The 185. Parachutist Division Folgore was formed in September 1941 as 1. Divisione Paracadutisti and was originally planned to be used in the invasion of Malta but when that was abandoned it was instead sent to North Africa. It was destroyed at El Alamein and the surviving elements surrendered in Tunisia in 1943.

Major General I T P Hughes, commander of the British 44th Infantry Division remarked of the fighting at el Alamein, "I wish to say that in all my life I have never encountered soldiers like those of the Folgore." (1)

The 185. Regiment was used to form 184. Parachutist Division Nembo in September 1942.

Order of battle (August 1942)

186. Parachutist Regiment
- 5. Parachutist Battalion
- 6. Parachutist Battalion
- 7. Parachutist Battalion
- 186. Anti-Tank Company
187. Parachutist Regiment
- 2. Parachutist Battalion
- 4. Parachutist Battalion
- 9. Parachutist Battalion
- 187. Anti-Tank Company
185. Artillery Regiment
8. Parachute Demolition Engineer Battalion
20. Mortar Company
185. Signal Company
185. Pioneer Company
185. Mixed Carabinieri Section
260. Field Post Office
20. Supply Section
185. Transportation Unit
185. Medical Section

In fiction

The 1969 movie "La Battaglia di El Alamein" directed by Giorgio Ferroni depicts the Italian 185. Parachutist Division Folgore.


1. "The Secret war in Italy: Special forces, partisans and covert operations 1943-45" by William Fowler, page 62.

Sources used

William Fowler - The Secret war in Italy: Special forces, partisans and covert operations 1943-45
George F. Nafziger - Italian Order of Battle: An organizational history of the Italian Army in World War II (3 vol)
Rex Tyre - Mussolini's Afrika Korps: The Italian Army in North Africa 1940-1943

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -