Italo Gariboldi (20 April 1879 – 3 February 1970) was an Italian senior officer in the Royal Army (Regio Esercito) before and during World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by German Führer Adolf Hitler, for his leadership of Italian forces in the Battle of Stalingrad.[1]

Italo Gariboldi
Born20 April 1879
Lodi, Kingdom of Italy
Died3 February 1970(1970-02-03) (aged 90)
Rome, Italy
Allegiance Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch Royal Italian Army
Commands held30 Infantry Division Sabauda
V Corps
Tenth Army
Italian Army in Russia
Battles/warsWorld War I

Second Italo-Abyssinian War
World War II

AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross


Gariboldi was born in Lodi, Lombardy.

From the end of World War I and through the interwar Period, Gariboldi rose in the ranks and held various staff, regimental, and brigade level commands.


In 1935, Gariboldi commanded the 30th Infantry Division "Sabauda" on the northern front during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. His division was part of the I Corps based in Eritrea. After Italy defeated Ethiopia (Abyssinia) in May 1936, Eritrea, Abyssinia, and Italian Somaliland were joined to form the colony of Italian East Africa on 1 June 1936.

North AfricaEdit

General Rommel with Governor-General Gariboldi (on Rommel's right), Libya 1941

From 1939 to 1941, Gariboldi served as an army commander in Marshal Italo Balbo's "Supreme Command – North Africa". When Italy declared war in June 1940, Gariboldi commanded the Italian Fifth Army stationed on the border with French Tunisia. He ultimately commanded both armies located in Libya. After the Battle of France ended, the Fifth Army became a source of men, parts, and supply for the Italian Tenth Army on the border with Egypt.

In December 1940, when the British launched Operation Compass, Gariboldi was in temporary command of the Tenth Army because General Mario Berti was on sick leave. Ultimately, he was given command of the Tenth Army after it was virtually destroyed and Berti's replacement General Giuseppe Tellera was killed in action.

On 25 March 1941, Gariboldi was promoted to Governor-General of Libya and replaced Marshal Rodolfo Graziani. By 19 July, Gariboldi himself was relieved because of his alleged lack of cooperation with Rommel. General Ettore Bastico took his place.


From 1942 to 1943, Gariboldi commanded the Italian Army in Russia (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR, or Italian 8th Army). He was in command of the Italian Army in Russia during the destruction of that army during the Battle of Stalingrad.


In 1943, Gariboldi was in Italy when King Victor Emmanuel III and Marshal Pietro Badoglio ousted dictator Benito Mussolini and then signed an armistice with the Allies. Like many members of the Italian military, Gariboldi was made a prisoner of war (POW) by the Germans. In 1944, he was condemned to death as a traitor.

Later in 1944, Gariboldi was released from prison by the Allies. He died in Rome in 1970.

His son, Mario Gariboldi, followed his father in a military career.

Military offices heldEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Adolf Hitler, Max Domarus (ed). Hitler: Speeches and proclamations, 1932-1945. Bolchazy-Carducci, 2004. P. 2777.


  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Rodolfo Graziani
Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa and Governor-General of Italian Libya
25 March 1941—19 July 1941
Succeeded by
Ettore Bastico