Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Italian Assault Battalions

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Dub, Apr 28, 2001.

  1. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have seen an assault battalion mentioned in a couple of books. Can anyone tell us about these units and how they were organized?
     
  2. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    There were many kinds of: guastatori, "M", Arditi, etc...

    For a better answer, could you tell us more about what your sources tell?

    Thanks
    Lupo
     
  3. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know practically nothing about any of these units. Information about any and/or all such units would be enlightening. The Italian forces have not been adequately studied in the English language.
     
  4. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,734
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    I cant help you here. :( One problem of having the Victors write about wars, is that they always mention bad things about the Defeated, and dont include lots of information about their battalions etc. Its a shame really, there should be a neutral party that writes about both sides of a war...
     
  5. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dub, if you tell whatabout books are it's easier find which units were

    For example, if they are on El Alamein battle, it's been talking probably of 31st Guastatori Engineer Battalion or of 8th Guastatori Para Battalion

    thanks
    Lupo
     
  6. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    The unit that sparked my interest was mentioned in a book about Alamain by some Italian officer who's name I do not recall. I think this is the same unit that was praised so highly in Rommel's memiors.

    I did not even know there were any other units. I consequently want to be greedy and learn about ALL of them. Any information you can share with us would be greatly appreciated.
     
  7. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Sorry for long time but I've had a computer crash.....well, I think your unit is 31st Guastatori Engineer Battalion. Italian Army formed Guastatori units in 1940 on the example of german assault pioneers and their task was to assault and destroy fortified positions. IIRC the typical formation of a guastatori engineer battalion was on three assault companies of three or four platoon each. Each platoon included two assault teams and two covering teams. All personnel was volunteer. Only three battalions were formed, 30th, 31st and 32nd; all were destroyed in battle: 30th on Russian front and 31st and 32nd on North African.
    32nd battalion was dissolved for high losses after Tobruk and remnants were adsorbed by 31st which fronted british at Alamein. 31st fought hardly either on Ruweisat Ridge and overall joined its doom at Folgore Para Division in last Alamein Battle in November. In particular, 31st is known for having been the only unit of X Corps which reached Afrika Korps thru british lines. 31st continued to fight until the last in Tunisia.
    A large part of fame of 31st is dued to the personality of its commander, Maj. Paolo Caccia Dominioni, veteran of WWI and Ethiopia, explorer, painter and architect. After war, Caccia Dominioni will pass many years at Alamein recovering bodies of died in battle and collecting them in actual war cemeteries. He had also wrote his experience in some books which I don't know if they have been traslated in english

    bye

    Lupo
     
  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Hey Lupo-great posting. I have a question for you I want to ask. What are some of the Italian Bravery Awards that were issued in WW2. I know of at least three Italian U-boat Commanders who were Knights Cross Recipients. If you could let me know-it will greatly be appreciated. Thanks-Carl.
     
  9. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Excuse Carl....I've not understood: are you interested in the Italian Awards system or in italians who had received foreign awards?

    thanks

    Lupo
     
  10. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much for the information you have shared. The unit which had sparked my interest was the 32nd. The battle that wiped them out left them with only 16 survivors, yet they still held until relieved. Quite a unit!!!!! Please continue to enlighten us poor English speakers about Italian forces.
     
  11. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Dear Lupo: I was interested in Italian Medals and Badges for bravery. I will ask you at another time about highly decorated Italian soldiers. Thanks for the quick responce.
     
  12. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    well....italian awards for military bravery include four level of decoration, in upgrading order:
    war cross
    bronze medal
    silver medal
    gold medal
    Awards can be given to single or units (exactly "to unit flag"), alive or at memory. Logically higher the rank and more probable the "at memory" award...

    Another kind of award is the "Military Order of Savoia" (before 1945, now "Military Order of Italy)which has the form of Knight Order with five levels of dignity:
    Knight
    Officer
    Commendatore
    Great Officer
    Great Cross Knight
    and is given for "secure proofs of competence, responsability and bravery". Substancially is something for winner commanders while other awards are only for courage

    bye

    Lupo
     
  13. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Dear Lupo: thanks for the great info--much appreciated. I would like to see some photos of them-do you know where some are? :confused:
     
  14. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Carl you can find a lot on italian decorations at http://www.quirinale.it/Onorificenze/onorificenze.asp (it's the official site of Italian Presidence of Republic)but there's a trouble, it's only in italian.....anyway there are photos and list of decorates.
    To help you, a little dictionary:
    Medaglia d'Oro al Valor Militare-Gold Medal for militar bravery
    Medaglia d'Argento-Silver Medal
    Medaglia di Bronzo-Bronze Medal
    Croce di Guerra- War Cross

    Ordine Militare d'Italia-Military order of Italy
    cavaliere-knight
    ufficiale-Officer
    commendatore (i don't know how to traslate this)
    grand'ufficiale- great officer
    cavaliere di gran croce- great cross knight

    bye

    Lupo
     
  15. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    I forget ot tell....the site contains all the possible awards given by the italian state not only military ones...do't make confusion ;)

    bye

    Lupo
     
  16. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    Lupo: many thanks for this site. It was'nt difficult to tell the differences between Militery and civilian awards. Thank you very much, I have always wanted to know about some Italian decorations. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lupo, you stirred my curosity with your references to "M" and the Arditi. Can you tell us how these units were organized and what sort of missions they were given. Any information will be appreciated.
     
  18. Lupo Solitario

    Lupo Solitario Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well, let's see.....

    Historically "Arditi" (literally "Braves")were the name of italian assault units organized in WWI with a mission similar to german "sturmtruppen".
    In WWII Italian army command was hit by capabilties of British commandos, SAS and LRDG and decided to build an equivalent unit. To give it a name was decided to keep again the name "Arditi". The first Arditi battalion was built in the first half of 1942. It was organized on three companies: paras, swimmers and truck. Each company was trained for commando missions employing different way of approach. The operative tactics were structured on little indipendent teams. Real employment was slowered by decision to build a second battalion. The two battalions joined formed the so-called 10th Arditi Regiment and entered action first time in January 1943 in North Africa. In spring 1943 it was formed a third battalion. In June it was decided to group all the paras companies in new fourth battalion which had to be employed as central reserve. The IInd battalion was quite destroyed in Sicilian campaign. At Italian capitulation, Arditi units passed either with allies either with Germans

    Also Italian Air Force had organized an its commando unit which received the name "Arditi Distruttori della Regia Aeronautica" ADRA (literally "Breakers Braves of Royal Air Force"). They created in 1941 and their first mission had to be the invasion of Malta but mission was aborted and ADRA passed to execute commando actions behind allied line in North Africa. There were two ADRA battalions. ADRA were more politicized than average of italian armed forces and no surprise which largely passed with germans after september 1943

    "M" is an honour notation for Blackshirt units. CCNN units had given a very bad performance in 1940-41 campaigns (apart east africa) and to improve their effectiveness it was decided to concentrate better elements in assault battalions which were defined "M". Perofrmance of "M" battalions were effectively very good, best ones probably those of Legion "Tagliamento" which fought on Russian front in 1941-42 and which survivors were chosen to form Mussolini's bodyguard

    it's a resume but I hope it wuold be useful

    bye

    Lupo
    ADRA was
     
  19. Dub

    Dub Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2001
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you Lupo. The info you have given us is probably not available anywhere else in the US. It is a real gift.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    23,809
    Likes Received:
    1,354
    Location:
    Finland
    January 10 1943- The Arditi Regiment, in teams of 9 to 10 men, parachute in various places in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria for covert warfare duties. Although not as successful as they had hoped to be, they managed to destroy or damage the bridges in Bonira, Beni Mansour and Uadi Bouduvaou.

    Comando Supremo: Events of 1943
     

Share This Page