venerdì 17 febbraio 2012

General view of the Italian Tank Divisions

June 1940. In this date there was the Italian declaration of war and the Regio Esercito was deploying the tank division listed below:

the 131° Tank Division, named Centauro, was deployed in Albany with its headquarters in Tirana. The first tank brigade Centauro, that was deployed in Siena, was the core unit from which, April the 20th of 1939, the Tank division Centauro was born. Transferred to Albany, the division left Tirana and was redeployed in the Klisura area in preparation for the offensive against Greece. It took part on the Hellenic campaign and then, subdivided, was used like a fire brigade helping various infantry units as needed. The 31st of March 1941 the entire division was moved in the Scutari area, on the Jugoslavian front where, at the beginning of April, took part on heavy fighting against the Jugoslavian Zeta division (Kopliku, Podgoriza, Niksic, Trebinje), working is way till Dubrovnik (Ragusa).Returned back to Italy in June 1941, his various detachments were assigned in different part of Italy, and then reorganized and shipped to Libia in August 1942. Only part of the heavy material arrived at destination due to ships lost in the Mediterranean sea. The division fought in Tripolitania and in Tunisia (Tebourba, Gafsa, Kasserine, Mareth, Akarit, Tunisi, Biserta) ceasing to exist like a unit the 5th of April 1943, even though some detachments continued to fight until the surrender of the Axis forces in Africa in May 1943. Reconstituted in Italy in June 1943 and reequipped also with German heavy material, the division was definetively dissolved the 8th of September 1943.

the 132° Tank Division, named Ariete, was deployed in Italy with its headquarters in Verona. The second tank brigade, that was created in Milano the 15th of July 1937, was the hembryo from which, the 1st of February 1939, the Ariete tank division was born. At the beginning of the hostilities the division was part of the Po army, but was not used in military operations against France. In January 1941 the division arrived in north Africa and started to operate in March 1941 alongside the 5th German Panzer Division ( then 21st Panzer Division) for the recapture of the Cirenaica region. The Ariete Division took part in a lot of engagements in north Africa until the 21st of November 1942 when it ceased to exist like a division after the battle of El Alamein. The remained detachments were fused in the Gruppo Tattico Ariete  that continued to fight in Libia and Tunisia until May 1943. Reconstituted in Italy in June 1943, It took part in the defense of Roma against the Germans and was definetely dissolved the 12th September 1943.

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