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Organization of the Bersaglieri

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
This thread documents the organization of the Italian bersaglieri. The intent is document any changes during the war by date. Please comment/correct.

The main sources used are:
Addestramento della fanteria volume I Istruzione formale Ministero della Guerra 1940
Handbook on the Italian Military Forces Military Intelligence Service 1943
L'esercito italiano tra la 1ª e la 2ª guerra mondiale USSME 1954
Le squadra della fanteria Scola di applicazione di fanteria 1943
Manuale di regolamenti per i corso allieve ufficiali di complemento Ministero della Guerra 1940
Personale e materiali per i collegamenti nelle minori unità Manualetti di tecnica militare 1934
Piumetti e biciclette nella seconda Guerra Mondiale di Pietro Valpiani Notiziario di Plastimodellismo vol 01/08, found at http://www.regioesercito.it/articolivari/bici2agm.htm

There are several different organizations for bersaglieri units. The sub-organizations (squad, platoon, company) remained the same. The mix of these sub-organizations and the addition of other types of units varied based on to which higher unit the bersaglieri were assigned. A reggimento bersaglieri ciclisti in a divisione celere has different mix of units from the reggimento bersaglieri autoportata in a divisone motorizzata.

Bersaglieri ciclisti Organization 1940

Squadra bersaglieri
(bersaglieri squad 1933) - 15 men
Comandante di squadra
6 bersaglieri with one Breda 30 f.m.
8 bersaglieri fucilieri

Several sources state that the squadra bersaglieri has the same structure/organization as the squadra fanteria (1938). When comparing the number of f.m. in the division containing bersaglieri regiments to the numbers generated by the squadra fanteria, the 1938 number is higher by a 1/3 than the establishment of the divisions. Using the 1933 squad structure, the numbers nearly match (off by 2). Valpiani states the organization didn't change and the 1933 organization continued to be used. That intreptation is presented here.

Plotone bersaglieri (bersaglieri platoon) - 47 men
Comandante di plotone
Attendente
Three squadra bersaglieri fucilieri

Compagnia bersaglieri (bersaglieri company) -
Plotone comando
-squadra comando - 8 men
-squadra rifornitori (supply squad) - 14 men
Three plotoni bersaglieri fucilieri

Squadra mitraglieri bersaglieri - 6 men
Comandante
5 bersaglieri with 1 heavy machine-gun

Plotone mitraglieri bersaglieri - 21 men
Comandante
Two attendenti e segnalatori
Three squadra bersaglieri mitraglieri

Compagnia mitraglieri bersaglieri (bersaglieri machine-gun company) - 205 men
Plotone comando
-squadra comando - 16
-squadra rifornitori (supply squad) - 14 men
Four plotoni mitraglieri bersaglieri

Battaglione bersaglieri- 849 men
Compagnia comando
-plotone comando
—squadra maggiorità
—squadra servizi -11 trucks
-plotone collegamento
—squadra telefonisti - 14 men
—squadra osservatori e segnalatori - 26 men
—squadra staffe
Three compagnia fucilieri
One compagnia mitraglieri bersaglieri


Squadra cannoni da 47/32 - 19 men
Comandante
10 soldati with on 47/32 c.c. and 1 truck

Plotone cannoni da 47/32 - 39 men
Comandante
Two squadra cannoni da 47/32

Compagnia controcarro da 47/32
Squadra comando - 1 truck
Four plotone cannoni da 47/32

Squadra bersaglieri motociclisti - 8 men
Comandante
Seven bersaglieri and one Breda f.m.

Plotone bersaglieri motociclisti -33 men
Comandante
Four squadra bersaglieri motociclisti

Squadra bersaglieri motomitraglieri - 10 men
Comandante
9 bersaglieri with one heavy machine-gun.

Plotone bersaglieri motomitraglieri - 41 men
Comandante
Four squadra bersaglieri motomitraglieri

Compagnia bersaglieri motociclisti - 178 men
Plotone commando
-comando - 2
-squadra servizi - 12 men
-squadra autocarreggiato - 8 men and six trucks
-squadra collegamenti - 16 men
Three plotoni bersaglieri motociclisti
One plotone bersaglieri motomitraglieri


Reggimento bersaglieri
Compagnia comando
-plotone comando
—squadra maggiorità
—squadra informatori
-plotone collegamenti
—squadra marconisti - 16 men
—squadra telefonisti e guardafili - 16 men
—squadra osservatori, segnalatori e colombofili - 26 men
—squadra staffette
-plotone servizi
—squadra autocarreggiato - six trucks and 37 motorcycles
—squadra rifornitori
Three battaglioni bersaglieri
One compagnia motociclisti bersaglieri
One compagnia controcarro


A regiment normally has three battalions. However, a regiment can have either two or three battalions.
 
Last edited:

Dili

Member
Several sources state that the squadra bersaglieri has the same structure/organization as the squadra fanteria (1938). When comparing the number of f.m. in the division containing bersaglieri regiments to the numbers generated by the squadra fanteria, the 1938 number is higher by a 1/3 than the establishment of the divisions. Using the 1933 squad structure, the numbers nearly match (off by 2).
Here says the 1939 manual http://www.regioesercito.it/articolivari/bici2agm.htm

Secondo il manuale del 1939, l'unità base dei reparti dotati di bicicletta era la Squadra composta da: 1 caposquadra, 1 porta fucile mitragliatore, 1 porta arma tiratore, 4 porta munizioni, 8 fucilieri.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Thank you for the cite. Agree that the squadra bersaglieri didn't use the 1938 squad structure. I wasn't able to find an authoritative source that stated that.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Not yet. Those were motorized units. According to Valpiani, the motorized units didn't change their structure, only the number of vehicles. There are some more corrections to the info above that I need to work through.
 

FrancoFB

New Member
Just some maths note
Plotone Bersaglieri 3x15+2 =47
Plotone mitraglieri Bersaglieri 3x6+3 =21 (actually i don't think that this squad had 6 men but this is an other trouble)
 

Dili

Member
Bersaglieri were light units, it is possible that in Africa they got heavier, but their function was penetration and envelopment and only if no alternative frontal combat.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
The were no mortai da 45 in a rgt. bersaglieri. I have check multiple sources (celere, corazzata, and motorizzata). Mortai da 81 were normally a divisional asset, so wouldn't be found in a regiment or below.

Where the confusion sets in is the A.S. 42 organization. Here the bersgalieri were organized as a standard infantry unit (the same as fantieri e motorizzata) and had both 45 and 81 mortars.

The question I have been looking at is whether units in Europe adopted the A.S. 42 structure. We know a few units did reorganize (or started to), but this doesn't appear to be universal.

As a side note, Nafziger has a weird bersaglieri TO&E in volume I of his Italian OB books. Here has shows a regiment with one bicycle bag., one motorized btg., and one motorcycle btg. The motorized btg. has 45mm mortars. I have not seen such a mix of units, or 45mm mortars i any of the divisional OB with bersaglieri. I hesitant because nafziger cites a NARA microfilm roll. However the roll is from the German collection, not the Italian collection.
 

David Wormell

New Member
I read somewhere (probably on this forum) but don't recall where, that a Battaglione Bersaglieri
Autoportato (Corazzata & Motorizzata) in 1941 would have had 18x Brixia Lt Mortars?
 

Frederico

New Member
According to the website Dili posted, 8º Regg. had a battaglioni armi di accompagnamento (or "Btg. armi acc. e a.a.") in 1941. I was looking elsewhere on the forum, and according to this post (here, scroll down to post #6 by dor1941), divisions operating in Africa in 1941 were authorized a btg. armi di acc., and he lists a III Btg./8. Regg., just like the website Dili posted.

I think this answers my question: Jeff's original post is about typical, organic Bersaglieri regiments' TO&E and mortars were not a part of that organization. In Africa, however, circumstances necessitated a support weapons battalion, prior to the A.S. 42 reorganization, which would explain the picture of the mortar I posted.

Does this sound about right? It still haven't found anything about the Brixia mortars.
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Teaches me to go from memory.

First in my A.S. article, the bersgalieri do have 45mm Brixia in the cp. acc. that is part of each battalion. That is the pre-A.S. 42 structure. The units in A.S. were attempting to transition to the motorized tipo A.S. structure in the fall/winter of 41. This is when the III btg. bers. transitioned for a btg. m.c. to an acc. There was a long discussion years ago on whether this transition was actually completed. The picture indicates that it was completed in part.

Regardless, the btg. armi acc. e a.a. was quickly eclipsed by the A.S. 42 structure. I don't believe either of the other two regg. bers. formed a btg. acc.

v/r
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
I am back home and have looked through my sources. What I have determined is that I need to rework the A.S. division article a bit more. I believe I have some cut & paste errors in it.

First, no 45mm Brixia in the bersaglieri. I can't find any reliable source that supports this. All the OB data I have for A.S. don't list these weapons in those units.

The only time the 81mm mortars are in the bersaglieri battalions is the motorizzata tipo A.S. (1941) in the btg. acc e c.c. This was the organization the units were attempting to transition to in late 41. Under the A.S. 42, the 81mm mortars were moved to the regimental level for the rgt. bersaglieri assigned to the d. cor. The regiments assigned at the corps level do NOT have 81mm mortars.

That being said, this reflects the plans. How much was actually done needs to be examined using actual assigned units.

I am neck deep in working the G.a.F. units in A.S. I will try to fix the article this coming weekend.
 
The answer of Jeff its OK.......newer 45 Brixia in TOE of bersaglieri units (also utilized on the field extra TOE), only 81mm in battaglioni armi accompagnamento since AS 42 TOE......but in Tunisia also with 81mm in battaglione accompagnamento......
All the best
Maurizio
 
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