress (up to 25 miles) through 4 mountain routes along the Albanian-Greek Border. But without Italian Air Force formations threatening overhead, the Greek Army is able to regroup and counterattack, pushing the Italian invaders back. With the skillful use of French heavy machine-guns, mortars and with supporting RAF Fighter and Bomber Squadrons, the Greek Army overruns the Italian 9th and 11th Armies, capturing 130 tanks and armoured cars that are put into good use. The Italian Army retreats deep into Albania, but holds firm along the Tomori Line.

The Greek General Staff becomes obsessed with defeating the Italians, leaving Greece open to invasion through the Metaxas Line, and the British, Australian and New Zealand Armies have to step in and man the Greek defences, robbing Generals Richard O'Connor and Archibald Wavell the chance (during Operation Compass) to capture Tripolitana and kick the Italian Army out of North Africa.


6 November - The British mount their counteroffensive in the Sudan Town of Gallabat. The British-officered 7,000-strong 10th Indian Brigade under the command of General William Slim attacks with the help of tanks. The Italian Air Force intervenes in aerial dogfights and bombing the Indian Battalions, forcing General Sim to accept defeat and fall back.


11 November - The British Aircraft-Carrier HMS 'Illustrious' conducts a bombing of the Italian base in Taranto which damages 3 Battleships and cripples Italy's chance of securing the Mediterranean. The Italian Battleship 'Conte Di Cavour' is sunk in shallow waters and put out of action for the remainder of the war.

20 November - Italian Palestro-Class Destroyer Escort 'Confienza' sinks in the Adriatic after being rammed by a merchant vessel it was escorting.

27 November - Battle of Cape Teulada ends indecively.


4 December - Mussolini instructs Dino Alfieri to fly to Berlin and request German assistance in the invasion of Greece. Hitler has no choice but to assist Italy for the British have moved into Crete and are very close in getting Yugoslavia and Turkey to join the Allies.


5 December - The Italian Spica-Class Destroyer Escort 'Calipso' sinks after hitting a mine near Tripoli.


7 December - A British Armoured Reconnaissance Squadron runs into an ambush near Maktila, and several British soldiers along with an armoured car fall into Italian hands. The British POWs are presented to Italian War Correspondents before being marched off to see Marshal Graziani'. ( ... 1529&hl=en Graziani Explains Setback In Full Report to IL Duce, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 23 December 1940)

10 December - The British-officered 4th Indian Division with the help of the British 7th Royal Tank Regiment, overruns the Italian X Division defending Sidi Barrani. The Italians put up a tough fight, killing and wounding 700 attackers and General Pietro Maletti and Captain Burroni Sigfrido losing their lives fighting alongside their men, with both Italian officers posthumously decorated with the Gold Medal for Military Valour. The attack results in the capture of 2,000 Italian and Libyan soldiers.

11 December - The British 'Selby' Force and supporting tanks overruns the 1st Libyan Division and 4th Blackirt Division.

16 December - US War Correspodent Edward Kennedy reports that the 4th Blackshirt Division fought well in defence of the Maktila positions:
"With the dawn the British column, made entirely of English and Scottish regiments—started for Sidi Barrani with tanks leading the way ... Two-thirds of a mile south of the town they came under the fire of Italians entrenched on a ridge ... After seven hours of hard fighting, in which the British said the Blackshirts fought well and inflicted considerable casualties, the British drove them back and took the ridge at 2 pm."
( ... 7063&hl=en British Astonished At Great Italian Supplies, Ottawa Citizen, 16 December 1940)

In a defeat comparable to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France in May/June 1940, the Fall of Singapore (that General Archibald Wavell blames on the Australian 8th AIF Division) in February 1942, not to mention the entire surrender of Russian Armies and loss of territory the size of countries during Operation 'Barbarossa', Marshal Rodolfo Graziani's 10th Army is forced back to Tripoli and eventually loses 100,000 (not 130,000 combatants) Italian and Libyan troops, colonial police and colonial militia (from the Italian Settlers) captured during the British offensive. ("Between December 1940 and February 1941, during Operation Compass, the first British offensive of the war, Lieutenant-General Sir Richard O'Connor's 30,000-man Western Desert Force had defeated Marshal Rodolpho Graziani's 100,000-man Italian Tenth Army." Politics of Command: Lieutenant-General A.G.L. McNaughton and the Canadian Army, 1939-1943, John Nelson Rickard, p. ?, University of Toronto Press, 2010) ("The British advanced five hundred miles between the end of 1940 and the beginning of 1941, capturing 100,000 prisoners." World War 2: A Short History, Henri Michel, p. 8, Saxon House, 1973) ("In these two months the British had taken 100,000 prisoners at the cost of 1,966 casualties." LIFE, p. 78, 13 July 1942) ("During Operation Compass fighting alongside 7th Armoured Division it achieved a decisive victory at Sidi Barrani at the cost of 700 casualties, following which Western Desert Force advanced 500 miles ... and took more than 100,000 prisoners of war." The Indian Army in the Two World Wars, Kaushik Roy, p. 229, BRILL, 2011)

18 December - British submarine HMS 'Triton' is sunk in the Adriatic by Italian Destroyer Escorts.

21 December - An Italian rifle company active in the area of the Australian 2/2nd Battalion gets within 1,600 metres of the entrenched Australian unit before being discovered and forced to retire. ("On 21 December after an aerial bombardment of the 2/2 Battalion area, an Italian infantry company emerged from the fortress and approached to within 1600 metres of the Australian position." Bardia: Myth, Reality and the Heirs of Anzac, Craig Stockings, p. 94, UNSW Press, 2009)

21 December - The Australian newspaper The Age reports that Italian fighting-patrols are active and that Australian "patrols have penetrated three miles into the Bardia's outer defences and clashed with Italian patrols at several points." ( ... 2407&hl=en CAPTURE OF BARDIA EXPECTED SOON The Age, 23 December 1940)

Corporal Nazzareno Ganino of the 86th Infantry Regiment ('Sabratha' Division), later described the patrol actions of his division:
"I held the rank of corporal and was in charge of a small squad of about eleven or so men, our job was to go on night patrols into enemy held ground, either cutting wire or reporting on enemy activities or positions. Because of the nature of the work there was nearly always casualties, where one or sometimes more would not make it back to camp, either through capture or even death. We faced fear and sometimes lost our way in the darkness and featureless landscape, but I always tried to avoid unnecessary loss of life."
( Nazzareno Ganino)


Mid December - The Italians finally halt the Greek advance into Albania, but do not have enough reserves to mount a counteroffensive until March and April 1941.

18 December - British Warships bombards the Albanian Port of Valona.


23 December - The RM Rosalino Pilo-Class Destroyer 'Fratelli Cairoli' sinks after hitting a mine off the coast of Tripoli.

29 December - The Greek submarine 'Proteus' sinks the Italian Troopship 'Sardegna' off the coast of Albania, but.the Submarine is sunk when rammed by the Regia Marina Spica-Class Destroyer 'Escort Antares'.

Posts: 122
Joined: 15 Sep 2008 07:55

Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 23 Dec 2015 10:09

Image (Corfiot Italians welcome the Blackshirt unit that parades through the capital of the Greek Corfu Island in early May 1941 Sbarco a Corfù)

Image (Italian Blackshirts parade through the capital of the Greek Corfu Island in early May 1941 Sbarco a Corfù)

Image (Greek Battalion forced to surrender to the Blackshirts in early May 1941 Sbarco a Corfù)

Image (Greek officers and NCOs look on solemnly as POWs in early May 1941 Sbarco a Corfù)

Image (Greek carbines, machineguns and mortars of the Corfu Garrison captured in early May 1941 Sbarco a Corfù)

Posts: 122
Joined: 15 Sep 2008 07:55

Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 23 Mar 2016 00:59

'Parallelamente la 208a Squadriglia operava da Lecce contro i porti e l'immediato retroterra greco, affondando navi da carico (isola di Corfu, 14 aprile) e distruggendo ponti stradali (Perati e Dolia- nova: 14 aprile)."
(Stormi d'Italia: Storia Dell'Aviazione Militare Italiana, Giulio Lazzati, p. 141, Murzia 1975)


"Colonnello Guglielmo Scognamiglio Medaglia d'oro alla memoria, nasce a Napoli il 4 ottobre 1891. Appena ventenne si arruola volontario per la guerra di Libia da semplice soldato. Al ritorno accede ai corsi della Accademia Militare di Modena classificandosi fra i migliori. Allo scoppio della Guerra è sottotenente ed al termine del conflitto capitano. E' lui che comanda una compagnia del II reparto arditi a Bligny nel corpo italiano in Francia allo Chemin des Dames. Viene decorato con medaglia d'argento, di bronzo e croce francese. Rimpatria per ferita e viene poi destinato nuovamente alla Libia. Maggiore al 7° bersaglieri ritorna in Etiopia al comando di un battaglione del 3°. Il suo palmares si arricchisce di altre tre medaglie. Allo scoppio della guerra è al comando del 4°. Dopo il fronte francese una breve pausa e dal 9 novembre il reggimento è in Albania a fronteggiare la grave crisi di metà mese. Lasciato temporaneamente il fronte per malattia, viene richiamato a fine marzo 1941 contro il parere dei medici. Il 19 aprile all'inseguimento dei greci viene ferito gravemente una prima volta e barellato. Pur grave non abbandona la prima linea e a sera, a poche ore dallo scoccare del cessate il fuoco, una granata colpisce il posto di medicazione. Muore il giorno dopo all'ospedale di Koritza dove era stato ricoverato."

"About 25 miles south of Lake Ochrid, Koritza is a road junction whence a road leads eastwards to Florina, hinge of the present British-Greek line confronting the Axis armies. Fast columns of Bersaglieri on motor cycles and in armored cars entered Koritza at 12.30 p.m. today and captured "numerous prisoners and arms of every kind including several batteries of cannon," it was claimed. "
( ... 3178&hl=en KORITZA TAKEN ITALIANS CLAIM Recapture of Important Albanian Town Announced at Rome, The Montreal Gazette, April 15, 1941)

Image ( Domeniche del Corriere)

"For 48 hours the Serbs have been moving in wave upon wave through rain and snow against Scutari, on the southern shore of a lake of the same name, only to be mowed down by Fascist machine-gunners and scattered by Italian airmen, war front advices said."
( ... 5859&hl=en Serb Attacks Beaten Off By Italians, Schenectady Gazette, 15 April 1941)

Image ( ... ri%7Ctyped Pinterest)

"On 27 August 1941 the Italian air contingent, the Comando Aviazione del CSIR, made its combat debut: the Macchi MC200 pilots of the 22nd Fighter Group shot down six S-B2 Bombers and two I-15 fighters over Dnepropetrovksk. The Regia Aeronautica also helped the Luftwaffe to defnd the Dnepropetrovsk bridgehead against Red Army attacks. Italian airmen seldom provided support for their own countrymen however; the Comando Aviazione took orders from the Luftwaffe which sent them on missioons to support the fast-moving German advances."
(Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier , p. 109, Lulu Press, 2013)
"On this day the Italian airmen covered the Dnepropetrovsk bridgehead and in their first air combat they claimed six SBs and two 1- 16s, plus two probables each."
(Barbarossa: The Air Battle July-December 1941, Christer Bergström, p. 67, Midland/Ian Allan, 2007)

Image (,30 ... age,E.html Tribuna Illustrata 13 1942 - Guerra,Bersagliere salvato da Contadina Ucraina - Italiani attaccano Postazione Russa)

"On 27 September 1941 the pilots of 36° Stormo, taking off from Deciomannu, succeeded in damaging the 38.950-ton (full load) British battleship Nelson south of Sardinia,
and from the same Malta-bound convoy they also sank the 12,427-ton Imperial
(In the Skies of Europe: Air Forces Allied to the Luftwaffe 1939-1945, Hans Werner Neulen, p. 52, Crowood, 2000)

Image ( Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare Allo Bandiera del 36° Stormo Aerosiluranti)

"The CSIR also played a significant role in the capture of Stalino in October 1941, earning the praise of the German First Panzer Group's commander, General (later Field Marshal) Ewald von Kleist, and even Hitler himself."
(Germany and the Axis Powers from Coalition to Collapse, Richard L. DiNardo, p. 127, University Press of Kansas, 2005 )

(,31 ... age,E.html Tribuna Illustrata 31 1942 - Guerra,Fronte RUsso,Bersaglieri - Africa,Nostro Settotenente Medico,Medaglia d'Oro)
"On 30 December 1941 the Soviet 296th Rifle Division managed to capture Height 311.7 from the Germans, but this was recaptured the next day by the XVIII Bersaglieri Battalion, with tank support, in a surprise move."
(Three Kings: Axis Royal Armies on the Russian Front 1941, Patrick Cloutier, p. 140, CreateSpace, 2015)


"In Berlin, a German foreign office spokesman said "the great and decisive battle for Stalingrad has begun." ... Elsewhere on the Don front Russian counterattacks were reported "frustrated" by Italian troops."
( ... 9614&hl=en Nazi Tanks Forge To Within 40 Miles of Stalingrad, Daytona Beach Morning Journal, August 25, 1942)

Image (,30 ... age,E.html Tribuna Illustrata 34 1942 - Fronte Don,Bersaglieri contro Russi - Cinesi si arrendono a Giapponesi)
"On December 3d 1942 minor Axis offensives continued. Some British parachutists were dropped in rear of the Axis lines. It seems that they fell just near a place where a battalion of Italian Bersaglieri (special infantry type) happened to be, who report capturing the entire detachment of about 300 men."
( ... 43_149.pdf North Africa, Colonel Conrad H. Lanza, The Field Artillery Journal, 1943)

"In the last phase the Italians fought because they were defending their homes. They regarded Tunisia as an outpost of their own country, but ever since El Alamein the Germans wanted to get out of Africa altogether. They saw no chance of getting away. They were being heavily bombed and attacked from the front, and the sea was locked behind them. Therefore they surrendered."
( ... 6947&hl=en Nazis Had No Stomach for Fight At End in Tunisia, Freyberg Says, The Montreal Gazette, 22 June 1943)
"Two remarkable features of this Axis debacle were, firstly, that in the end, when the battle had obviously gone against the Axis, the Italians fought better than the Germans. The German morale collapsed completely towards the close of the campaign. Well-armed German units with plenty of ammunition and provisions surrendered in strong defensive positions when they could have fought for many days longer."
(The Conquest of Italy, Joseph Montague Kenworthy Baron Strabolgi, p. 17, Hutchinson, 1944)


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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 26 Mar 2016 13:15

"On 6 April the Yugoslav Third Army went on the offensive against Italian units located along the Yugoslav-Albanian border. It was the enemy's intention to capture Scutari and roll up the left flank of Italian forces engaged against the Greeks, but General Ugo Cavallero foresaw this move ... the Zetska Division advanced along the shore of Lake Scutari, toward the city of Scutari until 8 April, then paused until it was reinforced by the Herzegovacke Division on 11 April. But they got no closer than nine miles (15km) from the city, for the Centauro Armoured Division and the Guide Cavalry Regiment blocked the road down which they were advancing."
(Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 67, Lulu Press, 2010)

Image,89 ... age,I.html Italia 5° Reggimento Bersaglieri Disegno di Pisani NV

29.11.1941 (Point 175)
“About 5.30 p.m. damned Italian Motorized Division (Ariete) turned up. They passed with five tanks leading, twenty following, and a huge column of transport and guns, and rolled straight over our infantry on Point 175.”
(Infantry Brigadier, Howard Kippenberger, p. 101, Oxford University Press, 1961)

Image ... c7273c.jpg

04.12.1941 (Bir el Gubi)
"Although Norrie had an overwhelming superiority in every arm in the area of Bir Gubi, the failure to concentrate them and co-ordinate the action of all arms in detail had allowed one Italian group to frustrate the action of his whole corps and inflict heavy casualties on one brigade."
Decisive Campaigns of the Second World War, John Gooch, p. 100, Routledge, 2012)

Image “Young Fascists heroes of Bir El Gobi”

16.06.1942 (Gazala Line)
"The Italians finished mopping up the Gazala Line on June 16, capturing 6,000 prisoners, thousands of tons of supplies, and entire convoys of undamaged vehicles in the process".
(The Rise of the Wehrmacht: The German Armed Forces and World War, 2 Volumes, p.564, Samuel W. Mitcham, Praeger, 2008)

Image "Attacking the Gazala Line, 'Brescia' Division, 1942"

11.07.1941 (Tel el Eisa)
"That afternoon Italian tanks counter-attacked both Australian battalions in an attempt to retake Hill 33 near the coast. Maj. Gabriele Verri, commanding 11th Armd. Bn. of the Trieste Motorised Division, sent a company of M13 and M14 tanks into the assault under Capt. Vittorio Bulgarelli."
(War in the Desert, Neil D. Orpen, p. 367, Purnell, 1971)
"At approx 2000 hours enemy tanks–number unknown– and inf attacked D Coy front. They overran psn and enemy inf forced D Company to withdraw and occupied their psn"
(2/48th Battalion War Diary)

Image "Sergeant-major,7th Bersaglieri Regiment,Battle of El Alamein" ... amein.html

27.07.1942 (Miteiriya Ridge)
"We could see the Australians and British advancing rather spread out, about 750 yards in front of us, all in groups corresponding with their units. We ceased fire with the machine-guns — there was still plenty of time for them — but continued with our 47/32s ... When they got within 300 yards, we opened up with everything. The noise was terrific; you could only tell a gun was firing by the smoke and powder coming out of its muzzle. It was almost eleven o’clock. My tommy-gun broke down after about 3,000 rounds — ejector broken! The machine-gun also played up a bit after 5,000 rounds. But by that time the attack was beginning to peter out. The British artillery had packed it in. By midday it was all over. After the withdrawal, followed by our counterattack, the ambulances returned to start ferrying back the dead and wounded, but we got suspicious after an hour or so because they seemed to be hanging about too much. We fired a few shots over their heads to let them know it was time to break it up. They took the hint and went — and didn’t come back."
(Alamein 1933-1962: An Italian Story, Paolo Caccia Dominioni de Sillavengo, p. 87, Allen & Unwin, 1966)

Image "Trento Division strongpoint, El Alamein 1942"
The Bn was completely surrounded by armored cars which worked forward under cover of fire from enemy tanks further back, while 20mm, MMG and mortar fire kept the heads of our own troops well down. In this manner the enemy was able to cut off and dispose of sections and platoons one by one, until at 1030 hrs Bn HQ area was occupied by several armored cars and surviving personnel taken prisoner. An effort had been made to hinder the enemy armored vehicles by bringing Arty fire to bear on them before they dispersed. Unfortunately the only communication with Bde was by one wireless set WT repaired by Sigs, after about eight hours work. Messages reporting the situation were sent immediately once this set was capable of functioning, i.e., about 0930 hrs onwards. Last message was “All up, overrun!”
(July 1942 Diary by Lieutenant S. A. Walker)


26.10.1942 (Hill 28/Point 29)
"Attacks were now launched on Hill 28 by elements of the 15th Panzer Division, the Littorio and a Bersaglieri Battalion, supported by the concentrated fire of all the local artillery and A.A ... In the evening part of the Bersaglieri Battalion succeeded in occupying the eastern and western edges of the hill."
(El Alamein: Desert Victory, John Strawson, p. 119, J M Dent & Sons Limited, 1981)
"On the morning of 28 October, tanks, lorried infantry and some of the groups of men who had dug in after previous unsuccessful attempts gathered for another attempt to retake Point 29. The 2/17th Battalion, which had taken over the positions around Point 29, had suffered heavy casualties and eventually it was decided to pull the infantry back from the exposed height to better positions in the open desert."
(Pendulum Of War: Three Battles at El Alamein, Niall Barr, p. 360, Random House, 2010)

Image "12° REGG. BERSAGLIERI" ... 1666650712

15.11.1942 (Stalingrad)
"In spite of the unfavourable balance of forces - the 'Cosseria' and the 'Ravenna' faced eight to nine Russian divisions and an unknown number of tanks - the atmosphere among Italian staffs and troops was certainly not pessimistic.... The Italians, especially the officers of the 'Cosseria', had confidence in what they thought were well built defensive positions."
(All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-43, Jonathan Steinberg, p. ?, Routledge, 2003)


01.12.1942 ( Pont du Fahs)
"On 1 December the MILMART company attached to the 'Grado' Bn was used to reinforce a German detachment, fighting the regiment's first action of the Tunisian campaign against British paratroopers at Pont du Fahs; two of the Blackshirts earned Iron Crosses."
(Italian Navy & Air Force Elite Units & Special Forces 1940–45, Piero Crociani, Pier Paolo Battistelli, p. 31, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013 )

Image La Battaglia di Tunisia

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by carlodinechi » 19 Jul 2016 23:18

10.07.1943 (OPERATION HUSKY)

The American landings are seriously contested, with General George Patton nearly captured in a counterattack from General Chirieleison's Livorno Division, and the British hospital ship HM Talamba and the United States Navy destroyer USS Maddox sunk on 10 July, with only 74 survivors from the destroyer when Italian Stukas from 103° Gruppo and 121° Gruppo delivered the fatal air attacks.

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adult image upload

(Italian Air Force - Dive Bomber Badges ... mber.shtml)
Therefore, when Allied forces crosssed the narrows to launch Operation Husky on 10 July 1943, the dive-bomber response was entirely in the hands of the Italians ... The Regia Aeronautica had taken delivery of a bunch of Ju87Ds earlier in the year, but rather than re-equip their existing dive-bomber units, the 'Doras' had been used to form two new gruppi: 103° and 121° ... Still working up on Sardinia, the largely inexperienced crews were dispatched at once to southern Italy and Sicily to counter the invasion ... A bomb from an unseen aircraft struck the destroyer's stern, blowing it apart 'in a gust of flame, smoke and debris'. In less than two minutes she had disappeared beneath the waves ... The surviving Doras of 121 Gruppo were to retire back to Sardina before the Sicilian campaign had run its 38-day course.
(Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader of North Africa and the Mediterranean, John Weal, pp 81-82, Osprey Publishing, 1998)
Chirieleison's troops nearly reached Patton, who had joined a group of Rangers on the 1st Infantry Division front. Little did the Italians know that Patton was watching them from a house on the edge of Gela.
(Fighting Patton: George S. Patton Jr. Through the Eyes of His Enemies, Harry Yeide, p. 202)

16-20 December 1942 (OPERATION LITTLE SATURN)
Contrary to German efforts to paint the Italians as scapegoats, the Cosseria and Ravenna Divisions put up unexpectedly tough resistance, forcing Valutin to commit three of his four tanks corps before he finally got his breakthrough.
(Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front 1941-1942, Robert Forczyk, Pen and Sword, 2014)

image post
The attack at dawn failed to penetrate fully at first and developed into a grim struggle with Italian strongpoints, lasting for hours. The Ravenna Division was the first to be overrun. A gap emerged that was hard to close, and there was no holding back the Red Army when it deployed the mass of its tank forces the following day. German reinforcements came too late in the breakthrough battle.
(The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht and Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, Rolf-Dieter Müller, p. 84, I.B.Tauris, 2014)

Battle of Nikolayevka
Strong Russian forces had amassed at Nikolayevka in order to prevent the breakout ... In a day-long struggle, the exhausted Italian soldiers made repeated assaults against the Russians in the village. Failure was not an option ... not capturing Nikolayevka meant near-certain death in Russian captivity. The outcome remained in doubt until the evening, when General Reverberi of the 5th Alpini Regiment personally led an attack from atop a German assault gun. The Italians regained the initiative, and the combined attack drove the Russian force from the village. The breakout came at a heavy cost ... Among the many Italian fallen was General Martinat, who was killed while personally leading a charge against the enemy.
(Regio Esercito: The Italian Royal Army in Mussolini's Wars, 1935-1943, Patrick Cloutier, p. 164, Lulu Press, 2013)

image sharing

image upload Italian actress Sophia Loren (during the making of the war movie Sunflower in 1970, filmed in Russia) visiting the carefully maintained Italian war cemetery in what was then Italian-occupied Ukraine (with the names of the Italian fallen, their helmets and a Soviet monument complete with inscription) that the Kremlin authorities had approved in honour of the Italian fallen that not only had fought bravely but had also conducted themselves well against the Russian civilian population, saving hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from detention, deportation to slave labour camps and starvation. The Germans would have to wait for the end of the Cold War for their fallen to be identified and given proper war graves.

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by Idomeneas » 13 Aug 2016 17:21

Very poor sources for having the actual historical events, based on what . . . newspapers?
At least for the Grecoitalian war 2 points:
1) The Hellenic Army didn't captured Tepeleni on 13/1/1941. Actually never captured the town that remained on Italian hands.
2) The events on 20/1/1941 regarding the surrender of 77th Greek Regiment are actually opposite. During a Greek attack, on 17/1/1941, the 90th Regiment, captured over 700 men of the 77o Regimento of the Lupi di Toscano Division (including the commander of the regiment Colonel Menigetti). In fact there was no 77th Regiment on the Hellenic Army (at least in that period).
I don't have time to comment various other generocities about the Italian action.


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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by davidnichols3650 » 16 Aug 2016 01:32

Good point, the "Wolves of Tuscany Regiment" was indeed overrun, but that is most probably an error from the author/book in question not double checking the results he was getting from google translate.

However you calling into question newspapers of the time are fortunately shared only by a few that study military history. Become a member at your local library and borrow some detailed books to do with the Second World War and you will find that top military historians consult and reprint articles written at the time by Newspaper desk journalists and war correspondents risking life and limb on the battle-field.

Last time I checked Wikipedia to do with the Greek invasion, I discovered it had suffered a 'Greek invasion' for it was all Greek mythology (that Greece obtained the first Allied military victory and saved Europe in the Second World War by delaying the German invasion of Russia and that Greek Army emerged victorious in Albania, to the point that the Germans ordered the Greek Army not be interned in POW camps and the Greek officers be allowed to keep their side arms) not wanting to admit the fact the Greek Army ended in POW cages for leaving their back door wide open to invasion via the Metaxas Line with 14 Greek divisions pinned down in Albania fighting the Italians, and that General Archibald Wavell had to halt his advance against the Italian Army outside Tripoli and help defend northern Greece, thus prolonging the North African Campaign all because of the fault of the Greek commanders.

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by Idomeneas » 16 Aug 2016 11:55

Is it possible to define for me the exact number of divisions that the Greek commanders should have sent to confront the Italians in Albanian, so there would be adequate forces to defend the Bulgarian front and fight succesfully the Germans also?
You are saying that the Italian military machine in Albania was so useless, that Greece could keep them there with (lets say only 10 divisions), so another 10 divisions could be sent to the east?
It seems you don't understand that a 7 million population country, had eventually to fight against two of the Great Powers of the time, while her military forces were prepared to confront a Balkan army only.
If this is a fault of the Greek commanders, then Churchill made it worst, since he thought he could help Greece and ordered the Wavell to halt his advance.
Anyway my point was that we must not "believe" as historical facts whatever newspapers are writing.

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Re: Italy At War Day By Day: 1940-1945

Post by xristar » 23 Aug 2016 18:06

davidnichols3650 wrote:
However you calling into question newspapers of the time are fortunately shared only by a few that study military history. Become a member at your local library and borrow some detailed books to do with the Second World War and you will find that top military historians consult and reprint articles written at the time by Newspaper desk journalists and war correspondents risking life and limb on the battle-field.
Still newspapers and generally everything news-related are a poor source for research.
davidnichols3650 wrote:Last time I checked Wikipedia to do with the Greek invasion, I discovered it had suffered a 'Greek invasion' for it was all Greek mythology (that Greece obtained the first Allied military victory and saved Europe in the Second World War by delaying the German invasion of Russia and that Greek Army emerged victorious in Albania, to the point that the Germans ordered the Greek Army not be interned in POW camps and the Greek officers be allowed to keep their side arms) not wanting to admit the fact the Greek Army ended in POW cages for leaving their back door wide open to invasion via the Metaxas Line with 14 Greek divisions pinned down in Albania fighting the Italians, and that General Archibald Wavell had to halt his advance against the Italian Army outside Tripoli and help defend northern Greece, thus prolonging the North African Campaign all because of the fault of the Greek commanders.
So you replaced one mythology with another.

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