With Italian Fascist Leader Benito Mussolini's ouster as Leader of Italy's ''Ruling'' Political Forces by disgruntled members of His Party (and supported by an exiled King Emanuelle II), those few still loyal to Mussolini (and supported by Nazi Germany) – formed (41) Territorial Brigades to maintain resistance against the new Government and The Allies in late 1943. These Units were dubbed The ''Black Brigades'' (in reference to the old ''Blackshirts'' of Mussolini's former National Party).
Composed of former Italian Fascist soldiers, ex-National Police and ''rabble rousers'', The Black Brigades were a form of irregular infantry. They were envisioned to reclaim lost territories and later support a fuller Nazi German ''push'' which would reclaim a Fascist Italy and put Mussolini back in power.
Poorly equipped and led, The Black Brigades were mostly local enforcers who supported a crumbling Nazi German presence. They fostered terrorist activity and served as informants. Some Units did however attempt to mount effective resistance to an ever advancing Allied Military.
The Units wore the traditional Black fatigue shirt of their Blackshirt counterparts, often supplementing them with German uniforms as well. Their insignia was the ''Black Eagle'' (of Italian Fascism) and borrowed The German Toten image (Skull and Crossbones) as well. As many as 2,000 of these Militia volunteers. Their exact losses are not well known, but it is speculated that well over half were killed or deserted by 1945. Those that survived were hunted down when found and prosecuted for War Crimes. Some were executed by local Authority, others faced lengthy prison terms. Of these, many died of old age.