Review: Mussolini's Soldiers
- Published: 28 April 2010 28 April 2010
- Last Updated: 12 July 2013 12 July 2013
This book, Mussolini's Soldiers, provides information on the Army and Militia in fascist Italy, areas that are usually ignored in books on the war.
The first chapter covers the rise of Mussolini and the fascist youth movement. Also included in this chapter is information on the consciption and the training of the regular soldiers, NCOs and officers.
The next chapter covers the organisation of the Army and of the various unit types (infantry, armored, paratroop etc). There are no detailed information on the units but general info are provided with the standard composition for the various types of divisions. This section also includes information on the history and organisation of the fascist Militia.
The following two chapters cover the uniforms and headgear. A lot of excellent photos (both colour and black & white) are included in this section which makes it an excellent reference.
The next chapter covers the small arms and field equipment. It includes, apart from basic information on the equipment, several very detailed illustrations on the revolvers, pistols and rifles used by the Italians
Documents, awards and insignia are covered next and this section provides some detail but the lack of illustrations (only one award is illustrated) is very dissapointing, especially considering the amount of photos found in the book.
The Armistice is covered in the final chapter were Italian veterens speak about there experiences with the Germans, who now were their enemies.
I wish that he had included information on the forces of the RSI (Mussolini's republic in northern Italy 1943-1945), as they were indeed Mussolini's soldiers, and also information on the Navy and Air Force.
If you are looking for a book on the uniforms, equipment (small-arms and field equipment) and general organisation of the Italian Army, info on the militia or photos of Italian soldiers, then this is a book for you. If you are looking for more information on the individual units or information on the Italian Navy, Air Force or the RSI, look elsewhere.
(Reviewed by Marcus Wendel)