50th Infantry Division Regina

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50th Infantry Division Regina
Active 1939–1943
Country Italy
Branch Italian Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname(s) Regina
Engagements World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
General Alessandro Piazzoni

The 50th Infantry Division Regina was an infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. The Regina Division was a regular division of the Italian Army. It was formed 1 March 1939 at Italian Islands of the Aegean and dissolved in the same place 11 September 1943, although some sub-units have continued to fight until 16 November 1943.

Actions[edit]

The division was originally deployed on islands Rhodes, Leros, Kos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kalymnos, Kastelorizo, Stampalia, Patmos, with small detachments on other islands and rocks.[1] In 1940 the Regina was reinforced by 201th CCNN legion and 312th tank battalion. 20 November 1940, a two companies from 1st battlion of 10th infantry regiment have expelled Greek sailors who captured Agathonisi island the previous day. In the response of British Operation Abstention, the 4th battalion of 10th infantry regiment have recaptured the island of Kastelorizo 28 February 1941. In the aftermath of Battle of Greece in the early May 1941, the 10th regiment units of Regina division, stationed on Kos, have proceed to capture the Greek islands of Amorgos, Anafi, Ios, Naxos, Paros, Andros, Tinos, Kythnos, Kea, Serifos, Skyros, Mykonos, Samos, Ikaria. The capture have proceed without any resistance on the Greek side.

27 May 1941, a tactical group was detached from Regina (mostly a troops from Rhodes), comprising 1st battalion of 9th infantry regiment, 2nd battalion of 10th infantry regiment, 3rd company of 312th tank battalion, support artillery battery and anti-tank company armed with 65/17 light field guns from 9th infantry regiment.[2] This tactical group have landed on Crete near Sitia 28 May 1941 and proceed to rendezvous with German forces at Ierapetra 1 June 1941, fighting in minor clashes along the way.

15 May 1942, the Regina was reinforced in Rhodes by newly formed 309th infantry regiment.[3] 24 October 1942 the 331th infantry regiment (from 11th Infantry Division Brennero) was also transferred to Rhodes.[4]

Aftermath of Armistice of Cassibile[edit]

8 September 1943, the garrison of Kastelorizo have surrendered to British in the early move of Dodecanese Campaign. Some sub-units of the CCNN legions on Rhodes have joined Germans after Fall of Rhodes after brief fighting 9–11 September 1943. The rest of Italian garrison of Rhodes have surrendered to Germans.

The two infantry platoons and an artillery section from Regina division together with British 1st Bn, Durham Light Infantry and some RAF personnel have fought against the Germans in the Battle of Kos 1–4 October 1943.[5] Most of 3500 men of 10th regiment of Regina have surrendered to German without fighting.[6] The Germans captured 1388 British and 3145 Italian prisoners.[7] On 3 October, German troops executed the captured Italian commander of the island, Colonel Felice Leggio, and one-hundred-and-one of his officers. This was done in accordance with Adolf Hitler's order of 11 September to execute captured Italian officers.[8]

Also, 3rd Battalion of the 10th Regiment, with a cannon battery and a tank company, together with British forces, defends Leros during 12–16 November 1943 Battle of Leros. Finally, Italian garrison of Samos have surrendered to German forces 22 November 1943, after prolonged aerial bombardment.

Orders of battle[edit]

Order of battle (1940)[edit]

  • 9. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
    • 2. Infantry battalion
    • 3. Infantry battalion
    • 4. Infantry battalion
    • 1a Mortar company
    • 2a Mortar company
    • Support artillery battery
  • 10. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
    • 2. Infantry battalion
    • 3. Infantry battalion
    • 4. Infantry battalion
    • 1a Mortar company
    • 2a Mortar company
    • Support artillery battery
  • 24. CCNN Legion
  • 201. CCNN Legion
    • 201. CCNN Battalion
    • 301. CCNN Battalion
    • 201a CCNN machine gun company
    • 1a CCNN assault mortar company
    • 2a CCNN assault mortar company
  • 50. Aritllery regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Artillery group
    • 2. Artillery group
    • 3. Artillery group
  • 36. Coastal defence artillery group
  • 50. Mortar Battalion (da 81)
  • 50. Machine gun company
  • 50. Anti-tank company (47/32)
  • 23a Anti-tank company (47/32)
  • 91. Pioneer Company
  • 250. Pioneer Company (repair workshop)
  • 46. Mixed telegraph/radio signal company
  • Chemical warfare company
  • Army corps detachments to division
    • Carabinieri group "Aegean"
    • Defence sector "Dodecanese" HQ
    • Machine gun companies (total 18 companies dispersed on various islands)
    • 312 Mixed tank battalion
    • 35 Coastal defence artillery group
    • 56. Anti-aircraft artillery group
    • Various engineer detachments[nb 1][2]

Order of battle (early 1943)[edit]

  • 9. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
    • 2. Infantry battalion
    • 3. Infantry battalion
    • 4. Infantry battalion
    • 1a Mortar company
    • 2a Mortar company
    • Support artillery battery
  • 10. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
    • 2. Infantry battalion
    • 3. Infantry battalion
    • 4. Infantry battalion
    • 1a Mortar company
    • 2a Mortar company
    • Support artillery battery
  • 309. Infantry regiment "Regina"
  • 331. Infantry regiment "Brennero"
  • 201. CCNN Legion
    • 201. CCNN Battalion
    • 301. CCNN Battalion
  • 50. Aritllery regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Artillery group
    • 2. Artillery group
    • 3. Artillery group
  • 50. Mortar Battalion (da 81)
  • 50. Chemical warfare battalion
  • Tactical fast reaction unit
  • Machine gun companies (total 16-18 companies dispersed on various islands)
  • Mortar company (Brixia Model 35 45mm)
  • Mortar company (5 cm Granatwerfer 36)
  • 312 Tank battalion (1 company detached)
  • Various engineer detachments

Order of battle (late 1943)[edit]

  • 9. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
      • 1a Infantry company
      • 2a Infantry company
      • 3a Infantry company
      • 4a Infantry company
    • Special forces company
    • 2. Infantry battalion
      • 9a Machine gun company
    • 3. Infantry battalion
      • 1a Mortar company
      • 2a Mortar company
        • 1. Platoon (infantry?)
  • 10. Infantry regiment "Regina"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
      • Mortar company
    • 2. Infantry battalion
    • 3. Infantry battalion
      • 9a Infantry company
      • 10a Infantry company
      • 12a Infantry company
    • 5. Infantry battalion
      • 1a Mortar company (da 81)
      • 2a Mortar company (da 81)
  • Support artillery battery
  • 17a Fusilier company
  • 10. Machine gun company
  • 50. Aritllery regiment "Regina"
    • 5. Artillery group
    • 36. Artillery group
  • 309. Infantry regiment "Regina"
  • 201. CCNN Legion
  • 252a Anti-aircraft artillery company
  • 36. Coastal defence artillery group
    • 81. Artillery group
    • 31. Artillery group
  • 136° Battery from 29th Artillery group
  • 295a Machine gun battery
  • 6a Machine gun company
  • 31. Infantry regiment "Siena"
  • 331. Infantry regiment "Brennero"
    • 1. Infantry battalion
  • 24. Artillery regiment (originating from 11th Infantry Division Brennero)
    • 2 Artillery groups (unknown composition)

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.[9]
Citations
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2008). A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98505-9. 
  • Jowett, Phillip. The Italian Army 1040-45 (3): Italy 1943-45. Osprey Publishing, Westminster. ISBN 978-1-85532-866-2.