This volume by leading Italian historian, Pier Paolo Battistelli, looks at the elite and special forces units of the Italian Army during World War II (1939-1945). This includes a vast array of troop types including paratroopers, assault engineers, sea-landing and swimmer units, long-range recce and ski units, and even hand-picked Fascist 'Mussolini' units. It also delves into the specialist tank and armoured units that were created to emulate the German armoured units. The Italian units discussed here enjoyed mixed success but the volume does draw attention to the incredible hard fighting done by some, particularly in the deserts of North Africa and the frozen wastelands of Russia. Illustrated with rare archival photographs and specially commissioned artwork this is a fascinating insight into a little-studied aspect of Axis forces.
Read an extract of Italian Army Elite Units & Special Forces 1940–43
Table of Contents
Introduction /Elite units – armour: tank and mechanized units of 'Centauro', 'Ariete' & 'Littorio' divisions, and 'Trento' and 'Trieste' motorized divisions – scout groups, armoured scout units /Paratroopers: experimental units – 'Folgore' and 'Nemdo' divisions /Assault engineers: 31st and 32nd 'Guastatori' battalions /Special Units: 'Monte Cervino' ski battalions – X Arditi regiment: paratrooper, swimmer and LRRP companies – 'Red Arrows' Group: Arab, Indian turncoat, and Italian assault volunteer battalions /Fascist 'Mussolini' units: sea-landing battalions, tank units