Mussolini made a remarkable claim that the Italian army had eight million bayonets ready for combat, but in reality, its military strength was considerably smaller. A large number of troops were recruited for a war in which they lacked belief and understanding. The combat capability of Italian units varied significantly, with much of the troops facing deficiencies in equipment, transportation and even motivation. Despite these challenges, they excelled in several key battles in North Africa and the Eastern Front.
In its early days, the standard rifle was the Carcano Model 1891, used during the First World War. A shortened version was introduced in 1941 (the M91/41) and the M38 Carbine, both intended to replace the M1891, the shorter guns being much more practical for infantry in terms of portability and maneuverability. These weapons are represented in our new plastic models. Also included is the M91/38 cavalry carbine, which was generally equipped with a fixed rear sight (set at 200 meters) and a folding bayonet. As a standard submachine gun, it featured the excellent Beretta M38 9 mm light machine gun. However, the Italian light machine gun, the Breda Model 1930, presented problems such as a low rate of fire, the same small caliber as the squadron’s rifles, and a mechanism prone to jamming and breaking.
The Milizia Camicie Nere (Black Shirts) originated as the MVSN or Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, transformed by the Fascist Party into a paramilitary organization similar to the German SS. The hierarchical and organizational terminology used by the MVSN resembled that of ancient Rome, with legions, centurias, cohorts, manipuli, etc. Its main function was territorial security and counter partisan activities. During the war, the Camicie Nere were organized into ‘assault legions’, deployed alongside the army’s regular infantry divisions to reinforce them and as a means of ‘politicizing’ the Regio Esercito.
The quality of these militia units varied widely, from barely trained village thugs to veterans of the Spanish Civil War and highly motivated “Giovani Fascisti” (young fascists).
As for the Italian uniform, it underwent several changes during the course of the war. A pattern has been chosen that best represents a wide variety of troops at different times and theaters of operations, especially M37 or M40 tunics in 28 mm scale. Also included is the Camiciotto Sahariana sweatshirt for more variety.
In terms of armament, the plate covers the M91/41 rifle, the Carcano M91/38 cavalry carbine, the Beretta M38A SMG, the Carcano M38 carbine, the Beretta M1934 9mm pistol and the Breda M30 light machine gun.
In addition, the box contains 30 highly customizable plastic Italian infantry, with a decal sheet and an assembly guide. Also included are numerous optional extras such as two types of gas mask bags, goggles, bayonets, combat knives, among others.
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