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"Italian Parachute Artillery Equipment" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on Italian parachute artillery troops and equipment in WWII was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 18, Feb. 11, 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 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 their contents:

Gun barrel      Yellow flag
AmmunitionRed circle
Wheels and trailBlue circle
CarriageBlack 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.


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