The Italian Reparti d'Assalto (Assault Units) of World War I (1914-1918) were a truly elite force. The word ardito (pl. arditi) means bold or daring, and, as their name suggests, their role required courage, as well as specific combat skills. This book takes a close look at the origins, training, dress, weaponry and equipment of the Arditi, and examines the daily life, motivation and combat role of these elite soldiers. The legacy of their identity is also examined, in the presence of D'Annunzio and rise to power of Mussolini in post-war Italy.
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Table of Contents
Introduction · The origins and deployment of the Arditi · Chronology of the war on the Italian Front · Recruitment · Training · Clothing and equipment · Uniforms and insignia · Equipment · Weapons · Individual weapons · Crew-served weapons · Daily life · The Ardito in battle · Tactics · The experience of battle · Combat organisation · At war's end · Demobilisation · Aftermath: the Ardito legacy in the 1920s · Museums, collections and associations · Glossary · Bibliography · Colour plate commentary · Index