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20th Infantry Division Friuli
20a Divisione Fanteria Friuli.png
Active 1939 - September 20, 1944
20th Infantry Division Friuli
September 20, 1944 - October 15, 1945
Combat Group Friuli
October 15, 1945 - April 15, 1960
Infantry Division Friuli
Country Italy
Branch Italian Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname Friuli
Engagements World War II
General Vittorio Sogno
Mostrina 20a Divisione Fanteria Friuli.png
Friuli Division Infantry Regiments Collar Insignia

The 20th Infantry Division Friuli was a Infantry Division of the Italian Army during World War II.



The 20th Infantry Division Friuli was formed in 1939 by renaming the existing 20th Infantry Division Curtatone e Montanara. It was a reserve force during the Italian invasion of southern France in 1940 and took part in the Invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 as part of the Italian VI Corps. Afterwards it remained in Yugoslavia on anti-Partisan duties.[1] When Italy and Germany occupied Vichy France after the Allied landings in French North Africa the division was ferried to northern Corsica on 8 November to occupy the island.[2]

After the armistice between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943 the division in conjunction with the 44 Infantry Division Cremona and French Partisans engaged in heavy combat with the German Sturmbrigade Reichsführer SS and 90th Panzergrenadier Division and the Italian 12 Parachute Battalion of the 184 Parachute Regiment[3], which came from Sardinia and retreated through Corsica towards the harbor of Bastia in the islands north. On 13 September elements of the Free French 4th Moroccan Mountain Division were landed in Ajaccio to support the Italian efforts to stop the 30,000 retreating German troops. But during the night of 3 to 4 October the last German units were evacuated from Bastia leaving behind 700 dead and 350 POW's. After the end of operations on Corsica the division was sent as garrison unit to Sardinia. On 24 November the 88th CCNN Legion was renamed 387th Friuli Infantry Regiment.

In July 1944 the division was transferred to San Giorgio del Sannio on the Italian peninsula. On 20 August 1944, the third battalions in the 87th and 88th Infantry regiments were replaced by two Granatieri di Sardegna battalions and on 31 August the 387th Friuli Infantry Regiment was dissolved. On 20 September. the division was renamed Combat Group Friuli. On the 5 February 1945, the division returned to front line duty, replacing the 5th Polish Division Kresowa of the II Polish Corps on the Senio river near Brisighella. From there the division advanced with the Allies Armies to liberate Imola, Castel San Pietro and Bologna.[4]

On 15 October 1945, the Combat Group Friuli was renamed Infantry Division Friuli retaining the 87th and 88th Infantry Regiments as well as the 35th Artillery Regiment; additional units were the 120th Mixed Engineer battalion and some minor support units. On 15 April 1960, the division was reduced to brigade level, losing all its regiments and receiving new units (see Infantry Brigade Friuli)

Commanders 1938–1943

  • General Vittorio Sogno
  • General Vito Ferrari
  • General Giacomo Carboni
  • General Ettore Cotronei
  • General Ugo De Lorenzis
  • General Bartolomeo Pedrotti [2]

Order of battle

as of its deployment to Corsica in 1942:[2][4][5]

  • 87th Friuli Infantry Regiment[6][7]
    • 87th Command Company
    • 1st Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 87th Mortar Company with 81 mm Mortars
    • 87th Suppurt Arms Company with 61/17 Field Guns
  • 88th Friuli Infantry Regiment[8][9]
    • 88th Command Company
    • 4th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 6th Friuli Infantry Battalion
    • 88th Mortar Company with 81 mm Mortars
    • 88th Suppurt Arms Company with 61/17 Field Guns
  • 35th Friuli Artillery Regiment[10]
    • 1st Artillery Group with 100/17 Field Cannons
    • 2nd Artillery Group with 75/27 Field Cannons
    • 3rd Artillery Group with 75/18 Field Cannons
    • 4th Artillery Group with 75/18 Field Cannons
    • 4th Anti-Aircraft Group
      • 35th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
      • 320th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
      • 356th Anti-Aircraft Battery with 20 mm Anti-Aircraft Guns
  • 88th CCNN Legion (Blackshirts)
    • 88th CCNN Battalion Costanza Ciano
    • 96th CCNN Battalion Petrarca
  • 20th Mortar Battalion with 81 mm Mortars
  • 20th Engineer Battalion
    • 52nd Pioneer Company
    • 20th Signal Company
    • 20th Chemical Company
  • 20th Anti-Tank Company with 47/32 Anti-Tank Guns
  • 26th Medical Company
    • 81th Field Hospital
    • 82nd Field Hospital
    • 83th Field Hospital
    • 491th Field Hospital
  • 23rd Heavy Motor Transport Section
  • 13th Supply Section
  • 19th Bakery Section
  • 58th Carabinieri Section
  • 59th Carabinieri Section
  • 60th Carabinieri Section
  • 79th Field Post Office

attached units in Corsica:

  • Territorial Coastal Battalion
  • Machine Gun Company
  • Bastia Garrison with 3 battalions [1][nb 1]

See also


  1. ^ An Italian Infantry Division normally consisted of two Infantry Regiments (three Battalions each), a Artillery Regiment, a Mortar Battalion (two companies), a Anti Tank Company, a Blackshirt Legion of two Battalions was sometimes attached. Each Division had only about 7,000 men, The Infantry and Artillery Regiments contained 1,650 men, the Blackshirt Legion 1,200, each company 150 men.[11]

  • Macksey, Major Kenneth (1971). Beda Fomm: Classic Victory. Ballentine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century, Battle Book Number 22. Ballantine Books.  
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2008). A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0275985059.  



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