Infantry Division "Acqui" - September 1943

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hpt
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Infantry Division "Acqui" - September 1943

Post by hpt » 26 Sep 2005 08:18

The tragedy of the "Acqui" Division on Cephalonia and Corfu is well known, but what part in the massacre (if any) did the Division's Blackshirts play? In the spring of 1941 the 18th Blackshirt Assault Legion was attached to the "Acqui", formed of the 19th and 27th Blackshirt Assault Battalions and the 367th Blackshirt MG Company. But were any of these still with the Division when it resisted the Germans in September 1943? If so, which and what role did they play?

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 26 Sep 2005 14:50

difficult question for lack of data but it seems that the the 18th Legion had been reduced to the only 19th battalion in 1942 and that this battalion was retired back in Italy in late August 1943. This explains the apparent lack of blackshirt units on Cefalonia in September 1943

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Post by luigi » 26 Sep 2005 15:07

A further question is: how strong was the German force attacking the Acqui division? IIRC the debate is still hot on how strong and punishing the German air support was. I seem to remember that the attacking force wasn't really superior in therms of pure numbers, but rather that the common faults of the Italian Army (forces divided, lack of coordination/mobility etc.) made that the same attacking unit could sack and destroy little by little the Italian units by gaining local superiority. An Italian witness I read somewhere in the net recalled the Germans he saw while his journey to captivity as "exhausted".

Are there numbers about the relative strenghts? And in few words, if possible, how would you describe this "campaign"?

Thank you

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 26 Sep 2005 15:57

interesting question...the german garrison of Cefalonia was formed by the 966th Fortress Regiment (two battalions) and a StuG battery...about 2000 men at all of not so good quality. The invading force was formed by part of 1st Gebirgsjager Division, an elite formation, and of 104th Jager Division for a total of about 4-5 infantry battalions and some artillery in support.
Italians had substantially six infantry battalions, more artillery and no armor. There were more italians than germans but german troops were elite troops, better trained and well fitted. Italians were a garrison forgotten for two years.

The campaign lasted more or less a week: pratically the italians failed in destroying the 966th Regiment and this gave germans a sure beachhead where land reinforces. After that, using air supremacy and large use of Stukas, germans attacked, broke italian lines and started the slaughter...

hpt
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Post by hpt » 28 Sep 2005 05:20

Thanks to Lupo Solitario and Luigi over there in Italy for their helpful contributions.

I have emailed the son of an officer killed at Cephalonia who runs a website and hope to have his input on the MVSN presence on the two islands at the time of the massacre/campaign.

HPT

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 28 Sep 2005 17:39

well, I found a better source which tells that the 19th Blackshirt Battalion was at Prevesa, on Greece mainland in armistice days (and , incidentally, passed "weapons and baggage" to germans as soon as possible. It became an italian SS unit in successive months).
It matched the point that there were no blackshirt units on Cefalonia in September 1943

BTW could you tell us the site you name?

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Lornito Uriarte Mahinay Jr.
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Post by Lornito Uriarte Mahinay Jr. » 11 Jan 2007 10:55

Can anyone give me a list of all generals serving in Cephalonia at the time of September 1943? I know only two: Gandin and Gherzi. If theres other generals, what happen to them?

Baron

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Lupo Solitario
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Post by Lupo Solitario » 11 Jan 2007 11:58

None other AFAIK And, sincerly, how many others should they be in a forgotten second-rate half-division strong garrison?

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Lornito Uriarte Mahinay Jr.
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Post by Lornito Uriarte Mahinay Jr. » 12 Jan 2007 06:55

Well thanks! Can you give me infos about Italian generals who died in Greece and Yugoslavia during the war?

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