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Woroshilovgrad / Pawlograd


Staff member
Posted 13 April 2005 - 05:22 PM by Abel Ravasz

Hi all,

I would like to request help on tracking down two events that had caused me a headache for some time now.

1.) After the Little Saturn and Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh offensives, the Italian II. Corps (Cosseria, Ravenna) were thrust back into the frontline at Woroshilovgrad. Is there any info on the composition, battles, commanders and fate of this grouping?

2.) During late February, the 6. Bersaglieri Regiment, reinforced by other troops (f.e. Sforzesca's elements) under Mario Carloni was inserted into the frontline at Pavlograd. Is there any info on the composition and battles of this grouping?

3.) Were there any other cases of Italian units doing frontline fighting after the destruction of the ARMIR (including the Alpinis)? If yes, when and who were involved in it?

Any scraps of data would be more than welcome.

Thanks in advance,
And best wishes,


Posted 16 April 2005 - 06:14 PM by Michele

The data you requested are really huge!!

I would try to reply to your point number one: the defense of Voroscilovgrad and the river Donez.

The II Corps had no more operative tasks since 19 December, it had to reorganize its units in a different zone from Mitrofanovka, too close to the front.
On 17 December part of the forces of Ravenna (Capizzi group, made maily by troops of 37 infantry rgt) were separated from the corps, because it [Capizzi group] had moved towards south-east and joined 298 german inf div at Certkovo.
On 19 december most of Ravenna and the 90 art rgt (Cosseria) flew in disorder from Kantemirovka.
Most of Cosseria had been regrouped at Sofjevka, west of the railway Rossosc-Millerovo, while remnants of 89 inf rgt (they remained in the line till 20 december) were regrouping behind Cuneense division.

The army command thus decided that the command of the II corps had to leave Mitrofanovka and, through Rossosc-Starobelsk, had to move to Voroscilovgrad. There it had the task to reorganize its units, using also the supply sumps there existing.

On 23 december the whole division moved near Rossosc, where it remained till 31 december.
Between 1 and 5 january the division (now at disposal of the Alpini Corps) was transferred in the area of Rovenki-Beloluzkaja to protect its right wing. Then it was had to move to south west to Izjum and later to Novo Beliza (near Gomel 1300 km north-west all by foot).
It arrived there on 7 march and joined again II Corps.

The division arrived at Voroscilovgrad between 19 and 21 december. There it was reorganized and new equipment was issued.
The division command was relieved by german Kampfgruppe Andersen at Taly on 19 December and started the reorganization of the troops with him (1200 men, 30 officers, 2 guns 105/28, 20 lorries) at Valentinovka (4 km south-east from Mitrofanovka) during 20-21 december. In the morning of 22 december that position was under threat of enemy advance and it received the order to move to Voroscilovgrad with the group (through Rossosc-Rovenki-Starobelsk, Vesselaia Gora)


Staff member
Posted 16 April 2005 - 06:15 PM
The command of II Corps arrived at Voroscilovgrad in the night of 22 December, in the morning it gave orders for the defense of the two bridges and of the river.
Division Ravenna had following tasks:
- defense to the last man of the bridges and the river from any enemy infiltration an then defense of the city of Voroscilovgrad.
- use of all units of the division and all italian units available.
- to move further back all units not ready for combat.

In total the defence had, on 24 december, 4084 men and officiers and 33 guns.
I translate for you the report made by II corps to 8th army on 24 december ([] are my notes)

Subject: Defence of the bridgeheads of Woroschilowgrad.

To the command of 8th Army,

The forces that garrison today at 12pm the bridgeheads of Luganskaja and Wesselaja Gora are in the attached table n.1.
All "reparti di formazione" [at hoc temporary groupings, like german Kampfgruppen, in this case made from remnants of other units] are equiped with rifles, they are going to be partilally equiped with machine-guns submachineguns etc. in the limits of equipment available at depots.
During 25 december :
-- At the bridgehead of Luganskaja the CC.NN. company will be retired to complete its reorganization (strength: 3 officiers, 111 troops) but the command of 38th infantry regiment, III/38, a 81mm-mortar company , a 47/32 and support weapon company from the same regiment will arrive (total strength 41 officiers, 1114 men).
-- At the bridgehead of Wesselaja Gora the "battaglione di formazione" of 37th infantry regiment [batalion-sized temporary unit, in this case made collecting all the remaining infantry of the regiment] and minor units from the same regiment (24 officiers and 540 men) and two railway engineers companies (strenght 4 officiers, 200 men) will arrive.
For the artillery, data are in attached table 2.
A batalion-sized group made from an artillery group [without guns] (strength about 600 men) has in this moment the task to defend the city of Woroschilowgrad (commander [of the city], general di Blasio).
Every days the defences will be strengthened with the "reparti di formazione" [units made from remnants of other units] that will be built.
That is:
-- infantry: units that, even if thay have some numerical strength, they have only few heavy weapons and so they cannot have the efficiency of normal units, even if logorated.
-- artillery: single guns without links, they can only do, in this moments, direct fire and without AP and HEAT ammunitions.
To summarize, it is not a group apt to a strong defense, in particular if the enemy attacks also with tanks.
No prevision can be made, in this moment, about the reorganization of units, also bacause all weapons that will be available must be used to complete units already defending the bridgehead.
In any case, alla available materials will be collected and all efforts will be made to fulfill the task given to me.

The commanding general
signed: G.Zanghieri.

Attached page n.1

Ponte di Luganskaja (=Luganskaja bridge)

I btg.pontieri (= I bridge batalion) 8+320 (officiers+men)
IX btg.pontieri (= I bridge batalion) 8+320
II btg. del 38 rgt.ftr. ( II/38 Inf.Btn.) = 24+704
Compagnia di formazione del 37 rgt.fant. (=company "ad-hoc"(temporary group) from 37 inf.rgt.) 7+215
Compagnia di formazione della divisione Celere (=company-sized temporary group from div Celere) 9+180
Compagnia di formazione della divisione Cosseria (=company-sized temporary group from div Cosseria) 9+193
Compagnia di formazione di reparti vari (=company-sized temporary group from many different units) 7+183
Compagnia di formazione cc.nn. (=company-sized group from blackshirts) 3+111
Plotone comando del 217 btg.T.M. (Command platoon of 217 Btn) 7+35
Plotone mitraglieri di C.A. (=army corps MG platoon) 2+43
Truppe d'artiglieria (=artillery troops) 6+200

Totale (=total) 87+2510

Ponte di Wesselaja Gora (Wesselaja Gora bridge)

25 cp.ferrovieri (=25th railway eng.company) 4+200
Btg.formazione del 37 (=batalion-size group from 37th inf.rgt.) 14+580
Cp.formazione di bersaglieri (=company-sized group of bersaglieri) 3+80
N.2 carri armati L/6 (two L6 tanks) 1+10
Truppe d'artiglieria (=artillery troops) 5+100

Totale(=total) 37+1370

Attached page n.2

Guns: at Luganskaja ; at Wesselaja Gora

20/35 8 ; 2
47/32 4 ; 4
75/18 1+2 (note 1) ; 0
75/27 2 ; 2
75/46 2 ; 2
100/17 0+3 (note 2) ; 0
german 105 1 ; 0

1: [the two additional guns arriving] on 25 december
2: of which two [ready] on 25 december and one maybe ready on 25 december


Staff member
Posted 16 April 2005 - 06:16 PM

Fretter-Pico in the same day communicated that he had the intention to relieve italian troops from the defence of the bridges of Voroscilovgrad and to emply them in an other sector along river Donez.
On 27 December Fretter-Pico gave the order to move Ravenna. On 30 december the division was replaced at Voroscilovgrad by german group Schramm and Ravenna was now at the operative dependence of army group Fretter-Pico.
Between 1 and 6 january the division moved on the rigth bend of Donez between river Derkul and Michajlowka (45 km wide front).
It has following tasks:
-- to guard the rigth bend of the river by occupying all villages and guarding the gaps among them.
-- to block enemy infiltrations with converging actions from villages.
-- to built a deep defence, occupying also villages in the rear.
(Well, but 4000-5000 men for 45 km!!!)
Total forces were now three infantry batalions, one AA battery with 20mm guns, one battery with 75/27, one battery with 100/17, two guns 105/28. All batteries, with the exception of this last two guns (105/28 ) coming from the front at the Don, were made with equipment from the depots, some of which were also quite distant, and so only on 13 january they could deploy in their positions.

The line was made garrisoning the villages with a company each. In detail:

-- II/38 at Makarof-Kruscilovka-Iljevka, with batalion command at Iljevka
-- III/38 at Davjdo Nicholskij-Bolscioj Suchodol-Petrovka and batalion command at Petrovka
-- I/37 at Podgornoje-Popovka-Belenki-Malyi Suchodol, with batalion command at Malyi Suchodol.

The artillery was assigned as reinforcement (sections or also single guns) to the garrisons of Makarof, Kruscilovka, Davjdo Nicholskij, Bolscioj Suchodol, Transieredei and Popovka.
During the period 6-19 jannuary the division began to strengthen its position entrenching the villages and constructing AT obstacles. Moreover recon elements were sent on the othe rside of the river. From such recons they got the information that soviets would have attacked it in the sector between Derkul river and Davjdo Nicholskij and that soviet infantry was massing in the zone of Dubovoj.
Only on 18 jannuary it was possible to link with the germans on the laft of the division.
In early afternoon of 18 january from a russian deserter arriving at Makarof it was possible to estimate enemy forces at Dubovoj as oe infantry regiment with support of one mortar company, oneMG company, one AT-rifles company one 152mm battery one 45mm AT battery, and to know that Kruscilovka would have been attacked the following day. Recon confirmed enemy forces.

A so wide front did not allow to concentrate forces in the subsector Kruscilovka-Ivanovka. It was only possible to complete the destruction of the bridges across the Donez, and the division asked the army for tank support to attack the main enemy column or, at least, to use it as mobile reserve.
Army froup Fretter-Pico allowed the division to concentrate its forces because it should give part of its front (7 km) to 304 infantry division.
During 19 january Majakof, Kruscilovka and Iljevka were attacked by artillery. In the dawn Makarof and Kruscilovka were attacked by partisans.
At 22.30 Kruscilovka was attacked. The garrison (one infantry company, one mortar company and one section 75/27 guns) held. Relief forces were surrounded during the march but were able to disengage, reducing the pressure on Kruscilovka.
At 4 am of 20 january the survivors of Kruscilovka counterattacked and were able to break the ring and open the way to Ivanovka. There they were reorganized into a two platoons company and sent to Iljevka to strenghten the garrison. During all the day soviets tried to push towards south and south-west from Kruscilovka but futher advance was stopped by troops arriving from other sectors, which were replaced by 304 german inf div.
A counter-attack by german 537th inf.rgt (304th inf.div) and italian III/38 was planned for the following day, but soviets attacked Davjdo Nicholskij at 20.00 of 20 january. It was counter-attacked and repulsed in the other side of the river.
During this engagement, the garrison of Makarof (one company) was attacked by two battalions (I and II/899, what division?) and partisans just after midnight and at 7.00 the garrison was destroyed. Only some men were able to retreat to Iljevka. So the planned counter-attack against Kruscilovka was canceled to try to close the gap and avoid the encirclement of the line.


Staff member
Posted 17 April 2005 - 01:07 PM by Lupo Solitario

1) Michele is doing an excellent work (largely translating italian official history I'd tell) so I let him work

2) I'd tell that main sources (official history and Carloni's memories) are slightly different about it, I'm trying to merge them in a single tell

3) all sources agree: No!

Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:49 PM by Michele

Here you have the last part of the history...

Support from germans was again asked while resistanse continued in second lines.
At 4am of 22 january russians attacked Iljevka from north, east and west with two batallions and partisans. Iljevka was surrounded and most of III/38 was lost. At 8am only one company, survivors of other elements and of the III divisional mortar batalion remained. They were trying to stop the advance towards Novo Svetlova and Voroscilovgrad. An enemy batalion and "hundreds" of partisans attacked Ivanovka, but were repulsed. The thin consistency of troops and the logoration due to three days of continuous combat in the open without any cover at -40°C was reported to army group Fretter-Pico, which replied to hold waiting for tank units.
Such reinforcements arrived at 13.20 of 22 january and they moved from Ivanovka towards Kruscilovka, followed by infantry of Ravenna. The village was occupyed by evening. On 23 jannuary German armoured units continued to attack towards Makarof and Iljevka alongside with an italian lorried group, which entered Iljevka before Germans. Other italian units retook also Makarof.
The same evening army group Fretter-Pico communicated that Ravenna division would have been replaced to allow it to reorganize itself.
On 24 january Ravenna regrouped in the area Samsonov-Krasnodonskij and moved to Rovenki area, where it arrived 27-29 january. On 30 january it was again under II Corps.

.. the end.

Well, Lupo is right, as usual, this is almost the translation of the official history ("Le operazioni delle unita' italiane al fronte russo", third edition). Translation was made in a hurry, so I am not sure you were able to understand all...
Names of places are (normally) written as I found them, so you will always have a mix between german and italian spelling, which (of course) is the nearest similar to the scientific translitteration. I prefer to use such transilleration, but I don't know how to input special characters in plain text with my US-keyboard.

As regards question number 2, I need more time to find it in the text, but be patient and wait for Lupo's post, it will be better than mine.

Good bye.

PS: @ Lupo: IRAP is paid by all workers also by dependent! The difference is that independant workes pay it while IRAP for dependant workers is paid by the corporation, so it is not seen in the salary. So it appears to me as a sort of IVA(VAT) applied to work.

Posted 30 April 2005 - 04:40 PM by Lupo Solitario

ok, I've give sources as they are...

Carloni writes in his memories that he was charged to reform a bersaglieri regiment at Korsuni some day after January 4, 1943. He collected a force on HQ, VI bersaglieri battalion, XIX bersaglieri battalion, a provisional bersaglieri battalion, 47mm company, 81mm mortar unit and a 20mm platoon, for a total of about 2000 men all motorized with around 150 vehicles. They rested in Korsuni about one month. At first days of February, the unit became a tactical group including a couple of artillery battalions with the ttask to cover retreat of axis forces.
After some movement, the Carloni column left definitely Korsuni February 3 and arrived February 6 at Pawlograd. At Pawlograd, Carloni disocovers its column is the main axis combat unit in the area and agrees with german command to keep the position til arrive of german armored forces. Carloni takes on the position command February 9 with 2000 italians and 700 germans, 6 field guns and 4 AT guns and 2000 workers.
February 10: italian motorized units make recons towards Losowaja. First contact with Russians in Samara valley
February 11: the defence of Pawlograd is divided in five sectors. A force of ten german AFV arrives in town. Fightings between italian and russina advanced elements
February 12: Offensive recon by italo-german units. Fightings at Juriewka and Griscino. "Friendly fire" between italians and ukraine gendarmery
February 13: Open revolt by ukraine gendarmery crushed by italo-germans
February 14: clash with russians in the east sector of town
February 15: part of german forces is retired causing morale troubles
February 16: fightings around the town
February 17: main russian attack: at 4am three russian columns attack from different direction. A fourth column attacks at 8am with a revolt of civilian population. Carloni retires on Voleja river bridge. At 10am, situation is hard and Axis have still only five AFVs. At 11am italogerman force is completely retired over the bridge. New retreat on Nowo Moskowsk where arrived at 4pm finding a new german armor unit.
February 18: after having organized a new defensive line, Carloni meets german commanders at Dnepropetrovsk
February 20: new offensive recons on Dnepr river, leaded by Carloni himself.
February 21: the entire Carloni column reaches Dnepropetrovsk
February 22: start german counteroffensive. Carloni column leaves first line

that's for Carloni (resume is mine)

Shorter description for italian official history: I traslate literally:

...February 10...the 6th Bersaglieri commander and his men passed at orders of Dniepropetrovsk german command assuming the command of italian and german forces at Pawlograd, to defence the town and related communication lines.
From 10 to 20 february, moving alone or with germans, the Carloni column substained clashes with motorized and armored soviet forces and with partisan into Pawlograd itself.

for official history, the Carloni column had this strenght:
-6th Bersaglieri HQ
-6th Bersaglieri provisional battalion
-"Cosentino" bersaglieri provisional battalion
-II/17th field artillery battalion
-XIX AA artillery battalion
35 LMG, 22 HMG, 3 81mm mortars, 2 47mm cannons, 11 20mm guns, 5 75/18 howitzers, 5 75/46 cannons

at dispo


Staff member
Posted 30 April 2005 - 11:29 PM by Lupo Solitario

Hi Lupo,

thanks for Your efforts, they are really much appreciated! This is the info that I was after!

-II/17th field artillery battalion
-XIX AA artillery battalion

Is there any parent unit for these two formations? I've read that Sforzesca's artillery was present in Carloni's column but I'm clueless about the origin of these battalions.

Thanks again,


Posted 01 May 2005 - 12:17 AM by Franco

If I understood
the II/17 was the second gruppo (btln) of 17th artillery rgt that one of Sforzesca division
the XIX gruppo counter air artillery was part of army suppor unit maybe the 4th reggimento CA artillery

I've controlled the XIX was part of 4th CA artilery raggrupamento

Posted 01 May 2005 - 09:53 AM by Lupo Solitario

II battalion, 17th "Sforzesca" field artillery regiment

The XIX AA was part of 4th AA artillery raggruppamento

Posted 01 May 2005 - 10:04 AM by Lupo Solitario

Abel, I got a question for you.

In his memories Carloni states his german tanks were: "seven Tigers and three 88mm SPG" which is not believable...I know that italian generals had this idea to call Tigers and 88 every german stuff they see but the question is:

What were they really? PzIV and StuG? Any opinion (also to identify their parent unit)?


Posted 03 May 2005 - 12:27 PM by Abel Ravasz

Hi Lupo,

unfortunately I have got very little info to offer.

Tigers are completely out of question - the only units to be equipped with such - s.PzAbt 503, LSSAH, SSDR, SSTK were not at the area during the given date - s.PzAbt 503 at the Mius, LSSAH and SSDR at Kharkov and SSTK en route near Poltava.

My guess is Pz IVs, or even Pz IIIs. Most probably it was an ad-hoc grouping, for the number given is too little for a Panzer Division (even in such bad conditions as they were), but then no smaller Panzer units were involved in the battles near Pavlograd (PzAbt 138 was with Brig Schuldt, PzVb 700 already disbanded, 3./PzAbt 301 sent back to Germany and no note of other sub-divisional Panzer units in my sources). Too bad that it is rather hard to ascertain the origin of this Kampfgruppe.

As for the 88s - I am no equipment expert, so I'm afraid I'm completely clueless on this one.

A question - what do You think the "Ukrainian police" should be? Schuma? HiPo? Ost Bns? ...?


Posted 03 May 2005 - 12:43 PM

Abel Ravasz said:
A question - what do You think the "Ukrainian police" should be? Schuma? HiPo? Ost Bns? ...?


Posted 03 May 2005 - 12:43 PM by Lupo Solitario

Sigh - I'm not a specialist of this kind of units...Carloni calls it Ukrainian "police" or "gendarmery" and tell they were about fifty persons at the orders of a german "gendarmery" (I suppose Feldgendarmerie) captain...that's all

Posted 11 August 2006 - 12:52 AM Abel Ravasz

Hi gentlemen,

sorry to bring this up once again (reading back - a huge thanks again, michele!), but I have got a few more questions regarding a topic I have so far ignored - the "two battaglione di formazione" of the CCNN that had been formed 4/1/43 near Woroshilowgrad under the command of Console Bertoni of Valle Scrivia.

Were these units ever properly formed?
Did they ever see combat?
When were they finally removed from the frontline?

A big thanks in advance,

Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:49 PM by A.Melnyk

so-called "field gendarmerie department, unit that is formed from Ukrainian to protect roads and adjacent areas Pavllohradskomu

By the way I have materials about the Italian troops stay in our city and in Ukraine. Glad I share the pictures stay in Pavlograd Italians.

Also Looking for a book Karloni Mario and other books about the Italian veterans Ukraine