The Alpini (Italian for “alpines”), are an elite mountain warfare military corps of the Italian Army. They are currently organized in two operational brigades, which are subordinated to the Alpine Troops Headquarters.
Established in 1872, the Alpini are the oldest active mountain infantry in the world. Their original mission was to protect Italy’s northern mountain border with France and Austria. In 1888 the Alpini deployed on their first mission abroad, in Africa, a continent where they returned on several occasions and during various wars of the Kingdom of Italy. They emerged during World War I as they fought a three-year campaign on the Alps against Austro-Hungarian Kaiserjäger and the German Alpenkorps in what has since become known as the “War in snow and ice”. During World War II, the Alpini fought alongside the Axis forces, mainly across the Eastern Front and in the Balkans Campaigns.
After the end of the Cold War, the Italian Army was reorganised in the 1990s. Three out of five Alpini brigades and many support units were disbanded. Currently, the Alpini are deployed in Afghanistan.
On June 7, 1883, the green flames (Italian: “fiamme verdi”) collar patch was introduced, thus making the Alpini officially a specialty within the Italian infantry corps. The Cappello Alpino, with its black raven feather, was also introduced at that time. The distinctive headdress quickly led the Alpini to be nicknamed “The Black feathers” (Italian: “Le Penne Nere”). Officers hats had the black feather replaced with a white eagle feather. At first, the hat was a black felt hat, but as soon as the new green-grey uniform was adopted in 1909 the hat was changed to the distinctive grey felt still in service today.
Ciao “Popi” amico nostro, con te se ne va un pezzo del nostro cuore e della nostra storia.. Ci mancherai tanto.. Gruppo Alpini Barga
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