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Macchi C202 Folgore - Book review


I saw this book advertised on the internet and made the purchase without the chance of ‘Flicking through it.’ I was very curious as there are several books dealing this particular aircraft in the form of soft covers and of relatively few pages. This particular book is hardback and consists of 167 pages with further covering rank structure, endnotes and bibliography which results in a total of 212 pages.

This book is written by three authors each one of which covers the three phases of the book. The three phases are;

1) Introductory
2) Schneider trophy, engineer Mario Castoldi and Macchi 200
3) Macchi 202

The authors have gone into great depth on each phase and includes the birth of the Regia Aeronautica and its development under different Commanders. There follows a detailed account of the Italian participation in the Schneider trophy. We are then introduced to Mario Castoldi who created the Macchi C200 and then the creation of it successor, the Macchi C202.
Included in these phases are details covering the doctrine of the Regia Aeronautica, the training of pilots, the production of the C202 and the viewpoints of pilots both axis and allied.

The book is very readable. The reader will come away with a good knowledge of the Regia Aeronautica and the Macchi C202 itself. It was interesting to learn that Italian pilots learnt acrobatics as fighter tactics which were fine during World War One but which were outdated in World War Two. I was surprised to learn that at the beginning of WW2, Italian pilots were not taught deflection shooting but getting on the tail of an adversary to shoot it down.

The book uses many first hand accounts of Italian pilots which helps to confirm the short fallings of not only the training but the usual issues of planes being underarmed and under powered.

There are a number pages devoted to the C202 in action and covers all the theatres of war where it appeared. The authors also include the C202 being in service with German and Croatian airforces and even includes a short chapter serving post war in the Egyptian Airforce.

There are over 50 decent photograph/drawings which are sufficient for this book.

This book does highlight the failings of Italy’s lack of production ability to produce enough planes and engines which were insufficient to cover losses.

I do recommend this book if a reader wishes to expand his knowledge on the Regia Aeronautica and the Macchi C202. You won’t be disappointed! If you have a detailed knowledge of the Macchi C202 itself then you may not much more or though I do have to say that I didn’t know that one of its 12.7 machine guns was set a little forward of the other and the wing area of one was slightly bigger than the other!

if there is one criticism then it may the title. Macchi C292 Folgore. Italy’s best fighter of the Second World War. Yes, it was of all the mass produced aircraft but it was woefully under armed compared to its adversaries. I tentatively suggest that the Macchi C205, the Reggiane 2005 and Fiat G55 were better but appeared too late and to few to have a major impact on the conflict.



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I have that book as well although I have to admit I haven’t read it fully. I have just had a quick read of the training chapter and it does seem to mirror what is in the new Folgore book although this new book it seems goes into more depth.