THE TANKERS OF MUSSOLINI
ARMOURED GROUP "LEONESSA" FROM MVSN TO RIS
Autore: Paolo Crippa
The Armored Group “M” “Leonessa” of G.N.R. constituted a unicum among the Armed Forces of the Italian Social Republic. In fact, it was the most consistent and operational of the few units equipped with armored vehicles, operating above all in the anti-partisan struggle. But the “Leonessa” descended directly from the homonymous Tanks Group which, before the Armistice, was part of the 1st Armored Division “M” of the MVSN, consisting of personnel loyal to the Duce, renamed after July 25th 136th Armored Division “Centaur 2nd”. After the Italian surrender, all the material of the Division was confiscated by the Germans, including the Panzer III, the Panzer IV and the Stug.III of the “Lioness”. But part of the Division’s staff refused to fight against the former allies and, putting the red “M’s” and the black shirt back in search of weapons and tanks in the now empty Italian barracks, to continue the war alongside the Germans.