Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
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Nicola Malizia, seeks to cover a lot of ground in this new book. Not only does
he address the three famous Macchi fighters of World War Two, the MC.200, 202
and 205, but he also looks at the role of the Macchi fighters in post-armistice
Italy and post-war Italy and Egypt.
The book can be
effectively divided into two parts. The first part is composed of three
chapters. Each chapter undertakes a brief discussion of the development and
operational use of each of the Macchi fighters.
of the developmental aspects of each of the aircraft is most interesting.
However, the discussion of the operational use is very brief indeed, often
simply summed up at the end of the chapter as the aircraft operated over many
also receives the appropriate amount of data. The author lists the units that
operated each of the aircraft, the production variants and serial numbers and
the dimensions, performance and armament.
The second half
of book focuses on the post 8 September 1943 armistice period and is divided
into five chapters. In this part of the book the in service use of three
aircraft is looked at collectively.
In Chapter IV,
the author looks at the Regia Aeronautica on the eve of armistice and the last
actions of the Italian pilots before they must choose sides. The author also
briefly notes the fate of the Italian navy.
In Chapters V
and VI, the Macchi fighters’ service with the Co-Belligerent Italian Air Force,
fighting with the Allies, and the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR),
fighting alongside the Germans, is covered. The author notes the units of both
the Co-Belligerent and ANR that used the Macchi fighters.
There is a brief
chapter on the Macchi fighters in post-war Italy. Brief because there was not
much left of the Macchi fighter force. The Macchi 202 and 205 were replaced by
the P-39, Spitfire Mk. IX and P-51, among others.
chapter is one of the most interesting of all. It examines the re-manufacture
and sale of Macchi 202 and 205 fighters to the Royal Egyptian Air Force. The
Macchi 202 was remanufactured as a 205. It seems that both Egypt and Israel
approached Italy to obtain fighters. But because of what appears to be
political connections, the Italian government gave the green light to the sale
of aircraft to Egypt.
concludes with a list of the Macchi aircraft sold to Egypt with the Egyptian
serial numbers, the Italian M.M. numbers, the type of aircraft, the builder and
the Series designation among other information.
Anyone who picks
up this volume will surely put off reading the text because it will be the
overwhelming number of pictures that will catch one’s attention. Each chapter
has extensive photographs, some new, some seen before, to illustrate the
chapter’s subject. This includes pictures of Macchi fighters in post-war and
For those who
love Italian smoke ring camouflage, there are more than enough pictures. Each
of the Macchi fighters is shown in various styles of smoke ring camouflage; from
finely drawn ones to thick, heavily applied smoke rings.
there are numerous pictures, their reproduction is not up to today’s standards.
Most of them appear to be muddy and lack sharpness. Given what can be achieved
with modern digital photographic reproduction, this book is many years behind
Perhaps I am
asking too much, but the other issue on which the book falls short is a
discussion of the camouflage applied to the Macchi fighters. I realize this is
covered extensively in the two volume set Colorazioni e Insegne della Regia
Aeronautica Caccia & Asdsalto 1940-1943, by Waldis and De Bortoli, from La
Bancarella Aeronautica-Torino in Italian and English), and in the excellent
volume Camouflage and Markings of the ANR 1945, by D’Amico and Valentini, from
Classic Publications. However, a brief overview in a chapter would have made
this book more complete in its overview of the Macchi fighters.
Finally, a note
on the text. While the English translation is quite workman like, there is a
bit of quirkiness to it. There are some factual issues that seem a bit odd.
For example, it would seem that the Hurricane Mk. I and Mk. II came out about
the same time and after the fighting at Malta had begun. Then did the Bf 109F
actually come after the G version? One of my favorite passages seems to
indicate that the American liberators of Sicily were also from the Mafia.
For an aircraft
enthusiast who wants a good overview of the Macchi fighters and loves pictures,
this is a volume that I can recommend to them. For those who already have the
numerous monographs from Ali D’Italia, and other sources, then the detail in
this volume will fall short of what is already on your shelves. However, the
pictures may still be of interest. But the unique aspect of this book is the
coverage of the Macchi fighter in the Royal Egyptian Air force.
Thanks to Istituto Bibligrafico Napoleone (I.B.N)
for the review copy.
Review Copyright © 2005 by
Page Created 10 May, 2005
Last updated 05 October, 2006
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