❤ Sharing Folkworthy Stuffs ❤
1 Comment | Vintage
The officer in the center of the photo is the commander of the regiment, Colonel Giuseppe Primaverile.
The photo comes from Domenico Anfora’s book *La battaglia degli Iblei*, which also gives some details about the subsequent fate of this unit.
The 123rd Coastal Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Giuseppe Primaverile, was part of the 206th Coastal Division, that garrisoned the south-eastern corner of Sicily, where the main British and Canadian landings took place (but not in the area garrisoned by the 123rd). The 123rd Regiment had its headquarters in the town of Scicli, and during the night before the landings, was involved in a lot of sparse fighting against American paratroopers that had mistakenly landed in its sector. Colonel Primaverile received a phone call from an outpost that had been captured by American paratroopers; the man at the other end of the line, who by his voice seemed an Italian American, “flattered his military valor and suggested that he should better surrender, or else”. Primaverile instead ordered a counterattack, which led to the capture of a hundred paratroopers, who were handed over to the *Carabinieri* of Scicli. In the morning of 10 July 1943, the coastal batteries manned by the 123rd Regiment opposed the American landing in Scoglitti (where the beach was defended by a different coastal regiment, the 178th); Colonel Primaverile later wrote in his report that “*Before dawn on 10 July, the two battalion commanders reported that numerous enemy ships were in the sea off the coast, to the east and to the west. I informed the divisional command, then I ordered the group and battalion commands to open fire as soon as the enemy ships would come within the range of the guns. The first battery to open fire was the 74th, at 4:00, when the enemy ships had closed enought to the coast and had dropped anchor to commence the landing operations. The fire was very effective, as the sea in front of the beach of Scoglitti was packed with enemy ships, estimated to be about 800. Seven ships were hit, as reported by the Punta Secca naval observation post. The 74th Battery was targeted by naval artillery and silenced after a few shots. The emplacements, the guns, the ammunition depots were destroyed. Losses among the personnel were heavy, as I later learned in captivity; two officers and a dozen of artillerymen killed, many more wounded*”. During 10 and 11 July, units of the 123rd Coastal Regiment clashed with the 45th American Division, that had landed in Scoglitti, in the village of Santa Croce Camerina and other nearby posts and roadblocks. They were defeated, and by the morning of 12 July, as the 206th Coastal Division gradually collapsed and the nearby towns of Ragusa and Modica were captured by the Americans and the Canadians, respectively, the remnants of the 123rd found themselves surrounded. Units of the Edmonton Regiment (2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade), supported by a troop of Sherman tanks and by American paratroopers, marched towards Scicli, and at 11:00 in the morning of July 12 an American negotiator presented himself to Colonel Primaverile, demanding his surrender. Primaverile surrendered, and the 123rd Coastal Infantry Regiment ceased to exist.