37th Infantry Division Modena
|37th Infantry Division Modena|
37th Infantry Division Modena Insignia
|Country|| Regno d'Italia
Kingdom of Italy
Royal Italian Army
|Engagements||World War II
Italian invasion of France
|General Alessandro Gloria|
|Modena Division collar insignia|
The 37th Infantry Division Modena was a mountain Infantry Division of the Italian Army during World War II. It was formed 25 March 1939, from the parts of the Territorial Division Imperia 5a. It was made up entirely of men from Genoa and Liguria. The only difference between line infantry divisions and mountain infantry divisions was that the latter's artillery was carried by pack mules instead of the standard horse-drawn carriages. Italy's real mountain warfare divisions were the six alpine divisions manned by the "Alpini" mountain troops.
10 June 1940, the Modena division was placed at Sanremo city as part of Italian XV Corps., securing a border section from Monte Grammondo to north. The division has crossed a border 21 June 1940 near the Cima di Anan and mount Aine to east of Breil-sur-Roya, aiming to fortified pass of Col de Brouis and pass Col du Perus. 26 June 1940, the Modena division was recalled to Belluno.
After the invasion of France the Modena was sent to Albania and joined the Italian XXV Corps which took part in the Greco-Italian War. It was gathered on staging grounds of Derviçian south of Gjirokastër, together with 47th Infantry Division Bari on right flank of 23rd Infantry Division Ferrara. It has relived the embattled 23rd Infantry Division Ferrara on 3 December 1940. The Modena division was able to repel the initial Greek attack on Maja e Buzë Derrit until 6 December 1940. But the Greek have shifted attacks to Progonat-Golëm sector 12 December 1940, immediately making a dangerous breakthroughs. Reserves were brought to front-line and all initial positions were regained by night - to no avail. The Italian positions at mountain pass of Golëm has been overrun by Greek 13 December 1940. The Greek forces have advanced over 10 kilometers to mount Mali i Pleshevices, which barely held off the attack. 15 December 1940, the Modena division have lost Progonat. At about the same time, the loss of mount Maja e Buzë Derrit by Modena have endangered the positions of the remnants of 23rd Infantry Division Ferrara on left flank, forcing Ferrara to perform a numerous costly counter-attacks. 19 December 1940, the Modena made a stand between Gusmar and Lekdush villages in Kurvelesh municipality, managing to stop a Greek advance. The positions of Modena were reinforced at the north by 232th regiment of 11th Infantry Division Brennero 10 January 1941, and later, during defence of Tepelenë, by 18th regiment of 33rd Mountain Infantry Division Acqui.
In January–February, 1941, the Modena division found itself holding a nearly impassable terrain. Although it simplified defence, the supply was also inadequate, with large fraction of supplies delivered by aircraft. 9–10 March 1941, the Modena division have performed a diversion attacks near Progonat to tie up an opposing Greek units and prevent reinforcements reaching Kolonjë, Gjirokastër, where other Italian units have made a main strike. As Greek resistance collapsed, the Modena division have advanced to Golëm and Mali i Thate, Tepelenë District, 13–14 April 1941.
Occupation of Greece
After the Greek surrender it remained in Greece as an occupying force in the Epirus area, from Ioannina to Preveza. Its duties have included the defence of the Preveza airstrip. Following the Armistice of Cassibile 8 September 1943, the Modena division have disintegrated under unclear circumstances and was officially dissolved 21 September 1943.
Order of battle
- 41. Modena Infantry Regiment
- 42. Modena Infantry Regiment
- 341. Infantry Regiment
- 29. Cosseria Artillery Regiment
- 36. Cristoforo Colombo CCNN Battalion (Blackshirts)
- 37. Mortar Battalion
- 37. Anti-Tank Company
- 37. Signal Company
- 76. Signal Company
- 19. Pioneer Company
- 48. Medical Section
- 10. Field Bakery
- 15. 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), and 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, and each company had 150 men.
- "Invasion of France (20 June 1940)". Commando Supemo. Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- "Italian Army". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
- Paoletti, p 170