Italian Arditi

  • World War I
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

An ''early'' example of what could be construed as a ''Modern'' Special Operations Force – The Italian Army's Arditi (meaning ''Daring Ones''), were formed in 1914 in response to Italy's involvement in World War I. Although part of The Royal Army – The Arditi were considered a separate entity. They also were known for their distinctive uniform of Blackshirt. It was this style which so later impressed Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini, that he adopted the color for his Political Party – The Blackshirts. The Arditi were seen as Shock Troops. They combine both hand to hand combat with the 18th Century military use of Grenades in combat – or Grenadier Infantry. So much so, that The Arditi only carried a Combat Knife (Dagger) and Grenades into battle. They rarely used or carried rifles (although some did use Pistols and Automatics). However, with the true realities of World War War Military technology developing rapidly, most did break with this tradition and began to use Carbines.


Chosen from only the strongest and fittest of volunteers, all Arditi were trained in hand to hand combat, knife fighting (fencing) and scouting techniques. In combat, they were deployed ahead of traditional Infantry Forces. They could assault trenches after a lull and engage in either hand to hand fighting or using a mass grenade assault – open up a breach in Enemy Lines for other mainstream Units to exploit. Disbanded in 1920, some would eventually become part of Mussolini's Political Party. With the start of World War II, Mussolini would re-assemble a type of Arditi Force (Battalion). Similar, these Shock Troops were used as Airborne Infantry. They would not be adapted back into The Italian Army after Mussolini's downfall.