16th Motorised Division Pistoia
|16th Motorised Division Pistoia|
|Active||1940 - 1943|
|Country|| Regno d'Italia
Kingdom of Italy
Royal Italian Army
|Engagements||World War II|
|Pistoia Division collar insignia|
The Pistoia division was mobilized in June 1940 as an infantry division and was sent to the French border and held in reserve for the Italian First Army. Original deployment was in the Varaita Valley.. 20 June, 1940, the Pistoia division was transferred to the Maddalena Pass, with only artillery regiment ending up at occupied French territory by July, 1940. 10 October 1941, the Pistoia division was motorised and sent to Athens, Greece in the end of July, 1942.
Fighting in North Africa
In September, 1942, it has began transferring to the positions in North Africa at border with Egypt, finally taking responsibility of the Bardia-Sallum-Naqb al Halfayah defensive line. It failed to hold the positions after the severe British attack starting 11 November, 1942. After a long retreat, it was able to re-establish defence line af Mareth, from 4 February, 1943. 6 March, 1943, the Pistoia division has attacked the British positions en masse with the goal to disrupt British offence preparations and trigger a premature counter-offence, as a part of a Battle of Medenine. After the attack failure, the Pistoia division has fallen back to the Mareth line, leaving previous positions without a fight. When the British has started the heavy attack 19 March, 1943, it held the positions until 25 March, 1943, but than retreated to El Hamma under the threat of being outflanked. The Pistoia division was targeted again by British forces 5 April, 1943, and again started to retreat 7 April, 1943. By the time it it reached to Enfidha 13 April, 1943, the division was severely decimated. After a few days, despite some successful counter-attacks at the west of Takrunah (Takrouna) road junction, the Allies has effectively put Pistoia division under siege. The last of it's positions were overrun by 13 May, 1943.
It was reforming in northern Italy in September 1943 when it was disbanded by the Germans.
Order of battle
- 35. Pistoia Infantry Regiment
- 36. Pistoia Infantry Regiment
- 3. Fossalta Artillery Regiment (mot)
- 16. Mortar Battalion
- 16. Anti-Tank Company
- 51. Engineer Battalion
- 111. Medical Section
- 210. Motor Transport Section
- 120. Supply Section
- 50. Bakery 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 (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.
- Mulholland, John. "Axis Order of Battle 10 June 1940 - The Italian Invasion of France". Axis History. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- endel, Marcus. "Italian Army". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Paoletti, p 170