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Mehtidis Alexis - Italian Air Force in Italian East Africa – 1919-1939

€5,00 - €5,00
€5,00 - €5,00

Italian Air Force in Italian East Africa – 1919-1939

Alexis Mehtidis

In the aftermath of the First World War, Italy found itself with two colonies on either side of the independent Kingdom of Ethiopia: Eritrea to the north and Somalia to the south. The four parts of Alexis Mehtidis' study are nothing more than the translation, in terms of air power projection, of Mussolini's colonial tragi-comedy.

1st Act: from 1919 to September 1936. In 1919, a few Farman, SVA and SAML stationed in Eritrea and Somalia were more than enough to chase the smugglers. A progressive increase in power endowed each of the two colonies with about forty aircraft in 1934: three-engine Caproni transport aircraft, Cr.20 biplane fighters and Romeo Ro.1 reconnaissance aircraft. In 1934, the Welwel incident, justifies the creation of a unified air command of East Africa, as well as a massive reinforcement of the fleet: 380 aircraft.

2nd Act: October 1935 to January 1936: The first operations of invasion of Ethiopia trample: barely 100 km in one month. Reinforcements increase: 620 planes in the whole region. One can note an interesting development of MRO and support units in Asmara, Ethiopia, (airframe, engines, systems and carpentry), as well as a strong presence of the Italian industry with Caproni, Alfa Romeo and Piaggio workshops. New airfields are built to accommodate this large restructured air force.

3rd act: Rome wants to end it all and decides massive raids of SM.81 and SM.88 bombers, dropping, among others, yperite bombs (mustard gas), eventually achieving total control of the region.

4th Act: January 1938 to July 1939: the whole of Italian East Africa is "pacified" and, with about 200 aircraft, adapts its air order of battle in preparation for a future conflict with its British neighbour.

The booklet is richly illustrated with remarkably interesting pictures.

42 pages – in English