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Air War East Africa 1940-1941. Book review.

1089maul

Member
For my third book review I stayed with the Regia Aeronautica. I have had the book for some time and have only just got around to reading it.
I have now got into the habit of looking at the bibliography and then the photographs to get a feel for the book. With this book I did have some reservations as everything indicated that the content would lean heavily towards the Allies.
This was reinforced at the beginning when some of the descriptions of the Italian aircraft were not complimentary. The early descriptions of action between the two forces mentioned more than once that if an Italian aircraft struck an allied aircraft then it was a lucky hit. I am please to say that as the book went on then the description of the different actions became much more balanced.
The book goes through the air campaigns from the beginning to the end with detailed information of both air and ground actions in chronological date order. In between this, the authors give details of the ground campaign. This is good as it gives the reader an idea of why the air war developed the way it did.
What I particularly like about this book was the learning of the capabilities of the outdated Italian aircraft, CA 133, CR 32 and CR 42 which on many occasions held their own against superior aircraft. The book reinforces that this campaign was not a walkover for the allies. Initially the Regia Aeronautica gave a good account of itself at the beginning but as the ground campaign was lost, so was the air.
The last chapter surprisingly went into detail of various Italian pilots and some of their combats.
I was pleasantly surprised to read at the end of the book in the appendices, the Italian Airforce order of battle for the 10th June was outlined, details of all Italian aircraft production during the war was listed and a detailed biography of Maresciallo Alberto Gobbo Included. This information wasn’t mentioned in the bibliography! However, I believe one of the authors was a researcher.
I wasn’t expecting the end of the book to be as described above bearing in mind the beginning.
I had read very little of the East Africa campaign and would recommend this book for those wishing to increase their knowledge of that campaign and also one of the lesser known theatres involving the Regia Aeronautica.
 

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DrG

Member
I haven't read this book, but a review of it stigmatized the way it deals with the description of the opposing forces at the beginning of the war, with a deliberate and frankly ludicrous underestimation of British forces in order to portray them in a better light. In reality the "impossibly small number of aircraft" (which should be the description present in the book) was at least 350 RAF and SAAF planes versus 323 Italian ones...
 
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