Italy's 9th Para Bat
The "Incursori" (intruders) of the Folgore Parachute Brigade's 9th Para-Raider Regiment are considered the special forces of the Italian Army. The Regiment is a battalion sized force that is tasked with executing missions similar to those conducted by the US Army's Special Forces and 75th Ranger Regiment, or the British SAS. The unit conducts seven specific types of missions:
In 1992 the Incursori were once again deployed to the war and famine ravaged nation of Somalia. The country's former communist backed government had completely collapsed, and the tribal clans who make up the country's population were battling for control of the resources that remained. The Italians were part of a multinational peacekeeping force. The force was supposed to help stabilize the country, and allow it to start moving toward recovery. The mission ended in failure and with the humiliating withdrawal of all UN forces in 1994.
In 1994 the African nation of Rwanda began a bloody civil war. Thousands of innocent civilians were slaughtered by the various factions seeking to exterminate their rival tribes. Several Western European governments, with citizens residing in Rwanda, formed a joint evacuation force. The force would secure a safe passage for refugees, and evacuate any Western nationals. The Italian contingent was composed of Col. Incursori. The Italians, along with a company of US marines, were tasked with securing the area around the international airport at Kigali.
In 1995 war erupted in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen, and the Incursori were deployed to the area after a cease fire agreement was reached.
The unit has also been heavily committed to supporting Italian operations in Bosnia. They have maintained a constant presence there since 1992. The Incursori act as the Italian Brigade's reconnaissance and Quick Reaction Force. On March 31, 1996, while stationed in Sarajevo, the unit was redesignated as the 9th Reggimento D'Assalto "Col. Moschin".
The Regiment is based at the Vannucci barracks in Livorno. It is currently composed of a Regimental HQ, a support company , the 101st training company, and the 1st "Incursori" Para- Raider Battalion. The Para-Raider Bn. is composed of three operational companies. The 110th and 120th "Incursori" companies are the battalion's two professional special operations units and are composed of seasoned officers and NCO's. The 111th "Guastatori" Company is composed of log service volunteers, who have agreed to extend the length of their draft in order to serve in the unit. The 111th is assigned to ACE (Allied Command Europe) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), and acts in a LRRP role.
Training for the Regiment varies depending on which company the prospective Incursori will be assigned to. Trainees for the Guastatori Co. undertake a 32-week training course within the 101st Training Co. During the course trainees receive instruction on land navigation, demolition, reconnaissance, marksmanship, field craft, and patrolling. Physical fitness is stressed throughout the course, with multiple timed speed and endurance marches being the norm.
Officers and NCO's wishing to join the Regiment undergo an additional 52 weeks ( A full year ) of training. Their course includes a month of instruction on tactical free fall parachuting. A 12 week block of instruction provided by the Navy's COM.SUB.IN , at their Varigano base. During the 12 week course students receive instruction on the use of SCUBA equipment, underwater demolition, small boat handling, and navigation. During the boat handling phase students are taught how to use Zodiac inflatable boats, Plasteco RIB's, and two-man Klepper Kayaks. They also undergo 10 weeks of training at the Alpine Warfare School in Aosta. The students receive instruction in basic mountain warfare techniques and skiing. The last portion of their training is conducted in the field, under simulated combat conditions. SERE training is also included in this portion of their training.
Once assigned to an operational Co., the new Incursori has the opportunity to undertake a number of specialized training courses including: HAHO/HALO, sniping, artillery and forward air control, combat medicine, long-range communications, advanced mountain warfare and rock climbing, explosive ordnance disposal,. They are also eligible to take the various classes offered by the International Long Range Reconnaissance School in Germany.
The Regiment has a wide variety of weapons and equipment at its disposal. In addition to the standard Army issue rifles their armory includes Steyr AUG assault rifles, HK MP-5 series SMGs, Beretta M-12 9mm SMGs, Franchi SPAS 12 and SPAS 15 shotguns, Barret M-82A1 50. cal sniper rifles, HK G-3/S G-1 sniper rifles, HK MSG-90, and Mauser SP-66 sniper rifles. Pistols include the Beretta 92 9mm, and Colt Python .357 Magnum. Machine guns include the FN Herstal Minimi, and Beretta MG 42. Fire support is provided by HK$ 40mm Granatpistole, and the Instalaza C90 light antitank rocket.
Unit transportation is provided by Iveco VM-90 light Trucks. The trucks are capable of mounting Browning M-2 .50 cal HMGs. Aviation support is provided by Italian Air Force HH-3's of the 15th Stormo (squadron), and Bell UH-1N Twin Hueys.