2nd Alpine Division Tridentina

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This article is about the historic Italian 2nd Alpine Division Tridentina. For the historic Italian Army brigade, see Alpine Brigade Tridentina.
2a Divisione Alpina Tridentina
2a Divisione Alpina Tridentina.png
Coat of Arms of the 2nd Alpine Division Tridentina
Active 31 October 1935 – 28 January 1943
1 January 2003 - today
Country Italy
Branch Regio Esercito
Type Alpini
Role Mountain Infantry
Size 17,460 men
Part of Italian Alpine Corps
1942-1943
Garrison/HQ Meran
Engagements World War II
Italian War in Soviet Union
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General Luigi Reverberi

The 2nd Alpine Division Tridentina was a World War II Mountain Infantry division of the Italian Army. The Alpini that formed the divisions are a highly decorated and elite mountain corps of the Italian Army comprising both infantry and artillery units. After World War II, the traditions and name of the 2nd Alpine Division Tridentina were carried on by the Alpine Brigade Tridentina, which was elevated to division command in 2003 and augmented to full division in 2013.

Order of battle[edit]

History[edit]

The division participated in the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union. Unlike the ordinary Italian infantry in Russia, the “Tridentina” were better supplied when it came to rations, but they lacked winter coats.[1]The men of the CSIR soon became disgusted with the behaviour of the German Army as an occupation force. One of the Tridentina soldiers, Arrigo Paladini, witnessed the massacre of 150 Jews by German soldiers on 31 July 1941.[2]The division was all but destroyed in Operation Little Saturn in 1943,[3] after the Alpini had initially brought to a halt a Russian attack on their headquarters and supply base in Rossosh.[4]

Today[edit]

In 2002 the Italian Army raised three division commands, with one of the three always readily deployable for NATO missions. The army decided that each division should carry on the traditions of one of the divisions that served with distinction in World War II. Therefore on 1 December 2003 the Tridentina Division Command was activated in Bolzano which carries on the traditions of the 2nd Alpine Division Tridentina and the Alpine Brigade Tridentina.

In the 2013 Army reform it was decided to abolish the corps level in the Italian Army. Combat brigades will from 2014 onwards come under the three division commands. The Tridentina Division will take command of the following brigades:

Together with the Mantova Division and the Acqui Division the Tridentina will come directly under the Armys Operational Center (Centro Operativo dell’Esercito or COE) once COMFOTER has been disbanded.

  1. ^ "The 15,000 men of the Ravenna Infantry Division received winter coats for less than 50 percent of their number, while the mountains troops of the Cuneense Division received only 3,000. Despite this, the Alpini tended to be better supplied than the infantry when it came to basics such as rations. A Cuneense officer, Veniero Marsan, arrived at the frontline and was despatched to liase with the neighbouring infantry battalion from the Cosseria. Invited to stay for lunch by his brother officers, he was horrified to be fed soup so thin that it resembled warm water with a few scraps of meat. He was too embarrassed to tell his hosts that when they had broth in their unit, it was so thick with meat and vegetables that a spoon would stand up on it." Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front, 1941-1944, Jonathan Trigg, p. ?, The History Press, 2013
  2. ^ "They preach 'civilisation' but we are becoming soiled by their barbarism. I used to admire the German soldier but from today he presents himself in a different light, that of a strong but profoundly barbaric warrior." Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front, 1941-1944, Jonathan Trigg, p. ?, The History Press, 2013
  3. ^ " The Julia Division, which had come to Russia with 16,000 men and 4,000 mules, had fought very well and had never been overrun, and had gone home with 3,200 men and forty mules. The Tridentina had a surviving strength of 6,500 men, the Cuneense only 1,600, and the Vicenza which had been in the rear most of the time counted only 1,300 survivors." The Forgotten Axis: Germany's Partners and Foreign Volunteers in World War II, J. Lee Ready, p. 248, McFarland, 1987
  4. ^ "The Alpini Corps deployed north of them were able to hold their positions on the Don until mid-January 1943 when another Soviet offensive drew them into the maelstrom of destruction. With Hungarian positions penetrated on 14 January, followed by German positions, the Alpini ended up with Soviet armoured forces at their back. Though they did stave off the surprising advance on headquarters and a supply base in Rossosh, the order to retreat was inevitable." The Unknown Eastern Front: The Wehrmacht and Hitler's Foreign Soldiers, Rolf-Dieter Müller, p. 85, I.B.Tauris, 28 Feb 2014

See also[edit]