158 Infantry Division Zara

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GLADIVM
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158 Infantry Division Zara

Post by GLADIVM » 22 Sep 2004 06:06

The 158 Infantry Division Zara , was formed in Sept 1942 with IR 291 & 292
plus artillery reg 158 and based in Zara (Zadar ) , C.O. was Maj Gen Viale ,
158 ID was a garrison division part of XVIII Corps ( HQ Spalato "Split" ) and
engaged in the protection of Zara hinterland from partisan's attacks .
The force of 158 ID in late 1942 was around 260 Officers & 4,296 OR .
On 8 sept 43 158ID choose not to resist germans or croats forces but keep arms against any possible partisans action and on 10 Sept surrendered to germans .

I would like to know more about this division and would be oblidged if anyone can supply additional infos about its actions and structure .

Yours

GLADIVM

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 22 Sep 2004 23:44

"Tito gained perhaps 30,000 Italian volunteers throughout Yugoslavia, a large part of them from the Zara Division, many of whose men had been Yugoslavian citizens only 29months earlier"

"When the Germans attacked the Zara Division, there were few Italians left with it who cared to resist. Most gave up at once or actually welcomed the Germans as liberators"

Source: The Forgotten Axis (Germany's Partners & Foriegn Volunteers in WW2) by J Lee Ready

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Post by Andy H » 22 Sep 2004 23:50

Commanded by BGeneral Carlo Viale
Originally formed as a Brigade in August 1940, and upgraded to a division in March'42. Composed of second line troops. In addition to those units already stated with the OoB, it also contained 107thCNN Legion, 30th Eng Btn (258th Sig Co & 158th Pioneer Co). Included many Dalmations who joined the Partisans

Source: Italian Army Order of Battle: 1940-44 by W.V.Madeja

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GLADIVM
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Post by GLADIVM » 24 Sep 2004 06:48

Hi Andy ,

Other sources mention that most of Zara soldiers joined the Germans and not the partisans , might be Italian nationals
Also it seems that there was not fighting of the Zara and Sebenik italian garrisons and germans but that Italians were waiting Germans (preferred to Croats) in order to avoid occupation by Tito's bands .

It seems that many of Zara soldiers where recruited between local population , would you know of any italian policy on this regard ?

And did Zara partecipated to any anti-partisan sweeps or just stayed in and around town to provide a sort of local gaurd ?

Thanks for any help

Yours

GLADIVM

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 24 Sep 2004 17:01

It may be worth your while contacted the poster below, he may well have some more well defined information

profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=4028

In regards to the Divisions manpower, I think it most likely that those of Italian descent went over or surrendered to the Germans, whilst those of Dalmation etc descent joined the Partisans

Andy H
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DrG
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Post by DrG » 24 Sep 2004 19:22

To the Zara division were attached also two battalions of the MVAC (commander: col. Eugenio Morra, chief of the military office of the governor of Dalmatia), divided into 9 bands (BAC) for a total of 1,500 men. These units of the MVAC had been created on 23 June 1942 thanks to an agreement with the chetnik vojvoda Ilija Trifunovic-Bircanin.
The XXII battalion (orthodox) had the BAC n.4 and 5, the XX btg. (catholic) the BAC n.1-3 and 6-8. The BAC n.9, a unit made of Italians of Dalmatia, instead was autonomous and was placed in Sebenico.
On 28 Feb. 1943 the total of men of the MVAC within the govern of Dalmatia (except Cattaro) was 882, plus 8,137 men in Croatia in the areas occupied by the XVIII Army Corps.
My info is from pages 371, 372, 523 of Davide Rodogno, "Il nuovo ordine mediterraneo", Bollati-Boringhieri, 2003; Gladivm, may you suggest me other books about the Zara div. and more generally the war in Yugoslavia, please?

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Post by GLADIVM » 27 Sep 2004 07:16

Dear Dr. G. ,
unfortunately I cannot give any suggestion of particular books talking about 158 ID Zara as I could not find any source who makes more than passing reference to it .
For the Yugoslavia campaign in general I will check and revert later .

Yours

GLADIVM

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Post by Andy H » 27 Sep 2004 10:35

and more generally the war in Yugoslavia


I'm sure you know of this book, but anyway:-
"Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete" by C.Shores, B.Cull and N.Malizia

Andy h

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 27 Sep 2004 11:07

Thank you Andy H, although I knew that book I wish to focus more on land operations.
On my own bookshelves I have these books currently:
P. Crociani, "Gli albanesi nelle Forze Armate Italiane (1939-1943)", USSME: it's about Albanians in the Italian forces, a few references to Yugoslavia.
M. Cuzzi, "L'occupazione italiana della Slovenia", USSME: I've not read it yet, but from what I've seen it is very detailed (moreover it has been published by the Historical Office of the Italian Army, the USSME).
M. Dassovich, "Fronte jugoslavo 1941-'42", Del Bianco: interesting for political history, far less for military (there is also a volume for the year 1943, but currently I haven't it).
F. Fatutta, "La campagna di Jugoslavia", Italia Editrice: a book good only for its illustrations and a few interesting maps.
M. Montanari, "L'Esercito Italiano nella campagna di Grecia", USSME: about the Greek campaign, but there is a chapter about the operations against Yugoslavia on the Albanian front in April 1941.
G. Scotti - L. Viazzi, "Occupazione e guerra italiana in Montenegro", Mursia: I've not read it yet. It's mostly about anti-partizan war in Montenegro, but I see there aren't OOBs or other interesting details about military history, mostly based on personal accounts of soldiers and partizans.
G. Vignoli, "La vicenda italo-montenegrina", ECIG: few information, only about political-dynstastic matters in Montenegro.

The only book that should be perfectly detailed about military history of the Italian Army in Yugoslavia in WW2 is S. Loi, "Le operazioni delle unità italiane in Jugoslavia (1941-1943)", USSME, 1978. The only "little" problem is that it's no more in print and is sold out: it's pratically impossible to find it. :(

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Citta di Zara

Post by Octavianus » 27 Sep 2004 13:33

M. Cuzzi, "L'occupazione italiana della Slovenia", USSME: I've not read it yet, but from what I've seen it is very detailed (moreover it has been published by the Historical Office of the Italian Army, the USSME).


I have read Cuzzi's book. It is good book as it does contain a lot of interesting information, mostly of military nature, what is good. But the author I am afraid has no idea about geography of Slovenia. Half of the places he named in his book I couldn't find. I wouldn't say if the would be italianized names, but they are are sometimes so butchered, that you cannot recognize whether the author "had on his mind Ribnica (Reifnitz) or Ljubljana (Laibach)".

But speaking of Zara mr. G do you know perhaps of any books that talk about the history of Zara between 1919-1943 and particularly about Zaratini which served in the Italian Navy and Army in World War II, Spanish Civil War and Abyssinian War? Did any of them write their memoires? I might be travelling soon to Zadar, so it would be nice to know... I am also looking for a map of Citta di Zara enclave. I have found a small one at http://www.dalmazia.it, but it doesn't show the entire enclave and it is very hard to see it for my old eyes because it is tool small.

Gratiam,

Octavianus

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Allen Milcic
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Post by Allen Milcic » 27 Sep 2004 13:47

Good day gentlemen:

Would books on the topic in the Croatian language be of interest? I own two books that take an inside look at Italian-Croatian political relations, occurrences, meetings and discussions from prior to April 10, 1941 until the surrender of Fascist Italy in September of 1943 - from an NDH perspective. One is based on the diaries of NDH Foreign Minister Lorkovic, the other is a biography of Croatian Field Marshal Slavko vitez Kvaternik.

Best regards,
Allen/

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Re: Citta di Zara

Post by DrG » 27 Sep 2004 17:33

Octavianus wrote:But speaking of Zara mr. G do you know perhaps of any books that talk about the history of Zara between 1919-1943 and particularly about Zaratini which served in the Italian Navy and Army in World War II, Spanish Civil War and Abyssinian War? Did any of them write their memoires?

I'm sorry, but right now I don't remember any prominent zaratino of 1919-43. About the map, there was one very good in internet, but now it's no more on-line and I haven't detailed maps of the inter-war enclave.

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GLADIVM
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Post by GLADIVM » 07 Oct 2004 05:58

Dear Dr G.,

unfortunately many of USSME older pubblications are very difficult to find but if you live in Rome or nearby , you could contact the USSME and make a booking for their reading room which is open daily in the morning from monday to friday .
Of course you need to wait for a few months because the room is always overbooked but with patience and perseverance can get inside .

for booking you can call 06/4735750 .

In case you are already aware of the USSME reading room , pls excuse my message .

Yours

GLADIVM

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Post by DrG » 07 Oct 2004 15:32

Gladivm, thank you for the suggestion, but I live really far from Rome (and no public library has that book about the Yugoslav campaign). :(

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Post by GLADIVM » 19 Apr 2005 07:21

For those who could be inetrested in further infos about Infantry Division Zara , I can add that
the division also had some units located at Sebenik (the already mentioned MVAC) Split , Trogir and a garrison force at Knin inland of Zara .

On 9 sept 43 the local 107 battalion CCNN " Francesco Rismondi " joined the Germans and later was transferred to italian mainland and become after re-organisation the GNR Battalion " Venezia Giulia " which fought against partisans of the so called Free- Repblic of Ossola .

Source for the the above is the book " Le guerre delle Camicie Nere " which must be said has prejdices against the Black Shirts being the author (Andrea Rossi ) from the other side of political spectrum but still has some interesting infos .

Yours

GLADIVM

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