This is a rather uncommon piece - Italian African Colonial Police segeant's Model 1938 sword. This sword was in regulation for less than 8 years, before the Mussolini regime collapsed.
Sword is in fine, collector's grade condtion, both the hilt and the blade. Blade is profusely etched with the Italian symbols of power and military motifs. Blade is 81 cm-long. Scabbard is in fine shape, with some loss of black laquer from the leather. An excellent and rare sword!
A short history of the P.I.A. - POLIZIA DELL'AFRICA ITALIANA.
The Italian Africa Police (Italian: Polizia dell'Africa Italiana, or PAI, ...also known as Police of Italian Africa) (1936-1944). After the end of the war in Ethiopia in late 1936 early 1937, the Corps of "Polizia Coloniale" (Colonial Police) was created to be the police in the colonies in Africa (Libya) and it started issuing its own license plates in Mach 1938. The unit was created as a result of the reorganization of public safety units operating in Italian North Africa (Africa Settentrionale Italiana, or ASI) and to later garrison Ethiopia and the rest of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI). In 1939 it became "Polizia dell'Africa Italiana" (Police of Italian Africa), or P.A.I. and received armoured cars, light tanks (tankettes), motorcycles, motor-tricycles and cars, in totaling they were about 1.000 vehicles and as many motorcycles. When the Italian empire fell, the P.A.I. forces were moved in Rome with duties of public order until the liberation of the city in June 1944 when the corps was disbanded and all its vehicles and equipment were taken by the police (Polizia). The new corps was initially subordinated to the Ministry of the Colonies and then to the Ministry of Italian Africa (then held by Alessandro Lessona). This was the first case in Italy of an Armed Force put under a civil ministry.
The PAI had a reputation for discipline and high training levels, and for being provided with good equipment. Even after the collapse of AOI, the PAI were able to keep the peace in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
Origin - The Royal Decree of 10 June 1937, n. 1211, established its organic regulations, for which it was a militarily organized civil body and making it part of the Italian Armed Forces, with functions of political, judicial and administrative police.
The force was a racially mixed organization, made up of Italian agents and native askaris. It was located in police headquarters of major cities like Tripoli, Bengasi, Asmara, Addis Ababa, Mogadishu, Gondar, or in small commissariats otherwhere.The PAI training school was in Tivoli. Part of the PAI personnel was mounted on Moto Guzzi motorcycles, with many armed with the Beretta M1938A 9 mm sub-machine gun.
At the outbreak of World War II the PAI had 7,672 men, of which 6,345 were in AOI and 1,327 were in ASI. The bulk of the force consisted of indigenous personnel who were trained and equipped to the same standard as Italian personnel. There were 5,142 indigenous personnel, 4,414 from AOI and 732 from ASI.
World War II
During World War II, the PAI fought as a combat unit alongside with the Italian Army. For the garrison of the Libyan littoral way, at the outbreak of the conflict two companies on motorcycles and armored car were assigned to the Exploring Unit of the CAM (Corpo armato di manovra) Battalion “Romolo Gessi”. they had little fortune since, after a sudden enemy attack, numerous soldiers were hit by friendly fire from German aircraft. The battalion repaired in Tripolitania and was converted into a mixed company. Several units participated to war actions, at Tripoli, Bengasi, Barce, but the details regarding the effective employment are insufficient.
Defense of Italy
After the Armistice of Cassibile, the evening of 8 September 1943 the PAI participated to the defense of Rome engaging the first conflict with the Germans at Mezzocammino, near Castelfusano, with troops of Carabinieri, in aid to a garrison of Grenadiers of Sardinia. On the other side of Rome, at the same time, some troops protected the escape of the King Vittorio Emanuele III along the via Tiburtina, the King and the Prime Minister of Italy Pietro Badoglio; once accomplished the task they were sent along the Via Laurentina. On 9 September the PAIRS, with the Bersaglieri and cadet police officers, forced for a while the Germans to retreat from the Magliana area; however, after some hours they had in turn to withdraw in direction of Fort Ostiense, which was later stormed by the Germans. The commander and founder of the PAI, General Marraffa, was captured by the nazis and deported to the Dachau concentration camp, where he died.