Author Luigino Caliaro, in collaboration with UK-based Chandos Publications, recently published another excellent book detailing the little-known history of German airplanes used by the Regia Aeronautica during World War Two.  After the success of Macchi Fighters : C.200 Saetta, C.202 Folgore, C.205 Veltro, Caliaro in his latest book recounts the story of German aircraft in Italy, starting with the Etrich ‘Taube’ monoplane. However, the core focus is on the Luftwaffe types delivered to the Regia Aeronautica and the ANR, including the Ju-87, Bf 109, Bf 110, Do 217 night fighter, Fi 156, and Ju 88. The highly detailed text is complemented by a superb selection of over 600 rare images, most of which have never been seen or published before, and specially commissioned color profiles by acclaimed digital artist Janusz Światłoń. Fascinating appendices cover diverse topics such as German gliders in Italian service and the little-known story of the Italian pilots who went to Germany to train to fly the Me 163 Komet.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G 6 of the 365th Squadron 150th Group A.C.T
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 of the 365th Squadron, 150th Group A.C.T

The supply and cooperation between Italy and Germany in military aircraft date back to 1911 when the first Etrich Taube monoplanes were delivered for deployment in Libya following the outbreak of the war between Italy and Turkey. After the First World War, as a member of the Allied powers, Italy received various former German fighters, ‘giant’ bombers, ground-attack aircraft, flying boats, and Zeppelin airships as ‘war prizes.’ These provided valuable insights into German aircraft production, construction, and engineering methods. Additionally, a few former civilian transports were used as airliners or for experimental aero-medical missions in Italy.

1080px Rumpler Taube monoplane

During the Second World War, cooperation between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany became more extensive. Italy became a significant customer for some of the Luftwaffe’s key front-line aircraft, including the Junkers Ju 87 dive-bomber and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter. From the autumn of 1940, Regia Aeronautica crews trained at Luftwaffe flight schools flew the Stuka with distinction against British ground targets in North Africa and the Balkans and against warships in the Mediterranean and Malta.

JU 87B 2 Stuka 238° Sq. pilotato dal Ten. Carlo Seganti Medaglia dOro al V.M. Balcani marzo 1941
JU 87B-2 “Stuka”, 238° Sq. pilotato dal Ten. Carlo Seganti (Medaglia d’Oro al V.M.), Balcani, marzo 1941

Similarly, both the Regia Aeronautica and the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana extensively operated the Messerschmitt Bf 109 G over Sicily and the Italian mainland to defend against the American strategic bomber offensive. Other types such as the Messerschmitt Bf 110, Dornier Do 217 night fighter, and Junkers Ju 88 also saw service with the Italian air forces.

In this deeply researched study, Italian aviation historian Luigino Caliaro tells the story of Italy’s use of German military aircraft over more than thirty years. His informative text is supported by over 600 rare photographs and specially commissioned color artwork, making *German Wings in Italian Skies* a valuable and detailed resource on this fascinating subject. The book can be purchased at this LINK.

German Wings in Italian Skies Imperial Inter War and Luftwaffe Military Aircraft in Italy 1911 1945

About the author

Aviation photographer Luigino CaliaroLuigino Caliaro is an acclaimed aviation photographer based in northern Italy. His journey began in 1995 with a flight in the ‘back seat’ of an RAF Tucano. Since then, he has flown numerous photo-sorties with many of the world’s premier military aerobatic demonstration teams, including the US Navy’s Blue Angels, the Canadian Snowbirds, the Frecce Tricolori, and the Red Arrows. Caliaro has photographed many of the world’s most advanced military jet aircraft air-to-air, including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, Tornado, Mirage, MiG-29, and Harrier. He has even flown a six-hour mission on board a B-1B Lancer, visited US Navy and French aircraft carriers several times, and experienced a landing and take-off in an Italian Navy Harrier from the deck of the aircraft carrier Garibaldi. Additionally, he has flown photo-sorties with aircraft from several historical aviation collections and museums worldwide.

Luigino is the author of several books on Italian aviation history and aviation photography, including the acclaimed *Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero – From Airliner and Record-Breaker to Bomber and Torpedo-Bomber 1934-1947*, published by Crecy in 2022. He has also written numerous magazine and journal articles in English. His article for Vintage Aviation News can be found HERE.