3rd Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca d'Aosta

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3rd Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca d'Aosta
Active 1934 – 1943
Country  Italy Kingdom of Italy
Branch Italian Army
Type Cavalry
Size Division
Part of Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia
8th Army
Nickname Duca d'Aosta
Engagements

World War II

The 3rd Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca d'Aosta was an Cavalry or Celere (Italian) Division of the Italian Army during World War II. The division was formed in 1934, and during World War II was mobilized in June 1940. As a cavalry division it took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia and was part of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia. Almost destroyed during the Red Army's attack in December 1942, the survivors returned to Italy in 1943 when the Division was disbanded.

Eastern Front

The Division was transferred to the Eastern Front in August 1941, as part of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano).1 It was reorganized as a light mechanized division in March 1942, with the addition of the 6th Bersaglieri Regiment from the 2 Cavalry Division Emanuele Filiberto Testa di Ferro, the 120th Motorized Artillery Regiment (which operated a captured T-34 as a command tank),2 the XLVII Bersaglieri Motorcyclist Battalion, the LXVII Bersaglieri Corazzato Battalion (two companies of L6/40 light tanks), the XIII Cavalleggeri di Alessandria Group (two squadrons of Semovente 47/32 tank destroyers) and an expanded complement of mortars and anti-tank weapons. The two cavalry regiments and the horse artillery regiment were removed from the Division to form the independent Raggruppamento truppe a cavallo and the San Giorgio Armoured Battalion returned to Italy.3 In April 1942, they were further reinforced when the Croatian Light Transport Brigade arrived at the front and was attached to the 3rd Cavalry Division.3 In August, the Bersaglieri Regiment eliminated the Soviet bridgehead at Serafimovich. In the same month, with the support of German tanks, the Bersaglieri repelled a Soviet attack during the first defensive battle of the Don.4 By late autumn 1942, they were placed on the left flank of the German 6th Army between the Hungarian and Romanian forces. The German 6th Army was then investing Soviet General Vasily Chuikov's 62nd Army in Stalingrad. The Italian line stretched along the River Don for more than 250 kilometres (160 mi) from the positions of the Hungarian 2nd Army in Kalmiskowa to the positions of the Romanian 3rd Army in Veshenskaya. The Division was destroyed during fighting on the Don River in December 1942.1

About half of the division remained which was formed into a kampfgruppe and continued to fight until February 1943. The survivors were withdrawn to Italy in March 1943 and the Division was disbanded after a brief resistance against the German forces in September 1943.1

Order of Battle August 1940

  • 3. Savoia Cavalry Regiment
  • 5. Novara Lancer Regiment
  • San Giorgio Armoured Battalion
  • 3. Autocelere Artillery Regiment (mot)
  • 3. Bersaglieri Regiment
    • 3x Battalions
  • 356. Carabinieri Section
  • 3. Transportation Unit
  • 7. Road Movement Group
  • 40. Post Office
  • 103. Mixed Engineer Company
  • 45. Field Hospital
  • 46. Field Hospital
  • 47. Field Hospital
  • 73. Medical Section
  • 93. Quartermaster Section
  • 213. Motor Transport Command
  • 872. Light Motor Transport Detachment
  • 873. Light Motor Transport Detachment
  • 874. Light Motor Transport Detachment
  • 36. Mixed Motor Transport Detachment
  • 7. Road Recovery Unit
  • Fuel Section1

The Division had undergone a level of mechanization. Each division had two cavalry regiments, a highly mobile infantry (Bersaglieri) regiment, an artillery regiment, and a light tank group. The squadrons of the cavalry regiments were horse-mounted and, other than a motorcycle company, the Bersaglieri were issued with bicycles. The light tank group had a total of 61 tanks. The tanks were typically L3s or L6s.5

References

  1. ^ a b c d Wendal, Marcus. "Italian Army". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=205441
  3. ^ a b Bohannon, Shawn. "Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia". Axis History. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  4. ^ Italian Ministry of Defence, 1977a. Valori, 1951
  5. ^ Mollo, p. 87.

Further reading

  • Dr Jeffrey T. Fowler - Axis Cavalry in World War II.
  • George F. Nafziger - Italian Order of Battle: An organizational history of the Italian Army in World War II (3 vol).
  • John Joseph Timothy Sweet - Iron Arm: The Mechanization of Mussolini's Army, 1920-1940.







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