... in all the events in the story of the united Italy. It was at the baptism of fire in Grenoble on 6th July 1815 that divisions of mounted Carabinieri charged Napoleon's army, and contributed to the favourable outcome of the battle.
On 30th April 1848 at Pastrengo, during the First War of Independence, they forced the enemy to retreat after an epic charge and the Colours of the Force were awarded the first Silver Medal for Military Valour. Subsequently, the first Bronze Medal for Military Valour was awarded for participation in the conflict at Verona, the second for Staffalo, Somma Campana, Custoza, Valeggio, Milan and Peschiera.
In 1855 they participated in the Crimean War distinguishing themselves both in the battle of Cernaia and in the aid administered to the local population and military who had been struck by a cholera epidemic.
In 1859 they were involved in the Second War of Independence in first line action as well as providing intelligence regarding the exact movements of the enemy.
During the course of the campaign for the unity of Italy between 1860 and 1861, they participated in the battle for the capture of Perugia on 14th September 1860 together with army unit under the command of General De Sonnaz positioned at St. Anthony's Gate. They were also involved in battle from 29th October to 4th November 1860, near Garigliano and Mola di Gaeta.
In 1866, during the Third War of Independence, they distinguished themselves on 24th June in the defence of the bridge at Monzambano on the Mincio River; in a charge at Mount Croce during the battle of Custoza; from 6th to 18th July in the siege of the Austrian Forts of Motteggiana, Bocca di Ganda, Rocchetta and Centrale (Mantova); and finally in battle from 6th - 22nd July in Condino (Trento) and Primolano (Vicenza). In 1870 they were involved in the campaign for the annexation of Rome.
In 1895-1896 during the campaign in Eritrea they participated in conflicts in Coatit and Senafè, 13th - 16th January 1895; Makallè, 7th - 20th January 1896; Cassala, on 22nd February 1896; Adigrat, 1st March to 4th May, 1896; battle of Adua, lst March 1896.
In the war between Italy and Turkey, 1911-1912, they were involved in military action especially noteworthy at Sciara-Sciat (23-24 October 1911) and Due Palme (12th March, 1912), for which the Colours were conferred with the Silver Medal for Military Valour.
In 1915 at the outbreak of the First World War Carabinieri were mobilized into Units and Special Branches and sent to all the fronts in the khaki uniform of the infantry, sharing the hardship of the trenches and the hope and glory of victory. Incorporated into the Third Armed Force, they participated in the particularly bloody assault at Podgora on 19th July, 1915. Equally generous was their contribution in the battles of Isonzo, Carso and Piave Rivers, and on Sabotino and San Michele. In the pursuit of the enemy above Isonzo it was the two Carabinieri squadrons attached to Supreme Command, which had the honour of being the first to enter Gorizia on 9th August, 1916.
As a testimony to the dedication and great sacrifice made by the Carabinieri, 1,423 were killed and 5,254 injured during the course of the conflict. On 5th June, 1920 the Colours of the Carabinieri were conferred with the first Gold Medal for Military Valour, and to commemorate the occasion, the anniversary of the foundation of the Force is celebrated every year on that date.
Between 1935 and 1936 Carabinieri were involved in front line action in East Africa in military operations in Malca Cuba, on 2nd February 1936 and in Gunu Gadu on 24th April 1936. At the end of the campaign the Colours of the Carabinieri were embellished, for the first time with the Knights Cross of the Italian Military Order.
In the Second World War, the Carabinieri Force was once again mobilized in all operational zones from the African deserts to the Balkan front as well as the Russian front. Especially noteworthy was the Carabinieri Third Battalion which was involved in action at Klisura on the Greek-Albanian front from 16th to 30th December, 1940, and for which the Colours were conferred with a Bronze Medal for Military Valour, and for action on the Albanian-Yugoslav front at Cafe Struga on 18th April, 1941.
Then, in East Africa in the defence of Culqualber from August to November 1941, the Mobilized Carabinieri Battalion had the honour of being mentioned in Supreme Command war Dispatch no. 539:
………in the great conflict they gloriously distinguished themselves, a symbol of courage from national detachments, the Battalion of the Royal Carabinieri, even when their ammunition was depleted continued their furious counterattacks to the very end. Almost all of them were lost in action.
As a result the Colours of the Carabinieri were conferred with the second Gold Medal for Military Valour. For the part they played on the Russian front a further Silver Medal for Valour was awarded.
After 8th September, 1943, while Italy was being attacked by the allied forces, and occupied by German forces, the Carabinieri Force adopted two important measures:
- The institution: "Carabinieri Command for Liberated Italy", in the southern region, as the central force behind the restoration of the chain of command, and the constitution of new units mobilized for the War of Liberation which were assigned to the "Italian Liberation Force" and "Combat Groups". The three companies participated in the bloody battles at Cassino and Bologna and in the successive military operations until the country was completely liberated;
- The organization of the Resistance of territories occupied by the Germans both by establishing units and by placing volunteers Carabinieri units in the other groups.
Amongst the various units solely made up of military from the Force, we remember the Carabinieri units which formed part of the “Garibaldi” Italian Partisans Division deployed in Yugoslavia who for their bravery, the war Carabinieri flag was awarded the Silver Medal for Military Valour.
In total, 13,850 military of all ranks of the Carabinieri Force participated in the Resistance movement and for their contribution the Colours were assigned the third Gold Medal for Military Valour in a decree dated 2nd June, 1984. The Carabinieri Force was involved in many recorded episodes and acts of bravery but the following deserve a special mention: units participating in the defence of Rome at St. Paul's Gate, Magliana and Moneterotondo; Vice Brigadier Salvo d'Acquisto who voluntarily gave his life to save 22 hostages at Palidoro, Rome; La Rocca, Marandola and Sbarretti, Carabinieri and partisans, who gave up their lives in exchange for 10 hostages.
During the Second World War in the Carabinieri Force 4,618 were killed, 15,124 injured and 578 lost in action. Of these, 2,735 killed and 6,521 of the injured were fighting for the Resistance.