ALE: Aviazione Leggera dell’Esercito (Army Light Air Force)
ETM: Elicotteri da Trasporto Medi (Medium Transport Helicopters)
BAR: Battaglione Addestramento Reclute (recruits training battalion).
Battaglioni Fanteria d’Arresto are static units committed to halt or slow down enemy advances, they rely on previously built fortifications, bunkers and strongpoints which are not listed.
Leopard 1 ARV is properly called Bergeleopard.
Note 2: Higher Commands
The Italian Army elimated the division as a unit in October 1986.
Note 3: Tank Units
Tank Battalions were tank-only units with 3 companies of 16 tanks, plus Bn commander tank. M60A1s were assigned to 5 tank battalions of the former Ariete division, i.e. Ariete, Mameli, Garibaldi Brigades. All other tank battalions have Leopard 1.
Armored Battalions were combined arms units with 2 tank companies on 13 tanks, 1 mech Inf company and a mortar company, generally equipped with the oldest available equipment. In 1989 the M-47 was being taken out of service: only units that definitely still had it by the end of the year were training units and 7th Carabinieri Arm Bn. The OOB depicts the end-of-the-year situation.
Around this time, a reduction from 5 to 4 tanks in each platoon was being planned. Under this organization, battalions would then decrease from 49 to 40 tanks. When this reorganization took place is unclear; some sources report that in 1988-89 all tank platoons were converted to 4 tanks, other sources of the early 90’s report that it had yet to take place. Only for Acqui’s 9th armored battalion I have a figure of 26 Leopard 1 (2 cp with 4 tank-platoons) in December 1989, received from disbanding of other tank battalions. Taking this as the case for other armored battalions, and leaving the tank battalions at 49, there are sufficient Leopards enough to equip them all and leave some for training/storage. It’s proving hard to clear if all tank units had shifted on 4 tank platoons by 1989, till opposite evidence I leave them on 5 for Tank Bns and 4 for Armoured Bns.
5 Tank Battalions with 49 M60 each, for a total of 245
15 Tank Battalions and Sq Gr with 49 Leo1 each (-1 disbanded in 1989), for a total of 686 after disbanding
5 Armoured Battalions and Sq Gr with 26 Leo1 each, for a total of 130*
1 Carabinieri Armoured Battalion with 16 Leo1*
2 Cav Recon Sq Gr with 31 Leo1 each (1 disbanded in 1989), 31 tanks
1 tank company in 1st Arm Rgt in Capo Teulada Training Area, 16 tanks
Total of Leopard 1 employed 879.
*at least some of these received Leopard 1’s from disbanded Tank and Recon Bns.
2 Armoured Battalion with 34 M47 and one with 16 (they kept the 5-tanks platoons) for a total of 84; other in Carabinieri Mobile Battalions and as many as 300 in storage.
Also available 136 BgPz2 Bergeleopard recovery vehicles, 1 for each tank company, 55 left.
Note 4: Infantry
Infantry Battalions are of different types:
Mech on APC or IFV, strength about 850-870 men; Bersaglieri and Granatieri are Mech infantry supposedly elite. Also some Cav units were Mech infantry (35 Battalions + 3 training).
Motorized on trucks, strength 900+ men (11 Battalions + 3 cadre and 3 mobilization);
Infantry Battalions or BAR (an unofficial but common designation) are “Recruits Training Battalions” in which new recruits received a very basic training. In case of war they would be given territorial defence tasks or integrated in cadre battalions and mobilization brigades (24 Battalions).
Fanteria d’arresto (Defence Battalion) were static units whose purpose was to halt or slow down enemy advance fighting from various fortifications and strongpoints which aren’t listed (5 Battalions).
Alpini are mountain infantry, which included some static defense battalions. Also support and artillery units within brigades are Alpini (12 Battalions, 1 cadre, 1 defense, 1 defense cadre, 4 BAR).
Lagunari are amphibious infantry with the task of defending the lagoon areas of Grado and Venezia on the right flank of 5th Army Corps (2 Battalions).
Paracadutisti trained for airborne operations, the 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalions include a further Mech company; the 1st is a Carabinieri unit with parallel MP duties and special internal tasks; the 9th is a professional commando unit (4 Battalions and 1 BAR).
VCC-1 and VCC-2: less than 600 and over 1200 each built (according to RID 5/97 560 and 1200 respectively; Armyrecognition 576 and 1252), but which unit had what (or the basic M-113) remains in many cases unknown to me: in such cases I marked as uncertain the APC type. Some French AMX-VCI were likely available in storage. Jane’s lists Italy having 1350 VCC-1 (I wouldn’t trust it), 3100 M113s (including variants), and 450 AMX-VCI in inventory.
Milan 1330 total launchers.
TOW were mounted on M113 and AR-76 4WD jeeps: the former in Armored and Mechanized Infantry brigades, with some possible exceptions, and the latter in Folgore, Alpini and Motorized brigades.
Note 5: Artillery
Artillery Groups are organized on 3 batteries of 4-6 pieces each. Available at this time:
423 M114 towed 155/23, enough for up to 23 Groups: Agordo, Aosta, Asiago, Conegliano, Sondrio, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 21st, 35th, 48th, 117th AG. It is also likely that these equip other groups.
36 M115 towed 203/25, enough for 3 Groups: 1st (cadre) and 9th HAG, rest unknown.
42 M59 towed 155/45: older equipment, enough for 2 Groups: one could be the 52nd: its former regiment had these; rest unknown, probably in storage.
320-360 M.56 105/24, enough for 17 (!) groups: 1 group for each Alpini Bde (one had 2) and Folgore Bde makes 7, I have no idea were the others were used.
Also some obsolete equipment in storage: 36 M55 SP203mm, 108 M44 SP155mm.
Equipment of 1st, 11th Monferrato, 11thTeramo, 13th, 24th, 33th, 107th Groups remains uncertain, but likely on M114.
Note 6: Air Defense Artillery and Missiles
Jane’s lists italy as holding 109 12.7mm Quad M55 towed, 230 40mm L/70 towed, 35 SIDAM Quad 25mm SP (with deliveries ongoing), an unknown number of Stingers, Mistrals being delivered, 4 batteries of SPADA, 60 I-Hawks, 96 Nike-Hercules
Note 7: Engineers
Engineers corps has four specialities:
Rail Engineers (Genio Ferrovieri), just what the name says
Bridge Engineers (Genio Pontieri), just what the name says
Combat Engineers (Genio Guastatori) are Mech engineer combat units with the task of laying and defending minefields and other obstacles to enemy advance; 5 battalions and brigade companies.
Pioneers (Genio Pioneri), engineers with secondary combat duties, 6 Battalions and one School Battalion.
Combat Engineers and Pioneers Battalions are on 3 Engineers Companies and one Special Equipment Company on 3 platoons: 1 bridges, 1 earth moving vehicles and 1 special vehicles company with 1-2 bridgelayers, 2 pioneer tanks and mining systems.
Available equipment: 64 BrPz1 Biber and 40 PionierLeopard.
Note 8: Helicopters
The Italian Army maintained significant helicopter holdings. In 1989, IISS lists the Army (not including the various police forces or the navy) as having: 22 A-47G/J (Bell model 47s), 21 A-109, 92 AB-205A (UH-1D/H), 126 AB-206 (OH-58/Bell 206), 14 AB-212 (UH-1N), 11 AB-412 (UH-1), 39 CH-47C. However, I believe the figures for AB-205s and 206s are low; other sources (such as Scramble) list significantly more.
Note 9: Rapid Intervention Force (Forza di Intervento Rapido)
FIR was formed in 1986 to respond to regional crises out of the northeastern theatre. While it was not organized in peacetime, it consisted of a command tasked with planning and intervention drills in case of sudden crisis; it was expected to control the Folgore Airborne Brigade, the Friuli Motorized Brigade, the San Marco Operational Group (company strength), the 11th Signal Battalion Leonessa with the support of 1st RALE Antares, 46th Air Transport Brigade and Navy 3rd Naval division with amphibious units San Giorgio and San Giusto.
Note 10: Reserve Forces
IISS lists the army as having a reserve pool of 520,000, including 240,000 assigned to mobilization units. Many of the reservists would field out combat support units. IISS says the Italian army would form 1 Mech, 1 Alpini and 1Armoured Brigade from school units immediately upon war alert: these were the Piemonte, Lazio and Puglie Brigades, however their effectiveness as combat units must be considered very limited: only Piemonte Brigade made a mobilization drill in the mid 80’s. IISS says 1 Infantry and 1 Armoured brigade, plus 3 Infantry and 7 artillery battalions would also be activated from reservists upon mobilization. The reserve battalions referenced by IISS are likely those listed as cadre above. Any additional details on reserve units would be greatly appreciated.
Note 11: Logistic Units
Brigades’ Logistic battalions were so organized:
Command and Services Cp
Medium Transports Cp
Medical Cp (cadre) not in Acqui, Brescia, Folgore, Goito, Gorizia, GdS.
Command and Services Cp
Mixed Transport Cp
Special Transport Cp
Logistical Manoeuvre Battalions:
1-2 Mixed Transport Cp
ITALIAN AIR FORCE There are still a number of outstanding questions about this organization. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.
1. 2nd Stormo (Wing) - Treviso, Italy:
a. No. 14 Fighter/Bomber Gruppo (Squadron): 18 G91
2. 3rd Stormo - Verona, Italy:
a. No. 28 Recon/Fighter Gruppo: 15 RF-104G
a. No. 10 Strike/Interceptor Gruppo: 18 F-104S
8. 32nd Stormo - Brindisi, Italy:
a. No. 13 Fighter/Bomber Gruppo: 18 G91
9. 36th Stormo - Gioia del Colle, Italy:
a. No. 12 Strike/Interceptor Gruppo: 18 F-104S
b. No. 156 Fighter/Bomber Gruppo: 24 Tornado
a. No. 22 Strike/Interceptor Gruppo: 18 F-104S
b. No. 103 Fighter/Bomber Gruppo: 18 G91
12. 53rd Stormo - Novara, Italy:
10. 37th Stormo - Trapani, Italy:
a. No. 18 Strike/Interceptor Gruppo: 18 F-104S
11. 51st Stormo - Treviso, Italy:
a. No. 21 Strike/Interceptor Gruppo: 18 F-104S
13. 61st Stormo (Training)
a. No. 212 Gruppo: MB-339A
b. No. 213 Gruppo: MB-339A
c. No. 214 Gruppo: MB-339A
13. 8 Air Defense Groups: 12 Nike-Hercules each
14. 5 SAM groups: Spada (ground-mounted version of Aspide (AIM-7 derivative))
15. Training Establishment:
a. 20th Training Gruppo (OCU): 16-24 TF-104G
c. 201st, 204th, 205th Training Gruppos: 45 G-91T total
Note 1: 2 of the G-91 squadrons have G-91Y in light attack role, 2 have G-91R in light attack/recce role
Note 2: Aircraft holdings: Most of the F-104S were upgraded to F-104ASA by 1989, giving them the ability to fire later Sparrows (Aspide is Italian version) and Sidewinders. A total of 206 F-104S were built for the Italian Air Force, with production ending in 1979. Jane’s says at least 142 F-104 still in inventory in early 1990. Information is from John Baugher’s Encyclopedia of US Military Aircraft, which confirms the above squadron assignments.
IDS – 85 standard and 15 IDS-T training versions. In addition to the above squadrons, 10 were stationed at the NATO tri-national training facility at Cottesmore, UK. 2 were lost to accidents in 1984 and one in June 1989. Information from Tornado-data.com.
Note 4: Training unit aircraft are provisional, except for 20th Gruppo, based on older known types assigned to the squadrons and known aircraft holdings. In addition, the Italian Air Force held as many as 120 MB-326s (including 12 MB-326E electronic warfare aircraft) in inventory. It is also possible that as many as 20 more MB-339A were in inventory.
Note 5: IISS ’90-’91, which includes updated information (but I don’t think actual changes) to its Italian OOB, lists an additional ground attack squadron equipped with MB-339.
GRAND DUCHY OF LUXEMBOURG ROYAL LUXEMBOURG ARMY 1. 1st Infantry Battalion (Light) - assigned to the Allied Mobile Force (Land):
a) 3 Infantry Companies
b) Support Company with ~16 Land Rovers with HMGs, 6 Land Rover with I-TOW, 1 battery (6 tubes?) of 81mm mortars
c) Artillery Battery (attached to Belgian field artillery school): 3 105mm howitzers on 25lber carriages.
Note: From Bob MacKenzie’s work for the FFT rules set.
Note 2: One of the infantry companies may have switched over to an organization similar to the support company in the mid-1980s.
ROYAL LUXEMBOURG AIR FORCE 1. 18 E-3A SENTRY AWACS - Geilenkirchen, FRG (US and Lux registration)
KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS KONINKLIJKE LANDMACHT
(ROYAL DUTCH ARMY)
Netherlands Country Data
Population: 14.76 million, including 594,000 males 18-22 and 1,276,000 million males 23-32.
GDP: (1988) $228.28 billion
Defense Budget: (1989) $6.68 billion
Army: 63,000 (plus 135,100 reserves)
Navy: 16,500 (plus about 9,400 reserves, 7,000 of whom are on immediate recall)
Air Force: 17,400 (plus about 11,200 reserves on immediate recall)
Numerous changes courtesy of Jo van der Plum via RETAC21. In addition, special thanks to Tank-Net.org’s 11e, whose work with the RNL Army historical section made a real difference in this list and cleared up many previous misconceptions.
Note: The Dutch Army has one of the most unique and effective reserve systems in the world. It can fully mobilize its armed forces within 48 hours. Due to peacetime positioning, lead combat forces could deploy to their GDP positions within 2 days but follow on forces would take up to 7 days. The Netherlands maintained 30 days of war stocks.
1. 1stNetherlands Corps-Apeldoorn, NL: assigned to NORTHAG
a. 1st Infantry Division (Mech) - Schaarsbergen, NL:
1) 11th Mech Infantry Brigade - Schaarsbergen, NL:
a) 101st Armored Battalion: 61 Leopard 1V, 12 YPR-765