Luigi Arbib Pascucci
Second Lieutenant Luigi Arbib Pascucci was an Italian tank commander during World War Two. He fought with the Ariete Tank Division in North Africa. Not much is known about his early life, but his most famous actions took place in the Desert War of North Africa. Luigi fought in the Second Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

, where he sacrificed his life to save his comrades in an abrupt tank battle.

World War II

On the 4th November 1942 the armoured company that Luigi was leading took part in the fighting against the British 22nd Armoured Brigade near Bir El Abd, just west of El Alamein
El Alamein
El Alamein is a town in the northern Matrouh Governorate of Egypt. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, it lies west of Alexandria and northwest of Cairo. As of 2007, it has a local population of 7,397 inhabitants.- Climate :...

. The next day his company was ordered to hold the left flank of the regiment against the British 8th Armoured Brigade during the Ariete Division’s retreat to Fuka. Luigi was outnumbered against the British, and many of his company’s tanks were deemed obsolete against the British armour. Nevertheless, he succeeded in holding the flank long enough to allow the rest of the division to retreat safely. However, Luigi’s success in allowing the rest of the division to retreat safely was paradoxical for the young Second Lieutenant. Luigi’s company was inevitably cut off from the main body of the Italian force. He still needed time to regroup; Luigi decided that a last – ditch counter – attack would improve the situation. He ignored enemy fire and led the remaining eleven M13/40 tanks of his company into an offensive attack directly at the centre of the British armoured Brigade. The counter - attack broke the British line, and sent the 8th Armoured tanks into disarray. Luigi then continued to pursue the fleeing British tanks.Luigi was killed by the British during a running tank battle. He was found dead in his knocked - out tank after the battle. In recognition of his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d'oro al valor militare (Gold Medal of Military Valor), Italy’s highest award for bravery. Luigi's tank was a Fiat M13/40
Fiat M13/40
The Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 was an Italian medium tank , designed to replace the Fiat L3, the Fiat L6/40 and the Fiat M11/39 in the Italian Army at the start of World War II...

; a medium Italian tank, this tank was numerous in the desert war, but it was not very reliable. The tank's armour was very weak. It had only 30mm of steel plated armour at the front and only 42mm on the turret. The tank had a crew of four: One driver and machine - gunner, a radio operator, a gunner and a commander. The tank turret was a 47mm gun, which could penertrate 45mm of armour at 500 metres.
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