A complete illustrated study of the varied range of Italian colonial units who served in East and North Africa.
Italy only unified as a nation in 1870 and was late, and therefore impatient, in the 'scramble' for Africa. An initial foothold in Eritrea/Somalia, north-east Africa, led to a disastrous defeat in Ethiopia in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa, but Italian Somaliland was later consolidated on the west coast of the Red Sea. During 1911, Italy also invaded Libya, securing the coast, however fighting continued throughout World War I and only ended in the early 1930s. A number of native colonial regiments were raised in both Italian East Africa and Libya (in the latter, even a pioneering paratroop unit), of which most fought sturdily for Italy against the Allies in 1940–43. These units had particularly colourful uniforms and insignia. Another small guard unit also served in the Italian concession at Tientsin, China in 1902–1943. After World War II, a remnant unit served on in Somalia under a UN mandate until 1960.
This intriguing volume describes and illustrates the dress and equipment used by these forces and details how they were deployed to maintain a colonial empire for over half a century.
Read an extract of Italian Colonial Troops 1882–1960
Table of Contents
Contents BACKGROUND Eritrea and Somalia – Libya Colonisation under Fascism – World War II CHRONOLOGY North-East Africa – Libya – World War I – Interwar – Ethiopia (former Abyssinia) – World War II and after THE UNITS: ERITREA 1885–95: Italian and native infantry – Supporting arms 1895–1935: Native infantry – Supporting arms – Minor units – Specialist units – Paramilitaries and auxiliaries 1935–36: Maximum expansion – Eritrean Army Corps SOMALIA Native infantry – Supporting arms – Paramilitaries and auxiliaries – Oltregiuba UN Trust Territory of Somalia, 1949–60 ITALIAN EAST AFRICA, 1936–41 Unification of forces – Paramilitaries and auxiliaries LIBYA Infantry – Supporting arms: cavalry – Camel troops – Artillery and engineers – Minor units – Paramilitaries and auxiliaries SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY PLATE COMMENTARIES INDEX