133rd Littorio Armoured Division
The 133rd "Littorio" Armoured Division was formed in Parma at the end of 1937 by merging the 1st Celere Division into the existing Littorio infantry division. Littorio was the third Italian armoured division formed after the Centauro and Ariete.
The Littorio Infantry Division had fought in the Spanish Civil War as a unit of regulars that had largely volunteered for service. On its return to Italy it was converted to an armoured formation. Its name comes from lictor, the name of those who carried the fasces, the rod-and-axes symbol adopted by Benito Mussolini from ancient Rome.
The Littorio Armoured Division first saw action in the April 1941 invasion of southern Yugoslavia and performed quite well. The Italian Armoured Corps had been designed to defeat the Yugoslavs, and it did so. It was never intended for desert operations, but the need in Libya and Egypt for armoured formations soon become urgent. At the end of 1941 Littorio was shipped to North Africa. The division arrived in Tripoli by March 1942.
A battlegroup from the Littorio arrived at the front on 20 June 1941, as the British defences were collapsing, and took part in the final attack on Tobruk.
The Littorio took part in the Battle of Mersa Matruh and was destroyed during the Second Battle of El Alamein. The remnants merged into the Ariete Tactical Group, which continued fighting in Libya and Tunisia into April 1943.