11th Infantry Division Brennero
|11th Infantry Division Brennero|
11th Infantry Division Brennero Insignia
|Engagements||World War II|
|Brennero Division collar insignia|
The 11th Infantry Division Brennero was a mountain infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. The Brennero Division was mobilized in October 1939, demobilized in October, 1940, and mobilized again in December, 1940. 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. It began transformation to motorized division in February, 1943.
It was made up of men from the valley to the South of the Brenner Pass (a rare case of an Italian Infantry Division whose name coincides with the place of residence of its members) and surrounding South Tyrol.
On 4 January 1940, the Brennero division was transferred to Pianezza and San Maurizio Canavese region. By 10 June 1940 it was moved to the border with France, first as reserve unit under 1st Corps command. Parts of Brennero division were used in front line from 19 June 1940, exploiting the breakthrough at Mont Cenis. The repeated attacks to mountain pass of Mont Cenis was not successful until 22 June 1940. The French defence was broken 24 June 1940, with Brennero troops capturing Lanslevillard and Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis. The total loss of life for Brennero was 18 men killed and 74 wounded, half of the deaths attributed to elements exposure.
The Brennero division has landed in Vlorë 24 December 1940, to support an ongoing war with Greece. It was subordinated to 25th Corps, 11th Army that time. Brennero has moved to Tepelenë area until 8 January 1941, with first fight occurring in Kurvelesh municipality 31 December 1940. The full contact with enemy was achieved 2 January 1941. 10 January 1941, the Brennero was used to reinforce the remnants of 37th Infantry Division Modena near Salari. The Brennero division has helped to beat off a Greek attack on Tepelenë from 9 February 1941 until 12 February 1941, having casualties about two thirds of total strength. From 7 April 1941 until 23 April 1941, the Brennero division has attacked in the Kurvelesh municipality, achieving breakthrough after 4 days of fighting. After the end of war with Greece, it was assigned to 3rd Corps, 11th Army to perform a counter-insurgency and police duties in Greece. One of infantry regiments was subordinated to 41st Infantry Division Firenze, and replacement was received in January, 1942.
The Brennero division was moved to Durrës area in February, 1943. It was subordinated to 4th Corps. After the Italian surrender in September 1943, it chose to side with the German forces. It was then split into smaller units and employed on anti-partisan operations.
Order of battle
- 231. Avellino Infantry Regiment
- 232. Avellino Infantry Regiment
- 9. Artillery Regiment
- IX Mortar Battaltion
- XXVI Machine Gun Battalion
- CDLXXIX Coastal Battalion
- CXI Mixed Engineer Battalion
- 99. Motor Transport Section
- 60. Supply Section
- 80. Wagon Train 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.
- Jowett, pp 5-6
- Wendal, Marcus. "Italian Army". Axis History. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Paoletti, p 170