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The Tankers of Mussolini by Paolo Crippa

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Oct 27, 2021.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length: 99 pages including bibliography

    This is the true story of the Armored Group "Leonessa", which was a unit of the GNR (Republican National Guard) of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic. We start with the surrender of Italy in 1943 and some of the MVSN, or Blackshirts, who wanted to keep fighting against the Allies. They were originally from Brescia in the north and were formed, with other Blackshirts, into the First Legionary Armored Division near Rome. They get some Panzer IV's and Stug III's, and it's one of these Panzer IV's that gives us the colorized front cover, with the division emblem, a blue square with a red M and fasces, on the turret skirt.
    From there, they are sent north for anti-partisan duties, which takes up the rest of the war in Italy. The author follows each detachment, with one in Turin, and others in Milano, Piacenza and Bergamo. He follows them from their first engagements in 1944 to the surrender to the Americans.
    Their equipment ranged from the German tanks, to Italian M13/40s, M14/41s and M15/42s, to towed artillery, to a Daimler Dingo armored car captured in North Africa.
    We also have many black and white photos for each section, some poor and some very clear, including one set of Mussolini standing on one of the tanks to address his men.

    The biggest problem with this book is the translation being literal from Italian to English. One has to read some things more than once to try and grasp the meaning.

    Otherwise this is a valuable reference to this little known unit from Italy's losing side. I give it three stars out of five.
     
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  2. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..there are so many unknown battles and unknown units during WW2 ...good call here
     
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  3. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Thank you. There's more to the series called "Witness to War." They should be interesting.
     

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