A number of prisoners of war from an Italian parachute artillery unit
have revealed the following details of their equipment.
The type of parachute used is known as the "I.F." (Imbracatura Fanteria) which
opens automatically. White parachutes are used for personnel. Jumps were made
during training from heights varying between 800 and 400 feet. No jump is
ever made from a lower level than 300 feet. One of the prisoners described a jump
in which seven men had to leave the aircraft in 4 seconds. They were trained to
launch themselves from the aircraft with arms and legs spread-eagled. The types
of aircraft employed during training were the Caproni 133 (tri-motored transport
type) and the Savoia-Marchetti 82 (tri-motored transport type).
Each man is stated to carry the following equipment: a haversack containing
40 hand grenades, a Beretta machine-carbine with 400 rounds of ammunition
strapped to the right leg, and 3 days' iron rations and 1 quart of water. Mention
was also made of revolvers and daggers, but the scale of issue was not stated.
The uniform appears to consist of an officer-type blue-gray tunic with
lapels and large breast and side pockets, skiing-type trousers, and high black
leather ankle-boots with toecaps and a rubber sole and heel in one piece. (This
is not worn in North Africa.) The normal Italian steel helmet is worn, with a
special lining and a neck protector. For protection when landing, gloves and
knee pads are worn. An insignia consisting of a sword with a single wing is
worn superimposed on the usual artillery collar patch, and a yellow parachute
design is worn on the left upper arm.
Forty-seven-mm guns and ammunition are dropped in separate loads, by means
of blue-colored parachutes, in special canvas sacks called Aero Rifornitori
or Sacci Rifornitori. These sacks bear different markings which indicate
|Gun barrel|| ||Yellow flag|
|Wheels and trail||Blue circle|
The ammunition is packed in specially lined metal boxes containing
either 4 or 8 rounds. The prisoners were uncertain as to the actual
number, and were not able to say how many boxes were dropped in each sack.