Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Riccardi, Arturo (1878–1966)

Italian navy admiral and naval chief of staff in the early 1940s. Born in Pavia, Italy, on 30 October 1878, Arturo Riccardi enlisted in the navy in 1892 and was commissioned on graduation from the Naval Academy at Livorno (Leghorn) in 1897. In 1904, he distinguished himself in rescue operations following a fire in the transport Marco Polo and was decorated. Riccardi was aide-de-camp of the duke of Genoa from 1910 to 1914. During World War I, he served in torpedo boats. Promoted to lieutenant commander, he was appointed deputy chief of staff of the battle fleet.

In 1924, Riccardi was made chief of staff and chief of operations of the Taranto Naval Command. From February to May 1925, he was chief of the secretariat of the navy minister. He was promoted to commodore in 1931 and commanded the Taranto Navy Arsenal. Promoted to rear admiral in 1932, he next served as director of naval personnel until 1934. From May 1934 to July 1935, Riccardi commanded the 4th Naval Division. He was made vice admiral in 1935, and for the next two years, he headed the Personnel and Military Service. In 1937 and 1938, he was commander of the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea Naval Department.

From February 1938 to April 1939, Riccardi commanded the 1st Naval Squadron, with his flag in the battleship Cavour. In September 1939, on the beginning of war in Europe, he became president of the Navy Superior Council, a post he held until March 1940, when he was appointed president of the Admirals Committee and then, days before Italy entered the war, president of the Technical Services Committee. When Admiral Domenico Cavagnari was fired following the successful British air assault on Taranto, Riccardi replaced him as chief of staff of the Italian navy. Promoted to full admiral on 29 October 1942, he retained his post until 26 July 1943, when Benito Mussolini was removed from power. Riccardi was not admired in the navy, where it was rumored that his career had benefited from connections and where he was seen as a bureaucrat rather than a commander. His strategy did not differ markedly from that of his predecessor. Riccardi died in Rome on 26 December 1966.

Alessandro Massignani


Further Reading
Giorgerini, Giorgio. La guerra italiana sul mare: La marina tra vittoria e sconfitta, 1940–1943. Milan, Italy: Mondadori, 2001.; Greene, Jack, and Alessandro Massignani. The Naval War in the Mediterranean, 1940–1943. London: Chatham Publishing, 1998.
 

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