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Consideration to sending Centauro Division to North Africa

Wargames

New Member
I found this source:

AUSSME, Diario storico, Ministero della Guerra, Gabinetto, N-2148, 2 and 6 June 1940

It states that the Centauro Division had been approved for transfer from Albania to North Africa but was aborted on this date due to "lack of time".

Does anyone know organization and TOE of the Centauro for June 1940?
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
This is from October 1940, but I don't believe anything had changed between that date and June 1940.

Divisione corazzata « Centauro »

Comando

-79a sezione carabinieri
-80a sezione carabinieri

31° reggimento carristi
--Comando
--1° battaglione carri L (two companies with a btg. total 46 carri L)
--2° battaglione carri L (two companies with a btg. total 46 carri L)
--3° battaglione carri L (two companies with a btg. total 46 carri L
--4° battaglione carri L (two companies with a btg. total 46 carri L)

5° reggimento bersaglieri:
--Comando
--XXII battaglione bersaglieri motociclisti (three coys)
--XIV battaglione bersaglieri autoportato (two coy each)
--XXIV battaglione bersaglieri autoportato (two coy each)
--5ª compagnia controcarro da 47/32 (8 guns)
--reparti autoporta mista

131° reggimento artiglieria
--I Gruppo da 75/27 TM (three batteries of 4 guns each)
--II Gruppo da 75/27 TM (three batteries of 4 guns each)
--due batterie da 20mm contraeree (8 guns)

131ª compagnia mista genio
--two plotoni artieri
--plotone collegamenti

Servizi
--131° reparti autoreparto mista
--131° sezione di sanità
--131° sezione di sussistenza
 

FrancoFB

Member
i think that tank btl were on 3 coy
i think the 46 tanks is the paper strength, i don't think that actually they had this number on hand or ready
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Franco

Yes, the division was 14 vehicles short of authorization, but the battalions were organized as two company battalions (btg. carri L). These are my notes from my short paper on the organization of «Centauro» .
La campagna di Grecia volume I chart pg 142 lists 4 battalions of tanks. The same chart lists 9 tank companies, with one company identified as a Guardia alla Frontiera (GaF) company (fn2). This supports the two companies in each battalion. Ibid vol. II chart on pg 244 also lists four battalions. La meccanizzazione pg 223 states that the December 1938 creation of the three armored divisions had btg. carri d’assalto. Ibid pg 217 states that a battaglione carri d’assalto had two companies of CV 35s and a total of 46 vehicles. Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'Esercito italiano volume seconda, p.97 states «Centauro» had 133 carri L and 37 LF on 28 October 1940, for a total of 170 carri L type vehicles. Four battalions should have 184.
Part of the issue is the terminology. The RE had Gruppo Carri L used in the d.c. and btg. d'assalto, later renamed as btg. carri L, used in the d.f. tipo A.S. and the d.cor.

Pista! Jeff
 

FrancoFB

Member
2 coy each btl and 9 tanks coy are incompatible with a total of 170
the GaF tanks coy had L-5/Fiat-3000 tanks

for the "meccanizzazione..." in other place report 3 coy btl at example page 184 of the 2nd Tomo
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Franco

2 coy each btl and 9 tanks coy are incompatible with a total of 170
I am not stating that their are nine companies in «Centauro», there are only eight companies. Montanari states there were 9 companies of tanks in Albania. One of those companies was GaF, so not part of «Centauro». That means eight companies belonged to «Centauro» and that division had four battalions.

Authorized strength for a battaglione was 36 carri L and 10 carri LF. Total authorized for the division was 144 carri L and 40 carri LF = 184. «Centauro» in Albania had only 133 carri L and 37 carri LF. The division was short 11 carri L and 3 carri LF, a total of 14 missing vehicles. 170 + 14 = 184.

The GaF company is not part of «Centauro», hence not part of the calculation.

for the "meccanizzazione..." in other place report 3 coy btl at example page 184 of the 2nd Tomo
That is discussing the western border with France, not Albania. «Centauro» wasn't in Italy facing France. That page is also discussing options/possibilities, not realities. Under Italia it lists Carro d'assalto nuovo tipo. The first btg. carri M da M13/40 were 36 carri M in two companies, the same as the carri L without the carri LF.

All I can state is Montanari is clear that «Centauro» had eight companies in four battalions. The division had 133 carri L and 37 carri LF. The only organization that matches these numbers is the btg. carri L with two companies and a total of 46 tanks. You can't make a three-company organization work with these numbers even if you ignore Montanari.

Pista! Jeff
 

FrancoFB

Member
ah i've misunderstand i're read like the tanks coy had 9 tanks

afaik the L-3 btln organization was
1 tank for the commander
a reserve tanks plat with 6 tanks
3 tanks coy with 13 tanks each (3 plat of 4 tanks and 1 for the commander) the LF tank was one plat for coy, but this was later abolished and became a regular plat, probably Centauro was moved in Albania before of the change
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Franco

I apologize for the confusion.

The organization I have for the btg. carri L is:

Cp. Comando - 2 comando carri; Plotone carri L di riseva (four sezione of 2 tanks each + 1 sezione carri LF of two tanks = 10 carri L). Total 12 carri L

2 cp carri L - 1 comando carri; 3 platoons of four carri L each (12 carri L); one platoon of carri LF (four carri LF) = 17 carri L. x 2 + 34 carri L.

Btg - 12 + 34 = 46 carri L.

I agree that the carri LF were pulled from the battalions and formed into separate cp. carri LF, but that didn't officially happen until 1941. There is evidence that the carri LF were removed operationally from the btg. carri L in AS in late 1940. I haven't found any evidence that these battalions had been reorganized, just that the carri LF were taken from the units and formed into ad hoc separate companies.

I looked for similar evidence in Albania, but didn't find any. AFAIK the battalions still retained their LF.

Pista! Jeff
 

FrancoFB

Member
i've misunderstand i've to apologize

this is very strange organization where you find it?

i know that pre-war organization was without reserve tank plat and the reserve tanks were in tank coy HQ 2 each,
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Franco

In going back through my notes, it was a rationalization to explain the numbers in Montanari. If there are only four armor battalions with eight tank companies, and there are 133 carri L and 37 carri LF in Albania, how were they organized? The LF are counted as part of «Centauro», yet the d. cor. organizational structure doesn't include separate LF unit(s).

I have not found any independent organization of the carri LF larger than a platoon until 1941. Did Montanari not include the LF units in his table? The fact that he knew their number indicates that these must have been included somewhere. He included the Fiat 3000 tanks in the GaF.

My conclusion was that the LF had to be part of the battalions. They couldn't be in separate companies (only 8 listed by Montanari), so they were likely integrated as platoons into the companies.

But that is rationalization. I have not read anything that «Centauro» was seriously understrength. I have not read that the division had more than 8 tank companies.

I worked on this many years ago. It was a puzzle (and still is).

Pista! Jeff
 

FrancoFB

Member
some years ago i was on italian forum specialized on tanks, if i can log in i try to put the question there i don't sure a reply, i'm many years away from them and is not polite go back just for a question

i did, the forum not look with many writer active but the hope is last to die
 
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