Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

54th Infantry Division Napoli

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Active  1939–1943
Branch  Italian Army
Size  Division
Country  Italy
Type  Infantry
Garrison/HQ  Caltanissetta
54th Infantry Division Napoli

The 54th Infantry Division Napoli was a regular infantry division of the Italian Army during World War II. It was created 15 April 1939 in Caltanissetta and was dissolved 14 August 1943 in Melia southeast of Scilla, Calabria after being nearly wiped out in the Allied invasion of Sicily. The division drafted men in southern Sicily. The members of the division hailed from Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Syracuse and surrounding territories.



In 1940, the Napoli division was deployed in southern Sicily, with major garrisons in Caltagirone, Piazza Armerina and Mirabella Imbaccari. In 1941 it was re-deployed with more emphasis on coastal defence, protecting a coastal strip Pozzallo-Gela-Licata. In the anticipation of the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Napoli division was split into two groups: one group placed at Ramacca and Scordia, with the other group in Palazzolo Acreide, as part of the re-deployment of the Italian XVI Corps in Sicily. Before the allied landings even occurred, the division's headquarters at Palazzolo Acreide was bombed by the allied air forces on the night of 8 July.

On the day of Allied landings, 10 July 1943, the Napoli engaged in fighting south of Noto, while the northern group fought at Lentini and Brucoli. As British superior forces attacked Floridia from the Ponte Diddino road, the Italian forces soon started to fail, despite heavy fighting on the mountaintop positions north of Solarino. On the second day of the campaign, 12 July 1943, the British captured Floridia and the entirety of the 75th Regiment as it was attempting to withdraw from the town. Meanwhile, southern group of the division Napoli had made contact with an advancing battalion of the Durham Light Infantry on 12 July on the road between Palazzolo Acreide and Floridia. Its attacks, using infantry and five tanks, were repelled by British artillery and anti-tank fire. By 12 July 1943, the division had managed to stabilize the front-line at Palazzolo Acreide-Solarino-Priolo Gargallo. By 13 July 1943, the new Allied landing north of Augusta had outflanked division, and inflicted heavy casualties to Napoli. Destruction continued on 14 July 1943, as remnants of division fought a rear-guard battle at Scordia to protect other units retreating from Caltagirone and Vizzini. It has been estimated that the division lost up to eighty-percent of its effectiveness soon after its initial opposition to the British landings, The remnants of the Napoli Division were absorbed into the incoming Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring, where they fought some small rearguard battles 16–24 July 1943. On 25 July 1943, the Napoli division tried to reform at Linguaglossa. But soon it become obvious that cut-off subunits were either destroyed or captured by the Allies, so the attempt to reform was abandoned and remaining personnel were ordered to Messina, where it was evacuated to Melia, southeast of Scilla 11–14 August 1943. The division was dissolved immediately after evacuation 14 August 1943.

Order of battle

  • Headquarters
  • Divisional Headquarters
  • 1. Carabineri reali section
  • 2. Carabineri reali section
  • Artillery Headquarters
  • Engineer headquarters
  • Chief of staff
  • Secret operations office
  • Propaganda office
  • Health office
  • Police office
  • Veterinary office
  • 75. Infantry regiment "Napoli"
  • Regimental headquarters company
  • Command platoon
  • Signal platoon
  • Auxiliary platoon
  • 3 infantry battalions
  • Battalion headquarters company
  • Command platoon
  • Signal platoon
  • Scout platoons
  • 3 infantry companies
  • Command platoon
  • Command section
  • Logistics section
  • Fuel section
  • 3 infantry platoons (18 men each)
  • Close support mixed company
  • Command platoon
  • 2 machine gun platoons
  • Mortar platoon (Brixia 45mm)
  • Close support mortar company
  • Command platoon
  • 3 mortar platoons (da 81)
  • Close support gun company
  • Command platoon
  • 4 gun platoons (47/32)
  • 76. Regiment. infantry "Napoli" (same composition as 75th regiment)
  • 5. Artillery regiment "Superga"
  • Command office
  • Command section
  • Transport section
  • 2 medium artillery groups
  • Command office
  • Command section
  • Transport section
  • 3 100/17 batteries
  • Battery control section (4 men)
  • Gun officers (6 men)
  • 4 guns (24 crew)
  • Machine gun section (2 machine guns, 7 men)
  • Medical section (5 men)
  • Transport section (11 men)
  • Auxiliary staff (8 men)
  • 2 light artillery groups
  • Command office
  • Command section
  • Transport section
  • 3 Skoda 75 mm Model 15 batteries (same composition as 100mm batteries)
  • 21a Anti-aircraft battery (8 Cannone-Mitragliera da 20/65 modello 35 (Breda))
  • 173. CCNN Legion "Salso"
  • 169. CCNN battalion "Siracusa"
  • 173. CCNN battalion "Caltanissetta"
  • 174a Machine gun company
  • 54. Mortar Battalion (da 81)
  • 54. Machine Gun Battalion
  • 54. Anti-Tank Company (47/32)
  • 54. Engineer battalion
  • 14. Mixed engineer company
  • Command section
  • Specialist platoon (bricklayers, cement layers, carpenters, blacksmiths, mechanics, electricians etc.)
  • 2 combat engineer platoons (digging, road repair, stone cutting, minelaying, general work etc.)
  • Transport company
  • 54a Radio-telegraph company
  • Telephone motorized platoon
  • 2 telegraph motorized platoons
  • Optical telegraph motorized platoon (8 optical telegraph stations with 80mm optics)
  • Radio platoon (13 radio stations)
  • Electro-optical telegraph motorized section
  • 4 electro-optical telegraph stations
  • 71a Engineer company
  • 21a Combat engineer company
  • 1. Medical section
  • 207. Field Hospital
  • 851. Field Hospital
  • 563a Supply Section
  • 54. Motor Transport Section
  • 729. Motor Transport Section
  • 108. Light Motor Transport Section
  • Mixed support platoon
  • Medical section
  • Supply section
  • Heavy anti-tank gun
  • 80a Carabineri office
  • References

    54th Infantry Division Napoli Wikipedia

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