7th Infantry Division Lupi di Toscana
|7th Infantry Division Lupi di Toscana|
|Nickname(s)||Lupi di Toscana|
|Engagements||World War II|
The 7th Infantry Division Lupi di Toscana ("Wolves of Tuscany") was an infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. It was in 1938 formed as binary (2-regiment) division from infantry brigade in the city of Brescia. Despite the name ("Wolves of Tuscany"), the division was formed by men from Lombardy, especially from Brescia, Bergamo and the surrounding valleys.
The Lupi di Toscana took part in the Italian invasion of Albania, arriving in Durrës on 19 April 1939. Within 15 days, it assumed occupation duties at Pogradec-Korçë-Ersekë area until 20 December 1939. The Lupi di Toscana Division was held as part of the Army reserve in June 1940, during the Italian invasion of France. The Lupi di Toscana then took part in the Greco-Italian War where it suffered heavy losses after landing 5 January 1941 near Himarë. Hasty landing without heavy weapons resulted in run and division disintegration after encounter with the Greek 15th Infantry Division north of Këlcyrë. The Greek propaganda nicknamed the 7th Infantry Division "The hares of Tuscany". In details, initial attacks on Greek positions was made 8 January 1941 near Taronine, Përmet District. Tne Lupi di Toscana held nearby peaks until 12 January 1941, after which it has started to disintegrate. One of the infantry regiments was surrounded and annihilated 15 January 1941, while other units were shattered, and remnant soldiers have fled toward Qafa e Bubesit 18–21 January 1941. Lupi di Toscana was relieved of front-line duty 26 January 1941, and was sent to Karbunare to regroup. It was back to the front-line 2 March 1941, sent to protect Dragot bridge east of Tepelenë 12 March 1941, under command of 25th Army Corps. It was then assigned to the reserve of 11th Army, guarding the area of Lepenicë from 18 March 1941. From 19 March 1941, until 26 March 1941 it fought the defensive battle south-east of Tepelenë. 13 April 1941, the Lupi di Toscana was back to the offensive, capturing Mezigoran and Peshtan villages. Then it continued to advance toward Sopik in Gjirokastër District, reaching the Greek-Albanian border 21 April 1941. It stayed near Kerásovo, in Epirus region, from 24 April 1941.
The Lupi di Toscana soldiers returned to Italy in October, 1941. It was stationed initially between Brescia and Bergamo. In February, 1942, the Lupi di Toscana were transferred to Calabria province, to the cities of Cosenza, Catanzaro, Nicastro and Reggio Calabria, where it performed coastal defence duties. In August, 1942, it was transferred to Liguria province, between Genoa and Alassio. It took part in the invasion of Vichy France in 3–9 November 1942. First Lupi di Toscana were stationed between Menton and Nice with coastal defence duties. Following general advance of Italian army, it shifted later to Grasse and Cagnes-sur-Mer. At the end of the campaign it reached Fuveau-Rousset, Bouches-du-Rhône-Châteauneuf-le-Rouge. It was assigned coastal defense duties at Ollioules until 3 September 1943 when it was ordered to return to Italy. Before the Italian surrender to the Allies in September 1943, it was tasked with the defence of the Furbara and Ceveteria airfields around Rome, although only 3 infantry battalions and some smaller units had arrived in the area from 6 September 1943 until 8 September 1943. These units were still in Furbara and Ceveteria areas when Lupi di Toscana surrendered to the Germans.
Order of battle
- 77. Toscana Infantry Regiment
- 78. Toscana Infantry Regiment
- 30. Leonessa Artillery Regiment
- 20. Mixed Carabinieri Section
- 21. Mixed Carabinieri Section
- 7. Mortar Battalion
- 7. Anti-Tank Company
- 7. Mixed Engineer Company
- 26. Engineer Company
- 12. Searchlight Company [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 Factbook. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- John Carr, "The Defence and Fall of Greece 1940-1941", p. 120
- Wendal, Marcus. "Italian Army". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Paoletti, p 170