Happy New Year on the Eastern Front
1st January 1943: The Italian troops on the flanks of Stalingrad suffer in the cold as they suddenly find themselves in a precarious situation
Mussolini had boosted the number of Italians in Russia to almost a quarter of a million men in 1942. Their presence was a reciprocal gesture after Hitler had saved Mussolini from disaster in North Africa and Albania. But most Italian troops were poorly regarded by the Germans.
Along with the Rumanians and the Hungarians, the Italian troops were mainly used to consolidate areas that the Germans had already occupied.