148th Reserve Division (Wehrmacht)

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The German 148th Reserve Division (German: 148. Reserve-Division) was a German reserve infantry formation during the Second World War. It was made up of three infantry regiments (the 281st, 285th, and 286th) and an artillery regiment.

History[edit]

The division was used as an occupation force in southern France and fought in Italy in 1944 and 1945. Redesignated the 148th Infantry Division in September 1944, it fought in the Po River battles, surrendering to the Brazilian Expeditionary Division on April 28, 1945, after the Battle of Collecchio, near the city of Fornovo at Galano.

On April 28, the 148th Infantry Division´s forces were concentrated near the Po river. Trying to stop the Germans crossing, Lieutenant Pitaluga´s squadron, equipped with M8 Greyhound armored reconnaissance cars, opened fire against German troops who almost immediately blew the bridge behind them. Supported by a few Shermans of the 760th American tank battalion, Brazilian 3rd artillery howitzer groups with 105 mm and 155 mm guns, of the Brazilian 1st Company of the 6th Infantry Regiment (this regiment was commanded by Colonel Nelson de Mello), attacked under heavy German artillery and machinegun fire and set-up a defensive line four miles from Fornovo, on the line Gaiano–Segalora–Talignano. Near 9 PM a furious German attack was launched against Segalora, trying to break the siege to get to the city of Parma, where other German forces were concentrating, having been repelled by 3rd company, also of the 6th Infantry Regiment. On April 29, the Germans made another try to break the siege.

At this moment men of the 2nd Company of the 6th Infantry Regiment, (Major Oest), supported by American tanks, advanced to capture Felegara, which was already occupied by 3rd Company of the 6th Infantry Regiment and Pitaluga´s squadron. With Felegara surrounded, the siege was complete and the German forces retreated to Fornovo Di Taro´s downtown. Besieged, the Germans started negotiations to surrender all their forces to Brazilian command. These forces were from the 148th German Infantry Division, the remnants of an Italian Bersaglieri Division and the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division. On April 29 1945, the 1st Company of the 6th Infantry Regiment command post were located at Fornovo-Ponte Dogna; also present was the four-star General Mascarenhas de Moraes, Commander-in-Chief of the Brazilian forces. Representatives of the German forces showed up to start surrender negotiations. Colonel Floriano de Lima Brayner, represented the Brazilian´s forces; at 1 PM, 13 ambulances with 400 wounded German officers and soldiers arrived. They were immediately removed to the Brazilian campaign hospital at Modena. An hour and half later, another eight ambulances arrived with more wounded men. The first fighting unit to surrender was the 36th Regiment of the 9th motorized division. The troops laid down their arms beside the Collechio-Fornovo-Berceto Road. There were infantry weapons(PACs) of several calibers, 75 and 150 mm mortars, many kinds of vehicles, a column of 105 mm artillery pieces, 88 mm guns mounted on halftracks, 80 in total. There was also much ammunition of all types. Over the next 20 hours, 14,779 men surrendered to Brazilian forces, almost all of them Germans. Also captured were 4,000 horses, 2,500 vehicles and 1,000 motor cycles. Italian general Mario Carloni and Lieutenant General Otto Fretter-Pico with all his staff capitulated. The 5th Army commander, General Mark Clark, said: " A magnificent end to a magnificent campaign!"

Commanding officers[edit]

148th Infantry Division

Sources[edit]

Brazilian Army Archive