1st Alpini Regiment

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1st Alpini Regiment
1° Reggimento Alpini
CoA mil ITA rgt alpini 001 (1939).png
Coat of Arms of the 1st Alpini Regiment (1939)
Active1 Nov. 1882 - 8 Sept. 1943
23 Nov. 1945 - 15 April 1946 [1]
Country Italy
Branch Italian Army
Type Alpini
RoleMountain Infantry
Size3 Battalions
Pieve di Teco Battalion
Ceva Battalion
Mondovì Battalion
Part of 4th Alpine Division “Cuneense”
1935 - 1943
Motto(s)"Nec descendere nec morari" [1]
Anniversaries16 June 1917 - Battle of Monte Ortigara [1]
Engagements World War I
Battle of Monte Ortigara
Battle Monte Nero
World War II
Battle of Nikolayevka
Decorations Cavaliere BAR.svg Valor militare gold medal BAR.svg Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Valor militare bronze medal BAR.svg
1x Military Order of Italy
1x Gold Medal of Military Valour
5x Silver Medals of Military Valour
1x Bronze Medal of Military Valour [1]
Insignia
Alpini gorget patches
Mostrina - Alpini.png
Mostrina - Alpini.png

The 1st Alpini Regiment (Italian : 1° Reggimento Alpini) is an inactive regiment of the Italian Army's mountain infantry speciality, the Alpini, which distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II.

Contents

History

Formation

The 1st Alpini Regiment was formed on 1 November 1882. It consisted of three Battalions: "Alto Tanaro", Val Tanaro and Val Camonica, named after the valleys and localities from which their soldiers were recruited. In 1886 the battalions were renamed, taking their new names from the location of their main logistic depot: Ceva, Pieve di Teco and Mondovì.

World War I

World War 1: 1st Alpini camp below the Sella Nevea pass WWI - Field camp of the Italian 1st Alpini Regiment on Monte Poviz, Sella Nevea.jpg
World War 1: 1st Alpini camp below the Sella Nevea pass

During World War I the regiment consisted of 9 battalions and saw heavy fighting in the Alps against Austria’s Kaiserjäger and Germany’s Alpenkorps. The battalions of the regiment in these days were (pre-war raised units in bold, followed by their first and second line reserve battalions):

Interwar Period

Cap insignia of the Alpini. Fregio alpini (per personale in servizio permanente).png
Cap insignia of the Alpini.

On 31 October 1935, the 4th Alpine Division “Cuneense” was formed and was composed of the 1st Alpini and 2nd Alpini Regiment and the 4th Mountain Artillery Regiment. Each Alpini regiment fielded 160 officers, and 5,046 NCOs and soldiers for a total strength of 5,206 men. Each regiment also had 23 horses, 1,242 mules and 109 transport vehicles at its disposal. The division's order of battle was as follows:

In 1935 the "Pieve di Teco" battalion was sent to fight in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, where it distinguished itself during the battles of Amba Aradam, Amba Alagi, Worq Amba, Mai Ceu and Mekan Pass.

World War II

On 21 June 1940 (one day before the French surrender) the “Cuneense” division began to advance with other Italian units into Southern France. The division was then sent to Albania, where it participated in the Italian attack on Greece. As the German Wehrmacht came to the aid of the beaten Italian armies in Albania in April 1941 through an invasion of Yugoslavia the “Cuneense” was sent north to aid the rapidly advancing German divisions. The Cuneense advanced through Montenegro and reached Dubrovnik by the end of the campaign.

In September 1942 the "Cuneense" was sent with the Alpini divisions Julia and Tridentina and other Italian units to the Soviet Union to form the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia (ARMIR)) and fight alongside the Germans against the Red Army. Taking up positions along the Don River, the Italian units covered part of the left flank of the German Sixth Army, which spearheaded the German summer offensive of 1942 into the city of Stalingrad.

After successfully encircling the German Sixth army in Stalingrad the Red Army’s attention turned to the Italian units along the Don. On 14 January 1943, the Soviet Operation Little Saturn began and the three Alpini division found themselves quickly encircled by the rapidly advancing armoured Soviet Forces. The Alpinis held the front on the Don, but within three days the Soviets advanced 200 km to the left and right of the Alpini. On the evening of 17 January the commanding officer of the Italian Mountain Corps General Gabriele Nasci finally ordered a full retreat. At this point the Julia and Cuneense divisions were already heavily decimated and only the Tridentina division was still capable of conducting combat operations. As the Soviets had already occupied every village bitter battles had to be fought to clear the way. On the morning of 28 January the men of the 1st Alpini Regiment had walked 200 km, fought in 20 battles and spent 11 nights camped out in the middle of the Russian Steppe. Temperatures during the nights were between -30 °C and -40 °C. In the course of that day, the last remnants of the regiment were annihilated by Cossack forces. The last survivors of the 1st Alpini regiment burnt the regimental war flag to prevent it from falling in enemy hands, at which point the Regiment ceased to exist.

On 11 February 1943, the survivors were counted and out of 5,206 men of the 1st Alpini Regiment just 722 had reached Axis lines; none of the soldiers of the battalions Ceva, Pieve di Teco and Mondovì had made it out of the Soviet encirclement. 3,475 men of the 1st Alpini Regiment died in Russia. [2] The survivors were repatriated and after the signing of the Italian armistice with the Allies on 8 September 1943, the regiment was dissolved.

Cold War

The 1st Alpini Regiment was reformed on 23 November 1945, but as the unit had burned its war flag and thus lost its regimental colours, the regiment was disbanded on 15 April 1946.

Alpini Battalion "Mondovì"

Coat of arms of the Alpini Battalion "Mondovi" CoA mil ITA btg alpini Mondovi.png
Coat of arms of the Alpini Battalion "Mondovì"

During the 1975 army reform the army disbanded the regimental level and the newly independent battalions were given for the first time war flags. As part of the reform the Alpini (Recruits Training) Battalion "Mondovì" was activated in Cuneo and given the traditions of the 1st Alpini Regiment. The battalion was part of the Alpine Brigade "Taurinense" and remained active until 30 August 1997.

When the battalion was disbanded it had the following structure:

  • CoA mil ITA btg alpini Mondovi.png Alpini Battalion "Mondovì"
    • Nappina bianca.png Command and Services Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 9th Alpini Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 10th Alpini Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 11th Alpini Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 103rd Alpini Company

Sources

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Le Feste dei Reparti - Giugno". Italian Army. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  2. http://www.unirr.it/ricerche/conteggio-caduti/n-caduti-per-corpo-di-appart