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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever seen a photo of WWI Italian soldiers armed with Beretta pistols? All the photos I've found so far on the net show them with various Mo. 1889 revolvers. If you have any photos please contact me or post them here.

Grazie!
 

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Krag, there are plenty of pictures of Italian military armed with the Beretta; I'm reasonably confident that others (kanister?) who are focused on the Model 1934 and Model 1935 will be able to steer you to or provide pics. If you don't get some answers from others, I'll try scrounging around and see what I can come up with, unless there are copyright issues involed. Are you planning on using the images in any kind of publication?
 

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I believe Krag is referring to the Beretta M1915.

I have not seen any photos of enlisted carrying an automatic pistol, whether it be a Glisenti or Beretta. I have always considered these as officer issue/private purchase. Note I have not made any detail photographic study to see whether the M1889 Bodeo was the only pistol issued to enlisted. A place to check are pictures of the Arditi. If any enlisted carried automatics, the Arditi would be a likely candidate.

I will take a look at my sources to see If I can find any.

Pista! Jeff

 

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Jeff, you are right - I didn't catch the single I following WW; probably a reflex action to see II. I stand corrected, and agree that Arditi/Russ would be a good place to start. Ralph
 

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In Italy, both WWI and WWII, officers had to buy their guns, so everyone choosed what they wanted (Beretta 1915 or Glisenti, or Ruby, or......): this is the reason we can't find WWI samples or these guns with the RE or other marks.
Privates instead were supplied with guns that were property of the state and so we can find many marks, like RE or others, and is very difficult to find a private with a holster that is not for Bodeo 1889 or older 1874.
 

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I don't have a scanner, but in Uniforms & Equipment of the Italian Armed Forces in World War I, by Dr. Spencer Anthony Coil, on page 201 there is a photo showing a soldier with what I think is 1915 Beretta. I think he's a sergeant.

That book is worth picking up for the volume of WW1 pictures that it has (it's a photo study), but you need to be skeptical of the captions, and some of the stuff is probably prewar or postwar.
 

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Osprey, Men at Arms 387, The Italian Army of World War I, page 46, the officer on the picture has Beretta pistol in the holster, as I think.
 

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One must remember that a lot of these "Illustrated Books" of Uniformology, are the Artist's impressions of what was correct. A lot are Correct as far as Uniform details is concerned, but a lot of Firearms are mistaken, unless derived from original Photographs, etc.

So one is best not to rely too much on any of these books, unless backed up by clear photographs. ( at least for Firearms use).

Doc AV
 

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I don't have a scanner, but in Uniforms & Equipment of the Italian Armed Forces in World War I, by Dr. Spencer Anthony Coil, on page 201 there is a photo showing a soldier with what I think is 1915 Beretta. I think he's a sergeant.

That book is worth picking up for the volume of WW1 pictures that it has (it's a photo study), but you need to be skeptical of the captions, and some of the stuff is probably prewar or postwar.
I have that book and my overwhelming impression was how many Bodeos were shown, and how few automatic pistols. I'd have to dig it out to look at 201 but suspect comment is correct.

Subsequent comment about these books misidentifying weapons is true as well, although I think the book on the Vol I Central Powers (Austria and Bulgaria) consistently misidentifies the Mannlicher 95 straight pull rifles.

I have 4 of these books and do enjoy them but buy them heavily discounted (often used) and in general think the photos are too small to see much detail: but maybe it's my eyes. I wish the color sections in the back was more extensive but there are often odd personal things. Seldom if ever do they cover weapons at the back of the books I've seen.
 

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I have that book and my overwhelming impression was how many Bodeos were shown, and how few automatic pistols. I'd have to dig it out to look at 201 but suspect comment is correct.

Subsequent comment about these books misidentifying weapons is true as well, although I think the book on the Vol I Central Powers (Austria and Bulgaria) consistently misidentifies the Mannlicher 95 straight pull rifles.

I have 4 of these books and do enjoy them but buy them heavily discounted (often used) and in general think the photos are too small to see much detail: but maybe it's my eyes. I wish the color sections in the back was more extensive but there are often odd personal things. Seldom if ever do they cover weapons at the back of the books I've seen.
You are correct that most of the photos of pistols in that book are revolvers. But, I'm pretty sure this particular picture shows a beretta -- I'm just not that familiar with the beretta pistol and would like someone to confirm it for me. :)
 

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That of the photo is an holster with long flap, that may carry both a Beretta mod. 1915, a Beretta mod. 1917, a so called "Ruby", or any other gun of those dimensions.
But these are officers and, if I understand well, Paul is asking for enlisted men.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Kanister - nope, any Italian soldiers regardless of rank.
 

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Sorry about the delay, I finally got around to scanning this photo:


It looks like Beretta to me. :)

I think these are Engineers (Genio), but I don't know enough about Italian engineers to explain why the guy on the right appears to have an alpini hat.

This looks like an early war photo, the soldier with the pistol is a sergeant (sergente-maggiore), with the old style rank insignia on his cuff (which would have been gold chevrons).

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
cpl - Wow! That is a super cool photo. Thanks so much!!!
 

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As in any army, difference in headgear can be for a variety of reasons; in the case of Italy, although the alpini are infantry, there are also alpine engineer units and mountain artillery units ("montagnini") which also wear the alpini headgear. Ralph
 

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Here is a caption for the great photo posted above. Thanks to my friend Paolo S. in Italy for the knowledge and research on the uniforms and hats.

These four Italian soldiers, all of them wearing the Model 1909 uniform, belong to the Regia Guardia diFinanza ( Royal Finance Police) and they have three different types of badges on their hats.

From left to right: The soldier without a hat is a sergeant holding a Beretta Model 1915 pistol chambered in 9mm Glisenti. He is resting his shooting arm on a folded coat with a lamb wool liner and the spike of an ice-ax is visible. He has a Carcano 91 TS across his back. The other three soldiers all hold the same type of rifle at the ready in a staged pose.

The soldier to the immediate right of the sergeant has the Badge Model 1892 embroidered in yellow rayon or wool, which was not officially allowed at the front. The soldier at the far right has the "alpino-hat" issued after 1910 and still in use. The soldier at top is wearing the correct subdued version of the Badge Model 1892 embroidered in black.
 

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I don't think they're guardia di finanza. Although looking at other photos the yellow flames don't show up nearly as well as I expected them to. However, I'm more accustomed to seeing guardia di finanza with a badge that has a cross in the circle, and wearing standard infantry tunics with shoulder rolls. I could be wrong though . . .

-EDIT- Unfortunately, I haven't found a good source for the various "fregi" (badges) used on hats, but after poking around on the internet, I think freehouse might be right. The bugle with the vertical flame appears to be the guardia di finanza fregio. It would have an eagle above the bugle, and crossed axes below, if it was Alpine engineers (I think).
 
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