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"Need Info/Illos Italian Artillery c. 1890's For Coming Book" Topic

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824 hits since 22 Jun 2015
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Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2015 4:13 p.m. PST

Other TVAG issues aside, I am trying to finish the re-edit, layout, and expansion of the Mahdist Wars Source Book, Vol. 2, and am being frustrated by my weak Google-Fu/inadequate library.

Before I can finish the upgrade of this volume and add it to Vol. 1 already available through Amazon and TVAG, I hope to be able to provide some technical information, but especially good quality photos/diagrams of Italian Field Artillery as used in Eritrea and Abyssinia during their wars with the Mahdists and the armies of Menelik.

I am particularly in need of such material on the "70mm," "90mm," and "Mountain Guns" (where the latter are not the first).

If someone can direct me to an Internet site with public domain photos/plans, I can do the rest. And by "quality" illustrations I mean good enough for a potential sculptor to be able to make at least a reasonably authentic looking model.

If anyone can help--and I need this info before June 30th--I will arrange for them to receive a discounted copy of the finished work, and a mention in the credits.

If you can't post illos/info here, please send your links/etc to

Thank you kindly--and tell me Groucho sent you!


cplcampisi22 Jun 2015 9:13 p.m. PST

The Italian wikipedia page has gotten pretty good about covering artillery.

The 90mm might be the 87B (also known as the 9BR) --

Not sure about the 70mm, I'm guessing it's this field gun (actually 75mm):

The mountain gun that seemed to be in use was also a 75mm:

I don't, unfortunately, have access to line drawings. But perhaps the terminology will help in a search?

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2015 10:17 p.m. PST

Mi Amico cplcampisi!

Mille Grazzie for these links and their information.

Unfortunately, your English is far better than my Italian, and though I used a translator, I am confident only in the 75mm Mountain Gun link as being one of the guns I need to illustrate.

The 87B may be the same as the "pezzonovante" used in Africa in the 1890's, but it's second version was not approved until 1898, so that would not be available in the mid 1890's. The only photo is clearly of the later model and is shown in the Alps during the Great War.

Clearly you know better sources than I do, so would it be possible for you to try to determine exactly which guns were used in Eritrea against the Mahdists, as well as at Adua?

If you could check your sources again, I would be grateful as promised above.

Thanks for all your help so far,


cplcampisi22 Jun 2015 11:18 p.m. PST

My Italian isn't that great either, but I've made a study of it, and I'm trying to get better. (I'm a WW1 reenactor) Unfortunately, I don't really know the details of the Eritrea war. I'll do some digging and see what I can find -- I can't promise much.

cplcampisi23 Jun 2015 12:04 a.m. PST


Here's what I've been able to find out so far (again on the Italian Wikipedia):

There's a list of all the artillery units on this page (on the battle of Adua):

It specifically mentions the 75B in relation to one battery.

There's also a page about the "Regio corpo truppe coloniali d'Eritrea":

It gives the breakdown of the army in 1895, and lists all the batteries as being armed with the "7 BR ret. mont." (which is the old designation for the 75B). So it would seem likely that all the Italian artillery at Adua was of that model.

This page is about the War of Eritrea and it gives a breakdown of units at different times:

Unfortunately, it doesn't list the types of cannons used, but it's clear that there was more than just mountain artillery, with two batteries of field artillery and a company (later just a section) of fortress artillery!

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2015 12:15 p.m. PST


Excuse me, Sir! I actually thought you might be Italian, and sharing your familiarity with Italian Wikipedia.

Well, your familiarity is still not in question, and these new links are helpful, though very like the same ones in English on that version of Wikipedia.

I presume your WW I persona is Italian, or at least it's a subject you've looked at before!

Now, if only I could find an illustrated site showing Italian Army rank insignia for the period 1870-1908 with public domain illos and uniform plates!

In the meantime, I'll keep plugging away for the photos/plans of the proper Italian guns.


cplcampisi23 Jun 2015 6:24 p.m. PST

Yeah, I have a WW1 Italian impression, I live in the US. The simple fact of the matter is when it comes to the Italian military, even basic information often can't be found in English, and when you can find it it's often wrong. :-/ So I've had to force myself to learn some Italian, just to figure these things out. I do have an interest in a lot of facets, including the pre-WW1 era stuff, but it's not easy to find out details, even in Italian.

As for ranks, well, I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but Italian Wikipedia to the rescue again:


cplcampisi23 Jun 2015 7:07 p.m. PST

You might want to try contacting ITALWARS, he's posted somewhat recently on these forums, and he's from Italy. His company produces (produced?) some 25mm miniatures about the time period you are referring.

You can also try reaching out to the Miles forum (here's a link to the colonial section, which is probably the best one to look at):
EDIT -- They also have an artillery forum:
(Looking through it now)

I think I've seen some people post in English, and get responses, but I've never tried it myself. I would recommend that you try to keep the language simple and direct to ease machine translation.

There's also blitzkrieg militaria forum:

It's in Italian, people post a lot of pictures to it, and they do have a pre-WW1/Risorgimento section. You have to be a member to see attachments though. I'm searching it now, to see if I can find any pictures of artillery.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jun 2015 9:19 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link to rank insignia! Just the ticket!

However, I had no idea that information on Italian Artillery of the 1890's would be so hard to find--even from Italian sources!

If anyone else has anything to offer, please let me know at my E-mail address, above.

Meanwhile, cplcampisi, ciao mi bravo!


cplcampisi25 Jun 2015 8:35 p.m. PST

Sometimes I feel that I would have an easier time tracking down information if I had decided to reenact Montenegrin Infantry . . . ;-)

Good luck! I do have an interest in artillery, but I've got to admit this is difficult. I knew from studying WW1 Italian field artillery that no English source seems to get it right -- you can piece it together if you do enough research, but it's a lot easier to just go to the Italian wikipedia (which has really improved in the last few years).

Still, I've got a few Italian books on machine guns, which have some good info -- and I'm thinking about getting a book on artillery. Don't know how far back it will go though.

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