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Milizia di difesa territoriale(1943-1944)


New Member
I'm opening a tread for you to share your knowledge and discuss the Italian formations (Milizia di difesa territoriale) in OZAK during 1943-1945.

I also recommend for all to read the book from P. Cripps about it as it was one of the only English translated books on that subject.
What you introduced is a very broad topic....you should at least say what type of news you would like to cover....organization, history, orders of battle...or a bit of everything...but perhaps it would be necessary various books not only the one you mentioned which is a rather imprecise summary????
all the best


New Member
By Italian formations I mean unit and battle order. Sadly I don't know Italian so I m limited only to translated sources.
Here is another book I m searching for, sadly it's available only in Italian..
I reparti della Milizia per la Difesa Territoriale (MDT) in OZAK (The departments of the Militia for Territorial Defense (MDT) in OZAK)

The forces of the Territorial Defense Militia operating in the OZAK consisted of 5 regiments, one for each province, and some smaller units. The formation of what would become the 5 regiments of the MDT, described below, was a gradual process that began immediately after 8 September 1943 and continued until the first months of 1944. In general, there is very uncertain information on the phases of the constitution and the initial development of these departments: they originated from the MVSN Legions present in the OZAK (they were, as mentioned, the territorial commands and depots) which, having largely disbanded at the time of the armistice, reorganized themselves in the subsequent phases with the contribution of those who did not accept the armistice and then recognized themselves in republican fascism and in the new RSI government. The Legions were reconstituted with the contribution of old squadristi, elements of the Blackshirt departments returning from the various theaters of war and young volunteers, mainly with public order functions and the fight against the partisan movement. Initially they maintained the numbers and names already in use previously:

-55. Legione "Alpina Friulana" a Gemona

-63. Legione "Tagliamento" a Udine

-58. Legione "San Giusto" a Trieste

-59. Legione "Carso" a Sesana (
it seems to have immediately merged into the 58th Legion)

-60. Legione "Istria" a Pola

-61. Legione "Carnaro" a Fiume

-62. Legione "Isonzo" a Gorizia.

Their control was assumed by the Command of the VI. CC.NN. area. Previously this area command, which was based in Trieste, had only been responsible for the provinces of Venezia Giulia, but after the armistice it also came to control Friuli. When, starting from November 1943, from the merger of the Militia, the Carabinieri and the Police of Italian Africa (PAI) the National Republican Guard was founded in the RSI, the units belonging to these bodies that operated in the RSI should have also become part of it. 'OZAK. The Germans, with the intention of excluding any influence of the RSI, however prohibited the use of the GNR denomination in the region (which was therefore only used for a few months between the end of 1943 and the beginning of 1944) and in March 1944 they imposed the name Militia for Territorial Defense (or Landschutz-Miliz in German) on the Militia departments. The general command of the GNR took note of the situation only belatedly, ordering the official transformation of the MVSN of the OZAK into MDT with a circular dated 20 May 1944.52 The circular established the Higher Command of the MDT of the "Adriatic Coast" and ordered that the five Legions of Militia then existing in the region (58., 60., 61., 62. and 63.; the latter had absorbed the 55.) took on the double name of ... Rgt. MDT ( ... Legion). The circular probably came to regularize a practice already established for some time by German order. The replacement of the name of GNR with that of MDT was generally perceived by the members of these units as a German imposition tending to sever any link between the region and the rest of the RSI, but the reference to the Legions of the fascist militia contained in the new denominations made the situation more acceptable. The Regional Higher Command of the MDT originated from the command of the VI. CC.NN area. The Carabinieri, despite their integration into the GNR and the rest of the RSI, initially maintained their autonomy from the Militia in the OZAK, and remained part of the 5th Carabinieri Legion of Trieste, organized into Groups, one for each province of the region. However, they were considered unreliable due to their traditional loyalty to the king, and were involved in numerous cases of desertion and joining the partisans. In July 1944, by order of the command of the SS/Polizei of Trieste, the Carabinieri departments of the OZAK were disbanded: the pretext was provided by the desertion of around a hundred soldiers in Istria, in Sanvincenti and in other places, including the commander of the Pola Group, which occurred on 2 July. Part of the Carabinieri was transferred to the MDT and those who refused the transfer were deported to Germany; the exact number of deported soldiers is not known, but many soldiers escaped arrest by joining the partisans or going into hiding. The Carabinieri's membership of the MDT was very limited, particularly in Istria, Fiume and Trieste: in Fiume only about a hundred soldiers joined the MDT; in Trieste, out of 1500 Carabinieri only 171 joined the MDT, while around 300 managed to pass to the economic police. In Udine and Gorizia a significant number of Carabinieri were integrated without too many difficulties into the MDT regiments. Probably at the same time as the change of name to MDT, in March 1944, the Militia departments in the OZAK abandoned the traditional names of the Militia ranks to take on those of the army. The tasks entrusted to the MDT were to ensure internal order and defend the territory of the Italian State; in practice his men carried out garrison services, surveillance of communication routes, war installations, industrial plants, etc. and they were often engaged in anti-partisan operations under the orders of the SS/Polizei. For each of the 5 MDT regiments formed in the OZAK, one per province, a theoretical staff of 3 battalions with a total of 9 companies was envisaged, for a total of 1700-1800 men. As with other non-German units in the region, there were German police officers in the MDT regiments with liaison and guidance functions (Verbindungsoffizier or Beratungsoffizier). Each regiment also had a UPI (Political Investigative Office) for the collection of information, sometimes obtained by subjecting captured partisans and suspects to torture. In addition to the regiments, there were also smaller specialized departments (border, forestry, road, railway, port and post-elegraph MDT). From the available data it seems that in total the MDT departments in the OZAK numbered around 10,000 men at most; in August 1944 there were 8000, by the beginning of 1945 they had probably fallen to no more than 6000.

1. Rgt. MDT (58.a Legione), Trieste

It was established on the basis of the 58th Legion with the contribution of elements of the 134th Battalion. of the 137th Legion CC.NN. returned from Yugoslavia, who as mentioned participated in the reoccupation of Istria in October 1943 with the name of 134. Btg. assault CC.NN., Btg. Special or Battalion OP. At the end of December 1943 the regiment had 1337 men, of which 55 officers. Initially it was organized into 3 battalions. The regiment was active in the hinterland of Trieste and in Istria. The 1st chapter remained in Trieste, the other companies of the I. and II. Btg. were located (at least for a certain period) in Istria: the 2nd cp. in Porec, Višnjan and Monpaderno, the 3rd cp. on the Pola-Trieste railway line with stations in Rozzo, Castel Lupogliano and Borutto, the 4th cp. in the Val d'Arsa with command in Arsia, the 5th cp. in Buje, the 6th criminal code. in Buzet. Battalion soldiers. Special OP (it is not clear whether it was the I. or III. Battalion) were killed during a partisan ambush near Comeno on 2 February 1944. In August 1944 the II. Btg. was transferred and assumed the following location: 4. cp. in Monrupino, 5th criminal code. in Ronchi. 6. cp. in Gorizia as a mobile department. In February 1945 the regiment numbered 48 officers and 934 men.

2. Rgt. MDT (60.a Legione) "Istria", Pola

The regiment was established during November-December 1943 (the official establishment date was 21 December) on the basis of the 60th Legion. The regiment, in which all the garrisons of the Militia established for self-defense by Italian volunteers in numerous locations in Istria after 8 September 1943 were integrated, established its headquarters in Pula until March 1945, then in Portorož. It initially had two battalions, then increased to three. The two initial battalions had 3 companies each: the I. Btg. he was initially based in Buje, then moved to Koper, his companies were in Koper, Buje and Motovun; the II. Btg. he was in Dignano, with the companies in Dignano, Pola in Arsia. In addition to the regimental command, the "Mazza di Ferro" road-borne company was also in Pola with emergency, liaison and escort duties. The autonomous company "Tramontana" (or "Cherso") located on the islands of Cherso and Lussino was also part of the regiment. The CAM (military student centre) of S. Stefano d'Istria (disbanded around mid-1944) and of Pola also depended on the regiment. With the exception of the "Iron Mace", the companies were divided into garrisons, headquartered in many places in Istria. From spring 1944 there were 4 companies per battalion, which took on names. On 15 June 1944 the denomination and location of the regimental departments was as follows: - command of the regiment with services, CAM and mobile company "Mazza di Ferro": Pola -THE. Btg.: command in Koper, cp. "Devil's Trill" in Koper, cp. "Garibaldina" in Buje, cp. "Lion's Claw" in Motovun, cp. "Adriatica" in Porec -II. Battalion: command in Dignano, cp. "Mazziniana" in Arsia, cp. "Dalmatian" in Vodnjan, cp. "Istriana" in Pula, cp. "Tramontana" (autonomous) in Cres. According to a report dating back to the end of November 1944, the regiment had around 1000 men and since its creation had sustained losses of 98 dead, 53 wounded and 61 missing. At the beginning of 1945 the number of companies per battalion was increased to three and a III was created. Btg. (through personnel transfers from the other two), based in Aurisina, therefore outside Istria. His companies were used to guard the railway lines and were distributed in different areas: the 7th cp. it was in Monfalcone (at that time belonging to the province of Trieste), on the 8th. cp. in Aurisina, the 9th criminal code. in Castel Lupogliano. In February 1945 the regiment numbered 48 officers and 834 men. In addition to moving the regimental command to Portorož, at the beginning of 1945 the command of the I. Btg. moved to Buje. Around 16 April 1945 the command of the III. Btg. was transferred to Buzet station, and on the 8th. cp. in Piedimonte del Taiano.

3. Rgt. MDT (61.a Legione) "Carnaro", Fiume

The regiment originated from the 61st Legion with the contribution of various departments of Blackshirts present in the city at the time of the armistice or who converged from Yugoslavia in the following days. Already a few days after the armistice there were two battalions of Blackshirts in the city, probably later consolidated into one. The regiment, officially established in March 1944, initially had only one battalion, based in Fiume. An II. Btg. was formed in June 1944, and stationed in Opatija. In July 1944, around one hundred Carabinieri joined the regiment. The overall staff of the department was around 1500 men.

4. Rgt. MDT (62. Legione), Gorizia

It originated from the 62nd Legion, which at the end of December 1943 had 340 legionaries, of which 24 officers, in a single battalion. It seems that the regiment was officially established in April 1944; thanks to new inflows, also resulting from the dissolution of the 4th Legione MDT Confinaria (formerly 4th Legione Confinaria CC.NN. "Monte Nevoso"), in that same month, the structure was expanded to two battalions: the I. Btg ., located in Gorizia and the II. Btg. in Cormons. In II. Btg. the Carabinieri were then integrated after their disbandment, which occurred in the Gorizia area on 1 August 1944. The regiment had a ready-to-use platoon and maintained numerous checkpoints around Gorizia to protect the city. One of his anti-aircraft platoons, armed with 3 quadruple German 20 mm machine guns in position at the old sports field, defended the road and railway bridges over the Isonzo. In February 1945 the regiment numbered 28 officers and 665 men. It should be noted that in the province of Gorizia there were also elements of other MDT regiments, in particular of the 1st and 5th Rgt.

5. Rgt. MDT (63. Legione) "Friuli", Udine

The official date of establishment of the 5th MDT Regiment is not known, but it probably dates back to the beginning of April 1944. It derived from the 55th and 63rd Legion, which after 8 September 1943 had set up garrisons to maintain order public in Udine and in the province. In October 1943, over 700 Blackshirts were in service in the province of Udine, divided into the garrisons of Udine, Pordenone, Codroipo, Sacile, Brugnera, Polcenigo, Maniago, Valvasone, Gemona, Tolmezzo, Fagagna, Cornino, Tricesimo, Cividale, Spessa, Villa Santina, Osoppo, Palmanova, San Giorgio di Nogaro, Palazzolo, Rivignano, Ronchis, Pocenia, Muzzana, Teor, Varmo, Aiello, Cervignano, Torviscosa, Porpetto, Bagnaria Arsa, etc. The garrisons of central and southern Friuli belonged to the 63rd Legion, those of Carnia, northern Friuli and Cividale belonged to the 55th Legion. The 55th Legion was however disbanded at the beginning of December 1943; with part of his men, the 55th OP Battalion (subordinate to the 63rd Legion) was established as an operational department, which maintained its headquarters in Gemona. In February 1944 the 63rd Legion established another operational department, the 63rd OP Battalion, which numbered around 700 soldiers coming from the dissolution of some garrisons and was organized into at least 4 companies. Probably in April it was renamed I. Btg. of the 5th Regt. MDT (reduced to 3 companies) and on an uncertain date (but at least from May 1944) was transferred to the operational area, in the Vipacco valley, with the task of guarding the Gorizia-Trieste railway line in the Rifembergo – Monrupino section; the battalion's command headquarters was in Trieste, its detachments are documented in Rifembergo, Tabor, Sasseto, Monrupino, Duttogliano, Capriva del Carso and San Daniele del Carso. According to a document dated 20 June 1944, the command and the 3rd cp. they were in Trieste, the 1st and 2nd criminal code. they were divided into 6 strongholds in Rifembergo, Sasseto, Viadotto, Duttogliano, Crepegliano, Monrupino, manned overall by 8 officers and 240 men. The 2nd cp., with command first in Rifembergo (May - June 1944) and then in Duttogliano (August 1944). In October the I. Battalion. he returned to Friuli, moving to southern Friuli with command in Udine. At the beginning of November the 2nd Criminal Code arrived at the "Piave" barracks in Palmanova. who then left it around mid-April 1945. The 3rd criminal code. (I. Btg.) was in Udine in January 1945; and proceeded to form a mobile unit ("hunting unit") with an officer and 20 men for Udine-city. In April 1944 the 55th Btg. OP was renamed II. Btg. of the 5th Regt. MDT; this continued to operate in the area of Carnia, northern Friuli and the Cividale area. The III had already been formed in March 1944. Btg., transferred immediately afterwards to the Natisone valleys - upper Isonzo, between San Leonardo and Plezzo, with command in San Pietro al Natisone. Subsequently it seems that the battalion was moved to Valcellina, perhaps with command in Montereale. In April 1944 a Complements Battalion was created, which was also engaged in anti-partisan operations. On 29 June 1944 the IV was formed. Btg., drawn from members of the PFR, also known as the Friulian Fascist Battalion. It probably replaced the Black Brigade of Udine, whose formation the Germans had opposed. In fact, it seems that the battalion was based in Udine and had detachments in various areas, and that it acted as an operational department. A unit of Blackshirts belonging to the 11th cp. (IV. Btg.), was active in Pordenone until the end of the war. After the order to disband the Carabinieri departments in July 1944, those in the province of Udine passed to the 5th Rgt. MDT, establishing the 5th Battalion on 28 July. Special. The battalion, which was based in Udine but garrisoned in various urban centers of the province, continued to carry out the public order tasks carried out until then by the Carabinieri. A GNR Presidiary Company (later MDT) located in Udine also belonged to the regiment. Between the end of 1944 and April 1945 there was also an autonomous company of the 5th Rgt. MDT (perhaps belonging to the 1st Battalion) based in Pordenone; known as Kommando Vettorini by the Germans and made up of 173 soldiers. The latter operated with police functions in the area, sadly becoming known for the violence committed. The regimental Political Investigative Office was based in Udine. The 5th Regt. MDT was numerically the largest of the five MDT regiments in the region. As of 31 October 1944 its strength (officers / non-commissioned officers / troops) was: - regimental command: 12/36/33 = 81, - I. Battalion: 14/31/208 = 251, - II. Battalion: 9/43/240 = 292, - III. Battalion: 10/9/188 = 207, - IV. Battalion: 19/58/184 = 261, - V. Battalion: 7/105/334 = 446, - Battalion complements: 10/79/264 = 353, - Deposit Company: 7/56/627 = 690.68 - Compagnia Aut. Finanza: 4/34/243 = 281.69 for a total of 2862 men (92/451/2319; furthermore for the auxiliary services there were another 4/9/29 = 42 men). Up to the end of October 1944 the regiment had suffered losses of 104 killed, 118 wounded and 199 missing. In February 1945 it had 85 officers and 1733 men (this figure probably excluded at least the depot company)." Note) The autonomous company of the GdF subordinate to the regiment was formed by the Command of the 5th GdF Area of Trieste in May 1944. It never operated as an organic unit but was divided into a multitude of detachments created with guard duties.

Reparti confinari e altri reparti della MDT (
Border departments and other departments of the MDT)

The data on the border units of the MDT operating in the OZAK are very uncertain: the 4th Border Militia Legion (which was based in Treviso) was disbanded in April 1944 and probably on the basis of its units present in the OZAK at the beginning of May, a 6th Rgt was in the process of being set up. Landschutz-Miliz as a border regiment of the MDT, on two mobile battalions. It is not clear whether this regiment was actually formed, however there was a Btg in the OZAK. autonomous border MDT for mobile use, a II. Btg. Border militia and a border company in Fiume. In November 1943, the 1st Legion of the Forestry Militia was based in Trieste, which included the cohorts (battalions) of Trieste, Fiume, Gorizia, Pola, Udine. Later the name changed to 1. Mountain and Forest Guard Legion; its command was transferred to Udine before March 1944. An MDT Railway Battalion was based in Gorizia at least for the whole of 1944, of which detachments also existed in the other provinces. Other minor units of the MDT active in the OZAK were the road company, used for escort and connection services, and the port and post-telegraph departments of the MDT, based in Trieste and detachments in the various provinces. In September 1943, as seen, the 10th also began to reconstitute itself in Udine. DICAT Legion (also called 10th Antiaircraft Artillery Militia Legion). It had its headquarters in Udine and detachment commands in Gorizia, Sacile, Cervignano, Tolmezzo and Tarvisio. However, there is no information on its subsequent evolution. The Guardia di Finanza also depended on the MDT: in Trieste there was the V. Guardia di Finanza Area Command, which controlled the 5th "Friuli" Legion of Udine and the 6th "Giulia" Legion of Trieste.

All the best


New Member
Thanks for the information! A very unexplored subject! It's hard to look at this objectively as all the sources (Yugo and Italian) are very biased. Ordered today Operationszone adriatiches Küstenland by kaltenegger. Hope to find something there about then too.

The true definitive work regarding this theme is:​

Operationszone Adriatisches Küstenland. Udine, Gorizia, Trieste, Pola, Fiume e Lubiana durante l'occupazione tedesca 1943-1945 Copertina flessibile – 1 febbraio 2005​

All the best​


di Stefano Di Giusto (Autore)