Home » Axis Forces in Sicily: July 1943 OOB

Axis Forces in Sicily: July 1943 OOB

by Jim H

Axis Forces in Sicily During Operation Husky

The order of battle detailed below pertains to Axis forces in Sicily during Operation Husky in July 1943.

Disposition of Axis forces in Sicily, July 1943. Image: United States Military Academy Department of History.

Disposition of Axis forces in Sicily, July 1943. Image: United States Military Academy Department of History.

Order of Battle of Italian Ground Forces (1)

*Based on “Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943” by Carlo D’Este
Generale d’Armata Alfredo Guzzoni

Chief of Staff
Generale di Brigata Emilio Faldella

XII Corps
Generale di corpo d’armata Mario Arisio

202nd Coastal Division (2)
207th Coastal Division
208th Coastal Division, Generale di Divisione Giovanni Marciani
136th Coastal Division
Port Defense Group ‘N’
Mobile Groups ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ (3)
4 tactical groups

Mobile Forces
28th Aosta Division
Generale di Divisione Giacomo Romano

5th Infantry Regiment
6th Infantry Regiment
171st ‘Blackshirt’ Battalion
XXVIII Mortar Battalion
22nd Artillery Regiment (4 groups [2 self-propelled])
2 AA batteries (20 mm)
Engineer Battalion
Service units

26th Assietta Division
Generale di Divisione Erberto Papini
Generale di Divisione Francesco Scotti
Generale di Divisione Ottorino Schreiber (from 26 July 1943)

29th Infantry Regiment
30th Infantry Regiment
17th ‘Blackshirt’ Battalion
CXXVI Mortar Battalion
25th Artillery Regiment (4 groups [all self-propelled])
2 AA batteries (20 mm)
Engineer Battalion
Service units

XVI Corps
Generale di Corpo d’Armata Carlo Rossi

4th Livorno Division (4) (Formerly Army Reserve)
Generale di Divisione Domenico Chirielieson
33rd Infantry Regiment
34th Infantry Regiment
1 Mortar Battalion (81 mm)
XI Commando Battalion
IV Anti-tank Battalion (47 mm)
28th Artillery Regiment (4 groups towed artillery)
3 AA batteries (20 mm)
Engineer Battalion
Service units

Static units
206th Coastal Division
213th Coastal Division
XVIII and XIX Coastal Brigades
Port Defense Group ‘E’
Mobile Groups ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’ and ‘H’
4 tactical groups

Mobile units
54th Napoli Division
Generale di Divisione Giulio G.C. Porcinari

75th Infantry Regiment
76th Infantry Regiment
173rd ‘Blackshirt’ Battalion
54th Artillery Regiment (4 groups [2 towed; 2 self-propelled])
2 AA Batteries (20 mm)

1. Order of Battle as it stood on D-Day, 10 July 1943. As the campaign unfolded, forces would be shuffled, attached and reattached to counter Allied threats.

2. The coastal formations were static units organized to defend the Sicilian coastline against invasion and consisted of men of older age groups, approximately 75% of whom were locals. These units had a low combat value and numbered approximately 75,000-100,000. Its armament was antiquated and contained no anti-naval guns and what little artillery existed was horse-drawn. Principal weapons were automatic rifles and machine guns. The Italians could muster an average of only thirty-six men for every 1,000 yards and one anti-tank weapon for every five miles of the coast. Some battalions had responsibility for sectors nearly thirty miles wide. Their ineffectiveness was clearly demonstrated on D-Day, 10 July 1943.

3. The mobile and tactical groups assigned to XII and XVI Corps were, along with the Livorno Division and, until approximately 16 July, 15th PzG Division, part of the mobile reserve controlled by the Sixth Italian Army.

4. The Livorno Division as the only truly mobile Italian division on Sicily and was (considered by the Germans and most Italians) to be far superior to the other divisions. It had originally been organized for an attack on Malta. Its troops were of high quality and its organic transportation was sufficient to move all of its infantry units simultaneously, including all artillery. The table of organization for all Italian ‘mobile’ divisions was 13,000 to 14,000 men.

Order of Battle of German Ground Forces (1)

*Based on “Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943” by Carlo D’Este

Hermann Goering Division (2)
Generalleutnant Paul Conrath

Division HQ
Brigade HQ (for special employment) (3)
1 Panzer Grenadier Regiment (4)
Panzer Regiment HG(5)
Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (6)
Panzer Pioneer (Engineer) Battalion (6)
Panzer Artillery Regiment HG (7)
Flak Regiment HG (-) (8)
Anti-tank company
Supply and Service units

Attached units:
115th PzG Regiment (9) – (Schmalz)
2 infantry battalions (10) (Arrived on 11 July)
3rd Parachute Regiment (1st Parachute Division) – (Schmalz)
4th Parachute Regiment (1st Parachute Division) – (Schmalz)
remnants Fallschirm Engineer and MG Battalions, Signal company (1st Parachute Division) – (Schmalz)
Tiger tank company, 215th Tank Battalion
Fortress Battalion 904 – (Schmalz)
Fortress Battalion 923 – (Schmalz)
Fortress Battalion ‘Reggio’ – (Schmalz)
Flak Catania (11)

XIV Panzer Corps
General der Panzertruppen Hans Valentin Hube

Chief of Staff
Oberst Bogislaw von Bonin

15th Panzer Grenadier Division
Hermann Goering Division
1st Parachute Division (-)
29th Panzer Grenadier Division (12)
Generalmajor Walter Fries
15th PzG Regiment (3 battalions)
71st PzG Regiment (3 battalions)
1 company of 129th Tank Battalion (Assault gun)
29th Artillery Regiment
1 light battalion (self-propelled)
1 light battalion
1 medium battalion
1 company of 29th Engineer Battalion (arrived on 17 July 1943)
313th AA Battalion
2 medium batteries
1 heavy battery
29th Signal Battalion
1 anti-tank company

1st Parachute Division (-)
Generalleutnant Richard Heidrich

3rd Parachute Regiment (FJR 3)
4th Parachute Regiment (FJR 3)
1st Parachute Machine-Gun Battalion
1st Parachute Pioneer (Engineer) Battalion
1st Battalion, 1st Parachute Field Artillery Regiment
elements of 1st Parachute Anti-Tank Battalion
1st Parachute Signal Company

15th Panzer Grenadier Division (Sizilien)
Oberst Ernst-Guenther Baade (to 5 June 1943)
Generalmajor Eberhard Rodt (from 5 June 1943)

Regimental Group Ens (Oberst Ens) – (later 104th PzG Regiment/Reinforced)
3 rifle battalions (3 rifle companies each)
1 heavy weapons company
1 engineer platoon
1 anti-tank platoon
1 platoon artillery

Some tanks attached as of 12 June 1943

Regimental Group Fullreide (Oberst Fullreide) – (later 129th PzG Regiment)
Same organization as Group Ens –
3rd Infantry Battalion (at Comiso) + 1 artillery battalion. Some tanks probably attached

Regimental Group Koerner (Oberst Koerner) – (later 115th PzG Regiment)
Composition unknown

1 Armored Recon. Battalion (est.) 30-40 Mk III & IV tanks; 1 Tiger company (17 tanks) (attached HG Division prior to 10 July)
33rd Engineer Battalion (3 companies – each attached to a Task Force)
33rd AA Battalion (later 315th AAA Bn.) (deployed in small groups on principal highways)
999th Signal Company
Misc. service units
Artillery Regiment ‘Sizilien’ (later 33rd Artillery Regiment)
1st Battalion (med. Howitzer) (Group Fullreide)
2nd Battalion (4 btry. 170mm guns)(13) (Group Ens)
3rd Battalion (2 med. Field how. btry.) (1 mortar btry)
4th Battalion (3 med. how. btry.) (Group Smaltz)

1 Mortar Regiment (rocket)
1 Battalion 150mm mortars
1 Battalion 210mm mortars (held in Army Reserve until approx. 14 July when attchd. Group Fullreide)

German Notes:
1. Order of Battle as it stood on D-Day, 10 July 1943. As the campaign unfolded, forces would be shuffled, attached and reattached to counter Allied threats.

2. In Sicily the division was generally employed as combat groups (kampfgruppen) to meet tactical requirements. Kampfgruppe Schmalz consisted mostly of attached formations.

3. Assigned to Kampfgruppe Schmalz

4. The PzG regiment consisted of HQ and 1st Battalion, 1st Panzer Grenadier Regiment and the HQ and 1st and 2nd Battalions, 2nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

5. Consisted of 2 tank battalions (80-90 Mark III and IV medium tanks) and 1 battalion of assault guns (assigned to Kampfgruppe Schmalz)

6. Both units were motorized and fought as infantry.

7. Consisted of 3 battalions; 1 light battalion w/2 batteries; 2 medium battalions (2 medium field howitzer batteries and 1 100mm battery.)

8. Unit incomplete: 1 mixed battalion of 3 medium and 3 light batteries

9. Detached from 15th PzG Division and assigned to Schmalz prior to D-Day.

10. Elements of the 382nd Infantry Regiment. Not all of this regiment was committed to Sicily.

11. Probably 1 medium artillery battalion and 1 Italian artillery battalion.

12. Not all of this division was committed to Sicily. Elements of the 382nd Infantry Regiment were attached to Kampfgruppe Schmalz. Other units began arriving on 15 July 1943, but main operational control was exercised by XIV Panzer Corps. These guns were moved to the mainland side of the Straits of Messina to guard the northern end in early August.

Units based on “Victory in the West, Volume 3 Sicily: The Race to Messina” Strategy & Tactics magazine, Nov/Dec 1981 issue

Italian Units

30th Infantry Regiment (26th/Asieta Division) – Partanna (west)
29th Infantry Regiment (26th/Asieta Division) – Santa Margherita (west)

5th Infantry Regiment (28th/Aosta Division) – Alcamo (northwest)
6th Infantry Regiment (28th/Aosta Division) – Partinico
10th Bersaglieri Infantry Regiment (assumed to be attached to the 28th/Aosta Div) – Partinico

177th Bersaglieri Infantry Regiment – Agrigento

33rd Infantry Regiment (4th/Livorno Division) – Mazzarino (central/south)
34th Infantry Regiment (4th/Livorno Division) – Caltanisetta

75th Infantry Regiment (54th/Napoli Division) – Palagonia
76th Infantry Regiment (54th/Napoli Division) – Vizzini

185th Infantry Regiment (unknown attachment)
51st Bersaglieri Battalion – east of Marsala
112th Machinegun Battalion – east of Alcamo

Mobile Group ‘A’ (Armored Battalion) – Pacico (east of Trapani)
Mobile Group ‘B’ (Armored Battalion) – Santa Ninfa (west)
Mobile Group ‘C’ (Armored Battalion) – Santa Margherita (west)
Mobile Group ‘D’ (Armored Battalion) – east of Paterno
Mobile Group ‘E’ (Armored Battalion) – Niscemi
Mobile Group ‘F’ (Armored Battalion) – Northwest of Pachino
Mobile Group ‘G’ (Infantry Battalion) – Comiso
Mobile Group ‘H’ (Anti-tank Battalion) – airfield southeast of Caltagirone

12th Machine Gun Battalion – Fontanarossa
58th Bersaglieri Battalion – Linguaglossa
23rd Cavalry (foot) Battalion – Messina
230th Armored Battalion – Modica (south of Ragusa)

Tactical Group ‘Carmito’ (Armored Battalion) – West of Lentini
Tactical Group ‘Barcellona’ (Anti-tank Battalion) – Barcellona

1st Palermitani Cavalry Battalion – Sommatino (north of Licata)
1st Anti-tank Battalion – Corleone
104th Anti-tank Battalion – Agrigento
16th Anti-tank Battalion – San Fratello
12th Artillery Regiment – Chiusa Scalafani (south of Corleone)
40th Artillery Regiment – Piazza Amerina

Port Defense ‘N’ – Palermo
Port Defense ‘E’ – Catania
Royal Marine Battalion (police and defense detachment) – Siracusa
Royal Air Force (for police and defense) Battalion – Siracusa
120th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Sciacca
121st Coastal Infantry Regiment – Augusta
122nd Coastal Infantry Regiment – airfield north of Pachino
123rd Coastal Infantry Regiment – South of Comiso on the coast
124th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Mazara del Vallo (s/e of Marsala)
133rd Coastal Infantry Regiment – Castellamare del Golfo
134th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Gela
135th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Taormina
136th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Termini
137th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Trapani
138th Coastal Infantry Regiment – South of Siculiana
139th Coastal Infantry Regiment – between Palma and Porto Empedocle
140th Coastal Infantry Regiment – north of Naso
143rd Coastal Infantry Regiment – West of Memfi
146th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Avola
147th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Terrasini
178th Coastal Infantry Regiment – Vittoria
179th Coastal Infantry Regiment – San Stefano
372nd Coastal Infantry Battalion – Acireale

19th Blackshirt Infantry Battalion – east of Partanna(1)
17th Blackshirt Infantry Battalion – Campobello di Licata
173rd Blackshirt Infantry Battalion – Ispica

1) 17th, 171st, and 173rd were the three Blackshirt Battalions (Legions) serving in Sicily. Based on The Italian Army, Men-at-Arms No. 340, Osprey Publishing

28th Infantry Aosta Division
210 Infantry Regiment (1)
211 Infantry Regiment (1)
22nd Artillery Regiment
171st MVSN Legion

26th Mountain Assietta Division
29 Infantry Regiment
30th Infantry Regiment
25th Artillery Regiment
17th MVSN Legion

4th Assault Landing Livorno Division
33rd Infantry Regiment
34th Infantry Regiment
28th Artillery Regiment
195th MVSN Legion(2)

54th Infantry Napoli Division
75th Infantry Regiment
76th Infantry Regiment
54th Artillery Regiment
173rd MVSN Legion

104th Infantry (Mantova) Division (3)

1. These two regiments are unknown to me. I have never heard of them until mentioned by this book.

2. This Legion is mentioned only in this source.

3. The book lists the 104th Infantry Mantova Division as serving garrison duty in Sicily. I have never heard of this Division serving in Sicily. The United States Army in World War II history; Sicily and the Surrender of Italy lists the 104th serving in Puglia during the Italian capitulation and was near Crotone when the Americans began landing on 9 September 1943. The author did leave a question mark beside the Division’s name, and I presume that’s because the Division might have been scheduled to serve in Sicily, but this never came to pass.

OOB Courtesy: Rob

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