Commanders of the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade, 1944?

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Fri Apr 11, 2003 5:16 am

Gentlemen.
there are three growing grades of errors; the small ones, the big ones and statistic.
The only way to discrimate them is logic or, if you prefer, common sense.
To believe that, after the formidable chaos which ruled over USSR during winter 1942-1943 it was possible to pick up all the surviviors of the Croat Regiment lost in Stalingrad pampering them while more than two thirds of the German, Romenian, Italian and Hungarian prisoniers were dying by epidemics, starvation and the incontrollable behavoir of their Soviet guardians in the incredible condictions of the gulags is unconceivable.
Something was possible (and was made) for the most important officers but not for the others. I can agree that, at least, the a.m. Royal Yugoslavian Regiment in USSR was formed but I dont't think that there were meny men coming from that old Croat unit.
Emigré history is full, during the centuries, of very optimistic misinterpretation of nationality. They were foreign legions. The same lenguage problem is not a too much important one as the fighting orders are not very much (no more than fourty according the old Austrian-Hungarian mood) and they are barked in the country owner of the legion lenguage as is a good habit to put officers and, above all, NCO, of the true master who pays for the music.
I can confirm to Klement that there was an intense activity by the British to create a Legione Garibaldi among Italian POWs since the beginning of 1941 until 1943. It was a Freya Stark idea but not a succesful one.
Some people, anywey, joined the Anglosaxons and I know that there were some missions of Intelligence along the Sicilan shores. Two men, Emilio Zappalà and Antonio Gallo were arrested, while they were in plain clothes, just after to have landed from a British submarine in Nov. 1942. They were shot on 27 Nov. 1942. It's interesting to see that the two poor guys were not welcomed by anyone, post mortem, in the crowded Walhalla of the anti-fascist heroes. Traitors first and last.
.
About my personal opinion on the Irish matter, Sid, I admit to have perhaps read too many times The Eagle has landed by Jack Higgins but you must admit that Liam Devlin is much more palatable, to latin spirits, than Colonel Blimp or, at French ears, Major Thompson.
Some Irishmen (not many, of course, no more than 10 according my sources) proofed to be good camrades during the 1940-1943 war working together with the Reparto Informazioni of the Regia Marina Staff and at least three of them (the three musketters) with the Raggruppamento Centri Militari (then Raggruppamento Frecce Rosse) Indian Battalion Azad- Hindoustan. The only effective intelligence missions on 1942 perfomed by the men of this special paratrooper battalion were made by them.

Next time, EC

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:53 am

Hi Enrico,

The Russians managed to raise two divisions from Romanian POWs and a brigade from Slovak POWs. It does not seem inconceivable that a significant number of Croat POWs might have been similarly enlisted, especially given the conditions they were kept in. However, as you say, staistics are likely to prove hard to verify.

I was told by an old Croat I met researching in the British Library that his father, an idealistic Communist with the Partisans, was very much suprised at the composition of the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade because it contained such a high proportion of people he had always thought were strong Croat nationalists. However, he put no figures on their numbers.

Liam Devlin may be more palatable than Colonel Blimp or Colonel Thompson, but they all have one thing in common: They are all fictitious characters. It would seem inadvisable to draw sweeping national conclusions about national stereotypes from such figures. If Gunner Asch was a typical German one might assume that the nation was pacifist in the Second World War. More extraordinary still, if Candide was taken at face value we might assume that all Frenchmen were naive idealists!

Many Irishmen from the Free State also proved good comrades to Britain in WWII - about 100,000 volunteered for the British armed forces. That is 10,000 times more than volunteered for Italy! I guess relations between British and Irish weren't as bad as some would have us believe. One of the battalions garrisoning Malta recruited exclusively in southern Ireland.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Croats in the "Yugoslav" Rifle Brigade

Post by croat » Fri Apr 11, 2003 3:20 pm

Hello to everyone once again:

As stated in my previous posting, the number of Croats in the "Yugoslav" Rifle Brigade was 775. Of this number, only a portion came from the 369th Reinforced (Croat) Infantry Regiment, while others came from the Croatian Naval Legion, the Croatian Airforce Legion, Italian formed Mobile Brigade, and from Croats serving in the Hungarian armed forces (from the Hungarian occupied regions of Croatia - Baranja and Medjimurje). When one considers that, except for the Croats serving with the Hungarian armed forces, all members of Croatian units on the Eastern Front were volunteers in the fight against Communism, it is hard to imagine that participation in a "Yugoslav" Rifle Brigade, created by the Soviets, was by choice. For many, I would say that the chance of getting a blanket, some food, and out of a so-called POW camp in Siberia while being in the "Brigade" was a better choice than death of hypothermia, starvation or by a Soviet bludgeon.

Remember also, Sid, that many if not most of the Croats fighting on the Eastern Front were not "nationalists", but rather anti-Communists.

Kind regards to all.
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Post by sid guttridge » Sat Apr 12, 2003 4:44 am

Hi Croat,

Point taken. Obviously, someone who was merely a Croat nationalist had no particular reason to volunteer for service on the Eastern Front. That would require an anti-comminist attitude.

I would still note that 775 Croats still amounts to slightly over half the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade's strength.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Sun Apr 13, 2003 11:16 am

Hello Sid,
touche.
Anyway I liked President De Valera telegram of condolence to the German ambassy when Hitler died. This is style.
I like Father 0'Flaherty too; they are all palatable characters.
The World War, after the Italian Armistice, was all a bloody mess. I don't mean only the Italian affairs but all the war ones. Accordind my modest opinion there were two wars: the first one (9/1939-9/1943) was still a someway classic one but, with the end of the last reasonable hope of peace along the 1941 German-Russian border (Mussolini pipe dream or, perhaps, something more) craziness ruled on every political consideration or, better, Stalin menace - now possible - to made in any time an agreement with the Germans led the Anglosaxons to do all the various historical mistakes (or necessities) for which they were so hardly damned by a legion of students.
The real volounteer will of the various nations during the last years of the Second World war is a very debatable study. In Italy many of the best, last Mussolini soldiers and officiers were oftem men who had fight aginst the previous Regime. Many gallant partisans author of rally daring enterprises (often with the loss of their life) were old Blackshirts of the old times or young coming from the truely volounteer units formed before the Italian Armisitice.
Things were not too much different in France with Darnaud Milice since the end of 1943 and Aug. 1944 and in various maquis units.
War is a strange matter indeed.
Anyway, Sid, why not to put a thread about the ones who choosed the other side. Not only Lord Haw Haw and the young Amery (who was active in Italy and arrested here) or the misterious Saint George Legion or the Indian one (both in Germany and in Italy).
Next time, EC

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Apr 14, 2003 4:57 am

Hi Enrico,

There is much truth in what you say. As far as I can discover, throughout Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece, there were often more men in the pro-Axis security forces than in the combined royalist, republican and communist partisan forces.

I cannot really start a thread on the subjects you mention as they are not my central interest. Many of them are only minor footnotes in history. For example, while there is a lot of curiosity about the Free India forces raised by Germany and Italy, they are of little significance when compared with the fact that Britain raised the largest volunteer army the world has ever known in India during WWII. Likewise Irish voluntary recruitment in the British armed forces was thousands of times higher than voluntary enlistment in Axis forces.

My main interest when these subjects come up is to point out just how insignificant these "units" were.

This is not to deny the existence or potency of Irish nationalism or the Free India Movement. It is only to note that the internal enmities within the dissolving British Empire were nowhere near as intense as sometimes assumed and that there remained considerable confidence in it to the very end.

Britain did not run its empire with same genocidal intensity that the Germans or Belgians employed in South West Africa or the Congo. It did not try to hang on to its empire in the bloody way the French tried in Indochina or Algeria. It did not leave behind as little as the Portuguese did to show for hundreds of years of colonial rule. Some on Feldgrau don't like to admit it, but Britain's hand on its empire was relatively light. But that is another thread...................... I hope!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:31 am

Hello Sid,
you are right.
The real effect of many foreign legions was only propaganda or, like in the Indian case in Europe, only the chance to publish some good colour shots on Signal. The turbans are so photogenic...
Perhaps only the many members of so many nationalitis of the old USSR who decided, often sponte eorum, to join the Werhmacht had a real impact on the balance of the forces; it's possible to add to them the SS
foreign freiwillingen (about 10% of the Waffen SS total) but nothing else.
De Gaulle Free French were mostly foreign legions and coloured people (this is not a racist or a not politically corret sentence, of course, just do not forget that on Spring 1943 most of the Senegalese Battalions de marche of the Free French in Africa mutined as they were bored and not paid): no more than a brigade at once in the Equatorial France, than East Africa, then Syria and, at least, the western desert. The true French help to the Allied side was Giraud's Army in 1943, a token force then pick pocked by the Grand Charles on Nov. 1943 in a way I yet described in a previous letter of mine on this forum.
The Polish force was big (a corpus) but ready only in Autumn 1943 and there was little else.
The Yugoslavian Brigade which is at the origin of this thread was a very modest unit with a pictouresque but still less important activity on the battlefield. Perhaps it was more expensive for the Allies to have these men on their pay list than for the Italians and the German to fight them.
I can agree too about the effectivness of the British Empire and Commonwealth system but, at the end of this mine, let me remember that, in spite of a good, local lower classes scholar system, I think there was a certain enthusiasm of many people when they saw for the last time their sometimes some centuries old guest, leaving. Cyprus, Kenya, Aden, Palestine, Egypt, Rhodesia (the whites only, of course) and perhaps some more examples. South Africa and Canada did't sob too much too - These two Dominions refused, for example, as soon as they could, in 1946, to sign the Nurnberg document and subsequent trial as they had their own opinion of the Germans and of justice -.
The German fight against the Orero tribes in Tanganika at the beginning of the XX Century was a sordid kind of war and the Belgians were very cruel masters, as Stanley proofed over any possible doubt, but every colonial system used this way to rule, then. It's impossible to use the today politically correct meter (or I have to say yard?) during times which were so different form ours own.
The British were the third (after the Spaniards and the Portuguese) to estabilish an European Empire and the first to create a "modern" one; they were, so, the forerunners too of these methods. The Tasmanian original people doom during the second half of the XIX Century or, if someone of the reader is interested only about the white people "sudden disapperanaces", the tragic 1761-1769 fate of the 12.000 French inhabitants of the Nova Acaia, in Canada, is quite eloquent.
The only way to do a confront among the various colonial experiences is, according my opinion, an analysis of the actual state of the affairs in the variouos ex colonial countries. From this point of view, except for some exceptions, the British inheritance is not a too much bad one (but the French one in West Africa seems a little better: quite less coups d'etat, tribal wars ect. and a better and, above all, more balanced economical development in spite of less natural resources, like oil in Nigeria against peanuts in Senegal). Was this a consequence of the latin culture or of the catholic confession? I'm unable to give a final opinion.

Heja safari EC

PS I have to admit, too, to have spent some years, when I was a child, in East Africa. It was an incredible world, now disappeared forever, so my opinions are, surely, not too much equitable EC :D

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Croats in the "Yugoslav" Rifle Brigade

Post by croat » Mon Apr 14, 2003 10:40 am

Sid:

You are correct, 775 Croats is slightly more than half of the "Yugoslav" Rifle Brigade, but you also must remember that around 10,000 Croats served on the Eastern Front - that would mean that only some 7.75% of all the Croatian volunteers ended up serving with the Soviets/"Yugoslavs". Not an incredible number, really.

Kind regards from Canada
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One more thought

Post by croat » Mon Apr 14, 2003 10:48 am

Sorry Sid, one more thought on the Croats in the "Yugoslav" Brigade...seeing as the Croats were the most numerous of the pre-war "Yugoslav" nations to serve on the Eastern Front, it is not suprising that that they also comprised a majority of the Soviet formed brigade. The unit was pretty small though, and its value in combat more than limited.

Regards once again.
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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Apr 15, 2003 3:38 am

Hi Croat,

Surely the measure should be the proportion of those captured by the Soviets who became members of the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade? How many Croats were actually captured in Stalingrad and on the Don? What proportion ended up in the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade? I think it must have been quite high.

The same holds true of the Romanians and Slovaks I mentioned before. Both these forces were conscript, not volunteers like the Croats. Yet very few deserted across the lines. Almost all the Romanians and Slovaks who served in Soviet-sponsored units were ex-POWs escaping appalling conditions.

I accept fully that, because there were almost no Serbs, Bosnians, or Macedonians on the the Eastern Front to get captured by the Red Army, it was almost inevitable that Croats would form a disproportionate share of the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade and it is not remarkable that this happened.

Cheers,

Sid.

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fascism

Post by KlemenL » Tue Apr 15, 2003 8:59 am

Hi,
as there were not Fascist schools in Italy (except for the Scuola di mistica fascista in Rome, a Party cadre institution) but simply schools which, in a totalitarian state, were, of course rallied with the government (excapt, for some aspects, the catholic ones) I have to presume that the TIGR acts against these schools were directed against the pupils.
Oh, yes. I see. Another one who claims the government in a totalitarian state had no influence on scholing system. I guess then the Balilla kindergartens in Venezia-Julia, Triest, Goerz, Tolmin, Karfreit, Postojna, Ilirska Bistrica and so one were a sort of Catholic Eduaction Society with no influece by the Fascist Ministry for Education in Rome? C'mon! Who are you fooling around?!?!

Just to reassure you, the attacks of TIGR were not directed against the pupils in the school, because the pupils in the school were often Slovene or Croatian youngsters themselves, who were more or less forced to attend classes, simply because Signor Gentile issued a proclamation prohibiting the use of Slovene or Croatian language in public, school, civil institutions and later, ironically, even in the churches. Teachers from Italy were brought to replace Slovene and Croatian, the lattest being pushed aside more or less, many eventually fleeing to Yugoslavia. Usually these TIGR attacks resulted in just Italian schools being burned down, usually the actions were carried out under the cover of night.
The "Slav" term was a lapsus for "sciavi", a triestine word which stays mainly for Slovens but which mean Crots, Serbs and, generally, all the eastern poeople of that multiethinc county who are not Italians, Germans, Hungarian and Jews.
Well, certainly this statement of yours shows that your knowledge about this theme suffers from some serious holes, so I have asked my personal friend from Italy, a native Toriner who used to live for almost thirty years in Triest to explain you and other people what does the term "sciavi", who are here so joyfully using it, mean. Here is his answer:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ancient Venice had some mercenary troops coming from the (probably coastal) Balkan regions, and these troops were globalli called "Schiavoni", a word which can be traced back to Slavonia and then corrupted. In fact in Venice the most famous part of the seaside promenade is called "Riva degli Schiavoni". Then dialectically "s'ciavo" (pronounced exactly is if there was an haschek both on the s and the c, like slascicarna) became the popular equivalent of "slavo" in the Venetian region and on the eastern border. There it was easy to transform it from a purely dialect expression into a malevolent expression, which is the main situation now. So, if one is speaking strict Triestino dialect, "s'ciavo" actually means simply "slavo" without any other connotation, but more widely there is a negative connotation attached to it, which can go as far as an insult. There is a very famous buffet in Trieste, where one eats fantastic pork meat of all sorts (and which is top in the list of my programs for these two days when I am there) which is called "Pepi s'ciavo" because probably in older times it was owned by a Slovene, and then the word is certainly friendly, but I would not use "s'ciavo" referring to anyone coming from old Yugoslavia unless I wanted to give a negative connotation.

Mostly by coincidence the latin word "sclavus", "slave", "schiavo" in Italian has become "s'ciavo" in Venetian dialect, and that was also connected to the fact that the mercenaries were almost considered slaves, even if "Schiavoni" came from Slavonia. So the formal greeting "I am your slave", which became "Servo vostro" ("Your servant, slave") and "Servus" in Austria", became "Schiavo" then "s'ciavo" then "Ciao" which is universally used and has nothing to do with the Slavic world.
-------------------------------------------

Do you think you could in the future refer to these ethic communities by their real names and not by some insult names, especially because Italian language has in its grammar very nice and gramatically correct words "Sloveni" and "Croati" without any negative connotation. Of course, when writing about us in historical books, you also don't need to use the word Slavi, because our official name back then was "Jugoslavi" and not "Slavi". of course, you may not follow this advice of mine, but in that case you're risking me referring to you in the future as "wop", "dago" or "guinea", but I think the policy of this forum is not to call members of other nationality by their insult names, is it?
1938-1938 minor sabotages. This is, perhaps, the most interesting new piece of news. During that same time were destroyed, by sabotage acts, the powder factories of Bologna and Piacenza. My father financial expert was a woman who had lost her right eye when the Bologna factory exploded.
And of course for every accident that ocurred in Central Italy the Slovenes are Croats are to blame, a? isn't it possible that the explosion in the factory might happen because of negligence at work or due to some unexpected facts which usually led into a catastrophe, considering we're talking here about a POWDER FACTORY.
For this act there was a trial, in 1941, and 55 Slovene and Italian men were condemned. 5 of them were shot on 16 Dec. 1941. An other one, Luigi Skamperle, from trieste, died in prison during what is possible to consider, in a very optimitic way. a very hard test cross examination.
Having in mind the quality of the Italian fascist justice, I am left wondering whether they would not be executed, even if that powder factory in Bologna would not be blown up.
What is sure is that they had not an uniform and were not fighting according the Geneva Convention rules (signs which may be recognized from a certain distance and that they had to wear all the time, no attacks against civilians, ect. ).
Yes, and I guess they should phone to the Carabinieri to introduce them with the exact place of their action as well! There were no atacks of the TIGR on civilians, don't know how many times do I need to preat this, although they have been playing arounf with an idea to carry out an assasination on Benito Mussolini during his visit in Karfreit and on Rodolfo Graziani in Postojna (Posthumia). But I guess you would now come out with an idea that they should settle this dispute behind a negotation table, not so? :D
So much from the very peaceful man from the West
Don't be ridiculous.
As I understand it, the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade contained 1,500 men. So, if my calculations are correct, virtually every survivor of 369th Croat Infantry Regiment must have served in the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade, of which they made up some 60% of the manpower. This is not something Croat nationalists now tend to dwell on! This would also mean that Sovenes could not have made up the largest contingent. Can you clarify these statistics?
Hm,
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 4:05 am Post subject:
Hi Klemen,

Good stuff.

As I understand it, the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade contained 1,500 men. So, if my calculations are correct, virtually every survivor of 369th Croat Infantry Regiment must have served in the Yugoslav Rifle Brigade, of which they made up some 60% of the manpower. This is not something Croat nationalists now tend to dwell on! This would also mean that Sovenes could not have made up the largest contingent. Can you clarify these statistics?
Hm, I have just lend my primary book about this subject to my friend, but after thinking it over again you could be right.

It could be that the main contingent of recruits of the 1st Yugoslav Rifle Brigade in USSR was made up of mainly Croats from the 369th Reinforced Infantry Rgt., Italian-Croatian Light Motorised Brigade and Hungarian-Croatian POWs, because from what I could read the mobilisation of the German-Slovene POWs from their POWs was not yet put into full motion at that time or to put it another way they were pouring into the brigade very slowly.

However later the Slovenes formed the majority in the 2nd Yugoslav Rifle and 2nd Yugoslav Tank Brigade, both formed in the latter time in USSR and both based mainly on ex-Slovene POWs, although some of them did not return from the Siberian gulags until 1956.

Also I doubt there were much members of the Croatian Naval or Air Force Legion in the 1st Yugoslav Rifle Brigade. Most likely we're speaking here only about a small group of men, maybe a dozen since neither CNL nor CAFL never recorded any mass desertions. There were more or less only cases when individual pilots deserted to the Soviets, the most famous example being Captain Mato Dukovac from 1944. In a way, it is sad how badly is covered the chapter in Croatian Histography, although some good books could be written about this topic. I was searching for any books or memoars of former Croatian members of the 369th Infantry Regiment, Light Motorised Brigade, Naval Legion, Air Force Legion or Croatian conscripts in Royal Italian and Royal Hungarian Army, but could find nothing or very little.
I will try to dig out the source of the various statistics regarding the transfer of Italian Slovene prisoners into the royal Yugoslav armed forces in exile. The original source will be either in the British Library, the Imperial War Museum Reading Room or the Public Records Office at Kew. On my laptop I only have the notes I posted on this thread. My original notes are on a notebook in the attic or garage.
Would appreciate it if you could come out with some more concrete sources and information, particularly about those alleged Slovene members of the Folgore Parachute Division!
I have seen the photo of Slovene deserters with an Italian armoured car at the Imperial War Museum Photo Library. However, I did not take a copy because they wanted about £8 a print. If you write to them you should be able to get a copy yourself - but the price will certainly have gone up in the last few years.
I don't doubt about that! I have never heard of a price that would have gone down in the last couple of years.
Operation Compass was in December 1940. Does this mean Italian-Slovene POWs were enlisted by the British before Yugoslavia entered the war? If so, what unit did they join initially? Or did this recruitement only start after the Yugoslav Government reached the Middle East in April 1941? The latter seems more likely.
From December 1940 until May 1941 the Italian-Slovene POWs were kept behind the wire, but usually in separate quarters from the rest of Italian POWs. When the Poles took in charge that camp many enlisted into the Polish Carpathian Mountain Brigade under false names and some later even undertook a journey with them to besieged Tobruk. The first small recruiting of Italian-Slovene POWs from Al-Agami POW Camp started in late May 1941 when first elements of the Royal Yugoslav government and army reached Palestine and Egypt respectively. According to the census from 24 January 1942 the Royal Yugoslav Forces in Egypt numbered seven generals, eighty-eight officers, fifty-four non-commisioned officers and 407 privates. In mid-June 1942 the Royal Yugoslav Guards Battalion was formed in Agami Camp next to the barracks of the Czechoslovaks. At the beginning of August 1942 came into the battalion more than 100 Slovenes who had returned from Tobruk, where they have served with the Polish Brigade. At about that time the battalion's strength was arounf 300 men. Alone on 2 January 1942 some 150 new Slovene POWs came, raising the strength of the battalion up to 500. The battalion saw very little action. As a part of the 10th Brigade of the 5th Indian Infanty Division they were sent to the oasis Kennels Box in the Libyan Desert, later to Halfaya Pass, never encounbtering any enemy afterwards they were pulled back to Trandjordan.
I was interested to read of the Slovene colony in the Middle East. I know there were 90,000 Greeks in Alexandria alone. How many Slovenes were there? When and why did they migrate there?
Don't remember the cipher right now, but most of them were season labours or political emmigrants working in Alexandria or Cairo.
About my personal opinion on the Irish matter, Sid, I admit to have perhaps read too many times The Eagle has landed by Jack Higgins but you must admit that Liam Devlin is much more palatable,
You're watching too many movies, bro. :D
I can confirm to Klement that there was an intense activity by the British to create a Legione Garibaldi among Italian POWs since the beginning of 1941 until 1943. It was a Freya Stark idea but not a succesful one.
I seriously doubt the Allies, the British in particular, were paying any attention in forming any Free Italian Legion in 1941/1942! Most likely they were mainly searching for some recruits for their OSS which could be send as informants and spies to Italian Peninsula, but I doubt if they were seriously playing with an idea to equipp them as a combat unit to fight the Germans and Italians. If you ask me this is just another "paper duck" like the one the Allies launched in Italy among the German troops calling them to surrender and to join the newly formed Free German Army, which of course never existed but it nevertheless proved in some cases quite useful and successfull.
Something was possible (and was made) for the most important officers but not for the others. I can agree that, at least, the a.m. Royal Yugoslavian Regiment in USSR was formed but I dont't think that there were meny men coming from that old Croat unit.
There was no Royal Yugoslav Regiment in USSR. But there was a Yugoslav Rifle Brigade, which was I believe immediately disbanded upon returning to Yugoslavia in 1944 and its men attached to various units, many finding death on the fields of the Srem Front 1944/1945.
To believe that, after the formidable chaos which ruled over USSR during winter 1942-1943 it was possible to pick up all the surviviors of the Croat Regiment lost in Stalingrad pampering them while more than two thirds of the German, Romenian, Italian and Hungarian prisoniers were dying by epidemics, starvation and the incontrollable behavoir of their Soviet guardians in the incredible condictions of the gulags is unconceivable.
The Croatian recrutis did not come only from the 369th Reinforced Croatian Infantry but also from Light Motorised Brigade (their commanding officer is known to survive the calvary at Don and to join the 1st Yugoslav Rifle), and a significant number of them also probably must have come from the Royal Hungarian 2nd Army, which also suffered a tremendous blow at Don River in 1942.
The German fight against the Orero tribes in Tanganika at the beginning of the XX Century was a sordid kind of war and the Belgians were very cruel masters, as
What about the Italians and the Senussi? :D

Anyway, that's all for today. These messages tend to be too long for me to answer at all questions.

Klemen

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Apr 15, 2003 9:26 am

Hi KlemenL,

A lot to deal with, but fortunately most of it is for Enrico.

Firstly, thanks for all the hard facts you included.

I know of the tank brigade, but I have not even heard of the 2nd Yugoslav Rifle Brigade. Can you tell me when it was formed and when disbanded? Was it converted into the tank brigade or was it a separate unit?

According to my information, the first Yugoslav units raised in the USSR initially wore pre-war Royal Yugoslav insignia and this was only changed some time after the unit's foundation. Perhaps it was originally known as the Royal Yugoslav Regiment in the USSR?

I will try to find the original sources for the Slovene information. Keep prodding me. It may take several months!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Apr 15, 2003 10:11 am

Hello Klement,
take it easy, son.
Your letter is an interesting one but I think it's necessary to clear some little points:
the Balilla (Fascist youth until 11 years ) was not a school but a post schooll not compulsory organization - it was possible to join the catholic Azione Cattolica or not attend both; scouts too were active in Italy until late Thirties but they were too much expensive (clothing) for most of the families - attended by 10% about of the available children.

"...schools burned down...under the cover of the night" So much for culture.
Personally I still prefer professor Gentile style (he was murdered on 15 April 1944 by two communist partisan in Florence. One of the two killers was, according the post war reconstruction, a slav - term you may consider a malevolent one, of course, but how the hell is possible to express the right word for the melting pot on the other side of the Isonzo River, the Quarnaro and the old coastal towns along Dalmatia? Yougoslavia was an invention and not a too much succesful considering the 1941 and 1991 collapses- ; the idea to remove cultur by force seems quite a fixed one, like the similar principle to destroy with the dynamite the ancient Venetian stomne lions of Traù in Dec. 1932. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Today this kind of people is labelled Talebans.

Servus is Latin, so I think that the a.m. lenguage reconstruction - a sound and pleasant one, anyway- need an other step.

Without any evidence from the other side I have to consider both the Piacenza and Bologna explosion according the trials I mentioned before. I think it's too much easy to say "they were fascist judges". Were these enterprises at least refused to be recognized? According the Storia del PCI in Italia (the Italian communist party official history, edited during the Fifties) the two outrages were made by "slav (here we are again) comrades befor the war".

An attept against Marshall Graziani at Postunia. This is a very interesting item. Graziani, however, was confined in his estate at Arcinazzo (near Rome) since Feb. 1941 until Sept. 1943, he was (unfortunatly) in Lybia since June 1940 until Feb. 1941 so the plan was for a previous time. Do you now which one. This piece of news could be useful to have a total picture of the 1938- 1940 Anglo-French connection.

About the Legione Garibali you may see the PRO file FO371/29938 and FO371/29960 or in a simpler way, to look for Richard lamb, The Ghosts of Peace 1935 -1945, ed. Michael Russel LTD, salisbury, 191987, chapter seven. This unsuccesful program was repeated during Summer 1942, still without a positive result, except for the statystical always available men "good for any season". (Saint Thomas Moore, forgive me, please).

the Yougoslavia battalion in USSR was a Royal unit. Stalin was the last to defect the poor King Peter in 1944. The USSR-Yugoslavian Kingdom feelers started on Spring 1940 with the offer of shipment, through Salonike, of weapons for the Belgrade government against the Italian menace. Since April 1940 Stalin changed side again but this dangerous path was still active in March 1941. Do not forget, for example, the Russian guarantee to Yugoslavia signed 48 hours before the Axis invasion.

The Senussi? Quite a wild and dirty war and guerrilla. Gallant enemies, anyway, and good fighters. The British too, who fight against them since 1915 until 1917 and had to encounter them at Sollum, losing the town, aroun Marsa Matruh and at the crossing of the upper Nile, deep in the western desert, had a good opinion of them and arrived, at least, in 1917, at an agreement.

Hoping not to be too much long this time,

sincerely EC

PS I love good movies (there are not many of them, anyway), I love history serious studies too (and this forum is an excellent example) and, above all, I like fair play. EC 8)

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KlemenL
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Post by KlemenL » Tue Apr 15, 2003 4:15 pm

Hi,
take it easy, son.
Don't try to be patronizing here. I hate that.
he Balilla (Fascist youth until 11 years ) was not a school but a post schooll not compulsory organizatio
Really if nothing else I must admit you that by each answer of yours I "learn" some new never discovered facts about Fascist Italy.
it was possible to join the catholic Azione Cattolica or not attend both; scouts too were active in Italy until late Thirties but they were too much expensive (clothing) for most of the families - attended by 10% about of the available children.
Maybe this system worked in Torino, Milano, Roma or Catania, but the situation was entirely different in Venezia-Julia.
"...schools burned down...under the cover of the night" So much for culture.
Yes, indeed you can be very funny. Of course during the Primavera Operation of 1942 the Italians were burning and looting villages at a plain daylight, so I guess "your culture" can be even more "mature" than ours. But than again, speaking of night didn't the fascists also under the cover of night burned down the Slovene National Home with library and archive in the middle of Triest of 1921, the building the current authorities in Triest are now so reluctant to hand back to the Slovene minority? Of course, unless if you won't let me known in your next message that there are no Slovene minority in Italy, what usually happens when I meet such people like you!
Personally I still prefer professor Gentile style (he was murdered on 15 April 1944 by two communist partisan in Florence.
Are we speaking about the same Gentile who introduced Gentile School Reform in 1920s when banned Slovene and Croatian language from the streets and demanded an italianization of all Slovene and Croatian surnames (including the ones on a tombstones), a set of measures which was justified by your Professor Gentile that they are funny and are insulting the Italian culture.
a slav - term you may consider a malevolent one, of course, but how the hell is possible to express the right word for the melting pot on the other side of the Isonzo River, the Quarnaro and the old coastal towns along Dalmatia?
I cannot figure you out whether you are just fooling around, really don't know or are just that and I am really sorry to say this that stupid? There is no melting pot on the other side of the Isonzo. East of Udine live Slovenes, a nation of two million souls, south of them live Croats, a nation with four million souls, south of them live Bosnians, a mixture of Orthodox, Muslim and Catholic souls and east of the border river are Serbs and Montenegrians. Is that really that hard to remember? No melting pot as you can see. The border are clear and not that fogged as you are trying to show here due to me unknown reasons.
Yougoslavia was an invention and not a too much succesful considering the 1941 and 1991 collapses-
With all due respect but this was our decision, that is to join into one nation, and yours. I could talk here about the reasons why Yugoslavia collapsed for hours, but I won't because it seems to me like you don't have a basic knowledge about this matter to discuss so our discussion would probably be spinning around endlessly and I don't have time for this.

But then again even Italy of 1860 was not an unique country, and as a matter in fact still isn't. Many Sardinians could hardly speak or understand Italian even up to 1914. The process of melting takes several decades, and in some cases the differences between various ethnic groups are simply too strong, and this is what eventually happened to Yugoslavia. It was sad, but inevitable.
the similar principle to destroy with the dynamite the ancient Venetian stomne lions of Traù in Dec. 1932.
I guess we too have to take this on our burdain, do we? I guess everything bad what has happen to Italians is eventually our fault. is this what do you want to say?
Servus is Latin, so I think that the a.m. lenguage reconstruction - a sound and pleasant one, anyway- need an other step.
Aha, I guess now you're trying to sell me here that the Italian language today is almost identical to Latin or what?
Without any evidence from the other side I have to consider both the Piacenza and Bologna explosion according the trials I mentioned before.
Were these trials conducted in democratic country? Were the accusants allowed to prepare their own defence and presented with the material of the prosecution? Considering you yourselve have said that one of the accusants died during the trial because of, quoting "from trieste, died in prison during what is possible to consider, in a very optimitic way. a very hard test cross examination. , leaves me doubtless whether anything of what you claim here was (is) actually true. The authorities probably, as usual, just wanted scape goats to cover their failures like so many times in the history. Correct me if I am wrong, but weren't they put in front of a grand military tribunal in Rome???
I think it's too much easy to say "they were fascist judges".
Really? So by this theory of yours Roland Freisler and thousands of judges in the communists countries after the war kept their inpartiality and were not influenced by a totalitarian regime? Is this what you're trying to say:?: :?: And yet the judges in fascist controlled Italy kept their autonomy! Oh, I wish the story could be that simple.
According the Storia del PCI in Italia (the Italian communist party official history, edited during the Fifties) the two outrages were made by "slav (here we are again) comrades befor the war".
When greed and territories are in question the tolerance and political belief drops down to ground zero, no matter whether you are a fascist or a communist.
An attept against Marshall Graziani at Postunia.
Ding-dong! I meant RODOLFO GRAZIOLI! I guess for you just another in a long line of wops democrats (pardon Italian) during 1920-1943, not so?:D
About the Legione Garibali you may see the PRO file FO371/29938 and FO371/29960 or in a simpler way, to look for Richard lamb, The Ghosts of Peace 1935 -1945, ed. Michael Russel LTD, salisbury, 191987, chapter seven. This unsuccesful program was repeated during Summer 1942, still without a positive result, except for the statystical always available men "good for any season". (Saint Thomas Moore, forgive me, please).
First time I hear something like that. I have never heard of any British Officers recruiting among Italian POWs in the camps? Can you tell me when did the Italian authorities find out about this for the first time?
the Yougoslavia battalion in USSR was a Royal unit.
No, it wasn't.
The USSR-Yugoslavian Kingdom feelers started on Spring 1940 with the offer of shipment, through Salonike, of weapons for the Belgrade government against the Italian menace.
Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Soviet Union had no diplomatic relations until around early 1941, if I am not mistaken. Don't know where did you come up with this nonsense of USSR sending weapons through Salonika. Actually on the controrary, you could tell us a bit more about Italian invasion plans for Yugoslavia in 1939/1940. :D
Since April 1940 Stalin changed side again but this dangerous path was still active in March 1941. Do not forget, for example, the Russian guarantee to Yugoslavia signed 48 hours before the Axis invasion.
Stalin did no change any sides in April 1940. he was at that time probably Hitler's most thrustworthy ally, sending him tons of grain, fuel, and raw materials each day. And yes, when realizing the was is imminent the Royal Yugoslav government concluded an ad hoc pact with Soviet Union, I believe this was on the 5th of April, exactly twenty-four hours before first German bombers hurled over Belgrade.
The Senussi? Quite a wild and dirty war and guerrilla. Gallant enemies, anyway, and good fighters.
I reckon those Abyssinians who who have laid down to eternal rest by the means of combat gas were as well good fighters? Get serious. This is so typical that is starting to get pathetic. Each time you mention a dark chapter in someone's nation past they started to shoot me with some old time cliches, like "yes, they were good fighters, but nonetheless we took them down by gas and machine-guns. Poor chaps. " Bul*ocks, if you ask me.
Hoping not to be too much long this time,
It entirely depends on you. As you say you can start by using proper names and not some insult names. We are all humans and no one is superior over each other.
PS I love good movies (there are not many of them, anyway), I love history serious studies too (and this forum is an excellent example) and, above all, I like fair play.
You say you like fair play when studying history? Glad to hear that. Now please, since you are such an expert in Yugoslavia's history and its demography (melting pot theory), tell me do you speak Slovene or Croatian language? Have you read any Croatian or Slovene sources to counterbalance you knowledge of this theme with the information you got from Italian sources, or are you just one of those who are basing his whole story on a single book or on sources of "only" one side?

Klemen

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Tue Apr 22, 2003 5:36 am

Ok Gentlemen,
I'll try a last, reasonable, answer for readers and history sake.

Guerrilla (and counter guerrilla) are unpleasant matters. War is hell, okay, but counterinsurgence is not a "guerre en dentelle" (that's French). According the military laws of the time (American and British too, look at Telford Taylo, Nuremberg and Vietnam, an American tragedy, ed. The New York Time Co., 1970) the right of represail in front of acts of war by partisans is a correct one. So the only difference is between final winner and losers. If you think about the Slovene MVAC Guardia di sicurezza di Lubiana (a unit with its own uniform) active as police security in 1942 and disbanded by the Italian in January 1943 as they were "too zealous" you may have a good example. Since 1945 they were simply war criminals; since 1991 they are no more considered in such a way. (Good) history is a great equilibrating force.

I can add I dont'think the Traù lions were destroyed by little green people coming from Mars but I can believe about the native innocence and some others curious opinions about the polite Balkan habits discussed here if someone may produce an hard evidence. Without any proof my own idea is as good as anyone else (by the way "bro" yes and "son" no; what's that, a taste of Slovene democracy or style? I remember a quite more sportive debate with Croat, some mouths ago).

Coming back, at least, to more interesting and useful military matters I can give many details about the Italian invasion plans against Yugoslavia (before SHS) since late 1926.

The British activity towards the Italian POWs to create a Garibaldi Legion was known in Italy after the first escapes from India (1941) and a subsequent 1942 Red Cross visit (by the way this kind of act is forbidden by the Geneva Convention).

Diplomatic relations between USSR and Yougoslavia begin in 1940.

Italian gas in Ethiopia is true and I never said they were not employed (like the British in Iraq, 1921, and around Aden, 1934, not forgetting the French in Marocco during the Twenties). They were not used in Lybia against the Senussi only as the western desert is not a good theatre for mustard gas (Yprite).

Emilio Grazioli was a prefetto, Francesco Grazioli was a general, tsk, tsk, tsk.



Bye, EC

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