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Brigata paracadutisti "Folgore"
CoA of the Folgore Brigade.svg
Coat of Arms Folgore Parachute Brigade
Active January 1, 1963 - Today
Country Italy
Allegiance Italian Army
Branch Army
Type Brigade
Role Paratroopers, Light Infantry
Part of COMFOTER Land Operative Forces Command
Garrison/HQ Livorno
Colors light blue
March Come Folgore dal Cielo
Mascot(s) Archangel Michael
Anniversaries 23 October (Second Battle of El Alamein)
Engagements Lebanon MNF
Kurdistan Operation Provide Comfort
Somalia UNITAF
Kosovo KFOR
Iraq MNF-I
Afghanistan ISAF
Brigade General Lorenzo D'Addario

183rd Regiment parading in Rome on 2 June 2006

The Folgore Parachute Brigade is the airborne brigade of the Italian Army. Its core units are three battalions of paratroopers (paracadutisti). The name Folgore is Italian for lightning. The Folgore is one of three light infantry brigades of the Italian Army. While the Folgore specializes in parachute operations its sister brigade in the Friuli Division the Air-assault Brigade specializes in helicopter assault operations. The Folgore and its units are based in Tuscany, Veneto and Lazio.


World War II

The first units of Italian parachutists were trained and formed shortly before World War II in Castel Benito, near Tripoli in Libya, where the first Military Parachuting School was located. Later the school was moved to Tarquinia in Italy.

On 1 September 1941 the Royal Italian Army raised the 1st Parachute Division in Tarquinia. The division was intended to be used in Operation Hercules - the planned Axis invasion of Malta. In June 1942 the divisions name was changed to 185th Airborne Division Folgore and its regiments renumbered and renamed as well. In North Africa the division participated in the Battles of El Alamein, where the division was the protagonist of a strong resistance against the attacking Commonwealth forces, managing also to drive off some attacks conducted by tanks and heavy infantry. In the course of the Second Battle of El Alamein the division was completely destroyed and therefore officially disbanded on 23 November 1942.

Before embarking for Africa the 185th Parachute Infantry Regiment was detached from the Folgore and remained in Italy with one its battalions to help raise the 184th Airborne Division Nembo (Italian for Nimbus). After the Armistice of Cassibile between the Allies and the Italy most of the roops of the Nembo stationed on Sardinia decided to side with Italian King Victor Emmanuel III and began to fight the retreating German troops. Subsequently the remnants of the Nembo were used to form the Folgore Combat Group of the Italian Co-Belligerent Army in 1944. The combat group was equipped with British materiel and uniforms and fought as part of the British XIII Corps in Italian Campaign.

During the war the fascist regime in Northern Italy fielded the 1st Parachute Arditi Regiment Folgore, which also fielded a Nembo and a Folgore battalion.

Cold War

After World War II theFolgore Combat Group became one of the Italian Armys first divisions and by 1954 one of the strongest. The Folgore Motorized Infantry Division was not an airborne capable unit, but a mechanized infantry unit based in the North-eastern Italian city of Treviso. Airborne troops and operations were to be performed by the Military Parachute Centre in Pisa.

On 1 January 1963 the army raised a new airborne brigade in the Tuscan city of Pisa. The brigade was named I Paratroopers Brigade and fielded the 1st Paratroopers Regiment with the II and V Paratroopers battalions, a Paratroopers Special Forces Battalion, a Carabinieri Paratroopers Company, which was augmented to battalion on 15 July 1963 and a Paratroopers Field Artillery Battery, which was augmented to group on 1 June 1963 and armed with Mod56 105mm howitzers. On 1 April 1964 the brigade lost the Military Parachute School in Pisa to the army's Infantry Inspectorate. On 10 June 1967 the I Paratroopers Brigade was allowed to add Folgore to its name and was now named Folgore Paratroopers Brigade.

In 1975 the Italian Army abolished the regimental level and re-organised its brigades. Therefore the Folgore changed composition on 1 October 1975 and was now structured as follows:

  • Folgore Paratroopers Brigade in Livorno
    • Folgore Command and Signal Battalion in Livorno
    • 1st Carabinieri Paratroopers Battalion Tuscania in Livorno
    • 2nd Paratroopers Battalion Tarquinia in Livorno
    • 5th Paratroopers Battalion El Alamein in Siena
    • 9th Paratroopers Assault Battalion Col Moschin in Livorno
    • 185th Paratroopers Field Artillery Group Viterbo in Livorno, with Mod56 105mm howitzers
    • Folgore Paratroopers Logistic Battalion in Pisa
    • 26th Light Airplanes and Helicopters Squadron Giove in San Giusto
    • Folgore Paratroopers Reconnaissance Company in Siena
    • Folgore Paratroopers Engineer Company in Lucca

In 1982 the brigade deployed as first unit in Italy's first international mission abroad since World War II when it joined the Multinational Force in Lebanon and on 1 January 1983 the Military Parachute School in Pisa with the 3rd Paratroopers (Training) Battalion Poggio Rusco returned to the brigade .

On 1 January 1986, the Folgore Brigade and the Friuli Motorized Brigade, in conjunction with some units of the Army's Light Army Aviation and the Navy's San Marco Regiment, became the Rapid Intervention Forces of the Italian Military, deployable on short notice for out of area missions. On 31 October of the same year the army disbanded the Folgore Mechanized Division, leaving the 'Folgore Paratroopers Brigade as only unit with the name "Folgore".

In 1991 tactical group of the brigade was sent to Kurdistan as part of the Operation Provide Comfort. The same year the army decided to rename battalions as regiments for historic reasons and to disbanded seven combat brigades as the Cold War had ended. On 31 May 1991 the Folgore received the 183rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion Nembo from the Gorizia Mechanized Brigade, which subsequently was re-roled as a paratroopers battalion. Beginning in 1992 the battalions returned to their regimental names. The new structure is listed below:

  • Folgore Paratroopers Brigade in Livorno
    • Folgore Command and Signal Battalion in Livorno
    • 1st Carabinieri Paratroopers Regiment Tuscania in Livorno
    • 9th Paratroopers Assault Regiment Col Moschin in Livorno
    • 183rd Paratroopers Regiment Nembo in Pistoia
    • 186th Paratroopers Regiment Folgore in Livorno (former 5th Paratroopers Battalion)
    • 187th Paratroopers Regiment Folgore in Siena (former 2nd Paratroopers Battalion)
    • 185th Paratroopers Artillery Regiment Folgore in Livorno, with Mod56 105mm howitzers
    • Folgore Paratroopers Logistic Battalion in Pisa
    • 26th Light Airplanes and Helicopters Squadron Giove in San Giusto
    • Folgore Paratroopers Reconnaissance Company in Siena
    • Folgore Paratroopers Engineer Company in Lucca
    • Military Parachute School in Pisa

On 3 December 1992 the brigade deployed for a year to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope (later Unified Task Force). There the brigade was engaged in a battle on 2 July 1993 where it lost three men and a further 36 were injured. The three deceased soldiers were awarded each the Gold Medal of Military Valor for their conduct during the battle.

After the Cold War

On 1 October 1997 the brigades passed to the Projection Forces Command (Comando Forze di Proiezione or COMFOP), which commanded all the rapid-deployable units of the Italia Army. However with a new reform the brigade passed on 1 December 2000 to the 1st Defence Forces Command (1° Comando Forze di Difesa or COMFOD 1°) and received the 5th Engineer Regiment in Legnano, which was quickly renamed as 8th Engineer Regiment Folgore and incorporated the Folgore Paratroopers Engineer Company. The same year on 31 August the 185th Paratroopers Artillery Regiment Folgore retired its howitzers and began its conversion to a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Special Operations unit. In March 2001 the brigade lost its logistic battalion and the 26th Light Airplanes and Helicopters Squadron Giove and when in 2002 the Carabinier were separated from the Army to become the Fourth Armed Force of Italy the 1st Carabinieri Paratroopers Regiment Tuscania left the brigade. From April to September 2005 the brigade was employed in Iraq as part of the Multi-National Force – Iraq. In 2007 the brigade sent a task force to East Timor as part of International Force for East Timor, while the majority of its units deployed to Lebanon as part of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon II. The brigade deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of ISAF - once in 2009 and once in 2011


With the 2013 reform the Folgore changed its composition significantly. The brigade lost its two special forces units which both passed to the Army Special Forces Command (COMFOSE) in Pisa. In return the brigade received the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Savoia Cavalleria from the Air-assault Brigade, the 33rd Self-propelled Field Artillery Regiment Acqui from the Granatieri di Sardegna Mechanized Brigade and the 6th Logistic Regiment from the disbanded Logistic Projection Command. Upon entering the brigade the 33rd Artillery Regiment was renamed as 185th Parachute Artillery Regiment Folgore, while the 6th Logistic Regiment was renamed as Folgore Logistic Regiment. Thus the current composition of the brigade is:

  • Folgore Paratroopers Brigade
    • Folgore Command and Tactical Support Battalion in Livorno
    • CoA mil ITA rgt cavalleria 03.png 3rd Cavalry Regiment Savoia Cavalleria in Grosseto
    • CoA mil ITA rgt paracadutisti 183.png 183rd Parachute Regiment Nembo in Pistoia
    • CoA mil ITA rgt paracadutisti 186.png 186th Parachute Regiment Folgore in Siena
    • CoA mil ITA rgt paracadutisti 187.png 187th Parachute Regiment Folgore in Livorno
    • CoA mil ITA rgt artiglieria 185.png 185th Parachute Artillery Regiment Folgore in Bracciano
    • CoA mil ITA rgt genio 08.png 8th Parachute Assault Engineer Regiment Folgore in Legnago (Veneto)
    • CoA mil ITA btg logistico folgore.png Folgore Logistic Regiment in Pisa
    • CAPAR Parachute Training Center in Pisa

The new composition of the brigade is identical to the composition of the Julia Alpine Brigade and the Taurinense Alpine Brigade, the other Italian Army light brigades.


The paratrooper companies of the airborne regiments are equipped Puma 6x6 wheeled armoured personnel carriers and Lince light multirole vehicles. The mortar companies of the airborne regiments are equipped with 120mm mortars, while the anti-tank companies field Spike anti-tank guided missile systems. The Cavalry regiment is equipped with a mix of Centauro tank destroyers and Puma 4x4 wheeled armoured personnel carriers. The artillery regiment of the brigade fields 18x FH-70 towed howitzers and 120mm mortars.

See also


External links

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