During World War I, the Italian Corpo Aeronautico Militare, then still part of the Regio Esercito (Royal Army), operated a mix of French fighters and locally built bombers, notably the gigantic Caproni aircraft. Prior to World War 2 both Hitler and Mussolini were boasting about their military forces to each other. Buy Wings Of Italy: The Italian Air Force in original WW2 colour pictures by Gregory Alegi, Baldassare Catalanotto (ISBN: 9788887261165) from Amazon's Book … When the Greco-Italian War started on 28 October 1940, the Regia Aeronautica fielded 193 combat aircraft, which initially failed to achieve air superiority against the Royal Hellenic Air Force (RHAF), which had 128 operational aircraft out of a total of 158. [citation needed] Training and achieving full operation strength took far longer than anticipated, and the 274th only became operational in June 1942. After the Italian armistice, the Regia Aeronautica was briefly succeeded by two new Italian air forces. Not quite on par with her contemporaries of World War 2, Italy nonetheless fielded a variety of useful aircraft in the conflict. [9] After the Italian disasters during Operation Compass and the arrival of General Erwin Rommel and his German Africa Corps, the Regia Aeronautica fought side by side with the German Luftwaffe in the Western Desert. [10] The RAF, however, reported no losses. Tornado fighters were still in service with all three countries, plus a few more, as of 2019. Although the air campaign in Libya was seriously limited because of desert conditions, the Italian Royal Air Force managed to retain a force of nearly four hundred airplanes. The last mission of the Regia Aeronautica before the truce with the Allies was the defence during the United States Army Air Forces' bombing of Frascati—Rome on September 8, 1943. The Royal Italian Air Force itself claimed 4293 enemy aircraft, including 1771 destroyed on the ground. Technical assistance provided by its German ally did little to improve the situation. All Military aircraft in Italy during WW2 were part of the AirForce and with Air Force crews. After the armistice of 8 September 1943, Italy was divided into two sides, and the same fate befell the Regia Aeronautica. BY DECADE. At the beginning of the hostilities, Regia Aeronautica achieved aerial superiority and occasionally skilled Italian pilots, flying their Fiat biplanes, managed to shoot down even the faster and better armed Hawker Hurricane monoplanes. It fought from the icy steppes of Russia to the sands of the North African desert, losing men and machines. [26] Humbrol Colour System Binder. [15] Cut off from Italy as they were though, problems with lack of fuel, munitions, spare parts and replacements became a serious problem and the Regia Aeronautica was worn down in a war of attrition. the Air Force) and the “users”(i.e. The Italian aviators did not have any opposition in the air, as the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force had just 15 transport and liaison aircraft, only nine of which were serviceable. On 13 June, Fiat CR.42s attacked French air bases and escorted Fiat BR.20s that bombed the harbour of Toulon. In 1952, the Italian Air Force was granted jet fighters for the first time, American F-84G Thunderjets and F-86D Sabres, together with over 200 licence-built British de Havilland Vampires; these were followed by F-84F fighters and C-119 Flying Boxcar transport planes from the United States. In Spain, the Italian pilots were under direct command of the Spanish Nationalists and took part in training and joint operations with the pilots of the German "Condor Legion". [5], During the Spanish Civil War Italian pilots fought alongside Spanish Nationalist and German Luftwaffe pilots as members of the Aviazione Legionaria ("Aviation Legion"). During Rommel's second offensive, the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe suffered considerable losses due to stronger Allied resistance during air battles over El Alamein and bombing raids over Alexandria and Cairo. Actually the air war against Greece cost the Italians just 65 losses (but 495 damaged)[34] while RAF losses in the Greek campaign were 209 aircraft, 72 in the air, 55 on the ground, and 82 destroyed or abandoned during the evacuation.[35]. For night missions the fuselage bands and fin crosses were usually blacked out. In March, surplus personnel of air force units had to fight as infantry. The Regia Aeronautica was forced on the defensive during the Sicilian Campaign. However, during the first three months, Regia Aeronautica lost 84 aircraft and had 143 aircrew personnel killed and 71 wounded, but the losses did not halt Italian operations. [31] The poor infrastructure for Albania air bases hindered communications and movements between the Italian flying units. There was also the usual lack of co-operation between the Italian Navy and Army. These masqueraded as Iraqi aircraft and were painted as such en route. Home Forums > WWII Forums > Theaters of the Second World War > North Africa and the Mediterranean > Air War in the Mediterrean > Stukas in the Italian Airforce Discussion in ' Air War in the Mediterrean ' started by us11thairborne , Mar 31, 2005 . By the end of the following month, Italians had only 13 serviceable aircraft left in East Africa. The Aviazione legionaria achieved approximately 500 aerial victories, losing 86 aircraft in air combat and about 200 flying personnel. The CAI was based in occupied Belgium. However, the Regia Aeronautica lost 72 planes and 122 aircrew[4] while supporting the operations of the Regio Esercito, sometimes dropping poison gas bombs against the Ethiopian army. It is necessary to emphasize that the question of assessing and comparing the success rate of fighters by number of victories is one of the more problematic. The Italians claimed 66 British planes in these first six months of combat, but these claims were exaggerated. The Air Service (Corpo Aeronautico Militare) operated balloons based near Rome. This book examines the conception, development and sometimes the construction and testing of some of these aircraft. This group was part of the National Republican Air Force of the Italian Social Republic. The Regia Aeronautica Italiana (Italian Royal Air Force--RAI) was the air force of the Kingdom of Italy. This support role continued during the occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia that followed. 80 Squadron, led by the outstanding ace Marmaduke Pattle and equipped with Gloster Gladiators, No. At last, on 24 October 1941, about one month prior to the final Italian surrender, the last Italian aircraft of the campaign, a Fiat CR.42, was shot down. The first is the story of the Regia Aeronautica, the Royal Air Force, from the … The RAI played a major role in the Italian invasion of Ethiopian (1935), primarily by using poison gas in the country side and bombing cities, especially Addis Ababa. This left the Regia Aeronautica very weak, but aircraft continued to arrive from Sardinia, southern Italy, and southern France. Its origins are in the A.D.R.A Arditi Distruttori Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force Brave Destroyers), a corp of World War II. The first test for the new Italian Royal Air force came in October 1935,[3] Its air arm dates back to 1884, when the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) was authorised to acquire its own air component. The ACI operated in the Balkans and the ANR in northern Italy and the area around the Baltic Sea. By the end of February, the Regia Aeronautica had only 42 aircraft left in East Africa, and the British now had the upper hand. 84 Squadron with Bristol Blenheims, and No. During Rommel's first offensive, the Italians managed to divert RAF attacks from his forces and covered his retreat during the British Operation Crusader, while inflicting heavy losses on RAF bombers. To provide direct air recon capabilitiesto the Army and Navy, two separate Commands (“Air Force for the Army” and”Air Force for the Navy”) were established, to act as a go-between the”owner” of the airplanes and crews (i.e. It was named Corpo Aereo Italiano, or CAI. With the UK lease due to expire in 2004, the Italian government wished to avoid a costly lease extension and instead opted to lease 34 F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter planes on multi-year leases from the US. [32] However, this advantage did not stop the Hellenic Army from forcing the Regio Esercito onto the defensive and back into Albania. The book reviews the aircraft used by the Italian air forces in world wwar two thta were not ready to compete against the allied world war 2 aircraft. Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily the primary operator. 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The Italian Air Force did not officially credit victories to individual pilots, but to their unit as a whole. White spinners were used on fighters in Italy, with white extended to engine cowlings, particularly on bombers, in the Mediterranean. Following the declaration of war on 10 June 1940, the Italian Air Force engaged with its French and British counterparts throughout the Mediterranean. This air force was known as the Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force). In mid-1942, during the Battle of Bir Hakeim (26 May 1942 – 11 June 1942) the new Macchi C.202 fighter outperformed all of the Desert Air Force's fighters,[23] achieving an unprecedented ratio kill/loss of 4.4/1, better than that of famed Messerschmitt Bf 109s (3.5/1) fighting the same battle. May 29, 2020 - Explore Johnno's board "Italian Airforce" on Pinterest. This was aimed at pushing the British back and retaking the greater Mediterranean, as in ancient Roman times. Aircraft of the Royal and Republican air forces never fought each other. The Peace Treaty of Paris of 1947 placed severe restrictions on all of the Italian armed forces, but the establishment of NATO in 1949 with Italy as a founding member brought about the necessity for the modernization of all of the Italian armed forces, including the Italian Air Force. [33] However, from that point on, the role of the Regia Aeronautica in the Balkans Campaign was primarily that of supporting the Luftwaffe. The first supersonic fighters added to the Italian Air Force were American-designed F-104 Starfighters that were produced by a group of several European aircraft companies, including Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, Dornier, Fiat, Fokker and SABCA. The reborn Italian aviation industry also began to develop and produce a few ingenious aircraft designs of its own, such as the Fiat G91, the Aermacchi MB-326, the Piaggio Aero P.166 and the line of Agusta-Bell helicopters. It was concluded that this was nothing more than a myth, arising from the reaction to the Italian attack, the fame of the Italian air force and the heated and confused climate.[12]. (Schreiber, Gerhard: S. 54, in Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, Band 3) If those numbers sound a bit off, well, Operation Barbarossa was largest military invasion in history and it was conducted by around 4 million soldiers. 30 Squadron, No. It comprised Early on, the fighters available to both sides were primarily older biplanes, with Italian Fiat CR.32 and Fiat CR.42s flying against British Gloster Gladiators. Mussolini sent to Spain 6000 aviation personnel as well as about 720 aircraft, including 100 Savoia Marchetti SM.79 bombers and 380–400 Fiat CR.32 biplanes that dominated the air, proving superior to the Soviet Polikarpovs of the Republican Air Force. [17], On 10 September 1940, an independent air corps for supporting Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain was established. In August 1941 the Regia Aeronautica sent an Air Corps of 1,900 personnel to the Eastern Front as an attachment to the "Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia" (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) and then the "Italian Army in Russia" (Armata Italiana in Russia, or ARMIR) were known as the "Italian Air Force Expeditionary Corps in Russia" (Corpo Aereo Spedizione in Russia). The last of the Italian F-104s was withdrawn from service in 2004. Needing to replace the obsolete F-104 Starfighters, Italy joined with Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon, which was expected to enter the Italian Air Force in 2000. Between 1 April 1939 and 1 November 1939, Italian airmen established no fewer than 110 records, winning world championships in round trips, long-range flights, high speed and altitude flights. The Air Force was split into the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force in the south aligned with the Allies, and the pro-Axis Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana in the north until the end of the war. [14] Some of these aircraft were outdated, but the Italians had Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 (12 examples) and Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 bombers and Fiat CR.42 fighters. The capability of the Italian Air Force as a transportation unit has been improved with the acquisition of 22 American C-130J tactical transports and 12 Alenia C-27J Spartans, which have replaced all of the G222s. The Italian Air Force was founded as an independent service arm on 28 March 1923 by King Victor Emmanuel III as the Regia Aeronautica ("Royal Air Force"). The beret is made from black wool and features a … Only in 1962 did the Air Force Historical Office release a partial list of Aces – 19 in total. Italian aircraft dropped a total of 276 tons of bombs. The primary fighter of the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) was the Fiat CR.42, which, though an advanced biplane with excellent performance, was technically outclassed by monoplane fighters of other nations. From 10 June 1940 up to 8 September 1943, the Regia Aeronautica lost 6483 aircraft[36] (other sources report 5201[37]), including 3483 fighters, 2273 bombers, torpedo-bombers and transports, plus 227 reconnaissance planes. Just two squadrons of G.50s remained until mid-April 1941. Since its formation, the service has held a prominent role in modern Italian military history. Italian companies worked with the Embraer Company of Brazil in a smaller project to develop and produce the AMX International AMX aircraft. [4][5][6][7][8], Air warfare branch of Italy's armed forces, From the end of the Cold War to present day, Learn how and when to remove this template message, List of aircraft used by Italian Air Force, Italy opens F-35 assembly line, as political opposition grows, " Italy's ruling party divided over order for F-35 combat jets", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Italian_Air_Force&oldid=987741635, Military units and formations established in 1923, Articles lacking in-text citations from August 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 1 Cavalier Cross of the Military Order of Savoy, Generale di Squadra Aerea con Incarichi Speciali, This page was last edited on 8 November 2020, at 23:36. In June 1940, the Italian Royal Air Force had here 195 fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, plus 25 transport planes. Mussolini announced in 1934 that he can mobilize 6 Million soldiers, in 1936 he increased the number to 8 million and in 1939 to 12 million. In mid 1942 the more modern Macchi C. 202 was introduced to operations in Russia. The last raids on Gibraltar were flown during the 1943 Allied landing in Algeria, when those bombers also made a successful strike on the port of Oran. In 2003, the Italian Air Force extended its capabilities to small-scale land warfare by small special-forces units. This was accomplished by forming the 17º Stormo Incursori ("17th Special Operations Wing"), also known as RIAM (Reparto Incursori Aeronautica Militare, "Air Force Raiders Group"), a unit that is primarily responsible for raids on land-based aeronautical compounds, forward air control missions and combat search and rescue operations. The Air War Over North Africa In The Second World War. The Regia Marina (Royal Navy) had its own air arm, operating locally built flying boats. Initially the Italian Air Force did reasonably well but with the introduction of the RAF’s Hawker Hurricane towards the end of 1940 the balance of forces was tipped to the Allies’ advantage. [20][21][22] During this campaign, Regia Aeronautica lost 36 planes, (including 26 in accidents) and 43 aircrew personnel, without achieving a single confirmed air victory.[19]. Personnel losses suffered during the conflict consisted of 3007 dead or missing, 2731 wounded and 9873 prisoners of war.[38]. [11], After the war, there was a widespread rumour in France, especially between Paris and Bordeaux, of Italian aircraft strafing civilian columns, with many people claiming to have seen the tricolour roundels painted on them. Only two airfields – Tirana and Valona – had macadam runways, so autumn and winter weather made operations more difficult. A popular vote by the people resulted in the end of the Kingdom of Italy and the establishment of the Italian Republic on 18 June 1946. The Italian Airf Force was not as powerful as their German ally. On 10 June 1940, during the closing days of the Battle of France, Italy declared war on France and the United Kingdom. In 1942, for its operations against Malta, between 1 January and 8 November, the Regia Aeronautica had 100 more aircraft lost in action. In July 1939, the Regia Aeronautica was seen as splendid air arm, holding no fewer than 33 world records, which was more than Germany (15), France (12), the United States (11) Soviet Union (7), Japan (3), the United Kingdom (2) and Czechoslovakia(1). However, delays in the production of the Typhoon forced the Italians to seek a supplement, and then replacement, for the leased Tornado ADVs. New Italian aircraft and units were supplemented by the arrival of the German Afrika Corps, and the attached Luftwaffe contingent deployed almost 200 airplanes in Libya and another 600 in Sicily. Headquartered at Salerno in southern Italy, the Royalist Italian Co-belligerent Air Force (Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana, or ACI) fought alongside the Allied forces. During the 1930s, the fledgling Regia Aeronautica was involved in its first military operations, first in Ethiopia in 1935, and later in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. The Royal Italian Air Force (hereafter RIAF) won a stunning 96 international aviation awards during this period. Alongside the Fiat CR.42 biplane, the Macchi C-200 formed the backbone of the Italian Royal Air Force in 1940, and was soon involved escorting bombers in raids against the island fortress of Malta. The Italian Air Force was founded as an independent service arm on 28 March 1923 by King Victor Emmanuel III as the Regia Aeronautica ("Royal Air Force"). [7], The Regia Aeronautica played a limited role during the Italian invasion of Albania. In 1911, reconnaissance and bombing sorties during the Italo-Turkish War by the Servizio Aeronautico represented the first use of heavier-than-air aircraft in armed conflict. In 1990, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Italy joined the coalition forces, and for the first time in 45 years Italian pilots and aircraft were assigned to combat operations. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. In 1946, the monarchy was abolished and the Kingdom of Italy became the Italian Republic, whereupon the name of the air force changed to Aeronautica Militare. [29], The Regia Aeronautica began its attacks on the British crown colony of Gibraltar and its important naval base from July 1940. The Regia Aeronautica claimed 218 aircraft shot down plus 55 probables against the RHAF and RAF, while the Greeks claimed 68 air victories (plus 23 probables) and the British 150 kills. The Macchi C.200 Saetta (Italian: both Arrow or Lightning), or MC.200, was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Aeronautica Macchi in Italy, and used in various forms throughout the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force). [1], As of 2014, the Italian Air Force[2] operates a total active fleet of 557 aerial vehicles,[3] including 209 manned and 12 unmanned combat aircraft, with eight more Eurofighter Typhoon on order and 75 more F-35s planned. [6] On 8 May 1945, the hostilities ended, beginning the rebirth of military aviation in Italy. Since its formation, the service has held a prominent role in modern Italian military history. Italy airplanes were renowned worldwide. Probable kills are usually left out of the list. It was under command of Generale Rino Corso Fougier. In northern Italy, the National Republican Air Force (Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, or ANR) flew for the Italian Social Republic and the Axis. [8] When World War II began in 1939, Italy had a paper strength of 3296 machines. The story of the Italian Air Force in World War II is really three stories. The aerobatic display team is the Frecce Tricolori. This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 08:37. the Army and the Navy). The Typhoons are intended to replace all of the F-104, Tornado ADV and F-16 aircraft. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Italy was at the forefront of aerial warfare: during the colonization of Libya in 1911, it made the first reconnaissance flight in history on 23 October, and the first ever bombing raid on 1 November. [11] American military aid sent by the Mutual Defense Assistance Program brought about the introduction of American-made P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang propeller-driven fighter planes. Italian Air Force Patch Aeronautica Militare AM 51 Stormo Wing Gatto Nero Black Cat 1970s F 86 Sabre Interceptor F 104 Starfighter Bomber Rubber cut edge 97 by 76mm three and thirteen sixteenth by three inches. An MC-205, among the best WW2 Italy airplanes The Royal Italian Air Force – The Regia Aeronautica – was considered one of the most advanced in the world. It had operated as a unit of the Royal Italian Army during World War I, but was created as a independent service (1923). The Germans were not gentle, seeing the Italians as trecherous for pulling out of the Axis Alliance and switching sides. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Italy was at the forefront of aerial warfare: during the colonization of Libya in 1911, it made the first reconnaissance flight in history on 23 October, and the first ever bombing raid on 1 November. Italian pilots were constantly fighting against Allied efforts to sink Regia Marina ships. Continued concern over German and Italian influence in the area led to the Allies' Syria-Lebanon Campaign. For the 11-day campaign against Yugoslavia, the Regia Aeronautica deployed 600 aircraft, claimed five air victories (plus 100 planes destroyed on the ground) and suffered five losses. After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the Regia Aeronautica was given its current name. In the years leading up to World War II, the Italian government encouraged its aviation companies to develop innovative aircraft to meet the needs of the pre-WW2 Italian air force, the Regia Aeronautica . Hence the Regia Aeronautica lost its "Royal" designation, and it became the Aeronautica Militare, a name that it has continued to hold ever since. This pioneering achievement was organized and led by General of Aviation Italo Balbo.[2]. [36] The Macchi C.202 Folgore is considered one of the best fighter planes Italy designed during World War II. The Italian Air Force (Italian: Aeronautica Militare; AM) is the air force of the Italian Republic. By the September 1943 the Air Force numbered 1,200 aircraft of which about half were serviceable. Generale Giuseppe Santoro in his book published after the war criticized such unplanned use of the Air Force, which had not been prepared for operations against fortifications which were immune to aerial bombing. The Macchi C.200 Saetta (Italian: both Arrow or Lightning), or MC.200, was a World War II fighter aircraft built by Aeronautica Macchi in Italy, and used in various forms throughout the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force). To aid the promotion of the new Super Enamel range, Humbrol has produced a Colour System Binder.This publication contains instructions of how to interblend the paints of the Super Enamel range to obtain selected authentic colours as well as Humbrol paints discontinued with the introduction of the Super Enamel. They put their aircraft on the front lines against the allied air forces. [25] By 31 January, Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, reported that the Italian military forces in East Africa were down to 67 operational aircraft with limited fuel. During the latter half of the 1930s, the Regia Aeronautica participated in the Spanish Civil War, as well as the invasions of Ethiopia and Albania. Armed conflicts in Somalia, Mozambique and the nearby Balkan Peninsula led to the Italian Air Force becoming a participant in multinational air forces, such as that of NATO over the former Yugoslavia, just a few minutes flying time east of the Italian peninsula. In 1942, Italian Piaggio P.108 bombers attacked Gibraltar from Sardinia, flying a number of long-range night raids. 70 Squadron with Vickers Wellingtons. The bombing of Tel Aviv on September 10 killed 137 people. Italy is one of the nations that can boast some of the oldest traditions in the field of aviation. After a period of neutrality, Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940 alongside Germany. During the final stages of the war, the Regia Aeronautica deployed up to 386 aircraft, operating from Eritrea and Somalia. After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the Regia Aeronautica was given its current name. Possibly the most brilliant successes were the floatplane's world speed record of 709 km/h (440.6 mph) achieved by Francesco Agello on the Macchi-Castoldi MC-72 in October 1934 [1] and the long-range formation flight to the USA and back to Italy in 1933, a total of 19,000 km (11,800 miles) on Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boats. The Italian Air Force (Italian: Aeronautica Militare; AM) is the air force of the Italian Republic. Here is a list of the aces attributed with ten or more kills. There are a total of [ 32 ] WW2 Italian Fighter Aircraft (1939-1945) entries in the Military Factory. During this short war, Regia Aeronautica lost 10 aircraft in aerial combat and 24 aircrew personnel, while claiming 10 kills and 40 French planes destroyed on the ground. The Regia Aeronautica tended not to keep statistics on the individual level, instead reporting kills for a certain unit, attributed to their unit commander. with the Ethiopian war. After the end of hostilities on 5 May 1936, for the following 13 months the Regia Aeronautica had to assist Italian forces in fighting Ethiopian guerrillas. Nevertheless, the Italians managed to mobiliz… Italy ArtItaly ItalyKingdom Of ItalyOrientalEmpire RomainNose ArtEast … In 1941, Regia Aeronautica carried out further attacks on Malta, but less intensely than in 1940. A push to expand the Italian aircraft industry led Italy into the huge trilateral project that developed the Panavia Tornado fighter-bomber and air-defence fighters along with West Germany and the United Kingdom. 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