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Dates of arrival for some tank battalions in Africa settentrionale


Staff member
by desertwar » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:10 am

Great information on this forum. I am looking for dates of arrival of certain carri armati (tank) bn's in North Africa. Specifically the 52nd (arrived in Sep or Oct 1941 I believe), the 51st (around May 1942), and the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 17th (all in late 1942). The more specific the date information the better. I have found very specific info for the arrival of the other medium tank bn's, and indications that one or more of you may have the same kind of information for these bn's. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (I am working on updating the Italian OOB for several Desert War games, and may even begin work on my own.)


by Graziano Gittardi » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:24 am

Hi desertwar,
I will try to help with my notes, largely incomplete, and sometimes lacking source references.
1) XIII (13th) Btn. arrived at Benghazi on or around 5th august 1942 and on 18th august assigned to 132° Armoured Rgt. Ariete Division.
Sources: Rizzo, Giuseppe, "Buche e croci nel deserto. Apoteosi della Div. Cor. Ariete", Aurora, Verona, 1969
Vicini, Diego, "L’8° Bersaglieri e la Guerra in Africa Settentrionale 1941-43", Tamari, Bologna, 1977

2) XIV (14th) Btn. arrived at Sirte in November 1942. On 22nd November the Btn. HQ and a Coy, previously disembarked in Tripoli, were ready for action for a total of 22 tanks. The 2nd Coy arrival had been foreseen on 27-28 November. Source: Montanari, Mario, Le operazioni in Africa Settentrionale, vol.IV, p.601

3) XV (15th) Btn. arrived in Tunis on a date between 3 and 15 December 1942.
According to Fioravanzo, Giuseppe, "La difesa del traffico con l’Africa Settentrionale dal 1° Ottobre 1942 allla caduta della Tunisia", USSMM, Roma, 1964 the Btn. was shipped on "Lauro" and "Arlesiana" motor ships, sailed from Napoli on 30 November, passed by Trapani on 2 December and arrived at Tunis on 3 December.
On the other hand, Campini, Dino, "Nei giardini del diavolo", Longanesi, 1969 affirms that 15ht Btn arrived on 9th December.
Another source (sorry but I didn't make a note about who's. I think Montanari but I'm not sure) says arrival on 15th December.

4) XVII (17th) Btn: please take it with caution because is only a note I took without recording any reference. I am pretty sure i read it on one of the sources already cited or otherwise on Sogno, Vittorio, "Il XXX C.A. Italiano in Tunisia", USSME, Roma, 1952.
Anyway, in my notes, I recorded that 17th Btn's 1st Coy with 16 tanks and a 2nd formation Coy with 13 tanks and 2 semoventi da 75/18 was at el Agheila on 1st December 1942, as part of the Cantaluppi Group.
The last tank Coy, commanded by Lt. Falduto, landed in Tunisia on mid-january 1943 and was deployed as XXX Corps mobile reserve at the back of Superga Division sector.

5) LI (51st) Btn: on 20 May 1942 were present in Lybia 16 M41of 1st Coy., 16 M40 of 2nd Coy., 16 M41 of 3rd Coy, 13 M40 of Btn HQ Coy, according to a document reproduced in Ceva, Lucio, "Le Forze Armate", UTET, Torino, 1981, p.514.

6) About LII (52nd) I have contrasting references, giving constitution dates between July 1941 and 22nd October 1941. No references about landing in North Africa, I'm not even sure whether it was shipped or directly formed in Lybia.

I hope this could be a decent starting point, I hope everyone interested could enhance and improve our knowledge.

Best regards,


by desertwar » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:11 pm

Thanks for the prompt response! Does anyone else have any additional information?


by david » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:23 am

Hi Desertwar & welcome!

I had thought that XIII originally landed at Tripoli on the ist of August.
I will be interested to see what "G.G" has to say about that.

I have LI disembarking at Tripoli on or about 7th May 1942.

LII seems to arrive in N.A in November 1941, presumably at Tripoli. It is Misto Corrazato; having 3 Compagnia, one of M13/40, 1 of L6/40 & 1 of AB41.


by Graziano Gittardi » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:54 am

david wrote:Hi Desertwar & welcome!
I had thought that XIII originally landed at Tripoli on the ist of August.
I will be interested to see what "G.G" has to say about that..

Unfortunately nothing more than what I said before.
I can check the sources cited in my previous post and try to find a response.
I noticed that sometimes/often landing place and/or date of landing are misleading.
I mean, often a landing place is correct only for man but not for vehicles and vice-versa.
So probably it is possible that part of the XIII disembarked in Tripoli and part in Bengasi (maybe part of the man by air and only drivers and some officer by sea)...

david wrote:I have LI disembarking at Tripoli on or about 7th May 1942..
Do you have a source for that?
Note that I'm asking for a source not because i'm not trusting you

but only to have a reference myself.

david wrote:LII seems to arrive in N.A in November 1941, presumably at Tripoli. It is Misto Corrazato; having 3 Compagnia, one of M13/40, 1 of L6/40 & 1 of AB41.
This composition recalls the whole RECAM's armored forces.
As far as armored forces are concerned I know that RECAM in November '41 deployed:
- LII M Btn.
- III/32° Btg. carri L (maybe only one Coy, later employed in static support to Giovani Fascisti at Bir el Gobi 7-8 December '41)
- AB 41 Coy of "Romolo Gessi" PAI Btn.
- AB 41 Platoon of Nizza Cavalry
- an Experimental Coy with:
- the only one prototype of AS 37 Autoprotetto with open turret armed with a Breda 20 mm.
- 4 L6/40
Hope this can help to develop this very interesting discussion.


New Member
I'm still not sold on the idea that RECAM had a full M13/40 tank battalion.

I have LII as a training battalion in Agedabia with a company of 9 M13/40 in October 1941. Fabio Filzi is bringing in additional tanks on 1 December to Benghazi, and it is not impossible that these ended up with them either. See below:

Italian Medium Tanks in North Africa

As an aside, these newly delivered tanks are usually 'forgotten' when people calculate Italian medium tank losses (spoiler: the numbers in Montanari Vol. II are certainly incorrect).

All the best



Staff member
Graziano's source is likely Seconda offensive Britannica in A.S. e ripiegamento Italo-tedesca nella Sirtica orientale pp. 180-181. It states that the LII btg. M was in formazione. This information is repeated in various other books.

The likely situation is that a battalion was planned, but due to the result of Crusader, it never happened. It being listed as a training unit in Oct possibly makes sense if it was being stood-up.

Pista! Jeff


New Member
Well there was the Centro di Addrestramento in Agedabia, so also possible it was confused with that.

All the best


David Wormell

New Member
Hi Andreas.

Thanks for that.

Are you sure about there being three regiments of M11/39? I have only ever found two. Was one sunk in transit?

Kind regards,


New Member
No, not sure. Hence the massive health warning on top. The situation is clear as mud to me. Having just checked again I would agree that there were only two.

All the best



New Member
Happy to do that.

All the best