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." https://web.archive.org/web/20100304032 ... 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."
(https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid= ... 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." https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid= ... 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." http://www.quirinale.it/elementi/Dettag ... 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." http://thercr.ca/main/index.php/regimen ... -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." http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peoples ... 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." http://siciliatoday.net/quotidiano/arti ... 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." http://www.pegasusarchive.org/sicily/depth_pressure.htm
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."
(https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid= ... 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) (http://www.naval-history.net/WW2CampaignsCarriers3.htm
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."
(https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid= ... 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." https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3 ... &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.
SPAIN and PORTUGAL
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." http://ww2today.com/3rd-september-1943- ... 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)
SINKING OF THE BATTLESHIP ROMA
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.
BATTLE OF CORSICA
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)
BATTLE OF CEPHALONIA
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. (http://www.custermen.com/ItalyWW2/ArmyO ... ianOrg.htm
Italian Military Organizations 1943-45)
P.S., WORK STILL IN PROGRESS