"The Daring Ones".
Here are the Italian "stormtroops" of the Great War [WW1]. Elite combat soldiers, volunteers, chosen for the physical skills, demonstrable prowess and initiative in battle, given risky and dangerous assignments, always comporting themselves with great valor.
Arditi! Dagger men.
Italian special operations type troops analogous to the German stormtroop but having a mission somewhat different.
"Arditi was the name adopted by Italian Army elite storm troops of World War I. The name derives from the Italian verb Ardire ('to dare')"
Arditi, the mission of which was to "storm", assault, a section of WW1-style trench line, capturing and holding the enemy position for a maximum of twenty-four hours until relieved by conventional advancing infantry.
Arditi - - lightly equipped soldiers, in a purposeful manner moving forward on the battlefield as unencumbered as possible, fighting to a great extent armed only with hand grenades and DAGGER - - nothing more than that!!
"assigned the tactical role of shock troops, breaching enemy defenses in order to prepare the way for a broad infantry advance. The Arditi were not infantry troops, but were considered a separate combat arm."
"The task of these units was not to pave the way for the infantry to the enemy lines, but the total conquest of the enemy positions. The most daring volunteers were chosen . . . The men also studied fencing and were masters of hand-to-hand combat. . . . sent to the front armed with a dagger and hand grenades . . . most didn't carry rifles or carbines because they would be cumbersome to fire in the confined spaces of a trench . . . Arditi had to hold the positions they conquered for 24 hours and then be replaced by the regular infantry."
Arditi - - men of physical strength and ability - - and trained in the martial arts as would have been taught in the Italian school, during the Renaissance period! Fighting with an edged weapon, close-quarters combat of the most dangerous and vicious type, eyeball-to-eyeball, mano-a-mano, no-holds-barred warfare! The arditi not only fighting in such a style but preferring and relishing such combat.
Dagger men - - and quite successful too during WW1! AND also active post-war in both the fascist and anti-fascist movements. Street brawlers employed during the partisan warfare culminating in the ascendancy to power of Mussolini!
* The Italian soldier/sailor/airman during both wars [WW1 and WW2] for the most part gave a very lackluster performance! This is referred to as the Italian Military Enigma. A puzzle for which there is no ready and sure answer! Arditi were an exception to the rule without question! Arditi are in the same league of performance as DECIMA MAS of WW2?
* Martial arts training is not strictly a phenomenon limited to the various Asian nations. The Europeans too have a very long history of various fighting forms and martial arts type training. Boxing, wrestling, fighting forms using edged weaponry. The Spanish school or the Italian school were very popular during the Renaissance period - - young men often of noble birth being taught the styles of rapier and dagger combat as prevalent during that period! European martial arts forms only now being resurrected and studied once again!
As with the ancient Romans, so with the arditi! Lions do not beget rabbits!!