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Camicie Nere (The MVSN & CCNN Combat Units)

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CCNN Units that operated actively in various theatres 1940-43

The following is a brief list of CCNN units that saw active service, and are not covered elsewhere in this article. It is not exhaustive, and further units are listed in the separate article on CCNN M Battalions (q.v.) as well.

5th CCNN Legion
LEGION HQ
5th Valle Scriva CCNN BATTALION
34th Premadura CCNN BATTALION

15th CCNN Legion
LEGION HQ
14th Garibaldina CCNN BATTALION
15th Leonessa CCNN BATTALION

30th CCNN Legion
LEGION HQ
6th Lomellina CCNN BATTALION
30th Roberto Forni CCNN BATTALION

63rd CCNN Legion
LEGION HQ
63rd Tagliamento CCNN BATTALION
79th Cispadana CCNN BATTALION

1st CCNN Marine Gruppo
GRUPPO HQ
42nd Berica CCNN MARINE BATTALION
43rd Alpina Piave CCNN MARINE BATTALION
50th Trevignana CCNN BATTALION
60th Istria CCNN MARINE BATTALION

Miscellaneous Independent Battalions

38th V. Alfieri CCNN BATTALION

41st Cesare Battisti CCNN ALPINI BATTALION

85th Apuana CCNN BATTALION

CCNN integration with regular army units

In Italy Black shirt Territorial Defence (Home Guard) Battalions were also organized, and grouped into Zone Commands. Each of these corresponded to the area controlled by an Army Corps. Before mobilizing, these units were identified by number (Roman Numeral) and were referred to as Cohorts, their sub units being Centuries (Companies) and Maniples (Platoons). These units would be mobilized as required to form Combat legions.

Meanwhile in April 1940, Mussolini discovered that the Army had been resisting the integration of the Black shirts into their divisions. The Duce responded with a new program to force the execution of his policy! Meanwhile in North Africa, the CCNN divisions had performed poorly, principally for the reasons mentioned previously (poor equipment and senior command), and this appears to have been used as an excuse by the Monarchists in the army to further resist Mussolini’s instructions. In the A.O.I. however the CCNN units performed quite adequately, probably due to the lack of mechanization on both sides (it was a cross between modern warfare and the old colonial era), which proved that the basic quality of the troops was probably acceptable – providing they had reasonable equipment and leadership that was comparable to that of their opponents.

The following is a list of some of the regular army divisions that incorporated Black shirt units (including many who still had Legions present at the time of the armistice in September 1943):

  • 14th Isonzo Infantry Division (98th CCNN Legion)
  • 20th Fruili Infantry Division (88th CCNN Legion – later renamed 387th Infantry Regiment when the Division served on the Allied side after the armistice in 1943)
  • 21st Sardinian Grenadier Infantry Division (55th CCNN Legion)
  • 22nd Cacciatori delle Alpi Infantry Division (105th CCNN Legion)
  • 26th Assietta Infantry Division (17th CCNN Legion)
  • 28th Aosta Infantry Division (171st CCNN Legion)
  • 31st Calabria Infantry Division (177th CCNN Legion – later renamed 359th Infantry Regiment when the Division served on the Allied side after the armistice in 1943)
  • 44th Cremona Infantry Division (90th CCNN Legion – later renamed 321st Infantry Regiment when the Division served on the Allied side after the armistice in 1943)
  • 47th Bari Infantry Division (152nd CCNN Legion – later renamed 340th Infantry Regiment when the Division served on the Allied side after the armistice in 1943)

Additionally, single Black shirt Battalions were motorized and incorporated into Motorized Bersaglieri and Infantry Regiments (these formations usually had 2 Rifle and 1 Support Battalion, so the CCNN Battalion increased their infantry strength quite significantly). The organization of these units varied slightly from the normal:

CCNN MOTORIZED BATTALION:
BATTALION HQ PLATOON (Cars/Light Trucks)
BATTALION RECON/SCOUT PLATOON (Motorcycles)
3 RIFLE COMPANIES, each:

COMPANY HQ PLATOON (Trucks)
2 RIFLE PLATOONS (Trucks)

The exact manpower of these battalions varied – from 570 in a battalion attached to a Motorized Infantry Regiment, to 614 in a battalion attached to a Motorized or Bicycle Bersaglieri Regiment. Note the Rifle Companies in some cases had 3 Platoons.

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Comments

  1. Hi!
    I have a Round Copper Pendant that I think was from the Black Shirts. It is about 1″ Diameter with a Chain Hole at the Top. On one Side it has a Palm Tree, a Knife “X” on the handel on Top of (3)-Spears, and the Words “270 LEGIONC CCNN LIBICA INVINCIBILC”. On the other Side, it has a Map with (3) Places called “TRAPANI”, “AGRIGENTO” & “CNNA”. Around the Perimeter it has “VAMPA”FRECCE” & “LPVI”. The Map has (2) Arrows to the Right Side and (2) what looks like to me, “Long Dog Heads with their Mouths Open”.
    I have been trying to find out what this is since I have had it. It was in with some things that my Father had and was past down to me when he Past. My Dad was in WWII so, if that helps please let me know!
    Thanks!

  2. In the text about the “M” battalions it reads; “For further reading on the M units see the separate article on this website.”

    But I can’t find this article anywhere?

    Thanks in advance,
    Glenning

    • Glenning – This was John Moher’s article and it probably pertained to his website. I no longer have his email address to assist you. The text has now been deleted.

  3. Dan Montagano says:

    I would like to note that there is an omission in the list of CCNN units that served in Yugoslavia. The 81st CCNN battalion was active there and took part in battles fought against the Udarne Brigade at Dolnij Poloj during October of 1942. Incidentally, this was also the setting for the last Cavalry charge ever mounted by the Italian Army. And finally, the 81st battalion was designated a “M” battalion shortly before being sent to Yugoslavia.

    • I have discussed this RedShirt issue here before.The wife says that this is the name that the M Battalion soldiers identified themselves as.They were proud of it.