Libyan Divisions

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yantaylor
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Libyan Divisions

Postby yantaylor » 04 Dec 2017 21:10

Hi everyone.
The question I ask concerns Libyan divisions in the Italian army.
Did they have similar collar patches to regular Italian infantry divisions?
If so, does anyone know where I can get a diagram of these collar patches please.
Regards
Yan.

zaptiè
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby zaptiè » 06 Dec 2017 09:59

they not have " mostrine" ( collar patches), only the five pointed metallic stars( both italians and lybians).

yantaylor
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby yantaylor » 06 Dec 2017 10:32

Hello Zaptiè, do you have an image of this five pointed star?
I have searched the net and found no results.
Thanks for the help.
Yan.

zaptiè
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby zaptiè » 07 Dec 2017 10:05

He is a Lybyan Parà , but the stars are the same.
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yantaylor
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby yantaylor » 07 Dec 2017 13:02

Thanks Zaptiè.
I can see the stars, but when I enlarge it, I can't make out any details, was it just a plain silver star with no markings?

Yan.

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jwsleser
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby jwsleser » 07 Dec 2017 19:44

Yan

The Libyan battalions were not organized into regiments/divisions. Hence they didn't have mostrine.

The Regi corpi truppe coloniali (RCTC) included all colonial troops in Italian colonies. Distinction was based on waist bands/sashes (fascia) and fregio worn on the fez (ṭarbūsh). The fascia used a combination of colors and patterns to distinguish between types of troops, while the fegio indicated branch of service and sometimes unit number. IIRC (I will need to check tonight), the Libyan battalions all wore the same fascia and the numbering on the fregio was the unit distinction.

Libyan Ascari.jpg


The collar stars (stelletti) only indicate Italian military, not any other distinction. The stars are those wore by all soldati.

Here is a drawing of the Libyan paratrooper above.

Libyan Paracudutisti.jpg


The Libyan battalions were organized into division in early 1940. As these were recently created formations using existing forces, they didn't have the normal insignia that would identify regiment and division.

Pista! Jeff
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yantaylor
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby yantaylor » 08 Dec 2017 13:04

Thanks Jeff.

I was surprised to hear that Libyan battalions were not organized into regiments/divisions.
I have put together [with the help of this site and the internet], both of the two main Libyan divisions used in north Africa.
Sibille and Pescatori.
I have all the components in place except for an insignia [which I can can use a silver star] and the date it was disbanded [?? January 1941]

Regards
Yan.

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jwsleser
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby jwsleser » 08 Dec 2017 15:05

Yan

The colonial battalions were separate battalions which lacked any higher organization. The battalions were numbered sequentially and not by regiments. The battalion in the A.O.I. were organized into brigades without a regiment structure. The Libyan battalions were only formed into what I would call ad hoc regiments and divisions in January 1941. The regiments and brigades lacked the regiment and divisional assets normally found in these types of units. The staffs were put-together, little signal or logistical support, and lacked many of the supporting arms. Given time, this would have been corrected but best to consider them more akin to raggruppamenti or paper divisions rather than real divisions. No formal orders were issued by Comando Supremo authorizing these units the additional personnel and equipment to fully complete them as divisions. Their creation was all done 'in house'.

I will check tonight when the divisions were formally disbanded (likely Feb 41), but in reality, they were destroyed in the opening days of Compass.

The fregio for the ṭarbūsh are fairly common, it being the colonial type and usually in silver.

Pista! Jeff
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Eugen Pinak
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby Eugen Pinak » 11 Dec 2017 09:05

jwsleser wrote:Yan

The colonial battalions were separate battalions which lacked any higher organization. The battalions were numbered sequentially and not by regiments. The battalion in the A.O.I. were organized into brigades without a regiment structure. The Libyan battalions were only formed into what I would call ad hoc regiments and divisions in January 1941. The regiments and brigades lacked the regiment and divisional assets normally found in these types of units. The staffs were put-together, little signal or logistical support, and lacked many of the supporting arms. Given time, this would have been corrected but best to consider them more akin to raggruppamenti or paper divisions rather than real divisions. No formal orders were issued by Comando Supremo authorizing these units the additional personnel and equipment to fully complete them as divisions. Their creation was all done 'in house'.


You are partially in error here. Both 1st and 2nd Libian divisions were created on 1 March 1940 with usual divisional units for an Italian army division. There was nothing "ad hoc" with those divisions. However, Libian divisions lacked regimental structure - instead they had Raggruppamento (=Force) HQs, that commanded independent infantry or artillery battalions.

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jwsleser
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby jwsleser » 11 Dec 2017 22:06

Thank you for your comments.

First a review of what I stated:

The Libyan battalions were only formed into what I would call ad hoc regiments and divisions in January 1941. The regiments and brigades lacked the regiment and divisional assets normally found in these types of units. The staffs were put-together, little signal or logistical support, and lacked many of the supporting arms. Given time, this would have been corrected but best to consider them more akin to raggruppamenti or paper divisions rather than real divisions. No formal orders were issued by Comando Supremo authorizing these units the additional personnel and equipment to fully complete them as divisions. Their creation was all done 'in house'.


Note that I stated "what I would call". That is not a declarative statement of fact, but an opinion. I am more than happy to demonstrate why my opinion is firmly rooted in the reality of the situation.

I will correct one of my statements in the paragraph above (wrote that from memory). While the Comando Supremo didn't order the formation of the two divisions (the order was issued by the Comando superiore forze armate A.S.), three Libyan divisions were part of the mobilization plan (see In Africa settentrionale: La preparazione al conflitto; L'avanzata su Sidi Barrani pgs 50-69 for a discussion of the war planning for A.S.). Throughout these pages are the shortages of the metropolitan divisions that were arriving and the lack of equipment for the Libyan divisions that delays their organization. In June 1940, all these units had shortages. These were troublesome enough to force a decision to disband a CC.NN. division.

The infantry component of the Libyan divisions were, as you stated, organized as raggruppamenti, not reggimenti. See L’esercito italiano tra la 1 e 2 guerra mondiale pg. 185 and footnote 1. Also see La preparazione al conflitto pg 61 and footnote 1. By definition, a raggruppamento is 'ad hoc' and lacks most of the administrative and combat support services authorized in a regiment. I find it difficult not to consider such a division as 'ad hoc' when the major combat formations are, in fact, 'ad hoc'.

They did not have the usual divisional units for an Italian army division. No mortar or machine gun units. The artillery was only 2 gruppi (lacking a 100mm/105mm gruppo found in pretty much all Italian divisions). No reggimenti di artiglieria which again indicates that these units lacked much of the command and control equipment/personnel normally found in a division. The services are pulled together from various bits and pieces.

La preparazione al conflitto pg 47 footnote 1 states that these divisions would be raised upon mobilization and only use what effectives were in A.S. (except for officers). The resulting divisions were not created in accordance to a establish TO&E issued by the Ministero della Guerra (G.M.) but by one issued by FF.AA. A.S.

In all, for the period of combat that led up to their destruction, they were very much a put-together force (i.e. ad hoc). As I stated in my remarks, this would have been corrected over time, but in reality never happened.

If we disagree, I understand. It is a matter of opinion. I feel it is the best way to describe their actual situation (manning, equipment, and training) in 1940.

Pista! Jeff
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Eugen Pinak
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby Eugen Pinak » 12 Dec 2017 09:16

So many letter typed with so little regard to the point is question :(
Were those divisions ordered to be formed as permanent entities and not "ad hoc" task forces? - Yes, they were.
Were those divisions existed as permanent entities and not "ad hoc" task forces? - Yes, they were.
So there was nothing "ad hoc" or "paper" with those divisions.

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jwsleser
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Re: Libyan Divisions

Postby jwsleser » 12 Dec 2017 23:14

I am not sure whether there is any value to be gained by continuing this discussion.

Were those divisions existed as permanent entities and not "ad hoc" task forces? - Yes, they were.


You need to look-up the definition of ad hoc - Ad hoc literally means "for this" in Latin, and in English this almost always means "for this specific purpose" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). There is nothing in the definition that defines a time limit.

Note the R.E. used the term raggruppamento to describe the infantry units, not I. Look up the military definition of raggruppamento.

These divisions were ad hoc because their special purpose was to use the bits and pieces of the RCTC to form some sort of division to meet the goal of 73 divisions. Marshal Graziani on 13 December 1939 (then as the Capo di S.M. dell'Esercito) stated:

Per l'agosto del 1940 debbono trovarsi alle armi 1 milione di uomini istruiti ed inquadrati in 60 divisioni (le rimanenti 7 debbono rimanere in ombra - senza sparire). [Montanari L'esercito italiano alla vigli della 2 guerra mondiale page 226]


6 of those 7 divisions were the Libyan and the CC.NN. These divisions were to remain 'in the shadows' as the men and equipment weren't available to adequately form them. Yet they were thrown together in 1940 because numbers were seen as more important than combat effectiveness. One CC.NN. division was disbanded because of the lack of men and equipment. Permanent?

The two Libyan divisions didn't comfort to the norm; what the R.E. had identified was needed in a divisional organization. No regiment infantry structure and no divisional artillery structure: both which are critical for controlling and synchronizing division-level operations and for the administrative support of the subordinate units. Missing combat support units. The two Libyan divisions are distinctly different from any other Italian divisional infantry type because of the lack of these critical components.

Would this have changed given time and resources? Possibly yes. But that has nothing to do with my statement.

The Libyan battalions were only formed into what I would call ad hoc regiments and divisions in January 1941.


You have offered nothing to disprove my statement. My statement doesn't address permanence, only the nature of how these divisions were formed and organized. After all I did state

Given time, this would have been corrected but best to consider them more akin to raggruppamenti or paper divisions rather than real divisions.


Why would I state "Given time" if I believed them to be temporary?

So many letter typed with so little regard to the point is question :(


So little typed without understanding what is under discussion ;-)

Pista! Jeff
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