Several Italian Army units defended Sicily stubbornly. Foremost among these was 4th "Livorno" Division, commanded by Generale di Divisione Domenico Chirieleison. It was composed of 33rd and 34th Infantry Regiments, 11th Headquarters Battalion, 4th Anti-Tank Battalion, 28th Field Artillery Regiment, three anti-aircraft units, a heavy mortar battalion, and a combat engineer battalion. Although the rank and file of the division were considered "elite" the unit was in fact comprised largely of conscripts with volunteer NCOs and officers to provide backbone and leadership. In the American landings the "Livorno" Division put in a substantial counterattack and threatened to throw the invaders back into the sea. On 10 July "Livorno" infantry supported by the 155th Bersaglieri Motorcycle Company and a column of tanks poured onto Highways 115 and 117 and nearly retook the city of Gela, but guns from the destroyer Shubrick and the cruiser Boise destroyed several Fiat 3000 tanks (a variant of the French Renault tank). These attacks were reported by American newspapers:
“ "Supported by no less than forty-five tanks, a considerable force of infantry of the Fourth Livorno Division attacked the American troops around Gela. The American division beat them back with severe casualties. This was the heaviest enemy reply to the Allied advance." (The New York Times, 13 July, 1943, page 2)
The "Livorno" Division, having regrouped made a further attempt to retake Gela two days later and the 3rd Battalion, 34th Regiment, "Livorno" Infantry Division, is recorded by its Commanding Officer as having made a valiant effort in the Gela Beachhead two days later.