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Italian Army of WW2

Despite Mussolini's ambitions for Italy the army was ill prepared for war. Following a poor performance against France, the Italian invasion of Greece turned into a humiliating failure. There equipment was generally poor and organisation was well below modern standards.

The Italian army in 1940 consisted of some 2 million men in 73 divisions. The forces marshalled for the invasion of Greece are set out in the feature article Blunder in the Mountains together with a description of the many command failures.

After the German invasion of Greece the Italian army occupied large parts of the western Balkans until the Italian armistice in 1943. This involved countering the growing partisan and resistance movements in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece.

The Flames of War website has articles on some of the better troops, the Alpini and Bersaglieri, together with their intelligence handbook Avanti Savoia. The Osprey Men at Arms 340 covers the Italian Army in Europe. The most comprehensive study is Rex Trye's Mussolini's Soldiers published by Airlife. For ORBATS George Nafziger's Italian Order of Battle in WW2.

The must read history of the Italian invasion of Greece is The Hollow Legions by Mario Cervi.


The Editor's Italian Army 1940/41 is in 15mm scale mostly using figures from the Battlefront FoW range and Peter Pig.

These figures represent the locally raised 1st Albanian Legion MVSN. Unlike most Italian raised Albanian units this unit was reliable and fought well. The figures are converted from a range of Askari figures.

These are the standard infantry the Fucilieri together with medium and light mortars.

Then the elite Bersaglieri.

Armoured support from M13/40 medium tanks.

Reconnaissance including AB 41 armoured cars.

Artillery support

and finally the all important supply column.


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Copyright 2005 Balkan Military History
Last modified: 01/23/12