Italian Colonial Troops 1882–1960 (Men-at-Arms) (Paperback)
A complete illustrated study of the varied range of Italian colonial units who served in East and North Africa.
Italy only unified as a nation in 1870 and was late, and therefore impatient, in the 'scramble' for Africa. An initial foothold in Eritrea/Somalia, north-east Africa, led to a disastrous defeat in Ethiopia in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa, but Italian Somaliland was later consolidated on the west coast of the Red Sea. During 1911, Italy also invaded Libya, securing the coast, however fighting continued throughout World War I and only ended in the early 1930s. A number of native colonial regiments were raised in both Italian East Africa and Libya (in the latter, even a pioneering paratroop unit), of which most fought sturdily for Italy against the Allies in 1940–43. These units had particularly colourful uniforms and insignia. Another small guard unit also served in the Italian concession at Tientsin, China in 1902–1943. After World War II, a remnant unit served on in Somalia under a UN mandate until 1960.
This intriguing volume describes and illustrates the dress and equipment used by these forces and details how they were deployed to maintain a colonial empire for over half a century.