Saturday 29 December 2012

Mussolini's Navy

Mussolini’s Navy – A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina 1930-1945
Author: Maurizio Brescia
Published by Seaforth
ISBN  978-1-84832-115-1

Like many naval wargamers I have always had a fascination with the Italian Navy of WW2. My interest was spawned by my brother’s 1/1200 scale plastic kit of the Vittorio Veneto (a model I still have today, over 30 years on). So I was interested to hear that Seaforth were releasing a reference guide to the Italian Navy of WW2. As far as I am aware there is no other book , certainly available in English, of its type available anywhere. I have to tell you that this is a most excellent book and possibly the only technical reference that those with less than a very deep interest will ever need. In 240 pages Sig. Brescia covers every ship in the Regia Marina from battleship down to rescue tugs, submarines to “Maiale”, including prize ships and others. The book begins with a brief history of the RM from 1861 to the outbreak of WW2, then goes on to describe in detail the various naval bases and key facilities, fleet organisation and operations around the Mediterranean but also the Black Sea, Red Sea and Atlantic, detailed technical descriptions of all naval craft, naval aviation, both ship and shore based, warship camouflage schemes, flags, uniforms and a “who’s who” of key Italian naval personnel of the period.

The book is profusely illustrated with diagrams and excellently reproduced photographs. A real boon is the inclusion of a colour section, 16 extra pages showing camouflage schemes, some lovely period colour photographs, flags and insignia details.

This is not an operational history of the Italian Navy, but is an essential supporting reference that details how and why the RM was organised, assembled and equipped as it was. I have found it to be an invaluable work in some of my current projects and would not hesitate in recommending it to all with an interest in the naval war in the Mediterranean in WW2. 


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