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18th Infantry Division Messina

Top 3 18th Infantry Division Messina related articles

18th Infantry Division Messina
18th Infantry Division Messina Insignia
BranchItalian Army
EngagementsWorld War II
General Silvio Bonini
Messina Division collar insignia

The 18th Infantry Division Messina was an infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. It was formed 24 May 1939 in the Fano area on the Italian Adriatic sea coast and was dissolved by Germans 13 September 1943 in Croatia.[1]

18th Infantry Division Messina Intro articles: 3


Coat of Arms of the 93rd Infantry Regiment "Messina", 1939
Coat of Arms of the 94th Infantry Regiment "Messina", 1939

From formation to occupation of Montenegro

The division Messina did not participated in the Italian invasion to France, quartering in Ancona coast besides the Fabriano and Fossombrone valleys nearby until the end of 1940. 3 April 1941, it was ordered to Albania, on the positions north of Shkodër. It was expected to occupy Ulcinj Castle to shell the Yugoslavian positions. 12–13 April 1941, it resisted Yugoslavian attacks at Mount Korab. The Messina Division took part in the invasion of Yugoslavia as part of the Italian XVII (Armoured) Corps. The first crossing of Yugoslavian border occurred 15 April 1941, between Bar, Montenegro and Lake Skadar. 16 April 1941, after piercing through the Yugoslavian defences, it advanced to Bar. 17 April 1941, it surprised and captured both Cetinje and Kotor and much of the Royal Yugoslav Navy. The Messina division has reached Podgorica city 25 April 1941 and received the orders to stay as occupation force. Its area of responsibility was stretched over 100 km around Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Podgorica, Berane and Kotor.

Anti partisan operations

Fighting with the Partisans started almost immediately. During 1941, an intermittent fighting was erupting in Virpazar, Rijeka, Cekanje pass near Cetinje, Šavnik and Kotor.

Operation Alba

The Messina division was transferred to the Croatian city of Metković in early August, 1942. It took part in Operation Alba which was an anti Partisan operation in Croatia carried out from 12 August to 2 September 1942, to destroy partisan groups in the Biokovo area 40 to 50 kilometres east of Split. Italian forces burned down 10 villages and killed and arrested several hundred people.[2][3] Orders to move to the Neretva Delta were issued 8 September 1942.

Operation Alfa

The Messina also took part in Operation Alfa between 5 and 10 October 1942. The objective was to retake the town of Prozor which had been overrun by a strong Partisan force. The operation was under the command of the Italian VI Corps, which achieved all its objectives in 6 days.[4][5]

The Armistice

After the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, the Messina division received orders to disarm by German, Yugoslavian, and Croatian forces. In the resulting confusion, elements of the division (93rd Messina Infantry Regiment and 108th CCNN Legion (Blackshirts)) were able to board ships and arrived on the Apulia coast of Italia. Nonetheless, the division was officially dissolved 13 September 1943.

18th Infantry Division Messina Action articles: 28

Order of battle

  • 93. Messina Infantry Regiment
  • 94. Messina Infantry Regiment
  • 2. Metauro Artillery Regiment
  • 108. CCNN Legion (Blackshirts)
  • 18. Mortar Battalion
  • 118. Anti-Tank Company
  • 18. Signal Company
  • 20. Mining Company
  • 48. Pioneer Company
  • 49. Medical Section
  • 190. Heavy Motor Transport Section
  • 23. Supply Section
  • 52. Carabinieri Section
  • 53. Carabinieri Section
  • 44. Field Bakery [nb 1]


The names of 8 men attached to the Messina Division can be found in the CROWCASS List established by the Anglo-American Allies of the individuals wanted by Yugoslavia for war crimes:

  • (Name) AMATO Attilio - (C.R. File Number) 195528 - (Rank, Occupation, Unit, Place and Date of Crime) General, Italian Army, Div. Messina, Korcula (Yugo.) 15.1.43 - (Reason wanted) Murder - (Wanted by) Yugo. [7]
  • CAPRIOLO Giorgio - 190914 - Adjutant, Div. Messina, aide de camp, Berane (Yugo.) 7.-9.41 - Murder - Yugo. [8]
  • MARUSSICH (or MARUSIC) - 191008 - Agent, Capt., Pol.-Ital., C.C., Div. Messina, Montenegro, Fraschette Alatri (Yugo.; It.) 41-42 - Murder - Yugo. [9]
  • NICOSIA Salvatore - 191154 - Major, Inf.Div. Messina", Procuratore dell'Imperatore, Cetinje (Yugo.) 1941 - Murder - Yugo. [10]
  • OGRISSEC - 191044 - Capt., Ital.Army, Div. "Messina", Montenegro (Yugo.) 13.7.41, spring 1942 - Murder - Yugo. [11]
  • PAVISSICH - 191057 - Capt., Italian Army, Div. "Messino", Montenegro (Yugo.) 13.7.41-42 - Murder - Yugo. [12]
  • RAGOZZI Guido - 191075 - Lt. Col., Ital. Army, Commander of Bn. of the Div. "Messina", Prov. Montenegro (Yugo.) 31.7.41-spring 42 - Murder - Yugo. [13]
  • TUCCI Carlo - 193558 - Lt. General, G.O.C. "Messina" Div., Montenegro (Yugo.) 7.41 - Murder - Yugo. [14]

18th Infantry Division Messina Order of battle articles: 2


  1. ^ An Italian Infantry Division normally consisted of two Infantry Regiments (three Battalions each), an Artillery Regiment, a Mortar Battalion (two companies), an 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.[6]
  1. ^ http://www.regioesercito.it/reparti/fanteria/rediv18.htm
  2. ^ Hronologija oslobodilačke borbe naroda jugoslavije 1941-1945 (Belgrade, 1964), p.323
  3. ^ Oslobodilački rat naroda Juooslavije 1941-1945, 2 Vols (Belgrade: 1965), p.298
  4. ^ Le Operazioni delle Unita italiane in Jugoslavia 1941-1943 (Rome: Ministero della Difesa stato Maggiore dell' Esercito, 1978), pp.211-212
  5. ^ Tomasevich, Jozo - The Chetniks Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1975, p.233.
  6. ^ Paoletti, p 170
  7. ^ The Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects, Consolidated Wanted Lists (1947), Naval & University Press, Uckfield 2005; Part 2 - Non-Germans only, p. 57 (facsimile of the original document at the National Archives in Kew/London).
  8. ^ Ibid., p. 59
  9. ^ Ibid., p. 67
  10. ^ Ibid., p. 68
  11. ^ Ibid., p. 68
  12. ^ Ibid., p. 69
  13. ^ Ibid., p. 70
  14. ^ Ibid., p. 73
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2008). A Military History of Italy. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-98505-9.