View Full Version : Car bombing investigation in 1970s Italy

10-12-2011, 12:55 PM
A subplot of my novel-in-revision features the aftermath of a car bombing, including some of the ensuing investigation. After the smoke has settled, so to speak, how would things go on?

- What organization would oversee the investigation? Would it be the State Police, the Carabinieri Corps in general, or a counterterrorism unit of the Carabinieri Corps? (The "Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale" didn't exist back then...).

- What would be the title or rank of the person who leads the actual investigation? I'm trying to place one of my characters in a position where he could command people, but still get his hands dirty driving around questioning witnesses, etc.

- What would be the scale of the investigation, that is, about how many people would be tasked with analyzing the evidence collected from the scene, questioning witnesses, preparing reports, giving interviews to the press, etc? As car bombings were very rare back then, would it be a concentrated effort of an entire provincial command (something like 50-100+ people, divided into several smaller groups) or could perhaps 3-5 investigators do it?

- Let's say the trail of the suspect leads across the country (might be a false trail, nobody knows at that point). Would it be plausible if only a few investigators (2-3) were sent to check it? In that case, would they be armed?

Any help is MUCH appreciated. Thanks!

10-16-2011, 07:25 PM
I'll take a stab at it...

Disclaimer: I'm Russian, and my sources are old Soviet books on the horrors of this particular capitalist society and a couple of films.

1) The State Police, unless there are special circumstances (e.g., the bombing victim was a Carabinieri officer, or involved in a Carabinieri case, etc.).

2) A commissario di polizia investigating stuff is a justified trope. Also, a procuratore della repubblica would be closely involved. For interplay between those two, you might want to watch Confessione di un commissario di polizia al procuratore della repubblica (what else? :-)).

3) The 70s in Italy were the 'years of lead'. The Red Brigades, bombings, assassinations, and conspiracies galore, plus neo-fascist and Maoist youths raising hell. If the victim wasn't a VIP, 3-5 policemen seems about right.

4) Yes and very much yes—Italy in the 70s was far from Midsomer. :-) Both the policemen and the terrorists carried.

10-16-2011, 08:27 PM
There was a famous train station bombing in the late seventies, though I'm not sure of the details. I'm sure there was a novel based around the incident a few years ago.

10-16-2011, 08:46 PM
There was a famous train station bombing in the late seventies, though I'm not sure of the details. I'm sure there was a novel based around the incident a few years ago.

Indeed—Bologna, 2 August 1980. Eighty-five people were killed. However, I am certain that the extensive police investigation in this case cannot be regarded as typical. The same holds true for the Aldo Moro affair (1978).

10-17-2011, 12:24 AM
Not sure if this is helpful but the Carabinieri have a site in English http://www.carabinieri.it/Internet/Multilingua/EN on the right hand side of the screen, there is a list starting Find Your Local Force - scroll down and there is a 'write to the editor' who may be able to help you.

10-17-2011, 10:30 AM
Thank you all, especially Izhitsa. Seems that I was already on the right track (I already have a commissario investigating things), but now I can proceed with more certainty. Now, I hadn't thought about writing to the Carabinieri Force, but it might actually be a good idea, so thanks, Shakesbear. :)