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Italian Eastern Front Veterans in Sicily.

Alex

New Member
Hi All,

As I mentioned in the Sicily - OOB thread my main two areas of interest with the Italian Military is the defence of Sicily and the Italian Forces on the Eastern Front. I was aware that both General Ottorino Schreiber and General Enrico Francisci were Eastern Front Veterans. Today I was reading the following Invasion of Sicily (Blog) - The 54th Infantry Division Napoli and it had the following:

"General Giulio Cesare Gotti Porcinari wrote the following report about the condition and morale of the men under his command on the eve of the Allied invasion:
...."In October 1942, the (Napoli) division was asked to provide officers and soldiers (volunteers) that would be sent to Russia, replacing troops that in turn would be repatriated from Russia and would replace said volunteers (3,500 men). Thus the units lost one third of their strength, the best educated, most enthusiastic and most willing men, and the division was placed in a terrible state of crisis, as in one stroke the thorough training (specialist troops, non-commissioned officers, officers, shock troops) of men and units, that had been carried out in multiple areas, was nullified....
The troops that had come from Russia were not content with their transfer to Sicily, for the following reasons:
a) they had not been granted the leave they had been promised; they had only been granted fifteen days instead of thirty as they had been told;
b) they weren’t in excellent physical condition, a considerable percentage of them suffered from the consequences of frostbite and suffered from
sores after brief marches;
c) according to them, they had been told that in Sicily they would enjoy a period of relative rest and calm; instead, they had been tasked with heavy guard duty, patrol duty, working on fortifications, alarms, and prolonged posting in malaria areas with little water or comfort (Butera regio – Catania plain). "

So to my questions:

Is this correct did the Napoli Division lose 1/3 of it's trained troops to the Eastern Front at the end of 1942?
Were the troops they replaced shipped back to the Napoli Division?
Was this normal procedure did other divisions do this (both in Sicily and on the Italian mainland?
Did the replacements get to the Eastern Front (just in time for the Russian Winter / the Soviet attack on the Don River)?
Were they there as individual battlefield replacements or as formed units (Companies/Batteries etc)?

Thanks in Advance.

Alex
 
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