20th Infantry Division Friuli

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20th Infantry Division Friuli
20a Divisione Fanteria Friuli.png
20th Infantry Division Friuli Insignia
Active 1939 - 20 September 1944
20th Infantry Division Friuli
21 September 1944 - 15 October 1945
Combat Group Friuli
16 October 1945 - 15 April 1960
Infantry Division Friuli
16 July 2013 - today
Friuli Division Command
Country  Italy
Branch Italian Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Florence
Nickname(s) Friuli
Engagements World War II
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Flaviano Godio
Notable
commanders
General Giacomo Carboni
Insignia
Friuli Division Infantry Regiments Collar Insignia Mostrina 20a Divisione Fanteria Friuli.png

The Friuli is a division of the Italian Army since World War II.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

1938 to 1943[edit]

The 20th Infantry Division Friuli was formed on 24 August 1939 by renaming the existing 20th Infantry Division Curtatone e Montanara. The division was immediately split to create the 44th Infantry Division Cremona. It was a reserve force in Valle Germanasca and Pellice valleys during the Italian invasion of southern France in June, 1940. From the beginning of April, 1941, it took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 as part of the Italian VI Corps. The Friuli division was tasked to advance to the Gorenja Vas, Gorenja Vas–Poljane area. It opened fire 6 April 1941, and entered Yugoslavia 11 April 1941.[1] It reached Municipality of Loška Dolina and Municipality of Loški Potok 12 April 1941. The fighting ceased 18 April 1941, and 5 May 1941, the Friuli division was ordered back to Italy. When Italy and Germany occupied Vichy France after the Allied landings in French North Africa, the division was ordered to northern Corsica on 8 November 1942 to occupy the island, completing the transfer by 20 November 1942, while the 44th Infantry Division Cremona occupied Southern Corsica.[2] From 8 September 1943, to 4 October 1943, it fought Germans on Corsica, with prominent battles occurring at Teghime, Bastia and Casamozza. Afterward, the Friuli division was transferred to Sardinia to perform a security duties.

Order of Battle[edit]

As of its deployment to Corsica in 1942:[2][3][4]

  • 87th Friuli Infantry Regiment[5][6]
    • 87th Command Company
    • 1st Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 87th Mortar Company with 81mm Mortars
    • 87th Support Arms Company with 65/17 Field Guns
  • 88th Friuli Infantry Regiment[7][8]
    • 88th Command Company
    • 4th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 6th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 88th Mortar Company with 81mm Mortars
    • 88th Support Arms Company with 65/17 Field Guns
  • 35th Friuli Artillery Regiment[9]
    • 1st Artillery Group with 100/17 Field Cannons
    • 2nd Artillery Group with 75/27 Field Cannons
    • 3rd Artillery Group with 75/18 Field Cannons
    • 4th Artillery Group with 75/18 Field Cannons
    • 4th Anti-Aircraft Group
      • 35th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
      • 320th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
      • 356th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
  • 88th CCNN Legion (Blackshirts)
    • 88th CCNN Battalion Costanza Ciano
    • 96th CCNN Battalion Petrarca
  • 20th Mortar Battalion with 81mm Mortars
  • 20th Engineer Battalion
    • 52nd Pioneer Company
    • 20th Signal Company
    • 20th Chemical Company
  • 20th Anti-Tank Company with 47/32 Anti-Tank Guns
  • 26th Medical Company
    • 81st Field Hospital
    • 82nd Field Hospital
    • 83rd Field Hospital
    • 491st Field Hospital
  • 23rd Heavy Motor Transport Section
  • 13th Supply Section
  • 19th Bakery Section
  • 58th Carabinieri Section
  • 59th Carabinieri Section
  • 60th Carabinieri Section
  • 79th Field Post Office

Attached units in Corsica:

  • Territorial Coastal Battalion
  • Machine Gun Company
  • Bastia Garrison with 3 battalions [10][nb 1]
Commanders[edit]

1943 to 1945[edit]

After the armistice between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943 the division in conjunction with the 44 Infantry Division Cremona 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,[13] 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 garrison unit to Sardinia. On 24 November the 88th CCNN Legion was renamed as 387th Infantry Regiment Friuli.

In July 1944 the division was transferred to San Giorgio del Sannio on the Italian peninsula. On 20 August 1944, the third battalions in the 87th and 88th Infantry regiments were replaced by two Granatieri di Sardegna battalions and on 31 August the 387th Friuli Infantry Regiment was dissolved. On 20 September. the division was renamed Combat Group Friuli. On 5 February 1945, the division returned to front line duty as part of the Italian Co-Belligerent Army and replaced the 5th Polish Division Kresowa of the II Polish Corps on the Senio river near Brisighella. From there the division advanced with the Allies Armies to liberate Imola, Castel San Pietro and Bologna.[3]

Cold War[edit]

On 15 October 1945, the Combat Group Friuli was renamed Infantry Division Friuli retaining the 87th and 88th Infantry Regiments as well as the 35th Artillery Regiment; additional units were the 120th Mixed Engineer battalion and some minor support units. Initially the division was based in the city of Bolzano as part of the IV Military Territorial Command, but in 1949 the division moved to Florence and joined the VII Military Territorial Command. There the division was augmented with the 78th Infantry Regiment Lupi di Toscana, 8th Field Artillery Regiment and 3rd Light Anti-Air Artillery Regiment. Later the 3rd Light Anti-Air Artillery Regiment was replaced by the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment Piemonte Cavalleria.

On 15 April 1960, the division was reduced to brigade level, losing all its traditional regiments and receiving new units. See Infantry Brigade Friuli for the history of the brigade from 1960 to 2013.

Today[edit]

On 16 July 2013 the Italian Army transferred the Division Command Mantova from Vittorio Veneto to Florence, where the command was renamed as Division Friuli. The division took the name and traditions of all preceding units named Friuli. The Friuli Division now commands of the following brigades in Northern Italy:

See also[edit]

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 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.[11]
Citations
  • Macksey, Major Kenneth (1971). Beda Fomm: Classic Victory. Ballentine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century, Battle Book Number 22. Ballantine Books. 
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2008). A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98505-9.