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Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore: Malta 1942

Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore: Malta 1942 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2014 Title Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore: Malta 1942
Author Donald Nijboer Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2014 ISBN 9781782003564
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


Until March 1942, obsolescent warplanes monopolized World War II's North African and Mediterranean combat.

That's when the first Royal Air Force Spitfire Vs arrived.  A month later, after a long absence, Italian Macchi C.202s reentered the fray.  Their face-off over Malta dominates the 60th entry in Osprey's acclaimed "Duel" series – Spitfire V vs C.202 Folgore: Malta 1942.

Churchill called the strategic Mediterranean island "'the master key to the British Empire'."  And this, essentially, studies Britain and Italy at war – their military, economic and doctrinal differences.

Contents follow Osprey's familiar format.  After a pithy preface with chronology, coverage courses through each aircraft's design, development and details.  Text next turns to the overall strategic situation and combatants – before recapping aerial engagements over besieged Malta.

Photos, color plates, statistics, biographies, sidebars, captions and analyses season the study.   A useful "aftermath" dissects the action.  And a selected bibliography and index neatly wrap things up.

Gremlins, unfortunately, stalk Osprey's effort.  Don't believe that Italian camouflage caption on page 7.  Or those port-wing Folgore roundels on pages 21 and 33.  And why no Spitfire color comments?  Avoidable issues all.

In the end, training, tactics, technology and, subjectively, tenacity proved decisive factors. The 1942 air battles over Malta produced "no fewer than 34 aces for the RAF" – but only two for the Regia Aeronautica.

Find out why.  Osprey's tiny tome will get you started.  Make it a launchpad for further forays into this fascinating facet of World War II fighting.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!