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The Italian Folgore Parachute Division, by Paolo Morisi

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    Length: 206 pages, including index

    The full title is "The Italian Folgore Parachute Division, Operations in North Africa 1940-43." It's a bit of a misnomer, since they didn't go to North Africa until 1942.

    Morisi tells us in the beginning of the book that Italy was the first country to parachute a man behind enemy lines in war. It was in August of 1918 to gather info on Austrian troops on the Piave River. He goes on to tell us of Italian plans in the 1930's to raise two battalions of paras for raids and sabotage work. It was the spectacular success of the German paras that inspired Italy to raise a division.

    These men and officers trained together to jump and earn their paras wings. It gave them a bond not found elsewhere in the Italian Army. Morisi then devotes a chapter to Malta, and the plans to take it, which the division was meant for. However, they get shipped off to Egypt instead to support Rommel. They are put on the southern end of the Axis line, and at the Second Battle of El Alamein, they hold their own, with artillery borrowed from their neighboring divisions, against British, New Zealand and Free French forces. They fall back with the Axis army and are trapped at Fuka, and surrender.
    Another para battalion is formed and fights in Tunisia.

    We also get a roll call of honor of Folgore officers and men that earned medals, mostly posthumously, at El Alamein and other places.

    Morisi does give us a great picture of the men and equipment the Folgore use, and the shortcomings of being paras used as light infantry. His translations are not uniform throughout, like when he introduces General Student as General Major, in the German style earlier, but later using Major General. He also has trouble translating the nomenclature of the Canone 47/32 and other Italian guns, putting 47/32mm. It should be 47mm, ignoring the barrel length in calibers.

    Overall, this is a great resource for learning about these elite Italian troops.
     
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  2. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Looks like it received high praises for performance. I know the Italian army's quality has been dogged but it has demonstrated superb performance if given solid leadership. Even Rommel has mentioned this
     
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  3. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

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    My grandpa said they could fight like hell with their poor equipment under an good leader.
     
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  4. bushmaster

    bushmaster Active Member

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    When well led and properly motivated, the Italians could fight as well as anyone.
     

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