Guardia alla Frontiera

The Guardia alla Frontiera (GaF), was an Italian Army Border guard created in 1937[1] who defended the 1,851 km of northern Italian frontiers with the so-called "Vallo Alpino Occidentale" (487 km with France), "Vallo Alpino Settentrionale" (724 km with Switzerland and 420 km with Austria) and "Vallo Alpino Orientale" (220 km with Yugoslavia).

Guardia alla Frontiera
Guardia alla Frontiera emblema.svg
Guardia alla Frontiera emblem
Active1934 – 1953
CountryItaly
AllegianceKingdom of Italy
Republic of Italy
BranchItalian Army
TypeBorder Guard
RoleMountain Warfare
Size8 Corps areas with 27 Sectors
Regimental CentreVallo Alpino
Nickname(s)Vidoa
Motto(s)Dei sacri confini guardia sicura
ColorsGreen
EngagementsWorld War II

In 1940 the GaF had 21,000 military personnel, deployed in eight commands, 27 sectors and seven regiments of artillery. It manned 1,000 fortifications, 6,000 machine guns, 1,000 mortars, 100 Cannone da 47/32 M35 , and another thousand other medium and small-caliber cannons (75/27 and 149/35).

By 10 June 1940 (Italy's entry into the war) the GaF (not counting colonies in Libya and Albania) contained 23 sectors, 50,000 men, 28 battalions "Vallo Alpino", and 22 battalions of fascist militia.

OrganizationEdit

 
Guardia alla Frontiera corps in 1940

Each command of the army of GaF could be divided into "sectors" (27 areas of coverage, from I to XXVII, along the border; sectors XVIII, XIX and XX were never realized), which could break down in subsectors and so on for ever smaller units. Each command in the field had two or more subsectors which controlled the fortifications. These works were manned by infantry, artillery, engineers, etc. Despite the GaF being predominantly static it also received five light tank (carristi) companies, equipped with Fiat 3000 tanks that over time, due to their age and lack of spare parts, ended largely abandoned in Sector armories or buried to use the turrets as a fort.

The Guardia alla Frontiera disappeared after 1943, but nominally was active until 1953.[2]

In ItalyEdit

Vallo alpino occidentaleEdit

Army Corps Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ Area responsible
XV - Genoa I Bassa Roja Bordighera 1/a Destra Roja Ventimiglia Ligurian Sea - Testa dell'Alpe
1/b Sinistra Roja Dolceacqua
V Media Roja Taggia 5/a Muratone Pigna Testa dell'Alpe - Balcone di Marta
5/b Marta Molini di Triora
II - Alessandria II Alta Roja - Gessi Cuneo 2/a Alta Roja Tende Balcone di Marta - Ponte Negri
2/b Gessi Valdieri
III Stura Vinadio 3/a Collalunga - San Salvatore Vinadio Ponte Negri - Passo di Vanclava
3/b Alta Stura Sambuco
IV Maira - Po Saluzzo 4/a Maira Prazzo Passo di Vanclava - Monte Granero
4/b Varaita Casteldelfino
4/c Po Crissolo
I - Turin VI Pellice - Germanasca Pinerolo 6/a Pellice Torre Pellice Monte Granero - Col d'Abries
6/b Germanasca Perrero
VII Monginevro Cesana 7/a Cesana Bousson Col d'Abreis - Passo Desertes
7/b Val Chisone Cesana
VIII Bardonecchia Bardonecchia 8/a Colomion Bardonecchia Passo Desertes - Monte Niblé
8/b Melmise Bardonecchia
IX Moncenisio Susa 9/a Clapier Susa Monte Niblè - Rocciamelone
9/b Moncenisio Mont Cenis
Autonomous Subsector Levanna Lanzo Torinese Rocciamelone - Cima Galisia
X Baltea Aosta 10/a Nivolet - Valgrisenza Valgrisenza Cima Galisia - Monte Rosa
10/b Piccolo S.Bernardo - Seigne San Desiderio Terme
10/c Gran S.Bernardo San Remigio

Three artillery regiments supported the sectors of the Vallo alpino occidentale:

  • 7th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Cuneo
  • 8th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Venaria Reale
  • 11th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Savona

Vallo alpino settentrionaleEdit

Army Corps Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ Area responsible
III - Milan XI Laghi Varese 11/a Val d'Ossola Domodossola Monte Rosa - Pizzo Martello
11/b Verbano-Lario Como
XII Valtellina Sondrio 12/a Morbegno Chiavenna Pizzo Martello - Cima Garibaldi
12/b Bormio Madonna di Tirano
IV - Bolzano XIII Venosta Merano 13/a Resia Mals Cima Garibaldi - Cima Libera
13/b Passiria Merano
XIV Isarco Brixen 14/a Brennero Gossensaß Cima Libera - Pizzo di Alpre
14/b Vipiteno Sterzing
XV Pusteria Bruneck 15/a Drava Innichen Pizzo di Alpre - Sella Frugnoni
15/b Rienza Welsberg
XIV - Treviso XVI Cadore - Carnia Tolmezzo 16/a Cadore Santo Stefano di Cadore Sella Frugnoni - Sella Valdolce
16/b Val Degano Forni Avoltri
16/c Val But Paluzza
16/d Val Chiarsò Paularo
XVII Tarvisio Pontebba 17/a Pontebba Pontebba Sella Valdolce - Monte Termine
17/b Ugovizza Ugovizza
17/c Silizza Tarvisio
17/d Val Romana Fusine Valromana

One artillery regiment and one autonomous artillery group supported the sectors of the Vallo alpino settentrionale:

  • 6th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Bolzano
  • Guardia alla Frontiera Autonomous Artillery Group, in Sondrio

Vallo alpino orientaleEdit

Army Corps Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ Area responsible
XI - Udine XXI Alto Isonzo Tolmin 21/a Trenta Monte Termine - Passo di Piedicolle
21/b Polubino
21/c Podbrdo
XXII Idria Idrija 22/a Cerkno Passo di Piedicolle - Zolla-Selva di Piro-Cauzze
22/b Idrija
22/c Črni Vrh
XXIII Postumia Postojna 23/a Vipava Zolla-Selva di Piro-Cauzze - Monte Grosso
23/b Postojna
V - Trieste XXV Timavo Pivka 25/a Timavo Pivka Monte Grosso - Testa d'Orso
25/b Nevoso Knežak
XXVI Carnaro Ilirska Bistrica 26/a Trestenico Ilirska Bistrica Testa d'Orso - Volosca
26/b Bresa Klana
26/c Mattuglie Matulji
XXVII Fiume Rijeka Borgo Marina - Monte Calvario
Zara[3][4] Zadar Province of Zara - Dalmatia

Three artillery regiments supported the sectors of the Vallo alpino orientale:

  • 9th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Gorizia
  • 10th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Trieste
  • 12th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Osoppo

In AlbaniaEdit

Command Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ
26° - Tirana XLI Scutari Shkodër 41/a Miloti Pilana
41/b Bojana Oblika
41/c Kopliku Koplik
Coastal Subsector San Giovanni di Medua Shëngjin
Coastal Subsector Durazzo Durrës
XLII Scutari Shkodër 42/a
42/b
XLIII Kossovo Kukës 43/a Kukës
43/b
XLIV Laghi Piskupat 44/a Piskupat
44/b
XLV Librazhd Librazhd 45/a Fieri Fier
45/b Ciamuria Librazhd

One artillery regiment supported the 26th Command in Albania:

  • 13th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Tirana

In LibyaEdit

Libyan-Tunisian borderEdit

Command Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ
20° - Tripoli XXVIII Zuara Zuwarah 28/a Sidi Milad
28/b Regdalin
28/c Sidi abd es Samad
XXIX Nalut Nalut 29/a Ain el Ghezaia
29/b Ras el Reab
Autonomous Subsector Uadi Hammar Uadi Hammar
Tripoli Military Garrison XXXIII Tripoli Ovest Tripoli 33/a Sidi Bilal
33/b C. Lupini
33/c C. Sottocasa
XXXIV Tripoli Est Tripoli 34/a Bir ben Milad
34/b Al-Khums
XXXV Tripoli Sud Tripoli 35/a Castel Benito
35/b Bir Langar
35/c Suani ben Adem
XXXVI Tripoli Sud Est Tripoli 36/a
36/b

One artillery regiment supported the units arrayed on the Libyan-Tunisian border:

  • 14th Guardia alla Frontiera Artillery Regiment, in Tripoli

Libyan-Egyptian borderEdit

Command Sector Sector HQ Subsectors Subsector HQ
31° - Bardia XXX Bardia Bardia 30/a Sud Fort Capuzzo
30/b Centro Jaghbub
30/c Nord Ponticelli
Tobruk Military Garrison XXXI Ras el Meduar Tobruk 31/a
31/b
XXXII Sidi Daud Tobruk 32/a
32/b

Libyan SaharaEdit

G.a.F. Command Sector Sector HQ
Libyan Sahara Troops Command - Kufra Gadames Ghadames
Serdeles Ghat, Libya
Cufra Kufra

NotesEdit

  1. ^ History of the "Guardia alla Frontiera" (in Italian)
  2. ^ Detailed information on "Guardia alla Frontiera" (in Italian)
  3. ^ Anche se non ufficialmente previsti settori GaF nel territorio di Zara, un provvedimento del governo del 1939 considera le truppe stanziate a Zara quali appartenenti alla GaF.
  4. ^ M. Ascoli, SME, Roma 2003 La Guardia alla Frontiera, p. 301.

See alsoEdit