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Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2

Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2009 Title Fiat CR.42 Aces of World War 2
Author Haken Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2009 ISBN 978-1-84603-427-5
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95


Fiat's CR.42 was arguably the best biplane fighter produced between the wars but by the time World War 2 broke out in Europe, all biplanes were obsolete. Nevertheless, in the early days of World War 2, each air arm fought with what was available and the CR.42 was the best fighter in the ranks of the Italian Air Force.

While many people don't associate biplane dogfights with World War 2, this was indeed the case in 1939-1940 as the Italian Air Force's CR.42s fought successfully against the RAF's Gloster Gladiators (also a biplane) and the early Hawker Hurricanes. At least nine Italian pilots became aces in the CR.42 before these were phased out in favor of newer, more contemporary designs.

Coverage of this interesting subject includes:

  • Opening Battles
  • New Fronts Open Up
  • Defeat in North Africa
  • 941 - The Hardest Year
  • Under Other Flags

The book contains a nice range of period black and white photography of the men and equipment to show the environment in which these pilots operated. Line drawings of the 1/48 CR.42 are provided in the appendices and a very nice array of 40 color profiles are included to illustrate the variety of camouflage colors carried by the CR.42 in its limited time during the war..

This book is a must-have for the aviation historian and military analyst to understand how this much-overlooked aircraft impacted aerial combat during World War 2. Modelers will also enjoy the history, photography and color profiles to replicate the mounts of these aces. This title is recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!