The popular perception in the western media is that Italian soldiers during the Second World War were best at one thing; Turning around and fleeing. Or raising their hands as soon they spotted an Allied soldier. This is untrue. Italians proved their bravery when they fought well during the Great War. In the next world war, they had no motivation to fight. Mussolini was no Pied Piper of Hamelin like Hitler.
And unlike the Germans, the Italians were no children willing to jump off a cliff. Going around destroying everything and bullying others just because a vengeful man says so is no bravery. Look at what happened to the Germans in Italians were wiser, smarter and more down-to-earth, just the kind of people this Earth needs.
An Italian soldier bids farewell to his mother before heading to Abyssinia in It is enough to go back to World War I. They also fought on the right side. Not bad, not bad at all. The book is due to be published by Yale University Press in However, when Dr Goeschel started his research in a different picture of both Mussolini and the Italian war effort emerged.
He travelled up to four times a year to Italy's Central State Archives in Rome to view the official records not normally seen by the public. Jokes about Italy's lack of military prowess and faint-heated approach to combat also did not stand up to scrutiny when he examined records of campaigns such as North Africa, Greece, the Balkans and Russia.
He said: 'It was a very famous assertion that the Germans had to bail out the Italians out. Italy had zero oil production, no aircraft carriers, tanks with fragile armour, artillery mainly of WW1 vintage, a navy which could not target shipping at night no radarand inferior aircraft.
Italy bombed British outposts in the Mediterranean especially Malta. Hitler persuaded Mussolini to postpone the invasion of Malta operation Hercules until victory was achieved in North Africa.
At El Alamein 30, Italians surrendered to a numerically superior British force but it is important to note the battle casualties sustained : 25, Italo-German and 13, British dead or wounded. Such casualties proved that Italians did not surrender early in battle. The Folgore, Brescia and Pavia divisions were annihilated as they defended and shed blood heroically for 2 weeks.
The uneasy relationship with the Germans was highlighted at El Alamein as they abandoned the Italians, having taken all available transport to retreat. Italian units demonstrated their fighting ability in the Russian campaign.
History's last successful cavalry charge was by the cream of Italy - the Savoy Cavalry regiment. The Italian elite Alpini mountain troops saved themselves plus many German divisions from destruction and capture during the Soviet offensive of Survival against all odds shows the real character of a heroic soldier. The Italian 8th Army trapped in the Russian encirclement of the Don who managed to avoid death or capture by breaking free all proved themselves to be heroes of the highest level.
The brave men of the 8th Army marched on foot without winter clothing and boots in the dead of winter. Night and day thousands died not only from Russian bombs, rockets, and bullets but also from the terrible cold. Only the fittest and luckiest survived what became a 28 day ordeal out of the encirclement of the Don. In conclusion there is much evidence to support the bravery of Italian Soldiers in WWII and no proper justification to portray them as cowards.
Paratroopers Brigade "Folgore"
It is insulting to the Italian soldiers who fought bravely and more so to the many thousands of them who died in battle. In recent conflicts the Italian soldier now has an excellent reputation where hearts and minds have been won over.
However Mussolini desperately wanted to participate in the redrawing of the map of Europe and so overlooked the state of Italy's military-industrial complex in order to feed his ego. Italian industrial power was a mere fraction of that of Britain, France or Germany and was not ready to produce the guns, ammunition, artillery, tanks, and trucks on the scale that was needed. At the beginning of the Italian entry into the war, its forces were equipped more in line with the First World War rather than the Second.Patton: Cobra to the Rhine.
The 82nd Airborne Division became the first airborne division on 15 August Bradley as the 82nd Division. They began their training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana.
In April the first paratroopers deployed to North Africa for the invasion of Italy. Under the command of Major General Matthew B.
Ridgway, the 82nd Airborne's first assault jumps were into Sicily on 9 July and Salerno on 13 September The Sicily jump, made by the th PIR, was the first regiment sized combat paratroop jump ever performed by the US military.
The rest of the Division had been transferred to England in November to prepare for the Normandy Invasion. Many units were scattered across Normandy, missing their drop zones. It took days but units started coming together as the Allies secured the beachhead and began the Liberation of Europe. In September, the 82nd also participated in Operation Market Garden, an ambitious drop in Holland calculated to ending the war quickly.
The Division met their objectives at Nijmegen and Son, but the Bridge at Arnhem was not taken by other Allied Forces and the initiative lost.
On 16, December the Germans launched their surprise offensive in the Ardennes Forest. This became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Within two days the 82d was in the fight on the northern side of the Bulge. Following the closing of the Bulge and the Allies returning to the offensive, the Division helped secure the Ruhr and had crossed the Elbe River.
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Dilley This short history will cover those combat military groups, squadrons, battalions, regiments, divisions, and the one corps of U. It will not include Army Air Corps units such as the Air Commandos or Troop Carrier units, or organizations that had American individuals in them who were airborne qualified and even made operational jumps, such as Army and Marine Corps members of the Office of Strategic Services including those with Jedburgh teams and Operations Groupsor the multi-service, multi-national Special Allied Airborne Reconnaissance Force which initially included women who had previously jumped into denied areas.
Bibliography Books: Adleman, Robert H. Martin Press; Burhans, Robert D.Atala whistle b
Yarborough; Paratrooper! The Saga of the U.
Italian Paratroopers in Operation Herring
Recent Forum Topics. Any Hearts of Iron players? FT17 in German service. Hey Phil a casualty question for you. Bs shooting it out with Japanese Fighters. New film archive of Iwo Jima made public. T The Movie. Basic Parachutist Insignia, as worn by those who successfully complete airborne training.
Photo by the author. Glider badge Photo by the author. Navy and Marine Corps jump wings Photo by the author.Vince Tassone. March, Although the Italians had dropped supplies and troops to isolated units during the battle of Caporettothe institutionalization of airborne infantry did not occur until sometime afterwards and mainly due to Fascist initiatives to showcase these units as a modern means of warfare. The first paratroop units were organized in Libya in under the direction of Italo Balbo and consisted of two battalions totaling approximately Libyan Ascaris and 50 Italian officers.
A third Libyan battalion was raised in composed mainly of Italian colonials and was assimilated with the other two existing units into the Tonini Modile Group. The Tonini Mobile Group fought at Derna in January under 10 th Army command and delayed the Australian advance however was eventually destroyed at Beda Fomm in subsequent fighting. Of Libyia Italians. Interestingly, Italo Balbo looking for an opportunity to strike a decisive victory against the British in considered organizing two paratroop divisions in a far reaching attack into Egypt.
Although training was conducted under the control of the Regia Aeronautica, the tactical deployment of paratroops rested with the Regio Esercito. Three more battalions of paratroops were raised in July including a battalion of Carabinieri which participated in the Crusader battles of November This unit covered the flank of the Ariete armored division, however it was eventually overcome in mountain fighting at Jebel Akhbar during the Italo -German retreat at the end of Several other deployments of paratroop units were considered by the Italian High Command which included air drops on the Corinth Canalisland drops during the attack on Greece as well as air drops in A.
I East Africa.
The planned drop in East Africa was noteworthy in that SM. Paratroop drops were successfully completed during the invasion of Greece at Zante and Cefalonia in April however did not encounter resistance. The division was composed of two infantry and one artillery regiment plus the 8 th Guastatori Assault Engineers Battalion. The division was named the Folgore Lightning on June The total number of men of the Folgore at El Alamein was approximately 3, The division was then reorganized in several battle groups called " raggruppamenti " for the Alam Halfa battle as follows:.
During the Alam Halfa battle the Folgore covered the left flank of 90 th Light division, the Ramcke brigade along with some units of the Brescia division.
During Operation Beresford the Comosso battalions beat off an attack from New Zealand infantry on the nights of September and captured Brigadier G. Clifton with many vehicles and weapons. The Folgore were again attacked on September 30 by the newly arrived st British Infantry brigade supported by tanks of the Scots Greys and preceded by a heavy artillery barrage. The British infantry were repulsed with heavy losses and the Folgore inflicted casualties on the British while only losing 45 paratroops.
On October 23,Montgomery launched his main offensive and the Folgore was again attacked, this time by the 44 th Infantry and the 7 th Armored Division. On 25 October the British 4 th Armored brigade and the 69 th Infantry brigade struck the Folgore again at Dier Munassib but lost 22 tanks.
More attacks followed however this time with the 50 th Infantry and 7 th Armored Division which failed with considerable losses once again. The Folgore reported the destruction of British tanks. These defeats compelled Montgomery to switch his main attack from the "Southern Soft Spot" to his North flank.
These new operations were called Supercharge and thus ended operations against the Folgore until a general retreat was called by Rommel on 2 November, Without transport the Folgore were doomed and final resistance ended on the 5 th when the Folgore were surrounded.
Only few hundred survived to join the rebuilt th Folgore battalion under Cpt. Lombardini which fought again in Tunisia as an organic unit of the Trieste motorized division. The few remaining survivors returned to Italy to join the th paratroop regiment belonging to the second Italian Paratroop Division known as the Nembo Storm Clouds th Division.
As in the case of Folgore, the Nembo was employed primarily as an Infantry Division. The Nembo fought against the British 8 th Army advancing through Calabria in A third paratroop division was also proposed named the Ciclone Cyclone and 4 battalions were formed in August Fiat CR42 Falco, the last biplane fighter in world.
Though a robust, clean and very attractive design and outstandingly maneuverable, it lacked almost all other fighter qualities. Despite this it went into large-scale production 1, for the Regia Aeronautica, Belgium, Hungary and Sweden. On 24 January the Italian Royal Air Force Regia Aeronautica was formed as an independent arm, separate from the air services of the Army and Navy and in the establishment of an Air Ministry put the new service on a secure footing.
During the inter-war years the Italian Air Force was held in high regard: Italian planes were technically advanced, and her Air Force commanders, who included the aerial theorist Giulio Douhetwere considered to be amongst the most progressive and imaginative in Europe.
And yet by the Air Force was in decline. Following the declaration of war on 10 Junethe Italian Air Force engaged with its French and British counterparts throughout the Mediterranean. During October Mussolini despatched an expeditionary force to Belgium in order to take part in the Battle of Britain. But once pitted against RAF Fighter Command on its home ground, the mixed Italian fighter and bomber force was badly mauled and was retired to defensive duties. The sides were fairly evenly matched, but the Italian Air Force was worn down in a battle of attrition.
Italian pilots fought on to the bitter end until the last aircraft was shot down on 24 October While the Air Force was an independent service within the Italian armed forces there was an Army air force of 37 squadrons which was attached directly to the ground forces as well as a Navy air service of 20 squadrons of sea-planes and flying-boats and ten squadrons of transport aircraft. There were 12, pilots and aircrew, 6, non-flying officers andother ranks in the Air Force in The basic tactical unit was the squadron squadriglia which had a strength of around nine aircraft with another three in reserve, although bomber squadrons usually had only six front-line planes.
Two or three squadrons formed an air group gruppo and two or more groups would form a wing or stormo, the basic tactical formation within the Air Force. Two or three wings would on occasion combine to form an air brigade which in turn with another brigade would form an air division.
The largest formation in the Air Force was the air fleet which consisted of two or more homogeneous fighter or bomber air divisions. The forces within the Territorial Air Zones based in Italy were organized as follows:.
The Italian Air Force begun the war with nearly 2, operational aircraft ready for combat and with almost the same number in reserve. Mussolini hoped that the Regia Navale would play an important part in any Mediterranean war. He saw control of the sea Mare Nostrum — Our Sea — was how he described the Mediterranean as an essential prerequisite for expanding his empire into Nice, Corsica, Tunis and the Balkans.Flight dream islam
Italian naval building accelerated during his tenure of power, and by Junethe Navy comprised:. A heavy cruiser of the Zara class is firing the guns.Cz motorcycles for sale
The surrender of the French fleet in June seemed to offer a great opportunity to the Regia Navale; one of its main rivals had been removed at a stroke. But although the main Italian vessels were modern, fast and well-armed, and in spite of graceful lines had considerable armored protection, the Italian vessels were overborne by the might of the British Royal Navy. Early defeats at Taranto and Matapan, although not crippling in themselves, confirmed British superiority; the absence of both radar and a proper fleet air arm were considerable handicaps ; and a shortage of fuel proved a progressively crippling brake on operations.
Only the small attack craft lived up to expectations, in many brave and successful actions. From June to Septemberthe Navy lost one battleship and 13 cruisers, out of total losses of ships of all types, and 24, men.
Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet was Admiral Campioni. Departments of the Ministry of Marine and the Naval Staff undertook the customary responsibilities of the admiralty, with one exception. The Ministry of Marine submitted design requirements to a separate department which catered for the needs of all three services.
The Navy was organized in two squadrons with torpedo-boats, submarines, training and reserves forming four main sub-divisions. When Italy entered the war on 10 Junethe Regia Navale was disposed as follows:. The Taranto Commandwhich included Messina and Augusta, comprised: 2 battleships in divisions of 2 to 4 vessels, each commanded by a divisional rear-admiral. Several divisions were grouped together under a vice-admiral: 44 destroyers and torpedo-boats in divisions of 2 to 4 vessels; 22 submarines; 16 motor torpedo-boats in flotillas; 2 mine layers; 4 escort and patrol boats.Beyond their goal of crushing Italian Axis forces, the Allies wanted to draw German troops away from the main Allied advance through Nazi-occupied northern Europe to Berlin, Germany.
The Italian Campaign, from July 10,to May 2,was a series of Allied beach landings and land battles from Sicily and southern Italy up the Italian mainland toward Nazi Germany. The campaign seared into history the names of such places as Anzio, Salerno and Monte Cassino, as Allied armies severed the German-Italian Axis in fierce fighting and threatened the southern flank of Germany.
The Allied advance through Italy produced some of the most bitter, costly fighting of the war, much of it in treacherous mountain terrain. The decision to attack Italy was not made without debate. Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had long been clamoring for the other Allies to relieve his armies fighting Germany in the east by undertaking an Allied invasion from the west, and American commanders were reluctant to divert any resources away from Normandy.
But Italy lay just across the Mediterranean from the North African theater where plentiful Allied forces could be redeployed.
Churchill argued that as long as the Allies maintained the initiative, these troops could battle their way up the Italian peninsula relatively quickly and benefit the Normandy operation in the process. His view prevailed. Jarred by the Allied invasion, the Italian fascist regime fell rapidly into disrepute, as the Allies had hoped. On August 17,Allied forces marched on the major port city of Messina, expecting to fight one final battle; instead, they discovered someGerman and Italian troops had managed to escape to the Italian mainland.
Meanwhile, the German command deployed 16 new divisions on the Italian mainland. He instructed his army group commander in southern Italy, Field Marshal Albert Kesselringto make the Allies pay dearly for every inch of their advance. On September 9,when American troops landed on the Italian coast at Salerno, the German army, which was rapidly taking over the defense of Italy, nearly drove them back into the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Germans entrenched in the high Apennine Mountains at Cassino brought the mobile Allied army to a grinding halt for four months.
Under the resourceful Commander Kesselring, German forces set up several defensive lines across the narrow Italian peninsula. The southernmost of these, the Gustav Line, ran just behind Monte Cassino. Despite Allied air superiority across Italy, it took Allied soldiers four grueling battles over several months to break through heavily fortified Monte Cassino and the Gustav Line. However, in a controversial and little-understood decision, U. General Mark Clark contravened his orders by moving northwest to capture Rome instead of cutting off the German soldiers retreating from Cassino.
His decision allowed a sizable German army to escape and possibly squandered an opportunity for a quick resolution of the grinding Italian Campaign.The Italian Army had suffered heavy losses for only limited gains during World War One and in common with the other combatant nations the Army was drastically reduced in size and influence following the armistice.
But the development of the fascist corporate state in the s saw a revival of the influence of the Army. The new leader of Italy, Benito Mussolinicombined an authoritarian approach to domestic affairs with an aggressive foreign policy.
In Italy invaded Ethiopia, and in April took over Albania. The population was apathetic, there was a severe shortage of strategic raw materials and the Army, woefully lacking in the necessary arms and equipment, was insufficiently prepared in the techniques of modern warfare.
The Army suffered over 4, casualties in this brief campaign the French lost just over men. A further military setback occurred a few months later when an Italian Army of aroundmen invaded Greece from the new territorial acquisition of Albania.
Much to the surprise of the Italians and, indeed, to the world in general, the Greek Army repulsed the poorly organized invasion. East Africa was the scene of further disasters. The artillery was antiquated and reserves of equipment, supplies and ammunition were so low that the Viceroy and Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Aosta estimated that in the event of war he could only hold out for six or seven months at the most.
On 19 January the first British forces invaded Ethiopia and within the space of four months the Duke of Aosta was forced to surrender nearly all his troops to the victorious British. The arrival of the Africa Corps in February prevented a total collapse but after that the Italian Army played a subordinate role in Axis operations. In over 2, Italians were under arms, the 73 divisions of the Army being organized as follows:.
In addition, there were frontier guard troop s whose number was estimated to be equivalent to nine divisions. Although an impressive total on paper, few of the divisions had their full complement of men and equipment.
While the division was the basic formation in the Italian Army a number of troops were organized at corps or army level essentially to act as higher formation reserve units. From 1 March an MVSN Legion of two battalions was attached to most of the divisions, partly to increase the manpower of the division but also to include fascist troops within regular army formations.
Italian Camel-mounted troops for patrol work in the Libyan desert. As an imperial power Italy employed colonial troops in a number of capacities.ITALIAN WARFIGHTERS IN WW2
The best troops for desert warfare were the Sahariani who were completely mechanized, having their own complement of motorized artillery. The two infantry divisions were destroyed in the fighting of and were only partially reformed, existing only as administrative depots. The cavalry was organized in groups of squadrons consisting of a headquarters and four squadrons of men each.Epekto ng internet sa kabataan
The motorised saharan troops Compagnia Sahariana consisted of six companies organized as follows:. The strength of the company comprised men, 20 motor transport vehicles, eight heavy machine guns and two 47mm anti-tank guns. Camel-mounted troops were employed by the Saharan Command for desert patrol purposes and consisted of two companies, each of men, four machine guns and 12 automatic rifles.
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