Service Dress Uniform to a Pioneer Tenente of the Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana
uniform courtesy of the A. Rigutto collection
Following the armistice of 1943, Italian forces were divided by those who continued to fight on the side of the Axis and those who now fought with the allies. This uniform depicts a lieutenant of Pioneers (aviation engineers) who fought on the side of the Axis as part of the newly formed Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana.
The uniform of the ANR was essentially the same as the RA with key changes to insignia. First, all royal images were removed (the crown). A new collar insignia that referred to Roman times, the gladio, was instated (see detail below. Additional changes were instituted to the cap badge and buttons as time went on.
The Tenente is still indicated by rank at the cuffs. The Pioneer branch is still indicated by the crimson velvet under the rank and shoulder tabs and the roman helmet symbol on the shoulder tabs (see detail below). Note that the uniform has a shoulder loop for wearing the shoulder boards for dress occasion.

The close up of the rank device shows the line of crimson velvet for the Pioneer branch, the two horizontal stripes for the Tenente rank and the diamond loop for the Air Forces. Above the pocket is what I believe to be the Sovereign Order of Malta, with a unique black ribbon for this period. Note that the pocket buttons are plain with no eagles or crowns. The collar stars of the RA were replaced for the ANR with gladio: a roman sword surmounted with the word ITALIA on a wreath of oak.

The inside of the tunic shows that it was tailored during royal times with the shield of Savoy integrated in to the tailors label. During 1943, an officer would not have the means to get a new uniform and revised the old one to match his political affiliation.
Unique for this officer is a pair of breeches. Typically, Air Force officers wore straight trousers.
The shoulder tabs remained unchanged. The roman helmet and crimson piping indicate Pioneers branch. The single row of gold bullion indicated a junior officer.

An amazing part of this uniform is the newly styled officer cap for the ANR. This is still in its original shipping box from the haberdasher. The central device has replaced the crown with a large fasces. The eagle is restyled and the chin cord is two-tone gold and silver silk bullion.

On the left is the original paper wrapping for the hat with the haberdasher's logo and address.

On the right we see that the haberdasher did not have new buttons for the ANR hat so simply used the old royal buttons of the RA.

On the left is the label from inside the hat.

On the right is the size and stock label.

© Tod Rathbone