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insignia for the tropical helmet.
2 1/4 inches high with number 252.
Battaglioni volontari Camice Nere in A.O.I. Africa Orientale
Italiana fregio elmetto.
The Blackshirts were established as the squadristi in
1919 and consisted of many disgruntled former soldiers which may have numbered
200,000 by the time of Mussolini's March on
Rome from October 27 to October 29, 1922. In 1922 the
squadristi were reorganized into the milizia and formed numerous
bandiere, and on 1 February 1923 the Blackshirts became the Volunteer
Militia for National Security (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza
Nazionale, or MVSN), which lasted until the Italian Armistice in 1943. The
Social Republic, located in the areas of northern Italy
occupied by Germany, reformed the MVSN into the Republican National Guard (Guardia
Nazionale Repubblicana, or GNR).
In 1940 the MVSN was able to muster 340,000 first-line combat
troops, providing three divisions (1st, 2nd and 4th - all three of which were
lost in the North African Campaign) and, later in 1942, a fourth division ("M")
and fifth division Africa were forming.
Mussolini also pushed through plans to raise 142 MVSN combat
battalions of 650 men each to provide a Gruppo di Assalto to each army
division. These Gruppi consisted of two cohorts (each of three centurie
of 3 manipoli of 2 squadre each) plus Gruppo Supporto company of
two heavy machine gun manipoli (with three HMG each) and two 81mm mortar
manipoli (with 3 Mortars each).
Later 41 Mobile groups were raised to become the third regiment
in Italian Army divisions as it was determined through operational experience
that the Italian arm's binary divisions were too small in both manpower and
heavy equipment. These mobile groups suffered heavy casualties due to being
undermanned, under equipped and under trained. The three divisions were
destroyed in combat in North
Africa. The MVSN fought in every theater where Italy
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