Czechoslovak Legion in Italy

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Uniform of the Czechoslovak Italian Legion
Czechoslovak Legions in Italy

The Czechoslovak Italian Legion was born rather late during World War I. The first Czechoslovak formation was the Czechoslovak Volunteers Group (Československý dobrovolnický sbor) formed in Padua in early 1918. However, the foundations to this were laid much earlier in Italian prisoner of war camps. In January 1918, the headquarters of 6th Italian Army finally agreed to form reconnaissance squadrons from Czechoslovak and Southern Slav volunteers. In September 1918, the 39th Regiment of the Czechoslovak Italian Legion was formed from those volunteer reconnaissance squadrons.

The following regiments of Czechoslovak Italian Legion were formed in mid-1918:

  1. 31st Regiment in Perugia (Col. Ciaffi)
  2. 32nd Regiment in Assisi
  3. 33rd Regiment in Foligno (Maj. Sagone)
  4. 34th Regiment in Spoleto (Col. Gambi)
  5. 35th Regiment was formed in October 1918 from new Czechoslovak prisoners of war in Italy

The Czechoslovak Italian Legion formed two divisions: VI. Division which included 31st, 32nd, and 35th Regiments, and VII. Division which included 33rd, 34th, and 39th Regiments. Their total strength was about 25,000 men.

Czechoslovak Italian Legion was commanded by General Andrea Graziani and later by General Piccione. After the war, the Legion was repatriated to Czechoslovakia in 1919 and most went to Slovakia.