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Old 10-09-2008, 11:49 AM   #46
Paolo Marzetti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmlawrence View Post

What happened to it all? Was it all destroyed during the war? i know British forces used to set fire to a lot of captured equipment, so could this be the reason? Has any originals survived?

On the subject of Italian Paratroop uniforms, i spent a great day at the IWM archives in Cambridge,UK last year. Poured over the original Para Smock they have (They actually have two, both captured during the desert campaign), as well as having the 'honour' of identifying an orginal pair of Para boots they had mis-labelled as US para boots. During our day their, we were shown alot of original Italian items, including two Para helmets (One with the nose pad, the other with the oil-cloth at the nape) both captured at El Alamein and covered in sand still!!. my one regret was that we didn't actually go through any field gear. The Archivist's themselves will admit that they know very little about Italian items, and were gratefull that my colleague and I were able to identify so much for them (M37 and M40 giacca, boots, etc).

Getting back to the Folgore Webbing, were the buckles used similar to the 1907 leather gear, or more akin to British webbing attachments? Italian webbing equipment seems to have alot in common with Common Wealth cotton webbing equipment. (I'm aware that the Regia Marina did have a contract with some British suppliers pre war). I just wondered whether the fittings are similar.

Neil
Hi Neil, well the most part of the field gear has been left by the Folgore in
El Alamein and in Tunisia. Probably the British set fire to the equipment even
if some samples of this webbing have been found, very much damaged on
the positions of the Folgore near El Alamein. I'll be able soon (as soon as
published by me and other authors on the Italian magazine Uniformi & Armi a monographic article on the
Folgore uniforms & equipment that will come out on the issue od December
2008), to post some photos of this equipment recently found in the sands
by some friends of mine...so be patient. In the meantime here below a picture
of the buckle issued with this webbin' gear: bye PaoloM
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:13 AM   #47
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Thanks Paolo,

Look forward to this magazine editon! Wonder how i go about getting a copy sent to the UK?

Here are some pictures i took at the IWM of the smock and boots we saw. these items are kept out of public view. Shame as they are in such perfect condition..



Jumpsmock, captured in 1943. In possesion of the IWM since 1946.



Paraboot. Not actually listed as an Italian Paratroopers boot, as they thought it was an American boot.



Sole of the para boot. Sand still remains on the tread. The bottom of the sole has the brand name 'CRODA'. These boots are quite large. Size 43. There was nothing to suggest that they were captured along side the two smocks they have, as they had been mis-identified when intial catologing took place.

Neil
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Old 10-10-2008, 07:29 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmlawrence View Post
During our day their, we were shown alot of original Italian items, including two Para helmets (One with the nose pad, the other with the oil-cloth at the nape) both captured at El Alamein and covered in sand still!!

Neil

It would be very interesting if you could add pictures of two helmets.
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:37 AM   #49
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Neil, interesting pictures..... Well, I perfectly know to whom they've
been captured, and when. All this stuff has been owned by a 2nd Ltn of the
Xth Regt Arditi that jumped in North Africa between 1942 and 1943 in one of
the various sabot-para actions in that period. Xth Rgt Arditi, part of the Royal
Army took part together with the A.D.R.A.( Arditi distruttori of the Regia Aeronautica) to various actions against the Allies in Algeria, Tunisia and the
occupied Sicily.All the missions succeeded only in destroying a bridge , several
trucks and a lot of enemy airplanes, but all the crews died or were captured,as
the owner of the jump para suit and his jump boots.If I only knew the date of
capture of the items, I could say the exact name of the former owner..., in fact
I have the complete list, with names, of these Italian para commandos and of
their missions.I wrote an article on the Xth Rgt Arditi and on the A.D.R.A. para
saboteurs (extra well trained people!)I had the opportunity to know, when still
in life one of the trainers of these paras.He accompanied in one mission
over North Africa one patrol and directed the jump before returning in Sardinia
with the S.M.82 airplane.This matter is really interesting.I discovered for example that the ammo gear of these units was different from the one used
by the common paratroops of Folgore and Nembo.
The one shown,original of the time, and with bad signs of use, has been
published in one of my articles.It would be very interesting to have particulars
and photos of the two Ital para helmets in the IWM (M.41 and M.42).If you
can, take some pics of the two helmets we can finally know what the IWM
has in its cellars, and of course I can help in correctly classifying everithing
in the field of the Italian WWII airborne. Cheers, PaoloM
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:20 AM   #50
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Guys,

I'm gonna have to organise another visit as my camera runout of memory before i saw the Helmets. The Helmets werer missing the chinstraps but as i said, one had the oil-cloth nape guard, the other the nose guard.I will go with extra cards to take pictures of absolutley everything next time! They have a lot of tropical uniform that is never displayed, some never issued and still with the original Italian depot stamps and labels on them. Will also ask to have a look at every bit of webbing items they have. Knowing that they don't really know what they've got, then maybe we can find some Paratroop webbing there!!

Neil
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Old 10-21-2008, 02:02 PM   #51
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Paolo

Did the Folgore use the samurai vest? I haven’t seen any authenticated source that states/shows the para of the Folgore using such a vest. The Guastatori vest is seen in pictures from A.S., but I have never seen a samurai vest in A.S.

Thanks!

Jeff
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:04 AM   #52
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Folgore very seldom used Samurai vests in North Africa,even if the reports
say these items were still in use by the San Marco. The Folgore, at the beginning had very few MAB 38A s, so it is clear the Samurais were rarely
issued. But there were. Cheers, PaoloM
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:05 PM   #53
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as there is a picture of a reenactor on this thread in his uniform, here is one of me in mine. Exscuse the green wrist band, its one you have to wear at shows in the UK...



I have spoken to the IWM, and will be arranging a visit in December. they are too busy at the moment with a display. Will get pictures of the Helmets, sappers vest and anything else my eye should aspy!!!

Neil
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:14 PM   #54
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Paolo,

While looking through some documentarys i have, i noticed some footage purporting to be Italian Paratroops being disembarked from a ship. they wear Grigio-Verde M41 uniforms, but of interest was the 'Guitar' Beretta Case slung on their backs. US footage shows them later on, as POW's. The Mostrine seems to be Folgore/Nembo, as the footage is in colour, and there doesn't appear to be any red flame around the sword on the Mostrine (Although, this is early colour footage, it could've bleed out in post production, but my feeling is that as the Allies used Kodak film, noted for its red tones, the red would still be visible. German Agfa colour film leant heavily on green pigmentation)

What i'm wondering is..

a) What unit could these troopers be? Folgore or possibly ADRA.

b) was the 'Guitar' beretta case ever issued to the Folgore?

Neil

Last edited by nmlawrence; 10-27-2008 at 06:15 PM. Reason: edited for spelling mistakes.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:33 PM   #55
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I took the same documentary from Discovery Channell: look well !! They don't wear grey green woollen M.41 uniforms, but grey blue M.41 uniforms, with
berets bearing the 1st type R. Aeronautica red emblem. They were in fact, those disembarking from the ship, whose a couple with the 'guitar', complements of the 1st Bn Paracadutisti della Regia Aeronautica. In the same documentary you can see some of them, captured in Tunisia: one of them makes a funny caper for the British film !!!
For what I know the 'guitar' has been issued to A.D.R.A.,R.Aeronautica paras
and N.P.of the Royal Navy.Later, in the RSI period the 'guitar' became of
common issue mainly by N.P. and other units of X^Mas.
Great reenacting Neil! You look a perfect 'Folgorino' !!! Ciao, PaoloM
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Last edited by Paolo Marzetti; 01-11-2016 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:58 PM   #56
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Paolo,

Thankyou for the compliment. Its not perfect by any means, but it soon will be. Have been slowly getting the best reproductions for the representation. I suspect that serious collectors are gratefull that good repro's are few and far between. I collect a fair amount of equipment and items, but sadly, my pocket doesn't stretch to the prices original Folgore items are (I have one pair of guantlets, and one M39 fighting knife, which could, or more likely could not be Folgore issue)

Thanks for pointing out that the Troops disembarking are not Folgore Paracadutisti. It is interesting footage nonetheless. The larking about on the documentary is a wierd thing to do in front of your captors.

Its amazing to me how the different units all produce different equipment for the same job, as it were. It seems reminiscant of the differences between the Luftwaffe and the regular Heer on what they produced. With the San Marco producing the Samuari vest, the ADRA producing the 'Guitar case' and the Folgore producing a completely different pattern of webbing to those worn by the ADRA, were there liason difficulties between the branches within the Italian forces? They seem to have the same helmet, and boots, so why so different on the webbing?

Neil
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:17 PM   #57
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The reason is in the fact that Army, Navy and Air force and MVSN had different supply systems. It's a bit as happened with the items issued by the Japanese
to their Army and Navy: sometimes, same items, but sometimes very different
items for the same purpose. After the Armistice of Sept 8th 1943, these differences changed quickly.Ciao, PaoloM
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Info on Samurai Gilet
Old 01-02-2009, 10:06 PM   #58
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Salve Paolo

Complimenti on great photos and also on your article in Milites on the samurai, great information. Just wanted to see if you have any more details on the "gilet samurai" you mentioned in your article. We have discussed this in the past but just wanted to see if you had any more information. The one I have is the same as you have pictured in your article. The only other ones I have ever seen are those in the original Folgore movie (with Mario Girotti in his starring role - later known as Trinity in the great spaghetti westerns). The samurai gilet in the Folgore movie however are different as you have mentioned (excuse quality for movie is not very clear). They have something of a backpack and do not have the grenade pouches but have longitudinal pouches instead. Do you have any information on these? I have attached a photo of mine and some from the movie (for the other readers possibly not familiar with the movie)

Saluti

Giacomo







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Old 01-03-2009, 03:45 AM   #59
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Hi Folgore! Thanks for sharing your para items.A great display with nice
M.41 camo para jump suit and M.42 para helmet, together with nice and rare
para badges and brevets that I perfectly know.
Well, the 'Samurai gilet' shown is an original item for the post WWII Italian
paras, approx. issued in the '50s, even if the drawings date back to the war time, but none of these saw use with the WWII Folgore or Nembo paras.
During the 'Divisione Folgore' movie , one of the best films ever produced
just after WWII on the Italian paratroops (between me and you, there are
many conceptual mistakes...) a lot of 'Samurai gilets' of post WWII production,
were worn.There's also a model with a rear pack thought to collect explosives.
There were no stuntmen in the most dangerous actions taken: they were real
para-saboteurs of the time that portraied themselves against real tanks. Yes those
'Samurai gilets' were quite different from the one you show, but they were original of the post WWII period. Ciao,PaoloM
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Samurai Gilet
Old 01-03-2009, 12:44 PM   #60
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Thanks Paolo
Yes, the movie is truly great, wish I could find a higher resolution DVD copy. I have actually seen one of the stills from this movie (the one with the paratrooper going under the tank) used in several military books and captioned as an original photo! They did a great job and I recommend it to anyone. As for the gilet samurai, it is what I always believed. Just wondering, the movie was produced in 1954 so I assume the filming was produced sometime 1953-54. I am trying to get an idea of when these items were produced and if there are any records or specifications available in the military archives. Being the post war period, the documents should theoretically be available unlike the wartime records.

The first official unit was called the CSEP right? But this only consisted of a small experimental unit . It wasnt until the CMP was formed in 1947 I think and it was moved from Roma to Viterbo under the command of the famous Col. Izzo. Izzo left in 1950 and Caforio took over the CMP. The Btg Paracadutisti was then formed in 1953 along with a Cp Sabotatori. I am assuming that this is when some of this special equipment was developed. Just as a note, I have seen (in Italy and US), MAB pouches made from the same exact material, metallic snap buttons, and even stitching and thread (note the thread on the gilet I posted in predominantly off-white in color but the flaps over each mag pouch is stitched in red colored thread - something I have seen on several MAB pouches). It makes me believe that many of these 3 pouch MAB containers could probably be from this period as well. It would be wonderful if we could access some historical records from the Brigata Folgore to see.

Just for comparisons, I have included pictures of the MAB case (the only ones I actually trust as being WW2 - mine actually is waffenamt stamped on almost each piece of leather) along with a set of original MAB pouches. I have seen many MAB carrying cases that people have sold as original but I am doubtfull as whether they are or not. Not that they were reproduced but I think people determine the difference between war time webbing and post war webbing material. I personally visited a salvage yard in Piemonte numerous times where I saw hundreds of MAB cases stacked up in the wharehouse. Right next to these were thousands of war time infantry grey-green leather belts, suspenders, bandoleers, etc. These were of the same identical canvas and stiching discussed above. Anyways, it would be great to have something posted on actual models and specifications of post war Italian field gear of the late 1940's to 1960.

Just as a last note, I believe this is same issue as wartime vs postwar paratrooper knee pads (maybe even gloves???) especially when big wharehouse stocks are found, who is to know if this material is 1941 or 1948?

Many Thanks for all your help

Giacomo



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