3rd Mountain Infantry Division Ravenna
|3rd Mountain Infantry Division|
|Country|| Regno d'Italia
Kingdom of Italy
|Branch|| Regio Esercito
Royal Italian Army
|Ravenna Division collar insignia|
The 3rd Mountain Infantry Division (Ravenna) was a mountain infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. 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. The Ravenna Division was mobilized for war in October 1939 in Alessandria.
They were part of the Italian III Corps, First Army during the Italian invasion of France. They also took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia as part of the Italian XI Corps. The division was one of the twelve divisions that served on the Eastern Front as part of the Italian Army in Russia. By mid-November 1942, German intelligence had spotted the massing of the tanks of the Russian 5th Tank Army across the Don River, yet a German officer attached to the Cosseria wrote, that the morale of the division and neighbouring Ravenna was confident considering all the difficulties. The division was destroyed in Operation Little Saturn, the Red Army's offensive operation which consisted of a pincer movement which threatened to cut off the forces attempting to reach Stalingrad. The 1st Guards Army and the 3rd Guards Army attacked from the north, encircling 130,000 soldiers of the Italian 8th Army on the Don and advancing to Millerovo. The severely (9:1) outnumbered Ravenna and Cosseria divisions have resisted all attempts of Soviet 63rd Army to penetrate their lines from 11 December, 1942 until 19 December, 1942, winning praise from the Germans, but eventually had to retreat after German reinforcements turned up late. The Ravenna division was in complete rout by 24 December, 1942.  The division was reforming in Italy, when Italy surrendered in September 1943, it then surrendered to the Germans.
Order of battle
- 37. Infantry Regiment
- 38. Infantry Regiment
- 121. Artillery Regiment
- 7. Mixed Carabinieri Section
- 8. Motorized Carabinieri Section
- III Mortar Battalion
- 3. Anti-Tank Company
- 154. Anti-Tank Company
- 51. Flak Company
- 303. Flak Company
- 71. Anti-Tank Battery
- 3. Engineer Battalion
- 18. Medical Section
- 7. Supply Company
- 3. Transportation Section
- 3. Transportation Unit
- 53. Field Post Office [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 (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.
- Jowett, Philip S. The Italian Army 1940–45 (1): Europe 1940–1943. Osprey, Oxford – New York, 2000, pp. 5–6, ISBN 978-1-85532-864-8
- "Invasion of Yugoslavia (6 April, 1941". Commando Supremo. Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- "In spite of the unfavourable balance of forces - the 'Cosseria' and the 'Ravenna' faced eight to nine Russian divisions and an unknown number of tanks - the atmosphere among Italian staffs and troops was certainly not pessimistic.... The Italians, especially the officers of the 'Cosseria', had confidence in what they thought were well built defensive positions." All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941-43, Jonathan Steinberg, p. ?, Routledge, 2003
- "During this phase, the Germans praised the steadfastness of Italian infantry, who held out tenaciously even in isolated strongpoints but eventually reached their breaking-point under this constant pressure. " The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht and Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, Rolf-Dieter Müller, p. 83-84, I.B.Tauris, 28 Feb 2014
- "The attack at dawn failed to penetrate fully at first and developed into a grim struggle with Italian strongpoints, lasting for hours. The Ravenna Division was the first to be overrun. A gap emerged that was hard to close, and there was no holding back the Red Army when it deployed the mass of its tank forces the following day. German reinforcements came too late in the breakthrough battle." The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht and Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, Rolf-Dieter Müller, p. 84, I.B.Tauris, 28 Feb 2014
- Wendal, Marcus. "Italian Army". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Mulholland, John. "Axis Order of Battle 10 June 1940 – The Italian Invasion of France". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Paoletti, p 170