The SAML S.2

Datafile No. 113
By Gregory Alegi
Albatros Publications, ©2005
ISBN 1-902207-75-0
Softbound, 32 Pages

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

The interesting story behind the Società Anonima Meccanica Lombarda (SAML) is one worth telling, but unfortunately the company disappeared shortly after the end of WWI and few records remain. This makes this latest Datafile release all the more important, as the author has combed through the available references to build what is probably the most complete history on the SAML S.2, an aircraft that was considered to be outstanding and allowed Italy to stand on its own, instead of relying on Austria for aircraft.

Originally building Aviatik P.15 aircraft for the Italian army, by the end of 1915 it was clear that the type was not suitable for combat use. Building on their experience with manufacturing the Aviatik, the engineers at SAML came up with a new design. The new design greatly resembled the Aviatik, and, in a move that would have copyright lawyers of today fighting in the streets, SAML utilized several existing components such as the tail surfaces, fuel tanks, and wing attachments from the existing Aviatik production. However, a close inspection would reveal that this new design, the SAML S.1, was in fact both larger and heavier. This increase in size and weight did not detract from its performance, though, with the plane easily outperforming the Aviatik and even the newer Savoia Pomilio SP.2.

Regular production began in the fall of 1916, and by the end of the war 657 aircraft had been delivered. Flying bombing and reconnaissance missions, the SAML aircraft eventually made up roughly five percent of the Italian aerial forces. The actions of the SAML are impressive, but if you want to know just how good it was, you'll have to buy this book.

Overall this is an outstanding reference on a little-known Italian aircraft, and it is done in the usual excellent Datafile format. In addition to the beautifully written text by Gregory Alegi, the book is packed with photos of SAMLs showing many of the interesting markings carried by the plane. The center section has the expected scale drawings, both in 1/72 and 1/48, and the rear cover has a nice trio of color profiles by our own Bob Pearson, showing just how colorful these planes were.

My sincere thanks to Albatros Publications for the review sample. Visit their website for ordering information.

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