S u m m a r y
||Classic Publications – An
imprint of Ian Allan Publishing
||Hard cover, 224 pages of text
£35.00 from Ian Allan Publishing.
USD$53.96 from Squadron Mail Order
or available worldwide from
||An outstanding overview of the
camouflage and markings of the ANR. Numerous and informative
Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
introduction to this monograph offers an incredible insight not only
into the concept of the passage of time, but also into the heart and
mind of the two authors. It is this insight that makes all that comes
after so much more rewarding.
As to the
passage of time, the authors point out that it has been more than 15
years since they produced the first draft of this book. This noting of
the passage of time caused me to take down two earlier works by the
authors – “Regia Aeronautica Vol 2” from Squadron/Signal and “The
Messerschmitt 109 in Italian Service, 1943-1945”. I discovered that it
has been 20 years since both of these were published. Both of these
books were among my earliest purchases when I came back to modeling.
With regard to
the insight in the authors’ hearts and minds, dare I say their souls,
the introduction presents a most thoughtful and thought provoking
discourse on uncertainty in research and the modeler as researcher. I
ask my readers’ indulgence so that I may present, unedited, the core of
the authors’ approach:
"We had in fact realised from the outset that
in some areas it would be impossible to provide the reader with the
required documentation or photographs to categorically prove or
disprove one particular point or another. Why, then, would we start
writing a book knowing that it would be incomplete and sometimes
lacking in certainties? The answer to that came with the decision
that we would be obliged to give our best assessment of the
available evidence, present that to the reader with whatever
material we possessed, and invite him to draw his own conclusions.
We feel that it is unacceptable to offer today's reader, whether a
modeller, a researcher or an aviation enthusiast, deductions based
largely on guesswork but presented as if they were factual material.
On the contrary, we feel that today's reader is discerning and
mature enough to accept that, on some occasions, vital documentary
material may never be available, but that this should not prevent
the presentation of whatever material remains.
Although the academic world of historical
aviation research has, we believe, largely ignored or viewed with
condescension the work undertaken in this field by the modelling
community, we, the authors, are proud to have a background as
modellers and feel that in many respects this has given us an
insight and an understanding that has been of great benefit to us in
our work. We have learned, for example, to exploit the modeller's
way of viewing pictorial material and of taking note of small but
sometimes highly significant detail so that even a familiar
photograph may sometimes be turned into a vital source of historical
information and deduction. On these grounds alone, we feel that
aircraft modelling, as a manifestation of aviation enthusiasm, is
every bit as valuable as the more academic aspects."
September and October 1943, many Italians had to make a choice,
particularly those in the armed forces. For on 8 September 1943, an
armistice between the Italian government, under Marshal Badoglio, and
the Allies went into effect. On 23 September, after being freed from
imprisonment by the Germans, Mussolini announced the formation of the
Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI) in areas under German control. On 10
October the RSI established an Air Force, the Aeronautical Nazionale
Republicana (ANR), along with an Army and Navy. Three days later,
Marshal Badoglio’s government decaled war on Germany.
Regia Aeronautica pilots refused the order to fly to Allied controlled
airfields. For varied reason, many decided to go to the RSI areas. The
reasons included one’s politics, a sense of betrayal and a need to stop
further Allied bombings of Italy.
presenting the camouflage and markings of the ANR, the authors took, in
my opinion, a quite logical approach. Rather than focusing on
chronology or type of aircraft, the authors focused on units within the
ANR: The three Gruppo Caccia (Fighter Group), the Gruppo Aerosiluranti "Buscaglia".
(Torpedo Group “Bucaglia”), the transport units, and the second-line
units and miscellaneous aircraft. Separate chapters are given to each
of the major units, and within those chapters, individual squadron or
similar units are discussed.
though there were “standard” factory applied camouflage schemes, it was
at the unit level at which variations in marking, and even camouflage,
were put into effect. Also, not all units used the same types of
aircraft. For example, Squadriglia Complementare “Montefusco” was
equipped almost exclusively with the Fiat G.55. When it comes to the
use of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, we find that 1 Gruppo Caccia was
predominately equipped with the G-10 and G-14, while 2 Gruppo used the
G-6 and G-14.
this unit approach, the authors address the issues of the development of
the ANR national markings. They shed light on the old issue of whether
the ANR faces had a white background or not. They even address the
issue of the color of the markings used to identify the type and serial
number of the aircraft.
course, a discussion of each type of camouflage scheme used on Italian
aircraft is presented. The single dark green topside, the Tropical
Scheme of green “smoke rings” on sand, the implementation of the German
grays (74/75/76), and the stunning herringbone scheme. The authors also
address the schemes used on the Bf 109s. If I’m not mistaken, they
appear to correlate the late-war topside colors used with the company
that manufactured a particular Bf 109.
although it is at the beginning of the book, there is a discussion of
the application of German markings on Italian aircraft by Italian
trained researcher in both history and the law, I enjoyed seeing that
the authors make use of footnotes throughout the monograph. The
footnotes are used not only to giver further detail, but also to
document source material.
addition to the well-written text, the authors present a great number of
photographs, many of which I have not seen before. The authors have
done an excellent job of integrating text and photographs. Rather than
having subtitles, the photographs are given a number. This allows the
authors to fully discuss a particular issue with references to the
photographs that exemplify that particular issue. Sometimes the same
photograph will be used to discuss two different points, and with the
numbering (similar to a footnote) one can find the relevant pictures
volume about color and markings is filled with just that in the form of
excellent aircraft profiles and illustrations of tactical, unit and
personal markings. In the case of the profiles, it is my impression
that nearly all have a corresponding photograph. When the profile is
based on “speculation”, the authors are not timid in pointing that out.
I do wish, however, that they had a picture of herringbone painted
Macchi C.202 that served as an advanced trainer with 2. / JG 108.
monograph is also filled with excellent digressions. They are contained
within a black outlined box on a green background. Among the
digressions, there is a short discussion of spirals on Italian spinners
and German spinners and the painting of Bf 109 rudders. There is a
digression regarding Erla-built G-14s and the differences between the
G-10 and G-14AS. While adding an extra dimension, these digressions do
not interrupt the flow of the text.
is not totally perfect. There were some printing problems that resulted
in some poorly printed profiles. The authors were quick to correct this
problem by setting up an on-line file to allow the reader to down load a
better quality image. The site maybe found at:
For the modeler,
don’t expect this book to answer the age old question of “what is a good
match for Nocciola Chiaro 4”. The authors have wisely chosen to eschew
all attempts to gives FS approximations or model paint matches. This
for good reason, as the paints for the ANR were made by as many as seven
different companies, under wartime condition and applied differently at
each aircraft company. Needless to say, variation was the rule, not the
One final note on
painting; on page 11 are a couple of pictures of aircraft painting
equipment used by the Luftwaffe. Based on the pictures, I can imagine
that even in Berlin in 1943, there was a debate about using CO2 or a
This is an outstanding book in all respects. It is
well written and opinions are not withheld. But, it is made clear that
they are opinions, and not universal truths.
Not only is it good reading, but it is also a
pleasure to thumb through to look at the pictures and profiles again and
again. The authors have clearly achieved what they set out to do. They
have written a book that, in my opinion, sets a new standard in the
examination and discussion of camouflage and markings.
Thanks to DLS Publishing for the review sample
Markings of the Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana 1943-1945",
and other Classic books, may be purchased through
specialist bookstores worldwide or
from Ian Allan
Review Text Copyright © 2005 by
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
This Page Created on 22 April, 2005
Last updated 22 April, 2005
Back to HyperScale Main Page
Back to Reviews Page
Camouflage and Markings of the Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana
1943-1945 is available online from Squadron.com