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(1861 as Regia Marina)
184 vessels (incl. minor auxiliaries)
|Motto||Italian: Patria e Onore
"Country and Honour"
|March||La Ritirata ("Ritirata" in Italian means the return of soldiers to their barrack, or in this case of sailors to their ship after a leave) by Tommaso Mario|
|Anniversaries||June 10 - Sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István by Luigi Rizzo|
|Decorations||1 Cavalier Cross of the Military Order of Savoy
3 Cavalier's Crosses of the Military Order of Italy
2 Gold Medals of Military Valor
1 Silver Medal of Military Valor
1 Gold Medal for Merited Public Honor
|capo di stato maggiore della marina
(Chief of Naval General Staff)
|ammiraglio di squadra
Giuseppe De Giorgi
|sottocapo di stato maggiore della marina||ammiraglio di squadra
|Naval Aviation roundels|
The Italian Navy (Italian: Marina Militare; MM) is the maritime defence force of the Italian Republic. It is one of the four branches of Italian Armed Forces and was formed in 1946 from what remained of the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) after World War II. As of August 2014, the Italian Navy had a strength of 30,923 active personnel with approximately 184 vessels in service, including minor auxiliary vessels. The total displacement of the navy was around 295,000 tonnes in 2002.
- 1 History
- 2 Naval ensign
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Structure and organisation
- 5 Rank structure
- 6 Coast Guard
- 7 Guardia di Finanza - Naval service
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Before and during World War II
The Regia Marina was formed on 17 March 1861, after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italian Navy assumed its present name after the Italian monarchy was abolished following a popular referendum held on 2 June 1946.
After World War II
At the end of its five years involvement in World War II, Italy was a devastated nation. After the end of hostilities the Regia Marina, which at the beginning of the war was the fourth largest navy in the world with a mix of modernised and new battleships, started a long and complex rebuilding process. The important combat contributions of the Italian naval forces after the signing of the armistice with the Allies on 8 September 1943, and the subsequent cooperation agreement on 23 September 1943, left the Regia Marina in a poor condition, with much of its infrastructure and bases unusable and its ports mined and blocked by sunken ships. However, a large number of its naval units had survived the war, albeit in a low efficiency state, which was due to the conflict and the age of many vessels. The vessels that remained were:
- 5 battleships
- 10 cruisers
- 10 destroyers
- 20 frigates
- 20 corvettes
- 50 fast coastal patrol units
- 50 minesweepers
- 19 amphibious operations vessels
- 5 school ships
- 1 support ship and plane transport
- various submarine units
The peace treaty
- A ban on owning, building or experimenting with atomic weapons, self-propulsion projectiles or relative launchers, etc.
- A ban on owning Battleships, Aircraft carriers, Submarines and Amphibious Assault units.
- A ban on operating military installations on the islands of Pantelleria, Pianosa and on the archipelago of Pelagie Islands.
The treaty also ordered Italy to put the following ships at the disposals of the victorious nations United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania as war compensation:
- 3 Battleships: Giulio Cesare, Italia, Vittorio Veneto;
- 5 Cruisers: Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta, Attilio Regolo, Scipione Africano, Eugenio di Savoia and Eritrea;
- 7 Destroyers, 5 of the Soldati class and Augusto Riboty and Alfredo Oriani;
- 6 Minesweepers: like Aliseo and Fortunale;
- 8 Submarines: 3 of the Acciaio class;
- 1 Sailing School ship: Cristoforo Colombo.
The total displacement, battleships excluded, of the future navy was not allowed to be greater than 67,500 tons, while the staff was capped at 25,000 men.
The entry into NATO
Great changes in the international political situation, which were developing into the Cold War, convinced the United Kingdom and United States to discontinue the transfer of Italy's capital ships as war reparations. Some had already been dismantled in La Spezia between 1948 and 1955, including the flagship aircraft carrier Aquila. However, the Soviet Union demanded the surrender of the battleship Giulio Cesare and other naval units designated for transfer. The cruisers Attilio Regolo and Scipione Africano became the French Chateaurenault and Guichen, while Eugenio di Savoia became the Greek Helli. After break up and/or transfers, only a small part of the fleet remained to be recommissioned into the Marina. As Western attention turned to the Soviets and the Mediterranean Sea, Italian seas became one of the main sites of confrontation between the two superpowers, contributing to the re-emergence of Italy’s naval importance thanks to her strategic geographical position.
With the new elections in 1946, the Kingdom of Italy became a Republic, and the Regia Marina took the name of Marina Militare (Military Navy). As the Marshall Plan began to rebuild Italy and Europe was rapidly being divided into two geo-politically antagonistic blocs, Italy began talks with the United States to guarantee adequate security considerations. The US government in Washington wished to keep its own installations on the Italian Peninsula and relaxed the Treaty restrictions by including Italy in the Mutual Defense Assistance Programme (MDAP). On 4 April 1949, Italy joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and, in order for the navy to contribute actively in the organization, the Treaty restrictions were definitively repealed by the end of 1951, with the consent of all of Western nations.
Within NATO, the Marina Militare was assigned combat control of the Adriatic Sea and Strait of Otranto, as well as the defence of the naval routes through the Tyrrhenian Sea. To ensure these tasks a "Studio sul potenziamento della Marina italiana in relazione al Patto Atlantico" (Study about the development of the Italian Navy with reference to the Atlantic Pact) was undertaken, which researched the structures and the methods for the development of the Marina Militare. This solution required a great economic effort to rebuild and transform the fleet; it also required aid from the United States to reach the necessary standards. Progress was slow due to economic pressures on Italy (because of the tremendous resources needed for post-war rebuilding of Italy and its military-industrial complex) and due to opposition from other European governments. These nations were concerned at seeing an Italian Navy capable of rivaling the Western naval forces, so they imposed political obstacles to slow Italian naval development.
The ensign of the Italian Navy is the Italian tricolour defaced with the coat of arms of the Marina Militare. The quarters refer to the four Medieval Italian Thalassocracies, or "Maritime Republics" (Italian: Repubbliche Marinare):
- 1st quarter: on red, a golden winged lion (the Lion of St. Mark) wielding a sword (Republic of Venice);
- 2nd quarter: on white field, red cross (Republic of Genoa);
- 3rd quarter: on blue field, white Maltese cross (Republic of Amalfi);
- 4th quarter: on red field, white Pisan cross (Republic of Pisa).
The shield has a golden crown, that distinguishes military vessels from merchant: the crown, "corona rostrata", was proposed in 1939 by Admiral Domenico Cavagnari to the Government, as an acknowledgement of the Italian Navy's origin in Roman times. In the proposal, Adm. Cavagnari wrote that "in order to recall the common origin [of the Navy] from the Roman sailorship, the Insignia will be surmounted by the towered Crown with rostra, the emblem of honour and valour the Roman Senate awarded to the leaders of naval victories, conquerors of lands and cities across the seas".
A further difference is that St. Mark's lion, symbolising the Republic of Venice, does not hold the gospel in its paw (as it does on the civil ensign, where the book is open at the words "Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus", meaning "Peace to you Mark, my Evangelist") and is wielding a sword instead: such an image is consistent with the pictorial tradition from Venetian history, in which the book is shown open during peacetime and closed during wartime.
Ships and submarines
Today's Marina Militare is a modern navy with ships of every type. The fleet is in continuous evolution, and as of August 2014 oceangoing fleet units include: two aircraft carriers, three amphibious assault ships, four destroyers, 15 frigates and six attack submarines. Patrol and littoral warfare units include: 10 offshore patrol vessels and five corvettes. Ten mine countermeasure vessels, four coastal patrol boats and a varied fleet of auxiliary ships are also in service.
The Italian Navy operates a diverse fleet of aircraft including fixed-wing, rotary and UAVs.
Structure and organisation
Marina Militare is divided into seven corps (by precedence):
- Corpo di stato maggiore - Corps of Staff Officers (SM) (line officers)
- Corpo del genio navale - Corps of Naval Engineering (GN)
- Corpo delle armi navali - Corps of the Naval Arms (AN)
- Corpo sanitario militare marittimo - Maritime Military Medical Corps (MD) for medics; (FM) for Pharmacists
- Corpo di commissariato militare marittimo - Corps of Military Maritime Commissariat (CM) (administration)
- Corpo delle capitanerie di porto - Corps of the Port Captaincies (CP) the coast guard
- Corpo degli equipaggi militari marittimi - Corps of the Military Maritime Crews (CEMM)
- Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina (Navy Chief of Staff)- Ammiraglio di squadra Giuseppe de Giorgi
- Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore della Marina (Navy Deputy Chief of Staff)- Ammiraglio di squadra Claudio Gaudiosi
- Fleet Command - Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale (CINCNAV) Ammiraglio di squadra Filippo Maria Foffi
- Comando del Primo Gruppo Navale (COMGRUPNAV 1 - First Naval Group Command) - based in La Spezia: ships Caio Duilio, Carlo Bergamini, Virginio Fasan, Carlo Margottini Maestrale, Grecale, Libeccio, Scirocco, Bersagliere, Vesuvio, Elettra
- Comando del Secondo Gruppo Navale (COMGRUPNAV 2 - Second Naval Group Command) - based in Taranto: ships Andrea Doria, Cavour, Luigi Durand de la Penne, Francesco Mimbelli, Aliseo, Euro, Zeffiro, Espero, Artigliere, Granatiere, Etna, Stromboli
- Comando del Terzo Gruppo Navale (COMGRUPNAV 3 - Third Naval Group Command) - based in Brindisi: ships Garibaldi, San Giorgio, San Marco, San Giusto
- Comando delle Forze da Pattugliamento per la Sorveglianza e la Difesa Costiera COMFORPAT (based in Augusta):
- COMSQUACORV: ships Minerva, Urania, Danaide, Sfinge, Chimera, Driade, Fenice, Sibilla
- COMSQUAPAT 1: ships Cassiopea, Libra, Spica, Vega
- COMSQUAPAT 2: ships Cigala Fulgosi, Borsini, Foscari, Bettica, Sirio, Orione
- Comando delle Forze Anfibie COMFORSBARC (based in Brindisi):
- San Marco Marine Brigade
- Logistics and Training Regiment Carlotto
- Gruppo Mezzi da Sbarco
- Comando Forze Subacquee COMFORSUB (based in Taranto):
- COMFLOTSOM: submarines Pelosi, Prini, Longobardo, Gazzana, Todaro, Scirè
- Centro di Addestramento Aeronavale MARICENTADD
- Comando Forze Aeree COMFORAER (Italian Navy Fleet Air Arm - based in Santa Rosa)
- Centro per le Telecomunicazioni e l'Informatica MARITELE (based in Roma)
- Comando delle Forze di Contromisure Mine MARICODRAG (based in La Spezia):
- COMSQUADRAG 53: ships Numana, Rimini, Sapri, Termoli, Viareggio, Vieste
- COMSQUADRAG 54: ships Alghero, Chioggia, Crotone, Gaeta, Lerici, Milazzo
- Quartier Generale Marina QUARTGENMARINA (based in Roma)
The Corps of the Port Captaincies – Coast Guard (Italian language: Corpo delle Capitanerie di porto - Guardia costiera) is the Coast Guard of Italy and is part of the Italian Navy under the control of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports. In Italy, it is commonly known as simply the Guardia costiera.
The Guardia di Finanza (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɡwardja di fiˈnantsa]; English: Finance Guard) is an Italian law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance and part of the Italian armed forces. The Guard is essentially responsible for dealing with financial crime and smuggling; it has also evolved into Italy's primary agency for suppressing the drugs trade. The Guardia di Finanza maintains over 600 boats and ships and about 100 aircraft to serve in its mission of patrolling Italy's territorial waters and European water borders.
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