Italian uniforms

Fucilieri Painting Italian Uniforms

The Italian Army had a diverse selection of troop types and uniforms within its organisation. In the first part of this series on their uniforms we’ll look at the Fucilieri, Bersagilieri and the Alpini.

The Fucilieri

The Fucilieri had a number of different items of uniform available to them. The items worn depended on the theatre of operation, the season and weather of their campaign.

Standard Grey-Green woollen uniform
The woollen uniform was worn as normal service dress and was standard issue. It was worn during the invasion of France, in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia, and on the Russian front. Later arriving troops in Tunisia and some troops in Sicily were also dressed in Grey-Green.

The wrap-around puttees used instead of gaiters or socks were also Grey-Green.

A light Grey Green shirt was worn under the tunic with a black tie. In hot weather the Tunic was often removed to expose the shirt.

All leather items were black (boots, belt, helmet strap and ammunition pouches), though their rifle slings were brown leather.

Canvas or linen items like the bread bag and water bottle strap were light khaki to yellow green.

Officers retained a uniform of the same colour, though often of a higher-grade material and better cut.

Helmets were grey-green, but as paint had different properties to fabric they tended to be a different shade. The undress cap (the Bustina) was made of the same material as the uniform.

Fucilieri Officer
Fucilieri Officer

Vallejo Model Color Paints

Uniform, Puttees and Bustina: Olive Grey (888) (Highlight 888 + Khaki (988))
Shirt: Green Grey (886) (Highlight 886 + White (951))
Leather: Black (950) (Highlight Black Grey (862))
Rifle Sling: Flat Brown (984) (Highlight Red Leather 818))
Canvas: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey 884)
Helmet: German Field Grey (830) (Highlight 830 + Stone Grey (884))

Fatigue Uniform
Italian troops were also issued with a lightweight cotton fatigue uniform for wearing on the march or for labouring duties.

It was of a medium grey colour and seemed to be a common sight on the Russian front in the summer months.

The fatigue uniform was often the only uniform issued to second line troops such as the coastal divisions that formed the bulk the Italian defence of Sicily. The coastal troops often wore the French style Adrian helmet.

Vallejo Model Color Paints

Fatigue Uniform: Dark Sea Grey (991) (Highlight CWP304 + Stone Grey (884))

Fatigue Uniform
Fucilieri in fatigue uniforms on the march

Left: Italian troops of the CSIR on the march during the summer of 1941. The troops are in medium grey fatigues while the NCO on the right is in the grey green woollen uniform.

Tropical Uniform
In the desert the Fucilieri were issued with a light cotton tropical uniform. It was a yellowy tan colour in hue and is often described as Light Khaki. Trousers and Tunics were the same colour, though most troops retained their original Green-Grey puttees. Leather items were brown leather rather than black, though some troops retained their black items.

Helmets were painted the same sand colour as the tanks and vehicles, but some soldiers continued to wear green helmets.

Vallejo Model Color Paints

Uniform and Bustina: Desert Yellow (977) (Highlight 977+ Buff (976))
Puttees: Olive Grey (888) (Highlight 888 + Khaki (988))
Leather and Rifle Sling: Flat Brown (984) (Highlight Red Leather 818))
Canvas: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884)) or Yellow Green (881) (Highlight 881 + Buff (976))
Helmet: SGreen Ochre (914) (Highlight 914 + Buff (976))
Fucilieri in tropical uniform
Officer in Sahariana Jacket Sahariana Jacket
A popular form of clothing in the desert was the Sahariana or bush jacket. It could be any shade from light khaki to olive khaki. It proved very popular among officers.

It was prone to fading and was often bleached almost white by the sun and continuous washing.

Vallejo Model Color Paints

Sahariana Jacket: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884)) or Stone Grey (884) (Highlight 884 + White (941))

In Europe the Bersaglieri wore the same Grey-Green as the Fucilieri with addition of the Cockerel feathers to the standard green steel helmet.

Topical Uniform
Like the Fucilieri in the desert the Bersaglieri wore the light khaki tropical uniform. They were also commonly seen wearing the Tropical Helmet adorned with their traditional Cockerel feathers.

Shorts were also issued; these were in the same colour as the rest of the tropical uniform.
Bersaglieri in tropical uniform
Bersaglieri Officer Bersaglieri officers were also fond of the Sahariana jacket and went into battle wearing their proudly faded Sahariana.

Sandals were worn by some troops and were brown leather. Troops in shorts also wore socks rather than puttees, these were usually khaki.

Captured Uniforms
Often both British shirts and shorts were worn from captured stocks. These were in the lighter British Khaki Drill, and make a good contrast on your desert uniforms.

Left: Officer in his light Grey-Green cotton shirt.
Vallejo Model Color Paints

Uniform and Bustina: Desert Yellow (977) (Highlight 977 + Buff (976))
Puttees: Olive Grey (888) (Highlight 888 + Khaki (988))
Leather and Rifle Sling: Flat Brown (984) (Highlight Red Leather 818))
Canvas: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884)) or Yellow Green (881) (Highlight 881 + Buff (976))
Helmet or Tropical Helmet: Green Ochre (914) (Highlight 914 + Buff (976))
Cockerel Feathers: Black (950) (Highlight Flat Green (968))
Sahariana Jacket: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884)) or Stone Grey (884) (Highlight 884 + White (941))
Socks: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884))
Captured Uniforms: Khaki (988) (Highlight Stone Grey (884))
Bersaglieri Officer in shorts and sandels
Alpini in green uniform


The Alpini did the bulk of their fighting in Europe, so served mostly in Grey-Green. Their uniform is much the same as the Fucilieri with the addition of unique headwear and boots.

In combat the Alpini wore the standard M1933 helmet like the Fucilieri, but often with the round coloured boss and black crows feather from their alpine felt hat.

The Alpini were extremely proud of their hat, during my research almost every Alpini photograph had them wearing their unique felt hat, almost as if they could not be photographed without it.

(See my conversion article for more about adapting Fucilieri miniatures to Alpini). 

Right: Alpini in the summer wearing their hats in light Grey-Green shirts, the feather can’t be seen here as in on the left side of the hat. They are pushing a 75/13 mountain gun.

The round boss on the left hand side of the helmet or hat was coloured according to the Alpini battalion in the regiment the Alpini belonged to: white for 1st, red for 2nd, green for 3rd and blue for 4th Battalion.

Other ranks and NCOs had a black crow’s feather, while officers had a brown eagle’s feather.

Alpini wore puttees like the Fucilieri, but sometimes wore woollen alpine socks instead. These socks were light Grey-Green (Tommy Green (FWP345) highlighted with FWP345 + White (FWP301)).

Miniatures Painted by Wayne 

Alpini pushing mountain gun