First Army (Italy)
World War I
During World War I, the First Army participated in the defense of
Caporetto, against combined Austro-Hungarian and German divisions in October 1917. It faced several defeats before being pushed back several dozen miles.
World War II
At the beginning of World War II, the Italian First Army was one of two armies that made up Army Group West commanded by Prince General
Umberto di Savoia. Together with the Italian Fourth Army, the First Army attacked French forces during the Italian invasion of France. At this time, the First Army was commanded by General Pietro Pintorand included three army corps: the 2nd Corps commanded by General Francesco Bettini, the 3rd Corps - General Mario Arisio, and the 15th Corps commanded by General Gastone Gambara. (See order of battle, below.)
1942, after the defeat of Panzer Army Africaat the Second Battle of El Alameinand after the Operation Torchlandings, Field Marshal Erwin Rommelwas forced to make one of the longest retreats in history. He withdrew from the "Western Desert" of Egyptand Libyaand established a defence on the French-built Mareth Linein southern Tunisia. After occupyinging the Mareth Line, Rommel took command of the newly created Army Group Africaand turned over the "German-Italian Panzer Army" (formerly "Panzer Army Africa") to Italian General Giovanni Messe. The army was once again renamed and on February 23 1943, Messe took command of the "Italian First Army."
The First Army, with Messe in command, took part in Rommel's attempt to break through the
Kasserine Pass. As part of Army Group Africacommanded by General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim, the First Army attacked Field MarshalBernard Montgomery's British Eighth Armyat Medenine, just west of the Mareth Line. However, the First Army was crushingly defeated. In addition, the attempt by Rommel and Arnim to breakthrough in Tunisia failed.
By the end of May,
Alliedtroops had captured all of North Africa, and the First Army was part of the 270,000 Axis troopstaken prisoner.
=Order of Battle at 10th June 1940 [cite web
last = Mulholland
first = John
title = Axis History Factbook
date = 18 July 2005
url = http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=6466
accessdate = 2008-09-03 ] =
Commanded by General
* 4th Mountain Infantry Division, "Livorno" (Gen.
* 33rd Mountain Infantry Division, "Acqui" (Gen.
* 36th Mountain Infantry Division, "Forli' " (Gen.
* 4th Alpine Division, "Cuneense" (Gen.
* 3rd Guardia alla Frontiera (Frontier Guards) Sector
* 2nd Corps Artillery Group
* 2nd Engineer Group
* 7th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Group
* 14th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Group
* 22nd Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Group
* "Valle Stura" Alpini Btl.
* "Val Maira" Alpini Btl.
* 6th MMG. Btl.
* 102nd MMG. Btl.
* 109th Positional MMG. Btl.
* 114th Positional MMG. Btl.
* 5th "Artieri" (Construction Engineers) Btl.
* 2nd Tank Company
* 84th Telegraph Company
* 152nd Workers Company
* 1st Chemical Company
* 72nd Searchlights Section
* 6th Mobile Pigeon-Messengers Unit
Commanded by General
* 3rd Infantry Division, "Ravenna" (Gen.
* 6th Infantry Division "Cuneo" (Gen.
Corps Reserves :
* 2nd Guardia alla Frontiera Sector
* 3rd Corps Art.Grp.
* 3rd Eng Grp.
* 16th Guardia alla Frontiera Art.Grp.
* "Val Venosta" Alpini Btl.
* 3rd MMG. Btl.
* 103rd MMG. Btl.
* 112th Positional MMG. Btl.
* 10th "Artieri" (Construction Eng) Btl.
* 7th Telegraph Coy.
* 72nd Telegraph Coy.
* 3rd Blackshirts Btl.
* 4th Blackshirts Btl.
* 8th Mobile Pigeon-Messengers Unit
Commanded by General
* 5th Infantry Division, "Cosseria" (Gen.
37th Mountain Infantry Division, "Modena" (Gen. Alessandro Gloria)
44th Infantry Division, "Cremona" (Gen. Umberto Mondino)
* Alpini Grp. (4 x Alpini Btl.s - 2 x Alpini Art. Btl.s - 1 x Blackshirts Btl.)
* 1st Guardia alla Frontiera Sector
* 5th Guardia alla Frontiera Sector
* 15th Corps Art.Grp.
* 11th Guardia alla Frontiera Art.Grp.
* 24th Guardia alla Frontiera Art.Grp.
* 15th MMG. Btl.
* 108th Positional MMG. Btl.
* 111th Positional MMG. Btl.
* 9th "Artieri" (Construction Eng) Btl.
* 71st Telegraph Coy.
* 76th Telegraph Coy.
* 100th Radio Coy.
* 33rd Blackshirts Btl.
* 34th Blackshirts Btl.
* 4th AA Art. Rgt
* 2nd Army Art.Grp.
* 4th Army Art.Grp.
* 7th Army Art.Grp.
* 8th Army Art.Grp.
* 1st Signal Btl.
* 2nd Cableways Btl.
* 2nd Miners (Mountain Eng) Btl.
* 5th Miners Btl.
* 69th Air Force Sqn. (recon)
* 7th Infantry Division, "Lupi di Toscana" (Gen.
* 16th Infantry Division, "Pistoia" (Gen.
* 22nd Infantry Division, "Cacciatori delle Alpi" (Gen.
* 5th Alpine Division, "Pusteria" (Gen.
Amedeo de Cia)
* "Celere" (fast - motor) Grp.
* 1st Bersaglieri Rgt
* 3rd Tank Rgt
* "Cavalleggeri di Monferrato" Cav. Rgt
Pietro Pintor- at June 10, 1940
Giovanni Messe- February 23 1943- May 13 1943
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