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The Arma dei Carabinieri (Corps of Carabineers) is the national gendarmerie of Italymarker, policing both the military and civilian populations. The Carabinieri is now a branch of the armed forces (alongside the Army, Navy and Air Force), thus ending their long standing role as the first corps of the Italian army.

Early history

The corps was created by King Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy, with the aim of providing the Kingdom of Sardinia with a police corps similar to the French Gendarmerie. Previously, police duties were managed by the Dragoni di Sardegna corps, created in 1726 and composed of volunteers. After French soldiers had occupied Turinmarker at the end of the 18th century and later abandoned it to the Kingdom of Piedmont, the corps of Royal Carabinieri was instituted under the Royal Patents of July 13, 1814.

The new force was divided into divisions on the scale of one division for each province. The divisions were further divided into Companies and sub-divided into Lieutenancies which commanded and coordinated the local police stations, and were distributed throughout the national territory in direct contact with the public.

In 1868, the Corazzieri mounted division was formed, initially as an escort of honour for the Sovereign, and since 1946 for the President of the Republic. The Unity of Italy saw the number of divisions increased, and on 24 January 1861 the Carabinieri were appointed the First Force of the a newly founded national military organization. The Carabinieri were raised in status and became an Armed Force on 31 March 2000.

1930s

During the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini (1922-1943) the Carabinieri were one of the police forces entrusted with suppressing any opposition in Italy. During the same period and while part of the Italian Africa Police, mainly in the late 1930s, they were involved in atrocities in colonial Italian East Africa and during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. During World War II they fought in their function as Military Police against the allied forces and against Yugoslav Partisans as part of the Italian occupation force in Yugoslavia.

After the fall of Benito Mussolini on July 25, 1943 he was arrested by the Carabinieri as he left the royal palacemarker in Rome and subsequently imprisoned on Campo Imperatoremarker by Carabinieri forces. After the armistice between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943 and the following split of the country into the fascist Italian Social Republic in Northern Italy and the Kingdom of Italy in Southern Italy the Carabinieri split into two groups: in Southern Italy the "Carabinieri Command for Liberated Italy" was founded in Bari and mobilized new units for the Italian war of liberation. These units were attached to the "Italian Liberation Corps" and the six Italian "Combat Groups" of the Italian Co-Belligerent Army and fought with the Allied Forces. In the north of Italy the fascist regime organized the Black Brigades, made up of Carabinieri, military personnel and Blackshirts militia, and employed them extensively in Anti-Partisan operations. Although called brigades the units were more in the size of companies and in total all 49 brigades never exceeded a total strength of 12,000.

Due to the role the Carabinieri had played in the downfall of Mussolini and as the only two units that fought the German occupation of Rome were the Granatieri di Sardegna regiments and the II Carabinieri cadet battalion, the Germans didn’t see the Carabinieri as loyal to the fascist cause and ordered the disbandment of all Carabinieri units in the Axis controlled territory on October 7, 1943. As German forces subsequently began to arrest and deport members of the Carabinieri to Germany for forced labour, large numbers of Carabinieri joined the Italian resistance movement. After the war the Carabinieri counted at least 2,735 fallen and 6,500 wounded out of approximately 14,000, who had joined the resistance in northern and central Italy. In Yugoslavia the Carabinieri formed a battalion of the Italian Partisan Garibaldi Division, which fought alongside the Yugoslavian Partisans against German and Croatian Forces. As the battalion lost over 80% of its members in combat, they were awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valor to commemorate the fallen.



Present day

The Carabinieri are today particularly proud of the memory of Vice Brigadiere Salvo D'Acquisto, who was executed by the Germans in Palidoro, near Romemarker, in World War II, having exchanged his life for the lives of citizens due to be executed in retaliation for the killing of a German soldier. Brigadier D'Acquisto claimed responsibility and was executed for the offence.

The Carabinieri were criticised for their handling of the policing of the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoamarker and the killing of anarchist Carlo Giuliani during the demonstrations against the Group of Eight. A Carabinieri Land Rover Defender had become stuck and protesters wielding metal poles and wooden boards attacked it. In the midst of this clash a protester, Carlo Giuliani, picked up a fire extinguisher and, apparently intending to throw it at the vehicle, he was shot by one of the officers in the vehicle, Mario Placanica. The charges against Placanica were subsequently dropped when the presiding judge concluded that the bullet which struck Giuliani was not directly aimed at Giuliani and had "ricocheted off plaster", and ruled that the carabinieri had acted in self-defense. The case did not go to trial. It has been since alleged that the court proceededings were a sham.

In recent years Carabinieri units have been dispatched on peacekeeping missions, including Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In 2003 twelve Carabinieri were killed in a suicide bombing on their base in Nasiriyahmarker, near Basramarker, in southern Iraq, in the largest Italian military loss of life in a single action since the Second World War.

At the Sea Island Conference of the G8 in 2004, Carabinieri were given the mandate to establish a Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units to spearhead the development of training and doctrinal standards for civilian police units attached to international peacekeeping missions.

Organization

Senior Carabinieri General in VM 90 during the 2007 army parade in Italy.
Structure Specialist & Mobile Unit Command
The corps is headed by the , consisting of the Comandante Generale (a General), the , a Lieutenant General, and the Headquarters Staff, all located in Romemarker. At the top is the Headquarters which directs, coordinates and supervises all activities of the force. It directly supervises the Directors of Administration, Health, Engineering, motor pool, and Veterinary Commission. Since the Chief of Staff depends on the of the (National Center for Recruitment and Selection) of the National Administrative Center and Legislation.

The Carabinieri are organised on a territorial basis for law enforcement missions. The territorial organization represents the core of the institution because it contains 80 percent of the force and is organized hierarchically in five inter-regional, 19 regional and 102 provincial commands.Outside the territorial organisation, the Specialist Mobile Unit Command Palidoro based in Rome controls the Mobile Unit Division, Specialist Unit Division and the ROS.

The Mobile Unit Division

The Mobile Unit Division is located in Trevisomarker and has two brigades with the tasks of mass manoeuvring events to cope with emergencies, to perform military tasks associated with the defence of the national territory and participation in military operations abroad, provides support activities in the area of public order and control of the territory in large urban areas and in the most sensitive areas in terms of public safety and contributes to the operations of the civil authorities.

ROS

The ROS (Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale) or Special Operational Group is an elite unit founded in 1990 to deal with organised crime (Mafia and others), subversive activities, terrorism and the more complex types of crime. An anti-crime section is found in every city district public prosecutor's office.

Special Tasks Departments

Special Tasks Departments are outside the ordinary organisational framework and are used for special missions:Corazzieri (Cuirassiers) are an elite corps and honour guard of the President of the Italian Republic located in the Quirinal Palacemarker. They are distinguished by their uniforms and height (the minimum height for admission is 190 cm, or 6 feet 3 inches). They have almost no other everyday duties, although they may be seen patrolling occasionally.Other departments are in service to Constitutional Bodies such as the Presidency of the Republic, the Senate, Parliament, the Judiciary, the Prime Minister and the National Council of Economy and Labour.Carabinieri also perform Military police and security duties for the Ministry of Defence, military high commands, offices of the military judiciary and allied military organisations in Italy and abroad. They also have personnel attached to the Department of Public Security in various departments as well as anti-mafia and anti-drug investigation task forces. Furthermore, Carabinieri officers are in charge of surveillance and security at Italian Embassies and Consulates abroad, performing the same services entrusted to the United States Marine Corps in US Diplomatic and Consular offices.

War service

The main battles in which the Carabinieri took part before World War I are:



For its contributions during the First World War, the Corps was awarded its first Gold Medal of Military Valor

In World War II, Carabinieri distinguished themselves in the following battles:

From 1943 to 1945, the Carabinieri were answerable to the Control Commission of the Allied Military Government (AMGOT). Their reorganization and reform was organized by Colonel Arthur Young, a British police officer seconded as Director of Public Safety and Director of Security.

Uniforms

They were issued a distinctive uniform in dark blue with silver braid around the collar and cuffs, edges trimmed in scarlet and epaulettes in silver. The mounted division had white fringes and, the infantry had light blue. Their headgear was a distinctive hat with two points popularly called the lucerna.They still use a version of the historic uniform today for ceremonies.

The full set of different Carabinieri uniforms today is presented here (in Italian):

Weapons

A Carabiniere in the everyday uniform
In response to the many and diverse needs of the Carabinieri, the service provides for the use of various types of weapons that are divided into ordinary weapons and special weapons, supplied to all staff is structured as follows:

Ordinary



Special weapons

Used only by certain departments and in certain circumstances:

Vehicles and equipment

Until very recently the Italian Police including the Carabinieri operated only Italian built vehicles but that changed with the introduction of Land Rover Defenders and Subarus into service. Normal Carabinieri patrol vehicles are very dark blue with a white roof, the blue has a red stripe along the side. Carabinieri license plates beginning with "CC" and for traditional reasons Carabinieri cars are called Gazzella (gazelle). Small or medium-sized cars are used for ordinary patrol work, with larger and more powerful vehicles being used for emergency response, traffic patrol and special services.The vehicles of the Carabinieri military police and mobile units are painted Italian military green and have license plates beginning with "EI," as do the vehicles of other Italian Army vehicles.

Cars



Motorcycles



Helicopters



Tactical vehicles

Carabinieri Mercedes Unimog 3000 – 5000 mobile labs for NBCR (nuclear, bacteriologic, chemical & radiologic) activity


Motorboats



Special Vehicles

An Italian Carabinieri GEM e2, called the Ovetti (egg) in Carabinieri service, used for patrolling urban areas


See also



References

External links




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