Royal Italian Army
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|Regio Esercito (RE)
Royal Italian Army
War Flag of the Regio Esercito
|Allegiance||King of Italy|
|Colors||Green, White and Red|
|Engagements||Italian War of Independence
Italo-Ethiopian War (1895–1896)
World War I
Pacification of Libya
Italo-Ethiopian War (1935–1936)
Spanish Civil War
World War II
|Ceremonial chief||First Marshal of the Empire|
The Royal Italian Army (Italian: Regio Esercito, "Royal Army") was the army of the Kingdom of Italy from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946. In World War II the Royal Army fought first as part of the Axis (1939-43) and then as part of the Allies (1943-5). After the monarchy ended, the army changed its name to become the Italian Army (Esercito Italiano).
The Regio Esercito dates from the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy following the unification of Italy in 1861 after the Papal States were seized. The creation decree by which the new army replaced the previous Army of the Kingdom of Sardinia (Armata Sarda) and the Army of the Two Sicilies was signed by Manfredo Fanti on 4 May 1861.
The first task of the new organization were the repression of brigandage in southern Italy (against irregular/guerrilla forces, mixed with bands of true criminals, which did not accept the suppression of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies) and the Third War of Italian Independence. On 20 September 1870, the IV Corps captured Rome, which had remained under Papal States till then.
On 8 February 1885 a corps of fewer than 1,000 soldiers landed at Massaua, in Eritrea, starting the creation of an Italian colonial empire. The Italian advance was halted by an abysmal defeat at the Battle of Adwa by the Ethiopian forces. The following year, as part of the Italian collaboration with the international pacification program after the revolt against the Turkish domination in Cyprus, another corps disembarked at Candia. On 14 July 1900 another expeditionary force was constituted to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China in defence of the European protectorates.
On 3 October 1911, Italy invaded Libya as part of the Italo-Turkish War. The war against the Ottoman Empire ended with the signing of a treaty in Ouchy near Lausanne (the First Treaty of Lausanne).
World War I
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During the Interwar period, the army participated in the final subjugation of Libya, participated in the invasion of Ethiopia, provided troops and materials for the Corps of Volunteer Troops (Corpo Truppe Volontarie) to fight in the Spanish Civil War, and participated in the Italian invasion of Albania.
World War II
The Royal Army was one of the largest ground forces in World War II during which it was one of the pioneers of the use of paratroopers. Many Italian divisions were reinforced by a MVSN Gruppo di Assalto of two battalions due to the small size of the divisions.
In 1943 Italy surrendered and split into the Italian Social Republic, which fielded its own army which was called the National Republican Army (Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano). On the other side there was the Italian Co-Belligerent Army (Esercito Cobelligerante del Sud) the army of the Italian royalist forces fighting on the side of the Allies in southern Italy after the Allied armistice with Italy in September 1943. The Italian soldiers fighting in this army no longer fought for Benito Mussolini as their allegiance was to King Victor Emmanuel and to Marshal of Italy (Maresciallo d'Italia) Pietro Badoglio, the men had been called to replace Mussolini.
The kingdom was replaced by a republic in 1946 and the Royal Army changed its name to become the Esercito Italiano.
- Boxer Rebellion (1900)
- Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912)
- World War I (1915–1918)
- Pacification of Libya (1928-1932)
- Italo-Ethiopian War (1935–1936)
- Intervention in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
- Italian invasion of Albania (1939)
- World War II (1940–1945)
- Italian Army
- Corpo Aeronautico Militare
- Italian Army equipment in World War II
- Regia Marina
- Regia Aeronautica
- Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano