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Weapons of World War Two

Lancia 3 RO armored truck

Lancia 3 RO armored truck

The 27th April 1945 it ended, next to the waters of Lake Como, the History of Fascism in Italy. Captured the Duce and his main chiefs, of the columns that should have marched towards Valtellina to constitute the last armed stronghold of the Republican Fascism barely remained some scattered groups that would soon surrender. But despite of all, it can be said that there was a last battle of the Fascism. However it was not a true battle, not even a skirmish, in the full sense of the word. More properly it was a firefight between a handful of men who had decided to end in an adventurous way - as it had started as well - their political existence and the members of a partisan formation.

When the chiefs that were part of the column of Mussolini realized that the partisans of "Pedro" had no intention to let them pass along with the Germans of Lieutenant Fallmeyer, they decided to go back to reorganize the few Black Shirts at their disposal. Meanwhile, the Duce had tried to reach Germany disguised as a Flak soldier. History witnessed how bad this ended for him, but it is a fact that these men, after having tried to save their leader, preferred, as Pavolini said, to play the last card "submachine gun in hand".

During several hours they were deployed in the road to Dongo onboard a large armored vehicle which was defined as "armored car". Actually it was simply a truck, specifically a Lancia 3 RO, which belonged to the Black Brigade "Benito Mussolini" from Lucca, and which had been armored with steel plates in an artisan workshop. The cronical scarcity of military materials that afflicted the Army of the Italian Social Republic was even worse for the Black Brigades, which often resorted to these improvised solutions to keep up appearances. Actually an armored truck remains being what it is, only useful to escort in a road a column of cars that travel not too fast.

In the firefight that happened later, projectiles from the partisans hit the engine and killed the driver, which immediately sealed the fate of the group. The Black Brigade "Benito Mussolini", whose name was painted in the sides of the vehicle, was a rather irregular formation, to the point that it had abandoned the rule of being named after a fallen for the cause of the Republican Fascism, to take the name of the very Mussolini instead - who ironically would soon become another fallen -. The number of the Brigade should be the 36, or at least it seems so, judging by the only existing - or known - photo of the truck. The fact of having had to leave its home town, while the Black Brigades were essentially "static" formations, contributed additionally to the exceptionality of its existence.

Regarding the armored truck, it was a unique model of insignificant military value and effectiveness, but considering such a tragic period of History it serves as a symbol of a tormented country, torn by an atrocious fratricidal fight, which despite of the horrors of the war would recover and preserve its identity.

Year: 1945

Weight: About 6 tonnes

Length: 7.45 meters

Width: 2 meters

Height: 4 meters

Ground clearance: 41 centimeters

Maximum armor: About 9 millimeters

Engine: Diesel 102 of 93 horsepower

Maximum speed: 35-40 kilometers/hour

Operational range: About 400 kilometers

Crew: 5 plus 10-15 passengers

Armament: One 20-millimeter cannon; three 8-millimeter machine guns

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