The 10. Army was formed in Libya on 15 October 1939. Spearheading the Italian invasion of Egypt in September 1940, the 10. Army made a cautious 60-mile advance to Sidi Barrani where it halted and established a series of fortified camps. In December 1940, the British launched Operation Compass, a highly successful counterattack that recaptured Sidi Barrani, Buq Buq and Sollum and forced the retreat of the 10. Army into Libya. Continuing to pursue the Italian army, the British pushed into Libya capturing Bardia and Tobruk along the way. On 5 February 1941, a British combined arms task force from the 7th Armored Division blocked the retreat of the 10th Army at Beda Fomm where it was destroyed in detail over the next two days. The remnants of the army surrendered on 7 February 1941. General Tellera, the army commander, was killed in action at Beda Fomm while 25,000 troops, 216 guns, 100 tanks and 1,500 vehicles of his command fell into British hands.

Commanders

Generale designato d’Armata Francesco Guidi (1939 – 1940)
Generale di Corpo d’Armata Mario Berti (1940 – 1940)
Generale designato d’Armata Italo Gariboldi (1940 – 1940)
Generale di Corpo d’Armata Mario Berti (1940 – 1940)
Generale di Corpo d’Armata Guiseppe Tellera (1940 – 7 Feb 1941) (KIA) (1)

In fiction

The 1979 board game "Beda Fomm: Wavell in the Western Desert, 1941" designed by Frank Chadwick and published by GDW (Game Designers’ Workshop) simulates the attempt of the Italian 10th Army to break through the British blocking force at Beda Fomm in Cyrenaica, Libya.

Footnotes

1. Giuseppe Tellera was killed in a last desperate bayonet charge in Beda Fomm on 7 February 1941.

Sources used

Jon Latimer – Osprey Campaign 73: Operation Compass 1940 – Wavell’s Whirlwind Offensive
Kenneth Macksey – Beda Fomm: The Classic Victory
W. Victor Madeja – Italian Army Order of Battle: 1940-1944 – Between Fascism and Monarchy
Rex Trye – Mussolini’s Afrika Korps: The Italian Army in North Africa, 1940-1943

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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