While we were writing the ‘Tank War’ book, I did some research into Italian tank crew in WWII as, being Italian, I wanted to add an Italian tank ace to the book…
…and I eventually found one – with over 50 kills, Alfredo Carpaneto was ranking on par with the best Allied tank aces. However, there was a snag… he achieved his impressive score whilst commanding a Tiger I as part of German panzer forces!
That of course means that, in Bolt Action terms at least, he really is a German tank ace, regardless of his actual nationality… In other words, there are no ‘historical’ ways of making him fight as part of an Italian armoured platoon. I suppose the best you could do is to make a mixed force of one German and one Italian armoured platoon (maybe on the Eastern front, where Carpaneto mostly fought). Alternatively, of course one could just add a Tiger I to an Italian platoon… but not in a tournament!
Perhaps in a later article I will cover my findings about decorated Italian tankers of WWII who used Italian-made tanks, but for the moment, enjoy using the entry below for Carpaneto’s Tiger I, which is in addition to the tank ace entries found in the Tank War supplement and follows the same rules.
Alfredo Carpaneto ￼
Unteroffizier Alfredo Carpaneto was born in Rome in 1915, and after studying in Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts and becoming a promising painter, he enrolled in the Wehrmacht in 1939, aged 24.
His early military career was in the panzer forces, where he took part in the campaign of France and then Operation Barbarossa. He continued to fight on the Eastern Front and then, in May 1943 he was transferred to 2nd Company of the Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502. Finally, in March 1944 he was given command of a Tiger I tank.
The young commander distinguished himself, accumulating an impressive score of over 50 Soviet tanks destroyed. Of particular note is an episode that happened on 10th of October 1944 when Carpaneto’s tank was left alone facing thirteen Soviet tanks (mostly T-34s) that were trying to encircle Panzer Grenadier Regiment 209 – the Italian panzer commander engaged the enemy and proceeded to destroy four T-34s with his first six shots, causing the remaining nine to beat a hasty retreat.
For his actions on the Eastern front, Alfredo Carpaneto was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class, the Panzer Badge and the Ostfront medal, as well as a posthumous Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (see below).
Carpaneto’s Tiger I
Weapons: One turret-mounted super-heavy anti-tank gun with coaxial MMG and forward facing hull-mounted MMG.
Damage Value: 10+ (heavy tank)
Ostfront veteran: When firing his main gun against Soviet armoured vehicles, Carpaneto’s Tiger benefits from a +1 modifier to its damage rolls – effectively counting as Pen +8 rather than +7.
On 26th January 1945, Carpaneto’s Tiger, now attached to Kampfgruppe Rinke, is defending a village in East Prussia from a Soviet armoured assault. Carpaneto knocks out six Soviet tanks before starting to fall back towards the village, when his panzer bogs down in a frozen pond it was crossing. Carpaneto and his crew continue to fight from their stationary vehicle and destroy another two enemy tanks before the Soviets retreat.
Later the very same day, having freed the tank, Carpaneto is in action again in support of Fusilier Battaillon 58 when his Tiger is hit and destroyed by anti-tank fire, and Carpaneto is killed. A few months later, his unit commander puts Alfredo Carpaneto’s name forward for a posthumous Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, which is then awarded on the 28th March 1945.