The Raggruppamento Repartí Specializzati (Groupment of Special Units) – RSS, was a composite formation within the Corpo di Truppe Volontarie, which encapsulated all of the armoured units, as well as several other specialist units. In April 1937 it was divided into two battalions (battaglione), the first composed of the four tank companies (Compagnia di Carristi), the Anti-tank Platoon (Sezione Anti-Carro) and a Spanish infantry company, which the Italians provided with two trucks for each of the three platoons. The second battalion was composed of the Armoured Car Company (Compagnia di Auto-Mitragliatrice), the Motorcycle Machine Gun Company (Compagnia di Moto-Mitragliatrice), and the Flamethrower Tank Company (Compagnia de Lanciafiamme e Chemica).
The Group never fought as a single formation and instead ‘Company Battlegroups’ were formed around individual tank companies. While there were not sufficient units to reinforce all four companies, typically a company would be reinforced by an anti-tank gun, an armoured car platoon, a motorcycle machine gun platoon, a flamethrower tank platoon and a Spanish motorized infantry platoon.
From September 1937 a battery of German PaK 36/37 anti-tank guns (Cannone 37/45 M.36), were added, enabling each company to have an anti-tank platoon and 20mm anti-aircraft guns, 65/17 towed infantry guns, an engineer unit, as well as motorcycle scouts, drawn from within the CTV Infantry divisions, expanded these reinforced companies even further. Around the same time the Spanish infantry were withdrawn from the unit. The final addition to the Group was a company of T-26 tanks, captured and re-fitted, sometime in early 1938.
This list can be used to create a reinforced motorcycle or motorcycle-machine gun platoon from any point between January 1937 and the end of the Civil War. Although the RSS was not formed before the Malaga campaign, the units fronting the Italian Columns were in fact similar composite formations, but on a smaller scale. For such an early unit, replace the Spanish motorized infantry option with an Italian one. Otherwise, providing the dates for the implementation of weapons and equipment are followed, it will be representative of the ‘infantry’ portion of a reinforced Carristi unit at any point in the Civil War.
Here is the list for the RRS: CoC – Italian RRS
One of the issues I have always had with wargaming is trying to find bits and pieces that make the tabletop look just that little bit nice. I must admit this is a much easier job today than it was thirty years ago, but even back then I tended to scour model railway shops for