The army of Italy, like any other country, is called upon to protect the state from external and internal threats and attacks on independence and freedom. How successful were the armed forces of the Italian Republic?
The Italian army arose in 1861 - at the same time as the Italian kingdom of the then independent Apennine Peninsula was united into the Italian Kingdom: Sardinia, the Neapolitan and Sicilian kingdoms, Lombardy, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the duchies of Parma and Modena. Since its inception, the army has actively participated in hostilities, including in colonial and two world wars, local conflicts and invasions. She played a significant role in the division of Africa (1885-1914) and the formation of colonial states. To protect the conquered territories, colonial troops appeared in the Italian army, recruited mainly from the natives - the inhabitants of Eritrea and Somalia; by 1940, their number reached 256,000.
When the country joined NATO, its armed forces began to take part in the operations conducted by the Alliance. Among them: Allied Force (a series of air strikes on the territory of the former Yugoslavia), Strong Support (providing assistance to the Government of Afghanistan), Allied Defender (intervention of the NATO bloc in the civil war in Libya).
Increasing the military power of Italy has become a priority since the beginning of the 1920s: Italians were called up for military service for a year and a half instead of 8 months. The coming to power in 1922, Benito Mussolini led to the popularization of fascism in the country. The result of the Duce's foreign policy, the aim of which was the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire, was the conclusion of a military alliance with Nazi Germany. So the Italian army was involved in hostilities, and later it itself initiated a war - with France and Great Britain. During World War II, the development of the Italian army went at an accelerated pace.
Despite the fact that the result of the aggression was the loss of colonies and surrender in 1943, participation in the war brought Italy "dividends": a powerful fleet, which included, among other things, several dozen submarines and almost two hundred warships.
In the middle of the 20th century, the development of the military-industrial complex of Italy continued; this was made possible thanks to the country's accession to NATO in 1949. Today, Italy’s military potential is significant: it has a lot of military equipment of its own production: tanks created on the basis of the German Leopards, military aircraft (fighters, attack aircraft, transport vehicles, etc.) and helicopters, mountain howitzers, anti-aircraft mounts, and small arms (automatic rifles, pistols, machine guns, etc.). At the same time, the level of combat training of soldiers and officers is considered low. At the beginning of the last century, the Italian army repeatedly suffered defeats on the military fronts (significant losses in clashes with Austria, the complete defeat of the Austro-German forces in 1917, colossal losses in North Africa), but this did not greatly affect the improvement of the professional qualities of the soldiers of the Italian armed forces. forces in the future.
The Italian army includes land, naval and aviation forces. Since 2001, another type of troops has been added to them - carabinieri. Total personnel: about 150,000 people.
Ground forces are formed from several divisions and brigades: mountain infantry, armored, etc. There are parachute and cavalry brigades, signalmen, air defense troops. Special mention should be made of bersaliers, or shooters - a special kind of troops, an infantry elite characterized by high mobility. Since 2005, only professional soldiers and volunteers have been accepted into the infantry troops of the Italian army.
In service are Italian tanks and other armored vehicles; artillery and air defense systems - mainly of foreign manufacture; more than 300 helicopters, one fifth of them are combat helicopters. More than 550 old German tanks are in storage.
The Italian fleet has traditionally, since the beginning of World War II, overtaken other types of the country's armed forces in terms of development. Its potential, including production and scientific and technical, is very great; all warships used are built at own shipyards. Among them are the latest submarines, destroyers and unique aircraft carriers equipped with air defense systems and anti-ship missiles.
Officially it is believed that the national aviation of Italy arose in 1923. However, at the beginning of the century, Italy used aircraft in the war with Turkey, becoming the first country in the world to use them for warfare. Italian pilots participated in the civil war in Spain, the war with Ethiopia, in the First World War. By the beginning of World War II, the Italian army was armed with more than 3,000 aircraft. Nowadays, their number has decreased significantly, but continues to be quite impressive.
Carabinieri troops became part of the Italian army recently. They have double subordination to the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, since the carabinieri also perform police functions.
The carabinieri units include helicopter pilots, divers, dog handlers, orderlies; a special task force whose responsibilities include the fight against organized crime.
Carabinieri are better trained - military and psychological - than representatives of other types of troops.
Form and Ranks
Unlike Russia, where only two types of military ranks are established - military and naval, in the Italian army each type of army has its own rank. The exceptions are the ranks of the air force: they almost completely correspond to the names adopted for the ground forces. The main differences: the absence in the Air Force of the rank of major general (literally translated from Italian - "brigadier general"). There are features in the designation of the highest army ranks: in the ground forces the term generale is used, in aviation - comandante.
The rank "corporal" (between private and corporal) exists only in the ground forces. There are no corporal or corporal in the fleet, only sailors and junior specialists (they correspond to the rank of senior corporal in other military branches). Russian elders and warrant officers correspond to sergeants.
The rank of junior officers is represented by three ranks. The captain of the ground forces and the captain of the gendarmerie correspond to the squadron commander and naval captain-lieutenant. There is no rank “lieutenant” in the naval forces; in the navy he is replaced by “midshipman”. There are also three senior ranks.
It is curious that naval ranks contain the names of types of ships: for example, the title "captain of the 3rd rank" literally sounds like "captain of a corvette", and the rank is older - "captain of a frigate."
The most original names are among the Carabinieri, or gendarmes; this is how it is customary to translate Italian carabiniere into Russian. The same ranks are only for junior and senior officers of the gendarmerie and ground forces. In addition, the Carabinieri lack two general ranks out of five. There are only three top officials: the inspector general of the district, the second commander (or acting general) and the general.
As in all armies of the world, in ItalianFor field operations, camouflage uniforms are used. The Italian military had its own coloring in 1992, before that, drawings developed for the US Department of Defense were used. Of the standard equipment, it is worth noting a camouflage poncho with a hood, which, if necessary, can be used as an awning. It is equipped with warm linings, also dual-use, because it can serve as a blanket.
In cold weather, Italian troops can wear woolen sweaters with a high collar and zippers.
As for shoes, Lightweight boots for hot climates deserve special mention.. Their lower part, the boot itself, is made of durable leather; high shaft - soft, made of fabric and suede. Special eyelets serve for ventilation. Additional protection against sand or small stones getting into the shoes is provided by nylon gaiters that are worn over trousers and shoes.
In ceremonial form, there are partially accessories left over from the old days; for carabinieri, this is a cocked hat. Almost every unit wears its own variety of uniforms, which also varies depending on the status of the celebration. For example, only soldiers of the mechanized grenadier brigade of Sardinia, created in 1831, wear tall fur hats similar to those worn by the English guards to participate in parades.
Our days: reform
Since 2012, the reform of the Italian army. The goal is to create a new model of the Armed Forces and balanced costs. For starters, personnel, including command personnel, were significantly reduced, and investments in modernizing the army were increased. Unused weapons and property should be liquidated or sold, instead of outdated models, modern, more effective ones will be put into operation.
The time for change for the Italian army came back in 2007, when the leadership of the Italian Republic abolished universal military service. However, in the event of a country's entry into hostilities, calls may resume.
The new army model relies on professionals and those who want to join the army voluntarily. Now the contractors serve 5 years, and subsequently they can renew the contract twice - each time for one or two years. At the end of the service, you can get a job in the police or fire departments - former soldiers are given priority rights to this.
In order to interest experienced military personnel and increase the effectiveness of combat personnel, the country's government significantly increased the amount of monthly cash compensation; Today, the salary of the Italian military reaches 2500 Euro per month. A campaign is underway to attract women to the army; today they can hold positions at any level, with almost no limits.
- Troops recruited from representatives of local tribes are called “Askari” (literally “soldier”);
- Eritrean battalions remained faithful to Italy until its surrender; the remaining mercenaries deserted;
- The Italian army's colonial troops included cavalry units that used ... camels instead of horses; they were called "mecharists";
- At the beginning of the last century, the Italian army fought in Abyssinia, Turkey, in Spain, Albania and Ethiopia;
- After 1940, Italian troops invaded Greece and Yugoslavia, participated in battles in France, Africa, the USSR;
- In recent history, the Italian army fought on the territory of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya;
- The Navy of Italy - more than 60 military ships, including two unique aircraft carriers that have no analogues in Western Europe: they are equipped with short-range air defense systems and anti-ship missiles;
- At Italian military bases, 50 nuclear bombs are stored for the US Air Force; 20 more of these bombs are intended for use by the Italian army;
- The duties of carabinieri from the division of special units include: environmental protection, health and labor, the fight against counterfeiters, the protection of ancient monuments, control of food production standards;
- The Italian army still has a cuirassier regiment, the Honorary Guard of the President of the Italian Republic. Participating in parades, they can wear historical cuirasses and helmets with feathers, and, of course, white leggings;
- Carabinieri as an elite type of troops are required to constantly improve their physical condition and improve professional skills, including improving fire and mountain training.