In the late 19th century, the new nation-state of Italy was eager to join her European neighbours in creating an international empire, and her eyes turned toward Africa as a source of potential colonies. Securing a foothold in Eritrea on the Red Sea coast, the Italians quickly became embroiled in a shooting war with the Ethiopians. The war proved a disaster for the Italians, who suffered three major defeats against the forces of Emperor Menelik's army, including a horrendous massacre at Adowa, the largest defeat of a colonial army prior to World War I. This book looks at the campaign with an emphasis on the colourful uniforms worn by both sides.
Read an extract of Armies of the Adowa Campaign 1896