Italian participation in the Eastern Front

Italian Participation In The Eastern Front

Italian participation in the Eastern Front

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The Italian participation in the Eastern Front during World War II began after the launch of Operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941. Barbarossa was the German war against the Soviet Union. To show solidarity with the Germans, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered a contingent of the Italian Royal Army to be prepared for the Eastern Front and, by early July, an Italian force was in transport. Mussolini did this despite the lack of enthusiasm shown by German dictator Adolf Hitler.

From 1941 to 1943, the Italians maintained two units to fight in the war against the Soviet Union. The first Italian fighting force was a corps-sized unit called the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR). The second force was an army-sized unit which subsumed the CSIR. The second force was called the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR) and was also known as the Italian 8th Army.

The Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia

Constituted on 10 July 1941, the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) arrived in southern Russia between July and August 1941. The CSIR was initially subordinated to German General Eugen Ritter von Schobert’s 11th Army. On 14 August 1941, the CSIR was transferred to the control of German General Ewald von Kleist’s Tank Group 1. On 25 October 1941, Tank Group 1 was redesignated...
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