- Benito Mussolini’s first Undersecretary of Air was Giulio Douhet (1896-1930). He was an Italian Air Force Officer as well as an air tactician. Douhet wrote the book Air Power which advocated the theory of using air attacks to subdue the enemy. The German Luftwaffe adapted his ideas through that book.
- Italian Field Marshals and their appointments (contribution by Stefan Schlemmer
Pietro Badoglio: May 26, 1926
Italo Balbo (Maresciallo dell’Aria): 1933
Emilio De Bono: 1935
Rodolfo Graziani: 1936
Ettore Bastico: August, 1942
Ugo Cavallero: July 1st, 1942
Giovanni Messe: May 12, 1943
- Mussolini’s barber, Luigi Galbani (1918-Pres), is presently the barber at the Excelsior Hotel in Rome, Italy. He was also the consultant of the 1981 movie The Lion’s Heart about Mussolini.
- Gran Sasso is the highest peak in the Italian Appeninnes. This is were Mussolini was held in a hotel when Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943. He was later rescued by the Germans
- Benito Mussolini was 5’7″ tall. Adolf Hitler was 5’8″ tall. King Victor Emmanuele III of Italy was 5’3″ tall.
- Mussolini’s Headquarters was Palazzo Venezia, a 15th century building in the center of Rome, Italy.
- Radio Bari was an Italian radio station used to transmit Fascist propaganda to Arab nations to gain their allegiance to the Axis powers.
- The hand salute used by the Fascists and Nazis was “borrowed” from the “Hail Caesar” salute of the Roman Empire.
- Ethiopia has approximately the same square mileage as Italy, France and the United Kingdon combined.
- Salo Republic was the name given to Mussolini’s new Fascist country in Northern Italy after Italy’s surrender to the Allies in 1943.
- Benito Mussolini’s yacht was named Aurora.
- Benito Mussolini’s dogs were named “Charlie” and “Pitini”.
- Erwin Rommel (1891-1944), who fought in WWI, was captured by the Italians and became a POW. He later escaped from a POW camp.
- Aldo Remondini, an Italian Air Force Major, was the first non-German to fly the ME-109 in July, 1937, at the Zurich International Flying Meet. He later became vice-president of Alitalia Airlines.
- Luigi de la Penne was one of the LT’s involved in the Human Torpedo attack in Alexandria, Egypt. He was responsible for the heavy damage done to the battleship H.M.S.Valiant, which was under the command of Capt. Charles
- Morgan. In March of 1945, The Italian Crown Prince awarded de la Penne a Gold Medal, the highest decoration for his service. Ironically, it was the now Admiral, Charles Morgan who pinned it on him in Taranto, Italy.
- “The Black Prince”, Junio Borghese, commander of the Decima Flottiglia MAS, was ready to conduct a human torpedo attack of the New York Harbor when Italy signed the armistice in 1943.
- During World War II, 51,156 Italians were interned in the United States.
- By 1943, Italian warplanes claimed 72 allied warships and 196 merchant ships. They had further damaged over 500.
- Italian Aircraft Production:
- Italian prisoners at the end of WW2 (from the relation of the Italian delegate to the UN Commissin for Prisoners of War, 1958)
01 Jan 1943 to 8 Sep 1943: 1,930
For comparison, total U.S. aircraft production between 1941-1945 was 297,199.
* The Soviets “liberated” at least 11,991 Italians from German PoW camps, certainly at least 932 died in Soviet camps. So the total number of Italians survived from German PoW camps is ~618,297 (96.3%).
** PoW’s held in Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece.
*** ~20,000 died in the “death marches” to the PoW camps, ~40,000 died in the PoW camps.
Note: 11,991 Italian PoW’s captured from German PoW camps by USSR.
Source:Guido Abate, World War II : 4,139 Strange and Fascinating Facts, Nazi Prisoners of War in America