Posted 21 November 2009 - 04:13 PM
Quite possibly true, and there are many photos post-1940 with soldati with fregi on the helmets. We know the regulation was issued in 1940 to remove the fregi. No doubt that some individuals/units might have kept them. We know this particular photo is in Russia, and the helmet doesn’t have a fregi, and the individual lacks mostrine. Could also be a soldier transferred to a new unit. Whiule early photoshopping can remove th efregio, doing the same for the mostrine and leaving th esatrs is verydoubful.
>My hypothesis is that stencils were made "at home" before troops were sent to the front lines.
I feel this is unlikely. The fregi were depot painted. It is a lot of trouble to paint fregi on helmets that lack the stencils, a practiced that was against the regs. It is most likely that some units didn’t follow the regulation and remove the fregi. As equipment was passed on or jealously guarded by older soldiers that took pride in their unit, helmets with the stencils continued to be used until the end of the war.
In the case of the 1° raggruppamento, the fregi could have been painted for identification and pride. As the first combat unit to fight alongside of the Allies, they might have done this. However, there are no fregi in the picture of these soldiers in the picture on page 34 of the Osprey book. So it is unlikely this was a unit-wide decision/action. I feel the put-together nature of the unit, using available equipment, saw the use of helmets that had not been repainted ICW the regulations.
btg. sciatori Alpini « Monte Cervino » (reenacted)
19° reggimento fanteria « Brescia » (reenacted)