Staff member
Antonio Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:06 PM

I would like to know how many semovente battalions there were in existence during ww2 and which were its numbers and if they were independents or attached to armoured divisions?

Thanks in advance


Michele Posted 28 May 2004 - 04:58 PM

I think I have most of data you asked for, ... but at home.

Please wait few more days.

Michele Posted 31 May 2004 - 03:00 PM

Sorry for my bad translation from italian to english.

1) From a document written during 1942 by "Ispettorato di artiglieria" (title: "Le artiglierie semoventi" = self-propelled artillery):

Units equipped with "semovente da 47mm" are assigned:
- to recon units of army corps, of infantry division and of armoured or motorized division for support of light tanks
- to armoured car units for fire support
- to motorized and armoured divisions and to some special infantry division (in the divisional AT batalion) for defense.
- to Barsaglieri Rgt of armoured divisions and to Inf.Rgt. of motorized or special divisions for support and defense.

Units equipped with "semovente da 75mm e 90mm" are part of the divisional artillery regiment and are assigned:
- to the armoured divisions for tank support and, eventually, for indirect fire.
- to some special infantry division for indirect fire and, eventually, close defense
- to some recon unit or division which have to fight against enemy with a lot of tanks with powerful armor and weapons.

Source: Cappellano - Pignato "Gli autoveicoli da combattimento del Regio Esercito", vol.2 (1939-1945).

Michele Posted 31 May 2004 - 03:10 PM
Sorry, forgot to paste second part, the rest will come soon.

2) These indications are reflected in the formation and attachment of such units:

The 1942 program for self-propelled batalions with 75/18 was:

DLI and DLII to Ariete armoured division
DLIII to Superga infantry division
DLIV to Livorno infantry division
DLV to 10th "Raggruppamento controcarro"
DLVI, DLVII to Littorio armoured division
DLVIII to "Cavalleggeri di Lodi" recon unit
DLIX, DLX to Centauro armoured division
DLXI originally not assigned
DLXII originally not assigned

in reality this program went in a bit different way:

DLI, DLII (former IV/132 and V/132): they had been formed during 1941 for Littorio division but diverted to Ariete. They arrived in
northern Africa in december 1941. They were destroyed in the battle of El-Alamein
DLIII its guns were probably sunk and it was then reformed.
DLIV, DLVI (20 SP): they arrived in Africa between 24.7.1942 and 4.8.1942 and attached to Littorio division. Destroyed in the battle of El-Alamein
DLV: effectivly assigned to 10th Raggruppamento, it fought in Sicily in summer 1943.
DLVII: attached to Centauro armoured division in Tunisia, destroyed in April 1943.
DLVIII: destroyed in Tunisia April 1943; not sure if directly attached to Centauro or if attached to "Lodi" (which was in turn subordinated to Centauro as divisional recon unit).
DLX: attached to Piave division (during 1943?), on 10.6.1943 it was converted to DC self-propelled battalion with 105/25 SP guns.
DLXII: the last scheduled batalion was canceled on 7.6.1942

On 1.10.1942 batalions DLIII, DLVII and DLIX (I presume already complete but still in Italy) were enlarged to 3 batteries with 6 guns each.

DLXI on 31.5.1943 was re-equipped with 18 self-propelled guns M.41 and 2 command tanks M.41. It was attached to Friuli division and went to Sardinia first and Corsica later.
DLIX: already with 3 batteries, it was sunk while shipped to Tunisia. It was then reformed in Tunisia during 1943 with 2 batteries of 6 guns (new material, I suppose. Note that guns were shipped while crews were transported by aircrafts).

Note: first batalions had 2 batteries (with 4 SP each) and 2 command tanks. This was the standard in Africa. Later batteries were ordered to 6 guns and batteries increased from 2 to 3 per batalion. On 22.8.1942 the formation of 5 6-guns batteries and 10 2-guns sections was ordered (to expand existing batalions), together with 8 independent(?) companies (numbered from 1st to 8th: they had a command platoon and 3 self propelled platoons, for a total of 9 SP guns and 1 command tank).

Note: since september 1942 self-propelled guns were introduced in tank batalions ("mixed tank batalion") to increase their firepower: on 15.9.1942 the XV M-tank batalion was tansformed into a mixed batalion with 2 M42 tank companies and 1 SP guns company, later on 18.12.42 modified with 1 M42 company and 2 SP guns companies, for a total of 18 M42, 2 radio tank M42 and 26 SP guns (4 SP/guns per platoon plus, I think, 1 command tank per company). Same organization was given to
XVI, XVII, XIX M-tank batalions and I,II,III/"Vittorio Emanuele II" (XIX with 75/34 instead of 75/18 )
SP guns were later introduced also in other units: on 1.7.1943 into:
XXX AT-batalion (of Sabauda inf.division) ( 75/34 )
45th and 46th AT-companies of the two inf.rgt. of Sabauda division.
CXXXV self-propelled AT batalion of Ariete II (3 companies with 75/34)

Antonio Posted 31 May 2004 - 04:54 PM


Many thanks Michele for your very exhaustive and complete information

Best regards


Michele Posted 04 June 2004 - 03:48 PM

Almost last part .

3) Units with 47/32 self-propelled guns. Such self-propelled guns were built to give mobility and protection to 47/32 guns. Consequently they are found in AT units.
Following units received 47/32 SP guns:

I divisional AT batalion for Superga division (with 2 SP companies and 1 At-rifles company: 20 SP guns and 8 At-rifles). It fights in Tunisia during 1943.
IV divisional self-propelled AT batalion for Livorno division. It fights in Sicily during 1943.
XX divisional self-propelled AT batalion for Friuli division (2 SP companies and 1 AT-rifles company (20 "S" At-rifles)). Raised on 15.10.1942, it is in Corsica during 1943.
CXXXI self-propelled AT batalion of 31st infantry regiment. Raised with 2 companies with order of 15.10.1942, it is in Corsica during 1943.
CXXXII self-propelled AT batalion for armoured division / 32nd armoured regiment. Raised on 10.4.1942 in Verona, in origin for Ariete division (never reached division, I suppose. Maybe, but I am not sure it fought in Tunisia under Centauro division).
CXXXIII self-propelled AT batalion. Raised 1.10.1942, it fights in Sicily during 1943.
XIII self-propelled squadron group "Cavalleggeri di Alessandria". Raised on 1.5.1942, it is sent in Russia on 3.8.1942. Destroyed, it was reformed near Udine in May 1943 with L40 tanks and 47mm SP guns.
47mm self-propelled squadron of "Cavalleggeri di Lodi" (recon unit). Sunk during 1942 while shipped to Africa.
1st and 2nd 47mm self-propelled squadrons of "Lancieri di Montebello" (recon unit). Reduced to only 1 company in 1943. In Roma during 1943.
IV self-propelled batalion (squadron group) of "Cavalleggeri del Monferrato". In Albania during 1942-1943.
47mm self-propelled squadron of X divisional recon batalion for Piave motorized division. Raised 30.6.1943, it is operative in Roma.
47mm self-propelled squadron (2 platoons only) of 4th armoured regiment. In Roma during 1943.
47mm self-propelled company of 18th armoured Bersaglieri recon unit, raised on 1.2.1942.

4) 90/53 Self propelled gun (M41 chassis). Only 30 built during 1942 and on 27.4.1942 assigned to the eastern front (8th army). However, on 12.7.1942 this employment was canceled. The 3 batalions (CLXI,CLXII,CLXIII, two batteries each) were in Nettunia (near Roma) for training and later, regrouped in the 10th "Raggruppamento artiglieria controcarro da 90/53 semovente", on 15(or maybe 18.12.1942 arrived in Sicily with 24 SP guns (the other 6, the reserve, remained in Nettunia). They were located: CLXI in Canicattì, later in S.Michele, CLXII in Salemi and CLXIII in Paternò.
They fought there in 1943. All lost (most for mechanical breakdowns: the M41 chassis and powertrain were overloaded with such heavy gun; the last 2 were abandoned in Messina).

Antonio Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:09 AM


Many thanks once more, Michele.

One question. I know that in 1942-1943 there was a 10th raggruppamento corazzato. Could be the same that you mentioned or was a totally different unit?

Best regards


Michele Posted 23 June 2004 - 02:20 PM

Yes, the same.

EDIT: 10th raggruppamento corazzato and 10th raggruppamento controcarro were 2 different units. My fault, sorry.

David Posted 01 August 2010 - 08:32 AM

Just a quick question Michele; Whan did the DLVIII (for Lodi) arrive in North Africa?