|Divisione Meccanizzata Folgore|
Coat of Arms of the Folgore Mechanized Division
|Active||25 September 1944 - 31 October 1986|
|Part of||V Army Corps|
|Engagements||World War II|
World War II
The divisions history begins on 25 September 1944 with the formation of the Folgore Combat Group of the Italian Co-Belligerent Army with soldiers from the disbanded 184th Airborne Division Nembo. The name of the combat group was chosen in commemoration of the bravery of the 185th Airborne Division Folgore, which fought to annihilation in the Second Battle of El Alamein. The Nembo itself had been raised in 1942 with the Folgores 185th Parachute Infantry Regiment as its core unit.
The combat group consisted of the Nembo Parachute Infantry Regiment, the Italian Navys San Marco Amphibious Infantry Regiment, the Folgore Parachute Artillery Regiment and the CLXXXIV (184th) Engineer Battalion. Each of the two infantry regiments consisted of three infantry battalions, a mortar company armed with British ML 3 inch mortars and an anti-tank company armed with British QF 6 pounder guns. The artillery regiment consisted of four artillery groups with British QF 25 pounder guns, one anti-tank group with British QF 17 pounder guns and one anti-air group armed with British versions of the Bofors 40mm gun.
At the end of World War II the combat group was based in Florence. When the San Marco Regiment returned to the Navy on 5 September 1945 the combat group received the Garibaldi Regiment as replacement. The Garibaldi Regiment had been formed on 25 April 1945 in Viterbo with the re-patriated veterans of the Garibaldi Partisan Division, which had fought alongside the Yugoslav Partisans on the Yugoslav Front after the Armistice of Cassibile between Italy and the Western Allies. The Garibaldi Division was formed when the 19th Infantry Division Venezia on garrison duty in Montenegro refused to surrender or ally with the Germans. The Venezia together with men of the 1st Alpine Division Taurinense, who had refused to surrender too (mainly the Ivrea battalion and Aosta artillery group) saw heavy combat in Montenegro and out of its 16,000 men only 3,800 made it back to Italy. From these veterans the Garibaldi Regiment was raised with the battalions: Aosta, Venezia and Turin'.
On 15 October 1945 the combat group was elevated to division and began to move to the Northern Italian city of Treviso. As the Folgore along with the Mantova Infantry Division formed the first line of defence towards Yugoslavia it was augmented with the 5th Lancers Reconnaissance Battalion, the 33rd Artillery Regiment, the 41st Anti-tank Artillery Regiment and the 5th Anti-air Artillery Regiment. On 1 November 1948 the Garibaldi Regiment was renamed as 182nd Infantry Regiment Garibaldi, the Nembo Regiment was renamed as 183rd Infantry Regiment Nembo and the Folgore Artillery Regiment was renamed as 184th Artillery Regiment.
In 1949 the 5th Lancers was expanded to regiment and equipped with tanks, changing its name to 5th Armoured Cavalry Regiment "Lancieri di Novara". In 1951 the division lost the 41st Anti-tank Artillery and the 5th Anti-air Artillery regiments and the became a fully motorized division in the following years. On 15 September 1955 the division received the 82nd Infantry Regiment from the Trieste Infantry Division. As the division fielded now three regiments with three motorized infantry battalions each the army decided to transform the Garibaldi regiment into an armoured regiment. On 1 November 1958 the Garibaldi finished its transformation and became the 182nd Armoured Infantry Regiment with a M47 Patton tank battalion and a mechanized Bersaglieri battalion. In anticipation of the transformation of the Garibaldi regiment the division had already lost on 1 April 1957 the 5th Armoured Cavalry Regiment "Lancieri di Novara", which was used to raise the Pozzuolo del Friuli Cavalry Brigade.
On 1 January 1963 the army raised the Folgore Parachute Brigade in Pisa and both units were to keep the memory and traditions of the Italian airborne divisions of World War II alive. In 1963 the Folgore division added the 53rd Infantry Regiment Umbria and in 1964 it received the Reconnaissance Squadron "Cavalleggeri di Saluzzo". The unit did not see any other changes until 23 October 1975. During 1975 the army had decided to abolish the regimental level and place all battalions under multi-arm brigades. Therefore on 23 October 1975 the regiments of the Folgore were split and added to newly raised brigades. The regimental headquarters were transformed into brigade commands and the division added the Trieste Mechanized Brigade. During 1975 the division became a fully mechanized division and by the end of the year consisted of the following units.
- Folgore Mechanized Division in Treviso
- Gorizia Mechanized Brigade in Gorizia
- Trieste Mechanized Brigade in Bologna
- Vittorio Veneto Armoured Brigade in Villa Opicina
- Amphibious Troops Command in Lido di Venezia
- Folgore Command Battalion in Treviso
- 12th Reconnaissance Squadron "Cavalleggeri di Saluzzo" in Gorizia
- 28th Infantry (Training) Battalion Pavia in Pesaro
- 33rd Fortress Infantry Battalion Ardenza in Fogliano Redipuglia
- 53rd Fortress Infantry Battalion Umbria in Pavia di Udine
- 33rd Heavy Field Artillery Group Terni in Treviso
- 184th Gruppo Artiglieria Pesante Campale Filottrano in Padua
- Folgore Artillery Specialists Battalion (Counter-battery radars and drones) in Treviso
- 184th Engineer Battalion Santerno in Villa Vicentina
- 47th Reconnaissance Helicopter Squadron Levrieri in Treviso
- 184th Signal Battalion Cansiglio in Treviso
- Folgore Logistic Battalion in Treviso
- Folgore Carabinieri Company in Treviso
The division was disbanded on 31 October 1986 and its units came under direct command of the 5th Army Corps.
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