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LI & LII Battaglioni Carri M


New Member
Basically I'm lookin for some information about these two M tank battalions that I couldn't find to this point, there are also my few thoughts;
— Why their numbers were so different from other battalions? Why they were named out of order?

— What's going on with LII? Why was it even created and why was it called a battalion? The only info I could find about this unit is that it existed about two months (10.1941 - 01.1942), was made of only 9 M14/41 tanks (so it was more like a half-company) and was assigned to RECo of the "Ariete" in the AS. Do you guys have anything more about it?

— What type of the M tank was LI equipped with and how many of them it had?
According to most sources the LI was equipped with M14/41 tanks, but it's vehicles in available photos look like M13/40s, this means, that they were most propably early M14s, still looking like M13s, but already with the SPA15T engine (one such vehicle is preserved in USA). The problem begins with number plates;
According to N.Pignato, the first M14/41 produced had the number plate RoEto3498. In the LI battalion tho, we can see plates with much lower numbers, such as RoEto3334 of the unit's commander (other confirmed examples: 3429, 3343, 3333, 3329, 3315). In fact, there is not a single photo available with M tank that could be confirmed as LI's and with number plate above 3498.
There is one interesting example with later M14/41 (long fenders etc.) wearing the "A COLPO SICURO" motto above it's gun, characteristic for the LI, but no battalion number, nor hull emblem are visible, so we cannot exclude possibility, that it's vehicle from other unit that just adopted the motto.
So there are few possible explanations;
- Battalion was actually equipped with M13/40s, that might 've been later replaced by M14/41s (or not), or a mix of both types.
- Pignato might be wrong about first M14/41's number plate.
- Battalion's tanks were M13/40 shells, but with engine swapped for SPA15T, which we know was a practice for which even official instruction was made.

The other issue is actual number of the tanks used by LI. Standard size of the M battalion was 52 tanks at this point, but according to "Carro M vol.2" book by Talillo brothers (p.136) the LI was equipped with 80 of them, which seems like an enormous amount for Italian standard (the largest battalion to this point was VIII M with 68 tanks, after getting additional 16 from disbanded VII M, which already is a really large number). This problem also connects to the previous one, because if 80 is a real number, then LI couldn't be fully equipped with early (M13-like looking) M14s, of which only 50 were produced before adding more modifications to the construction (which is 2 short to equip even standard size battalion). I was also wondering what structure such battalion must have to contain 80 vehicles and the only way I can see this, is with 4 companies, each with 3 platoons, each with 6 tanks (72 tanks in platoons + 4 company commanders + 1 battalion commander + 3 tanks in battalion command company).
Any thoughts?


Staff member
I can't offer much on your questions. It is something I haven't explored to any depth.

RE: LII. All my sources state that this battalion was being formed at the time. With the need to replace losses in other units and the new formation raised in Italy competing for M13/M14 tanks, this nascent battalion was destroyed before it could reach its authorized strength. At least that is my guess.

RE: LI. None of my sources list an unusual strength for this battalion. I suspect that the number, like your comment about about the VIII, reflects a brief period of time when the unit was formed by joining to existing units together. It appears that the LI btg. was partially built using the III and IV btg. carri L.

I found this article on the LI, but it doesn't answer your questions.

All the sources I found state M14/41 tanks. However I haven't done the research you have done.

Not much help.

Pista! Jeff


New Member
I've seen this pdf already, but thanks for some additional info Jeff.
When it comes to size of the LI. I guess it's just some error/misinterpretation in the book, as the "Carro M" is written in really chaotic way and sometimes even contradicted itself.
I 've also came to a conclusion, that being listed as M14/41 battalion doesn't necessarily means, that those were tanks actually used in the unit. For example, XII. battalion of the "Littorio" was listed as M14/41 too, but from available photos we know, that at least till some point it was equipped with M13/40 tanks.


New Member
I have done some more digging and there are few interesting things I found.

- Turns out, the long-fendered M14/41 (possibly of the LI.) I've mentioned before was not an M14/41, but in fact belonged to this battalion.
I found more photos of this exact vehicle, including one with it's number plate visible.


The number plate of this tank is RoEto 3413, so it's definitely too low for an M14/41*. Propably it's just an M13/40 with long fenders attached. Tho it's worth noting, that this tank still has higher number than any other in it's battalion.

*As stated earlier, according to Pignato the first M14/41 was numbered RoEto 3498, but I don't entirely trust him in that case. From my own experience I can tell, that number plate sections in his book (Gli Autoveicoli...) can be faulty and not entirely accurate. According to my own research the minimal possible number for the first M14/41 is 3485, so it's pretty close.

– Another photo confirmed my toughts about "A COLPO SICURO" marking on tanks.

Here we can see an early M14/41 of the re-formed IV. tank battalion with characteristic playing card of the 1st company on hull and "A COLPO SICURO" written on gun mantlet.

– Additionally I've found some more things about LII. battalion:
Turns out, the unit wasn't a Battaglione Carri M, but Battaglione Carri Misto. Beside 1 medium tank company it also included at least 1 L6 platoon.
The battalion was assigned to RECAM and what's really interesting, it wasn't fully (or entirely) a Fanteria Carrista unit, but at least some of it's soldiers were cavalrymen.
I've come to a conclusion, that this popular video propably depicts tanks of the LII:

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New Member
What was the cavalry regiment depot it was created from?
I have no idea if there even was one. LII. battalion was being formed already in AS and never finished that process. At least some of battalion's soldiers were transferred to 32. Fanteria Carrista from unidentified cavalry regiment.