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Old 28 Feb 17, 01:53
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On the Brixia mortar. This was held at battalion level in fairly large numbers in infantry formations. By reorganizing the battalions so the line companies include a weapons platoon, you are essentially giving each infantry company the equivalent of several 40mm grenade launchers.
That makes that little mortar a valuable weapon all of a sudden rather than a battalion support weapon where it lacks the range and mobility to be useful.

The whole Italian infantry battalion was badly organized as it was. It retained what was essentially a WW 1 organization.

This is the way it was organized.

There are three line companies and a heavy weapons company in the battalion.

The line companies each consist of three platoons and a headquarters group.

Each platoon has two squads each of 20 men total divided into a rifle group of 11 men and a machinegun group of 9 men with 2 light machineguns.

The heavy weapons company has 2 machinegun groups with 4 heavy machineguns each, and 2 mortar groups each with 6 Brixia mortars.

This gives the battalion 36 LMG, 8 HMG and 18 45mm mortars

At regiment there is a mortar platoon with 9 81mm mortars, among other units.

The reorganization would be this:

The 3 line companies now consist of 3 rifle platoons and a heavy weapons platoon.

The rifle platoons have 3 squads of 12 men and includes a light machinegun.

The heavy weapons platoon has 6 45mm mortars, 3 light or medium machineguns

The heavy weapons company now has 8 heavy machineguns and 3 81mm mortars.

This gives the battalion 36 LMG, 18 45mm mortars, 8 HMG, 3 81mm mortars.

So, the weapons content remains exactly the same while the unit's flexibility and firepower is substantially increased by pushing weapons down to lower echelons along with giving the platoons more flexibility.

Purchase of a large number of antitank rifles like the Solothurn S18-1000 or similar and handing these out to each battalion in say 2 guns at the heavy weapons platoon would give the troops at least a minimum tank defense capacity. Historically, it was adopted by Italy in 1940, but was available pre-war and could have been adopted sooner.

At just 18 per division that amounts to a buy of about 750 at most to supply the army. Mounting these on L3/33 tankettes and giving 2 per battalion would have been a good way to get them some mobility. Maybe add a couple more of these vehicles to the weapons company sort of like a small carrier platoon like the British used would be the way to go. They had the vehicles to give every battalion a couple of these tankettes that really weren't useful for anything else.
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