The Italian Royal Army ( Regio Esercito ) was comparatively depleted and weak at the commencement of the war. Italian tanks were of poor quality and radios few in number. The bulk of Italian artillery dated to World War I . The primary fighter of the Italian Air Force ( Regia Aeronautica ) was the Fiat , which, though an advanced biplane , with excellent performance, was obsolete against monoplane fighters of other nations.  Of the Regia Aeronautica's approximately 1,760 aircraft, only 900 could be considered in any way combat-worthy. The Italian Royal Navy ( Regia Marina ) had several modern battleships but no aircraft carriers . 
Just before 10:00PM on June 5th, twenty C-47s of the 9th Troop Carrier Command Pathfinders Group took off from the base of North Witham, near Grantham, England. Each carried its elite pathfinder paratroopers and their equipment. The weather also scattered those who were to mark the DZs. Their destinations: Ste Mère Eglise and Ste Marie du Mont. These crews and their men were the first to know the exact place of the Normandy landings, and theirs were the very first flights. Multiple pathfinder teams preceded the main assault, but some missed their destinations by as much as 1-1/4 miles. They set up their transmitters where they landed, and this is why there were some conflicts between the visual sightings of the drop zones and the Rebecca signals.