CusterMen MENU Italian Campaign At The Front Books Armies Maps 85th Division GI Biographies Websites

 Dated:  September 3, 2012

of People, Places and Organizations

This table includes definitions of some words that may make your study of the WW2 Italian Campaign a little more enjoyable.  I've included a variety of words, names and information that I thought might be useful for the casual reader and the historian.


           Click to go to People category    PEOPLE
          Click to Go to German Organizations   GERMAN ORGANIZATIONS
          Click to go to Italian Organization    ITALIAN ORGANIZATIONS
          Click to go to Geography category  GEOGRAPHY
          Click to go to Miscellaneous category  MISCELLANEOUS -    Including War Attrocities & War Criminals

Favorite Websites  -  My favorite website links for WW2 research.


For details and photos, go to GENERALS
Names are in no particular order but basically arranged by importance.
Name are followed by rank or title and position; and maybe dates. 
If dates are not included, assume rank/title is for period 1943-1945.

Albert K. Kesselring, Field marshal - Commander-in-Chief, German Armed Forces in Italy(OBSW). GI's referred to him as "Smiling Albert". Kesselring was previously an air force commander. Later, he commanded all forces in the West and continued to fight even after most German forces had surrendered. He served some time in prison for his war crimes but was released n 1952. Before he died at 74 in July 1960, he wrote his memoirs "Soldat bis zum letzten Tag" - a soldier to the last day.

Mark W. Clark, Lieutenant-General - Commander of 5th Army in 1943-1944 and later the 15th Army Group.  Called "Wayne" by his closest friends, Clark was a graduate of West Point and saw a few days of combat in WW1.  He was a captain for 18 years, but at outbreak of WW2, he rose in rank from Lt-Colonel to Major-General in only 18 months--a rise only surpassed by Eisenhower.  He was prone to media attention and asked reporters to refer to his command as "Mark Clark's Fifth Army".  He wrote two books: "Calculated Risk" and  "From the Danube to the Yalu", about his command experience in Korean War.  In his book, he descibes several close calls at Anzio: his PT boat was fired on by a friendly minesweeper and his light observation plane struck a barrage balloon cable causing it to crash.

Benito Mussolini - Facist dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943. King Emmanuel persuaded the parliament to remove him on 25 July 1943 but Germans set him up as a puppet leader of a Republican state. In 910 he married Rachele Guido but had two mistresses: Margherita Sarfatti (who moved to USA) and Clara Petacci.  Disguised with a German private's overcoat,  Mussolini was found hidden in a German convoy while attempting to flee Italy. He was executed on April 28, 1945 and the bodies of him and his mistress, Clara, were hung in Milan.  See Execution of Mussolini (very graphic).

Vittorio Emanuele III - Ruling Monarch of Italy. The monarchy was re-established after fall of Facism in July 1944 but only lasted until September, when the Germans arrived in Rome. The King wanted a truce with Allies but they only offered him unconditional surrender.

Pietro Badoglio - Prime Minister of new Italian Government after Mussolini’s overthrow in 25 July 1943.  Aged and undecisive, he escaped when the Germans took control of Rome.  After 45 days, he resigned and was replaced by Ivanoe Bonomi.

Eugenio Pacelli, or Pope Pius XII - Elected as 262nd Roman Catholic Pope on March 2, 1939. Pope Pius was pontiff during WWII. Having lived 12 years as a Papal Nuncio on German soil, he held the opinion that the greatest danger to the world was not Nazi Germany but Communist Russia and feared the communist forces, internal as well as external, would take over Italy and all of Europe.

Rodolfo Graziani (1882-1955),Field Marshal – Minister of War for Mussolini’s new government after 1943.  He had earned fame as a Field Marshal in Abyssinian War but stepped down after a loss in North Africa in 1941.  After the war, he was tried and finally convicted in 1950 but only served a few months.

Gregorio Diamare, Benedictine Monk, age 79, Abbot of Monte Cassino.

Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1938 to 1943 and Mussolini's son-in-law.  Wrote "The Ciano Diaries" just before his exectution by Gestapo.  His wife smuggled the manuscript out to the world press.   See REFERENCE BOOKS.

Baron Ernst von Weizsaecher- German ambassador to Italy.
Baron von Tieschowitz Kunstschutz - Bureau for Protection of Art in Occupied Countries.

Bernard Freyberg, Lt.-General.  British commander of New Zealand Division and, when combined with 4th Indian Division, it became the New Zealand Corps. His successor was Major-Gen Howard Kippenberger.

Ira C. Eaker, Lt.-General, US.  Commander of Mediterranean Allied Air Forces(MAAF) who was responsible for strategic air forces.

Eberhard von Mackensen, General - Commander of German 14th Army Group in Italy. Prussian descendent of an illustrious Field Marshal. Despised the non-German Adolf Hitler.

Frido von Senger und Etterlin(referred to as General Senger) - General - Commander of 14th Panzer Corps.  In June of 1940, he was involved with capture of port of Cherbourg.  After an easy 2-year assignment in Turin, he fought at Stalingrad.  His first task in Italy was to evacuate Corsica, where he disobeyed Hitler's order to kill all Italian officers.  Italian partisans did not target Gen. Senger because of the humanitarian acts he had shown the Italians.  WW1 had interrupted his education at Oxford, thus he could speak English, Italian and French and he was a practicing Catholic.  Two of the four members of his staff had connections to the plot to assassinate Hitler.

Fred L. Walker - Major-General - commanding general of 36th 'Texas' Infantry Division.
Fred L. Walker, Jr.  - Lt-Colonel  - Gen. Walker's son. Served in 1st Battalion of 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.
Edwin A. Walker - Colonel, commander of First Special Service Forces or the "Devil's Brigade".  After the war, General Walker was in command of the troops that forced the integration of schools in Little Rock.  He was accused of indoctrinating his troops with right-wing ideology.   Later, he traveled to Oxford, MS, to protest the enrollment of James Meredith in Ole Miss and was arrested.  On April 10, 1963, he was the target of an assassination attempt by Lee Harvey Oswald. (I don't make this up.)

John B. Coulter, Brig. General  - Commanded  85th Division during entire time it was in Italy.

Pierre Mallett, Brig. General - Command of Divisional Artillery for 85th Division.
Alfred M. Gruenther, Maj-Gen, Chief of staff for General Mark Clark. (Not to be confused with the next General)
Ernst-Guenther Baade, Maj-Gen, Commander of German 90th Armored Infantry Division.  Wounded and died on the last day of the war. See GENERALS
Heinrich von Veitinghoff, General -  Commander of German 10th Army.  Replaced Kesselring as comander of German Armed Forces in Italy and surrendered in May 1945.  See GENERALS
Eberhard von Mackensen, General - Commander of German 14th Army Group in Italy. Prussian descendent of an illustrious Field Marshal. Despised the non-German Adolf Hitler.
Wladyslaw Anders, Lt. General- Commander of the Polish Corps.  Wounded in 1939, he was held in Russia's Lubyanka prison until the Poles were released to fight with the Allies. See GENERALS

Wilhelm Crisolli, Maj-Gen, Commander of the 20th Luftwaffe Field Division. He was killed in a partisan ambush near Bologna on September 12, 1944.  Soon afterwards, the Germans carried out their reprisals on partisans and civilians in the Monte Sole area.  See LUFTWAFFE GROUND TROOPS.

Paul Conrath, Lieutenant General -  Commander of Herman Goering Division

Karl Wolff, SS Obergruppenfuehrer. - Head of SS in Italy. (See War Criminals, below)

Eugen Dollmann, SS Standartenfuehrer - Head of SS in Rome, 1944.

Herbert Kappler, SS Obersturmbannfeuhrer - Head of Gestapo in Rome, 1944.

Theodore Dannecker, Hauptsturmfuhrer  – Carried out the SS order to round up the Jews of Rome.  On October 16, 1943, his execution team arrested 1,259 Jews and deported them to Auschwitz.

Convicted War Criminals see War Attrocities under Miscellaneous.
    Anton Dostler, General - Commander of the 75th German Army Corps.
    Albert K. Kesselring, Field marshal - Commander-in-Chief, German Forces in Italy
    Max Simon, Lieut-General - Commander of 16 SS Division.
    Peter Crasemann, Major-General  - Commander of 26 Panzer Division.
    Bruno Brauer, General - Governor of Crete.
    Kurt Malzer, General - Commandant of Rome

Nicola Bellomo, Italian General - An anti-Fascist general in Mussolini's army who fought the Germans after the armistice.  Leading a group of 100 men, he captured the port of Bari.  However, after the war, he was tried for war crimes for shooting escaped British POWs earlier in 1942 and was executed on 11 September 1945.

Ernie Pyle -  News Correspondent.  Ernie was one of many war correspondents that went to the front lines.  He was loved by soldiers, sailors, airmen and the people back home.  Pyle's first book, "Brave Men", gave an honest view of the front line troops.  He won a Pulitzer Prize for this book.  In May, 1944, Ernie was selected to go to England to cover the Normandy invasion.  Killed at front lines at Okinawa in 1945.

Bill Mauldin -  GI & Cartoonist.  Bill was a 17-year old cartoonist assigned to Star and Stripes and served with the 45th Division.  His sardonic cartoons depicted the enlisted man's life at the front lines.  He was the youngest person to receive a Pulitzer Prize for his first book, "Up Front".  His best buddy was decorated GI, Audie Murphy. Bill played a supporting role in Audie's first big movie: "Red Badge of Courage".  He won two Pulitzer Prizes (1945 & 1959).  He died Jan 29, 2003.

Frederick Faust  (1892 - 1944)-  Civilian War Correspondent.   Before the war, Faust wrote hundreds of westerns and pulp fiction under the pen names of Max Brand and George Owen Baxter and many more.  At age 51, he asked to go to the front lines with the 351st Infantry Regiment.  On his first assignment on 12 May, 1944, he was killed by a mortar blast and complications from his heart problems.  His most famous works included 'Destry Rides Again' (1930), 'Singing Guns'(1938), 'Danger Trail'(1940),  'Calling Dr. Kildare'(1940) which lead to movies and TV shows.  One of the latest releases was 'Fighter Squadron at Guadalcanal'  that was published by his daugher in 1996.

Teresio Martinoli, Sergente Maggiore.  Highest scoring Italian air force ace of WW2 with 22 claims and 276 combat missions.  He was killed in action in combat on August 8, 1944 while converting to a P-39 after joining the Aeronautica Co-Belligerante forces that fought against the Germans.  His primary fighter in 1942 was an C.202, marked with "73-4", of the 73rd Squadron, 9 Gruppe, 4th Stormo in Gela area.

Lance Cleo Wade, Lt-Colonel, RAF.  At the time of his accidental death on 12 January, 1944, he was the highest scoring RAF pilot.  Born in Texas with only the initials "LC", he volunteered for the RAF and was assigned to the 145th Squadron in N. Africa and later, Italy.  He was credited with 23 confirmed and 7 probable enemy aircraft and was awarded the British Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Bars.  He turned down a transfer to the US Army with its increased pay.  After promotion to wing commander, his plane crashed on takeoff at Foggia airfield while visiting his old friends. He is buried at Reklaw, Texas.

Major William Martin, RM (fake identity) - Operation Mincemeat was a British special operation to deceive the Germans from knowing that the Allies next amphibious landing would be at Sicily.  The British disguised a body as a Royal Marine courier and gave him fake papers identifying him as Major Martin and dropped him off the coast of Spain.  This story was told in a book and movie "The Man Who Never Was".  In recent years, the true identity of the body was revealed to be Gwyndr Michael, who failed the physical for British Army and, due to excessive drinking, died of pneumonia.  He served his country more after his death than he could have in the Army.

USS Charles Henderson - a Liberty cargo ship.  On 9 April 1945, the Luftwaffe bombed this ammunition ship as it was sitting in the port of Bari.  On board were 2000 tons of 1000-lb and 500-lb bombs.  The explosion killed 48 Americans and 318 Italians and eye-witnesses reported the smoke plume as high as 20,000 feet.  This effectivily closed the Bari port until after the war ended.

USS John Harvey - a Liberty cargo ship.  Approximately 100 German Ju-88 bombed the port of Bari for twenty minutes on 2 December 1943, which was known as the "second Pearl Harbor".  Many ships were damaged.  Even though the USS John Harvey was not hit, it caught fire, then without warning, it disappeared in a huge explosion.  Its cargo included 2,000 M47-A1 mustard gas bombs to be used in case the Germans resorted to gas attacks.  A total of 628 military personnel were hospitalized and 69 later died because no one knew the cause of the burns.  Ship loses included: Americans 5, British 4, Italians 3, Norwegians 3, Poles 2.

Colonel Giuseppe Montezemolo - Active in resistance in Rome, 1943-44.  Killled in the massacre of the Ardeatine Cave in 1944.

Sir Owsald Moslely - Founder of an organization of Blackshirt Fascists in England known as the British Union of Fascists.  He was held in house arrrest for the duration of the war.

Enrico Fermi - nuclear physicist -  In 1938 he won the Nobel Prize for physics for his work on nuclear processes.  He escaped from Italy and by 1942 he was in charge of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago and later helped develope the atomic bomb in New Mexico.

Umberto de Salvoia, Prince of Piemonte - Son of King Victor Emmanuel.  He joined the military and was command of Army Group West that fought in French Riveria.  After the war, he was crowned King Umberto II only a few weeks before the referendum that transformed the country into a republic.

Captain Lawren Harris - An official war artist for Canada. Served with the 3rd Canadian Armored Reconnaissance Regiment. In 1975 he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Mount Allison.

"Mississippi" - Stage name of Anne Jenkins, a jitterbug dancer who entertained troops for USO at the Monte Catini resort.  She was really from Alabama.

"Colonel Stevens" - Italian name for British chap who broadcast propaganda over the Italian BBC radio.

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Listed in order of importance.
For an Order of Battle, go to German Units

Wehrmacht - German name for Army branch of service

Luftwaffe was name of German air force and Kreigsmarine was Geman navy.

OKW (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) - German Armed Forces High command headed by Wilhelm Keitel in Berlin.  It was directly responsible for the overall conduct of operations during the war.
OKH (Oberkommando des Heeres) -  Army High Command.  Field-Marshall Walter von Brauchitsch was commander of all Army units until Hitler personally assumed command.
OBSW (Oberbefehlshaber Sud West) - German Army Command in Italy; commanded by Field Marshal Kesselring.
OKM (Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine) - Navy High Command.

SS (Schutz Staffeln) - A unit of Nazis created in charge of intelligence, security, police action and extermination of undesirables.  Began initially as a bodyguard of Hitler. As it grew, it took on more roles of protector of the state. The Allgemeine-SS were general body of the SS, excluding the Waffen-SS.  The Waffen-SS were an elite fighting branch of the SS that was highly trained and equipped. Distinctive SS uniform insignia was the double lighting bolts on the collar. See Italian SS insignia at GERMAN UNITS.

Deutschen Polizei- Himmler divided the German Police into two branches:
(1) Ordnungspolizei, Ordinary Police(Orpo)   These were the uniformed police who consisted of the Schutzpolizei (National Police), the Gendarmerie (Rural Police) and the Gemeindepolizei (Local Police); (2) Sicherheitspolizei (Sipo or SD) were the Security Police, which included the Kriminalpolizei(Kripo) and the Gestapo.

Geheime Staatspolizei – Gestapo police.
Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) - German Secret State Police.  (Being secret, they did not wear uniforms as portrayed in the movies.)
SD (Sicherheitsdienst) - Police arm of the SS.  By 1944, the SD under Kaltenbrunner had merged with the Gestapo.

Einsatzgruppe  (Special Force or Task Force) - Formed to perform special operations for the Reichsführer-SS during the invasion of Poland and USSR.  Initially their duties were to round up all the former political leaders--eventually, they role extended to the massacre of the Jews.  Subdivided into Einsatzkommando and Einsatztrupp.

Herman Goering Division - An infantry fighting division created within the Luftwaffe and named after commander of Luftwaffe. Originally a small police unit and later a flak regiment, it grew into a division and their title expanded to Fallschrimjager- PanzerKorps Herman Goring (literal meaning, armored-paratroopers).  The HG Division fought in Sicily and Italy between July 1943 to May 1944.

Luftwaffee Field Division - Another type of infantry unit organized within the Luftwaffee.  There were 21 LwFD's organized and the 19th and 20 LwF Divisions served in Italy.  The LwFD did not recieve training and equipment as the paratroopers and the Herman Goring Division. See Maj-Gen Wilhelm Crisolli, above.
See Luftwaffe Ground Troops for description of the various units such as the HG Division and the Lwf Field Division.

Nachrichten Fur Die Truppe - the German equivalent of "The Stars and Stripes" newspaper.

Military Terms         (IN A STRANGE ORDER)
    Fallschrimschutze - Parachutist riflemen, early name for paratroopers.
    Fallschrimjager - Paratrooper light infantry or glider-born troops.
    Fallschrimtruppen - Aviation troops, early name,7th Aviation Troops, used to disguise their purpose.
    Fallschrimschutzenabzeichen - Parachutists Badge
    Fallschrimkittel  - Parachutists jump smock
    Fliegerabwehr-Abteilung  - Anti-aircraft battalion.
    Gebirgsjager - mountain troops.
    Grenadier - Signify an elite status early in war.  On15 Oct. 1942 all German regular infantry regiments were renamed as Grenadier-Regimenter.
    Fusilier - Another old term used to describe infantry units with some recon abilities.
    Hilfswillige - Auxiliary Volunteers, usually referring the Soviet troops.
    Kreigsmarine - Navy branch of service.
    Kriegesgefangen - Prisoner of War.
    Kompanie - [plural: Kompanien]: Company of 100 and 200 men.
    Landesschützen -Territorial units. In effect second-rate infantry used as security troops in occupied areas
    Luftlandtruppen - heavy infantry who were transported into battle by troop planes but did not use parachutes nor gliders.
    Nebelwerfer - Rocket Artillery, referred to as "screaming meamies".
   Panzerabwehr - Tank defence or Anti-tank.
   Standarte - [plural: Standarten]: A Regiment, initially used by the SA and SS.
   Stab - [plural: Stäbe] - HQ or Staff.
   Amt - Office or department (as in Auswärtiges Amt, or Foreign Office).
   Sturmgeschütz  - Assault Gun.
   Wehrmacht - Army branch of service.
   Volkssturm - a unit raised from civilians late in the war for home defense.

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For more info on Italian Military, Resistance
and other organizations, go to Italian Units
Carabinieri - Long established elite Police of Italy. Germans considered the Carabinieri loyal to the Italian monarchy, so 1,500 were captured and deported and 7,500 went into hiding and into Resistance. They can still be seen on special occasions wearing their traditional bicorne hats.
Collare Dell'Annunziata - Highest Italian decoration at the time of the Monarchy. A Knight of the Annunziata became an honorary cousin of the King.

Comitato di Liberazione Naxionale (CLN) - An Italian resistance group.

Gruppi di Azione Patriottica (GAP)  {"Pariotic Action Groups"} Each of the six CLN political parties had military commands theoretically under the Military Junta.

Cattolici Communisti - Catholic Communist resistance splinter group.
Partito Socialista Italiano (PSI) – Socialist Party that eventually evolved into the Fascist party.
Partito Comunista Italiano (PCSI) – Communist Party that sprung up after Mussolini’s overthrow in 1943.

X-Mas (pronounced 'Deci-mas') - A highly trained and equipped Italian Marine infantry unit lead by General Valerio Borghese that fought with the Germans after 1943 armistice.

Military Terms         For more details on Italian military units, go to Italian Units.
    Battaglione - Battalion
    Bersaglieri - Elite corp of sharpshooters
    Brigadieri - Sergeant
    Brigata - Brigade
    Capitano - Captain
    Cohort - Equivalent to a battalion
    Comando Generale - General Headquarters
    Compagnia - company
    Divisione - Division
    Generali - Officers of general rank
    Granatieri - Grenadiers
    Legione - Legion, equivalent to a regiment
    Motomitraglieri - Motorised machine-gunners on motorcycles
    Plotone - Platoon
    Raggruppamento - grouping somewhat like a modern task force used by the US armed forces.
    Reggimento - Regiment
    Sergente Maggiore - Sergeant-Major
    Sotto Tenente - Second Lieutenant
    Tenente - Lieutenant
    Tenente Colonello - Lieutenant-Colonel
    Truppa/Truppe - other ranks

  More words

A NOI - slogan, 'With Us'
ACHSE  - German codename for the disarming of Italian military forces after the 8 September 1943 armistice.
Avanguardisti Giovani Fascisti (AGF) - Fascist Youth Vanguards. One of the first Fascist youth organizations.
Al Valore Militare - Military Valour
Alpini - Elite Alpine soldiers of the Royal Army
Alpino - Singular of Alpini
AM - Military Administration
ARMIR  - Armata Italiana in Russia - Italian Army in Russia or the Italian 8th Army (See CSIR)
Arditi - Originally World War I Italian shock troops
Ariete - Battering ram (also name of Armored Division in North Africa)
Artiglieria - Artillery
Artiglieria d'Armata - Heavy artillery
Artiglieria Divisionale - Divisional Artillery
Artiglieria Marittima - Marine artillery
Armata Italiana in Russia - Italian Army expedition to Russia
Autobilinda (AB) - Armored car
Avanti - Fonpard! - The socialist newspaper of which Mussolinl was editor until his expulsion from the socialist party
Baistrocchi - a style of grey-green tunic with an open collar named after General Baistrocchi, Secretary of War
Balilla - A branch of the Fascist Youth (GIL) organization for eight- to eleven-year-olds
Battaglione Fanti dell'Aria - Infantry of the Air Battalion
Battaglione Nazionale Paracadutisti - National Parachute Battalion
 Battaglione Sciatori Monte Cervino - Monte Cervino Ski Battalion.  This was a specialized assault unit that was better equipped than the standard Alpini unit.  It suffered heavy casualties in Greece and was reformed and suffered heavily again in Russia.  Name is from the Italian name for the Matahorn.
beretto da campagna - Black field cap, similar to German Model 43 worn by Black Brigade.
Bersagliere - Singular of Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri - Elite corp of sharpshooters. Distinguished by black cock feathers worn on helmets or on their round, black hat with flat brim.
Breda - Italian arms manufacturing company
Brigadieri - Sergeant
Brigate Nerra - Black Brigades - Fascists armed branch of RSI (after Sept 1943)
BTG. CCNN - Blackshirt battalion
Bustina - "small envelope", reference to a style of side cap unique to the Italian army
CSIR - Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia - Italian Expeditionary Force in Russia.
Carabinieri Reali - Military police, senior arm of the Royal Army
Camice Nere - CCNN - Plural of CN, Black Shirt
Carabinieri Reali - CCRR - Plural of CR
Celere - Fast, quick
Centauro - Centaur, mythical creature with man's head, trunk, and arms, and a horse's body and legs
Centesimi - Unit of Italian currency
Chimico - Chemical
Chimico Mortaio - Chemical mortar
Cohort - Equivalent to a battalion
Comando Generale - General Headquarters
Com. Milizie. Controaeri Artg. Marittima - Head-quarters of the anti-aircraft and maritime artillery
Console Generale - Militia equivalent of a brigade general of the Royal Army
Controaeri - Plural of Controaera, anti-aircraft
Corazzato - Armored
Corazzieri - Cuirassier, cavalry who wear armored breastplates
Cordellino - Fine braided material(gaberdine) used in the manufacture of officers' tunics and breeches
Corso Allievi Ufficiali - Officer Cadet Course
Croce al Valore Militare - Military Valour Cross
Duce - Leader, title often used for Benito Mussolini
Ebreo (ebrei) - Hebrew or Jew (Jews)
Fanteria - Infantry
Fasci all' Estero - Overseas Fascists
Fascio - Symbol of the Fascist Party, a bundle of rods tied together with an axe
Fasci Giovanili di Combattimento (FGC) - Groups of Young Combatants. Fascist youth group for eighteen- to twenty-one-year olds.
Folgore - Lightning bolt. Army units adopted this name, i.e. Folgore Group.
Generali - Officers of general rank
Generale - Singular of Generali
Generalfeldmarshall - Field Marshal
Giapponese - Japanese  
Gioventu Araba dell Littorio (GAL) - Arab Fascist Youth
Gioventu Italiana del Giovani Fascisti (GIL) - Young Fascists
Giovani Fascisti - Young Fascists
Guardia alla Frontiera (GAF) - Frontier Guard
Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana (GNR) - National Republican Guard
Greca - Zigzag braid on Royal Army general's peak cap
Greca Liaoria - Zigzag braid worn on peaked cap by Fascist Militia generals
Gruppo - Group
Guardia di Finanza - Finance Guard
Guardia alla Frontiera - Frontier Guard
Guastatori - Assault Engineers
Guida - Guide
Legione - Legion, equivalent to a regiment
Libica - Libya
Lira - Unit of Italian currency
Littorio - Fascist rod and axe
Lugotente Generale - Militia equivalent of an army corps general of the Royal Army.
L6/40, L3/33, M1l/39, M13/40 - The Italian designation for armored vehicles was L for light and M for medium, the first numeral the weight in tons and the last two numerals the year of introduction,   e.g. L3/33 was a very light tank of three tons introduced in 1933.
Moschetto Automatico Beretta (MAB)- Beretta Automatic machine-gun.
Manganello - short, stout wooden club used by Fascist squadristi.
Maresciallo - Field Marshall or senior warrant officer.
Merito di Guerra - War merit
Milizia Confinaria - Frontier Militia
Milizia di Frontiera - Frontier Militia
Milizia Forestale - Forestry Militia
Milizia Controaerei - Anti-aircraft militia
Milizia Universitaria - University Militia
Milizia Postelegrafonica - Post and Telegraph Militia
Milizia Portuaria - Port Militia
Milizia Naz. della Strada - National Road Militia
Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale(MVSN)- Volunteer Militia for National Security.
Mostreggiature - colar insignia designating unit ID & type
Mortaio - Mortar
Motomitraglieri - Motorised machine-gunners, on motorcycles
Motorizzata - Motorised
MT - Motor Transport
NAAFI - Navy, Army and Airforce Institutes. Canteens ran by this organization for servicemen.
Nappine - Tuft, pom-pom worn on Alpine-style cap
Nebbiogeni - Fog or mist
Nembo - Cloud burst, shower of rain
'O cesso fetta (the lavatory stinks) - Italian name for Chesterfield cigarettes sold on Black Market.
Ochiello - loop in rank braid on cuffs
Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB) - Balilla National Organisation, Youngest age group of the Fascist Youth(GIL).
Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (OND) - Fascist institution organizing the after-work leisure activities of Italians.
Popolo d'Italia (The Italian Nation) - Newspaper started by Mussolini in 1914 in opposition to the socialist publications
Protezuibe /abtu/aerea (PAA) - Anti-Aircraft Protection or an air raid civil defense.
Portuaria - Port (adjective)
Presente - present
Rando - military rations
Raggruppamento/Raggruppamenti - grouping, somewhat like a modern task force used by the US armed forces.
Reali - royal
Reggimento Fanti dell'Aria - Infantry Regiment of the Air
Regio Esercito - Royal Army
RSI (Repubblica Sociale Italiano) - Italian Social Republic, new Fascists army formed after Sept 1943.
Sahariana - Style of tropical tunic popular in the African colonies and Italy.
Savoia -(or Savoy in English)  Name of the Italian royal family.
Societa Romana Costruzioni Meccaniche (SRCM) -Name of one of the companies that manufactured antipersonnel hand grenades.
Sotto Tenente - Second Lieutenant
Sottufficiale - Singular of Sottufficiali
Sottufficiali - Italian non-commissioned officers
Squadristi - Bands of Fascist Blackshirts
Truppa/Truppe - other ranks
Truppe Speciale (TS) - Troop special
Ufficiale - Italian officer
Ufficiali - Italian officer corps
Universitaria - University (adjective)
Valore Militare - Military Valour
Viva il Duce - Long live the leader
Werhmacht - Armed forces (German)
 Zona - Zone, the recruiting area of a MVSN division

Special Dates for Fascists - Black Shirt divisions were named after these.
    3 Gennaio - 3 January 1925. Date when Mussoli assumed power in parliament by muzzling the opposition parties (though not yet officially banning them), in effect becoming dictator from that date.
    1 Febbraio - 1 February 1923, the date when the MVSN was officially formed.
    23 Marzo - 23 March 1919. The date of first meeting when Fascist party was founded
    21 Aprile - 21 April.   Date decreed as a Fascist holiday.
    28 Ottobre - The anniversary of the march on Rome, 28 October 1922, which sparked the rise of Fascism as a national power.

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There are many names that appear on Italian maps that may be confusing because they seem have the same names.  For example; there are several places with the name 'San Pietro': San Peitro Infinte, Monte San Pietro, etc. Other common Italian names are 'San Marco' and 'Belvedere'.
San Pietro Infinte was the site of a large battle involving the 36th Texas Division prior to the Rapido River crossing.  John Houston made this battle famous in his 30-minute documentary "Battle of San Pietro ".
San Pietro was a town just south of the GOTHIC Line, on Hiway 65.
Castel San Pietro was a small town further north on Hiway 9, southeast of Bologna.

There were several towns with Italian names that have spelling that can be confusing.
     Firenzuola- Halfway between Florence and Bologna on Hiway 65.
     Firenze- the Italian name of Florence, located on the Arno River.
     Vicenza- a town in Po Valley, not far from Venice.
     Venezia- the Italian name of Venice, the city of canals on east coast.
      Livorno - Italian name of Leghorn, coastal city.
      Livergnano - a town on Hiway 65 south of Bologna.  GI's called it "Liver 'n Onions".
      Legnano - town in Po Valley

Montecatini - Resort town northwest of Florence, between Lucca & Pistoria, known for its hot baths. Accomodates 20,000 visitors before the war.  Used as a rest area by the Allied troops.
Mussolini Canal - one of the few good things Mussolini gave Italy.  The 240-foot wide Mussolini Canal was a prominent feature of the flat terrain at Anzio and scene of heavy fighting.  The Colletore delle Acqua Medie(or West Branch) connected to it.  Mussolini Canal was 10 to 20 feet deep, whereas the smaller canals were only 20-50 feet wide.

Villa Feltrinelli - "Mussolini's Castle" -  The villa that became the seat of the Fascist Republic formed in Oct 1943 and the residence of Mussolini.  Located on western shore of Lake Garda in northern Italy, it was captured by Company K, 85th Mountain Regiment, 10th Mountain Division on 30 April, 1945.  Currently a hotel. 

Highways were originally named and then later identified with numerals.  Here are cross references for some highway names.

Via Appia -   Route 7
Via Casilina -  Route 6 thru Liri Valley, leading to Rome
Via Emilia - Route 9 to Bologna

Point 593 -Mount Calvario, first peak up the ridge from Monte Cassino.
Snakeshead Ridge - Ridge line north of Point 593.
Hangman's Hill or Mt. Venere - Peak about 300 yards south of Monte Cassino.
Castle Hill or Rocca Janula - The old castle ruis above town of Cassino, but below peak of Monte Cassino.
Monte La Difensa (Hill 960) & Monte Camino (Hill 963) lay west of the Mignano Gap that was blocked by Monte Lungo.  This ridge was captured on 3 December 1943 by 36th Division and the 1st Special Service Forces, who climbed the steep back face of Hill 960 and caught the Germans eating breakfast.
Monte Petrella & Monte Sant' Angelo  - Peaks on south side of Lire River Valley, across from Monte Cassino. Part of GUSTAV LINE. Height 1404 meters.
Monte Grande & Monte Adone & Monte Belmonte - Prominent peaks along GOTHIC LINE that overlooked Il Futa and Il Giogo Passes.
Monte Maio - Prominate hill across entrance to Liri Valley from Monte Cassino.
Monte Sole - Located near Bologna, site of massacre of 1830 civilians on Sept. 29 to Oct 1, 1944. See Book Review for map - Monte Sole.
Tobacco Factory - A group of buildings located in the American sector of the Salerno landings.  Not to be confused with a location on Anzio beach that was referred to as "The Factory" by the Americans.

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"Tedeschi" - Italian word for "German".  British name for Germans was "Teds".
"Paracadutisti" - Italian for "parachutist".

"W IL DUCE"  -  Grafitti writing for "Viva Il Duce".  Common to use "W" as abbreviation for "Viva". 

R.N. ROMA - Italian battleship, flagship of Admiral Carlo Bertgamini.  Sunk on 9 September 1939, by direct hits from two radio-guided 'Fritz-X' bombs dropped from Dornier 217s bombers.  This was the predecessor of the "smart bombs" developed in the 1970s.

SINFRA - a French ship.  This ship was captured by the Germans and was transporting 2,664 prisoners of war, mostly Italians.  It was attacked by Allied aircraft and sunk near Crete on 20 October, 1943.  Total losses were 2,098.

Advanced Service Rating Score was a scoring system that awarded points to a US soldier based on his service record.  It was used to determine who were sent home first after the war was over. See POINT SYSTEM For more detail.

7 Oct, 1943 - At 2:10pm on Thursday, a bomb with a delayed fuse explodes at the post office in Naples, killing 70 people, about half being soldiers.  When the Germans evacuated Naples on 1 October, they destroyed as much of the infrastructure as possible and set bombs with delayed fuses.   On Sunday, another bomb killed 23 engineers of the 1st Special Service Forces.  More bombs were found and safely deactivated.

19 March, 1944 - Mt. Vesuvius erupts with a tremendous display of billowing clouds and blankets the towns around Naples for several days.

"Miff-Miff" - a term my Dad used for weather balloons.  I can't find any info on this except this was the name of a newspaper for a anti-aircraft unit.

Roberts Commission - Headed by Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts.  Commission that was formed to ensure safety of Roman artifacts.  Officially known as American Commission for Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historical Monuments.

War Attrocities in Italy     (chronological order)

US Atrocities in Sicily - During the invasion of Sicily in 1943, the U.S. 45th (Thunderbird) Division killed more than 100 German prisoners at Comise airfield, Gela,  Buttera airfield on seperate occasions.  Two soldiers were accused of murder.  Later in April 1945, the same 45th Division would execute the guards at Dachau prison.

Cefalonia - Greek island in the Gulf of Corinth.  Site of massacre of the Italian ‘ACQUI DIVISION', lead by General Antonio Gandin.  When Italian goverment surrendered on September 8, 1943, the Germans began to fight the Italian "traitor" army and many were exectuted.  The final death toll was 9,646 men and 390 officers killed out of of 11,500 enlisted & 525 officers.  [Subject of movie "Captain Correli's Mandelin", staring Nicholas Cage.]

Judenrazzia - rampage against the Jews - Rome - On October 16, 1943, Hauptsturmfuhrer Theodor Dannecker lead an 'execution team' of 44 SS soldiers and rounded up 1060 Jews in Rome and eventually deported most of them to Auschwitz.  Only 15 were known to have survived.

Ardeatine Caves (Via Rasella) - On March 23, 1944, a group of partisans attacked a column of SS troops marching down the Via Rasella and killed 32.  Hitler ordered the execution of 10 Italians for every one German within 24 hours.  The SS rounded up 335 Italians, many already in prison for minor crimes, and exectued them and buried them in the Ardeatine Caves, on outskirts of Rome.

Sant'Anna di Stazzema - Small village just north of Pisa.  On August 12, 1944, the 16th Panzergrenadieren 'Reichsführer-SS' Division rounded up 560 villagers, believing them all to be partisans, and shot them in the village square.  Then they burned the town.   The new Spike Lee movie "Miracle at St. Anna" is about the US 92nd Division and it depicts this event.
News up-date: 8 former members of the SS are going on trail in Milan for the massacre which was described as a planned execution.  An old cubboard was found that contained the notes of witnesses of the massacre that was collected by the American soldiers during the war.
(Reference - external link:  Corriere Della Sera  )

Monte Sole - Site of massacre of 1,830 civilians on Sept. 29 to Oct 1, 1944.  About twenty kilometres south of Bologna is the massif of Monte Sole, that contains the small towns of Creda, Cerpiano,Casaglia, Marzabotto, Sperticano and San Martino.  About 1200 ex-Italian soldiers and Russian deserters from the German army formed into a band they called Stella Rossa (Red Star).  After several attempts to catch the partisans, the SS began systematically rounding up all the inhabitants of all the villages and executing them.  See Book Review - Monte Sole.

War Criminals

Anton Dostler, General - Commander of the 75th German Army Corps. Tried as a war criminal for ordering the summary execution of two officers and 13 enlisted Americans who were captured on a special operations mission.  Tried by a U.S. military court at Caserta and executed on 1 December 1945---the first German executed as a war criminal by US and Britian.

Max Simon, Lieut-General - Commander of 16 SS Division in Italy. Tried by a British military court at Padua on six charges of massacres of Italian civilians. Sentenced to death 26 June 1947.

Albert K. Kesselring, Field marshal - Commander-in-Chief, German Armed Forces in Italy(OBSW). He was tried tried by a British court at Venice for ordering the massacre of 335 Italians in the Ardeatine caves and other war crimes. He was sentenced to death on 7 May 1947.   But his sentence commuted to life imprisonment on 4 July 1947.  He was released n 1952.

Peter Crasemann, Major-General  -Commander of 26 Panzer Division in Italy. Tried in April, 1947, by a British War Crimes court at Padua for mass executions of Italian inhabitants; sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

Bruno Brauer, General - Governor of Crete  -  Tried by a Greek military court at Athens for the deaths of some 3,000 persons in Crete during the German occupation, also for murders and massacres, systematic terrorism, deportations, and torture of civilians.  Shot on 20 May 1947.

Kurt Malzer, General - Commandant of Rome, 1944.  Carried out Hitler's orders for execution of civilians at Ardetine Cave. Sentenced for life and died in prison.

Karl Wolff, SS Obergruppenfuehrer - Head of SS in Italy - Tried in March, 1947, by a British military court at Brunswick (" the Blechammer case “) for exposing British prisoners of war to air raids.  Sentenced  to seven years’ imprisonment on 25 March 1947.

Nicola Bellomo, Italian General - An anti-Fascist general in Mussolini's army who fought the Germans after the armistice.  His army was able to capture the port of Bari.  However, after the war, he was tried for war crimes for shooting escaped British POWs earlier in 1942 and was executed on 11 September 1945.

Pietro Caruso - Police Chief (Questore) of Rome. Executed on September 21, 1944 for assisting the Germans with massacre at Ardeatine Cave.

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  "The entire mule train was destroyed. The Italian mule skinners are hysterical and make no effort to collect any stray animals. They cry and shout and run off weeping in all directions. To treat them is impossible.  None of them will hold still long enough to be bandaged. They scramble off the mountain, leaving a trail of blood behind them."

   Captain Klaus Huebner, a Medical doctor with the 88th Division, describes the result of an artillery strike in his book, "Long Walk Through War".

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