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60 Infantry Division Sabratha: Wikis

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The Italian 60th "Sabratha" Infantry Division was an Italian division during World War II.

"Sabratha" was mobilized in October 1939 for service in Libya. In September 1940, the division took part in the invasion of Egypt. In December, during Operation Compass, the division was destroyed near Derna.

"Sabratha" was reformed early 1941 and was again sent to Libya. The reformed division met with mixed fortune during the balance of the Western Desert Campaign. During the protracted fighting for El Alamein 835 Italian troops that were largely part of an infantry battalion and artillery group of the division were taken prisoner by the Australian 2/48th Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel H. H. Hammer on 10 July 1942 at Tel el Eisa. The Italians reacted vigorously and a battalion of the Italian 7th Bersaglieri Regiment was committed to plug the gap and initially recovered some of the lost ground at Tel el Eisa and even took 13 prisoners. According to the Australian 2/48th Battalion diary: "[a]t approx 2000 hrs enemy tks-number unknown-and inf attacked D Coy front. They overrun posn and enemy inf forced D Coy to withdraw and occupied their psn." While the Bersaglieri suffered heavy losses, it bought time to allow the Italian XXI Motorised Corps to rush in a battalion of the "Trieste" Division and L3 and M13/40 tanks of the 3rd "Novara" Armoured Group and Major Gabriele Verri's 11th Armoured Battalion to affected sector and seal off the Australian breakthrough".

In the meantime the "Sabratha" Division had recovered from the initial blow and Colonel Angelozzi's 1st Battalion 85th Infantry Regiment of the "Sabratha" Division, launched a fierce counterattack on the forces on Tel el Eisa on 14 July supported by Italian tanks and succeeded in piercing the defences, between the feature and the main Tel el Eisa Ridge. Under fierce pressure the Australian troops were forced to withdraw from their forward positions, but their main defences remained largely intact.

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