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The ITALIAN ARMY (Italian : ESERCITO ITALIANO; EI) is the land defence force of the Italian Armed Forces of the Italian Republic
Italian Republic
. The army's history dates back to the unification of Italy
Italy
in the 1850s and 1860s. The army fought in colonial engagements in China, Libya (1911–1912) , northern Italy
Italy
against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, Abyssinia before World War II, and in World War II in Albania, Greece, north Africa, Russia and Italy
Italy
itself. During the Cold War
Cold War
the army prepared itself to defend against a Warsaw Pact invasion from the east. Since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
the army has seen extensive peacekeeping service and combat in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Iraq .

Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle , the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete
Ariete
tank , and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter , recently deployed in UN missions.

The headquarters of the Army
Army
General
General
Staff are located in Rome
Rome
, at the back of the Presidential Palace . The army is an all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 99,042 (2016) personnel in 2016.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 World War I
World War I
* 1.2 World War II
World War II
* 1.3 Cold War
Cold War

* 1.4 Post Cold War
Cold War

* 1.4.1 Unit Summary

* 1.5 1991 reform * 1.6 1997 reform * 1.7 2002 reform * 1.8 2011 reform * 1.9 2013 reform

* 2 Operations * 3 Command structure * 4 Operational forces * 5 Effective operational capability * 6 Equipment * 7 Operations * 8 Defunct branches * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 External links

HISTORY

The Italian Army
Army
originated as the Royal Army
Army
( Regio Esercito ) which dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy
Italy
following the seizure of the Papal States
Papal States
and the unification of Italy
Italy
(Risorgimento ). In 1861, under the leadership of Giuseppe Garibaldi , Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy was invited to take the throne of the newly independent kingdom.

Italian expeditions were dispatched to China during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 and to Libya during the Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
of 1911–1912.

WORLD WAR I

See also: Italy
Italy
in World War I
World War I
and Italian Campaign (World War I)

The Italian Royal Army's first real taste of modern warfare was during World War I
World War I
. Most of the actions were fought in northern Italy and the Royal Army
Army
suffered many casualties. This included over 700,000 dead. In particular, the frequency of the offensives in which Italian soldiers participated between May 1915 and August 1917, one every three months, was higher than demanded by the armies on the Western Front. Italian discipline was also harsher, with punishments for infractions of duty of a severity not known in the German, French, and British armies.

During the Interwar Years the Royal Army
Army
participated in the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia , provided men and materials during the Spanish Civil War to fight in the Corps of Volunteer Troops (Corpo Truppe Volontarie ), and launched the Italian invasion of Albania .

WORLD WAR II

See also: Military history of Italy
Italy
during World War II
World War II
and Royal Italian Army
Army
(1940–1946)

On paper, the Royal Army
Army
was one of the largest ground forces in World War II
World War II
, though in reality it could not field the numbers claimed, and it was one of the pioneers in the use of paratroopers . Due to their generally smaller size, many Italian divisions were reinforced by an Assault Group (Gruppo d'Assalto) of two battalions of Blackshirts
Blackshirts
(MVSN ).

Reports of Italian military prowess in the Second World War were, almost always, dismissive. This perception was the result of disastrous Italian offensives against Egypt and the performance of the army in the Greco-Italian War . Both campaigns were ill-prepared and executed inadequately. The Italian 10th Army
Army
initially advanced into Egypt but surrendered after being pushed back into central Libya and almost all destroyed by a force one fifth its size in the British three-month campaign of Operation Compass
Operation Compass
.

Incompetent military leadership was aggravated by the Italian military's equipment, which predominantly dated back to the First World War and was not up to the standard of either the Allied or the German armies. Italian 'medium' M11 , M13 , M14 and M15 tanks were at a marked disadvantage against the comparatively heavily armed American Sherman tanks, for example. More crucially, Italy
Italy
lacked suitable quantities of equipment of all kinds and the Italian high command did not take necessary steps to plan for possible setbacks on the battlefield, or for proper logistical support to its field armies. There were too few anti-aircraft weapons, obsolete anti-tank guns, and too few trucks.

The Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia fought under General Giovanni Messe
Giovanni Messe
, who acknowledged the limitations of his Corps in material and equipment and thus was relieved of his command on November 1, 1942. When the Soviet offensive Operation Saturn began on December 12, 1942 the Italian 8th Army
Army
was quickly crushed. Only about a third of its troops managed to escape the Soviet cauldron, most notably from the three Alpini
Alpini
Divisions Tridentina , Julia and Cuneense , which fought stubbornly and to almost their total annihilation to escape the Soviet encirclement (see: Battle of Nikolayevka ).

In North Africa, the Italian 132 Armored Division Ariete
Ariete
and the 185 Airborne Division Folgore fought to total annihilation at the Second Battle of El Alamein . Although the battle was lost, the determined resistance of the Italian soldiers at the Battle of Keren in East Africa is still commemorated today by the Italian military.

After the Axis defeat in Tunisia the morale of the Italian troops dropped and when the Allies landed in Sicily
Sicily
on July 10, 1943 most Italian Coastal divisions simply dissolved. The sagging morale led to the overthrow of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
by King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
Italy
15 days later.

In September 1943, Italy
Italy
made an armistice with the Allies and split into the Italian Social Republic – effectively a puppet state of Germany – in the north and that of the Badoglio government in the south. The Italian Co-Belligerent Army
Army
(Esercito Cobelligerante Italiano) was the army of the Italian royalist forces fighting on the side of the Allies in southern Italy
Italy
after the Allied armistice with Italy
Italy
in September 1943. The Italian soldiers fighting in this army no longer fought for Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
as their allegiance was to King Victor Emmanuel and to Marshal of Italy
Italy
(Maresciallo d'Italia) Pietro Badoglio , the men who ousted Mussolini.

COLD WAR

The kingdom was replaced by a Republic in 1946 and the Royal Army changed its name to become the Italian Army
Army
(Esercito Italiano). Initially five infantry divisions were active, including the newly renamed Infantry Division Friuli .

Following the creation of NATO
NATO
, the Italian Army
Army
was integrated into NATO's Allied Forces Southern Europe and prepared for a feared invasion from the east, possibly via Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
. Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH), was activated on 10 July 1951 to defend northeastern Italy. The command was headquartered at Verona
Verona
, and placed under Lieutenant General
General
Maurizio Lazzaro De Castiglioni. Some three infantry divisions and three brigades were the only forces initially available to this command to defend northeastern Italy. The divisions in question were the Mantova Infantry Division in Udine
Udine
, the Folgore Motorized Infantry Division in Treviso , the Trieste Motorized Infantry Division in Bologna. Two of the three brigades were Alpini
Alpini
mountain infantry brigades – the Julia Alpine Brigade in Cividale del Friuli
Cividale del Friuli
and Tridentina Alpine Brigade in Brixen
Brixen
, while the third brigade was the Ariete
Ariete
Armoured Brigade in Pordenone
Pordenone
. Exercise "Italic Weld", a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy
Italy
involving the United States, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, appears to have been one of the first exercises in which the new Italian Army
Army
orientation was tested.

Later the Italian Army
Army
was divided into the III Army
Army
Corps (HQ Milan) (active from 1957), IV Alpine Army
Army
Corps (HQ Bolzano) (active from 1952), and V Army
Army
Corps (HQ Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
) (active from 1952), plus other units. The most significant reorganization of the Italian Army took place in 1975, when the regimental level was abolished and the battalions came under direct command of newly formed brigades. This reorganization came to an end in 1986 when the remaining four divisional headquarters were dissolved and all brigades in Northern Italy
Italy
came under direct command of the Army's three Corps there, while the brigades in Central and Southern Italy
Italy
came under operational control of the local administrative Military Regions. Structure of the Italian Army
Army
in 1984 (click to enlarge) Structure of the Italian Army
Army
in 1989 (click to enlarge)

POST COLD WAR

Main article: Structure of the Italian Army
Army
in 1989 Ariete Garibaldi Mameli Julia Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
# # Pozzuolo del Friuli Brescia
Brescia
Gorizia
Gorizia
Mantova Trieste Aquileia Centauro Goito Legnano Cremona Taurinense Tridentina Orobica Cadore Folgore Friuli Acqui Granatieri di Sardegna Aosta
Aosta
Pinerolo Sassari Combat brigades of the Italian Army
Army
1989

At the end of the Cold War
Cold War
in 1989 the Italian Army
Army
consisted of 26 Combat Brigades: four Armored Brigades, ten Mechanized Infantry Brigades, five Motorized Infantry Brigades, five Alpine Brigades, one Rocket Artillery Brigade and one Airborne Brigade.

The units were placed as follows under the three Army
Army
Corps's:

* 3RD ARMY CORPS ( Milan
Milan
):

* Armored Brigade Centauro ( Novara
Novara
) * Mechanized Brigade Goito (Milan) * Mechanized Brigade Legnano ( Bergamo ) * Mechanized Brigade Brescia
Brescia
( Brescia
Brescia
) * Mechanized Brigade Trieste ( Bologna
Bologna
) * Motorized Brigade Cremona ( Turin
Turin
)

* 4TH ALPINE ARMY CORPS ( Bolzano ):

* Alpine Brigade Cadore ( Belluno ) * Alpine Brigade Julia ( Udine
Udine
) * Alpine Brigade Orobica ( Merano ) * Alpine Brigade Taurinense ( Turin
Turin
) * Alpine Brigade Tridentina ( Brixen
Brixen
)

* 5TH ARMY CORPS ( Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
):

* Armored Brigade Ariete
Ariete
( Aviano
Aviano
) * Armored Brigade Mameli (Tauriano ) * Armored Brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli ( Palmanova ) * Mechanized Brigade Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
( Villa Opicina ) * Mechanized Brigade Garibaldi ( Pordenone
Pordenone
) * Mechanized Brigade Gorizia
Gorizia
( Gorizia
Gorizia
) * Mechanized Brigade Mantova ( Udine
Udine
) * 3rd Missile Brigade Aquileia ( Portogruaro )

The brigades under operational control of the Military Regions were:

* VII TERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMAND ( Florence
Florence
)

* Parachute Brigade Folgore ( Livorno ) * Motorized Brigade Friuli (Florence)

* VIII TERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMAND ( Rome
Rome
)

* Motorized Brigade Acqui (L\'Aquila ) * Mechanized Brigade Granatieri di Sardegna (Rome)

* X TERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMAND ( Naples
Naples
)

* Mechanized Brigade Pinerolo ( Bari
Bari
)

* XI TERRITORIAL MILITARY COMMAND ( Palermo
Palermo
)

* Motorized Brigade Aosta
Aosta
( Messina
Messina
)

* AUTONOMOUS MILITARY COMMAND SARDINIA ( Cagliari
Cagliari
)

* Motorized Brigade Sassari ( Sassari )

The Armored Brigades consisted of one Command & Signals Battalion, two or three Tank
Tank
Battalions with Leopard 1 A2 tanks, one Mechanized Infantry Battalion with M113 APCs , one Self-propelled Field Artillery Group with M109 howitzers , one Logistic Battalion, an Anti-Tank Company and an Engineer Company.

The Mechanized Brigades consisted of one Command however the Pinerolo Mechanized Brigades fielded a Field Artillery
Field Artillery
Group with FH-70 howitzers . Additionally the Gorizia
Gorizia
and Mantova mechanized brigades fielded two Position Infantry battalions each, which were tasked with manning fortifications and bunkers along the Yugoslav-Italian border.

The Motorized Brigades consisted of one Command however the Sassari Brigade did not contain a field artillery battalion.

The Folgore Parachute Brigade did field one Command & Signals Battalion, one Parachute Assault Battalion (a Special Forces
Special Forces
Unit), three Parachute Infantry Battalions, one Airborne Field Artillery Group with Mod 56 howitzers , one Logistic Battalion, one Army Aviation Helicopter Battalion and an Engineer Company.

Three of the five Alpine Brigades consisted of one Command while the Tridentina brigade fielded an Alpini
Alpini
d'Arresto Battalion instead of the Alpini
Alpini
Training Battalion. The exception was the Julia Alpine Brigade which consisted of one Command the remainder of the mechanized infantry were two Granatieri di Sardegna battalions, sixteen infantry battalions and three cavalry squadrons. One battalion as training and demonstration unit as part of the army's Infantry and Cavalry School in Cesano .

11 Motorized Infantry

Two battalions per motorized brigade and one battalion in Triest as part of the Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
brigade tasked with defending the city in case of a Yugoslavian attack.

13 Alpini
Alpini

Two battalions per Alpine Brigade; with the Julia brigade fielding a total of four Alpini
Alpini
battalions, an additional battalion under the Military Alpine School in Aosta
Aosta
.

5 Parachute Infantry

One Carabinieri
Carabinieri
parachute battalion, two infantry parachute battalions, and one parachute assault ( Special
Special
Forces) battalion. Additionally the 4th Army
Army
Corps fielded an Alpini
Alpini
parachute Company.

7 d'Arresto

Two Alpini
Alpini
and 5 infantry battalions designated to hold specific fortified sectors of the Eastern Italian border.

2 Amphibious Infantry LVT-7 One amphibious infantry battalion ( Lagunari ), one amphibious vehicle battalion and one training company tasked with defending Venice under the Amphibious Troop Command.

33 Training Battalions

The training battalions were tasked with the basic training of draftees: four Alpini
Alpini
training battalions trained draftees destined for Alpine units, one parachute infantry battalion trained the parachute brigades recruits, one battalion the recruits destined for the Aquileia Artillery brigade, one Granatieri battalion the recruits destined for the Granatieri di Sardegna brigade, while the remaining 26 infantry battalions, trained all incoming recruits regardless of which unit they would ultimately be assigned to.

11 Self-Propelled Artillery M109 howitzers One group (equivalent to a battalion) per armored and mechanized brigade (with the exception of the Pinerolo, Legnano, Trieste, Granatieri di Sardegna and Brescia
Brescia
mechanized brigades), two groups in one regiment under 3rd Army
Army
Corps, one battery as part of the army's artillery school in Rome
Rome
and one training battery on Sardinia.

19 Field Artillery
Field Artillery
M114 howitzers One group per motorized brigade (with the exception of the Sassari Motorized Brigade), one group per Alpini
Alpini
brigade, one group in Pinerolo, Legnano, Trieste, Granatieri di Sardegna and Brescia mechanized brigades, one group under 5th Army
Army
Corps, one under VII Territorial Command, three in Southern Italy
Italy
under X Territorial Command and one battery as part of the Army's artillery school in Rome.

6 Mountain Artillery Mod 56 howitzers One group per Alpine Brigade, with the Julia Alpine Brigade fielding and additional group.

1 Airborne Artillery Mod 56 howitzers One airborne field artillery group as part of the Folgore Parachute Brigade.

8 Heavy Field Artillery FH-70 howitzers Heavy Field Artillery
Field Artillery
groups served as Corps Artillery: two under 3rd Army
Army
Corps, two under 4th Alpine Army
Army
Corps, four under 5th Army Corps and one battery as part of the army's artillery school in Rome.

1 Heavy Artillery M115 howitzers One group under 5th Army
Army
Corps. Originally capable of firing tactical nuclear ammunition and part of the Aquileia artillery brigade, the unit lost its nuclear role in 1986.

1 Heavy Self-Propelled Artillery M110 howitzers One group as part of Aquileia brigade capable of firing tactical nuclear ammunition.

1 Missile Artillery MGM-52 Lance later M270 MLRS The only missile artillery group of the army was capable to firing tactical nuclear missiles.

8 Target Acquisition

Seven Artillery Specialist Groups with artillery radars and drones supporting the army corps and one target acquisition group supporting the Missile Brigade Aquileia.

5 Light Air-defense Artillery FIM-92 Stinger 40/70 Anti-air guns All under operational control of the Army's Air-defense Artillery Command, one tasked with defending the Air Force's airfields in Italy's North-East.

4 Air-defense Missile Artillery MIM-23 Hawk Grouped in two regiments under operational control of the Army's Air-defense Artillery Command.

17 Engineer Battalions

Engineer battalions were under the Army
Army
Corps' and the Military Regional Commands and came in various specializations: Eight pioneer battalions tasked with construction duties, two combat engineer battalions supported the Army
Army
Corps', two railway construction and two bridge construction battalions were grouped into two regiments under the Army's Engineer Inspectorate, one pioneer battalion served as training and demonstration unit under the Army's engineering school, while two mining battalions were tasked with building and maintaining fortifications in the Alpine border regions of Italy. Additionally 24 Combat Engineer companies supported each of the army's brigades (with the exception of the Sassari brigade).

5 Reconnaissance Helicopter AB 206 A109 EOA Four squadrons flying AB 206 and one squadron flying A109 EOA helicopters.

7 Transport Helicopter AB 205 AB 412 CH-47 Chinook One squadron flying CH-47 Chinook Helicopters in Viterbo and six squadrons flying AB 412 and AB 205 helicopters.

6 General
General
Aviation AB 212 SM-1019 The squadrons were dispersed all over the nation and supported various regional commands.

17 Signal Battalions Additionally two independent companies.

3 Electronic Warfare
Electronic Warfare
Battalions

1 NBC -defense Battalion

Part of Engineer corps, but under direct command of the Army's General
General
Staff.

25 Logistic Battalions

One logistic battalion per brigade; with the exception of the Sassari brigade.

6 Logistic Maneuver Battalions

The logistic maneuver battalions ensured the mobility and logistic support of the Army's three Corps Commands.

9 Transport Battalions

Transport battalions provided mobility and logistic support to Territorial Commands and the Army
Army
and Armed Forces General
General
Staffs in Rome.

26 Command and Signal Battalions

One command and signals battalion per brigade, one for the Army's Air-defense Artillery Command and a Command and Signals Company for the Amphibious Troop Command.

Additionally the Army
Army
fielded 23 Anti-tank companies, one in each combat brigade with the exception of the Folgore and Sassari brigades

1991 REFORM

In 1991 the Army
Army
began the post- Cold War
Cold War
draw-down of its forces with the disbandment of seven brigades and a large number of smaller units. The brigades disbanded in 1991 were the Aquileia, Brescia, Goito, Mameli, Orobica, Trieste and Vittorio Veneto. The units subordinated to these brigades were mostly disbanded, while the Garibaldi brigade command was transferred with one of its battalions to Campania
Campania
.

1997 REFORM

With the relaxing military situation the Italian Army
Army
kept drawing down forces and disbanding smaller military units, which necessitated a major reorganization by 1997 to merge the remaining battalions into coherent units and to disband now superfluous brigade commands. Thus a further six brigades were disbanded during the latter half of 1996 and 1997: Acqui, Cadore, Cremona, Gorizia, Legnano and Mantova. In addition the remaining units were moved to new bases, changed composition, designation and tasks. The three Army
Army
Corps's were renamed and their functions expanded: the 3rd Army
Army
Corps became the Projection Forces Command (COMFOP) commanding the rapid reaction forces of the Army, the 4th Alpine Army
Army
Corps became the Alpine Troops Command (COMALP) focusing on peace-keeping operations and the 5th Army Corps became the 1st Defense Forces Command (COMFOD1) tasked with defending Northern Italy. On January 1, 1998 the 2nd Defense Forces Command (COMFOD2) was activated in Naples
Naples
and tasked with defending South and Central Italy. During the Cold War
Cold War
the Italian Army
Army
units were to be commanded during war by NATO's LANDSOUTH Command in Verona , on October 1, 1997 out of elements of the aforementioned NATO Command the new Operational Terrestrial Forces Command (COMFOTER) was activated. The COMFOTER took command of all the combat, combat support, combat service support and CIS units of the Italian Army. Along with the COMFOTER in Verona
Verona
a Support Command (COMSUP) was raised in Treviso , which gained operational control of all the remaining combat support, combat service support and CIS units of the Army. The COMSUP controlled three division sized formation (Army Aviation Command, Air-Defense Artillery Command, C4-IEW Command) and three brigade sized formations ( Field Artillery
Field Artillery
Brigade, Engineer Brigade, Logistic Support Command).

Thus after the 1997 reform the structure of the Italian Army
Army
was as follows:

* COMFOTER ( Verona
Verona
):

* COMFOP ( Milan
Milan
):

* Parachute Infantry Brigade Folgore ( Livorno ) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Friuli ( Bologna
Bologna
) * Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri
Brigade Garibaldi ( Caserta
Caserta
)

* COMALP ( Bolzano ):

* Alpine Brigade Julia ( Udine
Udine
) * Alpine Brigade Taurinense ( Turin
Turin
) * Alpine Brigade Tridentina ( Brixen
Brixen
)

* COMFOD 1 ( Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
):

* Armored Brigade Ariete
Ariete
( Pordenone
Pordenone
) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Centauro ( Novara
Novara
) * Cavalry Brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli ( Gorizia
Gorizia
)

* COMFOD 2 ( Naples
Naples
):

* Mechanized Infantry Brigade Aosta
Aosta
( Messina
Messina
) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Granatieri di Sardegna (Rome) * Armored Brigade Pinerlo ( Bari
Bari
) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Sassari ( Sassari )

* COMSUP ( Treviso ):

* Army
Army
Aviation Command ( Viterbo ) * Air-Defense Artillery Command ( Padua
Padua
) * C4-IEW Command ( Anzio
Anzio
) * Field Artillery
Field Artillery
Brigade ( Portogruaro ) * Engineer Brigade ( Udine
Udine
) * Logistic Support Command ( Udine
Udine
)

2002 REFORM

Alpini
Alpini
of the 7th Alpini
Alpini
Regiment during the Falzarego 2011 exercise

Between 1997 and 2002 the Army
Army
continued to tweak the new structure and with the abolition of obligatory military service a further two brigades (Centauro, Tridentina) were disbanded in 2002. On December 1, 2000 the COMFOP became the NATO
NATO
Rapid Deployable Corps Italy
Italy
(NRDC-IT) and passed its subordinate units to the COMFOD 1 (Friuli, Folgore) and COMFOD 2 (Garibaldi) commands. The Friuli Brigade changed composition and became an airmobile brigade with Army
Army
Aviation, Cavalry and Infantry units. The COMSUP had already been reorganized and streamlined in 2000.

After 2002 the structure of the Italian Army
Army
was as follows:

* COMFOTER ( Verona
Verona
):

* NRDC-IT ( Milan
Milan
):

* NRDC-IT Signal Brigade (Milan)

* COMALP ( Bolzano ):

* Alpine Brigade Julia ( Udine
Udine
) * Alpine Brigade Taurinense ( Turin
Turin
)

* COMFOD 1 ( Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
):

* Armored Brigade Ariete
Ariete
( Pordenone
Pordenone
) * Parachute Infantry Brigade Folgore ( Livorno ) * Airmobile Brigade Friuli ( Bologna
Bologna
) * Cavalry Brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli ( Gorizia
Gorizia
)

* COMFOD 2 ( Naples
Naples
):

* Mechanized Infantry Brigade Aosta
Aosta
( Messina
Messina
) * Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri
Brigade Garibaldi ( Caserta
Caserta
) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Granatieri di Sardegna (Rome) * Armored Brigade Pinerlo ( Bari
Bari
) * Mechanized Infantry Brigade Sassari ( Sassari )

* C4-IEW COMMAND ( Anzio
Anzio
)

* COMSUP ( Treviso ):

* Air-Defense Brigade ( Padua
Padua
) * Air Cavalry Command ( Viterbo ) * Field Artillery
Field Artillery
Brigade ( Portogruaro ) * Engineer Brigade ( Udine
Udine
) * Logistic Projection Brigade ( Udine
Udine
)

2011 REFORM

During 2011 some small changes regarding the support units of the Army
Army
were enacted. The COMSUP took command of the Armys schools and merged them where possible with the support brigades. Minor units were moved South and to the island to reduce the Army's footprint in the wealthier North of Italy. At the same time the designation of the Pinerolo brigade was changed back to Mechanized Infantry Brigade. Afterwards the COMSUP consisted, besides four Army
Army
schools of the following commands:

* Air-Defense Command ( Sabaudia ) * Artillery Command ( Bracciano
Bracciano
) * Engineer Command (Rome) * Logistic Projection Command ( Rome
Rome
)

2013 REFORM

In 2013 the Army
Army
began a major reform. The three corps level commands COMFOD 1 , COMFOD 2 and COMALP were disbanded and the Mantova Division Command moved from Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
to Florence
Florence
, where it was renamed as Division "Friuli" , taking the name and traditions of the Friuli Air Assault Brigade . Together with the other two divisions Acqui and Tridentina it took command of the operational brigades of the Italian Army.

The Logistic Projection Command was disbanded and its units transferred to the brigades. As part of the reform the Army
Army
created the new Army
Army
Special Forces
Special Forces
Command (COMFOSE) in Pisa
Pisa
, which took command of all Special
Special
Operations Forces of the Army. Furthermore the Operational Terrestrial Forces Command (COMFOTER) in Verona
Verona
was split on 1 October 2016 into the COMFOTER - Army
Army
Operational Command in Rome and the COMFOTER - SUPPORT Command in Verona.

At the end of the reform in 2018 the plan envisions that the Army will consist of:

* 2x HEAVY BRIGADES ( Ariete
Ariete
, Garibaldi ) armed with, Centauro tank destroyers , Ariete
Ariete
tanks , Dardo infantry fighting vehicles and PzH2000 self propelled artillery * 2x MEDIUM BRIGADES ( Aosta
Aosta
, Pinerolo ) armed with Centauro tank destroyers and Freccia infantry fighting vehicles * 4x LIGHT BRIGADES (Folgore , Julia , Taurinense , Sassari ) armed with Centauro tank destroyers, Puma armoured personnel carriers and FH-70 towed artillery * 1x AIR-ASSAULT BRIGADE (Pozzuolo del Friuli Brigade ) with Centauros, Pumas, A129 Mangusta attack and NH90 transport helicopters and FH-70 towed artillery

However as of February 2017 the merger of the Airmobile Brigade Friuli and the Cavalry Brigade Pozzuolo del Friuli, as well as the disbanding of the Granatieri di Sardegna Brigade, are on hold.

Each maneuver brigade, with the exception of the Pozzuolo del Friuli and Sassari brigades, will field the following units after the reform: one combat service support battalion with the brigade staff, one cavalry reconnaissance regiment, three combat maneuver regiments, one artillery regiment, one engineer regiment, one logistic regiment.

The Pozzuolo del Friuli brigade will field a cavalry reconnaissance regiment, an air-assault infantry regiment, an amphibious-assault infantry regiment, an army aviation reconnaissance helicopter regiment, an attack helicopter regiment, a field artillery regiment, an engineer regiment, a logistic regiment as well as the standard combat service support battalion with the brigade staff.

The Sassari brigade will not field a cavalry reconnaissance regiment and an artillery regiment, unless funds can be found to raise these units on the island of Sardinia.

All army schools, training regiments and training centres will be combined into the newly raised Army
Army
Formation, Specialisation and Doctrine Command (Comando per la Formazione, Specializzazione e Dottrina e dell’Esercito or COMFORDOT) in Rome.

OPERATIONS

The Italian Army
Army
has participated in operations to aid populations hit by natural disasters. It has, moreover, supplied a remarkable contribution to the forces of police for the control of the territory of the province of Bolzano/Bozen (1967), in Sardinia
Sardinia
("Forza Paris" 1992), in Sicily
Sicily
("Vespri Siciliani"1992) and in Calabria
Calabria
(1994). Currently, it protects sensitive objects and places throughout the national territory ("Operazione Domino") since the September 11 attacks in the United States. The army is also engaged in Missions abroad under the aegis of the UN , the NATO
NATO
, and of Multinational forces, such as Beirut
Beirut
in Lebanon
Lebanon
(1982), Namibia
Namibia
(1989), Albania (1991), Kurdistan
Kurdistan
(1991), Somalia
Somalia
(1992), Mozambique
Mozambique
(1993), Bosnia (1995), East Timor
East Timor
and Kosovo
Kosovo
(both in 1999), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2001), Darfur
Darfur
(2003), Afghanistan
Afghanistan
(2002), Iraq
Iraq
(2003) and Lebanon
Lebanon
again (2006) (in fact from 1980, Italy
Italy
was the third major world contributor, after USA and UK, in peacekeeping missions).

The Carabinieri
Carabinieri
, once the senior corps of the Army, is now an autonomous armed force (alongside the Army, Navy and Air Force). The Carabinieri
Carabinieri
provide military police services to all the Italian armed force.

COMMAND STRUCTURE

The Armed Forces of Italy
Italy
are under the command of the Italian Supreme Defense Council, presided over by the President of the Italian Republic .

OPERATIONAL FORCES

See also: Structure of the Italian Army
Army
and List of units of the Italian Army
Army

For the detailed structure of the Italian Army
Army
see Structure of the Italian Army
Army
. Aosta
Aosta
Ariete
Ariete
Folgore Friuli Garibaldi Granatieri di Sardegna Julia Pinerolo Pozzuolo del Friuli Sassari Taurinense ACQUI FRIULI TRIDENTINA Combat brigades of the Italian Army
Army
2018 Structure of the Italian Army
Army
after the 2016 reform (click to enlarge) or see: Structure of the Italian Army
Army
) Soldiers of the “Sassari” Brigade

NAME HEADQUARTERS SUBUNITS

COMFOTER COE Rome
Rome
( Lazio
Lazio
) ARMY AVIATION COMMAND ARMY SPECIAL FORCES COMMAND

COMFOTER SUPPORT Verona
Verona
( Veneto
Veneto
) ARTILLERY COMMAND AIR-DEFENSE ARTILLERY COMMAND ENGINEER COMMAND SIGNAL COMMAND LOGISTIC SUPPORT COMMAND RISTA-EW BRIGADE

NRDC - ITALY Milan
Milan
( Lombardy ) NRDC-IT SUPPORT BRIGADE

DIVISION ACQUI San Giorgio a Cremano ( Campania
Campania
) MECHANIZED BRIGADE AOSTA BERSAGLIERI BRIGADE GARIBALDI MECHANIZED BRIGADE GRANATIERI DI SARDEGNA MECHANIZED BRIGADE PINEROLO MECHANIZED BRIGADE SASSARI

DIVISION FRIULI Florence
Florence
( Tuscany
Tuscany
) ARMORED BRIGADE ARIETE PARATROOPERS BRIGADE FOLGORE AIRMOBILE BRIGADE FRIULI CAVALRY BRIGADE POZZUOLO DEL FRIULI

DIVISION TRIDENTINA Bolzano ( South Tyrol
South Tyrol
) ALPINE BRIGADE JULIA ALPINE BRIGADE TAURINENSE

EFFECTIVE OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY

Collar patches worn by soldiers of the Italian Army.

All brigades may be deployed outside Italy
Italy
and are often involved in peace-keeping operations on foreign soil. The brigades are combat brigades, numbering between 3–5,000 troops each. Units are designated as regiments, but field men and equipment comparable to large battalions and consist of a large Command, Logistics, and Support Company plus a combat battalion, which, in the case of light infantry units ( Alpini
Alpini
, Lagunari and 66th Air-mobile Infantry Regiment Trieste), consists of:

* 3 Infantry companies * 1 Mortar company with 120mm mortars * 1 Anti-tank company with Spike anti-tank guided missile systems

In the mechanized infantry units (including Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri
and Granatieri) the mortar and anti-tank companies are merged into a "Manoeuver Support Company", while the paracadutisti regiments field a "Maneuver and Paracadutisti Special Forces
Special Forces
Operations Support Company".

EQUIPMENT

Main article: Equipment of the Italian Army
Army

OPERATIONS

Sassari Mechanized Brigade soldiers on patrol with VBM Freccia in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
3rd Alpini
Alpini
Regiment soldiers near Shindand in Afghanistan
Afghanistan

A post- World War II
World War II
peace treaty signed by Italy
Italy
prevented the country from deploying military forces in overseas operations as well as possessing fixed-wing vessel-based aircraft for twenty-five years following the end of the war.

This treaty expired in 1970, but it would not be until 1982 that Italy
Italy
first deployed troops on foreign soil, with a peacekeeping contingent being dispatched to Beirut
Beirut
following a United Nations request for troops. Since the 1980s, Italian troops have participated with other Western countries in peacekeeping operations across the world, especially in Africa, Balkan Peninsula
Balkan Peninsula
and the Middle East
Middle East
.

As yet, the Italian Army
Army
has not engaged in major combat operations since World War II; though Italian Special Forces
Special Forces
have taken part in anti-Taliban operations in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
as part of Task Force 'Nibbio'. Italy
Italy
was not yet a member of the United Nations
United Nations
in 1950, when that organization went to war with North Korea .

Italy
Italy
did take part in the 1990–91 Gulf War but solely through the deployment of eight Italian Air Force Panavia Tornado IDS bomber jets to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
; Italian Army
Army
troops were subsequently deployed to assist Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq
Iraq
following the conflict.

As part of Operation Enduring Freedom in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks , Italy
Italy
contributed to the international operation in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
. Italian forces have contributed to ISAF , the NATO
NATO
force in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, and a Provincial reconstruction team
Provincial reconstruction team
and 53 Italian soldiers have died under ISAF. Italy
Italy
has sent 4200 troops, based on one infantry company from the 2nd Alpini
Alpini
Regiment tasked to protect the ISAF HQ, one engineer company, one NBC platoon, one logistic unit, as well as liaison and staff elements integrated into the operation chain of command. Italian forces also command a multinational engineer task force and have deployed a platoon of Italian military police . Actually, Italy
Italy
leads the Regional Command West in Afghanistan, and its HQ is located in Herat in the base of Camp Arena. Italian Air Force deployed about 30 aircraft among helicopters and planes; some of them are: four AMX Ghibli and two RQ-1A Predator that are used in close air support and intelligence missions, Alenia C-27J Spartan , Boeing CH-47C Chinook , NH90 and Lockheed C-130 Hercules , which are used in transport missions; UH-1N Twin Huey and Agusta A129CBT Mangusta are used in missions of fire support to the troops .

The Italian Army
Army
did not take part in combat operations of the 2003 Second Gulf War , dispatching troops only after May 1, 2003 – when major combat operations were declared over by the U.S. President George W. Bush . Subsequently Italian troops arrived in the late summer of 2003, and began patrolling Nasiriyah
Nasiriyah
and the surrounding area. On 26 May 2006, Italian foreign minister Massimo d\'Alema announced that the Italian forces would be reduced to 1,600 by June. As of June 2006 32 Italian troops have been killed in Iraq
Iraq
– with the greatest single loss of life coming on November 12, 2003 – a suicide car bombing of the Italian Carabinieri
Carabinieri
Corps HQ left a dozen Carabinieri, five Army
Army
soldiers, two Italian and eight Iraqi civilians dead.

As of 2006, Italy
Italy
ranks third in the world in number of military forces operating in peacekeeping and peace-enforcing scenarios Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Kosovo
Kosovo
, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
, and Lebanon
Lebanon
following only the United States and United Kingdom.

A recent law promotes membership of the Italian Army
Army
giving volunteers a chance to find post- Army
Army
careers in the Carabinieri
Carabinieri
, Italian State Police , Italian Finance Police , State Forestry Department , Fire Department and other state bodies.

DEFUNCT BRANCHES

* Guardia alla Frontiera , a Border guard created in 1937 who defended the 1,851 kilometres (1,150 miles) of northern Italian frontiers with the so-called "Vallo Alpino Occidentale" (487 km (303 mi) with France), "Vallo Alpino Settentrionale" (724 km (450 mi) with Switzerland and 420 km (261 mi) with Austria) and "Vallo Alpino Orientale" (220 km (137 mi) with Yugoslavia). The Guardia alla Frontiera disappeared after 1943, but nominally was active until 1953.

SEE ALSO

* Civilian control of the military * List of units of the Italian Army
Army
* Regio Esercito (World War II) * Template:Italian Divisions World War II
World War II

REFERENCES

* ^ A B "Consistenza della Forza Armata - Esercito Italiano". Esercito.difesa.it. Retrieved 2016-12-19. * ^ Keegan, John (2001). The first World War; An Illustrated History. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-179392-0 . , p.319 * ^ Bierman, John; Smith, Colin (2003) . War without Hate : The desert campaign of 1940–1943 (New ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-200394-7 . pp.13–14 * ^ Walker, Ian W. (2003). Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts; Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press. ISBN 1-86126-646-4 . , pp.9–29 * ^ * ^ "Chapter 9". NATO
NATO
the first five years 1949–1954. NATO
NATO
. Retrieved 2008-11-03. * ^ "Notizie, Eventi - Esercito Italiano". Esercito.difesa.it. Retrieved 2016-12-19. * ^ "La storia degli Alpini
Alpini
nel web - Storia della Guardia alla Frontiera". Vecio.it. Retrieved 2016-12-19. * ^ "Ordinamento Settoriale della Guardia alla Frontiera". Valloalpino.altervista.org. Retrieved 2016-12-19.

EXTERNAL LINKS

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