In the military, symbols develop a considerable value: They encourage soldiers to build a sense of belonging, and they bond them to their unit. In recent decades, there’s been a significant increase in new unit insignia designs, mainly related to missions, detachments, or companies. But no one among any special operations units in the world can boast an emblem with a tradition as longstanding as that of Italy’s 9th Parachutist Assault Regiment, “Col Moschin.”

Seventy years after the conclusion of World War II, the unit’s original symbol—a dagger between oak and laurel leaves—is back to decorate the arms of the “Col Moschin” Raiders, taking the place of the eagle, parachute, and anchor patch.

Dagger, skull, and eagle

The Arditi’s dagger, 1917

In 1917, soon after their establishment at Sdricca of Manzano (Udine), the Arditithe Royal Italian Army’s elite storm troops—began to stand out from other infantry units, changing their uniforms to make them more unique and less formal. They added new ornamentation to them, including the “black flame” insignia and the symbol of the assault divisions: a dagger wrapped in leaves of laurel and oak, under which rested the Savoy’s motto, FERT (HOLD).