2nd Mountain Infantry Division Sforzesca

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2nd Mountain Infantry Division
Active 1940 - 1943
Country Italy Regno d'Italia
Kingdom of Italy
Branch Flag of Italy (1860).svg Regio Esercito
Royal Italian Army
Role Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Novara, Italy
Nickname Sforzesca
Engagements World War II
Disbanded 1943

The 2nd Mountain Infantry Division Sforzesca was an Infantry Division of the Italian Army during World War II. The Division was mobilized in June 1940, for the Italian invasion of France. It took part in the Greco-Italian War in 1941. It was then chosen to be part of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia in June 1942, and was transferred to the Eastern front. The Sforzesca beat off several Soviet attacks in August 1942,[1] with the Spighi Battalion winning the admiration of the German officer attached to the division,[2] before also withdrawing. It suffered heavy losses in early 1943 and was withdrawn to Italy for reforming in March. It absorbed the 157th Infantry Division Novara, which had been a garrison division, and elements from other units.

It surrendered to the German forces in September 1943. Mountain Divisions are not to be confused with the "Alpini" (specialized mountain troops). The Mountain divisions had pack horse artillery instead of the usual towed type.

Order of battle[edit]

  • 53. Infantry Regiment
  • 54. Infantry Regiment
  • 17. Artillery Regiment
  • 4. Mixed Carabinieri Section
  • 5. Motorized Carabinieri Section
  • 53. Flak Company
  • 302. Flak Company
  • 2. Anti-Tank Company
  • 70. Anti-Tank Company
  • 121. Anti-Tank Company
  • II Divisional Mortar Battalion
  • 16. Pioneer Company
  • 2. Telephone & Radio Company
  • 1. Supply Company
  • 2. Command Transport Unit
  • 2. Transport Section
  • 569. Field Post Office [nb 1]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ An Italian Infantry Division normally consisted of two Infantry Regiments (three Battalions each), an Artillery Regiment, a Mortar Battalion (two companies), an Anti Tank Company, a Blackshirt Legion (Regiment of two Battalions). Each Division had only about 7,000 men, The Infantry and Artillery Regiments contained 1,650 men, the Blackshirt Legion 1,200, each company 150 men.[3]
Citations
  1. ^ "The first Soviet counteroffensive began on August 12, 1942 and is referred to in Italy as the First Battle of the Don. Three Soviet divisions crossed the river. Infantry Division Sforzesca was outnumbered 4 to 1 and had no tanks. It resisted as best it could. When it collapsed, Italian survivors held two strong points: Yagodny and Chebotarewksy. Chebotarewksy was overwhelmed, but Yagodny resisted. While the breach widened, the Yagodny garrison was attacked on August 20. It held and counterattacked from August 21–24, until ammunition ran out; and then the Italians faced the last Soviet attack with bayonets. Bersaglieri reinforcements arrived just in time and repelled the enemy." A Military History of Italy, Ciro Paoletti, p. 176, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008
  2. ^ "On 20 Aug., the Spighi Batallion defended its position valiantly and tenaciously, but eventually had to fall back ... When the counter-attack of 3 other battalions began at 16:00, I observed along with the divisional commander, the scattered remains of the Spighi Battalion. Some of them arrived with no rifles or equipment ... Their morale was badly shaken ... They tried not to let on at first." The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht and Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, Rolf-Dieter Müller, pp. 81.-82, I.B.Tauris, 28 Feb 2014
  3. ^ Paoletti, p 170
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2008). A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98505-9.