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M11/39 & M13/40 captured by Australians

#1 User is online   david 

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 12:02 AM

Can anyone tell me to which italian unit(s) the M11/39 & M13/40 that were used by the Australians in Tobruk originally came from?

thanks.
Cheers; Dave.

#2 User is offline   DaveC 

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 11:59 AM

IIRC, 6th Div Cavalry captured them at Bardia, so they would have been from I, II and III medium tank battalions

Was it I medium that was withdrawn to Bardia in October (ish) 40 to act as a repair depot as there were so few runners left in the 2 M11 battalions

All from memory however...

Dave
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#3 User is offline   inhocsignovinces 

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 10:03 AM

M11 Capt

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#4 User is online   david 

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 11:41 AM

Quote

IIRC, 6th Div Cavalry captured them at Bardia, so they would have been from I, II and III medium tank battalions

Was it I medium that was withdrawn to Bardia in October (ish) 40 to act as a repair depot as there were so few runners left in the 2 M11 battalions

All from memory however...


Can anyone confirm this?
Cheers; Dave.

#5 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 03:48 PM

IIRC most of the "non running" M11/39 had been concentrated at Tobruk, not Bardia, and used there as pillboxes.
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#6 User is offline   DaveC 

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 10:09 AM

arturolorioli said:

IIRC most of the "non running" M11/39 had been concentrated at Tobruk, not Bardia, and used there as pillboxes.


I'll take that as not a confirmation then, Arturo. :)

Just checked my notes. 6th Div cavalry took over 16 M11 and M13 (no idea of the breakdown between the two types) BEFORE the battle of Bardia. Sorry for the misinformation.

They reorganised again with 5 M11 and 1 M!3 for Tobruk

so I think they probably came from the Maletti group.

As I understand it, the M11s with Maletti at the time of the attack by 4th Indian division, were the survivors and remaining runners from the I and II medium, but I've never seen Italian confirmation of M13s with them, just the commonwealth AARs

Dave
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#7 User is offline   arturolorioli 

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 08:00 PM

DaveC said:

As I understand it, the M11s with Maletti at the time of the attack by 4th Indian division, were the survivors and remaining runners from the I and II medium, but I've never seen Italian confirmation of M13s with them, just the commonwealth AARs


Hi Dave,
and yes, no M13/40 were with Maletti, only M11/39.

According to Italian sources, on January 1941 the Australians had 5 M11 and 1 M13 with "Dingo" Sqn ("A" Sqn, 6th Australian Divisional Cavalry), 2 M13 with "Rabbit" ("B" Sqn) and another 2 M13 with "Wombat" ("C" Sqn). So a total of 10 tanks. But reportedly there are photos of at least 8 captured M11, so it's perfectly possible (let's say certain!) that the Aussie's M11/M13 were suffering quick mechanical attrition.

At Tobruk the Italians had about 10 "working" M11 and another 30"not-runners", that were used is some cases as static pillboxes. Considering that 5 had been destroyed at Alam Abu Hileluat on Nov.19th 1940 and 22 had been lost at Nibeiwa with Maletti on Dec.9th 1940 I guess I can confirm that most of the M11 survivng from the early phase of Compass had been concentrated at Tobruk (40 of the remaining 45, with the last 5 being lost at Gazala on January 21st 1941).
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#8 User is offline   DaveC 

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 05:10 PM

Arturo,

The M11 figures you quote agree with my sources (whatever they may have been, as I didnt keep records about where I found things, being just a wargamer and not a historian).

This does beg the question of where the M13 came from.

Some secondary source stuff does claim there were M13s with Maletti, or rather at Nibeiwa, but somehow I doubt this.

So what were the movements of III medium before the Bardia battle? perhaps they suffered a breakdown or two before being withdrawn further west, and the Australians recovered one of these.

I dont believe that any other medium tank battalions were to be found this far forward in the time frame we are looking at, but could, as usual, be wrong.

Dave
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#9 User is offline   13emeDBLE 

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:46 PM

Hello David,

No there was no M13 in Sidi Barrani. In fact the Medium tank battalions equipped with M13 didn't pass in Egypt.

During the first days of british offensive against Sidi Barrani, Graziani ordered the morning of the 10th of december some moves to his rear units, with the III battalion which goes to Sollum and the wire.

After some troubles with M13 engines, it goes back but was forced to let a company (the 1st company of III battalion) in Bardia to repair 13 M13/40 which had problems.

These 13 M13/40 were destroyed or captured during the fall of Bardia.

You have to know that the tradition of this 1st company of Medium tank sacrified during the battle for Bardia is maintaned in the modern Ariete Brigade (which 1st company was named "Leone di Bardia").

David, my friend, you must read my article on these opertaions in the french review Batailles & Blindés.... :wink:

CM
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#10 User is online   david 

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:17 PM

CM.

Is it available to read online?
Cheers; Dave.

#11 User is offline   13emeDBLE 

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:07 PM

no sorry... :oops:

You could buy the old issues of the review online there :

http://www.armydoc.com

This article was published in two issues B&B 13 and 14.

Regards,

CM
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#12 User is online   david 

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 11:11 AM

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Well, my researchs permit to saw that the italians units initial ownners of australians "beute" tanks were the followings :
- at Sidi Barrani, (more exactly at Nibeiwa camp) wa sthe II medium battalion with 22 M11/39 which was part of Gruppo Maletti.
- at Bardia were one company (the 1st) of the III medium battalion (with 12 M13/40 tipo I) under the command of Leutnant Elio CASTELLANO and remainings parts of XX and LXI light battalions (with few L3). Now the 1st tank company of 132th Armourd Brigade Ariete is called "Leoni di bardia in memory of the heavy fights of this lost company in january 41.
- at Tobruk were the remaining of the I medium battalion (with only less than 7-10 M11 in order to fight on a total of 39, the others fought entranched like small strong points) and LXIII light battalion (with few L3).

During Beda Fomm (not for australians but for 6 RTR of 2nd Armoured Division) were more than 101 M13/41, with a big part serviceables of following italians units : VI medium battalion, XXI medium battalion, III and V medium battalions. The biggest part of serviceable M13/41 were those of XXI medium battalion which were just arrived in North Africa (this battalion hadn't the time to train itself with its new tanks before the battle).

regards,

CM


I got this from a similar question in another forum.

Hope you don't mind CM
Cheers; Dave.

#13 User is offline   13emeDBLE 

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 10:04 PM

Well :lol:

same question, same answer... :lol:

all is fine then (that's not always so easy...).

CM
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#14 User is online   david 

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 10:53 AM

I've lent out my copy of Tank Combat In North Africa by Jentz.
So can someone confirm for me?

I seem to remember he lists 60 x M11/39 in Tobruk @ 31/03/41. Possibly in the workshops.

If I'm right, & he is right. Could the Aussies not have pressed these into service in the Easter battles?

(I may be wrong in Jentz as my source for this info. But seen it somewhere I have!)
Cheers; Dave.

#15 User is offline   13emeDBLE 

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:36 PM

No david, sorry but the figure of 60 M11/39 in Tobruk in march 1941 is not possible.

If we followed the destiny of the M11/39, we could say :
- 72 M11/39 arrived in North Africa (in Benghazi) in July 1940 with I & II Battalions (medium) Carristi (some sources give the total of 74 tanks but no confirmed in the events which follows).

- the I battalion with 45 M11/39 lost 6 tanks during the first fight the 5th of august 1940 (3 combat losses and 3 out of order, all repaired after the battle).

- the II batallion with Gruppo MALETTI had only 27 tanks (it was divided between North Africa and Eastern Africa), and loose 5 tanks during fightings that occured the 19th of november at Alam Abu Hileiuat (east of Nibeiwa).

- the II bataillon (22 M11/39 remaining) was entirely lost during the first morning of Compass (Australian succeeded to use fews M11/39 for the attack of Tobruk, but not all of them of course, a lot of were abandoned or cannibalized in the Nibeiwa area).

- the I bataillon (45 or 44 tanks) left Marsa Lucchs (main italian tank depot, near the coast, between Tobruck and Bardia) to join first Bardia (the 10th of december) and then Tobruk (the 13th of december). During this travel made desperatly, the biggest part of the battalion was out of order. the battalion succeeded to rally Tobruk with only 5 tanks avalaible, all the others (39 !) were out of order. The 5 tanks get out immediatly to assure protection of El Adem airbase, and after some skirmish, the last 4 M11/39 were engaged in january 1941 in the protection of the Marturba landing ground and the Derna road, and all lost during this last action (at the east of derna). Australians war reports explained that during the fighting for the Derna airbase, 4 italians tanks were destroyed.

- the main part of the I batallion (39 tanks of which 7-10 tanks repaired and avalaible) was encircled at Tobruk. the tanks fought very hard and were all destroyed, as immobile strongpoint for the most part (all unavalaible tanks) and as mobile reserve for the few 7-10 tanks which could move themself... Some M11/39 destroyed were pictured a lot of times near the King's cross, inside the Tobruk perimeter (all weapons removed).

My conclusion is that it is factually impossible to have 60 M11/39 at tobruk.

During the first days of the siege of Tobruk, no australian or british report talked about such important tanks reserve !

You have to know that M11/39 were old and exhausted when they arrived in North Africa (the main gun of this tank was in fact gun removed from Fiat 3000).

Australians used M11/39 only during the attack against Tobruk, after, they used only M13/40, more modern and avalaible after Beda Fomm in a great number.

Hope this will help you, despite my poor english,

Your friend,

Cedric
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#16 User is online   david 

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 07:57 AM

Quote

No david, sorry but the figure of 60 M11/39 in Tobruk in march 1941 is not possible.


That's OK CM.

I only said that I had seen it. Not that I had seen it & believed it as Gospel truth!

Your English is very good. You certainly should not apologise for it.

You would laugh at my French. (My son is teaching my wife & I).

Is it possible that there were 60 damaged/useless/irrepairable M11/39 in Tobruk workshops?

Or could it have been a typo for 6 not 60?

Or could it have been a typo for M13/40?

Your thoughts........ (I predict No, Yes, No. In that order!). :wink: :)
Cheers; Dave.

#17 User is offline   13emeDBLE 

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:13 AM

Well thanks David my friend...

You are very lucky because I am working this week on the first times of the Tobruk siege...

I will give you the figure of all tanks which are in Tobruk's perimeter when italians and germans complete the ring.

All remaining M13/40 in March were transfered to 6RTR (one battalion of the 3rd armoured brigade). It lost all its tanks during the retreat too fast for these engines (its lats tanks were lost at Derna).

In the workshop of Tobruk, there was at the time a lot of tanks, mainly light tanks, Cruisers and perhaps 2 Matildas II.

The australians captured at least 1 M13/40 during the attacks of Ras el Medauuar of the 16th of april.

So, the replies are :

- no to the first question. In my opinion (I am not a specialist and I wasn't there at the time :lol: ), it is not possible (for the reasons explained in my previous post).

- perhaps, I must check if there is 6 M11 at the workshops (we saw that there was 3 months before 7-10 tanks avalaible), but if it is true, you must know that it was only for remove the weapons from these obsolescents vehicles.

- difficult, because all the M13 were captured at Beda Fomm, so a few hundreds kms from Tobruk, and britishs lost there M13 during the retreat.

Regards,

Cedric
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#18 User is offline   inhocsignovinces 

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:53 AM

Another image

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