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Is there any published study of the "M" Division?

Sid Guttridge

New Member
The Germans seem to have been helping to build the "M" Division into the MVSN's first armoured division at the time of the Italian armistice.

Was the German connection a Heer or Waffen-SS project?

I have seen little published on the "M" Division. I can't even establish whether the "M" stood for "Mussolini", or "MVSN".

Can anyone recommend a publication in English or Italian with some details about this formation?

Many thanks,



Staff member
I am not aware of any book specifically covering the 1ª Divisione corazzata di Camicie Nere "M". The unit only existed for a few months (June to September 1943) so not much to cover.

Italian Wiki states that Himmler guaranteed to delivery of equipment and materials to equip the division.

The division was formally organized on 22 June 1943. After the overthrow of Mussolini, the division was renamed divisione legionaria corazzata Centauro (136ª). It was disbanded on 12 September and the equipment returned to Germany. I have the organizational info in my books and the combat history during September is covered in many of the works addressing the defense of Roma.

I have alway read that the "M" did represent Mussolini, both for this unit and the battaglione "M". The "M" battalions were created starting in 1941. Select battaglione d'assalto o da montagna CC.NN. were given additional training and equipment and awarded the "M" designation upon completion.


Staff member
From Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'esercito italiano volume secondo p.29.

1ª Divisione corazzata di Camicie Nere «M» on 22 June 1943

Comando divisione e Q.G.
Sezione CC.RR.
1º gr. cc.nn. «Tagiamento» (2 btg. with 2 cp. cc.nn. e 1 mitraglieri, (being formed)
XLI big. armi anticarro e accompagnamento
2º gr. cc/nn. «Montebello» (same as above)
XII big. armi anticarro e accompagnamento
Ragruppamento alpini «Valle Scrvia»
Gruppo carri «Leonessa»
Btg. guastatori
Reparto misto genio (mixed engineer unit)
Nuleo sanità
Nucleo sussistenza

After the division was taken into the R.E. as the divisione legionaria corazzata «Centauro» (136ª), on 1 September several changes were implemented, none of which were completed by 8 September.

A road movement unit was to incorporated into the headquarters
The 18º R.E.C. (bersaglieri) was added and was to be expanded into a regiment with two battalions.
The 131ª rgr. carr I (M42) was to be formed using the Gruppo carri «Leonessa» and the XIX btg. carri M.
The 136ª rgt. artiglieria was formed and would be reinforced by the DCI grupppo semv. da 105/25

It was stated that the division would need 3 months of training to become ready for combat.

Yukashi Ryan

New Member
I am new to this forum but would like to add some information about the work of a Japanese friend of mine, Kazunori YOSHIKAWA. He is one of Japan's foremost Italian armor experts and is serious enough about his interest to have moved to Italy for a year to learn the language and learn about Italian WWII armor. He owns his own publishing firm and has published a number of illustrated books on Italian units -- one such book which I have in front of me is "DIVISIONE CORAZZATA CC.NN. "LEONESSA'". He privately publishes his books and they are difficult to find -- eBay may still have some. Hope this helps ......


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Staff member
I see the book is only in Japanese. Does the book discuss the d. cor. «M» or just the gruppo cor. «Leonessa»?

Technically there isn't a d. cor. CC.NN. «Leonessa». The «Leonessa» was one of the armored battalions in the division.

Pista! Jeff

Yukashi Ryan

New Member
The Japanese language book by Kazunori Yoshikawa 'DIVISIONE CORAZZATA CC.NN. 'LEONESSA''" is basically comprised of phtographs of the AFVs and their crews -- not a lot of discussion and whatever text is in Japanese. I know that Mr. Yoshikawa was on the hunt for years looking for Italian AFV photos ..... Hope this helps.


Filippo Cappellano, "La Divisione corazzata “M”, poi “Centauro II”", Storia Militare, n. 133, ottobre 2004.