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Armed forces in World War Two - Italy

Written by Sakhal

Italy 1939 - Army

Individual weapons - Pistols: Beretta Model 34 caliber 9 mm (a)
Individual weapons - Rifles: Rifle 91/38, carbine 91/38 and 91/38 TS, all of caliber 6.5 mm (b)
Individual weapons - Hand grenades: Breda 35, OTO 35 and SRCM, all of offensive type

Automatic weapons - Submachine guns: MAB 38 caliber 8.8 mm (9 mm long) (c)
Automatic weapons - Automatic rifles: Breda 30 caliber 6.5 mm
Automatic weapons - Machine guns: Fiat 14/38, Breda 37 and 38, all of caliber 8 mm (d)

Mortars: Brixia 35 of 45 mm and Model 35 of 81 mm

Antitank weapons - Light: Carbine Solothurn and machine gun Breda 35, both of 20 mm; cannon Model 39 of 47/32
Antitank weapons - Heavy: At the outbreak of the war there were no cannons of caliber larger than 47 mm specifically projected for antitank role in service
Antitank weapons - Motorized: At the outbreak of the war there were no motorized pieces specifically projected for antitank role in service

Cannons: Antiaircraft cannons of 75/46, 76/40, 90/42, 90/53 and 102/35; cannons of 65/17, 75/32, 105/28 and 149/40; howitzers Model 32 of 75/13 and 75/18, Model 35 of 75/18 and 210/32 (e)

Armored vehicles: Tanks Fiat 21 and 30 of 6 t (f), Carri Veloci 33, 35, 35/L and 38, of 3-3.2 t, and some more than a hundred of tanks M 11/39 of 11 t, for a total of 1600 tanks approximately

Chemical weapons - Flamethrowers: Models 35 and 40

(a) Not mentioned the old automatic Glisenti 1910 nor the revolver Brixia-Glisenti models 74 and 89 from the Great War, which were sometimes used for second-line tasks.
(b) Around 1938 it started the construction of weapons of caliber 7.35 instead of 6.5, and the conversion of the already existing 6.5, but this operation was interrupted by the war which, due to practical reasons, made preferable to return to the former caliber.
(c) Only in the Italian African Police; the Army would not adopt the MAB until 1941.
(d) Not included the Fiat 14 caliber 6.5 mm from the Great War and the Schwarzlose of war bounty that served in the colonies, nor the Hotchkiss and St. Etienne acquired from France before the Great War, which were assigned mainly to the Territorial Antiaircraft Defense. Also were given to the Army the Breda RM 31 of 13.2 mm and naval design, the Breda 39 of 37 mm, the Scotti 39 of 20 mm and the Oerlikon of 20 mm and Swiss production.
(e) Not mentioned the naval artillery, that of coastal defense and the cannons "of attrition" from the Great War, such as the howitzer of 149/12, or even older, such as the 75/27 CK (Commissione Krupp), from which an antiaircraft piece had been obtained.
(f) Built in 1920 based on the Renault FT from 1918.

Italy 1939 - Navy

Battleships: Littorio and vittorio Veneto of 35000 t, Cavour, Cesare, Doria and Duilio of 25000 t (a)

Cruisers: 4 class Zara, 2 class Trento, 1 class Bolzano, all of 10000 t; 1 class San Giorgio of 9232 t (b), 12 class Condottieri (2 of 9000 t, 2 of 8500 t, 2 of 8000 t, 4 of 5069 t and 2 of 5008 t), 1 class Taranto of 5100 t and 1 class Bari of 4600 t

Destroyers: 3 class Leone of 2283 t, 12 class Navigatori of 2010 t, 4 class Oriani of 1950 t, 12 class Soldati of 1620 t, 4 class Dardo of 1450 t, 4 class Grecale of 1449 t, 2 class Mirabello of 1383 t, 4 class Folgore of 1220 t, 8 class Borea of 1092 t, 4 class Sauro of 1058 t and 2 class Sella of 935 t

Torpedo ships: 4 class Palestro of 1076 t, 1 class Audace of 1000 t, 4 class Curtatone of 966 t, 4 class Orsa of 855 t, 7 class Cosenz of 810 t, 4 class Lupo of 690 t, 4 class Sirtori of 669 t, 30 class Perseo of 640-680 t, 6 class Generali of 635 t, 7 class Abba of 615 t, 2 class Cortellazzo of 562 t, 1 class Albatros of 340 t and 1 class Giovanini of 182 t

Submarines (oceanic): A total of 42 units of the classes Balilla, Fieramosca, Brin, Galilei, Liuzzi, Marconi, Micca (c), Calvi, Foca (c), Glauco, Marcello and Galvani

Submarines (coastal): A total of 75 units of the classes H (c), X, Settembrini, Squalo, Bragadin (c), Adua, Bandiera, Pisani, Mameli, Argo, Argonauta, Sirena and Perla

(a) Doria, Duilio, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto entered action in the first months of the war.
(b) Used in the colonies as antiaircraft cruiser.
(c) Minelayer submarine.

NOTE: Some units were bounty from the Great War, such as the cruisers Bari and Taranto. Others were of national construction, but belonging to that period, such as the destroyers of the class Mirabello or the torpedo ships of the class Cortellazzo. In the enumeration were not included some hundreds of lesser units, such as torpedo boats, gunboats, minesweepers, seaplane support ships, etc...

Italy 1939 - Aviation

Fighter aircraft: Fiat CR 32, CR 42 and G-50, Macchi MC 200, Romeo Ro 44 (maritime fighter aircraft)

Bomber aircraft: Fiat BR 20, Savoia-Marchetti SM 79 (bomber and torpedo plane), SM 81 and SM 85, Cant Z 506, Z 1007 and Z 1007 bis, Breda Ba 88

Reconnaissance aircraft: Ro 37/37 bis and Caproni Ca 311 at disposal of the Army; Cant Z 501/506 and Ro 43 at disposal of the Regia Marina

Transport aircraft: Savoia-Marchetti SM 73, SM 74, SM 75, SM 79, SM 82 and SM 83, Fiat BR 20, G 11 and G 12, Macchi MC 94 and MC 100, Junkers Ju 52 (of German construction) and Douglas DC 2 (of American construction)

Armed forces in World War Two - Italy

Armed forces (equipment) of Italy in 1939.

Italy 1943 update - Army

Individual weapons - Pistols: Sosso Model 41 caliber 9 mm long
Individual weapons - Rifles: Rifle 91/41 caliber 6.5 mm (b)
Individual weapons - Hand grenades: Breda 42 (a) and OTO 42 (b)

Automatic weapons - Submachine guns: MAB 38/42 caliber 9 mm long

Antitank weapons - Motorized: Of 47/32 on L6 hull of 6.5 t, of 75/18 on M13 hull, M 14, M 15 of 14 t, of 75/34 on M 43 hull (c) of 15.7 t

Cannons: Of 47/40 (d), 75/34 (d), 105/25 (e) and 155/25; howitzer Model 41 of 149/19

Armored vehicles: Light tank L6/40 of 6.7 t; medium tanks M 13/40 of 14 t, M 14/41 of 14.5 t and M 15/42 of 15.5 t; heavy tank P/40 of 26 t (f)

Chemical weapons - Flamethrowers: Models 41 (for assault) and 42 (on wheels)

(a) Antitank breaker.
(b) Antitank incendiary.
(c) The M 43 was an enlarged M 15/42 hull.
(d) Antitank for self-propelled.
(e) Self-propelled on M 43 hull of 15.7 t.
(f) Produced only 24 exemplars before the 8th September.

NOTE: Not included those materials coming from war bounty, nor those acquired from Germany, such as the tanks Mk IV of the M division, apart from the nine submarines of the S class.

Italy 1943 update - Navy

Battleships: Roma of 35000 t

Aircraft carriers: Aquila and Sparviero of 28000 t (a)

Cruisers: Attilio Regolo, Scipione Africano and Pompeo Magno of 5420 t

Destroyers: 5 class Soldati of 1620 t

Torpedo ships: 15 class Aliseo of 1652 t and 11 class Spica of 800 t (b)

Corvettes: 29 units of 750 t (c)

Submarines (oceanic): 4 class Saint Bon, 2 class R and 9 class S (d)

Submarines (coastal): 9 class Tritone, 13 class Platino, 7 class FR and 20 class CB (e)

(a) Not entering service due to the Armistice. The 8th September the construction of the Aquila was finished in a 90 percent.
(b) Of these 11, only one launched and armed, the Ariete, had time to take part in operations before the 8th September.
(c) Another 31 units were in the shipyards, in advanced state of construction.
(d) The S class was composed of modified German submarines.
(e) Of midget type.

NOTE: Not included those units incorporated to the Regia Marina, as war bounty, from the French and Yugoslavian navies.

Italy 1943 update - Aviation

Fighter aircraft: Reggiane 2000 and 2005, Macchi 202 and 205, Fiat G-55, Imam Ro-57 and SAI-207

Bomber aircraft: Reggiane 2001 (a) and 2002 (a), SM 84, Piaggio 108 and Cant Z 1018

Reconnaissance aircraft: Fiat RS-14 (b)

Transport aircraft: Fiat G-12

(a) Of assault.
(b) Seaplane.

Armed forces in World War Two - Italy

Armed forces (equipment) of Italy in 1943 (update).

Italy 1945 update - Army

After the events of the 8th September 1943, it was created in Italy a rather complex situation. In the north, the government of the RSI decided to continue the war alongside the German ally. In the south, the Kingdom of Italy decided in turn to start a war for the liberation of the territory under nazi control, supporting the action of the Allies. Naturally, both governments, to be able to achieve their goals, had necessity of means with which demonstrate in a material way their sovereignty upon the controlled regions. In other words, they needed their own Armed Forces. Well known are the difficulties that both governments faced to achieve their goals, but this review focuses only in the technical aspects of the matter. Rather we will see the technical-logistic situation that faced the reorganized units of the north and the south. Undoubtedly, the most favored one from this standpoint was the Republican Army. Almost all the industries that supplied weapons, ammunitions and technology to the Army were in the north. The Army of Salo had so a markedly national physiognomy, even if very influenced by the presence of the Wehrmacht, given the circumstances. Unlike previous reviews, this one takes into account the most important and essential of the German weapons which would support the vain and desperate fight of the Republican Fascism. But in the Regio Esercito, having being reconstituted with almost total lack of weapons and equipment, almost all of this material was provided by the Anglo-Americans. Hence, while in the north even some new weapon was produced (included here), the south would be based in the Allied war supplies. In the Aviation and Navy it would be different, but this topic will be addressed further on. The only positive note - if it can be called so - of this tragic situation, was that the Italian troops of opposite sides never faced each other in the battlefield.

Republican Army

Automatic weapons: Walther 41 W (a) and ZK 391 (b) caliber 7.92 mm, MAB 38/44 caliber 9 mm (c), FNA-B 43 (d) and TZ 45 (d) caliber 9 mm

Antitank weapons: Panzerfaust 60 and 100, Panzerschreck 54 and 54/1

Cannons: Of 75/34 (e) and 75/46 (f)

Armored vehicles: P 40 of 26 t (g)

(a) Semiautomatic of German construction.
(b) Semiautomatic produced under Czechoslovak license.
(c) Automatic carbine of national production.
(d) Submachine guns of national production.
(e) Self-propelled on M 15/42 hull.
(f) Self-propelled on M 43 hull, only in 11 exemplars.
(g) Only 101 exemplars, 40 of them used as "pillboxes" after having their hulls buried; almost all of the rest, taken by the Germans.

Partisan formations

Automatic weapons: Variara (a) caliber 9 mm and several models of the British submachine gun Sten produced in artesanal workshops

(a) Submachine gun named after a partisan fallen in combat.

Italy 1945 update - Navy

When, complying with the rules of the Armistice, the bulk of the Italian Fleet arrived to Malta, equally as it had happened in the Aviation were registered numerous cases of concience among commanders and crews, who in diverse occasions preferred to turn prow towards ports that were not under Allied control. Hence History witnessed a division within the Regia Marina from which the Marina Nazionale Repubblicana was born. This latter would operate until the last days of the war with almost all of its elements, while in the Regia Marina only took active part in operations the lesser units, light ships and submarines.

Marina Nazionale Repubblicana (National Republican Navy)

Numerous units formed part of the National Republican Navy. Many, docked during the Armistice, had been sunk by their crews, and later retrieved and put in service. Others had been left under control of the onboard personnel who did not want to move to the south, and others had reached the bases on the north by navigating along the coasts of the peninsula. In total formed part of the National Republican Navy, as operative units, nine cruisers, eight destroyers, 25 torpedo ships and 27 submarines, accounting for a total of 69 units, not counting an imprecise number of torpedo boats, gunships and small fast units. The data refers only to the units that had warlike use, and because of that were not included ships such as the two aircraft carriers Aquila and Sparviero or the battleship Impero, which were never operative despite being based in northern docks.

Regia Marina (Royal Navy)

When the Italian Fleet arrived to Malta under the command of Admiral Oliva (successor of Bergamini after the sinking of the battleship Roma), it comprised five battleships, seven cruisers, seven destroyers, twelve torpedo ships, six corvettes and 23 submarines, plus 17 light units. This was, at least, the organization of the naval force until the 20th September. To these units were added later two cruisers, five destroyers, thirteen torpedo ships, thirteen corvettes, fifteen submarines and another torpedo flotilla, reaching a total of 108 units (excluding the torpedo flotilla). Except the battleships, which remained in their anchorages with their main armament deactivated, the other units took part in the operations in escort, antisubmarine, transport, dredging and training missions, apart from some war sorties and assaults performed by the torpedo flotilla.

Italy 1945 update - Aviation

Contrarily to the situation created in the other two armies, the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and the Regia Aeronautica started from a point of parity. Numerous aviators, and sometimes entire units, arrived after the Armistice to the destinations that seemed fairer for them, setting so the base of an embryonic reconstitution of the air weapon. The two different aviations were later provided with aircraft from their respective allies, which are included here as they were not - as it had happened prior to the Armistice - test aircraft or exemplars granted due to particular reasons, but dozens of aircraft incorporated to regular units. Also in this case, fortunately, there were never fratricidal encounters.

Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (National Republican Aviation)

Fighter aircraft: Macchi 202 and 205, Fiat G 55, Me 109 (a) and 110 (a)(b)

Bomber aircraft: SM 709 (g), 81 and 82, Fiat BR 20 and Cant Z 1007

Reconnaissance aircraft: Several aircraft Savoia-Marchetti, Fieseler 156 (a), Bucher 131 (a)(e), Me 108 (a)(e) and Klemm 35 (a)(e)

Transport aircraft: SM 81 and 82

Regia Aeronautica (Royal Aviation)

Fighter aircraft: Macchi 205, Reggiane 2000, Supermarine Spitfire (c) and Bell Airacobra (d)

Bomber aircraft: SM 73 and 82, Cant Z 1007 and Martin Baltimore (d)

Reconnaissance aircraft: Cant Z 501 (f) and 506 (f), Fiat RS 14 (f)

Transport aircraft: SM 82 and Cant Z 1007

(a) Of German manufacture.
(b) Heavy fighter.
(c) Of British manufacture.
(d) Of American manufacture.
(e) Of training.
(f) Seaplane.
(g) Torpedo bomber.

Armed forces in World War Two - Italy

Armed forces (equipment) of Italy in 1945 (update).

Categories: Statistics - World War Two - 20th Century - [General] - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2015-09-23

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