Sendo eu de origem Italiana, e tendo tido um avô que combateu na 2ªGM,no Norte de Africa, sempre tive, e como é natural, uma grande atracção pelo coleccionismo militar Italiano.
Resolvi hoje abordar a intervenção Italiana na Russia, entre 1941 e 1943.
No próximo "post" irei mostrar alguns "artefactos" Italianos desenterrados depois de quase 70 anos, vindos da Rússia recentemente, e que actualmente fazem parte da minha colecção. Estas "peças", depois de mostradas por mim, num Forum de Militaria Italiano, desencadearam em Itália, todo um processo de procura, dos familiares destes combatentes nomeadamente em duas das peças, pertencentes a dois soldados Italianos, e que ficaram na Russia para sempre..
Fica aqui uma breve história dos exércitos Italianos que estiveram na Russia, a combater ao lado dos Alemães: (em Inglês)
DISTINTIVOS E MEDALHAS ITALIANAS 2ªGM
«The CSIR (CORPO SPEDIZIONARIO ITALIANO IN RUSSIA) was formed in an attempt to provide a somewhat "mobile" unit to fight on a front where mobility was key. Two of the divisions were "truck-moveable" and one was a "fast" division. However, this amounted to more on paper than in reality.
The CSIR was created by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in an attempt to show solidarity with Nazi Germany after German dictator Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa and attacked the Soviet Union. Mussolini created the CSIR despite the lack of enthusiasm shown by Hitler. The CSIR was constituted on 10 July 1941 and, between July and August 1941, the various units of the CSIR arrived in southern Russia.
The CSIR included an Aviation Command (Commando Aviazione) with a limited number of fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft. This command was part of the Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) and was also known as the "Italian Air Force Expeditionary Corps in Russia" (Corpo Aereo Spedizione in Russia).
The CSIR was initially subordinated to the German 11th Army (11. Armee) commanded by General Eugen Ritter von Schobert. On 14 August 1941, the CSIR was transferred to the control of German Tank Group 1 (Panzergruppe 1) commanded by General Ewald von Kleist. On 25 October 1941, Tank Group 1 was redesignated as the 1st Tank Army (1.Panzerarmee). The CSIR remained under von Kleist’s command until 3 June 1942 when it was subordinated to the German 17th Army (17. Armee) commanded by General Richard Ruoff.
CompositionThe CSIR was composed of three divisions: the 52 Motorised Division Torino, the 9 Motorised Division Pasubio, and the 3 Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca d'Aosta. Torino and Pasubio were known as "Semi Motorised" divisions. What this meant in practice was that an assortment of commercial vehicles with company logos intact were pressed into service. The Amedeo Duke of Aosta Cavalry Division was a combination of traditional saber wielding horse cavalry and motorized units. Much of the division's artillery was horse-drawn. The highly-mobile riflemen (Bersaglieri) in this unit often made use of motorcycles or bicycles.
The initial strength of the CSIR stood at about 3,000 officers and 59,000 men, 5,500 motor vehicles, and over 4,000 horses and mules. The units of the CSIR were primarily lightly armed infantry, horse cavalry, and mobile riflemen. The Torino and Pasubio divisions were composed of two infantry regiments and a regiment of artillery. The Prince Amedeo Duke of Aosta Fast Division was composed of four regiments. Those regiments were: the 3rd Dragoons Savoia Cavalry Regiment, the 5th Lancers Novara Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Fast Artillery Regiment, and the 3rd Bersaglieri Regiment. As can be seen, the units of the CSIR represented a mixed lot and they were transported by truck, horse, car, motorcycle, bicycle, or, as was the case all too often, on foot.
While the Amedeo Duke of Aosta Division did include a small number of obsolete tankettes and light tanks (Fiat L3 or Fiat L6/40), and anti-tank guns (Cannone da 47/32 M35), there was nothing in the Italian arsenal able to effectively counter the numerous and technically superior Soviet tanks like the T-34/76 or KV I.
The Aviation Command of the CSIR had less than 100 aircraft. The CSIR had the following aircraft available to it: Macchi C.200 “Thunder" (Saetta) fighter, Caproni Ca.311 light reconnaissance-bomber, and Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 “Bat" (Pipistrello) tri-motor transport.
The CSIR included the "Special Intendancy East" (Intendenza Speciale Est) which provided the following logistical services: medical, commissariat, administration, artillery, chemical, horse and veterinary, transports, automotive, staging, mail, and telegraphic.
CommandersThe CSIR's original commander was Italian General Francesco Zingales. He fell ill in Vienna during the early stages of transport to Russia. On 14 July 1941, Zingales was replaced by Italian General Giovanni Messe.
For good reason, Messe was never satisfied with the equipment and support available to the CSIR. He specifically pointed out the lack of adequate winter equipment.
OFICIAL CCNN CAMISA NEGRA C.S.I.R (Participante na Marcia su Roma, pelos fascios vermelhos).Pelo rol de medalhas e distintivos, entre outras, combateu na Albania (distintivo em cima das medalhas),fez a "Marcia su Roma", Medalha de Campanha Fascista, Medalha 10 anos na Milicia MVSN,Medalha da Guerra na Etiópia, Medalha 1ªGM "Interaliada"...
FASCIO VERMELHO E DISTINTIVO SQUADRISTA
OperationsFor operational history of the CSIR, see Italian participation in the Eastern Front.
Italian Army in Russia (A.R.M.I.R)In July 1942, the CSIR was incorporated into the far larger Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR) when Mussolini decided to expand the Italian presence in Russia. The three divisions of the CSIR all became part of the ARMIR's XXXV Army Corps.
The ARMIR was also known as the 8th Italian Army and initially had 235,000 soldiers.
In July 1942, the ARMIR was created when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini decided to scale up the Italian effort in the Soviet Union. The existing Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) was expanded to become the ARMIR. Unlike the "mobile" CSIR which it replaced, the ARMIR was primarily an infantry army. A good portion of the ARMIR was made up of mountain troops (Alpini). While in many ways the mountain troops added greatly to the capabilities of the ARMIR, in other ways these elite mountain fighters were ill-suited to the vast, flat expanses of southern Russia.
Like the CSIR, the ARMIR included an Aviation Command (Comando Aereo) with a limited number of fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft. This command was part of the Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) and was also known as the "Italian Air Force Expeditionary Corps in Russia" (Corpo Aereo Spedizione Italiana in Russia).
The ARMIR was subordinated to German Army Group B (Heeresgruppen B) commanded by General Maximilian von Weichs. In February 1943, after its near destruction during the Battle of Stalingrad, Mussolini disbanded what was left of the Italian 8th Army and the surviving Italian troops were unceremoniously brought home from Russia.
Mussolini sent seven new divisions to Russia for a total of ten divisions. Four new infantry divisions were sent: the 2 Infantry Division Sforzesca, the 3 Infantry Division Ravenna, the 5 Infantry Division Cosseria, and the 156 Infantry Division Vicenza. In addition to the infantry divisions, three new mountain divisions made up of Alpini were sent: the 2 Alpine Division Tridentina, the 3 Alpine Division Julia, and the 4 Alpine Division Cuneense. These new divisions were added to the 52 Motorised Division Torino, 9 Motorised Division Pasubio and 3 Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca d'Aosta which were already in Russia as part of the CSIR.
The 8th Italian Army was organized into three corps: The XXXV Army Corps, the II Army Corps, and the Mountain (Alpini) Corps. The XXXV Corps included the three divisions of the CSIR: Torino, Pasubio, and Amedeo Duca d'Aosta. The II Corps included the new Sforzesca, Ravenna, and Cosseria divisions. The Mountain Corps included the Tridentina, the Julia, and Cuneense divisions. The Vicenza Division was under direct command of the 8th Army and was primarily utilized behind the front on "lines of communications" duties, security and anti-partisan.
In addition to the ten divisions, the 8th Italian Army included the 298th and 62nd German divisions (the latter being sent to Stalingrad), a Fascist Croatian volunteer legion, and three legions of Italian Blackshirt Fascist volunteers (Camicie Nere, or CCNN).
BAIONETA ITALIANA E PUNHAL DE MARCHA DA M.V.S.N
The Aviation Command of the ARMIR had a total of roughly 64 aircraft. The ARMIR had the following aircraft available to it: Macchi C.200 “Thunder" (Saetta) fighter, Macchi C.202 “Lightning" (Folgore) fighter, Caproni Ca.311 light reconnaissance-bomber, and Fiat Br.20 “Stork" (Cicogna) twin-engined bomber.
Italian General Italo Gariboldi took command of the newly formed ARMIR from General Giovanni Messe. As commander of the CSIR, Messe had opposed an enlargement of the Italian contingent in Russia until it could be properly equipped. As a result, he was dismissed by Mussolini and the CSIR was expanded without his further input. Just prior to commanding the ARMIR, Gariboldi was the Governor-General of Italian Libya. He was criticized after the war for being too submissive to the Germans in North Africa.
In late summer 1942, after participating in the conquest of eastern Ukraine, the highly-mobile riflemen (Bersaglieri) troops of the ARMIR eliminated the Soviet bridgehead at Serafimovič on the Don river. Then, with the support of German tanks, the Gariboldi troops repelled a Soviet attack during the first defensive battle of the Don.
Finally the ARMIR faced the Operation Little Saturn in December 1942. The aim of this Soviet operation was the complete annihilation of the Italian 8th Army, as a result of the fightings related to the Battle of Stalingrad.
CAMISA NEGRA C.S.I.R-A.R.M.I.R
Meanwhile on 17 December 1942, the Soviet 21st Army and the Soviet 5th Tank Army attacked and defeated what remained of the Romanians to the right of the Italians. At about the same time, the Soviet 3rd Tank Army and parts of the Soviet 40th Army hit the Hungarians to the left of the Italians. This resulted in a collapse of the Axis front, north of Stalingrad: the ARMIR was encircled, but for some days the Italian troops were able—with huge casualties—to stop the attacking Soviet troops.
The Soviet 1st Guards Army then attacked the Italian center which was held by the 298th German, the Pasubio, the Torino, the Prince Amedeo Duke of Aosta, and the Sforzesca divisions. After eleven days of bloody fighting against overwhelming Soviet forces, these divisions were surrounded and defeated and Russian air support resulted in the death of General Paolo Tarnassi, commander of the Italian armoured force in Russia.
On 14 January 1943, after a short pause, the 6th Soviet Army attacked the Alpini divisions of the Italian Mountain Corps. These units had been placed on the left flank of the Italian army and, to date, were still relatively unaffected by the battle. However, the Alpini’s position had turned critical after the collapse of the Italian center, the collapse of the Italian right flank, and the simultaneous collapse of the Hungarian troops to the left of the Alpini. The Julia Division and Cuneense Division were destroyed. Members of the 1 Alpini Regiment, part of Cuneese Division, burned the regimental flags to keep them from being captured. Part of the Tridentina Division and other withdrawing troops managed to escape the encirclement.
On 26 January 1943, after heavy fighting which resulted in the Battle of Nikolajewka, the Alpini remnants breached the encirclement and reached new defensive positions set up to the west by the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer). But, by this time, the only operational fighting unit was the Tridentina Division and even it was not fully operational. The Tridentina Division had led the final breakout assault at Nikolajewka. Many of the troops who managed to escape were frostbitten, critically ill, and deeply demoralized: the Italian Army in Russia practically did not exist anymore by February 1943.
Officially, ARMIR losses were 114,520 of the original 235,000 soldiers"The Italian participation in operations in Russia proved extremely costly. Losses of the 8th Army from 20 August 1942-20 February 1943 totaled 87,795 killed and missing (3,168 officers and 84,627 NCOs and soldiers) and 34,474 wounded and frostbitten (1,527 officers and 32,947 NCOs and soldiers).In March–April 1943, the remnants of the Army returned to Italy for rest and reorganization. Upon the surrender of Italy in September 1943, the Army was disbanded."