44th Infantry Division Cremona
|44th Infantry Division Cremona|
|Engagements||World War II|
General Umberto Mondino;General Clemente Primieri (1943-45)
In 1926 the brigade received the 88th Infantry Regiment Friuli and became the infantry component of the 20th Infantry Division Curtatone and Montanara. The same year the brigade was renamed as XX Infantry Brigade. On 24 August 1939 the 20th Infantry Division Curtatone and Montanara was split into the 20th Infantry Division Friuli and the 44th Infantry Division Cremona. The Cremona consisted of the 21st and 22nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Artillery Regiment and the XC CCNN Battalion Pisa.
In June 1940, the division was mobilized and took part in the Italian invasion of France as a part of the Italian XV Army Corps, but due to the quick German victory in the Battle of France the division was not involved in any operations before the French surrender. Afterwards the division was based as garrison unit on Sardinia. When Italy and Germany occupied Vichy France in Operation "Anton" after the Allied landings in French North Africa the division was ferried to Southern Corsica on 8 November 1942 to occupy the island, while the 20th Infantry Division Friuli occupied Northern Corsica.
After the armistice between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943 the division in conjunction with the 20th Infantry Division Friuli and French Partisans engaged in heavy combat with the German Sturmbrigade Reichsführer SS and 90th Panzergrenadier Division and the Italian 12 Parachute Battalion of the 184 Parachute Regiment, which came from Sardinia and retreated through Corsica towards the harbor of Bastia in the islands north. On 13 September elements of the Free French 4th Moroccan Mountain Division were landed in Ajaccio to support the Italian efforts to stop the 30,000 retreating German troops. But during the night of 3 to 4 October the last German units were evacuated from Bastia leaving behind 700 dead and 350 POW's.
After the end of operations on Corsica the division was sent as to Sardinia where the 90th CCNN Legion was renamed as 321st Infantry Regiment Cremona. In September 1944 the division was reduced to two infantry (21st, 22nd) and one artillery regiment (7th), armed with British weapons and materiel and renamed as Cremona Combat Group. The Cremona entered the front on 12 January 1945 as part of the British V Corps. When allied forces achieved a major breakthrough during the Spring 1945 offensive the Cremona advanced towards Venice to liberate the city, which the Cremona reached on 30 April 1945.
Order of battle
- 21. Cremona Infantry Regiment
- 22. Cremona Infantry Regiment
- 7. Curtatone e Montanara Artillery Regiment
- 90. Calabria CCNN Legion
- 44. Mortar Battalion
- 144. Anti-Tank Company
- 344. Anti-Tank Company
- 144. Engineer Battalion
- 44. Medical Section
- 54. Medical Section
- 54. Supply Section
- 17. Bakery Section
- 60. Carabinieri Section
- 251. Carabinieri Section [nb 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 of two Battalions was sometimes attached. 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.