Lagunari - History

History

The Italian Lagunari are the heirs to the embarked troops of the Republic of Venice. In 1964, the Head of the Italian Army entrusted to the “Serenissima” Lagunari Regiment the formal heritage of this centuries-old unit. The birth of the embarked troops of Venice goes back to the time of the fourth crusade when the Doge “Enrico Dandolo” put together one “Regiment ” from ten companies distributed on the warships of the Venetian fleet, and then employed them in the two captures of Constantinople (Bisanzio - 1203/1204). The embarked troops of Venice had their final organisation in 1550 becoming the “Fanti da Mar” (Infantry of the sea) and they distinguished themselves during all the wars that the Republic of Venice fought against the Ottoman Empire, especially during the sieges of Famagosta and Candia, and in the great victory in the battle of Lepanto.

In 1951, the Italian army raised the Lagunari as an amphibious infantry unit. The Italian 5th Army Corps realized the need to secure its right flank against amphibious landings and due to the nature of the marshy terrain and many small islands on the Northern Adriatic coast an amphibious unit was eventually the best answer to the needs of the Army Corps. Up to the army reform in 1975, the Lagunari Regiment consisted of three amphibious infantry and one tank battalion. Afterwards, it was reduced to two battalions: the amphibious infantry battalion "Serenissima" and the amphibious vehicles battalion "Sile" under the Amphibious Troops Command, which carried on the traditions of the regiment. In 1992, regiment was re-instituted and the two battalions merged into one. The regiment remained subordinate to the 5th Army Corps. Afterwards it came under the "Projection Forces Command" in Milan and later it joined the Pozzuolo del Friuli Brigade.

Today the Lagunari are intended for international missions. Plans to integrate the Lagunari into an amphibious brigade containing all Italian naval infantry, including the San Marco Regiment failed in the 1990s, partly because of the distance between the respective bases: Venice and Brindisi.

In 2006, to establish closer cooperation between the two regiments, a common operations staff (‘‘ Forza Nazionale di Proiezione dal Mare ‘‘) was established in Brindisi. The Italian navy can, if necessary, fall back on the Lagunari and other support forces of the army. The San Marco regiment can also come within the scope of land operations under army control. Both organizations were used together for the first time, with support forces, in the UNIFIL operations after the 2006 Lebanon war as part of the Early Entry Force in September 2006.

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