Italian Military Victories

You know how we always make jokes about French military victories (or the lack thereof)? Why don’t we do that with the Italians? I mean, their army lost to Ethiopians armed with bows and arrows while the French were conquering half of the African continent, and at least the French had some spectacular military successes around the time of the French Revolution and Napoleon (before they lost). The Italians haven’t had any decent victories since the glory days of the Roman Empire. And remember who they got conquered by? The French.

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30 responses to “Italian Military Victories

  1. Idiot! The Italians NEVER lost to the Ethiopians….they may have gotten roughed up during some battles but NEVER lost! Worry about the US getting their asses kicked in Korea, Viet Nam, and now in a quagmire in Afghanistan and Iraq! Don’t judge by recent history or you will be judged my the same measuring stick! Remember Italy (back to the Roman Empire) and its people won many wars in its long history….and if the US is to be proud and brag of its past victories (200 years) so should Italy and France be allowed to brag about its past and not judged by a 70 year measuring stick!!

    • Ben, redirecting your anger at the U.S. does not make it any less true that the Italians, on the whole, suck at fighting. As for the U.S., why don’t you ask the North Koreans, Afghans and Iraquis if they think they kicked our ass. By any quantitative measurement the asnwer is a resounding “No”. As for Vietnam, the U.S. military never lost a major battle. South Vietnam was even able to survive years after the last of our combat troops pulled out. It was the U.S. civilian leadership (if you can call it that) that should take blame for any failures in Vietnam.

      • Napoleon was italian. The Romans were italians and they conquered huge amounts of land. Also, italians military losses were mostly in ww2. Before that they performed admirably. They beat the turkish army out of libya and tied down millions of Austrio hungarian troops during ww2. The ethiopia that beat them weren’t just using bows and arrows. They had guns sold to them by the french and their are,you was trained by a Russian general. They also outnumbered the italian army. Had italy simply sent more soldiers they would have eventually won. The italian military loss was similar to the british losing to the Zulu. And rome wasn’t taken down by the french, they were taken down by the Germans. And the Germans only won because the roman Empire was collapsing and to large. French people don’t sucked at war either. You can’t make these generalizations.

      • Dear Mike,

        Sincerely, I don’t see the King Sum Jong II very much traumatized by U.S. attack.
        I think that U.S. basically don’t understand that winning battles is not about fire works and tv.

        This sloppy attitude is really typical of Anglo-Saxon world. They are simply unable to finish things they start.

        It’s like get your girlfriend horny and them let them fuck by another guy.

        Not very clever.
        And don’t piss me out if your son looks like some kind of Alì or what… your choice…

        Regards,

  2. Italy is a young country, united in 1861; however Italies Victories are many.
    First of all you talk about Ethiopia….only a few years earlier the English were shooting Zulus that didnt even have bows and arrows. Italy beat the Turks in 1911……..the English and Australians didnt!
    Italy alone, caused the end of the WW1 by defeating the Germans and Austro/Hungarian Empire on the Eastern front, look up ARDITI………..the last successful cavalry charge of the 20th century was Italian, it happened on the Russian front in 1942 and it was by the Italian Savoy cavalry.
    Look these events up.
    -the courageous defence of Keren (east africa) in march 1941
    -the two battles of Bir el Gobi (north africa) during operation Crusader 1941
    -the conquest of Stalino (Ukraine) october 1941
    -the Christmas battle in Ukraine 1941
    -the role of Italian motorized forces at Gazala june 1942
    -Serafimovich and Isbuscenky (ukraine) july-august 1942
    -Cavaleria Savoia:
    -the fight against all odds of Folgore at Alamein November 1942
    -Idem for Julia at Nowo Kalitwa december 1942
    -Mareth line and Takrouna (Tunisia) april 1943
    -Second Battle of Sirte
    – The charge of Nicolajevka
    – The battle of Giarabub 21 March 1941 – 23rd M 1941
    -WW1 Mount Pasubio
    -WW2 Ruweisat Ridge
    – Folgore X Parachute Battalion in Operation Beresford inflicted more than 10 times its own losses on the British 131st Infantry Brigade.
    Considering their poor equipment Italy did better than any one.

  3. Italian tanks can move 60 kilometers in a week, but if they spot English troops they can retreat 60 kilometers a day!

  4. Captain Katsura

    Italians never lost to Ethiopians? What about battle of Adua in 1896? They got beaten up so much that they didn’t attempt to try again for 39 years.

    Italians broke through the southern front only because Austrians lost will to wage war. When Austrians got a right mindset, they were able to fend off far more numerous Italians. They got German help mainly because Brusilov’s offense wore down their army significantly. But Italians got help from Americans.

    Germans during WW2 had to bail out Italians many times, in Greece and Africa. Greeks, theoretically less powerful nation that time than Italians, thouroughly kicked Italian butts and were marching into Albania.

    And the quote of an expert of warfare on Italians:

    “Certainly they are no good at war,” Erwin Rommel said. “But one must not judge everyone in the world only by his qualities as a soldier: otherwise we should have no civilisation.”

    So Italians maybe suck at war, but they have other strong points. Like art and science.

  5. “Italy alone, caused the end of the WW1 by defeating the Germans and Austro/Hungarian Empire on the Eastern front, look up”

    Italy didnt beat the germans and austrians on the eatern front also the italians didnt even fight on the eastern front that was the russians…….. the Austrians had their defenses undermaned and italy still nevr broke through only saved by usa
    dont even get me started on eithopia in the 1860’s
    Your war in Eithopia in 1930’s only won because you used genocieds and scorched earth………..ONLY TO LOSE TO EITHOPIA IN 1942 😀

    Although you guys did conquer France in the bc/ad era OH WAIT THOSE WERE ROMANS NOT ITALIANS WHICH HAVE NO BACKGROUND CONNECTION TO EACHOTHER

    • Bullshit. The Romans were the ancestors of modern day italians. There has been mixing over the years, but italians are still the closest ethnically to the italians.

      Italy lost to ethiopia because they sent in about five percent of their soldiers and they were pushed out by british soldiers in 1941.

      Italians broke back of the Austria hungarian army at vittore venetto.

  6. The Italian army did suck in certainly the first 100 years of the country’s modern existance. One should never question the individual Italian’s bravery. When trained and properly led, like in the U. S. Army, they can proudly hold their heads up high. Eg. Basalone, Meli and recently Guinta, all Medal of Honor winners. There was even a MOH winner in the American Civil war. The Italian army in WW2 was badly led and equiped and the soldiers were fighting for a cause that the majority of the people had no interest or heart in it.l

  7. wow some on has done real research im have a 3 year degree in history and i can tell you this mans right (france has been in 169 battles from franks to french only 69 battles were lost better track record then british) for italy a long line of defeats plagues there past from 100 BC to 2000 they have lost almost every war(or battle) to almost every nation in europe including the swiss and french many times.

  8. yes an Italian tank can move 60 kilometers in a day can your crappy british tanks even go 40?

  9. -Rommel was embarrassed ! ;
    Because besides the Allies seeing all his communications with the Enigma, while Italian codes remained safe.
    The Italians stood their ground at El Alamein in North Africa and held off the Allies so that the German could retreat in safely.
    The last Axis troops in North Africa to surrender where Italian, days after the last German, and doing so only when ordered by mainland Italian headquarters.
    A real Enigma, no wonder the Allies were always a step ahead, thanks Rommel.
    It takes a lot more guts to fight poorly supplied and equipped !

    -The Italian special forces “Comsubin” of WWII heritage Decima-MAS. History’s original and first special forces.
    Credited for sinking three battleships (two British).
    The only special forces ever ordered to be disbanded (by Allies).
    Not allowed to be reconstituted until the cold war and creation of Nato, at the request of the US.
    Originally trained and supplied US Navy Seals and Israeli Shayetet 13.

    -In Ethiopia in 1896;
    80% of the Ethiopian army, with 5 to 1 numerical superiority, were armed with modern arms and cannon, supplied by the British.
    The Italian General while planning for the disruption of Ethiopian supply lines, and against his vehement objections, was ordered by impatient politicians back home to immediately attack.

    -The Romans;
    To all the genius historians out there, the name Romans, was attached to the lead city state of the Latin league and the other allied Italian cities.
    The armies of the Roman republic where drawn from the Italian peninsular. For these reasons Italy held a privileged position in the Roman Empire.
    I dare say in their history Italians probably kicked more ass than the rest of the west put together.

    -One last note without the Romans/Italians there would be no “WEST” to even speak of (we would all be speaking Farsi).
    And no assholes to make the prior comments (this is good).
    The West stands on their shoulders !
    If they (Romans) only knew all the morons they would be supporting ?

  10. -Rommel was embarrassed ! ;
    Because besides the Allies seeing all his communications made with the Enigma machine, while Italian codes remained safe,
    The Italians stood their ground at El Alamein in North Africa and held off the Allies so that the Germans could retreat in safety.
    The last Axis troops in North Africa to surrender where Italian, days after the last Germans, and doing so only when ordered by mainland Italian headquarters.
    A real Enigma, no wonder the Allies were always a step ahead, thanks Rommel.
    It takes a lot more guts to fight poorly supplied and equipped !

    -The Italian special forces “Comsubin” of WWII heritage Decima-MAS.
    History’s original and first special forces.
    Credited for sinking three battleships (two British).
    The only special forces ever ordered to be disbanded (by Allies).
    Not allowed to be reconstituted, until the cold war and creation of Nato, at the request of the US.
    Originally trained and supplied US Navy Seals and Israeli Shayetet 13.

    -In Ethiopia in 1896;
    80% of the Ethiopian army, with 5 to 1 numerical superiority, were armed with modern arms and cannon, supplied by the British who also put out the “bows and arrows” propaganda.
    The Italian General while planning for the disruption of Ethiopian supply lines, and against his vehement objections, was ordered by impatient politicians back home to immediately attack.

    -The Romans;
    To all the genius historians out there, the name Romans, was attached to the lead city state of the Latin league and the other allied Italian cities.
    The armies of the Roman republic where drawn from the Italian peninsular. For these reasons Italy held a privileged position in the Roman Empire.
    I dare say in their history Italians probably kicked more as s than the rest of the west put together.

    -News Flash; Napoleon Bonaparte was Italian ! (both by birth and blood)

    -One last note without the Romans/Italians there would be no “WEST” to even speak of (we would all be speaking Farsi).
    And no as s holes to make the prior comments (this is good).
    The West stands on their shoulders !
    If they(Romans) only knew all the mor ons they would be supporting ?

  11. If not considered one of the best armies in World War I, the Italian army slowly pushed back Austro-Hungarian forces during the first eleven battles of the Isonzo, held Conrad’s Trentino Offensive in 1916, survived the disaster of Caporetto in late 1917, defeated the Austrians in June of 1918 at the Battle of the Piave which cost the Austrians 150,000 casualties and annihilated them at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in October of 1918.. Without German assistance the Austrians would not have won Caporetto as General Erich Ludendorff commented in his memoirs . ” At the end of August , the 11th batttle of the Isonzo had begun on a front of 45 miles and proved successful for the Italians. Early in September the fighting was continued with determination. The Italians were again successful. The Austro-Hungarian Armies had indeed held their ground,, but their losses in the Carso Mountains had been so heavy ant they were so shaken that the responsible military and political authorities were convinced that they would not be able to stand a continuation of the battle and a twelfth attack on the Isonzo. The Austrian Army needed stiffening by German troops. .. . . .In spite of the difference in the value of the possible results in the middle of September , it became necessary to decide for the (German) attack on Italy to prevent the collapse of Austria-Hungary>” Pages 94-95 of LUDENDORFS OWN STORY. Harpers & Brothers 1919..

    With reference to Mr. I HATE GUIDOES comment there was only 1 American regiment sent to Italy which suffered 9 casualties. There were 4 British and French divisions that helped the Italians defeat the Austrians in 1918 but there were over 50 Italian divisions involved in the battles of the Piave and Vittorio Veneto. While the Italian casualties during the Isonzo battles were generally higher because they consisted of mass infrantry assaults against excellently fortified Austrian mountain defenses over one third of Austria-Hungary’s casualties were suffered on the Italian front including the loss of 763 aircraft and 3 major ships torpedoed – WIEN, SZENT ISTFAN and VIRIBUS UNITIS.. THe morale of the Austrians was high at the battle of the Piave and they fought valiantly even at Vittorio Veneto
    As for the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1936 the Italians won all the battles in that war largely because they had better and more modern equipment and weapons. What defeated the Italians in Ethiopia in 1941 were the better equipp.ed forces of the British Empire not the Ethiopian irregulars. All histories of Italy begin with Rome and her unification and latinization of the Italian peninsula.. The country was called ITALIA by the Romans which is the current Italian name for Italy.

  12. General Erwin Rommel was so impressed with the performance of the 7th Bersaglieri Regiment in the battles of Mersa Matruh and Alamein that he had the following words inscribed in a monument to them, ‘The German soldier impressed the world, the Italian bersaglieri impressed the German soldier!’

  13. Italians beat Ottomans? Oh you mean when Ottoman Army was fighting on all around its borders. Entire Italian army attacked an unsupportedcity, Here are the statistics:

    Kingdom of Italy: vs. Ottoman Empire

    150.000 Regular Infantry 8.000 TurkishTroops

    22 Airplanes 20.000 Local Untrained Volunteers

    Cruisers and Destroyers

    2 Airships

    40 Artillery Pieces

    And after all this, Ottomans resisted more than a year with old fashioned weapons(mostly rifles) while inflicting heavy casualties on Italians. Not to mention Ottomans even won some of the battles. Overall, invasion of Libya costed Italy much more than what they presumed. Oh and I wonder what would happen if the real Ottoman Army was there instead of a backwater garrison. I just wanted to show some facts. After all this if you still call it a victory, your honorable Roman ancestors would not be very proud of you I guess.

  14. Captain Katsura, you clearly have not read accordingly the events of the italian misadventure into Ethiopia in 1896. Their downfall was largely due to a micro-managing commander, who split his force against an enemy of far superior numbers in an age where after a few well aimed shots counted for nothing after a few minutes when bayonet fighting became the predominant method of winning a battle. The italian were not all armed with the 1891 carcanno, bolt-action rifle, some possesed the martini-henry breech-loader. The ethiopian account of Italian bravery was impressive, most italians fought to the death. Accounts like this are found all over ww1 and ww2. ww2 at el-alamein, the italian para div fought a herioc rear guard action, inflicting many times more casualties on the allied forces. some italians were found fighting 6 weeks after major operations were decleared over. At Kesselrings Pass 80% of the Axis forces were italian. That was a major set back for allied forces, delaying an invasion on the italian mainland for some time. At the battle of Bardia, post 11 saw an entire Australian company destroyed, with only two survivers, a LT and a Sgt. Italian artillery-men may have had poor guns, but Australians had said that to stop the italian gunner from fighting you had to decend upon them with bayonets. On the russian front 3 alpini rgts held off 3 russian armies around the stalingrad encirlement to allow as many german to get out as possible. Only 1 in 10 italians survived the ordeal in russia and made it home, this among many other countless deeds of valor of self-sacrifice are testament to their abilities as fighting men. Your argument is reflective of an immature racist whom clearly only skims across the british propaganda as use for an arguement. Funny, you dont speak of the humiliating retreat in greece without even firing a shot in defence, or the disaster of surrendering a whole garrison of 120,000 men without firing a shot to a force half their size. i seggest you do a bit of in-depth reading before going onto a racist rant, misinforming other views. I myself am a soldier, i understand better than you all the mathematics of warefare. you know nothing.

  15. Maybe it’s just because Americans like Italy better than France. After all, besides the military jokes, a lot of jokes also center on “smelly French people” and “hairy women”.

  16. Ok everyone im Italian and listen to Ennio she has most of it right also. When you look at Italy’s loss in Military efforts against other nations look at who they are fighting. In over half the Italian battles they have ever fought they werent fightin more than just one other nation because like you know Britian and France have teamed up in alot of battles sense before world war 1 and most of Africa is owned by France and Britian around that time and for many years to come after that. Italy has also had poor Leaders during time of war for instance Mussolini made poor decisions and did not reflect baack when he took up sides with Germany he did that because the Nazi army looked pretty good and he was right they were good they took over Poland in two weeks, Germany had one of the best generals of all time, Erwin Rommel. They say Mussolini wanted to impress Hitler way to much but that was not true Hitler was already impressed with mussolini because of the succsess he had becomeing Prime Minister, Mussolini wanted to keep up with Hitler to show that he would be usefull because he knew Hitler would get rid of him easily becasue the Nazis have already taken Poland and half of France if Mussolini didnt try hard to win he would lose to Hitler if he attacked Italy. So Mussolini and his high ranking officers looked at where the Nazi army was going and saw that soon Nazi’s would control all of Europe except Italy and the other Axis powers so Mussolini moved south into Africa. He prepared for if Hitler won the war Hitler wouldnt stop and then try to take out Italy and Japan so if Italy had control of Africa it could recruit more and grow in Military weapons and vehicals and not trying to be raceiest but who is the best, cheapest, and most vonerable people in the world to be taken over? 🙂 Africans.

  17. To other Italians out there I say this to you: lasciate stare sti scemi i loro antenati erano troglodita come lo sono ancora tuttora.
    Noi abbiamo avuto i grandi come Enrico Fermi il padre delle ricerca nucleare
    e loro non hanno fatto altro che detonare le nucleari a mare distruggendo la vita marina e creando fessure che ora portano i El Ninio e i tsunami grazie agli Americani e Francesi. Non sano dei nostri mass e maiali della marina e quante battaglie abbiamo vinto, lasciateli stare nella loro merda dovremmo richiamare tutti gli scienziati Italiano dal l’America etc, chi sono gli Americani,
    tranne che una conglomerazione di nazioni. Gli Inglesi si dipingevano le faccie quando noi avevamo un impero e chi e lo scemo che ha detto che i Greci ci hanno dato i calci al culo? i calci se lo sono presi loro al culo e i c..se li sono dati loro stessi l’uno al altro.i tedeschi non ne parliamo nemmeno. Dai siamo una nazione forte non vale la pena discutere con questi escrementi.

  18. If not considered one of the best armies in World War I, the Italian army slowly pushed back the Austro-Hungarian forces durring the first eleven battles of the Isonzo River, held Conrad’s Trentiino Offensive in 1916, survived the disaster of Caporetto in late 1917, defeated the Austrians at the battle of the Piave and annihilated them at the battle of Vittorio Veneto in October 1918. Without German assistance Austria-Hungary would not
    have won the battle of Caporetto. German General Erich Ludendorff mentions in his memoirs the intervention of the German Army in Italy was
    needed to prevent the collapse of Austriia-Hungary.
    With reference to I HATE GUIDOES comment there was only 1 American regiment sent to Italy which suffered 9 casualties. France and Britain contributed 4 divisions to the Italian campaign and sustained about 9,000 caualties to Italy’s 51 divisions. The morale of the Austrians was high both at the battle of the Piave and Vittorio Veneto. As for the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1936 the Italians won virtually all the battles largely because they had modern equipment. What defeated Italy in Ethippia was the better equipped forces of the British Empire not the Ethiopian irregulars.
    All histories of Italy begin with Rome and her unification and latinization of the Italian peninsula. The country was called Italia by the Romans which is still the current Italian name for Italy

  19. Let’s not glorify the French here too much,they were basically a useless lot during WW-2 and not good combatants.The French are arrogant,pompous and warrantless snobs.History,too is tainted by the victors and too often the British account of things was bought by the Americans-no questions asked.Italy,for a small country managed to possess a colonial empire of no fewer than (3) countries,i.e.,Libya,Eritrea and Somaliland.Italian east Africa was the most developed,advanced and prosperous of any European colonies.Italy could focus on and invest more of the former colonies,because there were few,unlike other European nations.Brits always envied how Italy managed and built up places like E.Africa and Mogadiscio in Somalia with superior roads,railways, buildings,schools,etc.

  20. Why does everyone insult the Italians for not being fighters?Just because they don’t go around invading countries doesn’t mean they are weak.They beat turkey in 1911 didn’t they?The Roman Empire was also one of the most powerful empires ever.

  21. What is really funny about this discussion at all, is that italian victories are deemed as ‘fruit of favorable circumstances’ while italian losses are deemed as ‘true power of the fucking nature of italians’..
    There’s no way that one could recognize italian victories with a sincere attitude this way.
    Using this attitude, I would say that American lost in Vietnam because are a bunch of pathetic morons and not because they attempted to conquer a land which required at least 600.000 men with actually 1/10 of that man power. The main reason Italy actually lost WW2 is that Italy was NOT preparing a war in Europe like the Germans and the Russians, whose policies was strongly set to land conquest (They both gladly attacked Poland whose conquest was suitable to both policies).
    On the same hand, the British at Dunkerque were beaten by the German just because they are a bunch of lazy pigs and not just because they were unprepared to stop a running ram like was German army on 1940 in Holland.
    Italy – like France – was expanding themselves into Africa and southern mediterraneum (Albany) and had never paid attention or planned to invade Greece before July 1940. The plan to invade Greece was built in too short time with no real knowledge of such a difficult land to conquer and was attempted under political pressure ‘to perform’. Additionally, defending armies are always favored by the higher knowledge of land and greater access to usable resources.
    ON the contrary Germans were planning a war, and since 1933. This is why the German were so strong and basically were able to beat many armies in many places. They were strongly motivated and well-equipped but by breaking peace treaty with Russians they pushed their war-machine too far, with enemies basically surrounding them everywhere. It was then a matter of time before the Allied troops and Russian troops alone ended up in squeezed the Nazi never-happened empire. This actually was the reason of German defeat in WW2.
    Regarding the victory against Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan I would hardly called these ones victories at all. Military speaking it was like shooting a civilian bus with heavy artillery: a mere show of brutality toward an under equipped army and harmless civilians (killed in great number indeed). Everyone serious with military stuff cannot sincerely be proud of such a ‘victory’…

    Thank you DZ for this comment: The Italian army in WW2 was badly led and equiped and the soldiers were fighting for a cause that the majority of the people had no interest or heart in it.

    x John Myers: You can hardly write in elementary plain English, I doubt you’re taking a PhD into something more difficult that toothpast instruction for use. Anyway, Italy is one of the bitter country in terms of war. The bitterness of the land is proved by the fact that many armies tried to invade Italy and whenever successfully they were never able to keep the country under stable domination. Italy had never had a unique rule (either local or foreign) after Romans, and Romans do really understand three things very well: the military, the civil engineering and the power. As for other ‘glorious’ victories I would say that victory without conquest has a bitter taste. And no one rules this country easily.
    Anyone of course is invited to prove the contrary.

  22. Well, France did lost to Italian twice.

  23. If all you are reading are mass market general history offerings then, yes, one could get the impression that the Italians were very poor soldiers. Contrary to popular myth the Italian soldiers did not simply surrender when attacked during Operation Compass. Italian gunners where well known for firing their guns to the very end, often with the full knowledge that their shells could do little or no damage to the British heavy tanks. Italian tankers and troops in these early battles, despite poor equipment, still moved out to engage British armour and Commonwealth infantry and were shot to pieces. The Italian generals did not surrender until the situation proved untenable. Only with their artillery silenced and tanks knocked out, and with the enemy armour and infantry having broken through the defenses, was it time for them to consider surrendering. But then again, this happens in all armies.

    During General Erwin Rommel’s first advance it was the “Ariete” Armoured Division and the “Fabris” and “Montemurro” Bersaglieri Battalions that scored his first victory in North Africa , playing a very important role in the capture of the fortress of Mechili and nearly 3,000 Commonwealth troops.

    It was also the the Ariete, Trieste, Bologna, Brescia, Pavia and Trento Divisions that manned the actual seige lines around Tobruk in 1941 and Italian soldiers who captured Ras el Medauar along with 14 strongpoints from the Australians in May.

    During Operations Brevity and Battleaxe in May and June 1941, Italian soldiers under the command of fine officers, stood and fought tanks with anti-tank guns, giving and taking losses and blunting the British offensives.

    It was also the Ariete that contained the advance of the British 22nd Armoured Brigade at Bir el Gubi at the start of Operation Crusader, destroying 40 Crusader tanks. (The Desert Rats, Robin Neillands, p. 86) And it was the Ariete Division that rolled over the British-officered 3rd Indian Brigade, on the first day of Operation Venezia. With the DAK pinned down early in the fighting, Rommel is reputed to have said: “If we don’t get a convoy through tonight I shall have to ask General Ritchie for terms”. (Rommel: The Desert Fox, Desmond Young, p. 104) Fortunately for Rommel, the Trieste came to the rescue and saved DAK from an early exit in North Africa. (Of Myths and Men: Rommel and the Italians in North Africa, James J. Sadkovich, pp. 302-303)

    The capture of Mersa Matruh along with 6,500 Allied troops in late June 1942 is often credited to the German 90th Light Division but the real damage was done by the gunners of the Italian Brescia, Trento, and it was the Littorio Division along with Bersaglieri and Guastatori shock troops that pierced the defenses and forced the enemy to surrender. (World War II in Europe, David T. Zabecki p. 1578)

    The main defenses of the El Alamein front were formed by four Italian infantry divisions and the Folgore Parachute division backed up by the Ariete and Littorio Armoured Divisions. As noted in “World War II Desert Tactics” (p. 18) by Paddy Griffith, it was the Italians who stubbornly manned the Axis rearguards and it was the Italians in the final battle who were abandoned during Rommel’s retreat, with the exception of parts fo the Folgore, who got away by commandeering some trucks.

    Italian troops were the main participants in the battles in Tunisia and the Littorio along with supporting Bersaglieri were in the thick of the fighting at Kasserine Pass. According to “Stauffenberg: a family history, 1905-1944” (p. 171) by Peter Hoffmann, the Bersaglieri played a very important part in driving back the US infantry and the Italians are reported to have captured some 2,450 American GIs in the Axis counterattack. As the Axis positions in Africa crumbled in April and May, the San Marco Marines were among many Italian units to literally fight till the death. According to Generaloberst Hans-Jürgen von Arnim, the Italian Marines were “the best soldiers I ever commanded.” They were among the last Axis units to surrender in May 1943.

    You can’t find out about the important and courageous role played by Italian troops in Rommel’s campaign in North Africa by reading the various Allied Official histories. You’ll have to dig a little deeper.

  24. If not considered one of the best armies in WWI, the Italian army slowly pushed back the Austro-Hungarian forces during the first eleven battles of the Isonzo River, held Conrad’s Trentino offensive in 1916, survived the
    disaster of Caporetto in 1917, defeated the Austrian offensive in the Battle of The Piave in June 1918 which cost the Austrians 150,000 casualties and finally defeated them at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto in October-November 1918. To set the record straight there were 5 British and French divisions assisting but the bulk of the force was composed of over
    50 Italian divisions. Both Austrian and Italian casualties were high and about one-third of the Austrian casualties were suffered on the Italian front.
    As for the Ethiopian war in 1935-1936 the Italians won all the battles due
    to their mechanized equipment against obsolete Ethiopian weapons. Italy
    lost Ethiopia to the better equipped and trained British Empire forces. Lastly, all histories of Italy begin with Rome and her unification of the Italian peninsula. The country was called Italia by the Romans which is the current name for Italy in the Italian language.

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