WWII Italian Paratrooper
The first true paratroop drop was by Italy in November 1927. Within a few years several battalions had been raised and were eventually formed into two Folgore and Nembo divisions. Although these would later fight with distinction in World War 2, the divisions were never used in a parachute drop. Instead, they would fight as an elite infantry unit. Most would wear camouflage smocks in the field using the M1929 Telo mimetico pattern. It also has the distinction of being the first printed camouflage pattern for general issue, and the camouflage pattern in longest continuous use in the world.
The 185th Paratroopers Division Folgore earned considerable renown for their heroic actions during the Second battle of El Alamein, where they staunchly defended their position against repeated British offensives, with their surrender being forced only after exhausting all their ammunition. On 11 November 1942, when the battle was over, the BBC transmitted the famous official bulletin: “The remnants of the Folgore division put up resistance beyond every limit of human possibility.”
The 184th Paratroopers Division Nembo was created after the destruction of Folgore and were sent to Yugoslavia on anti-partisan operations. They were then sent to Sardinia to help defend against what was expected to be the main Allied landing. After the Allies landed in Sicily the Nembo was sent to reinforce the island but arrived too late to affect the outcome. After the armistice between Italy and the Allies many would be among Italian paratroopers that joined the retreated Germans and formed part of the new 4th Fallschirmjäger Division, rest of the division joined the Italian Co-Belligerent Army to continue fighting against the Allied advance through Italy.