First World War
On the Italian front , the 1st Army held the Trentino front arc from the Stilfser Joch to the Passo Cereda in the southern Dolomites . From this front arc Austria-Hungary tried in May and June 1916 with a major offensive with the main thrust over the plateau of the seven municipalities into the lowlands and further towards Venice , in order to penetrate the Italian armies on the Isonzoencircling or at least forcing them to withdraw partially. Because of the special strategic importance of the plateau, the 1st Army formed a special sub-command called Comando Truppe Altipiani for this section . From this sub-command, the command of the 6th Army was formed on December 1, 1916, which prepared a major attack on the plateau from March 1917 with the aim of retaking lost territory in 1916. Since the march did not go unnoticed, the surprise effect was lost. The major attack that began on June 10, 1917 also failed due to poor leadership; He became known in particular because of the senseless sacrifice of Alpini- Associations on Mount Ortigara. After this failure, the 6th Army was disbanded on July 20, 1917 and instead the Comando Truppe Altipiani was reactivated , which returned to the 1st Army as a sub-command. In March 1918, the 6th Army was re-established from the sub-command on the plateau. She led the XIII. and the XX. Corps and the French XII. Corps (two divisions) and the British XIV Corps (three divisions). The latter two corps moved to the Piavefront in October 1918 , with a French and a British division remaining on the plateau. The 6th Army was involved in the second Battle of the Piave in June 1918 , and from the end of October 1918 also in the final Italian offensive. It was dissolved on July 1, 1919.
Second World War
While most Italian Army High Command from August to October were reactivated in 1939 or 1940, you summed up the armored, motorized and mobile units in the Po Valley , which after the river already on October 3, 1938, an army together Po Armata del Po was called . It should make a decisive contribution to the defense of northern Italy in the event of war. At first it was subordinate to a tank corps and a fast corps, from 1939 also a partially motorized corps. At the beginning of June 1940 it had the following structure:
- 6. Army Command (Gen. Mario Vercellino, Verona )
- Panzerkorps (Gen. Fidenzio Dall'Ora, Cremona )
- 132. Panzerdivision Ariete (Gen. Ettore Baldassare, Cremona)
- 133. Panzerdivision Littorio (Gen. Gervasio Bitossi, Parma)
- 101. motorisierte Division Trieste (Gen. Vito Ferroni, Piacenza )
- 102. motorisierte Division Trento (Gen. Luigi Nuvoloni, Predazzo )
- ( 131st Centauro Panzer Division until early 1940)
In this form, the army was subordinate to Army Group East and with its armored and motorized formations remained in reserve in northern Italy until the beginning of 1941, although such formations were urgently needed in North Africa after serious setbacks. Mussolini did not quite trust his ally; therefore he only sent them when German reinforcements for North Africa were on the march.
Because of the levies, the army changed profoundly: On November 6, 1940, the command of the Armata del Po was called in to set up the 9th Army in Albania , which is why it practically had to be set up again. By April 1941, a number of units went to the 2nd Army , which took part in the German Yugoslav campaign from northeast Italy . The other armored and motorized divisions were sent to North Africa. On February 15, 1941, it was renamed the 6th Army and moved to southern Italy, where it took over its territorial defense from the 3rd Army , which had been disbanded there . The 6th Army led on the mainland as well as on Sicily andSardinia different corps. From September 1941 she was only responsible for Sicily and Calabria , from April 1943 her area of responsibility was limited to Sicily. There were subordinate to the army high command in Enna the XII. Corps in the west of the island with three coastal divisions and two infantry divisions as well as the XVI. Corps in the east with two coastal divisions, two coastal brigades and an infantry division. These infantry divisions were second-class, while the coastal divisions were third-class units with older reservists. The army reserve included two German divisions and the 4th Infantry Division Livorno, which was prepared for a landing on Malta planned for 1942, which then to the XVI. Corps was subordinated. After the landing of the Allies in Sicily on July 10, 1943, the German forces on the island operated largely arbitrarily, not why they as part of the 6th Army can be viewed. From the end of July 1943 until the abandonment of Sicily on the following August 17th, the German and Italian units were led by the German General Hans-Valentin Hube .
Individual formations and units of the 6th Army fought stubbornly against the Allies, especially the Livorno division near Gela . The occasional Italian defense attempts in the initial phase mostly failed because of the enemy ship artillery and air attacks. In the further course the inadequately equipped and trained Italian units were no match for the Allies. There was a lack of vehicles, tanks, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons and artillerythat were primarily deployed in North Africa and lost there with the more powerful units. The obvious Allied superiority, the warm welcome that the civilian population gave the Americans in particular, Mussolini's deposition on July 25, 1943, and the increasingly bad relationship with the Germans resulted in numerous units and units of the 6th Army surrendering or disbanding. There is no evidence that the Sicilian Mafia allegedly favored the Allied invasion .
The command of the 6th Army was able to withdraw to Calabria in mid-August 1943 and then relocated to Montebello Vicentino in northern Italy for reorganization , where it was officially dissolved on September 11, 1943 after the armistice of Cassibile . The commander in chief of the army in Sicily, General Alfredo Guzzoni , was sentenced to death by the fascist Italian Social Republic for treason . He escaped execution thanks to German intercession.
Commander in chief
- Lieutenant General Ettore Mambretti (1917)
- Lieutenant General Donato Etna (1917)
- Lieutenant General Luca Montuori (1918)
- General Designate of the Army Ettore Bastico (1938-1940)
- Designated Army General Mario Vercellino (1940)
- General of the Army Corps Francesco Zingales (interim, 1940–1941)
- General Designate of the Army Ezio Rosi (1941–1943)
- General Designate of the Army Mario Roatta (1943)
- Army General Alfredo Guzzoni (1943)
- Vittorio Cogno: 400 years of life of the Savoy and Italian armies - general repertory 1593 - 1993 . Fachin Editions, Triest 1995.
- Giorgio Rochat, Giulio Massobrio: A brief history of the Italian army from 1861 to 1943. Einaudi, Turin 1978.
- Alberto Santoni: Operations in Sicily and Calabria (July-September 1943) . (Hg. Historical Office of the Army-USSME Staff) USSSME, Rom 1983.
- Filippo Stefani: The history of the doctrine and regulations of the Italian army. (Hg. Historical Office of the Army-USSME Staff, 3 Bde.) USSME, Rom 1986.