|1st Libyan Division Sibille|
|Engagements||World War II|
History[edit | edit source]
Originally called in the 1920s with the name Italian Libyan Colonial Division. This was a formation of colonial troops raised by the Italians in their colony in Libya and participated in the invasion of Ethiopia in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
This formation was reorganized into the "1st Libyan Infantry Division Sibille" by the beginning of Italy's entry into World War II. It had 7224 men (mostly native Libyans).
In September 1940, the 1st Libyan Division (commanded by general Luigi Sibille and named after him) participated in the Italian invasion of Egypt. By December, the division was dug in at Maktila near Sidi Barrani.
Indeed, on September 13 the entire 1st Libyan Division, including a regiment of Libyan paratroopers attacked Sollum on the Egyptian northern coast, held by platoons of Coldstream Guards. The British laid mines in the area and quickly withdrew to Marsa Matruh after suffering 50 casualties.
In December the British started a counter-offensive. The Arabs and paratroopers of 1st Libyan Division fought hard on the December 10, 1940, amid a howling sandstorm, until on December 11 the division began to disintegrate with heavy losses. So, the Division was forced to surrender after very heavy fighting during Operation Compass.
However some units of Libyan paratroopers were able to reach Tobruk in Italian Libya, after a long march in the desert. The Division was not recreated in the following years, because of direct orders from Rommel (who did not appreciate the use of Libyan colonial troops, and believed that the Italian defeat in Egypt in December 1940 was due mainly to excessive use of these colonial troops 
Order of battle[edit | edit source]
- 1st Libyan Division "Sibille"
- 1º Raggruppamento libico
- 2º Raggruppamento libico
- Regiment Libyan Paratroopers
See also[edit | edit source]
- Italian Libyan Colonial Division
- 2 Libyan Division Pescatori
- Maletti Group
- History of Libya as Italian Colony
References[edit | edit source]
- Organization of Italian Colonial Divisions
- Delusione nel deserto - Dall’entrata in guerra (10-6-1940) alla vigilia del contrattacco inglese (9-12-1940)
- The Italian Army in Egypt during World War II
- Walker, Ian W. (2003). Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts: Mussolini's elite armoured divisions in North Africa. Marlborough: Crowood. ISBN 1-86126-646-4.
- Current Biography Yearbook 1942 New York: H.W. Wilson, 1943. pp. 701–04
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