The Maletti Group
) was a an ad hoc
" unit formed by the Italian Royal Army
) in Italian North Africa
(Africa Settentrionale Italiana
, or ASI) during the initial stages of the North Africa Campaign
of World War II
. The group was formed in June 1940
and was destroyed in December
of the same year.
Western Desert Campaign
The Maletti Group was commanded by General Pietro Maletti
and was part of the Libyan Corps, also known as the "Royal Corps of Libyan Colonial Troops" (Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali della Libia
). The group itself was composed of six battalions
of Libyan infantry
and of two battalions of armor
. The 2,500 Libyans were transported in trucks
. One armor battalion had thirty-five L3/35 tankettes
. The other had thirty-five M11/39 medium tanks
During the Western Desert Campaign, the Maletti Group took part in the Italian invasion of Egypt and the British counterattack known as Operation Compass. In September 1940, the group acted as a flank guard and led the Italian advance from Libya into Egypt. By December, the group was in defensive positions at the Nibiewa Camp near Sidi Barrani. The Maletti Group was earmarked for early destruction by the British and the group was destroyed and General Maletti killed in the initial attack.
- Macksey, Major Kenneth Beda Fomm: Classic Victory. Ballantine Books.
- Walker, Ian W. Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts : Mussolini's elite armoured divisions in North Africa. Marlborough: Crowood.