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Divisione Regina in the Dodecanese Islands


Staff member
by GLADIVM » Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:20 pm

The 50th Infantry Division Regina from 1939 was based in the Aegean Italian territory ( Dodecanese islands ) and despite the fact that prior to 8th Sept 43 events was not heavily engaged in war still had a few encounters with the British & Greek forces, some of these fights are relatively well known but for others there are only a few details.
For my knowledge, Regina was so engaged :
- Nov 1940 in response to the Greek occupation of Gaidaro island (the name given by Italians to the island, which one is the proper Greek name ?) two companies of Regina 10th Reg. I Batt land there and retake the island
Does anyone have any details about this operation ??
There was serious fighting ??

- 25th Feb 1941, British forces composed of Royal Marines and Commandos land at Kastelorizo, a small island close to the Turkish coast in operation " Abstention " seen as preparation for a much more ambitious operation at Rhodes.
The Commandos in the night of 25th are able to subdue the small Italian garrison and considering the operation as already concluded successfully re-embark the Royal marines leaving commandos alone to wait for the arrival of the of B coy of 1st Batt Sherwood Foresters which should have garrisoned the island and expected to arrive by daylight on 26th, but there were delays and early on 26th Italian aircraft started to appear over kastelorizo preventing British to reinforce the Commandos.
By 27th Italian reinforcements (IV Batt of the 10th Reg.) arrived and landed on the island pushing back the Commandos.
On the night of 27th finally, Sherwood Foresters arrived and found Italians in control of the island. The Sherwood Foresters C.O. Major Cooper believed that they could regain the initiative but as the British Navy had to leave the island waters by daybreak before the return of Italian aircraft it was decided to re-embark all British forces and return to base.
Losses were :
British, four dead, some dozen wounded and thirty-two missing (prisoners )
Italians, fourteen dead, forty-two wounded and twelve taken prisoners
The operation was a failure and therefore any further offensive towards Rhodes was canceled, Abstention failure was due to poor planning, lack of respect for opposing forces and breakdown in communications

- Later in 1941 but do not know exact date units of Regina occupied the islands of Samos and Mikonos ( would be glad to receive any further infos about these operations )

- May 1941 a tactical group composed of two infantry battalions ( I/9th reg & II/10th) plus a tank coy and a battery of 65/17 guns participated at Krete occupation landing at Seteia Bay and advancing to join German troops around Hierapetra ( would be glad to know if this force had to engage in serious fights ) , returning to Dodecannes in Nov 1941 when Division Siena & Brigade Lecce arrived to take up occupation duties.

- 1942 & 1943 Regina units had to face several British commandos raids at airports and other military installations, with mixed fortunes.

- 8 Sept 43 Regina after the declaration of armistice Regina forces in Rhodes had to face the Germans and by 11th Sept had given up the fight.
It seems that Regina C.O. Gen Scaroina had advised from beginning to surrender to Germans ( it this true ? and what happened To Gen Scaroina afterward) Other units of Regina fought against the Germans at Koo & Leros till mid-Nov 43.
A sizeable part of Regina soldiers after surrender declared their loyalty to Mussolini & RSI, so remaining at the German's side ( around 8,000 men ) as garrison troops in the Dodecannese till May 45.

Aegean operations were a sideshow in WWII and Infos are scant, I am currently researching the subject and would be glad for any help.





by GLADIVM » Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:22 pm

Btw Kastelorizo was the only Agean island to which the British were able to hold on after the fighting of Nov 43.

It had a small garrison and was used as a base for MTB.

The Germans who after the nov operations had quickly removed from the Agean their elite assault troops decided to leave it alone.




by rmax » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:14 am

Dear Gladium
Division Regina, for the conquest of the eastern island of Crete, had prepared an expeditionary force consisting of 1st battalion of the 9th + Regiment of the 2nd Battalion 10th Regiment + a company of tanks L3 + a company mortars 81 mm + an anti-tank company with pieces by 47+ a platoon of marines firing + a platoon of CCNN.
For the occupation of the island of Crete, as Gianni Baldi writes in the book 'Dolce Egeo Guerra Amara', Part 4 ^ ' La Battaglia di Creta', the landing was in the Bay Site on May 28, 1941, the Italian expedition did not encounter any resistance, took possession of the territory without a fight, took up quarters for about 15 days Jerapetra, then to establish a headquarters in Aghios Nikolaus. The approximately 1,500 men were commanded by Colonel Caffaro, who left to lead the Italian contingent in major Romeo.