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Italian Cavalry, Russian Front


Staff member
Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:36 PM by Napoli

Hi guys, I came across some info a while back but seem to have lost most details.
It involved a so called last major cavalry charge by any European nation ever.
Something like 600 Italian horseman armed with sabre only attacking about 2400 Russian troops and effectivly forcing them to surrender.
Could anybody give more details as to this?
Thanks Napoli

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:37 PM by Drive

On 23 Agust 1942 600 men of the regiment Savoia Cavalleria face in steppes of Isbuschenski very superior soviet forces, about 2400 Russians with artillery and mortar support.

The regiment Savoia Cavalleria, led by Col. Alessandro Bettoni, attacked in the morning of its 250th anniversary (it had been founded by Gian Michele Piossasco de' Rossi on 24 August 1692) shouting "Avanti Savoia!". The losses of the enemy were: 150 dead, 300 wounded, 500 prisoners (among them also the command of a battalion), 4 guns, 10 mortars, 50 machine-guns and hundreds of rifles. Savoia Cavalleria lost: 32 deads (3 officers), 52 wounded and 100 horses.

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:37 PM by Napoli

Thank you very much Drive!!
I thought I'd lose that forever. It was quite interesting to hear about it as not many cavalry chargers are talked about in WW2. As much as some would be atracted to the old honours of cavalry it really must have been a bloody battle with the use of sabre :O
Is there any other known actions of Italian cavalry on horse back during WW2?

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:37 PM by Lupo Solitario

The funniest fact is that Isbuscenky august 1942 is not the last charge of italian cavalry....the real last one happened at Poloj, Croatia in october 1942 against Yugo partisans by 14th Alessandria Light Cavalry Regiment (idon't remember exact date, sorry).

Another legendary charge happened in February 1941 at Agordat, East Africa by italian colonial cavalry against british tanks (a quite suicide action....).
And AFAIK the last reported action by italian mounted troops was made by 13th Monferrato Regiment against germans in Albania during the hard days of Septemebr 1943.

I'm looking for any info about employment of mounted troops after 1943 but I've still found nothing

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:38 PM by napoli

Lupo :) good work, was the actoin agaisnt the partisan effective?

Now heres a strange thing I came across the other day while using the search engine. It was a rare WaffenSS RSI Italian cavalry helmet for sale by some sale house (you might be able to look it up still, I had no time to check the photo etc but will when I have time).
Question here is were there actually Italians drafted in the Waffen riding corps? or where existing Italian Cavalry as part of the new RSI attached to the Waffen SS?
It just sounded pretty strange :-?

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:38 PM by Lupo Solitario

about the action of 1942...yes, IIRC italians were ending in an ambush and charge opened way, I'll control anyway.
The other question is my own question...until now I've still not found any evidence of mounted units employed by RSI forces or by partisans. I'm sure royal army didn't reorganize mounted.

About SS, I'm not an expert. All infos I got about italian SS are about infantry units but Irepeat I'm not an expert on SS....

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:39 PM by Rocket1

In Richards Landwehr book Italian Volunteers of the Waffen-SS, It mentions a unit known at the Debica receiving mounted squadron of 100 horses.

Posted 07 April 2003 - 11:39 PM by Barbarigo

In Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano (RSI Army) there was the Squadrone Autonomo di CAvalleria dello Stato Maggiore, a squadron put under the control of Army HQ. Some officers after the Armistice reorganized a squadron, taking all the horses left in the cavalry's headquarters. They were put in guard to the HQ in Bergamo and Brescia. The group in Bergamo was also used in anti-partisan actions in Alba.

At the end of the war, the squadron went to Milan, were it gave its equipment to the military autorities of Badoglio's Governament.
The uniform was tha old greygreen cavalry's one with a greygreen beret, similar to the german one. They had white colar flames and a red tie, like Savoia Cavalleria.