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Tracing Carabinieri units in Africa Settentrionale - Help.

James

New Member
Good afternoon to all,

Our family are trying to pinpoint where exactly our Uncle fought during WW2. We have already received his Ruolo Matricolare, and after a year of constant research (including the services of a professional researcher here in Italy) it appears that our Uncle’s Foglio Matricolare and Scheda di Prigionia have either been lost, or destroyed. There is no “official” record of him serving overseas, however we have photos of him in North Africa as well as several letters he wrote whilst a Prisoner-Of-War in Algeria.

At the time of his imprisonment (letters are all dated from 1944) he held the rank of Vice-Brigadiere with the Carabinieri Reali. Photos of him in North Africa show him in the early war grey-green woolen uniform (rather than the lighter tropical version) and one photo of him heavily bandaged with numerous abrasions/scrapes appear to indicate that he was wounded in action. Strangely, other photos of him in North Africa show him in a civilian suit in the company of uniformed Italian military personnel (in tropical uniform) and a priest. It appears he was in Casablanca, Morocco a few months after the armistice in 1943, and by September of 1944 was in a POW camp (NATOUSA Prisoner of War Enclosure 178) located in Oran, Algeria.

I have already spoken with the National Historical Museum of the Carabinieri here in Italy, as well as numerous archives yet no one appears able to determine exactly which Carabinieri units were present in Africa Settentrionale.

Perhaps a long shot, but might any of our fellow members be aware of any quality books or other publications on the subject of Italy in A.S? Utilising the Italian Order of Battle as at 1943 doesn’t help, but unfortunately neither does our meager single page of our Uncle’s Ruolo Matricolare.

Kindest regards to all.
 
Establishing which units belonging to the Carabinieri of the Royal Army fought in North Africa and Tunisia is not extremely difficult, it is difficult to do it in total without knowing in which period of the campaign Your uncle was taken prisoner. To understand well, one should know at least in brief which period to consider and if he served in the metropolitan or colonial carabinieri. At least try to set a rough time and then let me know.
All the best
Maurizio
 

James

New Member
Good morning Maurizio,

Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately we don’t have many exact dates. On the 21 June 1939 our Uncle was posted to Genova, where he resided upon his eventual posting to North Africa. We do know that he was present in Casablanca, Morocco during the 29-30-31 of October 1943. Our Uncle then writes a letter from his POW camp in Oran, Algeria on the 7 September 1944. From the few photos we have it does not appear he was a part of the Carabinieri Coloniali, because he is not shown wearing the colonial uniform. He is wearing the grigio-verde uniform with the standard infantry equipment, although with the collar tabs and badge of the Carabinieri. A single, brief annotation on his Ruolo Matricolare appears to show the date 10/1/43 on top of C.C.R.R., with a large cross written over the top. I wonder if this is supposed to intend his date of capture? Unfortunately this document is poorly written and was never updated to reflect his war service, so we don’t have any other dates to offer.

Kindest regards,

James
 
the capture date was January 1943, the search would become much shorter because it would mean that the capture dates back to the Tunisian campaign therefore he would have been possibly in force with a unit belonging to the 30th Army Corps who fought in Tunisia with the 5th German army or with the 1st Italian army of General Messe. It would be interesting to be able to know at least that, otherwise it gets complicated ......
all the best
Maurizio
 
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