In the summer of 1940, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini watched with growing dissatisfaction the inaction of Italian troops stationed in Libya. After the death of Marshal Italo Balbo (killed in a S.79 bomber, accidentally shot down by Italian anti-aircraft artillery near Tobruk on June 28), Marshal Rodolfo Graziani became the new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in North Africa. He tried to gather the necessary forces for the offensive required by Rome against Egypt. Finally, under threat of appeal, he reluctantly launched an attack on September 13, 1940.
"Modern Italy, which rightly calls itself 'Winged Italy', has a powerful military air force, whose war value is remarkable, especially nowadays. The construction of a massive air force was accepted as one of the main points of the program already during the construction of a new fascist state by Mussolini himself, who - himself a pilot-airman - pays more and more attention to the air force ... " wrote J.B. Bláha in an article in the June 1936 issue of Aviation. That it was not so famous with the fighting force of Regia Aeronautica, despite the massive fascist propaganda, can be documented on the example of the combat air force.
One of the best documented episodes of the Battle of Britain captures the activities of Corpo Aereo Italiano when Regia Aeronautica had its forces stationed in Belgium. These forces were to assist the Germans in raids on targets on the Islands. It is not clear what the Italian High Command wanted to achieve by participating in this operation.
Italian air battles of 1940
Four months after Italy's entry into World War II, Italian troops launched the first major operation to occupy Greece (October 28, 1940 - April 22, 1941). Regia Aeronautica was able to show its potential here, given that the fighting in North Africa was not very intense and almost all aircraft were withdrawn from the Western Front.
Malta has been under British rule since the early 19th century, consisting of a group of islands called Gozo, Comino and Malta. Malta is located approximately 55 miles (90 km) south of Sicily. West of Malta are the 3 Italian islands of Pantelleria, Linosa and Lampedusa. When Italy entered World War II on June 10, 1940, Malta was surrounded by its territories.
A brief overview of the activities of the Italian Air Force during WWII in the fighting over Italian East Africa
An article describing the activities of the Regia Aeronautica from the beginning of the attack on the Soviet Union until their expulsion.
The name Italian co-belligerent Air Force was used by the Allies, formally the air forces fighting on the side of the Allies kept the name Regia Aeronautica until June 2, 1946 when Italy became a republic.
The first operation against the Germans
Italian Air Force operations on the Allies' side over the Ionian Islands.
Italian Air Force operations on the Allies' side in the Balkans.
Italian Air Force operations on the Allied side at the beginning of the last year of the war.
Italian Air Force operations on the Allies' side at the end of the war.
In June 1940, the Italian Air Force was in serious crisis. This is best seen in the units serving in North Africa within the Comando Aeronautica Libia ( Libya Air Command - since July 4 it was redesignated the 5th and Squadra Aerea or "5th Air Force" ).
A brief summary of the state of the Italian Royal Air Force entering WWII on June 10, 1940
The Air Force of the Kingdom of Italy on the battlefield of North Africa during World War II
the Italian surrender ended the existence of Regia Aeronautica, the Italian Air Force from this date fought on both sides of the front under new names.