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Crickets against Rats

Crickets against Rats Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2015 Title Crickets against Rats
Author Marek Sobski Publisher Kagero
Published 2014 ISBN 9788364596162
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $20.95


Italy proved crucial in helping Gen Francisco Franco's Nationalists consolidate gains during the Spanish Civil War's first phases.

Fascist aircrew in CR.32s and SM.81s – the Aviación del Tercio – provided a protective umbrella for rebel forces in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.

Now Kagero covers those actions in Crickets against Rats: Regia Aeronautica in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1937 – first in an apparently multi-volume study.

Contents course chronologically through Italian participation in the war's first 12 months. And author Sobski competently leverages his secondary sources to outline key aerial actions.

By the end of 1936, Mussolini abandoned all pretense of neutrality – and disbanded the Aviación del Tercio "in lieu of" the Aviazione Legionaria. Spain became a testing ground for more Fascist designs – like Ba.65s, SM.79s and BR.20s. And with Nazi Germany's Legion Condor, Italy's air assets remained vital to Franco's eventual victory.

For that, we must await a sequel to Crickets against Rats – CR.32s against Polikarpov I-16s. In the meantime, Kagero's handy history sports over 100 photos – many rarities from private archives. Ten superb color profiles really motivated my modeling muse. And a couple pages of endnotes conclude contents.

Quibbles? Some. The occasionally awkward translation calls Franco's forces "Frankist". Since Spain acquired just three Hawker Furies, it hardly employed a "large number". That's André Malraux – not "Alfred Malraux". And a map or two might clarify things.

My biggest gripe? No Kagero decals to accompany those gorgeous CR.32 profiles!

Perhaps more than any other Italian design, CR.32s symbolized Fascist military might in the 1930s. Follow FIAT's lithe little fighter through its Spanish baptism of fire in Marek Sobski's interesting little book.


My sincere thanks to Casemate for this review sample!