The Info List - Italian Africa Police

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The Italian African Police
Italian African Police
(Italian: Polizia
dell'Africa Italiana, or PAI), was the Police of "Italian Africa" from 1 June 1936 and 1 December 1941.[1]


1 Characteristics 2 Origin 3 Organization 4 Strength 5 World War II

5.1 Africa 5.2 Defense of Italy 5.3 Salò Republic

6 Ranks 7 Uniform 8 References 9 Notes 10 See also

Characteristics[edit] After the end of the war in Ethiopia
in late 1936 early 1937, the Corps of " Polizia
Coloniale" (Colonial Police) was created to be the police in the colonies in Africa (Libya) and it started issuing its own license plates in March 1938. The unit was created as a result of the reorganization of public safety units operating in Italian North Africa (Africa Settentrionale Italiana, or ASI) and to later garrison Ethiopia
and the rest of Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
(Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI). In 1939 it became " Polizia
dell'Africa Italiana" (Police of Italian Africa), or P.A.I. and received armoured cars, light tanks (tankettes), motorcycles, motor-tricycles and cars, in totaling they were about 1,000 vehicles and as many motorcycles. When the Italian empire fell, the P.A.I. forces were moved in Rome with duties of public order until the liberation of the city on 4 June 1944 when the corps was disbanded and all its vehicles and equipment were taken by the police (Polizia). The new corps was initially subordinated to the Ministry of the Colonies and then to the "Ministry of Italian Africa" (then held by Alessandro Lessona). This was the first case in Italy of an Armed Force put under a civil ministry. The PAI had a reputation for discipline and high training levels, and for being provided with good equipment. Even after the collapse of AOI, the PAI were able to keep the peace in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Origin[edit] The Royal Decree of 10 June 1937, n. 1211, established its organic regulations, for which it was a militarily organized civil body and making it part of the Italian Armed Forces, with functions of political, judicial and administrative police. Organization[edit] The force was a racially mixed organization, made up of Italian agents and many native askaris. It was located in police headquarters of major cities like Tripoli, Benghazi, Asmara, Addis Ababa, Mogadishu, Gondar, or in small commissariats otherwhere. The PAI training school was in Tivoli. Part of the PAI personnel was mounted on Moto Guzzi
Moto Guzzi
motorcycles, with many armed with the Beretta M1938A 9 mm sub-machine gun. Strength[edit] At the outbreak of World War II
World War II
the PAI had 7,672 men, of which 6,345 were in AOI (Eritrea, Ethiopia
and Italian Somalia) and 1,327 were in ASI (Italian Libya). The bulk of the force consisted of indigenous personnel who were trained and equipped to the same standard as Italian personnel. There were 5,142 indigenous personnel, 4,414 from AOI and 732 from ASI. World War II[edit] The PAI fought bravely during World War II
World War II
in the Italian colonies and in Italy. Africa[edit] During World War II, the PAI fought as a combat unit alongside the Italian Army. For the garrison of the Libyan littoral way, at the outbreak of the conflict two companies on motorcycles and an armored car were assigned to the Exploring Unit of the CAM (Corpo armato di manovra) Battalion "Romolo Gessi". They had little fortune since, after a sudden enemy attack, numerous soldiers were hit by friendly fire from German aircraft. The battalion repaired in Tripolitania
and was converted into a mixed company. Several units participated in war actions, at Tripoli, Benghazi, Barce, but the details regarding effective employment are insufficient. Defense of Italy[edit] After the Armistice of Cassibile, the evening of 8 September 1943 the PAI participated to the defense of Rome
engaging the first conflict with the Germans at Mezzocammino, near Castelfusano, with troops of Carabinieri, in aid to a garrison of Grenadiers of Sardinia. On the other side of Rome, at the same time, some troops protected the escape of the King Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III
along the via Tiburtina, the King and the Prime Minister of Italy
Prime Minister of Italy
Pietro Badoglio; once accomplished the task they were sent along the Via Laurentina. On 9 September the PAIRS, with the Bersaglieri
and cadet police officers, forced for a while the Germans to retreat from the Magliana
area; however, after some hours they had in turn to withdraw in direction of Fort Ostiense, which was later stormed by the Germans. The commander and founder of the PAI, General Marraffa, was captured by the Nazis and deported to the Dachau concentration camp, where he died. Salò Republic[edit] Later, there was a reorganization attempt in northern Italy, with the opening of a PAI school at Busto Arsizio
Busto Arsizio
in the autumn of 1943. However, the troops were absorbed by the Republican Police Force of the Italian Social Republic, and finally by the Republican National Guard. Ranks[edit] Ranks were as for the Italian Army
Italian Army
with enlisted rank being the older style larger pattern of red chevrons worn on both upper sleeves.

PAI Rank

Allievo guardia Guardia di Polizia Guardia scelta Vice brigadiere Brigadiere Aspirante ispettore Ispettore aggiunto Ispettore Primo ispettore Ispettore capo Vice questore Questore Ispettore generale Capo della polizia dell'Al

Italian Army
Italian Army

Soldato Caporale Caporale maggiore Sergente Sergente maggiore Aspirante Sottotenente Tenente Capitano Maggiore Tenente Colonnello Colonnello Generale di Brigata Generale di Divisione

Uniform[edit] Personnel wore the standard Italian khaki tropical uniform but with a blue aiguilette fixed from the right shoulder strap to the second button down the front of his tunic. Personnel also wore a small gold PAI badge on the front of their headgear and small brass fasces pinned directly to their collars. Motorcycle mounted personnel wore a brown leather crash helmet, light khaki breeches with brown leather boots and leather leggings to protect the lower legs. References[edit]

"Le Uniformi dell'AOI (Somalia 1889-1941)" Priero Crocaini and Andrea Viotti. "P.A.I. Polizia
dell'Africa Italiana" by Raffaele Girlando


^ Polizia
Africa Italiana (in Italian)

See also[edit]

Carabinieri gendarmerie constabulary military police paramilitary Zaptie Dubats Law enforcement in Italy Polizia East African Campaign (World War II)

v t e

Italian Armed Forces

Esercito Italiano (Army) Marina Militare (Navy) Aeronautica Militare (Air Force) Arma dei Carabinieri


Chief of the Defence Staff Chief of Army Staff Chief of Navy Staff

v t e

Italian Empire


Western Mediterranean

Southeastern France Monaco Corsica


Albanian Kingdom Islands of the Aegean Kingdom of Croatia Dalmatia Greece

Hellenic State Principality of the Pindus Ionian Islands

Italian Province of Lubiana Kingdom of Montenegro

Italian East Africa

Italian Eritrea

Eritrea Governorate

Italian Somaliland

Somalia Governorate Italian Oltre Giuba British Somaliland

Italian Ethiopia

Amhara Governorate Harrar Governorate Galla-Sidamo Governorate Scioa Governorate

Italian Libya


Cyrenaica Tripolitania Fezzan

Far East

Italian concession of Tientsin Concessions of Italy in China

Planned expansion

Egypt Majorca Tentative to occupy French Somaliland Kenya Sudan Malta Ticino, Valais and Grisons Tunisia

The Italian empire before WWII is shown in red. Pink areas were annexed/occupied for various periods between 1940 and 1943. Italian concessions and forts in China are not shown.

Settlers and Irredentism

Settlers and colonists

Albania Dodecanese Dalmatia Eritrea Ethiopia Libya Somalia Tunisia Egypt Lebanon Gibraltar


Corsica Nice Savoy Dalmatia Istria-Venezia Giulia Malta Switzerland Corfu



Governor's Palace (Mogadishu) Governor's Palace (Tripoli) Governor's Palace (Asmara) Asmara
Presidential Palace (Asmara)


Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Asmara Benghazi
Cathedral Tripoli
Cathedral Cinema Impero Fiat Tagliero Building Marble Arch Asmara's Opera Lighthouse "Francesco Crispi" (Cape Guardafui)


Italian Tripoli Mogadishu
under Italian rule Italian Benghazi Italian Asmara Italian Massaua


Mogadishu–Villabruzzi Railway Ethio-Djibouti Railways Eritrean Railway Asmara-Massawa Cableway Railway stations in Eritrea Railway stations in Somalia Via Balbia Via della Vittoria Linea dell'Impero Italian Libya
Railways Libyan Railway stations History of Italian colonial railways

Political concepts

Greater Italy Mare Nostrum New Roman Empire Spazio vitale Fourth Shore Third Rome

Police and military

Eritrean Ascari Italian African Police Bands ( Italian Army
Italian Army
irregulars) Zaptié Dubats Savari Spahis Royal Corps of Colonial Troops Royal Corps of Somali Colonial Troops Ascari del Cielo Paratroops Italian 1st Eritrean Division Italian 2nd Eritrean Division 1st Libyan Division Sibelle 2nd Libyan Division Pescatori Italian Libyan Colonial Division Italian Somali Divisions (101 and 102) Maletti Group Legione Redenta Italian guerrilla units (A.O.I.)

Currencies and Stamps

Eritrean tallero Italian East African lira Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
lira Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
rupia Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
somalo Postage stamps and postal history of Italian East Africa Postage stamps and postal history of Oltre Giuba Postage stamps of Italian Libya

v t e

Italian Libya


Italo Balbo Rodolfo Graziani Italo Gariboldi Ettore Bastico Giovanni Messe

General History

Italo-Turkish War History of Libya
as Italian colony Italian Libya Pacification of Libya Western Desert Campaign North African Campaign Allied occupation of Libya 1945 Tripoli
pogrom Italian refugees from Libya


Province Misurata Province Benghazi
Province Derna Province Military Territory of the South

Related articles

Italian settlers Italian Tripolitania


Italian Cyrenaica


Italian Empire

Fascist imperialism

Italian North Africa Italian Libya
Railways Railway stations in Libya Tripoli-Castel Benito Airport Italian Benghazi Via Balbia Via della Vittoria Arch of the Fileni Tripoli
Grand Prix Tripoli
International Fair Linea dell'Impero Postage stamps of Italian Libya Frontier Wire (Libya) Italo-Turkish War Sciara Sciatt massacre Muslim Association of the Lictor Fort Capuzzo Auto-Saharan Company Fourth Shore

Colonial troops

Italian Libyan Colonial Division 1st Libyan Division "Sibelle" 2nd Libyan Division "Pescatori" Maletti Group Ascari del Cielo Paratroops Italian Africa Police Bands Zaptié Savari Spahis Regio Corp