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Verbal salutes and military phraseology


New Member
I'm curious about Italian phrases, or verbal salutes the soldiers, airmen, sailors would give each other during the war. For example, in English when British pilots spot an enemy aircraft they would shout "Tally Ho" to indicate they are attacking (German is "Horrido" I believe). When US GI's would see enemy infantry amassing in front of them they would call out "Load and Lock" (Hollywood often depicts this as "Lock and Load")

My question is regarding Italian phrases or jargon similarly used like this. I've read books and forums and stumbled upon several different phrases and was curious about their background or any additional information regarding their use/origins. I have read that ship commanders would often say "Alfa Tau" when departing, or engaging enemies. Is this an accurate use of the term, and what exactly does it mean? I have seen "Viva il Re," which I assume means long live the King? Can anyone confirm if this was commonly used, or was it mostly just "Savoia"? Several users here will say "Pista" to each other, and I am wondering if this is along the same and what exactly this means or is in reference too.

Any additional information or phrases similarly used that I am unaware of would be greatly appreciated!


Staff member
A very interesting question. I can't offer much on this topic. Hopefully our Italian members who have read a number of personal accounts can fill us in.

« Pista! » is one such greeting. It was the motto/saying of the battaglione sciatori alpini « Monte Cervino ». Pista! is a skiing term that is a colloquial word for 'Coming through" or 'Make way" as a faster skier approaches slower skiers. Sometimes I have read its use as "going forward".

As I reenact the « Monte Cervino », I regularly use the term. :)

Pista! Jeff


New Member
Thanks Jeff, that's great info! I suppose I should have known pista all this time, but ah better late then never!