The Folgore Parachute Brigade is the largest unit of paratroopers of the Italian Army; a second smaller unit is the 4th Alpini Regiment Monte Cervino .
The Folgore operates as Light Infantry, with airborne drop and air transport capability, equipped of modest mechanization is framed in the Forces of Projection under the 1° Commando FOD.
The first units of Italian parachutists were trained and formed shortly before the Second World War in Castelbenito, near Tripoli, where the first Military school of Parachuting was located.
The first troops trained were two Libyan battalions of the Royal Colonial Corps. To these were added the first battalion of Italian troops and the Carabinieri Parachute Battalion.
Later in Italy, the staff at Castelbenito was expanded into the School at Tarquinia and became the first elements of the future Folgore Division.
The Folgore Division
In 1941 a Parachutist division was completed and was designated the 185th Parachute Division "Folgore": it was trained by German officers for the assault on Malta in Operation Hercules. During course of the war in Africa it was engaged in ground combat operations in North Africa.
During the Second battle of El Alamein the Folgore Division resisted the attack of the British 131st (Queen's) Infantry Brigade. In fact on 11 November 1942, the battle by now concluded, London Radio transmitted the famous official announcement:
The remnants of the Folgore division put up a resistance beyond every limit of human possibility.
The remnants of the Folgore Division were withdrawn from El Alamein without being defeated on 3 November 1942, without water and transporting pieces of tank destroyers in their arms. The survivors were reorganized into the 185th Folgore Parachute Battalion. At 2:35 pm of November 6, after having exhausted all its ammunition, the remainder of the Division surrendered, but without having to show a white flag and without having to raise their hands while surrendering to the British.