[Lone Sentry: Notes on Italian Organization, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"Notes on Italian Organization" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following article on Italian military organization during WWII is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 26, June 3, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


a. General

It should be appreciated in connection with all Italian tables of organization that, although rigid in intention, they are continuously changeable in fact. At increasingly frequent intervals, regardless of the fact that the last promulgated new establishment has not yet been brought wholly into effect, the Italian War Office produces another organization which is itself in most cases fated to be realized only on paper. The intentions, under the ever greater influence of German tactical ideas, are usually good, but owing to lack of the necessary equipment and to the usual bureaucratic confusion the army is generally content with an approximation of the effect intended.

b. Divisional Organization

The main point of interest about Italian organization is that the infantry division has only two infantry regiments. Reorganization in the so-called "Binaria" division (organization begun in 1926 and largely completed by 1935) was intended for the kind of warfare in which, on the official theory, Italy would be exclusively engaged--a war of rapid movement and quick decision. This Italian hope, based mainly on the fact that the Italian resources are insufficient for a long war, has not been fulfilled, and in practice the system has been found to have the serious defect that it leaves the divisional commander no reserve. Particularly in the hard-fought Albanian campaign was it noted that after a division had been involved in active operations for any time, and sometimes even after only a week, it had to be withdrawn from the line to refit. In some cases where a withdrawal was impossible, elements of one division were simply incorporated in another; this has also occurred in Africa in the case of the Bologna and Sabrata divisions. All Italian divisions in Africa were drastically reorganized in the spring of 1942. The main features of the reorganization are increased artillery and the inclusion of support and antitank weapons within the framework of infantry units.

c. "Groups"

Another feature of Italian organization which is worthy of mention is the passion for forming "raggruppamenti," or groups. This is a method of providing, for instance, a headquarters and administrative detachment for various independent batteries of artillery which are meant to operate together. Another example is provided by such formations as the "Raggruppamento Celere Africa Settentrionale" or "RACAS" (North Africa Mobile Group) which is a force of armored cars, mechanised infantry, portee guns and light tanks. The use of "raggruppamenti" is evidence of the Italian bent for improvisation and the desire to break the back of a rigid system of tables of organization.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Web LoneSentry.com