March of The Iron Will - The Mechanized Column

The Mechanized Column

Because of the lack of resistance between Dessie and Addis Ababa, Badoglio risked a spectacular advance with a "mechanized column" for propaganda purposes. In 1936, "mechanized" meant infantry transported in a variety of commercial cars and trucks. "Motorised infantry" is a more appropriate term for Badoglio's column.

Thanks to the organizational genius of a Quartermaster-General Fidenzio Dall'Ora, Badoglio's "mechanized column" came together in Dessie between 21 and 25 April. Dall'Ora was able to organize the most powerful "mechanized" column to appear on an African road up to that time. In addition to 12,500 Fascist Italian toops, the column included 1,785 cars and trucks of all makes (Fiats, Lancias, Alfa-Romeos, Fords, Chevrolets, Bedfords, and Studebakers), a squadron of light tanks (L3s), eleven batteries of artillery, and aircraft. Special vehicles carried 193 horses so that when the column arrived at the gates of Addis Ababa, the Marshal and his staff could leave their cars and ride in triumph on horseback.

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