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Award Citation (Croce Di Guerra Al Valore Militare)

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Posted 16 February 2016 by bombtrack2

Hey there,
I've recently discovered that an uncle of mine received the Croce di Guerra al Valore Militare for an action in 1937. I'm looking for someone to translate the citation for me, as the google translate function i'm using isn't doing a good job of it. Also, any background of the circumstances would be great.

"Sxxxxxxx Raffaele di Giovanni e fu Cxxxx Eufemia, nato a Casacalenda (Campobasso) il 4 ottobre 1896, camicia nera del V battaglione Camicie Nere d'Africa.

Offertosi volontario di partecipare ad un'azione quale conducente di una stazione radio al seguito di un raggruppamento A.S., durante improvviso attacco di forte nucleo ribelle coadiuvava efficacemente il comandante della stazione, riuscendo a trattenere i ribelli e a dar modo alla compagnia di retroguardia d'intervenire.

Gellià, 16 ottobre 1937 - XV."

Thank you for your assistance!

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Posted 18 February 2016 by fredleander

View Postbombtrack2, on 16 February 2016 - 11:26 PM, said:
Hey there,
I've recently discovered that an uncle of mine received the Croce di Guerra al Valore Militare for an action in 1937. I'm looking for someone to translate the citation for me, as the google translate function i'm using isn't doing a good job of it. Also, any background of the circumstances would be great.

Offertosi volontario di partecipare ad un'azione quale conducente di una stazione radio al seguito di un raggruppamento A.S., durante improvviso attacco di forte nucleo ribelle coadiuvava efficacemente il comandante della stazione, riuscendo a trattenere i ribelli e a dar modo alla compagnia di retroguardia d'intervenire.

Gellià, 16 ottobre 1937 - XV."

Thank you for your assistance!

I'm afraid I cannot tell you much more than what you have already found yourself. The medal was won for an action in Africa, but not in East Africa. Which is a little strange several years before the war started. In that period it would be natural to think it had to do with Ethiopia. He was quite old, too - was he an officer?

Somebody else here can probably come up with more information.

Fred

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Posted 19 February 2016 by bombtrack2

I should have posted this in the original post, but here is what precedes his citation (I've omitted the other names and awards)

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Ministero Della Guerra
BOLLETINO UFFICIALE
Dispensa 33a | 1941 - Anno XIX | 27 Marzo
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Regio decreto 13 Maggio 1941-XVIII
Registrato alla Corte Di Conti li 25 agosto 1940-XVIII
registro 7 Africa Italiana, foglio 167

Sono concesse le seguenti ricompense al valor militare per operazioni guerresche in A.O.
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CROCE DI GUERRA AL VALOR MILITARE
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View Postfredleander, on 18 February 2016 - 06:58 PM, said:
I'm afraid I cannot tell you much more than what you have already found yourself. The medal was won for an action in Africa, but not in East Africa. Which is a little strange several years before the war started. In that period it would be natural to think it had to do with Ethiopia. He was quite old, too - was he an officer?

Somebody else here can probably come up with more information.

Fred

So it does appear that the citation was for an action in A.O. which is "Africa Orientale" aka Italian East Africa.
From what I understand, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935-36, a rebellion began in the spring of 1937. It seems that it is that context in which the medal was awarded.

His rank is listed as "Camicia Nera" which is the MVSN's equivalent to "Private". At first glance being a 41 year old Private seems odd, however, from my research (mainly Osprey Publishing books) the MVSN recruited men from 17 to 50 years, in two classes, the older classes being "territorial" or local soldiers, and that the Camecia Nere d'Africa were recruited from local Italian colonists in Africa. He came from a family of peasant farmers, and peasant farmers were recruited by the Italian government to colonize East Africa, so it makes sense that he lived in Africa, as a colonist, and therefore served in the Camecia Nere d'Africa which was one of very few local white Italian military formations in East Africa at the time.

Getting back to the translation request:

Can anyone explain to me what a "Raggrupamento A.S." is? that's my main sticking point.

It sounds like he volunteered for a mission to an Italian military radio station, which came under 'rebel' attack and he somehow assisted the commander of the station and then fought a rearguard action? Is that correct?

Also, does anyone know where "Gellià" is? I'd like to know what it's current African name is so I can see it on a map.

And lastly, is the Roman numerals after the year 1937 the year of Mussolini's reign?

Thanks again.
 

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Posted 20 February 2016 by Jeff Leser

There isn't much more to add. As this action happened during a time of peace(?) as part of a guerrilla war, there aren't many sources available that cover this time period (see below).

RE: Raggruppamento A.S. A.S. is the normal abbreviation for Africa Settentrionale (North Africa). A raggruppamento is a temporary (ad hoc) grouping of smaller units into a larger tactical unit for a specific mission/role. It is similar to a kampfgruppe/battle group.

Without reading your additional information, my first though is that this unit was formed in A.S. and sent to the A.O.I. That is not unusual in the Italian military. The unit likely didn't exist in Ethiopia 1935-36 as I don't have it listed in any of my sources for that war.

Do you know for certain that he immigrated to the A.O.I.? If you don't know, he could have immigrated to the A.S., then joined the unit. Or the unit was formed A.S. and he joined the unit when it was in A.O.I.

This all assumes that A.S. is Africa Settentrionale. This abbreviation is widely used in Italian military writing, so I would be surprised if it had a different meaning.

RE: Gellià. None of my 1935-6 or 1940-1 sources lists this town. I have a very detailed map of A.O.I. but haven't found a town by that name.

RE: Roman numerals. You are correct, it is the fascist year. Add the roman numeral to 29 Oct 1922. The XV E.F. is 29 October 1936-28 October 1937.

The Ufficio Storico dello Stato Maggiore dell’Esercito (USSME) book catalog lists one book that might help you.

#6806 ETIOPIA 1936-1940. Le Operazioni di Polizia Coloniale nelle fonti dell’Esercito Italiano

While covering the police, it might mention all the actions that happened during the period.

Libreria Militare does have a copy. They are a very good bookstore and I have ordered from them for years. They take credit cards and Paypal.

http://www.libreriamilitare.com/prodotto.php?id_prod=47456&id_cat=

You can search their site using MVSN, Camicie Nere, etc. to see if their are other books that might help. A complete history of the MVSN might offer some clues. I have few specific CC.NN. sources, but they are focused on the 2GM, not the earlier period.

I don't know if this help you.

Pista! Jeff
 

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Posted 21 February 2016 by bombtrack2

Jeff, thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I will look more into that book (it seems like a pretty good source) and look into maps as well. I never considered the fact that he could have been a settler in Libya instead. I understand that the Camecie Nere d'Africa also had a presence there. I don't know much about the man, am in the midst of researching more into his life.


As for the citation itself, I've been working on the translation, can anyone confirm if I have it right?

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Posted 08 September 2016 by Anderx_man

If I could add something to the discussion, the text of the motivation for the reward say he was a member of the "Camicie Nere d'Africa", units formed, as said, with local italian settlers, so he was in A.O.I. (Africa Orientale Italiana, or the region formed by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Italian Somalia under Italian rule at the time).

The citation say he "joined an A.S. group as a volunteer" (my own paraphrase), not that he was enlisted in this unit, that was probably raised in Lybia and sent in Ethipia with police and rebels repression tasks.

Furthermore, the location mentioned at the end is usually the place in which the action happened: unfortunately, I've never heard of "Gellià"

Your translation is good enough.


Regards,

Andy

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Posted 12 September 2016 by bombtrack2

Thank you again Andy for your helpful points.

About "Gellià", this is the closest I can find on an Italian map from that period:
Cellia_zpsgjnitk3o.jpg
 

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Posted 15 September 2016 by Anderx_man

Thank you for posting this photo: I think that now we have all the pieces of this "puzzle". The area was undoubtedly in a position that could be raided by fast-moving units with police and repression tasks.

Moreover, I realize that in that period (October 1937) the Italian Colonial Troops were still searching the "rebels" that, in February, made the bombing in Addis Abeba against Graziani, and this action could be connected with the ferocious repression that lasted until November when the Duke Amedeo d'Aosta was appointed Viceroy.

Not exactly a thrilling episode.

Regards,

Andy
 
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