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Italian Navy and Air Force Elite Units and Special Forces 1940-45

by Mark Stacey Piero Crociani

This volume assesses the formidable Special Forces fielded by Italy's navy and air force in World War II. Italian Navy Special Forces were particularly active and respected in the Mediterranean, where 10th Motor-Torpedo Boat Flotilla used frogmen, 'two-man torpedoes' and explosive ram-boats. The Italian Air Force formed a special commando unit, ADRA, before the 1943 surrender; it was tasked with attacking Allied airfields and communications in North Africa. Men from ADRA and Army paratroopers formed the new 'Folgore' Regiment, which also continued to fight alongside German forces until 1945. In both cases, the pro-Allied Italian forces also formed 'mirror' units to fight alongside US and British forces, including the Recce Squadron 'F'. Featuring rare photographs and specially commissioned artwork, this book tells the story of the little-known elite forces fielded by Italy's navy and air force in World War II, some of whose successors remain in service with today's Italian armed forces.

Italian Soldier in North Africa 1941-43

by Steve Noon Piero Crociani

Focusing on the Italian Army in North Africa during World War II, which fought alongside the Afrikakorps under Rommel versus Montgomery and Patton, this title combines with the previous Warrior series books on the subject (and other Osprey titles) to complete the picture of the War in the Desert. Despite the attention paid to the Afrikakorps over the years, it was the numerically far superior forces of the Italian Army that held the line and formed the bulk of the fighting power available to the Axis powers during the War in the Desert from 1941 through to 1943. Their performance has been unfairly criticized over the years - the best units of the Italian Army were equal to those of the British and Germans - but they suffered from a lack of mobility and poor equipment that made it impossible for them to meet mobile British forces on anywhere near equal terms. Despite this, the Italian Army went through many changes through the period, with the introduction of a variety of elite units - armoured, mechanised and parachute divisions that did much to restore the fighting reputation of the Italian soldier in the Desert War. Their German allies belatedly acknowledged this with the redesignation of Panzerarmee Afrika as 1st Italian Army in February 1943. This title details recruitment, organisation and experience of the Italian forces in this theatre, casting new light on a force whose fighting power and capabilities have been unfairly ignored and maligned for too long.

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