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The _MILIZIA VOLONTARIA PER LA SICUREZZA NAZIONALE_ (MVSN, "Voluntary Militia
Militia
for National Security"), commonly called the BLACKSHIRTS (Italian : _Camicie Nere_, CCNN, singular: _Camicia Nera_) or _SQUADRISTI_ (singular: _squadrista_), was originally the paramilitary wing of the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
and, after 1923, an all-volunteer militia of the Kingdom of Italy . Its members were distinguished by their black uniforms (modelled on those of the _ Arditi _, Italy's elite troops of World War I) and their loyalty to Benito Mussolini , the _Duce_ (leader) of Fascism , to whom they swore an oath. The founders of the paramilitary groups were nationalist intellectuals, former army officers and young landowners opposing peasants' and country labourers' unions. Their methods became harsher as Mussolini's power grew, and they used violence and intimidation against Mussolini's opponents. In 1943 the MVSN was integrated into the Italian armed forces .

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 2 Organization

* 2.1 Basic organization * 2.2 Territorial organization * 2.3 Security militia * 2.4 Ethiopian Campaign

* 3 Blackshirt Division organization

* 3.1 Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (3 October 1935) * 3.2 Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (10 June 1940)

* 4 Commandant-General * 5 Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
* 6 World War II
World War II
* 7 Appearance

* 8 Ranks

* 8.1 Officers * 8.2 Other Ranks

* 9 Legacy

* 10 See also

* 10.1 General

* 11 Notes * 12 External links

HISTORY

The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
were established as the _squadristi_ in 1919 and consisted of many disgruntled former soldiers. It was given the task of leading fights against their bitter enemies – the Socialists. They may have numbered 200,000 by the time of Mussolini's March on Rome
Rome
from 27 to 29 October 1922. In 1922 the _squadristi_ were reorganized into the _milizia_ and formed numerous _bandiere_, and on 1 February 1923 the Blackshirts
Blackshirts
became the Volunteer Militia
Militia
for National Security (_Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale_, or MVSN), which lasted until the 8 September 1943 Armistice of Cassibile . The Italian Social Republic , located in the areas of northern Italy occupied by Germany, reformed the MVSN on 8 December 1943 into the National Republican Guard (_Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana_, or GNR).

ORGANIZATION

Main articles: Founding of Blackshirts , Milizia Coloniale , and Albanian Fascist Militia
Militia

Benito Mussolini was the leader, or Commandant-General and First Honorary Corporal, of the blackshirts, but executive functions were carried out by the Chief of Staff, equivalent to an army general. The MVSN was formed in imitation of the ancient Roman army , as follows:

BASIC ORGANIZATION

The terms after the first are not words common to European armies (e.g., the Italian _battaglione_ has cognates in many languages). Instead, they derive from the structure of the armies of ancient Rome .

* Zona (zone) = division * Legione (legion ) = regiment , each legion was a militia unit consisting of a small active cadre and a large reserve of civilian volunteers. * Coorte (cohort ) = battalion * Centuria (centuria ) = company * Manipolo (maniple ) = platoon * Squadra (squad ) = squad

These units were also organized on the triangular principle as follows:

* 3 squadre = 1 manipolo (maniple ) * 3 manipoli = 1 centuria (centuria ) * 3 centuriae = 1 coorte (cohort ) * 3 coorti = 1 legione (legion ) * 3 legioni = 1 divisioni (field division) * 3 or more legioni = 1 zona (zone - an administrative division)

TERRITORIAL ORGANIZATION

The MVSN original organization consisted of 15 zones controlling 133 legions (one per province ) of three cohorts each and one Independent Group controlling 10 legions. In 1929 it was reorganized into four _raggruppamenti_, but later in October 1936 it was reorganized into 14 zones controlling only 133 legions with two cohorts each, one of men 21 to 36 years old and the other of men up to 55 years old. There were also special units in Rome, on Ponza
Ponza
Island and the black uniformed _Moschettieri del Duce_ ("The Leader's Musketeers", Mussolini's Guard), the Albanian Militia
Militia
(four legions) and _ Milizia Coloniale _ in Africa (seven legions). National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
logo.

SECURITY MILITIA

Special
Special
militias were also organized to provide security police and gendarmerie functions, these included:

* Forestry Militia * Frontier Militia
Militia
* Highway Militia
Militia
* Port Militia * Posts and Telegraph Militia * Railway Militia * University Militia
Militia

* Anti-aircraft and Coastal Artillery Militia, a combined command which controlled two militias:

* Anti-Aircraft Militia * Coastal Artillery Militia

ETHIOPIAN CAMPAIGN

Blackshirts
Blackshirts
seize a train station in Dire Dawa .

During the 1935–36 Abyssinian Campaign seven CCNN Divisions were organized:

* 1st (23rd of March) CCNN Division * 2nd (28th of October) CCNN Division * 3rd (21 April) CCNN Division * 4th (3 January) CCNN Division * 5th (1 February) CCNN Division * 6th (Tevere) CCNN Division

The first six Divisions were sent to Ethiopia and participated in the war.

* 7th (Cirene) CCNN Division – The 7th CCNN Division "Cirene" was never deployed overseas or even fully equipped before it was disbanded.

BLACKSHIRT DIVISION ORGANIZATION

ORGANIZATION OF BLACKSHIRT DIVISIONS (3 OCTOBER 1935)

* Divisional HQ

* 3 x Legions each with:

* 1 Legionary Machine Gun Company with 16 machine guns

* 2 Legionary Infantry Battalions, each with:

* 1 Machine Gun Company with 8x8mm Breda machine guns and * 3 Infantry Companies each with 9 light machine guns and 3x45mm mortars * 1 pack-artillery battery with 4x65mm L17 each.

* 1 x Artillery Battalion
Battalion
(Army) with 3 batteries (65/17 ) * 1 x Engineers company (mixed Army and Blackshirts) * 2 x Replacements Battalions (1 Infantry, 1 Mixed) * 1 x Medical Section * 1 x Logistics Section (food) * 1 x Pack-Mules unit (1600 mules) * 1 x Mixed Trucks unit (80 light trucks)

The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
Rifle Battalions had three rifle companies but no MMG company. The rifle companies had three platoons (three squads with one LMG each). Each Legion had a MMG company with four platoons of three weapons each (plus two spare ones). The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
replacements battalions were organized as the Blackshirts
Blackshirts
Rifle Battalions, but its platoon were overstrength (60 men each) and with only 1 x LMG in each platoon.

ORGANIZATION OF BLACKSHIRT DIVISIONS (10 JUNE 1940)

* Division Command

* 2 Black Shirt Legions - each

* 3 Battalions * 1 81mm Mortar Company * 1 Accompanying Battery 65mm/17 Mtn guns

* 1 Machine Gun Battalion

* 1 Artillery Regiment:

* 2 Artillery Groups * 1 Artillery Group * 2 AA Batteries 20mm

* 1 Mixed Engineering Battalion
Battalion

* 1 Ambulance Section Sanita * 3 Field Hospitals (Planned when available) * 1 Supply Section

* 1 Section Mixed Transport

COMMANDANT-GENERAL

* Emilio De Bono
Emilio De Bono
(1923 - 1924) * Asclepia Gandolfo (1924 - 1925) * Maurizio Ferrante Gonzaga ( 1925 - 1926) * Benito Mussolini (1926 - July 25, 1943) * Quirino Armellini (July 26, 1943 - September 8, 1943) * Renato Ricci (September 20, 1943 - December 8, 1943)

SPANISH CIVIL WAR

Three CCNN Divisions were sent to participate in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Corpo Truppe Volontarie . The Blackshirt (Camicie Nere, or CCNN) Divisions contained regular soldiers and volunteer militia from the Fascist Party. The CCNN divisions were semi-motorised.

* 1st CCNN Division "Dio lo Vuole" (_"God Wills it"_) * 2nd CCNN Division "Fiamme Nere" (_"Black Flames"_) * 3rd CCNN Division "Penne Nere" (_"Black Feathers"_)

The 3rd CCNN Division was disbanded and consolidated with the 2nd CCNN Division in April 1937 after their defeat at Guadalajara . After the campaigns in Northern Spain
Spain
in October 1937, the 2nd CCNN Division was consolidated with the 1st CCNN and renamed the XXIII de Marzo Division "Llamas Negras" .

WORLD WAR II

Blackshirts
Blackshirts
during Operation Barbarossa

In 1940 the MVSN was able to muster 340,000 first-line combat troops, providing three divisions (1st, 2nd and 4th - all three of which were lost in the North African Campaign ) and, later in 1942, a fourth division ("M") and fifth division _Africa_ were forming.

Mussolini also pushed through plans to raise 142 MVSN combat battalions of 650 men each to provide a _Gruppo di Assalto_ to each army division. These Gruppi consisted of two cohorts (each of three _centuriae_ of 3 _manipoli_ of 2 _squadre_ each) plus Gruppo Supporto company of two heavy machine gun _manipoli_ (with three HMG each) and two 81 mm mortar _manipoli_ (with 3 Mortars each).

Later 41 Mobile groups were raised to become the third regiment in Italian Army divisions as it was determined through operational experience that the Italian army's binary divisions were too small in both manpower and heavy equipment. These mobile groups suffered heavy casualties due to being undermanned, under equipped and under trained.

The MVSN fought in every theater where Italy did.

APPEARANCE

The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
wore the same uniform as the Italian army with the addition of a black shirt and tie, a black fez .

RANKS

_With translated material from the corresponding Italian article_ Benito Mussolini as First Honorary Corporal of the MVSN.

Mussolini as _Comandante Generale_ was made _Primo Caporale Onorario_ (First Honorary Corporal) in 1935 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
was made _Caporale Onorario_ (Honorary Corporal) in 1937. All other ranks closely approximated those of the old Roman army as follows.

OFFICERS

RANK INSIGNIA ROYAL ITALIAN ARMY EQUIVALENT (WITH UK/US EQUIVALENT)

_Primo Caporale d'Onore_ (First Honorary Corporal of the MVSN) _ First Marshal of the Empire (None/General of the Armies)

Caporale d'Onore_ (Honorary Corporal of the MVSN) _ Marshal of Italy (Field Marshal/General of the Army)

Comandante Generale_ ( Commandant
Commandant
General) _ Army General (General)

Luogotenente Generale Capo di Stato Maggiore_ (Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General) _ Corps General (Lieutenant-General)

Luogotenente Generale_ (Lieutenant-General) _ Divisional General (Major-General)

Console Generale_ (Consul-General) _ Brigade General (Brigadier/Brigadier General)

Console_ (Consul) _ Colonel

Primo Seniore_ (First Senior) _ Lieutenant-Colonel

Seniore_ (Senior) _ Major

Centurione_ (Centurion) _ Captain

Capo Manipolo_ (Chief Maniple) _ Lieutenant (Lieutenant/First Lieutenant)

Sotto Capo Manipolo_ (Sub-Chief Maniple) Sublieutenant (Second Lieutenant)

OTHER RANKS

RANK INSIGNIA ARMY EQUIVALENT (WITH UK/US EQUIVALENT)

_Primo Aiutante_ (First Adjutant) _ Marshal-Major (Conductor/Command Sergeant Major)

Aiutante Capo_ (Chief Adjutant) _ Chief Marshal (WO1/Sergeant Major)

Aiutante_ (Adjutant) _ Ordinary Marshal (WO2/Master Sergeant)

Primo Capo Squadra_ (First Squadron Chief) _ Sergeant-Major (Staff Sergeant)

Capo Squadra_ (Squadron Chief) _ Sergeant

Vice Capo Squadra_ (Vice-Squadron Chief) _ Corporal-Major (Corporal)

Camicia Nera Scelta_ (Select Blackshirt) _ Corporal (Lance-Corporal/PFC)

Camicia Nera_ (Blackshirt) N/A Appointee (Private)

_Legionario_ (Legionary) N/A Recruit/Soldier (Recruit/Private)

LEGACY

_ Infamous Daily Mail
Daily Mail
_ article congratulating the British Union of Fascists .

The ethos and sometimes the uniform were later copied by others who shared Mussolini's political ideas, including Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
in Nazi Germany , who issued brown shirts to the "Storm Troops" (_ Sturmabteilung _) and black uniforms to the "Defense Squad" (_ Schutzstaffel _, also colloquially known as "Brownshirts", because they wore black suit-like tunics with brown shirts), Sir Oswald Mosley in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(whose British Union of Fascists were also known as the "Blackshirts"), the Warriors for the Advancement of the Bulgarian National Spirit who wore red shirts, William Dudley Pelley in the United States
United States
( Silver Legion of America or "Silver Shirts"), in Mexico
Mexico
the Camisas Doradas or "Golden Shirts", Plínio Salgado in Brazil
Brazil
(whose followers wore green shirts), and Eoin O\'Duffy in the Irish Free State (Army Comrades Association or " Blueshirts "). "Blueshirts" can also refer to Canadian fascists belonging to the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party and to the members of Falange Española , the most influential party within Franco\'s dictatorship in Spain
Spain
. The paramilitary fascist Iron Guard
Iron Guard
members in Romania wore green shirts.

After the Armistice of Cassibile
Armistice of Cassibile
was signed, the Blackshirts
Blackshirts
were dissolved; in the pro-fascist Italian Social Republic they were replaced by the National Republican Guard and the Black Brigades in the militia role, alongside the Republican Police Corps .

SEE ALSO

* Blackshirts
Blackshirts
– Albania * Redshirts – Bulgaria * Blueshirts – Canada * Blue Shirts – China ( Kuomintang )

* Brownshirts – Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany

* Blackshirts
Blackshirts
– Nazi Germany * Gestapo
Gestapo
– Nazi Germany

* Blueshirts – Ireland * Greenshirts – Ireland * Greenshirts – United Kingdom * Greenshirts – Brazil * Redshirts – Italy * Redshirts – Mexico * Goldshirts – Mexico * Greyshirts – ethnically Dutch South Africans * Greenshirts – Romania * Blackshirts
Blackshirts
– United Kingdom * Silvershirts – United States * Black Brigades * Italian Social Republic * Red Army
Red Army

GENERAL

* Militia
Militia
* Paramilitary * Political color * Political uniform * Squadrismo * Integralismo * Black Shorts – parody of the blackshirts in the writings of P.G. Wodehouse

NOTES

* ^ Bosworth, R. J. B, _Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945_ (Penguin Books, 2005), p. 117 * ^ The Blackshirt Division Order of Battle comes from "Storia delle Unità Combattenti della MVSN 1923-1943" by Ettore Lucas and Giorgio de Vecchi, Giovanni Volpe Editore 1976 pages 63 to 116 plus errata. * ^ Italian Army Infantry Regulation of 1939 (Page 472/473)I * ^ The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
Division TO&E comes from an original document (order sheet "Ministero della Guerra, Comando del Corpo di Stato Maggiore - Ufficio Ordinamento e Mobilitazione . Prot.2076 del 18-06-1935"). * ^ The Blackshirts
Blackshirts
Division TO;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

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National Fascist Party
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Russian Fascist Party
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Fumimaro Konoe
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Adolf Hitler
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Hideki Tojo
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Ioannis Metaxas
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Militia
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