What happened in Kasserine?

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FACH
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What happened in Kasserine?

Post by FACH » 01 Sep 2004 00:47

Hi:
I read it about this famous battle in 1943 who confront 2 Armored German Div. and one Italian Armored Div., named Centauro. All the books that I saw here in my country talks about 2 Panzer Div. and a "DAK" unit, with a german general as leader....without any info about the "Centauro" Div. I know that only part of this Italian Armored unit reached North Africa (the other was sunk in the Mediterraneus) so If someone could talk to me about the real participation of this Armored unit, please let me know.....and comments about the british "mistake"?

8) FACH 8)

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 01 Sep 2004 01:35

The Centauro Armoured Division, under the command of Gen. Carlo Calvi di Bergolo, was re-created at the beginning of 1943 with these units:
- Raggruppamento Cantaluppi (it included: the tank battalions XIV/31°, XVII/32° and one company of the XVI/32°; Raggruppamento Esplorante Corazzato Lodi, Raggruppamento Artiglieria Volpi)
- 132° Reggimento Controcarri (anti-tank regiment), that was formed using the survivors of the Ariete, Littorio and Trieste divisions
- 7° Reggimento Bersaglieri (commander: Col. Luigi Bonfatti)

Of the Centauro Div., these units took part to the battle of Kasserine:
- XIV/31° tank battalion
- XVII/32° tank battalion
- CCIV artillery (65/17 guns) group
- XVI/32° tank battalion included in the 8. Pz.Rgt.
Col. Bonfatti was killed in action.

PS My knowledge of the land operations in Tunisia is pretty limited, I'm not sure if there were other units of the Centauro in the battle of Kasserine.

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FACH
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Post by FACH » 01 Sep 2004 04:25

Thanks again, DrG! I know that some of then used Semoventes da 75/18 (a few of them) in this battle. So are units of the Centauro who throwed back US units in El Guettar in 15 Feb 1943.

http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... _map41.htm

8) FACH 8)

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 01 Sep 2004 11:30

FACH wrote:Thanks again, DrG! I know that some of then used Semoventes da 75/18 (a few of them) in this battle. So are units of the Centauro who throwed back US units in El Guettar in 15 Feb 1943.
Certainly the XVI/32° had some Semoventi, probably this is the unit that is mentioned in your book.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 01 Sep 2004 19:47

The DAK unit was a reference to the DAK Assault Group, which was formed from 15th Panzer and Centauro Divisions.

Intially the attack took place with 23 M14's from Centauro's 131 Armoured Regiment plus a single group of Semoventi

Source: Iron Hulls. Iron Hearts by Ian W Walker

Regards

Andy H

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FACH
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Post by FACH » 01 Sep 2004 23:03

Thanks, Andy! The 23 M14 and the Semoventes pushed the US forces then from Feirana and Kasserine too. Anyway, maybe exist in the web the history of this US units who talks about the combats between they and Centauro units?

8) FACH 8)

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 12 Sep 2004 22:52

FACH wrote:Thanks, Andy! The 23 M14 and the Semoventes pushed the US forces then from Feirana and Kasserine too. Anyway, maybe exist in the web the history of this US units who talks about the combats between they and Centauro units?

8) FACH 8)
During that battle (the very 1st contact between Americans and the "Afrika Korps") US troops registered thousands of casualties and they lost a wide nos of tanks, trucks and cannons. Patton was suddenly charged in command just after that debacle: the only source I had about Kasserine Pass was Patton himself. There is a weak documentation about this fact: it had to be forgotten immediately. Negative propaganda for Allies.
Last edited by gabriel pagliarani on 22 Sep 2004 15:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Panzergenadier » 14 Sep 2004 11:02

B. Liddel Hart in his "History Of the Second world War" writes that "Centauro" division had 5000 men in February 1943 and even less in March. Not 7850 men which was the number shown in Allied papers.

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 14 Sep 2004 15:09

Panzergenadier wrote:B. Liddel Hart in his "History Of the Second world War" writes that "Centauro" division had 5000 men in February 1943 and even less in March. Not 7850 men which was the number shown in Allied papers.
..but adding the phantoms of those killed at El Alamein, Tobruk, Bir Acheim you have the same results. 8) Power of war propaganda in living twice!

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Post by Vlad Tepes » 23 Sep 2004 16:10

You should pick up Charles Whiting's "Kasserine." It's well worth reading, and a good intro to the battle.

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FACH
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Post by FACH » 24 Sep 2004 02:24

Thanks, guys :D

Gabriel, maybe you have photos of the brave "Centauro" tanks and SPG, could you scan it? Thanks, that was exactly I was looking for :)

Thanks,

8) FACH 8)

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 04 Oct 2004 15:56

FACH wrote:Thanks, guys :D

Gabriel, maybe you have photos of the brave "Centauro" tanks and SPG, could you scan it? Thanks, that was exactly I was looking for :)

Thanks,

8) FACH 8)
:cry: impossible. The only source was "Signal". Any pic showing italians was deliberately censored. For Nazi propaganda in Africa there were only Germans still fighting. :lol:

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Post by Bob_Mackenzie » 02 Sep 2005 08:15

To resurect an old thread....

I have this OB for the units of Centauro at Kasserine:

XIV Battalion, 5th Bersaglieri Regiment, reinforced;
XVII Battalion, 31st Tank Regiment, with 22 M14 tanks and a 75/18
Semovente SP artillery battery in support;
CCIV Artillery Group (Battalion), 65/17 infantry light guns

Posted by Allesandro on the Italianisti yahoo group

I'm quite keen to know what the reinforcements of the 5th Bersaglieri were

Cheers

Bob

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 02 Sep 2005 10:54

Bob_Mackenzie wrote:....XIV Battalion, 5th Bersaglieri Regiment, reinforced....
Here they were, Bob! Gen. Cinti sent all the desbanded italian troops he had collected in the few harbours still under Axis control. An extreme attempt of defence, indeed.

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Post by Bob_Mackenzie » 02 Sep 2005 15:46

So the Bersagleri were not reinforced with extra UNITS but were supplied with replacement soldiers.I assume this means the battlion was at or near full strength for the attack?

Cheers

Bob

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