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Old 29th March 2005, 07:22
Dick Powers Dick Powers is offline
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Basic Italian Air Force Library

Who has recommendations on a basic library covering the Italian air Force in WWII? My library, (all English-language books) includes:

Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Thompson, Aero Publishers 1963: maybe the only “Putnam”-like treatment of Italian aircraft.

Air War Italy, 1944-1945. Beale, D’Amico, VAlentini, Airlife 1996: Excellent history from primary and secondary sources, but only the “end game” covered.

Courage Alone: The Italian Air Force 1940-1943, Dunning, Hikoki, 1998: excellent coverage of the subject but strangely organized. Lots of information once you learn how to navigate the book. Not really a book to be read, but to be browsed.

Air War Over Italy 1943-1945, Brookes, Ian Allen, 2000: High level history from secondary sources with a few interesting observations.

Italian Aces of World War 2, Massimello and Apostolo, Osprey, 2000: One of Osprey’s best offerings.

It looks like there is no single volume covering the entire war, from 1940 to 1945, and the axis and allied air forces. Does anyone have significant additions to this list?
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Old 29th March 2005, 08:38
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Jim Oxley Jim Oxley is offline
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Re: Basic Italian Air Force Library

Sadly there isn't much available - in English - on the Regia Aeronautica.

The only books I can ad to your list are:

The Messerschmitt 109 in Italian Service 1943-1945
by Ferdinando D'Amico & Gabriele Valentini

Regia Aeronautica Vol. 1
by Chris Shores

Punka, George

In The Skies Over Europe - Air Forces Allied To The Luftwaffe 1939-1945
by Hans Neulen

Hurricanes Over Malta
by Brian Cull
(included this one because it has good detail on Italian units operating over Malta.
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Old 29th March 2005, 09:39
Dick Powers Dick Powers is offline
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Re: Basic Italian Air Force Library

Which Reminds me...

Fighters Over the Desert, Shores and Ring, Arco 1969: Diary-like coverage of the African air war JUne 1940 - December 1942.
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Old 23rd April 2005, 13:35
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Ludovico Slongo Ludovico Slongo is offline
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Re: Basic Italian Air Force Library

this is a list of Books in English language regarding Italian Air Force during WW2.

(My personal opinions are inside brackets)

Titles of perhaps all the books that covers this subject in a general way are already in your hand, I can only add:

· Regia Aeronautica vol.2, Pictorial History of the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana and the Italian Co-Belligerant Air force 1943-45, by Ferdinando d’Amico and Gabriele Valentini, Squadron signal publications, Carrollton, 1986 ISBN 0-89747-185-7.

(the book is one of the few, -possibly the only one- that covers the period from September 1943 to June 1944, D’Amico and Valentini togheter with Gregory Alegi, Giovanni Massimiello, Cesare Gori, Giancarlo Garello and recently Gianandrea Bussi are among the best researchers on Italian AF history. You always obtain good value from their books)

Then I know that another “general” title exists:

· Italian Military Aviation, by Frank Mc Meiken; published in 1984 ISBN 0-90459741-5. But I’ve never read it.

(In my opinion the presentation that Shores did of Regia Aeronautica in the opening chapter of Squadron’s Special Regia Aeronautica vol.1 still remains the most objective and complete up to now even if it dates the seventies and much new information have came to light since then.

The book of Werner Neulen seems also good to me, seventy pages of it are devoted to this topic.)

Then there are titles regarding specific campaigns. You can find a lot of information on the following titles:

· Air war for Yugoslavia Greece and Crete by Chris Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia (covers quite in detail the 1940-41 operations in the Balkans).

· Malta, the Hurricane Years 1940-41

· Malta the Spitfire Year 1942 from the same authors (are invaluable sources regarding operations over Malta and the Mediterranean).

· Dust clouds in the Middle East (is the best source in whatever language for 1940-41 operations in Italian East Africa).

(As far as I know no book in English covers the participation of Regia Aeronautica to the Russian campaign in 1941-42 and the opening operations against France in 1940, for the last theatre you’ll find some information of the fighter vs fighter combats in Hakan Gustavsson’s Biplane fighter ace site.

The participation of Italian Air Force in the Battle of Britain in 1940 is probably better covered, my personal opinion is that a very-very good and comprehensive description of those events is now present in Hakan Gustavsson’s Biplane fighter ace site.)

Operations over Sicily in 1943 are partly covered by:

· Spitfires over Sicily by Brian Cull, Nicola Malizia and Frederick Galea.

(As far as I know there is nothing specifically on the homeland defense in 1943.)

The most important campaign fought by Italians during WW II was without doubt the North African’s one.

Fighters over the Desert and Fighters over Tunisia cover this topic, (together with them I can warmly suggest

· Hurricanes over Tobruk by Brian Cull and Don Minterne.

Then there is also.

· The Desert Air War, by Richard Townshend Bickers.

(But don’t look for it if you aren’t interested just in hearing how bad the “Ities” were compared with RAF’s heroes.)

Chris Shores also gave a general view of Italian air force operations in the Mediterranean theatre in

· Pictorial History of the Mediterranean Air War volume three.

(In my opinion the problems with the books of Shores about North African campaigns, is that they tend to take to face value all the information coming from English sources and don’t give the same weight to those coming from the Italian ones.

This attitude gives a quite unbalanced vision of the event (it is however still the best available). Another problem is that with the appearance of Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean, Regia Aeronautica tended to disappear from the fights descriptions apart from the losses suffered and this is particularly true in the book about Tunisia.)

Then there are many books on specific planes. If You are interested let me know and I’ll add a complete list of them.

Best Regards

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Old 23rd April 2005, 15:58
Dick Powers Dick Powers is offline
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Re: Basic Italian Air Force Library

Thanks very much. Sounds like a study area to be mined.
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Old 13th May 2005, 04:13
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Basic Italian Air Force Library

Another addition I highly recommend -

Wings of Italy: The Italian Air Force in Original WWII Colour Pictures, by Gregory Alegi and Baldassare Catalanotto; published by Giorgio Apostolo Editore (Milano), 1999; 212 pages, hard cover, landscape format, English text and captions. This book has an outstanding collection of color photos of a wide range of Regia Aeronautica aircraft. From the table of contents: Bombers; Torpedo Bombers; Fighters; Assault, Dive Bombers and Heavy Fighters; Air Observation and Strategic Reconnaissance; Maritime Reconnaissance; Transports; Rescue; Training Schools; Gliders; Prototypes and Test Centres; The Armistice. I've seen a few wartime color photos of Italian planes scattered in a few books, but this is the mother lode (I can't even think of a comparable all-in-one-book collection of color photos of Luftwaffe aircraft). Due to the exposure limitations inherent with color photography in the '40s, these necessarily were taken mostly on sunshiny days, which produces some great views of the "sand and spinach" camo schemes, although some of the photos reveal a shift toward the blue-green side of the spectrum, not unlike some contemporary German color photography. Still, they are stunning to look at. This book may be hard to locate, but if you can find a copy, you won't be disappointed.
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