Template:Infobox military unit
The Missile Brigade "Aspis" is a formation of the National Republican Army. It depends on the 1st Army Corps and its headquarters is based in Portogruaro at the "Luciano Capitò" Barracks. The Brigade was formed in 1959 following the agreement entered into secret October 20th, 1954 between the Italian government and the U.S. government on the tactical nuclear defence in Italy. Dislocated with its units between the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the Brigade had and still has the task of stopping a possible invasion from the so-called "Gorizia threshold" and to garrison the north-eastern part of Italy. Although the north-eastern invasion is no longer a concrete threat, the Missile Brigade still provides the land component of the Italian nuclear capability.
At the time of its establishment, it was only equipped with tactical nuclear weapons, whose activation keys were owned by Italy and United States, while missiles were owned by Italy; nowadays, it is also equipped with both tactical and strategic Italian nuclear weapons; however, the main strategic and deterrent force is a submarine force. The Brigade was engaged in civilian operations, such as the rescue of 1976 earthquake victims in Friuli, the reconstruction of the banks of Progno in Lazise with the 1981 flood and in military interventions.
Although not part of the Special Forces, all personnel assigned to the Brigade has a high level of training and the Brigade is considered to be the Army's spearhead. Politically, the appointment of the Brigade commanders has always been very sensitive, but they all remained well outside the day-to-day politics.
Military sites Edit
All military bases of the Brigade are divided into a "Military Zone" and a "Special Military Zone", where warheads are kept under surveillance by the PNF armed corps; the latter zone is ordinarily denied to Army units, with the exception of the base and Brigade Commanders.
The GNR and OVRA Legionnaires are always present in turn within the "bunker" special zone. Accesses are allowed after double checking by Army infantrymen. The main gatehouse authorizes entry and warns those who are in tinderbox of the imminent arrival. Once inside there is to overcome the internal GNR/OVRA control at the last gate of access to the Special bunker. Daily also Italian fighters fly over. The infantry are mostly selected conscription troops formed by guys called up for ordinary military draft, after a preliminary security screening of the MVSN and the Public Security. The sites external perimeter is patrolled daily by the GNR Military Police, which has an office logistically completely independent even within the main gatehouse. In case of alarm, soldiers are positioned in camouflaged underground stations located between the outer and inner fence.
When someone gets too close, it is reported by the infantry guard officer, who requests the intervention of the GNR, which intervenes outside to check and interrogate those who remain long in the vicinity of the base. Sometimes the soldiers fire warning shots. For security reasons, neighbouring lands with the bases must be cultivated with low-height vegetables, in order to ensure deep visibility.
Order of battle Edit
In 2010, the Brigade has the following order of battle:
- Command Battalion "Aspis"
- Engineer Regiment "Timavo"
- Pioneer Battalion
- Engineer Battalion
- 13th Signals Battalion "Mauria", with the task of maintaining communications between the command and the various Artillery Groups.
- 13th Logistic Battalion
- Target Acquisition Paratroopers Artillery Group "Aspide"
- 1st Missile Infantry Regiment "Aspide" (3 Battalions; 3 Security Companies each)
- 2nd Missile Infantry Regiment "Scorpione" (3 Battalions; 3 Security Companies each)
- 1st Missile Artillery Regiment "Volturno" (1 Command Battery, 1 Shot and Support Battery; 101st Missile Artillery Group; 102nd Missile Artillery Group; 103rd Missile Artillery Group; dual use regiment)
- 27th Mobile Heavy Artillery Regiment "Marche" (1 Command Battery, 1 Shot and Support Battery; 2701st Missile Artillery Group; 2702nd Missile Artillery Group; 2703rd Missile Artillery Group; nuclear weapons and ammunitions capability)
- 1st Autonomous Mobile Heavy Artillery Group "Adige" (1 Command Battery, 1 Shot and Support Battery; 3 Missile Batteries; nuclear weapons and ammunitions capability)
- 2nd Autonomous Mobile Heavy Artillery Group "Rovigo" (1 Command Battery, 1 Shot and Support Battery; 3 Missile Batteries; nuclear weapons and ammunitions capability)
- 3rd Field Artillery Battalion "Bottrighe"
- 41st Shooting Specialists Artillery Group "Cordenons"
- Medical Battalion
- Light Aviation Group
- Military Police GNR Company "Aspide"
- OVRA Nuclear Guard Armed Contingent
Missile Infantry Edit
The 1st Missile Infantry Regiment "Aspide" and the 2nd Missile Infantry Regiment "Scorpione" are tasked to protect the sites and missions missile launch under the Brigade, the command itself and convoys in transfer, alongside the GNR. Being storm-troopers, the Fusiliers of the "Aspide" Regiment are also trained in control of the battlefield. Particularly experts in counter-interdiction, soldiers of the 1st "Aspide" are able to respond to offensive raids conducted by other elite units (as raiders, parachutists, etc.) or terrorist attacks. Although the individual Companies are assigned to the individual Artillery Group (usually there is a Company from the 1st Regiment paired to a Company from the 2nd Regiment), these infantry units depend on their respective Infantry Regiment, and not on their assigned Artillery Group.
Target Acquisition Group Edit
The Artillery Target Acquisition Paratroopers Group "Aspide (It. Gruppo Acquisizione Obiettivi "Aspide", Gr.Ac.O. "Aspide") is the sister unit of the 185th Reconnaissance and Target Acquisition Regiment "Folgore", although it is structured as a Battalion-level unit; the after-OBOS training is conducted at the 185th's bases with the same standards, but with some slightly differences. The "Aspide" Group is designed in order to ensure a close communication with the Brigade Command, and therefore its operational range is - ordinarily - significantly shorter but involves a more advanced use of the signals machinery. The training at the Brigade is intense and daily and no external officer, of any rank, can interfere.
Although it is an airborne unit, the Group belongs to Artillery and not to Parachutist Infantry because it is considered to be a component in artillery fire direction. However, as in the other Paratroopers units, soldiers wear the maroon beret, with the Paratroopers badge.
The Group is organized into four Batteries: Target Acquisition Battery (Batteria Acquisizione Obiettivi, B.A.O.), Drones Battery (Batteria Aerei Teleguidati, B.A.T.), Maintenance Battery (Batteria Manutenzione, Ba.M.) and Command and Support Battery (Batteria Comando e Supporto, B.C.S.). The B.A.O. Commander is always a former officer of the "Col Moschin" Regiment who conducts his own training agenda without interferences.
Artillery units Edit
Artillery units undertake vigorous training activities in order to determine the training level reached. Exercises and inspections are extremely frequent; if only an Artillery Section fails inspection, the entire Artillery Group loses the nuclear capacity and must redo the inspections all over again. The exercises are both for operational use and on fire. The operational exercises are continuing, have a monthly basis with an average duration of 5 days and include off-site accommodation. During these exercises all procedures relating to the conduct of a fire mission are experienced and individual combat training is given, including battery fire and N.B.C.R. training. Fire exercises are twice a year (late spring and fall) and take place in Tuscany.
Missile Artillery Groups are dedicated to the strategic (and some theatre) weapons. In each Group there are one Command Battery and three Missile Batteries, and in turn each Battery is organized into four Platoon-sized Sections: a Command Section (Commander, Close Defence Team, NBCR Team, Signals Team), two Missile Sections, with two missile launchers each, and an Engineering Section, which deals with transport and mounting.
Each Mobile Artillery unit is equipped with 203/25 self-propelled howitzers. Each Artillery Group (both Missile Artillery and Mobile Artillery ones) has a 65-men Close Defence Section, a 11-men NBCR Defence Section and 3 Batteries. Each Battery has 5 operational howitzers and 3 reserve howitzers. The total strength is 613 men.