The files of 90.lei.Afrika-Div. contain some information on the Italian units it encountered after moving from the main battle area to the rear area around Agedabia and el-Agheila. Below the information and assessment of the 3rd ‘A.S.’ (North African – Africa Settentrionale) battalion, which was formed from detachments of 1st ‘Bafile’ battalion of the Italian San Marco marines regiment.
Men of the 3rd Battalion San Marco Regiment in North Africa. Undated but probably Winter 1941/42. Marina Militare
The information is from a document dated 21 Dec. 1941, and signed by Oberst Marcks, the commanding officer of Schuetzenregiment 155, which had taken over the Aphelia – Mersa el-Brega sector, and from Feldgrau.com (at this link). The battalion was not at full strength, as it had only the 3rd rifle company of the Bafile battalion, and had not yet received most of the gun reinforcements. The battalion was not involved in combat during Operation CRUSADER when it provided rear-area security in the Agedabia sector. It did conduct operations under German control during the counter offensive, fighting as infantry support to the Afrika-Korps at Antelat.
Order of Battle, 3rd Battalion San Marco, December 1941
Marines Battalion San Marco
About 500 men
1x Rifle Company
1x MG Company
1x Command Company
12x light machine guns
3x light mortars 4.5cm
12x heavy machine guns
2x AT guns (most likely Boehler 4.7cm)
Appears to be fully ready for action. Battalion subordinated to Sabratha Division, under orders to await further instructions in el-Agheila. Subordinated temporarily to my command.
Colonel and Regimental CO
I see that there are no heavy weapons companies present at that time. Does anyone know when they were added, because I originally thought that they were present from the end of November 1941. But it would seem that I was wrong.
Hi David – Feldgrau.com has the ATG and Bredas arrive before 21 December, which appears to be wrong. They may have come shortly after. The heavy weapons company would be the MG Coy, which would have controlled the HMGs and ATGs.
All the best
I have it formed ( at Pola or Brindisi) in 01 November 1941 – several of men came from 1st Battalion San Marco which was depleted.
In Jan42 it had 6x47mm 3x20mm guns and about 370-500men; In May42 in Kampfgruppe Hecker 13x47mmAT +13MG.
It was renamed Battalion San Marco “Tobruk” after being determinant in stopping Operation Agreement.
In Tunisia “German General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim later said of the San Marco Marines fighting abilities in Tunisia in 1943, that they were “the best soldiers I ever commanded” <– at this time there also other San Marco Marines in Tunisia
I am searching for information in regards to my father who fought in Nirth Africa WW2, as I have discovered he mainly fought in Benghazi, but he may have moved anywhere from Tobruk to Tunisia, he entered to war from Nov 1942, I also have information that he was a member of a elite group called Battalione San Marco, could you please provide me with any further information as I am trying to retire his story. thank you
Unfortunately I have no information on the time period when your father served in Africa Settentrionale. Good luck with your search!
Anna, i too have a great uncle who was a San Marco Marine in north africa during the war. He was captured at tobruk (by the british) and ended up in a prison camp in New york for the remainder of the war. I recently requested his records from italy so i am hoping to have some better info on his unit number etc.