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The Blackshirt legions were raised under army control from 1928, and were employed in 1933 in Libya in counterinsurgency operations against the Senussi tribes; from 1935 in Italy's war against Ethiopia; and during the Spanish Civil War. Following the outbreak of World War II, the Blackshirts fought in North Africa, Greece, Croatia, on the Eastern Front and finally in Italy itself following the Allied invasion.
This book documents the experiences of the Italian armed Fascist militia, the Camicie Nere (Blackshirts), from the Italian-Ethiopian war (1935-1936), through the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to the end of World War II (1939-1945). It explores their origins, development, recruitment, training, conditions of service, uniforms and equipment, battle experience, political and ideological motivation.
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Pier Paolo Battistelli earned his PhD in military history at the University of Padua. A scholar of German and Italian politics and strategy throughout World War II, he is active in Italy and abroad writing titles and essays on military history subjects. A contributor to the Italian Army Historical Office, he is currently revising his PhD thesis for publication: The War of the Axis: German and Italian Military Partnership in World War Two, 1939-1943.
Piero Crociani acts as a consultant for the Italian Army Historical Branch and is the author of several articles, essays and books on Italian military history. Amongst his published words are The Albanians in the Italian Armed Forces (Rome, 2001); The Neapolitan Army 1806-15 (Milan, 1987) and, together with Virgilio Ilari and Giancarlo Boeri, A Military History of Murat's Kingdom (1806-15) (Milan, 2007). The author lives in Italy.Review:
“...a fascinating story well and ably told, all backed up by the superb color illustrations (plus period black and white photos) for which these famous volumes are so justly known.” ―Blaine Taylor, The Military Advisor (Winter 2013/2014)
“P. Crociani and P.O. Battistelli's ITALIAN BLACKSHIRT 1935-45 joins other 'Warrior' histories and provides a new history of the Blackshirts: famous paramilitaries who operated from the peak of Mussolini's power to the close of World War II. Italian history and general military collections alike will relish this in-depth survey.” ―The Midwest Book Review (April 2010)
“In this book on the Blackshirts, the authors look at the organization and development of these units, how men were recruited, the weapons that they used, how they were trained and equipped. It also looks at what belief system held these men together and how they did in battle. It makes for [a] fascinating look at how these men were able to perform their duties and cope with the war situation. A book that I found eminently readable and fascinating. I know you will as well.” ―Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness, modelingmadness.com (February 2010)
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