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7th Alpini Regiment

7th Alpini Regiment
7° Reggimento Alpini
CoA mil ITA rgt alpini 007.png
Coat of Arms of the 7th Alpini Regiment
Active1 Aug. 1887 - 12 Sept. 1943
1 July 1953 - 11 Nov. 1975
22 Aug. 1992 - today
CountryItaly
BranchItalian Army
TypeAlpini
RoleMountain Infantry
Size1 Battalion
Feltre Battalion
Part of3rd Alpine Division Julia
1935 - 1936
1937 - 1940
5th Alpine Division Pusteria
1936 - 1937
1940 - 1943
Alpine Brigade Cadore
1953 - 1975
1992 - 1997
Alpine Brigade Julia
1997 - today
Garrison/HQCaserma Salsa, Belluno (BL)
Motto(s)"Ad excelsa tendo"
Anniversaries23 April 1941 - end of the Greco-Italian War
EngagementsItalo-Turkish War
Battle of Assaba
World War I
Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo
Battle of Monte Grappa
Vlora Revolt
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
Battle of Uarieu Pass
Battle of Amba Aradam
Second Battle of Tembien
World War II
Invasion of France
War in Afghanistan
DecorationsCavaliere BAR.svg Cavaliere 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 Valor militare bronze medal BAR.svg Valor civile gold medal BAR.svg Medaglia di bronzo al merito CRI BAR.svg BenemerenzaSiculo1908.png
2x Military Order of Italy
5x Silver Medals of Military Valour
2x Bronze Medals of Military Valour
1x Gold Medal of Civil Valour
1x Bronze Medal of Red Cross Merit
1x 1908 Messina earthquake Medal of Merit[1][2]
Insignia
Alpini gorget patches
Mostrina - Alpini.png
Mostrina - Alpini.png

The 7th Alpini Regiment (Italian: 7° Reggimento Alpini) is a regiment of the Italian Army's mountain infantry speciality, the Alpini, which distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II.

History

Formation

The 7th Alpini Regiment was formed on 1 August 1887 by splitting the 6th Alpini Regiment: the regimental command of the 6th together with the battalions Feltre, Gemona, and Pieve di Cadore formed the 7th Alpini Regiment in Conegliano. On 9 May 1908 the regiment raised the Tolmezzo battalion, which was ceded a year later together with the Gemona battalion to form the 8th Alpini Regiment. To bring the regiment back to strength on 1 October 1910 the Belluno battalion was raised and the regimental command moved to the city of Belluno.[1]

As with all Alpini regiments the battalions were named for the locations were they had their depot and around which they recruited their troops. At the end of 1910 the regiment was structured as follows:

  • 7th Alpini Regiment, in Belluno[3]
    • Nappina bianca.png Alpini Battalion Feltre, in Feltre
      • Nappina bianca.png 64th Alpini Company
      • Nappina bianca.png 65th Alpini Company
      • Nappina bianca.png 66th Alpini Company
    • Nappina rossa.png Alpini Battalion Pieve di Cadore, in Pieve di Cadore
      • Nappina rossa.png 67th Alpini Company
      • Nappina rossa.png 68th Alpini Company
      • Nappina rossa.png 75th Alpini Company
    • Nappina verde.png Alpini Battalion Belluno, in Belluno
      • Nappina verde.png 77th Alpini Company
      • Nappina verde.png 78th Alpini Company
      • Nappina verde.png 79th Alpini Company

Italo-Turkish War

In October 1912 the Feltre Battalion was dispatched to Tripolitania to help establish Italian rule over the territories ceded by the Ottoman Empire after the Italo-Turkish War. There the battalion earned the regiment its first Silver Medal of Military Valor for the battalion's conduct during the Battle of Assaba. In August 1914 the battalion returned to Italy.[4][5]

World War I

Depots of the regiment's battalions and regimental HQ in 1910

After the outbreak of World War 1 the regiment raised a fourth companies for each of its battalion: 95th Alpini Company for the Feltre, 96th Alpini Company for the Pieve di Cadore, and 106th Alpini Company for the Belluno. With tensions between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire growing the regiment activated its first line reserve units between 5 and 30 January 1915:

  • Nappina bianca.png Alpini Battalion Val Cismon, in Feltre (raised from reservists of the Feltre Battalion)[5]
    • Nappina bianca.png 264th Alpini Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 265th Alpini Company
  • Nappina rossa.png Alpini Battalion Val Piave, in Pieve di Cadore (raised from reservists of the Pieve di Cadore Battalion)
    • Nappina rossa.png 267th Alpini Company
    • Nappina rossa.png 268th Alpini Company
  • Nappina verde.png Alpini Battalion Val Cordevole, in Belluno (raised from reservists of the Belluno Battalion)
    • Nappina verde.png 206th Alpini Company
    • Nappina verde.png 266th Alpini Company

After the Italian declaration of war against Austria-Hungary the regiment's battalions were immediately employed at the frontline, which ran through the Alps:

  • Feltre and Val Cismon, in the Brenta - Cismon Sector
  • Belluno and Val Cordevole, in the Cordevole Sector (including Passo Fedaia)
  • Pieve di Cadore and Val Piave, in the Ansiei - Padola Sector (including Monte Piana)

At the end of November 1915, the three reserve battalion received each a third company: 275th Alpini Company for the Val Piave, 276th Alpini Company for the Val Cordevole, and 277th Alpini Company for the Val Cismon. In December the training of the reservists of the third line battalions began, which also received the fourth company originally raised for the first line battalions:

  • Nappina bianca.png Alpini Battalion Monte Pavione, in Feltre (raised from reservists of the Feltre Battalion)
    • Nappina bianca.png 95th Alpini Company (former 4th company of the Feltre Battalion)
    • Nappina bianca.png 148th Alpini Company
    • Nappina bianca.png 149th Alpini Company
  • Nappina rossa.png Alpini Battalion Monte Antelao, in Pieve di Cadore (raised from reservists of the Pieve di Cadore Battalion)
    • Nappina rossa.png 96th Alpini Company (former 4th company of the Pieve di Cadore Battalion)
    • Nappina rossa.png 150th Alpini Company
    • Nappina rossa.png 151st Alpini Company
  • Nappina verde.png Alpini Battalion Monte Pelmo, in Belluno (raised from reservists of the Belluno Battalion)
    • Nappina verde.png 106th Alpini Company (former 4th company of the Belluno Battalion)
    • Nappina verde.png 146th Alpini Company
    • Nappina verde.png 147th Alpini Company

All the battalions of the regiment saw heavy fighting in the Alps against Austria's Kaiserjäger and Germany's Alpenkorps. Most of the time the regiment's companies were deployed alone to either capture of defend single mountains peaks or ridges in the Alps.

On 22 May 1917 the regiment raised the Monte Marmolada battalion with personnel from the disbanded VIII Skiers battalion:[6][7]

  • Nappina verde.png Alpini Battalion Monte Marmolada, in Cinte Tesino
    • Nappina verde.png 284th Alpini Company (newly raised)
    • Nappina verde.png 300th Alpini Company (former 5th company of the VIII Skiers Battalion)
    • Nappina verde.png 301st Alpini Company (former 6th company of the VIII Skiers Battalion)

After the Italian defeat in the Battle of Caporetto and during following retreat also the 7th Alpini had to abandon its positions along the main line of the Alps and retreat towards the Piave river. Covering the retreat the Belluno was surrounded and destroyed in Cansiglio on 10 November 1917. The same fate met the Monte Marmolada, which was annihilated during the defense of Monte Castelgomberto on 4–5 December 1917. For this feat of arms the Monte Marmolada was awarded a Silver Medal of Military Valor. Because of the loss of all personnel both battalions were officially disbanded on 9 December 1917.[6][7]

At the conclusion of the war the regiment had the following losses: KIA 141 officers and 3,602 troops, WIA 205 officers and 6,578 troops. In 1919 the reserve battalions were disbanded, while on 22 March 1919 the Belluno was reformed with the personnel of the Val Cordevole battalion. In the same year the Feltre was dispatched to Albania to help suppress the Albanian Vlora revolt. Upon its return to Italy in early 1920 the Feltre was assigned to 9th Alpini Regiment until 1926, after which it returned to the 7th Alpini Regiment.[4][5]

The following awards were given to the regiment and its units for their conduct during the war:

Second Italo-Ethiopian War

In 1935 the regiment entered the newly formed 3rd Alpine Division Julia, but already on 12 January 1936 the regiment, together with the Feltre battalion, was sent to Eritrea to fight in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. After arriving the East Africa the regiment entered the 5th Alpine Division Pusteria and received the Pieve di Teco battalion from the 1st Alpini Regiment and the Exilles battalion from the 3rd Alpini Regiment. Additionally the regiment received the VII Complementare (reserve troops) battalion, which distinguished itself at the Second Battle of Tembien by conquering the Uork Amba mountain, for which the battalion was awarded a Bronze Medal of Military Valor. Consequently, the VII Complementare battalion was renamed Alpini Battalion Uork Amba and when the 7th Alpini returned to Italy on 14 April 1937 the Uork Amba remained in Italian East Africa.[4][1][5]

World War II

At the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 the regiment raised the Val Cismon, Val Piave, and Val Cordevole battalions from its reservists. The regiment and its six battalions were sent to the Western Alps to participate in the invasion of France. After the invasion the regiment and its three core battalions were again assigned to the 5th Alpine Division Pusteria, while the three reserve battalions were disbanded on 31 October 1940. In November the Pusteria was sent to Albania to fight in the Greco-Italian War. Already in January 1941 the Val Cismon was raised again and sent to Albania, where Italian forces were suffering heavy casualties, including the commanding officer of the 7th Alpini Regiment Colonel Rodolfo Psaro, who was killed on 8 December 1940.[4][1]

After the German invasion of Greece concluded the war each of the four battalions of the regiment (Feltre, Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Val Cismon) was awarded a Silver Medal of Military Valor for separate actions. After garrison duty in the Balkans until August 1942 the 7th Regiment with its three battalions was sent to France to garrison the Alpes-Maritimes region, while the Val Cismon Battalion was assigned to the 9th Alpini Regiment.[4][1]

Meanwhile, the Uork Amba battalion fought in the East African Campaign and distinguished itself in the Battle of Keren earning the regiment yet another Silver Medal of Military Valor. In 1942 the Val Cismon was sent with the 3rd Alpine Division Julia to fight in the Soviet Union as part of the Italian Army in Russia. The Val Cismon was annihilated during the Soviet Operation Little Saturn and only a few survivors managed to avoid capture after the Battle of Nikolayevka.

After the Armistice of Cassibile in September 1943 the 7th Alpini Regiment had to surrender after a brief resistance to Wehrmacht forces near the Col de Tende in France.[1]

Cold War

The regiment was raised again on 1 July 1953 in Belluno with the battalions Pieve di Cadore and Belluno. On 1 December of the same year the regiment together with the 6th Mountain Artillery Regiment joined the newly created Alpine Brigade Cadore. In 1956 the Feltre battalion was raised again, followed by the Val Cismon in 1963, which is placed under direct command of the brigade and tasked with manning the fortifications of the Vallo Alpino. The same year the Belluno and Pieve di Cadore were the first units to arrive in Longarone after the Vajont dam disaster. For their rescue efforts the regiment was awarded a Gold Medal of Civil Valor. During the Italian Army 1975 reform the Val Cismon was reduced to company and transferred to the Val Brenta battalion of the Alpine Brigade Tridentina, while on 11 November the 7th Regiment was disbanded and its battalions became independent. The war flag, traditions and coat of arms of the 7th were passed to the Feltre battalion.[4][1][5]

Before being disbanded in 1975 the structure of the 7th Alpini Regiment was as follows:

After the end of the Cold War the army decided to reactivate the regiments for traditional purposes and on 22 August 1992 the 7th Alpini Regiment was activated again with the Feltre as its sole battalion. On the same day the war flag, traditions and coat of arms of the 7th returned to it.[1]

Current structure

7th Alpini soldiers during the Falzarego 2011 exercise
7th Alpini soldiers during the Falzarego 2011 exercise
7th Alpini Regiment 81 mm mortar team during in exercise in 2020

The regiment is part of the Alpine Brigade "Julia" and based in the city of Belluno.

  • CoA mil ITA rgt alpini 007.png Regimental Command
    • Nappina blu - Regimental supports.png Command and Logistic Support Company "La cacao"
    • Nappina bianca.png Alpini Battalion "Feltre"
      • Nappina bianca.png 64th Alpini Company "La Crodarola"
      • Nappina bianca.png 65th Alpini Company "La Manilla"
      • Nappina bianca.png 66th Alpini Company "El camors"
      • Nappina bianca.png 125th Maneuver Support Company "La tonante"

The Command and Logistic Support Company fields the following platoons: C3 Platoon, Transport and Materiel Platoon, Medical Platoon, and Commissariat Platoon.

Equipment

The Alpini companies are equipped with Bv 206S tracked all-terrain carriers, Puma 6x6 wheeled armored personnel carriers and Lince light multirole vehicles.[citation needed] The maneuver support company is equipped with 120mm mortars and Spike MR anti-tank guided missiles.[citation needed]

Recognition

The regiment and its battalions were awarded a total of two Croce di Cavaliere dell'O.M.I., one Gold Medal of Military Valor, eight Silver Medals of Military Valor, three Bronze Medals of Military Valor and one Gold Medal of Civil Valor. However, as the Pieve di Cadore and Belluno battalions became independent units in 1975 and were granted their own war flags the medals awarded to these units were removed from the war flag and coat of arms of the 7th Alpini Regiment and transferred to the 12th Alpini Regiment and 16th Alpini Regiment. The Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal of Military Valor awarded to the Val Cismon battalion were passed to the Val Brenta battalion, until it was disbanded in 1986.

Sources

  • Franco dell'Uomo, Rodolfo Puletti: L'Esercito Italiano verso il 2000 - Volume Primo - Tomo I, Rome 1998, Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito - Ufficio Storico, pages: 484

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h F. dell'Uomo, R. Puletti (1998). L'Esercito Italiano verso il 2000 - Vol. Primo - Tomo II. Rome: SME - Ufficio Storico. p. 484.
  2. ^ "7° Reggimento Alpini - Il Medagliere". Italian Army. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  3. ^ F. dell'Uomo, R. Puletti (1998). L'Esercito Italiano verso il 2000 - Vol. Primo - Tomo I. Rome: SME - Ufficio Storico. p. 484.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "7° Reggimento Alpini - La Storia". Italian Army. Esercito Italiano. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Feltre". Fronte del Piave. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Battaglione Alpini Monte Marmolada". www.vecio.it. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "M. Marmolada". Fronte del Piave. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ F. dell'Uomo, R. Puletti (1998). L'Esercito Italiano verso il 2000 - Vol. Primo - Tomo I. Rome: SME - Ufficio Storico. p. 485.

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