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Gruppo Corazzato Leoncello (Armored Group Leoncello)

Darren Marshall

New Member

The Armored Group Leoncello (Gruppo Squadroni Corazzato "Leoncello") was formed in September 1944 near Brescia. It was mainly used for anti-partisan duties but in the final days of the war it saw some action against US forces.

Order of battle
HQ (1 x Semovente M43 self-propelled gun, 4 x AB40/41 armored cars)
Tank Squadron M (4 x M13/40, 3 x M15/42 medium tanks)
Tank Squadron L (12 x tankettes)

This is what i found on the web about it but in a italian history magazine, it said that the "Leoncello" used the P26/40 in the last months of the war. The problem is i can't find any photo who show the P40 with the "Leoncello", i know the source of the italian history magazine is good, but i wanted to know if exist any photo about that.


Staff member
Good day Darren

Welcome to the forum. Can you provide a cite for this article?

There isn't much known about grp. sqd. "Leoncello" and of the use of the M26/40 tank. There have been several discussions on the net whether any R.S.I. armored units fought against Allied combat units. So far, no one has provide any solid evidence that any such encounter actually happened.

There is this thread P40 in Combat that touches on this issue.

This book looks pretty good on R.S.I. armored units.


Pista! Jeff
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Darren Marshall

New Member
The source is the book you reported and the italian history magazine "Ritterkreuz N52".
Here a page from the book you mentioned, no evidence of the P40 in the organization of the "Leoncello".



New Member
I add my contribution, because both the book and the article on "Ritterkreutz" are mine.

Take note that the article came more then 10 years later then the book and the articles is reinforced with more informations than the book.

Two notes:

First: continuning my researches, I discovered that the organization chart presented on my book is partially wrong. Later I will put here one more correct organization chart of "Leoncello".

Second: the presence of P40. This tank was employed by the Group only in the latest days of the war, when a part of "Leoncello" was sent in Milan, wher Mussolini had moved its headquarters, in a first attempt to make the city as a sort of "fort" in which waiting the arrive of the Allies. This was one of the fantasious projects products in that last spots of the war by many chiefs of Republican Fascism, like the one conceived by Pavolini about the so called "Ridotto" of Valtellina.
In Milan, as a matter of fact, it was planned to concentrate the majors of Fascism in the area of Corso Monforte an Via Mozart, where there were the Prefecture and the command of the Black Brigades, and, for this reason, the little groupo on tankers of "Leoncello" received two P40 tanks from Germans, who also trained them for a little. The tanks was then employed only for garrison's duties and they did not take part in any fights against partisan. The tanks were abandoned by their crews during the insurrection of April 25th and at least one of them was re-used by partisans during that day (with a big and evident comunnist symbol painted on it). The two tanks were produced by Vanzetti's factory, a small factpry that was producind armors under licence during the last perido of wartime.
The history of the two tanks was confirmed in a letter by captain Zuccaro, creator and commander of "Leoncello".

Thrid: the two P40s did not have any symbol of the Armord Group "Leoncello", they had only the usual camouflage pattern of that type of tank.



New Member
The definitive structure of Armored Group “Leoncello” was reached in 1945 January, as follow:

  • Command
  • Command Squadron
  • 1st Squadron M Medium Tanks
  • 2nd Squardon L Light Tanks
  • Workshop Company
  • Deposit Squadron
  • Female Auxiliary Service Group

As it was testified by notes taken during the war by an officer of the Group “Leoncello” had in total 14 armored vehicles:

  • 7 light tanks L3 in various versions
  • 1 light tank L6/40
  • 5 medium tanks M13 and M15 (maybe only one M15)
  • 1 self-propelled gun 105/25 M43 (arrived at the Group jut in 1945, February)
with 4 additional 20mm machine guns.

It is not really known how the tanks are distributed between the Squadrons, but, maybe, the L3 and L6 are in the 1st Sqadron and the M13 tank in the 2nd, while the M15 and th sel f-propelled gun are in the Command Squadron.


Staff member
Sure, I'll take a few photos and any captions you can add for each of them. Two or three photos should be enough.