Esercito Italiano

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Italian Army
Esercito Italiano

Coat of arms of the Esercito Italiano.svg

Coat of arms of the Italian army
Lineup 1861 as Regio Esercito
Country ItalyItaly Italy
Armed forces Italian armed forces
Type Armed forces
structure Army General Staff
  • Mountain Troop Command
  • Task Force Code North
  • Task Force Code South
  • Support Kdo
Strength 102,000 soldiers
(actual strength 2013)
Headquarters of the General Staff Palazzo Esercito , Rome
Patron saint John XXIII
Chief of the Army General Staff General
Salvatore Farina

The Italian Army ( it. Esercito Italiano ) comprises the majority of the land forces in Italy and forms the Italian armed forces with the Navy , Air Force and Carabinieri . The army has existed since 2005, only of professional soldiers and volunteers . By 2012, the target strength was 112,000 soldiers, by 2024 the new workforce of 89,400 men and women is to be gradually achieved.



The Italian Army is subordinate to the General Staff of the Army ( Stato Maggiore Esercito - SME ) in the Ministry of Defense in Rome . The Army General Staff lays down the conceptual basis for the armed forces in accordance with the political specifications and the overall planning of the General Staff of the Armed Forces ( Stato Maggiore Difesa - SMD ), which is responsible in particular for the operational readiness of the Army.

Various army commands serve as executive organs for the Army General Staff, which are responsible for training, logistics, territorial tasks and operational forces. The management of military operations is the responsibility of the General Staff of the Armed Forces or its operational command, unless it is taken over by NATO , the EU or other international staffs.


The current structure of the Italian army is based on two radical army reforms carried out in 1975 and 1997. In 1975 the traditional regiments were replaced by 24 mixed brigades divided into battalions . 18 brigades stationed in northern Italy were subordinate to three corps in Milan (III.), Bozen (IV.) And Vittorio Veneto ( V. ), which were to be led by the NATO Landsouth command in Verona in a war against the Warsaw Pact forces . The remaining six brigades were subordinate to territorial commands in central and southern Italy . The army, which was largely made up of conscripts during the Cold War and was concentrated in the northeast of the country, had a total of around 270,000 soldiers, 1,500 battle tanks, around 4,500 other armored vehicles, over 1,200 artillery pieces, around 350 helicopters and 100 propeller-driven aircraft. In 1986 the III. and V. Corps the remaining division level abolished. In 1991, due to the new global political situation, the number of brigades was initially reduced to 19 and several other units were dissolved. At the same time, for reasons of tradition, the battalions again took on the name regiment.

The general reform of the armed forces in 1997 led to the reorganization of the general staff and the higher command authorities. The territorial commands were reduced and lost all operational tasks, but a new staff for the brigades in southern Italy was established near Naples . The previous corps staff received new names and, in some cases, new tasks. These staffs and their remaining 13 combat brigades, together with new support groups (former corps troops), were directly subordinated to the “Land Forces Command” in Verona. In 2002 two more brigades were disbanded in northern Italy. At the same time, three divisional staffs were created for the planning and implementation of foreign assignments.

General staff coat of arms

The Italian army currently has the following structure:

  • Army General Staff ( SME ) ( Rome ) (responsible for operational readiness, fundamental matters)
  • Distintivo del Comando per la Formazione, Specializzazione e Dottrina dell'Esercito.png Training Command (Rome) (Army Schools, see below )
  • Distintivo del Comando Logistico dell'Esercito.png Logistikkommando (Rome) (basic tasks of logistics ; repair centers , telecommunications infrastructure, transport)
  • Distintivo del Comando Militare della Capitale.png Territorial Command Rome (Rome) (Capital Command; coordination of territorial tasks)
  • Coat of arms command land forces Land Forces Command ( COMFOTER / COE ) (Rome; until 2016 in Verona) (planning, standardization, if necessary operational management)
  • Arms artillery brigadeArtillery command ( Bracciano ) with artillery school, 2 artillery battalions, 1 NBC defense battalion
  • Coat of arms anti-aircraft brigadeAnti-aircraft command ( Sabaudia ) with anti-aircraft school, 4 anti-aircraft battalions
  • Coat of arms engineer brigade Pioneer command (Rome) with pioneer school, 5 battalions
  • Coat of arms of the telecommunications commandTelecommunication command ( Anzio ) with telecommunication school, 15 battalions
  • Coat of arms of the Eloka BrigadeTactical Information Brigade ( ISR ) (Anzio) with 3 battalions
  • Wappen Logistic support command Logistic support command (Rome) with logistics school, 6 logistics and transport battalions, 4 medical battalions
  • Regional territorial commands
  • Regional territorial commands

Only the Acqui division staff is still intended for foreign assignments, which can be supplemented by staff from the other two divisional staffs if necessary. In contrast to the other two divisional headquarters, the Tridentina (mountain) divisional headquarters are not permanently subordinate to any brigades; he acts as a reserve staff. The brigades are gradually being digitized , starting with the Pinerolo .

Special forces

In the "Heeresspezialkräftekommando" ( Comando delle Forze Speciali dell'Esercito , COMFOSE; force provider ) set up in Pisa in 2013 and relocated to Camp Darby near Livorno in 2020 , all special units of the army were grouped together. Before that, they were subordinate to the Folgore paratrooper brigade , the mountain troop command or support groups, which made it difficult to summarize basic issues. The special forces command of the armed forces (COFS) in Rome-Centocelle is still responsible for the command and control of the special forces of all branches .

Special units of the army are:

The 3rd Army Aviation Regiment Aldebaran in Viterbo is assigned to the special forces command .

The Army Special Forces Command in Camp Darby has a support unit for Army Special Forces , which also serves to support the COFS, and a training center that is responsible for the recruitment, selection and the first joint section of the training of all soldiers of the Army Special Forces .

Territorial organization

The territorial organization is subordinate to the General Staff via the above-mentioned three higher command authorities in Bolzano, Padua and Naples, to which the operational units are also subordinate. In addition, there is a separate territorial command for the capital Rome and parts of central Italy; On behalf of the General Staff, this command takes on national coordination tasks. The territorial organization is based on the Italian regions . Infrastructure, civil-military cooperation as well as public relations , recruiting young talent and reservists fall within her area of ​​responsibility . Civil-military cooperation in Italy includes not only civil protection but also, for example, joint patrol duty by the military and police in large cities.

Among other things, the Military Geography Institute in Florence is subordinate to the Rome Territorial Command .

Military branches

The Italian Army is divided into the following military branches (" armed forces ") and services (the heads of the associated military schools are also inspectors of their "armed forces" or sub-branches):

Mountain pioneers in Afghanistan
Italian mountaineers (2011)

These "branches of arms" (or their sub-branches) are divided into regiments , which today in the Italian army generally have battalion strength (exception: army aviators, telecommunications troops). As in other armies, the regiments ( battalions ) and other armies and units are combined into mixed large formations ( brigade , division , corps ) depending on their geographical location and other military criteria , and in this context they conduct the combined arms battle .


Coat of arms of the infantry school in Cesano
Coat of arms of the Cavalry School in Lecce
Arms of the Artillery School in Bracciano

The "Command for Training, Specialization and Mission Doctrine " (it. Comando della Formazione, Specializzazione e Dottrina , COMFORDOT) has been running a number of army schools and other training institutions since the end of 2012. Various military schools have been left in the operational area, others are schools for the armed forces with army units.

The following training institutions are still integrated into the operational area:

  • Training center for mountain troops ( Aosta ) with partially active 6th Alpini regiment ( Bruneck ) (mountain troop command )
  • Airborne Forces Training Center ( Pisa ) ( Folgore Brigade )
  • Artillery Training Regiment ( Bracciano near Rome) (Artillery Command)
  • Air Defense Training Regiment ( Sabaudia near Rome) (Air Defense Command)
  • Pioneer Training Regiment (Rome- Cecchignola ) (Pioneer Command)
  • Telecommunications and Computer Science School of the Army (Rome-Cecchignola) (Telecommunications Command)
  • Army Aviation Training Center ( Viterbo near Rome) (Army Aviation Command)
  • Army logistics school (Rome-Cecchignola) (logistics support command)

Armed forces schools with army units are:


Italian paratroopers 2012 in Hohenfels (Upper Palatinate)
Main battle tank Ariete
Radschützenpanzer Freccia
M109 self-propelled howitzers
Agusta A129 Mangusta

The list below contains only a selection of the most important pieces of equipment.

Light weapons

Armored vehicles



As of the end of 2013


See main article: History of the Italian Army

Traditional mounted unit of the Artillery Regiment on horseback Voloire

The Italian army is essentially a continuation of the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont . It emerged as a standing army in the 17th century , fought in the three wars of European succession and against the French revolutionary troops in the 18th century, and finally in the wars of Italian unification during the Risorgimento . After the inclusion of contingents of other Italian states and the volunteer corps Garibaldi renaming the Sardinian army took place on May 4, 1861 by a ministerial. Until 1946 the army was called Regio Esercito (Eng. "Royal Army") and fought as such with varying success in colonial wars in Africa and in the First and Second World Wars . In 1939, after several years of operations in East Africa and Spain, it was materially weakened and, due to a lack of political commitment, financial resources, raw materials and an industrial basis, was not equipped for a world war. When the war broke out, the army was still in the midst of a structurally questionable reform process, in which units for new, two-part (“binary”) divisions were constantly being torn apart. These circumstances, irresponsibly ignored by Mussolini , his warfare characterized by lonely decisions and the resulting demotivation of the soldiers led the Italian army to collapse until 1943 and split into a fascist and a remaining army loyal to the king . The former fought alongside the German Wehrmacht until 1945 , including against Italian partisans in northern Italy, while five combat groups of the royal army took part in the war of liberation with the Allies. The army of the post-war period emerged from these combat groups and was given its current name in 1946 with the proclamation of the republic. Thanks to American military aid and completely changed training principles, it soon achieved a very high level of operational readiness. In 1955 it had three armored divisions , ten infantry divisions and five mountain troop brigades . By 1975 six divisions had been reduced to brigades, but due to a lack of financial resources no significant qualitative improvements were achieved overall. Contemporary history in the Italian army began with the army reform of 1975 and the introduction of 24 mixed brigades divided into battalions. It is characterized by the constant increase in foreign assignments within the framework of international organizations.

In 2000, were Carabinieri that since 1814 an autonomous branch of service were the army, spun off as a fourth armed force of the Italian armed forces constituted. A small part of the Carabinieri take on the tasks of a military police in the armed forces, otherwise they always carried out general police service outside the army, according to the instructions of the Interior Ministry .

See also

Web links

Commons : Italian Army  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Proclamation by Pope John XXIII. as patron of the Italian army., September 12, 2017
  2. Alberto Scarpitta: Il potentiamento del Comando Forze Speciali dell'Esercito. In: Analisi Difesa. July 13, 2020, accessed on July 13, 2020 (Italian).