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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Introducing the Italian Light Artillery

The Folgore division was an Italian Parachute Infantry unit which fought in North Africa with distinction. During the second battle of El Alamein in the fall of '42, it held back the allied attacks of more than 5 divisions for about two weeks, inflicting heavy casualties to the Commonwealth's infantry and tank units, fighting on until it was out of ammunition. Most of the Itialian men were either killed or captured by the end of the battle. The survivors were organized into an independent battalion and fought on in Tunisia until they were also captured by mid 1943. In terms of toy soldiers, Waterloo 1815 has given us two sets. One with the traditional infantry figures, described in a previous post, and this one with some heavier weapons.

Waterloo 1815 Folgore Division Light Artillery 1942 - Part I
These figures are manning a heavy machine gun. The man with the bullets does not quite get to feed them into the MG, but he's still useful to have close by. The spotter with the binoculars is doing a good job. I might just try to remove the plastic that joins the cap to the hands which looks a bit odd. The machine gun itself looks like it could take out more than just infantry. It could easily knock out soft-skin vehicles and maybe even some lightly armored ones, but probably not very effective against some British 8th army Grant and Matilda tanks.

Waterloo 1815 Folgore Division Light Artillery 1942 - Part II
These other guys are the crew for the small howitzer. I am not sure about the caliber of the gun. I thought it might be a 37mm which is what was often issued to the paratroopers as it was easier to drop along with them during an airborne operation. However a reader recently commented that it's likely a 47mm Bohler gun. Apparently the wheels were detachable and it could be mounted on a tripod. It might not be clear from the picture, but all these figures come without a base, but they still manage to stand well on their own. One thing I don't quite like about the gun is that you can't change the elevation without messing around with the peg that inserts into the wheel carriage. All in all a good addition to the Folgore infantry.

Atlantic Italian Artillery Support
So this post was originally about the Italian Light Artillery, but given the fact that these guys are also Italian and they don't come with a cannon to operate, I've decided that they will be helping out the Waterloo guys. As is often the case with some of the other Atlantic sets, the figures are very straight and show little action. Not the most exciting figures, but they are rare enough that they deserve a place in the collection.

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