Italian Aces of World War 2

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 34
Authors: Giovanni Massimello & Giorgio Apostolo

MSRP: $17.00

By Ray Mehlberger

Latest, from those prolific folks at Osprey, is this new Aces book about pilots who achieved ace status while flying for the Regia Aeronautica (The Italian Air Force) during WWII. This is the 34th Aces book that has come to us by this excellent publishing company. In their sister series of COMBAT AIRCRAFT there are now 20 different titles also. Little has been written about the Italian Air Force in WWII and this book is most welcome.

The Italians were surely the 'Junior Partners' of the Axis alliance in WWII. Although operating less capable aircraft than the Luftwaffe, the Regia Aeronautica, and later the ANR, still produced over 100 pilots who qualified as aces by scoring five or more kills. The majority of these pilots claimed their victories in 1941-1943 during the bitter air battles over Malta and the Mediterranean convoys, in support of Axis offensives in North Africa, and finally during the desperate defence of Sicily and Italy itself.

The Italians flew aircraft such as the Macchi C.200, C.202, C.205, Fiat G.50, and the biplanes CR.32 and CR.42 of Italian manufacture. Later, Italian pilots also flew some Me-109Gs.

Italian fighter pilots were recognized by their Allied counterparts as brave opponents blessed with sound flying abilities, but hampered by both under-gunned and under-powered aircraft at first.

This is the first book ever published in English to deal exclusively with the elite Italian fighter pilots of WWII.

The book is a unique source of info, researched by recognized experts and brought to life by first-hand interviews with some surviving Italian air combat veterans themselves.

The concise, authoritative text is supported by 40 color profiles, specially commisioned for the book. There are nine scale plans of aircraft too and some of the best archival photography of the Regia Aeronautica available.

I have always loved the intricate amebic shapes that the Italians camouflaged their aircraft with and this book shows a lot of that. It goes from the Italian envolvement in the Spanish Civil War up to the very end of hostilities with them. The book gives thumb-nail histories of the various units and short combat biographies of the various aces.

Highly recommended.

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