The Italian Army (Esercito Italiano) is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is an all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft the Mangusta attack helicopter, recently deployed in UN missions. The headquarters of the Army General Staff are located in Rome, opposite the Presidential Palace.
The army's history dates back to the unification of Italy in the 1850s and 1860s. The army fought in colonial engagements in China, Libya (1911-1912), northern Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, Abyssinia before World War II, and in World War II in Albania, Greece, north Africa, Russia and Italy itself. During the Cold War the army prepared itself to defend against a Warsaw Pact invasion from the east. Since the end of the Cold War the army has seen extensive peacekeeping service and combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Famous quotes containing the words italian and/or army:
“The French courage proceeds from vanitythe German from phlegmthe Turkish from fanaticism & opiumthe Spanish from pridethe English from coolnessthe Dutch from obstinacythe Russian from insensibilitybut the Italian from anger.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)
“A poor widow, by the name of Baird, has a son in the Army that for some offence has been sentenced to serve a long time without pay, or at most, with very little pay. I do not like this punishment of withholding payit falls so very hard upon poor families.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)