Thursday, July 29, 2010

East Front Italians for Troops, Weapons and Tactics

Now that "With Fire and Sword" is published, I have been looking for a new research project. I decided to go back to the Second World War and look at the early Italian actions on the Eastern Front.

I am looking at the actions from August to October 1941 that were fought by the Pasubio Division. I purchased awhile back two regimental histories from this division 79th & 80th Roma Regiments. Lots of good information - if you speak Italian. Which I do not. But that is ok. I am not easily discouraged. Armed with a handy dandy Italian/English dictionary much can be discovered.

The first action that I am looking at is the encounter at the village of Pokrovskoje. Just south of the larger town of Voznesensk, the village of Pokrovskoje was on the road paralleling the course of the Bug river. The advance down the road was hindered by bad weather and terrible mud roads.

The CSIR was to block the retreat of the Russian army by heading down the length of the Bug River from Voznesensk to the town of Nikolaiev. The bad weather stopped most of their movements except for a small force consisting of the 80th Roma Regiment, 1st Company of Bersaglieri Motorcyclists and two groups of artillery frm the division. Leaving Voznesensk on the 10th of August, Colonel Chiaramonti managed to move his group another 30 kilometers to Pokrovskoje.

The Bersaglieri were leading the advance and arrived at the village only to be ambushed by a delaying force of Russian soldiers. The Russians fired upon the Bersaglieri with machine guns and artillery. The Bersaglieri remained to gather intelligence and returned back to the main body of troops. III Batalion of the 80th Roma advanced against the Russians and began to drive back the infantry in the town. At this point, the Russians counterattacked with some tanks. Accurate artillery fire drove off the attacking tanks.

I am thinking in breaking this down into three small scenarios for each phase of the action.

Sources so Far:

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