I thought it might be helpful to some readers to summarize what has been posted to date in this Forum regarding the battaglione armi di accompagnamento, include a few details provided by other sources and get some feedback about the accuracy of this information.
A number of the mixed heavy weapons battalions-known as battaglioni armi di accompagnamento-which were authorized for those Italian divisions in or operating with Panzergruppe Afrika at the start of Crusader did in fact exist and took part in the battles of November and December, 1941. Five of those seven divisions likely had one or more of these heavy weapons battalions at that time, including the following:
VIII/7 Bersaglieri (Trento)
III/61 fanteria (Trento)
III/62 fanteria (Trento)
DLI btg armi acc.to (Trento)
III/8 Bersaglieri (Ariete)
XL/9 Bersaglieri (Trieste)
III/65 fanteria (Trieste)
DVIII btg armi acc.to (Trieste)
III/39 fanteria (Bologna)
III/40 fanteria (Bologna)
XXV btg armi acc.to (Bologna)
III/28 fanteria (Pavia)
XVII btg armi acc.to (Pavia)
Divisioni Savona and Brescia were also mandated to create these regimental and divisional battaglioni armi di accompagnamento but had formed none by the end of the year.
Several preliminary points should be made:
1. These weapons battalions were authorized by a mandate from Comando Supremo in mid 1941 for divisioni motorizzata, including the Bersaglieri regiments. As noted in jwsleser's post of 3-27-09 a reorganization initiated in February 1942 eliminated many of these btg. armi di accompagnamento.
2. A number of the authorized heavy weapons battalions were never formed, and possibly a large proportion of those that were created were still incomplete in some respects by November 1941. Also, some were in theater/A.S. but not present with their divisions during Crusader.
3. A mandated organization was stated previously, as follows:
As far as I know, a "Battaglione di armi anticarro e di accompagnamento" (="antitank weapons and support weapons batalion") in theory had:
- 1 HQ-platoon
- 1 AA company (20 mm)
- 1 towed AT company
- 1 mortar company (81 mm)
- 1 MG company
Source: "Nozioni di organica per i corsi allievi ufficiali di complemento", S.M.R.E., Roma, Luglio 1941-XIX, page 50.
Despite this authorized structure, it is immediately apparent that at least some of these battalions existed in other forms-deviations from this theoretical format seem to have been common. Examples of this are in the Organico Divisione Motorizzata Tipo "Trento" in Montanari, "Le Operazioni in Africa Settentrionale", Vol. II-Tobruk, p. 309 (2nd ed.):
each of the two reggimenti fanteria motorizzati had "un battaglione armi accompagnamento e controcarro su:
-compagnia mortai da 81;
-compagnia cannoni da 47/32;
-compagnia da 20 mm c.a."
the reggimento bersaglieri had "un battaglione armi accompagnamento e controcarri su:
-due compagnie mortai da 81;
-una compagnia da 20 mm c.a."
and the divisional "un battaglione armi di accompagnamento e controcarri su:
-due compagnie mitraglieri;
-una compagnia mortai da 81;
-una compagnia cannoni da 47/32"
Clearly this is the intended "establishment" for D. mot. Trento, but shows that the structure of these mixed heavy weapons battalions was not wedded to a fixed model. Logically, the types of weapons in these support battalions could depend on the equipment of the sister battalions within the regiment-for example, since each of the rifle battaglioni of the reggimento bersaglieri included a compagnia of 47/32 c.c., its support weapons battaglione did not contain one. Also, possibly because the divisional battaglione armi di accompagnamento of Trento was created from its former machine-gun battalion, the new unit had two compagnie mitraglieri instead of one.
Some sources and posts (other than in this thread) referencing these weapons battalions, by division:
D. mot. Trento
Montanari, A.S., Vol. II-Tobruk, p. 309 (as above)
D. cor. Ariete
Montanari, p. 321 (and many more-there is no index for battalion-sized units)
posts by jwsleser: 5-23-09 and 7-3-09, "OOBs for Bir el Gubi"
posts by dor1941: 6-24-09 and 7-4-09, "OOBs for Bir el Gubi"
post by jwsleser: 7-13-09, "37mm AA Gun in Esercito"
post by jwsleser: "2-23-10, "Ariete's Battalions"
D. mot. Trieste
Montanari, p. 426
Agar-Hamilton and Turner, p.476
post by voloire: 2-15-06, "XL Battaglione Armi Accompagnamento"
post by Granatiere: 4-1-08, "65th & 66th Reggimento Trieste"
D. f. Bologna
Montanari, p. 518 (endnote 3)
D. f. Pavia
Montanari, p. 518 (endnote 2)
post by Lupo Solitario: 5-3-05, "Divisione Pavia"
Additions, corrections and comments welcome.