Italian 5th, 20th & 21st Corps flags

Hugewally

New Member
I’m looking for images (preferably color) of the Corps flags (or symbols) of the 5th, 20th & 21st Corps when they were in North Africa.

I assume that there were Corps flags/symbols though I definitely don't know one way or the other.

I haven't been able to locate anything.

Can anyone help?
 

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Army flags (colors) were genetic and didn't indicate the unit in any meaningful way. There wasn't any inscription/embroidery that stated the unit.

By symbols, I assume you are referring to tactical symbols painted on vehicles as one often find on German vehicles. Again, the Italians didn't systematically use such symbols (I.e. there wasn't a system that allocated symbols to units). Some divisions like the Ariete did create a tactical symbol, but that was due to the fact its name (Ram) could be rendered into a symbol that anyone could understand without knowing a system. Most Italy divisions were named for cities/provinces and a symbol would be meaningless to anyone without specific knowledge of that locale.

Directional signs (like those at crossroads) either used the military designation of the units its the Italian military map symbol.

Pista! Jeff
 

Hugewally

New Member
Crests would be a better term than symbols, as to what I was hoping to find.

Like divisional flags/marking used it other armies. In North Africa, every Commonwealth Corps & division had its own marking (flag/crest/symbol/something), was hoping the Italians did the same.
 
Last edited:

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
The Italian system of mostrine (collar insignia) and fregi (hat insignia) made the use of crests unnecessary. A unit could be identified if one understands the system of these two insignia.

Mostrine are colored patches worn on the tunic collar. Mostrine use a system of shapes, patterns, and colors to identify the type of unit and the identification of that unit. Shapes are rectangular, one flame, two flames, three flames, and alamari (extra long rectangle). Patterns are no stripes, one stripe, two stripes, all running lengthwise; or one, two or three stripes running widthwise; or halves and thirds; or colored edging/piping. These are use in various combinations with a range of colors to identify the unit.

This is a chart of modern Esercito Italiano mostrine. The system is the same, the design is modern/stylized from those worn in 2GM. My scans of 2GM mostrine are at home.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
Fregio are branch insignia. They are embroidered badges worn on hats and up until 1940, they were painted on helmets. It is not unusual to see painted Fregi on helmets up to until 1943 as units and individuals disregarded orders to paint them out. Regimental, battalion or company number were worn in the circle set in the fregio. These were removed/painted out in 1940, so very rare to see them after that time.

Here are some examples of fregi.
 

Attachments

jwsleser

Member
Staff member
In the 30's, the R.E. adopted divisional arm shields (scudetto da braccio). These were usually stamped metal and enameled, the enamel indicating they type of unit. Later some of these were embroidered cloth. Both were sewn onto the left sleeve above any rank. They were discontinued in 1940. You rarely see them during the war.
 

Attachments

Top