The Regia Aeronautica, or Royal Italian Air Force, was one of the largest and most well respected air forces in the world during the mid-1930s. By 1940, however, it had fallen behind other regional powers such as Germany and Great Britain and by 1943 had been thoroughly defeated by the Allies on the battlefield. Christopher Shores, in "Regia Aeronautica: A Pictorial History of the Italian Air Force 1940-1943," does a good job of providing a general overview of the combat operations of the Italian air force up until Italy's defeat.
The introduction covers the Italian air force's unit structure, camouflage and markings, followed by an overview of operations between 1935 and 1943. The book then moves on to cover in more detail individual aerial battles, starting with early operations against France in June 1940, Italian participation in the Battle of Britain, Italy's invasion of the Balkans, the bombing campaign against Malta, and the air war in North Africa. It also discusses the war in East Africa, Italy's participation on the Eastern Front from 1941, and finally the Regia Aeronautica's defense of the Italian homeland until 1943.
Lots of photographs are interspersed throughout the book, as are sample color illustrations of different aircraft types used in the various battles. What's lacking is any serious analysis of the Italian air force's strengths and weaknesses throughout these campaigns, detailed orders of battle (although rough dispositions are included in the text), and detailed maps.
Book in very good condition with clean pages throughout and securely bound.Printed in 1976.