LISSA 1943-1945

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

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Enrico Cernuschi
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LISSA 1943-1945

Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue May 13, 2003 9:17 am

Hello Gentlemen,
the Adriatic island of Lissa (Vis, in Croat), with a lagre majority of people of Croat origin, was occupied, without resistence, by the Italians in Apr. 1941. After the Italian armistice it become a very useful British MTBs and aircraft base to attack the German, Croat and Italian Adriatic traffic and coastal strongholds since the end of the war, in that theatre, in May 1945.
The Germans palnned, i Spring 1944, to invade it by paratroopers and landing from the sea than they give up all the program.
I would like to know, if someone may help me:
- when the Yugoslav red partisans were able to land in that island?
- When the British arrived, first time, with their own land forces?
- When the Italian garrison come back in Italy?

Thanks EC

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croat
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Vis (Issa)

Post by croat » Tue May 13, 2003 1:19 pm

The island of Vis (or, historically, Issa and Lissa), is located in the Adriatic Sea and, today, is a part of the Republic of Croatia. Interestingly, Issa was an independent island-state until 47 BC. It was also occupied, amongst others during the course of time, by the British during the Napoleonic Wars.

During WW2, Yugoslav Communist leader Marshall "Tito" established his HQ on the island in November 1943. The island had previously been captured (though I'm not sure of the exact date) by British commandos and a force of Partisans. I believe this occured in September of 1943. Tito became resident on Vis on a permanent basis (until the end of WW2) as of June 7, 1944, after escaping from Bosnia (the Drvar battle) via Kupres to Bari. He was escorted to Vis by the British Navy.

Because of its strategic location in the mid-Adriatic, Vis became an important and heavily fortified military base during Communist Yugoslavia, and special permission was required to reach the island.

Since Croatian independence in 1991, the island has been re-opened to visitors, and Tito's cave HQ can be seen, along with many of the WW2 and latter-day military installations that are no longer in use. Vis is also a great scuba-diving location.

Hope this helped.
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KlemenL
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Post by KlemenL » Tue May 13, 2003 4:44 pm

- when the Yugoslav red partisans were able to land in that island?
Immediately following the Italian surrender in September 1943. They partisans quickly secured the islands of Vis, Bisevo and Sv. Andrija. Interestingly, in August 1943, several days before Italian capitulation ten citizens of Komiza were executed by the Italians after being accused of preparing an armed uprisal agains the Italians. Anyway, in September 1943 the partisans from the mainland and the local volunteers disarmed the Italian garrison. Apparently some Italians even joined the partisans.
When the British arrived, first time, with their own land forces
The British landed in early October 1943 when a reconnaissance party of some fifty British commandos arrived first to co-operate, encourage, and supply the partisan war effort, followed by the 1,000 strong Force 133 under Brigadier Jack Churchill, including a small British naval contingent of several MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats) under Commander Thomas Fuller, RCN, from Ottawa, Canada. On 20 February 1944 the No. 43 Royal Marine Commando with the understrength No. 7 (Yugoslav) Troop of the 10th Inter-Allied Commando arrived on the island thus bringing the total Allied personnel up to 1,000 men. On March 5, 1944 Churchill's second son Brigadier Tom Churchill arrived on the island with the 2nd Special Service Brigade (SAS), including 4th (Belgian) Troop of the 10th Inter-Allied Commando, and assumed the overall command of the island. Later the Americans send a group of some 40 US Rangers to assist the British and Yugoslavs and who later took part in some raids on some German-held Dalmatian islands. An airstrop was built on Vis Island in 1944 and it has served as an advance base and emergency landing site for badly damaged B-17s and B-24s returning from air raids in Southern Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.
When the Italian garrison come back in Italy?
Most likely it was evacuated via sea by the British Navy between September - October 1943, except for those individuals who opted to stay with the partisans.
The Germans palnned, i Spring 1944, to invade it by paratroopers and landing from the sea than they give up all the program.
Yes, this was the so-called "Operation FREISCHÜTZ" which was planned for the 21st of February 19412, but it was first postponed and then canceled by Hitler. The plan called for the landing of four battalions of the 750th Jaeger Regiment of the 118th Jager Division at the south tip of the island to advance through the rough terrain towards Vis City on the northern coast with the assistance of a large group of Brandeburg commandos (similarity with Leros Operation???) who would, disguised as Yugoslav partisans, entered the harbour and create some sort of a chaos in it. Simultaneously the island would also come under the attack of 360 paratroopers and 200 glider troops. I believe the plan also called for the deployment of some elements of the Croatian Parachute Battalion (Hrvatska padrobranska bojna) together with the German Fallschirmjagers.

Now I'll ask some counter-questions here, Enrico. :D

a.) What do you know about the strength of Italian military garrison on Isola Lagosta (Lastovo) in April 1941?

b.) Happen to have any details about which Italian units have occupied Vis in April 1941?

:D

Lp,

Klemen
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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Wed May 14, 2003 5:24 am

Thank you Gentlemen,
if a day you would be able to discover the exact days this would be very useful for me.
About Lissa (Vis) the island was occupied on 22 Aprile 1941 by a company of the Italian Army on the old Torpedo boat San Martino followed by sailors of the San Marco Regiment, Battalion Grado, 3rd Company. No resistance or losses are reported.
Lagosta was, with Cazza and Cazziol islands, Italian territory since 1918, Provincia di Zara, 53 KM 2 and 1.558 inhabitants.
Bye EC

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Post by KlemenL » Thu May 15, 2003 4:56 pm

About Lissa (Vis) the island was occupied on 22 Aprile 1941 by a company of the Italian Army on the old Torpedo boat San Martino followed by sailors of the San Marco Regiment, Battalion Grado, 3rd Company. No resistance or losses are reported.
Mamma mia! 8) Grazie il tutto, Enrico. This is great info. Battalion Grado? Grado as Grado near Monfalcone? Happen to know any other details about that Italian Army company?
Lagosta was, with Cazza and Cazziol islands, Italian territory since 1918, Provincia di Zara, 53 KM 2 and 1.558 inhabitants.
Great info! I was often wondering what are the Italian names for Susac and Kopiste Islands. Do you happen to know how many Italians were out of these 1,558 inhabitants? Also what was the Italian OOB on the island on April 6, 1941?

By the way: Do you have any details about about Italian "actions" in Slovenia during April 6-10, 1941? Especially about the alleged attack of Italian Alpini on Mt. Blegos (1562m), south of Piedicolle and east of Circhnia?

Lp,

Klemen
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Post by Lupo Solitario » Fri May 16, 2003 12:40 am

Correct, Klemen, "Grado" refers to little town between Monfalcone and Aquileia. But it's not an army unit, it belongs to Italian Navy Marine Regiment "San Marco". San Marco units have names related to naval infantry history during WWI or to venetic lagoons:
"Grado", "Caorle", "Bafile" and "Golametto".
About battalion "Grado", it had been formed in spring 1940 at Pola (where San Marco had barracks) with mobilized personnel just serving in battalion. It was garrisoned in Trieste in fall 1940; in the same period adsorbed a MILMART company. In november, it was scheduled for Albania but not employed. In April 1941, it had his first real employment invading many little islands in Dalmatia. In July,part of battlion had been employed in Montenegro revolt.
In 1942, the entire San Marco was scheduled for Malta invasion (which never happened). In fall, it was employed in Corsica occupation, after that in Tunisia defecne where it was destroyed in May 1943.

A really short resume, I'm sure I forgot something but certainly Enrico will correct me :wink:

Lupo

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Fri May 16, 2003 9:01 am

Ciao Lupo,
no correstions at att. It would be like to paint a pair of mustaches on the Gioconda! Bye EC

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