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Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units

Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review January 2018 Title Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units
Author Marco Mattioli Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 9781472818836
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $23.00

Review

The Savoia-Marchetti S.79 arguably remains Fascist Italy's most famous bomber. Now Marco Mattioli supplements his superb Osprey study of Sparviero torpedo-bombers with Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units – number 122 in the publisher's perennially popular "Combat Aircraft" range.

Format follows Osprey's proven prescription. After an introductory chapter on design and development, contents swiftly segue to five geographically oriented sections:

  • Spanish Civil War Service
  • World War II Employment Against French & Balkan Adversaries
  • WWII Mediterranean Operations
  • WWII North African Use
  • WWII East African Actions

In each, author Mattioli methodically chronicles – theater-by-theater, year-by-year, unit-by-unit – Sparvieri in bomber roles. The story even spans postwar Lebanese use!

Prepare for plenty of absorbing anecdotes and fascinating facts. Did you know that the S.79 – specifically prototype I-MAGO – first saw combat during the second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1936? And did you know that one-leg CR.42 pilot Maggiore Ernesto Botto scored Italy's first confirmed aerial victory of World War II?

Neither did I.

Considering Italeri's 1:72 S.79? Tackling Airfix's ancient effort? Or Classic Airframes' 1:48 rarity? Richard Caruana's splendid color profiles will certainly motivate your modeling muse. But I wish Osprey also provided starboard and plan views of early S.79 "banded" camouflage – as well as top views for profiles 13 and 16.

That's important, because this otherwise excellent effort contains no bibliography – and no annotations. So you're on your own for further study.

Still, Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units superbly surveys this oft-neglected facet of World War II air combat. I loved it.

Rabidly recommend!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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