Panzergrenadier, shortened as PzGren or PzG, is a German term for motorised or mechanized infantry – that is, infantry transported in combat vehicles specialized for such tasks – as introduced during World War II. It is used in the armies of Austria and Switzerland. Additionally, in the German Army, Panzergrenadier is the lowest rank of enlisted men in the Panzergrenadiertruppe, comparable to NATO Other Rank-1 level; the term Panzergrenadier was not adopted until 1942. Infantry in panzer divisions from 1937 onwards were known as Schützen Regiments. Soldiers in special Motorized Infantry units wore the standard white piping of the Infantry. In 1942, when Infantry Regiments were renamed as Grenadier Regiments by Hitler as a historical homage to Frederick the Great's Army, the Schützen regiments began to be redesignated as Panzergrenadier regiments, as did Motorized Infantry units and soldiers, their Waffenfarbe was changed from either white or rose pink to a meadow-green shade worn by motorcycle troops.
Some units did not change over their designations and/or Waffenfarbe accoutrements until 1943, many veteran Schützen ignored regulations and kept their rose-pink until the end of the war. The term Panzergrenadier had been introduced in 1942, was applied to the infantry component of Panzer divisions as well as the new divisions known as Panzergrenadier Divisions. Most of the Heer's PzGren. Divisions evolved via upgrades from ordinary infantry divisions, first to Motorized Infantry divisions and to PzGren. Divisions, retaining their numerical designation within the series for infantry divisions throughout the process; this included the 3rd, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 25th, 29th divisions. Others, such as the Großdeutschland Division, were built up over the course of the war by augmenting the size of an elite regiment or battalion; the Waffen-SS created several PzGren. Divisions by the same methods, or by creating new divisions from scratch in the war. A number of PzGren. Divisions in both the Heer and Waffen-SS were upgraded to Panzer divisions.
The Panzergrenadier divisions were organized as combined arms formations with six battalions of truck-mounted infantry organized into either two or three regiments, a battalion of tanks, an ordinary division's complement of artillery, reconnaissance units, combat engineers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft artillery, so forth. All these support elements would be mechanized in a PzGren. Division, though most of the artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft elements were equipped with weapons towed by trucks rather than the rare armored and self-propelled models. In practice the PzGren. Divisions were equipped with heavy assault guns rather than tanks, due to a chronic shortage of tanks throughout the German armed forces. A few elite units, on the other hand, might have the tanks plus a battalion of heavy assault guns for their anti-tank element, armored carriers for some of their infantry battalions as well. On paper a Panzergrenadier division had one tank battalion less than a Panzer division, but two more infantry battalions, thus was as strong as a Panzer division on the defensive.
Of 226 panzergrenadier battalions in the whole of the German Army and Waffen SS in September 1943, only 26 were equipped with armoured half tracks, or just over 11 percent. The rest were equipped with trucks. 3rd Panzergrenadier Division 10th Panzergrenadier Division 15th Panzergrenadier Division 16th Panzergrenadier Division 18th Panzergrenadier Division 20th Panzergrenadier Division 25th Panzergrenadier Division 29th Panzergrenadier Division 90th Panzergrenadier Division 233rd Panzergrenadier Division Panzergrenadier Division Brandenburg Panzergrenadier Division Feldherrnhalle Panzergrenadier Division Großdeutschland Fallschirm-Panzergrenadier Division 2 Hermann Göring SS Panzergrenadier Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division 9th SS Panzergrenadier Division Hohenstaufen 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen 18th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Horst Wessel 23rd SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nederland 28th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Wallonien 38th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nibelungen The use of armoured half-tracks was rare in the German Army, the elite Großdeutschland Division, with two panzergrenadier regiments, only mustered a few companies' worth of the vehicles Sd.
Kfz. 251 troop carriers. The vast majority of Schützen/Panzergrenadier soldiers were mounted in trucks. Additionally, vehicles in the early war period suffered from poor off-road performance. In 1944 a couple of Panzer Divisions based in France had more than the standard one battalion mounted in Sd. Kfz. 251 troop carriers. The Panzer Lehr Division's infantry and engineers were mounted in Sd. Kfz. 251 troop carriers, while the 1st Battalion in both Panzergrenadier regiments in 2. Panzer Division and 21. Panzer Division were half-equipped with armoured halftracks. In the German army, Panzergrenadiere act as mechanized infantry and escort for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles. According to the German central army regulation HDv 100/100, the Panzergren
Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993. From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc with a command economy, its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949 and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of Slovakia.
Form of state1918 – 1938: A democratic republic championed by Tomáš Masaryk. 1938 – 1939: After annexation of Sudetenland by Nazi Germany in 1938, the region turned into a state with loosened connections among the Czech and Ruthenian parts. A large strip of southern Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary, the Zaolzie region was annexed by Poland. 1939 – 1945: The region was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic. A government-in-exile continued to exist in London, supported by the United Kingdom, United States and their Allies. Czechoslovakia adhered to the Declaration by United Nations and was a founding member of the United Nations. 1946 – 1948: The country was governed by a coalition government with communist ministers, including the prime minister and the minister of interior. Carpathian Ruthenia was ceded to the Soviet Union. 1948 – 1989: The country became a socialist state under Soviet domination with a centrally planned economy. In 1960, the country became a socialist republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
It was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. 1969 – 1990: The federal republic consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic. 1990 – 1992: Following the Velvet Revolution, the state was renamed the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, consisting of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, reverted to a democratic republic. NeighboursAustria 1918 – 1938, 1945 – 1992 Germany Hungary Poland Romania 1918 – 1938 Soviet Union 1945 – 1991 Ukraine 1991 – 1992 TopographyThe country was of irregular terrain; the western area was part of the north-central European uplands. The eastern region was composed of the northern reaches of the Carpathian Mountains and lands of the Danube River basin. ClimateThe weather is mild summers. Influenced by the Atlantic Ocean from the west, Baltic Sea from the north, Mediterranean Sea from the south. There is no continental weather. 1918–1920: Republic of Czechoslovakia /Czecho-Slovak State, or Czecho-Slovakia/Czechoslovakia 1920–1938: Czechoslovak Republic, or Czechoslovakia 1938–1939: Czecho-Slovak Republic, or Czecho-Slovakia 1945–1960: Czechoslovak Republic, or Czechoslovakia 1960–1990: Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, or Czechoslovakia April 1990: Czechoslovak Federative Republic and Czecho-Slovak Federative Republic The country subsequently became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, or Československo and Česko-Slovensko.
The area was long a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire collapsed at the end of World War I. The new state was founded by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935, he was succeeded by his close ally, Edvard Beneš. The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, when philologists and educators, influenced by Romanticism, promoted the Czech language and pride in the Czech people. Nationalism became a mass movement in the second half of the 19th century. Taking advantage of the limited opportunities for participation in political life under Austrian rule, Czech leaders such as historian František Palacký founded many patriotic, self-help organizations which provided a chance for many of their compatriots to participate in communal life prior to independence. Palacký supported Austro-Slavism and worked for a reorganized and federal Austrian Empire, which would protect the Slavic speaking peoples of Central Europe against Russian and German threats.
An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to the Reichsrat, first from 1891 to 1893 for the Young Czech Party, again from 1907 to 1914 for the Czech Realist Party, which he had founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář and Josef Kaizl. During World War I small numbers of Czechs, the Czechoslovak Legions, fought with the Allies in France and Italy, while large numbers deserted to Russia in exchange for its support for the independence of Czechoslovakia from the Austrian Empire. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in a union with Slovakia. With Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, Masaryk visited several Western countries and won support from influential publicists. Bohemia and Moravi
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
Allied invasion of Italy
The Allied invasion of Italy was the Allied amphibious landing on mainland Italy that took place on 3 September 1943 during the early stages of the Italian Campaign of World War II. The operation was undertaken by General Sir Harold Alexander's 15th Army Group and followed the successful invasion of Sicily; the main invasion force landed around Salerno on 9 September on the western coast in Operation Avalanche, while two supporting operations took place in Calabria and Taranto. Following the defeat of the Axis Powers in North Africa in May 1943, there was disagreement between the Allies as to what the next step should be; the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in particular wanted to invade Italy, which in November 1942 he called "the soft underbelly of the axis". Popular support in Italy for the war was declining, he believed an invasion would remove Italy, thus the influence of Axis forces in the Mediterranean Sea, opening it to Allied traffic; this would reduce the amount of shipping capacity needed to supply Allied forces in the Middle East and Far East, at a time when the disposal of Allied shipping capacity was in crisis, increase British and American supplies to the Soviet Union.
In addition, it would tie down German forces. Joseph Stalin, the Premier of the Soviet Union, had been pressing Churchill and Roosevelt to open a "second front" in Europe, which would lessen the German Army's focus on the Eastern Front, where the bulk of its forces were fighting in the largest armed conflict in history against the Soviet Red Army; however the U. S. Army Chief of Staff, General George Marshall, much of the American staff wanted to avoid operations that might delay an invasion of Europe, discussed and planned as early as 1942, which materialized as Operation Overlord in 1944; when it became clear that no cross-channel invasion of occupied France could be undertaken in 1943, it was agreed to invade Sicily, with no commitment made to any follow-up operations. However, both Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the U. S. President, accepted the necessity of Allied armies continuing to engage the Axis in the period after a successful campaign in Sicily and before the start of one in northwest Europe.
The discussion continued through the Trident Conference in Washington in May but it was not until late July, after the course of the Sicilian campaign had become clear and with the fall of Benito Mussolini, the Italian Prime Minister and fascist leader, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, to go ahead at the earliest possible date. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters were operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, it was they who planned and commanded the invasion of Sicily and the Italian mainland; the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, codenamed Operation Husky, was successful, although many of the Axis forces managed to avoid capture and escape to the mainland. The Axis viewed this as a success. More in late July, a coup deposed Mussolini as head of the Italian government, which began approaching the Allies to make peace, it was believed a quick invasion of Italy might hasten an Italian surrender and produce quick military victories over the German troops that could be trapped fighting in a hostile country.
However, Italian resistance proved strong, fighting in Italy continued after the fall of Berlin in April 1945. In addition, the invasion left the Allies in a position of supplying food and supplies to conquered territory, a burden which would otherwise have fallen on Germany; as well, Italy occupied by a hostile German army would have created additional problems for the German Commander-in-Chief, Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring. Prior to Sicily, Allied plans envisioned crossing the Strait of Messina, a limited invasion in the "instep" area, advancing up the toe of Italy, anticipating a defense by both German and Italian forces; the overthrowing of Mussolini and the Fascisti made a more ambitious plan feasible, the Allies decided to supplement the crossing of the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Montgomery, with a seizure of the port of Naples. Although the Americans favored Napoleon's maxim that Italy, like a boot, should be entered from the top, the range limits of Allied fighter planes based in Sicily reduced Allied choices to two landing areas: one at the Volturno River basin and the other at Salerno.
Salerno was chosen because it was closer to air bases, experienced better surf conditions for landing, allowed transport ships to anchor closer to the beaches, had narrower beaches for the rapid construction of exit roads, had an excellent pre-existing road network behind the beaches. Operation Baytown was the preliminary step in the plan in which the British Eighth Army would depart from the port of Messina on Sicily, to cross the Straits of Messina and land near the tip of Calabria, on 3 September 1943; the short distance from Sicily meant landing craft could launch from there directly, rather than be carried by ship. The British 5th Infantry Division of XIII Corps, under Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey, would land on the north side of the "toe" while its 1st Canadian Infantry Division would land at Cape Spartivento on the south side. Montgomery was opposed to Operation Baytown, he predicted it would be a waste of effort since it assumed the Germans would give battle in
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
The Caucasus or Caucasia is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 metres is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. On the southern side, the Lesser Caucasus includes the Javakheti Plateau and grows into the Armenian highlands, part of, located in Turkey; the Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus and Transcaucasus, respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is within the Russian Federation, while the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely Georgia, Armenia and the recognised Artsakh Republic; the region is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area.
The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but includes Ciscaucasia and Transcaucasia. According to Alexander Mikaberidze, Transcaucasia is a "Russo-centric" term. Pliny the Elder's Natural History derives the name of the Caucasus from Scythian kroy-khasis. German linguist Paul Kretschmer notes that the Latvian word Kruvesis means "ice". In the Tale of Past Years, it is stated that Old East Slavic Кавкасийскыѣ горы came from Ancient Greek Καύκασος ), according to M. A. Yuyukin, is a compound word that can be interpreted as the "Seagull's Mountain" According to German philologists Otto Schrader and Alfons A. Nehring, the Ancient Greek word Καύκασος is connected to Gothic Hauhs as well as Lithuanian Kaũkas and Kaukarà. British linguist Adrian Room points out that Kau- means "mountain" in Pelasgian; the Transcaucasus region and Dagestan were the furthest points of Parthian and Sasanian expansions, with areas to the north of the Greater Caucasus range impregnable. The mythological Mount Qaf, the world's highest mountain that ancient Iranian lore shrouded in mystery, was said to be situated in this region.
In Middle Persian sources of the Sasanian era, the Caucasus range was referred to as Kaf Kof. The term resurfaced in Iranian tradition on in a variant form when Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh, referred to the Caucasus mountains as Kōh-i Kāf. "Most of the modern names of the Caucasus originate from the Greek Kaukasos and the Middle Persian Kaf Kof"."The earliest etymon" of the name Caucasus comes from Kaz-kaz, the Hittite designation of the "inhabitants of the southern coast of the Black Sea". It was noted that in Nakh Ков гас means "gateway to steppe" The modern name for the region is similar in the many languages, is between Kavkaz and Kawkaz; the North Caucasus region is known as the Ciscaucasus, whereas the South Caucasus region is known as the Transcaucasus. The Ciscaucasus contains most of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, it consists of Southern Russia the North Caucasian Federal District's autonomous republics, the northernmost parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Ciscaucasus lies between the Black Sea to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, borders the Southern Federal District to its north.
The two Federal Districts are collectively referred to as "Southern Russia." The Transcaucasus borders the Greater Caucasus range and Southern Russia to its north, the Black Sea and Turkey to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, Iran to its south. It contains surrounding lowlands. All of Armenia and Georgia are in the South Caucasus; the watershed along the Greater Caucasus range is perceived to be the dividing line between Europe and Southwest Asia. The highest peak in the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus located in western Ciscaucasus, is considered as the highest point in Europe; the Caucasus is one of the culturally diverse regions on Earth. The nation states that comprise the Caucasus today are the post-Soviet states Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation; the Russian divisions include Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia–Alania, Kabardino–Balkaria, Karachay–Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai, in clockwise order. Three territories in the region claim independence but are recognized as such by only a handful entities: Artsakh and South Ossetia.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by the world community as part of Georgia, Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan. The region has language families. There are more than 50 ethnic groups living in the region. No fewer than three language families are unique to the area. In addition, Indo-European languages, such as Armenian and Ossetian, Turkic languages, such as Azerbaijani, Kumyk language and Karachay–Balkar, are spoken in the area. Russian is used as a lingua franca most notably in the North Caucasus; the peoples of the northern and southern Caucasus tend to be either Sunni Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Armenian Christians. Twelver Shi'
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi