2nd Alpini Regiment
The 2nd Alpini Regiment (Italian: 2° Reggimento Alpini) is a regiment of the Italian Army's mountain infantry speciality, the Alpini, which distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II. The regiment was disbanded in 1943 due to losses on the Eastern Front, however one of its component battalions, the Saluzzo Battalion, was reformed in November 1945 after the end of hostilities in Europe. The regiment itself was reformed in 1963 as a training unit, but during the 1975 army reform it was disbanded once again. In 1992 the regiment was raised once again and today it consists of the Saluzzo Battalion, is based in Cuneo and part of the Alpine Brigade "Taurinense".
|2nd Alpini Regiment|
|2° Reggimento Alpini|
Coat of Arms of the 2nd Alpini Regiment
|Active||1 Nov. 1882 – 8 Sept. 1943|
1 July 1963 – 31 October 1974
28 August 1992 – today
|Part of||4th Alpine Division "Cuneense"|
1935 – 1943
Taurinense Alpine Brigade
1963 – 1974
1992 – today
|Motto(s)||"Pro Rege, pro Patria" (1882–1931)|
"Alpium custos" (1931–1932)
|Anniversaries||6 June 1916 – Battle of Monte Fior|
|Engagements||World War I|
Battle of Monte Fior
World War II
Battle of Nikolayevka
War in Afghanistan
1x Military Order of Italy
1x Gold Medal of Military Valour
4x Silver Medals of Military Valour
1x Bronze Medal of Military Valour
1x Bronze Medal of Civil Valour
1x Bronze Medal of Red Cross Merit
1x 1908 Messina earthquake Medal of Merit
|Alpini gorget patches|
Origins of the 2nd Alpini Regiment date back to late 19th century. Its history could be divided into six major periods: from the establishment to the World War I, the World War I, the inter-war period, the World War II, the Cold War and the present days.
1882 – 1914
The 2nd Alpini Regiment was formed on 1 November 1882 in Bra. It consisted of the three battalions: "Val Pesio", "Col Tenda", and "Val Schio"; in 1887 the Battalions were renamed, taking their new names from the location of their main logistic depot: in "Borgo San Dalmazzo", "Vinadio" (in 1904 renamed "Dronero") and "Dronero" (in 1904 renamed "Saluzzo").
Alpine troops (including units from the 2nd Alpini Regiment) formed the 2nd Company of the Formation Battalion in the First Italo-Ethiopian War.
Following the 1905 Calabria earthquake, the 2nd Regiment sent the sappers platoons of the Battalions, until the end of the year; in 1908, in response to the 1908 Messina earthquake, the Regiment deployed 120 sappers.
On 9 August 1910, the 2nd Alpini Regiment was moved to the 1st Alpine Brigade. As of 1910 the Regiment consisted of Battalion "Borgo San Dalmazzo", Battalion "Dronero" and Battalion "Saluzzo". The latter saw the regiment's first action in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911, fighting Ottoman forces in the Libyan desert. In 1913 the Regiment was sent back in Italy.
World War I
During World War I the regiment consisted of 10 battalions and saw heavy fighting in the Alps against Austria's Kaiserjäger and Germany's Alpenkorps. The battalions of the regiment in these days were (pre-war raised units in bold, followed by their first and second line reserve battalions):
- Borgo San Dalmazzo, Val Stura, Monte Argentera, Cuneo
- Dronero, Val Maira, Bicocca
- Saluzzo, Val Varaita, Monte Viso
In late August 1919, three Battalions of the 2nd Regiment were deployed in Albania against the insurgency as part of two Alpine Groups: the 2nd Alpine Group included Battalions "Dronero" and "Saluzzo"; the 14th Alpine Group included the Battalion "Borgo San Dalmazzo". Both Groups were repatriated in 1920. From December 1920 to January 1921, Battalion "Dronero" and "Saluzzo" were part of the 2nd Alpine Group of the 45th Division, in the campaign against the Italian Regency of Carnaro.
With 1921 Italian Royal Army reforms, the 2nd Alpini Regiment was moved to the 1st Alpine Division; the Battalions "Dronero" and "Saluzzo" were moved to the 1st Alpini Regiment, while Battalions "Ceva" and "Mondovì" were given to the 2nd Regiment itself. t The 1st Alpine Division was renamed 1st Alpine Group in 1923 and Alpine Brigade in 1926.
In 1923 the Battalions "Dronero" and "Saluzzo" were moved back to the 2nd Alpini Regiment and Battalions "Ceva" and "Mondovì" returned to the 1st Alpini Regiment. In 1933 the 1st Alpine Brigade was renamed 4th Alpine Brigade, and in 1934 it became the IV Higher Alpine Command "Cuneense".
In September 1935 the Battalion "Saluzzo" was moved to the 11th Alpini Regiment of the 5th Alpine Division "Pusteria"; the Battalion was replaced by the newly reestablished Battalion "Val Varaita".
As part of the 5th Alpine Division "Pusteria" the "Saluzzo" battalion fought in 1936 in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War; in April 1937 the Battalion "Saluzzo" was moved back to the 2nd Alpini Regiment and the Battalion "Val Varaita" was again disestablished.
At the time the regiment consisted of 160 officers and 5,046 NCOs and soldiers for a total strength of 5,206 men. The regiment also had 23 horses, 1,242 mules and 109 transport vehicles at its disposal. The order of Battle was as follows:
- 2nd Alpini Regiment HQ based in Cuneo
- Command Company in Cuneo
- Borgo San Dalmazzo Alpini Battalion in Cuneo
- 13th Alpini Company in Cuneo
- 14th Alpini Company in Cuneo
- 15th Alpini Company in Cuneo
- 104th Support Arms Company in Cuneo
- Dronero Alpini Battalion in Dronero
- 17th Alpini Company in Dronero
- 18th Alpini Company in San Damiano Macra
- 19th Alpini Company in Dronero
- 105th Support Arms Company in Dronero
- Saluzzo Alpini Battalion in Vinadio
- 21st Alpini Company in Vinadio
- 22nd Alpini Company in Demonte
- 23rd Alpini Company in Demonte
- 106th Support Arms Company in Demonte
- 14th 47/32 M35 Cannon Company in Cuneo
- 2nd Health Company in Cuneo
- 615th Field Hospital in Dronero
- 2nd Sanitary Support Company in Dronero
- 22nd Baggage Train Company in Bene Vagienna
World War II
- Organic Battalions:
- "Borgo San Dalmazzo";
- 2nd Medical Section;
- 615th Field hospital;
- 22nd Support section;
- 2nd Supply Section-
- Mobilized Battalions (formed in September 1939):
- "Val Stura" (Western front);
- "Val Maira" (Western front);
- "Bicocca" (1943–1944, deployed in Corsica);
- XIII Reserve Battalion (1941–1942, deployed in Balkans);
- II Reserve Battalions (deployed in Russia);
- II Reserve Battalion bis (1943, assigned to 104th March Regiment in Isonzo valley);
- XXIX Reserve Battalion (1943, later renamed "Monte Ischiator").
On 21 June 1940 (one day before the French surrender) the "Cuneense" division began to advance with other Italian units into Southern France. The division was then sent to Albania, where it participated in the Italian attack on Greece. As the German Wehrmacht came to the aid of the beaten Italian armies in Albania in April 1941 through an invasion of Yugoslavia the "Cuneense" was sent north to aid the rapidly advancing German divisions, advancing through Montenegro and reaching Dubrovnik at the end of the campaign.
In September 1942 the "Cuneense" was sent together with the Alpine divisions "Julia" and "Tridentina" and other Italian units to the Soviet Union to form the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia (ARMIR)) and fight alongside the Germans against the Red Army. Taking up positions along the Don River the Italian units covered part of the left flank of the German Sixth Army, which spearheaded the German summer offensive of 1942 into the city of Stalingrad.
After successfully encircling the German Sixth army in Stalingrad the Red Army's attention turned to the Italian units along the river Don. On 14 January 1943, the Soviet offensive Operation Little Saturn began and the three Alpini division found themselves quickly encircled by the rapidly advancing armoured Soviet Forces. The Alpinis held the front on the Don, but within three days the Soviets advanced 200 km to the left and right of the Alpini. On the evening of 17 January the commanding officer of the Italian Mountain corps General Gabriele Nasci finally ordered a full retreat. At this point the Julia and Cuneense divisions were already heavily decimated and only the Tridentina division was still capable of conducting combat operations. As the Soviets had already occupied every village bitter battles had to be fought to clear the way. On the morning of 28 January the last men of the 2nd Alpini Regiment had walked 200 km, fought in 20 battles and spent 11 nights camped out in the middle of the Russian Steppe. Temperatures during the nights were between −30 °C and −40 °C. During the 28th the last remnants of the regiment were annihilated by Cossack forces.
On 11 February 1943, the survivors were counted and out of 5,206 men of the 2nd Alpini Regiment just 208 had survived; none of the soldiers of the battalions "Borgo San Dalmazzo" and "Saluzzo" had survived. The survivors were repatriated and after the signing of the Italian armistice with the Allies on 8 September 1943 the regiment was dissolved in Bolzano.
After World War II the "Saluzzo" battalion was reformed on 23 November 1945 as part of the 4th Alpini regiment and it carried on the traditions and regimental colours of the 2nd Alpini.
The regiment itself was reformed on 1 July 1963 as a Recruits Training Centre with four battalions, which were named for the four Alpini Brigades to which the conscripts were sent after training: "Tridentina", "Orobica", "Cadore" and "Taurinense" battalions. On 31 October 1974 the regiment was disbanded and with the Italian Army 1975 reform the regiment's flag passed to the "Saluzzo" battalion, which was assigned to the "Taurinense" brigade.
On 28 August 1992, the 2nd Alpini Regiment was raised again and the "Saluzzo" became its single battalion. Today the 2nd Regiment consists of the "Saluzzo" battalion, the regimental command. and a logistic support company. The regiment is based in Cuneo in the province of Cuneo and part of the Taurinense brigade.
- Regimental Command
- Command and Logistic Support Company
- Alpini Battalion "Saluzzo"
- 21st Alpini Company
- 22nd Alpini Company
- 23rd Alpini Company
- 106th Maneuver Support Company
The Alpini companies are equipped with Bv 206S tracked all-terrain carriers, Puma 6x6 wheeled armored personnel carriers and Lince light multirole vehicles. The maneuver support company is equipped with 120mm mortars and Spike MR anti-tank guided missiles.
- Franco dell'Uomo, Rodolfo Puletti: L'Esercito Italiano verso il 2000 - Volume Primo - Tomo I, Rome 1998, Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito - Ufficio Storico, page: 456