Monday, May 6, 2013

Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia in 15mm

Following with the theme of the last post, I have decided to take some pictures of the Italians that I have. First is a picture of one of the trays from the shelf with the majority of the infantry company. These are in several stages of being done.

Regimental Support

The force that I am ultimately modeling is that of the 80th Roma Regiment of the Pasubio Division. The Regiment is formed by three battalions. In addition they had a support of a battery of 6 mortars and a battery of 8 field guns.

Mortar Battery

Eventually, I will get one of the Battlefront Forward Observer packs for the mortar battery. In reality, it is doubtful that actual 81mm mortars would see service on my tabletop as for skirmish level games, they would be far off table. Yet I still have a couple of Peter Pig packs of 81mm mortars.

Field Gun Battery

The Field Gun battery of the 80th Roma Regiment was composed of eight 65mm/17 mountain howitzers. I have a pair of 65mm guns that are from Battlefront. One is painted and the other is still on painting sticks.

Infantry Battalion

The Italian Infantry Battalion is formed by four companies. Three are line infantry companies. The fourth is the heavy company. The heavy company is formed by a platoon of light 18-45mm mortars and a platoon of eight machine guns. In addition, the battalion each had a platoon of Esploratori or scouts.

Esploratori Platoon

The scout platoon was formed only by rifle sections. I have found no reference to these troops having any support weapons or light machine guns. These men were tasked with identifying the enemy for the infantry to push forward and take them out.

Machinegun Platoon

The MG platoon is partially painted.

Light Mortar Platoon

The Light Mortar Platoon has only 8 45mm mortars as part of its formation. Of these only one is painted.

Infantry Company

The company HQ for an Italian Infantry company is composed of two officers and 28 men. There is a considerable lack of details on what these 28 men where. Were they supernumeraries like clerks, cooks or armorers? Were they a source of replacement troops in the instance of losses suffered on campaign? Were they an additional squad of men to fight? What is fairly certain is that they were not sporting the 20mm Soluthrun AT Rifle in 1941 in Russia. Until I learn better, I view them as cooks & clerks and replacement troops. With a full squad consisting of about 21 men, we can assume that there is a combat squad worth in the midst of this host of 28. The remainder are the supernumeraries.

Infantry Platoon 1

The Infantry platoon was one of the oddest formations of any nation in the war. The platoon headquarters consisted of the officer. The body of the platoon was split into two very large squads. These consisted of a pair of Light machine gun teams and a large rifle team.

The light machine gun teams each consisted of a light machine gunner, its loader and a two man security team. The rifle team is a large group of 11 men. The squad has two NCOs commanding it.

Infantry Platoon 2

I have changed my basing for the second platoon. This one is complete as well.

Infantry Platoon 3

This platoon is incomplete at this point. I still need to paint a full rifle team and two LMG teams. One of the pairs of LMG teams is painted but needs to be varnished and based.


As may be apparent from previous posts, I like to have casualty figures in my games. Here are my few Italian casualties. These still need a little work on their basing.

Divisional Support

The divisional support comes from an artillery regiment of 100mm and 75mm guns. In addition there is an Engineer Company, two anti-tank companies and am 81mm mortar battalion.

Anti Tank Gun Platoon

The Italian 45mm anti-tank gun was all the Italians had to counter any Soviet armor that they came across. By 1941, the weapon was obsolete against anything but the oldest of the Soviet equipment. Yet the Italians used them across the front. Mostly, they used artillery to counter any armor that they found.

Divisional Engineers

The Italian engineers has two separate roles and corresponded to two separate engineering companies within the division. The first was the construction crew that handled all bridging operations of the division. They created pontoon bridges and the like to cross the rivers of the Ukraine. The second are the destroyer companies or combat engineers. These are the fellows sporting flame throwers and explosives to clear out tough obstacles. None of my engineers are painted.

Divisional Artillery

This is in the same situation as my Battalion mortars. I am awaiting a forward observer unit. During the retreat of the winter of 1942/43, there were numerous examples of Italian gunners being used in the front lines to cover the retreat. However, in 1941, only the forward observers would be close to contact with the enemy.

Army Support

In the early days of the campaign, some units were taken from either other Divisions or from the CSIR itself and attached to the Pasubio division on an informal basis. This included units of motorcycle mounted Bersaglieri and some armor from the cavalry division.

San Giorgio Battalion Tank Platoon.

The only armor to accompany the CSIR into the Soviet Union was a battalion of L3/33 tankettes. These were all the dual machine-gun armed vehicles and none sported the 20mm AT Rifle or flame throwers that were to be found in the Italian armored divisions in the desert. The platoon was a unit of five vehicles. Only the command track would have a radio. I still need to pick one of the vehicles to make into the command vehicle and add an antenna.

Bersaglieri Motorcyclists Platoon

I have both a mounted and dismounted platoon. A company of motorcyclists was attached to the 80th Roma Regiment throughout 1941. These tough men rode where ever they were needed and provided much of the reconnaissance that the regiment needed.

Italian Cavalry

I have not come across any evidence that the Cavalry directly operated with the infantry but, I really like the Italian cavalry. So I have a platoon of cavalry. None of which have seen a bit of paint.

What's Missing

That is difficult to say. I would like a more dynamic looking senior officer type to represent Colonello Chiarimonti who was all over the battlefield when his regiment was engaged. I would also like to find a suitable "Padre" figure for the regimental chaplain who did not hide in the background when the bullets were flying.

For some reason, I do not enjoy painting these figures. I love them when they are complete, but painting them has just been a chore that is taking forever to finish.


  1. Looking good Chris, i'd like to see the motorbikes all finished an based up, I did once have the Africa Corps motorbikes, they were really cool!

    1. Thanks. I have 5 of them nearly ready for basing. Just can't figure out why half of the bike is shiny and the other side is not yet. Will need to try your brush on varnish next.