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Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH)
Active 1951 - 2004
Allegiance NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Part of Allied Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy
Headquarters Carli Palace in Verona, Italy

Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH) was a military command of NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) command. Based in Verona in Northern Italy LANDSOUTH was tasked with defending Italy north of the Apennine mountains against a Warsaw Pact or Yugoslavian invasion. Activated in 1951 under an Italian Army four-star general, the command was disbanded in 2004.

Commander, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe was a NATO Principal Subordinate Commander.

History[edit | edit source]

Following the creation of NATO in 1949, the Italian military was integrated into NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe command and prepared for a feared Soviet invasion from the east, possibly via Yugoslavia. Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH), was activated on 10 July 1951 to defend northeastern Italy and headquartered in the Carli Palace in Verona.[1] Three infantry divisions and three brigades were the only forces initially available to this command to defend Northern Italy. The divisions in question were the Mantova Infantry Division in Udine, the Folgore Motorized Infantry Division in Treviso, the Trieste Motorized Infantry Division in Bologna. Two of the three brigades were Alpini mountain infantry brigades – the Julia Alpine Brigade in Cividale del Friuli and Tridentina Alpine Brigade in Brixen, while the third brigade was the Ariete Armoured Brigade in Pordenone.[2]

The commanding general of LANDSOUTH was an Italian Generale di Corpo d'Armata, equal to a US Army four-star general, with an Italian two star general as Chief of Staff, an Italian one star general as head of operations and a US Army one star general as head of logistic support. LANDSOUTH was under the command of AFSOUTH in Naples and supported by the Allied Air Forces Southern Europe's (AIRSOUTH) Fifth Allied Tactical Air Force (5 ATAF) in Vicenza.

On 1 September 1999 LANDSOUTH was redesignated Joint Command South and took responsibility for a larger territory. Anticipating this step Italy had already created its own national command to replace LANDSOUTH: Operational Land Forces Command (COMFOTER) was activated on 1 October 1997 and took control of the Italian combat, combat support and signals formations. On 1 October 2004 Joint Command South was disbanded and its function absorbed by Allied Force Command Madrid.

Bunkers[edit | edit source]

In case of war with the Warsaw Pact LANDSOUTH would have moved to the "West Star" (Site A) bunker complex in Affi. Built between 1960 and 1966 West Star could support up to 500 people for 15 days without need for external supplies. Besides LANDSOUTH also the command of 5ATAF would be operating from West Star. As backup the bunker "Back Yard" (Site B) was built between 1960 and 1966 in the village of Grezzana. If West Star would have been knocked out, then Back Yard would have taken over command of allied forces. Additionally in Soave a communications bunker was built (Site C), whose backup bunker was in Cavaion Veronese.

Structure[edit | edit source]

During the Cold War LANDSOUTH commanded the following Italian units:

All allied land reinforcements arriving in Northern Italy would have come under LANDSOUTH's command. In 1989 allied units destined to reinforce LANDSOUTH were:

  • Spanish Army
    • a corps of two divisions, either armored/mechanized or mountain divisions as operationally required
  • Portuguese Army
    • 1st Independent Mixed Brigade

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Birth of AFSOUTH Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine., accessed November 2011
  2. "Chapter 9". NATO the first five years 1949–1954. NATO. http://www.nato.int/archives/1st5years/chapters/9.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 

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