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RECAM e Raggruppamento Celere Africa Settentrionale

David Wormell

New Member
In their book "Italian armoured and reconnaissance cars 1911-45, Cappellano & Battistelli state " Early in 1942 the 12th Autoraggruppamento formed the Raggruppamento Celere Africa Settentrionale in Libya, consisting of two fast groups, each one with one armoured car squardron of 48x AB40-41s in total. Infantry and artillery support".

My question is which units supplied the cars? Or was it a new unit using spare cars?
What were the units that made up the infantry and artillery? And to what strength?

Which Division did it then serve under? Or was it independente?

Thanks in advance,
David.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting, as I was searching to see if I had anything on this unit, I found a page that I had previously sticker in Ceva and Curami's La meccanizzazione dell'esercito fino al 1943. Tomo I, pp. 413-414 (the pages I had marked) discusses the Raggruppamento Celere Africa Settentrionale. Conceived in early 1942, it was disbanded in May 1942 and the artillery autoportate developed/built by the 12th Autoraggruppamento was used to equip the artillery of the div. cor. «Giovani Fascisti» (the XIV e XV gr. da 65/17, the XVI gr. da 75/27., the XVII gr. da 100/17, and the 13ª batteria da 20mm).

The planned organization was:

Raggruppamento Celere Africa Settentrionale
2 gruppi celeri, composti ciascuno da:
-1 squadrone autoblindo
-1 gruppo batterie da 65/17 autoportate
1 gruppo sostegno, composto da:
-2 battaglioni di fanteria
-1 gruppo batteria da 75/27 mod. 911 autoportate
-1 gruppo di batterie da 100/17 autportate
-1 batteria controllerei da 20mm
Autoporto servizi

No other units had been identified to form this unit.
 

David Wormell

New Member
Thanks Jeff.

Did it ever come together as a cohesive unit in 1942 before being disbanded?

Where did the AB41 come from? Existing replacements? Or did they exist only on paper?

Kind Regards.
David.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, I have finally put together the story of this unit. I have changed the title of the thread to better state what the thread discusses.

The genesis of this unit is the Reparto Esplorante del Corpo d'Armata di Manovra (RECAM). The RECAM was formed in Nov 1941 to provide the Corpo d'Armata di Manovra (CAM) a reconnaissance unit. As has been well documented, the RECAM was composed of:

RECAM (from La prima offensiva italo-tedesca in A.S. p. 232)
un btg. P.A.I.
un btg. carri M13 (being formed)
un btg carri L (III/32º reg.)
una cp.mitraglieri (from the disbanded colonna Santamaria)
una cp. del XXXI btg. guastatori (in the course of movement from Italy)
un raggruppamento batterie «volanti» (cannoni autoportate)
un gruppo da 105/28 (two btrs in Italy)
un gruppo c.a. (two btrs in Italy)
una btr c.a. da 88 o 90 (in Italy)
un cp. mista del genio (in Italy)
un autoporto misto (forming in Libya)

Gli autoveicoli da combattimento dell'esercito italiano vol II pp. 81-82 provides the missing information.

The RECAM was only officially authorized on 26 April 1942 as the Raggruppamento celere tipo A.S., although it appears that this name was already in use before that date (see La prima offensiva italo-tedesca in A.S. allegato 27, a document dated 2 April 1942 where Cavallero states that the d. cor. « Littorio » e raggruppamento celere are the minimum force necessary to defend Tripolitania).

The organization is as I posted above. The two squadroni autoblindo were to come from the III gruppo « Cavalleggeri di Monferrato ». The unit remained incomplete as the Monferrato didn't arrive until August 1942 and the unit itself was disbanded in May 1942.

Ceva and Curami state on p. 421 that on 27 May 1942, there were 53 AB40 and 40 AB41 in A.S. These were split between the III gruppo di « Nizza », VIII bers. cor, the 3ª cp. P.A.I. and the ragg. celere. As the first three were fully operational formations and fought during Gazala, I would expect very few vehicles in the ragg. celere.
 
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jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
You are welcome.

In terms of available vehicles, both the III gruppo «Nizza» and the VIII btg. bers would have 47 autoblindo each at full strength. The cp. P.A.I. would have 10. So 104 vehicles needed without the ones for the ragg. celere.

A final note. The organization of the III gruppo « Cavalleggeri di Monferrato » was a cp. cdo., a cp. autoblindo (18 vehicles) and a cp. motociclisti. A smaller organization as compared to the gruppo corazzata.
 

David Wormell

New Member
""A final note. The organization of the III gruppo « Cavalleggeri di Monferrato » was a cp. cdo., a cp. autoblindo (18 vehicles) and a cp. motociclisti. A smaller organization as compared to the gruppo corazzata"".

That's interesting to me, as I thought that they had 2x cp. autoblindo. only. Was the cp. motorciclisti the same structure as one in the bersaglieri?

Kind Regards,
David.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
That's interesting to me, as I thought that they had 2x cp. autoblindo. only. Was the cp. motorciclisti the same structure as one in the bersaglieri?

I can't be certain, but my assumption is yes, same structure. I am not aware of any other motorcycle units with a different organization.
 
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