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Italia RSI troops

Modelling the RSI

By Gianni Cuoghi

After the armistice of 1943 the newly formed divisions of the RSI entered service with uniforms, equipment and weapons coming from both German and Italian supplies.

Some new pieces of more suitable equipment were also created after the war experiences in Russia, Balkans and Africa.

The result was an interesting mixture of older and newer Italian uniforms, some German weapons and equipment, and newly designed unit emblems and patches, often worn with the older ones by the veterans (and sometimes not warn at all!).

It would be a difficult task to describe all these variations, but some are peculiar of the units that adopted them, and can be more or less easily represented on your 15mm army. 

Far from being complete, I will limit myself in describing the most interesting from the modeller's point of view, without forgetting simplicity, and that we are dealing with 15mm high miniatures.

The first, most widespread, feature of the RSI uniform was the longer trousers.

Those can be easily modelled on a standard Italian rifleman with some green stuff on the legs.

This can be assumed to be the basic uniform for all the RSI divisions – even if the older trousers types were in use. 

RSI Trousers
RSI Bersaglieri Painted Bersaglieri from Italia
Bersaglieri Probably the most interesting piece of equipment adopted by the RSI was a new model of winter jacket. Much needed and undoubtedly coming from the experience of the Italian Army in Russia, it was inspired without any doubt by the German reversible one, so much so that it is virtually identical, except for the colour (more similar to the British Green/Brown) and the fact that was produced in Italy.

Above and Right: Here is an ITALIA Bersaglieri wearing it with the brown side out. 

The RSI, as mentioned, was also equipped with German weapons and uniforms.

Alpini Machine-gunner

Left and Below: Here is a MONTEROSA Alpini with an MG 42, and a German supplied jacket winter (white) side out.

Here it's just the matter of taking the late war German MG gunner, carefully filing away the gasmask and other German equipment, and adding an Italian Fucilieri head. You can add the plume for Alpini; otherwise this figure is great for any other RSI Division. 

Alpini Machine-guneer
Right: Here is an example of an ITALIA Bersaglieri, wearing another similar jacket – older in design but still in use. It is worth mentioning the fact that the colour of these jackets varied widely from an English Brown, to a light khaki/green. The wide difference was due to different fabric, fabric colours, and wear and fading due to use.

On this model, is represented another feature typical of the RSI Italian army, the pouch for four clips of ammo for the Beretta SMG – slightly different from the older version in use in the Italian Army. This can be easily reproduced on models modelling a little green stuff like shown on the pictures.

However, I think that such a level of detail is even too much – but I wanted to experiment. 

RSI Helmet Shield

The shield painted on the helmet is something also in use in RSI. This is similar to the German one, except that the Italian flag's colours are used. To paint it, simply draw three lines, one white, one green and one red, and draw the shield around them using the base colour of the helmet.

In general, however, the new RSI army was far from being uniformly equipped, due to the difficulties of providing the new material to all the units, and the pieces described above were commonly mixed with the older, more widespread, pre-armistice equipment. That means that while converting a whole army like described above is surely a challenging and interesting project; even the occasional miniature converted in the middle of the pre-armistice rifleman is good enough to represent a RSI unit.
RSI Conversions

(Editors note: Gianni has used the old Italian Fucilieri miniatures not longer available, but the new miniatures currently available are equally as suitable.)

-Uniformi e armi – militaria magazine- nr. 1 (May 1989)
-Uniformi e armi – militaria magazine- nr. 6 (October 1989)

More on the RSI... 

Last Updated On Tuesday, June 19, 2007 by Wayne at Battlefront