Snow, Ice and Sacrifice

The Italian Army in Russia, 1941-1943

Massimiliano Afiero, Ralph Riccio

This book describes the operations, organization, and equipment of the Italian expeditionary corps and, later, the Italian 8th Army in Russia from 1941 to 1943.
Date Published :
December 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
200+ b/w photos, 16 color plates, 5 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781915070869
Pages : 314
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This volume is the first comprehensive account in the English language that addresses the genesis, organization and operations of Italian forces that fought alongside the Germans and other contingents allied with the Germans in Russia beginning with Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 until the defeat of the Italian forces there in early 1943. In accordance with his anti-Bolshevik ideology, Mussolini felt obligated to join with Germany’s attack against the Soviet Union. Italy thus formed the CSIR (Corpo di Spedizione in Russia – Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia), consisting of some 62,000 men in three divisions (two infantry and one cavalry, plus a Black Shirt legion) which was sent to participate in the Axis attack against the Soviet Union in June 1941. In July 1942 the CSIR was upgraded to the ARMIR (Armata Italiana in Russia – Italian Army in Russia, also known as the Italian 8th Army), consisting of seven additional divisions (four infantry and three mountain or alpini). By late 1942 the size of the ARMIR had grown to some 235,000 men. However, both the CSIR and the ARMIR suffered from organizational shortcomings as well as lack of proper equipment and clothing to cope with the operational environment in Russia. Throughout 1941, along with the Germans, the CSIR enjoyed a number of successful operations. With the advent of the ARMIR, initial actions were also favorable for the Italians, but by December 1942 the Italians, who were deployed along the Don River, were subjected to a massive Soviet operation, Little Uranus, which forced the Italians to withdraw under unimaginably harsh conditions. The Italians were unprepared for the brutal Russian weather as well as for the overwhelming Soviet superiority in men and equipment that they had to face. Nevertheless, the Italians fought well, especially the troops of the Italian alpine corps, but ultimately were defeated, the survivors returning to Italy.

About The Author

Massimiliano Afiero was born in Afragola, Italy, in 1964. An information technology teacher and programmer, he has been interested in military history since his youth. He has published widely and has been involved in the editing and development of several magazines including Volontari, SGM, Ritterkreuz and The European Volunteer, and the Fronti di Guerra series. Since January 2017, he has been Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly magazine The Axis Forces.

Ralph Riccio was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and is a retired US Army officer who has been interested in military history and military equipment since his youth. He has written and co-authored a number of books on Italian small arms, armor and artillery, as well as several books on aspects of Irish military history. He has also written numerous magazine articles both in English and Italian dealing with a broad spectrum of military subjects. He has a native Italian language fluency, speaks several other languages as well, and is active in translating books and magazine articles from Italian into English for Italian authors who specialize in military affairs. In 1981 he was awarded an honorary Italian knighthood. He lives with his wife Charlene in a rural community in Pennsylvania.

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