Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

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Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  wfrad on Mon 18 May 2009, 4:29 am

This attempt is taken from Le Uniformi Dellí A,O,I, Somalia 1889-1941,
It a drawing of a Sciumbasci [warrant officer] of the Camel Mounted Artillery around 1937.
The tunic is apparently non-regulation for the artillery.
The artillery dressed as infantry but with a yellow tassel and sash.
I believe the badge of eagle over crossed guns was awarded to the Camel Artillery in 1929 while at the same time the ordinary artillery had brass letters and numbers.
Regards
wf
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Last edited by wfrad on Mon 18 May 2009, 11:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pic update)

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Italian camel Artillery

Post  Les-Art on Mon 18 May 2009, 9:02 am

Hi Wf,
Nice piece of artwork, do you do it free hand directly on the screen or scan it in?

Interesting sandals, are these common for all Italian native troops or just those in Somaliland ?

I have some illustrations of the Native troops in Ethiopia and noted that they wear the rank brassards on both arms.

Looking forward to seeing more of your artwork in the future.
Best Regards,
Les

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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  wfrad on Mon 18 May 2009, 11:14 am

Hi les
You are correct about the brassards being on both arms although the illustration in the book is standing side-on and only appears to have the one, usually they when worn on both arms you can still see them
My brains must have being in neutral, I should have picked up on it so I have updated the drawing.

When worn the sandals appear to be of various designs, they seems to even differ slightly within the same unit.

I donít always scan pages because it can sometimes damage the spine of the book, using an old camera does the trick.
I draw them straight into the program, Sherif DrawPlusX2 works well, and cheaper than most of the all singing ones like Corel.
Regards
WF

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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  Billy Paul on Mon 18 May 2009, 4:00 pm

Great! I take it they were camel pack artillery which is then quickly dismounted and reassembled for use as opposed to self-propelled which would blow the camel sideways?

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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  buistR on Mon 18 May 2009, 4:42 pm

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Just in case anyone wonders how you could transport artillery by camel .....

Attached is a somewhat stylised postcard showing Somali camel artillery at the time of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935). The yellow sash shown in WF's excellent reconstruction has been discarded for active service but the fez and yellow tassel are still in evidence. Yellow was (and still is) the branch colour of the Italian Artillery. The ascaris of Italy's large and diverse colonial army in East Africa (Eritreans, Somalis and some mercenaries from Yemen) were proud of their high fezs and reluctant to replace them with bustina side caps - even as late as 1940. Each colonial infantry battalion and cavalry squadron had its own distinctive colour, or mix of colours, for the sash, fez tassel and unit standard.

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A few details

Post  wfrad on Tue 19 May 2009, 8:17 am

Here are a few details from Le Uniformi Dell AOI.
The first regulations for the Somali troops were issued in 1906 by the Governor of the colony Cerrina Ferroni.
Three orders of dress; full, parade and service.
Service dress;
Dark red tarbusc with a black tassel,
Long shirt of unbleached cloth with the company number in red on the collar,
Marching knee length breeches,
Tartan waist sash [why tartan maybe from Gordonís time],
Natural leather equipment.
Full dress:
As above but of a finer white cloth.
Parade Dress;
A sleeveless waistcoat was added in the company colours:
1st. Blue with white trimmings
2nd. Red with white trimmings
3rd White with red trimmings
4th. White with blue trimmings
5th Yellow with red trimmings
6th Red with yellow trimmings
7th White with yellow trimmings
8th Blue with red timings

Rank red chevrons on black triangular patches worn on both arms with white metal stars on the tarbusc.

Artillery as for infantry but with ankle length breeches, yellow sash and yellow waistcoat with white trimmings.

The sleeveless waistcoat was discarded in 1909 but could still be seen worn twenty years later.

The khaki uniform was officially introduced in 1922;
Dark red tarbusc, khaki shirt, shorts, puttees, natural leather sandals and equipment.
Tassel of the tarbusc and the sash were red for infantry companies, green for machinegun sections and yellow for artillery.

Infantry battalions as of 1922 had one or two colours that appeared on the tarbusc tassel and sash.
1st Crimson,
2nd Green,
3rd Tartan,
4th Red,
5th Medium blue,
6th Violet sash and black tassel to be latter replaced by red and blue vertical stripes.
Garrison Company Green sash and red tassel,
Depot Yellow/red vertical strips.
Regulations were changed again in1929.
Hope it helps,
WF

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Service Dress

Post  wfrad on Wed 20 May 2009, 7:36 pm

Since my Italian limited to yes and no! Someone may have a better idea but in the meantime.

Deatails were Dark red tabusc with black tassel, unbleached cloth shirt with company number in red on collar, knee length breeches and tartan sash.
As to where the number is on the breeches I'm not sure

In Italian the tartan is just describe as Scottish without reference to any particular clan or type.
Iím unable to find any clear details regarding the tartan used, it seems to differ slightly in every illustration.

So I have not used any particular tartan [this is also due to lack of skill and a definite lack of patience] so at best itís a general example of a work in progress probably never to be finished, or a cop out.



Iscari Infantry around 1906 with black tassel plain unbleached cloth shirt, company number on collar and breeches, tartan sash.
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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  buistR on Thu 21 May 2009, 9:48 am

As always high quality stuff WF! As you note, "tartan" in an Italian military context means a mix of colours, with no relationship to any Scottish clan original. The same system was used outside Somalia in other Italian colonial forces - another profusely illustrated book by Piero Crociani, covering the Libyan colonial troops from 1912-42, describes the sash colours of one Savari (native cavalry) unit and another Sahariani (desert troops) squadron as being "tartan". The "National Geographic" of August 1925 in an article largely devoted to Italian native troops describes "broad woollen cummerbunds of a regimental pattern of tartan, green, yellow, red, blue, or some other blending of colors that would astonish a Highlander".

The white (or off-white) Somali uniform that you illustrate also closely resembles that of the Eritrean ascaris, who seem to have been the Italian equivalent of Gurkhas - reliable veterans who were trusted to campaign in Libya, Ethiopia and Somalia. There were about 80 battalions of them in 1940 - although some were recruited from recently subjected Ethiopians who understandably had no loyalty to Mussolini and his grandiose plans.

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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

Post  wfrad on Fri 22 May 2009, 8:07 am

Youíre dead-on again buistR. I have tried to find some form of order without any real success.
One illustration will show a sash with vertical colour bars flanked by thin bars of tartan, others will show a sash that looks quite Scottish in design while another will show more of a dice like pattern and when two show the same design the colours in the design differ,
Then again it could be poor illustrations that the colours have changed due to their age.
Not being fluent beyond Ďnero di biancoí doesnít help because obviously each one could be correct but at different periods.
The masochist in me chose 1906 when I should have gone for the thirties and a plain sash.
Battalions raised for the Italian-Ethiopian clash were as follows:
7th....Red/White vertical stripes,
8th....Black,
9th....Red Green vertical stripes,
10th...Yellow White vertical stripes,
11th...Blue White vertical stripes,
12th...Green White vertical stripes,
Garrison...Blue,
Motor Machine gunners...Red White vertical stripes
much easier to illustrate!
Regards
WF

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Re: Italian Somalia Camel Artillery

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