This article is about the Italian Royal Army which participated in World War II. The Italian Royal Army was reformed in 1861 and lasted until 1946, the Royal Army started with the unification of Italy and the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. It ended with the dissolution of the monarchy, the Royal Army was preceded by the individual armies of the various independent Italian states and was followed by the Italian Army of the Italian Republic. The Italian Army of World War II was a Royal army, the nominal Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army was His Majesty King Vittorio Emanuele III. As Commander-in-Chief of all Italian armed forces, Vittorio Emanuele also commanded the Royal Air Force, however, in reality, most of the Kings military responsibilities were assumed by the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Below Mussolini was the Supreme Command, the Supreme Command featured an organic staff which functioned through its defense ministries and through its various high commands. The defense ministries were based on function and included a Ministry of War, a Ministry of the Admiralty, and a Ministry of the Air. The high commands were based on regions and included Army Group West, Army Group Albania, Army Group East Africa, Army Group Aegean. Below the Army Group were armies, Armies were typically composed of two or more corps, along with separate units directly commanded at the army level. The corps were then composed of two or more divisions, along with separate units directly commanded at the corps level. The division was the formation of the Italian Royal Army. In addition, there were estimated to be the equivalent of nine divisions of frontier guard troops. There were also numerous colonial formations at or near the division composed of troops from Italian Libya. Impressive on paper, most Italian divisions did not have the full complement of men or materials when war was declared in 1940, the armored divisions had lightly armed tankettes instead of tanks. After a reorganization in 1938, Italian infantry division was known as binary division and this is because Italian infantry divisions were based on two regiments instead of the three that prevailed prior to the reorganization. By comparison, German divisions had three infantry regiments, in addition to the two infantry regiments, the Italian infantry division included an artillery regiment, a mortar battalion, an engineer battalion, and a pack gun company. The division also had some services and could have a division-level reserve infantry battalion. The typical infantry regiment was composed of three rifle battalions, however, some regiments had as many as five battalions
Coat of Arms of the "Tridentina" Alpini Division
The Italian empire in 1940. In addition to mainland Italy, Albania, ASI, and AOI are shown in green. The Dodecanese islands are boxed in green.
The Italian conquest of British Somaliland in August 1940