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
01 Jan 1943 to 8 Sep 1943: 1,930
For comparison, total U.S. aircraft production between 1941-1945 was 297,199.
114 Italian Victories and Counting!
(And they said Italians couldn’t fight! Who are they kidding?)
12.06.1940 Italian submarine Alpino Attilio Bagnolini sinks the British cruiser HMS Calypso.
14.06.1940 Italian troops defeat French attackers at Galisia Hil.
11.01.1941 Italian bombers from 237a Squadriglia disable HMS Ilustrious, allowing the safe arrival of the Afrika Korps.
24.01.1941 Brigata Corazzata Speziale (BCS) derails the advance of the British 4th Armoured Brigade near Derna.
25.01.1941 BCS contains the advance of the Australian 2/11th Battalion near Derna.
27.01.1941 BCS ambushes a column of the Australian 6th Cavalry Regiment.
27.02.1941 Italians defeat British attempt to seize Kastellorizo Island off Turkey.
21.03.1941 The 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion captures Giarabub, but only after suffering several setbacks.
24.03.1941 Ariete captures Msus.
01.04.1941 Ariete captures El Agheila.
03.04.1941 Ariete captures Tengeder.
04.04.1941 Italians defeat Greek attacks at Mount Golico.
06.08.1941 Italian Air Force destroys Yugoslav Air Force within two days, and then demolishes railroad lines and other forms of transportation.
07.04.1941 Italian counterattacks in Albania force Greeks to retreat, many are captured.
08.04.1941 Ariete captures Mechili. Bersaglieri capture 3,000 Allied troops.
09.04.1941 The Italians along the Drin River defeat mass attacks on the part of the Yugoslav 3rd & 5th Armies.
10.04.1941 Italians troops capture Mount Lepre in Albania.
10.04.1941 Italians force Greeks to abandon Circhina.
10.04.1941 Greek attack on Shkumbin is derailed.
11.04.1941 Centauro forces to Yugoslav Zetska Division to retreat to the Pronisat River.
12.04.1941 In northern Yugoslavia, Italian motorised units capture Zara and Bencovae.
12.04.1941 In East Africa, Italians troops defeat two British attacks on Giarso and Alghe.
13.04.1941 In Western Yugoslavia, the Italians capture Koplik.
13.04.1941 Centauro captures the Yugoslav naval base of Kotor in Montonegro, also occupies Cettinje and Podgorica.
30.04.1941 Paratroopers of the Folgore seize Zante and Cephalonia Islands off Greece.
01.05.1941 Ariete & Brescia capture overrun 7 Australian strongpoints ( R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7 and R8) outside Tobruk.
04.05.1941 Australians counterattack but the Trento, Pavia & Ariete defeat the attacks.
17.05.1941 Brescia attacks the Australian 2/9th and 2/10th Battalions, forcing the Australians to abandon the S8, S9 and S10 strongpoints. 24.
21.05.1941 Italian bombers from 41 Gruppo on Rhodes sink HMS Juno and damage HMS Ajax off Crete.
24.05.1941 Brescia defeats an Australian counterattack, supported by British tanks.
28.05.1941 Regina Division lands in Crete & captures Sitia.
29.06.1941 Italian bombers from 239th Squadriglia sink Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen.
02.08.1941 Bersaglieri defeat the 2/43rd and 2/28th Battalions, in a final Australian attempt to recover the lost strongpoints.
15.05.1941 Bersaglieri anti-tank gunners derail the British offensive, known as Operation Brevity. A German Colonel later praised the Bersaglieri anti-tank gunners, saying they defended Halfaya Pass “…with lionlike courage until the last man against stronger enemy forces. The greatest part of them died faithful to the flag.”
Mid-June 1941 Italian anti-aicraft gunners under Major Leopoldo Pardi help derail Operation Battleaxe.
02.08.1941 Bersaglieri defeat the 2/43rd and 2/28th Battalions, in a final Australian attempt to recover the lost strongpoints.
23.08.1941 The Savoia Regiment overruns a Russian brigade at Ibushenkij.
30.09.1941 Italian troops capture 10,000 Russian troops near Petrikovka
20.10.1941 Italian troops capture a large part of Stalino in Russia.
27.10.1941 Italians defeat Russian attacks in the Donets Basin and take several hundred prisoners.
02.11.1941 The Pasubio captures Gorlovka in Russia
14.11.1941The Pasubio Divisions smashes the Russian defences in the Donets Basin. 41
19.11.1941 Ariete blunts British offensive named Operation Crusader. 40 Crusader tanks are knocked out.
19.11.1941 Pavia repels column of British tanks in the area of El Adem. British forced to retreat.
20.11.1941 Bologna infantry and anti-tank gunners derail advance of the British 7th Armoured Brigade.
21.11.1941 Bologna defenders at the ‘Tugun’ strongpoint derail the advance of the British 70th Division
22.11.1941 ‘Tugun’ defenders successfully defend their position again.
23.11.1941 Pavia defeats British attempt to smash through the Bologna.
24.11.1941 ‘Tugun’ defenders defeat another British attempt to evit them.
25.11.1941 The Trento successfully defends the ‘Bondi’ strongpoint outside Tobruk.
26.11.1941 Bersaglieri defeat renewed British attempt to smash through the Bologna
27.11.1941 The Savona Divisions repels a British armoured attack.
29.11.1941 Ariete overruns the 21st New Zealand Battalion.
29.11.1941 Bersaglieri capture 1,800 Allied wounded, medical staff & guards. 200 German unwounded POWs are freed.
01.12.1941 Trento defeats an armoured attack outside Tobruk
01.12.1941 Trieste cuts off the link the New Zealanders had established with the Tobruk defenders.
04.12.1941 Pavia and Trento recapture ‘Plonk and ‘Doc’ strongpoints outside Tobruk.
05.12.1941 Italian ‘Fascist Youth’ repel several British attacks in the area of Bir Gubi 57
06.12.1941 Pavia fights a successfull delaying action on Point 157
07.12.1941 Bologna covers the retreat of the German Afrika Division
10.12.1941 Brescia covers the Axis retreat from White Knoll.
12.12.1941 Bologna, Brescia, Pavia, Trieste & Trento successfully hold the Gazala Line.
13.12.1941 Trieste successfully defends Point 208.
15.12.1941 Brescia, Pavia & Trento repell a stong Polish-New Zealand attack.
15.12.1941 Ariete plays and 8th Bersaglieri Regiment play a very imporant part in overruning The Buffs. 1,000 British killed, wounded or captured.
26.12.1941 Italian recapture Krestovka from the Russians.
28.01.1942 Raggruppamento Musino fights off repeated Russian attacks near Isyum.
27.05.1942 Ariete overruns the British-officered 3rd Indian Brigade. 1,000 Indians captured.
29.05.1942 Ariete successfully defends the Afrika Korps rearguard.
30.05.1942 Trieste successfully delivers food and provisions to the Afrika Korps preventing their entire capitulation.
05.06.1942 Ariete again successfully defends the Afrika Korps rearguard.
11.06.1942 Trieste captures Bir Hacheim.
20.06.1942 CR.42s of 50 Stormo carried out 43 missions against the Tobruk defenders.
26.08.1942 Italian troops repel several Russian attacks on the Don front.
10.11.1942 Italians defeat a Russian attempt to cross the Don River.
12.06.1942 Trieste encircles the Brtish 2nd & 4th Armoured Brigades, and both tank units are destroyed.
16.06.1942 Italians overrun & capture 6, 000 Allied troops outside Tobruk.
30.06.1942 Littorio surrounds Mersa Matruh & Bersaglieri capture 6,500 Allied soldiers.
01.07.1942 1,000 stranded New Zealanders are rounded up.
04.07.1942 Italian troops repel several Russian attacks.
11.07.1942 Bersaglieri overrun part of the Australian 2/48th Battalion.
14.07.1942 Colonel Angelozzi’s 1st Battalion 85th Sabratha Regiment recaptures Tel el Eisa from the Australians.
15.07.1942 Colonel Angelozzi’s men defeat the Australian 2/23rd Battalion attempt to recapture the position.
15.07.1942 Pavia & Brescia successfully defend Ruweisat Ridge. Several hundred Allied troops are captured.
17.07.1942 A battalion of the Trento overruns part of the Australian 2/32nd Battalion, 200 Australians captured.
21.07.1942 Trieste & Brescia sucessfully defend Ruweisat Ridge. 1,400 Allied troops are captured.
27.07.1942 3rd Battalion of the 61st Trento Infantry Regiment derails the attack of the 2/28th Battalion.
27.07.1942 Armoured car squadron of the Brescia encircle and capture the Australian 2/28 Battalion.
??.09.1942 Bologna overruns defenders of Point 211.
??.09.1942 Trieste, Brescia, Ariete & Littorio in the area of the Munassib Depression, force British & New Zealanders units to retreat.
04.09.1942 Folgore defeat the 6th New Zealand Brigade & capture 200 attackers.
14.09.1942 San Marco Marines defeat Allied landing at Tobruk. 1,000 Allied killed, wounded or captured.
30.09.1942 Folgore defeat 131st Queens Brigade, over 300 British killed or captured.
24.10.1942 Ariete, Brescia & Folgore successfully hold the Alamein line.
25.10.1942 12th Bersaglieri overruns the Austalian 2/17th Battalion. 94
28.10.1942 Littorio overruns part of the British 133rd Brigade, 300 British are captured.
29.10.1942 7th Bersaglieri derails the advance of the Austalian 26th Brigade.
30.10.1942 7th Bersaglieri defeats several Australian attacks.
03.11.1942 Ariete successfully covers the retreat of Rommel.
10.11.1942 Italian troops defeat Russian attempts to cross the River Don.
12.11.1942 Italians invade Corsica.
03.12.1943 Bersaglieri capture part of the British 2nd Parachute Battalion.
12.12.1942 Italian troops attack Russian defences, capturing prisoners a much equipment.
18.02.1943. Germans fail to take Sbiba Pass, but the 7th Bersaglieri triumphs at Kasserine Pass.
18.02.1943 Centauro Division overruns the 1,200-strong US 19th Combat Engineers Regiment.
24.02.1943 5th Bersaglieri successfully covers the retreat of Rommel.
10.07.1943 Italian dive bombers sink American destroyer USS Maddox.
14.07.1943 Napoli infantry overrun part of the British Staffordshire Regiment defending Ponde Grande in Sicily.
14.07.1943 Semovente unit and Bersaglieri overrun 400 British Commandos defending Malati Bridge in Sicily.
16.07.1943 Italian submarine Dandolo disables British cruiser HMS Cleopatra
31.07.1943 Aosta Division on Mount Troina in Sicily, successfully covers German reatreat for six days.
02.08.1943 Assietta Division at Santa Agata in Sicily, successfully covers German reatreat .
04.09.1943 Fighters from 5th Stormo sink four US tank landing ships off Reggio di Calabria.
26.12.1944 Monte Rosa & San Maro Divisions overrun the US 92nd Division.