The Info List - Blackshirt

The Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (MVSN, "Voluntary Militia
for National Security"), commonly called the Blackshirts (Italian: Camicie Nere, CCNN, singular: Camicia Nera) or squadristi (singular: squadrista), was originally the paramilitary wing of the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
and, after 1923, an all-volunteer militia of the Kingdom of Italy. Its members were distinguished by their black uniforms (modelled on those of the Arditi, Italy's elite troops of World War I) and their loyalty to Benito Mussolini, the Duce
(leader) of Fascism, to whom they swore an oath. The founders of the paramilitary groups were nationalist intellectuals, former army officers and young landowners opposing peasants' and country labourers' unions. Their methods became harsher as Mussolini's power grew, and they used violence and intimidation against Mussolini's opponents.[1] In 1943, following the fall of the Fascist regime, the MVSN was integrated into the Royal Italian Army
Royal Italian Army
and disbanded.


1 History 2 Organization

2.1 Basic organization 2.2 Territorial organization 2.3 Security militia 2.4 Ethiopian Campaign

3 Blackshirt Division organization

3.1 Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (3 October 1935) 3.2 Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (10 June 1940)

4 Leadership

4.1 Commandants−General 4.2 Chiefs of Staff

5 Spanish Civil War 6 World War II 7 Appearance 8 Ranks

8.1 Officers 8.2 Other Ranks

9 Legacy 10 See also

10.1 General

11 Notes 12 External links

History[edit] The Blackshirts
were established as the squadristi in 1919 and consisted of many disgruntled former soldiers. It was given the task of leading fights against their bitter enemies – the Socialists. They may have numbered 200,000 by the time of Mussolini's March on Rome
from 27 to 29 October 1922. In 1922 the squadristi were reorganized into the milizia and formed numerous bandiere, and on 1 February 1923 the Blackshirts
became the Volunteer Militia
for National Security (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale, or MVSN), which lasted until the 8 September 1943 Armistice of Cassibile. The Italian Social Republic, located in the areas of northern Italy occupied by Germany, reformed the MVSN on 8 December 1943 into the National Republican Guard (Guardia Nazionale Repubblicana, or GNR). Organization[edit] Main articles: Founding of Blackshirts, Milizia Coloniale, and Albanian Fascist Militia Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
was the leader, or Commandant-General and First Honorary Corporal, of the blackshirts, but executive functions were carried out by the Chief of Staff, equivalent to an army general. The MVSN was formed in imitation of the ancient Roman army, as follows: Basic organization[edit] The terms after the first are not words common to European armies (e.g., the Italian battaglione has cognates in many languages). Instead, they derive from the structure of the armies of ancient Rome.

Zona (zone) = division Legione (legion) = regiment, each legion was a militia unit consisting of a small active cadre and a large reserve of civilian volunteers. Coorte (cohort) = battalion Centuria
(centuria) = company Manipolo (maniple) = platoon Squadra (squad) = squad

These units were also organized on the triangular principle as follows:

3 squadre = 1 manipolo (maniple) 3 manipoli = 1 centuria (centuria) 3 centuriae = 1 coorte (cohort) 3 coorti = 1 legione (legion) 3 legioni = 1 divisioni (field division) 3 or more legioni = 1 zona (zone – an administrative division)

Territorial organization[edit] The MVSN original organization consisted of 15 zones controlling 133 legions (one per province) of three cohorts each and one Independent Group controlling 10 legions. In 1929 it was reorganized into four raggruppamenti, but later in October 1936 it was reorganized into 14 zones controlling only 133 legions with two cohorts each, one of men 21 to 36 years old and the other of men up to 55 years old. There were also special units in Rome, on Ponza
Island and the black uniformed Moschettieri del Duce
("The Leader's Musketeers", Mussolini's Guard), the Albanian Fascist Militia
(four legions) and Milizia Coloniale in Africa (seven legions).

National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party

Security militia[edit] Special
militias were also organized to provide security police and gendarmerie functions, these included:

Forestry Militia Frontier Militia Highway Militia Port Militia Posts and Telegraph Militia Railway Militia University Militia Anti-aircraft and Coastal Artillery
Coastal Artillery
Militia, a combined command which controlled two militias:

Anti-Aircraft Militia Coastal Artillery
Coastal Artillery

Ethiopian Campaign[edit]

seize a railway station in Dire Dawa.

During the 1935–36 Abyssinian Campaign seven CCNN Divisions were organized:

1st (23rd March) CCNN Division 2nd (28th October) CCNN Division 3rd (21st April) CCNN Division 4th (3rd January) CCNN Division 5th (1st Febbraio) CCNN Division 6th (Tevere) CCNN Division

The first six Divisions were sent to Ethiopia and participated in the war.

7th (Cirene) CCNN Division – The 7th CCNN Division "Cirene" was never deployed overseas or even fully equipped before it was disbanded.[2]

Blackshirt Division organization[edit] Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (3 October 1935)[edit]

Divisional HQ 3 x Legions each with:

1 Legionary Machine Gun Company with 16 machine guns 2 Legionary Infantry Battalions, each with:

1 Machine Gun Company with 8x8mm Breda machine guns and 3 Infantry Companies each with 9 light machine guns and 3x45mm mortars 1 pack-artillery battery with 4x65mm L17 each.[3]

1 x Artillery Battalion
(Army) with 3 batteries (65/17) 1 x Engineers company (mixed Army and Blackshirts) 2 x Replacements Battalions (1 Infantry, 1 Mixed) 1 x Medical Section 1 x Logistics Section (food) 1 x Pack-Mules unit (1600 mules) 1 x Mixed Trucks unit (80 light trucks)

The Blackshirts
Rifle Battalions had three rifle companies but no MMG company. The rifle companies had three platoons (three squads with one LMG each). Each Legion had a MMG company with four platoons of three weapons each (plus two spare ones). The Blackshirts
replacements battalions were organized as the Blackshirts
Rifle Battalions, but its platoon were overstrength (60 men each) and with only 1 x LMG in each platoon.[4] Organization of Blackshirt Divisions (10 June 1940)[edit]

Division Command 2 Black Shirt Legions - each

3 Battalions 1 81mm Mortar Company 1 Accompanying Battery 65mm/17 Mtn guns

1 Machine Gun Battalion 1 Artillery Regiment:

2 Artillery Groups 1 Artillery Group 2 AA Batteries 20mm

1 Mixed Engineering Battalion

1 Ambulance Section Sanita 3 Field Hospitals (Planned when available) 1 Supply Section

1 Section Mixed Transport[5]

Leadership[edit] Commandants−General[edit]

Flag of Commandant-General of the Blackshirts

Commandant−General Took office Left office Time in office Party


De Bono, EmilioMarshal of Italy Emilio De Bono (1866–1944) one of the Quadrumvirs 1 February 1923 31 October 1924 7002638000000000000♠1 year, 273 days Fascist Party


Balbo, ItaloMarshal of the air force Italo Balbo (1896–1940) one of the Quadrumvirs 1 February 1923 21 November 1924 7002659000000000000♠1 year, 294 days Fascist Party


De Vecchi, Cesare MariaArmy corps general Cesare Maria De Vecchi (1884–1959) one of the Quadrumvirs 1 February 1923 10 July 1925 7002890000000000000♠2 years, 159 days Fascist Party


Gandolfo, AsclepiaGeneral Asclepia Gandolfo (it) (1864–1925) 1 December 1924 31 August 1925 † 7002273000000000000♠273 days Fascist Party


Gonzaga, Maurizio FerranteGeneral Maurizio Ferrante Gonzaga (it) (1861–1938) 12 September 1925 9 October 1926 7002392000000000000♠1 year, 27 days Fascist Party


Mussolini, BenitoFirst marshal of the empire Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) 12 October 1926 25 July 1943 7003613000000000000♠16 years, 286 days Fascist Party


Armellini, QuirinoGeneral Quirino Armellini (it) (1889–1975) 26 July 1943 8 September 1943 7001440000000000000♠44 days Fascist Party


Ricci, RenatoRenato Ricci (1896–1956) 20 September 1943 8 December 1943 7001790000000000000♠79 days Fascist Party

Chiefs of Staff[edit]

Flag of Chief of Staff of the Blackshirts

Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office Party


Sacco, FrancescoLieutenant general Francesco Sacco (it) (1877–1958) 1 February 1923 1 December 1924 7002669000000000000♠1 year, 304 days Fascist Party


Bazan, EnricoLieutenant general Enrico Bazan (it) (1864–1947) 1 December 1924 23 December 1928 7003148300000000000♠4 years, 22 days Fascist Party


Teruzzi, AttilioLieutenant general Attilio Teruzzi (1882–1950) 1929 1935 6 years Fascist Party


Russo, LuigiLieutenant general Luigi Russo (it) (1882–1964) 3 October 1935 3 November 1939 7003149200000000000♠4 years, 31 days Fascist Party


Starace, AchilleAchille Starace (1889–1945) 3 November 1939 16 May 1941 7002560000000000000♠1 year, 194 days Fascist Party


Galbiati, EnzoLieutenant general Enzo Galbiati (1897–1982) 25 May 1941 26 July 1943 7002792000000000000♠2 years, 62 days Fascist Party

Montagna, RenzoRenzo Montagna (it) (Acting) (1894–1978) 17 September 1943 20 September 1943 7000300000000000000♠3 days Fascist Party

Spanish Civil War[edit] Three CCNN Divisions were sent to participate in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Corpo Truppe Volontarie. The Blackshirt (Camicie Nere, or CCNN) Divisions contained regular soldiers and volunteer militia from the Fascist Party. The CCNN divisions were semi-motorised.

1st CCNN Division "Dio lo Vuole" ("God Wills it") 2nd CCNN Division "Fiamme Nere" ("Black Flames") 3rd CCNN Division "Penne Nere" ("Black Feathers")

The 3rd CCNN Division was disbanded and consolidated with the 2nd CCNN Division in April 1937 after their defeat at Guadalajara. After the campaigns in Northern Spain
ended in October 1937, the 2nd CCNN Division was consolidated with the 1st CCNN and renamed the XXIII de Marzo Division "Llamas Negras". World War II[edit]

during Operation Barbarossa

In 1940 the MVSN was able to muster 340,000 first-line combat troops, providing three divisions (1st, 2nd and 4th – all three of which were lost in the North African Campaign) and, later in 1942, a fourth division ("M") and fifth division Africa were forming. Mussolini also pushed through plans to raise 142 MVSN combat battalions of 650 men each to provide a Gruppo di Assalto to each army division. These Gruppi consisted of two cohorts (each of three centuriae of three manipoli of two squadre each) plus Gruppo Supporto company of two heavy machine gun manipoli (with three HMG each) and two 81 mm mortar manipoli (with three Mortars each). Later 41 Mobile groups were raised to become the third regiment in Italian Army divisions as it was determined through operational experience that the Italian army's binary divisions were too small in both manpower and heavy equipment. These mobile groups suffered heavy casualties due to being undermanned, under equipped and under trained. Late in the war Mussolini decided to create 22 highly trained combat battalions called M Battalions. These battalions were given the designation M alongside their names in the Army OOB to indicate their status; that they had received specialist assault and combat training, or had proven themselves in combat and had received a battlefield promotion to this status. By the end of the Fascist regime only 11 battalions had been fully formed. The MVSN fought in every theater where Italy did. Appearance[edit] The Blackshirts
wore the same uniform as the Italian army with the addition of a black shirt and tie and a black fez. Ranks[edit] With translated material from the corresponding Italian article

Mussolini as Comandante Generale was made Primo Caporale Onorario (First Honorary Corporal) in 1935 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
was made Caporale Onorario (Honorary Corporal) in 1937. All other ranks closely approximated those of the old Roman army
Roman army
as follows. Officers[edit]

Rank Insignia Royal Italian Army
Royal Italian Army
equivalent (with UK/US equivalent)

Primo Caporale d'Onore (First Honorary Corporal of the MVSN)

First Marshal of the Empire (None/General of the Armies)

Caporale d'Onore (Honorary Corporal of the MVSN)

Marshal of Italy
Marshal of Italy
(Field Marshal/General of the Army)

Comandante Generale ( Commandant General)

Army General (General)

Luogotenente Generale Capo di Stato Maggiore (Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General)

Corps General (Lieutenant-General)

Luogotenente Generale (Lieutenant-General)

Divisional General (Major-General)

Console Generale (Consul-General)

Brigade General (Brigadier/Brigadier General)

Console (Consul)


Primo Seniore (First Senior)


Seniore (Senior)


Centurione (Centurion)


Capo Manipolo (Chief Maniple)

Lieutenant (Lieutenant/First Lieutenant)

Sotto Capo Manipolo (Sub-Chief Maniple)

Sublieutenant (Second Lieutenant)

Other Ranks[edit]

Rank Insignia Army Equivalent (with UK/US equivalent)

Primo Aiutante (First Adjutant)

Marshal-Major (Conductor/Command Sergeant Major)

Aiutante Capo (Chief Adjutant)

Chief Marshal (WO1/Sergeant Major)

Aiutante (Adjutant)

Ordinary Marshal (WO2/Master Sergeant)

Primo Capo Squadra (First Squadron Chief)

Sergeant-Major (Staff Sergeant)

Capo Squadra (Squadron Chief)


Vice Capo Squadra (Vice-Squadron Chief)

Corporal-Major (Corporal)

Camicia Nera Scelta (Select Blackshirt)

Corporal (Lance-Corporal/PFC)

Camicia Nera (Blackshirt) N/A Appointee (Private)

Legionario (Legionary) N/A Recruit/Soldier (Recruit/Private)


Infamous Daily Mail
Daily Mail
article congratulating the British Union of Fascists.

The ethos and sometimes the uniform were later copied by others who shared Mussolini's political ideas, including Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
in Nazi Germany, who issued brown shirts to the "Storm Troops" (Sturmabteilung) and black uniforms to the "Defense Squad" (Schutzstaffel, also colloquially known as "Brownshirts", because they wore black suit-like tunics with brown shirts), Sir Oswald Mosley
Oswald Mosley
in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(whose British Union of Fascists
British Union of Fascists
were also known as the "Blackshirts"), the Warriors for the Advancement of the Bulgarian National Spirit who wore red shirts, William Dudley Pelley
William Dudley Pelley
in the United States
United States
( Silver Legion of America or "Silver Shirts"), in Mexico the Camisas Doradas or "Golden Shirts", Plínio Salgado
Plínio Salgado
in Brazil (whose followers wore green shirts), and Eoin O'Duffy
Eoin O'Duffy
in the Irish Free State (Army Comrades Association or "Blueshirts"). "Blueshirts" can also refer to Canadian fascists belonging to the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party and to the members of Falange Española, the most influential party within Franco's dictatorship in Spain. The paramilitary fascist Iron Guard
Iron Guard
members in Romania wore green shirts. After the Armistice of Cassibile
Armistice of Cassibile
was signed, the Blackshirts
were dissolved; in the pro-fascist Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
they were replaced by the National Republican Guard and the Black Brigades
Black Brigades
in the militia role, alongside the Republican Police Corps. See also[edit]

– Albania Redshirts – Bulgaria Blueshirts
– Canada Blue Shirts – China (Kuomintang) Brownshirts – Nazi Germany

– Nazi Germany Gestapo
– Nazi Germany

– Ireland Greenshirts – Ireland Greenshirts – United Kingdom Greenshirts – Brazil Redshirts – Italy Redshirts – Mexico Goldshirts – Mexico Greyshirts – ethnically Dutch South Africans Greenshirts – Romania Blackshirts
– United Kingdom Silvershirts – United States Black Brigades Italian Social Republic Red Army


Militia Paramilitary Political color Political uniform Squadrismo Integralismo Black Shorts – parody of the blackshirts in the writings of P.G. Wodehouse


^ Bosworth, R. J. B, Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945 (Penguin Books, 2005), p. 117 ^ The Blackshirt Division Order of Battle comes from "Storia delle Unità Combattenti della MVSN 1923-1943" by Ettore Lucas and Giorgio de Vecchi, Giovanni Volpe Editore 1976 pages 63 to 116 plus errata. ^ Italian Army Infantry Regulation of 1939 (Page 472/473)I ^ The Blackshirts
Division TO&E comes from an original document (order sheet "Ministero della Guerra, Comando del Corpo di Stato Maggiore - Ufficio Ordinamento e Mobilitazione . Prot.2076 del 18-06-1935"). ^ The Blackshirts
Division TO&E comes from an original document (order sheet "Ministero della Guerra, Comando del Corpo di Stato Maggiore - Ufficio Ordinamento e Mobilitazione. dated 1939").

External links[edit]

Axis History Factbook/Italy/Militia Comando Supremo

v t e



Core tenets

Nationalism Imperialism Authoritarianism One-party state Dictatorship Social Darwinism Social interventionism Proletarian nation Propaganda Eugenics Heroism Militarism Economic interventionism Anti-communism


Definitions Economics Fascism
and ideology Fascism
worldwide Symbolism


Actual Idealism Class collaboration Corporatism Heroic capitalism National Socialism National syndicalism State capitalism Supercapitalism Third Position Totalitarianism Social order


Italian National Socialism Japanese fascism Islamofascism Falangism British Austrian Metaxism National Radicalism Rexism Clerical Legionarism Integralism



Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging Greyshirts Ossewabrandwag


Brit HaBirionim Ganap Party Sakurakai Tōhōkai Blue Shirts Society

Northern / Northwestern Europe

Ailtirí na hAiséirghe Black Front (Netherlands) Blueshirts Breton Social-National Workers' Movement British Fascists British People's Party (1939) British Union of Fascists La Cagoule Clerical People's Party Faisceau Flemish National Union French Popular Party General Dutch Fascist League Imperial Fascist League Lapua Movement Nasjonal Samling National Corporate Party
National Corporate Party
(Greenshirts) National Fascisti Nationalist Party (Iceland) National Socialist Bloc National Socialist Dutch Workers Party National Socialist League National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands National Socialist Movement of Norway National Socialist Workers' Party (Sweden) New Party (UK) Patriotic People's Movement (Finland) Pērkonkrusts Rexism

Central Europe

Arrow Cross Party Austrian National Socialism Fatherland Front (Austria) Hungarian National Socialist Party National Front (Switzerland) Nazism Nazi Party Sudeten German Party

Southern Europe

Albanian Fascist Party Democratic Fascist Party Falange Greek National Socialist Party Italian Fascism Italian Social Republic Metaxism National Fascist Party National Union (Portugal) Republican Fascist Party Sammarinese Fascist Party Ustaše ZBOR

Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Bulgarian National Socialist Workers Party Crusade of Romanianism Iron Guard National Fascist Community National Fascist Movement National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economic Movement National Social Movement (Bulgaria) National Radical Camp Falanga National Romanian Fascio National Renaissance Front Ratniks
(Bulgaria) Romanian Front Russian Fascist Party Russian Women's Fascist Movement Slovak People's Party Union of Bulgarian National Legions Vlajka

North America

in Canada

Canadian Union of Fascists Parti national social chrétien

Gold shirts German American Bund Silver Legion of America

South America

in Latin America Brazilian Integralism Bolivian Socialist Falange National Socialist Movement of Chile Revolutionary Union


Abba Ahimeir Nimio de Anquín Sadao Araki Marc Augier Maurice Bardèche Jacques Benoist-Méchin Henri Béraud Zoltán Böszörmény Giuseppe Bottai Robert Brasillach Alphonse de Châteaubriant Corneliu Zelea Codreanu Gustavs Celmiņš Enrico Corradini Carlo Costamagna Richard Walther Darré Marcel Déat Léon Degrelle Pierre Drieu La Rochelle Gottfried Feder Giovanni Gentile Joseph Goebbels Hans F. K. Günther Heinrich Himmler Adolf Hitler Ikki Kita Fumimaro Konoe Vihtori Kosola Agostino Lanzillo Dimitrije Ljotić Leopoldo Lugones Curzio Malaparte Ioannis Metaxas Robert Michels Oswald Mosley Benito Mussolini Eoin O'Duffy Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin Sergio Panunzio Giovanni Papini Ante Pavelić William Dudley Pelley Alfred Ploetz Robert Poulet Vidkun Quisling José Antonio Primo de Rivera Lucien Rebatet Dionisio Ridruejo Alfredo Rocco Konstantin Rodzaevsky Alfred Rosenberg Plínio Salgado Rafael Sánchez Mazas Margherita Sarfatti Carl Schmitt Ardengo Soffici Othmar Spann Ugo Spirito Ferenc Szálasi Hideki Tojo Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Georges Valois Anastasy Vonsyatsky



The Doctrine of Fascism Fascist Manifesto Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals Mein Kampf My Life The Myth of the Twentieth Century Zweites Buch Zaveshchanie russkogo fashista


La Conquista del Estado Das Reich Der Angriff Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung Deutsche Zeitung in Norwegen Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden Figli d'Italia Fronten Gândirea Gioventù Fascista Je suis partout La France au travail Münchener Beobachter Novopress NS Månedshefte Norsk-Tysk Tidsskrift Das Schwarze Korps Der Stürmer Il Popolo d'Italia Sfarmă-Piatră Signal Vlajka Völkischer Beobachter Nash Put' Fashist l'Alba


Der Sieg des Glaubens Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht Triumph of the Will



Related topics

Art of the Third Reich Fascist architecture Heroic realism Nazi architecture Nazism
and cinema Nazi plunder Syndicalism Conservatism



Ahnenerbe Chamber of Fasci and Corporations Grand Council of Fascism Imperial Way Faction Italian Nationalist Association Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen Quadrumvirs


Fascist Union of Youth German American Bund National Youth Organisation (Greece) Russian Fascist Organization Union of Fascist Little Ones Union of Young Fascists – Vanguard (boys) Union of Young Fascists – Vanguard (girls)


Albanian Militia Black Brigades Blackshirts Blueshirts Einsatzgruppen Gold shirts Greenshirts Greyshirts Hitler Youth Heimwehr Iron Wolf (organization) Lăncieri Makapili Silver Legion of America Schutzstaffel Sturmabteilung Waffen-SS Werwolf





Arditi Fascio


Aventine Secession Acerbo Law Corfu incident March on Rome Beer Hall Putsch Italian economic battles


March of the Iron Will German federal election, November 1932 German federal election, March 1933 Enabling Act 6 February 1934 crisis 1934 Montreux Fascist conference Spanish Civil War 4th of August Regime Anti-Comintern Pact


World War II The Holocaust End in Italy Denazification Nuremberg Trials


Anti-fascists Books about Hitler British fascist parties Fascist movements by country (A-F G-M N-T U-Z) Nazi ideologues Nazi leaders Speeches by Hitler SS personnel

Related topics

Alt-right Anti-fascism Anti-Nazi League Christofascism Clerical fascism Cryptofascism Esoteric Nazism Fascist (epithet) Fascist mysticism Germanisation Glossary of Nazi Germany Hitler salute Italianization Italianization
of South Tyrol Islamofascism Japanization Ku Klux Klan National Bolshevism Neo-fascism Neo-Nazism Roman salute Social fascism Synarchism Unite Against Fascism Völkisch movement Women in Nazi Germany